Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Coming of the Adepta Sororitas

The rumors are flying thick now.  People have physically viewed the new Canoness and there is now credible evidence of the Sisters of Battle being wrought in the foundries of Games Workshop.

This is pleasing to me on multiple levels.  The first is that the CEO of the company which changed last year, has really seemed to be more in touch with the fans as a fan base.  he is giving us what we want and we are consuming it at record pace.  The company is doing well again and not in small part to the change in tone from the company and the added responsiveness they are showing in their FAQ's and their approach to them.

The Adepta Sororitas have been a really awesome looking army for a long time and suffered from mediocre rules for a long time.   The question for GW has always been "is there even a market for this".  I think they have allowed the poor sales of the Adepta Sororitas drown out the basic advice the players have been giving to GW for a literal decade:  make them plastic.  We would buy them if they were plastic, pose-able, and if the aesthetic elements SOME don't like could be changed without an incredible amount of conversion work.  The fans have been telling GW point blank what it would take to get them to buy this army.  those things are, in no particular order:

Celestians that don't suck.  These may easily go down in GW history as the biggest failure to find a place for a unit that has ever been seen. Celestians have been almost unusable for every edition they have been in and they only VERY briefly got close to getting it right when the White Dwarf allowed them to go relentless with their Multi-meltas.  One hopes for greater things here.  Possibly a second troops choice.

Penitent Engines that can compete with any of the Imperial variants on any level.  Here again they briefly kind of got it right when the White Dwarf was out and the Penitent Engines became faster.  Speed would be a very acceptable trade off for the range and initiative hit these monsters take. People aren't loading up on power fists like they used to (not even close, as that used to be a GIVEN in units before 6th Edition).  So it would make sense to take these and improve them.  And these things are made of metal and i mean they are hard as hell to keep together.  I own three and I kind of gave up trying to keep them glued.  when you have to resort to epoxy to make it happen you know its time for Plastic.

Arco-Flagellants were the hidden jewel in the Witch Hunters Codex but were relegated to insignificance in every other version.  They were the original Flayed Ones, only better.  STR 5 Power Weapons with D6 attacks was simply awesome.  Invul save from the drugs they were on was great too.  The Deathcult Assassins now fill this role in every way except STR, and so they had to come up with a way to incorporate the Arco-Flagellants and frankly, they kind of failed.  The horror of the Arco Flagellants suggests Fear would be a good upgrade for them.  but something significant should be done.  Any thoughts on that?  share them below!

I personally like the Sisters Repentia and their Synergies with the Canoness and the High Priest himself, Uriah.  I have turned that into a hell of a unit.  A points reduction could help but the unit more or less works well.  I might suggest that their 3+ FnP becomes a +2 bonus to their Shield of Faith for the round they activate it.

The Canoness needs to be able to take more gear.  She would be much more sought after if she could gear up more but as they call the war gear "artifacts" and she can only take one, it's very limiting in her value and I think that simple change could go a long way.  Like Tau Commanders and their Signature Systems, Canoness needs to be a Swiss army knife that can assist all her units in some synergistic way.  A deep look at her war gear and making it mesh with every unit in the codex would be great.

Uriah is already awesome.

The Sororitas Command Squad was actually decent in the White Dwarf despite the opinions of those who thought otherwise (not that they ever even tried it).  I think they need to make this a real centerpiece possibility for the army.  Also, being specifically Celestians (that don't suck) which get the Celestian ability along with the Command groups ability would be a step in the right direction.  Currently it SAYS they are Celestians, yet they do not actually let you have the Celestian Act of Faith for them.  It might definitely make Celestians more interesting in the Command Squad.

Formations are a super obvious area that Sisters lack in.  Of all the Codex's that would benefit heavily from a Battle Company style of formation, this one definitely is in that mix.  The Sisters of Battle as currently written excel as a mechanized column.  They thrive in that way.  Thy carry the same firepower or better in some cases as Space Marines but with stats that are far less stellar.  Still, this means that like Skitarii, they bring the pain early and often, they weather losses at least half way decent and then do it again.  So any kind of relief on the costs of transports is going to help.  Optionally if reliving the error that is Battle Companies isn't something GW wants to do (and lord knows I question their restraint butcha never know) I think that increasing the Shield of Faith saves via a formation could be just as good.  Imagine being able to roll the thunder forward and getting a 5+ Invul save, which makes the open terrain as good as any cover and better because it does not require terrain checks at that point.  Another concept if they stay with the armored column as the preferred way to play them, would be to offer them a once per game option to assault from their dedicated (only) transports.  While assault isnt the forte of the Sisters of Battle I can promise you it is the forte of CERTAIN Sisters of Battle and of course the possibility of an improved Celestian Squad could improve that utility.

I also would find it fascinating if they could create Formations around the concept of Faith itself.  For example, the Martyrdom mechanic which has always been with the Sisters of Battle is very cool.  what might they do in a Formation to accentuate this central theme of the force?  Thoughts?  Leave them below!

As you can see from this list, the Codex is marred with imperfections or omissions, none of which requires extensive help and all of which make for a visually impressive army.  Even despite these challenges I have won far more than I have lost with Sisters of Battle and can tell you that the appetite for this army is there, lurking in the shadows.  Like the Tau Empire which was maligned like crazy in every edition until the 6th edition, the buyers will come out to play if you make the Codex competitive with the super powers of the landscape, Eldar Scatter Bike spam, Space Marine Battle Companies and things like the Tau Empire dual Riptide Wing type lists.