Goatboy’s 40k Thoughts: What’s the Best Detachment?


Goatboy runs through the best detachments in all of Warhammer 40k!

Goatboy here again and before we jump into true 40k thoughts with either an LVO list break down or thoughts on the newest extreme puppy shakedowns I want to talk a bit about some of the best detachments.  For those who were not around for a lot of 6th, a detachment is basically a different form of a CAD with different minimum choices, extra rules, and a push to try and create something fluffy.  This was before the big push into “formations” that locked your choices and upgrades.  This is also one of the few left over “broken” aspects of 6th edition that while fluffy do lend themselves into creating Frankenstein armies utilizing choices/options in ways to either cheat the system with only strong choices or activate a completely different set of game mechanics for a lacking army.


I do not hate Detachments as I think they let you at least create your own “army” without having to always see the exact same choices.  How long before you get bored seeing the same White Scars Gladius on the table top?  Or how about the Riptide Wing + X stuff that will be on many competitive table tops?  This flexibility is one of the ways the older 6th books have a leg up on their newer 7th counterparts.  Still I do feel a lot of the groaning with competitive lists comes from these free form force org options.  Will see if future stuff still uses this as the last 7th book with true detachments was the Dark Angels book – and even their detachments were much more restrictive then the other ones we are used too.  But enough chatter – lets get into the best detachments out there.

Champions of Fenris


Number one Stunner Detachment – The Champions of Fenris Company of the Great Wolf and master of the Thunder Howl!

This is the detachment you either love or hate.  Remember how all those pesky Super Friend Stars got so many thunder punchers in there?  Well this is the Detachment that activates it.  GW wanted you to have a fully functional Thunder Wolf Army and instead of making some kind of Thunder Wolf formation that might have some taxes, choices, etc in it – they instead went full tilt and let you create your own.  I can’t get too mad as they have activated so many terrible copy and paste Goatboy lists in the past.  Here is a basic breakdown.

Extra Rules – Hey you got give or take a challenge all the time – cuz you are champions and what not.  Oh your regular Thunder Wolves get +1 to their WS too.  Oh those Characters get preferred enemy (Remember for those awesome cyber wolves) in challenges.  And they get to reroll the Warlord traits if they rolled on the Champion of Fenris table.

Make up – Minimum – 1 HQ, 2 Elite choices – Can have an additional 3 HQ choices, 6 more Elite Choices, 3 Troop Choices, 3 Fast Attack Choices, 3 Heavy Choices, 1 LOW, and 1 Fortification

Now for those not familiar with Space Wolves – that means you can do 4 Wolf Lord/WGBL, 2-4 Iron Priests on Thunder Wolves, and add some Thunder Wolves themselves to make a bit fat unit of dog farts.  Of course that isn’t the best option – but it is there.  Heck this formation alone gives you enough Thunder Wolves to fill out all the holes in your Super Friends list.  The crazy thing is that this Detachment activates a crap ton of other stuff too if you wanted.

Do you want an all Drop Pod/Dreadnought army – here you go you can take a bunch of elites.  Do you only need 3 Drop pods for your War Convocation army too – how about a Rune priest, 2 10 point servitors, and 3 pods to call your “ally” done.  Heck they don’t need no damned Librarian Conclave as you can take 4 Rune priests with said 2 cheap servitors as well. This detachment is just very good and can be used in so many ways.  Heck it is probably the only thing keeping the Space Puppies relevant right now as this alone makes up most of the Imperial deathstars out there.  Which means that is probably too good and either needed to get changed into a Thunder Wolf Formation – WGBL, 1 Iron Priest, 1 Unit of Thunder Wolves etc – instead of just letting you get a ton of close combat monsters with minimum chafe.

Rating – 5 out of 5 Puddles on the floor.

Ghazghull Detachment the Great Waaaagh!!ork_perso_ghaz_2

The next detachment I feel is one of the best is the Ghazghull Detachment the Great Waagh!!!


While the reasoning for this rating is more so to do with what it gives the Ork army.  There are a few pieces of Wargear from the Ghazghull book that can only be taken if you chose this detachment.  This is kinda of a bummer as the other Ork one – the Horde Detachment – gives you a heck of lot more options but again we got to deal with what we get with the Ork Army.

Extra Rules – Warlord must issue and accept challenges.  So don’t make your Warlord from this Detachment – got it.  They all add +2 to Mob Check rolls.  And you get to reroll the warlord traits from the Ghaz book if you take your warlord from this detachment.  Normal stuff nothing to crazy fancy.  Oh roll a D6 for each unit – on a 6+ they can deep strike.  5+ for troops.  So it could be funny to have some deep striking grots if you wanted too.

Make up – Minimum – 1 HQ, 1 Elite, 2 Troops – Can have an additional HQ choice, 4 more Elite slots, 6 more Troop slots, 3 FA slots, 3 Heavy slots, 1 LoW and 1 Fortification.

I started talking about why this one was one of the stronger detachments above – but really it comes down to having access to some of the stronger Relics for the Ork Army.  2 stand out – with the Big Bosspole to make a unit fearless and the Mega Force Field to give things a 4++.  I wish this Detachment gave you another HQ choice but hey – I am used to be disappointed by the Orks by now.  You lose Objective Secured too – but then holding onto an objective is not always the most orky thing to do.  Normally this is mixed with a Normal Ork CAD to get some objective secured grots as well as some other good relic items with the Finkin Cap and the Lucky Stix.  I always see this one grabbed when using the Big Mek Stompa as having a 4+ invulnerable save Stompa is always a good choice when trying to keep up with the Jones and their GC’s shooting massed D missile nonsense.

Rating 3.5 out of 5 Mushroom Madness Cocktails

Leviathan Hivefleet


The one detachment that went from being Mandatory to somewhat exciting was the Leviathan Hivefleet Detachment from the Shield of Baal Campaign.  With events changing to allowing 2 CADs and other things – detachment 3 Hive Tyrants has become less of a thing.  Still it isn’t a terrible option when compared to what the Nids have to work with.

Extra Rules – Not Objective secured and you reroll instinctive results.  So kinda enh really.  I think this was one of those stop gap detachments to try and help the Tyranids out.  Instead of adding in all the extra rules other ones get – they just sorta said – hey buy more Hive Tyrants.   Oh just like any other detachment – you can reroll specific set of warlord traits.  Yay beer!

Make up – 1 HQ, 3 Troops minimum and then can have an additional 2 HQ, 6 more Troops, 3 Elites, 3 FA, 3 Heavy, 1 Fortification, and 1 LoW.

Again, if you played against Nids in the 6th edition days this plus a CAD was the norm for a tournament Nid list. They threw in some converted Muccolids, had a bunch of flyers, and hoped you didn’t have any decent anti flying tech.  They usually had some Mawlocs to try and do some fun things.  Heck this formation enabled the Lictor Shame list to work out pretty well as events only allowed 2 things so the Leviathan detachment plus Lictor shame formation won it all at LVO.  Still I just have this hear as it is one of the default choices for the Tyranid codex.

Rating 3 out of 5 Brain worm farts.

Flesh Tearers Strike Force


Another helper detachment is the only decent Blood Angel option right now for the Competitive scene – the Flesh Tearers Strike Force.  I call this the activation of Drop Pod and FNP for some random unit due to the make up of the detachment itself.  Most of the time you see it combined with the War Convocation formation to create non codex specific rules combos.  Fun times indeed as the Mechanicus gets to use the vehicle they probably built on Mars.

Extra Rules: Not objective secured, you get to reroll those awesome Flesh Tearers warlord traits, get access to their relics, and if you roll a 10 or more on the charge distance for a Flesh Tearers unit they get rage.  So enh?  The power isn’t in the extra rules – it is instead in how the force org is shaken up.

Make up – 1 HQ, 1 Troop, 1 Fast Attack – from there you can get 1 HQ, 3 troops, 3 Elites, 3 heavy, 5 more FA, 1 Fortification, and 1 LoW.

I gave you some hints on why this detachment is good.  If you need Drop Pods – my good Flesh Tearers friend has some for you at a really decent cost.  In fact he will throw in the leather package.  Of course it has to be black.  He also expects you to play some Bauhaus when you drop from the skies with your robot friend allies.  This is one of the few things keeping the Blood Angels around in people’s armies as granting a unit FNP from your Sanguinary priest plus giving some Deep strike love for the low cost of a unit of crappy scouts is the gift that just keeps on giving.

Rating 3 out of 5 Smokey eyes.

Grey Knight Strike Force

Grey Knights fighting daemons walpaper

Another well used Detachment in a somewhat weak codex is the Grey Knight Nemesis Strike Force Detachment. This is the detachment that really helps activate the dread Centurion Star we see from time to time.  It helps that it frees up the Grey Knight Force Org a bit and does give it some nice rules.

Extra Rules: They lose objective secured, your deep striking units can come in on turn 1 on a 3+, and you get to reroll the Warlord Traits from the GK book.  The rules are not the most powerful but the reworked force Org is the true key to the strength of this option.

Make up – 1 HQ, 1 Troop – you get an extra 1 HQ, 3 Troops, 4 Elites, 2 Heavy, 2 Fast Attack, 1 Fortification and 1 LoW – aka 1 Draigo for those damned Centurions.

The power is that you can easily get some powerful Psychic options with 2 strong GK librarians and Draigo himself who starts with the Gate power.  From there you can get one GK Librarian who has the Spooky book that gives him an extra Sanctic roll and you have him throw all 4 dice to try and get dual gates to help out with 2 Centurion units.  Overall this is just a tweaked ally detachment that gives you an extra HQ and LoW slot to utilize.

Rating 3.5 out of 5 Banned Books that secretly give you all the super powers.



The final somewhat decent detachment will talk about is the recently FAQ’d decent Ravenwing Detachment.  For those wondering – it initially said only those HQ with the Ravenwing Rule could be taken as an HQ choice – so thus letting you only take “Sammie MC. Fancy Pants” but GW finally FAQ’d something to say any Dark Angel character on a bike can be taken.  This got me looking back at this detachment a bit more due to the “survivable” nature of the Dark Angels when facing the majority of 40k armies.  Really they are a pain in the butt for anything that doesn’t ignore cover saves.

Extra Rules: Hey you get to reroll Dark Angels table Warlord traits… yay!  So if you turbo boost your first turn, or second turn if you are all in reserves, you can count as jinking and still shoot normal.  Something like that.  It doesn’t happen to often when we played with it.  Oh this entire Detachment can either all start in reserves or on the table.  You can’t mix and match.  Oh and they all come in turn 2 if they are in reserves.  So that could be interesting.

Make up – 1 HQ, 2 FA – from there you can add in 2 more HQ, 10 Fast Attack, 1 Elite, 3 Heavy support choices.  No fortification or LoW but everything has to be Ravenwing so enh that’s why you can’t do their choices.  How about a Ravenwing Knight on a super bike/sled thing.

So here is the other Biker army.  In a WS versus Dark Angels fight – the Dark Angels will most likely win.  Their ability to reroll Jink saves is pretty annoying – and while the White Scars can remove a unit with their Ignore Covers Hunters Eye – the Dark Angels could just kill the crap out of that unit.  They all have Hit and Run as well.  Command squad wise – the Dark Angels Ravenwing Command have alright guns and can kill regular stuff pretty well – they are just missing that lovely 3+ invulnerable save Shield.  Where the Dark Angels strive is versus those other armies that might have strong firepower but very weak in generating ways to ignore that pesky jink save.  Still in today’s age of massed Gladius nonsense those Dark angels do love kill all them rhinos with well placed Meltagun shots.

Rating 4 out of 5 Extremely moving poems.

I don’t expect to see many more Detachments as the new books seem to really focus on specific detachments.  It does help GW that they can easily sell a Detachment for a new army instead of a much more interchangeable detachment option.  I normally like force org changes as they can help you create a very thematic army so I wish we had some more options.  I know about the Dark Eldar Detachments but overall they do not give you nearly enough to warrant a decent review.  I hope they would get a better codex in the future – but I don’t expect anything until we finally get some kind of true Chaos release.

What detachment do you like the best?  I know there are some in the FW books but I wanted to just focus on the normal GW releases.

  • Djbz

    The Flesh Tearer’s strike force makes me sad, such a cool chapter with the coolest chapter master

    And is used as drop pod taxis for other imperium armies.

    Such a shame.

    • benn grimm

      Yeah, if any chapter was going to be relegated to taxi-service it should have been Imp Fists, chapter fluff aside, at least they’d be the right color.

      • petrow84

        Yup, but it would be only a matter of time, before those pesky Uber drivers with their unlicensed Arvus Lighters would drive them out of the market.

        • benn grimm

          Lol, I can imagine a drop pod assault piloted by Uber cab drivers; ‘Brother Captain, we’ve deviated somewhat from our designated drop zone…’
          ‘By how much?’
          ‘Well you know how we dropped from orbit above Piscina 3?’
          ‘Well, now we’re in the Eye of Terror….’
          ‘Oh well, at least it was cheap. Bolters at the ready, For the Emperor!’ 😉

    • Charon

      Be glad that it is only a chapter and not the entire army (hello DE)

      • Spacefrisian

        Can i bring my Kabalits stormsurge formation in an unbound list (where i can bring anything i want) now? I wanna see those psykers scream like little babies in those superfriends lists.

        • Charon

          If it is an apocalypse game, sure. Unbound does not mean you can bring anything you want and don’t care abou rules. It just lets you field units without having to fit them into a detachment. All other rules are still in place (such as squad sizes, game modes, equipment,…)

          • ZeeLobby

            And regardless of what you bring, most armies won’t have trouble neutralizing it with shooting before it matters, especially DE. Welcome to 40K!

    • LordKrungharr

      I use them to make an all Dreadnought force! Plus extra taxis so they can all drop turn 1. That’s something no other detachment can do yet💥

  • Mr.Gold

    Adeptus Mechanicus War Convecation…

    • Koszka

      I think they’re discussing detachments ( IE altered FOC) I think Convocation is viewed more as a formation, even though it does contain the Ad mech Detachment within.

  • Crablezworth

    I remember when 40k was good

    • euansmith

      That is one heck of a memory you have there.

  • happy_inquisitor

    Outside of the ITC nerfs the Tau Hunter Contingent is really strong and can stand along side most of those. With the nerf it is meh in competitive play.

  • euansmith

    Aw, this made me smile.

    • ZeeLobby

      Such awesome days.

    • grim_dork

      The hats. The bellbottoms. Everything has a knife on it.

      Oh da bygone years when the game had a sense of humor.

  • highwind

    Highly subjective list, far from any gaming reality…

    Best detachments in current competitive 40k are:

    Craftworld Warhost

  • Andrew Thomas

    Purge. Because nothing says ES&D than 2 square feet of dangerous terrain wherever you want it.
    Unending Horde. Because nothing griefs better than profiting from your own troops demise.
    Haven’t tried Death Riders yet, but I like it.

  • happy_inquisitor

    Only one of those listed made the top tables of the LVO – the Company of the Great Wolf.

    A couple of Necron lists made it so I think leaving Decurion off the list of top detachments would be to overlook one that is obviously good and still top-tier.

    Battle Company also made it and I would put that in any top 10 detachments list.

    A lot of the rest were CAD because Eldar and Chaos don’t really need special detachments so much. Alex’s winning list did use a clever Forgeworld twist on the Warhost to fit his ETC style list into ITC but I think that was just a case of finding a detachment that fit what he personally had in mind.

  • mysterex

    I’d have though that a simple Allied Detachment would be the best way to unlock the Ghazghkull wargear, i.e.a Big Mek with both items and a squad of Grots.

    That way you’re not stuck with elites you may not want nor the “Da boss is watchin” rule