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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Comprehensive Sisters of Battle Review

It's time to take a hard look at the Sororitas and see if they can go the distance in today's 40K.

Just the Facts Ma'am

First I want to recap the big features and thoughts of armylist itself.

Acts of Faith (AoF)
One use only but can take a five point upgrade to use twice. AoF don't affect non SoB units. It's not a straight LD test and you normally only get one per game per unit, but you can get extra through Standards (see below).

Shield of Faith stays - but now has Adamantium Will as well - so +1 to all units with this to Deny the Witch Rolls.

Warlord Traits
1) The Warlord causes Fear.

2) The Warlord's (and the unit they're attached too) Shield of Faith becomes a 5+.

3) The Warlord's unit re-rolls failed Deny the Witch rolls.

4) The Warlord has Rage.

5) Friendly models in 12" use the Warlord's leadership value (if it's higher than the unit's) when making Act of Faith or War Hymns Leadership tests.

6) All friendly models within 12" of the Warlord have the Stubborn special rule. This does not override Fearless though, Fearless units remain Fearless.
Sororitas Units

Saint Celestine has gone up 20 points and can now only come back once (with full wounds) and gains Hit and Run. Her Sword is now S5 and master crafted but still AP 3.

Canoness - Still overpriced but with a variety of relics that can give her Eternal Warrior and various buffs to herself and other units.

Priests - Only 25 points gets you a model that can buff your units one of three ways in Close Combat (leadership test like AoF but every fight phase):
-War Hymns
Roll a leadership test while in close combat, if successful, the unit gains one of these three automatically.
  • The Emperor Protects - The Ministorum Priest and his unit re-roll all failed armour and invulnerable saves until the end of the phase. 
  • The Emperor’s Strength - The Ministorum Priest has the Smash special rule until the end of the phase (S10 eviscerators). 
  • The Righteousness of the Emperor - The Ministorum Priest and his unit re-roll failed rolls To Wound until the end of the phase.
    Uriah Jacobs - SoB units within 12" of him are fearless and have counter-attack. He allows the unit he is attached to access to an extra AoF.

    Command Squad - Much more flexible and every single Celestian can have special or heavy weapons - regardless of size of the unit - you start with five Celestians.
    Repentia - Lose Feel No pain, but have power fists, Fleet, Rage and Fearless and can now have transports.

    Fast Attack
    Dominons - They keep Scout and change their AoF to allow them to ignore cover rather than twin-linked BUT can now take up to four special weapons (flamers or meltaguns) per unit - even if there are only five of them. Also Immolators went down in price.

    Serpahim - Their AoF is the same and they have to buy the Superior - but otherwise the same except hand flamers are now cheaper at 10 points each.
    Battle Sisters - Still only one choice but now you can have units of five, two of whom can have a special or one special and one heavy weapon.

    Rhino Gets a free searchlight and goes up in cost by 5 points.

    Immolators Go down in points and the twin-linked multi-melta is now a straight swap (free) plus a free searchlight.

    Exorcists Are down to 125 points and have a free searchlight. This is the only part of Heavy Support worth your time.

    Condemnor Boltguns have Psi-Shock - Any unit with the Pskyer, Brotherhood of Psykers or Psychic Pilot special rules that is hit by a weapon with this special rule suffers the Perils of a Warp. ScreamerStar curls up into a ball and implodes if it gets shot with two of them.

    Arco-Flail - The Arco-Flagellant's weapon of choice, these are now specialist weapons, and the model has two (+1A).

    Neural Whip - Now only Strength: User, this is also a specialist weapon but has a new rule - against non-vehicle units with leadership values lower than 8 it has the Shred special rule. If there is more than one leadership value in the unit you use the majority leadership value.

    Blessed Standard - Friendly units in 12" re-roll faith Morale, Fear and Pinning.

    Laud Hailer - All friendly units within 12" of a vehicle with a Laud Hailer re-roll failed Leadership tests when attempting Acts of Faith.

    Simulacrum Imperialis - A unit can perform a second AoF. If the model carrying it dies the unit loses all ability to use their AoF for the rest of the game (note that attached Independent Characters who have AoF are unaffected).

    Litanies of Faith - The model with this, their unit and any Independent Characters with AoF or War Hymns automatically pass all leadership tests to activate them.

    Cloak of Saint Aspira - The wearer re-rolls all failed armor saves and Shield of Faith invulnerable saving throws.

    Mantle of Ophelia - Eternal Warrior.

    Blade of Admonition - Master crafted Relic Blade. Only the Canoness can take this item.

    Book of St. Lucius - All friendly units within 12" auto-pass any Fear or Regroup tests.

    Sacred Banner of the Order Militant - Same as the Blessed Standard but it also adds +1A.

    Mace of Valaan - A master crafted power maul and a special rule called Chaos Bane which gives the wielder Fleshbane and Armorbane when its within 6" of one or model with the Daemon special rule.

    Sororitas and the Meta

    I haven't played the brand new list so far (see the caveat below), however I have played against them several times and I have some good friends whom I consider top players who love their Battle Sisters. Sisters of Battle are one of those are one of those armies you don't see all that often which was the same for Dark Eldar prior to the release of their fifth edition codex. One thing I distinctly remember is it seemed they never ran out of AoF... So I think it's a good thing to have a limit that's easy to track over the course of a game.

    Back during fourth edition I did use one squad of Battle Sisters as an ally for my Blood Angels (PDF codex) along with a squad of Grey Knights. It was nice to have access to alternative troop choices for this particular army. When I think of Sisters of Battle the first things that spring to mind are eviscerators, flamers and meltas. They are a specialized army when compared to other Imperial forces such as Imperial Guard and Space Marines - as such they are quite unique.

    I see the Sisters of Battle as being a solid ally for other Imperial armies, bearing in mind now they only count as Battle Brothers for Imperial Guard. I don't think we will see a significant influx of new new Sororitas armies and new players until Games Workshop finally releases some plastic kits. Depending on how the rules for the Condemnor bolter plays out (maybe GW will release an official FAQ but I wouldn't count on it) Sisters could become a major deterrent to Psyker heavy armies such as Jetseer Council and ScreamerStar. If GW does not release a FAQ then the TOs for the first few early major events in 2014 will play a major role in determining the overall outcome depending upon how they decide to rule it.

    The Condemnor Boltgun has the new Psi-Shock rule - Any unit with the Pskyer, Brotherhood of Psykers or Psychic Pilot special rules that is hit by a weapon with this special rule suffers the Perils of the Warp in addition to any other damage.  Unfortunately, there is some not-airtight wording in the Condemnor's rules, so a FAQ may be needed to settle how to resolve a non-psyker unit containing pskyers who are struck by the weapon.

    The meta changes much more rapidly now in sixth edition as opposed to previous editions so things have a way of quickly turning around but not necessarily balancing out. For instance not all that long ago there was much concern that fliers such as the Heldrake and Night Scythe were ruining the game then along came the new Tau. So I can easily the ruling (general consensus) going either way for the Condemnor bolter. Could it have been worded better? Yes but that said the intent is clear to me.

    Units You Will See a LOT
    Changing gears here are a couple of sample units from the new supplement:

    5x Sister
    - Meltagun
    - Heavy flamer
    - Combi-melta
    Immolator w. Multi-melta
    Total = 175

    One of the biggest changes to the army is the reduction in the minimum size to five Sisters for their one troop choice. This makes them much easier to integrate as an ally due to the reduction in points necessary to field them.

    5x Dominion
    4x Meltagun
    Immolator w Multi-melta
    Total = 185

    Dominions can scout and ignore cover which is a great combination against both enemy armor and monstrous creatures... So again another solid choice for an allied Imperial unit.  Add in Condemnor's and profit!

    The Verdict
    I definitely think we will see Sororitas more often now but much more as an Ally (making them easier on the pocketbook) as opposed to a primary detachment. Depending upon how the Condemnor bolter is ruled it could have a huge impact on the current meta in what I believe to be a positive change. Hopefully GW will eventually release some plastic kits and do the army the justice it rightly deserves.

    So are you planning on using allied Sororitas and how would you integrate them into your list?

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