View Full Version : Starting up 40k, would love some help deciding between 3 armies.

10-06-2014, 16:02
Hi everyone,

Just want to start off by saying hi to everyone here... I'm a new user on the forum (long time reader of the fantasy section though). I'm hoping this is my first step into getting more involved in this community as a whole.

As the topic title states, I'm trying to get myself started with 40k right now. But I'm having a hard time deciding on what to invest my time and money on. As of right now I'm reading up on the rules in the rule book (I do have a history with WHFB, so that's making it easier for me to understand how everything works at least). And just browsing through the rulebook and looking at the GW site I've been able to narrow my choices down to three armies (I think...).

- Grey Knights (love how bulky they look and just look more "elite" then the space marines).
- Dark Angels (Deathwing Knights... just absolutely love how they look... Oh and the rest also looks pretty nice).
- Necrons (They just look very different then everything else, which is something I can appreciate).

Playstyle wise, I have no idea how they operate, nor do I have a good grasp yet of WH40K in general. I'm in no sense of the word a power gamer, but I don't like getting my ass handed to me just because I've made a poor army choice. I can be a competitive gamer, so I like a challenge.

What appeals me in an army:
- Not to many models, I don't like my models to be weak and just have hundreds of them to compensate for their low stats.
- I want an all round army, not an army that purely specializes on just one thing.
- And since I'm making the switch to 40k, I do want to be able to field vehicles! (main reason why I don't like things like Tyranids or Daemons for example).

Basically I'm hoping that people that play these armies here would be able to help me get some insight in the different aspects of these armies (strenghts, weakness, general play style, etc...). I hope this will help me make a good decision on what army to invest my time and money in.. I don't think I would go wrong with any of these, since I like all of the models, but I do think one choice would be better then the other.

I'm sorry that I feel the need to ask this question, as this has probably already been asked 10000's of times :(


10-06-2014, 19:13
I would most recommend looking at the knights or dark angels with your current criteria, but will give you a brief summary of strengths/weaknesses for all three

Grey Knights:
The knights are the ultimate elite army with a fairly great array of shooting and close combat goodness, a fairly solid flyer for air support/air denial, and are one of the two most powerfull psyker armies in the game right now with virtually everything having the psyker rule (or brotherhood of psykers/psker pilot). The main downside is that as a compact army of elites you will struggle against super hoardy armies like nids or orks. Also of the three your anti vehicle options will be much more limited when dealing with heavy armor, which may or may not be a problem for you. My advice on them is to learn to buy what you need without too many frills to offset the high points cost of the army as a whole.

The Necrons would be the closest to a hoardy army of the three you have mentioned and are the more limited army in terms of strengths and weaknesses. What they are known for is their durability with a 1/3 chance to come back from the dead that can be boosted with supporting chars to a 50/50 chance. Most necron units are very weak in h2h combat though with a few very notable exceptions such as wraiths. Necrons rely primarily on large amounts of high quality shooting and being tough as nails to take the fight to your opponent with other elements to perform hit and run, close combat, and generally mess with your opponents head. Have amazingly good long ranged anti hoard, anti elite, and any weapon with gauss rule (which is very common in the list) can go after all vehicles with a reasonable amount of success. They also can spam flyers with very powerful weaponry to generally rule the sky and bombard their opponents. Plenty of vehicle goodness to choose from. Generally a slower army unless you get creative and are typically weak in h2h.

Dark Angels:
I have not read the current rules in depth, but I do know that they give you a fair amount of flexibility in list design. You can go all power armor, all terminator, all bike, or a mixture of the three primary elements with vehicles supporting your forces. I've noticed that terminators are not the best choice (going from batreps I have seen) and, like bikes, can have a real tough time when dealing with hoards of opponents due to not having enough guns to contend with the sheer numbers you will face from a hoardy army, but with power armor and scouts to round out your force you will be able to compensate to a fair degree. This gives you more flexibility to deal with a far greater range of threats than you would normally have while giving you the option of keeping your model count low, but not as low as the Grey Knights. I don't remember either of their flyers being good for anything other than showpiece models, so anti air may become a problem in some cases.

Hope this helps a bit. Personally I prefer the necrons due to the durability they provide along with all of the firepower, but I think that if you want the greatest flexibility in designing your list Dark Angels will beat them out by a little bit. The Knights are the most locked into what they do, but make up for it by being reasonably good at everything.

10-06-2014, 20:03
Hi Elparker,

Thank you for the time and effort you took to write that up. It's very much appreciated. Looks like a solid explanation right there!

Necrons aren't that bad right, model wise? I was looking at some batreps and it didn't really look that hoardy. At least not the horde I had in mind when I was writing the part about "not so many models". Is Necrons considered to be a large army? Or just average? .. I do like myself a durable army hehehe.

I hope more can share their point of view as well. Curious to hear everyone's opinion on the matter.

10-06-2014, 20:53
I don’t know enough about Grey Knights or Necrons to help you. But if you pick Dark Angels, I advise trying a mix of Terminators (incl. Knights) with bikers and the rest. They synergize well. If you want DW Knights, I strongly recommend a Land Raider. The one with the flamers (Redeemer, I think?) is OK (ranges from very good to very poor depending on what your facing in my experience), but the Crusader (with lots of boltguns) can work well with the Standard of Devastation, if you take it. I never used the vanilla Land Raider so I cannot comment on it.

The advantage of picking up DA is that you can purchase the Dark Vengeance box which comes with 5 termies, 3 bikes and a full squad of tactical marines, plus a few HQ, and you can find the individual units for very cheap on specialized sites and eBay. Your multiple units will just lack variety.

10-06-2014, 20:59
With regards to the Necrons, they are certainly not what I would consider a 'Horde' army - like Nids, Imperial Guard or Orks. They have solid dependable basic troops and i is possible to reduce your model count if you go for some of the pricier options such as the Monolith or C'tan shard. I won't comment of their tabletop ability, the post above was excellent in summarizing that. I am also a player that like to focus on the look and feel of an army rather than rules.

11-06-2014, 05:11
Necrons can be a lower model count army or an extremely high model count army with 80 warriors rocking in at just over 1000 points. While true hoard armies like nids and orks will always easily outnumber necrons the little evil skynet overlords can bring a beastly number of extremely durable and potent troops to a game. They usually do better with lower numbers of higher quality units such as immortals, wraiths, and support units like the royal court.

I started necrons in 3rd and can tell you right now that if you go with them you will want to first get a standard overlord (not a named character like Imhotekh) to learn with and make sure you have two full troops before expanding (recommend going squad warriors and immortal) before branching out. Go tesla on your immortals if you want to keep your distance and guass if you intend to close to rapid fire. For first branch out I'd say go with either wraiths or the jetbikes to get a little speed and then probably an anhialation barge. Hold off on elites until you have a choice from fast and heavy though, as most off the elites choices are less than amazing.

A good beginner strategy is to place your warlord in with a 20 man warrior brick with an orb supported by a ghost ark. Makes the unit extremely difficult to shift bcause of 4+ reanimation protocols and d3 returned warriors every turn. It also makes it difficult to kill your warlord and provides a fairly daunting block of firepower that most people don't want to square off against. It can rip the hull points off of any vehicle quickly to boot.

Let me know if there are any other ?'s you have. Everyone has their own style and method, but I will tell you right now that necrons do have a number of styles that suit any budding nemesors particular taste.

Metal Handkerchief
11-06-2014, 11:11
Hmm. Out of those three, Necrons are to me the most interesting, less one-dimensional army.

Have you by any chance thought of a Wraithguard themed Eldar army? If your objective is an elite-feeling army with tough but few models, I don't think there's anything more perfect than that. Or maybe a Tau Farsight army with a lot of Crisis suits, if they appeal to you.

Also, as it's your first foray into painting, I'd reinforce the suggestion to go Wraithguard theme, just because they are easy as heck to paint and you end up not having to do that much work and possibly get bored with it if it turns out you don't like painting that much (a lot of people give up when it comes to painting unfortunately)

Just some additional suggestions to broaden your search :)

11-06-2014, 12:20
I am definately in the necron camp, they got so many boosts in this edition and there are a TON of valid armies that you can run with them and do very well.

11-06-2014, 21:27
Thanks so much for the information folks. I think all of this did make it clear for me that Necrons is probably what I have to go with. There's just one thing that's making me hesitant, and that's the phrase in the first comment of elparker: "Generally a slower army unless you get creative..."

@Metal Handkerchief, actually I haven't. But honestly the aesthetics of the two armies don't really appeal to me (granted, the Wraithguard do look cool, but don't want to look myself up in a specific corner).

@Elparker, what exactly did you mean with get creative? Also noticed the starting units you mentioned, that's basically the battleforce.

Just on a side note, I'm going to start off slow with like 500 points and make a painting / building commitment with my friends for this so everyone gets their first 500 points done for a set date. I'm excited, yet still a bit confused haha.

11-06-2014, 23:07
Probably because Transports aren't terribly common options and expensive to boot.

It should be noted that the Necrons weakness in close combat isn't from raw power or skill, but low Initiative and Attacks. They can usually do quite well against a lot of shooting units, but will have a hard time against even moderately dedicated Assault units.

12-06-2014, 04:11
Thanks so much for the information folks. I think all of this did make it clear for me that Necrons is probably what I have to go with. There's just one thing that's making me hesitant, and that's the phrase in the first comment of elparker: "Generally a slower army unless you get creative..."

@Metal Handkerchief, actually I haven't. But honestly the aesthetics of the two armies don't really appeal to me (granted, the Wraithguard do look cool, but don't want to look myself up in a specific corner).

@Elparker, what exactly did you mean with get creative? Also noticed the starting units you mentioned, that's basically the battleforce.

Just on a side note, I'm going to start off slow with like 500 points and make a painting / building commitment with my friends for this so everyone gets their first 500 points done for a set date. I'm excited, yet still a bit confused haha.

Yea....they are one of the most mobile armies in the game with dedicated transport fliers as well as really durable skimmers. I would start with the battle force and a box of lychguard. Use the gear from the lychguard and mix it with the warriors to make crypteks and then make lords from the lych guard models. That will give you all the royal court models you need for cheap.

Then as you get along either invest in fliers or (personally) another battle force. That will give you all the troops you are gonna need for awhile and two ghost arks which are very good IMO now.

Lastly get a catacomb command barge and you got the basis for a solid competative army for a reasonable price.

You get:
Overlord on Barge
5-10 crypteks
5 necron lords
10 immortals
30-35 necron warriors
Two Ghost arks

Thats 300 bucks before any discounts that you may get. Pretty good.

If you want to take it to 11 you could add zandrekh and that is all you would need for an 1850 list for the most part. It is not optimized but it gives you a very solid foundation to your collection for cheap.

12-06-2014, 04:49
With your criteria I'd go with dark angels they're an all round army more than GK or necrobs IMO and there you can have a lot of tanks etc...

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12-06-2014, 06:03
Necrons only have three actual transports :the catacomb command barge (chariot for the overlord only), the ghost ark (mobile heal station for warriors with a capacity of ten, but can only take warriors and royal court/overlord) and the night scythe (flyer that does not have hover but can carry 15 models).

This leaves the bulk of your army to footslog across the table with only their own movement for the most part. By being creative you can exploit wargear, list builds, and even special abilities of certain units to get around your natural slowness.

First is the veil of darkness from the harbinger of despair in the royal court. Who ever he is attached to can deepstrike on any of your turns to anywhere on the table. The downsides are that you are subject to mishap and scatter, you can only take one veil per royal court, and the harby can only be assigned to certain units (warriors, immortals, lychguard, and deathmarks). You'll usually see him attached to deathmarks to take advantage of their hunting mark to get an ap2 flamer template that wounds a critical unit of your choice on a 2+.

Next is the monolith. It can yank any of your non vehicle units from 24" away to it's front portal treating the move as disembarking from a transport. Add the fact that the monolith can deepstrike and you have some serious options open to you. I used to bait my opponent over to one area of the table before pulling my entire army onto the opposite half to throw my opponent off balance so that I could focus down a section of his army with all of my firepower. It takes a little tinkering around to really get good at using this tactic though, so don't worry if it doesn't work wonders the first few times.

Your next option is to focus primarily on units that are naturally fast such as wraiths. Personally I find that it is very easy to invest too heavily in rapid strike units while leaving a considerable amount of points largely useless and don't recommend trying this for a new player to the necrons. I would rather suggest using your faster elements to coral your opponents units into your slower elements so that you don't have to worry about it.

My favorite method is screwing with your opponent by using a c'tan shard to turn all difficult terrain into dangerous terrain for your opponent. Go with 5 harby's with the weapon that causes anyone hit to treat all terrain as difficult terrain and your opponent will often be more than willing to let you walk up to him while doing his best to not move any more than absolutely necessary to stay in the game. More for laughs than effectiveness, but entertaining as hell. Add Orikan for further delight. Your opponent may physically attack you if they utilize any kind of movement heavy army, but it is worth it every now and again.

One trick that has been getting more frequent use is 2-3 ghost arks with 10 man warrior squads embarked on them. This allows you to engage up to three targets, move fairly quickly, and keep your very important troops relatively safe from harm while still contributing to the fight. Your ghost arks and warriors were going to be prime targets anyway, so why not combine them together dark elder style to get everything in one neat little package?

There are plenty of options, but ultimately you need only keep a few things in mind. First is to keep your opponent guessing all game where you are going to go. The veil and monolith deepstriking in help the most on this, creating an army that is very much like an evil jack in the box. Second is to focus your efforts as much as you can without splitting your force up too much. It's one thing to have fast movers to shove your opponent back into place, another entirely to be scattered all over the map. Third is that you have among the toughest basic troopers in the entire game, and can even replace them during the battle to a limited extant. Don't be shy about advancing out of cover if you see a significant benefit by doing so. Lastly is the fact that there are always new ways of looking at the list that most players haven't shared yet. I can give a few general guidelines to help you out and make the most of your forces, but I don't necessarily have the same style as you.

I like trickery. I like keeping my opponent guessing. I like rearranging the entire board in one turn into something unrecognizable. The different methods the necrons have of achieving this has always been a big draw for me. Figure out what method of 'crons you enjoy. You have everything from the undead swarm, the elite strike force, the flying circus, and beyond. In short, be creative to get around the fact that most of your units are slower than frozen turds rolling uphill. The more creative, the more entertaining your games will be.

13-06-2014, 10:10
Thanks for the advice folks. After looking more thoroughly at Necrons (I was on the verge of ordering the battleforce box), I found out they didn't have any Psychers. What's the general, and personal opinion on this? It did make me hesitate into going for the Necrons now since I'm not sure if I'd want my first army in 40k to not be able to part take in all of the phases of the game.

@sicarius68, thanks for the advise. I'll make sure to also take a better look at them once more. Do you have any personal experience with DA by any chance that you would like to share?

Btw, I love the in depth advises here! I really appreciate it. Elparker, you sound like you're really having a blast with your Necrons hehe. Also some very good tips to keep some extra cash in my pockets hehe. Though the costs of the army wasn't something that was a criteria here, since I'll be starting out slow with just 500 - 750 points or something like that, I don't really care much for the costs of the models (within reason of course).

14-06-2014, 06:17
I am not the biggest fan of psykers myself. This is after having played Iyanden craftworld back in 4th edition before all of the great new shiny things they have available to them now. It feels like psykers really only come in three flavors: meh (doesn't add much to anything at all and is just kind of there), Holy S@#$ (utterly game breaking i.e. invisibility, jaws, screamerstar, etc), or self destruct (looking straight at the weird boy here).

Add in the fact that you have a very small pool of powers you can reliably get and a prayer of getting what you actually want without house ruling power generation and we start to get into too much random for the sake of random. I may not be the most competitive player in the world, but at a certain point a player needs to have personal control over exactly what is going on in their game.

As far as the crons go you really don't need another way to potentially abuse the living snot out of your opponents. For psychic defense you have the tomb spider with the gloom prism that can shut down the worst of what can actually hit you/debuff you, or in true necron fashion you can trudge through it and shoot opposing psykers in the face with a death ray/doomsday cannon/ really big freaking alien gun.

16-06-2014, 01:00
Sorry wasn't home for a few days I played DA a few years ago you know vanilla DA aren't really crazy but ravenwing or deathwing can be very interesting depending on what you want to do. When I was younger I had a passion for Termies thanks to the DA I could play a lot of them. If you want to play bikes and tanks go for them but keep in mind GK they are very expensive in points and there codex has to be redone ( I will play GK as allied detachment for my AM armie because they'll balance it ) but they're more CC than anything else AM for example is a big tank user army I mean I could play 9 leman Russ and it still would be a battle forged list of the rest of the list is ok.

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16-06-2014, 03:08
In the case of the Necrons, one of the reasons I like them is the fact that instead of Psychic powers, they get "techo-replacements" in the form of their Crypteks. They choose "disciplines" in a similar way to psykers, and can get some pretty slick abilities if you want them. You can also take a C'tan Shard, which can bring it's own powers, and there are a couple named characters that have battlefield changing abilities as well.

With Necrons you can essentially get psychic powers without having to deal with the potentially negative effects of the psychic phase.