Kill Team Chalnath Review: Novitate Sororitas Kill Teams

Kill Team Chalnath gives us two brand-new kill teams: Pathfinder Kill Teams, which consist of the older unit updated with a new upgrade sprue, and the all-new Novitate Sororitas Kill Team, featuring a unit of all new models. The new kill team trades some of the individual model power of Ecclesiarchy kill teams for more choices and options, and the new rules provide them with their own Ploys, Equipment, custom Tac Ops, and their own rules for Spec Ops. They also have their own rules for 40k now, which you can find here.

Before we dive into these new rules, we’d like to thank Games Workshop for providing us with a preview copy of the new Kill Team Chalnath boxed set, which contained these rules and models for the new kill teams.

 

Novitate Sororitas Kill Teams

Composition-wise, the Novitiate Kill Team is the trainee versions of all our favourite Adepta Sororitas characters, with 4+ instead of 3+ saves and autoweapons instead of bolters. They’re probably the hardest team to pick operatives for in the game, because you have a Superior and nine slots, and then more specialists than you have slots. They’re definitely a team that benefit from getting an extra box so that you can build every operative and a few Militants as well. With Security and Recon Archetypes, and 3 more faction tac ops, you have a reasonable choice where tac ops are concerned.

Novitate Sororitas introduce a few new mechanics that turn Kill Team on its head that aren’t present for Adepta Sororitas Kill Teams in the Compendium. The big one to talk about is Acts of Faith.

Credit: Games Workshop

Acts of Faith

Acts of Faith are a new addition that have you keep a pool of Faith Points that you can spend to gain interesting effects. At a minimum this gives you three more command rerolls a turn, but there are more expensive acts where you can convert failures into successes or successes into criticals that let you change your dice at key moments of the game to make sure a target dies or a key model stays alive.

Inferno

Inferno represents setting your enemies on fire. Inferno weapons have Inferno X, X being the number of Inferno tokens a model receives if you scored a critical hit. At the end of the turn, roll a dice for each Inferno token, and for every 4+ you roll, you score a mortal wound. Once this is resolved remove the Inferno tokens. This is a nice little bonus to make flamers nastier and it fits in very nicely with the lore for Sororitas.

 

Credit Warhammer Community

The Operatives

A Novitiate kill team consists of a Superior and nine models, any number of which can be militants, two of which can be Purgatus, and each of the specialists may be taken once. The number of specialists available means that you can easily take a squad entirely consisting of specialists.

This throws up a problem, and that problem is the Problem of Choice. You have nine slots, and need to balance specialist operatives with special weapons and rank and file operatives to do the killing. You will want two Purgatus operatives with their flamers, a Condemnor with their sniper crossbow, a Dialogus for Comms and a Preceptor for the melee reroll bubble, but that is already five of your nine choices. Do you take a Duellist or Penitent? Do you take a Pronatus to give you 2 or 3 extra Faith points a turn? How many Militants can you fit in? Those slots fill up quickly and making those choices is going to be tough.

Novitiate Superior

Your compulsory leader model that chooses between a bolter and gun butt or a bolt or plasma pistol plus a power weapon. I know what you’re going to pick, you know what you are going to pick; let’s not kid ourselves. Especially when you have a strategic ploy which gives your pistols infinite range. A 3+ save and eight wounds makes her a bit more survivable than standard novitiates, but don’t go running around out of cover.

The Novitate Superior has an ability called Lead by Example that, if the superior performs a mission action or kills an enemy model, then after the Superior has activated you can activate one Ready friendly model within six inches. This is good for getting through your activations quicker to get some overwatch (or limit your opponents) and to keep pressure on your opponent. Overall she looks like a solid leader option.

Novitiate Militant

Your standard trainee Battle Sister, who choses between an autopistol and novitiate blade or an autogun and gun butt. Autoguns are essentially on lasgun profiles unless you improve them with ploys/equipment, and their melee profile with a novitate blade is significantly better (4 Attacks, 3+, 4/5 damage, Balanced). They’ve got 2 APL, a 4+ save, and 7 wounds, so they won’t last long out of cover or in combat despite having a pretty good close combat weapon. There are enough specialists to completely fill a team, so these won’t see much use.

Novitiate Penitent

The penitent is a better version of the Penitent in the Compendium list. She has an autopistol, giving her some ranged ability, and an eviscerator with 4 dice, 4+ to hit, 5/6 Brutal and Reap 2. These sisters are better-positioned to make use of that Reap 2 ability with their Absolution Through Destruction action, which for 1 AP lets them get two Fight actions together for the price of one. And their Zealous Rage ability gives them full attack re-rolls on their first Fight action each turn.

Novitiate Pronatus

This model acts as your Faith Point battery and mission action button pusher. With an autopistol and blinged-out relic, she has an ability, Relic Seeker, that lets her perform one mission action a turn for free, and a unique action, Raise Relic, which gives you two more Faith points (3 if you are within two inches of an objective). You’ll want her out and on objectives ASAP, generating free Faith points for you.

Novitiate Exactor

The comms equivalent except instead of a radio set she uses neural whips to get the point across. Another melee-based model since the ranged attacks from neural whips have a range of only ■ (though 5 dice, 3+, 2/3, Lethal 5+ and Stun makes it a bad day for anyone in range as defence dice get overwhelmed and they get stunned), but the low damage output may make it a bad idea to get this model into combat. Exactors have a unique action, Whip into Frenzy, that lets her spend one of her AP to give another operative +1 to its APL. As the comms equivalent she looks to be a useful model, especially paired with the Penitent, whom she can send charging into the enemy line.

Novitiate Reliquarius

The team icon, this model doesn’t get an additional APL for the purposes of holding objectives only, but gets a great ability and much better objective holding unique action. The ability, Icon of Purity, means that when a Novitiate model within ⭓ and visible is incapacitated, on a 4+ they can perform a free Shoot action. When the model gets within two inches of the centre of an objective, you can Plant the Icon for 1AP, and it halves the APL of enemy models when judging control of that objective. This makes it a great last activation of the turn to go in and seize an objective from the opposition by halving the APL of the enemy models contesting it.

Novitiate Hospitaller

The Sisters kill team medic, this model comes with an autopistol and surgical saw. The surgical saw isn’t a terrible close combat weapon, but the real value here is keeping your team alive. This operative has the Mantra of Restoration ability, which once per turn lets you stand up an operative within ■ with one wound if it would otherwise be incapacitated. They can also heal friendly operatives for 2D3 wounds with their Chirurgeon’s Tools, though you can’t use this and an Act of Faith to double heal.

Novitiate Preceptor

Another melee build, this time with a big flaming Mace of the Righteous, which is 4 dice, 3+, 5/5, Inferno 2 and Stun. This gives you power weapon level damage output which also Stuns a model and sets it on fire. She also provides two buffs to friendly models, helping them re-roll defence dice and re-roll 1s and 2s for friendly operatives when they fight.

Novitiate Dialogus

Another model with Comms-style unique action abilities, but with a better range than the Exactor. For one AP she can increase the APL of a visible model within six inches by one and she has a debuff ability in the Auto Broadcaster, which puts a token on the table wtihin ⭓ and reduces the BS of nearby enemy operatives.

Novitiate Duellist

The Duellist has an autopistol and Duelling Blades. The Duelling Blades are four dice, 2+, 3/4, Lethal 5+ and have Expert Riposte, which is a melee ability that rivals Storm Shields for how good it is. Expert Riposte means if you parry using a critical hit, you still inflict the damage from a critical hit as well as parrying. Despite being only 7 wounds, these operatives can be absolutely deadly when using Acts of Faith to power out crits, making these operatives potential auto-includes.

Novitiate Condemnor

The witch hunter operative of the group, Condemnors will be your go-to when facing Psykers or 3 APL models. Their Null Rods cap the APL of nearby enemy operatives at 2 and increase the cost of psychic actions by 1, and they don’t have to be visible to get the benefits of this effect. They also come with a silent weapon and so can spend the entire game Concealed.

Novitiate Purgatus

This trainee is a murder nun with a flamethrower and dakka dash. Ministorum flamers are 5 dice, 2+, 2/3 damage, six inch range, Torrent and Inferno 1, so they’re a bit better than normal flamers. You can take two in a team, and that seems like something we’ll see often.

Credit Warhammer Community – my preferred Militant build.

 

Acts of Faith

As we mentioned before, Acts of Faith work off Faith Points, which make them a lot like a second, more restrictive CP pool. You get your own list of effects, and you’ll get three points at the start of each turn with different ways to spend them. Only one Act of Faith can only be used per activation on an operative, though Faithful Blessing does not obey this rule and can be used alongside another Act of Faith.

There are a number of effects (8 total) but Faithful Blessing will likely be the most ubiquitous of these, giving you a re-roll when you fight in combat or shoot, and can be used more than once per activation. Guiding Light lets you spend 2 faith points to retain a failed hit as a normal successful hit when fighting or shooting, and Vengeful Strike lets you spend 3 faith points to convert a normal hit into a critical hit.

Tac Ops

As with other non-Compendium kill teams, Novitate teams get their own Tac Ops. They’re normally working with either Security or Recon.

  • Purge with Flame rewards you for taking out enemy models with Inferno weapons.
  • Reconsecrate Ground has you pick an objective marker more than 6″ out of your DZ and hold it at the end of a turn and the battle.
  • Glory to the Martyrs rewards you for losing multiple models trying to hold the same objective, encouraging you to throw them repeatedly at that Custodian sitting on it.

 

The gang’s all here – credit Warhammer Community

Ploys

Novitiates don’t just have Acts of Faith, they get some pretty good ploys as well. Acts of Faith mean that you won’t be spending your CPs on rerolls, and this gives you more CPs to spend on ploys that tend to range from decent to excellent.

Strategic Ploys

Eyes of the Emperor is our pick for Ploy that’ll get the most use; for 1CP all your auto, bolt and plasma pistols lose the six inch range rule. So plasma pistols can suddenly shoot across the map. This really helps out both your Superior but also all the Novitiates you have wielding autopistols, which are then equivalent to autoguns. Sanctified Rounds ups your damage on autopistols and autoguns by 1 for a turn, turning them into bolter equivalents, and making for a spicy turn of shooting.

Aegis of the Emperor is your psychic defense, pushing out mortal wounds to enemy operatives performing psychic actions. And Defenders of the Faith lets you take free actions with friendly operatives near objectives, potentially giving you a way to take multiple shots clearing enemies off objectives.

Tactical Ploys

Glorious Martyrdom is an act of pure spite, used when your novitate dies to do mortal wounds to nearby enemies and give you D3 Faith points. Burning Wrath ups the damage on a Purgatus’ Flamer and gives it Inferno 2. And Righteous Condemnation lets your Condemnor re-roll the attack dice on a shooting attack.

Equipment

Novitiates have some rather nice pieces of equipment, as well as the standard grenades. You can have up to two Icons of Faith and they give you a free Act of Faith once per game. Some of our other favorites are the Adamantine-Weave Suplice, which gives you a 3+ save,  and the Sainted Reliquae, which gives you a Faith Point each time the bearer scores a critical hit, making it a good fit for your Duellist.

 

Final Thoughts

Novitiates have great ploys, a mechanic in Acts of Faith that lets them change dice results, and a lot of special abilities. A Novitiate player needs to know how these interact, and there is a reasonably high skill level and cognitive load required to play the team, unlike fairly straightforward teams like Intercessors or Custodes or Kroot or Harlequins where it’s a very limited selection of model types.

I think the flexibility of Novitiates will see them doing well in a competitive setting, and a smart tournament player has so many tools to use to win. I look forward to seeing them hit the tables.

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