Warhammer 40k: Black Templars launch – release date, contents, codex, and models

A new Warhammer 40k Black Templars launch box, codex, and models are coming - here are the latest news, release dates, and photos

Warhammer 40k Black Templars launch - Warhammer Community photo showing the entire new range of Black Templars miniatures fully painted

Warhammer 40k’s Black Templars chapter of crusade-obsessed Space Marines are making a return. After years of sitting on the sidelines, the Black Templars are getting some new toys to play with, pushing them firmly into 9th Edition. A Black Templars codex is on the way, as well as spiffy new models for the faction’s unique character units, High Marshal Helbrecht, The Emperor’s Champion, and High Chaplain Grimaldus. Most imminent is the upcoming release of a Black Templars Army Set, to launch the new range.

Teased by Games Workshop in early August, the Black Templars launch box is now tantalisingly close: up for pre-order right now, it’ll ship out on Saturday, October 16. After years in the Warhammer wilderness, the upcoming set could revitalise the ailing Space Marine chapter- get the full story, and decide if it’s for you, with our Black Templars Army Set review.

And it can’t come soon enough. First appearing in 1998’s 3rd Edition Warhammer 40k starter set, and given their own 4th Edition codex in 2005, the Black Templars looked to have cemented themselves as the next top-tier chapter of the Adeptus Astartes. That proved premature, however. In the years since, their prominence has waned, their custom units and rules left flagging, and they’ve been steadily rolled into the homogenous ranks of Space Marines.

It’s official: 2021 is the year of the Black Templars’ revival. They’re coming, and we’ll keep you informed of everything we know about the new codex, launch box, and models. Here’s everything you need to know:

Warhammer 40k Black Templars launch box - Warhammer Community photo of the Black Templars codex front cover art

Black Templars codex release date

GW has confirmed that the new, 9th Edition Black Templars codex supplement will be released in November 2021.

As for the contents, the firm said, in a September 19 reveal article following Gen Con 2021, that the Codex would be “bursting with rules, including bespoke Detachment Abilities, Stratagems, Warlord Traits, Litanies of the Devout, Relics, Crusade rules, special Characters, and six unique unit Datasheets”. GW also confirmed the Black Templars army set would follow the same pattern as the recent Beast Snagga Orks box, and offer a special edition early printing of the Codex – weeks in advance of the Codex’s standalone release.

This special edition book will feature, as its cover art, John Blanche’s famous original Black Templars painting, first seen as the cover art of the Warhammer 40k 3rd Edition Starter Set in 1998. Until we get more details, or a specific Black Templars codex release date,  you can keep up with all the new codexes releasing soon with our full Warhammer 40k codex release date guide.

Warhammer 40k Black Templars launch box guide - Warhammer Community photo showing the Black Templars codex Supplement cover art by John Blanche

Black Templars new rules

With the Black Templars army set imminently going live for pre-orders, GW began previewing the new Black Templars rules in Warhammer Community articles from Monday, October 5 – kicking off with Vows and Passions.

Templar Vows and Passions

A returning feature from the Black Templars’ original 4th edition codex, the new Templar Vows rule has you choose one of four Vows pre-game, granting two buffs (Vows) and one debuff (Passion) to every unit that has the Templar Vows rule (we don’t yet know which units are excluded from that rule, mind).

These are the in-game Templar Vows we know about so far:

Vow Selected Vows Passions
Accept Any Challenge, No Matter the Odds Permanent extra attack and extra point of AP while in combat Cannot Fall Back
Abhor the Witch, Destroy the Witch Re-roll ones to wound against Psykers, and get a once-per-battle three-inch speed boost in the first movement phase, if the enemy army contains any Psykers Cannot perform Actions within 18″ of a Psyker
Suffer Not the Unclean to Live Unknown Unknown
Uphold the Honour of the Emperor Unknown Unknown

Warhammer 40k Black Templars launch - Warhammer Community photo showing the physical model parts for the new Relic Bearers upgrades

Black Templars Relic Bearers

In an October 6 Warhammer Community rules reveal article, GW introduced the Black Templars’ new Relic Bearers rule, which allows models in rank and file Space Marine squads to carry specific, beneficial relics as paid upgrades.

So far, those revealed include the Holy Orb (a one-time mortal wound-dealing perfume hand grenade which, like its predecessor in the 4th Edition codex, is a direct reference to the 1975 movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail) and the Icon of Heinmann, which cancels out most weapons’ AP to make one of your Sergeants or Sword Brethren a chunk more survivable.

While we’ve seen many such paid unit upgrades in codexes before – especially Space Marine Chapter codex supplements like that of the Ultramarines, in 8th Edition – these Black Templar upgrades are a little different, in that GW has actually produced physical model upgrade parts to represent the models’ equipped relics on the tabletop.

We can expect more details on the Black Templars Stratagems, Warlord Traits, Relics, Datasheets, and more, coming  from GW this week.

Warhammer 40k Black Templars launch box Emperor's Champion artwork

Black Templars Army Set release date

Games Workshop has announced that the limited edition Black Templars army set will go live for pre-orders on  Saturday, October 9, meaning it will be released on Saturday, October 16. We published our own Black Templars Army Set review on Saturday, October 9.

GW has also confirmed, in its pre-order roundup article, that it will operate a “Pre-order Weekend Promise” that’s “just like” what the firm did with the Kill Team: Octarius box set. In that product release, GW promised that every customer who pre-ordered the box in the first weekend would receive a copy – even if some later orders could take up to weeks or months to be delivered.

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The firm’s big September 19 reveal article confirmed the set would be “the first place aspiring High Marshals can clench their gauntleted fists around the new Codex Supplement: Black Templars”, which put it in the same camp as the Beast Snagga Orks army set: a relatively high-priced box, targeted at the keenest fans, offering advance access to those juicy new rules. GW likely wanted to allow a bit of time between that advance release and the wider publication of the Codex – as was the case with the Orks.

GW has kindly provided Wargamer with an advance copy of the Black Templars Army Set to review – so you can look forward to our impressions very soon!

Warhammer 40k black templars launch - army set box, codex, and contents photo from warhammer community

Black Templars Army Set contents

Games Workshop revealed the full contents of the Black Templars Army Set on September 19, as part of a series of announcements at Gen Con 2021. It’ll include:

  • Primaris Marshal
  • Primaris Emperor’s Champion
  • 10-man Primaris Crusader Squad with “a ton of build options”; includes parts to build one as a Sword Brother
  • Redemptor Dreadnought
  • Black Templars Codex Supplement with John Blanche cover art
  • 28 Black Templars datacards
  • Sheet of 226 waterslide transfers showing Templar “iconography and heraldry”

All through the hints and reveals of the Army Set, however, GW repeatedly said there was more to come; its September 19 reveal article reminded us it “isn’t the last of the Black Templars”, and hinted there were more units coming, similar to the Primaris Initiate with Pyreblaster.

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And, on October 4, it finally revealed the full roster of new Black Templars models, showing off a new Castellan, Primaris Sword Brethren, and a combined set including an upgrade sprue and transfer sheet.

You can get the lowdown on every single one of the new Black Templars models just below (or get the full story on the launch box in our Black Templars Army Set review).

For now, though, some questions still remain open:

  • How much will the Army Set cost?
  • How much will the other Black Templars kits cost?
  • When and how will those other kits be released?

This final mystery – of when the full range will actually hit shelves – will likely persist for some while yet, but we’ll keep this guide updated as soon as we glean any further truths through the fog of war.

Warhammer 40k Black Templars launch box - Warhammer Community graphic showing the Black Templars chapter badge and a Marshal in armour

Black Templars models

Now we know exactly what models will be included in the Black Templars launch box, as well as the wave of separate new Black Templars models arriving alongside it, we can take stock of the new range in its entirety. The full range of updated Black Templars models is shown off in this GW video, released on October 4, 2021.

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Now let’s take a closer look at each of the new models and kits in turn:

Primaris Castellan

Finally shown off in GW’s last,  full Black Templars range reveal on October 4, the new Castellan completes the army’s suite of HQ units, providing the Templars’ equivalent to other Space Marine Chapters‘ Lieutenants, just as the Marshal (see below) is equivalent to a Captain.

Hefting a customised combi-flamer and Power Axe, and modelled directly from the skull-shouldered Templar character in the middle ground of John Blanche’s famous artwork described above, this Castellan miniature is perhaps the Templariest Templar model GW has created.

Primaris or Firstborn?

There’s been heated discussion among fans as to whether this brand new Castellan is, in fact, a Primaris Space Marine (wearing unorthodox power armour that closely resembles older patterns) or whether he is not Primaris at all, but rather GW’s first newly released Firstborn Space Marine in quite a while.

GW’s Warhammer Community site seems a little uncertain on the question; initially, on October 5, it confirmed via Twitter that he is Primaris:

But then, the following day, it changed its mind, and gave the intriguing answer that the model can represent either a Primaris or a Firstborn marine, depending on your preference:

Predictably, this seemingly odd fudge was met with some rather frustrated responses:

Rest assured that we’ll keep you informed of new developments in the Saga of the Castellan. Will we ever see any more Firstborn Space Marine models released, or are the ‘oldmarines’ firmly on their way out? Only time will tell – but you can ponder the Big Questions with us in our full Space Marines guide.

Primaris Sword Brethren

GW’s October 4 full release video also finally unveiled the long-promised Primaris Sword Brethren in all their considerable glory. The Black Templars’ unique Elites unit, the Sword Brethren represent the most skilled, experienced, and deadly fighters of the Chapter, and, as such, have always been described as being luxuriously bedecked in extra-knightly plate armour, heraldry, and decorative regalia as befits their rank.

To be fair, the old, Finecast resin Sword Brethren models represented this better than most resin kits of their era – but, golly gosh, the new plastic sculpts look to be a big step up. GW confirms the Sword Brethren can still wield a variety of powerful melee weapons, including the pictured Lightning Claws and Thunder Hammer. One of the pictured Sword Brothers also wields a gnarly-looking mace, which may be a Templar-flavoured Power Maul, or a new melee weapon entirely.

Black Templars Upgrades and Transfers

GW had previously confirmed that the broader Black Templars range update would include a new and improved Upgrade Sprue, for making main-line Space Marine units look more authentically like Black Templars – but we didn’t get full details of its contents until October 4.

The upgrade sprue and transfer sheet come packaged together in one kit titled ‘Black Templars Upgrades and Transfers’, and, while we don’t yet know how much the box will cost, it certainly looks to be a chunky step up in contents versus GW’s previous upgrade sprue products (it certainly blows the previous Black Templars upgrade frame out of the water). Here’s what you get,  judging by the images GW has released:

The Upgrade Sprue contains:

  • Eight helmetless heads
  • One standard helmeted head
  • 19 total shoulder pads, embossed with the Templar cross in various styles
  • One Space Marine backpack bearing the chapter badge
  • One Multi-Melta alternate weapon for a Repulsor
  • One helmet representing the Relic The Crusader’s Helm
  • A custom part representing the Relic The Aurillian Shroud
  • A custom part representing the Relic Skull of the Cacodominus
  • A custom sword part representing the Relic The Sword of Judgement
  • Four Astartes Shotguns and attached arms for Primaris Neophytes
  • One boltgun arm for a Primaris Neophyte
  • One sheathed Chainsword and helmet-carrying arm for a Primaris Neophyte
  • One large decorative sword with clamps to attach to a vehicle hull
  • Assorted decorations, including purity seals, honour scrolls, candles, martyrs’ bones, lanterns, icons, and what looks like a Holy Hand Grenade…

Among the waterslide transfers on the transfer sheet are:

  • Assorted versions and styles of the Templar Cross chapter badge, in black, red, gold, and white
  • Templar-specific markings for Apothecaries, Chaplains, and Techmarines
  • Six unique Crusade badges (each with four large and ten small transfers)
  • Various chains, skulls, weapon icons, and aquilas

Warhammer 40k Black Templars launch - Warhammer Community photo showing the new model for a Primaris Chaplain Grimaldus, with his attendant servitors, with an Imperial structure in the background

Primaris Chaplain Grimaldus and Cenobyte Servitors

Games Workshop revealed its new Primaris Chaplain Grimaldus model, complete with revamped sculpts for the named character’s three attendant, relic-carrying Cenobyte Servitors, on September 27.

While Grimaldus – hero of the classic Black Library novel Helsreach – retains many of the design touches of his older, Finecast resin model (including shoulder candles, chest grille, and a Hannibal Lecter-esque metal-toothed faceplate) he has also most certainly crossed the Rubicon Primaris – so we can expect some upgraded rules and abilities for him in the upcoming new Black Templars codex.

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While a Primaris Grimaldus had been looking more and more likely as successive new Black Templars character models were announced through August and September 2021, it’s a particular treat for old-school Black Templars fans to see such effort having gone into redesigning the Cenobyte Servitors, who follow Grimaldus around, lugging his favourite holy relics. Just look at that glorious banner!

Warhammer 40k Black Templars Primaris launch - Warhammer Community photo showing the new model for a Primaris High Marshal Helbrecht on a city background, zoomed in

Primaris High Marshal Helbrecht

GW has done this thing properly – on Monday, September 20, just a day after showing off the Black Templars army set at Gen Con 2021, it unveiled a stonking great Primaris-upscaled version of High Marshal Helbrecht, Chapter Master of the Black Templars, and one of the force’s most popular characters on the tabletop.

A long way from the diminutive, fiddly little Finecast resin version Templar players have been used to, this Primaris High Marshal Helbrecht stands atop a sculpted plastic base (we’d guess at 40mm wide), his vast Sword of the High Marshals stuck through a dead Ork, and comes to battle flanked by Servitor attendants, as befits his feudal glory.

We’ve no word on pricing or a release date, although – since GW commented in its reveal article that the Templars’ army set would be “a perfect force for Helbrecht to lead” – we can be fairly sure he won’t be too far behind the army set. Now, if only we could see his rules…

Warhammer 40k Black Templars launch box guide - Warhammer Community photo showing the new Black Templars Primaris Marshal model

Primaris Marshal

The Black Templars’ rough equivalent to a Space Marine Captain – but with much more ceremony and decoration – Marshals are a big deal among the sons of Sigismund. Each one leads a whole Crusade of their own, commanding many hundreds, or even thousands, of Space Marines.

This new Primaris Marshal model is covered in gothic, templaric decorations, from the chunky, riveted armour; to his dangling belt lantern; to the shacked skeleton on his backpack.

GW says the model has “two choices of head and a selection of weapons” – though we’ve only seen the above, bare-headed example so far, with a Master-crafted Power Sword and Plasma Pistol.

Warhammer 40k Black Templars launch box guide - Warhammer Community photo showing the Primaris Crusader Squad models in the launch box

Primaris Crusader Squad

It’s official now: Primaris Crusader Squads are a thing. The Black Templars launch box comes with parts for a ten-man squad, which GW says has “a ton of build options”, including bits to make one Sword Brother to lead the squad.

In the revealed photos, the squad has been built with five Initiates, four Neophytes, and one Power Sword-armed Sword Brother. We don’t yet know whether the Crusader Squad in the army set (or the inevitable future standalone set) can be built with a different ratio of Initiates to Neophytes – but bear in mind that the unit will probably retain some version of the current Paired Combatants rule – meaning Neophytes gain a buff if there are more Initiates in the squad than Neophytes.

Loadout-wise, it looks like the new Crusader Squad can mix up wargear more freely than other Primaris units. Photos show Initiates with Pyreblasters; Bolt Rifles, Auto Bolt Rifles, and Heavy Bolt Pistol / Astartes Chainsword combos, while the Neophytes are seen to carry either Bolt Carbines or Bolt Pistol / Chainsword combos.

For the full options, we’ll have to wait till we see the box itself – or at least the rules…


Warhammer 40k Black Templars launch box - Warhammer Community photo of Black Templars Primaris Initiate model

Black templars Primaris Initiate

Back in August 20, GW teased a new, Primaris Space Marine miniature for the Black Templars’ core frontline troops: the Primaris Initiate.

There’s a lot of details on this model that excited Black Templars fans into a zealous euphoria (much of which has now been vindicated) – let us count the ways:

  • It’s covered from head to toe in custom Black Templars insignia and styling, including: a metal-studded backpack and bracers; the Templars’ chapter badge on the helmet and gun; embossed chapter-badge shoulder pads; a cloth tabard; a metal chain linking his gun to his arm; and a shield symbol on the chest Aquila.
  • This suggests it is a full Black Templars-specific model, rather than an Intercessor with upgrade sprue bits added.
  • The Initiate is armed with a brand new, juiced up flamer weapon, the Pyreblaster,  emblazoned with the Templar cross – implying not only that this is a Templars-only weapon, but there might be more to come…
  • The existence of a Primaris Initiate implies the existence of Primaris Neophytes – the other half of the Templars’ Crusade Squads, these guys are newer, less experienced Astartes who pair with a single Initiate for guidance and training.

While GW excited us for a few hours by initially announcing the Pyreblaster had a Damage stat of two, this was swiftly corrected to D1. It’s still a tasty piece of kit, though:

Warhammer 40k Black Templars launch box - Warhammer Community graphic showing the statline for the Pyreblaster weapon - updated to damage 1

With all that, we awaited the very much to-be-expected Primaris Neophytes (and thus, Primaris Crusader Squads) with barely contained zeal – and, with the September 19 announcement of the Black Templars launch box’s full contents, our suspicions were confirmed.


Warhammer 40k Black Templars launch box Emperor's Champion miniature

Black Templars Emperor’s Champion

The first brand new Black Templars miniature to be revealed, back in August, was a new, Primaris-scaled model for the faction’s unique Emperor’s Champion unit.

A revered position of the Black Templars, these tough cookies are beholden to seek out enemy commanders during battle and challenge them to single combat, in reverence for their founding father, Sigismund – himself the black sheep son of Imperial Fists Primarch, Rogal Dorn.

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The new mini will stand at Primaris-scale, decked out with the Armour of Faith, a Black Sword, and Iron Halo.

No stats or details of the unit’s in-game abilities have been revealed, nor has it been said whether they’d dramatically change from their current incarnation.

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Black Templars teaser trailer

Long before the full army reveal trailer seen above, we were treated to a very short, very vague teaser video for the Black Templars back in July. Panning across a still artwork featuring the chapter’s insignia, it’s not the most exciting of videos, but will get you in the crusading mood.

Decided the religious zealots of the Black Templars Chapter aren’t for you? Read our complete Warhammer 40k Space Marines guide to find your ideal alternative.