Warhammer 40,000: Shadow Throne Review

Last Updated on January 26, 2022 by FauxHammer

The Emperor’s most stalwart, sparkly and golden protectors go up against the followers of the Four-Armed God in Games Workshop’s latest battlebox. Will the conniving Genestealer Cults carve their mark upon the Throne World itself, or will the Adeptus Custodes and the Sisters of Silence drive back the mutated hordes?

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Warhammer 40,000: Shadow Throne Review – Summary

There’s a lot to be excited about in Games Workshop’s latest battlebox. Whilst it isn’t exactly bursting at the seams with miniatures, those figures that are contained within the cardboard walls of this box are unique, exciting, and will be a pleasure to both paint and play with. The exclusive miniatures are excellent, and the supporting cast of older miniatures included in this set are offered up at great monetary value. Everyone loves a saving!

Warhammer 40,000: Shadow Throne Review – Introduction

Why doesn’t anyone talk about Custodes or Genestealer Cults?

This is a genuine question. I’ve been in the hobby and actively engaging with the community more or less every day for one-and-a-half years now, and no one ever posts about either of the factions included in Games Workshop’s latest battlebox. Occasionally, a pro-painter will post an eye-wateringly perfect Custodes figure, but in terms of the deluge of love there are for Space Marines, Orks, Eldar, Necrons, and every other available 40K faction, Custodes and Cults barely seem to even register on the scale.

I realised this when Warhammer+ released their Angels of Death and it took me a good few episodes to realise the grey hordes of cannon fodder being mown down by the titular Blood Angels were supposed to be Genestealer Cults, not just weird dude in Stevie Wonder glasses with big foreheads.

Ahead of penning this review, I spent a fair amount of time going through the catalogue for both factions and I imagine that part of the issue is the relative paucity of units available when compared to some of the other factions. What there is available for both Custodes and Cults looks very impressive – but there’s just not very much of it.

I imagine, then, that the exclusive models in Shadow Throne must come to Custodes and Cults fans like an oasis in the desert. For the rest of us, Shadow Throne turns the spotlight onto two factions many of us might not normally consider collecting.

So, let’s see what we have.

Warhammer 40,000: Shadow Throne Review – Unboxing

Shadow Throne comes in a fairly thin box, with a depth of only 4cm. Still, that leaves plenty of room on the front for some impressive artwork.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Unboxing 1

Inside, we have the sprues and a packet of bases for the models.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Unboxing 2

There are seven individual sprues in all, which you can see below.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Unboxing 3

Beneath the sprues we have a divider. As ever, these make for excellent posters should they survive transit to your place of hobby. Mine did this time round, as there isn’t too much plastic in the box so there wern’t many scratches on the divier.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Unboxing 4

Finally, we have one final base for the Patriarch as well as the campaign book and the instruction booklet in a plastic packet together.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Unboxing 5

In all, a fairly standard GW battlebox. Let’s take a closer look at everything individually…

Warhammer 40,000: Shadow Throne Review – Contents

Here’s everything you get in the box:

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review All 2

This is a pretty standard format for these battleboxes now. Akin to Piety and Pain and Hexfire before it, buyers will receive a sample-like selection of figures from two factions, as well as a booklet of additional rules so players of the game can turn their tabletop weapons on each other within the narrative confines of the scenarios designed by GW.

  • 9 x Adeptus Custodes and Sisters of Silence miniatures:
    • 1 x Blade Champion
    • 3 x Allarus Custodians
    • 5 x Witchseekers, which can also be built as Vigilators or Prosecutors
  • 16 x Genestealer Cults miniatures:
    • 1 x Reductus Saboteur with explosive device
    • 1 x Genestealer Patriarch
    • 1 x Magus
    • 1 x Primus
    • 2 x Familiars
    • 10 x Neophyte Hybrids
  • The 32-page Shadow Throne campaign book

There are two set-exclusive miniatures in the ox: the Blade Champion for the Custodes and the Reductus Saboteur for the Cults. Those of you familiar with Cults may also recognise the Patriarch, Magus, Primus and Familiars are what makes up the Broodcoven set.

Warhammer 40,000: Shadow Throne Review – Literature

There’s only one book in the Shadow Throne box (well, two if you count the assembly guide, but we’re not going to look at that there), and that’s the Shadow Throne Campaign Book.

Shadow Throne Campaign Book

The Shadow Throne Campaign Book is your gateway to the Unthinkable War, containing all the rules and background you need to take your battles in the 41st Millennium onto the God Emperor of Mankind’s front porch.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Campaign Book Cover

Inside, it has all the narrative information you need to understand the setting, and just what’s going on around the Emperor’s palace in order to ensure your games are as immersive as possible.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Campaign Book Inside 1

It is, as you would expect, also packed full of of fantastic photographs of all the miniatures in the box painted up to drool-worthy levels of perfection by the ‘Eavy Metal team in order to inspire you to pick up a paintbrush and have a go adding some colour to your new figures.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Campaign Book Inside 2

Finally, it has all the rules, datasheets, and set-up information required in order to take your new figures to the tabletop.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Campaign Book Inside 3

It does not, however, come with any of the basic rules that players will need to understand in order to actually play a game of Warhammer 40,000. Buyers will need to make sure they already know what they’re doing when it comes to throwing dice, reading rules, and generally making war in the miniaturised 41st Millennium.

This box is not a starter set, so it’s not particularly beginner-friendly for people looking to get into playing Warhammer 40,000. If you’re just after some new models to paint and couldn’t care less about actually using the miniatures in the set for a battle, then the box will be fine for you. But if you’re a new or inexperienced player looking to start playing the game, you’d be better off taking a look at the Warhammer 40,000 Starter Sets, cutting your teeth on one of those, and then picking up a battlebox like Shadow Throne.

Warhammer 40,000: Shadow Throne Review – Models

there are a grand total of 25 figures in the Shadow Throne box, with 9representing the Imperium of Man and the God-Emperor of Mankind, and the other 16 ascribing to the worship of the Four-Armed God.

Blade Champion

The parts for the Blade Champion come spread across two sprues.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Blade Champion

He’s a fairly straightforward build, but comes with a few customisation options: three different heads, one with a helmet and two without, and two weapons options: a two-handed sword and the option to dual-wield to smaller swords.

Lining up the two-handed sword with the left arm is a bit tricky, but as long as you dry-fit everything you shouldn’t have a problem.

He’s an impressive model once completed. A lot of the Custodes figures and Sisters of Silence in the box lack a lot of dynamism. Designed to look like imposing, towering warriors, there’s not much movement in their sculpts. The Blade Champion, however, mid-charge, brings some much-needed inertia to the figures in the set.

He’s a really gorgeous model, actually. The more I look at him, the more details are revealed. Each turn of the figure seems to reveal something new about the way he looks. I really can’t wait to paint him.

Allarus Custodians

The Allarus Custodians are some nice models. Like, really nice.

As in “go out and spend all your money on the Custodes range immediately” levels of nice.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Allarus Custodians

These are stunning figures. Whilst they’re nowhere near as dynamic as the Blade Champion, they’re a trio of striking figures, resplendent in their ornate armour and carrying their mighty weapons. The details on their armour are absolutely incredible, and their overall design ascribes to the “swole space dude” aesthetic one expects when dealing with Space Marines whilst simultaneously being so much more.

They’re easy enough to put together in spite of the fact they come with lots of components, and don’t require a huge amount of clean up. There are a few mould lines on a couple of components, but nothing major.

There are a handful of customisation options on each figure too: from different heads and slightly different weapons, as well as the option to build the captain in terminator armour.

These are fantastic figures. Really, really fantastic.


Much like the Allarus Custodians before them, the Sisters of Silence are relatively easy to put together in spite of being made of a few small and fiddly components.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Witchseekers

I don’t know about readers, but I often struggle to line up both arms if my model is holding a weapon in both hands. It usually takes a fair bit of swivelling the components about as the glue dries before I manage to get them to line up. I didn’t have this issue with the Sisters of Silence in this box (I built mine as Witchseekers), primarily because they are sculpted quite celeverly.

The arms – be they holding a weapon or otherwise – are designed to fit quite comfortably into the torso components, usually supported in part by either the mantle of a cloak or part of a breast. This made finding that spot where the component fits just right much easier.

Once again, when finished they’re some impressive models – and unique, too. There’s nothing quite like the Sisters of Silence out there. It’s a shame there aren’t more kits for them kicking about. Because you can build them in any combination of Witchseekers, Vigilators or Prosecutors you so desire, you can be sure there’ll be plenty of spares left on the sprue at the end as well, should you wish to kitbash or convert your spares into something else.

Reductus Saboteur

The Reductus Saboteur continues the tradition found in this box of figures having a surprisingly large number of components, yet remaining fairly easy to assemble.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Reductus Saboteur

As one of the box exclusives, there’s a great deal of detail for painters to enjoy across this figure – including two very well-sculpted heads: a human face with goggles, or a more mutated head with some Tyranid-esque details on it.

The rest of the figure is also extraordinarily detailed: from extra limbs to gadgets they’re holding, there’s a lot for any painter to really go to town on. GW have really nailed it with the exclusives in this set, it has to be said. Both the Saboteur and the Champion are excellent.


The Broodcoven are a delightfully easy group of ne’er-do-wells to assemble. So much so, you could probably do it without the guide.

They each made from only a handful of well-fitting components that fit together with no hiccups or strain. There are very few mould lines across the fiugures as well, so you won’t need to clean anything up.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Broodcoven

Once asembled, the models in the Broodcoven look excellent. The Patriarch in particular is an imposing model, but all the figures on the sprue are well-sculpted and look great.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Broodcoven Patriarch
Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Broodcoven Magus

Again, fans of the Warhammer+ show Angels of Death might recognise a few of these figures as inspiration for some of the characters that stood against the Blood Angels in the show.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Broodcoven Primus

I’m surprised by how much I actually like these figures now I have them assembled before me. There’s so much difference between each model that it’s a little like being handed a sprue of heroes or villains from one of the Warhammer Quest boxes. Even the teeny-tiny Familiars are fun.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Broodcoven Familiars

I did have a problem with mine, though: one of my Familiars is missing a finger.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Broodcoven Familiar Damage

I’ve looked everywhere to see if it’s in the box or anywhere on my hobby table, but to no avail. The finger is gone forever. I’ve no idea if I did this, or if the sprue entered the box broken – and I imagine we’ll never know.

Oh well.

Neophyte Hybrids

The ten Neophyte Hybrids in the box come with a number of build variations that we’ll get into in a moment.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Neophytes

They’re probably the most difficult figures to build in the box, simply because there are so many parts spread across one sprue. This can make tracking down a number 54 gun or 36 forearm very difficult when it’s tucked in amidst a sea of plastic.

Another thing to note with these guys is that some of the instructions don’t appear to be right. The numbering on the torso/legs for the final four Neophytes doesn’t seem to tally up with which torso and legs are designed to go together, so be aware of this and try to match the components by eye.

These are some nice models once together, but they come with some beastly mould lines, such as those you can see on the left model in the image below.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Neophytes Leaders

Still, there’s a huge amount of build options across the models, including special and heavy weapons, such as those below.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Neophytes Heavy Weapons

Anyone who watched Warhammer+’s Angels of Death will recognise the Neophytes in the rest of the box as the cannon fodder through which Captain Orpheo’s squad and the crew of the Sword of Baal turned into an ocean of blood each episode.

Warhammer 40,000 Shadow Throne Review Neophytes Basic

It’s almost a shame that the average Neophyte wasn’t given more screen time before being turned into a cloud of red mist, because these are some nice figures that are absolutely bedecked in detail. I wonder if the Angels of Death show will have put people off buying the Neophyte kit – what’s the point in buying a bunch of Neophytes if they’re just going to die every time a Space Marine so much as coughs at them?

Hopefully not, because these are some lovely little figured that any budding painter could have a huge amount of fun with.

Warhammer 40,000: Shadow Throne Review – Price and Availability

There’s a little guesswork with some of the prices of the exclusives, but these are matched as closely as they can be to similar figures within each faction.

First off, here’s the value of the contents in the Shadow Throne box should they all be brought seperately.

SetPrice GBPPrice USDPrice EUR
Blade Champion (set exclusive)£25.00*$38.00*€32.50*
Allarus Custodians£30.00$50.00€40.00
Reductus Saboteur (set exclusive)
Neophyte Hybrids£27.50$44.00€35.00
TOTAL BOX VALUE £167.50 $271.00€218.00
* Based on the pricing of Captain-General Trajann Valoris
** Based on the pricing of the Abominant, Biophagus, Nexos, Locus

Here’s how much each side in the box is worth:

TotalPrice GBPPrice USDPrice EUR
Custodes/Sisters of Silence£85.00$137.00€110.50
Genestealer Cults£82.50$134.00€107.50

And finally, here are your savings:

Total Box Value£167.50$271.00€218.00
Shadow Throne Retail Price£105$170€140
TOTAL SAVINGS£55.50$101.00 €78.00

So, should you be in the market for both a new Custodes and Genestealer Cults army, this box offers some pretty tidy savings on the miniatures included. If you’re only after one side or the other, you won’t be saving any money at all by buying this set – unless you can split the set with a buddy.

Of course, as always we’d recommend you check your local independent stockists as they may be able to offer you money off the GW retail price – which means even more savings!

Warhammer 40,000: Shadow Throne Review – Where to Next?

Compared to some of their other factions, the Custodes, Sisters of Silence, and Genestealer Cults are a little underfed when it comes to available products.

Custodes and Sisters of Silence are the worst-off of the two, but whilst they’ve only got a handful of models on offer, they are all quite nice and would look stunning once painted up for display or use in your games. There’s not an enormous amount of variation across the faction: everything’s big, gold, and clutching huge guns, but it all looks fab.

Cults seem to have a few more units available for purchase, but it feels like they have more on offer as there’s much more variation across the range. With all sorts of weird and wonderful vehicles available for purchase, as well as a host of whacky semi-humanoid units in various stages of mutation, there’s plenty to keep you busy.

If you’re particularly taken with the Cults side of the box, there’s the Start Collecting! Genestealer Cults set which will help add a bit more beef to your fledgling army.

Unfortunately, Custodes don’t get a Start Collecting! set of their own.

Warhammer 40,000: Shadow Throne Review – Final Thoughts

Nice exclusive miniatures
Good savings across the box
Nice spread of different units that will appear to both painters and gamers
Not a huge number of models in the box
Some fiddly bits to assemble

Of all the battleboxes I’ve reviewed in the last twelve months, Shadow Throne was the one that really didn’t excite me when it was announced.

I imagine I wasn’t alone. As I said in the intro to this review, Custodes and Genestealer Cults are two factions that I’ve never really cared for. Not because I don’t like them, but because I feel they’ve been totally overshadowed by many other recent releases. they also seem to be fairly sequestered to the GW backburner: Custodes, Sisters of Silence and Genestealer Cults really don’t have masses of units available to them at all.

Following in the footsteps of Hexfire – which, for me at least had the unenviable task of being the sequel to from Piety and Pain – was always going to be extremely difficult. Both sets had some seriously great inclusions, from the Nemesis Dreadknight and the Immolator to the stunning Castellan Crowe and Lelith Hesperax miniatures. Shadow Throne, then, had an extremely high bar to meet.

And it’s done it. Shadow Throne breathes new life into both factions. Suddenly, I care about Custodes, and I must admit I’m far more taken with the Genestealer Cults side of this box than I ever suspected I would be. The exclusive figures in this set are great, and the other units included make me want to take a closer look at both ranges.

This is another good box from GW. There’s a lot to love here, and sure, there are some frustrating bits to glue together and not all that many figures in the box itself, but what there is, is really great.

Oh, and the savings can’t be argued with.

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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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