Rules Conundrum – Black Templars and Allies

Black Templars Space Marines allies chart

This is easily.. very easily.. one of the most bizarre RAW/RAI disputes I’ve come across in a long time. Do not enter without your most detail-obsessed mindset.

First things first, without a doubt, among the most surprising things about the new Space Marines Codex is the fact that the Black Templars Space Marines – former masters of their own Codex – got rolled into the book (yeah… sorry to keep rubbing that in).

Perhaps the main reason I was sceptical of this rumour – when it was first heard ahead of the Codex release – was the fact that Black Templars have their own entry in the allies chart of the Warhammer 40K rule book (as do Space Wolves, Dark Angels, etc..).

The Black Templar entry obviously is different from the entry for regular Codex Space Marines.

  • Detachments from Codex Space Marines and Tau are Battle Brothers. Black Templars and Tau only Allies of Convenience.
  • Space Marines and Sisters of Battle are Allies of Convenience. Black Templars and Sisters only Desperate Allies.
  • Space Marines and Orks are Desperate Allies. Grimaldus allied with Orks? Not even in Apocalypse!

#1 – Black Templars and Allies in 6th Edition?

So the dispute now revolves around the question whether Black Templars in 6th Edition now use the entry for Codex Space Marines or the old entry for Codex Black Templars. I’ll try to present both sides (though I must admit I am very much biased towards one of them).

Opinion 1: Black Templars use the old “Codex Black Templar” entry

One side would see Black Templars using their old entry in the allies chart. The cannot ally with Orks. They’d be Desperate Allies with Sisters of Battle, etc.. .

The argument for this version rests chiefly on the 78 of the new Space Marines Codex, which clearly was written to cover questions such as this one.

Codex Space Marines Black Templars

Older publications would, presumably, include the Warhammer 40K 6th Edition rulebook, along with the allies chart. The entry referring to “Codex: Black Templars” (or just “Black Templars”) in the allies chart would be replaced with “Codex: Space Marines using the Black Templars Chapter Tactics“. A very literal “replacement” of the former for the latter.

The new 6th Edition Space Marines Codex would make use of two entries in the allies chart, depending on the Chapter Tactics you picked (one entry for Black Templars Chapter Tactics, one entry for all other Chapter Tactics).

Option 2: Black Templars use the regular Codex Space Marines entry

The other side would have Black Templars use the Space Marines entry for allies, making them (among other things) Allies of Convenience with Sisters of Battles and Battle Brothers with the Tau Empire.

One argument to this end are some of the new fluff in the new Space Marines Codex.

Page 51 states:

Many times in its glorious history, the Black Templars have gone to war alongside the devout Battle Sisters of the Adepta Sororitas, and a complex web of mutual obligation and honour has evolved.

That doesn’t sound at all like “Desperate Allies“, and more like a fairly explicit attempt to change the Black Templars relationship with the rest of the Imperium to something more amiable.

The second argument, furthermore, adds that there simply is no Codex: Black Templars anymore and it should all be treated as “Codex: Space Marines” (with Black Templars Chapter Tactics).

This would include the allies-matrix.

#2 – Your Thoughts?

So what do you think applies?

If someone sets up an army of Black Templars with Adepta Sororitas or Tau across the table, how would you expect them to play?

Which side of the argument (as presented by me) seems more reasonable to you?

It may seem like a small thing, but it obviously could be a major issue for people actually collecting these armies. So leave a comment and let me know what you think (and why)!


Image: Black Templars Terminator by ShadowGyrlBrice


I am Zweischneid. Wargame Addict. Hopeless painter and founder of Pins of War. I hope you enjoyed this article. Don't forget to share your favourite miniature pictures and wargaming videos at
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  • Bobthemim

    I love how BT abhor the witch.. yet can ally in a SM Libby ;)

    • Zweischneid

      I think that’s all been changed.

      P. 52 even states that, quote, “Black Templars hold special reverence for Astropaths, seeing them as holy disciples who have actually communed with the Emperor. Navigators are similarly honoured, for their psychic blessing allows them to see the divine light of the Astronomican…”

      And further on, quote: “the Black Templar’s abhorrence is reserved for deviant alien witches and rogue psykers who embrace the blasphemous Dark Gods.”

      So they toned the anti-Witch stuff down toward sightly more “normal” levels (as 40K goes).

      It loses a bit of it’s singular fanaticism, which I think many people liked about Templars, but it makes Black Templars working within the confines of the larger Imperium (which does (!) rely on psykers to work) a bit more plausible. Give some, take some.

      • Bobthemim

        They hate unsanctioned psykers. Navs, astropaths and the IG Psykers are all controlled vehemently.. they took Nikaea Edict very seriously, well the ones that would become BT.

        Which is why i find it funny that libbys can be allied in or even eldar.

        • damaddok

          Well, that’s one theory about the Black Templars in the Codex. However, it also notes that, if Black Templar Librarians existed, the Black Templars would accept them with open arms… except there are no Librarians, and nobody knows why.

          Personally, I think the whole change in how Black Templars view Librarians is silly, but it does justify how you can ally them in.

          • Bobthemim

            except in the rules where it says Librarians can’t be taken for BT Chapter Tactic based armies.

            Fluffs matters jackshit to GW anymore.

          • damaddok

            Yes, because Librarians don’t exist in the Chapter anymore. The new Codex doesn’t state why, and in fact notes that, if there were Librarians, the Black Templars might have better records for why they didn’t.

            However, fluffwise now, it’s fine that there are allied Librarians, because the Black Templar don’t mind them (they’re sanctioned just like any other “good” psyker).

            I still don’t understand why Eldar can be allies, though.

  • belverker

    what was the reason behind the black templars and sisters being desperste allies? They basically have the same credo…was it the fact that they are too similar?

    • Merc

      I’m pretty sure it’s from hells reach the sisters collapsed their like church thing on top of Grimaldus and his remaining men as well as a lot of the civilians that had gathered there but my lore knowledge
      could be off

    • Zweischneid

      I may be wrong, but I don’t think it is Helsreach. Grimaldus, after all, carries the relics from said Church as symbols of his victory around (well his servitors do).

      I believe (I may be wrong again) it had something to do with Black Templars (of old) objecting to the deification of the Emperor. The Sisters see the Emperor as a God, Faith-powers and all, while Templars were “Crusaders” in the sense of the Great Crusade, seeing the Emperor as a great man, but refusing to see him as a God.

      • Modi

        Well from what I understand and what has been said in the Heresy novels the Emperor declared religion outlawed and had everyone killed that didn’t stop practicing religion. If this is all accurate, then the idea that the sisters are worshipping the emperor is against imperial law and should technically be wipped out. But then again he is stuck in a chair and can’t do much anymore/possibly not alive anymore. But then again is the problem I feel that the infromation in older codex’s are change in the novels and everything seems to be getting confusing.

        Which leads to alot of problems when GW simply changes things to force people to buy more models. But only the new ones, which quite a few don’t seem to be worth it, such as boradsides being nerfed weapons and mobility but becoming larger yet not any tougher. I think that some plans are counter intuitive and while I like the rapid release of new ideas, I think that slowing to properly make them worth buying in the first place is something that GW has hit and missed with certain things. I think that a more vigilant FAQ system needs to be in place to make it possible to counter act misstakes and oversights that have blown up recently

        Perhaps I’m wrong on some or all of these points but I definately sense that more problems a creeping in due to possible carelessness and may even be contributed to misguided ‘business perspectives’ working against ‘gaming perspectives’ both from the company and gamers. But I think trying to maintain awareness of multiple perspectives is something that everyone may need patients to adopt. But thats just one idea in a sea full of them it seems.

        • Zweischneid

          Well, the problem is that the Heresy novels all came after the fact, certainly years and years after the last “real” Sister’s Codex.

          40K is indubitably build on lots and lots of religious imagery and symbolism “in Space”. It’s the core of their design and brand.

          Some 20 years after all this was set up, Black Library took up the task of “fleshing out” the rather thin (little more than “names” and “they fought a civil war”) pre-background to 40K of the Heresy, and Dan Abnett and Graham McNeill started that “the Emperor didn’t want to be worshiped” spin on it.

          Add to that that Dan Abnett has said time and again that he’s (like most authors) not “bound” by the GW studio, probably even less so in the “early days” than today, and takes his own “spin” or “Interpretation” on the 40K-verse, doubly so on “Heresy” novels that are even further removed from “standard”-40K, and you’re in for some contradictions.

          • Modi

            Righty oh then. Yeah I thought that I may be hitting and missing on ideas and I didn’t have all the back story developed over the years. But looking at ideas like Tau allying with Space Marines, it does seem to feel that there is a bit of oversight when linking this whole Allies chart into the game. especially after reading info put out on Tau fighting Space Marines and allying with Imperial guard (more in terms of just humans). And the Tyranids and Genestealer cults/Imperial guard stories and these are one written in codex as well, but GW doesn’t link them as Battle Brothers or even desperate for that matter but ignores them. To me in recent times seems that things are pulling apart in comparison to 4th and 5th editions. But again maybe some of these ideas could be wrong and certainly welcome comments that create dialogue that clears matters up. I just think that GW needs to work with ideas and other people that are supportive that can bring alot of ideas to the game, much in the same way that ‘Lego’ has brought on hackers to help improve their ideas with aspects of their projects. This is because they recognise their high interest in Lego and useful insights and dbind them all together coherently. Rather then doing two things at once that are “together” but don’t actually sit together at times if people undstand where my focus is going, but is just feels as if GW is abandoning aspects of what we thought they we’re building up and the wider community that (like those hackers working with Lego) has such high interests in warhammer all now for that dollar figure. But meh, its just a thought.

    • Zweischneid

      It may possibly also be historical reference.

      The actual Knight Templars were, after all, declared heretics by the real Roman Catholic Church and hunted down by the real historical Inquisition.

      But maybe I am stretching it.

  • Cyke

    As Zweischneid has said, the reduced fanaticism against Imperial psykers is not an unacceptable idea, but alliance of any kind with xenos is still unimaginable.
    And as “Battle Brothers”, no less?!

  • Andrew

    Its GW trying to sell more models and by taking away the history of the Templars it means you could “legally” use them as allies with Tau and Orks. Oh and just forget the old codex and stories you’ve read cause that doesn”t matter now. Poltically correct Space marines I hear you cry….

  • Archatorex

    I perceive BT to be a very arrogant chapter who take pride in their purity of purpose and spirit and perhaps follow closer to the ideals and principles of the legions during the HH (after the decree of Nikea) than the the space marine chapters of the 41st millennium. Therefore I would assume that any alliance with xenos is abhorrent to them. However I would imagine they would (grudgingly perhaps) ally with other space marine chapters who do use sanctioned psykers. I believe that fluff wise this would make more sense. After all allies within the forces of the imperium would make sense because although they may not approve of another chapters methods (primarily the employment of psykers)I believe that an imperial victory would take presidency over their abhorrence of the witch.
    For rules sake I would assume that the BT are a codex within a codex (as I think was the general idea with the new SM codex; allowing different chapters and rules within one book) I would therefore assume the ally list referred to the black Templars specifically instead of the SM codex as a whole

  • andracozx

    Just as my friend who plays Bts said, they are the only sucessor chapter with its own rule set, whats there to be so angry about. Its better that they got an update than to have nothing at all. Too many people bitching is my opinion.

    • Zweischneid

      I don’t see the problem. There were ambigious and/or unclear rules in past Codexes too.. Chaos Space Marines. Dark Angels, etc..

      Now there’s a bit that raised some questions in the Black Templars part of the Space Marines Codex. Trying to get things sorted doesn’t imply a judgement for or against the addition of Templars to the Codex in the first place.

  • NagaBaboon

    I think the rule that you pointed out in section 1 (about replacing the term black templar with space marines using black templar tactics) is fairly clear, they still count as black templars in the ally matrix.

    Saying that I only think that should be the official line, frankly if someone wants to use the column from the matrix for space marines instead of black templars it wouldn’t particularly bother me.

    • Kevin Sherrell

      I agree with this. I think the designer note is pretty clear. But I would have no problem with someone using the SM matrix as long as they told me up front. That said I would glare at them very disapprovingly if they brought out ork allies. but then again, I don’t care what the rules books says, no self respecting loyalist space marine should tolerate orks.

  • abraxas3d

    I enjoy playing Sisters/Templar as allies. I don’t mind the desperate allies rule. it makes the games fun for me.

    Having said that, I wouldn’t mind a change to remove the penalty.

  • Adeptus Ignika

    It seriously ruined the fluff, and how so many unique aspects from the Black Templars were stolen. I really wish the supplement for BT would come out, but that wish will never come true.

    • Zweischneid

      We’ll see. It seems like it would be a decent candidate for a supplement, though GW seems to take the supplements on rather slowly. Patience is a must, I suppose.

  • Madrox

    The directions for using the Allies Matrix says to find the row for the codex of your Primary detachment and then the Codex of the Secondary Detachment. Either way you will be referring to 6th ed. Codex: Space Marines because that is the Codex with the Black Templar detachment rules. A Black Templars Detachment doesn’t use Codex: Black Templars at all so why would you refer to that?

  • Sir Arun

    I think the allies chart is retarded anyway.

    The Damocles Crusade should make a Black Templar and Tau alliance IMPOSSIBLE.

    (Space Marines and Tau are battle brothers? Exactly how RETARDED is games workshop? A Chaplain leading firewarriors into glorious, fearless assault?)

    On the other hand, I want Templars and Sisters to be Battle Brothers. I’m happy with Templars not allying with Orks.

    So unless you enter an official tourney, you shouldnt take the allies chart too seriously, anyway. I seriously want to purchase a hardcover version of the rulebook (only own the dark vengeance one right now) just for the purpose of travelling to Nottingham with it and smack whoever wrote the chart right on the head.

    • Zweischneid

      Well, I wouldn’t base everything on one battle or Crusade.

      The Battle of the Ophidium Gulf would make a Space Marines & Dark Angels alliance IMPOSSIBLE as you say. The “Ecclesiarchy comes to Fenris” would make any Space Wolves and Sisters/Inquisition/Imperial Guard alliance IMPOSSIBLE.

      There’re plenty times factions have fought against each other and allied at other times.

      If you don#t want to use Black Templars with Tau, it is fine. But the Space Marines Codex can just as well represent a custom .. dunno … Salamanders successor chapter that in my personal fluff has perfectly fine relationships with the Tau (like .. for example Space Wolves have with the Eldar dancing and feasting in their halls where even the Imperial Guard isn’t allowed).

      I’d rather have too many options that people can explore with their custom chapters than too few, that limit creativity. You can always NOT use an option if you don’t like it.

  • Guest

    “Though they are under no obligation to offer any aid, the Black Templars often find common purpose with the Ecclesiarchy. Many times in its glorious history, the Black Templars have gone to war alongside the devout Battle Sisters of the Adepta Sororitas, and a complex web of mutual obligation and honour has evolved.”

    Yet, desperate allies.