So, the Troops section. The main concentration of your army. The main units for holding objectives, most of the time the only units that can do so. A section that should, in any list, feature a lot of squads so that you may control multiple objectives and accumulate victory points. Therefore, one would hope that these units would contain some decent units, right? I audibly sigh as I write this opening paragraph. Sisters have but one Troops choice, the humble Battle Sister squad.
Battle Sister squads have definitely been improved since the White Dwarf codex for one massive reason: we can now take squads of 5 Sisters. Surely this is a blessing from the Emperor as he declared that the Ecclesiarchy was being idiotic in sending out Sisters of Battle in large squads, sometimes with dedicated transports that cannot even house them. Now we can take squads of 5 Sisters as a minimum and do not have to take a Veteran Sister Superior. They may still take a special weapon, heavy weapon or further special weapon and equipment on either the Sister Superior or Veteran Sister Superior, depending on which you choose to take. The Simulacrum Imperialis and the heavy flamer have both halved in cost, though the heavy bolter has been brought up to the same cost as the other codices. This means that many different types of weapon load-outs can be used. Firstly, there is the simple ‘sit on objective’ squad. This consists of 5 Sisters, one heavy bolter and a Simulacrum Imperialis. It is horrendously cheap, gives you a Ballistic Skill 4 heavy bolter and has a 3+ armour save to just sit on an objective in your deployment zone. There is also the spam type squads, again consisting of 5 Sisters but this time with one of two choices. Either giving your squad a heavy flamer, a flamer, a Simulacrum, a combi-flamer on the Sister Superior if you feel so inclined and putting them in an Immolator with twin-linked heavy flamers. This is a 145 or 155 point unit, depending on whether or not you go with a combi-flamer as well, with a ridiculous number of template weapons. You can also do the same, but replace all mentions of flamer with melta and you have a ludicrous number of anti-vehicle in one squad. Being an Eldar player as well, I find that specialisation serves better than generalisation, so potentially a mix of the types would work. I have yet to try this tactic out myself as I would need more Immolators, but I could see it being fun to field. There is also the potential to take up to 20 Battle Sisters in a single squad, though I believe that they lose effectiveness past 10. It is best to take two squads of 10 Sisters than a single squad of 20, as there is a lot more flexibility without giving away too many kill points. I believe that Battle Sisters benefit greatly from dedicated transports, depending on their squad size. Their faith power is mediocre, though it actually has some use. For a single shooting or assault phase, you can give your Sisters the Preferred Enemy special rule, allowing you to re-roll 1s. Very useful, hence I would advise taking a Simulacrum in these units as re-rolls of any kind are always welcomed.
On the topic of dedicated transports, we have the Rhino and the Immolator. The former is near-identical to the Space Marine equivalent, having the same armour value, same hull points, same equipment and the Repair special rule. Where it differs is in the fact that it can take from the Adepta Sororitas Vehicle Equipment list, allowing for such things as Laud Hailers, which grant re-rolls to Act of Faith leadership checks, a very useful boon as it means that, on Leadership 8+, you will almost definitely manage to get your Acts of Faith off when you want. It is also 5 points more expensive, but sports the Shield of Faith special rule. 5+ Deny the Witch, which I am not even sure works as I have yet to see a psychic power target a vehicle, and a 6+ invulnerable save. Nothing to rely on, but it could just save you from that lascannon penetrating hit and cause your opponent to reconsider his or her faith in whatever heretical power they believe in. Surely, the Emperor protects!
The Immolator, on the other hand, is what would happen if the Adepta Sororitas got a Razorback. Again, same armour, same hull points, same transport capacity, same Ballistic Skill, but 5 points more expensive for the Shield of Faith special rule and able to take from the Adepta Sororitas Vehicle Equipment list. However, it also largely changes in weapon options. Being of the Adepta Sororitas, your weapon options are either a twin-linked heavy bolter, much like the Space Marines, or the choice of a twin-linked heavy flamer or twin-linked multi-melta, neither of which will cost you any points. For me, this is wonderful as it means that I can put multi-meltas on them and have relentless, twin-linked multi-meltas. As long as they do not get shot, an Immolator can dish out a lot of pain, depending on how it is outfitted. Heavy flamers often spell its demise if not supported, as most units have krak grenade equivalents or at least Strength 4 in melee. Multi-meltas give some nice, short ranged anti-vehicle firepower on a fragile frame. Heavy bolters give some decent range, but lack the sheer amount of stopping power as the other two options; the Adepta Sororitas excel at short range firefights, so in my opinion that is where they should concentrate their efforts.
Adepta Sororitas hurt for Troops. Anyone who faces them know that they will come across at least two squads of Battle Sisters, probably more as games get larger, so it is very easy to counter. In my opinion, we really need our Inquisitorial units back to add some variation to the codex, as well as options beyond Battle Sister derivatives. If there is one thing that I have noticed so far about the codex, it is that it lacks any variation and everything is much the same with a few different rules. Hopefully things will look up in the next two articles as we examine the two sections that were previously very strong. Fingers are firmly crossed here!