Friday, February 15, 2013

Sisters of Battle on the Tourney scene.

More and more we are seeing that Sisters of Battle can compete in major tournaments and larger scale local ones.  They still aren't common but they are there.

The Guardian Cup Champion is currently a Sisters of Battle player, one took second place at NOVA, and a large number of local tournies are reported on various forums as having been won by these Sisters of Battle.  My own victories at tourney are mounting up rather rapidly also, which feels good.

What makes them so good?

First off, so few people play them that it is more difficult for opponents to gain experience against them.  Rarity, on its own, grants the strategic value of surprise.  Forum goers and bloggers alike have labelled the codex as lower mid-tier for so long that they bought into it and everyone reading their stuff probably just takes it for granted that it's true.  Yet when faced with the reality of the army and a decent General, the truth is made manifest:  These girls are good.

Another factor contributing to their excellent tournament records is that they are not dependent on any one unit to get the job done.  Armies often rotate around an important central element.  It might be the IG Manticores that are important to the overall strategy or perhaps it is the Chaos Heldrakes in your force; or maybe the LandRaider with tricked out squad inside or maybe its the beastly Trygon Primes.  Whatever that central spearhead may be, it's important to the success or failure of the list.  Sisters of Battle do not HAVE a heavy reliance on any one element to pull them through.  I quite literally used a list with one of everything from the Sisters of Battle Codex to win many games before I decided to start honing in on a "true" tourney list, but this "not true" list was beating people up or even tabling them in a few cases!

Chief amongst the units that I have found to be awesome are the Dominion.  They stand out big time.  Most of the hoopla surrounding the Codex originally revolved around the Rending Heavy Bolter Spam the army could put out there, with some pundits even suggesting that Exorcists had been made irrelevant thanks to the advent of this terrifying prospect.  Common sense has sense set in.  But the Dominion are everything they appear to be on paper, the very definition of an armies spearhead, with flexibility to Scout move or just outflank, they can serve as antitank OR as anti-personell.  They can serve as body shields or even as blockades if you take Kyrinov.  Truly, the unit is worthy of the acollades it gets and any Sisters of Battle that goes without them is missing out.  I don't beleive there are many auto-includes in 40K.  However, these very nearly fit the bill as one.

Sisters Repentia are another surprise performer.  They are positively brutal at their job.  Even a mid-sized unit of them is terrifying to behold when they strike.   As they are Fleet, they don't miss their target very often.  As Ragers, they are pumping out 4 STR 6 Chainfist attacks on the charge.  Kill them first?  no problem.  Their Act of Faith lets them strike one last time before they die, so no matter what you do to them, they are going to get their licks in if they are the ones charging.  As they have Shield of Faith and Feel No Pain, they are a little more doubty than people gave them credit for and it is very frustrating to an enemy to see how many weapon teams they have to expend if they want the Sisters Repentia dead.  Even though you may kill them, you've spent your load on a unit that isn't NECESSARY to win!  The catch-22 nature of that isn't lost on the enemy General but if he doesn't end them he loses tank after tank.

One last thing that occurs to me every time I play them at tourney:  the simplicity of the Codex which was origianlly maligned by so called experts should be recognized for its virtue:  new players can pick this codex up and play it with relative ease!  As a starter army it really ISNT a bad choice if you have the money.  The lists go together easily, the basic tactica for them is something you can pick up readily enough and though you do need to have a stomach for casualties, as they will take many, your indigestion will be somewhat passified by the number of wins you will rack up.  A lot of angst on my part was releived once I started playing the new version of Sisters.  The Allies mechanic fixed what was ailing the codex originally in my mind, but as i have played more games I have come to see that you don't even need the allies really in order to win. 

The Chaos Heldrake as I have mentioned changed the game and Sisters of Battle players are going to need to look to potential allies or just new strategies to cope with that threat.  Already we know that IG are looking extremely good for that.  This is fluffy as it fits the old Inquisition idela.  I think it will be okay with most Sisters of Battler players if they get to use some of their IG toys again.

Normally with starter armies you want to proxy and go cheap on it until you find an army you like.  But if you already know that Nuns with Guns is the army for you, you could do a lot worse.

My next blog will be covering another of the Chaos Marine Cults.  So stay tuned for that.


  1. True analysis all around, would have loved to see you breakdown Seraphim vs Dominions though, given they compete for the same fast attack slot.

    Biggest problem I seem to come across these days is TOO many interesting units and combinations! Having to fit everything I want into an 1850 point list is becoming more and more troublesome!

  2. Well lets do that now.

    Dominion and Seraphim serve VERY different purposes. They are inthe same FOC. That's true. They do not however really DO the same thing.

    In the case of the Seraphim, their advantage is definitely their speed and agility. they can get around the battlefield, and Hit and Run allows them to flame someone, take the charge from what few things remain of the enemy, bounce out and repeat. It's A really glorious combination. The common way to play them is to use Celestine in the army and lead the unit as the rules say that her INIT is what you use for the Hit and Run! Her saves protect the unit both in shooting and in close combat. So it is a synergistic nightmare for the enemy to deal with. Because of how they function and how St. Celestine Functions, they are going to die by the games end, even if she doesn't. There is little point in making their units large in number so that is another thing that differentiates them from Dominion. They are one of those Min/Max units that you kind of like to have one of, but because theres ly one Celestine, maybe just one. Personally I used to play with three units of them but after they reduced their stat lines so badly, it made a lot less sense to do.

    Dominion are different. Their greatest gift is Scouting forward in their Rhino or Immolators. This is just an enormous ability but so is their ability to outflank. So in their case, they are indispensable in the Relic mission as I mentioned in other blogs. But if they are going second then they can outflank instead. So they can protect their offensive ability until its needed. They are much better as 10 man squads, MUCH better. Key amongst the tools to consider with them is the great Kyrinov. he makes a Fearless bubble that makes Dominion so much better as walls and defenders.

    I personally take a unit of Dominion toting 4 Flamers and another with 4 Meltas. I put a Missile on their Rhinos instead of the combi weapon so that when the two separate, there are two good threats instead of one and the Rhino can help open the shell so I can bake the insides golden brown.

    The Dominion ARE NOT as nimble as the Seraphim and they have no real escapability. So getting caught in assaults means you really need 10 of them. The good news is, the REMNANTS that tend to attack them are no better than the remnants attacking the Seraphim, BUT... The Dominions superior numbers will make them as durable and at least give them a shot at better halting the charge through brutal Overwatch and then their actual attacks. Contrary to popular belief, 10 Sisters of Battle can survive a weakened assault and even win one, given that most units are tiny decimal points of their original strength by the time the charge concludes, especially against the Flamers.

    In comparing the two, I would find it impossible to go without Dominion, whereas I feel like I can go without the Seraphim if the points demanded it. So on that basis, the dominion are the better unit. BUT I strongly suggest finding a way NOT to have to choose, and taking them both if the rest of the list will allow it. Seraphim are very good overall and well worth having if Celestine is there. not CRITICAL perse but advisable? you bet!

  3. Hi! Just stumbled across this blog and this post. Recently picked up sisters and LOVING it. But I guess I still don't understand your choice for 10 (wo)man strong dominion squads. Maybe it's just me, but I ALWAYS take a 10 man Seraphim squad with 4 hand flamers with Celestine. I find those points always well spent and just an utterly brutal unit. I just don't see what 10 dominions in a rhino can do that my 5 in an immolator can't. Those extra bodies just feel wasted to me because no matter what, my dominions are immediately focused and killed once they do their damage. I usually run 2 5 man flamers in multi-melta immolators. They hit heavy weapon teams and such and just lay waste to what they touch. I just don't see what having those other 5 bodies does because sisters fold in combat too easily. Thoughts?

  4. Yes I can address that. Out of context i can't tell you which way to go on the units in your force BUT:
    Consider what happens. Dominion Rhino Scouts up. In round 1 it moves 6", drops 10 Dominion out and they fire into the enemy unit while the Rhino makes sure to interpose itself against other targets.

    The REMNANTS are not strong enough to win the combat against 10 Dominion and their Overwatch. So they must retreeat or attack us. If they attack, we overwatch and then fight. 10-3 is pretty good odds, Sisters or no Sisters.

    IN the end if Kyrinov is in the force, they aren't running. So the enemy might have had a chace to overwhelm 56. 10, they cant, not with what they have left and not with Fearless on them from Kyrinov nearby. Mostly the Dominions get to fire at least twice a game because they weren't killed on the assault.

    Seraphim are necessarily made to kind of blast a unit and then finish it, but are somewhat poor at winning combat now. St. Celesting is why they are good. Her combat ability does the tough work. I like Seraphim. I use both in my full army. They are more likly to get killed just because they are usually in the heart of the fighting

    The Relic mission illustrates the need for 10 Sister Dominion Squads though. they need to be able to form walls for as long as we can make them last. 5 Sister Squad wont hold the line against termies but 10 will. The Relic is pretty much the game and no one takes that mission better than Dominion led Sisters.
    Both are awfully good. I think if forced to choose, definitely the Dominions come out on top to me. they are specialist units who do their job well.

  5. Hi I just found this blog and I am interested if you can post one of your Sister of Battle lists?

    It would be really interesting if you could but together a 1850 list and then analyse why you did choose the unit in that list.

    I have quite a lot of Sister models but no idea how to make a proper list that wont die all the time. Been reeding forum posts but cant really get a hang of my Sister army

  6. Oh and now I found your previous post :)

  7. For the reference of others, there is a detailed description of an 1850 list and how it works here:

    I won 3 of the last 4 tournaments I attended using Sisters of Battle and can say that they in no way struggle.


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