Thursday, September 15, 2016

Warhammer 40,000 Factions (Part II)

Afternoon Game Fans, today we’re going to take a deeper look at the various armies you can choose from for the wargame Warhammer 40,000.  There are a variety of choices you can select from, so we’ll look at each faction along three ideas.  Army aesthetic, play style, and numbers are all important characteristics when looking at your first army for warhammer 40k, all though i suggest new players look at the army aesthetic first.  If you don’t like the look of your army, it’s going to detract from your involvement from the game.  

Remember, all of the factions we’re going to look at can be found at  All you need to do is select the warhammer 40,000 tab, and scroll down until you see the list of armies on the left hand side.  We’ll take it from the top, but we’re going to cover the broad groupings rather than each individual sub faction.

Chaos Daemons

First up today, and the fifth army we’ve covered so far, we have the Chaos Daemons.Built of the unreality of the combined emotional energy of all living things in the cosmos, Chaos Daemons exist outside of reality.  The Immaterium, or the warp space that allows ships to travel great distances between stars is the home of these ancient and terrible intelligences.  Where the boundary between the warp and the real world is weakest, these ancient foes can burst forth into the real world.  
The Chaos Daemons are an interesting army with several different play styles.  Most Daemons pledge their allegiance to one of four great Gods of Chaos.  This means you can choose to field an entire army dedicated to one of these powers (often referred to as a mono god list) or you can mix and match as you like.  Daemons have a resiliency to them that few other armies can match. Every model in the army has an invulnerable save, (which means they can shrug off wounds that would normally kill or incapacitate other armies).  The other quality that makes them very interesting is that they have access to a psychic power group that lets them summon more daemons.  With some creative list building, and access to the right models, you can build a Chaos Daemons army that can always find the right solution to the tactical problem in front of them.  

The Chaos Daemons faction is probably on the larger model count side of the equation.  You can play with small units and larger monstrous creatures, but you’re still going to need bodies on the table.  One of the better advantages of this faction is that you can flood the table with troops that can be hard to kill.  Figure out which units you like the best, and then take a look around and see what units work well with them.

Getting started you’ve got a couple of decent starting points.  The start collecting sets for Nurgle and Khorne both offer a good selection of units to get you into the game.  Hold off on getting any of the resin kits for now, because its possible they’ll be replaced soon with larger plastic kits that have more options.  If you’re looking for a comparison, look at the Blood Thirster Kit compared to the Keeper of Secrets.  They are both Greater Daemons of their respective Gods, but the Thirster is absolutely massive by comparison.  The Newer Age of Sigmar kits for the Chaos Daemons (the Daemons are a faction in both games, so you could play Age of Sigmar with your Daemons) tend to be decent values.  

Chaos Space Marines

The Space Marines of the Adeptus Astartes are transhuman warriors created by the Emperor of Mankind to reclaim all the worlds of the galaxy for humankind.  With bolt gun and chainsword, they strike at the heart of any conflict, destroying and moving on.  With their heavy armor, advanced weapons and superhuman physiology, they are an elite force built to take the fight to the enemy and destroy them wherever they can found.  Now imagine that these great defenders of humanity had turned their backs, broken their oaths of allegiance, and sworn foul pacts with the Gods of Chaos?  

Chaos Space Marines can utilize a variety of methods to win the tabletop game.  You can utilize Corrupted war machines (including a pterodactyl like monster that can mount a super awesome autocannon or flamer), legions of cultists, or some of the oldest and most experienced warriors in the galaxy.  Combining the resilience of Space Marines with dark powers from the Chaos Gods, you can build an army to both look how you like, and play with a style you feel comfortable.  Not as broadly versatile as their loyalist cousins, they make up with highly specialized units that can hit hard and survive a counterattack (Hopefully).

Numbers wise, you can go either way with Chaos Space Marines.  You can drown the field in cultists or utilize squads of chosen to carry out specific objectives.  They can be elite army that hits hard and moves on, or one that holds ground and just refuses to die.. One of the advantages of this army is that you can utilize almost all of the Adeptus Astartes kits to build your Chaos Space Marines.  Combining that range of kits alongside the Chaos options means that you can build and convert your models to look exactly how you like them.  

This is an army that you spend some time getting to know and practicing with.  While they have the same basic statistics of a loyalist space marine, they have different options for weapons, and some different rules.  The nuances are important for the Chaos Space Marines, and finding the nuances that you enjoy is one of the keys to finding both success and happiness with this army.  

Dark Eldar

The Dark Eldar are one perspective on the Eldar race.  Hidden in the webway, the Dark Eldar are piratical raiders who break into realspace to steal slaves, trinkets, and other things from the rest of the universe.  Ruled by an iron willed monarch who seems to know all and see all, the Dark Eldar are a fractitious race of cruel and petty sadists.  They seek to take power and authority from those above them in station, and it is often a short, and brutal life to be around the Dark Eldar.

On the tabletop, The Dark Eldar are an army that loves its mobility.  They have options to rapidly move across the tabletop and overwhelm their enemies with shooting weapons before finishing them off in rapid assaults.  The Dark Eldar make extensive use of poisoned weaponry to overwhelm even the hardiest of foes.

Depending on which direction you take this army, you can have a lot models on the table.  We consistently see mechanized armies being a popular theme in Dark Eldar (Their sail barges are open topped, meaning that everything that’s inside can shoot out), and high mobility coupled with some truly savage guns can overwhelm units.  The other thing to consider are the Talos class pain engines (and their variants) for heavy units that can tie up the opposition in assault.  

Aesthetically, this is one of the most unique looking armies on the tabletop.  With skimmers and sail barges predominant among their vehicles, the Dark Eldar themselves have extremely hard edges to their personal war gear, and boast some interesting kits and weapon choices.  You can have a lot of fun building and painting a Dark Eldar army.


The other main perspective on the Eldar race, the Craftworld Eldar ply the stars in planet sized starships known as Craftworlds.  Fighting a constant struggle against the depredations of an unkind universe has bled the Craftworld Eldar white.  Now when they go to war, even the common citizens of the Eldar will take up arms alongside veterans of dozens of campaigns.  The Aspect Shrines give the Eldar access to specialists who’ve spent millennia honing their craft at one specific focus of battle.  Sleek Grav tanks move the Craftworld Eldar across the battlefield, and when the situation is desperate enough, the souls of long dead Eldar warriors will bring statues to life, and to war.  The Eldar have almost peerless psychic mastery and utilize these impressive abilities to reshape the fate of the galaxy.  

On the Tabletop, the Eldar are versatility.  Very few armies are going to be able to boast the depth of options that a Craftworld Eldar player has access to.  With a variety of differing play styles, the Eldar give you the option to tailor your force to do exactly what you want.  All you really need to do is decide which way you want to go and embrace the Eldar way of War.

Numbers wise, this is an army that doesn’t bring a lot of models to the table.  You have to play to the strengths of your Eldar units and they won’t let you down.  You’ve got choices for multiple play styles and a variety of options.  This army can be a tool box for the player who is familiar with it, but it can be rough going until you acquire that familiarity.  

So those are four more armies you can pick from for getting started with 40K.  As always, you can check them out at Games Workshop ( and look through the various catalogs and miniatures.  Find an army you like the look of, and then see what you think.  We’re about halfway done, so next week we will try to cover the next four.  

Game on, Game Fans

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