Friday, June 13, 2014

Adepta Sororitas in 7E

The Adepta Sororitas is a powerful force for good in a darkening universe filled with the grim realities of endless war.  Everywhere there is despair, but within the halls of the Sisters of Battle lies the hope and salvation of an embattled people.  Without their guidance, surely the Inquisitors would have long since run amok and the people have given in to their hopeless futures.

In 7th edition, the Adepta Sororitas have become another thing yet again.  They've seen a lot of turmoil since their last codex became a White Dwarf (actually two White Dwarfs, annoyingly enough) and then to its current form.  In between these changes were THREE different editions!  Needles to say the Adepta Sororitas have likely been the most affected by the winds of change in the 40K universe.

The good news?  They weathered it well.   Those intrepidly adventurous sorts who dare to wield their majesty have found victory after glorious victory, to the sound of a stunned and speechless silence afterwards.  They are under rated on a constant basis and despite notable Generals and their success with them, I daresay any forum you go to will characterize them by and large as "mid tier at best".  Those are ironic words because that's been said since 4th Edition despite all evidence to the contrary.  People continue to be left with mouth agape after being inexplicably crushed by their mailed fists though.

I mostly wanted to pontificate on the army as 7th Edition comes into full swing.

My initial observation when the newest Codex came along was that they had gone from a very good horde-like force to an even better armored corps with occasionally horde-like elements added..  6th edition hated on vehicles a little but this was still my feeling even despite that.

With 7th edition I had to admit:  Sisters of Battle were IDEALLY suited to take advantage of Armour!

The Heavy supports got a LOT better.  The Penitent Engine became MUCH better.  Harder to kill than before and of course, like all Sisters of Battle units, they Deny the Witch on a 5+  Further, they  are REALLY going to be a load for enemies to drop economically.  That is really the key word there.  It isn't that they are not killable but that they are now going to cost the enemy a LOT more resources to take them down, proportionally than the enemy wishes they did.

The same basic thing is true of Exorcists and the new damage tables, and the Rhinos:  harder to kill and no more expensive than they were before.

The advantage that Sisters of Battle have is their price.  Though nothing is there to be lauded in their stat lines, they have always been a value buy, and in the economics of 7th Edition, that matters because the lower cost of the units means more possible mobility.  A Space Marine unit that wants to get its unit to the front line pays as little as 175 points to get a 10 man squad into good firing position with a Rhino.  Sisters of battle pay 160.  Unlike the more expensive Space Marines, the Sisters of Battle are there to shoot and are able to fall back from melee to leave their enemies in the open whereas the Space Marines rarely can.  And while no one likes to see their unit pulverized, let's face it, a 5+ save against the Psychic horrors of the universe and the Invulnerable save the Space marines lack certainly make the Sisters of Battle a potentially more hearty army against some forces!  Not only that but their shooting is generally better thanks to their Acts of Faith.  Over the course of many units, those extra points saved start to mount up.  Plus you can get the special Weapons you want from Sisters of Battle even with only 5 Sister units, a luxury Space Marines don't have.  The indignities the Sisters suffer in close combat are unfortunate but as long as you are metering your losses out carefully, you will find that you outnumber and outmaneuver such forces.

In 7th Edition, outmaneuvering the enemy is a thing.  The Tactical Objectives act like magnets, so where they are placed MATTERS.  Depending on the Adepta Sororitas force you're fielding, you might find a lot of value in placing the objectives in the open.  This might seem counter intuitive but consider that you're scoring units are PROLIFIC when you take Rhinos for your troops to bounce around in.  They SCORE and have the Objective Secured rule.  You can win a battle of exchanges if it comes to it.  Sheer number of units and their speed (and flat out moves) coupled with the lesser RISK (lower cost units) in the risk/reward calculation of venturing into the open means that the enemies suffer more from taking chances than you do.  The Adepta Sororitas give you an excellent gambling edge.  In a dice game, you want the gamblers edge.

7th Edition created a Psyker phase which had little impact on the positive side of the ledger.  The Adepta Sororitas force does not stop, so much as RESIST such power and that was pretty much always the case.  The Inquisition can provide some anti-psyker ability if needed and many benefits besides.  Notice that the rules for Warlords changed.  You can take Coteaz and a couple low cost melta units in Rhinos as your Primary Detachment and make him the Warlord.  He not only adds Psyker juice on defense, but he can roll (and re-roll) on the Warlord traits Strategic Traits table.  That makes a lot of sense for him because of the Strategic Trait Strategic Genius, which adds 1 to the attempt to seize initiative!  The Psyker phase will not be a place the Adepta Sororitas ever really competes in a big way but choosing his as the Primary Detachment gives you a great synergistic leader and at least the possibility of Psyker defense on a preferred unit.

In 7th Edition, the Adepta Sororitas forces are now more susceptible to assault but are now reliably better at it also.  Some overlook the pistols Sisters of Battle are now equipped with.  But imagine what a 20 sister squad can do:  they shoot their pistols and flamers.  Once done, they charge.  The Sacred Banner of the order Militant gives the unit +1 attack.  Now imagine Uriah leading the unit with his Zealot rule.  You're getting 3 attacks on the charge from the run of the mill Sisters of battle, and re-rolling misses on the charge!  THAT friends is a crushing blow and about 15+ wounds against Tough 4.  Even better, Uriah gives the unit Counter Attack which no longer requires a leadership check so one way or the other they are hitting you.

Celestians, which were the unit which was envisioned to take advantage of this would get 4 attacks on the charge at STR 4, re-rolling to hits.  That's 15+ wounds against tough 4 just on the strength of the actual Celestians attacks.  They do it on a LOT fewer points than the 20 Sister Squad.  Blobs are harder to maneuver and easier to charge, easier to hit.  So is it possible that Celestians are a better choice than a blob for close combat?Not on the defensive since their Act of Faith makes them STR 4 only in their own Assault phase.  But it is remarkably cheaper for the job, offensively, by at least 100 points.  You can't ignore that kind of savings.

Clearly Battle Conclaves are a more moving option for melee.  They're quite adaptable and can take on a lot of different threat types.  The one type they can't excel at can be handled by Sisters Repentia.  Here again, anyone within 12" of the Sacred Banner of the Order Militant get the +1 Attack and that makes Sisters Repentia scary.  They already posses the Rage rule, so as it stands, they get 4 on the charge.  With the Banner, five?  Hole frejole's!  You just don't need that many of them to handle business and do work.  A wall of Rhinos is the answer here again.  With the army of Rhinos you can command in this army, hiding and protecting the Sisters Repentia is not really a feat.  The enemy in Maelstrom Missions will not be able to focus on them anyways necessarily unless happenstance dictates that they happen to be near the objective the enemy needs, further protecting them.  I like Sisters Repentia a lot.  They get no love but man...

Of course, to have the banner you have to have a Sororitas Command Squad, another unit that isn't particularly popular because it in turn requires the Canoness.  This chain reaction of requirements rankles some.  I would point out however that you're not getting nothing from the investment.  The Sororitas Command Squad is a decent enough hammer against a lot of units and it will rarely be found without a Priest.  So the unit isn't going anywhere unless it feels like it and the Smash War Hymn gives AP 2 regardless of the weapon you wield so the Priest is even good as he comes with 4 attacks on the charge, 5 with the banner.  For 25 points, whose complaining?

I like the look of the army and had my first game with it in the new Edition.  It was as devastating as I remembered it being.  I think Adepta Sororitas forces have a lot of victories ahead of them.

15 comments:

  1. Your post inspires me to continue building up my Adeptus Sororitas force, thank you for fortifying my faith.

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    1. Its'...what we do here! I'll post my Sisteers of Battle army up once I play test it a little more. It certainly felt quite capable of handling its business to me!

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  2. I must say, it's getting more and more tempting to start an Adepta Sororitas force, especially considering the conversion possibilities they have. Though, it might be best not to get side-tracked all too much with the whole Astra Militarum list I'm attempting to construct, but... Conversions are always fun to do anyway. Aside from that, interesting article, though I would like to point out you've left out half the math in some of your calculations causing the lovely Sisters to seem more favorable than they are in a few circumstances, and while I agree with the article, I recommend to be a tiny bit more skeptical in some instances. But yes, Rhino walls and the Sisters' staying power seems to really do it for them in Maelstrom of War! They are, after all, cheap power armor with loads of AT so to speak and 7th edition asks armies to do exactly that. Well written Unorthodoxy. Oh and: Arco Flagellants with a Dark Angels librarian and Force Field. Sure, the Force Field affects the enemy unit, but at that point it becomes a contest who can pump out the most close combat attacks, and I'm certain Arco Flagellants would win with their 4+ Invuln and Feel No Pain. Alternatively, get the Repentia to give that Librarian some love, I'm sure he ain't a hater.

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    1. Be about p[ossibility, not about limitations, I like to say!

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  3. I love it. Im stoked for a in town tourney as in playing my sisters and saw firsy hand the strength of the penitent engines + immolators. Exorsists are great, but i found it lackig in fire power oddly haha.

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    1. Yes the Exorcist can be the most expensive Meltagun in the 40K universe and taking just one is a waste...or is it? While I played the horde version of the Witch Hunter Codex, I found it to be one of the best Red Herrings in the universe. It was 9and is) unimportant whether it fores in that scenario because you take it to expend enemy resources on killing it. Its only job is to stay alive as long as it can and scare the enemy into worrying 200-400 points worth of his army with it. Beleive me, having just one can have value because while YOU know you don't plan to use it much, the enemy can't know that nor take for granted that you won't get a little lucky with it. Anything can have a valuable purpose if you look hard enough.

      As for Immolators, They definitely have a place in an Adepta Sororitas army but their use is somewhat overshadowed by the relative position on the field you end up needing them to assume. It's no great feat to kill 3 in a round and when that happens, those tiny units inside (if they even have any) sadly dont stay battle Relevant much longer than their transport did. Theres no room for ablative wounds to keep special weapons and such alive. What you give up can sometimes feel like its not worth it. Immolators are pretty scary when you arm them with Hunter Killer Missiles. That makes for one HECK of a first round of firepower, or one heck of a Reserve wave of firepower depending on how they get used.

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  4. Sisters Death Star, jacobus as warlord, 20x battle sisters with 1x Meltagun 1x Multimelta, Sevrin Loth (Bio: iron arms, enfeeble, endurance), inquisitor Hereticus with psycollum and mastery 1 divination. So unit is 3+/5++, 4+ FNP eternal warrior, relentless. They scout up 6" and basically have storm bolters with prescience and enfeebled at their disposal. Clocks in just under 600 points, but ruins infantry as you can charge in after a rapid fire. Good luck!

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    1. That is a lot of death all in one wrapper. It can actually be made even stronger than this if you're willing to commit.

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  5. Actually, after a play test, I have a revision to make, use Celestine as warlord instead (hit and run), use two regular priests to get both reroll wounds and saves, use a henchmen squad from inquisition (6x crusaders, 3x PG acolytes, 2x DCA, 1x psyker). Even more resilient than before and now the ability to get out of tarpits. Combine tgat with immo spam and exorcists and you have a rockin' list.

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    1. Not a huge fan of Immolator spam due to cost and the abiliy you already have to fire from inside rhinos plus their superior capacity BUT yeah.

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  6. Well the immo spam is mostly due to the lack of skyfire with sisters. With the new vehicle damage table, it should up their surviability slightly. Plus all those stray shots have quite the sting with AP1 now.

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    1. Immolators are truly better than they were and I dont mean to be altogether dismissive of them. Whenever I put them in the list and points start to get tight, I don't find it difficult to turn them into Rhinos in most cases and the results I've enjoyed with this particular army using the "ubiquitous Rhino". I think part of that comes fro mthe fact that I don't tend to use the minimally sized squads favored by some Generals because I love the grenades they get and that even in diminished numbers they can press on and wreak havoc on the enemy in ways smaller units can't always. In the case of Sisters of Battle when you're using them in smaller units which I think is fine, I find myself sort of not excited about increasing the investment on them further than their shells. Anti-air is a good reason to consider the Immolators, but look at how many you need to mathematically down an AV 12 flyer, keeping in mind you have vertical distance to consider even for Multimeltas for getting into "Juice range".

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  7. Well considering fliers hover between AV 11-12, I'm not really worried about melta range specifically. I usually fill my immolators to capacity due to being T3 models as well. Other than that, I find the Immolator to be an underdog fighting platform.

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  8. What about the Repressor? We've gotten a lot of mixed messages from GW, including a sisters vs chaos expansion. Forgeworld models have become far more common in tournament settings (I see armies with Forgeworld knights to specialty tanks en mass now) but at the same time both the immolator and repressor have simultaneously gone out of stock almost world wide.

    That said looking at it the repressor is an amazing transport. 3 fire ports per side, storm bolter and heavy flamer, "free" dozer blade oh and front armour 13.

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    1. The Repressors are good. I tend to shy completely away from Forge World rules, but as for it's actual usefulness, one cannot really argue it. Repressors are excellent. I suspect the kit and/or expansion will be a Repressor/Immolator kit. They could even possible include the Exorcist in the kit, actually. That would be interesting (if unlikely). The thing that makes it more likely is the way they now package Imperial Knights separately with their own pictures on them even though its the same kit. I think that's the direction I'd expect. A box that SAYS Exorcist a box that SAYS Immolator, etc... But is all those things. A Repressor is a logical thing to do. if they balance it then I'd be pleased.

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