This week, Warhammer Community announced a set of six Christmas battleforces for 40k – for Space Marines, Necrons, Astra Militarum, Chaos Space Marines, T’au Empire, and Tyranids. We’ll be taking a look at each and its contents, how they stack up in terms of price, and whether you actually want any of the contents to begin with. We’ve compared these prices in both GBP and USD which should give you a general idea of the value in each box – obviously if you’re working in any other currency the figures will be slightly different and any discount will be dependent on local pricing. We also haven’t accounted for any discount you might get from an LGS, so obviously it can be even better than what we’ve said here.
Space Marines Interdiction Force
- Primaris Captain in Phobos armour – £22.50/$36
- Invictor Tactical Warsuit – £37.50/$60
- Impulsor – £45/$75
- Primaris Infiltrators/Incursors – £35/$60
- Primaris Reivers – £35/$60
Total Models: 23
Total RRP: £175/$291
Box cost: £120/$200
Total savings: £55/$91
In terms of “theme” this is a slightly weird box – the Impulsor feels a bit shoved-in when everything else is an infiltrating Phobos Marine, since those don’t generally ride in transports. The rest is pretty strong though, with an Infiltrators/Incursors box, Reivers, and an Invictor Tactical Warsuit all led by a Phobos Captain.
As ever with Marines and their huge range, the value here is very dependent on whether you want this specific sub-set of stuff – i.e. lots of Phobos bodies supported by an Invictor. It’s worth remembering that the Infiltrators kit comes with a ton of bits, enough that you can fairly easily transform this into a box with 10 each of Incursors/Infiltrators and treat the Reiver stuff as cool bits for those squads. Once upon a time the Impulsor and Invictor would both have been huge value-adds here, but the new codex has shuffled them down the list a bit, so while this is likely to be a good place to get them if you want them – the Impulsor is effectively free – it’s possible you’re not rushing out to pick them up to begin with.
Personally I was looking for exactly this combination of stuff, for various reasons that include being stupid enough to own not one but two Marine armies and this neatly covering things I needed for both, but if you don’t have the particular brainworms I do then you might find some of this box a bit extraneous. If you’re newer to Marines and don’t already have an Impulsor or many Phobos guys (who legitimately are great in 9th edition) then this is still potentially a good buy, and Invictors aren’t horrible in-game and are fun kits so if you’re not looking to be hyper-competitive they’re a cool toy and will do just fine on the table.
Necrons – Eradication Legion
- Cryptek with canoptek cloak – £20/$35
- Warriors and Scarabs – £29/$45
- Triarch Stalker – £32.50/$55
- Canoptek Spyder – £25/$38
- Triarch Praetorians/Lychguard – £30/$48
- Immortals – £25/$38
- Doom Scythe/Night Scythe – £37.50/$60
Total Models: 27
Total RRP: £199/$319
Box cost: £125/$210
Total savings: £74/$109
A jam-packed box here, with no fewer than 7 different kits included. The RRP there is a little bit misleading, as the Warriors are very cheaply available in other sets and you mostly won’t ever expect to buy them for the full RRP anyway, but even ignoring them it’s a good saving. The box also has the great virtue of largely containing things you actually want – Warriors are a great core now, Immortals have a role, and all of Triarch Stalkers, Canoptek Spyders and any form of Triarch Praetorians and Lychguard got big improvements from the 9th edition codex. Crypteks are of course a perennial winner as a cheap utility HQ choice, though this particular guy has shown up in boxes before and been around separately for a while so it’s worth considering if you really want another. The only miss here is ironically the Scythe, since the old Doom6 list has gone out of fashion, but there’s at least plausible cases for running a Night Scythe in 9th now that they’re not a horrible death trap.
Astra Militarum – Bastion Platoon
- Cadian Command Squad – £22.50/$36
- Cadian Shock Troops x2 – £45/$72
- Sentinel – £22.50/$36
- Chimera – £30/$48
- Cadian Heavy Weapon Squad – £25/$40
- Hydra – £35/$60
Total Models: 31
Total RRP: £180/$292
Box cost: £120/$200
Total savings: £60/$92
Eesh. In pure cash terms this box is fine – which mostly speaks to how expensive a Guard army is to build since this box is what, 400pts? – but as a collection of units it’s whatever. For one thing a big chunk of what’s on offer consists of models older than at least some proportion of this site’s readers, including the truly awful Cadians who have not survived the test of time from their 3rd edition origins. In a set of boxes mostly reflecting at least modernish ranges (though keep your eyes peeled for the equally venerable and ubiquitous Tyranid Genestealers below), these aren’t exactly an impressive value-add. The Hydra is also a bit of a miss – I don’t know that Games Workshop particularly has an eye to these boxes being “good in game”, for reasons including a) they don’t always really know what good in game means and b) “good in game” changes reasonably often anyway – but Guard has, at the very least, either of the Manticore or the Leman Russ kits which could have happily slotted in here and looked a bit more like a model you actually would want to include in your army. (Edit: an enterprising reader has pointed out that the Hydra is a dual kit with the Wyvern, which is at least more plausibly something you would want. Thank you!) I guess whoever was picking this looked at a grab-bag of kits released in the Clinton administration or the first Blair government (we’re doing choose your own cultural reference now, we’re a truly international site) and decided they’d like something in here that was made this decade.
Overall it’s hard to really get excited for this one. It’s not like it’s the worst possible box – ultimately in a Guard army you will want some Guardsmen, an officer, a command squad to go with (though you’ll want more guns than you get in just one kit) – but it lacks that feeling of being a really great deal. You don’t even get particularly more stuff – just 4 more models than the Necron box! – so it’s not even like it has sheer quantity to recommend it.
Chaos Space Marines – Decimation Warband
- Chaos Lord – £17.50/$30
- Chaos Space Marines – £35/$60
- Havocs – £32.50/$55
- Chaos Terminators – £35/$60
- Forgefiend – £45/$75
Total Models: 22
Total RRP: £165/$280
Box cost: £120/$200
Total savings: £45/$80
On the one hand, the Chaos Marines box is the single lowest savings on offer. On the other, it has the most solid set of units in terms of bread and butter stuff that you’re likely going to want all of. It’s a bit hard to make a judgment on Chaos right now – vanilla CSM are, broadly, crap – but if you were looking for a starter Chaos force, you can’t really go wrong with a box of CSM, a box of Terminators, a box of Havocs, and a Chaos Lord, and a daemon engine. One, or even two, of these is a great way to get moving on a Chaos army and contentedly paint away in anticipation of a new codex which will hopefully do for this collection of units what the recent Marine codex did for their loyalist equivalents.
T’au Empire – Starpulse Cadre
- Commander – £32.50/$55
- Fire Warriors – £30/$50
- Pathfinder Team – £25/$38
- Crisis Team – £45/$75
- Broadside – £32.50/$55
- Piranha – £22.50/$36
Total Models: 41
Total RRP: £187.50/$309
Box cost: £125/$210
Total savings: £62.50/$99
A bit like Chaos, it’s hard to talk about Tau right now – the fish men may in fact be the worst army in the game. With that in mind I’m mostly ignoring what the contents are like on the table now and focusing on what the box is, and similarly to Chaos this is pretty solid if you assume in the positive that these are the core units of the faction and are likely to get a significant glow-up when the time comes for a 9th edition Tau codex. You are almost certain to want at least one Commander in your army, you will hopefully want Crisis Suits, Fire Warriors, and Pathfinders, Piranhas are a potential bright spot right now, and Broadsides are, again, iconic and a unit you would certainly want to find a place in 9th edition Tau. One thing that is nice about this box is its scalability – unlike say the Marine box, where multiples would very quickly fill you up on stuff that was redundant (the Captain) or starting to get a bit silly (60 Phobos bodies) buying 2 or 3 of these would get you a very solid core, plus some probably-extraneous Pathfinders, and a discounted entry to multi-model Broadside and Piranha units, both normally quite an expensive prospect but in this box basically free. Even with the excess Pathfinders, the rest of this would still be a solid discount, and you can always sell some of those to recoup some of the cost.
Similarly to the Necron box, the straight RRP discount is a little misleading here – Crisis Suits and Fire Warriors are both found in Start Collecting: T’au Empire at a discount already – but even if it’s not quite the full £62.50 it’s still a bit cheaper getting the stuff here, assuming you want all or most of it (or are prepared to sell the rest off to recoup some of the difference).
Tyranids – Brood Swarm
- Hive Tyrant – £35/$60
- Genestealer Brood x2 – £45/$72
- Gargoyle Brood – £22.50/$36
- Hive Guard – £42.50/$70
- Haruspex/Exocrine – £45/$75
Total Models: 31
Total RRP: £190/$313
Box cost: £125/$210
Total savings: £65/$103
The box cost is more or less identical to the cost for a Hive Tyrant, Hive Guard, and Exocrine on their own, and then you get a further 26 models on top for basically nothing. Buying two of these is an exceptional start to a reasonable Tyranids army for 9th, loading you up on a powerful shooting core in the shape of the Exocrine and Hive Guard. Genestealers are looking rough in 9th, both in terms of their utility on the table and also more prosaically because the kit is ancient and they’re more mold line than model, but they’re a perennial core of Tyranids armies and it’s unlikely that you would have Nids and never want them in future – though if you’re a current player you may already own dozens of them, as they’re ubiquitous in any kind of Tyranid bundle. The official scheme also makes them look really weird and naked, which is an odd choice now I have to keep looking at this box. Maybe it’s better in person. Finally there’s Gargoyles, which are definitely There. I’ve seen people use them. Even if you ignore them this is still a good value box and really what you want is the other bits and maybe your flappy bois will be relevant in future, so overall, not bad.