The Start Collecting sets by Games Workshop are a phenomenal way to get into Age of Sigmar. That being said, a lot of new people are asking about the contents of each box, how they play and what to buy next. Getting new players into the hobby as easy as possible is what I am all about, so here is a review and synopsis of each box available. As more come out I’ll be updating this page so click back with every new release! If you have thoughts you want to contribute please leave me a comment and I’ll update the entry right away. If you are new and don’t have any idea where to start, head over to the Getting Started in Age of Sigmar post to get up and running in minutes. Thank you for reading, and happy wargaming!
Start Collecting Box Reviews
Box Includes: 1 Mortis Engine, 5 Hex wraiths and 3 Spirit Hosts.
Why You Should Play This Army: If you are at all interested in the Death Grand Alliance then you’ve seen these ghastly models and love them. The models look fantastic and are easy to paint, perfect for a new hobbyist. The models in this set are powerful as they can deal immense amounts of damage that your opponent cannot try to defend against. In addition to damage output, the Hex Wraiths and Spirit Hosts have special rules to help ignore incoming damage making them very resilient. It’s an iconic set that is fun to play and cool to look at!
Going Deeper: The Malignants box was one of the first to be released for Age of Sigmar and it sits in an odd position. Nearly all other starter boxes draw from only one sub-faction, where this box draws from two. There is no Leader (or really anyone with a command or spell) in the set and the stat line can easily lead you to believe it’s a very underwhelming set. What this box is great for is Mortal Wounds. In fact, this box has the potential to dish out more Mortal Wounds than any other Start Collecting box as every single model has a mechanism for dishing them out. I mainly suggest this box if A.) You love the models or B.) You plan to buy a second set (or any leader to go with it). Due to the Ethereal ability the models in this box are very hardy, being able to shrug off more damage than they should. Last note on this set: it’s great for new players as you get some beautiful models and they require very little to paint. You just need a quick and dirty ethereal effect and you are set for most of the entire box!
My Advice: If this is your first AoS purchase I highly suggest building one of the Mortis Engines as a Coven Throne. This will give you a powerful leader model with a command ability and access to magic. The Coven Throne is a monster in melee and still has the ability to pump out Mortal Wounds just like the Mortis Engine. If you buy more than one box then build one of each Mortis Engine variant and get ready for a good time!
Box Includes: 1 Mortarch Kit 5 Black Knights 10 Skeleton Warriors
Why You Should Play This Army: Skeletons are another iconic Death staple and this box delivers! The Mortarch kit alone makes this a great deal. If you have any interest in a Deathrattle themed army then this is a good place as any to start. Remember that all of the Mortarchs can cast two spells in each Hero Phase and all have powerful command abilities.
Going Deeper: Another one of the earlier sets to be released, this box is a great monetary value, but doesn’t provide a ton of options for a brand new player. The Mortarch kit is amazing, but all of its variants are character models, meaning that buying 2-3 of this box doesn’t make that much sense as you can always magnetize the rider (so you only need one of the main model). In addition to that, the other units included all want to be taken en masse, you’ll want 20 more skeletons, (at least) 5 more Knights and so on. This is not to say that the box is a bad value, but if a new player wanted to start here I’d suggest buying at least another box of skeletons with it right away. I don’t suggest building the Mortarch as Arkhan (unless you just love him), but into Mannfred instead. Manfred is a great leader who can play in just about every phase of the game and has the special rules to stay alive longer. If someone wanted to start a Death army, I suggest buying this set and the Malignant set above; all the Malignants lack is a Leader and this set offers some of the factions best (Mannfred or Neferata). It’s a great start, but new players will need to purchase more to see its real power.
My Advice: Build the Mortarch as Mannfred, the Knights as Hex Wraiths and buy the Malignants set. Now you have a powerful melee leader, a behemoth that can crush things in the Hero Phase (Mortis Engine), 10 Hex Wraiths and some solid line troops to act as chaff. Not a bad start by any stretch!
Box Includes: Ghoul King on a Terrorgheist, 10 Crypt ghouls 3 Crypt Horrors
Why You Should Play This Army: The Flesh Eater Courts are an awesome new faction released in 2016. Essentially they are cannibalistic madmen who have deluded themselves into thinking they are the noble and regal heroes of the land. Everything has a theme of madness and a twisted sense of heroism. This set is the best possible start to this army, with the multi-kits (optional parts) included you are going to want to buy as many as four of these boxes, no kidding. Everything here is a phenomenal value and will be used if you want a Flesh Eaters army.
Going Deeper: As I said before, you are going to want every single model in here if you are starting a Flesh Eaters army. Buy one set and build it the way the box describes. Build another and put the Ghoul king on the Zombie dragon. Build another and explore the variants of the Crypt Horror box. The options are endless and you are going to love them all! On the table this set is very straight forward, run the ghouls up as a meat shield, and use the Horrors and King to strike hard wherever it matters most.
My Advice: If you want a Flesh Eaters army, buy at least three of these. While it’s easy to get carried away with exploring the different variants of the Horrors kit, remember to save a few to be built as the Courtier Solos (this goes for the Ghouls as well). These solos allow you to regenerate models to a unit and do not count as summoning for Matched Play! This is without a doubt one of the top three Start Collecting boxes in terms of monetary value and getting everything you need (and want) to start an army.
Box Includes: 1 Lord-Celestant, 2 Retributors, 5 Liberators, 3 Prosecutors
Why You Should Play This Army: Did you buy the starter set and can’t get enough of the guys in gold? Well here are some more! If you are a Stormcast Player then you are going to want the optional parts and weapon options for your prosecutors and Liberators… and a new Leader is always a bonus!
Going Deeper: Huh. Well it’s easy to see that this was designed as an expansion for the core set from the AoS starter set. You get the missing Retributors so now you can field a whole unit, which is great. That being said, the rest of the box just gives you more of what you already have (assuming you bought the starter set), Liberators and Prosecutors. Sure you can build some different variants, but essentially it’s more of the same. On the flip side, if you start with this set, you now have an incomplete unit of Retributors. This is probably the worst of the Start Collecting sets. The models are great (and sold at a great value) but either you get more of the same models (by owning the starter set) or an incomplete unit.
My Advice: If you own the 2-Player starter set then buy this if you really want more dudes in your army. Why not? It fills up your unit of Retributors at least. If you wanted to save money though you could just get all of the Starter Set units off of Ebay for cheaper and buy one of the new micro starter boxes to max out the Retributors. If this is your first purchase, just go grab the SE half of the starter set online, it just makes more sense for getting (essentially) the same models and a few unique ones.
Box Includes: Oldblood on a Carnosaur, 8 Saurus Knights, and 12 Saurus Warriors
Why You Should Play This Army: The mysterious Seraphon travel between realms and partake in brutal battles to achieve their unwavering goal: the defeat of Chaos. Which is ironic as these guys play a lot like daemons in that most of the army is summon-able. In fact, these are the good guy daemons! If you love the lizard aesthetic and have a degree in intrigue then this is the army for you!
Going Deeper: First off, this set look awesome on the table. Sure, these are not the best units in the Seraphon range but they easily get people excited for the army. When you consider that the Carnosaur itself usually sells for $85 US, you can see why this is a massive value. While none of these units are the best, they perform well once they have some support through command abilities and magic. A good first step if the aesthetic of this army appeals to you!
My Advice: Build the Carnosaur however you want, all the variants operate fairly similarly. An important step will be to get a Slann or Starpriest in the army as soon as possible to start buffing them up. These units are not the best on paper, but once you begin to explore the faction’s synergies they really come to life!
Box Includes: 1 Branchwych, 1 Treelord, 16 Dryads
Why You Should Play This Army: Nature fights back in the form of the Sylvaneth! These are the forces of nature, forests in particular, that are constantly defending against the corruption of chaos in the Mortal Realms. Just like the Flesh Eater Courts box, this one has everything you are going to want for a Sylvaneth army so buying three isn’t that crazy at all. It’s a great value and the Treelord multi-kit makes buying multiples of it a good idea.
Going Deeper: People are going nuts for the Sylvaneth range ever since the release of their Battletome and the Alarielle model. This set is an amazing start to that army and you’ll likely want to buy two or three of these to fill out your basic troop requirements and get all the variants of the Treelord. If you are starting out by buying only one of these I suggest building a Treelord Ancient as he has a useful command ability, is a wizard and supports the set well. After buying at least two of these sets you are going to really think about buying set of Sylvaneth Woods. Every model (and variant) in this box has some special ability or effect from being near or in a Sylvaneth Wood. Great set, great value and you’ll be well on your way to a full army!
Box includes: Herald on Blood Throne, 3 Bloodcrushers, and 10 Bloodletters
Why You Should Play This Army: Do you love Death Metal, melee combat and the color red? This is the army for you! Khorne is all about intense melee combat and synergies to turn it up to 11. If you own the Bloodbound half of the starter set then this is a great compliment as the Bloodsecrator’s banner affects these guys as well. If you just want to start with this box then you’re in luck, it is a great set. You get some line troops, some heavy cavalry and a leader on a chariot (meaning he isn’t easily killed off).
Going Deeper: These models exist for one purpose, and that is to get into melee combat as soon as possible and get the charge along the way. There are not many special abilities outside of combat but that is ok. If you are interested in a full Khorne Daemon army then you should buy at least two of these boxes. Build the Blood Throne as a Skull Cannon to give Khorne some much needed ranged threat. All in all, this is a very straightforward box that gives you some good models if it’s a force that interests you. You really cannot go wrong here as all the chaos sub-factions can work together.
Box includes: 1 Chariot of Tzeentch, 3 Flamers, 3 Screamers, 10 Pink Horrors
Why You Should Play This Army: Are you a fan of change? Does the thought of a magic based army get you excited? Then get in on the ground floor with the Changer of Ways, Tzeentch! This chaos god is all about magic, offensively and defensively. Models here wont stand up to a lot of punishment, but they can pump out a lot of mortal wounds at a distance. Tzeentch is all about change, simply for the sake of change. To that end, this army has more modelling and paiting freedom then nearly any other. There isnt a color that looks out of place in this army. You can use outlandish, bright and clashing colors and yet they all seem to fit right in. The color palette alone make Tzeentch one of the more “chaos-y” of the chaos gods.
Going Deeper: This is one of the best dollar value boxes that GW has ever put out. Not only do you get a ton of (possibly) expensive models for a low price, you also get a ton of in-game points. The ability to use the Herald separate from the chariot (increasing the number of overall units in the box) adds a ton of value here. As far as playing this army, the Disciples of Tzeentch (DoT) book turns this box into an absolute monster. A DoT army has some incredibly unique abilities including killer spells, artifacts and unparalleled dice manipulation. You can even get something called Fate Dice, where you roll a set of dice before the game and you can sub-in those dice with rolls you make later on. That adds an entirely new dimension and resource to this game! If you are looking for an interesting challenge and some gorgeous models to test your painting skills, look no further!
Box includes: 1 Herald of Nurgle, 3 Plague Drones, 3 Nurglings, and 10 Plaguebearers
Why You Should Play This Army: Are you a misunderstood hero who just wants to fill the world with life and love? So is Papa Nurgle! Nurgle is all about the spreading of life in the smallest of forms, poxes, pestilence and microbes. All illness and affliction can trace its origins to Nurgle and his minions are walking embodiments of his power. These guys are resistant to the toughest attacks and have a tendency to rot anything near them. If any of that interested you, then you’ve chosen well.
Going Deeper: Aside from being an absolutely insane monetary value, this set is also really good. Oddly enough, under the points from Matched Play this box clocks in at 500 points so two of them are a playable list. It’s important to note that the models included all have an average to low speed stat but are very resilient to damage. Everything included is able to be summoned to the battlefield which can help mitigate the slow movement value. Models like the Glottkin and Chaos Sorcerer can really bring this box to life by summoning units further up the field and buffing them with magic abilities. Overall, a good spread of models at a massive discount, you cannot go wrong here if you want a Nurgle themed force or just a Daemon army in general.
Box Includes: 1 Sorcerer Lord, 12 Chaos Warriors, 5 Chaos Knights and 1 Chaos Chariot
Why You Should Play This Army: Do you want the power of Chaos without all the Daemons? Do you favor versatility more than the constraints of a specific theme? These guys are for you! Every single model in this box can be assigned a “Mark” to a chaos god. This means you can use them as a Khorne, Nurgle, Tzeentch and Slaanesh force. This box is a Swiss army knife, acting as a great supplement to any chaos force. The models included look amazing and while the chariot is not the greatest, every other model can be a powerhouse with the correct synergies!
Going Deeper: If you are a chaos player then at some point you’ll want this box. The fact that everything can be assigned to a chaos god means that no matter what theme you may want, these guys are relevant. This box pairs well with literally every other Chaos Start Collecting Box. The Sorcerer lets you summon daemons from the two previous boxes, the warriors are a great brick wall for the Pestilens box and if everyone takes the Khorne mark then they slide right in with Bloodbound for all available bonuses. Seriously, you cannot go wrong here! This is one of the few boxes that doesn’t have a massive multi-kit (sure, there’s two types of chariots but… meh) but it makes up for it by being useful in every chaos players toolbox. Buy one if you are a chaos player, 2 if you need the dudes for a specific army.
Box Includes: 1 Plague Furnace, 1 Plagueclaw Catapult, 20 Plague Monks
Why You Should Play This Army: This is everything you love about Nurgle but with a different aesthetic. Think of these guys as the religious zealots of Nurgle, creating new poxes and diseases to spread their Father’s love with the world. These guys are fast, fun and in your face but rely heavily on model (and keyword) synergies to make it happen. This set has two (count ‘em two) huge multi-kits, so you could also build the Screaming Bell and Lightning Cannon. The point is if either Nurgle or Skaven interests you then this box is a no-brainer.
Going Deeper: Much like the Flesh Eater Courts and Sylvaneth, this box has everything you would want for building for the Pestilens sub-faction. If you want a Pestilens army, buy 2-3 of these guys and go nuts with them. Remember that there are a lot of multi-kit options here: If you build things exactly as described on the box then you get a few more rats (bits from the alternate kits) and a Grey Seer (who would ride atop the screaming bell). Also, I suggest that you do not put the Plague priest on the Plague Furnace and instead use him as his own unit. This way you get an additional model from the set that is really useful for game play. If you want to stick with Pestilens, buy two of these sets. If you want a broader Nurgle army then I suggest the Slaves to Darkness set (all taking the Nurgle keyword) as they provide some much needed beef to the army. Great set of models with a ton of options, you cannot go wrong here!
Box Includes: 1 Slaughterpriest, 3 Skullcrushers, and 10 Blood Warriors
Why You Should Play This Army: Have you been standing in a field, observing the peaceful world around you and thought “Blood for the Blood God, Skulls for the Skull Throne”? Do you like death metal, straight-forward aggression and the chance to trick your opponent into thinking your army is boring? This is the set for you! While this set compliments the Bloodbound half of the starter set well, it also is a great box all on its own. You get an extremely cool leader/priest, some heavy cavalry and 10 of the elite battleline units from the starter. A great army starter for sure!
Going Deeper: This is a great entry point to Khorne Bloodbound. These models are good enough to act on their own but can still be buffed up into insanity with the Khorne half of the starter set. If you don’t want the 2 player starter half, go on to eBay and buy the solos from guys piecing the kit out, you’ll want them eventually (particularly the Bloodsecrator). Next you can grab either the Slaves to Darkness set (taking everything as Khorne) or the Daemon box and everything will blend very seamlessly. Cool looking models that fulfill a variety of roles, what’s not to love?
Box Includes: 1 Warchanter, 3 Gore-gruntas and 10 ‘ArdBoyz
Why You Should Play This Army: Did you impulse-buy the Maw-Crusha and now you need an army to be able to play it? I thought so. Do you want to lead the greatest WAAAGH! in the Mortal Realms? Man, I’m 2-0! This is a really great set to get you into the Ironjawz sub-faction as well as Destruction as a whole.
Going Deeper: As with a few other of the Start Collecting sets, this is the perfect entry point for this particular sub-faction. Everything you get in here is a unit that you are going to want already. If you want to stick with Ironjawz, grab 2 or three of these. You can never have enough Boyz or Gruntas! Sure, you may not need 3 Warchanters, but you certainly want at least 2. This is a fantastic value for getting you into the faction; you cannot go wrong if these models interest you at all.
Box Includes: 1 Orruk Warboss, 1 Boar Chariot, 5 Boar Boyz and 10 Orruk Boyz
Why You Should Play This Army: Do you love Orruks but want to walk a different path than the Ironjawz? Do you favor hordes over elite units? Then these guys are for you! Greenskinz represent the most common types of Orruks in the Mortal Realms. The Average Joe-Orruk who responds to trash talk with an axe to the face. Also, this box pairs well with the Ironjawz set as the Warboss effects all Orruks (regardless of sub-factions). Use the other boyz as a meat-shield until your heavier units can close the field into the enemy.
Going Deeper: This used to be the best box to get into Destruction with until the Ironjawz set came out. Not that these are bad models, but the Ironjawz have a battletome and centerpiece models to compliment them and these guys don’t have much to offer. That being said, they compliment just about every Orruk force very well as the Warboss can affect any Orruk and the standard Boyz make great meat-shields. Use the Boar Boyz to hop on objectives and drive the chariot in fast and hard. If you want to stick with Greenskinz, then another box wouldn’t be a bad idea as you will always need more Boyz. If you want to have a broader Destruction army then I suggest either looking at the Ironjawz starter or picking up some of the new Bonesplittas units. All in all this box is kind of “Meh”. It offers some good models to complement existing forces but aren’t as much of an asset like the Slaves to Darkness are to Chaos. A good deal if these are the exact models you want.