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Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Unboxing and Review

The unthinkable has happened and an insidious Genestealer Cult has sprung up on Terra itself. While the galaxy is asunder from enemies on all fronts, only the Talons of the Emperor themselves can be trusted to strike out and remove the head of this xenos threat from within the home world!

Today Shadow Throne, the latest Battle Box for Warhammer 40k is up for pre order, and thanks to Games Workshop who sent us an early version for free we are able to dive into the box with a full unboxing and review to check out both the new miniatures and the updated rules within!

If you would like to support the site then why not order your copy of Shadow Throne from our affiliate Element Games and save yourself money too!

If you would like to watch the unboxing then check out our video below or over on YouTube!

Still with us? Then ready yourself for a war of Talon and Tendril…

The Contents

The first thing that most people will dive into are the miniatures, and Shadow Throne contains 25 miniatures including 2 new models, the Blade Champion for the Custodes and the Reductus Saboteur for the Genestealer Cults. The rest of the kits are older ones, but they are still great kits and useful for both factions – It’s worth pointing out that these are the full standard multi-part kits too and so have all the options available in the individual boxes! We also get a mini supplement that contains both the lore covering the Genstealer Cult being found on Terra itself (much to the concern of the Inquisition who are worried about how far the cult may have spread…)

We also get 2 narrative missions that allow players to recreate the events of the narrative with an elite team of Talons of the Emperor taking on the Genestealer Cult! In the book are also “Deadly Ambush” rules that give the side with the lower power value a number of Ruse ability that give them a little bit of a balancing mechanic. Both of the missions have full lore alongside them, and I’d love to see this expanded in a Crusade supplement at some point to continue the story!

Genestealer Cults

The Genestealer Cult gets the amazing new Saboteur, a squad of Neophytes and the Broodcoven box (Containing a Patriarch, Magus, Primus and a pair of familiars) – this puts a value of around £82.50 of Genestealer Cults models in the box! While all these models are very useful for new GSC players, I do suspect that existing players will already have a Broodcoven, however for people into Crusade may find these as great conversion fodder to represent characters who have received upgrades and battle honours!

I’ve been very lucky to get to paint the Genestealer side up prior to release, and I have to say I had a great time working on these models! I’ve been playing Rusted Claw since the last Genestealer Cults book dropped and I can’t wait to expand them further when the new book drops!

In the book we get some new Crusade rules including a trio of Battle Traits for the new Saboteur, one allowing her to plant her bomb twice, fire overwatch for free (and hit with overwatch on a 4+ with increased shots!) or add one to wound rolls with its rather powerful ranged attacks!

There are also traits for Patriarchs, Magus and Primus, and while I imagine these will be expanded upon in the new Codex this gives us some fun stuff to play with until then!

The Cult also gets a pair of Crusade relics, one that is an AP -4 Damage 3 pistol that automatically wounds targets with a higher strength than the bearer! The other is a bone sword that gives nearby units objective secured!

We also get updated profiles for the models in the box and all seem some form of change.

The Patriarch is now only Strength 5, but has increased to 7 wounds. One thing that does really help is a flat damage of 2, making this a lot more reliable than the previous D3 it used to have! It also now has a 4+ invulnerable save making it a little tougher to hurt too!

The Primus now boasts D3 damage on his needle pistol and now has a reroll hits of 1 aura rather than +1 to hit

The Magus has had some tweaks too, including now giving all Infantry and Bikers within 6″ a 5+ shrug against Mortal Wounds!

The humble Neophytes have also got some tweaks, the most important being that the banner now regenerates D6 destroyed models each Command Phase! This is a huge change and will make Genestealer Cults units stay in the fight a lot longer than they previously did!

The new unit the Saboteur is amazing, rocking a Strength 8 Assault 2D3 -3 AP ranged attack that does 3 damage to vehicles and monsters! With her BS of 2+ this makes her a very good anti-tank unit (especially when combined with the +1 to wound upgrade mentioned earlier!!)

She’s also really hard to kill with a flat -1 to hit her and becomes untargetable unless you are within 12″ of her while in terrain!

We get no points in the book, however the combined power of the units in the box comes to 23 power, giving you a great start to a Crusade force!

Talons of the Emperor

For the Talons we get the new Blade Champion, a set of Allarus Custodians and a unit of Sisters of Silence – Again the combined value of these units would cost around £87.50 – this puts the total value of the box at around £170 which is a £65 saving over the RRP of £105 for the box! Certainly a great buy if you want to start both forces or want to split with a friend.

Again, the Blade Champion is an amazing new model and actually has a couple of options on the sprue including the option to be wielding 2 swords rather than just one along with a couple of head options!

He is also great from a rules point of view with his sword having 3 different profiles, one specialised at taking on Monsters and Vehicles, one for taking out units and one for killing Heroes making him a very versatile HQ choice. He’s also very tanky as unmodified hits of 1-3 always fail and he gets a 2+ save in melee!

The Sisters of Silence have had some changes, the biggest of which being that they now cover different force organization slots with Witchseekers (Flamers) in Fast Attack, Vigilators (Greatswords) in Elite and Prosecutors (Bolters) in Troops – Warhammer Community have shared that Sisters of Silence will be getting a HQ option finally making a pure Sisters of Silence army a very real possibility!

The Allarus Custodians now have much more reliable axes, with the weapons now having a damage of 2 rather than D3 – sadly a lot of the Custode special rules are not detailed in the supplement, but hopefully we dont have long to wait until the full Codex drops!

Just like with the Genestealer Cults you also get new battle traits for the Blade Champion and the Allarus Custodians, my favorite being one that gives you +1 attack if you are in your opponents deployment zone! They also get a pair of relics, one which makes you untargettable unless you are within 12″ and a buffed Misericordia that deals mortal wounds! Again, I imagine this will all be expanded in the Codex, but this is a nice hint at the kind of things we will get!


So what do I think of the new box? If you are looking to start a Custode or Genestealer Cults army this makes a great way to start your force, especially if you can split the box with someone who wants the other half. For existing Genestealer Cults players it really depends on if you have a broodcovern already, as that is probably the only element of the force that doesn’t lead itself to duplication. That said, there’s lots here to love even if you already have those models, in particular the stars of the show being the 2 models that are currently excusive to this box! We also get a nice preview of what kind of rules we will see in the new Codexes with some great updates that bring some older profiles up to date and give us a move away from random damage weapons to be a little more reliable with flat 2 damage seen in replacement.

I’m a big fan of battle boxes, as Games Workshop tend to offer some great discounts on them as well as bundling in some brand new models! This box has got me very excited for expanding my Genestealer Cults force and taking on the Talons of the Emperor when the new codexes drop in January!

Shadow Throne is up for pre order today and is released Saturday 18th December

Games Workshop provided Sprues & Brews a free copy of Shadow Throne for review purposes.

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