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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
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Monday, October 3, 2011

Sisters of Battle Codex Review: Part 4 - Elites


Elites used to be a great choices of the old codex - not because there was a bunch of choices but because for 150 points you got five BS4 models with two meltaguns and a psuedo-fast transport with a twin-linked Heavy Flamer. Give me more! Things unfortunately have changed, let's take a look.

Ecclesiarchy Priest - 

Very similar to what Imperial Guard have available, Priests are an 0-5 choice for an army which don't take up any Force Organisation slots. Sounds good to me. However, they are 45 points of expensiveness which don't really work well with the Sisters of Battle concept. Sisters of Battle really work well as a shooting force, particularly at close-range but don't have many combat abilities. Their biggest combat threat comes from Battle Conclaves which are unlocked by Confessors (including the Special Character variants) which are essentially HQ, multi-wound Priests. Priests are therefore not really a good choice - they try to make an army weakness less of a weakness but don't really succeed (25% more S3 hits are still S3 hits) though they can find some use with Repentia squads who are now decent (25% more Eviscerator hits is scarier). They are a 45 point, T3/4++ character though so are pretty easy to pick out and kill though re-rolls against moving vehicles is nice to have with Repentia.

All in all something you probably won't see as their big brothers the Confessors + Special Characters are doing their job for the Battle Conclave. If you do want to use them, take them with Repentias to make their charge a bit more daunting but otherwise you're just throwing points away - they don't even help with Faith tests.

Celestian Squad -

Ah the squad of nerdhood. They have gone up in points like most of the Sisters of Battle infantry for no real gain. They are the same cost as Grey Hunters but lack the durability or hitting power in combat with strength and toughness three, rely on Faith to get to strength four and cannot take multiple combat weapon options. Their only advantage is being able to take two weapons per five girls but with their increased expense, this isn't the money saving technique it was before. That being said, if you go for Celestians this is why you take them, the ability to get two meltaguns in a squad of five is a very nice option and you do get access to another transport option as well. At 100 points + transport (so 165 with Immolator, 15 points more than before) it is a reasonably cheap option but with the points for a Sisters of Battle army often at a premium, these points are generally better sunk into Troops for more durable scoring options. Consider that for the extra ~50 points you get an extra five bodies and scoring for less combat potential.

The other options outside of meltaguns are as a general rule of thumb - worse off. A couple storm bolters is medicore and whilst lots of flamers is nice, 20 points for a Heavy Flamer is just down right silly and Sisters of Battle have no real issue dealing with infantry up close. The Multi-melta is certainly an option but best left to Sisters of Battle who can sit back and score and use the cheaper, less valuable units like Celestians as forward melta units. The Superior can take a combi-weapon to improve the number of melta shots or add some duality (flamer) but isn't worth the points for the other upgrades (melta-bombs is an anti-tank option in combat though). The Simulacrum Imperialis is as usual, too expensive to bother with.

Celestians are ultimately suicide melta with the option to bring another transport to the table. Whilst they have improved combat statlines with WS4/A2 and the Faith ability to get S4 and Fearless, they are only going to be any use with lots of bodies and they are gain no extra weapons and aren't exactly cheap. In the end, why would you? If you want combat options there are better units which don't suck.

Repentia Squad -

On the face of things Repentia haven't changed much. They don't have a save. They run around with big choppy chainsaws that make them go last. They are Strength and Toughness three. Etc. A couple major changes however. Their Act of Faith works like 4th ed Cataclysm from Tyranids - even if you die you can strike back. They have FNP which stops them from being pummelled by even the tiniest of punches. They can ride in transports. They are still pretty expensive at 17 points a pop and cannot take a transport of their own but are capable of nicking a ride from someone else and with FNP + their Act of Faith thrown in, they can actually survive some damage thrown their way. Remember their 6++ as well! They still have Rage though so once outside the transport, canny enemies can kite them pretty well but chucking them in a Rhino can nullify this a lot. They also have Fleet and are still Fearless which can be annoying in terms of taking wounds (as even with 6++ and FNP, they aren't durable) but you know they aren't going to run before the fight.

What these changes allow them to do is work in army lists where they can hijack rides. They can then move up at a stately pace as part of the army and ignore many of the disadvantage of Rage. As they approach the front lines they have a decent threat range with fleet out of a stationary vehicle and give the Sisters of Battle army another decent counter-attack unit or something which can wreck a parking lot's face. They aren't going to very good as horde control as they really aren't that durable but they will deal with low attack units quite well. For this reason I'd probably keep the unit size low, around five-six. This lets them hurt parking lots of moving vehicles reliably, smack elite combat units in the face and clean up anything which survives the bolter/flamer fire of the army. This also means they can fit nicely into a Immolator and provide some duality fire support. Larger squads do have the benefit of being more durable but are quite expensive and the unit is never really going to chew through large squads efficiently so I'd keep them small to medium sized.

Conclusion -

Priests are a nice choice but really only for Repentia squads as Battle Conclaves already have Confessors leading them. Even then they are quite expensive for what they do and easy to pick out/kill. Celestians are a fair bit more expensive than before and although this only translates to a 15 point increase over their old layout, the decrease in effectiveness of Immolators + the points increase has really relegated this unit to overpriced and not really used. If you're in desperate need of double melta MSU, Celestians can bring two meltaguns in a Rhino for 140 points but you'll find your points are better off spent elsewhere. Repentia on the other hand have been given a boost in usability with increased durability (6++, FNP, Spirit of the Martyr) and ability to join the battle (Fleet, can ride in transports). They are still limited in applicability and aren't super durable but being able to stand up to a punch and get to the fight they want is pretty important and therefore you'll see these crazy chicks a bit more.

All in all not a strong slot for Sisters and with a complete 180 in terms of useful units (maybe GW is trying to sell something...). Troops are up next!

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