Emperor’s Champion. Abhor the Witch is the new default vow purchase, mostly because it’s cheap. The psychic protection also appears to stack with Deny the Witch, so that’s cool. Accept Any Challenge is no longer what it was, but it’s still not bad. Having access to Rage is worthwhile. I don’t have AAC as the default choice because it’s the most expensive vow and I believe BT armies need to be built specifically to take advantage of the new AAC. Suffer Not is not an attractive choice because Initiative plays such an important role in close combat. But, I figure, there are certain army builds that would benefit from +1S/-1I. Uphold is the worse vow. Pinning weapons just aren’t plentiful enough to replace access to cover saves.
While we’re on the topic of the EC, let’s talk allies. When Black Templars are taken as allies, the entire ‘Chosen of the Emperor’ paragraph under the Emperor’s Champion entry is ignored. Why the entire entry? Because every sentence of the paragraph has the context of a”Black Templar army.” When you field a Black Templar allied detachment, you are not fielding a “Black Templar army” (your primary detachment determines your army). If someone argues otherwise, tell them to fuck off and learn English (especially if they’re one of those RAW Nazis). When the ‘Chosen’ paragraph is ignored, the EC becomes a normal HQ choice in all respects. This means, in an allied detachment, the EC does not have to be taken at a specific point value. It also means that the EC takes up a HQ slot normally and this means that the EC does fulfill the single necessary HQ choice for an allied detachment.
Chaplains. Well, we have to take a HQ choice in addition to the EC, so we better start thinking seriously about our other HQ’s. Chaplains fill the following roles: Challenger and Combat Support. A Challenger is designed to find enemy Challengers and defeat them in close combat, and Black Templar Chaplains do extremely well at this. Base equipment includes: Adamantine Mantle, master-crafted Powerfist, Bolt Pistol, Frag Grenades, and Terminator Honors. Optional equipment includes: a Bike, Artificer Armor, Storm Shield, or a Holy Orb. The Adamantine Mantle and Powerfist are perfect compliments to the Chaplain’s 4+ Rosarius. Most enemy Challengers should fall to a single Powerfist hit (or a single S6 Maul hit) and the Mantle gives the Chaplain a good opportunity to get that hit in. Against T5 or Eternal Challengers, the fight becomes a slugfest and the Chaplain will have a harder time. For that reason, it’s not a bad idea to take a Storm Shield. I don’t consider the Artificer Armor base equipment because enemy Challengers will probably be wielding AP2 weaponry. If you have 20 extra points should you take the Artificer Armor or Storm Shield? Tough choice, but I’m thinking the Artificer Armor would be more useful. The Bike provides less instant death protection for added mobility when it replaces the Adamantine Mantle. This is not a bad option and allows the Fearless Chaplain to venture out on his own and challenge/delay/lock up tough close combat units without risking other friendly models.
Combat Support characters are designed to accompany units into close combat and buff that unit with Litanies of Hate. Such characters do not necessarily have to be tricked out for challenges. In fact, keeping such characters cheap (and spending those points on the unit he will be attached to) is probably the better approach. Remember that if a challenge is offered, the Chaplain can always refuse and the unit still benefits from Litanies of Hate. Base equipment options include: Bolt Pistol and Frag Grenades. Good optional equipment includes: Artificer Armor, Holy Orb, Bionics, Meltabombs, a Power Weapon, and Terminator Honors.
Commanders. Commanders fill two roles: Challenger and Leadership Support. Black Templar Marshals make great challengers. Base equipment includes: Storm Shield, Adamantine Mantle, master-crafted Powerfist, and Terminator Honors. Optional equipment includes: Artificer Armor, Bike, or a Holy Orb. Is the Marshal better than the Chaplain at challenges? I don’t know if the Marshal is better, but he is more cost efficient (no ‘wasted’ points on a Rosarius). The Chaplain definitely has the advantage on the charge (and a little versatility in terms of weaponry), but after that, their damage output is basically the same.
The Leadership Support role revolves around Rites of Battle. I think we’ll be seeing more Black Tide (foot based) armies, if not units, in 6E. It’s hard to say what those lists will look like yet, but there is the potential for army wide LD10 to be more useful than a unit or two benefiting from Fearless, especially when we consider the updated And They Shall Know No Fear rules. There’s a lot of wargear options for a Leadership Support Marshal, so I won’t be specific. Generally such characters should stay out of frontline combat (including Challenges) and buff the entire army for as long as possible. This means a Leadership character shouldn’t get too expensive. Ranged weapons are preferable, but close combat weapons would allow the Marshal to reinforce an important melee combat.
Multiple HQs. If you’re planning on spending points on 2 HQ choices (plus the EC), then which two characters do you take? It depends on the rest of your list. A largely mechanized force would probably benefit from a Marshal Challenger and a Combat Support Chaplain (with assault terminators). A more foot based list might benefit more from a Leadership Support Marshal (for army wide Rites of Battle) and a Challenging Chaplain. The problem with fielding 3 total ICs is the overall cost to your army. Can you field everything else that is necessary to make the army effective?
Terminator Armor. I haven’t discussed terminator armor for our characters, but it’s certainly an option. I don’t consider 2+ armor a requirement for Challengers because of the likelihood of AP2 weapons. But our Terminator armor is a cost efficient way of achieving both 2+ armor and an extra attack if the points are available or it fits the role of a character. The big consideration when using terminator armor is transport capacity and mobility. In most lists, a terminator IC will have a place to ride, be it a landraider or drop pod, so this isn’t a major point, but it’s something to consider when purchasing your gear.