That bit aside, let's go over options for the unit. First, each initiate can take either a bolter or a bolt pistol and chainsword. Generally, you want to go with the pistol/ccw setup as these guys are made for combat. However, you can include any mixture of the two. The neophytes can take bolt pistol and chainsword or shotguns. Again, you can mix these, but I prefer just going with close combat setup as most of the times my crusader squads are charging forward to get into combat.
All crusader squads can give a single heavy weapon and a single special weapon option to an initiate. The heavy weapons selection includes your missile launchers, lascannons, plasma cannons, and multi-meltas as normal, but included in this selection are also the bolt pistol/power weapon setup and the bolt pistol/ power fist setup. Also interesting is the fact that the codex states that these two setups both yield an extra attack for two combat weapons. This supercedes the BRB. So, a powerfist initiate can have 3 attacks on the charge! Nice. The special weapons include a flamer, meltagun, or plasmagun. Most combat oriented setups include a powerfist and meltagun in the squad.
You also have some equipment options, namely frag grenades, krak grenades, and crusader seals. Yes, BT marines do not automatically come with grenades. That sucks. Frags cost 1 point per model, kraks cost 2 points per model. Crusader seals may only be given to initiates at a cost 2 points per model. I am of the opinion that frags are really necessary as you will want the ability to assault into combat and not get spanked. Kraks are less important as you have a powerfist AND against the rear armor of most vehicles we are looking at AV10 which you can at least glance. Crusader seals are worthless as only a single model is required to take them to get the benefits and most HQs have them. Don't waste points there either.
Crusader squads have access to three transports that count as dedicated transports: rhinos, razorbacks, and land raider crusaders. That's right. You can take an LRC for each crusader squad if you wish. It will be a terribly small army, but you can do it. BT rhinos and razorbacks are the redheaded stepchildren of the marine chapters. Our standard rhino is 50 points naked without even smoke launchers. Our razorback is 70pts naked. Smoke launchers cost an additional 3pt. Yuck. However, we have a terribly cheap extra armor upgrade for 5pt. I usually give my rhinos smoke and extra armor as we want them to keep rolling as long as possible. Our razorbacks only come in TL heavy bolter and TL lascannon form. Again, we get screwed over for options here. If I take a razorback, I always take the 20pt upgrade for the TL lascannon (highway robbery) and smoke. No extra armor because if it is stunned, it isn't nearly that useful even when just shaken. The LRC is an LRC. I always give mine smoke. Luckily it comes stock with the multi-melta unlike the other chapter variants. It comes out to 265pt naked.
So, how do I set up my crusader squads?
There are several popular setups. I will attempt to list a few here.
1) Rhino standard*- you want a squad of ten models (9 if an HQ is riding alongside). I usually take 7/3 or 8/2, intiates to neophytes. Let's face it, neophytes are ablative wounds. If they survive, hooray, if not, at least a power armor model didn't die. Remove these guys first when taking wounds. I give this squad a powerfist and a meltagun and put them in a rhino with smoke and extra armor.
10 man squad- 7 initiates (unless otherwise noted, these guys take pistol/ccw), powerfist, meltagun, 3 neophytes, all with frags in a rhino with EA and smoke- 235pt.
2) Footslogger horde*- This unit is taken in a Templar horde army. It is maxed out on models and usually is joined by a chaplain with cenobyte servitors (see my HQ post). It has 10 initiates and 10 neophytes all with combat equipment, a powerfist, meltagun, and frags. This unit slogs it across the field hoping for good righteous zeal and run moves to catapult it across the table.
20 man squad- 10 initiates, powerfist, meltagun, 10 neophytes, all with frags- 305pt.
3) Ranged attack (1+1)**- This is a minimum squad of initiates with no neophytes, attached to a razorback with TL lascannons. The squad takes ranged heavy and special (generally the plasmagun for range) options and bolters and camps on home objectives and shoots at AV and other targets. I usually go for point efficiency with a missile launcher, plasmagun, and razorback with TL lascannons and smoke. You can add a neophyte to fill the 6th spot if you want, but if points are tight, cut him.
5 man squad- 5 initiates with bolters, missile launcher, and plasmagun, in razorback with TL lascannons and smoke- 189pt.
4) Melta Bunker**- Another 5 man squad. This takes advantage of the fact that we can take full heavy and special slots with minimum bodies as well, but this time we take a multi-melta and meltagun and put them in a rhino and book it to midfield where they shoot at all passing armor. This is perhaps the cheapest option.
5 man squad- 5 initiates with bolters, multi-melta, meltagun, in rhino with EA and smoke- 154pt.
5) The uber HQ bodyguard*- Occasionally you want something that can babysit your EC or Marshal that is still small enough to sit in a transport, but scary enough to threaten lots of things. Enter the LRC. This unit consists of 14 models (plus the HQ to get 15) that ride in the LRC, hop out and beat stuff down. It generally consists of 10 initiates, 4 neophytes, a fist, and meltagun. No frags needed due to the LRC. The LRC will get smoke launchers. This unit is healthy chunk of change, but with an HQ can put out a bunch of wounds.
14 man squad- 10 initiates, powerfist, meltagun, 4 neophytes in LRC with smoke- 493pt.
My qualm with this squad is that if you are going to spend 493 pt. on a squad, it might as well be furious charge terminators.
*Note, one reason (assumed as the norm) that the combat setups are so scary is because most players normally take the Accept any challenge vow which means we are rerolling our to-hit rolls EVERY ROUND OF COMBAT. Even with regular S4 hits, this amounts to tons of wounds.
**Remember that these squad are subject to "kill'em all" which means they need to pass a leadership test at -1 leadership in order to shoot at a target of their choice. If they fail, they fire at the nearest enemy. If you are taking lots of these units, you need a marshal to reign them in.
So there are our Crusaders. They are the backbone of the Templar army and requit themselves well the vast majority of the time. They generally can outfight any other infantry with the exception of elite infantry. Leave that to the big boys coming up next in my post on Elites.
If you missed it, here is the articles before this one in the series:
Codex Review: Black Templar HQs
And here is the next articles in the series:
Codex Review: Black Templar Elites
Did you find this article useful? Subscribe to Gone to Ground for more great updates.