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The Best Warhammer 40K Starter Sets and Box Sets

The Best Warhammer 40K Starter Sets and Box Sets

Whether you’re testing the waters, want to dive straight into them, or have been swimming for a while, this article will help you choose the best starter set or box set without having to look for information elsewhere.

Editor’s Quick Picks

Warhammer 40K Starter Sets

Warhammer 40K Space Marines: Infernus Marines + Paints Set

Warhammer 40,000 Space Marines Infernus Marines + Paints Set

Warhammer 40,000 – Space Marines: Infernus Marines + Paints Set

  • A perfect start to your Space Marines collection. Three push-fit models, six paints, and a starter brush

Points: 51

Miniatures: 3 Push-fit

Supplies: 1 Starter Brush and 6 Paints 

Guides: None

The Infernus Marine set is a small starter box that can’t be used to fight battles independently as it doesn’t have nearly enough points nor the appropriate miniatures.

The set comes with painting supplies, meaning it can function as painting training for players who want to get into 40K, as there are only a few smaller miniatures, and the brush will be relatively easy to use.

Note: The starter brush might not be as ideal in the long run, especially if you plan on painting finer minis. So, if you bought the box and would like to keep painting, try investing in various versatile brushes!

Alternative Options

If you’re looking for something more, be it if you’re serious about starting 40K or still trying it out, I’d recommend looking at the Introductory Set (more novice-friendly, as it has a lot of extra supplies) or Combat Patrols (great for players who want to increase a current army or players who are starting out but want to jump into battle with a premade army).

Warhammer 40K Introductory Set

Warhammer 40k Introductory Game Set

Warhammer 40K Introductory Game Set

  • Includes basic rules for the game, plus dice, a gaming mat, reference sheets, and a range ruler.

Points: 165 (85 for Space Marines / 80 for Tyranids)

Miniatures: 16 Push-fit (5 for Space Marines / 11 for Tyranids)

Supplies: A Clipper, Starter Brush, Range Ruler, Paper Gaming Mat, 5 Paints, and 6 Dice

Guides: 48-page Introductory Handbook

The Introductory set is purely for introducing a player to Warhammer 40K, as it doesn’t have too many minis and can’t be used to effectively battle except on very small scales.

This set works best for players who aren’t too certain about getting into 40K or who have never played 40K or even painted, as it gives you all the necessary starting materials to get into the groove of things.

Note: This is one of the few boxes that provides you with nearly everything you need to start off from scratch.

Painting the minis won’t be difficult and is good to practice on for later boxes with more intricate parts and color combinations.

The starter brush you get will be enough to paint these minis, but consider getting more professional and easy-to-use brushes later on. A clipper is a fantastic addition and will help you get those pesky pieces out without accidentally breaking them! 

Alternative Options

There aren’t really good alternatives that provide the same value that the Introductory set brings, but if you really want more minis and feel like you’re up for a challenge, the Combat Patrol or Ultimate Starter set can be a good way to increase the forces you already have at your disposal or get straight into the action.

Warhammer 40K Starter Set

Warhammer 40k Starter Game Set

Warhammer 40K Starter Game Set

  • Contains 38 push-fit models that make up two balanced forces – Space Marines and Tyranids.

Points: 790 (365 for Space Marines / 425 for Tyranids)

Miniatures: 38 Push-fit (11 for Space Marines / 27 for Tyranids)

Supplies: A Cardboard Gaming Mat, 2 Range Rulers, and 10 Dice

Guides: 64-page Starter Handbook and 2 Rules Reference Sheets

The Starter set might not be enough to play a full-scale battle, but it can function quite well when using Combat Patrol rules or playing it as a small-scale encounter.

This set doesn’t have a clear place in the “starter set hierarchy,” as it doesn’t have everything necessary for players who are still testing the waters, and it just doesn’t have enough value for players who know they want to play/own 40K.

Luckily, the minis in this box aren’t very difficult to paint, and the only issue that a player might have if they’ve never painted before is the sheer amount of minis it has. 

But I wouldn’t worry too much about that, since you’ll learn pretty quickly and once you’ve started you won’t want to stop!

Note: The addition of 2 rulers and 10 dice is perfect for players who don’t have enough supplies and who also want backup Space Marines and Tyranids!

Alternative Options

The best alternatives to this set would be the Battleforces boxes or the Combat Patrols, as they have more variety and more minis, making it easier to pick what you really want.

Warhammer 40K Ultimate Starter Set

Warhammer 40k Ultimate Starter Game Set

Warhammer 40K Ultimate Starter Game Set

  • Contains 44 push-fit models make up two balanced forces – Space Marines and Tyranids – plus nine pieces of modular terrain to battle over.

Points: 925 (440 for Space Marines / 485 for Tyranids)

Miniatures: 44 Push-fit (12 for Space Marines / 32 for Tyranids)

Supplies: A Cardboard Gaming Board, 2 Range Rulers, and 10 Dice

Guides: 72-page Ultimate Handbook, 72-page Core Rules booklet, and 2 Rules Reference Sheets

The Ultimate Starter set might be classified as a starter set, but with its large number of minis, more taxing rules, and linear faction choices, it turns out more like a tinier version of the Leviathan set than a starter set.

Battles with this set are possible, yet the power differences between the two sides might need some tweaking (take out a mini or two from the Tyranids or add a Space Marine if you have any).

I recommend this set to any player who wants to dive head-first into 40K, as it has a ton of minis. Depending on what faction you like, it’s really easy just to sell one of the factions and buy more minis for the other one so that you can construct a larger army!

Note: The supplies you get from it are awesome since it gives you 2 rulers (one for each opponent) and 10 dice (which not many boxes come with).

Alternative Options

For players who are just returning to Warhammer 40K or who just want a bit more variety, the Combat Patrol boxes can make an excellent alternative to the Ultimate Starter set.

Other Warhammer Box Sets

Warhammer 40K Combat Patrols

Combat Patrol

Warhammer 40K Combat Patrols

  • The contents of this set have been specifically chosen to provide you with an ideal force for Combat Patrol-sized games.

Points: 500 (give or take)

Miniatures: Faction Dependent (ranges from 10 to over 40)

Supplies: None

Guides: Miniatures Assembly Booklet

Combat Patrol box sets act as a complete starter army, ready to be played in a tuned-down version of Warhammer 40K core rules or be incorporated into an already-existent army.

Note: Combat Patrols are all around 500 points, but some have less or more than anticipated, so the easiest solution would be to add an additional unit or slightly play around with the different rules of a Combat Patrol battle.

Combat Patrols, on their own, aren’t enough to fight normal Warhammer 40K battles, as they’re short by around 500 points, but that’s why there are the Combat Patrols rules, which allow you to buy one of these boxes and still dip your toes into the water!

Note: Combat Patrol rules allow smaller games with differing objectives and generally don’t take as long as normal Warhammer 40K games to finish, making them perfect for quick sessions.

Each box will have a single faction’s units, meaning they won’t be too varied (take this with a grain of salt), but you will need quite a few paints and even a few brushes to easily paint these minis.

Some issues with Combat Patrol boxes are that some consist of a lot of miniatures and don’t come with the appropriate paints or supplies. However, I still consider Combat Patrols some of the best boxes to pick up if you’re certain you want to get into 40K!

Alternative Options

A great alternative to a Combat Patrol box is the Introductory set (if you don’t have the appropriate supplies) or a Battleforces box (if you’re looking for bigger armies to get right into battles).

Warhammer 40K Leviathan

Warhammer 40,000 Leviathan

Warhammer 40,000: Leviathan

  • You’ll discover a total of 72 brand-new miniatures, divided between the Space Marines and the Tyranids. This extraordinary starter set also includes a special edition hardback Leviathan Core Book.

Points: 1795 (980 for Space Marines / 815 for Tyranids)

Miniatures: 72 Push-fit models (25 for Space Marines / 47 for Tyranids)

Supplies: Space Marines Transfer Sheet

Guides: A 392-page hardback Warhammer 40K: Leviathan Book, 66-card and a Chapter Approved Leviathan Mission Deck

Nearing 1800 points and having around 1000 points for each faction in the set, the Leviathan box is truly massive and perfect for jumping straight into battle! Check out our in-depth Leviathan Review.

Note: The main point to take into consideration when starting out is that the two sides aren’t entirely balanced, so you can use some extra Tyranid miniatures or remove some Space Marines to make the sides equal.

The Leviathan box works best for players who know they want to play/own 40K, as there are enough minis to make two full armies.

Even though the box doesn’t have much variety, if you want a Space Marine or Tyranid army, you can always sell one faction and get yourself some more minis for the other one, allowing you to go take on players with a massive army you actually like.

Painting Leviathan’s minis might not be too difficult (except for the Ballistus Dreadnought, Winged Tyranid Prime, Neurotyrant, and Screamer-Killer), but just take into consideration that you’ll be painting more than 70 minis.

Alternative Options

The Ultimate Starter set is a good alternative if you want a ton of Space Marine or Tyranid minis, but if you’re looking for some more variety that still comes with a lot of minis, the Battleforces sets stand out as a good option.

You might also want to take a look at the Combat Patrol boxes, as they come with 500 points, have a lot of variety, and allow you to play battles using their own rules.

Warhammer 40K Battleforces

Warhammer 40k Space Marines Spearhead Force

Warhammer 40K – Space Marines – Spearhead Force

  • A spearhead force of fast Space Marine units, including bikers and jump pack infantry, led by a flying Captain Start a new army or expand an existing collection.

Points: 400 – 1200 (give or take)

Miniatures: Faction Dependent (ranges from around 5 to over 38)

Supplies: Transfer Sheets (faction dependent)

Guides: Miniatures Assembly Booklet

Whether you want to jump right into a battle or add a large force to your pre-existing army, picking up a Battleforce box easily provides you with both.

Battleforce boxes can be thought of as larger versions of Combat Patrol boxes (for the most part). Most of them come without around 700 to 900 points and allow players to easily jump into smaller battles.

Most Battleforces have quite a lot of minis, with some having complex painting styles, making them great options for people who know they want to get into 40K.

The only problem with Battleforces boxes is that they don’t come with any must-have supplies, so you’ll need to get your hands on a pair of Clippers, some paints, and a brush or two.

Alternative Options

Alternatives to the Battleforces box will most likely be a Combat Patrol box, as there are a ton of them, and their varied nature means you can choose between getting it as a filler for a current army or using it as a small army on its own.

However, the Leviathan box is also a great alternative that can easily be made into a large army by selling one of the factions you don’t want and buying extra minis for the one you want!

Latest Battleforces Release: Warhammer 40K

On the 23rd of October 2023, 6 new Battleforces were released for Warhammer 40K in preparation for the festive season.

The 6 boxes contain minis from the Leagues of Votann, Orks, Tyranids, World Eaters, Astra Militarum, and Space Marines.

Each box can function as your newest army or be added to any existing armies that you think might need a bit of backup!

Final Thoughts

While Warhammer 40K might be popular, many people forget just how unsettling it can be when you’re starting out and don’t have a clue which set you’ll like or what to expect.

Luckily, the above-mentioned explanations will help give you a rough idea of which sets might work for you or could open up the world of 40K for further set hunting.

It might be difficult, but once you’ve fallen in love with your faction and experienced just how fun the game is, you’ll have a blast!