A Look at the Adepta Sororitas at the Las Vegas Open
Just having returned from Vegas and the most fun I have had at a Warhammer 40k tournament. I was asked to write up my thoughts on how the new Adepta Sororitas fair in a competitive environment.
I have played Sisters of Battle since they were in the Witch Hunters Codex, I weathered the White Dwarf Sisters of Battle Codex, and under their latest name I ended with a 3-2-0 record. While it left me well short of the finals, it did land me the award for best of Adepta Sororitas. It was a fierce contest between myself and 3 other players. So me let give a quick review of the games.
Game 1 – vs Dark Eldar/Eldar – Victory
Going up against this list I was initially a little worried to the shear mount of units my opponent was placing on the field. Adding to this it was Night Fighting was in effect turn 1, and he won the roll off and went first. However salvation came when both of his Ravagers failed to destroy or incapacitate their intended targets, my Exorcists. I took full advantage of this by illuminating them both with Rhinos and destroying them with return fire. Once they were dealt with my primary concern was the beast packs, which were gobbling up a troop unit by turn 2, and the Baron. I made an effort to confront both problems as any loyal servant of the Emperor would, with massed botler fire. In the end even the Baron's 2+ Fortuned save could not prevail. While the Saint burned away the troops holding his Emperor's Will objective, I have to say the MVP for the match was a trusty Rhino who tank shocked, and broke, the Jet Bike Guardians which had turbo-boosted to contest my objective on the last turn.
Game 2 – vs Adepta Sororitas/Inquisition - Loss
This game was a real treat for me, as it is rare enough to see another Sisters of Battle player at a large tournament, and this was the first time I was able to play against one. His list was also much different from mine, allowing me to see some other ideas in action. Again it was night fighting and first turn went to my opponent. He took quick advantage of it buy casting Perfect Timing on his Retributors, using their Act of Faith to give them Rending, and destroying my Retributors. Things looked a little worse after the Melta-Pistols of my Seraphim only scored on hit on his Land Raider and failed to penetrate its armor. Leaving the squad to take the charge from his Death Cult and Crusader Squad. The real nail in the coffin was his Psychotroke wielding Inquisitor. The result of which was reducing my leadership to 2 for the combat, and meant when my Saint went down in the combat she did not get back up. Lesson learned. By the end of it I had killed off his Saint and the rest his assault squad, but his troops were largely unscathed and victory belonged to him.
Game 3 – Eldar – Loss
This game was interesting because neither of us liked felt like we had an upper hand until the very end. My opponent was running two Wraith Knights backed by four Wave Serpents, Night Fighting was in effect and he had first turn. Though I concentrated my firepower on the leading Wraith Knight it was not until turn 3 it finally went down. Any other game I would have tried to ignore them as much as possible, but since this was a game of Big Guns it meant they could easily smash away my defenders and claim the objectives, which is what his surviving Wraith Knight quickly did. Several failed attempts to destroy his Wave Serpents with Krak Grenades in assault did nothing to improve my position and by the end I was nearly tabled.
Game 4 – Dark Angels/Space Wolves – Victory
This was a match up I thought I could excel against. My opponent was running two dangerous assault squads, but they were small and made up a majority of the list. My immediate thoughts were to prevent them from hiding in combat and concentrate my firepower. In following with the theme, Night Fight was in effect and he had first turn. His drop pod game down, and Logen Grimnar, a Wolf Priest, Arjac Rockfist, and 2 Wolf Guard hopped out in front of 2 of my Rhinos, while Sammael sped across the field to get within charge range. I caught a bit of a break when Arjac only caused a glancing hit to my Rhino, leaving me the chance to take First Blood by wrecking his Landspeeder. The Space Wolves faced the brunt of over half my armies firepower and as the smoke cleared only Arjac remained. I decided to assault his black knights with the Saint and Seraphim to tie them in close combat, forgetting they had Hit and Run. The roll came up a 6, the assault would continue into his turn, leaving it open for my squad to Hit and Run and the Knights open to heavy fire. By the start of turn 3 he conceded the victory.
Game 5 – Space Marines – Victory
This was another game I was concerned with from the point my opponent began to set up his army due to the shear number of bikers I would need to deal with. Night Fighting was again in effect, but this time I won the roll off and decided to go second so I could set my units up to take advantage of his advance. I engaged his Command squad as quickly as possible to prevent it from charging into my troops. This was the closest fought of all the games, with the final victory coming down to my two surviving Retributors and Canoness abandoning the quad gun to claim a Big Guns objective, a full squad of sisters managing to take away his Chapter Masters last wound, and the Saint managing to Hit and Run 12 inches to contest one of the objectives he held and ending her within his deployment zone. By the end only five or six units remained between us, but the primary objective plus 2 battle points were secured in my favor.
Thoughts on the list
Canoness: Storm Bolter, Book of St. Lucius, Mantle of Ophelia: 100 points
I am unsure how I feel about the effectiveness of this unit. I primarily used her as the gunner for my Aegis quad gun do to her BS 5, so she is not wildly devastating, and her roll is somewhat limited. On the other hand the Mantle of Ophelia allows her to re-roll armor and invulnerable saves plus she is behind the Aegis wall for a nice cover save. Plus, using her as my warlord, and keeping her out of the action denied that point to several of my opponents.
Saint Celestine: 135 points
The Saint is still a beast and much more effective than her White Dwarf predecessor. Although she has a harder time against Monstrous Creatures with T 6 or higher, she is far deadlier to everything else, plus she now has Hit & Run and her resurrection ability is much more reliable. Additionally, not using her as my warlord she drew far less fire in the first few turns, leaving her to get into the assault.
4x 10 Battle Sisters: Veteran Sister Superior, Meltagun, Heavy Flamer, in Rhino: 190 points each
I have been running these 4 squads since the White Dwarf Codex, and I still think they are great. The tactical flexibility, mobility, and size of these squads make them the best Swiss army knife the Adepta Sororitas have. The Rhinos get MVP for the tournament thanks to coming with Searchlights as standard equip and several critical Tank Shocks.
5 Battle Sisters: Veteran Sister Superior, Meltagun, Heavy Flamer, in Immolator w/Twin Linked Multi-Melta: 150 points
This is a recent addition thanks to the change in the minimum squad size. It proved to be a nice addition as it gave me another scoring unit with a decent set of tools, and it allows me to utilize the transport capacity of my Immolator.
5 Retributors: 4 Heavy Bolters; 100 points
This squad drew an amazing amount of fire do to being attached to my warlord, and being worth a victory point in several of the games I played. However in the few turns they were able to get a full squad's worth of shooting off the results were worth it. Plus, their Act of Faith allows the quad gun to gain rending as well, which is a delightful thing.
2x Exorcist: 125 points each
I run these in large part due to my love of the model. Their effectiveness is nearly as random as the D6 shots they get. This tournament they preformed admirably and in only one game were both destroyed. One thing I can always count on with these units is a lot of attention from heavy weapons and keeping them behind the Aegis or obscured is a must.
7 Seraphim: Seraphim Superior, Two Hand Flamers, Two Inferno Pistols: 145 points
This squad is generally just a shield for Saint Celestine and mobile melta delivery. In those respects they suited their purpose. The Two Hand Flamers were also useful in a few cases. Additionally since I was not running the Saint as my Warlord it meant this squad drew less fire in the first turn.
Aegis Defense Line: Quad gun: 100 points
I initially began taking this to deal with flyers, but it also gives the army some extra and much needed long range anti-light vehicle shooting. In the one game I went up against a flyer I did not fire a single shot against it and instead used the quad gun to take out Venoms.
Often I have heard how the Sisters of Battle are the worst army. I just like to think of them as the underdog, and just like the Saint do not count them out just because they are down. The current Codex may not be what I would like, but the point reductions to many of the units and a few critical piece of wargear mean it is even mass fire on a pesky enemy unit. As for changes to my list, I am currently trying to figure out what to change to put in an Avenger Strike Fighter to give myself some air support. And because the model is awesome.
Adam - I should point out that Obi placed 44th in the tournament, so those crumby sisters made the top 25%, not bad at all!