Hello fellow nerd friends! Nick Nanavati here for another awesome codex review for you guys. Chapter Approved came out this past weekend with a lot of interesting changes across the board for nearly all armies. Most notably though, it also included the Sisters of Battle beta codex! Long term Sisters players can finally rejoice (kind of) as their prayers for a real codex have finally been answered (sort’ve)! This codex features a complete rewrite of the Faith System as compared to the index, and is packed with rules for different Orders and Stratagems as well. As with all my codex reviews I will gear it with a more competitive bias, as that’s is my area of expertise within the 40k universe, so take what I write here with that bit of context added in. So without further ado, let’s get into it!
Acts of Faith– Faith has been completely reworked, and it functions in a very interesting way. You basically get 3 faith points for showing up and then one more faith point for every ten Sisters of Battle models you have. You can then expend these faith points much like you’d expend CP for a stratagem, except unlike a stratagem the the act of faith may not necessarily go off. You then need to roll a d6 and match or exceed the value associated with that specific act of faith. Naturally, the less game changing acts are easier to pull off, while the most powerful are more difficult. Faith doesn’t seem to be a replacement to stratagems in any capacity because Sister do have two full pages of strats to draw from, which leads me to believe that this is Sisters version of an army wide special like And they Shall Know no Fear, Orders, Supporting Fire etc… However, what is interesting is that Sisters are missing all their <Order> specific stratagems, so maybe since Acts of Faith are typically stronger and more flexible than most other armies special rules they’re also using these as a bit of a replacement to stratagems? Or maybe Games Workshop just reached their page limit in the book and the Sisters codex drew the short straw for what gets cut? I’m going pretty off topic here but it’s some interesting food for thought.
There are a few different kinds of Acts of Faith, but I’ll summarize them for you here.
- Add 3″ move to a unit at the start of the movement phase
- Heal a model in a unit d3 wounds or revive a lot model
- Give a unit a 4+ save from mortals in the enemy psychic phase
- Add one to hit rolls for a unit
- Fight Again for a unit
- Make a unit fearless
The movement, reviving, mortal save, and fearless are all hyper situational, but hey they’re free acts of faith and are all very situational so why not!?
The +1 to hit for a unit goes off on a 4+, and the fight again for a unit goes off on a 5+. That means neither are overly reliable, but when you factor in a command point reroll they are both more likely to pass than to fail. These two are going to be the Acts of Faith that you build your army around. And it’s all made possible because of one stratagem.
Vessel of the Emporers Will coupled with either of those two acts will either give a large majority of your army the ability to hit on 2’s (rerolling 1’s from a nearby cannoness) or give you the ability to fight twice with a bunch of sisters. Other cool tricks with this stratagem would giving your whole army +3″ to move, a save against mortals for those pesky Thousand Sons players, or reviving a girl from every nearby unit!
You may be wondering who would care about a bunch of sisters fighting twice on a rerollable 5+, but that’s where Order of the Bloody Rose comes in! Order of the Bloody Rose will give your girls +1 attack and strength in the first round of combat. With a nearby priest giving an additional attack each lady can put out 3 strength 4 attacks. Fighting twice from faith and you could have a unit of 15 sisters pumping out 45 strength 4 attacks in combat, twice!
Alternatively, if you’re looking for more reliability in your Acts of Faith going off <Ebon Chalice> gives an army wide +1 to faith tests. This will bring +1 to hit to a 3+ to pass, and fight twice to a 4+, both become fairly reliable with a CP reroll, and as we all know Codex: Imperial Soup doesn’t struggle for CP generation.
These two orders strike out to me as the most competitive by far, because they will directly help your army to the point where you can build entire strategies around them.
That’s cool and all Nick, but what else do Sisters do?
Well, Sisters have the toughest vehicles and infantry in the game. All Sisters of Battle have 6++ invulnerable due to their shield of faith rule. You can then stack this with the Warlord Trait Indomitable Belief which will give all sisters units within 6″ +1 to their shield of faith roll. Finally, Celestine has a similar ability which will allow you to end up with an army of 4++ invulnerable save ladies and tanks. Watch the look on your opponents face when you roll a little hot on invuls and your 74 point rhino just lives through his 604 point Castellan shooting it in the face! To make matters even worse for your opponent, all your basic troops come with power armor, which means in cover your whole army will have a 2+ armor save to protect it against small arms and anti infantry, a 4++ to protect it against heavier weaponry, and a potential 4+ save against mortal wounds in the psychic phase. Clearly the only way to deal damage to sisters will be through assault to bypass that 2+ cover save, but oh wait, don’t forget the basic sisters can toss out 3 strength 4 attacks each and fight twice! This is not an army to underestimate, nor trifle with.
That’s basically the main schtick for what new Sisters are going to do, but while I’m here and I have your attention I might as well talk about some hidden gems in the Sisters codex too.
Arco Flagellants- Arco flagelants were actually very good in the index, but they had an issue being delivered to the enemy. Thankfully, with the addition of 4++ invulnerable save rhinos backed by some exorcists for target saturation these guys might live long enough to flail at their opponents. Arco flagellants make d3 to hit rolls for each attack they make, and with a nearby priest they’ll have 3 attacks each. That’s 3d3 to hit rolls per guy! But now they have anew strat too! For one CP you can automatically make the d3 result a 3 for a unit of Arco Flagellants. A unit of 9 of these guys will put out 81 attacks for 135 points. That’s gotta be worth something.
Seraphim- Seraphim have a couple cool unique aspects to them which will make them considerably useful for Sisters and Imperial armies in general. They are an 11 point model with fly, which makes them fantastic screens, as they are hug-proof! (Hugging and trapping models in assault is something I cover a lot in most my other articles and videos, and if you’re unfamiliar with the concept I highly recommend searching up some of my other content). Serpahim also have an innate bonus to their Shield of Faith, meaning they will get a 3++ invulnerable when combo’s properly as I demonstrated above. A flying screen with a 3+ armor, 3++ invul, and 4+++ from mortal wounds is probably the most competitively useful screen in the entire game.
Dominions– These guys basically didn’t change from the index. Just a really cheap and effective way to get a ton of special weapons into a unit for cheap. But they did get one new trick. The stratagem holy trinity says that if you shoot a bolt weapon, a flame weapon, and a melta weapon at a unit the your whole unit is +1 to wound. Typically this breaks conventional wisdom of not diversifying your squads weapon load outs, but in the specific case of dominions you can set up a unit of 5 dominion with 4 meltas and 1 combi flamer. The sergant will be able to fire both weapon profiles of the combi weapon at the enemy to give all your melta guns +1 to wound. A situationally very helpful tool to remember in the right moment for sure.
Exorcists– And finally, the iconic tank of classic Witch Hunter. This big gal got a massive buff from the new ability to get to a 4++, and the bonus to its damage. Its weapons profile sky rocketed in output fro d3 to d6 damage. Coupled with the fact that you can make it hit on 2’s reroll 1’s these guys are truly a tank to be feared. Seriously, T8, 3+/4++ hit on a 2 reroll 1’s, d6 s8 shots, AP-4, d6 damage, 125 points!? These guys are insane.
Brazier of the Eternal Flame– This relic is just absolutely fantastic. One thing I preach all the time in other articles is that when casting psychic powers be sure to premeasure so that you are out of deny range of enemy psychers so you can’t be denied. This relic will give every unit of sisters nearby a full 2d6 deny the witch, making this much more difficult, or straight up impossible for some offensive spells *cough* doom and jinx *cough*.
That pretty much wraps up my first glance thoughts on the new Sisters stuff. One thing you’ll notice about my evaluation and review is that I didn’t do it classically like many other reviews, meaning I didn’t go unit by unit, line by line through the codex and evaluate everything individually. That’s not how to properly evaluate effectiveness in 40k. The 41st millenium is a magical time where synergies between warlord traits, orders, stratagems, special rules, and relics matter far more than the individual rules of a unit. The sum of the whole is greater that that of the individual parts or some saying like that. If you want to better understand 40k in this capacity and learn how to properly view the game competitively so you can become a PRO check out my personal coaching service. And now, if you’re just simply not able to shell out the $97/month for a personal 40k coach, you have an option to sign up for all my online classes and view my live streamed games at Nights PRO Lite for just $37/month!
Until next time mis amigo!