Redesigning the Black Templars – How the Team Updated the Chapter That Refuses To Change

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After the fantastic Black Templars Army Set came out earlier this month, the full release of the rest of the range is nearly upon us. From upgrade sprues to special characters and entire squads in the panoply of eternal crusade, the Black Templars have been redesigned from the ground up.

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But how do you go about redesigning a Chapter that’s famously so resistant to leaving the old ways behind? We spoke to Maxime Corbeil from the Warhammer design studio to find out how the team went about it. Maxime just so happens to be a huge fan of the Black Templars who took on the task by harking back to the old ways of Warhammer 40,000, using classic John Blanche art from all the way back to the days of the third edition as inspiration.

Sword Brethren

The Sword Brethren are the elites at the top of the Chapter, and they have earned the right to fight however they like, Maxime explains.

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“They have access to the best gear, even esoteric weaponry – but being knights, they favour swords and axes. They could wear a power fist if they wanted to, but they’re all about the idea of nobility.”

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Each miniature is covered with unique details, suggesting that they all have their own personal artificer to work on their equipment. “They even have nicer chains of devotion than the rest of the Chapter,” Maxime points out.

“The cloaks are designed to echo the old Sword Brothers,” he adds. There may be Primaris Black Templars now, but the designers wanted to reinforce the idea that Black Templars are highly resistant to change.

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The Castellan is based closely on the iconic cover art by John Blanche from the third edition of Warhammer 40,000. Designing this miniature came with its own challenges as “he doesn’t follow the modern design language of the rest of the range”.

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“He has no fewer than 60 skulls on him, so he’s probably one of the most Warhammer miniatures ever,” jokes Maxime.


The Marshal shows his status in fully personalised artificer armour, with layering, rivets, and cables to give him a brutal and archaic look. His left pauldron and the cloak are a reminder that all Marshals are selected from the Sword Brethren (as are the Castellans).

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“The pose is a dynamic contrast with Helbrecht, designed to show the aggression of the Chapter,” Maxime continues. He sports a combi-bolt rifle and flamer – “it’s clear from John Blanche’s art that Black Templar Characters love custom combi-flamers!”

The old-school influences don’t stop there. The Marshal’s head and the axe are direct nods to the 1998 Captain who was originally introduced in the limited edition of the starter set that was released for the third edition of the game.

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And as with Chaplain Grimaldus, “the iron halo incorporates a poor psychic null whose remaining power is supposedly warding off malign psychic attacks”.

Crusader Squad

Everything about the Crusader Squad suggests tradition and, well, eternal crusade. Their tabards become more damaged as brothers move up the hierarchy as “a bit of a symbolism to represent that they are a fleet-based Chapter”.

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“They’ve been waging war for 10,000 years on the trot, so the squad organisation is very classic”, Maxime tells us. It incorporates special weapons and heavy weapons – in this case, a power fist.

The Initiates’ armour has more rivets than regular Intercessors, while some have classic crusader helmets, reminiscent of previous Black Templar incarnations. They also have hip plates that have been left blank to create the perfect location for crusade badges.

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A lot of thought has gone into the kit, which allows you to build every model with a chainsword and pistol or with a bolt carbine or rifle. “The latter option leaves enough leftover parts to upgrade a regular box of Intercessors or Assault Intercessors with chained weapons,” says Maxime.

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“The Neophytes are exciting – though they’ve always been in the background, they’ve never had specific miniatures before now,” says Maxime of the four juniors you get in the squad. “Black Templar players have had to substitute Space Marine Scout miniatures since 1999 – but infiltration gear doesn’t make sense in a Crusader Squad.”

As such, the design team went all-in with the medieval look on these miniatures, from the now-classic tabard and leather belts to bowl cuts. The armour has been updated with Primaris details too – “it’s a kind of Mk III Scout armour designed by Cawl himself”.

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The full range of Black Templars units will be out soon, including High Marshal HelbrechtChaplain Grimaldusthe Sword Brethren Squad, and more. While we wait for them to arrive, you can get your own eternal crusade started with the Black Templars Army Set, which includes an exclusive edition of the new codex supplement with incredible John Blanche cover art.

The Whiteshields Are Back, and Codex Supplement: Cadia Makes Them Hard Enough to Shrug Off Lascannons

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The Octarian War calls upon the Cadians to defend the Imperium once again, and they’ll be fighting harder than ever thanks to the new Codex Supplement: Cadia found in the upcoming War Zone Octarius Book 1: Rising Tide.

This new campaign book follows an escalating conflict that erupted earlier this year with the release of the fantastic new edition of Kill Team. Matters have only gotten worse as the Imperium struggles to contain a war that its own agents precipitated – and Hive Fleet Leviathan devises powerful adaptations and esoteric Synaptic Link abilities to lay low its prey.

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With new Stratagems, Relics, and Warlord Traits, the Cadians have tooled up in a major way. Let’s take a sneak peek at some of the rules that you can find in their codex supplement.

While most regiments of the Astra Militarum field conscripts, the famed Whiteshields* of Cadia go above and beyond. Trained to serve in the military as soon as they can walk, Whiteshields are as adept at taking orders as any full-fledged Guardsman, and they’re significantly more disciplined than other conscripts on the battlefield.

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As the popular Imperial saying goes, “The planet broke before the Cadians did”,** and this tenacity is very real. By shrugging off minor injuries and refusing to yield under storms of enemy fire, units of otherwise-fragile infantry become immovable objects that are capable of absorbing lascannon fire twice as often as before.

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Combined with the mass manpower of the Whiteshields, Cadia Stands! allows Astra Militarum players to place huge units of durable Troops on critical objectives. All but the most brutal enemy units will struggle to shift 30 determined and dug-in soldiers, and the attention of such murderous foes will be fully occupied while the rest of the Astra Militarum does its deadly work.

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Their newfound reliability at receiving the Take Aim! order, which allows shooting hit rolls of 1 to be re-rolled, makes Whiteshields combine exceptionally well with Cadia’s Born Soldiers doctrine from the Astra Militarum codex.

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By significantly improving the hit rate of their shooting attacks, these upgraded Whiteshields give anyone who disregards ‘mere conscripts’ a nasty laser-flavoured surprise.

Before the fall of Cadia, a charismatic sergeant named Lukas Bastonne*** became the face of Cadian valour and inspired billions of troops to match his skill and grit.

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Although he met his end leading a heroic defence against Abaddon the Despoiler’s forces, his sword continues to shine as a beacon of hope and pushes away any thoughts of cowardice.

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The sword itself is a keen weapon in the hands of skilled officers, and its glorious presence ensures the morale of your Whiteshields – often their Achilles heel – will be more resolute than ever. This sword is just one of several relics available to Cadian commanders, while there are also plenty of suitably obdurate Warlord Traits.

Bastonne isn’t the only hero of Cadia, and senior officers aspire to the tactical genius of arguably the most famous Cadian ever to live – Lord Castellan Ursarkar E. Creed. His ability to sneak even massive war machines behind enemy lines was legendary, and capable commanders frequently employ his strategies to rapidly redeploy their forces.

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There’s plenty more to see in Rising Tide, including a new suite of Crusade rules for Astra Militarum armies, so stay tuned as we take a deeper look into War Zone Octarius later this week. Will you be bringing the might of lost Cadia to your battlefields? Let us know on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, and show us your mightiest Cadian armies.

* So named for the white stripe on their helmet marking them as a conscripted soldier.

** When referring to Cadia’s dramatic destruction at the climax of Abaddon’s Thirteenth Black Crusade.

*** Who veteran Astra Militarum commanders may remember from Warhammer 40,000 5th Edition’s Codex: Imperial Guard.

War Zone Octarius Book 1 Turns Your Biggest Bioforms Into a Nightmare for Enemy Characters

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The release of the new edition of Kill Team marked the start of our campaign into the hellish Octarius Sector, and a bad situation escalates in War Zone Octarius – Book 1: Rising Tide, available to pre-order this Saturday. The Tyranids of Hive Fleet Leviathan are beginning their invasion (thanks to former Inquisitor Kryptmann’s shenanigans) in unfathomable numbers.

The constant carnage has forced the Hive Mind to adapt its forces in all sorts of ways – such as the new Synaptic Link abilities – and now Rising Tide’s Codex Supplement: Leviathan is here packed with rules to help you consume the Octarius sector. New Relics, Warlord Traits, and Stratagems are on hand to power up bioforms big and small, and combined with Codex: Tyranids they’ll make your swarm more terrifying than ever.

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Newly spawned creatures are often adapted to their enemies and environment, and as one of the foremost Hive Fleets, Leviathan has more specialist bio-artefacts than most. When encountering prey with daemonic wards or arcane force field technology, the Hive Mind feeds raw psychic energies into its champions’ weapons to better slip past such esoteric defences.

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These blades turn a Hive Tyrant or Tyranid Prime into an absolute nightmare for enemy Characters, especially when using the new Gestalt Commander Warlord Trait to borrow the raw power of Behemoth or regenerative abilities of Hydra.*

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Can’t decide which of the new Warlord Traits you want to take? Why not have two with the Alpha Leader-Beast Stratagem? For just 1 Command point, your Tyranid Prime can dial the melee prowess of an accompanying squad of Tyranid Warriors up to 11 with Swarm Leader,* ensuring anything they attack has the worst possible day.

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It’s not just Hive Fleet Leviathan getting new rules in the Rising Tide supplement. All Tyranids armies can embark on new thematic Agendas and earn appropriate Battle Traits in Crusade campaigns.

You never know quite what the armies you face in Crusade campaigns will add to their roster next, but the natural adaptability of the Tyranids means they’ll rarely be left without a suitable tool for the job. Being able to modify your strongest Monsters to deal with key enemy units means your opponents will live in fear of a swarm that seems to counter their every move.

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On top of this all, the Appendix: Tyranids section collects all of the additional rules published in the Psychic Awakening series in one place, making War Zone Octarius – Book 1 the definitive supplement for players looking to get more out of their ravenous murder-bugs.

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There’s plenty to come in Rising Tide, so make a mark in your calendar for this Saturday and pick up War Zone Octarius: Book 1 when pre-orders open.