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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sisters of Battle White Dwarf Codex Review

I got my complete set of Sisters of Battle rules from White Dwarf and I have had a week or so of reading it and build lists, so I thought I would go ahead and give my review of it.

My first thought is that over all it is a pretty good update for one given in a White Dwarf. It is a little low on background and history, but it had more than I expected it to have.

The thing that excited me the most is the fact it  is a Sisters of Battle army again. I never liked the inquisition aspects of the old book and I am very happy to see this codex bring back what the Sisters should be, the army of the Ecclesiarchy.

Now that I have the basics out of the way lets get to the meat and potatoes, the Army List.

Army Special Rules:

Acts of Faith - This rule needed changes badly and I actually like the direction that GW decided to go.  I like the fact that each unit has their own special Act of Faith and I like the system for getting the faith points. In most cases you should be able to get your act on a 4+ roll which is 50% of the time which is completely fair to me.

Independent Characters and Acts of Faith - Not much to say on this as I feel it works just like it should

Shield of Faith - Every single unit in the book gets a 6+ invulnerable save, I say YES!


Canoness - Overall  I am unimpressed with the Canoness. She is unremarkable in just about every way. Her point cost for what you get is crap. Why take a Canoness at 65 points then pay 25 more for a Rosarius when you can take a Confessor for 75 and get one for free. Anyway that is just my opinion I have one of each in my army list.

Sororitas  Command Squad - If I take a Canoness I will be taking one of these with her just for the feel no pain if nothing else.

Ecclesiarchy Confessor - I love this HQ. I think you get allot for the points and I just like the whole idea of the Confessor

Battle Conclave - If you are going to take a Confessor you might as well build him a decent conclave. I have one in my list.

Special Characters: 

Saint Celestine - The most expensive of our HQs but if you have the points she is also the best of our HQs. I field her any chance I get. She is a deadly foe and I am not afraid to put her up against anything in the game and that continues in the edition of the codex.

Arch-Confessor Kyrinov - Well worth his points in wargear and special abilities alone.

Uriah Jacobus - Easily my second favorite of the special character. Point cost is reasonable and if you take a Canoness and him you get 2 units with feel no pain.


Ecclesiarchy Priest - If you got extra points that you don't know where to put you can get a fairly good priest at a reasonable price.

Celestian Squad -Pretty decent squad 2 attacks is nice for the price. I don't have them in my current list but could easily see dropping a troop squad for one of these.

Repentia Squad - One of three units in the army that got much needed improvements. Feel no pain, fearless, fleet rage, shield of faith spirit of the martyr what doesn't this unit have? I have one in my list and am considering buying a second unit.


Battle Sister Squad - our quintessential and only troops choice, the battle sister still are the core of the army and still a very effective mid range shooter unit. I run 4 squads of 10 with various weapon load outs to handle the most variety of enemies.

Dedicated Transports:

Rhino - Its a Rhino, but you get some Sisters of Battle upgrades. I run a mostly foot list so I don't use mine often.

Immolator - Pretty much the same. People are complaining but someone always will. I am running one with my Canoness and one with my Retributor Squad.

Fast Attack:

Seraphim Squad - another unit I thought got some good improvement. Their special rules are pretty cool. I love hit and run. I love re-rolling acts of faith but my favorite is allowing the Seraphim to choose to frie both pistols instead of being twin linked.

Dominion Squad - SCOUTS this is huge for me anyway. I now think this is one of the most useful units in the game and will almost always field a unit. I really feel this unit got upgraded with this update.

Heavy Support:

Retributor Squad - I love them as I always have. Pleny of different loadouts for what ever role you need them for.

Exorcist - You should have one, I want two. Easily our best Heavy. AP1 loving it!

Penitent Engine - The Special rules really upped this uint in my opinion, rage, battle frenzy, unstoppable rampage and shield of faith yes I am fielding two of these big boys.

Final Thoughts:

Overall I am impressed by the codex. It feels pretty streamlined and at times it felt like I had very few options but as I looked at it they basically removed allot of the crap I never used anyway. I think it is a decent codex for a White Dwarf release. Is it the next power house dex? No! Can an experienced
 Sister of Battle player win with this book? Absolutely!

So what are your opinions on the new Sisters Codex? Do you think it is a viable Codex? What plans do you have for your Sisters with the new Codex? Letme know what you think.

- Meatball


Inquisitor M said...

just found your blog. god stuff. i have to say as a fellow sisters player i have to agree with you. though i did love the inquisition i'm ok with them being gone (they have a fine list in grey knights now anyways).
good review. i agree with you pretty much. i plan to try a lot a different things out.
for the people that complain about the immo. its actually now the same price as a razorback with a twin linked heavy flamer. so it lost its "fast rule" now it has a 6++ which is also cool.
here's hoping that when we do get the real codex it will build off of this, because it is already pretty decent.

Meatball said...

@Inquisitor M - Thanks for stopping by and for your comments on the Sisters Codex. My only real disappointment is the lack of any "new" models, or at least some finecast of what we have would have been nice. Oh well maybe in the future.

Anyway welcome to the blog and I hope to see you back again.

Inquisitor M said...

yeah same here. they will eventually give us new models when they give us a new codex in a few years... i hope...
my problem right now with it is in my interpretation of the hand flamers for serraphim. the way they are written your basically paying 20pts for a s3 ap6 assault 1 template that doesn't get any buff from their special rules because its not a pistol. i hope they clarify that soon or that i'm reading it wrong.

Meatball said...

Yeah I noticed that also, Hopefully it gets a FAQ pretty quick, it should at least come with a re-roll as twin-linked.

Papa JJ said...

Excellent review, Meatball. It's really refreshing to read something that's positive and not filled with whining about what "should" have been done differently. I agree with you, it's too bad there weren't any new models to go with the Codex but otherwise it seems like a lot of things were improved and streamlined. I think it's a good bridge to whenever the Sisters get a full Codex all to themselves and certainly better than playing with outdated rules.

Meatball said...

@Papa JJ - I am glad you liked the review. I gave my honest opinion and in truth it is not a bad codex at all. I can't wait to get my first game under my belt with it.

I still wanted those new models though ;-P

Seath_Tt said...

Good job! My thoughts exactly; there is so much negativity about the Sisters I was becoming depressed about them.

I played a game last night and was worried I was going to get creamed, but nay! It was a fun game; and we held up well! The sisters are a good army; my friends loved the new faith rules because now they can understand them. (All I can say is that Jacobus is da'man).

Go Sisters!

Meatball said...

@Seath_Tt - Thank you. I haven't gotten a game in yet but I hope to soon. I have ordered both Jacobus and the Hospitaller as they are the only models I didn't own yet. Once they get here I need to paint them up so we can go have some fun!

1st timer said...

So I am new... And what I have researched so far tells me to stay away from Sisters to start my 40k experience. TBH I am not interested in easy and there is something about these chicks that interest me. They look badass and I really dig the idea of having an ubre model that can not be killed. Any tips for me? The folk around here seem to play 1000-2000 pts mostly.

lockedge said...

Interesting take. I mean, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I certainly won't say you're dead wrong. I also know that some things totally improved this codex(Repentia, Celestine).
That said, I'm frustrated by it. I've spent the last month and a half playing with it and I've been tabled by the end of the 3rd turn twice, by the end of the 4th turn once.
I chalk some of the poor results to me just not adapting quickly enough. Some, the dice gods not rolling in my favour.
But all in all, this codex is just not good; it's a step backward in power and versatility.
I barely attempt faith abilities in the new codex now. I can never remember them, and my opponents are confused by the sheer # of them. The old system was easy. Roll +/- unit size, only 5 faith abilities to know. Simple, streamlined. Now they messed it up.
Not only are faith abilities more difficult to get, they're also weaker. Sisters roll to regroup? With I3, they're more likely to be swept. This has been my experience.

I can't CC anymore outside of Celestine and the Battle conclave, and even they have their limits. In the old codex, I would rely on Spirit of the Martyr and the book of St. Lucius to lock down enemy forces to prevent them contesting an objective. Now, I have the ability to take neither.

I lost all psychic defense. I would trade that useless 6+ invuln for a 5+ psychic save any day of the week (my local meta is GK, SW, Eldar and BA...I used to stand a chance, now I have no protection). An army that battles heretics with no protection from such witchery? HERESY.

Hit and Run on the seraphims was nerfed, and with I3 they aren't about to succeed very often. They'll also often die before they get any CC attacks off.

Penitent engines are buffed, but it won't matter because any skilled opponent will kill them before they can engage. It's even easier if they're in a squad.

Retributors have whole army used to. Will almost never take them over an Exorcist. They're pretty balanced though.

Arcoflags were super nerfed. I miss the fluffy arcos that blew up on 6s and blazed across the screen.

Dominions got buffed up the wazoo with scout. Now they can melta enemy mech easy in the opening rounds.
(continued in 2nd post)

lockedge said...

Battle sisters are worse off than before. We were given Frags(useless, never bought them before), Kraks(formerly useless, now have some purpose), and a free veteran. And the useless 6+ save.
We lost the 5+ psych save, AP1, 3+ invuln, +2S @ I1, +2I, or Fearless/morale/Regroup. We lost Ld9 or Ld10 with a piece of wargear.

Basically, I relied on smart movement decisions to survive with the old codex. I could afford a mistake or two and faith would bail me out. Now, I can't make a mistake without paying dearly for it. My effective range is 12-24", and that means I have one turn of shooting to put something down or weaken it to the point where my laughably atrocious sisters can mop up the rest. Otherwise, I get swept, annihilated, etc. in CC, or I get picked apart from a distance, or I get massacred within my range from psychic attacks.

I'm not the greatest WH40k player, but I have a pretty decent W:L:D ratio against friends who frequent the tourney circuit. I tend to break even and I pride myself on doing so against the strong 5th edition codexes. Now, if I beat my friends, it's pretty embarrassing for them.
I've pretty much decided to go back to the old dex.
I feel kind of bad because I'm kind of taking the cheap way out, but I'm just not having fun with my army with much of the fluff and interesting rules torn out, with realistically one or two builds that can pose any semblance of a threat, and the constant mounting losses certainly don't help.

The next codex can't come soon enough. It'll either fix it to a point where I can play it competitively and hopefully fluffy, or I'll just shelf my army.

Anyway, I guess it's kind of refreshing to hear someone excited about the army. I hope you recover healthwise.
Happy trails!

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