So as I assume many of you, might have sent some feedback to GW. so did I, here is the... essay that I made.
I originally thought to make a simple post, but then decided that I have nothing to lose by taking some care and making a good effort for my favorite army.
Not that I have any assumption that they even bother to read it. I most likely wouldn't. But at least I can claim I did send them feedback.
Adepta Sororitas / Adeptus Ministorum Chapter Approved 2018 Beta Codex Feedback
Writer: Ice Warrior
1.Summary or TL; DR
Summary in the case that this wall of text is too intimidating to read through.
- Shield of Faith are ok, but the deny the witch needs to be relevant without the addition of brazier. Bare minimum of deny the witch on 2d6 and only 12+ will deny. There should be possibility to succeed at least once in a life time.
- Canoness needs her jetpack and Eviscerator back, and in addition more HQ choices are needed.
- Generally, the entire codex just needs at least 3-5 more units, one being HQ and one being a troop choice.
- Customizable living saints and Celestine moved to her order.
- Make Celestian’s to have something unique for being the best of the best… In the richest faction
- Rethink how basic sisters of battle price pointwise compares to other factions. Aka Hellblasters, Tempestus Scions with plasma guns etc.
The most Important thing is the Acts of faith, so here is my opinion how to fix it. This is a direct quote from Acts of Faith section.
- “It must be mentioned, that the method of counting Acts of faith is silly, it adds yet another slowing element to the game, when counting models and another event of book keeping when keeping track of the remaining faith points. Furthermore, the distribution of the Faiths to different phases, makes remembering these acts a nuisance. I believe a simpler way of using Acts should be made.
There are forums full of good ideas but here is my idea, this is not necessarily any better than the current one, as I have not tested these in action.
- Amount of faith Acts would be in direct correlation with the amount of CP gained for Adepta Sororitas Detachments. For Example, one brigade of sisters would get 5 Acts of faith. These 5 points would be automatically given at the start of each battle round. These acts would be given to different units at the movement phase. Each Act of faith increasing one of the unit’s statistics or weapon statistics of the unit. So, selection between: movement, WS, BS, S, T, W, A, LD, save or weapon wielded. Different statistics would cost different number of Acts, to “activate”. For example, increasing BS from 3+ to 2+ would cost 3 of these Acts of Faith points. Whereas increasing Leadership by 1 would be worth of 1 Act of faith.
The positive thing of this idea is that it is not random in its success and the player knows what to expect during his turn. Furthermore, it would push the idea of having sisters only army instead of just a Supreme Command Detachment, which is the reason why I think Faith currently is in correlation with number of models the army wields. Here the Order Convictions, could be interesting as they directly affect the prices of the Acts for the specific stat line. So, for Order of the Bloody Rose, the addition of +1 attack would cost only 1 faith instead of the normal 2 faith points. Furthermore, there could be stratagems that allow lower prices, or combination of Acts of faiths for a single unit. And even more, the relics and warlord traits could allow generation of additional faith, same with martyrdom stratagem.
I believe this could fix most of the problems plaguing the current Faith system.”
I am an avid Sisters of Battle player since the addition of the Witch Hunters Codex. In the past 2 years have I had the chance to expand the army to the level to be able to play them as the major part of the army, instead of being just a small detachment. I play matched games exclusively, so this review will only consider matched play features and rules. Thus, Stratagems, units or other features that are intended for narrative play might get hard critique, since there is no clear distinction between the two. I am by no means an amazing player, but I tend to end up in the top 5 in local tournaments and I would assume I could end in the top 20-30 in larger tournaments.
I have played 12 games since the launch of the beta codex. Resulting in total of 11 wins and one draw. 6 of these games were close, where the winner was decided by individual dice rolls. Total of 7 games were played against tournament lists, but all the games had a clear competitive element.
The following feedback is divided in opinions of the General aspects of the codex: Lore, Acts of Faith, Detachment, Stratagems, Warlord traits and Relics and finally order convictions and allied synergies. Then some feedback on most of the units coupled with ideas for new units for the Adepta Sororitas Codex.
Following opinions and suggestions are personal opinions and as such should be read with a pinch of salt.
First off, it is amazing to see Sisters back, the long winter/wait is finally over. Even the index was fun, since we had the chance to field units according to the latest rulebook. Furthermore, faiths changed yet again, which for me is not a problem. Now we just need to wait patiently another year for plastic sisters. The two-decade long wait is soon to be over.
I would assume that the reason why Sororitas are played is the bad ass warrior nuns that are equipped with the best gear while being brainwashed since childhood. What bugs me about the entire concept, is the extremely small number of Adepta Sororitas members in the Warhammer 40k. The de facto richest faction on the entire galaxy has so sad number of troops to field. Especially since they are not allowed to spend their wealth to have aircrafts or space ships.
Second problem is the lack of sister only armament, Immolator and Exorcist being the only ones and even they based on the ever-popular rhino chassis. I think, in addition to the lovely Penitent Engine, which is not even Adepta Sororitas unit, the sisterhood requires plenty of new vehicles. Such as, anti-air, artillery and battle tanks etc. not to mention the addition of sister specific weapons.
3.2.Acts of Faith
Lore wise, Acts of Faith are already well done, but their implementation has been completely failed in this chapter approved. Proving to be anemic thing that works only once in a blue moon, which for some reason is affected by banners. Somehow making the sisters more faithful if they have a banner bearer nearby?
I had Around 7-9 faith points per match, with the specific intent to spend them fast, so that no points were left at turns 4-5. Most of the devotion values were thrown against their original difficulty, besides a single game, where Ebon Chalice order made it a bit easier. Celestine whom needed the Acts of Faith the most couldn’t get any bonuses, which contributed to large quantity of failed AoF casts
I do see what the plan behind the acts of faith was. In favor of having cheap and simple units, there is a sudden need/hope to affect points, characters, unit sizes, specialist items, stratagems and order convictions for these faith points that allow the army to manifest these faiths easier or allow them to be better. This plan is not bad, but the execution was weak at best. Current Acts of Faith, even if they could be used multiple times a turn and be automatically succeeded, would have not made this faction over-powered. +1 to hit for a unit is nice, but nothing to write home about, nearly all armies get something similar for much less hassle. I keep having this nagging feeling that the AoF got shafted since the Vessels of the Emperors Will was introduced as a stratagem. Which could be useful, if the AoF could be reliably be cast, and if Vessels wouldn’t be so expensive.
In my games I casted Acts of Faith total of 70 times (roughly estimated, as not all games were recorded). Table below
Table 1. Acts of faith casts
Acts of faith / times
Vessels of the Emperors Will
Hand of the Emperor
6 (2 CP rerolls)
Additional 3”, allowing to reposition Bubble Canoness mostly.
Used once for testing the usage. Complete waste and handicapped CP usage rest of the game.
Spirit of the Martyr
7 (2 CP rerolls)
* Few models here and there, nothing that changed flow of the game.
* Couple failed attempts at healing Celestine
Used once for testing purposes, low dice rolls for healing tanks, made it completely irrelevant. Resulting lack of CPs hurt rest of the match.
Aegis of the Emperor
1 No effect
Succeeded once. Due to being used before manifesting powers, the unit swapped from smite to a different spell. No effect
17 (11 CP rerolls)
Bunch of usages, good with blessed bolts and faith and fury stratagems.
Results: few more hits
Attempted 6 times, only once faith succeeded. resulted in 3 extra wounds. Hurt rest of the game due to CP bleed.
All attempts to improve triple Exorcist barrage failed.
6 (12 CP rerolls)
Mostly used for the need of spend faith points, thus many of them did not yield results. 2 Times succeeded for Celestine, but her first swing killed the enemy.
Attempted 3 times, each time passion failed even with rerolls
Light of the Emperor
Due to small unit sizes rarely used.
Hand of the Emperor is just a sorry excuse what it used to be. Only casted, since it is difficult to spend all 7-9 faith points during the game. The few times it was useful was to improve the odds for a successful charge, which seems off or non-fluff like thing to do. Devotion value is too high for the usage.
Spirit of the Martyr, fairly ok, you get one model per turn… Maybe. Again, underwhelming at best. Has synergy possibilities with Vessels stratagem, but only reviving one model hurts for the insane CP cost. Also usable for tanks, but since it must be spent at the start of the movement, it makes difficult to place the vehicles turn before hand to receive proper healing. Not to mention that most often vehicles are shot one at the time till destroyed, before another vehicle is targeted.
Aegis of the emperor, well to be frank, completely and absurdly useless. Not only it is easily countered, by just casting something else than smite or target different unit with the spell. Since the sister unit must be selected for AoF before the opponent starts his psychic phase. I would be interested to know, if anyone has managed to save a single mortal wound, especially since you must roll +4 after the event. Not to mention that this does not work against powers that do not deal mortals, but for example remove models.
Divine Guidance, as a rule, only time AoF managed to have any impact on game was when Divine Guidance was used in conjunction with Blessed bold and Faith & Fire stratagems. Even here the usage was mostly because of the stratagems rather than the effects of the AoF. If more games were being played, I believe its usefulness could have increased, since now, it just happened to be that there weren’t that many 2’s that were rolled.
The Passion was used bunch of times. Allowing regular sisters to have little more “Oomphf” in close quarters, especially when used in conjunction with bloody rose order conviction. Fun to use with Canonesses when they are armed with Eviscerator (index weapon, more of this rant in items section). Bloody Rose Repentia squads are really nice with this, but since the devotion value is 5, it makes this unlikely to be gained when needed. Thus, the unit can’t be relied upon to make the damage, which this power would allow.
Light of the Emperor, Hard to say. I only use small units; thus, it is rarely needed / used. Besides, priests usually have similar abilities, not to mention the Order of the Sacred Rose passive and two different stratagems.
It must be mentioned, that the method of counting Acts of faith is silly, it adds yet another slowing element to the game, when counting models and another event of book keeping when keeping track of the remaining faith points. Furthermore, the distribution of the Faiths to different phases, makes remembering these acts a nuisance. I believe a simpler way of using Acts should be made.
There are forums full of good ideas but here is my idea, this is not necessarily any better than the current one, as I have not tested these in action.
- Amount of faith Acts would be in direct correlation with the amount of CP gained for Adepta Sororitas Detachments. For Example, one brigade of sisters would get 5 Acts of faith. These 5 points would be automatically given at the start of each battle round. These acts would be given to different units at the movement phase. Each Act of faith increasing one of the unit’s statistics or weapon statistics of the unit. So, selection between: movement, WS, BS, S, T, W, A, LD, save or weapon wielded. Different statistics would cost different number of Acts, to “activate”. For example, increasing BS from 3+ to 2+ would cost 3 of these Acts of Faith points. Where as increasing Leadership by 1 would be worth of 1 Act of faith.
The positive thing of this idea is that it is not random in its success and the player knows what to expect during his turn. Furthermore, it would push the idea of having sisters only army instead of just a Supreme Command Detachment (this because as an allied detachment, the unit might not have enough Faith points to increase the stats that are the most expensive ones (BS, A, save)), which is the reason why I think Faith currently is in correlation with number of models the army wields. The Order Convictions, could be interesting as they directly affect the prices of the Acts for the specific stat line. So, for Order of the Bloody Rose, the addition of +1 attack would cost only 1 faith instead of the normal 2 faith points. Furthermore, there could be stratagems that allow lower prices, or combination of Acts of faiths for a single unit. And even more, the relics and warlord traits could allow generation of additional faith, same with martyrdom stratagem.
I believe this could fix most of the problems plaguing the current Faith system.
Not much to say. It is nice to see Ministorum units back in the detachments, due to the battle conclave rule. The of rule of three and Faction combination rules, made index have difficulties to combine enough units and when there were enough units, there was difficulties having enough HQ choices. Still to some decree the problem stands. As there is still allowed total of 3 Canonesses and single missionary and Celestine. Making Celestine to an auto pick to make detachments legal. There is a desperate need for additional Adepta Sororitas HQ choices. Minimum of Palatine and Canoness superior.
Another problem is the units that are not taking detachments slots, this wording should be rephrased as “may be chosen to take no detachment slot”, as having expensive units such as Arco-flagellant not to take slots is very annoying when creating Brigade detachments.
Long story short, Blessed Bolts, Faith and Fury (when it can be used), Extremis Trigger Word, Open the Reliquaries and Purity of Faith were the only useful items for the sisters of battle, which is good amount for a beta codex.
Problems with the remaining are.
3.5.Warlord traits and Relics
- Holy trinity is too situational, and the combination of weapons prevent the unit doing anything well without the stratagem. Besides Dominions with 4 meltas, combi-flamer and bolter girl, costs more and is statistically worse than cp-reroll 5 strong, 5 melta-gun wielding dominion squad. Only usable on Retributor Heavy flamer girls, but due to their range, rarely seen.
- Suffer not the witch, difficult to use, since most psyker units are characters.
- Burning decent would be decent if Seraphim would have any weapons that were useful for the following shooting phase. Just having bolt pistols for shooting is not good enough to warrant a CP usage. Requires full 10 team seraphim unit. Hand flamer thing is nice but being able to shoot with more bolt pistols is better due to horrid wounding properties of hand flamers.
- Final Redemption is not bad but is more fluffy than useful. Used it once but could not succeed any +4 throws.
- Vessels of the Emperor’s Will is a trap. Pure and simple, not only for being ridiculously expensive, but also because you can’t count on succeeding in the faith test. The CP loss hurts rest of the game. Rerolling 3+ armor saves would be better than this.
- Since Faith points are not useful then by extension the Martyrdom is not useful either, especially since it won’t allow auto pass the tests.
- Sacred Banner of the Order Militant. Wasting points for a banner seems unnecessary, only unit that has the banner and could be useful is a Celestian squad, unit which takes most of their wound via bodyguard rule, that does not allow shield of faith save. Not to mention that Celestian’s never see use.
- I could see the use in Rally the Faithful, but I only needed it once, and in that game, I had wasted my CP for a Vessels stratagem.
Not much to say about warlord and relics, currently the Indomitable Belief and Book of Saint Lucius are so mandatory, that even toying with any other warlord trait seems unnecessary. Restructuring the Shield of Faith and Acts of Faith could bring some new life to the champion wargear list.
In nearly all games I used the Order Conviction of the Bloody Rose, as it seems only conviction worth its salt. Other contenders would be the order of the Sacred Rose and the Order of Ebon Chalice. Again, since the AoF are so bad, there was no need to even tempt the idea of having the order of Argent Shroud, or Order of Our Martyred Lady. Valorous Heart is basically the same, which we had in index, except that it would not affect vehicles. Since sisters are mostly short-range army, my lists mostly consist of transports, thus making Valorous Heart unappealing.
Only allies I had the chance to use, were the Imperial Knights. They have the longer range and reliable damage; which exorcists could not bring to table. Basically 3 exorcists cost nearly the same amount as a knight. Where knight can shoot more reliably, have better invulnerable save and shrug off enemies in close combat and having the ability to fallback and fire. This disparity increases further, when a Castellan is picked instead of Crusader.
4.1.New Units or unit changes
New HQ in descending order. Not much to say about these, just the hierarchical structure of Sisters. So more of these commanders. Being similar to lieutenants, captains and chapter masters.
- Abbess Sanctorum
- Canoness Superior
- Troops such as the Initiates, whom could be Sisters of Battle, whom have not completed their rites of passage to the sisterhood. Depending how grim-dark you want to be, these could be the child orphans thrown into combat. (similar to zealots, see below)
- Zealots (pilgrims) of some sort. Armed with poor weapons, such as improvised clubs and hammers. Their strength comes from numbers, and they could have a special rule to bodyguard any Adeptus Ministorum unit, with a roll of 5+ and instead of a single mortal wound, they would receive d3. They would feverously flock in front of the rounds to save their priests and servants of the Emperor.
- Zealot Priest(ess), person who guides these blessed souls of the Emperor, buffing them somehow. +4 to bodyguard for example.
- Lux or Luxanna or Lux-class Sentinel, a light fast-moving sentinel chasse (or similar), with short-range flamer or similar weaponry
- Chastiser an assault-gun similar to the WW2 Stug III assault-gun. Powerful hull-mounted weaponry. Could wield Thermal cannon, Twin-lascannon, Punisher Gatling cannon or some new very powerful flamer.
- Castigator an anti-air rhino variant, basically sister specific antiair unit. Very similar to Hydras. This purely since sisters lack anti-air vehicles, especially since they can’t have any air assets. Similar or the same as the Stalker of the Space Marines.
- Corpus Deus or Sola Scriptura or Receptus (tess) Some form of heavy infantry for the SoB. This could be similar to the Space Marine Centurion suits, Penitent Engines or the things from the last Matrix movie. This suite should be available for Commanders. Weapons could depend on the detachment slot they are in, for example heavy support could be similar to current Retributors or Tau Broadsides (except that these gals don’t fly). For elite they could wield short range rockets or bunch of hurricane bolters. Or even melee weapons, such as power fists or power claws. Flamers, lots of flamers, like at least four of them! These units could also have new weapons such as a portable mortar that lobs melta charges in the air. Either detonating in the air or by direct impact, seeking those direct hits with a shape detonation.
- Bikes, preferably floating ones, since Ecclesiarch should have the money and connections.
- Create More Unique Characters
- Customizable Living Saints, which would not be order specific, but they could have the order bonuses.
- Some form of scouts for the sisters. A recon unit capable to search for the enemy and harass the enemy when needed. Currently the sister army seems to be missing such a unit. This squad should be able to wield snipers.
- Maybe have some form of tankette or light transport, such as the Kosmolets t-20 from the ww2. This also could fulfill the scout role. I am uncertain how this could be made fit to the Adepta Sororitas role. Maybe, as a mobile shrine.
- Canoness should receive jump pack, as she is trained as a Seraphim at some point. Same goes for any secondary HQ choices such as Palatine.
- Have more options for Seraphim. Superior should have inferno-pistol option and more access to melee weapons. Specialists should have access to plasma pistols and some new 4th type of weapon? Grav-pistols? Seraphim are really cool, since they have amazing dual wield weapons, keep it in that theme.
- Personal opinion, either rework the Exorcist weapon or add a new unit that has a steady(ier) damage output.
- Add some form of movement buff to Penitent Engines, even if that means nerfing their combat capability
- Make Repressors Codex Vehicle, currently Repressors are the best vehicle in the game, even if they get a small hit to their effectiveness. It would nice to see actual repressor conversion kits and more streamlined rules for them. (and maybe change its name?)
- Add Plasma option for sisters, we know they don’t like it due to holy trinity thing, but one would assume they have access to them, since they are stupid rich. (again, personal opinion, and I am pro-choice!)
- Melta bombs, as per holy trinity, allow specific units to wield melta-charges in addition to their frag and krak grenades.
- Celestians, need some more love, they need something that distinguishes them as the best of the best in the Order. Better faith capabilities, better deny the witch?
- Geminae buff, usefulness of the Geminae disappeared as they could be blown off without the ability to be brought back. Since they are unable to use the bloody rose order trait, they are fairly lackluster in melee, plus the dinky bolt pistol(s).
- Allow tanks to do the Act of Faiths. There are Sisters in those tanks after all. They could be even limited Acts of Faith or just tank specific, just as the orders in Astra Militarum.
- Repentias, they are a fun narrative unit, with little to no use in competitive play. Not only since they cost way too much, but they don’t have decent save, they struggle to hit the enemy, their requirement for Order of the Bloody Rose limits the choices of orders, they die like flies due to poor toughness and they must have a transport to get to the other side of the map before the game ends. Easiest way to make these girls useful is to make them cheaper and allow them to run as a horde/cannon fodder, with a squad size of at least 15. Maybe even giving them the Seraphim +1 to Shield of Faith.
- Have the Order convictions affect the Adeptus Ministorum units. This could be done by having 2 rules, such as one for Ministorum and one for Sororitas, where Sororitas must pick the Sororitas one. Optionally the order convictions could directly affect the priesthood.
- Have more melee unique weapons for Sisterhood. For example, put the Eviscerator back on the menu in addition to lot of other weapons. Like flaming swords, maces or flails?
- Add more options for weapons to sisters. This could be done by expanding the inferno-pistol line-up, introducing a new melta-pistol instead and doing something fun with the inferno-variant.
- Furthermore, bolters could get upgrades, such as hurricane bolters. Sisterhood is supposedly stupidly rich, so I would assume some sisters could also see sets of specialized bolter rounds, just like Space Marine Sternguards or Deathwatch units.
- Make Deny the witch in the Shield of faith ability more relevant. It is only usable if it is combined with the Relic, Brazier of Eternal Flame. I have couple ideas below for the deny the witch.
- I believe it could be enough to have it as a flat D6 and deny on 6+
- 2d6 deny on 10+ and it must be above the manifest roll (Thus psychic manifesting roll of 12 would always pass).
- Same as current deny the witch, but instead every additional shield of faith unit in range adds +1 to the number. If the +1 is used, the unit counts as having tired their deny the witch ability.
- Instead of the current d6, each unit gets d3, and multiple units can combine their deny the witch ability up to three units at the time. Brazier could allow more members to effect the throw, or allow d6 instead of d3
- Change Holy trinity from a stratagem to either Conviction ability or an army wide passive. The restriction of having the 3 weapons in a single squad is too restrictive. I thought couple Ideas.
- Holy trinity, Army passive. A single enemy unit per shooting phase, would be declared to be affected by holy trinity. Friendly units would begin shooting at it gaining no bonuses, but they would apply holy trinity requirement every time the specific profile wounds or scores a hit. When a shooting unit is selected that targets the Holy trinity marked opponent and it completes the holy trinity requirements (one flamer, one meltagun & one bolter) The shooting unit would have the ability wound on +1 or would reroll 1’s. Any unit shooting the target after, would also get the holy trinity benefit, assuming the unit is shooting at least one weapon with the type of holy trinity.
- Example, A squad of chaos space marines are surrounded by an Immolator, squad of Sisters of Battle and a squad of Dominions armed with meltaguns. The dominions would shoot first, killing few and applying melta profile to the holy trinity. Then the Sisters of battle squad would shoot the same unit. Killing none but applying a wound, which applies bolter profile to the holy trinity. Finally, the Immolator would fire and since it fulfills the holy trinity requirement with the Immolation Flamer. The heavy flame thrower would receive +1 to wound. Any subsequent friendly unit shooting the same unit would also receive the bonus, if they had at least one model shooting with one profile from the Holy trinity.
- Army wide passive, A single enemy unit is selected for holy trinity and a number is attributed to it for example (3). Then the corresponding number of bolters, flamers and melta profiles must be shot at it. These profiles can be shot from multiple squads. And all these shooting profiles would have the +1 to wound ability.
- Example, A Squad of Chaos Space Marines are surrounded by two battle sister squads (one armed with 2 flamers and a combi-flamer and one armed with 3 storm bolters) and by a squad of Seraphim armed with two brace of inferno pistols. The Adepta Sororitas player, then declares the Chaos Space Marines squad with the holy trinity ability with the value of 3. Thus, all three of the flamers gain the +1 to wound ability, 3 of the four inferno pistols would gain the +1 to wound ability and finally any of 3 bolters or storm bolters would gain the +1 to wound ability. Any other weapons can be targeted to different units or to the same unit but would not gain the ability of the holy trinity.
- Shield of faith Invulnerable save is ok, I am personally not a fan of clustering under the +1 Shield of faith umbrellas, but it is definitely more interesting than before, which is really nice.
Overall, the Beta Codex is not an absolute disaster. Although the most important fact of the sisters, the gimmick that makes army to stand on its own; Acts of Faith were unimportant, uninteresting and unnecessarily bad. I admit just like nearly every other sisters of battle that the Index Acts were absolute bonkers and needed restructuring. But to my opinion, not because they were OP, but because they were breaking the core principles of the game, the phase and turn structure. Yes, events like turn 1 charge with Celestine and Seraphim, could and should be removed, but removing things like shooting twice, with a squad of Retributors, did not need to get nerfed as hard as it did.
With all the changes and ideas that were listed above, the idea is not to implement them all, that would generate far too powerful army and that is not the intent here. My personal hope is that even few of these ideas might find their way to the new Adepta Sororitas Codex.
Speaking comes by nature, silence by understanding.