The Black Templars have the distinction of being the only Second Founding Chapter to receive its own Chapter Tactics. They are an eternally crusading off-shoot of the Imperial Fists, and they specialize in slaying enemy champions in close combat. To represent this, Black Templar characters re-roll failed To Hit rolls and have Rending in challenges. This isn’t a bad rule, as it means any character can have a chance in challenges. It allows you to take power swords without fear that they won’t be able to penetrate Terminator armor. In general, it just makes your combat characters better in assault.
Beyond this, all Black Templar have the Crusader and Adamantium Will rules. This makes them a bit quicker across the battlefield on foot, as well as giving them some protection from enemy psykers. Again, both of these are helpful but not amazing. No marine assault forces will cross the table on foot without being shot off the table, but being faster once you get out of your transports is a nice bonus.
The Black Templars Chapter Tactics are very fluffy for them but aren’t exactly great in game. I don’t expect to see hardcore tournament players using Black Templar (they all seem to be in love with the White Scars). Instead, players that love the Templar background and want to play an assault oriented marine list will have a lot of fun with these rules.
Crusader squads are unique to Black Templar lists, and allow them to field large squads with a mix of marines and scouts (up to 10 of each). Beyond this, they have some excellent options. They can take another power weapon or fist beyond the one on the sergeant if you want to be assault oriented. Alternatively, they can take both a special and heavy weapon in a five strong squad, allowing them to min-max firepower in a way that most Chapters can’t. They can also take Land Raider Crusaders as dedicated transports in addition to the normal options.
Crusader squads are really impressive Troop choices. I can’t think of anything Tactical squads can do that Crusaders can’t, and Crusaders have some excellent options beyond that. Crusader squads can maximize firepower in small squads or can take large squads in Land Raiders to take the fight to the enemy. While the Black Templar Chapter Tactics aren’t amazing, the Crusader squad is a nice advantage to which only Black Templars have access.
High Marshal Helbrecht
Helbrecht is the leader of the Black Templar Chapter, and is just as dedicated to assault as his followers. He’s a Chapter Master (though he inexplicably lacks Orbital Bombardment) with a combi-melta and artificer armor. He also carries a master-crafted power sword that gives him +D3 attacks when he charges. Furthering his assault bias, his Warlord Trait grants him and his unit Furious Charge for a turn.
Once per game, Helbrecht can call a crusade, giving all friendly Black Templars Hatred and Fleet. This makes Helbrecht a requirement for an assault oriented Templar army; for one crucial turn, he makes the army get into assault much more reliably as well as hit harder.
Chaplain Grimaldus, the hero of Helsreach, is the High Chaplain of the Black Templars. His statline is somewhere between a Captain and a Chaplain, making him a pretty decent fighter. He comes with the standard Chaplain equipment along with a master-crafted plasma pistol. He’s also extra resilient because he has It Will Not Die.
Grimaldus seems to specialize in buffing squads around him. He passes his leadership to every squad within 12”, and friendly Black Templar within 6” benefits from his Zealot. If he takes Cenobyte Servitors, Black Templars within 6” also receive a 6+ invulnerable save. That may not sound like much, but it will make a difference if you can apply it to a bunch of models. Ask any Sisters of Battle player.
Grimaldus seems like a fun support character that can do a bit of damage on his own, but his rules are a bit clunky. If he can’t join units when he takes Cenobyte Servitors, Grimaldus and his Servitors will be easily wiped out. Also, his buffs benefit models within range rather than units. This limits their effect along with slowing down the game.
The Emperor’s Champion is a unique character. His statline is a bit better than a Librarian or Chaplain, but not what you would want from a combat character. His armor is essentially artificer armor with an iron halo, so he’s durable despite his two wounds. He carries the Black Sword, which is master-crafted and AP2. If you could take it on other characters, you certainly would.
The Emperor’s Champion is designed to take out enemy champions, and his rules allow him to do so against some. He has to issue or accept a challenge in every combat. When in these challenges, he can either gain +2 strength, two-handed, and unwieldy on the Black Sword or have to wound rolls of 6 inflict Instant Death.
The Emperor’s Champion is an odd example of a budget combat character. He’ll take out most weaker characters (sergeant or Librarian level) without any problem. However, beyond a lucky Instant Death wound, he won’t likely be able to kill the tougher characters that players generally throw into combat. He’s a flavorful choice, but I don’t think he brings much to a Black Templar army (certainly not as much as Helbrecht).