Warhammer 40,000: Piety and Pain Review

Last Updated on April 23, 2021 by FauxHammer

With the elites of the Adepta Sororitas and the Drukhari distilled into the new Piety and Pain set, recreate the events of War Zone Metalica with the new battlebox from Games Workshop. Will the zeal of the Sisters of Battle prevail against the shadowy ranks of the Drukhari, or will Lelith Hesperax’s highly-trained killers cut the Adepta Sororitas to bloody ribbons?

Warhammer 40,000: Piety and Pain Review – Summary

Whilst the Piety & Pain battlebox lacks the extras and goodies that were present in the last battlebox release, it makes up for some of its shortcomings by including some truly incredible miniatures. Oh, and a freakin’ tank.

Warhammer 40,000: Piety and Pain Review – Introduction

I think it’s safe to say that the last couple of Games Workshop boxed releases have been a bit of a rollercoaster.

Over the last couple of months I’ve reviewed both the Blood Bowl Second Season Edition box, Shadow and Pain battlebox, and most recently the Kill Team expansion, Pariah Nexus.

The first two were awesome additions to the Games Workshop product catalogue. Blood Bowl Second Season Edition took everything great about Blood Bowl and packed it into a surprisingly affordable box. Shadow and Pain wrangled the Age of Sigmar limelight away from Sigmar and Nagash’s respective factions to furnish the hobbyist with a host of gaming goodies and some lovely miniatures.

Pariah Nexus, however, fell a bit flat. Very highly priced, with few figures, some of which were nightmares to assemble (here’s looking at you Flayed Ones), and none of the wargear (range rulers, dice etc.) boasted in other boxes, it was a product that left a lot of the FauxHammer Writing Team feeling a little deflated. Of course, whilst it’s an expansion set and not a boxed game/battlebox, you perhaps can’t expect all the bells and whistles you may with other releases, but still, Pariah Nexus was definitely lacking something.

So, with this all in mind, where on this turbulent scale of recent boxes does the new Piety and Pain set sit?

Warhammer 40,000: Piety and Pain Review – Contents

At first glance, the Piety and Pain box may seem a little stingy.

The majority of the contents are as you’d expect:

  • A 32-page campaign booklet, outlining all the lore and setup you need in order to sic your two new armies on each other in the most canon of fashions.
  • An Adepta Sororitas transfer sheet
  • 17 Drukhari models
  • 9 Adepta Sororitas models
Piety and Pain All

The sum-total of figures that can be created from the box is broken down as follows.

Drukhari players will find themselves furnished with the following:

  • Lelith Hesperax
  • 10x Wyches
  • 5x Scourges
  • 1x Venom
Piety and Pain Drukhari All

Players holding high the banner of the Imperium of Man and doing battle as the Adepta Sororitas will be playing with:

  • 1x Palatine
  • 5x Retributors
  • 2x Armorium Cherubs
  • 1x Immolator
Piety and Pain Sisters All

Twenty-six models in all which doesn’t actually seem like all that much – especially considering the price and other contents in the box.

For comparison, let’s put it side-by-side with the Age of Sigmar Shadow and Pain battle box, which was released at the end of last year. Both boxes are the same price (£105/€140/$170 USD, though I can’t actually find a page for Piety and Pain on GW’s US webstore), but their contents are staggeringly different.

Piety and PainShadow and Pain
Price£105/€140/$170 USD£105/€140/$170 USD
Literature/Readables32-page Piety and Pain campaign book, which includes datasheetsThe Shadow and Pain campaign book
The Age of Sigmar Core Rules book
Wargear (e.g. tokens, rulers, dice)NoneRanger rulers
Warscroll cards
Figures26, totalling c. £179.50 when purchased individually

(Assuming both exclusive heroes would be priced around the £18.50 mark)
38, totalling c. £215 when purchased individually

(Assuming the Melusai Ironscale would be priced around the £18.50 mark)

It’s a bit of a step down from the last battlebox release, which is a shame. It’s reminding me more of the Kill Team: Pariah Nexus Expansion so far – underfed and lacking a little dusting of pizazz. In fact, the contents are very similar: a smattering of figures and a book.

However, whilst it lacks the wargear and extra bits and pieces of certain other boxes, Piety & Pain has a serious ace up its sleeve: the models.

I’m a huge fan of the Adepta Sororitas any day of the week, and the Sisters figures in the box really take what makes their faction so unique and boils it down. We’ve an exclusive plasma pistol-wielding Palatine, a Retributor Squad bedecked in heavy weapons and accompanied by a pair of grotesque cherubs, and an Immolator – or, more accurately, a weaponised church. The figures in this set distil what the Sororitas are: really, really angry murder-nuns packing some serious firepower.

And then there’s the Drukhari part of the box and that figure.

The Drukhari range is, in my opinion at least, one of the most dynamic available. Much like the Sisters part of the set, what makes the Drukhari the space-faring goth-elf pirates is almost perfectly distilled into the figures included in this set. There’s so much movement, so much action, in every figure. They’re all doing something, all advancing with purpose.

Take, for example, the new Lelith Hexperex figure. When it was announced, she left quite the impression on the community. Her old figure, the first image in the comparison below, was pretty awesome. Her new figure, however, is even cooler.

See what I mean?

Before receiving this box, I had no interest in Drukhari. Now, I know where all my money is going to be disappearing to in the near future.

Warhammer 40,000: Piety and Pain Review – Unboxing

With the overview out of the way, let’s get on with opening this box up.

Here’s the box.

Piety and Pain Box

It’s that standard Games Workshop size, not particularly fat or slender.

And within…

Piety and Pain Box Open

As is to be expected, you’re greeted by a layer of cold, hard plastic. Nice.

Piety and Pain Box Sprues

In spite of the reasonably humble number of figures in the box, there are quite a few sprues in this set thanks to the addition of the Immolator and the Venom. There are eleven in all – nine regular grey plastic sheets, and two much smaller clear sheets to be used as windows on the vehicles.

As you’d perhaps expect, underneath all the plastic is an artwork-emblazoned separator, and beneath that all the other goods – the campaign book, the assembly guide, the transfer sheet, and your bases.

Piety and Pain Box Extras

The campaign book is nice and glossy, as we’ve come to expect, but the transfer sheet is the same slip you’d receive in any Sisters of Battle box.

Something slightly misleading to bear in mind: on the original listing on the website (now marked as sold out), Games Workshop included an image of a set of dice ion the Piety and Pain product listing.

Piety and Pain Dice Image
…Featuring my £300 “Win your Basket” entry, which was a heap of Dark Angels gubbins.

If you were expecting to receive a set of dice in this set, you’ll be disappointed as there are none included. It’s no biggie, though. If you’re a GW regular, you’ve probably got dice all over the place. If you are short on dice, though, there are some much nicer dice sets available online, such as those available from one of my favourite stores, Critit UK.

Warhammer 40,000: Piety and Pain Review – Piety and Pain Campaign Book

Aside from the assembly guide, there’s only one book in this box, which may come as something of a disappointment for any bibliophiles out there.

Piety and Pain Book

Weighing in at a modest 32 pages, the Piety and Pain campaign book has all the info you need to start playing games with this set. Whilst the first 12 pages are given over to lore and pretty pictures of masterfully-painted miniatures, pages 13-31 are festooned with all the information you need to start playing with your new figures.

There are two missions outlined in the book: Soul Hunt and Enough is Enough, as well as Drukhari and Adepta Sororitas crusade rules. Finally, pages 24-31 are given over to datasheets, so you’ll have all the stats you need for your new figures – including the Palatine (I’d seen some posts on Facebook and Twitter claiming this wasn’t in the book – it is).

Warhammer 40,000: Piety and Pain Review – Sprues and Models

Now on to the important part.

A note before we continue: I’m currently using some fantastic Green Stuff World rollers to do the bases on my Adepta Sororitas, so you’ll notice these figures attached via blu-tac to their bases.

Drukhari – Lelith Hesperax

The Lelith Hesperax model is really something quite special. Take a look:

Piety and Pain Drukhari Lelith Hesperex

There’s so much dynamism to the figure, so much momentum and malice.

That momentum is shared across all the other figures in the Drukhari part of the box. The figures feel alive, they’re all doing something – and really throwing themselves into doing it.

What’s more, she’s not too hard to put together. There are a couple of more weighty components to her build, though (part of the base and her hair) so take care to make sure each part is well dry before moving on to the next.

Drukhari – Wyches

The Wyches make up the bulk of the Drukhari force.

Piety and Pain Drukhari Wyches

The guide for these may seem a little intimidating for newcomers. None of the components in the assembly guide are numbered, but this doesn’t matter so much. Aside from one set of legs (which are easily identifiable from the others as both feet are attached to the base), all other legs need to be paired up, but legs match those they are adjacent to.

As for the torso fronts and backs, these are interchangeable, as are all the heads and all the weapons. The Hekatrix, the Wych with hydra gauntlets, the Wych with shardnet and impaler, and the Wych with razorflails can be matched up by their components, as the pictures are clear and you’ll have no trouble finding the corresponding parts on the sprue.

They are straightforward to put together too: two legs, two parts of a torso, two arms and a head on a slotting base. Just make sure your glue is dry and this’ll be easy.

Drukhari – Scourges

The five winged Scourges included in this set are some seriously impressive figures.

Piety and Pain Drukhari Scourges

Bedecked with wings and an array of weapons choices, as well as the option to attach whichever legs to whichever body/wings you like the look of, the Scourges are amongst some of the most diverse in the set.

Some of the larger weapons, such as those seen on the figures above, are quite difficult to attach as the contact points at the figures shoulder are quite small, but the weapon is quite heavy. Be prepared to have to sit and wait pinching the components together for a while.

Drukhari – Venom

The last miniature is the Drukhari’s Venom.

Piety and Pain Drukhari Venom

It’s a lovely figure and a straightforward build aside from two parts: the figures standing on the back of the craft. The two Drukhari holding on to the edges of the craft are difficult to line up, as there are no marks on the vehicle to guide where to place feet and hands.

The figure manning the gun is also a little difficult to line up, and the contact points are very small. They are standing on a latticed floor, so there aren’t many points of contact between the figure’s feet and the floor. Time and patience are key.

You’ll also want to leave the cockpit unglued so you can paint the pilot.

The build is a lot simpler than the Immolator, but the end effect is just as impressive. It’s another fantastic miniature and rounds off the Drukhari part of the box in awesome fashion.

Adepta Sororitas – Palatine

Compared to the glory of Lelith Hesperax’s figure , the Sisters’ Palatine doesn’t stand much of a chance.

Piety and Pain Adepta Sororitas Palatine

There’s nothing wrong with the model at all. The figure perfectly encapsulates the essence of the Sisters’ force: dark, bleak, forbidding. It’s just that when she’s compared to Lelith Hesperax, she’s a bit on the plain side. In any other box, she would have been a nice inclusion. In the Piety and Pain box, however, she lacks shine, and there’s nothing about her sculpt that really screams “I’m in charge of these heavily armed slaughternuns.”

That said, she’s extremely easy to put together – so much so, she barely needs a guide. You’ve got a choice of weapons and heads, so you’ll have some spares to play around with, and a couple of opportunities to make her your own, which is always nice.

Adepta Sororitas – Retributor Squad

Compared to the Palatine, the Retributor Squad are far more fiddly.

Piety and Pain Adepta Sororitas Retributor Squad

There are a lot of pipes and ammo belts that need to be linked up between various other components. They’re a bit of a faff, but once everything is lined up properly you should have no trouble getting things to go together. Just be patient, and you’ll get it.

As for the cherubs, each of these is made up of three components: some arms, a body, and some wings. They’re so easy to put together, you could assemble them with your eyes closed.

There’s a fair bit of free choice across the figures: weapons and heads, as are to be expected, so there are a few opportunities to put your stamp on these figures.

Adepta Sororitas – Immolator

Oh boy.

Of the thousands of figures I’ve assembled since re-entering this hobby, not one has taken me as long to put together as the Immolator.

Imagine your standard Rhino, but with about a thousand extra frilly bits that need to be stuck on – and frills mean time.

Piety and Pain Adepta Sororitas Immolator

I mean, it’s worth it. The model is spectacular. It’s a challenge, so make sure you’ve got all your best tools at the ready.

There are a few things to look out for. First off, the cherub. This guy is attached by a thin chain to the pulpit/shrine at the back of the Immolator. Make sure he’s fully assembled and completely dry before trying to attach him. When you do, be prepared to hold him for a while.

Another thing you might ant to do is leave the clear stained glass window unattached. This is easy to do as it slots in and out of the Immolator, so you can detach it to paint it separately.

Finally, watch your sprue gates. As with terrain, there are a lot of sprue gates on some of the larger components – usually quite chunky ones, too. If you don’t get these completely flat, you’ll find your components not sitting together correctly.

Warhammer 40,000: Piety and Pain Review – Price and Availability

As I showed in my table at the start of this review, compared to the last GW battlebox, Piety and Pain is something of a step down. The box lacks some of those flourishes and touches that have in the past really helped make a battlebox into a battlebox.

Still, if you’re a Drukhari or Sisters fan (or both!) in terms of the figures you get, you’re still making a decent saving and definitely shouldn’t pass this up.

Availability is something of an issue, though. For reasons that aren’t yet clear, there has been a shortage of third-party stock, with a lot of retailers only receiving ten or so copies. Chances are, if you haven’t already got one, you might not be able to get one for a while now.

Warhammer 40,000: Piety and Pain Review – Where to Next?

A big fan of the Drukhari? Well, you’re in luck! GW have just released a heap of new Drukhari stuff!

…It’s almost like they planned it.

If, like me, you’ve fallen in love with the space-faring goth murder elves in this box, you might want to grab yourself the Drukhari Combat Patrol, or maybe the swish new Codex.

Piety and Pain Drukhari Combat Patrol

As for the Sisters, GW have been upping the hype around this particular faction for a few weeks now. It might be worth sitting on your hands and waiting to see what’s announced next. A combat patrol of their own could be on the imminent horizon.

But if you don’t feel like sitting around, you can’t go far wrong with a Battle Sisters’ Squad. If you feel like something a little different, there’s always the stunning Celestine, the Living Saint model – who also packs a truly righteous wallop on the battlefield.

Piety and Pain Celestine

I’d be wary of buying the Sisters’ Codex, though. With Ninth Edition now well and truly on a roll, it’s fairly safe to say we’ll be seeing a new one of these in the (very?) imminent future.

Warhammer 40,000: Piety and Pain Review – Final Thoughts

Truly awesome figures
Decent value
Lelith Hesperax model is just something else
No 40K rulebook
No counters, dice, or range rulers
Gave me Pariah Nexus Expansion flashbacks

This is tough, because I love – I mean really love – the figures in this box. I was a huge Sisters fan before receiving this box, and I’ve come to adore the dynamic Drukhari models.

But I just can’t quite shake the feeling that I’m not getting my money’s worth. Sure, if I went out and brought each figure or box contained in this set individually, I’d spend a hell of a lot more, but this box is lacking some of the fundamental features that make a battlebox a battlebox.

Think about it. If you went out and purchased this box – and this box alone – you wouldn’t actually be able to use it in a game. You have no markers, no rulers and no dice for your battle. You also don’t have any sort of rulebook to reference, just the same transfer sheet you get in every single other Sisters box. By comparison, Shadow and Pain has all of these things (bar dice, which I still find weird), more figures with a higher monetary value, and is available for the exact same price.

But the god-damn figures in this god-damn box.

I’m bias towards Sisters, owning a heap of them already, so I’m always going to be pleased about being handed more of them – especially if one of the models is a freakin’ church tank (two of my favourite things combined). But I’ve completely fallen in love with the Drukhari thanks to this box. The models are absolutely gorgeous, and that new Lelith Hesperax. Oh lord.

But this doesn’t really help us figure out where this box sits on the spectra of Games Workshop boxes. The figures are really, really awesome, but I can’t shift the nagging sense that other bits of this box are a little more scant than previous offerings have been.

So, if this format is the new norm for this kind of thing, perhaps we need to adjust our expectations. Maybe this “some figures and a book” thing is the kind of format we can expect to see going forward, and we can’t keep our fingers crossed for all sorts of extra goodies.

If so, this is leaps and bounds ahead of Pariah Nexus. Both the range and selection of figures, as well as their overall look and feel, are awesome. The campaign book is concise and to the point, with all the info you need to take your figures into battle (providing, of course, you have a copy of the Ninth Edition rulebook). It may lack range rulers, dice, and all the other frills of earlier sets, but at the end of the day, you probably have these things already – or can buy some much more attractive versions.

Sure, it’s not perfect. But even in its most stripped back and basic form, Piety and Pain remains a collection of seriously nice figures available at a reasonable knock-down price. That, readers, can’t be argued with.


  • VoltorRWH

    Rob has spent most of the last 20 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

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Rob has spent most of the last 20 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

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