Trainee Murder Nuns – Novitiate Sororitas Kill Team Tactics

The Adepta Sororitas waited for support in Kill Team for a long time, spending most of the first edition without a team until finally getting rules in the 2019 Annual. Their wait in Kill Team 2021 was much shorter – not only did they receive an Ecclesiarchy Kill Team in the Compendium, they also received a new bespoke team in Chalnath: The Novitate Sororitas kill team.

Faction Overview

The Novitiate Kill Team is where you’ll find 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.


  • Acts of Faith – 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.
  • Anti-high APL teams – there’s a few stun weapons but the Condemnor has a six inch bubble that goes through walls that reduces enemy models APL to 2, which can really mess up marine and Custodes teams.
  • Healing – Both a medic model and an Act of Faith that can heal injured models means you’re a bit more resilient than you look.
  • Ploys – Novitiates has a combo of ploys that give all their autopistols infinite range and change them to damage 3/4. It may cost 2CP to pull off this combo but it does largely solve their firepower problem for a turn.


  • Shooting – It seems like almost every model is rocking pistols, and while there are strategic ploys that fix this, most models having 2/3 pistols is a little light on firepower.
  • Range – Being heavy on pistols also means that the team has a pretty short range. And though you have ways to get around that with ploys, it’ll still cost you.
  • Lack of Special Weapons – The team will have a plasma pistol on the Superior, two Ministorum Flamers and a sniper crossbow on the Condemnor. Note a lack of heavy bolters or melta. This means you can really struggle with high armour, high wound enemies.
  • 7 wounds – every model apart from the Superior is seven wounds. For a kill team with a lot of melee focus seven wounds means that if they’re fighting some of the Compendium teams, like Harlequins, Custodes, assault focussed marines, than they’ll evaporate pretty quickly.

Novitate Sororitas Kill Teams

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.

I would say making your selection for Novitiate’s is actually the toughest kill team roster to make choices from in the game.

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. More on these later on.


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


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 Lead by Example ability means 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 a solid leader in the ten model meta, made better by access to ploys and Acts of Faith.

Novitiate Militant

Your standard trainee Battle Sister that you could fill your team with if you wanted (but let’s face it you don’t), you choose between an autopistol and novitiate blade or an autogun and gun butt. Autoguns are 2/3 damage, so unless you are using ploys they’re doing lasgun damage, reasonable against guard equivalents but just scratching the paintwork on marine level enemies. Gun butts do the standard butt damage of 2/3 on three dice hitting on 4+, but Novitiate Blades are better than Astartes chainswords on 4 dice, 3+ to hit and 4/5 damage with Balanced. So that’s a reroll baked into the weapon.

Novitiates have 2APL, Save 4+ and seven wounds. This means they don’t last long out of cover and don’t last long in combat despite having a really good close combat weapon on a standard human model.

As there are enough specialists to completely fill the kill team, you won’t be using or seeing a lot of miliants, but they are like if guard had a better save and were really stabby.

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. Reap is situational and dependent on enemy models being close to each other, but if you can multi charge this model rewards you for it, as Absolution Through Destruction means that for 1AP you get two Fight actions together. This means you can, with reasonable dice, chainsaw your way through a couple of guard equivalents in your activation, or chop up a marine equivalent. To make your first Fight action even more likely to succeed, Zealous Rage means that in your first Fight action of the turn you can reroll any or all of your dice, to get as many hits and crits as possible.

A good model to take and unlike the Penitent fire team in the Compendium, it isn’t tactically limiting like having half your kill team with no guns is.

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.

This means the logical thing to do is sit this model on an objective ASAP, performing mission actions/plinking away with her autopistol, and generating three Faith points a turn.

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 (that isn’t the Superior as she won’t be taking any of that nonsense) +1 to it’s APL. If the model in question is the Penitent, add an extra two inches to her movement. This means that a Penitent can be whipped and charge ten inches, which gives more flexibility for getting in a multicharge, and leaves her an action point to fire her pistol or perform a mission action if all the charge targets end up dead.

As the comms equivalent it’s a useful model, especially paired with the Penitent to send her 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 six inches 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.

The model just has an autopistol, but it’s got a solid ability and unique action.

Novitiate Hospitaller

The kill team medic, this model comes with an autopistol and surgical saw. The surgical saw is four dice, 4+, 2/3, Lethal 5+, so it’s not a terrible close combat weapon. 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. Both models lose an APL for the turn. They can also heal friendly operatives for 2D3 wounds with their Chirurgeon’s Tools, but a model that was saved by Mantra of Restoration cannot be healed by Chirugeons Tools in the same turn (so just use the Blessed Rejuvenation Act of Faith instead).

Medics are always a solid include for the kill team, and being able to save models and/or heal them is really useful, especially in a kill team where you have an Act of Faith that also lets you heal them.

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.

The Preceptor provides two buffs to friendly models, one an ability and one a unique action.

Unflinching determination means Novitiate models within three inches and visible can reroll a defence dice when they get shot at.

Glorious Hymnal costs an AP, but gives a six inch bubble around the Preceptor where Novitiates can reroll 1s and 2s when they fight. This makes hitting with weapons like eviscerators much more likely, and means Militants with Novitiate Blades can reroll all their misses unless they’re injured and miss on 3s, in which case they still have Balance and can reroll a single dice.

Novitiate Dialogus

Another model with Comms style unique action abilities, with a better range than the Exactor. Armed with an autopistol and Dialogus Stave (3 dice, 4+, 3/3), for one AP she can increase the APL of a visible model within six inches by one. The Dialogus also has a debuff ability in the Auto Broadcaster. The Auto Broadcaster action places a token within ⭓, and any enemy model within two inches of the centre of this token worsens it’s ballistic skill by one. This is most obviously useful for debuffing an enemy fire base and making fire less accurate. It also stacks with Injured status unlike the Death Guard ploy Contagion.

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. When you bear in mind the weapon is lethal 5+ and you can use Faith Points to convert a success to a crit, then you can use the melee resolution to stab your opponent to death while still parrying their attacks. You are still only a seven wound model but you’ll punch above your weight due to this ability. I think this is an auto include.

Novitiate Condemnor

The witch hunter operative, this operative is a definite yes when facing psykers or 3APL models. This operative is armed with a Condemnor stakethrower and a Null Rod. The stakethrower is 4 dice, 3+, 2/3, Silent, P!, MW2, so you can fire it across the board while on a conceal order, any criticals reduce defence dice by 1 and it actually works as a decent sniper rifle. The Null Rod is basically a big stick with 3 dice, 3+, 3/3 and Stun, so it’s better than butts but not stellar. The real gold on this operative is in her ability, Null Rod. This piece of wargear means that if an enemy operative is activated within six inches, its APL characteristic cannot be higher than 2, and each time an enemy operative within six inches performs a psychic action, the AP cost of that action is increased by 1. Think what that does to Grey Knights and Thousand Sons sorcerors. You also need to remember that the Condemnor does not have to be visible for this effect to take place, it effects models through walls. The Condemnor also has a Silent weapon and can spend the entire game using the Conceal order.

This means this model is an auto pick when facing a Grey Knights or Thousand Sons, or even when facing marines or Harlequins given the APL reduction effect. Even facing a 2APL team it’s got a silent sniping crossbow, and that’s really cool.

Novitiate Purgatus

It’s a trainee 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 I would advise you do. These are great for clearing out hordes, have a fifteen inch threat bubble built into them, and can chip away at tougher enemies as well, and there is a tactical ploy to make them even better.

Credit Warhammer Community – my preferred Militant build.

Acts of Faith

Acts of Faith work like CP, with their own little list of ploys that they can be spent on. You get three at the start of each turn, and can save them, but in a four turn game you get twelve points to spend. However there are ways to boost the number of faith points you have, through the Pronatus or the Glorious Martyrdom tactical ploy or some of the equipment choices.

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.

  • Faithful Blessing – For a single Faith point get a reroll when you fight in a combat or shoot. This can be used more than once in an activation, combined with another Act of Faith, and is likely to replace command rerolls for Novitiates.
  • Guiding Light – For 2 Faith points, when you fight in a combat or Shoot, retain a failed hit as a normal successful hit. This is great for ensuring you can overwhelm defence dice, and as written you could convert a 1 to hit for a plasma pistol into a success, making overloading a plasma pistol much safer. If you get a double 1, then for three Faith points you can change one to an automatic success and reroll the other using Faithful blessing.
  • Vengeful Strike – For 3 Faith points convert a normal hit to a critical hit when making a Shoot or Fight action. This is for when the additional damage will kill an enemy, or you need a critical effect to go off (like Inferno).
  • Divine Shield – When a shooting attack is made against a Novitiate, spend 2 points to automatically retain a defence dice as a normal success. Really useful but Armour of Contempt also has exactly the same effect unless the enemy has scored critical hits.
  • Armour of Contempt – When a shooting attack is made against a Novitiate, for 2 points convert a successful normal save to a critical successful save. This can potentially be incredibly useful as it would normally take two normal saves normally to cancel a critical, and this lets you upgrade one to a critical, thus leaving you with a normal save to cancel another hit.
  • Emperor’s Protection – When a friendly Novitiate suffers a mortal wound, spend a point to ignore a mortal wound.
  • Blessed Rejuvenation – For two points regain D3 lost wounds on a friendly Novitiate model. You can do this twice during an activation, potentially healing 2D3 (and this faction has a medic as well). This is great, and can be used to heal a model to lose penalties for being injured, and to make heal models your opponent has failed to kill.
  • Blinding Aura – For two faith points when an enemy model shoots, select a friendly model more that two inches from them. That operative is treated as being in cover. This is good for trying to save the bacon of a model in the open.

Faith points are a great source of additional plots for Novitiates, and can be used to swing critical combats or defence rolls to either win or keep your models alive.

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

If you take out two enemy models with a weapon with the Inferno special rule, score 1VP. If the enemy leader is taken out with a weapon with the Inferno special rule, score 1VP.

The flamers on the Purgatus and the Mace of the Righteous on the Perceptor are Inferno weapons, so there is a reasonable number of Inferno weapons available.

If you are facing a horde team or Guard equivalents, the first VP is easy to score. If you are fighting an elite team, don’t take this, as it’s too hard to score against marines or equivalents.

Reconsecrate Ground

Select an objective marker more than 6” from your drop zone. If you hold it at the end of a turn score 1VP, if you hold it at the end of the battle score 1VP.

RAW this means that as long as you hold it on the end of the last turn then you score 2VPs. It’s a hold objective tac op, but you get to pick which one.

Glory to the Martyrs

Reveal it when a friendly model is incapacitated within 2” of an objective marker, the next two times a friendly model is incapacitated within 2” of that objective marker, score a VP.

This tac op is based on three of your models dying trying to hold the same objective. Conceivably you could score this if someone takes out three of your models in a group with a blast weapon trying to hold an objective, revealing it after the first model is rolled for and removed, and then scoring VPs as the blast is resolved. I do feel that any Tac Op dependent on 30% of your team dying in a 2” bubble around a single objective is not a good one to take.

Playing with these Tac Ops

All the Recon Tac Ops are reasonable to achieve, and pair well with Purge with Flame and Reconsecrate Ground. As three of these objectives are mission actions then the Pronatus is a good pick as she can do them for free, then move onto an objective and raise her relic for three Faith Points.

For Security Tac Ops Seize Ground and Central Control pair well with Reconsecrate Ground depending on where the objectives are located. Protect Assets and Damage Limitation are going to be very hard to score, so replace it in the deck with Reconsecrate Ground and Purge with Flame. If you play aggressively then Hold the Line shouldn’t be too hard to score, though beware Kommando Grots. Plant Banner is tough because the model has to survive, plant the banner in the enemy dropzone and then the banner needs to be untouched till the end of the game.

The gang’s all here – credit Warhammer Community


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 do from decent to excellent.

Strategic Ploys

  • Eyes of the Emperor – 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. This is a really good ploy you will use a lot.
  • Sanctified Rounds – Add 1 to the damage of all autopistols and autoguns for the entire turn. This turns them into bolter equivalents. Combined with Eyes of the Emperor it makes autopistols pretty spicy.
  • Aegis of the Emperor – Any enemy operative performing a psychic action within six inches of a novitiate operative takes a mortal wound. Great for upsetting Grey Knight and Thousand Sons players. Combine with the Condemnor for maximum salt.
  • Defenders of the Faith – This is a 2CP ploy, and it’s obvious why. At the start of the firefight phase, one friendly model with an Engage order within two inches of the centre of each objective can perform a free Shoot or free Fight action. This means if you hold three objectives with models with Engage orders then you get a free Shoot or Fight with each. Absolutely great if you’ve got a Purgatus operative next to a bunch of enemies, because you could then spray them down with flames, and if you’ve got initiative immediately do it again. A lot of models can take 1 or 2 flamer hits, but not 3 or 4 without being injured or dying.

Tactical Ploys

  • Glorious Martyrdom – Use when a Novitiate model is incapacitated. Each enemy model within two inches and visible to the operate take a mortal wound and you gain D3 Faith points. This is great if you’ve got an enemy down to one wound in melee and you die, and you want to spite your opponent.
  • Burning Wrath – This upgrades a Purgatus’s flamer to 3/4 damage and Inferno 2 for the turn. If you can Torrent onto multiple enemies then the additional damage output is worth it, and you’re putting two Inferno counters on each target as well.
  • Righteous Condemnation – After rolling your dice for a Condemnor Shoot attack, you can spend a CP and reroll any or all of your attack dice. This is just a fancy reroll, and situationally useful to make sure you get your hits in.


Novitiates have some rather nice pieces of equipment, as well as the standard grenades. Most of it’s pretty expensive from an EP standpoint.

  • Icon of Faith (2 EP) – You can only have two of these, and can’t have them on the same operative. It let’s you do a free Act of Faith once per game for a princely 2EP. Depending on your other Faith point sources this ranges from useful to really useful.
  • Chaplet Ecclesiaticus (2 EP) – Each time the model is activated, roll a dice. On a 6 you get an additional +1 to your APL. This is 2EP, note that Bosspole for the Kommandos, which just gives you an extra APL on your Nob, is 3EP. I don’t think this is worth it.
  • Adamantine-Weave Surplice (2 EP) – Get a 3+ save. Great for models that you know will get shot at and want to survive. Dialogus and Hospitaller for example.
  • Frag Grenade (2 EP) – Good if you’re facing a horde team with Gaunts or guard equivalents, but not great against anything like marines. Normal advice regarding Frag grenades applies, and they’re 2EP for Novitiates as they are for everyone else.
  • Krak Grenade (3 EP) – The grenade for cracking marines, but you’re paying 3EP per shot.
  • Auto-Chastiser (1 EP) – You can reroll any or all 1s when you shoot or fight, but if you roll a 1 for a second time you take a mortal wound. For 1EP this is a bargain, with a decent risk/reward. Use it on models where rerolls will pay off and they won’t have a source from somewhere else.
  • Sainted Reliquae (2 EP) – Each time the operative strikes with a critical hit, gain a Faith point. So put it on a model with either a lot of dice, or lethal 5+. The Duellist is a good choice.

The gangs all here – credit Warhammer Community

Building a Kill Team

You can fit every specialist and a selection of militants in a roster, and I’ve filled this roster to the full twenty models, though realistically you would use a handful of Militants at most.

The Roster

Operative Weapons
Novitiate Superior Plasma Pistol & Power Sword
Novitiate Penitent
Novitiate Pronatus
Novitiate Exactor
Novitiate Reliquarious
Novitiate Hospitaller
Novitiate Preceptor
Novitiate Dialogus
Novitiate Duellist
Novitiate Condemnor
Novitiate Purgatus
Novitiate Purgatus
Novitiate Militant Autopistol & Novitiate Blade
Novitiate Militant Autopistol & Novitiate Blade
Novitiate Militant Autopistol & Novitiate Blade
Novitiate Militant Autopistol & Novitiate Blade
Novitiate Militant Autogun
Novitiate Militant Autogun
Novitiate Militant Autogun
Novitiate Militant Autogun

Example Kill Team

There is so much variety in the team I had problems choosing, but this is the selection I’d take against Tau or similar guard equivalents.

Novitiate Superior – Plasma pistol and power weapon

Novitiate Condemnor

2 x Novitiate Purgatus

Novitiate Dialogus

Novitiate Pronatus

Novitiate Preceptor

Novitiate Penitent

Novitiate Duellist

Novitiate Hospitaller

As you can see Militants didn’t even get a look in, and we’ve got the Preceptor with reroll bubble to move forward with the Duellist and Penitent, supported by the Purgatus to soften up targets for once and done charges. Condemnor will hang out at the back, ideally on a vantage point and sniping. There’s a lot of serious melee threat and not much in the way of firepower, but it’s a reasonable selection.

Final Thoughts

As more White Dwarf teams and the Octarius and Chalnath boxes show, the new Kill Team is built around teams of roughly ten or eleven models, with 7/8 wounds and 4+ or 5+ armour saves. Power armour counts as two models, and full power armour Thousand Sons is six models in White Dwarf. The Novitiates fit into this meta with a lack of special weapons but a lot of abilities to make up for it. In the Chalnath box they are a largely melee team vs a shooting team in the Tau, and this is pretty much their ideal match up, facing an enemy that while good at shooting, is only 2/3 damage hitting on 5+ in melee, so Novitiates will likely beat any Tau they charge to death. Against Chaos Marines, or Custodes, or Assault Intercessors they’ll likely get killed by return strikes, and being able to wear a model down with charges from a couple of models or a good bit of softening ahead of time becomes important.

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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