Sunday, 4 June 2017

8th Edition SoB: Deny Denied

I thought I'd take a moment to point out something about the new Sisters of Battle list that's been bugging me, now that their Faction Focus has been done and it's not been mentioned.

Shield of Faith has always been one of those rules which was never quite as good as it was made out to be. We've all (those of us who play Sisters, anyway) got at least one tale of that time we made a clutch 6++ against a melta hit, but for the most part it tended to have little impact. In 8th Edition, however, with Celestine buffing it to a 5+ and Seraphim still getting their re-roll, it's become rather more impressive. However, there's an elephant in the room here, and that's psychic defence.

Shield of Faith used to have two layers of defence against psychic attacks. Firstly, Sisters were immune to the effects of Force weapons. That rule (which would presumably have taken the shape of Force weapons only doing Sisters 1 wound) is nowhere to be seen, but it's unlikely to be greatly missed. The other layer was Adamantium Will, allowing Sisters to Deny The Witch on a 5+. To be honest, this also worked pretty poorly unless you also brought some Witches of your own to give you some Warp Charge, but it was something. So what does the new version do?

A unit with Shield of Faith can now attempt to Deny The Witch as if it were a Psyker (wohoo!)... on 1D6 (awwww.) In case you might be labouring under the idea that this is in any way useful, bear in mind that you have to beat- not equal- the casting roll used to cast the power you wish to Deny, the casting test is made on 2D6, and many powers require a score of 6 or more to cast anyway. And no, unless my poor addled memory is playing tricks on me, a roll of 6 doesn't automatically succeed.

That, as far as psychic attacks are concerned, isn't a 'Shield of Faith'- it's barely a Chainmail Bikini of Faith. Now, it's important to remember that at the moment, psychics aren't as powerful as they were, so this may not be a serious problem, and I still think that Sisters are gaining more than they're losing in 8th Edition (I can see SoB armies with Celestine and a few Simulacrums being feared for the number of extra actions they'll be getting, for one thing) but it's a shame that GW still can't seem to figure out how to give them any psychic defence that actually works.

Could it be fixed? I think so. Other than the obvious (and probably OP for the points) option of  making the Deny a 2D6 roll, one possibility would be for multiple Sisters units to grant a bonus, so a unit might get +1 to the Deny roll for every unit with the Shield Of Faith rule within 12" of it, for example. Of course I've yet to try my Sisters in 8th, so it may be that there are more powers I can deny than I thought. We shall see.

On a related note, here's a wrinkle in the rules for one of the possible ways of dealing with the problem, the Sisters of Silence:

[In thoughmark] "I don't know what's coming, but it's probably heresy"
In a move that will have Thousand Sons Sorcerers polishing up their Doombo- er, Smites, in front of the mirror, the Null Maiden Rhino in the new Index has been stripped of the Psychic Abomination rule. Since the rule also doesn't work when a unit with it is embarked in a Transport, this means that SoS squads in their Rhinos are no safer from Witchfires and all the rest of it than anyone else is. How much impact this is going to have on the usefulness of the Sisters remains to be seen, but it's certainly not a buff.

Time will tell.

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