For so long we have waited, and finally it’s here – Codex: Adepta Sororitas! Whether you have been waiting since Codex: Witch Hunters or you are new to Sisters of Battle, there is a lot to cover. So grab your Ecclesiarchy-approved rosaries and let’s see what glory awaits.
Sisters of Battle units get several army-wide rules:
- Acts of Faith: (and I may refer to this as AoF in this article) You can perform one Act of Faith in each phase. To do AoF, you use Miracle dice (I’ll cover Miracle dice generation in a moment). Okay, cool! How does it work? Before you make a dice roll for a model or unit with the Acts of Faith ability, you can choose to use one or more of the dice from your Miracle dice pool instead. You don’t roll the dice you choose to substitute; you use the value of the Miracle dice chosen. After you’d chose all your Miracle dice, any other dice required for the roll are then rolled. Wow, that’s great! What types of dice rolls can you perform an Act of Faith on?
- Advance roll
- Charge roll
- Deny the Witch test
- Hit roll
- Wound roll
- Saving throw
- Damage roll
- Morale test
- Gaining Miracle Dice: You’re going to want as many Miracle dice as you can get your hands on, so how do you gain them? You gain one at the beginning of each battle round. Easy enough. There are also warlord traits that generate additional Miracle dice. Finally, you gain one at the end of a phase if one or more of the following are met one or more times during that phase:
- Vengeance: Kill a unit.
- Sacrifice: A CHARACTER is destroyed.
- Purity: Pass a Deny the Witch test without using an Act of Faith.
- Valour: You roll an unmodified 1 for a Morale test taken for a unit with the Acts of Faith ability – again without performing an Act of Faith to do so.
- Shield of Faith: Models in this unit have a 6+ Invulnerable Save (6++). Also, each model or unit with this ability can attempt to resist one a psychic power per Psychic phase by taking a Deny the Witch test, rolling one D6 instead of 2D6.
- Order Convictions: These are the Sisters of Battle’s version of Space Marine’s Chapter Tactics, and I’ll cover them in more detail below.
- Sacred Rites: Ah, here we go. The reward for taking a pure ADEPTA SORORITAS and/or ADEPTUS MINISTORUM army. If you say, “No thank you!” to soup then you get to choose a Sacred Rite for every unit with the Sacred Rites rule (which is every ADEPTA SORORITAS model/unit). You can choose one or roll for two. Note that even if you have Detachments with different ORDERS the Sacred Rite chosen (or rolled for) applies to all units with the Sacred Rites rule – you don’t get to choose a different one for each Detachment. Let’s check them out:
- Hand of the Emperor: +1 to Advance and Charge rolls
- Spirit of the Martyr: when a model dies, on a 5+, that model can either shoot with one of its ranged weapons or attack with one of its melee weapons
- Aegis of the Emperor: +3 to Deny the Witch tests
- Divine Guidance: ranged weapon attacks improve AP by 1 on unmodified wound rolls of 6
- The Passion: unmodified melee hit roll of 6 scores 1 additional hit
- Light of the Emperor: re-roll Morale tests
Much like current Space Marines, all units with the <ORDER> keyword gain an Order Conviction if your army is Battle-forged, and if every unit in a detachment is from the same Order. You can choose your Order from one of the 6 founding Orders – and if your order doesn’t have an associated Order Conviction, you can choose the one that best fits for you. Let’s take a look at the Orders and their Convictions:
- Our Martyred Lady: Blood of the Martyrs – Gain a Miracle dice at the end of any phase in which any units with this conviction were destroyed. Additionally, add +1 to hit rolls if one or more models from that model’s unit have been destroyed.
- Valorous Heart: Stoic Endurance – Models in this Order ignore AP-1, and they also have a 6+ “Feel No Pain” save against all wounds.
- Bloody Rose: Quick to Anger –Pistols and melee weapon attacks gain an extra -1 AP. In addition, +1 Attacks during any turn in which it charged, was charged or performed a Heroic Intervention.
- Ebon Chalice: Daughters of the Emperor – 5+ save against mortal wounds. In addition, when performing an Act of Faith, you can discard an additional Miracle dice.to make one of the Miracle dice used a 6.
- Argent Shroud: Deeds, Not Words – When a unit with this conviction Advances, in can fire ranged weapons as if it has moved without Advancing.
- Sacred Rose: Devout Serenity – No more than one model can flee due to Morale tests. In addition, after you perform an Act of Faith, roll a D6; on a 5+ you gain a Miracle dice. Lastly, units hit during Overwatch on a 5+.
New Units, Improved Units
Let’s talk about the new and improved units the Adepta Sororitas have been given in the new codex. There are quite a few – so I’ll summarize the high points.
- Penitent Engines: Wow, did this model get a whole lot better. The biggest improvement comes with the inclusion of the Penitent flail weapon, making 3 hit rolls for each attack – this means up to 12 attacks at S6 AP -2 Damage 1. And you get this for the low, low price of 56 points. You can take up to four of these in a unit. Fantastic!
- Mortifiers: Like a Penitent Engine, but with Heavy bolters (yes, you can take Heavy flamers, too). In addition, it has a BS and WS of 3+ and a base Move of 9”. You can take these in a unit with up to 4, and you can upgrade one of these to a Anchorite with a 3+ Save for 6 more points. Did I mention that the base model with Heavy Bolters is also 56 points? Mortifiers also have the ADEPTA SORORITAS keyword, which the Penitent Engine lacks. This means some Strats (such as the Zephyrim’s Embodied Prophecy re-roll Wound rolls of 1) will work for them and not Penitent Engines. Expect to see a lot of these!
- Exorcist: Games Workshop must have been listening to all the feedback from the beta codex, because the Exorcist has been upgraded in a most righteous way. The Exorcist missile launcher has been upgraded to Type Heavy 3D3 (at S8 AP -3 Damage D6). It has also gained a new weapon option: Exorcist conflagration rockets – Heavy 3D6, S5 AP -2 and Damage 1. Can I get a “Woohoo?” Woohoo! Also, the Exorcist and the Immolator now include a hull-mounted Heavy bolter.
- Retributor Squad: The Sisters of Battle version of a Devastator Squad, they have gained the Faithful Advance (no penalty for moving and firing Heavy weapons) and Rites of Fire (add 4” to the Range characteristic of heavy flamers models in this unit are equipped with) abilities. They have also gained the option for an Armorium Cherub, with allows you to fire a Retributor’s weapon twice, once per battle.
- Celestian Squad: They’re the veterans in the Order, and the protectors of the Canoness. They can be equipped like a Battle Sisters Squad (1 special weapon and one special or heavy weapon). What set them apart (other than the additional base attack and WS 3+) is the Sworn Protectors ability which lets them re-roll hit rolls for attacks while within 6” of any friendly <ORDER> CANONESSES. They also have the Bodyguard ability which lets them intercept an attack on an <ORDER> CHARACTER on a 2+.
- Zephyrim Squad: Think of them like veteran Seraphim, with 2 attacks each (3 for the Superior), armed with a Bolt pistol and a Power sword. They have a baked-in ability to re-roll wound rolls. You can give the Superior a Zephyrim pennant, which lets you re-roll charge rolls made for <ORDER> units while they are within 6” of a friendly unit with the pennant when the roll is made.
- Dialogus: She has gained the Stirring Rhetoric ability – When you perform an Act of Faith for a model or unit within 6” of the Dialogus, you can increase or decrease the value of one Miracle dice by 1 before you use it, to a max of 6 and a minimum of 1. This increase or decrease is not cumulative with any other ability that alters the value of Miracle dice.
- Imagifier: The Imagifier has been given a
complete overhaul, and now she has the Litany of Deeds ability. At the
beginning of the battle, when you set up this model on the battlefield, you
choose one of the following “tales”. Until the end of the battle this model has
the has the rule associated with the tale:
- Tale of the Faithful: You can re-roll Deny the Witch tests taken for model in <ORDER> units whilst their unit is within 6” of any friendly models with this ability
- Tale of the Stoic: Weapons with an Armour Penetrations characteristic of -1 are treated as having an AP of 0 when resolving an attack against <ORDER> units whilest they are within 6” of any friendly models with this ability.
- Tale of the Warrior: Add 1 to the Strength characteristic of models in <ORDER> units whilst their unit is within 6” of any friendly model with this ability.
- Battle Sanctum: Sisters of Battle get their own special terrain feature. The biggest benefit of it is you gain an additional Miracle dice if you have any ADEPTUS MINISTORUM units within 6” of it at the start of each battle round.
- Canoness: The all-purpose HQ unit for
Battle Sisters, the Canoness has received a few new wargear options:
- Blessed blade: A S+2 AP -3 Damage D3 sword.
- Brazier of Holy Fire: Think of it has a one-use flamer that does D3 mortal wounds on a 2+ to an enemy unit within 12” during shooting or while firing Overwatch. DAEMON units suffer D6 mortal wounds instead. Also, enemy DAEMON units suffer -1 to Leadership while they are within 6” of a model with this.
- Lead the Righteous: Re-roll hit rolls of 1 for attacks for friendly <ORDER> units within 6”.
- Rod of Office: Add 3” to the range of the Lead the Righteous ability.
- Null Rod: If this model has a null rod, then it cannot be targeted or affected by psychic powers. In addition, whilst any models from your army that have null rods are within 18” of any enemy PSYKER models, subtract 1 from Psychic tests and Deny the Witch tests taken for those enemy models.
- Junith Eruita: You’ve seen the pictures – this new model represents the leader of the Order of Our Martyred Lady. As such, she grants re-rolls of 1 for both hit and wound rolls for Our Martyred Lady units within 6”. She also improves the Invulnerable save from the Shield of Faith ability for friendly ADEPTA SORORITAS INFANTRY (not just <ORDER>) by 1 (to a max of 4).
Triumph of Saint Katherine
Okay, I’ll admit it. When I first read this unit entry I though I was finally having that breakdown I’ve been expecting. Since it doesn’t have a model (yet) and all we have is this image from Games Workshop, I think it’s safe to assume this is going to be a centerpiece model, large, glorious, and completely over the top. I can’t wait! This model has 18 wounds (so yes, it degrades), 6 Bolt pistols, and 14 attacks on the top row of the wound chart. It’s an absolute monster. Plus, it has Relics of the Matriarchs (from the original Orders) that each provide an aura:
- Censer of the Sacred Rose: Gain a Miracle dice as the start of each turn (note that is each turn, not battle round)
- Simulacrum of the Ebon Chalice: At the start of your Shooting phase, roll one D6 for each enemy unit within 6” of this model, adding 1 to the result if the unit being rolled for is a PSYKER and 1 to the result if the unit being rolled for is a CHAOS unit. One a 5+ the unit being rolled for suffers D3 mortal wounds.
- Petals of the Bloody Rose: Add 1 to hit rolls for attacks made with melee weapons by models in friendly ADEPTA SORORITAS units whilst their unit is within 6” of this model.
- Icon of the Valorous Heart: Once per phase, you can perform on Act of Faith for a friendly unit within 6” that has the Acts of Faith ability, even if you have already performed one or more Acts of Faith in that phase.
- Simulacrum of the Argent Shroud: When you perform and Act of Faith for a friendly until whilst it is within 6” of this model, you can increase or decrease the value of one Miracle dice used by 1 before you use it, to a maximum of 6 and a minimum of 1. This is not cumulative with any other abilities that can increase or decrease the value of a Miracle dice.
Of course, the number of Relics active decreases as the unit degrades. But it has a 4+ invulnerable save and is -1 to hit. You’re going to want to keep a Hospitaller or Celestian unit near it to keep it healthy, because this model is a buffing machine!
Several Battle Sisters units can take a Simulacrum Imperialis upgrade. Old-school Sisters players will fondly recall the Simulacrum as “a girl with a birdhouse” – but the new one looks fantastic (you gotta love that pose!). What does it do? It lets that unit perform an Act of Faith even if you have already performed one or more Acts of Faith that phase. Battle Sisters Squads, Celestian Squads, Dominion Squads and Retributor Squads can all be given a Simulacrum Imperialis.
Incensor Cherubs are a new upgrade available to Battle Sisters Squads, Dominion Squads and Celestian Squads. They grant this ability: Once per battle, at the beginning of a phase, that Incensor Cherub can intercede. If it does, that Incensor Cherub is removed from play and you gain one Miracle dice; roll two D6 when you do so and select which one to keep. The Miracle dice you gain can only be used to perform an Act of Faith for this unit, and only in that phase – at the end of the phase, if the dice has not been used, it is lost.
Other units in the codex have changed in different ways. Here’s the ones I noticed:
- The Mistress of Repentance has been renamed Repentia Superior.
- Dominion Squads can no longer perform their Vanguard move while embarked in a transport.
- Crusaders have a 5+ Feel No Pain style save against mortal wounds suffered in the Psychic phase.
- Death Cult Assassins are back! With power swords, 7” Move WS 3+ and 4 Attacks base, I’m sure some interesting uses for them can be found.
Ecclesiarchy Battle Conclave
While the Adepta Sororitas are the Orders Militant of the Ecclesiarchy, there are several non-Sororitas units from the Ecclesiarchy in the codex. Missionaries are the HQ unit, and Preachers are the Elite unit, both of which have the MINISTORUM PRIEST keyword. Including a MINISTORUM PRIEST unit in a detachment means all units with the Ecclesiarchy Battle Conclave ability don’t take up a slot in a detachment. Also, there is a Matched Play rule called Priestly Delegation that states “A Detachment that does not include any MINISTORUM PRIESTS can only include one ECCLESIARCHY BATTLE CONCLAVE unit.” Further, if your army is Battle-forged, you can only include one MISSIONARY per Detachment. This will influence the units you take and how you take them in your detachments. Units with the Ecclesiarchy Battle Conclave ability include Crusaders, Death Cult Assassins and Arco-flagellants.
There are 6 Warlord Traits that can be taken by any Adeptus Sororitas warlord, and each Order gets a specific one as well. As usual, there are some that really shine – so let’s talk about those.
- Beacon of Faith: At the start of your turn, if this Warlord is on the battlefield, you gain one Miracle dice. If you have nothing else to spend a CP on, you should always consider using the Heroine in the Making Strat and giving this trait to an Adepta Sororitas character.
- Indomitable Belief: The invulnerable save friendly <ORDER> INFANTRY models receive from the Shield of Faith ability is improved by 1, to a maximum of 4+, whilst their unit is within 6” of this Warlord. Let’s do some real talk here: if you want better Shield of Faith invuls, you’re looking here. Toss the Book of Saint Lucius on your Canoness and head out.
- Pure of Will: This Warlord can attempt to deny one additional psychic power in your opponent’s Psychic phase, as described in the Shield of Faith ability. Subtract 1 from Psychic tests for enemy models whilst they are within 12” of this Warlord. Put this on a Canoness with a Null Rod, choose Aegis of the Emperor for your Sacred Rite, and watch the witches cry before you purge them with righteous fire. Give a second Canoness the Brazier of Eternal Flame relic for even more tasty tears.
Yes, there are Order-specific Warlord Traits, but one of them really stands out if you want to max out on Miracle dice:
- Order of the Ebon Chalice: Terrible Knowledge – If this Warlord is on the battlefield, the Miracle dice you gain at the start of the first battle round is 6. At the start of the first battle round, if your army is Battle-forged and this Warlord is on the battlefield, you gain D3 Command Points. Woohoo, start the game with 6 Miracle dice. That’s a good start!
RELICS OF THE ECCLESIARCHY
Oh boy, here we go! In a modern codex, Relics can make or break an army – and the more you have to choose from, the better. There are 14 in the codex – but I think these will find their way into many, many lists:
- Blade of Admonition – replaces a Blessed blade, S+2 AP -3, Damage 3 Flat 3 damage? Yes, please.
- Brazier of Eternal Flame – replaces a brazier of holy fire. When a Psychic test is taken for an enemy model within 18” of a model from your army with this Relic, subtract 2 from the result. I talked about comboing this one up with another character with a Null Rod and the Pure of Will Warlord trait. You can become a witch-off-switch.
- Wrath of the Emperor – replaces a Bolt pistol, 18” Range, Pistol 4 S5 AP-2 Damage 2 Normally pistol Relics are, in my opinion, space fillers. In this case, Sisters have very few multi-damage guns. This one might we worth it!
- Litanies of Faith – Once per turn, if a model from your army with this Relic is on the battlefield when you gain a Miracle dice, you can re-roll that dice. If you play on using Miracle dice – and you do! – you should consider taking this one. It’s one CP spent to re-roll up to 6 Miracle dice. That’s a bargain.
There are 38 – 38! – Stratagems in the new Sisters codex. I’m not going to go over each one, but I’ll hit some highlights.
- Open the Reliquaries – 1CP – Pass out an extra Relic. This is the modern version of the Strat to give out an extra Relic, they must be different and given to different models.
- Heroine in the Making – 1CP – Select one ADEPTA SORORITAS CHARACTER model from your army (except your Warlord, Celestine, Junith Eruita or the Triumph of Saint Katherine) and give them a Warlord Trait. You can only use the Strat once per battle. This is now common in the post-Marines codex world, and Sisters will put it to good use.
- Moment of Grace – 1CP – Use this Strat after making a hit or wound roll for an attack made by an ADEPTA SORORITAS model from your army, or after making a saving throw for an ADEPTA SOROROTAS model from your army. Discard 1-3 Miracle dice. Add 1 to the result of the roll for each Miracle dice you discarded. Okay, I’ll admit this one is my favorite. It is a unique ability and I’m certain it’s going to be a lot of fun to suddenly pass a 4++ save with Celelstine without having to re-roll the 3 I originally rolled.
- Divine Intervention – 2CP – Use this when an ADEPTA SORORITAS CHARACTER model (other than Celestine, a Geminae Superia, Junith Eruita or the Triumph of Saint Katherine) from your army is destroyed (before any Miracle dice are gained as a result). Discard 1-3 Miracle dice. At the end of the phase, return that model to play with a number of wounds remaining equal to the number of Miracle dice you discarded. You can only do this once per character, and you have to place them as close to where they died…but it’s automatic. I know a couple of people that are going to be triggered by this one.
- Devastating Refrain – 1CP – You can re-roll the Type characteristic of an Exorcist missile launcher or Exorcist conflagration rockets. The problem with Exorcists has always been the variance. This reduces that risk.
- Purity of Faith – 1CP – Use this after an enemy PSYKER manifests a psychic power within 24” of an ADEPTA SORORITAS unit from your army, after any Deny the Witch attempt. Roll one D6; on a 4+ that psychic power is resisted. They REALLY don’t like witches.
- Cleansing Flames – 2CP – Order of the Ebon Chalice Use this Strat when an Order of the Ebon Chalice units from your army fires Overwatch or is chosen to shoot with. Until the end of the phase, do not roll to determine the Type characteristic of flame weapons models in the unit are equipped with; they have their maximum values. Retributors with 4 Heavy flamers comes to mind…
There are, of course, many more, but those are my favorites.
Tactics and Sample List
First, a disclaimer: there is a lot to digest in this book. We’ve never had this many choices (or new units, for that matter). I’m not going to pretend that I’ve cracked the code on all things great in this codex. I am certain that there are synergies that I haven’t discovered and honestly, that’s great! I can’t wait to see what the community does with this book! But in the meantime, I’m going to submit, for your consideration, a sample list.
Some things to consider: Sisters are largely a T3 1 Wound 3+ Save army. Yes, they can have a 4++ invulnerable save, and yes you can get some decent combat power out of them with Order Convictions and other buffs. But that’s probably not where Sisters are going to excel. I would say leave the melee to the melee experts – Penitent Engines, Mortifiers and Repentia. Celestine is still a monster but sadly, she’s nothing like she was when the Wonder Twins were part of her unit. It is a sadness, but from a game-balance perspective, I understand.
Where I want to really go nuts is with Miracle dice and Acts of Faith. Along with that, Sisters need a surprising amount of CP to really shine. I’ve put together a sample list that should generate a good amount of Miracle dice and have an acceptable amount of CP to boot:
Adepta Sororitas Miracle Max Max Miracle Dice Army List:
Order of the Ebon Chalice Brigade Detachment — 2000Points
Bolt pistol, chainsword, Null Rod
Warlord: Indomitable Belief, Book of Saint Lucius
Bolt pistol, power sword
Heroine in the Making: Terrible Knowledge
Geminae Superia X2 040
Triumph of Saint Katherine 185
Battle Sisters Squad X6 (Each unit is 74 Points) 444
Superior with combi-flamer, 1 Storm bolter,
1 Meltagun, 1 Simulacrum Imperialis
Sisters Repentia 052
Repentia Superior 035
Penitent Engine 056
2 Heavy flamers, Penitent flail, Penitent buzz-blade
Moritifer X2 (each unit is 56 points) 112
2 Heavy bolters, Penitent flail, Penitent buzz-blade
Retributors with 4x Heavy flamers 114
Retributor Superior with combi-flamer
Seraphim Squad 083
2X 2 Inferno Pistol
Seraphim Squad X2 (each unit is 59 points) 118
2X 2 Hand flamers
Sororitas Rhino X4 (each unit is 67 points) 268
ARMY TOTAL: 2000
This army starts the game with 14+D3 CP and 7 Miracle Dice. As long as the Triumph of Saint Katherine has the Censer of the Sacred Rose relic active, it will gain 3 Miracle dice per battle round (1 per battle round, 1 at the beginning of each turn).
The Canoness and Retributors mount up in the Immolator and go hunting, looking for opportunities to either hop out and start cooking with the Cleansing Flames Stratagem (and/or use it with the Immolation flamers).
The Battle Sister Squads all mount up in Rhinos and roll out. The Imagifier will use Tale of the Stoic for better protection. Celestine, the Seraphim squads, Mortifiers and Penitent Engine will range forward, backed up by the Repentia and Repentia Superior in the remaining Rhino. The Triumph of Saint Katherine will move forward, with the Hospitaller sticking close to the Triumph to heal it it as much as possible to keep it around longer.
Is this a great, top tier, GT-winning list? Probably not. Will it be fun to play and give you many opportunities for Miracle dice shenanigans? You betcha.
The new Codex Adepta Sororitas is finally here, and it doesn’t disappoint! With new rules, new units, and absolutely gorgeous new models I think Sisters are back in the biggest and best way since Codex Witch Hunters – and that’s saying something!
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As always a big thanks to Games Workshop for the images provided for our article.