Goatboy’s 40k: Sisters & their Big Golden Brothers


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.


The Models

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.

60010101002_burningprosperoeng02Onto the Rules

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.


Adeptus Custodes

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?

  • ILikeToColourRed

    i agree with the c-b rating, however i think thats a good thing

    40k needs more averagely good units for their cost and less rediculously undercosted things

    • Zingbaby

      I also agree that it’s a good thing. GW doesn’t have a good history with ‘leveling’ the game, but given their current trend let’s hope they stay consistent.

    • Zingbaby

      I’m also not surprised that the ITC crowd is already scrambling to find a way to cram these units into some disgusting Deathstar…

      Goatboy writes, “…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’.” …I had to roll my eyes, this is why we can’t have nice things.

      • Ciaphas Cain

        At least the ITC guys try and be inclusive and try and let you play with as many of your toys as they can (even if I can’t use my Malcador Infernus) unlike the other comp systems out there were WAAC Power Gamers go out of their way to neuter as much as they can to try and make it as dull as it was back in 5th ed.

        • Zingbaby

          Well you’re right there certainly are much worse. So many of these events seem like they’re geared to best aid the TO’s circle of friends and their current WAAC meta.

          I don’t believe the ITC end goal is really much different though, and this is an example of something they shouldn’t be able to use/abuse in so-called “competitive” gaming.

          Next will they want to bring Primarchs to 40k events?

          • Krargan

            Yes and no. The big ticket here is that they have 40k data slates and rules tailored to 40k. but because of the way organized tournaments exclude unbound, there is no legitimate way to play units already deemed approved for 40k by GW. To me, this makes it a little different than approving Forge World or 30k stuff. I do like how ITC normally tailors their rules by community vote. Let the players participating agree to what rules they want to play by.

          • Ciaphas Cain

            “So many of these events seem like they’re geared to best aid the TO’s circle of friends and their current WAAC meta.”

            Really? I am shocked and amazed that you would suggest such a thing. Shocked!

            The ITC has in it’s defence that it is decided by thousands of gamers all over the world. Rather than the faux ‘community’ of three or 4 clubs overrun with power gamers.

  • wibbling

    They’re an expensive unit. Going up against AP2 you want the halberd, but the sacrifices the stormshield, at which point they’ve no invulnerable save against the sort of weapons AP2 usually carries.

    Then we have the stormshield/sword combo which loses AP2. The vexilla gets you an extra attack per man but loses 2, essentially wasting points. Outside of a huge squad this is a limited option.

    This leaves the unit in a quandry: they’re a hard unit to get the best from.

    • Julien Huguenin

      Note that you can adapt the loadout on an individual basis, so a mix of spears and shield is an option.

    • Ross Allan

      With T5 and 2 wounds each, I wouldn’t bet against them being just as hard to shift as say, your standard Terminator. Whiffing one save doesn’t take a Custodes out the fight.

      • Agent OfBolas

        T5, W2 and 2+, with the possibility to get 2+/3++
        Just for few points over standard Terminator.

        • Muninwing

          that’s my issue with them. as a DA/Deathwing player, i want all the stuff they get for the paltry service charge. or i want a rebate.

          • Agent OfBolas

            Terminators shoul be T5 or W2, to get them a bit of resilience for low caliber fire … it’s funny (not) to watch how they die from lasgun fire … This would be fair fix IMO.

            But don’t worry, in Q2 2017 datastates are going to come, something like AoS – there is no S or T, just Dataslates with score to hit/wound

          • Muninwing

            … and as another once-fun game gets the dumbing-down treatment, i’ll sell my army and find something worthwhile to do

          • Ciaphas Cain

            Maybe you could by this Bridge I have for sale?

          • euansmith

            I hear that Florida Everglades property prices are very competitive at the moment.

          • Agent OfBolas

            Man, don’t worry. I’m a CSM player – it’s all about fun. Don’t bother with tournament netlisting, just keep up having fun and play with friends, funny games, with house rules.

            100% guarantee of well spent time 🙂

      • Corey Kershaw

        Or you could play 30k :3

    • Duncan Parker Newton-Gaines

      You don’t lose attacks for the Vexilla? Yes, you have to trade in your spear, but they still have a power knife which gives them AP3 attacks. You do lose AP 2, but it’s certainly not worthless.

      • Eric Buchanan

        You will lose 1 attack over the spear. You aren’t getting a bonus from 2 cc weapons. Guardian Spears aren’t specialist, I believe. But either way still a good observation that I hadn’t thought of.

        • Duncan Parker Newton-Gaines

          I thought you couldn’t get a 2 weapon bonus if you were using a two handed weapon, which would still make it a scratch with the spear or the power knife? Plus, if you take the vexilla, you no longer have the spear, so you can legally put a storm shield on him. Expensive, but adds to the survivability of the unit.

  • Pete Croucher

    You can get them into armies! They’re Agents of the Emperor so can be used in any Loyalist army with one unit used as an HQ. Speaking as someone who has a massive loyalist Iron Warrior army, I’m pretty psyched 😀

    40k? Eh, they’re 30k units, take ’em in Unbound if you really need them.

  • Atharius

    That’s one gigantic SoS next to that Custode…

  • Edouard Decaen

    Ten years ago those units would have been very good. But now with all those ridiculously powerful units around they just look “mah..”. And I just love it. Enough the overly powerful unit and to the arms race !

    • SYSTem050

      Indeed it’s nice to see a solid b- unit coming out. Nice on the tabletop and not an instant win add to the already powerful imperium.

      An agent’s of the imperium codex which includes inquisitors, assassins, custodies seems like a sensible next step. It may even contain that which cannot be named without resetting the clock

      • Ciaphas Cain

        “It may even contain that which cannot be named without resetting the clock”

        The last HH book already did that.

      • Ciaphas Cain

        So long as it includes them as different chapters and keeps them as different factions I agree. Mash them into one super faction again and it would suck

    • Sparowl

      There are several current armies who would still view these as amazing. Remember, not everyone plays imperium.

      • ZeeLobby

        And that’s the big issue.

  • Sonic tooth

    i wonder will gw release a plastic kit that can be either sisters of silence or sisters of battle (like the witch elves/sisters of slaughter). kill 2 birds with one stone?…i hope not… separate in fluff so should be separate as models lol

    • Emprah

      You need not worry about that. Their chest and legplates are a different design.

      What I think GW WILL do however will be making a single 10 woman sprue of Sister heads/chest/legs with different weapon/arm/backpack sets for standard, elite, jetpack and heavy weapons versions.

      Sister tanks I imagine will just be an upgrade kit put in with the standard SM Rhino.

      • Sonic tooth

        i hope so, i dont collect 40/30k minis but the sisters and custodians really appeal to me so id love to see more, will definitely be buying them

        • Ak318

          look to forge world my friend as those are the guys actually making them an army

      • Ciaphas Cain

        “What I think GW WILL do however will be making a single 10 woman sprue of Sister heads/chest/legs with different weapon/arm/backpack sets for standard, elite, jetpack and heavy weapons versions.”

        Like the Space Marines were for ages?

    • euansmith

      They could easily be separated in the fluff by making them the Sisters of Silence and the Sisters of Prattle, who never, ever, freakin’ shut the feck up! 😉

  • Mike Salamandrin

    I think SOS will be folded into the SoB as an elite unit; and fluff wise the Adapta Saroitas will be reworked as an organization built out a network of female imperial cults throughout the imperium, with the laypeople grouping them all as Sisters of Battle of the ecclesiarchy. The SoB sisters linked to the black ships were actuall the SoS, still serving the astronomicon by bringing it fresh psychers.

    • Ciaphas Cain

      Makes no sense.

      The Astranomicon and the Eleccestacy are as far from each other as you can get.

      • Mike Salamandrin

        In the older fluff for the Witchhunters hunters codex, the SoB were tasked with collecting psykers for the blackships and hunting rogue witches…The job of the SoS in 30k. After the emperor was placed in the throne, more psykers would be needed, so it wouldn’t make sense the SoS would just disappear.
        Outwardly their null nature would not be obvious and they have similar equipment to SoB, so laypeople of the imperium would identify sisters of the blackships as SoB.
        As the SoB codexes have mentioned the Battle Sister being one part of the orders attached to other organizations, the fluff could be reworked that the Battle Sisters(former daughter’s of the emperor) are the military arm of the eclesiarchy, while the entire Adapta Saroitas organization encompasses female imperial cults embedded in all imperial organizations.
        I would justify their attachment to the Hereticus (watching organizations and policing psykers), still keep their ties to the eclesiarchy, and improve their flavor in the game by adding units like the SoS.

  • Old zogwort

    Whut sisters of silence a B….
    Are you mad, just a single condemnor boltgun cost the same as a single silent sister, and these all have 3+ vs’s I5, 2 attacks and the build in anti psy assassin trick.

  • Defenestratus

    Being Unbound only doesn’t take away from these units at all. In fact it makes me want to see more Unbound lists be embraced.
    Play for fun, not for victory.

    • SYSTem050

      Thing is though for some the victory is the fun. I have long realised that when dealing with the extremes WAAC vs fluff players might as well speak different languages.

      I look at goat boys articles as I may a review of foreign countries, often confusing but a nice way to see how other cultures operate.

      • nurglitch

        I play both fluffy and competitively. They’re not exclusive cultures. Goatboy does competitively badly though. I’d rather hear what Spaguaratyne has to say.

  • Frank O’Donnell

    The dreaded word unbound ? unbound is one of the least bent things in 40K these days, you guys wouldn’t use so GW as they always do just came up with a different way of making sure you would lol

  • benn grimm

    They aren’t for 40k tourneys, they’re for 30k or a little unfluffy fun with buddies. Get over it, move on, there’s still plenty of other filth out there for you to spam.

    • euansmith

      I shudder when I see AP2. Really what’s the point in Marines changing out their carapace armour let along getting in to Terminator armour.

      • benn grimm

        I’ve always thought of saving throw modifiers as a better mechanic than ap1-6, same with to-hit modifiers rather than cover saves, weapons which entirely disallow a terminator armor save should be incredibly rare. Like Jain Zar rare.

        Whilst I think there is a strong case for the custodes being one of those rare cases, I’d still prefer a nasty -6 modifier to a meaty 2d6 3 plus termi save. But it would probably involve more time and thinking, which might put off the no attention span generation, so I very much doubt we’ll see a return.

        • memitchell

          Save mods went away a generation ago. That would make Gen X the “no attention span generation.”

          • benn grimm

            So called ‘Generation X’ was born in the 60s and 70s so that would have made them at least 20/30 ish when 3rd came along. So no, basically.

          • Ciaphas Cain

            I come in at the end of Gen X snd I started playing 40K with 2nd ed.

      • nurglitch

        Terminators can move, fire heavy weapons, and charge, and in addition get an invulnerable saving throw of 5+. You don’t have to run face-first into the Custodes. You can always shoot them.

        • Old zogwort

          Jup those stormbolters are sure going to have a fun time mowing them down.

    • Zingbaby


    • Old zogwort

      I would love to see them fielded in a battle vs harlequins who need to reach the throne room.

      • benn grimm

        My sentiments exactly, Daemons also would work quite well. I can’t wait to see a tonne of them all brought together for a big 30k game; Ullanor or Siege of terra or something like that. You just know there’s some guy out there already planning a big army of these guys. Wonder if they’ll release an Emperor model/rules at some point…?

        • euansmith

          The Emperor on the Throne might be that, “biggest plastic kit” they were talking about a while ago. 😉

          • benn grimm

            That would be pretty awesome; super massive throne, lil crippled emp… 😉

  • NikosanPrime

    My biggest complaint with all of this that the sisters are the same height as the Custodes. They should have been shorter than the Marines in the box. It would have made the Custodes seem so much larger and started a trend towards making Marines feel they are appropriate.

    As it is now it just makes me less interested in purchasing the box. More things that are pretty but don’t appeal because the scale is totally off. Prefer it when they stated the scale was 1/72 and they were trying to keep that in mind when making the models. This “heroic” scale that means nothing and is jarring. At least make it 1/60 and then make all new models fit within that. Would give a reason to buy new models as the new ones would feel “more accurate” and would churn out a bunch of the old models to new players looking to get into the game but cannot afford brand new models.

    But for now I will keep working on True Scaling my Marines.

    • SYSTem050

      Pretty sure they are smaller. Saw a picture of a custodes next to marine and it was a good head taller

    • Zingbaby

      I haven’t seen them myself but there’s been a lot of talk about how the Custodes ARE bigger actually. I don’t think the sisters are as tall as you think.

      • NikosanPrime

        Well all the images keep showing them as the same height. Which would put them in at 7′ tall , maybe more. But then maybe I am looking at the images wrong.

  • MechBattler

    I see custodes as functionally similar to Lychguard. They get to choose between a two handed weapon that lets them hit harder or a sword and shield that makes them more durable. Mix and match the two types to your taste. To me, they can handle anything in combat except gargantuan creatures and walkers with front AV12 and up.
    I’d give the Shield Captain a spear to take advantage of his higher Initiative, then put 2 more spears in and give the other 2 swords and shields.
    Structuring a unit of these guys takes more thought than a unit of Hammernators. You have to choose between damage output and durability. That’s why I rather like them. They’re powerful, but you have to plan out what you what them to do and kit them accordingly, and then carefully decide what to throw them at on the field or they could end up underutilized or even outmatched.
    I like units that make you think before you act. I think they’re well designed.

  • You need to understand that goatboy writes from the tournament poewrgaming perspective, and his target audience are players that like that kind of thing.

    It would be nice to have a narrative version of a goatboy writing too though 😉

    • Nyyppä

      Not many can handle the hate that one gets to endure when calling immensely under powered units viable. Look at Wargamer Fritz. CSM enthusiast. Not even one realist has written anything positive in his blogs/vlogs about CSM.

      • Thats true, trying to internet blog about using non-tournament powered units is a foot slog into hell. I did for a while, trying to push narrative builds and you do get dogpiled for it.

        • ZeeLobby

          Well because, dare I say, the majority of players fall somewhere in the middle (myself included). We want to build narrative lists that can win games. Other systems have proven that it’s possible to get a degree of this, it’s just nowhere to be found in current 40K.

          • I am right there with you. I want the power spike to be a lot less steep and a lot more armies or combinations be viable. Current 40k and past 40k are the same in my opinion. This issue has always been discussed even back in the AOL internet days of the 90s when chat rooms discussed how annoying blood angel rhino rush spam was and how broken star cannon eldar were and people lamenting no one ever taking an army that wasn’t either eldar, blood angels, or space wolves because they were OP.

    • nurglitch

      What, and have him do for narrative gaming what he adds to competitive gaming?

      • ZeeLobby

        Which in most cases is nothing? Lol. I mean I give him mad props for his ability to spam, but most of his lists aren’t competitive masterpieces.

      • Not if you get a narrative guy in there writing narrative stuff.

  • Agent OfBolas

    I’m starting to imagine Custodes taking role of Sigmarites in next 40k release … and I don’t like what I see.

  • Alvin Adorno

    one thing you guys are all forgetting. if the primarchs are returning to 40k what organizations would be better to collect them and return to earth for a meeting with the emp?

  • flyingtam

    Does Goatboy even play the same game as everyone else?

  • ZeeLobby

    I love that the WAAC community will now underplay these units power levels until the ITC includes them, and we start seeing them in every list…

    • Zingbaby

      Pretty much this.

  • Emperor’s Champion

    Has anybody thought about using the shields as boarding shields for regular size marines?

  • Tothe

    What if this is part of the prep for 8th edition, and the plan is for an “Imperium” army that can fill force org slots with any unit from the Guard, SoS, SoB, Custodes, etc?