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So I've been leaning back and forth between Imperial Guard and Sisters of Battle. I wanted to start one of these armies around Christmas time, so I could potentially rack up models as gifts. However, I just don't know which army to choose! I've made quite solid lists for both, and I've studied the Codex of each from cover to cover. Additionally, the army I choose will techically be my first army for 5th Ed.
Why I like IG:
-Armor, armor, and more armor: Mounting everything in Chimeras supported by Vendettas, HHs, and Demolishers sounds too good to pass up.
-Firepower: The Guard can dish out a ton of firepower each turn; all those lasguns are bound to kill something! AT weapons fired in bulk can really put a hurt on enemy armor.
-The look/fluff: I really like the military theme of the IG, and the endless camo patterns or color schemes one can use really enhances their visuals. Plus, there are thousands upon thousands of regiments and creating your own fluff, color scheme, and appearance is a lot of fun.
Why I like SoB:
-The theme/look: For some reason, the idea of power armored female battle nuns is quite fascinating. I like the look of the models decorated with purity seals, icons, Inquisitorial and Sororitas imagery. A whole army that's painted well could look very imposing on the tabletop! And perhaps their ties with the Inquisition makes me like them even more.
-The story: I immensley enjoyed reading pages 4 through 6 of the Codex; learning about the rise of the Ordo Hereticus and the Sororitas. I'm a big fan of the Inquisition; this branch in particular.
-Playstyle: Upon studying the way the SoB handle, I feel their playstyle is relativley easy to get a hang of, more so than Eldar, Tau, or maybe even SM. (at least for me)
All things considered, I'd go with the Imperial Guard. The sisters are fun, but most of their units are relatively underpowered, and/or difficult to use.
Both armies can work well, but with IG you get variety. A good sisters of battle list is pretty much only going to be sister troop squads, dominion, and retributor squads in rhinos or immolators, 1-3 exorcist tanks behind them, and 1-2 seraphim squads, each led by a cannoness. This list is by no means bad, and is actually quite competitive, but it's really the only good list they have.
If that's all you want, then that's fine, but I personally prefer the variety of the Imperial Guard.
I play both regularily, and if I had to pick one I would pick Guard, just because of the models and because the troops are PLASTIC! My Sisters army looks great, but to be competitve your choices are somewhat limited. Sisters squads with Melta, Heavy Flamer in Rhino are the only troop choices worth playing. Exorcists are awesome, but again the only Heavy support choice I take. The real fun in a Sisters list is the Seraphim! I always take them and they are always effective. Other than that , nothing but Celestines for your Cannoness are worth taking in whole 'Dex. Retributers would be, but then you lose an Exorcist!
IG you have soo many effective and fun models. You just need to be a Treadhead like me to enjoy them. I don't recommend a real troop heavy foot slogging Guard list though..... not because they can't be effectived, but you won't make many friends down at the local GW or Gaming store. Your set up takes sooooooo long, and your shooting phase will cause your opponent to go our for a coffee.............
"A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril."
Sir Winston Churchil
That's an interesting issue. At one of the recent tournaments I played at, I played against a gunline, troop heavy Imperial Guard force, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that his first two shooting phases took a half hour each to complete. Of course, he wasn't very well organized, and other people might play faster, but in any case, gunline Imperial Guard take a long time to play each turn.
The interesting thing is it actually cost him the game. Af first it seemed that he'd be able to get enough of his troops up on the objectives to claim victory, but we ran out of time in the round. The game stopped where it was, and I still had enough surviving troops to eke out a win. If he played faster we probably could've squeezed in another turn, and he probably would've won.
So in any case, regardless of whether you play IG or Sisters, I'd play an army that's at least half mechanized. If you're primarily 'sit and shoot', then your turns are going to take very long, people are going to consider it a chore to play against you, and you won't be as competitive at tournaments.
If vendettas and demolishers are your thing then play guard and ally in as many or as few sisters as you want for the look and fluff (you can get 5 whole mechanised squads out of the allied rules if you want)
If on the other hand you like the idea of mounting everything up in transports and pushing the big mech line 'o' death forward then sisters can be straightforward and single minded about it.
I think I'd have to experiment a bit and add a few squads of Sisters and a Canoness in my already solid IG list. Testing out combinations and seeing which ones work for myself would probably help. I could proxy some models as Sisters and play against my friend, which may give me an idea of how it'll work out.
As a side note, I've recently had a very strong attraction to Eldar. I'm not even sure why myself, but I find Eldar to be more of a challenge and possibly more rewarding to play than Guard. I've been itching to open up my Eldar codex back at home and throw together a small mech list.
Eldar is a far more elite/specialized army than IG. Despite both playing well mechanized, and having a similar stat line, the armies are actually very different. Eldar uses far fewer models in each unit than...well...just about any other army. They can be a lot of fun, and they're certainly powerful, but they can also be a very unforgiving army, and they're relatively expensive to start, especially if you want to go mechanized.