Friday, October 18, 2013

Codex: Adepta Sororitas

It's here folks and with it, change.  This isn't your grandma's Sisters of Battle codex and it is a whole lot more than a "cut and paste" change to the rules that so many pundits (wrongly) suspected it would be.

I began writing this and realized there was so much to it that I better chop things up a bit.  So this first post will be mostly centered on the HQ and army special rules sections.  I will talk a lot about what has changed in the codex and my thoughts on those changes.

As I moved through the codex, a notable omission caught my attention.  Kyrinov is no longer a named option in the codex!  You can still take a Priest and arm him with the mace of Valaan (which used to be concussive power weapon).  The Mace of Valaan is now solidly a master crafted concussive power mace which when within 6" of a Daemon is also Fleshbane and Armourbane.  So a better weapon in general.  Gone for now is his 6" Fearless bubble (Icon of Chiros), but he can take the Book of St. Lucius which is essentially a 12" fearless bubble.  So he actually can be better than his original form allowed.  Kyrinoiv's 1 in 6 chance to regenerate a Faith Point (Laud Hailer) and the re-roll on Faith tests(Simulacrum Imperialis) are gone.  However they are compensated for by giving him and his unit Fearless and Hatred (through the Zealot Universal Special Rule (USR).  You lose two wounds on the guy as well, but since he is only costing you 55 points with the Mace of Valaan and the book, that can be forgiven.  In addition, I have not even spoken of Priestly Battle Hymns he can use.

The three War Hymns by priests are quite powerful, and free!  They can notably be used every round in the assault phase unlike Acts of Faith (which I will talk about later).  They can make their unit re-roll saves (and with Power Armor, or invul saves, that's big), they can give themselves the smash USR or they can make their unit re-roll failed to wounds (which with STR 3 is also a big deal).  And before you ask, no.  Two Hymns cannot affect the same unit.

They dropped the cost of Priests 20 points, which makes all of this utility incredibly attractive.  Best part is, as before, the Priests occupy no slots, and you can take five of them as before so of all the things in the codex that changed, this was by far the largest decrease in cost for an increase in usefulness that I have seen in Warhammer 40K in an incredibly long time.  Will people take them now?  I can't see why not.

Let's move away from the omissions to the various changes people will notice immediately as they face this fearsome sisterhood.

Acts of Faith are a defining characteristic of the army and in the most recent (White Dwarf) iteration of the army, you needed a 5+ to do Acts of Faith, with various modifiers to that including having a faithful character leading them and/or taking losses.  All the units were "assigned" certain Acts of Faith and then allowed to use them as often as they could pull off the roll of 5+.  I personally found this to be perfectly reasonable way to handle it, just as i found that the way before that (the "Faith pool" of points) to be a fine way to do it...  After ranting to the contrary it is fair to say.  Change can be hard. 

In the new official edition however, the Acts of Faith changed yet again.  Not only can they not choose their Acts of Faith (as they could in the 4E codex) and they are again specific to their unit (as they were in the White Dwarf) but now they are useable but once per game!  To activate them, you make a Leadership Test (which is fine by me, as good as any system).  This nerf sounds worse than it is in some cases, though I suspect the knee jerk reaction by many Sisters players will be as violently vehement as the last change was before they realized that it really wasn't bad at all.  Consider three things before you throw the baby out with the bathwater as Acts of Faith go:
  • Acts of Faith can now be done on the enemy turn!  Time and again, I found myself helplessly watching a unit get butchered by being charged and unable to use an Act of Faith to respond.  The White Dwarf version limited Acts of Faith to your turn and never in your opponents turn.  This was a serious problem at times.  Now, the Acts of Faith are usable, by and large, in the enemies turn, which will let you "time" their use to be more appropriate.  Sisters Repentia really benefit from this new way of doing things, for example.
  • War Hymns are not just usable once per game.  With Priests in your units, it will often be the case that what you lost is more than gained back and the differentiation between Sister Superiors and Veteran Sister Superiors will further allow for the point expenditures and utility of the Priests to become obvious and as it is now an Ecclesiarchy army...
  • Consider the actual number of times you actually USED a particular Act of Faith in any particular unit. Honestly, only Retributers seem to be taking the short end of the stick on this change from an actual frequency of use perspective and possibly the Dominions, as they were high frequency users of their Act of Faith before this change.  Even Dominions will probably be okay because of the Simulacrum Imperialis rules, which was gear they already routinely took in the White Dwarf Codex and will again now.  More on that later.
Now that doesn't mean you won't occasionally have reason to curse that it can't be used more than once per game.  That day is coming.  However, it probably isn't the one-sided nerf most people will paint it as on other blogs and forums, for the reasons i mention.  Time will tell how weighty this change really was.  

What makes the change to Acts of Faith perhaps more bearable is that the Simulacrum Imperialis allows you to do your Act of Faith twice, so long as you keep it alive.  If you don't, you lose the units Act of Faith!  So keeping that flag flying high and proud is job one for some units; a cool concept from a fluff perspective.

In addition, Uriah Jacobus allows you to use yet +1 more Act of Faith with him in your unit.  So obviously, he and St. Celestine will be seeing a lot of action together.  Before you ask, this ability works once for Uriah, so bouncing him from one unit to another as you play won't allow multiple units to reuse their Act of Faith.  Sorry chums.

St. Celestine is a beast.  She allows her fellow Sisters within 12" to use her LD for Acts.  She has the same awesome statline, and her weapon no longer does the wound on a 4+ thing, but instead gets +2 STR.  That will not always be awesome, but will at least help her eliminate paltry opposition that by all rights she should have vanquished rounds ago (like Gaunts).  Hit and run comes stock on her now, which also makes her extremely useful to any assault unit she wants to join.  She therefore no longer needs Seraphim to get her out of the tough "tie her up" combats.  St. Celestine can now operate in a powerful way with units like Celestians, jumping them in and out of combats they don't want to be in for example and allowing them to charge as they should be doing.  It was a gross oversight in the White Dwarf to leave Hit and Run off of her.  Now the 40K world must truly tremble at her passing!  Her price went up 20 points but so what.  Still worth it.

Since we're on the subject of HQ's, I think we should also talk about Uriah.  He's the baddest of the bad when it comes to Priests.  Just look at the immense list of USR's and special goodies he brings with him, shall we?  Fearless, Hatred, and the Indomitable Belief Warlord Trait (5+ invuls for his unit) if you choose not to use the Celestine Acts of Faith bubble Trait instead; a free Act of Faith for a unit, Martydom (Adepta Sororitas rule for HQ's wherein if they die, everyone auto-passes morale tests until the end of your next turn), 12" Banner that gives +1 attack and re-rolls for morale, fear and pinning checks...  Zowee.  The dude is awesome.  Oh and by the way?  He has the War Hymns too.  Geez louise...  

What amazes me is I am this far down the page and there's still more for you to know just on the HQ side of life.  Both Uriah and Celestine come with their awesome sauce Warlord Traits (which I mention above in that text wall that grows by the moment) and you're likely to want them.  But I am happy to report that the Canoness is actually worth taking too which makes a Warlord Trait chart at least relevant enough to bring it up a little later!  They really poured a lot into the HQ section here so bear with me.

The Canoness was much maligned and in any event, easily edged out for more "useful" HQ's in most lists.  In 4E it was not so, but in this brave new world of 40K?  The Canoness was an afterthought and that's being kind.  I can count on one hand, and I include my unorthodox self in that count, how many times I saw anyone use a Canoness from the White Dwarf edition.  I happened to like what she and her staff could do, but can easily see why others did not give her a chance.  

The new Canoness has a lot going for her though.  PLEASE NOTE:  there WILL be controversy over her ability to take multiple items from the Ecclesiarchy Relics list because of the poor wording, which is noted and discussed below in the comments.  She's really a carbon copy of the White Dwarf Canoness in cost but she possesses more options than before and that makes her dangerous.  Her Rosarius went down by 10 points which was a MUCH needed change.  She can now gain re-rolls to her saves (Cloak of Aspira) and gain Eternal Warrior from the Mantle of Ophelia.  Couple with her natual invul save which can be made into a 5+ with the Warlord Trait Uriah grants (Indomitable Belief) and you have one hard to kill Canoness. She regained access to eviscerators!  Hooray!  And lest you forget, the Book of St. Lucius is ridiculously awesome, as it was before, and VERY affordable at 5 points.  A Canoness with cloak, Mantle, Book and Eviscerator is 135, same as St. Celestine, so one has to give the nod to Celestine for the points, but they are different enough in what they do that you can see uses for both.  But what made the Canoness a decent choice in the White Dwarf and still now, is her Sororitas Command Squad.

The Sororitas Command Squad dropped by 35 points, which is not a small thing.  In addition, the Dialogus became more useful than it was before and that was also not a small thing.  Now you have a unit with Feel No Pain from its Hospitallar, 3 Celestians, a dialogus that has the Laud Hailer (2 Acts of Faith instead of 1 per game) and the price for the Simulacrum came down by 10 points also; plus it's now a 12" radius instead of just affecting the unit!  This could be a VERY important unit to have at the center of your approach as you are attempting all those Acts of Faith at a critical time, and the price is definitely improved.  Actually, to be honest, the price for the way this unit was normally built went down in another way also:  The Immolators 65 point base cost came down 5 points and its weapon options are FREE now!  So this squads value has just really risen with the reduction in the cost to deliver it to the battlefield where it needs to go.  Also I noticed that the whole unit can take Meltabombs.  Yahoo.  Great for fighting a Monstrous creature with a Hatred fueled charge or perhaps bombing an IG tank Squadron.  Good times.

All of a sudden, that Canoness and her Act of Faith The Passion (which grants Hatred) looks so much more affordable than before when viewed through the lens of the unit that she unlocks.  The utility of that unit at the center of the fray is pretty impressive, popping out of her Immolator and leading the battle cry for a lot less points than before.  I'm eager to try it.

The second command squad you could go with if you wish is the dreaded Battle Conclave.  Each Priest unlocks a unit of these monsters of nightmares past.  Arco Flagellants form the core of the unit, minimum of 3 as before and you can switch them out for the Assassin or the Crusader for the appropriate cost.  The cost of the unit went down significantly.  The arcos are reduced in cost by 1/3, while the others stayed the same cost.  So if you built yours like I did (4 Arcos, 4 Assassins, and 2 Crusaders) you would find that your cost has dropped 20 points for the unit.  One change that was interesting is that the Assassins no longer have two Power weapons.  They are now specifically Power Swords.  I must assume that this is literal since it was written for 6E.  Regardless, this unit was a serious performer for me when they got out there.

Well I think I have said enough here on the HQ section.  Hope you enjoyed reading it and Happy Hunting.  I will say more on the rest of the Codex here:


  1. We need to get a game in so you can test the new codex, and I can break my 40K drought!

    1. Of course. Lets do that. They are a fun army. I won 4 of my first 5 tournies using the White Dwarf version. I'm going to like using the new version. Lers do this!!!

  2. The changes are big enough that I need more time to digest them all, but on the whole I'm much less positive than you. Losing any units with such a small starting list makes no sense to me, especially since Kyrinov has a dedicated model and is still included in the fluff! I'm also amazed that there is no anti-aircraft added-- even just allowing Sisters to use existing flyer models or an additional Exorcist option. Sure, the units mostly got cheaper points, but lost too much-- having Penitent Engines go from 5 average attacks to 3 makes them even worse, and Arcoflagellants also lost an attack. I'm trying to be positive (or at least neutral) about the new codex but I just don't see how it compares with the other 6ed codexes. I'd be curious to see your take on a list or two-- I do want to play some games with the hope that I'll be pleasantly surprised.

    1. Sure. I'll be working on that soon as you'd imagine. A lot to consider so I may just do a "one of everything" list and test it out like I usually do. It is surprising how well that worked for Sisters.

  3. The canoness can only use one relic - so cannot use the mantle, cloak and book approach - soz :(

    1. "A model can take only one of the following". You are right... Canoness still sucks.

    2. Actually it doesn't read that way, in the interests of correctitude. It says "A model can take one of the following. Only one of each Ecclesiarchy Relic can be taken per army". just to be clear, the wotd only doesn't exist in that first sentence.

      No other army restricts its base commander/Captain/Et al to one piece of special wargear. None. An FAQ is needed and one hopes that players will in the meantime use common sense in allowing the Canoness to carry the accouterments of her station. I think more likely, this will be a raging debate by those who want to nerf a Sisters player to the extent possible and those who play them as most likely intended. Taking an entire retinue of Priests into a unit just to carry the different items makes little sense, especially the defensive ones like the cloak and mantle, but also the Book of St. Lucius, a 5 point piece of wargare instead of taking Awesome Sword, when GrandMasters can be armed with Psychotroke, Rad, and blind grenades, a force weapon of multiple varieties, and an endless list of other things? I dunno man. While I cannot successfully argue that those reading this are seeing it incorrectly, my common sense tells me that they don't mean to restrict her to just one of these options. And you certaily wouldn't put many of those things on the Priests! I mean come ON!

    3. No restrictions to special war gear? So far all codecies read: A model may replace ONE weapon (as in one not two,three etc) with ONE of the following. Then usually there is a piece that does not replace a weapon. (Armour indomitus for example) I haven't seen the sister's update but comparing it to something that dissproves your point isn't the way to go.

    4. You might want to note that priest unit entriez specify that they can take ITEMS from the relics. So why would they give that to priests and not the canoness. Makes no sense. I think it an error while acknowledging (for the third time) that those reading it are right: the unfortunate wording is there.

    5. Under the army list it says canoness can take items from melee, ranged and relic lists but then it says in the war gear that a model can take one of the following,, I guess I'm not sure what to do take more or take one

    6. While the Canoness entry does say "may take items..." the relic section states very clearly "A model can take one of the following" so only a single relic may be taken from the Ecclesiarchy Relics, and only one of each Relic may be in the army. The reason it says "may take items" is because it lists more than just the Relic section. The Relic section then informs you of the single item limitation.

  4. There is no doubt that priests will add alot as BB allies - other than cheap priests what did we get?

  5. You got:
    Less Expensive Exorcist.
    5 Man Squads, which is enormously impactful because:
    TL MultiMelta Immolators just dropped through the floor in price.
    You got a Celestian Command Sqaud worth taking.
    HQ's saw a lot of changes which this article addressed.
    Dominions were already good and their Act of Faith now marks them as a serious threat to monsters who try to use cover shinanigans to avoid taking their come-up-ons. Lost a tourney because a damn toe in the forest saved a big beasty that by all rights should have been dead twice over. Things like that are not soon forgotten!
    Celestine now gets hit and run on her own. Really big and important change.
    Being able to amp up the Shield of Faith is awesome.

    And the list goes on.

    This is not a bad thing on any front other than insofar as perhaps the number of Faith Acts we can do.

  6. I think I would be playin a list very similar to what I always played with just a few modifications. SoB/IG still seem the best combo.

    uriah 100
    3x priests, 1 plasma, 2 power axe 160
    2x battle conclave, 5 crusaders, 4 Arcos, rhino (power axe priest in each) 310
    20 sisters, 2 flamer heavy flamer, simalacrum (uriah) 185
    5 sisters, flamer, heavy flamer, combi-flamer, immolator, tl mm 145 (plasma priest here)
    2x 5 dominions, 4 meltagun, combi-melta, immolator, tl mm 350
    - that is 1245 -

    Now add just enough IG to get a few Vendettas - you have 505 points to play with.

    lord commisar 70
    marbo 65
    platoon 115
    1*Platoon Command Squad - 3 flamers
    1* infantry squad - flamer, commisar, power axe
    2* vendetta 260
    - that is 505 -

    So for 1850 add an AGL for 100 points and call it a day.

  7. I assume you mean two infantry squads?

    I find little to criticize here. I'd be more inclined to take a Primaris Psyker but other than that, it looks solid enough. It doesn't rely much on the typcial stuff, like Exorcists and Celestine, but it still packs serious punch and bulk, mixe with a lot of armor to kill. Adding the Aegis is about perfect. Triple Drakes will be done for against a force that has both the Aegis and a pair of Vindettas patrolling the skies.

    One suggestion. A command squad wit hthe Officer of the Fleet might help you better get the jump on enemy flyers.

  8. I'm pretty new to 40k and can only use what I have so I had this list at 1500,
    Canoness , combiflamer,rosarisous,cloak of st aspira,melta bomb
    Command squad,
    2flamers,2heavy flamers,melta bombs,MM immolator. Total 295

    Dominion squad,
    Vet superior, plas pistol, 3 x meltas, simulacrum, extra sister and MM immolator. Total 203

    Superior, power sword, 2x flamer pistols and extra seraphim. Total 135

    Agis line with quad gun. 100 pts

    10 battle sisters,
    Superior vet, power sword, heavy bolter. Total 155
    10 battle sisters,
    Superior vet, power sword, heavy bolter. Total 155
    8 battle sisters,
    Superior vet, heavy bolter and rhino, total 171

    Exorcist with storm bolter,
    Exorcist with storm bolter. Total 260

    1500pts with change, I could maybe put Celestine in too if I cut some fat out put the main idea is to camp my objectives and steal one of theirs with the rest in a combined assault

    1. Place the three heavy Bolters into a Retributors squad. That would be my first suggestion. Placing them in Sisters squads isn't wise given how often they will need to move and how often you will want to place them in reserve for objective hunting. Perhaps the 8 Sisters squad could become home to the Heavy Bolters. That gives them the Quadgun and 3 Heavy Bolters to fire down on enemies. A Rending Quadgun once a game sounds cool.

      Try desperately to get a Simulacrum in the Retributor Squad i just mentioned. Rending Quad gun twice sounds better.

      My only other suggestion if you have the points is to also think about a Rhino or two for the Sisters of Battle units. They really benefit a lot from being protected like that, especially when they are allowed to be reserved.

    2. Just a follow up on that list , I cut out all the upgrade stuff, added the heavy bolters to a ret squad and squeezed in Celestine. Celestine was my warlord and played my first game at 1500 against Elder. It was a hard game, he head main deep strike and infiltrating units which really put me on the defensive but the two exorcists took out two wave serpants before the went down. Over all my sisters did well and we almost wiped him from the board by the end of a six turn fight, securing the highest victory locations.

    3. Good to hear that it went well. Exorcists usually don't disappoint. I only use 1 or two ( usually 2) and its usually enough when set beside a manticore. With the new codex, I am reconsidering all facets. Change can be good.

  9. I am now preparing the second installment of this blog serious on the Adepta Sororitas. Stay tuned. Should be done between now and tomorrow sometime. Sorry for the delay but there's been an explosion of commentary elsewhre as well as some updates to the Codex, so in the interests of sort of including some of the valuable knowledge I'm gleaning, I've deleayed the unit by unit analysis, but I promise you it will be editfying.

  10. I must disagree with your assesment. The new codex is a box of fail wrapped in more failure. NO flyers worse nothing to deal with flyers at all. The Hq slot got spayed.THe SC's are marginaly worth taking.Priest are an autotake now. Worse the elites troops and infantry models went up in points for a 10 sister squad. Elites became worthless to even entertain the notion of taking.
    This is the first codex I have seen that to really be competive forces you to take allies . If gw wanted to get ride of them cancel them not antagonize the few SOB left.

    1. Marvin, welcome. You are obviously free to disagree. But I haven't written my unit analysis yes. Just HQ's and rules mostly. I like Sisters Repentia at their new price. Celestians were not loved, as before, but the inquisition book may have opened some serious options. I'm going to wi. With them at tournies. I hope to get chances soon.

    2. Your thesis of the sisters so far is sound and fair. I disagree with the repentia the price drop is besides the point when the current rules for the edition making assault units wasted points. They lack armor toughness and in general ability to make it to the assault. Celestians are wasted space battle sisters do the job better cheaper and more importantly are a troop choice. They will stay a novelty unit.

      The inquistorial codex coming out might make the current sisters codex useful. They have ties to the inquisition so I see them being blood brothers. They will need to have a flyer to contend with the other codices of this edition as flyer have become a staple of the game.

    3. A flyer was a surprising ommission from the Sisters codex since there is a Forge World one they could have used. I think that the Vindettas are a wonderful alternative though so I think it's fair to say that they dont lack an aerial option. And in light of the Supplement for Inquisition coming out... I think they got the bases covered.

  11. Part II is up! Check it out:

  12. Am I the only one whose first thought was "now we need a dedicated anti-Adepta Sororitas army with tons of special rules that cancel all these Acts of Faith, Hymns and Holy Relics just for the sheer fun of watching them trying to hold their ground without it?" :|

    More seriously, I think it's high time for a Night Lords codex. With all the armies that just keep spamming one absurd special rule after another, Night Lords could finally get out of the "fear and terror" box as a dedicated de-buff army. No fancy over-the-top awesome-and-win rules, but the contrary: The abilities to rob their enemies of their strengths and switch their oh-so-precious special rules off, or turn them into weaknesses. I'd so love to see them done that way.

    *ekhem* Sorry for getting off topic.

  13. Follow the blog. I'm a big fan of Night Lords. It is the Chaos army that most appeals to me. Maybe because they are least beholden to any one deity and are just good old fashioned villainous. But as for how that correlates to them interacting w special rules, it would have to be done carefully.


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