Friday, 9 March 2012

Sisters of Battle - just how shit are they?

Well, not that shit.
I downloaded and printed the codex today to get a proper look at Sisters.. I've played against them a few times with Tim at our local gaming club (link here if you are in the Cambridge area) and they have been a real pain.
So, in the spirit of learning to play with the army in order to beat the army (like Paladins here), I am going to build a Sisters army using regular Marines.. after all, they are just women in power armour without the full blown genetic enhancement..
So rhinos and razors (as Immo's) will do and marines with helmets are the order fo the day here.. can't tell man vs woman in all that power armour anyway!

This can be thrown together using any old marines and razors and rhinos that you have.. that is how I plan on doing it.. No, this is not a "real" project, this is just a counts as army that I want to run to learn about an unknown army that actually has some potential..coming out of left field and surprising you to get the win is low, but valid! lol... so it is important to know what even the (internetz) lowliest army can do..

What is the list then?

St Celestine is in.
Celestines are cool but expensive, just 2 sets of them with 2 Meltaguns and a TLHF Immolator
3 x Sisters in Rhinos with 2 meltaguns
2 x Dominions w 2 Meltaguns in TLHF Immolators
1 x Dominions w 2 meltaguns in Rhino
2 x Exorcists for AP1 S8 fire support and to help crack long fangs or fire support tanks etc at range. AP1 will help massively vs transports (which we pen easiliy enough) and getting damage vs tougher tanks where it is more lilely to glance..
1 x 5 Retributors w. 4 x HB's

The idea is that the Dominions push forward using scout and get up in your face first turn. they can scout 12", move 12" and disembark to get close range melta on the first turn.. or they can outflank to fuck about..I think I'd rather have the saturation on the board though tbh.
This is followed by a 5 transport push into midfield with Celestine jumping behind.
Retributors can either..well fuck. That's a shit choice...sorry.

Celestine  115
3 x Celestians  2 Meltaguns, MM Immolator - 180*3 = 540
3x Dominions 2 Meltaguns, MM Immolator - 170*3 = 510
3 x Sisters 2 Meltaguns, Rhino - 180*3 = 540

That's a pretty solid core and clocks in at 1705. Doesn't leave a lot to add and I'd like to throw in more hulls.. Celestians are pretty god damn expensive though, so I may change this up. Lets change the Celestians over to 3 sets of Retributors.

5 Retributors w 4 Heavy Bolters and an Immolator w. MM rocks in at 165

For now as well, lets lose St Celestine...drop her to just a Cannoness. This goes from 115 to 65.

Cannoness 65
3 x Retributors 4 Heavy Bolters, MM Immolator - 165*3 = 495
3x Dominions 2 Meltaguns, MM Immolator - 170*3 = 510
3 x Sisters 2 Meltaguns, Rhino - 180*3 = 540

This drops us to 1610.. Far more points to play with.
Celestians with 2 Meltaguns in Rhinos are only 135
Two of those goes up to 270 and we are then 30 points over!

If we drop 2 Immolators down to TL Heavy Flamers then we only have 4 MM on the Immo's and as they are on fragile hulls ... well, I think I need to keep those. The vehicles are no longer fast and therefore the flamer concept sucks ass.

Instead, drop one Retributor Immo to a Rhino and save the points..and perhaps a combi melta or something for the Cannoness.

Cannoness - CombiMelta 75

2 x Retributors 4 Heavy Bolters, MM Immolator, Searchlights - 166*2 = 332
1 x Retributors 4 Heavy Bolters, Rhino - 120
3x Dominions 2 Meltaguns, MM Immolator, Searchlights - 171*3 = 513
3 x Sisters 2 Meltaguns, Rhino - 180*3 = 540
2 x Celestians 2 Meltaguns, Rhino - 135*2 = 270

That lands bang on 1850.

I like that, but the thing is.. I think every army we see will have St Celestine in...for her speed, reasonable CC prowess (against non-cc troops) and mainly for the fact that she gets up all the time and can contest enemy objectives.. So I think we have to bring her in..

There is also the Uriah Jaco-Death-Bus (get it.. lol, the Death Bus) - a rhino full of FNP +1A Death Cults with a couple of Crusaders.
Uriah = 90
5 DCA = 75
3 Crusaders = 45
Rhino =35
The Death Bus clocks in at 245 points though and is very expensive for something that can essentially be shot and demeched, left stranded until later in the game... so I'm not going to use these guys. For me, they just cost too much..

To get Celestine in we need to drop one of the Immolators down to a Rhino..

Not sure whether or not this is the 'best' type of Sisters list.. but having looked at the codex (read: printed shit off of a website)  and played against Sisters a couple of times, this is what I would run...

Exorcists are the final element of the army that I have not really discussed.. 135 for D6 AP1 S8 missiles on an Av13 platform is not bad.. but one gun is a big issue as it is literally wasted after it is lost.. let's try Sisters without them for a while..

What is everyone's experience with Sisters? Anyone gotten in any games against them or are you literally not seeing any at all near you?


  1. I see your point, but without a ferless bubble or any real CC I think your army might greatly benefit from a DCA unit. While it is an investment, I have found them very durable with FNP and very point efficient. Whether they are your style or not, I would reccomend trying them on the table a few times. I also prefer to run them without crusaders as I found the DCA ladies more killy and durable enough with 5++. Just a thought.

    1. I like the Crusaders just cause they have that 3++/4+fnp, still have a power weapon.. just keeps peeps alive.. fists, hammers and other power weapons can go on them with impunity..

  2. Played them after the WD article came out.
    Celestine is a must have get her on an objective over there and don't worry. She can keep trying to come back to life the entire game.
    I usually run 3xExorcists and 5 to 6 squads of standard sisters in Rhinos. CC is my last choice for them but disembarking 4 bolt guns that may reroll ones, is enough to scare anything. Throw in some plasma cannons and it is a decent list. No real shining units just a lot of solid boltgun powered armor.

    1. Where do the plasma cannons come from?

  3. As you know I've been playing them.

    HQ's - Celestine and Jackobus + DCA are pretty much the best units in the army. Celestine is at worst a tarpit, at best she is a weapon of mass destruction. Obviously I am playing Andy's guard a lot, but things like her HF and follow up charge just means I'll throw her at pretty much anything, especially in the early turns.

    Jackobus and his bitches have taken out the most of any of my units - waaaay more than their points - including glancing a tank to death.

    Dominions w/ MM immo's are key.

    Sisters troops are actually fairly decent.

    Retributors so far have been underwhemling but their ride has not. However I am pretty sure I'd rather have the celestines now over them looking at it - they are worse than dominions but better than sisters, but lower in numbers, meaning they are the most expendable unit in the army. It does however remove ALL ranged from the force (an issue when you have NINE melta's in the midfield during deployment).

    Whats most important is the army is fun. Celestine and the DCA's go a long way to that.

    I have a couple of articles about it soon but want to play a few more games.

  4. Celestine is decent, overrated as hell but does take a lot of attention off the army.

    Jacobus squad wins me nearly all my games. You can demech them, but its difficult to shoot when you have all the scouting dominions, exorcists, celestine, troops etc. They can always jump in another sister rhino :P. At 2k I actually run jacobus and repentia (LOL) for some counterpunch.

    1. The point would be, once demeched they can largely be ignored until you have dealt with the rest..

  5. Celestine is not a power house purely because of the 4+ to wound, but your either laughing your ass off because they actually fired at her (the apt, "lol you fired 3 units at her and she just got back up with full wounds, gg") or they ignore her and she just makes an absolutely nuisance of herself in their back lines. You pretty much can throw her at anything.

    1. So as the comments have confirmed.. Celestine is essential.. and WOULD be present in a tournament list.. time to redraft the 'practice list'..

  6. Celestine is unbelieveably good. Like a small protable wrecking ball- just fire and forget. Very fast moving, a super human statline (how many characters go before most dark eldar?), and worth a maximum of 1 kill point. You can charge her into very nasty squads knowing she will only kill 1-2 of them and not care, because she has a 50% chance of doing it again next turn. My last game my opponent "sacrificed" a rifleman dreadnaught to tie her up in assault, praying that he would miss and that I would pass my saves- and she is worth much less than the dreadnaught.

  7. What do you think of running the Sisters without the Jaco-Death-Bus full of Death Cults? Just how good have you been finding them Tim?

  8. Saint Celestine

    Uriah Jacobus, with 3 Crusaders and 6 DCA's in a Rhino, Searchlight (Necs with 2 solars...)

    3x 10 Sororitas with each 2 Meltas and a Rhino, Searchlight

    5 Seraphim, one with 2 Meltapistols (can Carry Celestine, reroll the Heavy Flamer...)

    2x 5 Dominions, each 2 Meltas and Immo with HF and Searchlight (Necs with 2 Solars...)

    3 Exorcists, Searchlight

    1749 Points

    Works nice till yet!

    Greets from Austria!


    1. That's quite tasty although I'd prefer a 3rd Dominion to the Seraphim.

      At 1850, think that can be acheived easily enough..

    2. at 1850 its easy yes..

      bit in austria we play 1750 or 1500 at tournaments, and i have the models so...who cares :D

      most enemies ignore them at first because there are other things to deal with ( 1st turn the exorcists, 2nd turn the the the seraphims are where i want them, cheap tank killers)

      Greets Alex :)

  9. The death cults are great when they get there- there is very little in the game that can take them on in assault. Unfortunately, everyone goes "what is in that rhino?" and then direct their firepower at it until it is dead and the conclave are on foot. While the conclave are not that vulernable to shooting, loss of transport means they take ~2 turns longer to get anywhere (even after stealing another transport). As they would be hitting a shooting line on turn 2-3 normally this is not good.

    I would take Celestine over the battle conclave if I could only take one of them (but I would prefer to take both). However it may depend a lot on the metagame. If you see a lot of assault deathstars then they are probably more useful that I find them as they could hang out in your deployment zone and tackle whatever turns up. Without them, you have no assault units, but there were no decent assault units in the old codex anyway.

    To be honest, there is so much that is rubbish in the codex I find it hard to resist taking the conclave- without them, how would you tackle Thunder hammer/storm shield terminators or Nobs? It is not like sisters can run fast...

  10. That's a neg on the Uriah engine Ven.

    That unit is basically 200 points of "you have a deathstar? MINES CHEAPER" or "do not put any unit on the table in midfield or they will die a horrible, fast and fun death".

    They are incredible value. Jacko is nearly half the price of the unit, but he offers solid utility for the entire force with the re-roll. While not essential its basically "oh wow thats nice" when it happens. Also bestowing FNP on a unit is no joke, on the DCA's is silly how good that is, but there are times where you can just meander him around units and just makes that T3 not as much of an issue (de-meched objective holder for example in midfield, now FNP and and stubborn with ~3 wounds extra).

    The DCA's I have been playing around with numbers. I started with 5 and they were horrifyingly good (25 attacks on the charge) but less resilient to shooting. Then I went 6xDCA and 3xCrusader. I defo didn't need the 3rd crusader, and I felt the 6th DCA was just over kill, its basically killing the 8th guy of a 10 man MEQ squad, which largely is irrelevant I feel.

    I'd love to have the unit in an immolator, but a rhino shoots them down the priority list but also means 12" and smoke is most likely their best movement - often establishing a midfield charge range for T2 and supporting the dominions for anyone they have de-meched.

    Stelek said the "must haves" are 3xDominion and 3xRetributors. For me the best thing about retributors is their immolator unlock, the 80 points for 4xHeavy bolters is "nice" but massivily underwhelming. I've rending two vehciles, but the unit is largely left un touched entire games and often just dont get line of sight to troops that get demeched.

    Celestine is just solid, I said to Killswitch she is like a "mini mephiston in reverse" - mephy is a must kill but an area denial, celestine is the opposite, she is much harder to kill, while she insta dies she doesnt need cover, she has an invul, oh and she can get back up - so unlike mephy you can throw her in the open and beg people to use that s6+ on her rather than on your dominion immolators. She bogs down units for your DCA, or pulls threats away from the dominion/dca tanks. She's fast, she can contest, and that heavy flamer is one of the better things about her I have found.

    Honestly the first 3 things I write on my list -

    3x Dominion
    1x Uriah + Bitches
    1x Celestine

    After that its how many sister squads (vastly under rated, actually a very very good unit imo). 3 I've found fine for 1750, I want 4 at 2k, at 1850 I am not sure, I'd prob say 4.

    Right now I am leaning more towards Celestines than Exorcists for my 1750 list. My next test with Atreides will try this out.

  11. OK thanks Tim and Bull.. I'm going to try and fit them in.. I think as a real representation of a tournament build they will be in there, despite personal preference.
    I'll re work it today and throw something up in the comments here..

  12. Sweet -

    I have a big load of articles coming about it Ven once I've had a few more games. I have an article about retributors as well.

    They are a stupidly fun army to play with though, I think you'll really enjoy them.

  13. that's what we never should's an army that makes fun, und looks good on the table, but not to win a tournamend...that's the awfull truth :)

    I like the exorcists because you can crack up a landraider too with a glancing hit :)

    Retributors with HB won't do that anyway...



  14. Yeah,

    I've found retributors very underwhelming thus far, their best feature is the immo-unlock (seriously).

  15. against orks and DE they would rock hehe :D

  16. OK, so in an effort to get closer to the tournament archetype..

    St Celestine 115
    Jacobus 90
    5 DCA, 2 Crusaders, Rhino 140
    5 Celestians, 2 Meltaguns, Immolator - MM
    10 Sisters, 2 Meltaguns, Rhino
    10 Sisters, 2 Meltaguns, Rhino
    10 Sisters, 2 Meltaguns, Rhino
    5 Dominions, 2 Meltaguns, Immolator - MM
    5 Dominions, 2 Meltaguns, Immolator - MM
    5 Dominions, 2 Meltaguns, Immolator - MM

    5 points spare.. are Searchlights +1pt in this codex.. not looked.. if so, 5 Searchlights... 3 on Dominions (Scout) and 1 on the DeathBus and one on the Celestians Immo..

  17. Searchlights 1P yes

  18. Yesterday i had another game with my girls against gay knights....i won :D

    mission: 2 objektives, spearhead, he started

    Gay Knights:

    Inquisitor with 3 crusaders, 2 guys and monkey in a chimera with ML

    2 Razors with LK
    2 Razors with HB,

    each of them carried a troop of 5 (one with 6) with a HB and Psi-Ammo

    Vindicare Assi



    St. Celestine
    Uriah, 3 Crusaders, 6 Assis, Rhino, SL

    3x10 Sisters, 2 Meltas, Rhino, SL

    2x 5 Domis, 2 Meltas, Immo with HF

    2 Exorcists

    Was a hard Match...but Matchwinner where the two came left at round 3, to contest his objective, the others came on the right in round 4, ideal to stop the chimera on it's way to my objektive..

    Most of my army was killed in the shoot out, but i've been glad the game ended after turn who cares :D

    I threw everything forward to create some pressure, at the end there was left:

    3 Dominions at his objective
    uriah and 1 assi (in CC with the Vindi at the end of the game)
    7 sisters 10" near his objective, with a immobile rhino
    4 sisters 15 " near his objective on foot
    1 immo next to the blown up chimera
    1 exorcist without rocket launcher (used it to cover my rhino at my objektive lol)
    10 Sisters in a Rhino, next to my Objective

  19. Sorry this is a little belated, but Sisters traffic on the web is slow atm so I'm revisiting old posts! :)

    I posted this on the Jacobus deathstar unit a few months back

    'Uriah is simply overkill in with a conclave. I run 5 x DCA 3 x Flagellants and 2 x Crusaders. On the charge (which is normally as they are a counter assault unit) they're packing 20 I5 WS5 Str 4 Power weapon attacks, 15 I3 Ws 4 Str 5 attacks and 4 I3 Ws 4 Str 3 power weapon attacks. Against MEQ that's 7 dead marines (power weapons) and 5 saves on average. perfect number dead to keep you in combat and finish them off in your turn, assuming you're attacking a full squad of ten.

    I find Uriah is best fielded in a unit of Celestians totting Melta in a rhino. Nine of these guys with a Superior with a combi-melta and a power weapon are ideal for popping small transports and assualting the contents. Uriah gives the celestians 3 attacks basic, 4 on the charge with thier act of faith (going off on a 3+ with Uriah present) gives them Str 4. Thats 5 power weapon attacks and 32 Ws4 Str4 attacks, plus Uriah, with re-rolls to hit on them all. Feel no pain buffs this unit no end too, adding extreem durability. On top, the unit loses no firepower over a normal sisters unit, for a measly 18 points more! I've also fielded a canoness with this unit to turn them into real combat beasts, but then on a points basis at least the unit technically becomes a 'deathstar' and not really a worthwhile investment. I also enjoy running this unit with double flamer + combi-flamer, but obviously this removes any and all anti-tank and changes the role of the unit.'

    No one considers Flagellants for thier concaves, however vs any none power armoured units, they're simply better than the deathcults. Holding a few in there gives you a) access to some FNP without Jacobus and b) high volume high strength attacks for hords such as nids and orks. My conclave is exclusively a counter-charge unit. By using it as such, I can more easily stay out of line of site as I'm not advancing into combat, and being such a feared unit, this creates a 'bubble' around your much weaker midfield sisters blocks which units don't wish to enter due to the threat of the conclave. It's around this entire tactic of threat bubbles controling enemy movement that my whole sisters list is build. It sends Dominion missiles straight into the enemies lines from turn 1 thus slowing down their initial advance. This allows Rhino sisters units to rock up to Midfield. I now use conclave and Penitents (yes, those incredibly poor net hated walker things, you remember them don't you?) to create the aforementioned threat bubbles to keep units >12" from my sisters units. This should delay the advance enough to ensure objectives in your table half are out of reach of all but the swiftests of units. Suuport this with the fast contestors (Jabobus-Celestians, seraphim and celestian) and you have a strong force capable of dealing with MEQ and Xenos alike. My 2k list (standard around here) runs like this (from memory);

    Conclave - 5 x DCA, 3 x Flags 2 x Crusaders - Rhino
    (2x) 10 sisters - 2 x Storm bolter, H bolter, Rhino
    10 Sisters - 2 x Storm bolter, H bolter
    10 Sisters Melta, Multimelta, Rhino
    5 Dominions - 2 x melta, S. Imperialis, Immolator w/ Multi melta
    10 Dominions - 4 x flamer, S. Imperialis, Rhino
    5 Seraphim - Hand flamers, Inferno Pistols, Melta bombs
    9 Celestians – 2 x melta, combi-flamer, Power weapon, Rhino.
    Penitent Engine
    Penitent Engine

    Note: sisters are set up for shooting >12" due to the 'treat bubble' tactic discussed above. Second storm bolters are on the vets.