Codex: Sisters of Battle – The Goonhammer Review

It’s been more than a year since the Sisters of Battle were first announced at the 2018 Adepticon preview seminar but this holiday season we’re finally getting the release of Codex: Sisters of Battle alongside some new plastic model releases, ahead of January’s larger release. But for Sisters faithful, has the book been worth the wait? Is it an improvement over last year’s Beta rules in Chapter Approved 2018? We’ve spent the last week poring over the new codex and we’ve finally weighed in. Scroll down for the definitive review of the new Codex: Sisters of Battle.

Army Strengths

  • Low Variance. The new Miracle Dice mechanic is great for smoothing variance, helping you plug in rolls and ensuring that more often than not, you’ll be able to make the really important rolls when you need them. That means things are more likely to go according to plan, or at least, you’re less likely to get completely screwed by bad dice with Sisters.
  • Low Cost. On a per-model basis, Sisters of Battle units are pretty cheap. Even their most expensive units don’t really top 200 points, meaning you can easily fill out multiple Battalions or a Brigade, with multiple options outside of the Troops slot.
  • Great Army-Wide Abilities. Between Miracle Dice, Acts of Faith, Shield of Faith, Order abilities, and Sacred Rites, Sisters have a ton of strong special rules that help the army out, and offer several good options that can completely change how they play as an army.
  • Easy to Soup. While Sisters get a bonus for playing monofaction (see below), these bonuses aren’t quite as hefty as Combat Doctrines, and so Sisters can more easily soup with other IMPERIUM factions where it suits them without feeling like they’ve been gutted power-wise.

Army Weaknesses

  • Low Toughness. Sisters have decent saves and near army-wide invulnerable saves, but at only Toughness 3 for their infantry, most weapons in the game are gonna be wounding you on a 3+ or even a 2+.
  • Psychic Powers. Sisters have some tools for denying powers, but lack any native access to psychic of their own, which means that they just don’t have access to Smite and other power-based tools for dealing mortal wounds.
  • Limited Options. Sisters of Battle finally have a full codex, but there are still a few areas they feel a bit under-cooked. Most notably, you only have one option for Troops – Battle Sisters – but the upside is that Battle Sisters aren’t a bad unit.
  • Anti-Vehicle Firepower. Sisters can pack an insane number of bolter shots into a list, but when it comes to taking down vehicles their options are more limited. Not necessarily bad — in particular Exorcists are very good — but limited, and your mileage outside of Exorcists will depend a lot on how you feel about multi-meltas.

 

Credit: Games Workshop

Special Rules

Shield of Faith

This ability is common to almost all Adepta Sororitas units in the army. Models with this ability get a 6+ invulnerable save. In addition, one model in the unit can attempt to Deny the Witch once per turn, but the roll is taken on 1D6.

At a baseline this is merely fine – the save is nice but the Deny will rarely work. However, there are several ways to improve both aspects. There are multiple aura abilities available that boost the Shield of Faith save for INFANTRY (all capping out at 4++), and Sacred Rites can boost the power of the Deny. The presence of these abilities (and the fact that for the latter you can choose it on a per-game basis) turns this into a genuinely useful trait.

It is worth noting that amongst the many, many buffs the Sisters get in this book the fact that the Shield of Faith buffing abilities no longer apply to anything other than INFANTRY does significantly weaken their main popular build prior to this, which often leaned on spamming 4++ tanks. We’re pretty confident that this crutch is no longer required as-of this book, but it’s worth taking note of that if you’ve been using their current competitive builds!

Acts of Faith

Acts of Faith get a complete overhaul from the Beta codex, and are now way more exciting. Many units in the codex have the Acts of Faith (AoF) ability, which allows them to make use of these rules.

Miracle Dice

Acts of Faith run off Miracle dice. As long as your army contains at least one unit with the ability, you gain them in the following ways:

  • One at the beginning of each battle round
  • One at the end of a phase if one or more of the following conditions are met:
    •  A unit from your army with the Acts of Faith ability destroys an enemy unit.
    •  A Character unit from your army with the AoF ability is destroyed.
    •  A psychic power is resisted by a unit from your army with the AoF ability (without performing an AoF to do so)
    • You roll an unmodified 1 for a Morale test taken for a unit with the AoF ability (without performing an AoF to do so)
  • Via various special abilities, trait and relics.

When you gain a Miracle dice, roll a D6. The result is the value of that Miracle dice. Keep it to one side in your Miracle dice pool.

A very important thing to bear in mind as an implication of this is that whenever you lose any models in a unit with AoF, roll the morale test! Normally people just shortcut and don’t bother rolling tests they can’t fail, but it still technically happens, and now gives you a free chance to earn a Miracle dice!

Performing an Act of Faith

Before making a dice roll for a model or unit with AoF, you can choose to use one or more of the dice from the Miracle pool instead. For each individual dice that is being rolled as part of the dice roll, you can select one Miracle dice to be subbed for that dice roll. Once all Miracle dice subs have been made, remove the chosen Miracle dice from your pool, and roll any remaining unsubbed dice that are a part of the dice roll.

You can do this for the following types of roll:

  • Advance
  • Charge
  • Deny the Witch
  • Hit
  • Wound
  • Save
  • Damage
  • Morale

A Miracle dice is not a modifier or an inherently modified dice (so, for example, if you use a Miracle dice with a value of 1 for a Morale test, that is considered to be an unmodified roll of 1).

When re-rolling a dice roll, no new Miracle dice may be used and the number and values of any Miracle dice that have already been subbed in the dice roll remain the same for the re-roll (i.e. you can’t re-roll the Miracle dice if you suddenly decide you don’t like the result).

An important note here is that your Act of Faith applies to a single roll. That means you can’t use one to sub in multiple dice for hit rolls when a single unit fires all its guns – while normally people fast roll every weapon of the same type at once, they are technically separate rolls, so you can’t miracle multiple of them. You can, however, make both dice in a charge be 6s, so if that comes up, knock yourselves (and hopefully shortly afterwards your target) out.

Our Thoughts

This ability is wild and incredibly powerful just at baseline. The first thing to note is that you can get a lot of Miracle dice. There are plenty of abilities that will give you additional dice under certain conditions, and we think most armies will comfortably be racking up at least 4-5 per battle round. You might be counting up the number of phases available to you and wondering if it’s possible to get more dice than you can ever spend, but don’t worry, GW thought of that. Most Sororitas infantry can take a Simulacrum Imperialis, which allows them to use an Act of Faith even if another unit already has, and this will often be a good choice on your more elite units like Celestians and Dominions. In addition, there are various extremely powerful stratagems that make use of Miracle dice. These in particular are a great way to use up lower value dice like ones and twos, which otherwise might linger in your pool unused, and we’ll cover these later on. The Order of the Ebon Chalice (as we’ll see in a second) can also discard low-value dice to gain higher ones.

This ability exists in AoS but it’s new to 40K, so it will take a while to work out exactly how effective it is on the field, but our instinct is “very”, especially with the stratagem support for using up low rolls. Generally you’ll have more of these to play with than you have CP, so it is worth taking stock of your army and working out ways you can make effective use of “middle of the road” rolls like 2s and 3s if you end up with a glut of them in the late game once you’re out of CP. While you have CP, you also want to make sure you always have at least one die floating in your pool – there are a few strats you don’t want to find yourself unable to use in an emergency. Obviously if the emergency happens you may have to use up your last dice, but try and find a way to get one back as soon as possible.

We love this ability and think it’s a slam dunk flavour wise, and look forward to seeing it play out. Our only mild concern that GW may have underestimated just how many of these you can get and how reliably, and there’s a small chance that playing against this ability could end up feeling like an uphill struggle. However, we think this one will be OK – the fact that you have to substitute before rolling means, ultimately, that at its very best this only simulates a very lucky turn – and those do happen anyway.

Zealot

When resolving an attack made with a melee weapon by a model in this unit, you can re-roll the hit roll if that model’s unit made a charge move, was charged, or performed a Heroic Intervention this turn.

This ability is common to various Ministorum and Sororitas melee units, and returns from the Beta Codex.  However, it’s been substantially souped up – it used to only trigger on charges, and now has the “new” re-roll wording, making it extremely useful on Repentia in particular. This ability is what makes most of the units with it good, and is overall a very powerful one.

 

Credit: Games Workshop

Order Convictions

Members of the Adepta Sororitas belong to an <ORDER>, which is a sub-faction that will give them a special trait if all the units in an Adepta Sororitas Detachment belong to the same Order. As of the Codex, this now applies to vehicles as well, a big boost for the Valorous Heart in particular.

Being as this book is both a dumping ground for various Ministorum hangers-on and there are also Adepta Sororitas units that don’t belong to a given Order for fluff reasons, there’s an unusually large number of units units that don’t benefit from an Order conviction, but also don’t prevent other units from gaining the benefits as long as a detachment otherwise qualifies. These are:

  • Celestine
  • Geminae Superia
  • Hospitaller, Dialogus
  • Mortifiers, Penitent Engines
  • The Triumph of Saint Katherine
  • Units consisting entirely of Ministorum Priests or Ecclesiarchy Battle Conclave models

The Order abilities are as follows:

Our Martyred Lady

  • Order Conviction – The Blood of Martyrs: Gain an extra Miracle dice at the end of any phase where a unit with this conviction was destroyed. In addition, add one to hit rolls for any unit with this conviction that has lost any models.
  • Warlord Trait – Shield Bearer: The warlord has an extra wound and adds one to their save characteristic (so not invulnerable saves) to a max of 2+.
  • Relic – Martyr’s Vengeance: Relic inferno pistol. 12″ range, S9 and always gets to roll 2d6 pick highest for damage.
  • Stratagem – Honour the Martyrs (1CP): Use when an enemy unit kills a CHARACTER from this order. Units from this order re-roll 1s to hit against that enemy unit for the rest of the battle.

Our Martyred Lady’s order conviction is fine, as it means that you’re looking at 1, often 2 extra miracle dice per battle round if your opponent is fighting back in any meaningful sense, and you can definitely never have too many miracle dice when you have the ability to upcycle them into 6s through command points. As with most sub-factions with special characters tied to them (cough Ultramarines cough) a lot of the value is tied up in using that character, and Junith definitely doesn’t disappoint being a massive boost to any Sisters army that’s going hard on ranged. The stratagem is particularly amusing against large targets like Knights since if you throw a bare bones Canoness or Imagifier into a woodchipper you gain 2 miracle dice and your entire army gets Canoness re-rolls against whatever unit did it regardless of range for the rest of the game.

Wings Note: This order gets an order-specific character who is very good in a list that goes hard on it. However, I’m a bit worried that their faction trait gives you substantial diminishing returns – one of Sisters’ upsides is that they put a tonne of units down, and this doesn’t massively reward you for that. In addition, without a “free” way to use up low Miracle dice you might find yourself with more than you can handle. Still, I think mixed order lists are very likely to be the norm and can see this trait being chosen for the “core” of an army with Valorous Heart or Ebon Chalice backing it up because Junith is such a good offensive and defensive force multiplier for a block of infantry. 

Valorous Heart

  • Order Conviction – Stoic Endurance: Ignore AP-1. Stacks with an Imagifier for ignore AP-2. In addition, models have a 6+++.
  • Warlord Trait – Impervious to Pain: The warlord has a 5+++.
  • Relic – Casket of Penance: Enemy units within 1″ of a model with this relic have -1T.
  • Stratagem – Blind Faith (1CP): Use when a unit from this order shoots. Ignore hit penalties. Excuse me, I’ll be over here with my planes, weeping.

Ignoring both Ap-1 and Ap-2 when paired with an Imagifier is extremely strong in the current landscape of Marines with massed AP-1 and -2 firepower making this a solid choice. The -1 Toughness to enemies relic pairs well with a unit of Mortifiers with whips, since you reduce T4 enemies to being wounded on 2s. If you run multiple orders in a single list then basically any time you’re playing with Valorous Heart you want a character carrying this to let everyone better cut through enemy units. Blind Faith is naturally a great fit for a unit of melta Retributors using Storm of Retribution, make those elves cry.

Wings Note: My pick for best trait, or at least the one that will turn up in most lists because I think it’s great in soup. Ignore AP -1 has always been a bit marginal but stacking to ignore AP-2 is a completely different ball game, giving some armies that rely on volume AP-2 firepower absolute fits. I think this is great as a full list and great as a Spearhead of Canoness/Imagifier/Exorcists, which I think has real game in Imperial soup.

Bloody Rose

  • Order Conviction – Quick to Anger: Add an extra -1AP to attacks with pistol and melee weapons. In addition, gain +1A on any turn in which the unit charged, was charged or heroically intervened.
  • Warlord Trait – Blazing Ire: The model has an extra attack and can advance and charge.
  • Relic – Beneficience: Super chainsword. +1S, AP-2, D2, 3 extra attacks. Hi Teeth of Terra!
  • Stratagem – Tear them Down (1CP): Give a unit from the order +1 to wound in the Fight phase.

Bloody Rose will just about get Zephyrim over the line at 4 AP-4 attacks each, but really this exists to make Repentia so monstrously deadly that they’ll kill basically anything that isn’t a Plaguebearer horde in a single activation. Pistols also receiving a bump to their AP can also turn seraphim into a decent chaff clearing unit, with them firing 4 AP-1 shots each on the turn they come down thanks to Deadly Descent, being roughly equivalent to a unit of Intercessors using the Rapid Fire stratagem for about half the price in both points and command points.

Wings Note: Yeah pretty much that. Losing the +1S makes this less good at being a generic army-wide buff, but the stratagem makes Repentia absolute hell monsters, and you can build a very tasty Canoness to go with.

Ebon Chalice

  • Order Conviction – Daughters of the Emperor: Gain a 5+++ against Mortal Wounds. In addition, when performing an Act of Faith you can discard an additional dice to make the dice you used a 6.
  • Warlord Trait – Terrible Knowledge: Your first free start of the round Miracle dice of the game is an automatic 6, and you gain d3 CP.
  • Relic – Annunciation of the Creed: Relic condemnor boltgun. S5, AP-2 Dd3, can character snipe PSYKERS and does straight damage 3 against them.
  • Stratagem – Cleansing Flames (2CP): Use when a unit from the order shoots or overwatches. You automatically roll the maximum number of shots on any flame weapons they are using.

The 5+ against mortal wounds is useful, but having a second free outlet for low rolls on miracle dice is extremely useful.

Wings Note: The trait is incredibly powerful and I can definitely see a small contingent of this faction being a good add to a Sisters list that mixes Orders. An outrider of Seraphim and maybe a squad of Dominions seems like a reasonable bet, as they can all make good use of buffed Acts of Faith.

Argent Shroud

  • Order Conviction – Deeds, Not Words: When it advances, this unit only counts as having moved for the purposes of shooting.
  • Warlord Trait – Selfless Heroism: The warlord has a 6″ heroic intervention and fights first (although still after the first charger) if they were charged or heroically intervened.
  • Relic – Quicksilver Veil: -1 to hit the bearer.
  • Stratagem – Faith is our Shield (1CP): A unit from the order gets a 5+++ against Mortal Wounds for a psychic phase.

Gotta go fast. This one means Battle Sisters, Celestians, Dominions and Retributors are basically never not advancing all the time with no downside, which is particularly good for Dominions and Celestians getting into range to use The Holy Trinity or just reach rapid fire range with Blessed Bolts Storm Bolters.

Wings Note: Losing 4++ Rhinos is a big deal for Sisters, so it seems plausible that a list that just wants to avalanche 4++ infantry on the board exists, and this is fantastic for it if so.

Sacred Rose

  • Order Conviction – Devout Serenity: Can only lose one model to morale. When you use an Act of Faith on a unit with this, you roll a dice and get a new Miracle Dice on a 5+. Finally, you overwatch on 5s.
  • Warlord Trait – Light of the Emperor: You immediately gain a Miracle dice after performing an Act of Faith for the warlord instead of rolling for the order conviction.
  • Relic – Light of Saint Agnaltha: A relic Brazier of Holy Fire that you can reload by discarding a Miracle dice.
  • Stratagem – The Emperor’s Judgement (1CP): Gain Bolter Drill – a unit from the order deals an additional hit on 6s to hit with bolt weapons when they shoot or overwatch.

Only losing a single model to morale is whatever but getting back a third of the miracle dice you spend is extremely effective, as is a 5+ overwatch for all the units you have with good ranged weapons and no melee output worth talking about. Turning junk miracle dice into smites through the relic is fun but hard to leverage when it only has a 12″ range.

Wings Note: New codexes rarely have “miss” factions any more, but this is the one where I’m slightly wondering what it does better than one of the other choices and not coming up with much.

Sacred Rites

Last, but not least, we have a new rule that is a “Doctrine” style effect for the Sisters of Battle. As long as your whole army is Adepta Sororitas or Adeptus Ministorum (i.e. drawn from this book) units with the Sacred Rites ability gain a bonus.

At the start of the battle, pick one of the following to be active or roll two dice to choose two at random. If you roll a duplicate you don’t get a second effect, but the second one counts as active for a stratagem that lets you roll into a new one later on. In either case they’re active until the end of the game.

  • Hand of the Emperor: Add +1 to advance and charge rolls
  • Spirit of the Martyr: 5+ when model dies means it can shoot with a ranged weapon or make one attack with one melee weapon
  • Aegis of the Emperor: +3 to Deny the Witch rolls
  • Divine Guidance: Unmodified 6 to wound from ranged weapon improve AP by 1
  • The Passion: Unmodified 6 to hit in combat scores 1 additional hit
  • Light of the Emperor: Re-roll Morale

You basically never want to randomly roll two of these, because the different rites are either extremely relevant to your present situation or they aren’t. Thankfully unlike combat doctrines for Adeptus Astartes losing them to soup in some allies is nowhere near as backbreaking, so you’re free to have a lance of Knights tag along.

Wings Note: From a “generic” point of view if you have nothing specific you want, Spirit of the Martyr or Divine Guidance are probably your best bets depending on your exact army composition, but there really are situations where you want most of these other than Light of the Emperor.

 

Units

The Codex has a mix of new and old units and some that we won’t have models for until the new year but are exciting to read about nonetheless. With Chapter Approved 2019 and Warhammer Legends still a month off and there still being plenty of time to be proven extremely wrong in, this will be written from the supposition that index options are officially gone, and out of production units like the Repressor will finally be put out to pasture as that is the express purpose of Legends (rest in peace noble tank).

To save too much repetition we’ll cover it here; all of the Battle Sisters derived units i.e Battle sisters, Celestians, Dominions and Retributors have an option that are common to all of them in the Simulacrum Imperialis. With the beta codex in Chapter Approved this is where the Imagifier went, folded into any infantry squad that bought one. As before, they interact with that squad and how it uses Acts of Faith; their new effect is to let you bypass the once per phase (with exceptions) limit on AoF, meaning that any given squad with a simulacrum can burn a miracle die to punch someone out with a high roll from a melta gun or make a clutch advance or charge, which leads neatly into a second common option.

Battle Sisters, Celestians, and Dominion squads (but not Retributors, they have their own toys) can take a single Incensor Cherub; a weird vat-grown potentially old-man baby who can be expended for a once per battle bonus. At the start of any phase, and the timing is key here, you can elect to use up an Incensor cherub, you roll 2d6 and pick the one you want for a miracle die and this miracle die only exists for this phase and can only be used for Acts of Faith by the unit that generated them. They’re 5pts each and given that they aren’t modeled onto any specific squad member, instead floating along behind the squad disconcertingly, they are an absolute godsend for filling in spare points you don’t know what to do with.

With both options will of course come you having to make the girls/boys vs toys decision, as while a single combo of cherub and simulacra only runs you 10pts, that adds up quickly when you have 14 different units taking them and 140pts lets you buy a whole other max sized unit of anything short of engines decently loaded out.

Wings Note: I basically think you usually buy both of these for “special” squads (Dominions and Celestians, and the banner for Retributors) and keep the basic Sisters cheap.

HQ

Sisters have never been an army with a lot of variety in the HQ slot and while that’s still true they did get a couple of useful new options for special characters.

Credit: Games Workshop

Canoness

A fairly standard HQ choice and quite tough at 5W 3+ 4++, the Canoness is less punchy than a Marine Captain, but she’s a steal at a base cost starting from 45pts. With the imminent demise of the 8th edition indexes they lose several of their most useful options; Eviscerators are gone and combi-weapons have been sacrificed on the altar of only having the options in the kit. But it’s not all doom and gloom as they have a whole bunch of new options including a powerful new melee option in the Blessed Blade – a +2S d3 damage power sword – and a bunch of other tricks.

Canonesses broadly have to choose between being a superior combatant, being a utility character, or being a cheap generalist. If armed with a boltgun and power sword (and only this) they can take a Rod of Office which increases the aura range on their hit re-rolls by 3”, which does stack with a generic relic to a potential 12” bubble. If they don’t go the Rod of Office route they can replace their chainsword with a power sword or blessed blade, and replace their bolt pistol with a better pistol or condemnor boltgun (a single point for increased damage against psykers, and a much cooler looking gun).

Lastly if they keep hold of their chainsword, they can take either of a couple of utility options: Brazier of Holy Flame which once per game smites an enemy unit in shooting or overwatch on a 2+ for d3 mortals, or a Null Rod which is slightly pricey but gives the Canoness complete personal psychic immunity and an 18” -1 to enemy casting aura. Basically any 2,000pt Sisters list is looking at having 2, possibly 3 Canonesses to fill HQ slots and generally keep the army covered in hit rolls, so there’s plenty of room to take one of everything as nothing really breaks the bank, or just run with cheap minimum options and have other characters do the heavy lifting.

Credit: Games Workshop

Celestine

Some significant changes from Chapter Approved for Celestine. She gained the same access to miracles and rites the rest of the army received, but she now buffs the Geminae Superia to a 4+ invulnerable save instead of a 3+ and only increases the Shield of Faith save of infantry – no more 4++ transports and Exorcists for the Sisters by stacking with a Canoness. While still without question the strongest combat character available to the army and a force to be reckoned with when accompanied by her Geminae, the ability to stack with another Canoness and provide an aura 4+ invulnerable save to every infantry unit within range of both is the best thing she brings to the army. She can also give a 6+ to Arco-flagellants, which could use the help.

Wings Note: I think you overwhelmingly still do want her in most lists, as you always want access to 4++ infantry and she’s a nasty killer in her own right. The place she might have a question mark next to her is if you have Junith, at which point you can already max out your invulnerable saves so you can leave her on the bench if you’ve got better uses for her not inconsiderable cost.

Triumph of Saint Katherine

Remember the Bretonnian Grail Reliquae? It’s back, in Sisters form! One of the new units in the Sisters of Battle Codex, the Triumph of St. Katherine has one of the most interesting statlines in the entire game, sporting 3 Strength, 3 Toughness and 18 Wounds and, at full health, 14 Attacks, of which up to 4 can be made with a S+3 AP-3 3-damage power sword (the rest are S+2 AP-1 1 damage). T3 with a 3+ save is a bit of a rough combo. That’s just begging to be brought down with small arms fire like bolt rifles. Fortunately, it protects itself with a 4+ invulnerable save and an ability that gives units attacking it -1 to hit. Combined, that means that, on average, it’ll take 109 bolt rifle shots to bring it down, which should keep it from being immediately swept off the table. Amusingly, despite being a literal crowd of people, it is still INFANTRY and as such will draw a cover save from having any part of its base toeing into cover.

While you could fight with it in combat, the real reason you bring the Triumph of St. Katherine into battle is for the buffs. At full health, the Triumph holds five Relics, and these turn off/go away as the model hits its damage brackets, at 9W and 4W remaining. As it loses wounds, you choose which relics it uses, and if it regains wounds you choose which ones to get back. At full health, all five buffs are active:

  • Censer of the Sacred Rose – Gives you 1 miracle dice at the start of each turn (yours and your opponent’s).
  • Simulacrum of the Ebon Chalice – At the start of each Shooting phase, roll a D6 for each enemy unit within 6” (add 1 if the unit is a Psyker and/or Chaos) and on a 5+, the unit takes D3 mortal wounds.
  • Petals of the Bloody Rose – Add 1 to hit rolls for melee attacks by friendly units within 6”.
  • Icon of the Valorous Heart – Once per phase you can do an extra Act of Faith for a friendly unit within 6” that has the Acts of Faith ability.
  • Simulacrum of the Argent Shroud – When you perform an Act of Faith for a friendly unit within 6”, you can modify the value of the miracle dice used by 1 (up or down) to a max of 6 and a minimum of 1. This doesn’t stack with other abilities that modify the result, though.

These are a bunch of very nice buffs, with the big winners being the Censer of the Sacred Rose, the Simulacrum of the Argent Shroud, and the Icon of the Valorous Heart. Giving yourself extra Miracle Dice and Acts of Faith are incredibly helpful, and at the very least, they ensure that, at full health, the Triumph always has a 3+ invulnerable save using one of the miracle dice it generates (use a 3 for a save, add 1 to the result). Dropping to 9 wounds takes you down to 2 relics, so you want to put that off for as long as possible. Ditch the Ebon Chalice and Bloody Rose first, since those are more nice-to-have, and then probably drop the Simulacrum with them. Fortunately with it being infantry and Hospitallers not being picky who they give medical attention to, you can heal the Triumph for d3 a turn, and whenever you pass the threshold for more relics you can decide which ones to pick back up again.

The Triumph is a big, weird unit and we’re honestly not sure how good it’s going to be but we absolutely love it. It can’t ride in transports and seems too large to survive a lot of contact with the enemy, but its also being Infantry opens up some interesting options, such as walking into ruins or getting protection from other IMPERIUM faction units (such as Salamanders using the Self Sacrifice Stratagem or using the Custodes’ Praetorian Plate relic to nominate the Triumph).

Wings Note: This is really tough to evaluate as we’ve seen nothing like it, but on paper it seems extraordinarily good for its cost, and I expect people to be trying it in almost every list initially. I look forward to seeing a series of increasingly bizarre conversions at events till the official model comes out.

 

Credit: Games Workshop

Junith Eruita

A new and very strong addition to the army and a definite pull in the direction of the Order of Our Martyred Lady. She is essentially the only jump-Canoness of the new list but that’s not the reason to take her. She provides the same +1 to Shield of Faith that Celestine or a character with the Indomitable Belief warlord trait does, and in addition to that she is the army’s only source of re-roll to wound at range for every unit except Celestians. She is generally best employed parked in the middle of a gunline giving your Exorcists and a squad of melta Retributors all the re-rolls they can get. Alternatively pair her with some Seraphim and Zephyrim to max out their invulnerable save and provide the most re-rolls possible by herself. Her warlord trait is sadly not worth the time so it’s better placed elsewhere.

Wings Note: So, she’s obviously really good but surprisingly restrained for a brand new special character with a fancy model. If you are Order of the Martyred Lady you auto-take her, but I’m not totally convinced you want to be maining that all the time, and she’s not bonkers enough to tip the scales hard. It’s worth noting, however, that while the re-rolls are <ORDER> locked the Shield of Faith boost isn’t, so I guess you could bring her in a Supreme Command with Celestine and a Missionary to apply maxed-out Shield of Faith to whatever flavour of stuff you want, and save your warlord trait picks for other things.

Missionary

These remain mostly unchanged, being extremely cheap, bad in a fight, lacking the Sororitas or Order keywords and limited to one per detachment. They still give out +1 attack to all units with the Ministorum keyword within 6″ though and now also grant a 4+ chance not to flee, the first of which is an extremely strong buff for their price point. You will basically always have either one or two Missionaries in your army as Sororitas want to be aiming at double Battalion or Brigade/other lists and having a cheap HQ choice who also gives big buffs out to the whole book is fantastic. They are still all but mandatory if you have any intention of getting infantry units into melee. A less welcome addition is the Ecclesiarchy Battle Conclave rule which means that if you have one of these in a detachment with any Crusaders, Arco-Flagellants or Death-Cult Assassins then those units don’t take up any detachment slots, which makes a Brigade slightly harder to fill if you intend to bring Flagellants or Assassins.

 

Troops

Your army only has one Troops choice and thankfully they’re a good one.

Credit: Games Workshop

Battle Sisters

In the land of Marine equivalents being wounded on 3s the 9pt Sister is queen. They lost some wargear options (with Sisters Superior no longer being able to take a cheap storm bolter) but gained the same equipment options as the other foot slogging Sisters. They come with plenty of punch and are extremely durable for their cost, being 3+/6++ for only 45 points for a minimum size unit, less than the humble Space Marine Scouts. They have the standard setup of one special weapon, one heavy or special weapon, and the Sister Superior being able to take a combi-weapon of some kind, but besides the heavy flamer if you’re looking for units to carry heavy weapons Retributors are the better choice. Its definitely worth hiding a melta gun in a larger unit as the extra AoF for the unit from a simulacra imperialis means you’ll always have the looming threat of being able to turn a middlingly high miracle die roll into knockout punch that kills an enemy character or vehicle. Between all the flame weapons, low price and relatively high durability they remain almost exactly what you want out of a screening unit and make fantastic fodder for Battalions and Brigades, not that you have much choice in the matter.

Wings Note: I strongly suspect you just want to fill out all your lists with 5-models squads of these with two storm bolters.

Elites

Preacher

A slightly cheaper version of a Missionary without the one-of limitation or the feel no pain aura. If for some reason you’ve run out of HQ choices and want the aura go wild, but in general filling an HQ slot is an advantage worth the few points it costs extra so you’ll usually take that option instead.

Geminae Superia

They still get +2 to their invulnerable save from Celestine but can’t get up to a 3+ anymore, and now have the modern bodyguard text where they intercept wounds lost from each attack rather than each lost wound. Much like Celestine they lack an order which disqualifies them from several buffs and stratagems, but they’re still a fantastic unit with the character tag and they ate a substantial points cut; with or without Celestine it’s worth your time to bring these two to soak wounds.

Credit: Games Workshop

Dialogus

As before they give +1Ld to Adepta Sororitas units within 6″, but have otherwise been re-vamped to account for the new Act of Faith rules. Now units within 6” performing an Act of Faith can plus or minus the value on the miracle die they use by 1. This is extremely strong, and you want to keep these with your top-tier units like Exorcists, or Dominions and Celestians where you’ve paid to unlock the use of multiple Acts of Faith.

This model also has a 5+++ against mortal wounds in the psychic phase, which, fine we guess? If they’re getting smote something has gone badly wrong. Smiting is for enemies of the Emperor.

Repentia Superior

The new less-BDSM Mistress of Repentance. She gained an attack and a bolt pistol but is otherwise the same as before; giving Repentia within 6” re-rolls to advance and charge. They are worth even more now that a single Sororitas unit is able to advance and charge but fight for their role with Zephyrim and their own charge re-roll aura, while the advance re-roll is less significant when you can use miracle dice to force a desired result on your advances.

Wings Note: She’s fine if you have Repentia, and I’m entirely unconvinced that Zephyrim “get there” so I do want the buffs she brings. Her re-rolls of one to wound for the Repentia also combo really well with the Bloody Rose stratagem.

Credit: Games Workshop

Sisters Repentia

Well. This certainly took a turn. Stats wise Repentia remain the same with a pair of S6 attacks with -1 to hit rolls each, but they got a point cut and a bunch of boosts, gaining Zealot, a 5+++, and you gain a miracle die when the unit is destroyed. Repentia are one of the better units to stack buffs on as with an Imagifier telling the +1S story they’re hitting at strength 8, and combined with a priest of some stripe they’re each putting out 3 attacks each. The Repentia Superior or Zephyrim can add re-rolls of 1 to wound in the fight phase and with the related sacred rite they’re at +1 to advance and charge. With a full size unit of 9 sisters and all the relevant support characters (which you are taking as Sororitas because they’re cheap and potent) you can fairly reliably both advance a unit of them 13”, charge 7+d6” and put out 27 hard-hitting and reliable attacks.

Wings Note: Being able to get these to base S4 in all Orders makes them much more interesting generally, but they’re still absurdly best as Bloody Rose, being the best users of their +1 wound strat and loving the ability to get to four attacks.

Celestian Squad

Celestians received the standard upgrade package for the army but also gained chapter-master equivalent re-rolls for being in range of a friendly <ORDER> Canoness, making them even better defensively as they now have a roughly 30% hit rate on overwatch. Besides that they have a 2cp re-roll wounds stratagem which can really boost their damage in a pinch, and combos well with The Holy Trinity. Celestians are definitely more useful than they have ever been before in this world of Eliminators everywhere and Sisters having more useful characters to bodyguard for. They are however tied to <ORDER> so they can’t protect the Triumph or any Ministorum units.

Credit: Games Workshop

Hospitaller

Substantially improved from the Beta codex, gaining a bolt pistol and an extra attack, but much more importantly no longer having to roll to do her thing – her healing just works. That makes them a fairly standard medic aggressively priced at around half what an Apothecary will run you in a Space Marines army. They also have a situationally useful stratagem to ignore morale/farm an extra miracle die tied to them.

 

Credit: Games Workshop

Imagifier

No longer a means to buff Acts of Faith (a job shifted to the Dialogus) they now get to choose one of three aura buffs to give out during deployment, with a stratagem enabling a single Imagifier to choose two instead. Importantly all 3 buffs only affect <ORDER> units so they cant help Celestine, Mortifiers or any of the other order agnostic units. Either they grant immunity to AP-1, +1 strength, or re-roll deny the witch tests. The immunity to AP-1 is worth a lot in the current world of butcher cannons and bolt rifles, and the Order of the Valorous Heart bumps it up to both AP-1 and AP-2  which is crazy good with all these Stormtalons and Stormhawks flying about with AP-2 heavy bolters and assault cannons. As several of the dedicated melee units in the book lack an order the +1 strength buff is almost entirely reserved for helping out Repentia as it crucially boosts them up to the worthwhile break-point of Strength 8 where they can threaten tanks and super-heavies as well as wounding basically all infantry on 2s.

As bringing Repentia really begets bringing Zephyrim, boosting them up to Strength 4 does at least make them less of a wet noodle themselves. Lastly the re-roll for Deny the Witch is deeply situational, but that’s fine as the buff is chosen during deployment when you have a clear picture of who you are up against, which means you never have to take it when it isn’t worth it. When combined with the +3 to deny Sacred Rite you can really put the brakes on any enemy army heavily relying on the psychic phase with a functionally unlimited number of denies in addition to debuffs to enemy casting from a Canoness.

Wings Note: These are amazing, expect to see them both with forward blobs and hanging back to boost Valorous Heart Exorcists to ignore AP-2.

Crusaders

These gained a 5+ ignore mortal wounds in the psychic phase making them even tougher against the best way of bypassing their storm shields, but they’re locked at strength 3 with 2-3 attacks each with no way of improving that. They lack the <ORDER> and ADEPTA SORORITAS keywords, Acts of Faith, Shield of Faith, and Sacred Rites, and have basically no synergy with anything in the book.

 

Credit: Games Workshop

Arco-Flagellants

Flagellants are completely unchanged and sadly have the same lack of synergy problem as the above but thankfully are cheaper now, so cheap in fact and put out so many attacks that they’re definitely worth considering. Stick them in a Rhino with a Preacher and throw them at people hiding in ruins for some 90 attacks. These might be the single most efficient anti horde unit in the game point for point?

Note: a commenter has caught that we missed these dropped to WS4+ on first pass. Zealot makes this a bit less painful and it doesn’t change our evaluation massively, but it is worth bearing in mind.

Wings Note: I love these. They got cheaper and are absurdly deadly horde-clearers as long as you keep a priest with them, but the thing that pushes them over the top is being able to bring an Inquisitor to give them a 5++. At 5++/5+++ they are Plaguebearer levels of toughness-cost, and terrifying threats that need an answer.

Death-Cult Assassins

As with the other Ministorum units they don’t really interact with the rest of the codex. Rules wise they’re exactly the same but are now limited to smaller units of 6 maximum rather than the former 10. They ate a hefty points cut though and 13 points for 5 AP-2 attacks per model when supported by a priest is nothing to sniff at. Hopefully they get a plastic release with the rest of the range in January.

Zephyrim

One of the brand-new units added to Sororitas is a melee version of Seraphim. They retain the same 5+ Shield of Faith, but trade in their paired pistols for bolt pistols and power swords. Unfortunately they’re quite lacking as a melee unit without several support characters, being Strength 3 models with two attacks base, but they do at least have a built in re-rolls to wound in melee. A priest will bump them up to 3 attacks, and an Imagifier telling the Tale of the Warrior will bump them up to a more respectable Strength 4, but the unit itself is expensive and far more worthwhile for the utility it brings.

The Sister Superior can bring a pendant that gives any <ORDER> unit within 6″ re-roll charges, which combined with you having at least a single 6 in your miracle dice pool (or 5 with a Dialogus in range) and the Hand of the Emperor Sacred Rite lets you have a unit making charges out of deep strike on a re-rollable 2! In addition to that, they have a stratagem that lets them give out re-roll 1s to wound in melee to any Adepta Sororitas unit (regardless of Order or lack thereof) making Zephyrim a must take in any Sisters list with a melee component. The comedy option is of course that you take a max sized unit of Seraphim and deep strike them with Zephyrim, allowing you to almost always make their charge, and bully charge enemy tanks or heavy weapon units that can’t meaningfully hit back in melee against power armour.

Wings Note: Not convinced on these. 17PPM is just too much for melee specialists that neither have multi-damage or massive volume. You might want a small squad to bring some of their buffs, but even that I’m hesitant on.

Fast Attack

Credit: Games Workshop

Seraphim Squad

Your original flavour jump unit and an absolute steal for their price, they themselves largely haven’t changed since the beta codex, but benefit greatly from Acts of Faith giving you guaranteed damage from their inferno pistols or letting them tie up enemy guns out of deep strike extremely reliably. Their stratagem has become a lot less specific too, as now it increases the range and lets you shoot with all pistols rather than just hand flamers, meaning they can now dump 4 inferno pistol shots into any target not screened out of 12″.

Wings Note: I’m in the market for these at the price they put down four melta shots at (83), and they also make it easy to fill out Outriders for mixed-order shenanigans, as they need very little support to do their job.

Dominions

A weapons specialist squad, Dominions have a helpful Scout move that lets them move before the first turn. Sadly, they lose their scout move when mounted in a transport, but gain all of the other standard upgrades. It feels a bit heavy-handed when the Repressor has also bussed its last unit across the battlefield and there’s no way of employing Dominions’ firepower without putting the squad at risk but they’ll manage. They are one of the better vectors for The Holy Trinity stratagem as their added movement allows you to get into flamer range faster. They’re also just great units to drop 4 storm bolters on for a withering hail of fire that can start the game in rapid-fire range. An all-around useful squad and priced to move at only 10 points per model.

Wings Note: Still great vectors for buffs, and I definitely expect to see storm bolter squads at least.

Heavy Support

Exorcist

These beauties have gone from being extremely variable to the sort of anti-armour firepower you can rely on. The Exorcist Missile Launcher is Heavy 3D3 and D6 damage, with 3D3 being their much rumoured D6 shots mitigation from the Battle Sister Bulletin earlier in the year. This thing is really good. It dropped from AP-4 to AP-3 so it’s less good against heavy armour saves, but the overall difference if invulnerable saves are off the table is the Exorcist is a little over 40% better than it used to be, with the added ability to force through a max damage hit using miracle dice.

They do also have a second missile option, swapping out to a 3d6 anti infantry mode at a cheaper cost, but at the current price this is a trap – it isn’t better enough at the anti-infantry job (especially with a lot of current-relevant infantry being 3+ with two wounds) to make it worth losing the incredible anti-tank punch.

Wings Note: These seem completely nuts, especially as a backline Valorous Heart spearhead ignoring AP-2. Expect them to be in every pure list and probably some Imperial Soup as well.

Retributor Squad

What if Havocs, but good? These are a heavy weapon specialist squad that, while lacking T5, are able to take up to 5 ablative bodies which covers the main weakness of having no buffer between the enemy and your expensive heavy weapons. They can take not one but two Armourium Cherubs identical to those used by Marine Devastators, allowing you (once per game) to fire your squad’s 4 heavy weapons 6 times in a single phase, putting out 6 multi melta shots, 36 heavy flamer shots, or 18 heavy bolter shots (which is a bit of a waste). Their heavy flamers are default +4” range so Range 12”, and they have the same “ignores heavy penalty” rule that Havocs were so pleased about on a much cheaper body.

Their Storm of Retribution stratagem definitely pushes you towards giving the whole squad the same loadout though, which will doubtless be a pain when buying squads.

Wings Note: These got a tonne of love and are clearly now actually worth looking at, but I’m still extremely not in love with 32pt T3 infantry models that can’t just Fire and Fade behind walls. I almost wonder if it’s worth building these assuming they’re going to die, and rather than going in on four multi-meltas just taking two and two cherubs. Powered up with Acts of Faith that’s still an extremely brutal punch that can murder something, and you care less if they just die after.

Credit: Games Workshop

Penitent Engines

Penitent Engines received a substantial overhaul from their previous incarnation becoming smaller, roughly half the price, 2 fewer wounds, lower Toughness, and weaker (but also more) attacks in every respect. They lost their built in ability to fight twice, having to rely on the Sisters’ standard 3CP fight twice stratagem instead. With 1-4 in a squad at 56pts per model they’re closer to a unit of Ork Killa Kanz than a unit of dreadnoughts. Buzz-blades have gone down from S10 AP-3 D3 to S8 AP-2 D2, but now they have an alternate weapon option in penitent flails, which triple your attacks and hit at S6 AP-2 D1, and if you double up on either they bump your attacks characteristic from 4 to 5. Sadly they lack the ADEPTA SORORITAS keyword so the one unit that you most want to advance and charge, cannot. Ultimately if you want something to carve harder targets apart in melee Repentia in a Rhino are a better bet.

Mortifiers

An alternate build of Penitent Engines which keep the same melee options but can swap one or both flamers for heavy bolters, have a 6+ Feel No Pain/Ignore Wounds ability rather than 5+, lack Zealot so no re-rolls to hit when they charge, and instead they have Blaze of Agony, which lets them treat heavy bolters as Assault 3 and heavy flamers as Pistol D6 instead of Heavy. They’re also faster with better accuracy.

Furthermore, they gain Anguish of the Unredeemed. When a Mortifier is killed roll a die; on a 4+ they deal d3 mortal wounds to each enemy unit within 1” i.e. a no downsides version of the normal explosion rule. Lastly they have the option of taking an Anchorite, which is identical to a regular Mortifier but comes with 3+sv characteristic for only slightly more. As with Penitent Engines they lack <ORDER> so they’re slightly limited limited in what can buff them, but unlike Penitents they do have the ADEPTA SORORITAS keyword and as such are able to use the all important advance and charge stratagem, which pairs well with their increased move. At 56pts each these are priced to move, though in ITC missions you really only want a single unit of the maximum 4 as any more than that allows your opponent to easily max Gangbusters against you.

Wings Note: Access to the ADEPTA SORORITAS keyword plus their better stats and more flexible options these just seem better than Penitent Engines most of the time, and I would need a really compelling reason to take the Engines over these. 

Dedicated Transport

Credit: Games Workshop

Sororitas Rhino

It’s a Rhino, the standard transport Marines and Sisters have had for ages, with 12” movement, T7, 10W and the ability to transport up to 10 models. Sororitas Rhinos are made slightly better by having the Acts of Faith and Shield of Faith special rules, which make them a little more resilient, especially after you’ve used the vehicle’s smoke launchers to give enemies -1 to hit when shooting at it. At 65 points still, they haven’t been priced to move, but the extra squishiness of Sisters units gives them more of a role.

Immolator

Essentially the Sisters version of the Marine Razorback, i.e. a Rhino that trades some transport capacity for firepower. Immolators come with Immolation flamers and a heavy bolter, but can swap out the flamers for a twin heavy bolter (the cheapest option) or a twin multi-melta. If you’re just looking for transports for Retributors, you really want Rhinos, which are just as durable for two thirds the price of the cheapest Immolator build. For Dominions, you probably want the Immolation flamers, since they’re 12” range, S5 AP-1 1 damage. We’re not sure there’s really a use-case for the multi-meltas, since 2 multi-Melta shots with a -1 to hit for moving seems destined to remind you of how disappointing melta in 8th edition can be.

Wings Note: I feel like they could have been more aggressive on the cost with both transports here. These prices were fine when they could have a 4++, but seem excessive now. Some things (Repentia, Arco-Flags) still want Rhinos but I don’t see these as being such a core part of the strategy any more.

Fortifications

Battle Sanctum

Its been a few months since a codex has come with a terrain piece and the Sisters one definitely breaks the mold by at least being sort of useful. The biggest limitation with this is, as ever, Fortifications taking up their own detachment slot which limits your potential command points, but that’s less of a problem for Sisters as you will almost always be bringing a Brigade to a fight. In terms of rules it’s 50pts for a ruin that you can place; additionally, if any MINISTORUM (not just SORORITAS) units are within 6” at the start of each battle round you generate a miracle die. Ministorum units within 6” get +1ld, Chaos units get -1ld

5-7 extra miracle dice from setting this and a backline Canoness or other support character up next to an objective seem like it would be a no-brainer were they not so hard to take. Hopefully with 9th around the corner they will add some better support for adding fortifications to an army.

Stratagems, Traits and Relics

With 28 stratagems and 6 Order stratagems Sororitas are definitely not wanting for answers to whatever situation they find themselves in.

Stratagems

  • Open the Reliquaries (1 CP): The modern stratagem for adding extra relics to your army, repeatable for 1CP as many times as you wish. A
  • Embodied Prophecy (1 CP): Pick a unit of Zephyrim at the start of the Fight phase; they give other ADEPTA SORORITAS units within 6” re-roll 1s to wound. Useful for buffing up Mortifiers, but we’re not totally convinced this makes it worth bringing Zephyrim, as they have quite different target profiles. B
  • Furious Recital (1 CP): When you choose an Exorcist to shoot with, enemy units within 12” suffer -1 Ld, with Chaos units suffering -2 Ld. She’s just that good at the pipe organ. Sadly given your Exorcists should never, ever be within 12” of enemy units this really won’t come up basically ever and leadership shenanigans remain underwhelming. D
  • Blazing Piety (1 CP): At the start of your Psychic phase pick a Chaos unit within 6” of a Dialogus and ping them for a mortal wound; if it’s a Daemon ping them for a flat 3 mortal wounds instead. Cute, will greatly annoy someone using a Possessed Lord from the Word Bearers Faith and Fury rules,  but otherwise not particularly useful. D
  • Battle Rites (1 CP): Select a Sacred Rite that is currently active and randomly roll a rite to replace it, re-rolling if that rite is currently active. Good if you find yourself having rolled for rites and ended up with a double, but we suspect that’s relatively unusual – there are enough “duds” on the list that you usually want to pick. Can be useful if you pick a specific one and circumstances change so that you no longer need it. C+
  • Moment of Grace (1 CP): After making a hit, wound or save roll, discard 1-3 miracle dice and add +1 to the roll for each die discarded. The key word in this stratagem is “after” so when you have burned a command point to try and save someone or make a clutch hit or wound and still failed, you can add up to 3 to the result, keeping in mind that while yes you can discard 3 to turn a 1 into a modified 4, unmodified 1s are still a failure so it won’t affect the result. Still, a fantastic stratagem and a useful outlet for any 1s and 2s you roll when generating miracle dice. A
  • Final Redemption (1 CP): Use this when a unit of Repentia are targeted in the fight phase, on a 4+ whenever someone dies you ping the attacker for a mortal wound after it has fought. Useful on a maximum sized unit of 9 Sister Repentia, as it can waste a character that has waded in to murder them or finish off something big like a Knight if you went after it and just missed on the kill. B
  • Martyr’s Immolation (1 CP): When an Immolator dies force it to explode. That’ll teach them. Slightly held back by the Immolator being a tad expensive. B+
  • Holy Trinity (1 CP):Broadly a reprint of the existing stratagem from the beta codex of Chapter Approved 2018, in your shooting phase +1 to wound if you have a unit firing everything at a single target including a bolt weapon, a melta weapon, and a flame weapon and everything is in range. Hard to pull off but powerful if you do, but it’s made a great deal easier by giving a combi-weapon to a Sister Superior as combi-weapons currently count as the weapon type in question if you are firing that half of it. B+
  • Heroine in the Making (1 CP): After picking your warlord, pick another Sororitas character who isn’t a named character or your warlord and give them a warlord trait. If absolutely nothing else give a character Beacon of Faith for the free Miracle each turn. A
  • Divine Intervention (2 CP): When a character other than Celestine, the Geminae Superia, Junith Eruita, or The Triumph of Saint Katherine dies, discard 1-3 miracle dice and set them up as close as possible outside of 1” at the end of the phase with a wound for each miracle die discarded. Fortunately they caught this one so there will be no killing Celestine 3 times or rather importantly, stopping your opponent from ever actually killing the Triumph, and each character can also only be saved by this once per battle. Making this 100% reliable compared to some of the other similar effects is pretty good, and this is really useful in a pinch. Because it’s the end of the phase when you re-set them you often won’t need more than once dice to do it relatively safely. It’s very nice for keeping Imagifiers in the game for an extra turn against snipers. B+
  • Holy Rage (1 CP): In your Charge phase, any single ADEPTA SORORITAS unit that advanced can charge. Great with Celestine, Repentia and Mortifiers, but it’s a little sad that you can’t use this on Penitent Engines or Arco-Flagellants. Still, especially because you can also max-out advances and charges with Miracle dice in a pinch, this is great. A
  • Faith and Fury (2 CP): After you use a miracle die for a hit roll, you can spend 2CP to use the same die for the wound roll as well. This is a steep price, but it can still be worth paying in some circumstances, although it would probably be better if you could use it for the Wound and then Damage instead! Nice with various effects, such as the Triumph of Saint Katherine, that let you modify the miracle dice as you apply it. Ultimately, however, not wildly convinced this gets there most of the time – 2CP is too much for this effect. C+
  • Martyred (1 CP): If your warlord is definitely dead, i.e Celestine has failed her roll or you haven’t used divine intervention to save them, generate d3 command points. So assuming you haven’t run out of command points this is just a two thirds chance to generate free command points if your warlord dies. You don’t want to have to use this but its nice that its there. A
  • Venerated Saint (1 CP): Upgrade stratagems are the Hip New Thing right now and so the Sisters have their own; upgrade a single Imagifier during deployment to give out two buffs rather than one; you’re mostly going to be using this to take +1 strength and immunity to AP-1 at the same time. You won’t always use this, but some armies definitely want Tale of the Warrior and Tale of the Stoic in every game. A
  • Suffer Not The Witch (1 CP): Pick a unit at the start of the Shooting or Fight phase, that unit re-rolls wounds against enemy PSYKER  units. Only really relevant if your opponent has psykers that you can freely target or you can drop in some Seraphim and get an angle on them but it’ll hurt when it’s used. B
  • Storm of Retribution (2 CP): When shooting or overwatching with a unit of Retributors you can pick one of three buffs; heavy bolters get +1 to hit, heavy flamers can re-roll wounds, or multi-meltas get +12” range and +1 to their damage roll. It’s broadly a waste of time on the heavy bolters, but when committing to an alpha strike with a melta squad they will absolutely ruin whatever you point them at, and similarly a squad of heavy flamers in overwatch placed in the way of an important charge target will make your opponent thing long and hard about declaring that charge. A
  • Last Rites (1 CP): Pick a Hospitaller at the start of the Morale phase, units within 6” of it don’t add the number of casualties they take to morale tests, but you still have to take the morale test even though it’s impossible for you to lose anyone unless you’re somehow below leadership 6. This allows you to fish for natural 1s in morale to generate an additional miracle die without the possibility of losing any more models. Massed Insane Bravery for half the price with upside is a good stratagem worth using when it’s needed, but this army has sooooo many uses for CP and will often be running tonnes of minimum sized units and Ld buff effects, so might not come up that often. B+
  • Devastating Refrain (1 CP): Re-roll any or all dice for the number of shots an Exorcist is firing. Mostly just useful insurance against rolling triple 1s when trying to destroy an enemy tank, as while it only increases your average shots from 6-7 it drops the odds of you rolling minimum shots from 1/9 to 1/729. Extremely good on the conflagration rocket build though. B+
  • Deadly Descent (1 CP): When you set up a unit of Seraphim you can add 6” to the range of their pistols until the end of the phase and have them immediately shoot out of sequence. Allows Seraphim to at least do something with their special pistols if they deep strike as the 6” range leaves you in the lurch otherwise. This is a very cheap price to drop four melta shots onto something with relative impunity. B+
  • Vessel of the Emperor’s Will (1 CP): If you use an Act of Faith on a character generate another die to replace the one you spent. This, we think, is a trap – you are going to be more constrained on CP than Miracle Dice, so trading one for one isn’t usually good, and you need CP to make the best use of the dice, so trading in that direction is risky. Can occasionally be worth it if you would otherwise run out, but otherwise give it a miss. C
  • Test of Faith (1 CP): When generating a miracle die by either rolling a natural 1 for morale or denying a psychic power, generate an additional d3 miracle dice. The Sisters can never have too many miracle dice and the chance of rolling up a 5 or 6 is easily worth the 1CP that you might spend on a re-roll by itself. Better than the above, but one in three times you’re still trading one for one. B
  • Exceptional Proficiency (2 CP): Gives Celestians re-roll all hits and wounds when they shoot, fight or overwatch. It’s expensive but it’s making a squad of Celestians 75-100% better than they would be depending on the weapon/target matchup. Use it if you have a large unit of Celestians for some reason. C
    Wings Note: 
    Honestly I think this might make you want to take a large unit of Celestians – it’s extremely potent and potentially makes them a better choice to deliver Blessed Bolts than Dominions.
  • Blessed Bolts (1 CP): An exact reprint of what it was before, still AP-2 D2 storm bolters and the only real ranged anti heavy infantry option the army has. Great on a Dominion squad that’s maxed out on storm bolters, and not horrible on regular squads or Celestians in a pinch, though you cap out at two of these guns per squad. B+
  • Purity of Faith (1 CP): Nullify a psychic power within 24” of one of your units on a 4+. Assuming you have a CP re-roll available (and you will because you have no psykers) a 75% chance to cancel an enemy power with nothing they can do about it remains as strong as ever. A
  • Judgement of the Faithful (2 CP): After a Sororitas unit falls back, they can shoot and charge. Good for throwing a wrench in someone’s plans when they tie up a unit of yours, use it to back off some Mortifiers, set fire to the impertinent heretics that bothered you then charge someone else or just disengage some Seraphim you used to tie up something. Movement shenanigans are always the top tier of tricks. A
  • Extremis Trigger Word (2 CP): Another reprint from the beta codex, max out the attacks on a unit of Arco-Flagellants in exchange for losing 1/6th of the unit at the end of the phase. Very powerful, especially in a Priest aura, letting these blend a wide variety of targets. A
  • Desperate for Redemption (3 CP): Sisters lost their fight twice Act of Faith, so now they have the run of the mill 3CP fight twice but with limitations; in this case it only works on Repentia, Penitent Engines and Mortifiers. This has the updated templating where you can only use it if you’re currently within 1” of the enemy so the old using it to pile into someone without suffering any attacks back exploit is methodically being killed off as it should be. Gets pretty silly when Engines or Mortifiers are putting out 30 S6 AP-2 D1 flail attacks per model in a Fight phase with this. A

Credit: Games Workshop

Warlord Traits

  1. Inspiring Orator – Add 1 to your warlord’s Ld and everyone within 6” can use the warlord’s Ld instead of their own, so a Ld 10 bubble. Will do you well if you’re running infantry heavy but there are better options for it, and minimum sized units aren’t often failing morale tests anyway. C
  2. Righteous Rage – Your warlord can re-roll any or all dice of a charge, and whenever they charge or heroic intervention they re-roll wounds for that phase. Given the loss of an option for a jump pack Canoness its diminished how much this can contribute, but it’s perfectly serviceable if given to a Canoness moving up the field with that contingent of the army, and especially good with the Blade of Admonition. B
  3. Executioner of Heretics – Enemies within 6” of your warlord are at -1Ld. You do not take this. F
  4. Beacon of Faith – If this warlord is on the field at the start of your turn, generate a miracle die. This will literally always be useful and a solid choice. A
  5. Indomitable Belief <ORDER> INFANTRY within 6” of this warlord add +1 to their Shield of Faith save to a maximum of 4+. Useful if you’re running infantry heavy and stacks with similar effects from special characters to a maximum of 4+, and a pile of 3+ 4++ Battle Sisters will be quite hard to shift.  A
  6. Pure of Will – This warlord can deny a second psychic power through Shield of Faith and enemy casting is at -1 if they are within 12”. Can be a good flex pick against some armies. B

Realistically, unless you’re taking one of the <ORDER> specific traits near every Sisters army is going to want Indomitable Belief and Beacon of Faith. Both make the army better at doing what it wants to be doing.

Relics

  • Blade of Admonition: Replaces a Blessed Blade, S+2 AP-3 D3 . Has always been good, but ironically gets taken down a little bit in value just because a blessed blade now does most of this, and you have to pay the higher price. Now merely fine. B
  • Brazier Of Eternal Flame: Replaces a Brazier of Holy Fire. Psychic Tests taken within 18” of the bearer are at -2. A big change from the codex but still extremely effective against Psychic heavy armies – combine this with Aegis of the Emperor to give psykers absolute fits. B
  • Wrath Of The Emperor: Replaces bolt pistol. Pistol 4, Range 18”, S 5, AP -2, D2 . This is ridiculously deadly and something you will often want to chuck on a random Canoness. B+
  • Litanies of Faith: Once per turn, if the model with this relic is on the battlefield, when you gain a miracle dice, you can re-roll that dice .This seems extremely good, and something you’re going to want in most armies, so an easy A, maybe even sneaking towards the coveted A+
  • Mantle of Ophelia: Canoness only. Gives the model a 3++. Extremely meh – Canonesses are neither valuable enough nor deadly enough independent operators to want this. C
  • Triptych of the Macharian Crusade: If you suffer a wound, on a 5+ the wound is not lost. See previous. C
  • Book of St Lucius: Add 3” to the aura abilities of a model with this relic. Most armies will want a Canoness with Indomitable Belief and this helps them spread the love, making it a useful pick. B+
  • Iron Surplice of St Istaela: 2+ armour save, wound rolls of a 1, 2, 3 against the model always fail. Another major defensive buff for a Canoness that you kind of don’t really need. C

The generic relics sadly leave a lot to be desired for the Sororitas, with a couple of auto-takes and really not much else, though the Wrath of the Emperor is highly entertaining when it’s relevant.

 

Credit: Games Workshop

Army Lists

Scott’s List

We asked Scott Horras “Heresy” to come up with a list using the new rules and here’s what he put together, which is pretty close to what some of us were considering for a shooting-heavy Sisters army that uses the Valorous Heart Order and Imagifiers to make a bunch of AP-2-shrugging, 6+ FNP-saving badasses. Here’s what Scott had to say:

Welp, the guys asked me to work up a list so here you go. We’ve got 3 detachments because ObSec is for losers. The basic idea behind this list is to shove a big ‘ole pile of angry Sisters in your opponent’s face turn one, shoot them up with #Blessed Bolters, and cackle maniacally while you shove cattle prod your totally willing Mortifier pilots up the board.

Again the general idea here is that between the Dominions and Mortifiers’ shooting, you can largely clear away any board control your opponent may have brought to the party early on in the game. The Exorcists over a few turns or Mortifier melee can help knock over hard targets, while your 45 Sisters’ bodies can win you board control. I chose Divine Guidance as my global because I think it’s going to make a big difference over the course of the game when you’re bringing as many Boltgun shots as I am. I’ve chosen Valorous Heart because it’s straight-up busted when combined with Imagifiers and I will not hear any argument to the contrary. Auras are going to be an important part of this list. If you choose to play it, you’re really going to have to pay attention to where Celestine’s, an Imagifier’s, and your Warlord Canoness’ auras intersect at all times. As soon as these characters are dead or out of position, the resilience or your tough-as-nails Sisters drops off significantly.

I’m no expert on Sisters Stratagems, but a few that jump out at me are:

  • Blessed Bolts – For your Dominions
  • Desperate for Redemption – For Mortifiers
  • Holy Rage – For Mortifiers
  • Purity of Faith – For everyone ’cause it’s good
  • Judgment of the Faithful – For Dominion squads or Mortifiers that get booped
  • Blind Faith – If you really gotta kill something that’s got modifiers on it

Scott Horras' List - Click to Expand

+++ Sisters of Battle Battalion (+5 CP)+++
Order: Valorous Heart
Rite: Divine Guidance

HQ: Canonness (Warlord: Indomitable Belief) – Inferno Pistol, Chainsword, Book of Saint Lucis 52
HQ: Canonness – Inferno Pistol, Powersword, Blade of Admonition – 56

FA: 10 Dominion – Inferno Pistol, 4xStorm Bolter 125
FA: 10 Dominion – 4xStorm Bolter 118
FA: 10 Dominion – 4xStorm Bolter 118

TP: 5 Battle Sister’s Squad – 2xStorm Bolter – 49
TP: 5 Battle Sister’s Squad – 2xStorm Bolter – 49
TP: 5 Battle Sister’s Squad – 2xStorm Bolter – 49

HS: Excorcist – Heavy Bolter, Excorcist Missile Launcher – 170
HS: Excorcist – Heavy Bolter, Excorcist Missile Launcher – 170
HS: Excorcist – Heavy Bolter, Excorcist Missile Launcher – 170

+++Sisters of Battle Vanguard Detachment (+1 CP)++
Order: Valorous Heart, Divine Guidance

HQ: Celestine – 160

EL: Imagifer – 45
EL: Imagifer – 45
EL: Imagifer – 45
EL: Dialogus – 35

+++Sisters of Battle Spearhead Detachment (+1 CP)+++
Order: Valorous Heart, Divine Guidance

HQ: Missionary – 38
HS: 3x Mortifiers – Buzz Blade, Flail, 2xHeavy Bolter 168
HS: 3x Mortifiers – Buzz Blade, Flail, 2xHeavy Bolter 168
HS: 3x Mortifiers – Buzz Blade, Flail, 2xHeavy Bolter 168

Total Points: 1998, CP: 10

 

TheChirurgeon’s List

We see Sisters of Battle pop up with their current, inferior rules already in some high-performing IMPERIUM armies and I want to double down on that and take advantage of the fact that they can comfortably fill out a Brigade Detachment. Like Scott, I’m also a fan of the Valorous Heart Order and Divine Guidance. Valorous Heart just makes the entire army so much harder to kill and Divine Guidance is perfect for my strategy, which involves bringing an assload of bolters to shoot with. The list packs 6 squads of double storm-bolter Battle Sisters plus 3 Dominion squads packing 4 Storm Bolters each, which is plenty for drowning my opponents in bolter fire and the Dominion Squads make a great target for the Blessed Bolts Stratagem.  For everything that’s not a Space Marine, the three Exorcists and the Mortifiers can take care of it. Meanwhile Celestine and the Sisters Repentia can handle anything that tries to charge my lines.

Also I’m including Coteaz for much-needed Psychic support that won’t break my faction’s purity and gives me access to three deny attempts per turn.

TheChirurgeon's List - Click to Expand

+++ Sisters of Battle Brigade Detachment (12 CP, 2,000 Points) +++
Order: Valorous Heart, Divine Guidance

HQ: Cannoness w/Power Sword, Bolter, Rod of Office (49)
HQ: Celestine (160)
HQ: Missionary (38)

Troops: 5x Battle Sisters w/2x Storm Bolter (49)
Troops: 5x Battle Sisters w/2x Storm Bolter (49)
Troops: 5x Battle Sisters w/2x Storm Bolter (49)
Troops: 5x Battle Sisters w/2x Storm Bolter (49)
Troops: 5x Battle Sisters w/1x Storm Bolter (49)
Troops: 5x Battle Sisters w/1x Storm Bolter (49)

EL: Geminae x2 (40)
EL: Sisters Repentia x9 (117)
EL: Imagifer (45)
EL: Imagifer (45)
EL: Imagifer (45)
EL: Dialogus (35)
EL: Dialogus (35)

FA: Dominion Squad x10 w/4x Storm Bolter (96)
FA: Dominion Squad x10 w/4x Storm Bolter (96)
FA: Dominion Squad x10 w/4x Storm Bolter

HS: Exorcist (170)
HS: Exorcist (170)
HS: Exorcist (170)
HS: Mortifiers (2) + Anchorite w/Heavy Bolters, Blade, Flail (174)  (96)
HQ: Inquisitor Coteaz (90)

 

Artum’s List

My list is basically an army of two halves looking to play with the melee options in the book, the triumph and warlord Canoness will hang back with the Dialogus laying down covering fire with the pair of exorcists and the Retributors looking to hop out of their rhino, blow storm of retribution and vaporise something big that the enemy thinks fondly of. All the while Celestine, the indomitable belief Canoness, Mortifiers, Rhinos and all the infantry that can be spared from screening run up the field looking to make a mess. The Mortifiers will likely get shot off the board but in doing so leave other threats free to do their business when on turn 2 the Repentia disembark, with the Zephyrim dropping where appropriate to give out their auras and using whatever miracles necessary to get maxed advances and charges on the Repentia so they can cut the heart out of the enemy.

 

Artums List (Loud stabbing noises) - Click to Expand

+++Sisters of Battle Battalion Detachment (5cp, 986pts)+++
Order: Bloody Rose

HQ: Canonness w/ Condemnor Boltgun + Blessed Blade (55) -1cp Heroine in the Making: Indomitable Belief
HQ: Missionary (36)

Troops: 5x Battle Sisters w/2x Storm Bolter, simulacrum imperialis (54)
Troops: 5x Battle Sisters w/2x Storm Bolter, simulacrum imperialis (54)
Troops: 5x Battle Sisters w/2x Storm Bolter, simulacrum imperialis (54)

EL: 9x Sisters Repentia (117)
EL: 4x Arco-Flagellants (52)
EL: 5x Zephyrim w/ zephryim pennant (90)
EL: Imagifier (40) -1CP: Venerated Saint
EL: Dialogus (35)
EL: Hospitaller (35)

HS: 4x Mortifier w/2x heavy bolter and 2x penitent flails each, anchorite (230)

DT: Soritas Rhino (67)
DT: Soritas Rhino (67)

+++Sisters of Battle Battalion Detachment (5cp, 1014pts)+++
Order: Bloody Rose

HQ: The Triumph of Saint Katherine (185)
HQ : Canoness w/boltgun, power sword, rod of office (54) WARLORD: Beacon of Faith RELIC: Book of St. Lucius

Troops: 5x Battle Sisters (45)
Troops: 5x Battle Sisters (45)
Troops: 5x Battle Sisters (45)

EL: 5x Celestians (50)

HS: Exorcist (170)
HS: Exorcist (170)
HS: x8 Retributor w/ 4x Multi-Melta, 2x Armourium Cherub, Simulacrum Imperialis (183)

DT: Soritas Rhino (67)

2,000pts 11cp

 

Wrap Up

While Sisters definitely aren’t going to be barnstorming every tournament for the next 6 months like Marines (and thank goodness for that), they have returned as a powerful, fun and flavourful army with a unique identity all its own, and we here at Goonhammer eagerly await what the community will make of them. Our biggest hope is that they are competitive enough to at least compete, and help keep Marines from dominating the meta in oppressive fashion for the next 6 months. And we hope this review has helped you evaluate the army and formulate ideas for how you’ll build your own. As always, if you have any questions, comments, or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below, reach out on our Facebook Page or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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