The Best Starter Army For Warhammer 40k: 5 Thrilling Options for Beginners

Space marines Warhammer 40k

The Best Starter Army for Warhammer 40,000

We aim to help new players start their journey in the Warhammer 40k universe in the most enjoyable way possible. This article will cover how to choose an army, the top starter options, and tips for building your first force.

How to Choose A Warhammer 40k Starter Army

Choosing your first Warhammer 40k army is an exciting step, but with over 20 factions to pick from, it can definitely feel overwhelming as a beginner. Here are the key factors I recommend considering when selecting an army:

Play Style

Each army has strengths in close combat, ranged shooting, manoeuvrability, psychic powers, or resilience. Make sure to pick an army that matches your preferred play style.

Complexity Level

Some armies like Space Marines have straightforward tactics while others like Genestealer Cults have more complex rules. Choose a beginner-friendly option.

Model Count

Horde armies like Imperial Guard require many models while elite armies like Custodes need fewer. Consider the time and cost investment.

Ease of Painting

Intricate details like on Drukhari models or large flat panels like on Space Marines impact painting difficulty.


Popular armies often have more painting tutorials and battle reports available. We reccomend Tabletop Tactics on Youtube for video guides and battle reports.

I always recommend starting small with Combat Patrol boxes which give you a low model count army to learn with. The Warhammer 40,000 starter sets below are some of the best low complexity options that have great value and will ease you into the hobby.

Not sure you want to buy a set? Want to try and get into 3d printing instead? Check our guide for The Best 3d printers for Miniatures


The 5 Best Starter Armies for Warhammer 40k Beginners

Warhammer 40k Space marine

#1. Space Marines

Of all the Warhammer 40k armies, I believe Space Marines are the best starter army for beginners. As the poster boys of 40k, Space Marines have a huge range of high quality plastic kits covering a variety of exciting chapters like Ultramarines, Blood Angels, Space Wolves and more.

Space Marines are very beginner friendly as they have straightforward tactics and great flexibility to handle both shooting and combat. This allows you to experiment to find a play style you enjoy without being punished for mistakes. They also aren’t too expensive compared to other armies. I’d suggest starting with a Combat Patrol box which will give you a strong core to expand from.






Best Starter Army for Space Marines: Warhammer 40,000: Space Marines Primaris Intercessors 


Embark on epic adventures in the grim darkness of the far future with the Warhammer 40,000: Space Marines Primaris Intercessors Plastic Kit. This highly detailed set contains everything you need to build and customize a squad of five Primaris Intercessors, the backbone of any Adeptus Astartes army. With an array of weapons options, including bolt rifles, bolt pistols, and frag grenades, you can equip your Space Marines for any battle scenario.




#2. Necrons

If you prefer a more elite, high resilience play style focused on ranged firepower, Necrons are an excellent pick as a starter Warhammer 40k army. Their self-repair abilities let them withstand damage while their Gauss weapons decimate enemies at range. This makes them very forgiving to use.

Necron kits are also some of the easiest to assemble with crisp details and their metallic color scheme keeps the painting relatively simple as well compared to other armies. Their Combat Patrol box provides fantastic value, instantly giving you a fun starter army.


Best Starter Army For Warhammer

Best Starter Army for Necrons: Necron Warriors

Awaken the ancient power of the Necrontyr with the Games Workshop Warhammer 40k – Necron Warriors kit. This set contains 10 highly detailed plastic Necron Warrior miniatures, the core infantry unit of the Necron army.

Each warrior is armed with a potent Gauss Flayer, capable of stripping atoms from their targets. The kit includes a variety of head and pose options, allowing you to create a visually diverse and intimidating unit.

With their advanced technology and regenerative abilities, Necron Warriors are a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield.

Necrons are your poison? Perfect, need some tools now to get that neon green on? Check out our guide for The Best brushes for Painting Miniatures


Imperial guardsman warhammer 40k


#3. Astra Militarum

For beginners interested in learning how to leverage weight of numbers and heavy firepower, Astra Militarum, also known as Imperial Guard, are a great starting Warhammer 40k army. Their recently updated model range brings lots of character and battlefield role diversity at a reasonable cost.

Astra Militarum may lack the flexibility of Space Marines but they have very straightforward tactics. Focus fire on targets and let loose the artillery! Just be wary of getting caught in close combat and protect your squishier units. Overall they make a wonderful starter army for new hobbyists.

Best Starter Army for Imperial Guard: Combat Patrol – Astra Militarum

Take command of the Imperium’s finest soldiers with the Warhammer 40K: Combat Patrol – Astra Militarum set.

This comprehensive collection provides everything you need to build a powerful patrol detachment of the Imperial Guard. The set includes a diverse range of units, such as a Leman Russ Battle Tank, a Heavy Weapons Squad, and a full Infantry Squad

With an assortment of weapons options, you can customize your army to suit your playstyle and battlefield tactics. The highly detailed miniatures capture the gritty resolve and unwavering loyalty of the Astra Militarum, from the hardened Veterans to the fresh-faced Conscripts

Want to learn some more about paint brands before buying? Check out this guide here for The Best Paint Brands for Miniatures

Ork Warhammer 40k

#4. Orks

If you really want to embrace the fun side of Warhammer 40k, Orks are easily my top recommendation. Their play style encapsulates the Ork mentality perfectly – charge wildly at the enemy and get stuck in close combat! Nothing beats the feeling of overwhelming your opponent with a green tide of Ork infantry.

While Orks take a horde style approach, their rules are quite simple and they have high toughness to survive some mistakes. Their kits are also a blast to assemble and paint. Expect to hear many laughs when playing Orks! Just be prepared to paint lots of models as you build up your Waaagh!


Best Starter Army For Warhammer – Orks: Combat Patrol 

Unleash the green tide with the Games Workshop Warhammer 40,000 Combat Patrol: Orks set!

This jam-packed box contains everything you need to start a mighty Ork army or reinforce an existing Waaagh! The set includes a formidable collection of Ork units, such as a Warboss to lead your horde, a mob of Boyz to form the backbone of your army, and a Deff Dread to provide heavy support.

With a variety of weapons options, you can arm your Orks with an assortment of brutal choppers, sluggas, and rokkits. The models are highly detailed, capturing the rough, ramshackle aesthetic of Ork technology and their love for scavenged, mismatched gear.

Decided on Orks but need some paints? No worries, check here for The Best Starter Paint Sets for Warhammer


Tyranids warhammer 40k

#5. Tyranids

For players who enjoy controlling swift-moving swarms and prefer organic-looking models over mechanical units, Tyranids are a great starter army choice. They play aggressively using weight of numbers to rip enemies apart in close combat using rending claws, talons and more.

A Tyranid force may need lots of smaller models like Termagants built up but the painting style can be simple if you use Contrast paints to quickly shade the exoskeletons. Focus fire from enemy guns can down smaller bugs but psychic powers and synapse abilities make them surprisingly durable as an army. If you like the Alien movies, Tyranids will feel right at home!

Tyranids often have somewhat difficult to get into places, we reccomend looking into an Airbrush, check our guide here: The Best Airbrushes for Miniatures 



Best Starter Army For Warhammer: Tyranid Genestealers

Unleash the terror of the Tyranid hive fleets with the Warhammer 40k – Tyranids Genestealers set.

These highly detailed plastic miniatures represent the vanguard of the Tyranid invasion, infiltrating unsuspecting worlds and sowing the seeds of destruction.

The kit includes 10 Genestealers, each posed dynamically to convey their lightning-fast speed and lethal agility. With their razor-sharp claws and powerful jaws, Genestealers are capable of tearing through even the toughest armor.

The models feature a variety of head and limb options, allowing you to create a visually diverse and intimidating brood.

Best Starter Army For Warhammer: Starter Tools, Paints & Glues

Now that you’ve chosen your preferred Warhammer 40k starter army, let’s look at some essential hobby tools, paints and glues that will be handy.

Clippers & Moldline Remover Tool – Carefully removing models from sprues and cleaning mold lines helps them look much nicer when painted.

Plastic Glue – Glues plastic kits firmly together. Avoid super glue which frosts clear plastic.

Primer Spray – Prime models before painting so acrylic paint adheres smoothly. Chaos Black or Mechanicus Grey are good neutral shades.

Essential Paint Colours – For starter armies, aim for paints like Abaddon Black, Eshin Grey, Leadbelcher and Mephiston Red which provide base coats.

Nuln Oil Wash – This shader adds instant contrast and definition to models via recesses when applied over base coats. Very beginner friendly way to get tabletop ready miniatures quickly.

Getting Started with Your Starter Army

Once you have assembled and painted your first starter army models, it’s time to play! But before throwing yourself into a matched play game, I’d recommend playing open or narrative games first until you grasp the core rules.

Practice moving, shooting and fighting against another rookie player or proxy some terrain and play solo controlling both starter armies to get comfortable.

Experiment and learn at your own pace! Then when you’re ready, play combat patrol sized games around 25 power level to put your new skills to the test before growing into bigger matches!

Most importantly though, remember this hobby is all about having fun so enjoy exploring the rich history and stories in the Warhammer 40k universe at your own pace. We all started out as beginners once too!

Over time you will continue improving your painted models and gaming skills so simply focus on enjoying the journey of building your force one squad at a time.


Wrapping Up

The key is choosing the army that most appeals to your playstyle and hobby interests rather than just what is “top tier”. By matching faction with preferences, you will enjoy painting and gaming with your starter force so much more! And of course don’t feel limited by just these two – explore all the unique playstyles and model ranges on offer as you continue your Warhammer 40k journey!

 And as always, remember – no matter how small your painted model count becomes on the battlefield, just keep enjoying yourself out there!

Now get out there and experience the 40k universe – for the Emperor! And for our Youtube channel!


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