The Black Templars boxed set goes up for preorder today, and Games Workshop have kindly sent us a preview copy for our review. In case you missed our review of the new codex, you can find it here. But the codex is only part of the story – there’s an entire boxed set that comes with the limited edition book, containing 13 models and datacards for the faction. So in similar fashion to our article on the Kill Rig, we thought we’d cover the box contents and some interesting things about the box itself, hopefully answering some questions you might have had about the whole thing.
1. The Bases
One of the first questions we inevitably get with something like this is about the base sizes. The box comes with a standard 90mm base for the Redemptor, three 40mm bases for the characters, five 32mm bases for the initiates and, somewhat surprisingly – four 28mm bases for the neophytes. This puts them on slightly smaller bases than the rest of the marine models you’ve got, making them feel a bit smaller, though they’re still substantially bigger than scouts. The Redemptor is just a plain ol’ redemptor – no special upgrade sprue or anything.
2. This is all set up for separate boxes and packaging
Something that’s always worth investigating with these boxes is how the sprues are laid out. If multiple units are on the same sprue – similar to what we saw with Shadowspear – then that’s usually a sure sign we won’t see those models released separately. Once the sprues have been designed and laid out, that’s basically it. The Black Templars box on the other hand offers three separate sprues for the champions – one each for the Emperor’s Champion and Marshal, the standard Primaris Redemptor sprue, and then two identical sprues for the Initiates and Neophytes, which includes the parts you need to turn one into a Sword Brother. As a result, we expect that each of these will be boxed separately later on, since the combo of 5 Initiates, 1 Sword Brother, and 4 Neophytes is exactly the minimum squad size for a Primaris Crusader Squad, and these same two sprues are likely to be what come in the Primaris Crusader Squad box later on.
On that note…
3. You get two of the Neophyte/Initiate sprue, and that gives you lots of options
The Primaris Crusader Squad is literally just the same sprue twice. That means it comes with double the weapon options for the unit, letting you give your Neophytes all bolt pistol and chainsword or bolter, and giving you a ton of additional weapon options for your Initiates. In addition, this means you’ll have two sets of upgrade options for the Sword Brother – his bits are all add-ons to an Initiate model – and that’ll mean you have a lot of extra bits left over to upgrade other models.
Specifically, you get one of each of the following bits on each sprue, for 2 in total:
- Power Fist
- Raised Chainsword
- Power Axe
- Power Fist
- Sheathed sword
- Pyre pistol
This jibes with the unit’s new datasheet, which lets you take 2 of each per 10 models. You’ll also have ample chainswords and heavy bolt pistols if you want to go that route, as well as auto bolt rifles and bolt carbines.
You can also theoretically build two Sword Brothers from these sprues, although you can only have one in a Primaris Crusader Squad. There’s potentially value in doing this if you’re looking to get extra Sword Brethren and only need 9 models to add to an existing squad; Primaris Crusader Squads go 5-11 on Initiates and 4-8 on Neophytes, which is exactly what two boxes would theoretically get you, though you could buy two boxes and go 1 Sword Brother, 8 Neophytes, and 10 Initiates, using the remaining two models for Sword Brothers in another unit, provided you had an extra 40mm base.
4. How to Build These Models – Picking Loadouts
It’s still early to know how the meta will shake out with these but we’ve got some pretty good ideas already about what the best loadout is here. For the Redemptor you’ll want to hew to the existing optimal load-outs, which means a Macro Plasma Incinerator and the Onslaught Gatling Cannon, plus the Icarus Rocket Pod if you have the points for it. For the Crusader Squad, our gut says that the best use for the Neophytes is as melee bodies, since they’re just as deadly in that mode and flat cheaper, so go sword and pistol for them. This also means you’ll likely also want to go melee with the Initiates, but there may be a place for a mixed unit with auto bolt rifles on the Initiates and melee options on the Neophytes. Crusaders are a unit that are really at best “fine,” so you probably want them on the cheaper side, meaning that the power fists are probably not going to be worth buying unless you have some extra points to spend and nothing to spend them on.
The Emperor’s Champion doesn’t have much in the way of options, but the Marshal gives you quite a few. Rules-wise the Marshal is just an upgrade on the rules for the Primaris Captain, letting you take an auto-flamer and power sword or axe, or a plasma pistol and power sword/axe. There isn’t really a strong reason to take the sword or axe over the other; both are fine on the baseline and both have good relic choices, so it’ll largely depend on what you want to upgrade them to and how you want to use them – they cost the same as upgrades to a Primaris Captain. Take the autoflamer over the plasma pistol though.
5. The Marshal sprue offers some Interesting modeling opportunities
We’ve already seen that the Marshal can be built like the old Black Templars 3rd edition Marshal, using the masked head and power axe options on the new sprue, but there are a few other interesting things to note here. One of the most interesting things I’ve noticed is that the front cloak and covering on the Marshal’s body is a separate bit, meaning that you get a relatively smooth, featureless marine body in the kit. That’s pretty great if you’re looking to customize his look, and makes him a great pickup for modelers who want to go really wild with a captain or lieutenant model.
That wraps up our look at the boxed set. On the whole, this is a great value, and all of the units are solid – the Primaris Redemptor is a strong pick as one of the better units currently kicking around the marine arsenal and the crusader squad are a fine Troops choice.
While there’s probably nothing in this that won’t be available later, the combination of units for the price plus the book and cards is pretty solid, and the special edition Codex is legitimately the best one they’ve done yet, with the lovely John Blanche art on the cover. If you’re angling to play templars, this is a good pickup but if you’re not able to grab it or don’t need another Redemptor, you should still be able to pick up the contents later as individual boxes.
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