Support groups for Sisters of Battle are all over the internet. From the Yahoo Group through to Facebook and everything in between. I call them “Support groups” because Sisters of Battle players are the lost step-children of the Warhammer 40000 universe.
No model updates since 2003 (some of the current range was first released in 1997!), an all metal army and no real Codex since the old Witchhunters days means that Sisters of Battle players are a committed bunch. They staunchly battle on in spite of everyone getting new Codices, rules and models. And for the most part, they are the silent minority. Rumors abound about a new Codex and model updates. Many Sisters of Battle players believe the Emperor himself will get up off the Throne before there are additions to the range.
It’s interesting to see how the Sisters of Battle play on the table. Apart from the ubiquitous Exorcist tank and Heavy Bolter armed Retributor squads, the majority of the army fights effectively from 24″ to 12″ away and are mediocre, at best, in assault.
With the changes in rules regarding vehicle movement and embarking/disembarking, the range is a little more elastic and the experienced Sister of Battle will know how to maximize the effectiveness of the army using dedicated transports.
I found the following battle report on Facebook and was inspired to get in touch with the player and get some more information regarding the game and the army list.
Justin was awesome, allowing me to have a chat about the game and his army. Justin is a Sisters player from New Jersey. He “enjoys long walks on the beach and the smell of burning heretics”. By day he designs tabletop games in the spare time that isn’t devoted to Warhammer and, like many of us, works a lot to pay for his toy soldiers. He is a self confessed “Hipster Imperium” player: All codices that no one plays or has including Militarum Tempestus, Legion of the Damned, Sisters, and Inquisition.
Up until recently there hasn’t been too much of a local scene until a FLGS (East Coast Gamers) opened up and suddenly there is a wealth of gaming to be had. Along with two friends, he organizes the Warhammer 40000 games there.
I asked him a bit about his background, how he got into the hobby and his background with Sisters of Battle:
I’ve been playing since late fifth edition, I’d have to say around 4 years now. My stepfather played in 3rd edition, and it was he who got me into this hobby in the first place. When I was 16 he gave me all his old chaos models. It wasn’t until I could drive that I actually played the game much. My first game was a disaster, with me totally not understanding the game at all, the worst of which was when I had Kharn the Betrayer Deep Strike in. I ran what my stepdad had been running, which was berserker based chaos. I also picked up a few Slaaneshi models, but I’ve never actually played them against anyone.
Like all good Sisters of Battle players he has dallied with other forces, but always returned to the fold. And like all good Sisters of Battle players, he sold his army before seeing the error of his ways and had to buy it all back. Currently Justin can field an 1850 point army with a few options, including Saint Celestine (who is grossly underpowered compared to previous version!).
Justin has always been super drawn to the religious zealotry that is the Sisters of Battle calling card. When not playing Sisters of Battle, he played Chaos, before Sisters again. “Something about super devoted space battle nuns burning the ever living hell out of everything that disagrees with them just sits right with me.”
His Sisters of Battle list looked like this:
Primary Detachment: Adepta Sororitas
- HQ: Saint Celestine
- ELITES: Repentia Squad with mistress, mistress’ melta bomb and 9 Repentias
- TROOPS: Battle Sister Squad, Veteran sister with combimelta powersword and melta bombs
Battle Sister Squad, Veteran sister with combimelta powersword and melta bombs
- FAST ATTACK: Seraphim squad with x2 Inferno pistols, 9 seraphim, and a seraphim superior
- HEAVY SUPPORT: Exorcist
Retributor Squad with simulcrum, 4 heavy flamers, and a veteran superior with normal bolter and bolt pistol
- DEDICATED TRANSPORT:
Immolator with twin linked multimelta
Rhino with Dozer blades, Extra Armour, HK missle, Laud Hailer, and Storm bolter
- NO FORCE ORG: Ministorum Priest with Eviscerator and Plasmagun
Ministorum Priest with Eviscerator and Plasmagun
Ministorum Priest with Eviscerator and Plasmagun
- HQ: Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor with power armour, a nullrod, an inferno pistol, a psyocculum, and the Liber Heresis(warlord)
- ELITES: Henchmen Warband: 2xCrusaders, x1 Mystic
- DEDICATED TRANSPORT: Land Raider
Total of 1850 points
In 1850 point battles, there is more scope to add some more toys. One of the things that drew my attention to Justin’s game was that he used both Repentia and Seraphim.
In a Sisters of Battle force, there is the auto-include Saint Celestine; Seraphim become the natural complement and ablative armour for her as the Seraphim have jump packs that allow them to keep up with the Saint. Celestine is still a bit of a monster, with Hit and Run, five attack base plus a 2+/4+ save, the Ardent Blade and the ability to resurrect. All these things help make up for her base strength of three. The Ardent Blade, as well as acting like a flamer, brings Saint Catherine’s strength to 5. Now you see why she’s an auto-include?!
We’re all dying to know how the investment in Seraphim paid off. In short, it’s hard to tell. Justin and his Nurgle CSM opponent were using Forgeworld models, so the Plague Hulk’s Rot Cannon taking care of the unit, along with the Saint, limited their effectiveness. After that Celestine resurrected, challenged, and killed the Plague Champion (and only him due to some bad rolling on Justin’s part).
This battle was also the first outing for the Repentia. Lucky attacks and unlucky save hurt the unit. The Daemon Prince wielding the Black Mace didn’t help, along with failing the Act of Faith to give the Repentia a Feel No Pain roll. However, the unit was able to take care of the Daemon Prince after being whittled down to on Repentia, the Mistress and an attached Priest. The Inquisition was kind enough to lend the Repentia a Land Raider which added to their durability trying to get into assault distance with the Daemon Prince.
The allied Inquisitor is part of the fluff and adds some character to the army (along with a Land Raider!). The Inquisitor’s war band including a mystic also meant that Deep Striking Seraphim to land right on target.
So what didn’t work in the list? According to Justin, the Heavy Flamer armed Retributors under performed. Particularly not using their Act of Faith very well. The new Acts of Faith are a bone of contention for Sisters of Battle players. Acts of Faith are only usable once per game and not using them at the right time or using them too early can be very costly. In previous incarnation of the Codex they were something to differentiate the Sisters amongst a sea of powered armour armies. Now, one use only, makes them more like minor psychic powers. Okay, that’s a bit of an understatement: the Acts of Faith are more about precise usage and finesse. They can be brutal when used properly. Divine Guidance, which makes Retributor weapons Rending can be devastating when used with template weapons like Flamers or Heavy Flamers.
The result at the end of the game was a 9-12 loss. Exorcists scored first blood on his Obliterators, and the Repentias killed his daemon prince in one turn, before he was able to use any psychic powers.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for our hero. The list is pretty solid, removing Inferno Pistols and replacing them with Flamers would be an improvement: the Seraphim’s Act of Faith gives their weapons the Shred special rule.
What are the rest of you Sisters up to? How are you finding seventh edition Warhammer 40000?