As title really.

A friend and I have been discussing starting to play either Firestorm Armada or Warmachines. Likely both; but we figured one game system at a time.

I'm interested in Cryx, he's thinking Protectorate.

I might need help with a shopping list.
Is there a way for us to nab a deal somewhere for a starter kit for both factions? Or is it just buy our individual stuffs? I was eyeing up the Starter set, but I really don't like Khador looks ;p

If its invididual purchases
The Cryx book is likely going to be involved.
Is the battlegroup necessary? The reason I'm asking is that of all the aesthetics in Warmachine, I really hate the look of the flat armour plating found in those battlegroups- its what turned me off to Warmachine years ago. Can I work on a list without them? The only warjackls I like visually are the canker worms...

What kinda of kits would work well with Iron Lich Asphyxious?