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March 12, 2010

W40K Tactics: Pipe Organs on the Field of War

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Let's take a look at one of the best hidden weapons the Imperium has to offer: The Sisters of Battle Exorcist.

Mr. Black here to not only talk about my favorite leading ladies of 40K but one of their holy-rolling vehicles as well, the devastating Exorcist.

... No no, not the Forgeworld Exorcist (which interestingly enough is the only Forgeworld model cheaper than it's Games Workshop equivalent), we're bringing out the gold-plated chrome-rimmed For Whom the Bell Tolls playing monster of a metal kit itself:

That's what I'm talking about! Easily one of the most stunning (and intimidating) units to see on the table, the Exorcist boasts enough firepower to match it's visual appeal. For a comparable price to a lascannon/heavy bolter Predator the Sisters' signature tank can unload salvo after salvo of holy missiles to demolish almost any threat to it's army, xenos born or not.

But what makes this tank good enough to warrant me giving it the label The Best Damn Weapon of the Imperium, 5th Edition ?

Two words: Exorcist Launcher

D6 S:8 AP: 1 shots a turn, more than enough to put the fear of the Emperor into any adversary unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end. This Turret-Mounted weapon has everything one would want in firepower: long range, super-low AP, and the ability to Instant Kill some of the universes' best equipped soldiers, and all for a point cost that makes it cost-effectiveness match it's deadliness.

On the defensive side the Exorcist still carries it's weight on the board, boasting the standard Predator armor line without the movement restraining issues that side-sponsons create. Yes, in this case having just the one weapon is a boost rather than a hindrance, allowing the vehicle to move and lay down fire each turn. Given the maneuverability of the tank, combined with it's long range, and we see the only immediate threats to the tank, aside from the unexpected, are lascannons and drop-podding meltaguns, or, of course, other Exorcists (But we don't live in fantasy land, do we? I mean, really, two Witch Hunters players in the same place? Really?).

So there we have it, offense almost reaching the excessive (like that truly exists in 40K?), a combined defense in both armor and mobility, dirt-cheap point cost, and a regal yet easy on the eyes design, truly a vehicle embodying the core elements of the leading ladies of the 40K universe!

TACTICSThe Exorcist remains in my mind the most devastating vehicle in the game, capable of demolishing Rhinos and other similar transports with little difficulty. Yes, in fact used against most any low Sv/high armor unit the Exorcist will bring down the holy spirit onto most any non-believer (ignoring that the "holy spirit" in question is a salvo of high-propulsion, armor-piercing mini-nukes). Added in this the tank still posing a serious threat to Land Raiders and a like: enough glancing shots, eventually one will be a six, and even if it isn't, the damage inflicted will still be noticeable.

In it's simplest usage the Exorcist is rather point and click in most cases. Simply aim it at whatever you want dead and commence to make the target living impaired. I'd love to say there is some great tactical secret in it's use that only the most skilled veteran of the battlefield could master but when it all boils down the complexity in using this weapon of war is the equivalent of the Big Red Button... with a water-dropper bird sitting next to it...

In short, here is a complete list of the units the Exorcist is effective against:
  • Everything

The real tactical question comes not from the usage of the vehicle, but rather the question of "How many do I take?". The tactical master may say "three", while the greenhorn may answer with the conservative "one"... There is no room for conservation on the battlefields of the 41st Millennium! And for the more conservative group out there, aside from wondering why you're reading about the Inquisition, the single most monetarily-wasteful entity in the universe, I will note that three Exorcists, given all they can do and destroy, will end up costing around 1/6th of your total army points. Given that raw math, who can really argue?


This is where I'd usually talk about the dirty underhanded tricks that make wargaming so much fun. The sneaky knife-in-yer-back type tactica that makes you grin just as much as it makes opponents sneer at you. So, what dirty tricks do we have for the Exorcist? Well... Pretty much everything you do with the Exorcist will be called dirty by your opponents, especially if you're running them in multiples. As said above, I'd love to say there is some great secret here, but when you're firing a weapon of this destructive magnitude pretty much anything you do can be considered a war-crime... Except you're playing the Inquisiton, so, you know, you get to decide what exactly constitutes a war crime, and odds are "Holy Missiles" won't qualify.

As a great man once said:

"The wise man follows the law. The wisest man makes the law" -Mr. Black

~The Sisters of Battle and "competitive army" are almost never seen in the same sentence, but I truly believe this is due to cost of the figures rather than effectiveness. Being a devout SoB player for the past two years I can guarantee the worst mistake anyone can make is under-estimating 40K's Nuns with Guns! What are your experiences with the Witch Hunters, both playing and against?
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