40k Faction Breakdown

Faction: Adeptus Astartes (Space Marines)

Description: The poster child for Warhammer 40k. The protectors of Humankind and the sons of the Emperor equipped with power armor and bolters. A highly flexible army capable of being good at everything.


  • Jack of all Trades – Most marines units are both good at shooting and melee, making them effective in all rounds of the game.

  • Tough and Reliable – Strong basic stats and armor mean these guys are hard to kill.

  • Varied Playstyle – Lots of options for changing how the army plays through subfaction and unit choices.


  • Target-rich – All your units are good and elite, which means losing any of them hurts.

  • Menu Paralysis – So many options in list design and unit choices can make narrowing down the choices for what you want to play difficult

  • Aura reliant – Space Marines rely on their characters to provide powerful auras within 6” to nearby allies. This makes spreading out across the board a little harder and the army tends to cluster together.

Play Styles:

  • Shooty Dreadnoughts – Space Marines vehicles and dreadnoughts are incredibly tough and have a lot of firepower. Many lists rely on maximizing these to shoot harder than their opponent and survive the return fire.

  • Troop Spam: Space Marine troops are some of the best in the game and very reliable. Running troops supported by characters allows them to shoot and punch effectively against almost any target.


Faction: Space Wolves (Space Marines)

Description: The Space Wolves are a splinter faction of Space Marines who have eschewed the tenants of the Codex Astartes in favor of waging their own flavor of war. Inspired by vikings and werewolves, the Space Wolves are a melee focused faction of Space Marines.


  • Melee Combat – Some of the finest melee units and characters in the game can deal an immense amount of damage in melee.

  • Tough and Reliable – As Space Marines, their strong basic stats and armor mean these guys are hard to kill.

  • Wolf-Inspired Units – The Wulfenand Thunderwolf Cavalry are fast, strong melee options that can be supported by unique Stratagems to really stand out.


  • Shooting – While not bad a shooting, Space Wolves trade some of their efficiencies in shooting for strengths in melee.

  • Lack of Speed – Space Wolves rely on their armor and transports to get up the board, otherwise they aren’t much faster than a normal Space Marine outside of a few exceptions.

  • Target-rich – All your units are good and elite, which means losing any of them hurts.

Play Styles:

  • Melee Bomb: The only real playstyle for Space Wolves is to run melee units and find ways to get them up the board with some shooting support. Being Space Marines makes this easier than other melee-centric armies.

Faction: Grey Knights

Description: The most elite of elite Space Marine, Grey Knights are Space Marines who can all cast Psychic powers. Their models are effective in every single phase of the game and can put out a massive amount of damage output. They are basically space paladins.


  • Excellent Damage Output – Powerful damage output in shooting, melee, and psychic phases.

  • Powerful Characters – Their characters are similarly great at every phase of the game.

  • Powerful Tricks – Grey Knights make up for their average mobility through the ability to teleport around the board, an array of supportive psychic powers, and powerful Stratagems.


  • Short to Medium Ranged – Grey Knights need to be close to their enemy to deal damage with most of their weapons. They can struggle vs long-range

  • Fragile – Despite having power armor and a decent toughness, most of their models only have 1 wound and they have very few ways of powering up their armor.

  • Low Model Count – You pay a premium for being powerful in every phase of the game, and your elite units are expensive. This means you will almost always have fewer units than your opponent and losses really hurt.

Play Styles:

  • Paladin Bomb: A max sized unit of elite Paladins can put out a world of hurt and be very difficult to shift when targeted with all the supportive psychic powers and Stratagems at your disposal.


Faction: Adepta Sororitas (Sisters of Battle)

Description: Armored battle nuns, the Sisters of Battle wield the holy trinity in battle: flamers, meltas, and bolters. They have the armor and shooting of Space Marines, but on cheaper and weaker bodies. They rely on their faith, helping to protect them and provide Miracles throughout the game.


  • Powerful Army Abilities – Shield of Faith and Miracle Dice allow sisters of battle to be more tough and reliable than they seem at first glance. Sister’s are able to build up Miracle dice and substitute them for bad dice rolls while Shield of Faith guarantees they will always have an invulnerable save available when wounded.

  • Great Core Infantry – Sisters of Battle units are cheap, have decent firepower, and can be made extremely resilient through the Shield of Faith and their armor.

  • Lethal Melee Units – Zephyrim and Repentia units allow for an alternative playstyle as some of the most cost-efficient melee killers in the game.


  • Low Toughness – Despite their armor and Shield of Faith, they have low toughness and are easy to wound. You will be relying on your saves to keep your sisters alive.

  • Psychic Powers – All Sisters unit are able to attempt to deny enemy psychic powers, but they lack any psychic units of their own.

  • Short to Medium Range – Sisters are at home in the middle of the board and in your opponents face with their flamers and melta weapons, but don’t have a lot to help them get there outside of transports.

Play Styles:

  • Infantry Spam – Sisters are incredibly efficient and if you’re looking for swarms of power armored infantry they fill this role nicely.

  • Miracle Dice Spam – Through subfaction traits, character abilities, and stratagems, Sisters can spam Miracle dice so that they always have spare dice for those clutch rolls.

  • Order of the Bloody Rose – The Zephyrim and Repentia units are so efficient, some armies go all-in on them as the Order of the Bloody Rose subfaction. This allows Sisters to play a fast moving, high damage melee army as an alternative playstyle to the heavily armored gun line.


Faction: Astra Militarum

Description: They’re humans!  Astra Militarum forces typically comprise an unending tide of disposable guardsmen armed with their trusty lasguns backed up by scores of armored tanks and artillery pieces.


  • The Guardsmen – While everyone jokes about how pitiful the lowly Guardsmen is, they start to become impressive in larger numbers and with the right support.  Point for point, Guardsmen are currently one of the best troop choices in the game.

  • Mass Firepower –: While they aren’t the most accurate of shots, Astra Militarum boasts an impressive array of cheap and powerful battle tanks and artillery.

  • Flexibility – Want to flood the board with 120 guardsmen bodies? They can do that.  Want to pulverize your opponents with 9 Leman Russ Battle Tanks and 9 Basilisks?  They can do that.  Want to have an elite force of spec ops troopers strike your opponents key assets with pinpoint precision?  Astra Militarum has you covered.


  • Inaccurate – Hitting on 4+ can be rough, especially when facing enemies that can add negative modifiers to your hit rolls.  They also have little access to full reroll buffs that would help offset this.

  • Lack of Melee Support – While Bullgryns are powerful melee units, they tend to serve better as counter-offense units and backline defenders than units you build your entire list around.  All of the other melee units they can take are okay, but nothing special.

Play Styles:

  • Armored Fist – 3 Tanks Commanders + 6 units of guardsmen. Now fill the rest of your list with whatever combination of Tanks, Artillery, or Fliers you fancy.  You’ll run over opponents not prepared for heavily armored lists.  And even when they are, you’re still often outgunning them.

  • Tempestus Drop Troopers – Whether you want to utilize Valkyrie Transports or the Scions’ innate ability to teleport onto the board, this army aims to deliver its hard hitting elite infantry straight to the opponents face and pick off priority targets before they get a chance to react.


Faction: Imperial Knights

Description: Ancient battle mechs the size of small cities, Imperial Knights are the biggest, baddest vehicles in the game. They are incredibly resilient, shoot hard, and are very powerful. Don’t expect to have more than 6 models in your army, however.


  • Tough – The weakest thing in your army has 12 Wounds and 7 Toughness – the same number of wounds and toughness as some other faction’s strongest vehicles .

  • Powerful Shooting – A single Knight is capable of wiping out two enemy units per turn. Their guns are the strongest in the game bar-none

  • Tall – Imperial Knights are often over 6” tall and capable of seeing over most terrain. It is difficult to hide from these monstrosities.


  • Small Army – Each Imperial Knight is expensive and you can expect to have a maximum of 6 models on the table.

  • Vulnerable to Heavy Weapons – While you laugh at small arms fire, an opponent with numerous heavy weapons will be able to shoot through your armor.

  • No Infantry – Your army of giant mech suits struggles to contest and hold objectives, relying instead on their killing power and resilience to win games.

Play Styles:

  • Just run a big ol’ Knight


Faction: Adeptus Mechanicus

Description: The tech-priests of Mars. They pray to the Omnissiah and the Machine Spirits in order for their machines to work, and are the manufacturing arm of the Imperium. Because of that, they have upgraded versions of all of the Imperiums standard weaponry and some incredibly good shooting options.


  • Strong Gunline – With great shooting skills, great guns, and great aura buffs from characters the Ad Mech are one of the best pure shooting armies in the game.

  • Strong Vehicles – Unsurprisingly, their vehicles are also very strong and powerful damage dealers.

  • Surprisingly Flexible – The majority of the units in the Ad Mech roster are good – including their light infantry and melee options. The Canticles also allow them to switch between an army wide bonus at the start of every round depending on what you need.


  • No Psykers – They do not have the ability to cast psychic powers or deny them outside of a few unique relics or builds.

  • Little Mobility – Very few of their units can move fast, and those that can don’t move that fast anyway.

  • Melee is Fragile – The units that can move fast are usually melee options, and lack the survivability of Ad Mech’s tough vehicle options.

Play Styles:

  • Gun line – The standard way to play Ad Mech. March up the board with some of the best fire power in the game and claim objectives.

  • Kataphron Spam – One of the best shooting units in the game, Kataphron Destroyers are both tough and deadly at range.

  • Melee Build – While weaker than their shooting options Ad Mech can support a melee build. Their units can turn a single hit into 3 on a roll of a 6, or deal mortal wounds depending on the weapon. This means they are capable of hurting even heavy vehicles in melee.


Faction: Adeptus Custodes

Description: The best of the best of the best, with honors, sir! The personal bodyguard of the Emperor himself, equipped with the best armor, weapons, and vehicles in the Imperium. A highly durable force whose basic Troops have stats that rival other faction’s Heroes.


  • Army of Heroes – The most basic Adeptus Custodes Troops have stats akin to the HQ choices of other factions.

  • Tough and Reliable – Very strong basic stats, excellent armor, and army-wide invulnerable saves mean these guys are very hard to kill.

  • Anti-infantry shooting power – Their basic troops and bikes have loads of anti-infantry firepower despite their low model count.


  • A Hero Falls – It is said that every time a single Custodian falls in battle, the sacred Bell of Lost Souls on Holy Terra rings. Given the more-elite-than-elite nature of the army, every single man lost has a big impact on your gameplay.

  • Ancient Relics and Lost Treasures – More than half of the units available to the Custodes are produced by Forge World, a small department within GW that makes premium resin models… with a premium price tag.

  • Mobility – Outside of biker units and transports, most Custodes are not particularly fast or have great ways to get into melee in order to take advantage of their great combat abilities.

Play Styles:

  • Grav Tank Spam – These Forge World models are incredibly powerful, boasting both long-range anti-tank firepower and speed, mitigating a lot of the weaknesses Custodes normally suffer from. Competitive builds have traditionally run these.

  • Biker Spam – Similar to the above, bikers maintain the Custodes toughness and combat prowess but are mounted on a grav bike to help them get around the board.


Faction: Asuryani (Craftworld Eldar)

Description: The survivors of an ancient, dying race who have fled into giant planet-sized spaceships called Craftworlds. The “good” faction of the Aeldari who emphasize personal restraint in order to not lose their souls to She Who Thirsts. Their armies are specialized and emphasize rapid strikes to neuter key enemy targets.


  • Mobility – One of the fastest factions in the game and many of their units can Fly, ignoring terrain.

  • Exceptional vehicles – Their flying vehicles are very mobile and powerful in shooting.

  • Psychic – Craftworld Eldar have some of the best psychic powers in the game


  • Fragile – Craftworld Eldar are generally a glass cannon army with low toughness across the board (outside of Wraith units).

  • Expensive Specialists – Asuryani units are specialized and some of the best in their roles, but can be useless against the wrong target.

  • Unforgiving – Low toughness, specialized units, and a reliance on Psychic buffs mean that they don’t forgive mistakes and can be difficult to play.

Play Styles:

  • Mechanized Force: Wave Serpents and Falcons serve as flying transports to bring your key units where they need to be.

  • Biker Spam: Sinning Spears and Windrunner Jetbikes fly around the board and use their mobility to engage the opponent on your terms.

  • Wraithhost: Opposite of the strengths and weaknesses of a traditional Craftworld army, Wraithguard and Wraithblade units are tough, slow moving units designed to engage the enemy in short range.


Faction: Drukhari (Dark Eldar)

Description: The “Dark” space elves. Drukhari come in 1 of 3 varieties: Kabalites, Haemonculus Coven, or Wych Cults. This means they are really like 3 factions in 1 and each group has different playstyles. Thematically, they are the Aeldari who accepted their excesses and now sacrifice the souls of their slaves or prisoners to She Who Thirsts in order to preserve their immortality. A very evil bunch who like torture and spikes, regardless of which flavor you choose.


  • Mobility – This army maintains the Aeldari benefits of speed and quickness.

  • Open-topped Transports – The Drukhari transports allow the units inside to shoot out of them, making them great at harassing enemies from a distance.

  • Invulnerable Saves on Vehicles – The transports also have invulnerable saves, helping to protect them from being 1-shot by anti-vehicle firepower.


  • No Psykers – They do not have the ability to deny psychic powers or cast any of their own.

  • Fragile – A glass cannon army with low toughness across the board (outside of the Coven units). Their vehicles are also low toughness and rely on their Invulnerable Saves to stay alive.

  • 3-in-1 – The Kabalites, Coven, and Cults don’t play nice, meaning you can’t mix and match between detachments. This makes building lists for Drukhari somewhat restrictive.

Play Styles:

  • Venom Spam – Minimum sized units of Kabalite Warriors flying around in Venoms allows Drukhari to put their units wherever they need them and still be able to shoot while protected inside their transports.

  • Flyer Spam –  Ravagers, Voidraven Bombers, and Razorwing Jetfighters bring some strong firepower to the table as fast, resilient bodies. The disintegrator cannons they can be equipped with are great against both infantry and vehicles.

  • Coven Spam – The exclusion to the fragile weakness, Haemonculus Covens bring very tough bodies to the table through Wracks and Grotesques. They trade long-range fire power for resilient melee threats.

  • Wych Spam – The Wych Cults trade long-range fire power for fast, fragile, and numerous melee infantry. They are a melee glass cannon in the truest sense.


Faction: Harlequins

Description: Disciples of the Laughing God, Harlequins are known for their masques and chequered suits. They believe war is a performance, and their Troupes dance across the battlefield distributing slaughter where they go. A very elite melee army that relies on powerful characters and tricks to beat their enemies.


  • Army wide 4+ invulnerable saves – Your entire army has a 4+ invulnerable, meaning you ignore 50% of damage you receive regardless of your opponents armor penetration.

  • High Mobility – The fastest army in the game, bar none.

  • Excellent Units – Your characters, troops, and vehicles are fantastic at what they do.


  • Expensive and Fragile – Despite your invulnerable save, your army is mostly low toughness and has few wounds.

  • Short ranged – Harlequins function best when within melee range or 6” from their opponent.

  • Tiny unit selection – The units Harlequins have are great, but they don’t have a lot of options and their lists sort of build themselves.

Play Styles:

  • Skyweaver Storm – The best unit in the Harlequin codex are the Skyweaver Jetbikes. Spamming as many as possible is a good idea.

  • Clown Carnival – Harlequins can bring numerous strong characters like the Solitaire and Death Jester.

Faction: Chaos Daemons

Description: Beings made of pure chaotic energy. These are the “bad guys” of Warhammer 40k and play unlike any other faction. They are focused on melee and psychic powers, and the 4 subfactions further streamline how they play. Khorne, the God of Blood, focuses on melee at all costs and is the only Daemon subfaction to lack psychic powers. Nurgle, the God of Pestilence, focuses on durability in exchange for speed. Slaanesh, aka She Who Thirsts and the God of Pleasure, focuses on speed and melee hitting power. Tzeentch, the God of Change, focuses on psychic powers and mutating flames as the only Daemon subfaction with ranged units.


  • Psychic Powers – Psychic powers originate from the Warp, and the warp-spawned Daemons are fantastic at using psychic powers.

  • Melee Combat – Khorne and Slaanesh in particular are fantastic at dealing damage in melee.

  • Army wide 5+ invulnerable save – Daemons don’t have armor and instead have a 5+ invulnerable save, meaning you always get to ignore ~33% of damage taken.


  • Durability – The rank and file of Daemons are generally Toughness 3 – the same as the fragile Aeldari – and have only their invulnerable save to protect them.

  • Shooting – Daemons have very little shooting outside of Tzeentch, whose shooting is short ranged anyway.

  • Unit Variety – The different Chaos Gods do not play nice and do not allow their Daemons to mix together without losing their blessings. Additionally, they have very few choices for units.

Play Styles:

  • Khorne – Bloodthirsters are some of the most powerful Greater Daemons and can cut apart anything in melee. Khorne Daemons get +1 Attack and Strength on the charge, making them incredibly deadly in combat.

  • Tzeentch – Tzeentch models improve their invulnerable save to a 4+ and get access to Flamers as well as deadly psychic powers, meaning they can deal mortal wounds which ignore armor AND invulnerable saves entirely.

  • Nurgle – Sharing the Disgustingly Resilient rule of the Death Guard, Nurgle Daemons are very, very tough to kill. They slowly make their way up the board before tangling up their targets in melee.

  • Slaanesh – Slaanesh models can Advance and Charge in the same phase, and have some of the highest movement characteristics of any infantry models in the game. Slaanesh players almost always land the charges they want and apply a lot of board pressure.

Faction: Chaos Space Marines

Description: The Space Marines who fell to the whispers of Chaos, these Space Marines follow the dark gods and accept their blessings to further enhance their combat prowess. Which Chaos Gods they follow can change how Chaos Space Marines play, but they are generally more close combat focused than their uncorrupted brothers.


  • Psychic Powers – Psychic powers originate from the Warp and the Chaos Gods, so the Chaos Space Marines know how to wield it well.

  • Melee Combat – Through mutations and chaotic blessings, Chaos Space Marines are incredibly deadly in melee combat.

  • Cheap Troops – Chaos Space Marines can field numerous, weak cultists as cannon fodder to protect their deadly Daemon Engines or more elite units.


  • Shooting – While their shooting is ok, Chaos Space Marines lack a lot of the shooting options that uncorrupted Space Marines can take.

  • Mobility – Outside of a couple units, Chaos Space Marines need to use transports or rely on their power armor to help them get into combat.

  • Low armor penetration – Chaos Space Marines are great at dealing damage, but struggle to break through armor saves.

Play Styles:

  • Possessed Bomb – One of the units that is deadly in melee, Possessed are the most killy unit point-for-point in melee. If you can get them into combat with the right support, they will shred whatever they touch.

  • Havoc Battery – The Havos are a deadly, long range unit that can cut through elite infantry or vehicles alike.With the right support they can obliterate most targets at range.

Faction: Thousand Sons

Description: Borrowing an aesthetic from the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, the Thousand Sons are worshippers of Tzeentch and bring to bear powerful sorcery and shooting. Their All is Dust ability and invulnerable save make them more resilient than average Space Marines. These guys combine great shooting power with a strong psychic phase through heavily armored troops and their allied Chaos Daemons.


  • Strong Psychic and Shooting – Most Thousand Sons weapons have a minimum armor penetration of 2, allowing them to ignore the armor of many units. Their psychic powers also deal mortal wounds, which ignore armor and invulnerable saves.

  • Powerful HQ Choices – The leaders of the Thousand Sons are fantastic as strong psykers and warriors.

  • Solid Troops – Rubric marines are resilient and capable of casting psychic powers themselves, while Tzaangors are good supporting melee units.


  • Short to Medium Range Shooting – Thousand Sons weapons are almost all 12” to 24” in range, meaning they like to be in medium range from their enemy. Having to get close can make it easy to hide from their firepower or leave you vulnerable to a charge.

  • Melee – Outside of Daemons Princes and Tzaangors, Thousand Sons aren’t particularly great in melee.

  • Limited Units – Thousand Sons lack some of the options that the Chaos Space Marines have, making it difficult to take key units to shore up your weaknesses.

Play Styles:

  • Rubric Spam – Rubric Marines are tough, good at shooting, and can cast psychic powers as a core troop choice. Can’t go wrong here.

  • Tzaangor Bomb- Tzaangors are good in melee and tricks like the Dark Matter Crystal can help a big blob get behind enemy lines and into charge range.

  • Winged Daemon Prince – Being able to take a Greater Daemon as an HQ choice, Thousand Sons have access to a powerful melee threat and psyker to lead their armies.


Faction: Death Guard

Description: The shambling heretic legion of Nurgle.  It’s warriors are blessed(?) with bloated and diseased forms that are “Disgustingly Resilient” and incredibly hard to put down. They are the slow, inescapable death incarnate.


  • Incredibly Tough – Most units have the “Disgustingly Resilient” rule, allowing them to shrug off incoming damage that breaks through their armor. They also tend to have above average toughness.

  • Offensive Power – Death Guard have a number of powerful melee and ranged options that can dish out the pain.  They also get access to a lot of the shiny toys Chaos Space Marines have, meaning they have access to hard hitting Deredeo Dreadnoughts or Leviathan Dreadnoughts.

  • Plague Zombies – They can use cheap, numerous Poxwalkers as a zombie horde that walks up the board.


  • Very Slow – Death Guard infantry have some of the lowest movement values in the game and can have a hard time getting where they need to be. ‘

  • Target-rich – All your units (outside of Poxwalkers) are good and elite, which means losing any of them hurts.

  • Expensive Units – Outside of Poxwalkers, most of your units are incredibly expensive points-wise, meaning your army is usually smaller than your opponents.

  • Short Range – The majority of your weapons have short ranges.  Couple this with your slow movement, and getting them into position can sometimes take 3 or more turns.

Play Styles: 

  • Relentless Advance – Have a strong core of infantry and characters and start the long march up the board.  Make use of cover and spells to stack your already formidable defenses to take and hold center objectives.  Once you’re close enough to your opponent, you can start dishing out the pain.

  • M-M-M-Morty Bomb –  Mortarion, the founder of the Death Guard, is an enormous threat that opponents cannot ignore. Stack defensive spells on him to make sure he can survive long enough to nose-dive your opponents forces.  Hopefully he keeps the enemies distracted long enough for the rest of your forces to get into position and wreak havoc.

  • Armored Rush – Bloat Drones and Blighthaulers are surprisingly fast for Death Guard units.  Use them to apply early pressure and distract from your Rhino transports carrying Plague Marines and Characters to the opponents face.


Faction: Tau

Description: These blue skinned aliens are one of the youngest races in the galaxy, yet one of the most technologically advanced. They wield incredibly powerful ranged weaponry and mech suits to blast their opponents off the table from a safe distance. They believe in the “greater good” and are one of the few tolerant races – if you agree with their philosophy – leading some to think of them as the true good guys in the game.


  • Shooting – No army in the game is better at shooting than Tau, and rules like “For the Greater Good” allow them to overlap fire and protect against melee armies charging them.

  • Drones – Drones can tank hits for key Tau units and support them by using Marker Lights to make it easier for their allies to kill priority targets in shooting.

  • Mercenaries – Being one of the few tolerant factions, Tau can employ the Kroot and Vespid as mercenaries to join their forces.


  • Melee Combat – Tau suck in melee and you want to avoid being in melee at all costs.

  • Psychic Powers – Tau have no ability to cast or deny psychic powers

  • Mobility – Despite having flying transports and fast units, Tau want to sit still to maximize their effectiveness in shooting.

Play Styles:

  • Drone Castle – Using Drones as a protective screen, Tau sit in their backfield and form an unbreachable “castle” that outshoots their opponent off the board.

  • Crisis Suit Spam – Tau battlesuits are both mobile and deadly in shooting, while being reasonably tough. They can fly around as elite mechanized infantry and systematically destroy their priority targets.

Faction: Necrons

Description: Ancient Egyptian robot skeletons. An ancient race, the Necrons have been slumbering for millenia and are now awakening. They are a tough force that has sacrificed their corporeal forms for immortal, metal bodies. Rising from the dead, the Necrons march unrelenting up the board and refuse to stay down.


  • Excellent anti-horde Choices – Necron weaponry is fantastic at killing numerous infantry units.

  • Cosmic Powers – Necron trade Psychic Powers for Cosmic Powers, which are overall weaker but cannot be denied like Psychic Powers can. This makes them reliable abilities to use.

  • Reanimating – Necrons are tough, but even when they die they have a chance to return as reanimated warriors. Unless your opponent entirely wipes out a unit, any slain models have a chance of returning every turn.


  • Slow and short ranged – Getting into threat range is difficult, and outside of a few teleporting shenanigans requires surviving long enough to get up the board.

  • No psychic powers – While they have their own Cosmic Powers that cannot be denied, Necrons cannot cast Psychic Powers.

  • Expensive – All units in the Necron army are expensive, meaning you have to lean into your elite units.

Play Styles:

  • Immortal Bomb: A large group of Immortals to be buffed by your characters and be a threat with Reanimating Protocols.

  • Doomsday Ark and Doom Scythe Spam: These fast moving flyers can deal a lot of damage and mitigate some of the low mobility the faction otherwise suffers from.


Faction: Orks

Description: WAAAGHH! Orks in Space! These guys operate as hordes of big, green Orks who want nothing but a good fight. They all have the accent of a British dock worker and are chaotic, often relying on random effects, making them one of the highest variance armies in the game.


  • Numerous – Orks are the horde faction, and you can put a staggering number of Orks on the board while still having points for other toys, like trukks and killa kans.

  • Fast – Orks move quickly, either in open-topped buggies or on the back of scrapheap rockets.

  • Psychic Powers – Orks psychic powers are incredibly strong, and the more Orks around the Psyker the stronger the power becomes.


  • Random – High variance shooting means that you can often have an explosive phase, or a complete whiff depending on how you roll.

  • Low Armor Infantry – Despite being tough and numerous, Orks don’t have much in the way of armor or invulnerable saves. High strength anti-infantry firepower will cut through Ork hordes.

  • Predictable – Your strategy tends to involve running straight at the enemy’s face and using your numerous soldiers to spread across the table.

Play Styles:

  • Ork Boyz Spam: Spamming Boyz is always a good idea, they’re very strong troop choices and put an immense amount of pressure on their opponent.

  • Loota Bomb: A squad of Lootas is a great shooting base and can be shielded by Grots to protect them.


Faction: Tyranids

Description: Tyranid splinter fleets are each controlled by a Hive Mind, a massive galaxy spanning intelligence that seeks only to feed. Tyranids move between worlds, firing biological weapons and creating chittering hordes from the biomass on the planet. After all life is destroyed, the Tyranids absorb it through vats of digestive acid until no carbon based matter remains before moving onto the next world. As a faction, they play as a mass of chitin overwhelming and devouring their opponent.


  • Hordes – Tyranids can spam cheap and numerous ‘gaunts to spread across the board and drown their opponent in bodies

  • Monsters – Tyranids have access to massive, powerful monsters who can be equipped to be effective in melee, shooting, or both.

  • Psychic phase – Powerful psyker and counter-psyker abilities.


  • Poor ranged anti-tank – Tyranid’s rending claws can be great at cutting through the armor of tanks, but their shooting is generally weaker here

  • Melee is hard to use – Tyranids rely on their swarms of units to be effective in melee, and if they have taken too many losses getting there they can lose steam.

  • Synapse and Instinctive Behavior – Big bugs with the Synapse rule need to stay within 12” range of the little bugs with the Instinctive Behavior rule, or the swarms of little bugs will become less effective unless targeting the nearest enemy unit. This means you need to be mindful of how far away your Monsters are from your hordes or risk weakening your damage output.

Play Styles:

  • Genestealer Bomb – With the right stratagems and subfaction, Genestealers can fly across the table to charge and kill anything as early as turn 1.

  • Gaunt Swarms – Swarms of Termagaunts and Hormagaunts can be sacrificed to absorb your enemy’s shooting and apply a ton of pressure to the board.

  • Distraction Carnifex – Colloquial game slang used when someone runs a very scary monster unit that demands a response straight into their opponent’s front lines. Tyranids invented the concept of a “distraction carnifex” and many of their monsters can fill this role nicely.


Faction: Genestealer Cults

Description: Infected humans that have an unquestioning loyalty to their Genestealer Patriarch, a vanguard faction of a Tyranid splinter fleet.  They infiltrate all parts of societies and wreak havoc once they’ve reached a critical mass. They are masters of ambush and can have any infantry unit drop in anywhere on the board. This allows you to target your opponent’s key assets with your incredible melee units or heavy weapons.


  • Melee Infantry – Their melee infantry is incredibly powerful, capable of chopping up any target in 1 turn when properly supported.

  • Ambush – They can set up most of their army off the board and appear where they need to be at the right time.

  • Supporting characters – A plethora of characters who can provide unique and key buffs to your hordes of infantry.


  • Low durability – Their vehicles and infantry have universally low toughness, relying on numbers and positioning to stay alive.

  • Reliance on Stratagems – This army more than any relies on using the right Stratagem at the right time to make a key charge, get in position, or kill the right target

  • Difficult to Play – Low durability, ambushing rules, and knowledge of key Stratagems make learning Genestealer Cults difficult.

Play Styles:

  • Acolyte Bombs: Take large units of Acolytes and ambush opponents with their overwhelming offense.

  • Neophyte Spam: Take many units of Neophytes equipped to the teeth with heavy and special weapons. Drop them alongside a Jackal Alphus to buff their shooting to melt whatever you point them at.

  • Ridgerunner Spam: Run cheap, fast, and numerous Achilles Ridgerunners as a mobile force of light vehicle to pave the way for your ambushers.

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