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40K: Analyzing GW Suggestions On Shadowspear Army Expansions

6 Minute Read
Mar 08

Games Workshop has some ideas on how you can expand your forces in Shadowspear up to 2000 points. Let’s take at what they suggested!

For me, it’s always interesting to see how the designer views how their creation will function. It’s even more fun to see how those same creations will react in the wild. That said, Games Workshop has two suggested army lists options for expanding the starting forces in Shadowspear. I want to take a quick look at those and see if they are on to something or not.

Send In The Vanguard

First-up, we’re going to take a look at the Vanguard for the Space Marines. Vanguard does imply “first to the fight” so that seems appropriate. So let’s see what they came up with.

via Warhammer Community

What I find most interesting about this split is how GW took the starting force and split it into the two detachments and then added things to round out to 2000 points. This is a very sniper heavy force as well. It’s curious that they opted for Land Speeders to do the anti-vehicle duty – but it’s very thematic! You can actually read how they envision this army working as well.

 By setting up all the units in the Vanguard Detachment in low orbit, you’ll be able to see five of your opponent’s units deploy before you need to commit any of your own. Your Infiltrators, Scouts, Captain and Librarian are all able to set up in concealed positions, enabling you to secure any advantageous forward positions right from the get-go.


Once the battle is underway, you can unleash your Vanguard Detachment in force, dropping down 34 models (totalling more than 70 Wounds between them) right where your opponent is most vulnerable and immediately dominate that area of the battlefield.

If you’re looking at this force as a Tournament player, you’ve probably spotted some big holes. I’m not sure I’d rely on 3 Landspeeders to take on a Knight in the current meta. I would be a little worried about my characters getting picked off, but honestly in the current meta, I wouldn’t sweat this list too much. I do like this list from the theme-side of the house. I’d be happy to play against this list with an equally thematic force any day of the week. It’s not going to change the meta – and I think that’s okay as long as you go into it knowing that.

I’d give it points for theme for sure, but it loses points for not being particularly “mean” at the tournament level. It’s not the worst army list I’ve ever seen and it would be challenge as the player to get the maximum effectiveness out of this list. The deployment shenanigans are kind of fun, too. I wouldn’t consider this a “top tier” army list. I would like to give it a spin because it seems like it would play very different than most marine armies I’ve seen lately. Also, I think this list as Blood Angels would actually be kind of mean – those 30 Reivers are no joke…

Verdict: Not bad. Play a few games, make some adjustments for what works for you. It’s a balanced army – no major tricks besides deployment, no “gotcha” units either (which isn’t a bad thing, btw). It will have problems at the tournament level. This is the equivalent of buying a car from the dealership new and expecting to race it on the track immediately. Not that you can’t – just don’t expect to break any records!

Chaos Daemonkin


Okay…Where do we begin? I can see what they are doing for the theme – again, I get that. As far as the current meta, the only thing that this list shares with your typical Chaos list is probably the Daemon Prince with wings. I know they are trying to showcase the units from Shadowspear – I just don’t think this list is particularly scary. Let’s see what GW says:

The Master of Possession has some powerful psychic abilities that can really boost the effectiveness of your force, and his Warlord Trait (enabling him to re-roll casting rolls of 1) will help to increase the odds of him manifesting them. Should you manage to pull off both powers in the same turn, then alongside the aura ability of the Greater Possessed, you’ll be adding 1 to the Strength and invulnerable saves of nearby Possessed, Daemon Engines and Obliterators, while enabling them to re-roll hit and wound rolls of 1!

Your 10-man squads of Chaos Space Marines are great for holding objectives and offering fire support while the rest of your fast-moving, melee-focussed army speeds towards the foe to engage them in combat. Alternatively, you can use them to follow up your first wave of daemonically possessed gribblies and put the new beta Bolter Discipline rules to good use at close range.

I get that the Master of Possession has some cool new powers and can really boost the effectiveness of your army – however, your plan is to run 20 possessed across the board? And the CSM are going to be your firebase. The Obliterators are cool – they can lay down some heat at least. Similarly, the Greater Possessed DO boost the Daemonkin units so that’s a plus I guess…But this list needs some work.

Again, this is a pretty thematic force. I think if these two army lists squared off, you’d have a fun game! But if you took this to a tournament, you’d be in a world of hurt. I just don’t see the additional 20 CSM bringing much to the table – I’d drop those extra units for Cultist (yeah, I know – I’m part of the problem) and take those points and put them towards something more killy. If you want to run across the board, Berzerkers maybe? At least you’re battle plan wouldn’t entirely rely on your Psykers and your other two Greater Possessed making in alive.

Not to be a Negative Nancy, but I this list is limited due to the Shadowspear box. If you could have more that 2 Obliterators (an artificial limit based on the box set) then you could have some more firepower. Not that more Obliterators are the answer here…But I like the models and would run more of them if I had the option. I’d also like to take the Venomcrawler for a spin. Is it a better option that the Blightdrone? Debatable. But it’s new and I want to try it!



Verdict: Needs more work. I don’t think we’ve seen Possessed, a Maulerfiend, or a unit of basic CSM in a competitive chaos list in a long time. Maybe this boxed set is trying to address that – and hey, good on them for trying! So yes, I get that this army is leaning HARD into the theme. But let’s not pretend you’re selling me a Corvette when I’m looking at a Civic. It needs a lot more to be competitive. Is it a good start? Eh…I think you can tell how I feel about this list.

Well, that’s my opinion on these lists. How would you make them better? If you had a friend that was getting into the game with this box, how would you steer them into expanding the army? Let us know in the comments!


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