Every once in a while, I get to play parts of my Sisters of Battle army. I haven't fielded the whole army yet because there's still a lot of painting to do. And painting the Exorcists is a intimidating. There's so much awesome detail, I don't want to mess it up. So in a way, I'm waiting for the painting skills I'm developing painting my other armies to reach the point where I can actually achieve the level of quality I have in mind.
My favorite model, both from an aesthetic and rules perspective, is St. Celestine. She's fierce. I love it when I charge into an HQ or Eldar unit and the player is like "I'll roll my attacks first" then I get to interrupt them with "St. Celestine is Initiative 7". They get a confused and glossy look in their eye as if the idea that a lowly Adepta Sororitas model could possibly swing before they do isn't even a possibility. Shadow Captain Shrike has fallen to her blade in several games, she has yet to lose to him.
While St. Celestine is awesome for cleaving 3+ Infantry models, she can't just go and take on just anything. Nor is she particularly tough. 2+ 4++ is quite good but her T3 vs marines with 2+ 3++ and AP2 leaves her in doubt of survival. Basically she can hope to get enough wounds in first but counting on long odds is not a winning strategy.
Unfortunately, her natural unit combo, Seraphim, is less than helpful. 3+ 6++ does precious little to help shield the unit from a burst of grav-cannon fire. AP3 shots from an Imperial Knight makes them go away. And T3 makes them easy to wound with even your basic bolters. Nor do they help much in damage output in close combat. S3 is pretty weak and only the Seraphim Superior can take a basic Power Weapon. The hand flamers can be fun though. While they're also weak, they can pile on a lot of wounds. Really, Seraphim are a harassment unit, not an assault unit. St. Celestine's heavy flamer combos nicely with the hand flamers but what she really want to do is slicey dicey some heretics. She needs new playmates.
Previously I'd pair her up with a Grey Knight HQ to boost her attacks to S7, a Priest with the Litanies of Faith for re-rolls to hit and wound (or saves if needed), some Crusaders for 3++ protection (maybe 2++ with Sanctuary), and maybe a few Death Cult Assassins because they're awesome (and usually pure overkill). Fly that in with a Stormraven and you're good to go. Except. You're getting a Turn 3 assault at earliest which is quite a long time for 500-600 pts to be doing precisely nothing. Tried the Skyshield Landing Pad with Ready for Take Off but found that to be actually worse. AV12, even with 4++, doesn't hold up that well. And even when it survived, my opponents were rarely foolish enough to remain within threat radius.
Which became irrelevant anyways due to the Battle Brothers FAQ. Can't share transports. Which in many ways was a good nerf. Too bad it eliminated the only possibility for Sisters of Battle to decently use an assault vehicle.
Since then I've considered pairing St. Celestine with Grey Knight Interceptors. They could get her to S7 but they lack any Invul save so they'd actually be looking her to take the hits instead of vice versa. And weirdly, Grey Knights have no options for jump pack HQs. Or bikes but that's less surprising since there aren't any in the codex. Haven't tried it yet because it only solves one of her problems.
I've been looking at Vanguard Veterans as a combo for her. And I think this has potential. They can take Storm Shields, they've got jump packs to match her mobility, and they've got lots of cheap weapons options. The only reason I haven't tried it yet is hesitation over how to get them into the fight alive. They still seem rather fragile to mass firepower for the points invested.
Since then, my play style has evolved from Hammer and Anvil (assault teams + firebase) to Alpha Strike (drop in with lots of mid range grav and melta). This opens up an opportunity. A small assault team with jump packs could hide out (terrain allowing) near the edge of my deployment zone and move to midfield (jump and run) when the Alpha Strike lands to help with threat overload. My opponent will have to decide which units get target priority. The shooters 12" or the cutters 18" away. This gives the assault unit a chance to reach charge range without being the center of attention. If I could Deep Strike them Turn 1, I might try that but Turn 2 won't match up with the Alpha Strike in most cases so I'm just leaving Deep Strike as an option rather than a plan.
Deathwatch Vanguard Veterans could work for this. They can take a smaller unit size to make them easier to hide which also helps keep the unit cost down. Although this could also be a disadvantage since there are less bodies to absorb damage. I'll see how that works out in play testing. Like regular Vanguard Vets, they can re-roll charges which is a nice benefit for St. Celestine while she grants them Hit and Run so they can break from a protracted combat and charge in again with bonus attacks. Plus keeping them from being blobbed by the unworthy. Also, the addition of a Heavy Thunder Hammer is appealing. Really opens up potential for damaging pretty much anything. They don't even need to cast Hammerhand.
Wulfen can do almost the same thing but I'm not sure that one of their advantages, Bounding Lope, would still work with St. Celestine attached.
In both cases, I wonder if they might be too good in that they might kill off the entire enemy unit and then be left in the open to take gunfire. Might be better to not give the Stormshield models power weapons. But at 5 pts, it's soooo tempting.
Are Deathwatch Vanguard Veterans a good match for St. Celestine? Are there better choices?
Are there better ways for getting a jump assault unit into the fray than combining with an Alpha Strike?