With the Kill Team Annual 2019, Games Workshop has finally published rules to run Sisters of Battle in Kill Team! Clearly focused around the recently released (and out of print) army set, we get rules for battle sisters, repentia and arco-flagellants. Also, thanks to faction keywords we can also splice in a couple Blackstone Fortress Models. In addition to points and datasheets, there’s also a whole host of tactics. So dig in to learn more about how Sisters play in Kill Team and what we think of the current iteration of rules!
Beautiful Models: The Sisters range is the newest plastic model range around and the models are fantastic! Fielding a Sisters Kill Team today probably means using the models from the new Army Set and they are a real joy to build and paint.
Decent Board Control: A reasonably equipped Sisters Kill Team will be fielding 7-8 models, which gives you good board control in both 3D and Arena games compared to “elite” teams, while also being quite a bit more survivable than “horde” teams.
Versatile: While limited in options, Sisters have both shooting and combat strength and answers to both elites and hordes, so you can adapt to different match-ups nicely.
Lack of Long Range Firepower: Aside from a single heavy bolter, you don’t really have any long-range options, meaning your T3 models are going to spend a lot of their time in charge range.
Limited Tactics: Discounting Commander tactics (which I do), Sisters only get 4 tactics, which is just not a lot. The tactics they have are decent to good but they could really use more.
Sort of in Between: Like Ad Mech or Space Marines, Sisters don’t have spammable 5-7 point bodies, with their lowest-priced model sitting at 9 points. At the same time, they don’t have quite the robust stat-line of Marines so they fall into a similar camp as Ad Mech in that they have to play somewhere in between hordes and elites and adapt to every game.
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Really, GW? You release rules for Sisters in a post-Elites world but don’t include rules for the various major orders? grumblegrumblegrumble
On the plus side, this is one less decision to make when building your roster, so there’s that.
Adepta Sororitas Units
Shield of Faith: Battle Sisters and Sisters Repentia both share this ability that grants models a 6+ invulnerable save plus a 1D6 Deny attempt. The 6++ is fine, but won’t often come into play in a game where plasma is the thing you’re often scared of as a power armour user.
Zealot: Shared by Sisters Repentia and Arco-Flagellants, this ability grants models full hit re-rolls when charging or when charged. This is obviously very useful and should be a clue that your Zealot or Combat specialists should probably one of these two datasheets. Oh cool, a special rule named the same as an existing specialism. That won’t ever be confusing.
The basic Battle Sisters sport a boltgun and the standard T3/S3/3+ profile common across Sisters. Compared to the lowly Tactical Marine, they have one less Toughness and Strength and correspondingly only cost 75% as much (meaning that for every 3 Tactical Marines you field, you could field 4 Battle Sisters). Looking at this another way, a bog-standard Battle Sister costs almost twice as much as a Guardsman, but sports a much better save and +1S on her gun.
Given the other options available to Sisters, you’re unlikely to field many, if any, basic Sisters in a typical team unless you just really need bodies (since they are your cheapest model option).
Battle Sisters get access to a whole slew of specialisms but Comms, Medic, and Veteran are likely the three you’ll use most often on basic Sisters. I can’t imagine a situation where you’d want to waste your Zealot slot on a Battle Sister.
The one upgrade available to Battle Sisters is the Simulacrum Imperialis. This upgrades Shield of Faith saves from a 6++ to 5++, which is awesome. I would always expect to include a Battle Sister with a Simulacrum on my team, likely running either the Comms or Medic specialism to buff either my main shooter or fighter.
Like most troops, Battle Sisters get access to two gunners who can take special and heavy weapons. Sisters get quite a few options here including two flamer variants, meltaguns, storm bolters and heavy bolters.
- Flamers are great in Kill Team since they auto-hit, negating long-range and obscuring penalties, and whether you go regular or heavy will largely depend on whether your opponent is primarily fielding T3 or T4 models. A Demolitions specialist with Flamer/Heavy Flamer can be quite a scary thing. Alternatively, go with the Veteran specialism to close range quicker. Flamers are not only a thematic choice for Sisters but they get a neat supporting tactic for them (see below).
- Meltaguns are not a weapon you see a lot of in Kill Team (unless you count fusion pistols). While the D6 damage is great, having only one shot in a world where you often shoot at a -2 penalty is quite risky. Running the Sniper Specialism and pairing with a Comms Specialist is one way to improve your odds but it’s costly (in terms of model and CP investment) and those 2s will still waste an activation.
- Heavy Bolters are always a solid pick in Kill Team since their 36″ range means you will rarely be in the long range penalty band. That said, you’ll want to run the Heavy Specialism to avoid the movement penalty and bump yourself up to 4 shots when needed.
Storm bolters are an interesting pick for Sisters thanks to Blessed Bolts, which is a costly but potentially clutch tactic that upgrades this weapon. We’ll discuss this in more detail below. Gunners wielding storm bolters don’t necessarily need a specialism and since Blessed Bolts costs 2CP, you might argue a specialism will often be wasted since you’d need 3CP to leverage both Blessed Bolts and the specialism tactic. That said, Sniper is always useful for the re-roll.
While Sisters Repentia also have access to the Leader specialism, in practice you will likely always run a Sister Superior as your leader (unless you like the idea of having a melee-only model with a 7+/6++ be your leader). So with that in mind, upgrades to consider will center around long-range boltgun replacements.
Combi-Plasma is always a good choice and is in fact the only source of plasma for Sisters kill teams; so if you’re facing power-armoured foes, this will likely be you go-to.
Condemnor Boltguns can be an interesting choice against psyker-heavy Kill Teams but the low strength and lack of AP means it will probably only be an effective choice against Rogue Psykers in Servants of the Abyss Kill Teams.
The remaining choices don’t make a ton of sense; flamers, meltaguns, chainswords, and power swords all require you to put your leader in harm’s way and when you’re sporting a T3/3+/1W profile, that’s not where you want to be.
Sisters Repentia are awesome. As Combat or Zealot specialists, you’re looking at 3 WS4+ re-rollable S6/S8 AP-3 D2 attacks on the charge, which is great! Pair them with a Medic for an extra attack and watch them chew through most things in the game. On top of that, they have Shield of Faith and Solace in Anquish, which grants them a 5+++.
Oh, but you can only take one. Yeah, I don’t get it either.
So, whether you run your lone Repentia as a Combat or Zealot specialist will primarily depend on whether or not you a) also want to run Pious Vorne (who takes your Zealot slot) and b) want to wound Space Marines (and their like) on a 2+.
Yes, I realize you can run a Repentia as a Leader or Veteran, but I’m not even going to dignify those options with analysis. Repentia are here to hit things hard before they die, so give them more attacks.
Your other melee option, Arco-Flagellants cost the same as a Repentia, or one point more for an Endurant (max: 1) which sports an extra attack.
Like Repentia, Arco-Flagellants have the Zealot rule as well as a 5+++, plus an extra wound, which partially offsets their total lack of save. A Zealot (the specialism, not the special rule) Endurant will have 4D3 S6 AP-1 D1 attacks on the charge. Arco-flagellants, and their upgraded counterpart, are a good answer to hordes here and whether you choose to run them over your single Repentia will depend on whether you expect your opponent to field a lot of bodies. Repentia are a better answer to teams with high saves or multiple wounds, Arco-Flagellants do well against high model counts with poor saves and single wounds.
Pious Vorne comes to us from Blackstone Fortress and at least in the Kill Team Annual (I haven’t looked at her earlier datasheet), can be run in either a Sisters or Imperial Guard Kill Team. For Sisters, she is basically a Repentia with a worse weapon and a Heavy Flamer, which is interesting.
She has the same 5+++ and Zealot rule as Repentia but crucially lacks Shield of Faith, so no 6++ and has no armor save to speak of. She does have 2 wounds but I haven’t done the math to determine if this is actually enough to compensate. She does also have 3 attacks base and since she is always a Zealot specialist, we’re looking at 4 S5 Ap-1 D1 attacks on the charge. Not bad, but Arco-Flagellants can do better than that. The addition of a Heavy Flamer profile does give her solid threat out to 8″ but if she’s within that range, you probably want her charging anyway.
One benefit of running Pious Vorne is that you can squeeze in 5 specialists in addition to your obligatory leader, which is interesting. On the other hand, you’re giving up the Zealot slot which is a pretty important one and may be better served on an Endurant or Repentia. Cost-wise, she’s slightly more expensive than either of those two options so ultimately you have to decide if the flamer and extra specialist slot are worth the trade-off.
Gottfret de Montbard
Coming to us from Combat Arena or BSF Escalation, Gottfret is cool-looking Crusader armed with a storm shield and a power sword. He has a 3++ and 3W so he’s reasonably survivable though at only T3, he’ll likely see those wounds disappear pretty quickly. From an offensive standpoint, he has 5 attacks (since he’s always a Combat Specialist) that explode on 6s, but it’s not like the power sword profile is particularly impressive.
Like Pious Vorne, he gives you the option of squeezing in an extra specialist and could pair with a Zealot Repentia/Endurant. That said, he’s very expensive. He costs 50% more than a Repentia and adding him to your team will almost certainly bring your model count down by 1, which is a big deal.
Adepta Sororitas Commanders
Adepta Sororitas Kill Teams have three commander options, two from their own entry in the annual and one from the Blackstone Fortress crew.
As the only Adepta Sororitas Commander with access to the Strategist Specialism, the Canoness is going to be your Commander pick most of the time. She has a few weapon options, one of which involves replacing all of her gear with the power sword/rod of office loadout from the new box. The rod gives her +3″ range on her aura abilities, which doesn’t do much for you unless you are using the Lead the Righteous Tactic to give her the re-roll hits aura, but if you’ve got her kitted out as a Strategist, putting her in your backline buffing your shooting is a decent way to use the extra CP you’re generating each turn. This is probably the best way to run her, but you can also give her a Condemnor Boltgun and Blessed Blade if you’re worried about going up against psykers and need the extra ranged shooting before she gets into melee combat. The Blessed Blade gives her +2S and D3 damage at AP-3, which is a pretty solid way of mitigating her S3 statline to make her a viable combat threat. And at 40 points for a level 1 Strategist, she’s priced pretty competitively.
A Commander specifically geared toward taking Sisters Repentia, the Repentia Superior would be awesome if you could uh, take more than one Sister Repentia in your Kill Team. Her Driven Onwards ability gives nearby Sisters Repentia the ability to re-roll Advance and Charge rolls and wound rolls of 1 (note that she doesn’t give herself these re-rolls). Which again, would be AWESOME if it applied to more than one model on your Kill Team. Otherwise, the Repentia Superior is ostensibly a melee-focused commander saddled with a S3 weapon. She’s 10 points cheaper than the Canoness at level 1, making her your cheapest Commander option.
Taddeus the Purifier
The Blackstone Fortress Commander option and the most expensive of your choices, Taddeus doesn’t really do much for Adepta Sororitas kill teams; his aura only affects ASTRA MILITARUM units and otherwise is a worse melee option than the Canoness. The only reason for you to take Taddeus for your Sisters Kill Team is that he’s the only Commander model you own.
Adepta Sororitas Tactics
As noted earlier, Sisters only get 4 tactics, which kinds of sucks. But they’re pretty good.
Blessed Bolts (2 CP): I like this a lot. Turn your Storm Bolter into an AP-2 D2 monster weapon. In Rapid Fire range, that’s quite nasty and threatens a wide range of targets in Kill Team. It’s a bit pricey but can be clutch in ensuring that a key target goes down. B+
Eviscerating Blow (1 CP): This is quite good. Upgrades a Repentia’s weapon from D3 which means that you go from a 75% chance of Out of Action on an Injury roll to 88% (which can still be re-rolled for another CP to all but guarantee it). If you’re attacking multiple models, this has the potential to be very bloody. A
Frenzied Thrashing (1 CP): This one is also pretty good. Arco-Flagellants already want to be fighting hordes and this tactic grants them an additional attack for every model within 1″, which each translate to D3 additional hit rolls. So boosting what I already want to be doing (mulching chaff) seems like a good deal. B+
Burn the Heretic (1 CP): The only way in the game to re-roll shots, but limited to flamers. Will bump you from 3.5 to 4.5 shots on average, which is handy but not necessarily the best use of CP. C+
Oh yeah, and there’s two Commander Aura Tactics to give you re-rolls of 1 to hit or wound (for Repentia), they’re fine.
Playing Adepta Sororitas
A typical Sisters Kill Team will have a mix of ranged and melee. In a 3D game, you may want to bring a Heavy Bolter to capitalize on the longer firing lanes and provide some cover as you try and move your combat models into engagement range. You’ll likely have a Simulacrum sister moving up the board with a flamer-wielding Sister and/or a Repentia to claim the enemy’s side of the board while their ranged brethren sit back on friendly/neutral objectives. You may emphasize ranged over melee in these games since you risk being picked off before ever making it to charge range.
In Arena, melee becomes stronger since you have a better chance of getting into range without exposing yourself and flamers also become super-handy, particularly for point-blank overwatch. You might lean more heavily in Arco-flagellants here and a storm bolter is a much better pick than a heavy bolter in Arena. A Veteran can always be useful in an Arena game in order to get a Turn 0 open door.
Roster building, like with most factions starts with your limited options and then branches out.
- You’re going to want two Sisters Superior (Leader), probably with a Combi-Plasma and another with a stock boltgun for a cheaper option.
- You can only take 1 Repentia in a team but you’ll want two in your roster, one as a Combat Specialist and one as a Zealot. This gives you the option of running with Pious Vorne or a Zealot Endurant.
- You of course want some gunner options, probably one each of heavy bolter (Heavy), heavy flamer (Demolitions), flamer (Demolitions), and two storm bolter gunners so you have a specialized option and an unspecialized option.
- At least two Sisters with Simulacrum, one to be Comms and another Medic.
- Two endurants, one unspecialized and one Zealot.
That puts you at 13/20 and from here you can expand in a number of ways. I’d add in Pious Vorne, because she’s cool, a couple Arco-flagellants and stock Battle Sisters and then round things out with a leader variant or gunner variants.
Playing Against Adepta Sororitas
Between a solid armour save and pervasive invulnerable saves, Sisters might look like tough nuts to crack. However, with only T3 all around, anything S6 or higher is going to wound them on 2+ and even the lowly bolter will wound them on a 3+ so weight of fire will quickly bring any Sister down (a 3+/6++ will only get you so far). And unlike Marines, Sisters don’t have Transhuman Physiology so even a flesh wound is going to have a material impact on your opponent.
Much of a Sister team’s strength (flamers and melee) is going to be at short range so a mobile force has a better chance of kiting the opposing Sisters team and focusing fire on any long range threats before switching attention to close-range targets before they can close the gap.
Painting and Modeling Adepta Sororitas
The obvious answer right now is to get the Army Set if you can. It will contain most of the models you might want to run, though you’ll be lacking a Heavy Flamer and Heavy Bolter. Once we get multi-part releases in January, you could round this out with a box of battle sisters for the remaining weapon options. If you want to run Arco-Flagellants, you kind of need the Army Set or you can do a “counts as” with the Negavolt Priests from Blackstone Fortress. In terms of how to paint your models, look no further than our How to Paint Everything: Sisters of Battle article.
Sisters are a fun addition to Kill Team and it’s great that we can field the beautiful new models in the game. That said, they don’t feel like a fully-formed faction just yet. Their paucity of tactics, army-wide rules, order traits and datasheets leaves them feeling half-finished compared to other factions. They may end up being reasonably competitive but much like Eldar pre-Elites, they lack much of their faction flavor without anything like Miracle Dice or other army rules. The baffling limit on Repentia means much of your team is going to essentially consist of T3 Space Marines and that’s unfortunate. Nevertheless, what options exist are largely viable and with additional Sisters releases on the horizon, it’s not implausible that we will see an expansion of their Kill Team rules and a more fleshed out faction in a a few months.