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Warhammer 40k Black Templars launch box guide

2021 brought a Warhammer 40k Black Templars launch box, a new codex, and many new models - here are the release dates, and how it went down.

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

2021’s Warhammer 40k Black Templars launch box was a huge moment for fans of 40k’s black-and-white, ultra-religious Space Marines, bringing the army’s first dedicated codex rulebook since 2005 and a surprisingly expansive new model range. This guide records the key release dates, and the main news and information as it came in.

By 2021, Warhammer 40k’s Black Templars Space Marine chapter had waited a long time to make its triumphant return – and GW did not leave Templar fans wanting. For the full info, read our final Black Templars army set review from October 9, 2021.

The Black Templars launch box included an early copy of the Warhammer 40k faction‘s brand new 9th edition codex, as well as the all-new plastic Primaris Marshal, Emperor’s Champion, and Crusader Squad models (plus a Redemptor Dreadnought) – but that wasn’t all the new hotness GW had in store for the pious sons of Rogal Dorn.

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And it came not a moment too soon. First appearing in 1998’s 3rd Edition Warhammer 40k starter set, and given their own 4th Edition codex in 2005, the Black Templars looked (back then) to have cemented themselves as the next top-tier chapter of the Adeptus Astartes. That proved premature, however.

In the following decade and a bit, their prominence waned, their custom units and rules were increasingly left flagging, and gameplay-wise the Templars were steadily rolled into the homogenous ranks of Space Marines.

That all changed in 2021 – here’s what you should know about the Black Templars launch box:


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

Black Templars Army Set release date

The limited edition Black Templars army set went up for pre-order on Saturday, October 9, 2021, and was released for sale on Saturday, October 16, 2021. 

GW has also confirmed, in its pre-order roundup article, that it would operate a “Pre-order Weekend Promise” that was “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.

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

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”.

That immediately placed this box in the same camp as the Beast Snagga Orks army set: a relatively high-priced set, 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.

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, 2021 as part of a series of announcements at the Gen Con tabletop show.

It included:

  • Primaris Marshal x 1
  • Primaris Emperor’s Champion x 1
  • 10-man Primaris Crusader Squad with “a ton of build options”; includes parts to build one as a Sword Brother
  • Redemptor Dreadnought x 1
  • 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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On October 4, 2021, it revealed more new Black Templars models, showing off a new Castellan, Primaris Sword Brethren, and a combined set including an upgrade sprue and transfer sheet.



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, 2021.

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:

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 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 confirmed the model has “two choices of head and a selection of weapons” – though at the time we’d only seen the above, bare-headed example in pictures: 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

The Black Templars army set made it official: Primaris Crusader Squads are a thing. The launch box came with parts for a ten-man squad, which GW excitedly said had “a ton of build options”, including bits to make one Sword Brother to lead the squad.

In the revealed photos, the squads were shown built with five Initiates, four Neophytes, and one Power Sword-armed Sword Brother. We didn’t know at the time whether the squad could be built with a different ratio of Initiates to Neophytes – but we now know it can’t; it’s a set combo.

This isn’t too much of a downside, though, as Crusader Squads have consistently had rules requiring (or at least strongly incentivising) that you have more full marines than Neophytes in the mix, anyway.


In Warhammer 40k 10th Edition – launched a ways down the road in Summer 2023 – this restriction was formalised once again, alongside the tantalizing option of a 20-man Crusader Squad: one Sword Brother; 10 Initiates; and nine Neophytes. Phwoar.

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

Black Templars Primaris Initiate

On August 20, 2021, 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 remained a tasty bit 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 2021, was a new, Primaris-scaled model for the faction’s unique Emperor’s Champion character.

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.

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