Sisters of Battle: the graceful transition from 7th to 8th Edition

Guest writer Nell brings us her thoughts on playing Sisters in 8th ed. from 7th. As always, be sure to check the Tactics Corner for more great articles!

I ran pure mechanized melta in 7th edition. My tournament list included 5 Repressors and 3 Exorcists, and a grand total of 17 melta guns and 4 combi-melta, plus 3D6 of the 48” missile equivalent of melta shots from the Exorcists.

It’s a combination that was frustrating for lots of armies: half of the melta shots ignored cover saves once a game (I see you there, 2+ jink). The Exorcists usually castled up on top of a skyshield with the Canoness Verydian for precision shots (I see you there, death star apothecary). Armor 13 on the vehicle fronts was essentially inaccessible to some army’s shooting attacks.

My biggest frustration, however, was range. The 7th edition Repressor could only move 6” and still shoot, woefully inadequate when paired with the 12” melta range and only exacerbated by particular deployment types. I thought of my army as a “turn 3 late bloomer”, which was approximately how long it would take me to get to the meat of the table to inflict some real damage. Unfortunately, I often didn’t last that long. Once a tank popped, the sisters inside were rarely able to hold their own.

Fast forward to 8th edition. Sisters of Battle are still a fleshy T3, and gun range is still an issue, but neither of these is debilitating because sisters have become a hyper-mobile force. My 8th edition lists still feature many of the same units as my 7th edition list, but I’m not waiting until turn 3 to inflict damage. Dare I say it…sisters can even alpha strike!

8th edition has breathed new life into the stale sisters strategy, and I’ve found several units to be absolute powerhouses in terms of efficiency and resiliency.

In terms of designing an all-comers list, I like to choose units that can each focus on commanding the backfield, midfield, and frontline. The units in the backfield hold objectives and prevent enemy deep strikes, the units in the midfield are in charge of pushing your board control forward or tightening up a flank, and the units at the front line are used to break up your enemy’s backfield and expose fragile characters or objectives.

Sisters of Battle in 8th edition have units that fill each of these niches.

What does that look like in my list? For the backfield, I include two exorcists that I generally park on or near objectives. While the Exorcists aren’t the best unit available (I’d even venture to say that they are over-costed at 160pts), toughness 8 with 12 wounds and an invulnerable save is more resilient than you might think. When paired with a bare bones Canoness (45 pts) for the ability to re-roll hits of one, you can mitigate the exorcists’ often temperamental damage output.

For midfield, I run two Dominion squads equipped with melta in Repressors. First turn they can move 12” (scout) + 12” (movement) + D6” (advance) and still shoot their five 12” range melta guns (of course, at -1BS and foregoing the vehicle’s shooting attacks). They are an incredibly mobile unit and bring a ton of flexibility to deployment. Their scout move is done *after* the roll to seize, allowing you to move forward toward assault or to move backward out of line-of-sight accordingly.

For frontline assault (offensive midfield? Wish I knew moar sportsball), I pair Celestine and her Geminae with a large Seraphim squad, armed with inferno pistols. These two units are the most frequent recipients of the holy “Acts of Faith”. I will usually hide these units in cover first turn to weather the onslaught of enemy fire, and then use both acts of faith to award an extra movement phase to each squad. That means Celestine and the melta-armed Seraphim bubble-wrapping her can both move 24” first turn, and still shoot and assault as normal.

With your backfield, midfield, and offensive front sketched out, the rest of your list can be filled in to suit your play style. That could mean adding in lots of troop units for objective secured access and alllll the command points, or adding in some units to deal with hordes/blobs.

If you’re looking for the latter, the Penitent Engines are a great option — the double heavy flamers are consistently useful, and the potential of 8 attacks at S10 AP-2 2D plus re-rolling all failed to-hit rolls with zealot is gnarly for a mere 135pts. Their biggest weakness is that they are slow (7”) and fleshy, at T6 and 7 wounds and only a 4+ armour save; prisoners ain’t special enough to get #blessed with the shield-of-faith invulnerable save. #notblessed.

While not Sisters of Battle, the Vulture Gunship is another one of my favorite and consistently useful units that has a ton of synergy with the Sisters army. If you outfit it with the twin punisher gatling cannon it’s exactly the same cost as an exorcist (160pts), and you get a horde-crushing 40 shots at S5 that ignore the movement penalty if targeting ground units (strafing run).

…and there you have it, the skeleton of a well-rounded 8th edition Sisters of Battle list! I’ve found Sisters to be a versatile, strong force thus far and I can’t wait to see what their new codex will bring.

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!

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About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

16 Responses to “Sisters of Battle: the graceful transition from 7th to 8th Edition”

  1. loofa September 7, 2017 6:06 am #

    Thanks for the write-up! Out of curiosity, do you recommend 1or 2 heavy flamers on a repressor?

    • pretre September 7, 2017 7:53 am #

      Double storm bolter on the repressors, if you have the points.

    • Nell September 7, 2017 8:39 am #

      I’m partial to the double storm bolters, they are cheap and bring the dakka!

  2. Darren September 7, 2017 8:23 am #

    what about a meta where Forgeworld is not allowed? I just have mine in flamer immolators, and i fill gaps with imperial guard currently

    • Nell September 7, 2017 8:44 am #

      That’s tricky! Might opt for a different strategy entirely then…melta is expensive and the dominions die quickly outside a vehicle. Perhaps focus on long range backfield and then use a bunch of seraphim drops to get at the front line, with a few immolaters for midfield coverage!

      • Reecius
        Reecius September 7, 2017 9:41 am #

        I think you can get it done with Immolators alone, honestly. It’s just that the Repressor is so crazy good.

      • Anon September 7, 2017 6:55 pm #

        Nah, immospam all the way. The girls inside don’t need to survive long. You either hop them out to toast something expensive or wait for the immo to die and double shoot something.

        Sisters are in your face AF, their long range is actually pretty poor compared to most armies.

        Using more than 2 units of Seraphim is bad too, they just don’t do enough outside the 2 melta girls.

        I run 6 units of domis with 5 immolators and 1 repressor and am never disappointed in their performance.

  3. TheFinisher4Ever September 7, 2017 8:38 am #

    The list in this article is so similar to my list it’s scary. To fill out the list, I run 3 BSS in Immolators for the ObSec and flamers, 1 addition Cannoness for upfield support, and 1 unit of HB retributers to hand out in cover with the exorcists. I also grab a Hospitaller and a Simulacrum to support the backfield firebase.

    • Nell September 7, 2017 8:49 am #

      Great minds think alike:) I do like the immolater a lot, the assault flamer is awesome! How has the hospitaller been treating you?

      • TheFinisher4Ever September 7, 2017 6:51 pm #

        Shes great for her price. Between the her and the act of faith, you can potentially get 2 heavy Bolters back per turn. She also can provide a tiny bit of melee support to the backfield Cannoness if push comes to shove.

  4. Dunmer September 7, 2017 1:33 pm #

    Just a quick question, does saint Celestines ability to grant +1 to invulnerable saves to sisters also count to herself as it’s an aura ability and she has the key words along with her bodyguards. So she is within her aura, right?

    • Shas'O September 7, 2017 1:43 pm #

      Her aura only boosts shield of faith invuls, so it wouldn’t work on herself.

    • Threllen September 7, 2017 2:00 pm #

      This is addressed in the BRB. As long as the unit who gives the aura has the same keywords themselves, they will also benefit.

    • Ironheaded September 7, 2017 2:08 pm #

      No, Celestine nor Geminae get the +1 to their best Invul Save. Their 4++ does not come from their Shield of Faith rule, but from Armor of Saint Katherine and thus her own Aura doesn’t help. They do have Shield of Faith, so the aura improves that from 6++ to 5++, behind the St. Kate 4++

  5. Andy Sabola September 8, 2017 6:17 am #

    Do the Dominion/Repressor units hold up at higher points values? Thinking of taking a Sisters Outrider detachment in a 2000 point army for basically the exact units described (Celestine, Max Seraphim with Inferno Pistols, 2 mechanized Melta Dominion squads).

    • Eleanor Byler September 8, 2017 3:56 pm #

      I’d say so! I make use of 2 repressors in my 2k list. At the NOVA open GT three out of the four people fielding SoB armies included 2 or more repressors in their tournament list!

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