Tuesday, November 20, 2012

40K 6th Edition look at Sisters of Battle

EDIT:  short Battle report will be found in the comments section

6th Edition is really making it clear that you can't have all your eggs in one basket.  Monster deathstar units, while still scary and for good reason are no longer as practical as they were.

Below is the list I am now going to be using for 1850 tournament play.  In 2000 Point games, a small Seraphim unit is added.  Thoughts are welcome!

1 Saint Celestine

My deep Strike Element.  She can bolster a unit if need be or just tangle one up in a pinch as needed but her real value is objective stealing, Line Breaking and of course denying the enemy my Warlord point through the power of her resurrecton.

   1 Uriah Jacobus, Protector of the Faith

Stabilizing force for the army.  His abilities buff a unit considerably and turn them into at least a passing attempt at a melee threat, albeit only against middle of the road units.  His ability to re-roll the number of Faith Points each round is his primary vaue.  Still, when he is with the Sisters repentia he does make them unstoppable killing machines.

   7 Repentia Squad, + Mistress of Repentence

They trail behind the force as a counter attack unit.  They can knock out any tank or fortification they come across and are Fleet, meaning they dont strictly NEED a Rhino, though they can steal one to start the mission.  They begin the game as Fearless and with the Shield of Faith and Feel No Pain, they are not defenseless.

   9 Battle Sister Squad, + Flamer x2
      1 Sister Superior + Melta Bombs
      1 Rhino + Dozer Blade Hunter-killer Missile

   9 Battle Sister Squad + Flamer x2
      1 Sister Superior+ Melta Bomb
      1 Rhino + Dozer Blade + Hunter-killer Missile

   9 Battle Sister Squad + Flamer x2
      1 Sister Superior+ Melta Bombs

The addition of the Hunter Killer missile takes pressure off the unit once it disembarks, forces a little more decision making on the enemy.  The meltabomb on the sergeant means the unit can attack any target type and potentially survive the dreadnoughts of the world.  They are best on defense and are equipped with flamers to help them fill that role.  Typically will have them walk to objectives after the first wave of attacks has hit to soften the blow and so they aren't the "obvious" target anymore.  Their Acts of Faith make them better on defense as well.

Fast Attack: Dominion Squad
   9 Dominion Squad+ Simulacrum Imperialis + Meltagun x4
      1 Dominion Superior+ Melta Bombs
      1 Rhino + Searchlight + Dozer Blade + Hunter-killer Missile

Fast Attack: Dominion Squad
   9 Dominion Squad+ Simulacrum Imperialis + Flamer x4
      1 Dominion Superior+ Melta Bombs
      1 Rhino+ Searchlight + Dozer Blade + Hunter-killer Missile

Dominion will scout forward on missions we go first on and ourtflank in missions we do not.  That flexibility and the help of St. Celestine gives the army true mobility and threat range to all parts of the board and will make line breaking easier.  Also, they are Fast attack so in the Scourging Mission, taking objectives becomes much easier for this army.  That the units can twin link themselves and re-roll failed attempts to do so makes them a very potent offensive punch.

Heavy Support: Retributor Squad
   5 Retributor Squad + Simulacrum Imperialis + Heavy Flamer x4
      1 Retributor Superior + Melta Bombs
      1 Rhino + Dozer Blade + Hunter-killer Missile

These roaming vagabonds are a great counter-attack unit.  They shore up a flank so that the enemy cannot run away.  Armed with grenadesd and bombs as well as the infantry killing ability to Rend with their Heavy Flamers is pretty cool.  Even Vehicles can be downed by their powerful flame.  get them to a Tower and watch the place and people burn.  Uriah makes sure they don't miss.

   1 Exorcist

   1 Exorcist

Though I won a tournament recently without these beasts in the force, I have found in other games tha the reach of their gun is just a vital component to have.  Their unreliability is legendary however, and so I have decided to take two of them.  Together they should be able to down the enemy predator(s) or armored firebases so that the Sisters of Battle are on a more even footing against the foe.  There should be enough smaller tanks to protect them from Drop podding assassins and the like.  their very high point of fire (the top of the organ pipes) makes them ideal for avoiding intervening models and terrain as well and they do have the 6+ Shield of Faith save like all Sisters of Battle units do.

Points:  1850
Models:  66 Infantry + 7 Armor = 73 models
Units: 16


  1. I really like the anti-infantry potential that the SoB have at their disposal, and share the ability to wield Hand Flamers with Blood Angels.

    Is there anything in this list that can grant a unit twin-linked? If not, is your plan to ignore fliers through resiliency?

  2. Yes, the Seraphim and the Dominion can BOTH Twin link all their weapons.

    When and if the flyer hovers, it will not last long after. The thing is, its fight rules make it sometimes difficult to hit the target it really wants to hit after its first pass. I can clearly see where the flyer CAN go next turn, and mitigate its firepower somewhat by not being there. I play a pretty mobile form of Warhammer as you know so this doesn't disrupt MY plan like it might others.

    I find that just by deploying and moving more judiciously, you can do a lot about flyers without firing a shot.

    If I played a more stagnant army, I'd opt for an Aegis line or better yet the big boy tower. For some lists, I strongly suggest it. Not for this one though.

  3. All of what you said is true, but, the ability to TL those melta guns would prove an adequate threat to just about any flier save the Storm Raven. I'd really like to play against this army. Are you going to bring this to Gabi's Saturday?

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  5. Everything is just a little 'bland'. Not blaming that on your selection, the list you're running here is pretty much the only competitive list the WD presents codex allows you to run, which is such a shame.

    Couple of questions;
    1) Why Repentia over Conclave? If you're taking Uriah then the confessor tax is already paid, and a combination of DCA's and Archo's can deal with pretty much anything outside of a land raider. You're only real counter-assault unit doesn't really want to be engaging such armoured targets, and there is more than enough melta weaponry throughout the army you don't really need to worry about this aspect.
    2) Do you not find 4 x Melta's in the Dominions is just overkill? I have had better success in using the Dominions as 5 man squads with Melta or 10 man with Flamer. For the same points or less you could split the Dominions into three units of 5 with 2 x melta and extend your threat coverage with these units. Adding a Combi-melta to the Vat can mitate some of the loss of firepower if you're concerned.
    3) On the flip side, I've found much more success fielding my Retributors in 10 man units with Heavy Flamers. As you point out, the principle weapon of the retributors is the Rending special rule. With Heavy Flamers, you're going to be principly targeting infantry, and you're always going to be within 8" of them (template range) thus having an additional 5 sisters in this unit means they put our an additional 10 rending attacks per round of shooting, for 60 points. They also offer meat shields for what are the most expensive models in your army (32 points per Heavy Flamer armed Retributor, nearly terminator price!)
    4) Exorcists: I don't know why sisters plays consider these units so fundemental to play. Ok they offer the only 48" range weapons in the army, but thats exactly the point; Nothing else in you're army is going to be handing back to support these units. The Sisters want to be hunkered down in midfield. Exorcists don't want this, because it exposes thier pathetic side armour to multiple attacks on most accounts. This makes them easy target for outflankers to snipe them off all alone at the back of the board. For 135 points, you can take much more reliable anti-armour that works in unison with the rest of your force, and not against its overall ethos. Seraphim with dual Infernus pistols and melta bombs clock in at 135 points. 5 Dominions in a Rhino with dual melta even less. Both these units compliment the overall ethos of mid to short range shooting and midfield domination, whilst arguably providing more reliable anti tank. Combined with the fact that Exorcists are the only >AV11 units we have access to (and thus will be targetted by every Str8+ gun in the opponents army) and the fact that sixth has made barrage weapons deadly against vehicles (remeber, side armour from barrage!) I just don't see Exorcists as having a place in a Pure sisters force at 2000 points or under.

  6. Thanks for the reply.

    I don't agree that this is the only competitive build. As I pointed out, I just won a tourney without this build. In fact I've won two, with wildly differnt versions of the codex. The first time I won was with a list that (LITERALLY) had one of every unit in the codex. I just went through and added one of everything and then geared and sized it. The second was with a variant of this list, with retributors instead of the Exorcists, and one blob squad.

    Your first question was, "why not Conclave?". You are probably saying that because you're forgetting that those Meltas are to the fore, not in my backfield defending. STRATEGICALLY, in this list, the Sisters Repentia are a good fit. 4 Attacks on the charge BEFORE you even think about what Uriah does for the unit and their Act of Faith means the enemy dreads can't stop the inevitability of their own doom no matter how many they kill. Dreads and similarly ridiculous things are why I chose them.

    Your second question was about the Dominion. I personally think people forget that Bolters kill people. Twin linking them kills more people. I want my Dominion KP not to die early. 10 of them makes that easier. I want my Dominion to be able to kill entire squishy units at a time. 10 Dominion can do that. I want a unit that can dispatch the 2+ armor character that was put in the unit to absorb wounds but then also hurt the unit itself! Defensive fire makes larger units a strong choice and the way I USE the two units in the Relic Mission and sometimes others is to picket the enemy and make them have to get through layer after layer of my Sisters while I busily take objectives. So sacrifice is called for in the service of the Emperor.

    Your point isn't lost on me on the Heavy Flamers. I would like more in that unit for all the reasons you mention. But that unit is a "cleanup" unit for the most part, too slow to lead the charge but plenty fast enough to get to the breakthroughs and end them once they are softened. They just aren't the primary target for the enemy, so bulk isn't AS necessary and they were therefore a casualty of the points limitations. Given the choice, I would not spend the points on the Retributors over the Dominion though.

    On your last point: I dont think Sisters players think it IS "fundamental" to have the Exorcists. There's a great deal of debate over that amongst them and I personally have won with 1, with 2, with 3 and with none of them in the list.

    But to your main point, here is the issue: Volume of fire must be stopped and stopped early. Sisters of Battle are very susceptible to it. Bhaal Predators, Punishers, Fortification Towers and a plethora of other things can pour it on unabated for two straight turns if you let them. The range is the reason to take them. Though unreliable, the Exorcist can definitely knock out the main fusilades, allowing your approach to be a bit smoother. Probably more significant to ME anyways is that I do not want to slow down on the approach and yet if I am blown out of the Rhino, all I can do is snap shots and suddenly my units aren't so cool. I need to mitigate that to the extent possible.

    One last point. The collossus, Manticore and similar things in other armies all give good reason to a Sisters army for pause. You really need to take those threats on early and the range and power of the army as you know isn't suficient for that. This mismatch is not a small thing. So if for no better reason THAN barrages, the ranged ability of the Exorcists, even if they have to come in from reserve, can be a real boon.

    Here is the bottom line in every list: if you neglect to have an answer for the threats you KNOW are possible, you're really just praying when you play. So my take is, since this particular build has no way to stop barrages from tearing me apart early and often, the Exorcists become the answer for that. No answer works all the time. But it does work often enough.

  7. As an extension of this discussion, I did attend the tournament today with this list.
    Game 1: I played against the inimitable Imperial Guard. His Valkyrie and a Vindetta crossed the skies and dropped a serious amount of payload on my head, while he poured his plasma and hotshot lasgun firepower into me. The game ulravelled for him when I was able to kill off his right flank. using normal Sisters of Battle Bolters and a couple flamers that he got too close to in he hopes of doing the same to me. It was a desperate gambit that didn't quite work but a good game until then. The MVP for the game were the Exorcists that were able to eventually kill his tw Leman Russ's which freed up th middle for my troops to clog it up and block him from the objectives.

    Game 2: Six objectives, Scourgindg was secondary. I played a Grey Knight force that I actually designed ironically. I was getting absolutely crushed for three rounds as that constant battering fusilade came down on my craptastic stat Sisters. It was withering. My reserves saved me. St. Celestine showed up just in time along with the outflanking Dominions, and they collectively had a devastating effect on the combat squad'd forces of the Grey Knights. The game went from a potential nightmare to a crushing victory. At the end of the gam he had 4 units left in tattes on the board out of the 12 he started with. St. Celestine was the MVP. The Exorcists hardly ever fires more than 2 shots at a time so they didn't have a lot of impact. The Sisters Repentia were enormously important in the victory as well.

    Game 3: Vs. Tau who have won several tournaments. This one was a big time fire fight and I was generally on the receiving end. He obliterated one unit after another from behind an Aegis Defense line that basically formed an enormous firebase in the corner. He killed 12 of my 16 units and had pinned St. Celestine by the end of the game, and this was AFTER I stole the Initiative! Despite all this, I successfully bottled him up and only his one Devilfish escaped my gauntlet, and it nearly cost me the game. Luckily he was embarked and hadn't disembarked the turn before so he was unable to contest the objective he needed to go to, leaving me in control of two objectives and h in control of one.

    I wonBest Overall and wantto thank my worthy opponents for making it a fun tournament. That's three in a row for the sisters!

  8. Unorthodoxy!

    *VERY* Interesting list... I have to ask, what the missions like when you play in your tournaments? I am always fascinated when I see 3 troop Sisters lists. I tend to play *NOT* using book missions (modified Adepticon missions are the flavor up here), and just never seem to have enough troops to do anything but draw unless I have 4+. As such I have started allying guardswomen and things are going much better... but I would much rather run a pure Sisters force.

    It seems like you stick Uriah with the Repentia? Do you notice the loss of fleet? Do you run him up front to soak overwatch on the charge, or have him chase behind?

    I really like heavy flamer rhino, I may need to try that.

    Finally, your 3rd troop is just 10 foot sisters??? Can you share a bit about how you use those ladies? Especially with no defense line, or long-range shooting... how do they support the rest of your army? Do they just march up with the Repentia? Sit in the back and camp an objective? Provide some support to the Exorcists in the back? I've always adhered to "she who bails, fails"... so running our T3 ladies without a rhino is very intriguing to me.

    Thanks, and I'm super excited to see someone posting some Sisters content in the blogosphere!

  9. To answer the first question, in the case of the first tournament, we played more traditional book missions. In the second tournament it was the Bay Area Open Style tournament, a variant of the "Total War" scenario they use in Cali. The format, frankly, did not influence my choices.

    On the issue of Troops: I have never liked going with less than 4, for the reasons you mention. Sisters of Battle is the one army I feel comfortable with it. The reason is there are 16 KP's in this army and it literally floods forward and outflanks into the enemy position, giving them all they can handle, while the (generally) reserved Sisters of Battle wait their turn to come in and start snatching things when the enemy is well and truly mired. It would be difficult for most armies to break that gauntlet in ENOUGH time. St. Celestine adds to this frustration at times (though she is no guarantee to pop back up of course). I actually played with just two Sisters of Battle units for a while but didn't like how stressful games got at the end. I was winning games but it wasn't nearly as easy as it is with three.

    On Uriah: I detach him the round they charge and have him charge on his own. So the Fleet thing doesn't really matter. He's not overly critical for the unit. It just happens to be where I can put him and keep him alive the longest. They tend to lag behind the army, kill breakthroughs and if there are none, they finally join the party with a bang. So the Fleet thing could be an issue but he's not pivotal to the unit so if he makes it, he makes it. He's like my little insurance policy on so many fronts. I call him an "army stabilizer". He helps the army work the way its supposed to without really contributing a ton on his own. Frankly I like Kyrinovs fearless bubble better but I cant fall short on faith points at a critical juncture so...

    The Retributor Rhino is really scary. 4 Rending Heavy Flamers with Rending bolters to go with? Hey I'm just saying... Not too many people getting in line for that ride.

    The thrid Sisters unit is on foot. when you really run through the progression of games in your mind, how many dont have a rear objective? Most do. There is no risk in walking them on later (and they automatically come on in turn 4 in plenty of time). So the missing rhino isn't an illusion. It just seems like an extra expense I don't need. In fact one of the Sisters of Battle units donates its transports to the Repentia Sisters, so really, I have two on foot!

    If you enjoyed reading this, go back through previous posts. There are some Sisters of Battle things there as well! Thanks for being a part of the blog.

  10. Oops you asked about Uriah. I split the diff. I lead with the Repentia leader and two Repentia, then him. This is a little more ablative and who knows I might make a Shield of Faith or Feel no Pain on the Repentias and make it worth it. So typically Uriah will be 4th closest to the enemy. I know that one STR 6 shot can do him in and you KNOW those Chimeras are tough on us. Best not to let him lead.

  11. Very interesting thoughts, I appreciate the response, and look forward to future Sisters and Eldar posts!

    I've never tried reserving my troop Sisters, I may need to give that a shot.

  12. Yes, it's a strategic decision that can save you points and pays dividends. Put simply, the enemy cannot hurt whaytit cannot see.

  13. Thank you for all your feedback and input. I enjoyed reading everyone's comments. I am new to the game as I haven't played since first editition and am currently trying IG but, now I may have to give Sisters a try.

  14. There are two newer articles on the blog now regarding the Sisters of Battle. Scope them out.


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