Update: I got my hands on the full book and all parts should be properly edited.
The time has come my friends. Chapter Approved 2018 is on its way and we already saw the first preview-videos of the upcoming Beta Codex for Sisters of Battle. I had a close look at it and today we will analyse the changes and see what it will bring to the table.
Note that this is an early version, based on the infos in a video-preview. As soon as I get my hands on the actual book, I will edit this post and keep it updated.
I think there is one really important thing to keep in mind. We are currently looking at Beta rules. The rules themselves have to work, don’t get me wrong, but there are absolutely no new units in it. Why? Because there are no new models yet and Games Workshop was pretty clear about it – no rules for models that are not out yet.
Looking at the Beta rules, I see some problems, but also a lot of potential. So let’s all keep in mind, that one or the other problem might be solvable with new unit types, being (hopefully) introduced with the new codex in 2019.
Without real playtesting yet, I think the Sisters are still a pretty viable army, but as I said, there is a lot of potential for the future.
Acts of Faith
This is currently a much (and hotly) debated topic, since we see some heavy changes from the Index rules and changes in the way we’ll play our Sisters. Let’s see how it will work in detail.
Shield of Faith
Models in this unit have a 6+ invulnerable save. In addition, units with this ability can attempt to deny one psychic power in each enemy Psychic phase in the same manner as a PSYKER. When they do so, first select a model in the unit – measure range, visibility, etc. from this model. When making this attempt, only roll a single D6 instead of 2D6; the psychic power is resisted if the roll is greater than the result of the Psychic test that manifested the power.
You can re-roll failed hit rolls for this unit in a turn in which it made a charge
Strength of Faith
If your army is Battle-forged, all Troops units in Adepta Sororitas Detachments gain this ability. Such a unit that is within range of an objective marker (as specified in the mission) controls the objective marker even if there are more enemy models within range of that objective marker. If an enemy unit within range of the same objective marker has a similar ability, then the objective marker is controlled by the player who has the most models within range of it as normal.
(FYI: The Shield of Faith and Zealot ability will stay the same as in the Index Imperium)
Acts of Faith
If your army includes any models with this ability, you will start the battle with 3 Faith Points, plus 1 additional Faith Point for every 10 models with this ability in your army (rounding down). These can be spent to attempt the Acts of Faith listed below. Each can only be attempted once per battle round, and you must spend one Faith Point each time you do so (if you have no Faith Points remaining, you cannot attempt an Act of Faith). To attempt an Act of Faith, select a unit in your army that has the Acts of Faith ability and then choose the Act of Faith you wish to attempt. Then make a Test of Faith for the unit by rolling a D6; if the result is less than that Act of Faith’s devotion value, or is an unmodified roll of 1, the test fails and nothing happens. Otherwise the test is successful and the Act of Faith takes effect.
Every Act of Faith you perform, will now cost a Faithpoint. You start a match with 3 Faithpoints fix and add 1 Faithpoint for every 10 models in your army – rounded down.
► So an army with 35 models f.e. will have 6 Faithpoints to spend.
There are certain ways to generate or save Faithpoints and performing an Act does not automatically succeeds. Every Act of Faith now has a Devotion Level and performing an Act needs you to roll a test with a D6, requiring a result equal or higher than the Devotion Level.
► Example: The “Spirit of the Martyr” Act has a Devotion Level of 3. So baseline, you will have to roll a 3+, which then again can be pushed by abilities and wargear like the Simulacrum Imperialis.
Further more, every Act of Faith can only be performed once per battleround, but therefor we get 6 instead of 4 Acts to use, which is a nice addition. And considering the amount of Faithpoints, we might end up using the Acts much more carefully.
So let’s first take a look at the Acts themselves
Hand of the Emperor
Devotion value 4
Use this Act of Faith at the start of your Movement phase. If successful, add 3″ to the selected unit’s Move characteristic until the end of that phase.
Spirit of the Martyr
Devotion value 3
Use this Act of Faith at the start of your Movement phase. If successful, one model in the selected unit regains D3 lost wounds, or, if there are no wounded models and any models in the unit have been slain, you can return one slain model to the unit with 1 wound remaining (this model is set up in unit coherency and cannot be set up within 1″ of any enemy models – if it is not possible to place this model, it is not returned to the unit).
Aegis of the Emperor
Devotion value 3
Use this Act of Faith at the start of your opponent’s Psychic phase. If successful, then until the end of that phase, roll a D6 each time the selected unit suffers a mortal wound. On a 4+ that mortal wound is ignored.
Devotion value 4
Use this Act of Faith at the start of your Shooting phase. If successful, add 1 to hit rolls for attacks made with this unit’s ranged weapons until the end of the phase.
Devotion value 5
Use this Act of Faith at the start of your Fight phase. If successful, the selected unit can be chosen to fight with twice in that phase.
Light of the Emperor
Devotion value 3
Use this Act of Faith at the start of the Morale phase. If successful, the selected unit automatically passes Morale tests that phase.
Beside “The Passion” and “Spirit of the Martyr”, these Acts seems rather weak / weaker than the index, but I think in certain situations, all of them will have their value. Considering, we can keep our Faithpoints up and running.
How can we improve though?
Faith Points – Keeping the Acts going
First of all, Imagifier are gone. But don’t worry, you don’t have to throw away your models, instead they will – once more – be part of your troops!
Units like Battle Sisters, Retributors and so one, will be able to equip one sister (that’s not wearing a special weapon or such) with a Simulacrum Imperialis. So no more Elite Sisters with multiple wounds, but the Simulacrum will only be 10 points and it will give us a bonus of 1 to our Act of Faith tests.
You heard right, it won’t give additional Acts anymore, but make it easier to pass the tests.
While Imagifier are gone, we will keep our Dialogus. And they will from now on buff our Acts of Faith also. With their Laud Hailer in range, we will be able to reroll failed Faith tests. They come at 30 points and might be a useful tool is placed correctly between your units.
Special units and equipment are by far not all to power up our Acts. Looking at the Order convictions, there are even 3 of them with benefits to the new system.
Order of the Martyred Lady -Get a Faith point each time one of your units is completely destroyed
Oder of the Argent Shroud – Roll a D6 each time you destroyed an enemy unit completely. On a 4+you get a Faith Point
Order of the Ebon Chalice – Add 1 to all your Faith tests
We will have a closer look at all 6 convictions later, but it seems that all 3 convictions are helpful, even though none of them seems really powerful. On the other hand, none of the 6 do.
With a whole set of new stratagems, it is no surprise to get some helpful actions for our Faith-system too – 3 in total.
The first one is quite impressive, it is the already known Vessel of the Emperor’s will:
This is an expensive one, but spreading a powerful Act on multiple units? That sounds awesome. We have quite an amount of characters in our army and I think it is possible to get a lot of value from this stratagem.
I mean yes, its 3 CP after all, but only testing will show if it’s worth it.
The second Stratagem is Martyrdom, which will allows us to gain D3 Faith points whenever a character is slain. Or 3 Faith points, when the character was our Warlord. It costs 1 CP and as I mentioned, it is possible to pack our armies with quite some characters in it, ready to die for the Emperor.
Last but not least, we have Sacred Rites. Anothter 1 CP stratagem, that automatically generates 1 Faith point at the start of our Movement phase. Nothing special about it, just a simple trade between Faith and Command Points, allowing for tactical flexibility.
Notable mention: For 1 CP, Faith and Fury allows our units to re-roll wound rolls, if a successful Act of Faith was triggered. It’s not generating points, but it gives some special value.
Warlord Traits and Relics
A last possibility for pimping the Acts are Warlord traits and relics.
Let’s start off with Beacon of Faith, the default Warlord trait for Celestine btw. It allows our Warlord to roll a D6 at the start of each turn and on a 4+ we get an additional Faith point. That’s solid and I could imagine it as a default choice since most other traits seem worth in comparison. (But we will look at all traits later)
And at last, we have the Litanies of Faith, a Relic that can regenerate Faith points. Whenever you successfully used an Act of Faith with a unit in 6″ of the character, roll a D6. On a 5+ you restore a Faith point.
Again, this could scale up pretty well, when you manage to center your cahracters in multiple units. I can see that positioning will get much more important than ever before.
Conclusion on Acts of Faith
Here we are. With all the knowledge we gathered, let’s see if the new Act of Faith system can keep up with the Index rules.
Personally, I like the idea to scale the Acts with your army size. It benefits armies with a lot of bodies, but the “penalty” for armies with lots vehicles f.e. is not too much of a deal . So I’m happy with that. More points, more bodies, more Acts of Faith – simple as that. Also bigger armies mean more CPs and that gives benefit for the Acts too – While Traits and Relics will not scale though.
I also like to have 2 additional Acts as an option, even though some of the existing ones got nurfed. Hand of the Emperor offers less movement and Divine guidance is a lot weaker than before – but to be honest, that was a really powerful Act anyway.
Too powerful? Maybe not, but the new version has to prove itself. In combination with stratagems and traits etc. the new Acts can really scale up in power. It gets tricky to pull off the best results, but that’s something good I guess.
Now we also have some kind of nerf, by every Act beeing limited to one use per turn. And yes, that is a nerf indeed. 2 Divine Guidance in a single turn could really do some damage … but than again, we have a different set of possibilites for modifying our Acts. I’m also sceptical about this one to be honest, but only tests will tell.
But I see why this is a matter of discussion!
Last to look at, is the amount of Faith points and Acts in a regular game. I mean, here’s what really gives a clue about the impact of the changes.
Based on the Index:
We had 1 Act of Faith in each round, on a roll of 2+. Let’s even assume this test was always succesful. Another Act from Saint Celestine, which was/is essential in most armies I guess. At least for 1000+ points.
Let’s say we got 2 Imagifiers also. With a 50% chance to generate an additional Act, this was roughly 1 additional Act of Faith in each round.
So, 3 Acts in total for 3 different units, 2 dependend on the location of the Saint and the Imagifiers – Which meant some sort of risk obviously.
Based on the Beta Codex:
Let’s assume we start with 6 Faith Points in total: 3+3 for 30+ models.
For a direct comparison, Saint Celestine is again part of the army and we will make her our Warlord, with Beacon of Faith as her designated Warlord Trait – Giving us roughly 1 Faith point every other round.
Instead of the Imagifiers, we take 1 or 2 Dialogus and equip our units with Simulacrums. That makes the Acts more reliable, in range of a Dialogus nearly guaranteed.
I guess we can also invest 1 CP per battle in Sacred Rites, giving us 1 additional Faith point, and Vessel of the Emperor’s will for 3 Cp, in the right moment, spreading an Act to 3 units instead of only one. This shall count as 3 Faith points for now-
In a game of 4 rounds, this means 12 Acts in an Index-Army. Based on the Beta Codex, we would have around 12 Faith points now, not considering the Order convictions.
On the one hand, we have some less powerful Acts and every Act can now fail. On the other hand, we have a lot more variety and options to boost our Acts for Command Points and such. A lot of things will influence our decisions and we can get a little more creative with combos!
AND: Let’s see what the acutal codex will bring to the table. Perhaps some new units that push our Faith system even more. Some HQ-Imagifier f.e.
All in all, the new system looks pretty interessting. I’m not saying it is superior to the Index rules, but at least I don’t see any reason to complain. At least not for now – as I said, I lack experience in enough games.
We finally have the full set of convictions for the 6 Order Majoris:
Stoic Endurance: Each time a model with this conviction loses a wound, roll a D6; on a 6 the wound is not lost.
Our Martyred Lady
The Blood of Martyrs: Each time a unit with this conviction from your army is destroyed, you gain 1 Faith Point.
Daughters of the Emperor: Add 1 to the result of Tests of Faith for units with this conviction.
Deeds, not Words: Each time an enemy unit is destroyed by a unit with this conviction, roll a D6. On a 4+ you gain a Faith Point.
Quick to Anger: Add 1 to the Strength and Attacks characteristics of a model with this conviction during any turn in which it made a charge move, was charged or performed a Heroic Intervention.
Devout Serenity: A unit with this conviction can never lose more than a single model as the result of any single failed Morale test. In addition, when a model with this conviction fires Overwatch, a 5 or 6 is required for a successful hit roll, irrespective of the firing model’s Ballistic Skill or any modifiers.
These are some descent rules, but nothing too exciting I guess. I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed here. 50% of the rules center around Faith points in strange ways, the others allow for interessting decisions to counter our Sisters weak-spots.
But still, I have hoped for something better … and stronger.
Those who hear this leader’s stirring words are inspired to great feats of bravery. You can re-roll failed Morale tests for friendly <ORDER> units whilst they are within 6″ of this Warlord. In addition, friendly <ORDER> units can use this Warlord’s Leadership characteristic instead of their own whilst they are within 6″ of this Warlord.
With burning indignation, this servant of the divine can barely contain their desire to strike down the unfaithful. You can re-roll failed charge rolls for this
Warlord. In addition, if this Warlord made a charge move, was charged or performed a Heroic Intervention, you can re-roll failed wound rolls made for it until the end of the Fight phase.
Executioner of Heretics
This Sister has a fearsome reputation for hunting down the Ecclesiarchy’s enemies and slaying them without mercy. Subtract 1 from the Leadership characteristic of enemy units whilst they are within 6″ of your Warlord.
Beacon of Faith
This Adepta Sororitas leader is a shining beacon of faith, a spiritual as well as a military leader who inspires intense devotion in their warriors. At the start of your turn, roll a D6 if this Warlord is on the battlefield; on a 4+ you gain 1 Faith Point.
This chosen champion has such strength of belief that their followers refuse to yield before the Emperor’s enemies. The invulnerable save friendly <ORDER>
units receive from the Shield of Faith ability is improved to 5+ whilst they are within 6″ of this Warlord.
Pure of Will
With a will of adamant, this devout servant’s faith can turn aside even the most foul of witchcraft. Your Warlord can attempt to deny one additional psychic power in each enemy Psychic phase, as described in the Shield of Faith ability.
In addition, enemy PSYKERS must subtract 1 from their Psychic tests whilst they are within 12″ of this Warlord.
Relics of the Ecclesiarchy
Blade of Admonition
Model with a power sword only. The Blade of Admonition replaces the bearer’s power sword and has the following profile:
Melee, S +2, AP -3, D 3
Book of St. Lucius
Increase the range of the bearer’s aura abilities by 3″.
Brazier of Eternal Flame
Roll 2D6 instead of D6 for Deny the Witch tests taken by friendly <ORDER> units using the Shield of Faith ability whilst they are within 6″ of the bearer.
Litanies of Faith
Roll a D6 each time you successfully pass a Test of Faith for a friendly ADEPTA SORORITAS unit whilst it is within 6″ of the bearer; on 5+ the Faith Point used to attempt that Act of Faith is immediately refunded.
Mantle of Ophelia
CANONESS only. The bearer has a 3+ invulnerable save.
Wrath of the Emperor
Model with a bolt pistol only. The Wrath of the Emperor replaces the bearer’s bolt pistol and has the following profile:
Range 18″, Pistol 3, S 5, AP -1, D 2
All in all some solid Warlord traits and relics, even though I hope for some Order-specific traits and wargear with the upcomging codex. But for a Beta Codex, this is definitely good enough and I see a lot of potential.
Units and Points
Beside points and equipment, there are a few major changes when it comes to units and characters. The Index version of Ministorum priests, is somehow split in 2 units. We now get a Missionary as HQ Choice and the Preacher as a new Elite unit.
Both have the War Hymns ability, but the Preacher also got the Icon of the Ecclesiarchy, reducing the Leadership characteristic of close Chaos units by -1. Some fluffy gimmick, but not the big deal 🙂
Also, as mentioned before, the Imagifier are gone. The different Sister units will now be able to take a Simulacrum Imperialis and that’s fine I guess.
Last but not least, we have some strange change in the Geminae Superia, which are no longer part of Celestine, but an own Elite choice. But if Celestine is part of your battle-forged army, the Geminae take no slot in the organisation sheet … I have no idea what this is useful for, but ok. Maybe I get it some day ^^
The Power Level of many units was adjusted and mainly lowered, but I will only talk about point changes.
Oh, and the Power Axes are gone … which I don’t care about. Power Mauls are still the way to go I think.
Anyway, let’s have a quick look at all the changes from the Index / Chapter Approved 2017:
Point changes – Units
- Celestine -40 Points
- Geminae Superia -4 Points
- Uriah Jacobus -50 Points
- Canoness +/- 0
- Missionary +/- 0
- Preacher 25 Points
- Battle Sisters +/- 0
- Arco-Flagellants +/- 0
- Celestian Squad +/- 0
- Crusaders -2 Points
- Death Cult Assassins +/- 0
- Dialogus +15 Points
- Hospitaller +/- 0
- Mistress of Repentance +/- 0
- Repentia Squad -2 Points
- Dominion Squad +/- 0
- Seraphim Squad +/- 0
- Exorcist -10 Points
- Penitent Engines +17 Points (-29 Points with loadout)
- Retributor Squad +/- 0
- Immolator +/- 0 (-5 Points with Immolation Flamer)
- Sororitas Rhino +/- 0
Point changes – Weapons
- Combi-Flamer -3 Points
- Combi-Melta -4 Points
- Combi-Plasma -4 Points
- Flamer -3 Points
- Heavy Flamer -3 Points
- Immolation Flamer -5 Points
- Inferno Pistol -2 Points
- Meltagun -3 Points
- Multi-Melta -5 Points
- Plasma Pistol -2 Points
- Twin Multi-Melta -14 Points
(Editor’s note: When first looking through CA 2018, I forgot to include the CA 2017 adjustments. Storm Bolters dropping to 2 Points f.e. was already in the game …)
HQ – Saint Celestine
Is now 160 Points and her wounds are reduced by 1. She can now heal wounded Geminae close to her and if not possible, resurrect a slain one as before.
Oh, and she buffs the Shield of Faith Ability of her surrounding Geminae by +2. This leads to a 4+ invulnerable save, which is neccessary since the Armour of Saint Katherine will no longer affect the Geminae. And the Geminae have a lower Save characteristic as before, only 3+ as a normal Sister.
I have to repeat myself, these are some strange changes.
The rest of Celestine is more or less the same, while some abilities are simply mixed together.
Edit: When resurrected by Miracules Intervention, she now has to be placed as close to her “dying position” as possible.
HQ – Canoness
Well, only one change to the Canoness. Say goodbye to the Eviscerator
HQ – Jacobus
The range of The Redeemer was lowered from 24″ to 18″ and attacks with a wound roll of 6+ no longer get a Damage characteristic of 2, but when in half range of the weapon, the Strength characteristic is buffed by 1.
Also, models in range, that fail their Morale tests, will no longer flee on a D6 throw of 4+. And that’s definitely a nice addition, while I don’t see why they changed the Redeemer. It was a names weapon after all.
Elite – Dialogus
Points raised from 15 to 30 points. But the Laud Hailer is now more powerful than before, allowing to re-roll failed Faith tests for surrounding units and adding +1 to the Leadership characteristic in 6″.
Elite – Mistress of Repentance
Angelic Visage is gone, so no more repeatable Shield of Faith rolls. Unneccessary change I guess …
Elite – Repentia Squad
Points dropped from 17 to 15 Points. That’s nice, but propably not enough. Still glascannons.
Elite – Arco Flaggelants
The Arco flails got some nice AP of -1 and the Berserk Killing Machine Ability is no more invulnerable save, but lost wounds are not lost on a 5+. This means it can additionally benefit from invul saves.
With points being the same, it is an even better option than before. I love those guys.
Elite – Crusaders
As far as I heard, they can fight twice now? That would be a huge deal since there is still no option to give them better weapons!
No changes for Crusaders …
Fast Attack – Seraphim
Small change in “Angelic Visage” which no longer re-rolls failed SoF tests, but gives a bonus of +1. Should be roughly the same with less rolling. Totally fine with that.
Heavy Support – Exorcist
Points dropped from 135 to 125 Points, compared to Chapter Approved 2017! That’s not a big deal, but furthermore, the Exorcist Missle Launcher now deals D6 instead of D3 wounds. Not sure if this change is enough, but time will tell.
Edit: In a Battle Report on Youtube, its said to be 150 Points now. Not sure yet which one is true …
Heavy Support – Penitent Engines
Their points were increased from 55 to 72 points, but they will now always fight twice, and not only 50% of the time.
And that’s not all. Beside the Zealot ability which they will keep, they now ignore wounds on a 5+ also. Again, that’s a big buff for the unit and I’m totally looking forward to test them.
Dedicated Transport – Immolator
The Immolation Flamer dropped 5 points in cost and just like the Rhino, they can now transport a Dialogus and Hospitaller ^^
Other – Ecclesiarchy Battle Conclave
Arco-Flaggelants, Crusaders, Death Cult Assassins no longer take a slot in your battle-forged armies, if a Ministorum Priest is part of it.
As we can see, there are only few changes to the army itself. Most important are the new Act of Faith System and the additional rules like Convictions and Stratagems.
While those are interessting and some of them quite spicey, I am pretty disappointed by the lack of unit-changes.
Was there no way to make Celestians better? I love those veteran Sisters story-wise, but the unit is absolutely useless. And what about some love for Repentia? They don’t need to be stronger, but they are still easily killed before doing any harm.
And what about another HQ like a Living Saint or a Priestess / Legatine / HQ-Imagifier, I know there’s no existing model, but you can easily take other SoB Miniatures. But it’s still just Canoness and Celestine when you want to avoid Ministorum – which I do >.<
And where are the rules for Veridyan ??? There’s even a model …
Well, I admit that’s my personal decision. Anyway, I miss some bigger changes to a handful of units. And I really hope that this will be part of the Codex. I will definitely test a lot and give as much feedback as possible.
And that’s it, the final Beta Codex from Chapter Approved 2018. All the new rules to test and hopefully a later base for the Codex Sisters of Battle.
There’s so much to dig in, that I can hardly decide if I like it or not. But right away, I can definitely NOT understand all those people who go crazy about it, talking about total nerfs and such.
Yes, Sisters will play differently. And no, I don’t know if I prefer this version of the Index, but maybe others do. It’s a living game after all and we have to live with changes. Let’s take our time and see how it works out, give GW as much (constructive!) feedback as possible and let’s get these Sisters of Battle going.
I’m really looking forward to the next battles and I’m positive that I will find my way to love the rules. The more I think about it, the more I appreciate most changes – and that includes new AoF system!
What about you guys? What are your thoughts on the Beta Codex and perhaps Chapter Approved 2018 in general?
Let me know and may the Emperor be with you!