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Thursday, 26 May 2011

Witch Hunters Tactica Part Two: Acts of Faith

Acts of Faith are one of those rules that it's easy to forget. I've used Sisters of Battle in games loads of times and the number of times I've actually remembered to use these things is rather less numerous.

Top tip here: Get some large colourful counters to represent your Faith Points and keep them in front of you during the game. 

 As you know, certain units grant and can use Faith Points: Heroines, Celestians, Battle Sisters with a Veteran Superior and Seraphims. Certain Acts of Faith are easier to perform with smaller squads and some with larger squads.

Now all of the squads mentioned above come in variable sizes and the key thing here is to bear Faith in mind when choosing how big you want your squads to be. A size-10 Battle Sister squad has various benefits and pitfalls in the game anyway compared to a size-20 one but this adds another level to that.

If your pre-game strategy involves use of a certain Act of Faith that requires you to roll under the squad size then it's worth going for the larger squad.

Remember: using an Act of Faith uses up a Faith Point but you get Faith Points back if the unit that gave you them expires.

And also remember, it's better to use your Faith Points than waste them. Get into the habit of using them and try to predict when to use them based on how long you expect your Faithful squads to survive. If a squad's about to get wiped out anyway, use an Act of Faith, even if it isn't otherwise an ideal time.

Let's look at each Act of Faith in turn:

Hand of the Emperor
(Roll under the number of models)

Grants: +2 Strength but Initiative 1

Notes: The larger squad size, the better here giving greater chance of success and more benefit as more models get the bonus.

+2 Strength is okay, depending on your opponent, though an Armour Penetration bonus would have been nice. I tend to think keeping Battle Sisters out of combat is the way to go but once it inevitably happens, this is a nice Act to push the combat their way. Bear in mind though that Initiative 1 means that casualties you've taken won't get a chance to fight, however at Initiative 3, Battle Sisters tend to strike simultaneously or last anyway.

Use: In most assaults

Divine Guidance
(Shooting or Assault)
(Roll under the number of models)

Grants: On wound rolls of 6 gives AP1 for shooting or Power Weapon attacks in close combat

Notes: Again, the larger the squad size, the more likely it'll work and the greater the bonus.

This one's a bit hit and miss as it isn't a guaranteed bonus but against heavy infantry like Terminators AP1 is definitely nice. I can't be bothered to work out which is statistically more useful in combat, this or Hand of the Emperor. Certainly ignoring armour saves is better than +2 Strength against Terminators or the like but only getting it on a wound roll of 6 is a bit of a bummer. Having said that, when striking Toughness 4 opponents (wounding on a 5+), that makes the chance of this working 50/50 if you wound them at all.

Use: When shooting at or assaulting heavy infantry

The Passion
(Roll over the number of models)

Grants: +2 to Initiative

Notes: Now I don't see any of the Faithful Sisters of Battle units as close combat orientated but striking first is a definite bonus as it stops dead enemy models striking back. I see this Act as more of a desperate measure than Hand of the Emperor but part of the trick here is judging which is more likely to work based on your unit size. If the average roll on 2d6 is 7, that's what you've got to consider, generally playing it safe on the likelihood of which effect will work.

Obviously only use any of these Acts of Faith if they're going to give you a benefit against the specific enemy unit.

Use: In assault when number in unit makes Hand of the Emperor or The Passion unlikely to work

Light of the Emperor
(Morale Bonus)
(Roll over the number of models)

Grants: Fearless for one game turn

Notes: Well... Fearless has its own bad side effects (extra models dying if you lose the combat) so I would personally be more inclined not to use this Act, in favour of the more destructive ones. Having said that it is very useful for bringing a fleeing squad back, especially if they have fallen below half strength.

Bear in mind that your squad size is likely to be six or less if this Act is working so you're in trouble any way you look at it.

Use: For rallying understrength squads and keeping squads in combat as a tar pit unit.

Spirit of the Martyr
(Roll over the number of models)

Grants: Invulnerable 3+ armour save

Notes: A normal 3+ armour save is amazing already so you'll only need this if coming under fire from Lascannons, Battle Cannons, Plasmaguns and the like. And also bear in mind that cover generally gives you a 4+ invulnerable anyway. Your 3+ armour save is your most precious possession. This Act of Faith helps keep hold of it.

Bear in mind that at the squad size where this Act is likely to work, staying alive is pretty critical - especially if this particular squad's survival is important for holding an objective or achieving some other goal.

Use: In combat against lots of Power Weapon or Rending attacks or likely to come under fire from armour piercing weapons if expecting heavy losses and the Faith Points won't be more useful later.

Overall Conclusion

  1. Know what you want your squads to achieve pre-game and roughly plan use of Faith Points beforehand.
  2. Plan squad sizes around your planned Acts of Faith.
  3. Look to the squad size before rolling the dice. Is it greater or lower than 7?
  4. It's better to use a Faith Point for a quite good reason than never use it.
  5. Remember to regain Faith Points when units die and use them while you still have time.

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