c. Dave Greco
The sky made Sister Ameline want to weep.
Once, the sky over Angeva has been a brilliant, joyous blue, flecked with white island chains of cloud and dappled with the golden rays of dawn. At nightfall, far from the planet’s only major hive, Ameline would be able to witness the starscape in all of its wondrous glory, with the iridescent haze of borealis effects playing across it like some strange, visual concert for the senses. Only a few weeks ago, the agri-world had been a beautiful, verdant paradise, made all the more beautiful by its fidelity and worship of Him on Terra, and while it was far from any warzone, Ameline was nonetheless thankful for her small posting here.
But that had been before the sickly tides of the Warp had blotted out the sky. That had been before the rusted, fungus-strewn hulks had appeared in orbit and rained down fire and dropships. That had been before the enemy had come, and with them had brought a million and one poxes that had liquefied the agri-world’s wheat fields into foetid mulch, turned its verdant forests to skeletal wastlelands of blackened, pus-filled bark, and turned the capital city into a stinking metropolis heaving with the unquiet dead.
She dared not look at the sky now– the last time she had, she had caught glimpses of movement, of lurid things that even now she thought she saw in the corners of her eyes whenever she closed them. She mouthed the Psalm of the Pliant Martyr and took a faint sip from her canteen, knowing that she had only a few milliliters of clean water left. She had her Sisters had been fighting for weeks now, cut off from reinforcements and supplies, against an enemy that did not tire, did not sicken, and did not relent. She couldn’t remember when she had last slept, especially now that the unholy warplight of the sky had obliterated the day/night cycle. All she knew was that her once athletic body now felt thin and frail inside of her filth-blackened power armour, pushed well past the limits of weariness and kept upright only by sheer, stubborn force of will.
It was only by some miracle that she had not sickened and died, as Jasmina had, and Beatriz, and Orphille. She remembered their last moments, with their hair falling in clumps and their bodies bloating from pustules as they moaned for her to deliver them the Emperor’s Mercy. They had been a squad of ten once; now there were five. Even with only five, they would continue to fight the Archenemy as long as they were able. Their faith commanded nothing less.
It was with this thought in her mind as she wearily peeked around the jagged rock formation, peering through magnoculars at the hellish scene not far away. This place– once a hallowed mortuary for Imperial dead– had been obliterated, and the stone fragments of the building now hovered and rotated in the air like spinning tops. Sickly light glowed up from under the ground in concentric rings across the mortuary grounds, bathing the empty columns in a hellish glimmer. But worst of all, Ameline saw the enemy: hulking, bloated figures, clad in ancient, rusted armour stained a sickly, mottled green by countless centuries of accumulated rot and filth. In many places, the pauldrons and plackarts of that armour had cracked, revealing a noxious spill of foetied, dripping intestines, slimy, tumorous growths or writhing, mutated appendages. Clouds of flies buzzed around them, and such was their horrible smell that Ameline had to fight the urge to retch even from where she observed them.
The Death Guard: the most foul of the Traitor Legions, those who had forsaken the Emperor’s illumination to instead wallow in filth and corruption, and to spread that creation to all that was good and pure in the universe. Such was Ameline’s hatred for them that it was all she could do not to hurl herself at them, weapons drawn. As she watched, the Plague Marines paced leisurely back and forth along the glowing circle, chanting something in unison with the deep, rumbling gurgle of their corrupted voices. Around them cavorted bloated things– ugly, misshapen creatures that might have once been human, but now resembled little more than disease-ridden, grinning corpses. It was plain to see that the heretics were involved in a warp-cursed ritual of some sort. As a Sororita of the Ecclesiarchy, she would not let such a blasphemy stand unpunished.
She glanced back at the motley band that had been following her across Angeva’s battered hellscape– her Sisters, with their armour tattered but their faith undimmed; the three Arco-Flagellants that they had managed to liberate from an Ecclesiarchy warding pen, waiting pliantly for the trigger-word that would turn them into drug-fuelled berserkers; and last but by no means least, the stranger that they had encountered out in the twisted wastelands, hacking down any spawn of Chaos he came across with his gleaming blade. He wore burnished silver plate armour, a faceless helm, and held aloft a shield emblazoned with the iconography of the Ecclesiarchy. He was Gotfret de Montbard, a Crusader of of the faith, and apparently he has been wandering the far reaches of the Imperium for quite some time before he had reached Angeva. That he was here, now, fighting at their side was as sure a sign of the God-Emperor’s providence as any.
“Are you all ready?” she asked. She heard the voxed affirmations from her squad, before she turned to the Crusader, who stoodwatching the distant heretics with quiet detachment. “And what of you, Sir Gotfret?”
Slowly, the Crusader’s faceless helm nodded. “The heretics will die by my sword on this day, Sister,” he said, his voice surprisingly soft. “The Emperor has willed it.”
That was as good an answer as Ameline had hoped for. Unslinging her power sword, she shouted the Extremis trigger word for the Arco-Flagellants and drew her bolt pistol, signalling the attack. Behind her, Sister Marie raised the simulacum high for all to see, Sister Agna revved up the blades of her penitent chainsword, and the Arco-Flagellants snarled into drug-fueled rage, and the tattered Sororitas warband surged forwards, prayers on their lips as they shouted the Emperor’s name…
So a while back, when I was still getting the hang of Tabletop Simulator and its functionalities for COVID-era gaming, I decided that, despite 9th edition 40k still being a recent thing and still having people frenziedly getting test games in, that I really missed Kill Team. This was in part because my copy of the 9th edition rule book had yet to arrive (especially since I refused to partake of GW’s ridiculous app), and in part because, while I had managed to arrange a game with a friend online, it was sufficiently late that I doubted we would be able to get a full game done on time. Hence, in the interest of me having to work the following morning, we opted for a quick game of Kill Team.
For my side, I opted to try Sisters of Battle for the first time in Kill Team:
SISTERS OF BATTLE
Sister Superior- power sword, Leader
Battle Sister Gunner- storm bolter, Demotions
Battle Sister- simulacrum imperialis, Medic
Sister Repentia- Zealot
Battle Sister Gunner- heavy flamer
Gotfret de Montbard
For this 125 point list, I opted to go for as much close combat-oriented stuff as possible. Arco-Flagellants looked absolutely terrifying for Kill Team with their multiple wounds and ridiculous number of attacks, and, of course, I wanted as many Battle Sisters with special weapons as well. I also wanted to try out Gotfret de Montbard from Blackstone Fortress, who, like all of the other BSF characters, has his own rules in Kill Team: with a storm shield, 3 wounds and multiple power sword attacks, he might prove useful as the anvil to my Arco-Flagellants’ hammer.
My opponent Tim, meanwhile, was fighting me from a completely different time zone with a merry band of Death Guard.
Plague Marine Champion- plasma gun, plaguesword, Leader
Plague Marine Gunner- blight launcher, Heavy
Plague Marine Fighter- great plague cleaver, Zealot
Plague Marine Fighter- plague flail, Combat
Plague Marine Gunner- blight launcher
Plague Marine- boltgun, plague knife
I was honestly shocked by the sheer numbers that Tim was able to bring in his Kill Team, especially given how pricey Plague Marines are compared to Battle Sisters (although to be fair, I had brought few Battle Sisters and plenty of elite models). Not only did he bring six of the toughness 5, disgustingly resilient heretics (complete with a scary array of ranged weapons and close combat nastiness), but he also brought six Poxwalkers, which, experience has taught me, are not to be taken lightly either and can be annoyingly difficult models to kill off. This was definitely going to be a tricky matchup.
For the scenario, we rolled randomly and got Disrupt Supply Lines, with my Sororitas as the attacker and the Death Guard as the defender.
TERRAIN AND DEPLOYMENT
On the right flank, the Battle Sister armed with the storm bolter and the enemy Heavy traded fire to no effect, their shots going wide as they both ducked between the adjacent pillars.
In the ongoing melee on the left flank, the Arco-Flagellant’s whirling flails managed to tear apart one of the Poxwalkers it was fighting in a spray of diseased fluids. On the right flank, meanwhile, the Plague Zealot roared praise to Grandfather Nurgle and hacked the Endurant in twain with a single blow from his plague cleaver. Emboldened by this, the flail-armed Plague Marine whirled his weapon into Gotftret, the daemon-flail swinging past the Crusader’s guard and dealing two crushing wounds to him, leaving him close to death as he fell to one knee.
Before the Plague Marine could finish the deed, however, the Repentia rushed in and drove her eviscerator into his exposed guts, sawing him in half. Nearby, the other Arco-Flagellant tore apart another Poxwalker. Little by little, the Sororitas were starting to gain ground against the Heretic Astartes.
Seeing that the battle had turned against them, the remaining Death Guard retreated, melting back into the noxious mists surrounding the ritual-site. Those Poxwalkers that still remained were swiftly purged in short order by the vengeful Sororitas. Though they had suffered a severe loss in the form of a great hero like Gotfret de Montbard, the Adepta Sororitas had nonetheless emerged victorious!
(At this point, the Death Guard kill team broke, and Tim finally threw in the towel. And thus, a swift, and very bloody game came to an end.)
RESULT: Sisters of Battle Victory! (Final score of 3-0)
Going into this game, I was very concerned with how much the Death Guard were outnumbering me, and how I was going to have to fight my way through a horde of enemies with high toughness and Disgustingly Reslience. Furthermore, there were a lot of things in Tim’s list that scared my (most notably his blight lauchers and plague flail), and I was worried that I was going to get stuck in an endless battle against his Poxwalkers while his Plague Marines chopped and blasted my poor Sisters to pieces.
As it turned out, however, Sisters of Battle are not only extremely nasty in melee, but this was a game where Tim’s luck decided to run screaming out the window at the earliest opportunity. He kept failing pivotal Disgustingly Resilient rolls, and continuously failed to roll more than a flesh wound against any of my models, whereas my own wounding dice remained hot (pun intended) throughout the battle. Once everything got into melee, the best Tim could do was fight a holding action to keep me away from his objectives– and unfortunately, our respectively cursed and blessed dice were not going to let that happen.
It wasn’t all absurd luck on my part, however, as I discovered that, despite being a fairly underdeveloped faction in Kill Team, Sisters of Battle hit hard! Arco-Flagellants are absolutely evil in Kill Team, what with their 5+ ability to ignore damage, their two wounds, and their ridiculous bucketload of attacks, and they were regularly chewing through Poxwalkers as the game went on. The presence of high-damage attacks like the Repentia and the storm bolter girl with Blessed Bolts added to the Sororitas’ hitting power, and the presence of the simulacrum, with its 5+ invunerable save bubble, meant that a lot of my models were saving against hits they normally wouldn’t have been able to withstand.
And that’s to say nothing about Gotfret de Montbard: with his multiple wounds, ridiculous number of attacks and storm shield, he may be one of the most absurdly tough models in the game, and he single-handedly anchored my right flank for several rounds. The fact that he finally went down to a Poxwalker, of all things, I put down to some final luck on Tim’s part, but I still think Gotfret is a ludicrously powerful model for his points. If I’m playing less competitive games in the future, I might leave him at home in favour of Pious Vorne, or more Battle Sisters.
To his credit, Tim took his horrible luck in stride, and was an absolute gent to play against. I very much look forward to playing him again, and just in general to playing more Kill Team…though with 9th edition 40K now dominating my attention, that might not be for a while now…
MVP: My Sister with the heavy flamer (who I still have neglected to name) was an absolute rockstar in this game, defying the odds and making an absurd number of saves while flesh wounded, before proceeding to straight up roast two Plague Marines in a row (one of whom was the enemy Leader) and having a smoke break on an objective. Truly, the Emperor smiled upon her in this game.