Thursday, 24 May 2012

Not Going to Blog Wars ... BUT: Sisters!

I'll leave the self righteous and probably horribly boring spiel about 40K and me for another time, all you need to know for this post is that I am the only SON not attending Blog Wars (and that Killswitch loser!) This means a couple of things, one, Venerable is absolutely assuredly not going to have to play me to a draw on Dawn of War Kill Points and potentially ruin his tournament (or watch as me winning the game comes down to better than 50% dice rolling and blowing it). Secondly it means I've not been working or tuning lists, but I thought it might be a fun to look at what I might have played, had models, paint and availability not been an issue.

In this post, I am looking at what probably, barring model availability, would have been my first or second choice. The Sisters of Battle. When I returned from my last hiatus, this was the army I picked up, now on my second hiatus, this is the army, along with one other, that I am hoping gets a significant power boost via 6th Edition rules:

The Sisters of Battle !!

It is a slightly underpowered book, but it does have one strong build in there, the mono-melta midfield army. Some great units to use and some fun that can be had, especially since they are deceptively strong in the midfield.

The list I'd have taken would have been working off something like this framework. Now bare in mind, as I was thinking of this list, correcting issues I was finding as I was going, I stopped using Sisters. I felt this is where I had been led as I was moving through units, but I'll explain further in a minute. 

Saint Celestine
Uriah Jackobus
6x Death Cult Assassins 1x Crusader - Rhino

5x Celestians - MGx2 - Immolator w/ MM
5x Celestians - MGx1 Flamer x1 - Immolator w/ MM

10x Battle Sisters - MGx2 - Rhino
10x Battle Sisters - Flamer / MG - Rhino
10x Battle Sisters - Flamer / MM - Rhino

5x Dominion - MGx2 combi melta - Immolator
5x Dominion - MGx2 combi melta - Immolator
5x Dominion - MGx2 combi melta - Immolator


This is from memory, there may be less combi's or more combi's, I can't remember if I needed to cut or add to make the points. 6 DCA are certainly enough, but wound allocation Crusaders can be added.  I will double check points when I dig out the book again!
Lets get something out the way first ..

The first thing most people will notice is that there is no heavy support. This might come as surprising, but in all the games I played, the SOB heavy support units were vastly underwhelming, and essentially I can only describe them as a trap.

Simply said, they are not what you want to be doing, and actively go against your game plan in some games.

The best thing about retributors? Their immolator unlock. S5 rending bolters are horrifically bad on so many levels. The difference between S5 and S6 is just giant, and its not a garanteed ability, on average you'll have it 50% of the time. Against units in cover, its completely pointless and a waste of a faith point, against mech your pretty much wasting your time. In some games they are the only unit "available" to use the faith points, but often that's a misnomer and you would be much better off with a different unit.

Moving onto exorcists, they are way too swingy in results. Sometimes they fire off 6 shots and obliterate that rhino you were looking to kill, other times they get 2 shots off and stun that rhino you were looking to kill. They are an expensive investment into a not all that game blowing weapon. While the AV13 is nice, the army has no real way to take advantage of it, its not giving anything cover.


So where does that leave the list, for one, without a single gun that has better than 24" reach. News flash, the book is terrible outside of 24" anyway. This army wants, no NEEDS to be inside of 12" to be effective. Sisters bring melta better than ANY book out there, including Imperial Guard, the level of redundancy, each unit is bring multiple melta threat vectors, so much so that throwing in flamers for some resiliency to infantry actually doesn't detract from the game plan.

The game plan is quite simple, the book can't play many other ways, but it does have tricks, believe me. Get your booty into midfield, set up camp and go to town with melta and bolters.

The key to the list is that all the heavy lifting of the book is done without the requirement of the troops. Between the five immolators (often priority target #1), dominions (typically around the half way line at the start of the game, in cover, with their potentially twin linked melta guns), the quickly following dominion's, DCA and Celestine, there are actually quite a lot of threats to be dealt with, . While it is not quite as simple as barge into midfield, disembark and hope for the best, most armies will do well to stay out of midfield themselves, lest the want to be beaten in the melta/bolter war.

Between faiths shield, cover saves and its msu nature, the army is quite resilient, despite its across the board T3.

It has the tools to deal with tanks and infantry, since the last time I checked, 13 gazillion bolters in rapid fire range is pretty darn good, and guess where Sisters like to be. The army is by no means perfect, but I do still think it is vastly underestimated in its power level. While 3rd Edition Sisters were always that fringe army that if you put a bit of time into it, it was damn scary, 5th Edition Sisters could prove to be a shock to a few people.

The surprises in this book are really the DCA and Saint Celestine. DCA's are essentially your finishers. The 25 non-troop sisters and maybe 1 squad look to do all they can to de-mech and loosen up the opponent, the DCA will clean house, even receiving a charge they are brutal. Saint Celestine serves as your mini-mephiston, or mephistons little sister. She is not quite area denial, though MSU units, or even 10 man MEQ units without power weapons will generally give her a decent birth come the end of the game. However, you can play her with absolutely no fear. She doesn't need cover, nor worry about dying, which is only an inconvenience for her, and if it happens early, it can be like having a trump in reserve. She is NOT a beater in combat, but she is a nuisance. Don't forget she has a heavy flamer, which I still think is a mis-print and meant to be one shot, it is relevant nearly every single game.

The Battle Sisters themselves? I just try to give them wargear to dictate what sort of duties I expect them to be doing, I really only want to comit at most one unit to midfield as a pusher, one unit might be needed as support, but I really want to keep one back. I never want to reserve them because you want that threat (or two) at the back of the table forcing your opponent to come through the midfield to deal with your troops, but if in a pinch they can come forward and help the cause, the temptation to reserve a single unit can sometimes mean you come up 1 melta shot or 18 rapid fire shots short.

Should I be doing Sisters for 6th Edition - I'll for sure be doing free hand like this! I am currently working on my artistic freehand techniques!


Sisters are an OK army. You are forced to play the same way most of the time, but don't let that fool you, positioning and forethought is even more crucial in this army since you don't want to get blown out by miss judging cover or not committing enough to a side of the board and losing out on objectives.

Getting DCA rolling on T3 or T4 into combat and watching them wind their way through anything in their way is probably one of my most enjoyable experiences in the game, more so than pounding face with Thunder Hammers. Its such a shame they don't have a better unlock like the Grey Knight book.

Sisters can be fun, one to watch, and really you can't be blamed for trying to optimise your force, even for a event like Blog Wars, because the alternative is just silly.

Unless they let you use 3rd Edition Rules - which I'd love to see some events do!

Thats it for me, I'll cover two more lists for sure, and maybe a third before everyone is off to Blog Wars. I will cover it in another post, but the likes of my WIP and other thoughts on the game outside of just game theory/criticism are going to wait until I've seen 6th Edition. I won't be playing another game during 5th Editions reign I am afraid.


  1. I thought Brad isn't coming as well?

    He's still on Holiday :P

  2. Yeah, no Bradimus.. still Ven, Atreides, Kabalite and Bringer of Death..not a bad representation!

    Bully, sad as I am you'll not be taxing Atreides across the tabletop til late summer, my main question arising from this article is.. is that your Rhino, but really I don't care about that.. the main question is? Why are you wearing sparkly nail polish?

  3. lol I wish it was my rhino and my assistant holding it up ...

    The paint job is awesome, I probably will give it a go soon myself.

    I'll post next week about 6th etc ..