Off The Shelf - Warhammer 40K Shadowspear (Start Collecting Warhammer 40K)

Published: March 9, 2019 7:00 AM /


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Warhammer 40K Shadowspear is a 2-player army box for Games Workshop's Warhammer 40K. It features two forces of incredible brand new miniatures and a linked campaign for those forces.

For more details on getting started with Warhammer 40K, you can see our Start Collecting series. This box doesn't include the full rulebook, dice and range rulers that Dark Imperium does, so if you're looking for a starter box, you should consider that. Shadowspear does have enough for 2 players to get going with Warhammer 40K with miniatures for the two forces, the basic rules, campaign details and rules for all the miniatures in the box. All you need to add is some dice and a tape measure.


In this Off The Shelf article, we will fully unbox the product, along with a closer look at some components and the rules for the new miniatures.

Off The Shelf articles are unboxing and preview articles and shouldn't be taken as a full review of the product.

Shadowspear Unboxing

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Shadowspear contains a force of new Vanguard Space Marines and a force of Chaos Space Marine Daemonkin. The Vanguard Space Marines are specialist covert operatives and the Daemonkin are Chaos Space Marines, willingly giving themselves over to demonic possession. Both forces possess some incredible abilities and the miniatures included in the box are fantastic.

Vanguard Space Marines

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The Vanguard Space Marines included in Shadowspear are:

  • Captain in Phobos Armour
  • Librarian in Phobos Armour
  • Lieutenant in Phobos Armour
  • 3 Suppressors
  • 3 Eliminators
  • 10 Infiltrators
All of the Vanguard Space Marine units included in Shadowspear can either deploy in a concealed position or low altitude. A concealed position is anywhere on the battlefield not within 9 inches of an enemy or their deployment zone and low altitude means they aren't placed on the battlefield, but deploy at the end of your movement phase. This gives Vanguard Space Marines a huge amount of flexibility in terms of battlefield control and dominating objectives.

The Captain is able to target enemy characters with his Master-crafted instigator bolt carbine at 30 inches. His weapons does 2 damage and has -2 to saving throws, so it's perfect for targeting threatening enemies. The Librarian is also a stealth specialist and is able to deploy in a prime position to disrupt enemy psykers. He picks his psychic powers from the Obscuration Discipline in the Vanguard Space Marine mini-codex. The Obscuration Discipline is made up of powers focusing on disruption of the enemy and can also be used to benefit units with the Phobos trait, like the Eliminators and Infiltrators.

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Scryer's Gaze is our favourite Obscuration Discipline power.


The three Vanguard Space Marine units are all designed to level accurate fire on enemies. The Infiltrators, once deployed can fire with their Markmanship Bolt Carbines. Rapid Fire allows the unit to double its shots, so the 10-man squad can fire 20 rounds, which automatically hit and wound on rolls of a 6.

The Eliminator Squads are armed with Bolt Sniper Rifles, which have a choice of three ammunition types. Hyperfrag fires D3 shots,  Mortis rounds can target units not visible to the Eliminators and Executioner rounds deal D3 damage with -2 AP and deal a mortal wound on a roll of a 6.


The Suppressor Squads have a movement of 12 allowing them to redeploy easily to a better firing position to rain down on their enemies with their Accelerator Autocannons. These weapons fire 2 shots at Strength 7, doing 2 wounds with -2 AP. They are capable of devastating units and vehicles. They also have the Suppressing Fire special rule, which means that if a unit loses a model to the Accelerator Autocannons, it can't fire it's overwatch. This allows you to set up some devastating follow up charges with assault units like Primaris Reavers.

Chaos Space Marine Daemonkin

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The Daemonkin Chaos Space Marines included in Shadowspear are:

  • Master of Possession
  • 2 Greater Possessed
  • 2 Obliterators
  • 1 Venomcrawler
  • 10 Chaos Space Marines
The Master of Possession is an incredibly powerful unit for the Daemonkin. He has the ability to disrupt enemy psykers with his Rite of Possession ability, which increases the risks to enemy psykers using their powers within 12 inches of him. He has access to the Possession psychic power from the Malefic Discipline powers list. Possession increases the Master of Possession's own close combat ability, but also allows him to reinforce his own army with the slain of his enemies. If he kills any Astartes miniature, he can even summon a Greater Possessed, which are incredible close combat units.

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Our favorite Malefic Discipline psychic ability.

The Chaos Space Marines included in Shadowspear have the same rules as the current Chaos Space Marines, but Shadowspear includes some new miniatures to represent he Daemonkin. Their rules in the codex list the equipment that these miniatures are armed with, but they are interchangeable with any Chaos Space Marines you own and can be added into your own force.

The Greater Possessed are Chaos Space Marines, mutated into combat powerhouses. They have 5 wounds, making them difficult to kill and are armed with Demonic Mutations, that have Strength 5 and do D3 wounds with -2 AP. They also boost nearby Daemon units' strength when they are close by.


The Obliterators are twisted mutations of organic weapons. They are armed with Fleshmetal guns that have random characteristics. At the start of each shooting phase, three D3 are rolled to determin the Strength (roll plus 6), AP and Damage of the weapons. Each Obliterator can fire 6 shots a turn, so even rolling a 1 for each stat makes them damaging weapons.

The Venomcrawler is capable at both range and melee. At full wounds, its 2 Excruciator Cannons each fire D3 shots at 36 inches and its Eviscerating Claws and Soulflayer Tendrils are particularly apt at tearing through armoured targets in close combat. In addition, it regenerates a wound each turn and an additional wound at the end of a fight phase that it kills an enemy. And if that wasn't enough, it also boosts the Demonic Ritual summoning rolls of any nearby Master of Possessions.

Shadowspear Campaign

The Shadowspear box continues the story of the Vigilus Campaign, the current Warhammer 40K Narrative that Games Workshop are running. Shadowspear includes a campaign booklet that details the ongoing story and details of the Nemendghast campaign of which Shadowspear is part of. The booklet includes a mini-campaign of 6 linked missions that can be played with your own forces, or the Historical Forces using the two armies in the box. The Campaign booklet also includes an Open Play mission and some narrative hooks for other missions.

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The Shadowspear Linked Narrative Campaign.

We're really looking forward to playing out the Shadowspear campaign with the boxed set forces, then adding the Vanguard Space Marines to our Start Collecting force of Raven Guard. The Vanguard Space Marines will fit perfectly into our force of covert operators. We're also keen to see if they bring out the Kill Team stats for the Infiltrators and Eliminators, both are perfectly suited to the skirmish battle rules.


This copy of the Shadowspear used in this preview was provided by Warhammer Community.


Are you excited for Shadowspear? Are you buying it for the Vanguard Space Marines, Daemonkin or both? What do you think of the new miniatures? Let us know in the comments below.


Our Start Collecting Warhammer 40K series is sponsored by Goblin Gaming. You can pick up your copy of Shadowspear from them with a 20% discount off the RRP.

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