Space Marine Review: HQ: The Emperor’s Champion


Hi everyone, Michael here with an review update on the Emperor’s Champion. For more reviews, analyses and battle reports, check out the Tactics Corner.

The Emperor’s Champion is a cool concept: a Black Templar whom upon the eve of battle prays to the Emperor and receives a holy vision, becoming empowered with divine strength and given sacred weapons and armour. Does he back this up on the table top?


The Emperor’s Champion is well armoured and a decent fighter but he has a HUGE drawback: he suffers from Chaos syndrome: having to go into challenges whenever possible. This coupled with his somewhat squishy nature and he is asking to get chewed up in combat. That said, he does pack a punch and can be good fun to use. If you couldn’t guess, this is a combat character first and last. He does provide a leadership buff to his unit, but due to his nature don’t expect him to stick around for long to keep his unit buffed. He has a Chaplain stats with +1WS and +1I. He weighs in at twice the cost of a tactical squad, which is rather pricey for what you get.



  • Bolt Pistol
  • Frag Grenades
  • Krak Grenades
  • Armour of Faith- 2+/4++
  • Black Sword- A power sword that is +2S, AP2 and Master-Crafted

Special Rules:

  • Chapter Tactics (Black Templars)
  • Fearless
  • Independent Character
  • Honour or Death- Must issue and accept challenges where possible. May select which model with this rule accepts or issues challenges.
  • Slayer of Champions- When in a challenge, the Emperor’s Champion may re-roll failed To Hit rolls, and any To Wound roll of a 6 has Instant Death.



The Emperor’s Champion is a special character built for combat and challenges. Unfortunately, against most Independent Characters built for combat, he will die and die quickly. So, ignoring the fact that he is going to die in terrible challenges more often than not, and ignoring how annoying it is to not have control over your own models, let’s take a look at the Emperor’s Champion.


He is actually not too bad stats wise. Weapon Skill 6 and Initiative 5 are actually pretty good on a combat character. He does only have 2 attacks base, but the Black Sword is not a specialist weapon, so gets 3 attacks in combat (4 on the charge) with a Master-Crafted re-roll (or full re-rolls in a challenge). The fact that the Black Sword strikes at S6 and AP2 at initiative 5 is actually pretty damn great. Now that challenge wounds are no longer restricted to only those fighting in a challenge, the Emperor’s Champion should actually be quite good at taking out squad Sergeants and MEQ in combat. Instant Death on a to wound roll of a 6 is a nice bonus, but don’t count on it to happen to often.

He is decently resilient with a 2+ and 4++, that is solid and will help to keep him alive a little longer than normal. 2 wounds is nothing to jump up and down about, but with his very good armour it certainly does help. That 2+ is the best thing he’s got going as it gives him a chance against anyone with an AP3 weapon. However, as I have stated multiple times, MCs are so prevalent these days that a 2+ isn’t all that hot and one strength 8+ bump to the noggin and the Emperor’s Chump can kiss his ass goodbye. The kicker is that often, these big nasties will swing first, too. It’s Kharn syndrome but not hitting as hard as Kharn.


To mitigate the “Honour or Death” special rule, you can include another model with this special rule to take challenges for the Emperor’s Champion, but this limits you to either a Company or Chapter Champion in a Command Squad or Honour Guard, respectively. This means adding an expensive squad to an already expensive special character. Fearless is a nice bonus for a single unit, but can be achieved much cheaper using a Chaplain, as well as getting the Hatred bonuses from this model.


The Black Templar Chapter Tactics are arguably one of the worst available to the Space Marines. Adamantium Will gives a slight boost when you are targeted by psychic powers. Crusader is useful for the additional Sweeping Advance bonus. On a model already at initiative 5, this should help you catch and wipe out any unit you beat in combat (assuming they are not Fearless or have ATSKNF). Righteous Zeal is ok, especially on a unit that is designed for combat, but generally, if your opponent is charging such a unit, they are likely to be pretty confident about destroying it or tying it up for several rounds.


Let’s take a look at the many downsides of the Emperor’s Champion.

Mobility. A combat character on foot is always going to struggle. If he could take a bike or jump pack, I would actually consider giving him a go. As it is, you will need to put him in a transport vehicle. This means either paying for a Land Raider so he can assault out of it, or going for a Drop Pod or Rhino and having to risk a turn of enemy shooting before he can assault.

Black Templars. As I said above, arguably one of the worst Chapter Tactics available. You could always use him as an ally in another army, but that means taking a separate CAD of Black Templars and losing any Chapter Tactics from a unit he joins.


Expense. The Emperor’s Champion is far too expensive for what he brings to an army. You could take a Captain with Artificer Armour and a Relic Blade for 5 points less than the Emperor’s Champion. The Captain loses AP2 but gains a wound, an attack, a better ballistic skill and doesn’t have to make challenges. In addition, the Emperor’s Champion cannot be taken as a part of any formations from the Codex.

So in short, this guy is a D- character. In competitive play, he is a liability that will more often than not be points wasted and potentially game losing. While he has the potential for a glorious kill shot with his Instant Death Black Sword in a challenge, math says he gets squished more often than not. For casual play? Yeah, he’s great fun and I can see him leading a fluffy Black Templars army. Competitively? A total waste of time.

And as always, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off of retail, every day!

You can also pick up some cheap models in our Second Hand Shop. Some of these gems are quite rare, sometimes they’re fully painted!



About Michael Corr

An avid 40k player and blogger from Scotland. I started in 3rd edition and have been playing ever since. I detail my adventures in my own blog "St Andrews Wargaming", highlighting my mediocre painting skills, regular battle reports and my occasional random ramblings.

10 Responses to “Space Marine Review: HQ: The Emperor’s Champion”

  1. Avatar
    abusepuppy September 30, 2016 8:47 am #

    The the Champion were a bit cheaper (~100pts, maybe 110) he would be fine- he would make an interesting budget combat character that couldn’t swing with the big boys, but could easily do some damage for a very reasonable price.

    Sadly, though, they _seriously_ overcosted him and there’s not really much that he can do that a Captain won’t do better. Buying Artificer Armor and the Burning Blade makes a Captain a tad more expensive, but with a better statline in a variety of relevant places (like Wounds) as well as more flexibility in other options (such as buying a Bike or Jump Pack to actually get into combat.)

    It doesn’t help that the Black Templar tactic is pretty much useless on him to boot.

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 30, 2016 4:37 pm #

      I remember ye old days when he was a total bad ass…

      • Avatar
        Lysere October 1, 2016 10:05 pm #

        He’s much more of a badass than he was in the 4th ed codex.

        He may be sub par but mine took the head of a D thirster in single combat thanks to that 6. I don’t know many characters that could do the same on their own without paying far more.

        Black Templar chapter tactics may not be great but it was either that or give us our own codex. As much as I would prefer the codex I’m not heart broken over being rolled. Between the tactics and crusader squads they do alright. Not tournament level or anything but still, not every chapter tactic in the book needs to be tournament viable. We’ll still use them anyway even if it’s not the best choice.

        As for righteous zeal, the bonus is kind of funny. Any squad that can do some serious damage in either overwatch or their own shooting phase won’t care about the rule, but if your overwatch or shooting only kills like 1-2 marines you’ll usually end up buffing the squads overall damage.

        Sadly one of my main opponets loves to use the lions blade so he always fires full overwatch and I just need to put tough characters in front to try and tank it.

  2. Avatar
    WestRider September 30, 2016 6:11 pm #

    Yeah, he’s basically a “bully” Character. He’s amazing at beating the crap out of Squad Leaders and ICs who aren’t kitted for combat (Librarians, etc.), but garbage at taking on any actual Combat Character.

    You did leave out the actual advantage of BT Chapter Tactics, tho, which is the Crusader Squads. Those are great.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr October 1, 2016 2:07 am #

      Yeah, against rank and file marines, he is brutal. Against any sort of combat character, he will fold quite easily.

  3. Avatar
    sheit27 September 30, 2016 8:20 pm #

    WS 5 STR 5, INT 5, AP 2, 4 attacks base, 4+ invul, 4 wounds

    that’s right,

    its commander Farsight

    sadly, a better close combat choice lool

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr October 1, 2016 2:08 am #

      That’s hardly a fair comparison, we know how awesome the Tau are in combat 😉

  4. Avatar
    Alex R October 1, 2016 1:30 am #

    I wish the emperors champion were custom in a command squad then you can use him. Unfortunately of all the chapters black templars suck

  5. Avatar
    Beau October 2, 2016 7:41 am #

    I’ve always thought the Black Templar were pretty cool, but you really wouldn’t be bringing them vs Eldar, Tau, White Scars anyways would you?

    I play CSM, so I would be happy to have my Typhus and him duke it out in a challenge. Who would win:

    Typhus with zombies + cabal, or Emperors Champion with crusader squads and neophytes + conclave?

  6. Avatar
    Harold Black October 16, 2016 12:19 pm #

    I dunno, I think 140 pts is a fair price tag for what you get. My only complaint is that he really can’t stand up to any character with eternal warrior, since his instant death attacks are really what you bank on choosing him as a beater. I’ve used him as part of a one two punch combo, knocking his target’s initiative down with concussive from grav weapons, and using him to deliver a killing blow with his badass sword.

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