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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sisters of Battle Codex Review: Part 8 - Dedicated Transports


Sisters of Battle have one of the stock-standard Imperial transports in the Rhino but they also boast the Immolator. The Immolator is essentially a Razorback but with Sisters of Battle weapon options and a higher starting price but fulfils the same Razorback role - transport with a gun. Let's take a closer look at both and which units will find best usage out of each.

Rhino -

Everyone knows what the Rhino does right? For 35 measly points you get an AV11 box which protects up to ten of your girls and allows two of them to fire from the top-hatch. This is great for protecting units which don't need to be exposed (i.e. your Sisters of Battle) whilst still allowing them to affect the tabletop with their top-hatch firing. It also grants each unit a 12" move + 2" disembark in terms of melta threat ranges and the general increase in movement over your standard infantry + run move. The increased capacity of Rhino is the major difference between the Rhino and Immolators and for that reason squads which are higher than six are generally your best bet here as the Immolator simply cannot carry them. Sisters of Battle squads are a prime example here.

Squads with special or heavy weapons will also gain a lot from the Rhino due to the top-hatch and that is ultimately the consideration you have to take into account between the Immolator and Rhino - do I want the top-hatch ability or an extra heavy weapon? Heavy weapons such as the multi-melta will often prefer the Rhino so they can park and 'bunker' whilst more mobile weapons such as meltaguns which can hop out and shoot might prefer the Immolator for the extra firepower it brings. That being said, being able to shoot meltaguns out of the top-hatch is also a very nice boon.

All in all if a unit has the option to take an Immolator or Rhino, there's nearly no reason why you shouldn't at least be taking a Rhino. For 35 points you get a lot of protection and utility in being able to block and misdirect your opponent, not to mention the joy of tank shocking a unit multiple times.

Immolator - 

Immolators are essentially Razorbacks - a Rhino chassis which can hold six girls with guns and boasts a heavy weapon. If you're not going to be using the top-hatch (i.e. combat unit) and the squad is sized six or less, the Immolator not only brings the movement and protection benefit of the Rhino, but an extra gun into the bargain. Of course, the movement benefit is often hindered by the heavy weapon as you cannot move 12" and fire the heavy weapon. Therefore, careful consideration needs to be utilised when grabbing Immolators over Rhinos and you must not be afraid to forego their shooting to get their unit into place.

This was really the biggest nerf of the new book despite there being an equivalent vehicle in the Blood Angels Razorback, Immolators can no longer move 12" and fire their heavy flamer. This makes the Heavy Flamer option a lot less attractive as the whole army slows down. It's still usable certainly but not so much in an aggressive manner and certainly not to continually circle each other, dropping melta units and then frying tanks and infantry alike. This means we need to look at the other options - twin-linked special Heavy Bolters and twin-linked Multi-melta.

On paper the twin-linked MM looks fantastic...I mean it's a multi-melta, on a tank and it's twin-linked. Unfortunately though it's expensive (80 points) and doesn't have the longest reaching weapon. They are great at holding midfield alongside Sisters of Battle with their MMs (and bring some mobility to the cause) but are expensive to field en masse. With this in mind they do make excellent transports for Dominions with Scout as they can get into position before the game begins but aren't as effective with other units. And this brings us to the twin-linked inferno bolts Heavy Bolter option. At 65 points this is a very expensive option as well (consider the Psyback from Grey Knights is 50) but does bring some more anti-infantry firepower at range - it just lacks any sort of duality against tanks. If you didn't bring Retributors and are looking for some Immolators, the inferno Heavy Bolter option isn't too bad but it really is quite expensive for what you get. Without the Retributors though they do allow you to kill infantry at range which is quite important.

With this in mind the multi-melta and heavy bolter options are probably your best bet but neither are stellar. Because of this Rhinos may often be the more sought after choice except in specific circumstances (i.e. Dominions) or where one really wants the extra firepower they bring.

Upgrades -

Sisters of Battle vehicles have the usual Imperial assortment of upgrades. They come standard with smoke launchers which is great but like many new books, need to buy searchlights for one point. If you have a couple leftover points these are a decent buy for any potential shooting in Dawn of War though the range of the army generally limits this. Dozer Blades as always are an excellent buy to make terrain less scary but expensive en masse across an army whilst extra armor is probably only worth it on whatever the Battle Conclave/Repentia ride in - even then, trust to saturation to help you rather than making Rhinos as expensive as they were before. Storm Bolters are also too expensive to bother with at 10 points each but Hunter Killer Missiles can give the Sisters army an excellent high strength first turn salvo (or second turn) from distance. This can really help overcome their lack of ranged firepower but as always with this strategy, is expensive and not guaranteed to do any significant damage.

Conclusion -

With the decrease in usefulness of the Immolator, Rhinos are really the transport of choice. If you're in desperate need of extra firepower, the Immolator can provide and the firepower they provide is mobile and does fill a niche Sister armies could benefit from (i.e. mobile MMs or ranged anti-infantry). Generally though, they are over-costed and only really useful with Dominions. Rhinos on the other hand are just dirt cheap, provide protection, increased movement, top-hatch and the usual disruption/blocking/misdirection/tank shocking a tank brings to the table without the hassle of losing firepower or an important tank when they engage in that role.

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