Warhammer 40k Start Collecting Box Reviews

Warhamer 40k Start Collecting boxes

***UPDATED FOR 8TH EDITION!***

Are you looking or a great way to dip your toe into 40k on a budget? The new Start Collecting boxes by Games Workshop make getting models easy and cheap! Every set your about to read about is a fantastic deal on some wonderfully sculpted models. Below you will be able to see what is in every box (and I’ll keep this updated), how much money it saves you and a review on the box as a whole. This is mainly aimed at new players but anyone can be tempted with a second (or ninth) army.

 

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FORCES OF THE IMPERIUM


 

Start Collecting! Space Marinesstart-collecting-space-marines

Box Includes:

-1 Space Marine Terminator Captain

-1 Space Marine Tactical Squad

-1 Space Marine Dreadnought

Total Savings: $34.25 USD

Why You Should Play This Army:

Space Marines are the poster-boys of 40k, being one of the most iconic armies in Sci-Fi. If you are looking for a solid starter force with access to all kinds of toys (Tanks, flyers, bikes etc.) then this is the army for you. The Space Marines stand as the finest of humanities’ warriors, able to tackle any threat they come across. If you want to be the “Good Guy” and have the majority of books and models to support you, then choose Space Marines.

Going Deeper:

This Start Collecting box is sort of a perfect one. Introducing new players to the lore with the iconic Space Marines has never been easier. You’ll get a very solid troop unit, a large center-piece with loads of weapon options and a leader to tie it all together. This is perfect as it allows you to learn all the fundamentals of 8th ed. (except the psychic phase) and get a lot of options for an army up front. Also keep in mind that these are not limited to being Ultramarines. The flexibility of the new keyword systems means that you can rally build whatever chapter you want!  If you are a new player who likes the look of the Space Marines, this is a no-brainer. If you already play Space Marines then you can probably pass on this set as you will likely already have everything in it and the saving are not significant enough to make you go nuts for it.


Start Collecting! Space Wolvesstart-collecting-space-wolves

Box Includes:

-3 Thunder wolves

-1 Wolf Lord

-1 Space Wolves Squad

Total Savings: $22.50 USD

Why You Should Play This Army:

Do you think there is a distinct lack of Vikings in space? Me too. The Space Wolves are a unique chapter of Space Marines that walk a different path to their Codex Astartes following brothers. These guys are all about melee combat, brutality and individualism. If you love Vikings, wolves and combinations of the words “Thunder”, “Storm” and “Fang” then this Start Collecting box is for you. This army has a ton of character and the model sculpts are out of this world!

Going Deeper:

This is a phenomenal set if you are into Space Wolves! Not only do you get a versatile tactical squad (which you can build into different units) and a great HQ to accompany them, but you get Thunder wolves!  It is not unreasonable to start a Space Wolves army by buying 2 or three of these and kit-bashing to make a wide variety of heroes, infantry and elites. It may not have the greatest monetary savings, but the fact you will want every single model in this box (and multiples of them) makes this an unbelievable great start.


 

Start Collecting! Blood Angelsstart-collecting-blood-angels

Box Includes:

-1 Blood Angels Captain in Terminator Armor

-1 Blood Angels Tactical Squad

-1 Baal Predator Tank

Total Savings: $48.75

Why You Should Play This Army:

Embrace your inner anti-hero with the Blood Angels! These are the last of the Space Marine starter box sets and boy do they stand out! Blood Angels have their very own heroes and tactical squad full of beautiful iconography and unique weapons. But that is not what you saw when you looked at this set, you saw the Baal Predator tank! The Blood Angles are an exciting Space Marine chapter full of mystery, secrets and a need for speed. They favor assault over shooting and with the recent release of Angels Blade; they now have the tools to make that happen. Play these guys if you want to be the hero with a secret, a noble warrior with a terrible curse gnawing at you. Their fun, aggressive, fast and unique; what is there to dislike?

Going Deeper:

As a way to start a Blood Angels army, this Start Collecting box is pretty great. Since you are going to want tactical squads and Baal Predators it is not unreasonable to buy two or three of these sets. Remember that this tactical squad has Blood Angels exclusive heraldry on it, making it stand out as an Astartes army. The Baal Predator is seriously nasty with the Autocannon option and provides a great anchor point for the army. I’s suggest getting another box of these guys to fill out your troops requirements (depending on the detachment you are building for). If you want your own army of Space Vampires on the dark side of the Rift, you cannot go wrong here!


 

Start Collecting! Skitariistart-collecting-skitarii

Box Includes:

-1 Tech-Priest Dominus

-1 Onager Dunecrawler

-10 Skitarii Vanguards (can be built as rangers)

Total Savings: $56

Why You Should Play This Army:

Do you want more Sci-Fi in your 40k? The Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus take sci-fi to the extreme with cybernetic enhancements, futuristic weapons and technology that just shouldn’t exist. These are the engineers of every nasty weapon that humanity has in their arsenal, and they keep the best toys for themselves! If you want a deceptive, rules intensive army with the right tools for the right job, then these guys are for you!

Going Deeper:

This box set provides the best monetary value of any of the Start Collecting sets (at the time of writing). You get an amazing HQ model, some (very) versatile troops and an iconic vehicle, how can you argue with that?! These guys have a fairly unimpressive stat line but make up for it in special abilities. Every piece of war-gear, gun and transport provides a wealth of buffs, de-buffs and attacks. Think of these guys as a giant clock, and every unit in your army is a cog or gear. When you have the clock working well, you will demolish your opponent. If the clock misfires, things get ugly quickly.

With the release of 8th edition this army has a new lease on life. Previously it took two codexes to be able to play this set, now it’s all in one book and a single faction! In my opinion this might be the biggest winner from the switch to 8th as making this one army list greatly lowers the barrier to playing it 😉


Start Collecting! Astra Militarumstart-collecting-astra-militarum

Box Includes:

-1 Leman Russ Battle Tank (and bits for all variants)

-1 Cadian Heavy Weapon Team

-1 Commissar

-10 Cadian Guardsmen

Total Savings: $28-ish

Why You Should Play This Army:

Do you want to be the average man (or woman) fighting the endless threats to the Imperium without all that power armor? Do you think true grit will win the day (along with endless resources)? So does the Astra Militarum (Previously known as the Imperial Guard). Aesthetically these guys are very much like our modern fighting force with historical elements blended with sci-fi. This is a massive army with enough model and tactical variety to keep you interested for years. From fully mechanized warfare to basic troops walking across a warzone, the AM have options for it all.

Going Deeper:

If you are looking to hop in Astra Militarum then you will struggle to find a better entry point. Buy two boxes and learn the ropes! Here is what I suggest: Buy two Start Collecting boxes, run the troops as veterans (as of yet there is no specific veteran model so this is fair game) and build Lascannons from the heavy weapons crews. At this point you have some tough decisions to make: Focus on infantry spam or build for a more mechanized list. There is no wrong answer, it’s purely based on how you ant your guard regiment to look. The fact is, this box is a great start to either build as you can use the guardsmen for Veterans (meeting any troop requirement) and just focus on vehicles going forward. Conversely, you can just use the tanks and heavy weapon crews as heavy support to a flood of bodies and go nuts with guardsmen spam!


Start Collecting! Militarum Tempestusstart-collecting-militarum-tempestus

Box Includes:

-1 Commissar

-1 Taurox Prime

-1 Tempestus Scions Box

-1 Tempestus Command Squad

Total Savings: $33

Why You Should Play This Army:

Where the Astra Militarum is the general army of the Imperium, the Militarum Tempestus are the Special Forces. These are the covert special ops arm of the AM and while their model range is more limited, they have access to some serious weapons and still keep the “Orders” mechanic from guard. This army is all about precision strikes, having the right weapons for the right job and target priority. If you want an army that plays on the table like it is written in the fluff, these are your boys. Know what is even better? They also are a full part of AM, meaning you can take these guys in more than one army. The ability to take their own codex, or be a part of another army makes this one of the most versatile sets that GW has put out.

Going Deeper:

Let’s clarify something: the command squad and the scions box are the same thing. Build both sets as scions and you have a fully playable army. In fact, if you are serious about playing Militarum Tempestus on its own, buy three of these. Build squads of ten and put them in the transports for quick delivery. Sure, you will have some extra commissars, but the money you save is still significant enough to make this a no-brainer. No other Start Collecting box comes with the sheer versatility as the MT box. If you want to get crazy, you can buy both the MT and AM boxes to jump start an Astra Militarum army. Great box with some really cool options!



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The Forces of Chaos


 

 Start Collecting! Chaos Space Marinesstart-collecting-chaos-space-marines

Box Includes:

-1 Chaos Terminator Lord

-1 Hellbrute

-1 Unit of Chaos Space Marines

Total Savings: $32.75

Why You Should Play This Army:

It is fun to be the bad guy, enough said. Chaos Space Marines are an excellent starting army to learn the mechanics of the game. No other army combines a solid stat-line, psychic powers, armor and troops the way that CSM does. You have access to diverse abilities, lore and thematic rules that set you up as a phenomenal villain in the 40k universe. With the recent release of the Traitors Hate supplement, you now have access to formation that bring new life to existing units and make this an incredibly fun army.

Going Deeper:

This kit is identical to the Space Marines set, and I believe that is on purpose. These two sets are pretty good against one another and if you are buying these for a pair of kids they make sense. The CSM lord has an option that the SM box doesn’t; you can build the Terminator Lord as a Sorcerer in Terminator armor. Having a Sorcerer gives this set a lot more depth and points efficiency. The Hellbrute kit is great looking, and comes with a massive amount of weapon options. All in all, this is a great box if you want to dip your toe into the army, but for an existing CSM player you will likely pass on it.


Start Collecting! Daemons of Nurglestart-collecting-nurgle-daemons

Box Includes:

-1 Herald of Nurgle

-3 Plague Drones

-1 Unit of Plague bearers

-3 Nurglings

Total Savings: $54

Why You Should Play This Army:

The Daemons of Nurgle creep forth and worship their deity the only way they know how: the spread of disease and contagion. If you want an army themed around entropy and want to compliment your Nurgle themed CSM army, this box is for you. This is also the very best value in the Start Collecting box line, as you save a ton of money AND unlike the Skitarii box, you can use every model in here without having to buy two codexes. The models are beautiful (well, you know, if you like Nurgle) and very easy to paint as the decay theme is very forgiving for new painters. Daemons represent the embodiment of danger to the Imperium, the madness that just about every other army fights to keep at bay. This army (and the Khorne Daemons) are evil incarnate.

Going Deeper:

This might be the second best box in terms of financial value, but it is number one in terms of a deal. What I mean is, you will use every single model in here. If you want a Nurgle Daemon army then you will likely want three of these as the drones make this a no-brainer. While Daemons are not typically thought of as a good “Beginner” army, having such a value up front makes it hard to argue with. Nurgle’s daemons are all about attrition, moving slow and holding objectives until the very end. The units included are tough and deadly in combat but move rather slowly across the battlefield. Luckily, they can deep strike all along the battlefield! This is a great set for expanding into Nurgle as well as starting a new army dedicated to him. A home-run any way you slice it.


 

Start Collecting! Daemons of Khornestart-collecting-khorne-daemons

Box Includes:

-1 Herald on a Blood Throne (can be built as a Skull Cannon)

-3 Bloodcrushers

-1 unit of Bloodletters

Total Savings: $34

Why You Should Play This Army:

Do you like death-metal, brass and the color red? Then Khorne is for you! Khorne is the Chaos god of war, bloodshed and martial prowess. Every war that is fought across the galaxy feeds Khorne’s power and he often stands as the mightiest of the chaos gods (though this is in constant flux). Khorne despises the psyker and ranged combat but favors assault and close combat. As daemons of Khorne, you will personify Khorne with a basic troop that can shred Space Marines and cavalry that can make your enemy’s infantry disappear. These guys are aggressive, mean and in your face!

Going Deeper:

This box is great for starting up a new Daemon army. Everyone has deep strike, and the Herald on a Bloodthrone makes for a beefy HQ. While not the most exciting set, it does give you a great feel for the army both aesthetically and on the game table. If you seriously want a Khorne focused army, buy three of these and build 2 Skull Cannons. While not the most effective army, you will have a diverse force with some very flavorful elements.


 

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The Might of the Xenos


Start Collecting! Eldarstart-collecting-eldar

Box Includes:

-1 Farseer on Skyrunner

-3 Eldar Jetbikes

-1 Eldar Fire Prism

Total Savings: $38.50

Why You Should Play This Army:

The Eldar are the former masters of the universe trying to reclaim that title from mankind. Before Humanity rose to prominence, the Eldar controlled the galaxy up until their empire collapsed in a catastrophic explosion. The Eldar fell to hedonism and debauchery, all of which came together in the warp to give birth to the chaos god Slaanesh. With the birth of Slaanesh the Eldar Empire was torn to shreds and now they fight to atone for their sins and reclaim their rightful rule of the galaxy. If you like to strike hard, fast and without mercy, the Eldar are for you!

Going Deeper:

Let’s be up front: this box is insanely fun. Two great units are in it: the jet bikes and Farseer on a jetbike. The Fire Prism looks really cool but it is certainly not as efficient or effective as the bike and a psyker. If you want to enter into competitive 40k, you will not find a better starting point. These are models you are going to want in one convenient package. Also to note: if you are a new player just grabbing this box because it looks cool (and who can blame you?) be aware that these are some seriously spindly models, so be careful during assembly. 

These models were the bane of gamers in the last edition, but things have gone through a dramatic rebalancing and the power level has come down. Still, speed and Psychic might will always be effective and this box delivers both in spades!


 

Start Collecting! Dark Eldarstart-collecting-dark-eldar

Box Includes:

-1 Archon

-1 Raider

-1 unit of Kabalite Warriors

– Unit of Reaver jetbikes

Total Savings: $43.75

Why You Should Play This Army:

After the fall of the Eldar, the race survived in one of two ways: They Eldar through strict discipline and the Dark Eldar but diving deeper into the trouble that caused the “fall” in the first place. The Dark Eldar have found a way to appease Slaanesh by torturing others and they have perfected their craft over the millennia. By torturing others, Slaanesh is appeased and does not torture the Dark Eldar themselves. This means you basically have a whole society relying on torture, slavery and destruction to survive. If any of that intrigues you, then buckle up! The Dark Eldar are incredibly fast, have a lot of poison weapons and boast some of the best assault units in the game. Oh, and they have a beautiful model line that makes the Sisters of battle weep!

Going Deeper:

Every vehicle in this army has very low armor, so you basically cruise at light speed on a paper airplane into battle. If this is an army that interests you then you will struggle to find a better starting point. You get a highly customizable HQ, a troop, a transport and fast attack. As far as army building goes, this is one of the better boxes around. You have one goal with this army: Get into combat! Between the menacing Incubi and dangerous wyches, you do your best work in melee while using your poisoned guns to support you.


 

Start Collecting! Taustart-collecting-tau

Box Includes:

-1 Fire Warrior Team (includes drones and missile pod)

-1 XV8 Crisis Battlesuit Team (3 suits total, with drones)

-1 Ethereal on Hone Drone

Total Savings: $56

Why You Should Play This Army:

Tau are the optimistic up-and-coming xenos race with high hopes and an arsenal to back them up. If you love anime, robots and deep sci-fi then you will love this army. They have mobile suits for warriors, drones with A.I., and a wealth of amazing weaponry to win the day. This is also the game’s premier ranged attack army. With marker drones, rail-guns and the longest basic rifle in the game, Tau do shooting better than anyone else in 40k. This is also one of the few exceptions to the “Grim-Dark” aesthetic in 40k as the Tau are optimistic, enthusiastic and their technology has a very “clean” look to it.

Going Deeper:

This box is up there with Dark Eldar and Space Wolves for giving a new player everything they need to start an army. Every model in here is an iconic piece of the Tau force that you can use effectively. Crisis Suits make up the backbone of several army builds and warriors are always loved for their overwatch abilities. Another key thing to bring up is that this army screams for magnets! You can drastically increase the value of this box by magnetizing the crisis suit and drone weapon loadouts. This box is a fantastic value as a starting army and equipping new players with a solid tool box. If you are serious about Tau, buy 2 of these and you will not be disappointed.  


 

Start Collecting! Necronsstart-collecting-necrons

Box Includes:

-1 Necron Overlord

-1 Triarch Stalker

-1 unit of 12 Necron Warriors

-1 Scarab Swarm

Total Savings: $28.75

Why You Should Play This Army:

The restless ancients arise to take back the galaxy they long ago, the Necrons return. These are an ancient race that was spread far across the galaxy even before the Eldar rose to prominence. After a terrible deceit tapped them in the metal skeletons you see today, the Necrons got their revenge and decided to go to a 40 million year sleep to let the galaxy heal. Now the tomb worlds of the Necrons are being disturbed and the sleeping giant awakens to reclaim its grip on the galaxy. If you love the slow, implacable advance of you army, the color silver and a basic troop that can take out a tank then the Necrons are for you!

Going Deeper:

If you are at all interested in Necrons, this box is awesome. The Triarch Stalker acts as a solid heavy gun platform. That being said, the rest of this set are the real meat of any Necron army. You will get an Overlord, who is one of the most versatile HQs in the game. Most importantly you get a unit of Warriors. Here is the thing new players are going to love: Necrons have a save roll in addition to their armor save, meaning that your troops are harder to kill then most.  Great starting army and a great set to start it!


 

Start Collecting! Orksstart-collecting-orks

Box Includes:

-1 Painboy

-5 Nobz (with ammo runt)

-11 Boyz

-1 Deff Dread

Total Savings: $44.50

Why You Should Play This Army:

Orks are the rampaging force of nature that sweeps entire systems in an ocean of green madness. This is one of the most character driven armies in 40k, giving players a wide variety of customization, kit bashing and modeling potential. Nothing is as impressive as a fully painted and customized Ork WAAAGH! on the table. Quantity is a quality all its own with the Orks. You may lose half your army on the way to getting into assault, but that surviving half can do just as much work as the full force of the enemy. Orks are about mechs, speed, assault and talking in a guttural cockney accent.

Going Deeper:

Are you kidding me? This is one of the most legit boxes in the line! The best Ork armies are built on a few things: Boyz, Nobz and machines that look ridiculously cool. The addition of a Painboy gives you a cool HQ that, while not very versatile, fills a cool role in the army. Buy 2 boxes, kitbash your own Warboss and brace yourself for a good time. I highly suggest magnetizing the Deff Dread simply because of the sheer number of options available to it. 


Start Collecting! Tyranidsstart-collecting-tyranids

Box Includes:

-1 Hive Tyrant

-3 Tyranid Warriors

-10 Gargoyles

Total Savings: $48.75

Why You Should Play This Army:

The Tyranids spell the doom of all life in the galaxy. What we know as the Tyranids are actually a complex life form that bioengineers specific species to adapt to new and exotic environments. Every time a Tyranid fleet defeats and absorbs an existing species it adapts, becoming even stronger. In this way the Tyranids possess both the numbers and tools needed to finally wipe out the Imperium for good. This is an aggressive, melee focused army with a lot of access to poison weapons and monstrous creatures. If you want more bodies then your opponent has bullets, then the Tyranids are for you.

Going Deeper:

This set is a great way to showcase what they are all about. You will get a bunch of little guys (the Gargoyles) with a few elite troops (Warriors) and an all powerful leader (Hive Tyrant). This is a great picture of what a typical Tyranid force will be: an ocean of monsters with a few key leaders to do the real work. Most people prefer the ground creates (Genestealers or gaunts) but the Gargoyles are effective for the purposes of the box. If you love Tyranids, consider buying two of these. You can always use Gargoyle wings on your warriors to make Shrikes (A great unit that doesn’t have a real model for it yet). Expect your units to dies off pretty quick, they are really only a delivery mechanism for the Tyrant who is going to seriously mess some things up for your opponent. This is a pretty great way to start one of the most iconic armies in 40k, enjoy it!

degriggs

4 Responses to “Warhammer 40k Start Collecting Box Reviews

  • Jason Wolfe
    1 year ago

    The Blood Angels one is vastly better than it was thanks to Angel’s Blade. The Lucifer Armored Task force of 3 Baal predators and 1+ land raider gives you Scout and all vehicles Fast for no additional points. Turn 1 tank rushes with templates on enemy back lines are quite possible.

    • DeGriggs
      12 months ago

      Thats a really great point! Give me a bit and I’ll add a note to their entry regarding the new formations. Thank you or taking the time to tell me about it!

  • Thanks for writing this up and putting it on Reddit as I would otherwise not have found this blog. One I will to my own blog roll for sure.

    • DeGriggs
      12 months ago

      Thank you so much! I always appreciate feedback and shares.