Howdy y’all, Danny here as usual to be your north star in these turbulent times with another formation. With all the new codexes suddenly appearing, let’s find another new formation that may or may not see the table.
Formation: Ecclesiarchy Battle Conclave
Faction: Adepta Sororitas
Source: Codex: Imperial Agents
1 Ministorum Priest or Uriah Jacobus
3-10 units chosen in any combination from the following:
Arco-flagellants/ Crusaders/ Death Cult Assassins
All models in the Formation form a single unit
Shield of Faith: 6++ invulnerable save and Adamantium Will
So with this formation, you have all the ingredients necessary to make your own Imperial Tide! At the smallest, this formation can run with only 7 models, but at its largest, you get all 101 models that can make any Greentide pause for thought. Depending on how you build this formation, you can have 100 models with a 3++ save running around.
Wow, that seems really annoying.
Anytime you have the chance to smash units together, you can make some crazy builds, and the Battle Conclave is no different.
Priests are amazing for 25 points base as they have a decent amount of upgrade options (an Eviscerator is key as it provides S6 armorbane, meaning that on average dice, you are glancing Knights), and with War Hymns, you can either reroll failed saves in close combat (awesome for Crusaders) or reroll failed wounds (awesome for Death Cult Assassins or Arco-Flagellants). They also provide Zealot which is huge for making sure this non-fearless star actually stays around, and the reroll attacks on the first turn is also huge.
Death Cult Assassins provide a lot of blender action as they have 3 (4 on the charge), WS5, S4, AP3 attacks all at initiative 6 (but with no grenades <sad trombone>). They can provide some high quantity and surprising decent quality attacks.
Arco-Flagellants provide higher strength but weaker AP attacks, but they provide even more attacks than DCAs. With 5 attacks on the charge, they each swing at WS5, S5, I3. That’s a lot of attacks that can suddenly pop AV11.
Crusaders are my favorite as they are the bulwark on which this formation is built as they each come equipped with a storm shield. That’s right, you get a 3++ save to soak wounds, and they still do have a power sword for AP3. Really, they aren’t about doing damage as much as they are about absorbing damage to protect the DCA or Arcos.
So, with all of this in mind, you can build a unit that has plenty of 3++ to soak wounds, a bunch of S5, and a bunch of S4 AP3, either rerolling saves or rerolling wounds. That’s pretty sweet, but since this is Imperial we are talking about, you can always add in some pretty slick characters like a Xeno Inquisitor with Rad Grenades for -1 Toughness, Grey Knights for more combat punch, sanctuary for a 2++, or Hammerhand for +2 S that makes Arcos able to hurt anything but AV14 and DCAs able to wound Thunderwolves on 3+, or go full hog and add in a Librarius Conclave for all the powers. You could also throw in that new Canoness Verydan to give all the DCAs and Arcos Precision Strike, for giggles.
Really, what you have here is a solid, solid base for a footslogging Deathstar.
Oh great, just what the game needs, more deathstars.
Yah, GW definitely has a design element in mind (or perhaps this is all because 8th edition will change how characters join units), but this as a Deathstar base isn’t invincible. All the special rules are pretty much useless as getting a 6++ for a super-unit where 2/3 of the choices have a better invulnerable save is a bit laughable although the +1 to Deny The Witch isn’t too bad I suppose. But still, this isn’t a perfect Deathstar.
First off, it’s slow. Everything is walking without Move Through Cover,and if it is built large, it is going to have to cut through terrain, so it may just end up rolling double 1s and not going much of anywhere in a turn. It has no way to speed up, so it will have a hard time bullying the board and forcing your opponent into corners. It has no native Hit and Run, so without White Scars or Dark Angels, it is going to get stuck easily enough.
It is also unwieldy as hell. The advantage of smaller, more agile deathstars like Thunderwolves or Black Knights is that it is harder for the unit to get in its own way. With the Battle Conclave, it is entirely possible to get hit on the flank, and none of the characters can make it over to fight, so you could have a dreadnought holding up the entire unit on one far side while your opponent has to wait for his own unit to die to get that big swinger over there. You could build this to be a bit smaller with say 20 crusaders and 10 DCAs, but then this formation’s advantage is sheer numbers.
The other obvious weakness is that this is a Deathstar built on T3, so even massed bolters are going to force wounds through without much problem. While it can easily get a 2++ rerollable, when standard guns are wounding you 67% of the time, you are going to have roll dice. With T3, you also can’t really get Feel No Pain to be effective as S6 is common as hell, so your layered defense gets turned off pretty quickly.
Lastly, to get the full 101 dudes, you are spending about 1550 points, so that is the entirety of your army. A 300 point conclave is not all that scary, and suddenly, you have nothing else in your army to play the mission. If someone does commit to this, they really only have threat, one slow, unwieldy threat that a 120 point Dreadnought can tie up for TURNS if you charge it correctly.
So there you go, another Deathstar but one that is likely not to see too much play, but then you never know. Jerks like me enjoy bringing the funky stuff out. As always, check out our Patreon as the more people contribute, the less likely Adam and Travis will allow my shenanigans.