View Full Version : armies pros and cons

27-09-2007, 21:26
Hey there,
I was wondering if any of you knew a good web site were I could find the pros and cons listed for all the armies of 40K (if there is such a web site). You, see my friend wants to start 40K and I would like to help him a bit in his army chose. Thanks for the info!

27-09-2007, 21:47
The games workshop website is actually quite good (GW online.) Although TBH tell you're friend to have a look on the warseer forums. There's quite a lot of good advice on here!

Crazy Ivan
27-09-2007, 22:23
You could indeed take a look at this page (http://us.games-workshop.com/games/40k/gettingstarted/choosing_army.htm). The flash thingie at the bottom of the page has some usefull info.

Although I would personally advise your friend to choose an army he likes the look and feel of: the miniatures are a very large part of the hobby, after all. Good luck!

27-09-2007, 23:18
My friend tould me he had checked the GW web site but I guess he missed that (and so did I for that matter :s)

Chaplain Mortez
27-09-2007, 23:43
I have class in an hour and a half with nothing better to do, so here goes:

Space Marines and Chapters: Very good starting army. They are "forgiving" in that their armor and sheer toughness will allow for you to make mistakes. Not to mention, they have a large array of weapons and tanks at their disposal. This allows for you to create a balanced force that can deal with a variety of foes. Different chapters of Space Marines (Dark Angels, Blood Angels, Black Templars, Space Wolves, and those listed that can be made from traits) allow a Space Marine player to use an army that fits more in-line with their playing style. However, because of the fact that marines have all sorts of gadgets, are so tough, and have no real weaknesses, they often lack any sort of specialization. For example, Orks (with Tank Bustuz) and Eldar (with Fire Dragons) have very specialized units that will not only kill enemy vehicles, they will do it extremely well. Marines lack this sort of capability. They won't have problems with tanks (or any other unit for that matter) per se, but you just shouldn't expect any sort of overkill. Not only that, but you still pay the points for marines close combat and shooting capabilities even though you may specialize them into those roles. So you end up using up unnecessary points. I have two units in my Black Templar army that almost never see close combat, but still have good weapon skill, strength, and initiative that I paid for in the unit's cost.

Imperial Guard: With enough tanks and hoards of infantry, the Imperial Guard can handle just about anything. It's not uncommon for them to sit down at a table with three Leman Russ Battle Tanks, two Hell Hounds, a Sentinel, and half a dozen Chimeras that are backed up by 100 guys on foot. They can dish out tremendous amounts of firepower. Quite simply put, on a long enough time frame, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero. Imperial Guard are the same way with horrendous amounts of troops firing shot after shot of lasgun, autocannon, and missile launchers into the enemy lines. Not to mention, the massive amounts of artillery and ordinance their tanks bring down on your opponent. They use a hammer and anvil tactic--coordinated strategies between tanks and infantry. They take the best of both worlds and do both in abundance, whereas marines have to go either all tanks or all infantry. Plus, they have doctrines which allow for players to play the army according to their style. Like Stormtroopers? Take the grenadiers doctrine and you can have a ton. Want to parachute in? Take drop troops. There a lot of power in the list. The downside to Imperial Guard, however, is that the army is slow moving. It advances forward inch by inch. It can be hard to create a mobile force, especially when you just have ordinary men. And Imperial Guard are just that--humans. Not super-humans, the dinosaur bugs that are the Tyranids, or lightening-fast Eldar, but ordinary men and women. In addition, the Doctrines will make or break the army you build. At their best, you can create some really broken lists. At their worst, each doctrine is more rope to hang yourself with.

Eldar: If you can't beat them, join them. That's what I did. This army is quick and delivers high amounts of concentrated firepower. They use their speed to deliver troops to the right spot and completely destroy one part of the opponent's army before moving on to the next. Farseers are some of the best psykers in the game. They also have some of the most specialized troops in the game (Aspect Warriors) that are insanely efficient for their points costs. Eldar Grav tanks are just mean. In this way, they trump armies like marines, that can be too generic, and when used properly, every unit you take will pay for its points. They also have their bread-and-butter units. Falcons can be knitted out for both tank hunting and killing off a variety of infantry. The feared Dire Avengers can take out just about any unit in the game in a single round of shooting via the bladestorm power. Problems with Eldar lie in the fact that if each unit isn't filling its role that you intended it for, you're toast. One of the greatest examples are the Howling Banshees, who use their power swords to cut through thick armor. They are useless against troops who are not wearing any armor, such as Orks, Gaunts, and Guardsmen. Not to mention, if your opponent can catch one of your tanks, pulling it to the ground or rendering it helpless even for a second, the tank is pretty much gone. But the biggest problem? Almost every unit in the list has a really low toughness and mediocre save for the same price as a marine! Aspect warriors are fried by heavy bolters and the like.

Necrons: An army that's jack-of-all-trades. Every Necron warrior can kill a tank. They can destroy any monster or warrior in the galaxy. Their gauss weapons are the bane of the armies in the 40k universe. Their shooting is disgusting simply because of the fact that their guns are capable of killing everything. They also have a hard time dying. Necrons reassemble and get back up every time they suffer damage and would otherwise die. Combined with a high toughness and strong armor, this is army is as hard as nails (or steel, I should say). Star Gods are almost invincible. The Monolith is one tough customer. Necron lords can eliminate a lot of the army's weaknesses with their awesome wargear. Problems Necron players run into are high points costs (they do EVERYTHING, after all), a very slow moving army (no transports and limited deep striking options, so it's foot slogging all the way until turn six), and phasing out (if the army is reduced to one-third of its original number of Necrons, then the remaining one-third is removed and the opponent wins). Overall, they don't need specialization like most forces do, and have very good troops.

Tau: Fantastic technology, mobility, and firepower. Emphasis on the word firepower. This is the most powerful army, in terms of shooting, in a game that, for the most part, revolves around shooting. The basic gun will stop a scum-sucking alien foe dead in their tracks. The have the feared railgun (which I get nervous every time I see). Their is no other army that can compare to the damage and range the Tau army produces. Their new technology allows them to get around many of the things that limit other armies, such as targeters that allow Tau units to fire at multiple enemies. Their tanks are fast grav tanks, very similar to Eldar, and their battle suits allow them to jump around the table or bring heavy weapons to bear. Here's their biggest weakness: one close combat unit at full strength hits their lines and the game is over. At best, they are mediocre in the assault phase. But the average Tau soldier brings a gun with an empty clip to a sword fight when it comes to seeing the whites of their opponents' eyes. With that, the worst thing that can go wrong for Tau is that they can't kill their enemies fast enough at a distance, and they get torn to shreds. Very solid army if you prefer to keep your distance.

Orks: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!! What more can I say? This is a great army to play--very fun. Orks are for the general that likes to play with EVERYTHING. When I play my Orks, I generally max out the force organization chart, even under 2,000 points. They get loads of boyz, trukks, and all kinds of spiffy or goofy gear. Not to mention, the big shoota, the rokkit launcha, and the burna are some of the best assault weapons in the game. Orks have the benefit of numbers, sometimes outnumbering Tyranids or even Imperial Guard by two-to-one. The army list is also very versatile. You can go with hoards of infantry, a very fast army with lots of buggies and bikes, or the equivilant to an armoured company with salvaged tanks and dreadnoughts/killa kans. The ability to specialize is definitely in there, but you also have access to some great bread-and-butter units. The standard slugga boy is to be feared. They're tough to boot. Problems with Orks are their lack of any armor for almost all of their troops and tanks. If your opponent is smart, they'll know to destroy single portions of your army, one unit at a time. Due to their foot slogging nature, once an ork hoard is placed on the board, you won't be able to change your plans. Many games with or against Orks are won and lost in deployment. It also takes a cunnin' boss to organize your troops--it is imperative that your Orks arrive at the right place at the right time. As such, they can be a hard, but extremely fun, army to play.

Chaos Space Marines: Marines at their core, but evil on the outside. Chaos Space Marines are more specialized than normal marines. They have access to demons and weapons from the Chaos Gods themselves. Each Chaos Marine is an army in his own right, coming equipped with a variety of gear and all kinds of skills. To be fair, I haven't played with or against the new list, so I'm not sure how helpful I could be on this note. But I do know that they have the very powerful marks of chaos--Khorne, Tzeench, Slaanesh, Nurgle, and Undivided. Each of these marks can drastically change each units' role on the battlefield. Mark of Tzeench, for example, can give you powerful psychic powers and bolter rounds that punch through power armor. A downside to this is that Chaos Space Marines are sometimes fewer in number than their former comrades when they take on marks.

That's it for now, I'll be back later to finish off with the Inquisition, Tyranids, and Dark Eldar. Sorry that I can't do the Chaos Space Marines justice--I haven't even flipped through the new book. Hope I've been helpful so far!

28-09-2007, 00:11
You must really be bored. But I understand, I'm like that to before a class :)
Thanks for the post and I can't wait to see what you will wirte for nids, (I am a nid player :)

28-09-2007, 02:19
Heck, I've been playing for awhile, but that was still an enjoyable read. Looking forward to the rest.

Chaplain Mortez
28-09-2007, 05:25
Okay I'm back!

Without further ado...

I would like to add another bit to the Chaos section, as more thoughts came to me during class (when I should have been paying attention to whatever was on the board). Chaos' biggest problem, when compared to other marines, is their lack of technology in some cases. For example, the storm bolter is a much more efficient weapon than the combi-bolter. Or the assault cannon in comparison to the autocannon. Chaos makes up for this by having more elite troops and makes use of more special rules (demonic summoning, for example). When deciding which army you would like to use, if you're torn between Chaos Space Marines and Loyalist Marines, go for the one that looks cool. Chaos also presents a wealth of modeling opportunities, allowing for you to make the army your own.

Tyranids: Tyranids are on the opposite side of Imperial Guard when it comes to their tactics and philosophy when using abundant amounts of small troops in conjunction with larger units. Let's face it--this is one of the best close-combat armies in the game. It can be a very shooty army, especially when playing Nidzilla, but at their core, Tyranids are THE close combat army of 40k. This is where they differ from Imperial Guard, who use concentrated amounts of shooting to defeat their foes. The Tyranids bog down the enemy with swarms of Gaunts, Rippers, and Genestealers before finishing the opponent off with nastier critters, such as Warriors and Carnifexes. The biggest strength of Tyranids is that they army is a catch-22 for your opponent: damned if you do, damned if you don't. You can either go for the large swarms of bugs running up the field, since they die easy, but will be torn apart by the Synapse creatures and Carnifexes. Or, you can try and take down the larger creatures, in hopes that the rest of the swarm will scatter, but the risk is extremely high that the larger creatures will get close enough for the kill. If you split between the two groups, you probably won't do any real damage. Thus, playing with Tyranids puts your opponent in the position of having to know your army's every weakness: which units are worth killing and which ones can be safely ignored. And this is where Tyranids can be hard to handle--the game is won or lost when the Tyranid player writes their army list and finds an opponent. Like Imperial Guard, creating your own creatures can either give you a very powerful list, or just be more rope to hang yourself with. Because they are a swarm army or have limited mobility except for a few units (flying Hive Tyrant comes to mind), like the Orks, once the plan is set, you cannot change it half-way through the game (as opposed to marines). Overall, a very customizable army that is easy to play once you get the hang of how the army needs to be set up.

When I started playing with my buddy, his kid brother that was about 10 at the time started with us. He picked Tyranids for the very reason that a good army list can get you through the game. So my buddy and I did some searching around the net, designed what we thought would be a killer list, and, needless to say, we lost every game against him. :confused:

These last three I saved for the end because they are perhaps the hardest lists to play. While every other army is hard to play in one way or another, these can be unfun to lose with. But all three can create some very powerful builds. My only suggestion would be to please stay away from Dark Eldar if you are starting out. Leave them to be your second army. The fact is that these next armies will require a thorough understanding of the rules and mechanics of the game. I will go in order of least difficult to most difficult.

Witch Hunters: Faith points are probably the most broken game mechanic there is. You can turn mediocre troops into killing machines by adding scratch marks on a piece of paper. Things like being able to ignore saves on a 6 when rolling to wound come to mind. I don't know all of the Acts of Faith off the top of my head, but most Witch Hunter players throw these around like an Ork player does their dice--lots of them. Used at the right place at the right time, Faith can drastically alter the battle. Battle Sisters are also cheaper than a marine by about four points, but perform on-par, if not better due to faith, than their Astartes brethren. They do not waste points on extra strength or initiative. The Exorcist is just mean (D6 Krak Missiles? Yes please!). Inquisitors, Assassins, and other allies provide invaluable amounts of specialization and diversity to your army. Storm Troopers, while perhaps not as good as Battle Sisters, can take dual plasma guns and a Chimera, which allows for some serious damage. The downside that Witch Hunters have is that most of their guns are extremely short-ranged. This is their weakness. Apart from their heavy support options, most of the army needs to be within 12" or so to work effectively. A Witch Hunter must master the Rhino rush if they are to do well at all, and the Rhino is known by many to be a death trap for its passengers. One single hit can leave your troops stranded in the open next to a smoldering tank wreck. In addition, there is such a thing as too many or too little Faith Points. Too few and you'll run out when you need them most. Too many and you could have used your points somewhere else. Overall, many people argue that Witch Hunters are more cost-efficient than Space Marines, and I'd have to agree. They can be tough to play, but I wouldn't discourage you from playing them.

Demon Hunters: You may have noticed that I didn't go too far into the Inquisitors themselves. While their are differences between Demon Hunters and Witch Hunters, both lists have a lot of overlap on this subject. The agents of the Imperium (Assassins, Storm Troopers, and Inquisitors) add a lot of versatility to the army list. Inquisitors and their retinues can be assembled into what would otherwise be a Devastator squad equivalent. However, it doesn't use up heavy support slots and deploys after much of the opposing army is visible, instead of before. Assassins, either Culexus, Vindicare, Calidus, Eversor, and Death Cult are all highly specialized. They can do horrendous damage to your opponent's forces when the right enemies come into view. It's funny really, how much in common Demon Hunters have with Chaos Space Marines. Both function as more elite marines. The average Grey Knight is a very scary opponent. Nemesis Force Weapons and Storm bolters are very good weapons for basic troops. Justicars are almost as good as HQ choices for other armies. The Psycannon and Incinerator are great weapons for Terminators, which Grey Knights have the best variant. The list is good in all three phases of the game. Assault weapons mean that you don't have to stand still. Said assault weapons almost always are capable of shooting. Just about everything in the list is one hell of a good soldier in close combat. Even the "lowly" Stormtroopers (which are normally an elite unit of the Imperial Guard) have frag grenades. The problem with Demon Hunters is that they are few in number. Six Grey Knights (including a Justicar) cost the same as ten marines. Fact is that the Grey Knights die just as easily. Not to mention, you will not be able to capture objectives as easily as other armies. It's not uncommon to have only six scoring units on the table, with three objectives for the mission. Tough fight for sure. My personal advice would be to take four units of Stormtroopers with dual plasmaguns mounted in Chimeras to make up for this, but that may not be the best solution. Another major problem is the lack of anti-tank weapons. Demon Hunters only have their heavy support choices to rely on for defeating enemy armor. This is extremely problematic because Dreadnoughts and Landraiders are easily destroyed when they're the only tanks on the table. The only way to seriously make up for this weakness (and the previous one of being few in number) is to take allies, Imperial Guard being ideal (a single platoon can have three heavy weapons). If this army looks right for you, then go for it--I won't talk you out of it. Just know that pure Grey Knights or Demon Hunters altogether are going to be rough.

Dark Eldar: Best. Damn. Army. Period. You don't know speed until you know Dark Eldar. One of two armies that can kill on the second turn under the right circumstances (the other being Ork Speed Freaks). Fast skimmers that are open topped vehicles combined with fleet of foot and a webway portal allow Dark Eldar to get into the fray so fast the opponent can't respond. One of Craftworld Eldar's biggest strengths is that they can use their speed to set up large amounts of concentrated firepower, and Dark Eldar are no different. Witches can wipe away most units in a single round of close combat. Drachons and Archons are some of the better HQ choices in the game. The Incubi retinue that comes with them just add insult to injury (think of them as Howling Banshees, Striking Scorpions, and Harlequins all combined into one--except they're on crack). Webway Portals are to be feared. They make it so that the Dark Eldar player can be reassured that all of his units won't be destroyed the first turn. The downside to Dark Eldar is that there are a lot of units in the current codex that are redundant or useless. Their "tanks" are not sturdy--they can be shot down by pistols. Their troops cannot take a beating. Once your opponent strikes back (if they somehow make it that far), the casualties will be horrendous for you. One of Dark Eldar's biggest strength is their ability to kill power armored foes. They do extremely well against Tau and Imperial Guard, because they cannot handle them in close combat. Tyranids and Orks throw many of Dark Eldar's advantages out the window. Close combat units will get bogged down to hoards. Shooting units cannot dish out enough firepower to take them down before they get too close. This makes Dark Eldar a very unforgiving army to play, which is why it is not recommended for those of you starting out. However, in skilled hands, Dark Eldar are the cream of the crop. This army just is only for those who have the patience to do it. A guy who's been playing for over ten years at my store played four games a week for six months before winning. Now he just hands our asses to us and we beg him to keep his Dark Eldar on the shelf.

There you have it! Hope this was helpful! Please feel free to disagree or point out my mistakes those of you who come to this thread to give further advice. I still feel like I haven't done the Chaos Space Marines the justice they deserve.

Just remember--your first army will always be apart of you as long as you play this game. No amount of advice on how good an army is should deter you from playing what you want, but should rather be what helps you decide between two armies if you can't make up your mind. Just play what YOU think will be fun, not what is good or what other people tell you--even if you do decide to go Dark Eldar (although, I still don't recommend it). Good luck and welcome to the hobby!

28-09-2007, 08:20
Fantastic posts Mortez, you should really do something similar with fantasy, otherwise great work. There really isn't much more I can add except my crazy little theory on army choice.

Some people will tell you to choose an army based upon one aspect of the hobby such as miniature range or playstyle. I tried this method but found it didn't work. For me, I considered every army one by one, and looked at the army as a whole. In the end I started Imperial Guard.

Not exactly the best miniatures, or a super-cool playstyle, or even a really killy close combat units. But when I compared them to other armies ('nids and SM), I saw that while 'nids models were cooler, and SM's better in playstyle, the IG pulled it together on all fronts.

Good models, good playstyle, good background etc. And one of the most important aspects was to me they portrayed the most character. Pretty much every other army was either faster, stronger, smarter, tougher, more well-equipped etc. The IG overcome this with discipline, determination, diligence and a bayonet with some guts behind it (as the codex says).

Basically, if your friends are having trouble choosing, tell them to consider all aspects of collecting each army rather than focusing on one.

Good Luck!

Chaplain Mortez
28-09-2007, 21:01
Too true, Elric. Choosing an army should come down to all aspects of the hobby, really. Especially if it's your first, you want to be able to experience everything and enjoy doing it. If you like the way Necrons sound in play style, but think that painting them all one metallic color would be dull, then they probably aren't for you if you see another army that can provide the best of both worlds.

...and I don't play Fantasy well enough to write anything close to the above post. I still haven't played against Dogs of War or Empire, maybe two games against Skaven and other High Elves, and only once against other Orcs, which were pure Goblins anyway (although I play both Orcs and High Elves. It's just different when you have to sit down across from them).

Overall, just pick the army that looks cool! Go with your gut...which would be that box of guys who caught your eye when you entered the store.

29-09-2007, 00:08
Great post Mortez, a very enjoyable read, cheers!

29-09-2007, 23:26
Nice post Mortez, thanks for that.
It really helped (me and my friend for that matter)
thanks to all who posted
In the end my friend (he told em ysterday) is most likely going to go with necron's as he likes the models and how they play (thought and strong individual guys) and as I know him, it won't take long for him to catch de workings of the game and become a good player.
Cheers to all!!! :d