An army beginner’s guide to Warhammer 40K boxed sets
Written by: Paul Nettle & Sean CouncillSpace Marines
An assault squad of 5 Marines with jump-packs, worth £12
A Rhino, worth £15
3 Bikes, worth £18
Tactical squad of 10 Marines; worth £15.
Cost £50. Value £63 if bought separately.
Analysis: An excellent way to expand on the figures in the 40K Game boxed set, or a good way to build an army. The Assault Squad is a good choice to get to grips with the enemy, but at 5 strong it is a bit small. The previous version of the boxed set had a squad of 5 Terminators, which was probably a better choice, but horses for courses. The Tactical Squad admirably fills one of your mandatory TROOP choices, and it now has its own Rhino to give it some cover as it advances quickly across the board. This replaces the Land Speeder in the previous version of this box. The one weak link is the bikes. Although bikes are good, you generally need more than three to be effective. Further buys? Well, a Space Marines HQ boxed set is a good bet for the HQ slot, and some scouts add another tactical facet, and fill another mandatory slot. But overall, this boxed set is an excellent force builder.
Chaos Space Marines
A squad of 12 Khorne Berserkers, worth £15
A Chaos Rhino, worth £15
3 Bikes, worth £18
A squad of 8 Space Marines, worth £12
Cost £50. Value £60 if bought separately.
Analysis: The squad of troops is an excellent way to fill a mandatory TROOP selection, but Chaos Space Marines are left out a bit with only having 8 troops in the set, as opposed to 10 in the Space Marines box. The Khorne Berserkers are really only useful if you want a Khorne or Chaos Undivided force. However, if you do the Berserkers are a good assault unit. The Rhino is useful, again providing both speed and cover for you troops as they advance, and the bikes have better rules than Space Marines, although they again only have three bikes. The previous version of this boxed set had four bikes – could Games Workshop be increasing their profit margins?. Overall, not a bad selection, but only if you want a Khorne or Chaos Undivided army. Otherwise, your money could be better spent. You still lack an HQ choice.
A squad of 20 Warriors, worth £18.75
A Raider, worth £15
5 Bikes, worth £25
Cost £50. Value £61.75 if bought separately.
(The sub author’s personal favourite army)
Analysis: The squad of Warriors is your basic TROOP choice, and can be split into two so one can use the Raider. Squads of Warriors with the maximum number of allowed Splinter Cannons (2) is usually a good walking suppressive force. However, the Raider might be better used for your assault troops, when you get some, because the Dark Eldar excel in close combat with their specialist (metal) troops and you don’t get any of these in the boxed set. The bikes are provided in the sort of numbers you need. Strength 4 and Toughness 4! Good bike rules, with turbo special rules and free combat drugs! You still lack an HQ choice, and this army needs a lot of specialists. Generally a good buy, although if you don’t want the bikes, £30 will get you the Raider and 16 Warriors.
A squad of 20 Guardians, worth £18.75
A Falcon Grav-tank, worth £18
A Vyper attack-bike, worth £12
3 Jet Bikes, worth £15
Cost £50. Value £66.75 if bought separately.
Analysis: Eldar Guardians are not rated highly on their own, although you have enough to make 2 troop choices and you will need to buy some heavy-weapons for them, and preferably a Warlock, before you put them on the table, adding about another £12 or so to your outlay. The Falcon is excellent, although vulnerable, but on the bright side it will stop you fielding 3 Wraith Lords and running out of opponents for your cheesiness. I also rate the Vyper as an excellent way of getting specialised heavy weaponry into the right place at the right time. Better weapons than a Land Speeder in my humble opinion, but still vulnerable (actually, ‘vulnerable’ applies to most of the army so I’ll stop saying it.) I cannot think of any reason an Eldar player would want to use Jet Bikes. They are far more vulnerable (oops) than Chaos/Space Marine bikes, and they don’t have the sexy special rules of the Dark Eldar jet bikes that make the DE jet bikes so appealing. Excellent monetary value, but take out the useless bikes and it is not so good. 16 Guardians, a Falcon and a Vyper will cost you just £44, leaving £6 towards those heavy-weapons platforms and Warlocks your Guardians so desperately need. !
A squad of 12 Fire Warriors, worth £15.00
A squad of 16 Kroot, worth £15
3 Crisis Battlesuits, worth £30
10 Drones, generally bought as part of the above.
Cost £50. Value £63.00 if bought separately. Plus 2 Drones.
Analysis: The Crisis Battlesuits are a good way to lay down concentrated fire, however are barely adequate in combat either. The Fire Warriors can be used in two squads of 6, maximising the number of Drones you can use, and are the basic TROOP slots fillers for the ‘shooty’ Tau. The Kroot squad is your basic hand-to-hand combat unit, and can be boosted with Kroot hounds for that combat orientated Squad (not included in the boxed set). The Crisis Battlesuits can actually be used as a HQ unit, so this is a (small) legal army for a Standard army choice.
A squad of 20 Warriors £15
5 Scarab Swarms, worth £10
4 Necron Destroyers, worth £32
Cost £50. Value £57.00 if bought separately.
Analysis: think of Necrons as space marines with a lower initiative but armed with a basic weapon that can do glancing hits on ANY vehicle, yes even a Land Raider. Scarab swarms are unbreakable, so 15 wounds either in close combat or to shooting, can tie up opponents for a few rounds. Destroyer’s excellent shooting (strength 6 weapon) which can glance any vehicle again on a 6 (unless it would need less due to armour). The only downsides of this box are you can buy it cheaper separately and there is no HQ. The only major way forward with this is MONOLITH. The most under pointed, cheesy thing GW have ever done. Oh and add a HQ, and a few more lovelies, the Necrons have a choice to fill any role you desire.
A squad of 16 Ork Boyz, worth £15.00
5 Warbikes, worth £25
A Wartrukk, worth £10
A Warbuggy, worth £10.
Cost £50. Value £63.00 if bought separately.
Analysis: The squad of Boyz is a good unit in any Ork force, but this force seems geared towards a very mobile Ork force. The Wartrukk is the basic Ork APC, and lets you get the Boyz up close and personal with the enemy. The Warbuggy gives mobile firepower. The Warbikes are often seen in Ork armies where they can get the combat-orientated Orks into a scrap really fast. You would still need some Nobz to give you that extra combat power, a Warboss (cos ee’s ard) and of, course, lots more mobz of the Boyz.
32 Gaunts and 2 ripper swarms, worth £30
3 Tyranid Warriors and 1 ripper swarm, worth £15
12 Genestealers, worth £12
Cost £50. Value £60 if bought separately.
Analysis: Think ALIEN, lots of really excellent Hand To Hand plus some very characterful shooting weapons, struggle against tanks, except the BIG FELLERS in H-T-H. Better monetary value than the Necrons! Generally ‘Nid armies are massive, so 44 plastic troops and 3 big fellows, plus their ripper swarms, is probably not a bad start. The way to go here are Hive tyrants and Carnifex’s, not in the box and expensive to buy at around £15-£18 pounds each, but these are the real deal, can have a shooty weapon and do H-T-H as well.
Imperial Guard (Cadian)
20 Cadian Shock Troops, worth £15
3 Heavy Weapons Teams, worth £20
1 Leman Russ tank, worth £20
Cost £50. Value £61 if bought separately.
Analysis: weak and no specialist ability Humans, NOT SO, the IG excel at shooting, shooting and did I mention shooting. The IG have excellent tanks, can have more heavy weapons than a Leopard has spots, and if you must do H-T-H, then how about Strength 5, 3 wound Ogryn. The box contents are about 1/3 rd of what you need to make a guard army as a standard troop choice contains 25 men (minimum). You still need a HQ (5-7 men more). The way forward, more men and lots of tanks and guns, I have seen Guard armies with no tanks have over 120 men.