The skies above Dontoria Hivesprawl had been smothered in a blanket of thick smog for as long as anyone could remember. Biochemical effluent, manufactoria burnout, industrial exhalations and the smoke of thousands of unsanctioned sump-fires had long ago created a noxious shroud of yellow-brown pollution that settled like a second skin over the centuries, staining buildings and streets alike in yellow corrosion, seeping into ground, water and people’s lungs alike, and smothering away the sky and blotted out all natural light like a damp rag guttering out a candle. Entire generations of hive-crawlers had lived and died under the this blanket of smog, and in this way, the citizens of the Big Fug were oddly blessed, for they were shielded from the madness of the Cicatrix Maledictum in a way that the other hive-continents of Vigilus weren’t.
On this day, though, the drab brown sky was punctuated by fierce streaks of yellow as Ork warplanes and missiles streaked overhead.
Explosions rocked the choked alleyways of Tzimitria Subsprawl as the war came flooding into it. Refugees had already come streaming up from Stump Subsprawl and Smog Field in the wake of the Ork advance– sump-haulers, street urchins, lungrot beggars, spire-scrapers, and all other cross-sections of the poor, the sick, the elderly and the helpless came pouring in a great human wave, trying to outrun the green death. Behind them, even louder, was the snarl of engines, the boom of explosions, and a single, guttural syllable being roared from thousands of alien throats.
The Greenskin outriders came first, tracked vehicles roaring up through the ruined alleways of Dontoria like wolves after retreating sheep, weapons blazing. They quickly crashed into the packed ranks of the human refugees, and within minutes, dozens were either run down by spiked tracks or eviscerated by greenskin cleavers. The aliens laughed as they drove over the civilians, pulling tight donuts as they wheeled around the city streets. Above them, Ork warplanes swooped down, dropping bombs and firing indiscriminately with their cannons, shredding civilians and shattering buildings alike. As explosions blossomed, the main horde could be seen in the wake of the outriders– mobs of hunched, brutally muscled Greenkins pouring in like a sickly green fluid. Behind them advanced wheezing, iron-clad walkers forged in the likeness of tusked idols.
As the Orks swarmed into Dontoria, they wasted no time in tearing down Imperial symbols, smashing apart buildings, and looting whatever they could. As the wave of refugees retreated further to the outskirts of Tzimitria, a massive, tracked vehicle juddered to a stop at the head of the Ork horde. A massive Greenskin sat atop it, and he frowned, his hideously scarred features twisting in knots as his red eyes narrowed. He could hear something, past the screams, past the explosions. Something was out there, amidst the spires of the greater hive-continent beyond.
It sounded almost like…singing.
Then, through the sump-misted murk of the city streets, headlights shone into view. Almost in an instant, vehicles could be seen rumbling towards them– heavy, tracked personnel carriers in a resplentend white and blue livery, adorned with prayer-scripts, icons and reliquaries. Turreted vehicles rumbled into position, weapons tracking to face the oncoming Ork tide. In the wake of these vehicles advanced dozens of human women, all clad in baroque ceramite armour the colour of porcelein, boltguns, flamers and meltas clutched in their hands. Overhead more of these human woman soared, borne aloft on jets of flame my winged jump packs.
And they were singing. Whether by voice or through the laud-hailers of their Rhinos, these humans were all singing with one voice, as one choir, singing glory and praise to the God-Emperor. The refugees who had made it away from the Ork onslaught fell to their knees at the approach of these warrior-women, weeping as they offered their pleas, their thanks, and their prayers.
The Greenskin warlord’s jaw twisted in a fanged grin. He had been hoping to run into some resistance. His right hand clenched the
clawed weapon it held. In a few minutes, he would shut those umies’ singing up for good.
And with that, the Warboss tilted his head back and let loose a throaty, booming roar of “WAAAAGH!”– one was echoed by thousands of other Ork voices as the horde surged forward in a violent stampede…
So, a week ago, I went to one of my LGS (the Sword and Board in Toronto) to test out the new Sisters beta codex. I had already arranged to meet an opponent there, who was looking to get some games in with his Orks.
For this game, I took the following list:
THE ORDER OF THE BLESSED DAMSEL:
ORDER OF THE BLOODY ROSE BATTALION:
Canoness- inferno pistol, Blade of Admonition, Righteous Rage
Missionary- Book of St. Lucius
15 Battle Sisters- 2 flamers, simulacrum imperialis, Sister Superior w. power maul
5 Battle Sisters- 2 storm bolters, Sister Superior w. storm bolter
5 Battle Sisters- 2 storm bolters, Sister Superior w. storm bolter
2 Gemini Superiae
10 Seraphim- 2 hand flamers
6 Dominions- 4 meltaguns, Sister Superior w. combi-flamer
6 Retributors- 4 heavy flamers, Sister Superior w. combi-melta
Immolator- Immolation flamers
Immolator- Immolation flamers
Immolator- Immolation flamers
Rhino- 2 storm bolters
Rhino- 2 storm bolters
ORDER OF THE SACRED ROSE SPEARHEAD:
Canoness- bolt pistol, power sword
8 Retributors- 4 heavy bolters, simulacrum imperialis
This list pretty much use of most of my collection. The general idea was to take as much mobile stuff as possible, with a solid mix of anti-infantry and anti-tank firepower, plus some decent close combat units to deal with any Orks that get into chopping range. For my Canoness, I figured that the Orks would not bring too many high-AP weapons (in retrospect, not that great an assumtpion), and eschewed going for Force Field Generator Canoness, instead going for a fighty lady with the Blade of Admonition– hopefully, she would be able to help deal with tough things like Warbosses, Nobs, Dreadnoghts, etc.
The heavy flamer Retributors were an experiment, as were the pure storm bolter Battle Sisters. I made sure to give my Dominions and Retributors each a bolter girl and an appropriate combi-weapon on the Superior, to take advantage of the Holy Trinity stratagem if need be.
The Orks brought:
EVIL SUNZ BATTALION:
Deffkilla Wartrike- Might is Right
Warboss- kombi-rokkit, Da Killy Klaw, attack squig
10 Boyz- shootas, big shoota, Nob w. killsaw
10 Boyz- shootas, big shoota, Nob w. killsaw
10 Boyz- sluggas and choppas
3 Deff Dreads- dread klaws and dread saws
BAD MOONS BATTALION:
Weirdboy- Da Jump
Weirdboy- Fists of Gork
Morkanaut- kustom force field
Wazbomm Blastajet- 2 supa shootas
I had not played against the new Orks before, and so had no idea what to expect. I was, admittedly, quite surprised at how few actual Byz he was bringing, with a list that seemed to emphasize swarms of vehicles over infantry. My opponent seemed fairly new to Orks as well, so this was doubtlessly going to be a learning experience for the both of us.
SCENARIO AND DEPLOYMENT
For the mission, we rolled Beach Head from Chapter Approved 2018. Essentially, we each had an objective in our deployment zones, and one in the centre. Whoever had more models surrounding these objectives from turn 2 onwards would get 3 points a turn for the centre objective, 1 point per turn for holding yours, and 2 points for holding the enemy’s.
As per scenarios rules, as the player setting up first, I went first. My opponent failed to seize, and so the game began.
On the left flank, meanwhile, my Dominions took advantage of their early movement to zoom around the right flank to threaten my opponent’s troops there, and, more importantly, his warlord. My heavy bolter Retributors, meanwhile, moved into the cover of the nearby ruined building.
In the shooting phase, it was time to test out the new Acts of Faith. The heavy bolter Retributors prayed for Divine Guidance, hoping to offset the negative to hit penalty they had for having moved earlier. They narrowly managed to pass it thanks to their simulacrum, and then fired on the middle Ork Boyz, but, thanks to some poor wounding rolls, only managed to kill three. In the centre, both of my Immolators, sadly, found themselves out of range of his Ork Boyz, and so instead were forced to pop smoke. On the right flank, however, my Dominions’ Immolator had no such difficulties as it unleashed its flamers on the rightmost unit of Gretchin, roasting 7 of the little runts.
The most important shooting, however, came from my Exorcists. The Wazbom Blastajet genuinely scared me, and I knew that if it were allowedfree reign, it would make life hell for my vehicles. With this in mind, I fired both of my Exorcists at it– thanks to the windows of the building they were sheltering behind, they could both see the big yellow Ork warplane. Between they two of them, they fired eight or ten missiles at it, managed to hit with several despite the -1 to hit penalty, and got a few wounds through the kustom force field from the nearby Morkanaut. Several good damage rolls later, and the Blastajet came plummeting to the earth in a blazing fireball, netting me first blood.
In the morale phase, the last Gretchin from the unit I had flamed decided to scamper off, and that was that.
The shooting phase began brutally. First, the Megatrakk Scrapjet split its fire, mowing down one of my big unit of Battle Sisters with its big shootas and actually managing to do a couple of wounds on my rightmost Immolator. The Morkanaut openet up, doing a few wounds as well with its sheer volume of dakka. Then, the Lootas used their More Dakka! stratagem to trigger Dakka Dakka Dakka! on a 5+, even though they would be hitting me on 6s normally due to the smoke launchers. I argued that if he was hitting on 6s then he couldn’t trigger Dakka Dakka on a 5+, but my opponent was adamant that the stratagem superseded this. I didn’t want to get embroiled in a rules debate, and so allowed him to do it.
The Lootas split fire between my two leftmost Immolators, and then used the Showin’ Off stratagem to shoot twice, filling the air with yet more bullets and vaguely bullet-shaped objects.
On the right flank, meanwhile, the Deffkilla Wartrike fired its burna jet into the Dominions’ Immolator, freeming an impressive 6 wounds off of it! Two units of Boyz and the Shokkjump Dragsta then poured their own firepower into it as well.
In the charge phase, however, a miracle happened: the Wartrike charged my Dominions…and fell short. Twice! Somehow, despite the added movement given by being an Evil Sun and having ‘Ere We Go, the Wartrike failed to make it into combat! To spare my opponent further embarassment, however, he at least didn’t take any wounds form overwatch.
On my right flank, meanwhile, my firebase held its ground, and my Dominions, amazed to be still alive, moved up to saw hi to the Wartrike with their meltaguns.
In the centre, my two units of disembarked Battle Sisters turned their massed bolters on the four Orks remaining from the leftmost mob, evaporating them in a storm of bolts. Further at the back, my Exorcists trained their launchers on the Morkanaut and fired. I was forced to use a command point after one of them rolled a 1 for its number of shots, but between them, they unleashed something like 10 or 11 missiles at the big guy…
…and after dealing a number of wounds past the Morkanaut’s force field, the Exorcists managed to deal 18 damage to it, just enough to kill it! The big lug promptly exploded: my opponent quickly used a command point to reroll it…and, to his horror, got a 6 again!
In the rest of the shooting phase, the Seraphim used Burning Descent to unleash their hand flamers on the leftmost Gretchin, incinerating 8 of the little blighters. The Retributors fired on the rightmost unit of Boyz, but thanks to poor line of sight and cover, only two of the Orks were blasted down.
Finally, the Dominions levelled their meltaguns at the Deffkilla Wartrike, hitting and wounding with two of their guns, and managed to deal 7 wounds to the big guy…just 1 short of killing him! The Sister Superior then tried roasting him with her combi flamer, but only scored one wound, which the Speedboss then saved.
In the morale phase, the last Ork Boy in the centre decided to run for it, as did the last Grots from both depleted units of Gretchin.
At the start of his turn, my opponent used the Tellyporta stratagem to tellyport three Deffdreads onto my right flank, threatening my firebase.
Further on the left flank, his lone, wounded Warboss came charging towards Celestine, deciding that he wanted a shot at the umies’ boss-lady. The Megatrakk Scrapjet zoomed up as well to give the Boss a hand (and several missiles). Finally, on the right flank, the Wartrike zoomed over to say hi to my Arco-Flagellants’ Rhino, while the remaining unit of Boyz moved up to threaten my Retributors.
In the shooting phase, the Lootas once again used More Dakka! and fired on the Arco-Flagellant Rhino, and managed to ding 4 wounds off of it. The Megatrakk Scrapjet managed to missile 4 wounds off of my last Immolator, while the Shokkjump Dragsta added its zappy guns against the Arco-Flagellant Rhino, but, sadly, missed. Finally, the Boyz fired their shootas at the Retributors, but thanks to cover, none fell.
Then, in close combat, the Deffdreads charged. One made it in against my rightmost Exorcist, while another made it in against both the Exorcist and the Canoness. A third tried to charge the Retributors, but fell short, and took a wound from overwatch for its troubles. The Warboss, meanwhile, charged Celestine from just outside of her 8″ flamer range and made it in, while the Scrapjet slammed into the Gemini Superiae. Finally, the Wartrike revved its engines and charged the Arco Rhino (narrowly shrugging off overwatch in the process).
Finally, the Wartrike slammed into the Rhino and tore into it with its snagga klaw, managing to do 5 wounds, leaving it hanging on just 1.
At the end of the turn, we tallied points. I was firmly in control of both the centre objective and my own, while the Ork player was still holding onto his with his remaining Weirdboy.
Sisters of Battle- 5
Further on the left flank, my Seraphim flew up to the edge of the large building in the Ork backfield to target the Weirdboy who was now sitting on his home objective. Everything else simply shuffled to get better line of sight.
In the shooting phase, my heavy bolter Retributors fired on the leftmost Deff Dread and dinged two wounds off of it, while the sole Exorcist that could shoot targeted the rightmost one, but only managed to deal three wounds. My heavy flamer Retributors, bereft of anything else to shoot at, turned their guns on the nearby mob of Boyz and roasted them all in a burst of flame. My large blob of Sisters, meanwhile, fired at extreme range, and managed to blast down some four or so Lootas. Finally, the Seraphim opened up on the lone Weirdboy and managed to blast the alien witch into gobbets of green goo.
Elsewhere, Celestine swung at the Scrapjet and reduced it to 1 wound. In exchange, the Scrapjet revved up its nose drill, and this time did some damage, dealing 1 wound apiece to Celestine and one of the Gemini. Incensed, the Gemini drove their power swords into its fuel tanks, causing it to explode– though Celestine was unhurt, both of the poor Gemini were incinerated in the blast, leaving the Living Saint on her own.
At the start of the Ork turn, my opponent had very limited options, and limited movement. His Deff Dreads stomped forward, readying themselves to charge my Exorcists and Retributors again: everything else simply held its ground.
In the shooting phase, the Lootas unleashed dakka upon the Retributors. It was at this point that my armour rolls abandoned me, and five of the Sororitas were mowed down in a storm of fire, leaving one flamer-toting nun left.
With nothing else to do, the three Deff Dreads charged again, with one each going after an Exorcist and the third going after the Retributors, taking another wound in the process. My opponent’s dice betrayed him again, however, as the damaged Exorcist only took another three wounds, while the other Exorcist only took two. Even worse, the third Deff Dread only managed to stomp one Retributor. All of my units passed morale.
Sisters of Battle- 10
At this point, however, my opponent decided that the game was unwinnable. Between my massive points lead and the casualties his army had taken, he figured he had no way of contesting my objectives– especially since I had a large number of units standing between his Dreads and the center objective.
RESULT: Sister of Battle Victory!
Looking back on this game, a lot of things went right for me from the get-go. Getting the first turn allowed me to go for the center objective nice and early, and pretty much allowed me to control most of the board from the start. Thanks to my early advance, I was able to surround the central objective from the get-go and start racking up victory points at a rapid rate. Shooting down the Blastajet on turn 1 helped by eliminated a serious threat to my vehicles, and blowing up the Morkanaut turn 2 eliminated the kustom force field and the protection it provided.
Looking back at this game, it’s hard for me to make any decent assessment of the beta Codex based on my army’s performance, since everything in my list more or less did what it already could do before (with one or two notable exceptions). Faith had a fairly minimal impact on this game other than boosting the ballistic skill of my Retributors and big Sisters mob…which, admittedly, was quite helpful. A few units did stand out for me, though: the Exorcists surprised me by scoring two big vehicle kills in a row with their enhanced damage output, and my Canoness, once she made combat, did a shocking number of wounds to the already mostly-dead Wartrike. Other than Burning Descent, however, I did not get to test out any of the new stratagems, which I found a little disappointing.
Unfortunately, this was a game where my opponent’s own inexperience with Orks, and his horrible luck, were working against him.
Had the battle gone on, then I would have liked to see how my Canoness, Arco-Flagellants, etc could have stood up against his mostly healthy Deff Dreads. After our game, my opponent admitted that he was already considering serious revisions to his army list– namely, dropping the Morkanaut in favour of more Boyz and more Lootas.
Still, that’s one game down for testing the new beta Codex. Hopefully there will be many more to come…
Canoness Avriel Solemnas sheathed the Blade of Tyr, the flames ringing its blessed blade as the sword was returned to its scabbard. Turning away from the charred, headless body of the Ork Warlord and the still-burning wreckage of its wartrike, she watched her preceptory finishing off their holy work, her Sisters relentlessly purging the remaining Greenskins and their works with bolt, flame and melta blast. Within minutes, it was over: scores of Greenskin bodies littered the field alongside the guttering wrecks of the vehicles, the few survivors retreating back into the ruined shanty towns from which they had struck.
Wearily, Avriel leaned against the ruined shell of a stricken Rhino. This had been the twentieth Greenskin attack in the past few days, and this time the Greenskins had struck farther into the hivesprawl than they had before. The defense of Dontoria had been a never-ending battle ever since the Sisters of the Blessed Damsel had arrived on Vigilus month ago: whether it was Ork attacks from the south, terrorist attacks and ambushes by Genestealer Cultists in the north, or containing the Gellerpox quarantine in the city centre, Avriel and her Sisters had been thrown into engagement after engagement, never given a moment’s rest by the myriad foes of humanity. They had only been here a month, and already, their casualties were beginning to mount. If they did not receive reinforcements soon, it was only a matter of time before this sector fell.
Avriel was so immersed in her thoughts that she almost didn’t notice the winged figure hovering near her– that is, not until she felt, rather than noticed, the holy light that this figure was radiating. She looked up, and saw the welcome figure of Saint Germaine hovering nearby, borne aloft on on majestic white pinions. The reincarnated saint’s face was beatific and calm, her eyes burning with an unearthly white glow. She was a figure of terrible beautiy, a beacon of faith, the Emperor’s will made manifest…and yet, for a holy being like herself, she was also terribly conversational.
“Do not lose your hope or your resolve, Avriel Solemnas,” the Germaine said, her voice as calm as a placid lake. “You will need both in the battle to come.”
Avriel started, and stood a little more upright. “What do you mean, O Saint?” she asked. “Another Ork attack?”
Germaine made no attempt to respond to Avriel’s question, instead continuing. “The skies above shall soon darken further,” she said. “Soon the spear of the true enemy shall be plunged into the heart of Vigilus.”
Avriel was about to ask Germaine what she meant when the air raid sirens deeper in the heart of the city began to start again. The vox crackled to life with the frantic shouts of Vigilant Guard officers all across the southern front, reporting yet more Greenskin incursions on a wide front. Even as this happened, Avriel heard the growl of engines in the distance– a growl that was approaching fast.
She gave a weary sigh. The Emperor’s work was never done.