Codex: Bolter Bitches

Sisters of BattleGreetings all! Amberclad here again, and today I want to talk about your sister….um…I mean the SISTERS OF BATTLE!!!

So unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that over the past two months, GW has released the new Sisters of Battle codex via White Dwarf. Now, when I heard the news that this was going to be another White Dwarf codex, I cringed, seeing as the last one (Blood Angels) was god awful. I was at least hoping they would have learned from that debacle and made the necessary changes to make this a quality codex. So let’s take an in depth look at the new rendition of the Sisters of Battle.

First off, I want to talk about the fluff. It’s very lacking honestly. Only four total pages of it throughout the two issues plus the couple of paragraphs for the unit entries. Now, being a huge fan of the 40k fluff, I find this truly disappointing. The Sisters have such a rich background that didn’t translate over from the old codex. Next up are the models. If you thought the new ones were cool, then you were dreaming, because they didn’t release any new ones. They didn’t even re-print them in fine cast. This is by far the biggest issue I have with the new codex. Usually, when a codex gets re-done, you can expect a range of new models that are pumped full of the awesome sauce that you normally get from GW. So far, we have a codex that is lacking on fluff and models, so it’s already got two strikes against it. Not looking good GW. So now let’s dive into the rules for the army, what actually makes these chicks tick.

Acts of faith are still there but are done totally different. You now roll a D6, and that’s the amount of faith points you have for the turn. I find this idea terrible. Try planning your turn around a dice roll, not a very tactically sound idea. Plus it doesn’t scale well. You’re going to get the same amount of faith points at 500 points as you would at 2500. The actual acts of faith are done on a squad basis now. Meaning that each squad has their own act of faith that they can do, instead of the list that your whole army could use. I don’t find this idea all that bad, honestly. Some units got better, and some got worse. Testing for an act of faith is different as well. You now roll a D6, and on a 5+ the test is successful. There are modifiers of course, such as having a sister superior gives +1. So at least you can rely on your acts of faith going off. Shield of faith is different now as well. You just get a 6+ invulnerable save instead of the 5+ save you got against psychic powers. That’s it for army wide special rules; next we’re going to take a look at the unit entries.

The HQ’s are pretty good actually. Jacobus is going to be an auto take in every Sisters list you will ever see until we get a new codex. With him you get to re-roll the dice for your faith pool, and any unit he is with, gets +1 attack and FNP. Yes, please, sign me up!! Celestine is one of the few things that got better as well. Power sword that wounds on a 4+ can be fired as a heavy flamer and she keeps coming back! And she’s at a bargain price. Kyrinov isn’t that bad either and the canoness is really good to. Her act of faith gives +1 initiative and preferred enemy. Pretty good if you ask me, plus she’s cheap. The command squads aren’t bad, especially the battle conclave. A good mix of crusaders and death cult assassins makes for a good counter assault unit.

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Next are the elites. You might as well skip this section. Celestians aren’t bad, but if you can’t do what a grey hunter does, then you better not come with the same price tag. Repentia are still terrible, they actually got worse. Oh, and all the assassins are gone as well. So let’s cruise on to the troops section.

Well, I hope you don’t like variety, because you’re stuck with the plain old Battle Sister squad in this entry. This may be the biggest hit to the whole codex. A tooled up squad will run you a little less than it used to, but they lost a lot. You can no longer make their weapons AP 1 with rolls of a 6, and you can no longer give them a 3++. For an army that relies on the short-range fire fight, this hurts a lot. Their act of faith isn’t all that bad, but I would have rather had the old ones. I also don’t like only having the standard Battle Sister squad to choose from for my troops. Plus there is no character that can alter the force org like in other codexes.

Next up, let’s take a look at the fast attack. Not much variety here either. It’s the seraphim or dominions. The seraphim got cheaper, and better. Hooray, finally a beacon of light! They shoot more and have a pretty good act of faith which allows them to re-roll wounds. I think these will be a solid choice in any Sister’s army. Now the dominions, you now have to take ten to get the four special weapons, which kind of sucks, but now they have scouts. Scouting melta bitches in a rhino or immolator is really good. Not a bad choice here either.

Finally let’s look at the Heavy support. You have your choice of retributors, penitent engines, or exorcists. Retributors got better, their act of faith can give their weapons rending now which will be good with their heavy bolters or heavy flamers. People hate on the penitent engines, but I love them. I would run them similar to the kan wall that the orks employ. When you engage the short-range fire fight with your Sisters and they are backed up with these beasties, I don’t think anyone will want to get close to you at all. Exorcists are the same as ever. D6 strength 8 AP 1 shots, what’s not to like here? Rhino’s are the same as all the others but OMFG what happened to the immolators! Suddenly GW hates them. Points stayed the same but they lost the ability to move 12″ and still fire their heavy flamers, and lost their fire point. You now have an over-priced razorback. And that’s pretty much all the Sisters have to offer.

So, overall, I think the new Sisters of Battle took the nerf bat to the face with their new codex. Fluff is lacking, no new models and the new rules are so-so at best. They certainly seem half assed, barely play tested, and rushed for multiple reasons. GW is having a hard time getting the model line over to plastic, they want to get all the codex’s done before 6th edition just so they can say they did, and they want to try and move all the old product. I don’t think the army is terrible though, I still think you can win with it, but it will be a challenge and loyal Sister players will need to adapt. I actually have challenged a buddy of mine, just so I can prove to him that they are not as bad as he thinks they are. Unfortunately though, I have to agree with him that this new codex has taken a step back for the Sisters of Battle.

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  • Good breakdown. I haven’t bothered checking it out since the Sisters have never interested me but it’s of course always good to know what you’re up against.

    I agree. I feel they’re not as bad as most people are making them out to be. Once the pissing and moaning goes away I’m sure you’ll see some valid competitive builds come out of the codex. Surely nothing like the Ward codices but still possible.

    • Amberclad87

      Unfortunatly this one got the Cruddace treatment. At least when Ward does the codex’s, he only rapes the fluff, and the army is still playable. Cruddace needs to stop making codex’s, and maybe jump off a cliff. The god dam idiot cheated on his army list in this month’s white dwarf. And he’s the one that made the freakin’ thing!!

  • Todd the Goalie

    And in my head I rejoice at having offloaded the models I had before the new rules came out ;)

    • Amberclad87

      I wish I had known you got rid of them all, I would have made an offer.

  • Khorne Inquisitor

    Hey, I don’t wanna hear no complaining on how much it sucks to plan around a dice roll!

    • Amberclad87

      It totally sucks. I don’t know how deamon players do it.

      • Khorne Inquisitor

        According to Thor…masochism.

  • Scullmeister

    Thanks for an informative review.

  • This is a good balanced review.  I don’t agree with your overall conclusion that they were nerfed – I think they’re better than they were before in the current environment – but nice job outlining the strengths and weaknesses.

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