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Warhammer 40K: Top Forge World Units for Competitive Play

5 Minute Read
Nov 29 2019

With Chapter Approved 2019 imminent, let’s look at some of the most common Forge World units you will see in the tournament scene – before all the big changes arrive.


This week I want to discuss some of the more common units from Forge World you will see in the tournament scene. Forge World has been producing resin models for Games Workshop for a long time. Even before that, during second and third edition, there was a company, Armorcast that had licensed a lot of the Epic Space Marine models, like the Baneblade, Warhound Titan among others, to make resin models in the same scale of 40K. Unfortunately, they only had house rules and were not official for tournaments. When Forge World came out, it was mostly for things like busts or large statues, and some of the more obscure units in the fluff.  There are plenty of examples of a Forge World model making the jump to plastic in the main range. Drop pods, Baneblades, and Wave Serpents are just some examples of this transition.

As the editions rolled on, most tournaments did not allow Forge World models. The reason for this was that not everyone has access to the models, and many times the rules for those models were a bit on the powerful side. This stigma still exists to this day as some tournaments, especially the ETC, still do not allow Forge World models. However, with 8th edition, a lot of the models are either sub-par or about right in terms of point values, with only a few notable exceptions. Although the following list isn’t everything, here are a few units you will most likely see if you go to your local tournament or a grand tournament.

Contempter Chassis

This includes all three variants: Contemptor, Deredeo, and the Leviathan. They vary in cost from about 145 for a Chaos Contemptor with 2 butcher cannons and a havoc missile launcher to a Chaos Leviathan that has 2 butcher cannon arrays and either twin meltas or twin heavy flamers for over 300 points. The Imperial equivalents range about the same price, but are a bit more restricted due to the “Relic” rule that you have to have a non-relic unit of the same force org slot for each relic. They all have a 5+ Invulnerable save, which becomes 4+ in close combat, and have 10 (Contemptor) or 14 wounds (Deredeo and Leviathan). They are resilient and can dish out a lot of damage either at range or in close combat. A close combat Leviathan can easily take down an Imperial Knight by itself, whether it charged or was charged by it. Almost every Space Marine and Chaos player goes through this phase. I’m not going to talk about how many I own.

Adeptus Custodes

This is an easy one, to be honest. If you see someone claiming they are playing an Adeptus Custodes army, then most of it will be from Forge World. From the various types of foot troops, the special characters that you can use in place of the plastic ones, cool looking dreadnoughts, the Pallas tank to the tank that everyone knows, the Caladius. If you’re playing against this army, there is a lot of resin on the table. The army itself is tough, resilient, and can dish out a lot of anti-infantry firepower. I once saw two units of 5 jetbikes kill over a hundred models through shooting and close combat.


The addition of the beta rules for the Forge World models greatly increases both the hitting power and the popularity of the army. The tanks bring the hard-hitting anti-armor that the army needs and even has built-in protection from assault with a -2″ movement penalty if you try to charge it. Some argue that the beta units are a bit under-costed for what they can do. That is an argument for another time, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they increase in price by the end of the year.

Chaplain Venerable Dreadnought

Currently, you don’t see a lot of regular dreadnoughts on the field. We will have to wait and see what comes out of the new Space Marine book. One thing that you will see, especially at big events, is the Chaplain Venerable Dreadnought. The unit gives you the durability of being a dreadnought but the extra protection of being a character under 10 wounds. As such, you will be able to hide two or three of them in your army so that they have almost totally free reign to go wherever they want all the while shooting a twin lascannon, crunching models with the dreadnought close combat fist and giving buffs to nearby units.

Forge World has recently stopped producing them, so they are hard to find. As a result, numbers may dwindle moving forward and as other books get updated.

Terrax Termite Assault Drill

A recent addition to both Imperial and Chaos forces, the assault drill is seeing most of its use with Mechanicus armies. A transport vehicle that can deep strike and armed with potent anti-armor weaponry, you see most Admech players that include the model put their units of Fulgirite Priests in one or even two of them. This protects them from first turn shooting and hopefully will get them to where they can do the most damage. Although the Admech forces recent got a new transport, I don’t believe they will be replacing the assault drill any time soon.


Other Notable Units

You may have noticed a pattern by now. Most of the often-used units are for Imperial and Chaos armies. Over the years, and editions, some of the Xenos armies had useful units, but since the launch of 8th edition have fallen out of favor. The Necron Pylons were the scourge of Knights but are no longer as potent. Dark Eldar still have their super heavy Tantalus skimmer, but the point cost and durability are still an issue. You’ll occasionally see a Chinork for Da Boyz, but that’s about it. The T’au supremacy suit and Y’vahra are overcosted, so we rarely see those in a large number anymore. Hopefully, Forge World will start producing their campaign books again and we can see more options available for all the armies on the 40K tabletop.


Who expects these to get nerfed in Chapter Approved 2019? Let me know in the comments!


Author: Adam Solis
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