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Warhammer 40K: The Best New Player Armies

5 Minute Read
Dec 21 2020

Are you looking to dive into the world of Warhammer 40,000? Looking for a new army to start up? We’ve got a few suggestions.

Getting into Warhammer 40,000 can be a little daunting. There are a ton of models to look at, rules to learn, and armies to choose from. So with that in mind, we decided we help new players out with a few suggestions on which armies are relatively easy to pick-up and start playing for Warhammer 40K 9th edition. These armies can be pretty forgiving for new players and/or have fairly simple themes and rules to play with. So let’s dive on in to our picks for the Best New Player Armies.

Space Marines


There is a reason Space Marines are a favorite in the current meta. They are the most played faction and the most winning faction according to the data collected from BCP. There are a few reasons for this but it really comes down to three main things:

  • New, Good Rules
  • New Models
  • Easy To Play

Marines have a new codex which has given them a ton of new rules. Plus, there are all the other chapters that you can lump in with “Adeptus Astartes” as well. While your particular flavor of marine might vary, overall, Space Marines are a really strong pick for a new player. You can play pretty much any playstyle you want with them right now. Close combat? Sure! Long range gun-line? Absolutely! Balanced, mixed force? Yep.

They have great looking new models (and are still getting more). They basically have 3 different lines of miniatures within the faction at this point – Classic Marines, Primaris Intercessors (stock options), and Primaris Vanguard (scout options). And yes, you can mix and match to your heart’s content. It’s the miniatures range that every other army in the game is jealous of just because of the sheer number of options they have.

Space Marines are also fairly easy to learn the game with, too. It’s not that they don’t have depth to their roster or tactics – it’s just that they have a really consistent and reliable statline and strategy behind them. 2 wounds and a 3+ armor save is really good. It’s the new bar that everyone has to figure out how to deal with. They can be built for any situation but even if you don’t min-max your army, you can still handle most situations with smart play. It’s not just an easy mode army to learn the game with – it’s one that can grow with you as you play more and learn the army. Why do you think they keep showing up as the #1 most played and most winning army?



Necrons might a surprise pick for some folks but we think they are actually really solid for this current edition. And the tournament results back us up. They are currently the #2 pick for most played (with a 7 week streak currently) and have consistently been in the top 10 for most winning, currently they are sitting at #2 with a two week streak in that spot. Is it a coincidence that they also happen to be included in the new starter boxes, have a ton of new models, AND a new 9th edition Codex? Hmm…

While those things are all true, this also shouldn’t be a surprise for anyone as the Necrons are a really great army overall. They are tough and durable and while they do have a few tricky rules to learn, once you master those fundamentals, you’ll be able to keep up with just about everything in the game currently. They can be pretty forgiving to play thanks to their statline and rules and they are deadly enough to be a threat to everything.

They are also super easy to paint. If you’re new to 40k, this is also a blessing that we don’t want to gloss over. On the hobby side of things, there is nothing quite like the feeling of getting your army fully painted and looking sharp. Once you put that entire army on the table, there is a sense of accomplishment and pride when you’ve got it done. Honestly, his is one of the biggest hurdles for new players – hitting that 2k mark with a fully painted army. And the Necrons allow you to do that with some very basic techniques and with great results!

Adeptus Custodes

Speaking of armies that are easy to paint, look great once complete, and have a super forgiving play style – have you heard of the Adeptus Custodes?! The Custodes are the Emperor’s Golden Boys (literally) and are one of the most underrated armies for new players. Why? Because they are low model count army that is tough-as-nails! Each model in your army is the equivalent of any other armies characters or heroes. A single custodes can mess-up any solo character with just a little luck. And that’s just their basic troopers.


The Adeptus Custodes are like Space Marines, but more elite in just about every way. They are tougher, have the same if not better armor save, have more attacks and are just deadlier in most ways that matter. They can move and shoot with the best of them and when they get into combat, well, they smash face hard! They are also another army that looks fantastic once painted up. You’d be surprised how far a can of Retributor Armour and a good wash will take you.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, they are (at the time of posting this) the 3rd most winning army and the 3rd most played army, too. I honestly didn’t plan that. We were brainstorming topics and this one came up. These were the 3 armies that came to our collective-mind here at BoLS. The first two because they each had new codexes (and power creep may be a thing). But the Custodes seemed like a no brainer, too! They are low model count army and they are really tough to deal with for most armies. Their main weakness is they don’t have a ton of models – but that’s probably a GOOD thing for a new player. Less to manage and less to track means you’re less likely to forget important rules or tactics in your game. It’s not easy mode – but it can let you finish games learn the army faster. And that’s great for a new player.



There are LOTS of armies to choose from – which ones are your favorite for new players? Let us know why in the comments!

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