Starting out in 40k – Best Battleforce Options


Often newbies are directed towards getting either the starter set (Dark Vengeance) or a battleforce. But not all battleforces are created equal. Aside from Grey Knights and Sisters of battle all of the major forces have a useable force (assuming Black Templars use the Space Marine force combined with their upgrade sprue) and Grey knights can make an amusing 15 model army (see end!)

The breakdown will be points, what slots it fills and if it is legal (i.e. has a HQ and 2 Troops), where it’s not legal I will recommend a HQ unit. A lot of the time at the cost of 1 regular dude you can convert up a captain or the like although I’d recommend just buying one to start with. Also do keep in mind that GW are cunning business minded and often while battleforces offer a %-age saving you might be just better off buying what you want for an army.


Blood Angels

10 man tactical squad  w/ plasma gun, missile launcher, sgt w/power fist in a rhino - 255
5 man assault squad w/ melta gun, sgt w/pwep - 125
5 death company w/pwep, thunderhammer - 220

Total: 600

FOC: 2 Troop, 1 Elite

Legal: No – add a jump pack librarian to make it legal

The above is as the force is out of the box – however if you wanted you could make them all death company and you would need Astoroth to make it legal- It would get you about 1000 points of fragile glass cannon marines of death – like this;

10 Death Company w/ 2 inferno pistols, 2 power fists, 2 pweps, rhino – 310, 10 Death Company w/Jpack -, 2 hand flamers, 2 thunder hammers, 2 pweps –  460, add Astoroth the Grim and it’s legal at 990, adding a hand flamer or something minor makes it a round 1000pts.

Personally for BA I think best use of the battleforce is to use the death company as assault marines and generic ‘blood angels upgrade’ to get the following:

10 man tactical squad  w/ plasma gun, missile launcher, sgt w/power fist in a rhino - 255
10 man assault squad w/ melta gun, hand flamer, sgt w/pwep+meltabombs - 240

add a librarian w/ jump pack and you have 620pts of decent army to start with.


Dœmons of Chaos

5 seekers - heartseeker, instument + banner 105
3 screamers - 75
3 nurglings - 45
10 plaguebearers - champ, all upgrades - 135
10 bloodletters - champ, all upgrades - 145

Total : 505

FoC: 3 troops, 2 fast attack

Legal: No – would require a herald to make legal. Since DoC are new I’m not sure how good this is. Screamers are good – the rest I don’t know, in addition there’s a bit of every chaos god when you may want to make a mono or dual god list.


Chaos Space Marines

5 Possessed, 2 gift of mutation, icon of excess 185
5 Chaos Space Marines - flamer, champion w/ pwep, meltabomb, rhino 135
5 Chaos Space Marines - meltagun, champion w/ pfist- 110,
3 Chaos space marine bikes, plasmagun, combi plasma (convert from plasma pistol) - 95

Total: 525

FoC: 1 Elite, 2 Troops,, 1 Fast Attack

Legal: No – would need to add a HQ, a lord or sorceror. However if you are doing a thematic mono god/legion list this isn’t really of much use – the possessed aren’t great. You might be better off getting the starter Dark Vengeace kit which gives you a legal force plus some dark angels to swap for more chaos!!

Chaos Space Marines from Dark Vengeace 

Chaos lord w/ plasma pistol, power weapon, sigil of corruption, veteran of the long war -  125
Hellbrute w/Multimelta, integrated heavy flamer - 115,
10 cultists - champ w/shotgun, autoguns, heavy stubber - 65
10 cultists w/ flamer - 55
5 Chosen w/ 2 power weapons, 1 pair of lighting claws, 1 power fist, 1 meltabombs, veterans of the long war -190

Total: 550 (double if you swap your DA for another set of chaos!)

FoC: 1HQ, 2 Elite, 2 Troop

Legal: YES

Clearly the better option than the battleforce if you are going to go for chaos of any variety. Cultists fit into many lists and unless you thematically don’t want them are great. The main drawback would be having more chosen and hellbrutes aren’t strong, but in terms of value for money to result in a decent 1000pts list this is great.


Dark Angels

sammael in landspeeder- 200
3 ravenwing bikes  w/ 2 plasma guns, vet sgt w/pwep - 135
3 bikes w/ 2 meltaguns , vet sgt w/pwep 125
attack bike - 45

Total: 505

FoC: 1 HQ, 2 Troop, 1 FA

Legal: Yes

This is legal so long as you use the landspeeder as Sammael makes the bike squads troops. Keep in mind that you can take 6 bikes, an attack bike and a land speeder as ONE 400 point fast attack slot in a regular DA army. Although, like Chaos, you may be better off with Dark Vengeance and swapping chaos for more dark angels…

Dark Angels from Dark Vengeance 

Company master w/ Artificer Armor, power weapon, combi-weapon, meltabomb, digital weapons -140
Libraran, mastery level 2 - 100,
10 tactical marines w/plasma gun, plasma cannon,vet sgt w/plasma pistol, meltabombs - 185
5 deathwing terminators w/assault cannon, chain fist 245
3 bikes, w/ pgun, vet sgt w/ mbomb 110

Total: 780

FoC: 2 HQ, 1 Elite, 1 Troop, 1 Fast Attack

Legal: No, however if swapped you get the 2nd required troop squad and add another 540pts to bring the total to 1280! (although you’ll have a spare company captain and librarian!) Like chaos, this is the better option if starting out dark angels as you can take full advantage of the starter box discounts.


Dark Eldar

10 wyches w/hekatrix w/agoniser,haywire grenades, wychweaponsx2 in Raider w/nightfield, flickerfield - 235
10 warriors, blaster, splinter cannon - 105
3 bikes w/ blaster - 85

Total: 425

FoC: 2 Troop, 1 Fast Attack

Legal: No, it’s short the HQ. You could add a haemonculus to have a compact 500pts force. Army-wise 2 of these , a HQ, 2 venoms and some heavy support would be in the region of £200 and get you 1500pts or there  abouts. The real cost of dark eldar is their transports. They are cheap and die easily in game, but in real life are relatively pricey.



5 dire avengers, exarch w/ 2 guns + bladestorm in wave serpent w/ scatter laser + shuriken cannon- 217
10 guardians w/star cannon platform 105
warwalker w/2 scatter lasers - 60

Total: 372

FoC – 2 Troops, 1 Heavy Support

Legal: No. It is missing a HQ and is short on points as well as including a small squad (5 dire avengers) and a useless-ish squad (guardians) You’d be better off getting 2 lots of dire avengers, 2 wave serpents and a Farseer with powers would get you a better legal 700 points to start from.


Imperial Guard

Company command w/medic, vox , carapace arm- 105
10 vets , heavy flamer, 2 plasmaguns, grenadiers - 150
10 vets, heavy flamer, 2 grenade launchers, grenadiers - 130
heavy weapons squad w/ missile launchers - 90*
armored sentenel w/m launcher + hunter killer missile - 75

Total: 550

FoC: 1 HQ, 3 Troops, 1 Fast Attack

Legal: Yes- *kinda, by using the infantry as vets, you loose the ability to take the 3  heavy weapon squads in a unit. However it should be ok when starting out. If it’s an issue don’t use them (-90 pts) for the minute or else add 1 heavy weapon squad to the HQ, and each vet squad. Realistically using the vets as equipped is not ideal in the long run. Mechanisation is a better way and adding tanks is also a good idea But starting out it’s not too bad. If you were going for a more foot based ‘commando’ style catachan jungle fighters might be better…



10 warriors - 130
5 immortals - 85
ghost arc - 115
5 scarab swarms - 75

Total: 405

FoC: 2 Troops, 1 Fast Attack

Legal: No – missing a HQ but adding one gives you a fair start and brings it to about 500pts. Scarabs can eat any tank in existence. Depending on how you want to go adding fliers, annihilation barges or lords on barges makes necrons one of the most broken powerful codices


10 slugga boyz, nob w/ power klaw - 95
10 shoota boyz, nob w/  power klaw , 2 rokkit launchers - 115
trukk w/ upgrades - 50
3 bikers nob w/power klaw - 105

Total: 365

FoC: 2 Troop, 1 Fast Attack

Legal: No, lacks a HQ, not a lot of bodies. Ork bikers aren’t considered to be great. Also the boyz mobs don’t actually come with Nobz. You’d be better off trying to get the Assault On Black Reach orkz from the 5th edition starter set via ebay. for about £25 you get a lot of orkz, some nobz and a warboss which makes a better start. Possibly the worst battleforce!


Space Marines

5 scouts w/ bolters + heavy bolter + camo cloaks = 100
10 tactical marines - plasma gun, missile launcher, sgt w/combi-plasma 185
5 assault marines w/ flamer, sgt w/powerfist 135
5 sternguard*- 2 combi-melta, 3 combi-plasma, in rhino  -185

Total: 505

FoC: 2 Troops, 1 Fast Attack, 1 Elite

Legal: No, no HQ. However adding a librarian makes this about 600pts and legal. *Note that the 5 man combat squad by itself is useless. It is better to convert this / pimp it out with purity seals and the like and then use the melta gun spout cut and plasma pistols to fashion combi-weapons and then use them as sternguard veterans. At 500pts its a solid buy however 2 of them wouldn’t be as useful as say a 2nd battleforce would be for eldar.


Space Wolves

10 grey hunters -  2 plasma guns, power weapon, mark of the wulfen, wolf banner 210,
10 grey hunters -  1 meltagun, 1 flamer, power fist, mark of the wulfen, wolf banner 205,
5 wolf scouts, mark of the wulfen, 1 meltagun, 2 power weapons - 130

Total: 545

FoC: 2 Troops, 1 Elite

Legal: No, as no HQ but by adding a rune priest you’d have a solid 650 points to work from. This is a pretty good start providing 20 decent bodies and a useful drop pod. Not a lot of space wolves players seem to use  wolf scouts, but at low points they could be pretty good – outflanking or infiltrating with a melta-gun at BS4



3 tyranid warriors, 2 deathspitter, venomcannon - 115
16 termagants - 80
16 hormagaunts - 96
8 ymgarl genestealers - 184

Total: 475

FoC: 3 Troop, 1 Elite

Legal: No as no HQ, however with a little tinkering you could use 2 of the warriors as warrior primes and hopefully convert the last one into a hive guard. This would give something like this which would be legal (1+hq & 2 troops)

2 primes w/deathspitter - 170
16 gants - 80
16 gaunts - 96
8 ymgarl stealers - 184
convert last warrior to hive guard - 50

Total: 580

FoC: 2 HQ, 2 Troops, 2 Elites

Legal: Yes!

Requires some kit bashing but semi-potent. Truly for tyranids you need to scour ebay and stock up on lots of the little guys then add some of the better elites  (ymgarls, zoanthropes and hive guard) then add a HQ/some big gribblies (hive tyrant, tervagon, trygon)


Tau Empire – new codex imminent, the current battleforce (1 crisis suit, 12 fire warriors, 12 kroot, 1 devilfish & 3 stealth) suits seems to be more useful/better value, however this may change due to the new codex!

3 Suits
12 FireWarriors
1 Pirhana
3 Stealth w/marker drone
8 gun drones/shield drones

Total: ???

FoC: 2 Elite, 1 Troop, 1 Fast Attack (presumably)

Legal: Possibly – split the fire warriors into 2 6 man squads and use 1 of the suits as a HQ. If you’re thinking of starting Tau WAIT until April.


Grey Knights –  Grey knights have no Battleforce. Despite this they can be relatively cheap to put together in a variety of setups providing you don’t want lots of razorbacks or dreadnoughts. Below is a low model count, hyper elite ‘draigo-wing’. No guarantee of power or quality is included. To make it cheapish you’d need draigo and 3 boxes of  terminators, convert 3 of them into ‘tech marines’ by kitbashing servo-harnesses and make a librarian too.

Lord Khaldor Draigo - 275
Librarian, extra power - 155
3x Techmarine - power axe, rad grenades,blind grenades - 315
5 Paladins w/ Apothecary, 2 psycannon  1 Mastercrafted Dœmonhammer, 1 force halberd, 3 pairs of falchions - 410
5 Paladins w/ Apothecary, 1 psycannon, 1 Incinerator  2 Mastercrafted Dœmonhammer, 1 force halberd, 3 pairs of falchions - 390

Total: 1550

FoC: 2 HQ, 3 Elites, 2 Troops

Legal: Yes!

Ok it’s totally mental, it would probably be an idea to drop a techmarine and expand the 2nd paladin squad to 6 or 3+3 (but then you’d have no special weapons and need another box of terminators) The techmarines are to give crazy grenade effects and AP2 weapons to the squads. To make it a round 1500 drop a techmarine, add a couple of paladins and add more powers to the librarian.



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Author: Alex Barbor View all posts by

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