View Full Version : Army differences?

21-03-2011, 03:57
Ok, this is totally a noob question and I apologize in advance! I am a loooong time fantasy player looking to finally get into 40k. I have my eyes set on the underdog Tau as I play the newly "gimped" Woodies and play them well. So heres my question, whats the difference between the armies in 40k?! The fantasy armies have obvious differences ie. skaven being a horde army, dwarves as an artillery hvy army etc.. Is anyone out there in the Warseer world willing to break down the armies and how they are ment to be played for me?? thanks!

21-03-2011, 04:21
You want an army that plays like Welfs? Then yeah Tau or Eldar are what you're after.

Well eldar are SUPPOSED to be able to play like Welfs but they can't at the minute cos the codex is way way dated :(

Dark Eldar on the other hand might be worth a look for you.

Not much experiance with my Welfs but it was pre-gimping ^_^

21-03-2011, 07:23
Marines: 2nd best at everything. The vanilla codex is better with shooting than assault, but can hold its own in assault. Whereas the variant dexes (Wolves and BA) can just as good shooting while also being better in assault.

Chaos marines: Marines only more expensive points-wise and more limited in army choices. Most people I know who want to run a characterful chaos army use a variant marine dex with chaos models.

Guard: Good shooting and LOTS of it. This is a total firepower army. (think dwarf gunlines, but the dwarves are all inside tanks, and they have a few big guns in every squad, and behind the transports are bigger tanks with bigger guns).

Demons: they all deepstrike in. Tzeentch units are shooty, Khorne is good in combat, nurgle is durable and slaanesh is fast, just like you'd expect. Generally the best demon lists have a majority of tzeentch units with a couple big powerful khorne units and 1 or 2 small plaguebearer squads to hold objectives.

Eldar: Space elves. Outdated codex. You're better off playing dark eldar if you want a fast shooty army with assault capability

Dark Eldar: Faster than eldar but more fragile, more emphasis on combat than eldar, but shooting is almost as good as eldar shooting.

Grey Knights: Psychic powers galore. Armies with psychic defence will have an absurdly better chance against them than armies without psychic defense. I predict many thousand sons armies will be made with this codex.

Necrons: Like marines only without assault capability. They also have almost no variety in types of shooting or types of units. Your army will consist of a lord and the 2 mandatory squads of warriors and after that, a mixture of destroyers and monoliths.

Orks: like fantasy orks where its a much bigger emphasis on combat than shooting, but in 40k there are 2 main styles
1: killa kan wall - this army consists of a wall of walkers in front of 3-4 large squads of orks. totalling somewhere between 90 and 120 orks. In addition to this are a couple big meks providing cover saves for the kans and orks, and a squad or 2 of lootas (heavy weapons orks)
2:mechanized - 1-3 battlewagons full of nobs or boyz, 3-5 trukks full of boyz, meks in the battlewagons providing cover saves

Tau: somewhat fast, very shooty, terrible in combat, it used to be that Tau shooting was quality and guard shooting was quantity. in some ways that is still true, but the codex is so outdated, guard are the main shooting army.

Tyranids: They are most often compared to skaven, but without the weird machines.

Witch Hunters: very outdated codex. Girl marines with lower durability but make up for it with faith points.

If you play WE well, then eldar DE or tau are for you

21-03-2011, 07:58
Iīl try a listing, because zantis is sometimes using value judgements that I find to be off.

Marines: The jack of all trades. Units arenīt overly specialized and fire support units arenīt that bad at close combat, while Assaut Units generally are able to do damage at range as well (though Assault Terminators do not come with ranged options). A great variety of lists is possible, more if you include the variant Codices.

CSM: A bit more specialized units than their Loyalist counterparts if you make use of cult units and Icons which generate Marks. No access to some of the toys, but some spiky bits.

Both are rather Elite, with base troop costs starting at around 15 points.

Necrons: Are somewhat broken these days, but not in the sense of being overly powerful. The current edition introduced Changes that hurt them badly. They donīt have a lot of CC power - even their assault units arenīt particularly good at it. Their main ability was their survivability, which they now lack in close combat and their basic guns being a threat to vehicles, which the new vehicle damage rules removed. They are slow, lacking dedicated transports and most games now require more mobility to win. With even higher costs than Marines they are even more Elitish.

Eldar: Very specialized Units. While each of them is a top choice for what they do, you canīt take them all. While the Codex is old, itīs still characterful and has decent power. They are highly mobile and depend on getting the units to do what they do best (and not letting the opponent make them do things they arenīt good at). Again, they tend to be Elite armies. Although they can field cheap troops they need to be supported by expensive choices.

Dark Eldar: Slightly less specialized than their Craftworld kin, though the army does include specialists. More assault oriented elements mix with rather shooty elements. Again a very mobile force and somewhat elitish.

Tau: A shooty army. With some of the best anti-tank in the game (ok: The best anti-tank in the game) and some highly mobile units that can pack even more Anti-tank, they can do well against mechanized armies. They mostly lack assault elements and their basic troops struggle somewhat.

Orks: A horde, which tends more to close combat than shooting. Still, shooty Orks are possible and the codex allows for a lot of variability. Some possible builds arenīt Horde anymore (the Ork Codex allows for the army with the least models in the game: 2 Big Meks, 2 Deff Dreads).

Tyranids: Another hordish army with the specialty of not having vehicles. Instead they get big monsters.

Grey Knights: I havenīt read the new Codex yet, but it appears to be the Elite Elite army.

IG: The basic human grunts with lots of big guns. Hordish, shooty and often mechanized this army relies heavily on target saturation, either with enormous ammounts of infantry, or - more often - with huge numbers of vehicles.

WH: Old dex, which has some weird side effects. Shooty, less Elite than marines.

21-03-2011, 08:59
I support the suggestions of Eldar, Dark Eldar or Tau, based on what you say about fantasy...though we do need a bit more detail in what you're looking for exactly.

All the imperial armies can have any one trait emphasized in list-building, while each of the other races has a particular trait as it's core.

I've heard some terrifying hit-and-run tactics with the new DE, and they have jetbikes with pointy bits that hurt enemies when you fly over them! They're definitely a shock army that is a little fragile if you're not careful, but has a lot of killing potential.

Tau is a bit more tactical. You dont have the same mobility as DE, but pretty strong medium to long range shooting. Most of the troops out-range standard imperial rifles, and this is basically the whole core of the Tau: always staying just out of reach. But if they get caught off guard (within shooting range or they get assaulted) they'll get smeared across the field.

21-03-2011, 09:06
If you want woodies in 40k its Tau. Dark Eldar are also pretty close but they have to close in in order to be effective vs Tanks. Yes the Dark ones have excelent anti-infatry firepower and are the fastest army in the game but they lack long range armor killing.

If you want an all around maneuverable shooter army go Tau. For more speed and close assault choose Dark Eldar.

Jack of Blades
21-03-2011, 09:16
If you want woodies in 40k its Tau. Dark Eldar are also pretty close but they have to close in in order to be effective vs Tanks. Yes the Dark ones have excelent anti-infatry firepower and are the fastest army in the game but they lack long range armor killing.

If you want an all around maneuverable shooter army go Tau. For more speed and close assault choose Dark Eldar.

I'd say Dark Eldar are better as a Wood Elf-like force then, because in Fantasy (at least before 8th came out, dunno how they're doing now) WE did anything but shy away from CC.

21-03-2011, 09:23
I generally agree with Susu, but I have some remarks about Tau/Eldar/DE, since the OP is likely to gravitate towards some of the three. Neither are particularly easy to learn to play well in the current game, but are viable... even if the first two are generally considered to be a bit on the weak side currently, with only a few lists considered "competitive".

Tau: The theme is a xenos "empire" with a classical Chinese or Japanese vibe, which also uses various alien allies. The army tends to be shooty (medium accuracy and fire volume, high-strength guns) and mobile, but without much close-combat support ability. It has (as of now) no psychic support or defense. You can expect a new codex around the end of this year or the next one. Medium unit cost.

Eldar: the (high) elves in Warhammer 40k. Their infantry, with a few exceptions, consists of elite warriors defined into narrow specializations by their gear (which comes in strictly preset packages), although not all of them are as good in their field as their point cost would imply. Vehicles are mostly expensive, fast, and with the upgrades can be made quite survivable, but don't always boast great firepower for their cost. Overall, I'd say most guns are at medium power, high volume and short to medium range for their category. The codex boasts good psychic support (all but necessary to get the proper value of some units) and defense. It shows some signs of aging, though, and a new one might be a few books away after the Tau one. High unit cost.

Dark Eldar: the other (dark) elves in Warhammer 40k. The wood elf equivalents - the exodites - have been mentioned but never had an official army afaik. Basically Eldar on crack (figuratively and sometimes literally) - faster, deadlier, and more fragile (at least as far as bare stats and the vehicles are concerned), although they have somewhat lower point cost on their units and thus can bring higher numbers. They field a plethora of poison weapons, especially in shooting, and several different options for melee, and the codex has a near-army wide rule boosting your units when they kill others in melee. Their vehicles are among the most fragile in the game, but very fast and with plenty of firepower - mostly at a decent price. Theirs is the currently newest codex, though, so things may change somewhat after a big FAQ and don't expect a new book to fix what you consider problems. No psychic support, and little psychic defense. Medium-high unit cost.

21-03-2011, 15:57
Wow, thanks for all the replies guys, I didn't expect this many so quick! I love the "shoot-move-shoot" play style of Woodies so I think I'm leaning towards Tau. I might not win all my games but they sound like fun to play. Hopefully when the new codex comes out they will get a bump. Realistically sounds like next summer from what I have read. Are there any Tau sites or good warseer links to get ideas for an army list or two?

21-03-2011, 17:09


I have never played Fantasy so I can't tie in anything there, but from the one statement you made, "shoot - move - shoot" the Tau are closet - although in 40k its, "move - shoot - move" or as Tau do it, "jump - shoot - jump".

Not only do I enjoy playing them, but I love painting and modifying the models!

21-03-2011, 17:09
Well, actually all three races suggested by most posters can play a mobile game and provide mobile firepower - Tau crisis suits, warp spiders and eldar jetbikes (of any kind) are noteworthy for moving in the assault phase, which used to be killer before all armies could run - and is still quite nice for making optimal use of cover.

Anyway, if you're set on the greyskins, there's the Tau Online site if you are looking for a more Tau-centric forum, and there are occasional "Tactica" threads there, here (such as this (http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=163474) one), and on most 40k Forums online.