It’s Been Way Too Long

So, this month, I finally got to hit the gaming table after what may have been more than a year. While gaming stores in Ontario had been opening up again, little by little, Omicron had quickly forced everything to close again. Thankfully, with that sordid business out of the way (give or take a little bit of watching in abject horror as society slowly collapsed all around me), game stores are now reopening, old friends are getting back together, and dice is being rolled on the tabletop once again.

The following two games were played against my friend Andy, whom I had been steadily teaching the ways of 9th edition as we waited for the world to reopen. Andy was keen to give his Orks a spin, having not yet had an opportunity to field them with the current codex, and I was eager to get my Sororitas on the table again to flame things to death.

For both of these games, we had agreed to 1000 point matchups, and since Andy was still familiarizing himself with the 9th ed rules, we decided to stick to the missions in the main rulebook rather than any Grand Tournament shenanigans.

(No fluff today, sadly, as this is just a short recap of both battles…I’m saving the fluffier bits for some Crusade games that will hopefully come along shortly.

Our armies were as follows:

My army:

ORDER OF THE BLESSED DAMSEL

ORDER OF THE ARGENT SHROUD PATROL
Canoness- Wrath of the Emperor, blessed blade, Righteous Rage, Word of the Emperor
Palatine
5 Battle Sisters- multi-melta
5 Battle Sisters- multi-melta
5 Celestian Sacresants- anointed halberds, Sacresant Superior w. Spear of the Faithful
Dogmata- Sigil Ecclesiasticus, Verse of Holy Piety, Psalm of Righteous Smiting
5 Dominions- 4 artificer storm bolters
5 Seraphim- 2 ministorum hand flamers
5 Retributors- 2 multi-meltas, 2 ministorum heavy flamers, 2 armorium cherubs
2 Mortifiers- heavy bolters, penitent flails, 1 with anchorite sarcophagus
Immolator- twin Immolation flamers

A solid, highly mobile mix of shooty infantry, with two fighty units (the Sacresants and the Mortifiers) anchoring their line. Overall, I hoped that it would be able to take on a myriad of different threats while still being able to take and hold objectives reliably well.

Andy, meanwhile, took the following:

DA ORKS

DEATHSKULL VANGUARD:

Warboss- kombi-skorcha, Opportunist
Weirdboy- Warpath, Da Jump
5 Nobz- 2 big choppas, 2 power klaws
5 Nobz- kombi-skorchas and choppas
5 Flash Gitz
Painboy- Supa Cybork Body
Megatrakk Scrapjet
Boomdakka Snazzwagon
Trukk
Trukk
Trukk

Contrary to most Ork armies I had seen, Andy went for a fairly elite force, with a few small but hard hitting units of Nobz riding in Trukks, backed up by the very scary Ork buggies. There were a few things that made me raise an eyebrow (such as the loadout on Andy’s Warboss), but overall it looked like a list that was designed to cross the board very quickly and get stuck in.

For the scenario, we rolled randomly and got Incisive Attack. Here is what deployment looked like:

Battle Sisters took up a defensive position in a tower

While yet more Battle Sisters held my central objective. Yes, the white paint scheme really needs touching up.
In the center, the Sacresants, characters, and Mortifiers all took shelter behind the dense woods. Yes, those are old anime VHS being used to mark the edge of the deployment zone.
The Orks, meanwhile, spread across their deployment zone, taking cover where they could.

For secondaries, I took Engage on All Fronts, Abhor the Witch and Bring It Down; Andy took Assassinate, Linebreaker and First Strike. For Sacred Rites, I went with Aegis of the Emperor in the hopes of shutting down that Weirdboy’s psychic shenanigans.

We rolled off for first turn, and with an immense roaroing of engines, the Orks zoomed into action!

A shot of the Ork initial movement phase, and of Andy’s impeccable taste in anime.

The game began with the Orks zooming up, abandoning their home objective in their eagerness to get stuck in. Massed shooting saw not just the Trukks, but also those very scary Buggies unleash a withering curtain of fire, managing to blast down 3 of the Battle Sisters in the tower despite their cover. Even worse, the Scrapjett put all of its rokkits into the Mortifiers, bringing one of them down to 1 wound remaining despite the dense cover and the Mortifiers’ ability to shrug wounds. This was my first time facing off against Ork buggies, and could now see that the terror they elicited was justified.

[1:16 PM]Charge phase, one Ork trukk zooms around the side to hit my Dominions, using a stratagem to run over 3 of them, before piling in and tagging my Immolator into combat as well, locking it in combat. I fail morale and lose another Dominion to combat attrition, leaving 1

The after that withering shooting phase, the Orks then did what they did best and kareened into combat. One Trukk full of Nobz managed to zoom around the flank of the ruins the Dominions were hiding in and slam into them, managing to make contact with the Immolator as is consolidated, and promptly crushed 3 of them thanks to the Ramming Speed stratagem. One more poor Dominions would promptly run away after that.

In my turn, last Dominion fell out of combat. The Dogmata told the Sacresants to be objective secured for a while, and then proceeded to fail both her prayers. You go girl! The Retributors and the Palatine disembarked from the Immolator, which used Judgement of the Faithful to fall back and still shoot. The Sacresants and my characters move up resolutely towards the center, and my Mortifiers move up to go after the Snazzwagon to try to take it out and grab the objective it was sitting on.

In shooting, the Retrubitors did what they did best and nuked the Trukk, causing 3 Nobz to die as they fell out of the burning wreckage; the Immolator then unleashed its twin heavy flamers and wiped out the remaining Nobz, leaving the Weirdboy on his own. Shooting the Battle Sisters’ multi-meltas then freemed out, with the leftmost squad wrecking another Trukk, spilling out the Warboss and his Nobz. The other Battle Sister squad got some vengeance of their own, reducing the Snazzwagon to 1 wound remaining with a direct hit from their multi-melta.

And then, in the charge phase, got over eager to score “Abhor the Witch” charged the Retributors into the Weirdboy. Perhaps I thought I was playing Bloody Rose, or perhaps I had forgotten that the Weirdboy was toughness 5 (with an invulnerable save to boot!) Either way, I realized too late that this is a very bad idea, as the Retributors whiffed and the Weirdboy bonks down 1 in return, leaving them staring down the Warboss and his Nobz.

The Mortifiers meanhwile charged the Snazzwagon, which overwatched, blasting down the wounded Mortifier and reducing the other one to 1 wound remaining! Ouch! The remaining Mortifier, though, made it into combat, and summarily wrecked the Snazzwagon, neatly taking the objective it had been sitting on.

In the Ork turn, the Flash Gitz and Painboy disembarked in the center to go say hi to the Sacresants, while their Trukk zoomed back to go hold their home objective. The Megatrakk Scrapjet also moved up to go after the Sacresants, while the Warboss and his Nobz ran up to help out the Weirdboy

In the psychic phase, the Weirdboy casts Warpath on the Nobz, buffing them to make them hit even harder. In the shooting phase, the Scrapjet blasted apart the last Mortifier, giving it the redemption it so sorely craved, while the newly disembarked Flash Gitz managed to mow down two of the Mortifiers despite their heavy armour. All other Ork shooting either missed or bounced off of the Sororitas’ armour.

In combat, the Warboss declared a WAAAGH! and charged in along with his Nobz into the Retributors and the last Dominion. Unsurprisingly, both Sisters units were wiped out in a flurry of choppa blows, before the Orks consolidated into both the Immolator and the Palatine, both of whom swung back and neither of whom did any damage.

Meanwhile, the Flash Gitz, Painboy and Scrapjet all charge the Sacresants and characters. The Flash Gitz were forced to fight last, but this left the Painboy free to single out the Dogmata, crushing her with his power klaw! (Why the Dogmata doesn’t have a rosarius, I will never know). The Scrapjet, meanwhile, slammed into the Canoness and did a bunch of wounds with its spiked ram, but thanks to some judicious use of command rerolls and miracle dice, the Nun In Charge took no damage. The Canoness and Sacresants then swung back and managed to 2 Flash Gitz, who krumped a Sacresant in return. My center line was holding, narrowly, but my Sacresants were now looking pretty thin.

In my turn, the Seraphim came down in the upper left table quarter. The Palatine fell back from combat (the Immolator couldn’t, due to my poor positioning against the board edge), and my damaged unit left the safety of their tower and advanced, using a miracle advance to guaruntee a long sprint onto the objective formerly occupied by the Mortifier.

In shooting, the Canoness fired her fancy relic pistol into combat and blammed down two Flash Gitz, leaving only one standing! The Immolator then turned and fired its heavy flamers point-blank into the Flash Gitz, incinerating 3 of them! What can I say, it’s dangerous to stay in combat with a flame tank.

In combat, the Warboss and Nobz did a bunch of wounds to the Immolator, but it remained standing. The Scrapject spun its spiked ram and did a wound to the Canoness, who did a few wounds back, though its ramshackle hull meant she wasn’t doing as much damage as I would have liked. The Sacresants then managed to do 2 wounds to the Painboy, who smashed down 1 of the shield-maidens in reply, and combat dragged on.

In the Ork turn, the Weirdboy cast Da Jump on the last 2 Nobz, teleporting them across the board onto another objective (and more importantly keeping them away from that scary Immolator). In the shooting phase, the Scrapjet fired all of its guns at point blank range into the Canoness, who by some miracle (and actual miracle dice) made all her saves!

In the charge phase, the Weirdboy charged in to help out the Warboss against the Immolator, and together they managed to bring it down to 3 wounds. Elsewhere, the Canoness did another few wounds to the Scrapjet, but this time the thing’s spiked ram struck home and managed to bring her down to 1 wound remaining! The Celestian Sacresant, though, managed to avenge her Sisters, driving her Spear of the Faithful into the black heart of the Painboy, finally felling him! Alas, Andy played the “Orks Is Never Beaten!” stratagem, and the Painboy swung wildly in his death throes, tearing the heroic Sacresant apart as he fell.

In my movement phase…the heroic thing would have been for my Canoness to stay in combat and try to finish off the Scrapjet, but at this point I was getting thoroughly sick of trying in vain to damage the this tough Ork vehicle, so I had the Canoness fall back near my full-strength Battle Sister squad. The only other movement was the Seraphim flying down from the wooden tower they had landed upon to confron the Nobz holding the objective

In the shooting phase, the Seraphim used the Cleansing Fire stratagem to put 24 hits on the Nobz with their flamers…and somehow, only managed to kill 1 of them. Argh. The Immolator, though, turned its auto-hitting dual flamers on the Weirdboy and roasted him to death! Hah! Abhor the witch!

Finally, my Battle Sister squads use their multi-meltas to excellent effect, and freemed down both the Scrapjet and the last Flash Git.

In melee, my Seraphim charged the last Nob to get him off of the objective…and failed, and instead lose 1 of their number. The Warboss, meanwhile, finally brought his big choppa down and wrecked the Immolator…which exploded! Thankfully, though, the Warboss, being a lucky Deathskull, shrugged off some of the ensuing mortal wounds.

The Ork turn consisted of the Warboss charging in to help the last Nob. Between them, they krumped 3 of the Seraphim, though the last one stayed in combat.

In my turn, the last Seraphim falls back out of combat. In shooting, my Battle Sisters freemed down the last Nob, and my Canoness turns her relic pistol on the Warboss and finally gunned him down. And with that, no Orks remained on the field. In the end, the Sisters won 76-46, a close game and fun game despite that final score.

A few weeks after that, Andy and I had yet another game, once again a clash between the Sororitas and the foul Ork hordes. Once again, for the sake of time, we played at 1000 points, but this time we were trying different lists. As a change of pace, I brought the following:

ORDER OF THE BLESSED DAMSEL:

ORDER OF OUR MARTYRED LADY PATROL
Canoness- bolt pistol, blessed weapon, Iron Surplice of Saint Istaela, Martyr’s Strength, Righteous Rage, Rapturous Blows, Exemplar of the Order
Palatine
15 Battle Sisters- 2 ministorum flamers, 1 ministorum heavy flamer
5 Battle Sisters
5 Battle Sisters
5 Celestian Sacresants- anointed halberds, Sacresant Superior w. Spear of the Faithful
Dogmata- Sigil Ecclesiasticus, Verse of Holy Piety, Catechism of Repugnance
5 Zephyrim- Zephryim Superior w. Zephyrim Pennant
5 Seraphim- 2 ministorum hand flamers
8 Retributors- 2 multi-meltas, 2 ministorum heavy flamers, 2 armorium cherubs
Rhino

There were quite a number of new things I was trying in this list, the most significant of which was the Our Martyred Lady supplement from Warzone Charadon. I always found the Our Martyred Lady rules interesting, and was doubly curious to try out the the stratagems and relics that came with their supplement. As an experiment, I was also trying out a big block of 15 Battle Sisters (who would hopefully benefit from the OML’s +1 to hit bonus once they started taking losses), and a unit of Zephyrim that I had freshly painted up and converted with 3-d printed flying stands (more on them another time, but suffice to say I like them a lot better than the spindly, easily breakable flying stands they came with).

Andy, meanwhile, took the following:

DA ORKS

BAD MOON PATROL:
Big Mek- Kustom Force Field, Da Best Armour Teef Can Buy
20 Boyz- shootas, 2 big shootas, Nob w. power klaw
20 Boyz- shootas, 2 big shootas, Nob w. power klaw
Painboy- Supa Cybork Body
5 Flash Gitz
3 Deffdreads- 1 w. 4 rokkit lauchas, 1 w. 4 deffklaws, 1 w. 2 rokkit launchas & 2 deffklaws

Some of Andy’s old school Deffdreads

Perhaps emboldened by his army’s decent showing in our previous game, Andy decided to test the effectiveness of a dedicated shooty Ork list. To this end, he went with Bad Moons, and packed his list with as many shootas as he could reasonably fit, plus some Deffdreads for good measure. We would soon find out, one way or another, whether or not a Bad Moon force with lots of Shoota Boyz could work.

(SCENARIO???)

Sadly, I didnt get many good shots of our deployment, but i basically clumped my battle sister blob, Sacresants and characters in the centre, hid my other two, squads and the Rhino, and kept all my jump pack infantry in reserve. The Orks deployed behind cover where possible, and kept their own Deffreads in the tellyporta.

For secondaries, I took Sacred Grounds, Engage on all Fronts and While We Stand We Fight; the Orks took Green Tide, Assassinate and Attrition. For sacred rites, I rolled twice, and got lucky with both the Passion and Hand of the Emperor

I won the first turn, my Dogmata proceeded to give the Sacresants objective secured, although sadly she failed to get off any of her prayers. Nonplussed, I advanced my characters and Sacresants forward behind cover to go grab an objective and perform Sacred Grounds; the big infantry blob of Sisters followed close behind along with the Hospitaller, while my Rhino edged around the left flank, waiting for the right moment to disembark the Retributors and unleash death on the Greenskins.

Shooting was poor, however, as despite using Defenders of the Faith (as they were sitting on my home objective), my large blob only managed to kill one Ork Boy at long range. Well, that was both disappointing and a waste of command points.

In response, the Ork Boyz moved up to grab objectives and spread out, trying to get as many fields of fire onto the incoming Sisters. In the Ork shooting phase, they unleashed a veritable wall of lead, and actually managed to drop one Sacresant and one Battle Sister. So far, definitely better than my own meagre small arms could manage.

In my turn, the Seraphim and Zephyrim both come down behind a building, outside of line of sight of the Ork shooting; the Battle Sisters moved up, while the Sacresants and Canoness moved up to take the fight to the closest mob of Boyz.. Finally, my Retributor Rhino on the right flank,advanced up to get into a table quarter in order to net me Engage on All Fronts, wheeling around the large bunker that the Flash Gitz were hunkering in.

Shooting was once again dismal, as, to my memory, my massed bolters only managed to down a handful of Boyz. And so I decided to trust in halberds instead of guns, and charged in with the Sacresants against a Shoota mob….and then distaster struck. Andy not only had the Shoota Boyz overwatch, but also used a stratagem that caused exploding hits. The net result is that the Greenskins inflicted a crazy number of wounds on the incoming Sacresants…and crucially, I failed four 2+ saves! To my disbelief, my noble Sacresants were scythed down in a storm of lead as they charged in! I may have said a bad word at this point.

Now horribly exposed in front of a lot of Ork guns, my Canoness had no choice but to charge in herself against the Ork horde. In she went, and she then proceeded to hack apart four of the green brutes while taking no damage in return– the Iron Surplice paid for itself, as the Orks found it hard to wound her or get past her armour. Shocked at how killy this ‘umie was, a few more Orks scattered to Morale.

In the Ork turn, the three Deffdreads came down, with the rokkit-armed one landing on top of an elevated tower, and the other two landing nearby. The Boyz fighting the Canoness, at the urging of their Big Mek, adopted the rather un-Orky tactic of falling back to go surround the objective, while the other unit of Boyz and their Painboy buddy came up to give her a good smashing instead

Shooting was absolutely brutal, with the Flash Gitz and Shoota Boyz focusing on the big unit of Battle Sisters and mowing down 9 of them despite the presence of the nearby Hospitaller! Suddenly, that big unit wasn’t looking so scary anymore. The Deffdreads also fired rokkits into the Rhino and took some wounds off of it, though it remained alive.

In the charge phase, the Deffdread with the four klaws used Ramming Speed to make a long charge into one of my backfield units of Battle Sisters; the poor girls barely had time to react before the klanking Ork contraption sawed apart and crushed them.

Meanwhile, the other unit of Boyz and the Painboy charged my Canoness, who stood her ground and prayed for the Emperor’s protection…and somehow, thanks to good rolling and miracle dice, she failed to take a single wound! (I was genuinely shocked by this, as mathematically Andy should have done at least one or two wounds with the Boyz, and probably more with his power klaws, but the dice spoke differently. I was a little disappointed by that, as I had hoped for some wounds so that she could buff herself with Martyr’s Strength). In exchange, my Canoness singled out the Painboy who had had the temerity to fight her, and deftly beheaded him with her blessed blade.

In my turn, the Retributors disembarked to deal with one of the Deffdreads, while my jump units flew to the centre of the board, the Zephyrim to help out the Canoness and the Seraphim to deal with the other Ork mob. The remnants of the other Battle Sister squad advanced up to join the Dogmata cowering behind a building to hold an objective (the Dogmata had been failing her prayers all game!)

In the shooting phase, the Retributors turned up their multi-meltas and nuked the Deffdread in front of them; the Seraphim then used Cleansing Flame to burn down a significant number of Ork Boyz, leaving only a handful of survivors.

And then the Zephyrim came charging in, using Holy Rage to reroll their misses. Between them and the Canoness, the Orks were wiped out to a Boy, no match for these paragons of the faith.

The game after this became something of a mop up; the remaining Orks from the other mob tried to shoot and charge down the Seraphim, but met facefuls of overwatch for their trouble, before the Canoness came in and finished them off. The Flash Gitz and shooty Deffdread crippled the rhino and brought down half of the Retributors; in exchange, the Retributors vaporized the shooty Deffdread.

In the final turns of the game, the fighty Deffdread charged into the Zephyrim, and managed to chop down 3 of them, taking 2 wounds in return, though the Zephyrim held their ground. In retaliation, the Canoness came charging in…and fell just short of wrecking the Ork war machine. In reply, the Deffdread again swung at the Zephyrim…and crucially missed most of its attacks, the few wounds it made being saved! In exchange, the Zephyrim managed to finish off the Ork war machine

In the end, the Andy threw in the towel, and it was a 45-39 win for the Sisters (before we counted how things might have gone in successive turns)

Thoughts:

Based on these two games, I have some thoughts on how some of my units (especially the newer ones) work in the new book:

  • Canoness- in general, the Canoness remains a solid leader, though I’m finding with her that more than ever, I have to decide on a specific role for her at the start of the game: while it is possible to make a decent, all-purpose Canoness who is decent at everything, the existence of Blessings of the Faithful means I have to decide well in advance if I want her to be disabling enemy invulnerable saves, boosting her own melee or shooting power, etc. That being said, I am impressed that my Canoness with the Iron Surplice proceeded to take on two entire Ork mobs in a row: I imagine that combo would be even better when run as part of a Valorous Heart detachment.
  • The Palatine, sadly, didn’t get a chance to shine in either game. That being said, her ability to provide wound rerolls proved to be pretty decent alongside the Retributors
  • The Dogmata is one of those units that is good on paper…until you proceed to fail every single prayer with her (why she can’t get a bonus to cast prayers like Space Marines do, I will never know). And, again, it baffles me that she doesn’t have a rosarius for some reason: she is still potentially quite useful thanks to her innate abilities and (assuming they go off) prayers, but dear Emperor, she is squishy!
  • Battle Sisters continue to be solid troops, and when given heavy weapons as part of an Argent Shroud detachment, they are surprisingly good damage dealers. However, a giant unit of them will simply evaporate to dedicated firepower, as that last battle proved.
  • I really want to like the Celestians, but they all ended up dying horribly in both games. Granted, in the first game they died after heroically holding the line for several turns: I think they may simply merit more experimentation.
  • Zephyrim, Seraphim, and Retributors continue to be amazing, nothing new there! The fact that Mortifiers are tankier now is also a bonus.

As for Andy, I think he made the unfortunate discovery that Shoota Boyz, while semi-decent in a Bad Moon detachment, simply don’t have enough hitting power in melee compared to Slugga Boyz. Beyond that, both games did highlight that Ork firepower can be surprisingly scary, and, when coupled with the speed with which their melee units can close the gap, this makes them a very formidable opponent in small games. I am looking forward to yet more games with Andy now that life in the province seems to be coming back to normal– especially since Andy has other armies (including Grey Knights and Death Guard) that he really wants to try out.

Tune in next time, dear readers, as I try out Crusade for the first time (let the endless proliferation of spreadsheets commence!)

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