- 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.
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:
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: