HELLO LADIES! Lets pull back the play testing curtain and look at the “beta” Sisters of Battle codex we got in Chapter Approved.
Goatboy here again and we finally got Chapter Approved 2018 at BOLS HQ. I know we have all seen a lot of the book already and I am sure the next few days will be full of opinions, thoughts, and new list ideas. There is more then enough time for that so lets go ahead and pull back the play testing curtain and look at the “beta” Sisters of Battle codex we got in Chapter approved. Overall I think it is pretty interesting and while it feels fairly complete – I expect there to be a decent amount of changes coming whenever we get the real deal in our greedy little hands.
Sisters – The Good Stuff
Let’s start with what I like about it. First – it is a true codex with some true thought on how to make them both interesting and unique. It feels like a heavily designed army as it has a lot of interactions that seem to be built with 8th edition in mind. There are many layers of auras, ability stacking, and layers of strong leadership needed to make this army work. This isn’t the slap together a list and dominate style army – it is something built to benefit the stronger tactical player.
Speaking of type of player – this isn’t an army for the Goat. I like armies that let me push a specific play style that fits in my play by the seat of your pants method. I am an aggressive player that tries to plan on pushing the opponent into situations where I either leave them little time or little ability to properly respond. The Sisters army as is – is not that style of play. Let me give you some history in that I have always found playing versus a Sisters player to be usually one of the toughest match ups. While squishy they really always dealt out a ton of damage. Mixed with a very strong Special Character and a lot of weird rules interactions it was always a rough uphill battle to play against them. It doesn’t help that one of my good buddies always wrecked me with those damned jump pack ladies followed by the Saint herself.
All New Faith, Saints & Less Randomness
I have always had a lot of respect for these bolter carrying ladies and the amount of hurt they can put on the bad guys I normally played. This is why I think this Beta codex is pretty dang interesting. The new removal of “free” interactions with a replaced Faith system is very interesting. It feels like a very unique ability with a whole lot of play in the hands of the right player. I do wonder if some of the “faith values” might be a bit too high – but until I see armies fully built on the table top I can’t really decide. There seems to be a ton of ways to get those costs down – especially when mixed with some of the aura generating abilities that let more then one unit get to use them. It does feel like the army is really designed to death ball – with multiple layers of bullet hell mixed in.
Let’s look at the other changes besides the Faith system. The Saint has been updated by losing a wound and having her recovery balanced. I don’t know about you – but having her die and popped up 48 inches away was really annoying. Mix this with the removal of the old Faith, double move system and now you have a much more balanced knife instead of the broken soup maniac. The other interesting things is a lot of small tweaks to units. Things like the Penitent engine removing the chance to not get to attack twice. This is huge as while having a random value for damage can be ok (you still get to do your damage you just do as much etc) having a random chance to not do something you would like to happen can be so devastating as well as unfun for a game. Just think if you had to roll a 4+ to let your Zerkers attack again. No one would ever take those things as Competitive players crave consistency in actions. Speaking about damage changes – the Exorcist got a big jump to d6 damage per missile. Of course I would roll that 1 or 2 like a boss every time – but getting a chance to hit that glorious 6 for the emperor is pretty good.
Stratagems, Warlords & Relics
On top of the Faith system – the Sisters even have a strong set of Stratagems. There are so many that are designed to let you do better damage. Vessel’s of Emperor’s Will seems very strong. For 3 CP you can let a Character aura out a Faith roll. Could you imagine a bunch of Sisters moving in, charging and getting to all fight twice? This seems very powerful and will ruin your opponents day in a game. I like how they can get a 4+ deny the Witch as well which can be very powerful. Overall their Stratagems feel very – Sisters of Battle – and will definitely let them wreck an army or two with some well timed usage of Command Points.
Their Warlord traits and Relics seem ok. I like two of the Warlord traits – an ability to gain a Faith point on a 4+ at the start of the turn as well as Indomitable Belief that gives another way to give out a +1 to their Shield of Faith save. I expect the Belief to show up most of the time as again this army is all about managing your Auras and creating your death ball. There are 2 Relics that will show up in most Sisters army. The Book of St. Lucius gives the character an additional 3″ on their Auras – which as we have already talked about with all the Warlord traits and other things seems like a no brainer. After that Litanies of Faith seems like a no brainer if you want to have Faith points to burn. It gives you a 5+ to gain the Faith point back after you’ve spent it. We all know how gaining back Command Points can be powerful enough to get limited in Matched Play so having an ability to gain it back right away in multiple phases of the game seems like a powerful thing.
Where’d She Go?
Speaking about weird things though – where did the Imagifier go in the new book? They put in all the other weird stuff but this unit choice seems to be left out? I don’t even know if it would work right as acts of Faith are no longer done at the beginning of the turn? The rules for the unit says you do it at the beginning of the turn – but all the faith options are specific to points in the turn. So how would it work? Would you still just get a free act of Faith that wouldn’t work? It is an odd unit to not get an update unless GW wants this unit choice to basically go away. I think it doesn’t even work anymore as the effects of faith don’t last the entire turn – it is just for that specific phase. Still it is a weird thing and something I noticed.
I do like seeing this type of release for GW as while it isn’t nearly as “complete” as I expect the codex to be – it is a good indication on where this army is probably going. I expect a bunch of new units to come whenever the codex finally comes out. While the book currently has everything “covered” for an army – good troops, decent HQs, good gun platform options, and even a close combat component it still feels like there are a lot of things missing from it. I expect it has to do more with how old the models are and what will be a huge reworked release whenever it comes out. This feels like how they reworked the Dark Eldar and basically updated the entire line.
Overall I expect this army to do be part of the soup that is the Imperium currently. I can see a lot of lists that use the Sisters as the “meat” option in the Slam Captain/Knight pie. With the reworked Command Points and an army that doesn’t really need to use a ton to be valid and you have a nice option instead of having to use some Guard. Having a ton of 3+ save bodies with invulnerable saves, decent shooting attacks, and a strong “Slam Captain” style character might just be what he Doctor ordered.
For The Emperor!