Goatboy here again with a quick and dirty look at the newest 40k units – the Sisters of Silence and the Custodes.
Here are 2 units we never thought were going to be in plastic – let alone usable in regular 40k. Of course we all knew they were going to come out at some point from FW and their Horus Heresy series but I couldn’t imagine them reaching the glorious stage of a hard plastic release. So bravo to GW to actually embrace some of their past fluff and start looking back for future model releases.
First of all – I think the models look pretty dang good. They still have the aesthetic of a unit from a bygone age of mechanical marvel and yet still fit within the 40k grimdark universe. The sisters do not look like crazy rambo girls which is great. Their armor isn’t insanely detailed and has the feeling that it might actually flow and allow them to do damage in combat. The Custodias themselves also look good – with a size and design that makes them feel completely different from the normal Space Marine/Terminator set up. Their armor is designed to look like amazing statues and they fit in that mold perfectly. Their weapons are a little bit goofy but when you have to combine swords, guns, and shields all together you start to get a weird mishmash of shapes. Still the biggest thing from these kits is that they are not just the simple plug and play you normally see from a boxed set. They are fully realized models with options, upgrades, and other small things that let GW stand apart from other manufacturers kits.
But enough about the models themselves. We all know they will look good, go together well, and are set up to be fun to paint. That is a given and what we expect out of GW. What I really care about is the rules themselves. I want to know how these guys will shift up the table top and maybe topple a few of the “bad guy” lists we see. Well right now – for one thing this release is currently not going to put pressure on any “competitive” event.
The overall lack of a formation/detachment that allows these guys to show up in a list is the current thing holding them back. Beyond mediocre rules, the lack of any kind of structure to utilize them in is a big x on GW right now. Its painful to see the overall shell of a unit and still not have a direct way to shove it into an army without having to utilize the dreaded word – Unbound. I don’t expect this to last long as while I am sure ITC and other events might find a way to shove them into a “formation/detachment”. Beyond the basement ruling I bet will see some kind of new “release” from GW that combines a few things that are currently not printed. You could say a “Agents of the Imperium” style book might come out that would print the Sisters, Inquisition, Assassins, and maybe a Witch Hunters style release. This way they could create specific detachments, fix some rules, and give another “new/old” army some breath of life. I suspect GW is going to look at ways to fix things and combine and adding rules into one simple paper back release would do wonders to help bring some new things to the table top. Will just have to wait and see as the year chugs along and the releases slow down for some Xmas fun.
Let’s look at the actual rules themselves. You can download them for free from the GW website – which is a cool thing as while the rules themselves are not “free” to make we do know GW really cares more about the models then the actual rules themselves at times. You can see this in while these rules work – they feel like they have no real place in the current environment beyond some spoiler abilities the Sisters of Silence have.
We never thought we would have these models on the table top. Every bit of lore/fluff/etc has these guys being a slight step down from the Primarchs themselves. In some way – like how the Space Marine is pulled off the genetic imprint of their Primarch, the Custodias is pulled off the imprint of the Emperor himself. This means these guys should be super bad a$$es. In fact all the stories has these guys taking on tons of enemies and kicking the crap out of them. Of course this leads me to thinking that there is no way GW can accurately make these guys work in 40k. The rules themselves show this as while they fit the game – they feel lack luster in terms of usage.
Their stats themselves are pretty cool. They are in some ways better then the Captains we see on the table top. They are strong, fast, and have a decent amount of attacks. I think their Wounds are a bit too low as 2 wounds with Eternal Warrior is good – in todays game of bulk wounds hitting a unit these guys would need to have 3 wounds to survive longer then one assault phase from say a Tau Shooting army or a Genestealer Cult surprise attack. They can take a Storm Shield which is good – but as they are walking around on foot their usage becomes less. In a lot of ways they feel like upgraded Paladins from the Grey Knight book without psychic powers and a bit tougher. 50 points does feel like a steal but then I think the points formula GW uses is not always accurate for the table top. The lack of a basic Invulnerable save seems like a issue as they should all at least start with a 4++ just to make them feel like they are doing some good.
I do like the bubble ability they can give out as fearless and +1 attack could be really strong when you intermix them with say an IG blob or maybe even a Bark Bark star. The shooting of their bolters feels a bit short ranged as it should really just be a better storm bolter in all ways to make it worth wile. I think some different weapon upgrades, maybe a powerfist like variant, and some other kind of ranged options would have helped this unit feel a bit more special.
Usage wise – they could set up a decent little death star with some gate help. I would think Draigo would love these guys as they punch pretty hard, can have some wounds thrown off of him and onto them and continue a big ole pile of Eternal warrior nonsense. Still – they seem too expensive and too fragile versus the current offensive might most armies throw out now.
Rating C+ that could go up to a B- if some way to get them into armies and not using Unbound rules comes out.
Sisters of Silence
This unit is also very interesting in that they do a lot for the current metagame. The increased bubble of anti psyker mixed with some decent weapon load out might actually see this unit hit the table top. They have a decent load out for Assault with AP 2 weapons that hit on Initiative 5 which is great. They can take all flamers which is a serious bonus versus the upcoming Cult infestations hitting the battlefield. Their anti psychic bubble is great as a unit of 5 covers a decent amount of floor space. They lose out on getting shot at like normal – but again having a 75 Culexius assassin is pretty dang good in my book.
Their stats resemble their other Sisters of Battle options and this gives me hope we might actually see them coming out at some point. In fact – like I said earlier I bet we get a combo book that has these guys, Custodias, Inquisition, and finally a true printed Sisters of Battle Codex. We could call it Codex: Agents of the Imperium and print it paper back to make it cheap to get. A few “make to order” Sister options or maybe a few “plastic” units would fill this out and give some players some love.
Overall these guys would see play if you could easily slot them into any Imperial army. If they were just a new “elite” for the Imperium I would say most would look at throwing 75 points into an elite choice. It might make for the CAD to show up a lot more instead of just a mish mash of formations/battle companies/etc.
Rating a Solid B with a chance for a B+ if they get something to allow them into people’s armies easier.
Overall these rules are alright. I appreciate GW releasing them for free and making a decent little PDF. It is simple stuff like this that helps give GW a better outlook and makes me think we might see some stuff to help out the nutty competitive scene. Overall I hope we get a new book that lets these guys hit the table top and gives me a reason to open up my Prospero box and throw the jerks out on the table.
~Are you planning on adding them to your armies?