Thursday, 31 July 2008

First 5th Ed Sisters of Battle Experiences

I've now played five games using my Sisters in 5th Edition (Apocolypse aside as thats a whole different kettle of fish!), to start with probably a good idea to share the list I'm using.


Canoness inc. Eviscerator, Jump Pack, Cloak of Saint Aspira, Book of St.Lucius, Bolt Pistol


Celestian Squad inc. Veteran Sister Superior, Book of St.Lucius, Power Weapon, 9 Battle Sisters, Flamer, Heavy Flamer
Rhino inc. Smoke Launchers, Extra Armour

Celestian Squad inc. Veteran Sister Superior, Book of St.Lucius, Power Weapon, 9 Battle Sisters, Flamer, Heavy Flamer
Rhino inc. Smoke Launchers, Extra Armour


Battle Sisters Squad inc. Veteran Sister Superior, Book of St.Lucius, 9 Battle Sisters, Meltagun, Heavy Flamer
Rhino inc. Smoke Launchers, Extra Armour

Battle Sisters Squad inc. Veteran Sister Superior, Book of St.Lucius, 9 Battle Sisters, Meltagun, Heavy Flamer
Rhino inc. Smoke Launchers, Extra Armour


Seraphim inc. Veteran Sister Superior with Eviscerator, Book of St.Lucius, 7 Sepahim, 2 Duel Hand Flamers





The first game I played was against a mixed Chaos list, with the Mission of Capture & Control in a Pitched Battle. My opponent abandoned his own objective in favour of stripping me of mine, which my entire army was deployed around leaving severak key units of his own army slogging it across the board to reach me, I pushed forward with only one unit of each of Battle Sisters and Celesitans, supported by the Seraphim and fire from the remainder of the army, these units formed a speed bump which both dispatched a fair number of his troops (a Defiler, Landraider, unit of Thousand Sons, Sorceror and most of a unit of Bezerkers) and held the rest up, in the end only Abaddon, supported by a second unit of Thousand Sons made it through to my second line and these were fairly promptly dealt with before they could cause much damage. The end result leaving me with one objective him with none, luck seemed about average here, and I did'nt feel I needed to push for two objectives when he abandoned his (questionably in my mind).

The next game was against Daemons, this was another Capture & Control this time using Dawn of War. I initially brought only a few units on in my first turn with nothing actually starting on the board (being given first turn against daemons leaves very little to do all in all), for my second turn I was facing a large unit of 20 Daemonettes just over a hill, the Masque (who I was able to deploy right in front of a unit of Sisters thanks to a misroll on the deep strike), and some Bloodletters and Fleshounds beyond some woods on an objective, lacking other targets the Masque was quickly despatched with the rest of my army showing up. Next turn it got dicey with a Soulgrinder, a second unit of 20 Daemonettes, and a third of 10. The Soulgrinder made its presense felt as one of my units ran off the table after taking casualties to it's shooting. I was then able to counter taking out the newly arrived Daemonettes almostly entirely with the remaining two squads in my center before engaging them in combat with the Sepharim to deny them the charge (the third squad was moving up one flank to the far objective), the Exorcists effectively meanwhile neutered the Soulgrinder knocking off its main gun and immobilising it. This gave me a breathing space, however in the following turns I lost one of my vital regular Sister Squads to the remaining big unit of Daemonettes, while the Sepharim dealt with the remains of the other only to be jumped by the Fleshhounds, failing another unmodified leadership test after losing the combat by one they were cut down, the situation deteriorated and I was left with just my vehicles in that area trying to knock out the remanents of his Daemonettes to deny him the objective, I just could'nt clear them in time though. Things did look better on the other objective at first, the Sister Squad destroying the Bloodletters easily enough and grabbing the objective, however the pesky Fleshounds were quickly on top of them, and I found myself rolling horribly in combat even with the benefit of faith and then failing more unmodified leadership tests, not once, but twice before being cut down. Initially my gut reaction was too few troops, but on reflection it came down to me repeatedly failing vital leadership roles, while certainly you can't count on always passing them, I failed all but a couple during the course of the game which is far below what you'd expect for leadership 9, passing a even a few of those I feel would have at least given me a fighting chance to force a draw.

Next up were Tyranids with yet another Capture & Control this time with another Pitched Battle. I started with only the Exorcists on the table with the intention of targetting the big beasties systematicly before my squads (hopefully) arrived and could be deployed where they could deal out their short ranged firepower. This they achieved on turn one dispatching the Flying Hive Tyrant which pushed up one flank, however I misjudged the distance and lost one vehicle too Ravernor's on turn two, the remaining vehicle risked the charge of a Carnifex instead taking out a Zoanthrope and so forcing a big unit of hormgaunts to lurk while a Squad of Sisters cut down the Ravernor's and another unit pushed forward on the now empty right flank to the Tyranid held objective. The Exocist survived the Carnifex's assault though it lost its weaponry, and the Sepharim responded killing it off while a Celestian Squad tackled a unit of Genestealers before recieving a charge from the Hormagaunts, they held and were reinforced by the Sepharim and eventually a Sister Squad against the Hormagaunts who were reinforced in turn by a small unit of Warriors, the remaining Celestian Squad arriving and finishing off the Genestealers who failed to make assault after some dismal difficut terrain and fleet rolls - a Broodlord turned up on the empty flank meanwhile leaving it with nothing to do. However I was unable to progress the normal Sister Squad to my objective in time, and the other squad failed to clear out a big brood of spinegaunts who went to ground from the Tyranids objective losing me the game despite almost entirely wiping out the rest of the army. Again gut reaction was my lack of scoring units, however while it's true having more would have been useful here simply using the two I had could have solved me the problem - the normal sisters squad should have gone on nearer the objective, swapping entry locations with the second unit of Celestians, possibly also the Battle Sisters which went after their objective should have been a unit of Celestians instead giving me a second unit to potentially hold mine instead focusing on denying the tyranids their own. Definately my tactics and choices of unit use was a major issue.

The forth game was a rematch against the Daemons, Capture & Control yet again, this time Spearhead. The game started dismally with the Soulgrinder repeating its earlier performance and chasing off one of the vital Sisters of Battle Squads in turn one (partly my own fault as I should'nt have placed them so near the board edge when it was'nt needed). However there in things went much better, the big daemonette units arrived one on turn one, one one turn two and were cut down by massed bolters and flamers from a firebase of sisters around my objective, I used the Rhinos to delay the Fleshhounds and ultimately the Bloodletters with Skulltaker. The Sepharim meanwhile paid the price of my failiure to dent the Soulgrinder and the Canoness then failed her Spirit of the Martyr test on entering combat with it, which was messy. However, the remaining Sister unit hunkered down on my objective while one Celestian unit went to delay the Bloodletters and Fleshhounders, the former they took out bar Skulltaker though he was held up enough to have no further part in the game (bar eventually succumbing to bolter fire) and the later cutting down when the weakend unit charged them. The second Celestian unit aboard a Rhino powered towards the Daemon Objective which was guarded by 10 Daemonettes, braving an assault by the Soulgrinder, it however failed to hit the fast moving Rhino and did'nt get a second chance thanks to the Exorcists finally finding their mark and wrecking it. The Celestians made it too the objective killing the majority of the Daemonettes, the game went on to turn six leaving the daemonettes no choice but to charge them or take another round of shooting which in either case left him without control of the objective. Aggressive use of Celestians to clear objectives while holding my own seems to be a viable style for these games, though normal Sisters of course offer the actual chance to not only contest but to take would in some ways be preferable the Celestians thanks to being a Faithful unit as a whole and with the 3+ to hit in combat are definately a nasty unit, this in mind for these types of missions, and given I'm yet to try Seize Ground may leave me switching one unit to normal Sisters, possibly investing the spare points in a Canoness or Palladin to lead the remaining Celestian unit.

The fifth game was against Imperial Guard, all Infantry with Carapace in a Dawn of War Anniliation mission. This is really not a fun combination for Guard, though that said it's not ideal for Mech Sisters either with their lightly armoured rhino's providing easy targets. I started with a Sister unit and the Canoness who pushed forward to engage a Guard Squad, while Sepharim Deep Struck on another, both mauled but did'nt quite destroy their targets, the Canoness was left exposed and survived thw attention of a Squad of Hardened Veterans by the skin of her teeth after failing her Spirit of the Martyr roll and being subjected to 3 Plasma Guns, though she did have cover, the rest of the army rolled on. The Sepharim eventually succumbed to shere weight of numbers, as did the Battle Sister Squad when it took a charge from a fully tooled Combat Command HQ, however the reinforcing squads slowly chewed up the Guard units though taking heavy casulaties in the process. The Canoness after cutting down the Hardened Veterans was jumped by a Command Squad with 4 Meltaguns (and again failed her Spirit roll - 3 attempts in two games, 3 fails, bad day to be a Canoness), she did'nt have cover this time. The Exorcists meanwhile which had been picking on Heavy Weapons Squads were jumped by a unit of Deep Striking Storm Troopers, favouring finishing off the Heavy Weapons Squads which posed a threat to my Infantry I sacrificed them to keep shooting at these targets instead. In the end I took 13 Kill Points and lost 5 (2 units of Battle Sisters, 1 Exocist, the Sepharim and Canoness). I do think I used my units fairly well here, the Sepharim proved enough of a distraction to tie up several squads as did the forward deployed Sister unit though the Canonesses early death was unfortunate, however all three gave me the chance to get the rest of my army into position across a very open table with no more then a failed difficult terrain test for one Rhino to slow them down. I could perhaps have gone for a more focused assault grouping my units together for mutual support in this mission (rather then being spread across his battleline), however while this may have reduced my casulaties it would also have probably reduced the number down I caused.

Anyway thats about it, all in all I dont think the Mech Sisters have benefitted much from the 5th Ed changes, while their transports are more resiliant to damage as are all vehicles they are also more vulnable given area terrain often no longer blocks LoS outright, and mobility is generally something the army relies on - though that said if their transports are stopped run means they can potentially still keep up at least. Also of course the wound allocation means that as with everyone else Specialists are more vulnable, this is espeically tricky in the case of normal Sisters of Battle losing their Faithful Veteran Sister Superior given Faith really can be a game winner sometimes it does make Celestians being a Faithful unit all the more appealing. But then there is the scoring unit issue, two scoring units, even when wearing power armour and mechanised are difficult to work with, I think I'm going to need a third.

Christ, thats alot of text! Opps!


Tim said...

Best of three then! It's so on!

RonSaikowski said...

Nice write up.
Thanks for the insight.

It's nice to read about someone's experience and their insight as to why their army did what it did and not just an army list with unit stats and some mathhammer results.

It looks like I'm not the only one who is trying to find that balance between controlling and contesting units and how to use each to the best to accomplish the game objectives.

I like photos if you have them but your game insight is much appreciated.

Green Shoes said...

Sounds like you did really well in all your games, but I did notice you kept going back to the "not enough troops" point. I don't know how much you really like your Celestians, or how much they are worth to you, but I honestly don't think they are worth it. If I were you I would replace them with regular Sisters and put the saved points (around 40 or so, right?) into the Seraphim Squad. I have seen what a large squad of faithful Seraphim can do, and they are one of those things that only get better in numbers.

In the end its up to you whether you keep the Celestians, but I can't really see them adding much to the army, especially when the only difference between them and Sisters is an improved CC ability.

Col.Gravis said...

You bet tim (Daemon player ;) )

@RonSaikowski, thankyou, I've not really done a writeup like that before, which probably shows a bit, I might make it a semi regular thing to start doing so though and I will try and add pictures in the future.

Definately finding the balance has become quite an important feature of lists with 5th, it's gonna be interesting experimenting a bit.

@Green Shoes, 33% loss rate I guess, but I'm happy enough with that though knowing this is the start of the run up to this years UK GT Heat 2 I know it's gonna be important to try an improve on that.

I have to say I really do like the Celesitans, the hit on 3+ has been very useful so far (as is their status as a Faithful unit as the Sepharim) as I've tended to find unless you can isolate and focus the sisters short range firepower in a single turn on only a few units theres normally some form of counter assault where that bonus really seems to pay off. That said I am as I've mentioned quite tempted to drop one unit in favour of more Sisters using the points to upgrade the remaining squad to something quite capable of holding their own even more so in assault.

While Sepharim are again an excellent unit, I am a little cautious of upgrading them further as they're already expensive, also while the Canoness is with them which she often is thats already 9 models for Spirit of the Martyr tests thats okay with 3D6 with the Sister Superior bonus, but if I was too boost them upto full strength it would then be 11 on 3D6, not so easy.

And I have to say so far one of the most useful ways I've employed them is too tie up an assault unit in my turn, Spirit them so as too minimise caualties and then break out in their turn allowing me to shoot em up (having protected my firepower squads).

I'll certainly keep your thoughts in mind though, at this stage I'm not ruling anything out with three months to go plenty of time for revisions.

Lord General Gordon said...

Hi Colonel !

im impressed that you are working on sisters of battle again.

Very wonderfull works !!!

AND: I`ve seen Colonel Auckland on the "Bells of lost" sourcebook ;-)

Are there pretty soldiers of the 4th Regiment of Foot ??? ;-) *gg*

Many greetings from the guys of 20th praetorian !!

Col.Gravis said...

Thankyou Lord General Gordon, look forward to seeing more progress on the 20th's Blog! :)