Hi everyone, Michael here with a review of one of the Black Templars special characters, High Marshal Helbrecht. For more reviews, analyses and battle reports, check out the Tactics Corner.
High Marshal Helbrecht is a very good character for combat and a very nice force multiplier for the Black Templars army. He has a Chapter Masters stats, with Artificer armour and a Power Sword with some nice bonuses. He really adds to a Black Templars force with his Crusade of Wrath special rule, giving a big boost to the army on the turn you wish to charge. He is quite pricey, coming in at a Chapter Master plus 50 points.
- Frag and Krak Grenades
- Iron Halo
- 2+ armour save
- Sword of the High Marshals- An AP3 master-crafted Power Weapon. The sword grants High Marshal Helbrecht D3 bonus attacks on the charge instead of +1 as normal.
- Chapter Tactics (Black Templars)
- Independent Character
- Crusade of Wrath- Once per game at the beginning of your assault phase, High Marshal Helbrecht can grant all friendly Black Templar models Hatred and Fleet until the end of the phase.
- The Imperium’s Sword (warlord trait)- Helbrecht and his unit have Furious Charge.
High Marshall Helbricht is a combat character who is not all that great in combat. His Power Sword is pretty decent, giving him potentially eight, S5 attacks on the charge (assuming he is your warlord). It’s a pity he lacks a Bolt Pistol for the additional attack in combat. With a Chapter Master’s stats and his potential bonus attacks, Helbricht will make a mess of any marine equivalents in combat, so will be great at chewing through regular infantry. However, any foe with a 2+ armour save or a combat character will give him real trouble as he only has a 4+ invulnerable and no way of getting through Terminator armour (or the equivalent).
In general, a Chapter Master equipped for combat will be superior to High Marshall Helbricht in almost every situation. In addition the Chapter Master gets Orbital Strike, which Helbricht lacks for some reason. He does come armed with a Combi-melta, which will be useful every once in a while for taking out an enemy vehicle or wounding a tough enemy model before you charge.
So we know Helbrecht isn’t a good enough combatant to really warrant his points when compared to what you could be taking in that slot. That’s what we call opportunity cost. He isn’t bad, just not as good. That said, what if you do want to take him? How do you make him work?
Helbrecht then becomes his special abilities. Black Templars are designed to be run in big units on foot as per their fluff, and Helbrecht helps with that by giving all of the Black Templars Fleet and Hatred for a critical turn. That is a very powerful ability, however, don’t forget you are working with an MEQ stat line which is a liability in and of itself. They just aren’t that good in combat. When faced with Daemons or Xenos and such that swing first, ignore your armour and often cost fewer points, you are just not going to get much return on investment with an assault-oriented marine list. That isn’t to say they can’t win at all, just that it’s hard as hell in the context of a tournament meta. So what if you have Fleet and re-rolls to hit in the first round of combat if you get slaughtered before you swing? May as well take Tactical Marines who still blow up tanks as well, still beat up weak infantry almost as well, but are scoring units and can shoot more effectively. Crusader squads bridge that gap fairly well and can hit hard, it just isn’t something to build a list around if your goal is a strong tournament list.
Not to be entirely negative, if you play against lots of other MEQs, or do not play against many Nids, Daemons, MCs, or Eldar/Dark Eldar assault units, this power will work quite well and help you to consistently get the charge and win combat. So in that context it is awesome. In the current tournament meta though, it isn’t going to amount to much. The assault units we usually do see will typically walk right through a unit of Marines like they weren’t there.
A list with Helbrecht at the helm that will work quite well though, is 30 Hammernators. They get Adamantium Will, Crusader and army-wide Hatred and Fleet for a turn, which is REALLY good. That would be damn fun, too! They can survive heavy fire, Heldrakes, Riptides, etc. and then smack the piss out of what they touch when they get across the table, too. His abilities really do help that style of list out a lot, but then you have to ask the ever present question: is that better than a total badass Biker Chapter Master? That Biker can get a unit of Hammernators into combat fast by daisy chaining them behind him, and hits so much harder. No, he doesn’t boost your army for a single assault phase, but he is better in every single round of combat.
Helbrecht also jives quite well with multiple Crusader units in Land Raider Crusaders, increasing the odds of getting the charge off with units in Land Raider Crusaders and then boosting damage with Hatred. Again, you are simply working within the limitations of Space Marines themselves, so just be aware of that. It’s not fun to buy, build and paint a combat army and then find yourself in a game against another combat army that quite simply outclasses you, point for point. If you do want to play this style list though, Helbrecht buffs your units for that big charge quite well.
In summary, Helbrecht is a C character. He isn’t bad, he can be quite good, he just often will be points wasted which is why I think you will rarely if ever see him in a tournament list.
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!