OK, the ebook codex for the sisters of battle is out. Available from the black library as an ebook or from the itunes store as an ibook. Not having an ipad this is a review of the ebook version - the .mobi file which is readable on a PC using the Kindle for PC reader available from the Amazon site. There might be some minor differences between versions as Faeit 212 posted on 3 oddities in the codex, 2 of which seem to be absent from the Kindle version as far as can be determined here.
So the question is was this release a cynical tweak by the corporate monster that games workshop is sometimes accused of being,to enhance sales of a dwindling stock of metal Sisters minis or was it a genuine update of a dated codex?
First impression is that this is a significant enhancement of the Sisters, bringing their table presence closer to the Ecclesiarchy background story for the Adepta Sororitas and regenerating the army as one worthy of collection and deployment. The key change to this are the rule changes for ministorium priests and associated battle conclaves and war hymns.
The points cost of priests has come down from 45 points to 25 points, 5 priests may still be taken as one selection and do not take up a force organisation slot or HQ slot. In addition priests now have war hymns, a bit like acts of faith - which have been simplified, more of that later. The war hymns are
"- The Emperor Protects - As the Priest’s impassioned calls ring out across the battlefield, the faithful feel the blessing of the God-Emperor upon them. The Ministorum Priest and his unit re-roll all failed armour and invulnerable saves until the end of the phase.
- The Emperor’s Strength - Shouting out the prime canticle of Saint Brutos the Belligerent, the Priest calls upon the Emperor to help him smite his foes. The Ministorum Priest has the Smash special rule until the end of the phase. - The Righteousness of the Emperor
- The Priest bellows psalms of vengeance into the faces of the foe, exhorting his followers to excel in the Emperor’s sight. The Ministorum Priest and his unit re-roll failed rolls To Wound until the end of the phase."
War hymns can only be used if locked in combat, but look as if they can be used each and every turn a priest an his unit are locked in combat and can be used in conjuction with an act of faith. Give a priest embedded in a battle conclave or a unit of Sisters a rosarius and the Mace of Valaan and get the emperors strength hymn right and you have a close combat monster with 2 or 3 strength 10 attacks, admittedly only with human skill but with the possibility of rerolls if combined with an act of faith. The mace of Valaan also has a Chaos Bane special rule for deamons.
Add to this that a battle conclave taken now be taken for each priest in the force and that the Adepta Sororitas minimum squad size is down to 5 with 2 special weapons or 1 special plus one heavy, and that the points cost of the immolator transport has also been reduced to 60 and that cost includes all options of twin linked heavy flamers, heavy bolters or multimeltas. The possibilities of truly scary army builds look good. And by the way the Adepta Sororitas have also now access to the condemnor bolt gun, which will deliver psy-shock to any psyker target.
In conclusion this appears to be more than a holding action. Only major disappointment is the absence of the Repressor as a transport.