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  1. From the album: Our Martyred Lady Commandery

    Before picture for my first vow for the 2015 E Tenebrae Lux IV painting competition.
  2. Tactics for Units: Dominions Welcome back, after rather more of a break than intended, to Tactics for Units, a series of tactica articles focusing on Adeptas Sororitas units in 8th edition. Today, we’ll be looking at the most recent incarnation of one of the Sisters Militant’s most consistently bright stars; the Dominion squad. The Dominion is an Adepta Sororitas specialised in the use of a special weapon, and on the battlefield, they are often arranged into specialised units called, aptly, Dominion squads. Dominion squads have excellent maneuverability, which they leverage to bring their impressive firepower to bear at their opponent’s weakest points. Stats The Dominion squad has the same relatively average stats as the Battle Sister Squad. Of note, of course, is the BS3+, which helps them use their special weapons as needed. The 3+ save is good to help them stay alive, and their Leadership 7 (8 with the Superior) means the squad is unlikely to lose more models to Morale, should they take casualties. All things considered, an average but well rounded set of stats. Nothing special, by the standards of the Sororitas, but perfectly serviceable. Special Rules Dominions have three Special Rules; the army-wide Acts of Faith and Shield of Faith, and their unique rule Vanguard. Acts of Faith is one of the defining rules for Adeptas Sororitas, and the Dominion squad is no different. This rule allows, on the roll of a 2+, one unit in your army to make an out of sequence action that occurs before the Movement Phase. Of particular interest to the Dominion squad is Hand of the Emperor, which allows the unit to make a move as if it were the Movement Phase. With the necessity of good positioning to maximise their special weapon fire, this is a golden option for the ladies. Similarly, Divine Guidance is great, as you bring these ladies for their guns, and this doubles the return on your investment. Not much more to say beyond that! Spirit of the Martyr is a perennial favourite, as bringing back slain models is always good, especially in a squad with large numbers of model-by-model upgrades such as Dominions. The Passion is… Well, not quite worthless, but I would caution against it. Even if you give your Superior a chainsword or power weapon, the number and quality of attacks is just so poor as to make it a waste of time. These ladies do not want to be in assault, so try and keep them out. If they DO end up in combat, consider using Divine Guidance and have them shoot their bolt pistols. You will lose out on perhaps one Strength 3 hit, but in exchange get +1 to hit and +1S. Better if you gave the Superior a plasma pistol. Shield of Faith is a neat and fluffy little rule that grants a 6++ Invulnerable save. Now, with a 3+ armour save, it is unlikely that you will find yourself getting less than a 6+ save after AP is applied, but for those few times when it does? Golden. It also grants a modified Deny the Witch roll, which allows the unit to Deny using a single d6. It isn’t going to come up particularly often, given the average roll on 2d6 is 7, but it might deny the occasional low-rolled Smite, or some of the newer low Warp Charge powers in more recent Codexes. It’s a Nice To Have but nothing big, overall. Vanguard is the unique special rule of the Dominions, and it is, really, one of the two main reasons you’d run Dominions. This rule allows a unit with it to make a Move before the game begins, but after player turn order is decided. If a vehicle is transporting only models with this rule, it can make this move, instead of the unit inside, even though it does not possess the rule itself. This is a fantastic rule, and allows you do easy redeploy your Dominion squads in reaction to your opponent’s deployments, or to advance a squad up into no-mans-land, giving them a head start on hunting something down, or capping an early objective.This is well worth the additional Points per Model or the extra Power of the Dominions, compared to their Battle Sister Squad contemporaries. Equipment The Dominions have the standard Adeptas Sororitas equipment of Bolter, Bolt Pistol, and Grenades of the Krak and Frag varieties. The squad begins at Five models (Four Dominions and a Dominion Superior), and can be expanded to Ten models. Up to Four models may replace their bolter with a weapon from the Special Weapons list, and the Superior can swap her bolter for another Ranged Weapon or a Melee Weapon and her Pistol for a different Pistol. Bolters are standard. Nice strength and range, but nothing special. Bolt pistols are great to have, as you can fire them whilst engaged in combat. Grenades are always worth mentioning, as one model per unit can throw one in the Shooting Phase. If you’re within 6” and you have a spare bolter Dominion, a grenade is definitely worth considering. Which one depends on what you’re throwing at. Frag gives you d6 S3 shots, which is best against anything with single wounds that isn’t T6 or more. The Krak grenade is a single S6 shot, but it has AP-1 and d3 Damage. It’s good against multiple wound things with decent armour saves, so vehicles, monstrous creatures, and characters that aren’t T3. Also, possibly 2+ saves, though that can go either way. Given the expanded capacity for special weapons, you will almost certainly be wanting to take at least a couple. If you’re taking more than one (and you should be, really), take the same kind. There’s no point trying to cover every base with one squad. Better to focus one one thing with each Dominion squad, and have redundancy and flexibility with the rest of your army. Meltaguns are the Big Game Hunter special weapon. High Strength, excellent AP, and d6 Damage make for a fairly scary Sister. However, the unreliability of d6 Damage, the point cost, the 12” range, and only one shot prevent this being an autotake in every situation. And to compound the short range, the special ability of the melta, roll 2d6 for damage and pick the highest, only occurs within half range. So your Dominions will be getting close to something in order to perform their best. Having four in a squad makes an expensive squad, but certainly helps prevent them doing nothing due to a couple of unlucky 1s. The prospect of up to 24 damage is pretty scary. Use to take down a big threat before it can give you trouble, and to hunt Characters. Be aware of Invulnerable saves, as AP-4 won’t matter if they deflect it with a storm shield. Flamers are a useful tool. They’re relatively cheap, they automatically hit their target, and they do d6 hits per flamer. Nothing special, and they only have 8” range, but being able to hit things automatically is great. It’s good when you’re up against things that have a -1 To Hit them, such as Raven Guard or Flyers. Stormbolters. We heard you like bolters. So we took two bolters and strapped them together. Now, you can bolter whilst you bolter. The Stormbolter is the last word in getting lots of S4 shots for not very much by way of point investment. Following Mathhammer, even factoring into account the Flamer’s Automatically Hitting ability, the Stormbolter still causes more unsaved wounds Per Point Spent. Note that that is Per Point, not in a vacuum. Stormbolters achieve this by being two bolters worth of fire for less than half the points of a Flamer. Compared weapon to weapon, the Flamer deals slightly more. The Superior can exchange their bolter for a Stormbolter, a Condemnor Boltgun or a Combi-weapon. The Stormbolter is a good idea if you are arming the rest of the squad with them, as it allows you to take 5 stormbolters, meaning the squad’s firepower at 5 models is the same as a barebones BSS at 10 models. Nice. The Condemnor Boltgun is a hard pass for me. Getting d3 Damage against psykers is nice, but functionally pointless against the majority of your opponent’s army even if they do bring psyker support. If you regularly face Thousand Sons or Grey Knights, then its utility goes up substantially, but that’s the only time. Combi weapons are great, as they allow you to take a 5th special weapon AND your bolter for only a little bit more than the cost of the two weapons. Obviously, pairing combimeltas and combiflamers with meltagun and flamer Dominions is a solid bet. Taking a different one to allow for some flexibility in terms of targets is an option, but I would caution against it, for the same reason as I caution against mixing special weapons. Dominions are specialised tools. Being able to take on any kind of threat is what Battle Sister Squads are for. The Combiplasma is interesting, as it is one of only two ways to get plasma into the Sisters army. For what you pay, you get a fair bit. A good strength and AP, and the option to boost the strength AND damage. It doesn’t pair with either melta or flamer in terms of targets, but makes a nice alternative to taking another Stormbolter in a Stormbolter filled squad. Just make sure never to overcharge and fire both guns at once. It doubles the likelyhood of an overheat as well as making you less likely to hit. The necessarily short ranges the Dominion squad will be operating at means that the special pistols have some interesting potential for your Superior. The Infernus pistol is very short range, and expensive, but boasts Melta stats and damage. The Plasma pistol is a great option, as it is relatively cheap and has the great plasma stats you see elsewhere. Remember these if you find your Dominions get charged after they arrive. As is always the case with pistols, the main draw is being able to shoot while engaged. Melee weapons are either the humble chainsword or the various kinds of Power Weapons. The Chainsword is a free swap for the bolter, and grants an extra attack in combat, bringing the Superior up to 3. Still at her mediocre WS4+ and S3, but it’s not bad, largely because you don’t pay any points for it. Power weapons range from the high AP Sword or the low AP but extra strength Maul, with the balance of the axe between the two. If you want a power weapon, the best bet is the maul, as the Strength boost is the most important buff you can give a Sister in close combat. The Axe isn’t a bad option if you’re unwilling to give up quite that much AP, but the sword, while really cool, just isn’t going to cause enough wounds to use the AP-3. Tactics Dominions have three main roles, which largely depend on which special weapon they take. However, all varieties benefit from fast, aggressive play. Maximise the special weapons you take, and get them moving as fast as they can towards their target. A transport is a solid investment, and in the case of Immolators provides valuable supporting fire. Meltagun Dominions are, as aforementioned, Big Game Hunters. They have powerful and deadly weapons, and can take out high threat targets relatively easily. Taking multiple meltaguns helps shore up their low firing rate, and their speed compensates for the short range. I take units with 3 meltaguns, but only because I have 6 meltaguns in my collection, and I like running two squads of meltagun dominions. Consider taking them with 4 meltaguns. Taking extra sisters is to taste, as it limits the transport they can take (As Immolators have a maximum capacity of 6 models), and they can’t carry meltaguns, so won’t be contributing heavily to the squad’s target, but do provide a cushion so the squad can take a few casualties without losing meltagun efficacy. Flamers are good for sweeping a unit off of a point or removing an annoying and hard to hit unit. They can put a lot of pain into a small space, and all that pain is hitting automatically. Things like Stealth Suits, are all good options. They’re also terrifying for an assault unit to try and charge. Extra sisters won’t auto hit, but provide a wound cushion, someone to throw a grenade, and extra bolter shots will still hurt the sort of thing flamers are good at hurting, though not as effectively. Stormbolters are fantastic at taking and holding objectives. They are relatively cheap, so can use their speed to get up close to an objective, and then use their enormous amount of bolterfire to kill anything on the objective, or anything trying to get close. Extra sisters are a solid idea, as this squad wants extra bodies to boost their survivability, and a stormbolter is still a kind of bolter. Beware of units with Objective Secured or similar rules, as Dominions will not be able to hold onto an objective against an ObSec unit. Overall, the Dominion squad is a fast, deadly squad that can be outfitted to suit a number of roles. They benefit from specialisation, but have the rules and options to support that. What are your opinions on Dominions? How do you use them? Do you have any disagreements with my take on things? Please go ahead and share! I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
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