Nephilim Faction Focus: John Lennon Talks Adepta Sororitas

Welcome to War Zone: Nephilim! There’s never been a shake-up this large during an edition of 40k, and over the last three weeks Games Workshop dropped a new missions pack with all-new secondaries, changed how CP works in games, published new, all-digital points for the first time ever, and published a new balance dataslate, dramatically shifting the power levels of some armies.

Whenever there are changes on this scale you can count on a new series of Faction Focus articles and we’re doing the same for Nephilim as we did for Nachmund. In this article JLennon of the Art of War will talk about the Adepta Sororitas, covering how the faction changed, what it means for playing them, how they’re likely to fare in the new meta, and offer a list with some thoughts on playing the Sisters of Battle.

The Notable Changes

  • Faction Secondaries. Sisters can now take multiple faction secondaries, with two of their book choices receiving significant improvements.
  • Point Drops. Minor points drops on several staple units are a welcome addition.
  • Command Point changes. Command Point changes will shift list building as much for Sisters as other factions.

Two of these changes represent solid boosts to an already respectable faction. Sororitas weren’t universally successful in Nachmund, but held up well against the field and had several notable top finishes by practiced Sisters generals. Let’s explore how their secondaries play now:

  • Leap of Faith was an old staple in the No Mercy, No Respite category that provides points for simply spending miracle dice at an even pace.
  • Defend the Shrine took a massive change, where now the Sisters player gets to choose the relevant objective to hold at the end of each turn, making it very easy to send powerful melee units onto a point just outside of your deployment zone every turn.
  • Finally, their action secondary, Defend the Shrine, received a twofold buff in that it both gives more points for successfully completing the action outside of your deployment zone (five!), and can be attempted multiple times a turn! 

These secondaries – and the ability to take more than one of them – help Sisters mitigate the loss of Stranglehold and To the Last, two secondaries that they previously relied on. So while other powerhouse armies like Eldar and Tyranids have to redesign their scoring plan in Nephilim, Sisters somehow came out even stronger than before. To top it off, Defend the Shrine is especially good in missions like The Scouring or Abandoned Sanctuaries where raising banners is much less viable. As it has become harder and harder to pull off taking a defensive stance in games, the armies that can still do so become even more advantaged. But Sisters can still sit back in their deployment zone and score high Primaries and Secondaries by sending out one juiced-up melee unit a turn. Taking Raise the Banners, Defend the shrine and Leap of Faith on most missions will lead to a passive 37 secondary score very easily if the opponent doesn’t come to stop it. And what are Sisters best at? Punching people who get too close! Thanks to Miracle Dice and the nature of their datasheets, Sisters are one of the deadliest armies in the game once you get within 24” while being near helpless at 30+.” Their secondary game works perfectly with their inherent playstyle to provide a high-scoring army out of the gates where other factions will have Nephilim growing pains. 

I think that the Sisters already came out ahead of the curve on secondaries, but the points drops provided another welcome boost. None of them were earth shattering, but the changes were placed on some very relevant units. Seraphim and Zephyrim went down 2 points per model each, but were already staples of many successful lists. It’ll be easy to include an extra few models now, but don’t expect entire extra units. Notably, Jesse Sell’s and Mike Walsh’s recent major-winning lists went down by 36 and 37 points, respectively. The other consequence of points drops is the several armored units that took a points drop and are now worth considering. Immolators and Exorcists both look more attractive but likely fall short, but the Castigator however received a larger drop and was already a stronger piece, having seen some play before. The Castigator can be a useful tech choice providing ranged support to the rest of the army, and at only 135 point,

I’ll keep the command point changes brief, as every army is affected by these changes about evenly. But it’s worth noting that Sisters transition well to a single battalion because their troops are pretty cheap and efficient, especially Novitiates. What really matters is that Sisters will have to drop one or two of the situational warlord traits/relics that had been seeing play to maintain their CP pace. For me, that means Litanies of Faith and Beacon of Faith are on the outside looking in, as a Sisters list ideally will start at 2cp to threaten a Carry Forth the Faithful with Repentia. 

Playing Nephilim Missions

The main reason that I’m so high on Sisters is that they are one of the best mission-playing armies in Warhammer. I’ve already talked a lot about their secondary plan above, but I’m going to go even deeper. Their primary game is still quite potent. Sisters have cheap and durable troops with Armor of Contempt, and with the Dogmata – a staple character – they can assign Objective Secured to either hold primary in your turn or contest your opponents. Repentia and Zephyrim are great targets for that Objective Secured, and can go forward with offensive buffs to start crushing objectives every turn. Plus, Miracle Dice delivery is extremely clutch for reaching midfield objectives. The best thing that a Sisters player can do is take a quick hold over two or three objectives to secure eight points of primary a turn, then force their opponent into stepping into range. Once they’re in range, Sisters can deliver crippling damage and then walk over corpses to start collecting late game twelves.

On to secondary objectives – Leap of Faith, Defend the Shrine, and <best action for that mission> feels like a super solid set of points. Leap of Faith and Defend the Shrine reward you for playing the game, and rarely require you to go out of your way at all since you can choose what turns to spend miracle dice, and which objective you have to commit to. If there is a weakness here, it’s that tying your secondaries to your primaries means that when things go bad, they’ll hurt even more. If your opponent can push you off of your chosen shrine, you’re not only giving up major primary points but also losing secondaries that aren’t getting made up later, and can even cost you three more points at the end of the game. Don’t lose control of your shrine!

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Squaring Up Against the Meta

Sisters are undoubtedly one of the biggest winners of the Nephilim pack, but a strong starting position will likely leave them as one of the best armies in the game. As a matter of fact, if I were trying to win LVO next week, I would guaranteed be running my Bloody Rose list! With that said, I think that Sisters biggest weakness will come from inside, not outside. Sisters are a difficult army to win with, and very few “new to the faction” players win with the army. I expect an amount of bandwagoning for every army that improved in Nephilim, but Sisters are only truly unlocked in the hands of a faction veteran. I would estimate that their win rate never breaks the 60% barrier, but that they will put together quite a few more top 8 placings as Sisters of Battle now have enough juice to get over the hump consistently in a GT environment. 

The Positive

The top three armies got nerfed! Sisters were in a strong spot, but not enough so to catch the hammer. Instead, their hardest matchups (Craftworlds and Tau) both were reigned in. Sisters actually had a respectable amount of play into Tyranids, but now should be downright favored as the Nids take their well deserved lumps in Nephilim. It’s still quite difficult to tell how the meta has shifted with many bottom armies rising rapidly, but Sisters had traditionally positive matchups into Death Guard and Necrons, so I expect those to still be competitive at a minimum, and probably favorable. If you’re not sure what the meta is, score points and have variable damage profiles and learn your army! 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The Struggle

Again, I think the largest problem for Sisters will be that the army is relatively difficult to play and can occasionally lose too many resources or have a bad turn and get pushed over. A lot of their secondary game and playstyle is about luring the opponent into a kill zone and slamming them. But, if you take a swing and miss or bounce, Sisters can suddenly collapse as their units are not overly durable or high in wound count. Any kind of “unconventional” damage, be it indirect, fliers, or mortal wounds, are all often strong into single wound power armor models. In short? Sisters pair into the meta quite well but could be very prone to upsets from anti meta armies in a skilled players hands. 

The List

Bloody Rose Battalion

No force org slot: Repentia superior 40

Morvenn Vahl (Warlord, Righteous Rage) 280
Canoness (Word of the Emperor, Blessed Blade, Blazing Ire, Chaplet of Sacrifice) 100

5x Battle Sisters 55
5x Battle Sisters 55
10x Novitiates 75 

Dogmata (Sigil Ecclesiasticus, Verse of Holy Piety, Chorus of Spiritual Fortitude) 65

Hospitalier 50
8x Repentia 112
8x Repentia 112
5x Repentia 70

5x Seraphim (2×2 Hand Flamers) 80
9x Zephyrim (Pennant) 140
6x Zephyrim (Pennant) 95

Castigator 135

10x Retributors (Hand Flamer, 4x Multi Melta, Simulacrum, 2x Cherubs) 230
10x Retributors (4x Multi Melta, Simulacrum, 2x Cherubs) 225

Rhino 80 

This is a very similar list to where I was before, but leans into what made it great. I actually played a list that about 98% similar to this one the Charity Hammer GT, where I ended up a hard fought 6-0 against some very difficult competition. I really just added two Zephyrim, a pennant and Hand Flamer from my latest list, but that prior version was already thoroughly tested. Notably, Morvenn Vahl still leads the way as a beatstick leader who buffs the army well, and a canoness takes all of the best tricks you can load up onto an unnamed character. But, the CP expenditure mostly ends there with only one more relic appearing to unlock a second chant on my dogmata. This list leans into melee missiles that are best served running out one at a time, but access to Fights Last from the Cannoness and fight on death with Repentia means that it can commit multiple units relatively well when the occasion calls for it. Large Retributor squads and a hospitalier are there to make sure that the list still has significant ranged output in the mid and late game, while a Castigator is a great cheap screen clearer with longer range, so that you aren’t forced to commit expensive Infantry early.

Frankly, I love this list and its custom built to play the style I have discussed above. I haven’t actually mentioned Orders much yet, but Bloody Rose started out on top and is not giving it up with one of it’s premiere melee units going down in points while the Nephilim mission pack puts even further emphasis on objective control. 

Wrapping Things Up

That concludes our look at the Sororitas, but we’ll have more over the next few weeks as Goonhammer covers each of the game’s factions and some of the subfactions. You can get more great analysis and insight from the Art of War by heading over to our site. Become a part of our awesome community and enjoy your hobby even more!

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