I took up a a challenge at my local club to take on the BT. I had played his army some time ago and the end result had been a costly draw. The sisters were determined to win this time with improved tactics.

Sisters of Battle

Canoness w Blessed Weapon, Litanies of Faith and large retinue of celestians w eviscerator, Flamer and HFlamer, all in a Rhino.

Squad of 6 celestians w 2 meltaguns in an Immolator.

4 squads each of 10 battle sisters w Flamer and HFlamer, VSS, all in Rhinos.

Fast Attack
2 squads of 8 seraphim w VSS w power sword and 2 sets of hand flamers.
Squad of 6 seraphim w VSS w eviscerator and 2 sets of Inferno pistols.

Heavy Support
2 Exorcists w smoke and EA
Squad of 6 retributors w VSS and 4 Heavy Bolters all in an Immolator w TL Heavy Bolters.

Black Templars

Fearsome BT character w retinue inc champion in Rhino.

Two dreadnoughts, one venerable w AC and DCCW, other MM and DCCW.
Terminator squad w assault cannon.

Nasty squad w Emperor's Champion in a Land Raider Crusader.
Squad w Plasma Cannon and Plasma Gun in a TL HB Razorback.

Fast Attack
Bike squad of 3 w champion and meltagun.
Chaplain w 10 strong assault squad w plasma pistols.
Land Speeder w AC and HB.

Heavy Support
Land Raider Crusader, used to transport a squad (see above).
Predator Destructor w TL LC, 2 sponson LC.

The battlefield was a patchily wooded field, with a large ruined bunker-like building in the centre with an open flat top. This counted as 4+ cover if you went inside it, and open terrain if you just stood on the top. There were some ruins off to one side and a wrecked Leman Russ on the other side.

The mission was Cleanse, plated at Gamma level.

The sisters crowded together, keeping out of sight using the woods, the central bunker and their own vehicles. All the Rhinos and the Immo w the celestians deployed packed together in a huge block. The Exo's and the other Immo deployed behind them, with the seraphim round the vehicles and in some woods close to the bunker.

The BT deployed to either side of the bunker. To the left, as seen by the sisters, went a dread w MM, the LRC and the Pred. On the other side went the Termis, the Dread w AC and the bikers. Stacked up slightly further away were the HQ in their Rhino and the Razorback squad. The assault squad and Speeder stayed off board to deepstrike.

Turn 1
The sisters won the roll for first turn and took it. Rhinos roared forward and three took up position behind some woods a little way from the bunker, hoping for the BT on the left to push into the open ground between the woods and the bunker where they could be attacked. The Immo w celests and the two other Rhinos, inc the one with the HQ, drove up next to the bunker. All the seraphim jumped up as close to the bunker as they could as well, taking cover behind its bulk and all their vehicles. The Exo's moved up into the space left empty by the Rhinos, keeping out of sight of the enemy for now in anticipation of a more concentrated attack next turn. Finally the Immo w the retribs moved out into the woods looking for a good position where they could fire on both the bunker and the large empty space in the sisters rear where they anticipated a deepstrike.

The BT began moving up. Each wing of the army swung out round the bunker, jostling to get a bead on the sisters. There was precious little to fire at though. A Rhino or two was shaken by assault cannons and a lone seraphim was knocked over but that was it.

Turn 2
The sisters were now in position and the overeager BT had stuck their head in the jaws. Two squads of sera leaped up on the bunker and looked down on the terminators trudging round it. A battle squad in a Rhino drove up and deployed in front of the bikers and dread coming round the edge of the bunker. Next to them the Immo deployed the celests w meltas. The Exos moved to target the other dread on the opposite side of the bunker. The sera squad w the AT weapons leaped to in front of the LRC. The retribs in their Immo drove forward slightly but didn't disembark, their vehicle taking aim at the bikers. The three Rhino squads behind the woods did nothing, waiting patiently for the right time to strike. The HQ Rhino too just adjusted its position.

In the shooting phase the small bike squad was quickly wiped out. The celests though failed to knock out the dread, only shaking it. The seras poured fire on the termis, using DG to kill all but the one with the AC. The Exos punched missiles into the other dread but only shot its legs and MM arm off. The sera squad next to the LRC fired at it with their IP's but only shook it and shot off a MM.

In the assault phase the enraged BT termi rolled a 6 and vaulted up onto the bunker to attack the seras. The dread w AC was similarly maddened and crashed into the celestians. The only other assaulting was the seras charging the LRC to use the eviscerator. The termi never got to strike as a sera VSS expertly stabbed him with her power sword. The other sera was less skilful and only struck sparks off the LRC. The dread flailed wildly but only squashed one celest.

Though battered the BT were now in their turn in a position to strike. Marines leapt out of the LRC to get the seraphim. The HQ Rhino did not move, instead its passengers disembarked and moved up on foot so they could assault. The Razorback squad moved out wide to try and get a line on the sisters rear area. The Pred sniped a seraphim with its twin lascannon. Meanwhile deepstriking BT dropped into the sisters rear. The assault squad appeared next to the retribs, while the speeder zipped in behind an Exo.

BT firing had mixed results. The BT assault squad fired plasma pistols into the back of the retrib Immo, wrecking it, though the retribs inside piled out unharmed and unpinned and aimed their HB's at them. The LRC squad killed a couple of seras with plasma pistols, as did the HQ squad to a battle squad. The speeder stunned and immobilised an Exo. The rest of the BT army was either out of position, in assault, or dead.

In assault the HQ charged a sisters battle squad, killing all but three of them. The dread broke the celestians, who managed to flee from it, while it lumbered slowly after them. The LRC squad killed all but two of the seras, who survived only because they turned invulnerable. The seras killed one of their opponents before jetting off, much to the BT's annoyance.

Turn 3
The sisters saw that only one BT squad was locked in assault and the rest were stumbling around in the open. They determined to break the enemy this turn. First the Rhinos crashed round or through the woods and assembled a massive firing line targeting the LRC squad, ignoring the disabled dread. Seras on the roof of the bunker walked over to the edge to fire down on them as well. On the other side of the bunker another sera squad jumped in to target the assault squad (and interpose itself between the BT HQ and the rest of the army). The sisters HQ likewise moved to attack the assault squad. The mobile Exo moved to target the speeder. The sera squad with 2 remaining members jumped back in to attack the LRC.

The sisters firing was devastating. The LRC squad was quickly reduced to just the Emperor's Champion, who shouted in rage and charged the nearest battle squad. The assault squad too was destroyed, assault marines going down under a hail of DG'd flame and bolts. The chaplain survived and charged the sisters HQ, the BT player scorning attacking a mere retrib squad. The Exo blasted the speeder out of the sky. The sera with the IP's managed to miss the LRC somehow. The celestians melted down the dread that had attacked them earlier.

In assault the BT HQ finished off the battle squad and started moving towards the seras and sisters HQ. The Emperor's Champion killed one sister, and unusually for sisters they panicked and ran off, though the EC failed to catch them. The chaplain, already wounded from all the earlier fire, killed one celestian (they went inv to deflect his attacks) and was then cut down by the canoness. The seras were most irritated to find that the EC's charge in the shooting phase earlier had moved him out of charge range, as they had wanted to kill him. The sera VSS w the Eviscerator carved open the LRC, finally destroying it.

What was left of the BT army moved to attack again. The HQ charged a sera squad, felling one first with pistol fire, then killing several more in assault. The seras then bounced away, andthe HQ squad just managed to consolidate into the retribs. The EC charged into a battle squad, but was unable to break this one. The Razorback squad disembarked and opened fire on the celestians w the meltaguns, killing all but one of them, who lost her nerve and broke, though the plasma gunner was disabled by his own backfiring weapon. The Pred did not move but elevated its guns to fire on the seras on the bunker roof. The seras on the roof turned invulnerable, with the result that the lascannon shots bounced off them.

Turn 4
The sisters saw that there were still a few BT fighting, and that something had to be done about the HQ squad. The 2 seras that had just destroyed the LRC jumped off to do the same to the Pred. The three battle squads all charged the EC en masse, as did the sera squad. The other sera squad and the sisters HQ fell back from the rampaging BT HQ.

The two Exo's, with nothing else to fire at, reduced the disabled dread to scrap. The EC killed one last sister, then was cut down by the seraphim. The BT HQ killed all but one of the retribs, the lone surviving sister refusing to break. The seras attacking the Pred shook it and cut off its TL lascannons.

The BT HQ then charged into the sisters HQ, causing heavy casualties in the vicious melee, though the sisters did not break. The Razorback squad tried to finish off the last retrib, but appeared to have forgotten to reload their weapons as she survived.

Turn 5
The sisters were left with little to do across much of the battlefield. Squads concentrated on moving off into table quarters. The seras attacking the Pred finally wrecked it after shooting off its tracks and hacking off the turret. The BT HQ reduced the sisters HQ to just two models, the canoness and her VSS.

The BT razorback squad concentrated on staying out of trouble as they were needed to hold a table quarter. The BT HQ finished off the sisters HQ, though not before losing the squad champion and another marine when the canoness activated the passion and struck before she could be hacked down.

Turn 6
The sisters found to their frustration that distance and wrecked vehicles prevented them from contesting the quarter with the BT Razorback squad in it. Sisters in the area of the BT HQ ran off as there was nothing which could now stop them.

The BT HQ squad managed to run round and get a bead on the rear of the mobile Exo, wrecking it with a meltagun shot. As the sisters player I think I got a bit sloppy at this point and failed to move my forces well enough to get them to safety or claim/contest quarters.

End Result
Amazingly, despite the massive casualties, the BT's won, attaining a Solid Victory by 22 points. This was due to them claiming two table quarters which I failed to contest, while I it turned out did not quite move a squad of seras far enough to claim a table quarter. I could have done this easily, with the result that I would have won by 1603 points, a Crushing Victory. Keep your eye on the prize when playing 40K, though it was hilarious to see how the VP totals could have swung so drastically.

Gameplay wise I think I handled my sisters well. I concentrated my forces, repeatedly being able to mass attack BT squads, wiping them out before they could strike. The seras were as deadly as ever, deflecting assaults and killing loads of the enemy. A tooled up sisters HQ retinue I find is really useful for killing off that lone tough character who somehow survives a hail of fire that wipes out his squad. My canoness has performed far better with a retinue than she ever did as a jump-packer.

The only big downer on the game was that blasted BT HQ, which inflicted nearly all my casualties by itself. I could very easily have killed it if the retribs had been just one inch further away when the seras jumped out, preventing it from keeping safe in assault. I certainly had enough firepower to take it down, with the HQ squad, 2 sera squads, the retribs and an Exo all potentially available to fire on it. In assault a BT HQ just totally overawes a sisters HQ.