With another new codex straight out after the Adeptus Mechancius one, Dan and I sat down together again and had a look through the new Sisters Codex to see what we thought our initial thoughts were of the new book.
We had a little chat with the others and our general thoughts about the Convictions, Stratagems and changes to the Datasheets were all quite similiar.
All of the Convictions seem pretty solid on first look. Ebon Chalice seems like the obvious upgraded one in the new codex, and it's was already good before. The ability to get a 6 when you need it was strong before and with the warlord trait getting the added bonus of also gaining command points back on a 5+. This Conviction is better than ever. Similarly, the Argent Shroud, the “re-roll one hit or wound” traits have always been very strong, and ignoring the hit penalty on advancing or moving with heavy weapons seems very good. I can imagine an “MSU” (Minimum Sized Units) list with Argent Shroud being pretty strong.
Finally the Valorous Heart also seems like a great contender still.
The Minoris Convictions look pretty good, we don't know if they edge out the Major ones though. We do like the combination of Raging Fervour (Melta counts as half range if its pistol / assault or within 18” if heavy) and Guided By The Emperor's Will (Re-roll one hit or wound.) It provides great consistency and that's what Sisters do very well so doubling up on this seems like a good idea.
A lot of the great stratagems have stayed, Moment of Grace and Divine Intervention, many have been tweaked and look solid too - Blessed Bolts now lets “Artificer-Crafted Storm Bolters” dish out mortal wounds. The main loss here seems to be the absence of Storm of Retribution - which we all felt was too strong anyway and without dramatically changing the stratagem, we feel it always was going to be too strong.
There are some very strong data sheets here - all flavours of special Characters look incredible. The new Celestine Sacresants have got an interesting ability to hold to defend when charged which is... Cool? They seem to have so many ways to gain +1 to hit already I don’t know if it was needed… Dominions also seem back in a big way - now allowing a scout move WITH their transport. I can already see some crazy combos with Rhinos and units of 5’s with 5 Repentia or Sacresant inside the same Rhino as 5 Dominions.
From my first looks, there are going to be MANY ways to run Adepta Sororitas. What sticks out most to me is, much like the Adeptus Mechanicus codex, this book has a lot of layers. Between the Blessings of the Faithful, the Conviction Traits and Miracle Dice there is a lot going on and it feels very thematic. The other thing that sticks out, is there are a lot of ways to use Miracle dice but from first looks it appears that there will be a lot less Miracle Dice to use. So using one for that 6 damage or that Miraculous Ability is going to feel like a real decision.
I think Aestred Thurga and Agathae Dolan could be a real stand out inclusion in any list. Granting all Core units within 6” all 6 Sacred Rights for a turn seems bonkers. However, the best unit has to go to Morvenn Vahl, she seems very strong with the re-roll hits and wounds ability on a unit, the half damage and 4++ save.
However, I do want to give a shout out to the humble Battle Sister squad. The amount of buffs they can get seem amazing when they are all stacked. The issue would be trying to get them all at once. But if you manage it, you have a 20 woman unit (yes they can be taken in 20 woman squads) That has a 4++, cannot be wounded on a 1-3, cannot re-roll hits, wounds, damage and has double Objective Secured… All of that could be sat on an objective scoring points for the new secondary Defend The Shrine. Seems good on paper! These are just some of my favourites, but many of the units in the book look fantastic!
This is a tough one, there is so much good in the book and a lot of units got nice buffs and some of the new units are really solid. So let's start with Morvenn Vahl, she is unbelievable for her points, a force multiplier and all round badass.
For me the biggest winner is the Diologus. She already had a cool ability to manipulate Miracle Dice, now the Triumph has lost this and Miracle Dice are in short supply it's even more useful, she is also now a priest and can do the battle hymns.
Humble mention to the Hospitaller whose role is a lot more defined and any model armed with now a ministorum flamer, they got a lovely strength boost.
Also the change to Zephyrim from Elite to Fast Attack is definitely something that I'm really happy about - Sisters' Elites slots are really tight so its great to see them go to Fast Attack. Should mean we see a lot more of them!
Biggest Loser and winners
For me, absolutely the biggest winner is Celestine. She always felt like an inclusion purely for her increase to the Shield of Faith ability. Now she's a beatstick with the newly improved Ardent Blade that does 2 Mortal wounds on a 6 to hit! She’s much more tanky with the same 4++ but -1 damage to go along with that. And she can do an action at the end of the Command phase which is completed in the next Shooting phase to fully heal her wounds and gain a Geminae Superia. Truly, she's a real scary model to face now.
The biggest loser for me has to be the Castigator straight away. It appears to have a similar issue that the Space Marine tanks have, no Core and a base BS 3+. Unfortunately, for such a nice looking new model it just doesn't have anything going for it. There are no stratagems that can increase its efficiency either. Its one of an increasingly long line of vehicles put to one side in 9th edition. This is also somewhat true for the beloved Exorcist who took a large hit - this is somewhat adjusted with the Devastating Refrain stratagem. Whether this is enough to keep it relevant, I don't know quite yet.
It’s also worth addressing that both Retributors and Repentia (the all-stars of the last codex) have both lost some support in terms of stratagem changes or datasheet changes. Both of these however, were warranted as they were both meta-warping units in their heyday. However, as Argent Shroud or alongside a Repentia Superior I feel both units can still perform very well.
I am afraid there were a fair few nerfs in this book, some justified, some were a bit odd. Now I know some of you will be like Retributers or Repentia clearly…. Well I would disagree firstly they were oppressive units to face and I think they are still incredibly points efficient in their roles.
The biggest nerf for me is the poor Imagifier, a staple of many a list. She still has some good abilities, but with the loss of the ignore AP -1 her main role will change dramatically. Similarly, in a packed elite slot I think she will rarely see battle. When you want to take the new Hospitalier, Repentia, the new Celestians... it really doesn't leave room for her.
For me Morven Vahl is the biggest issue with the book. She’s such a force multiplier it's almost silly not to take her in every list! And for me that's an inherent issue, no single unit should be that good that every list wants to take her - it doesn't make for good internal balancing. As now every unit has to be measured against the possibility that she’ll be buffing them. That being said, the model is absolutely worth the rules.
Well you might notice the common theme in the buffs….. Morvenn Vahl. She is incredible, she buffs the army, hits hard in combat and at range, she is fairly tough (just don't let her get caught in the open). Now ironically as a long time sisters player (4th Ed) I don't think she is broken, is she powerful? Yes, is she under costed? Yes, is she an auto-included competitively? Yes. However despite all that, in a book that saw a huge amount of…… balances she is needed and I am ok with that.
Sisters have a lot of good combos, more than ever this book is built on synergies.
Quite a few combos can be done on the new 20 person squad of Battle Sisters.
I have a hard time picking one. If you twisted my arm it's got to be 20 Sisters with the hymn Catechism of Repugnance (bolters auto wound on 6s, additional AP at half range), Defenders of the Faith (Transhuman and Bolter Drill) and 4 Storm Bolters with Blessed Bolts and Vahl's full reroll to hit and wound.
The other combo is one in combat: The passion Rapturous Blows (6s to wound do additional mortal wound), Vahl's rerolls and +1 attack war hymn and you are looking at 10+ mortals in combat.
I absolutely agree here, the combination of stratagems and buffs you can put on a 20 Sisters of Battle unit seem a little crazy.
The second one I am a big fan of is the Dominion squad + Celestian Sacresant squad inside a Rhino. The Dominions allow the Rhino to move 6" pre-game and once the Celestians get out and move they'd be looking for a 6"/9" charge turn 1 depending on which game is being played. It really gives that element of surprise and alpha strike that's proved time and time again to be very powerful.
Well this is interesting as I own most of the range I can flit about a lot and I am interested in what can be done so I will be shortly giving the following a run out (once its all built).
Battalion Valorous Heart
Morvenn Vahl warlord (has to be)
Cannoness blessed blade, emperors grace blessing, inferno pistol.
5 x 5 battle sisters M heavy flamer
3 x 10 halberd sacrosanct
2 x 3 paragon warsuits with sword, storm bolters and multi meltas.
3 paragon warsuits with maul, storm bolters and multi meltas.
Hospitaller with the book of St lucius (+3" to fnp aura)
Diolugus with sigil of the eclisarch (+1 hymn and can recant an extra.
The point of this list is to be tough the vast majority is a 2+ reducing AP by 1 on ap-1 and ap-2, the little MSU sisters hide giving me obsec on objectives and then the Sacresant pile on. Now on paper the warsuits look tough but with all the d3+3 out there they still need to play carefully. The Emperor's Grace gives me a turn in which my opponent cannot reroll hit, wound or damage against my units in the miracle range. I've spent 1 CP on an extra relic but I would likely dip in a bit more for the Cannoness.
I spent a long going back and forward on what to create first. Did I want Celestine in the list, did I want to run lots of Dominions and Sacresants... Eventually I settled on a similar style list to what I know with a couple of changes.
I always think its best to play something comfortable and make minor changes to see what the impact is over the course of several games. It really gives me a good understanding of how the list should work and what it might be missing.
Battalion - Ebon Chalice
Canoness - Inferno Pistol and Blessed Blade - The Emperors Grave - Heroine in the Making (Terrible Knowledge)
Morvenn Vahl - Warlord
Palatine - Relic (Litanies of Faith)
20 Battle Sisters Squad - Multi Melta - Simulacrum
20 Battle Sisters Squad - Multi Melta - Simulacrum
5 Battle Sisters Squad
5 Celestian Sacrosancts
Dogmata - Relic (The Sigil Ecclesiasticus)
Hospitaller - Heroine in the Making (Indomitable Belief)
Dominion Squad - 2x Artificer Storm Bolters
5 Retributors - 4 Multi-Melta - Combi Flamer
5 Retributors - 4 Heavy Bolters
Rhino - Hunter Killer Missile
Immolater - Immolation Flamers, Hunter Killer Missile
Immolater - Immolation Flamers, Hunter Killer Missile
The idea is I've got a hard hitting unit of Sacresants that can either start in a Rhino or in an Immolater. With my two units of Retributors filling the other Dedicated Transport slots.
I opted for 1 unit of Heavy Bolters over a 2nd Multi-Melta unit due to points and resurgence of 1 wound models. With Ad Mech and Drukhari a squad with Heavy Bolters could be useful. I'm not sold on it but I'd have to change a few things around to fit a 2nd Multi-Melta unit in.
With the changes to Deploy Scramblers (Now Retrieve Octarius Data) - I've taken a second Unit of Seraphim. These girls are useful anyway but I feel I need 2 units to now efficiently get my 8-12 points on that secondary.
Finally we have a solid core of 45 Sisters. The idea for this is purely for the objectives (However, that's not to say they can't pack a punch, they really can) - stacking all the defensive buffs available to them on one squad at a time. (Hopefully using the table to ensure only one 20 Sister unit is available to fight at once. This should also open some of the new Sisters' secondaries - particularly Defend the Shrine.
I worry I might not have enough melee threat anymore, but without playing the list I think its hard for me to determine this.