Your List Sucks: The One-Box Challenge: Space Marines

We kicked off the One-Box Challenge recently, our newest and perhaps worst idea. The premise is simple: using only the contents of one single box from Games Workshop, construct a legal thousand point army. This is dangerous and untested new technology, but we remain committed to advancing the state of the art in the 40k meta. Today we’re looking at Space Marines.

Welcome back to one of our best ideas yet. This week we’re looking at the best armies you could assemble by buying a single box of minis over and over, then we’re gonna have them face off at some point to determine which is the best one. If you missed the general ground rules or the first instalment of the series, you can find it here.

Dark Angels Deathwing


I didn’t get where I am by not writing about Dark Angels, so you had to know this was coming eventually. Of all the stupid concepts I noodled over for this article, I think this one might actually come the closest to being worth playing. The strength of it comes down to the incredibly flexible multi-purpose nature of the Deathwing box – it’s actually the same kit for Knights, Command Squads, Deathwing Squads, Assault Terminators, and “regular” Terminators, plus all the elite characters and the Strikemaster, and you can easily make a Belial proxy happen. Stuffing this into a Deathwing Vanguard gives back some CP, and grants Objective Secured to almost the entire list. It’s the exact opposite of the T’au Empire list we cooked up: dead hard and incredibly durable, and capable of holding down objectives while putting the hurt on anyone who comes close.

Deathwing Terminator Praetor
Deathwing Terminator Praetor. Credit: Jack Hunter

Shopping List

$180, 3 boxes of Deathwing

Army List

Dark Angels Deathwing Vanguard Detachment (988 points) -1CP

Because this is a Deathwing detachment, you actually get all 6 starting CP, less one for the Chief Apothecary, so you start with 5. Pretty good!

HQ: Belial: Warlord (140)
HQ: Deathwing Strikemaster: Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield (110)

EL: Deathwing Ancient: Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield (120)
EL: Deathwing Apothecary: Chief Apothecary, Hero of the Chapter, Selfless Healer (115, -1CP)
EL: Deathwing Knights: 5x Knights, Watcher in the Dark (240)
EL: Deathwing Terminators: 6 models: 1 Sergeant with TH/SS, 1 with Powerfist/Storm Bolter, 3 with Chainfist/Storm Bolter, 1 with Cyclone/Powerfist/Storm Bolter (263)

In terms of wargear, you’re short on Thunder Hammers due to what’s in the box, but can otherwise sprinkle heavy weapons and close combat gear around. Using the flashiest bits in the box, you can easily convert a passable Belial. While you’re running heavy on HQs and it would be nice to have a Command Squad in there, this only requires 3 boxes and is still not a bad list at all. It does leave 12 points on the table, but considering that it pulls it off with 15 models, that’s pretty close to a perfect fit.

Competitive Outlook

It’s Dark Angels, so hell yeah. Mix in a thousand points of Ravenwing attack bikes and you’re good to go.

Rob: This is one of several Terminator-heavy elite infantry armies that we’ve put forward., and it’s one of the stronger ones. It’s absolutely going to be a chore to remove from the table thanks to the always-on Transhuman ability and the ability to bring dead models back to the table. The real question is: Is this list better than Custodes or Deathshrouds (spoilers)? And can it stand up to a bunch of Demolishers attempting to blast it off the table while it plods forward? Mobility is going to be the biggest challenge with this list, in part because it very much wants to stay together rather than teleport in stuff piecemeal.




This one isn’t entirely fair. It relies on two things: the Predator Annihilator and Destructor being separate datasheets, and Sergeant Chronus as a tank commander. It’s not entirely legal, as he has a rule that makes him an infantry model if/when his tank explodes, and we won’t have a model for him.  The marine vehicle accessory sprue very nearly gets there: the cupola gunner model has almost a full marine on it, but the legs are cut off at the knees, and there are no bits for Chronus’s servo-arm, or a base to put him on. 

We’re going to assume, generously, that the motivated hobbyist can work around these problems (use a spare cupola for a base, and just say that he’s got no shins, like the grandfather from King of the Hill). Alternatively, I’m not aware of any rules stating that you have to use every model you pay for, so there’s the “Chronus died on his way back to his home planet” play, where you just don’t deploy him on foot ever.

Update: This list also isn’t technically legal, since it relies on taking 3 of a couple of datasheets, where the limit is 2 in Incursion games. We’ve noted this with the governing body for the event, and disqualified the list accordingly.

Classic Ultramarines Predator. Credit: SRM

Shopping List

$360, 6 Space Marine Predators 

Army List

Ultramarines Spearhead Detachment (1000) -3CP

HQ: Sergeant Chronus: Warlord (35)

HS: Predator Annihilator (130)
HS: Predator Annihilator (130)
HS: Predator Annihilator: Storm Bolter, Lascannon sponsons (Chronus rides here) (180)
HS: Predator Destructor: Storm Bolter, Heavy Bolter sponsons (175)
HS: Predator Destructor: Storm Bolter, Heavy Bolter sponsons (175)
HS: Predator Destructor: Storm Bolter, Heavy Bolter sponsons (175)

Competitive Outlook

Honestly? I think this could get there. Predators aren’t amazing, but you’re putting down a solid wall of T7/3+ hulls, one of which is BS2+ at all times, and at 1000 points that is going to be a severe pain to deal with unless the opponent has tooled up for it. There’s more than enough lascannons for anti-tank purposes, and the heavy bolters/autocannons can put a hurting on hordes, but the main strength of this list is that nobody expects a wall of armor in Incursion. It would also look extremely cool on the table.

I mean, don’t actually do this, no one on earth needs six Predator tanks and it is not at all a good base to build your space marines on, but for the purposes of this experiment, I think this list could do well against some of the other ones presented.

Rob: This is an awful start to a competitive anything, but it’s far from the weakest list in this competition. It seems kitted-out to destroy the Leman Russ list, which is hilarious. There’s enough anti-tank here to take down a Leman Russ or two per turn if things go well, but also you lack Obsec and may get blown apart by Demolishers just as easily. That’s gonna be a fun game.


Space Marine Demi-company


This is similar to the Chaos list we came up with (more spoilers), but for loyalists. We looked at a few boxes to find a single-kit way to make this work, and several options are tantalizingly close, but don’t quite get there. The tactical squad, Mk3, Mk4, or Devastator boxes don’t have enough bolt pistols and chainswords for Assault Squads. The Space Wolves Wolf Pack is an incredible kit with a host of options, but one of the options it doesn’t have is any heavy weapons, which rules out Devastators (Long Fangs, technically). The Blood Angels Tactical Squad just doesn’t exist anymore. Even the Company Command is a bust – aside from running $50 for five models, it doesn’t have enough bolters. I did eventually find something that worked.

I’ll tell you what it is in a second, but first: I swear to god, I didn’t do this on purpose. There is one, and only one, box that has enough of the right bits (though it does leave you with an incredibly rich stockpile of leftovers) to build an entire demi-company of Marines when purchased in quantity. It’s not cheap, and you aren’t going to like it, but this is it, it works no other way. OK, brace yourself.

It’s Fallen.

I know, but for real: as long as the robes don’t present a problem, this one box, and only this box, when purchased en masse, can make just about every squad or HQ unit in the entire firstborn range, because it has all the best bits.

Rob: I mean technically it’s also the Dark Angels company veterans squad, only not photoshopped with black armor.

Greg: Yes, but it’s funnier this way. Also worth noting: if you wanted to do this with Sternguard instead, you could get away with buying 10 of that box, since it contains one single chainsword.

Fallen Angels. Credit: Greg Chiasson

Shopping List

$297, 9 sets of Fallen

Army List

Space Marine Patrol Detachment (997) 0CP

HQ: Lieutenant: Plasma Pistol, Thunder Hammer. Warlord (90)

TR: Tactical Squad: 10 models, Melta Gun, Power Sword (195)
TR: Tactical Squad: 10 models, Melta Gun, Power Sword (195)
TR: Tactical Squad: 10 models, Plasma Gun, Power Sword (195)

FA: Assault Squad: 9 models, 1x Flamer, Sergeant with Lightning Claw/Chainsword (172)

HS: Devastator Squad: 5 models, 4x Missile Launcher (150)

Note the nine-model Assault Squad: that’s to free up an extra model for the HQ, which keeps this to 9 boxes instead of 10. You’re welcome. The Devastators are half-sized due to points restrictions. Also, none of the units or options are chapter-locked, so this can technically be any chapter, provided that it uses Dark Angels iconography.

Competitive Outlook

Hordes of foot-slogging smallmars isn’t going to blow up the meta anytime soon, but as maybe the most archetypal Warhammer army possible, everyone can use a Space Marine Battle Company in their lives. 

Rob: This one is now SUPER RELEVANT thanks to the updated Fallen rules in White Dwa…ahahahaha god, fuck that article.


HMO: Outer Circle Demi-company


Oh baby, you all thought I would miss out on a chance to show up all the other lame marine armies? Not a chance. I noticed Greg already made a box set with Fallen, so I decided to one-up him and show off what my Outer Circle can do with the Dark Angel Veteran Squad, like a true son of Caliban.I was actually also going to do the Fallen box, but a great internet user by the name of case_race on the DA discord pointed out these guys are basically the same! So hell yeah teamwork! This list is 1000 on the dot and you have to buy one less box than the lame Space Marine demi-company, so we’re already putting other lists in the dirt. This build utilizes almost everything in the sprues of the box I’ve chosen, the only thing that is slightly kitbashy, is using the included Terminator power fists to outfit some unit Sergeants.

Okay reader, here’s the list that’s gonna take this whole bracket. 

Hear Me Out…  ~Dark Angel Company Veterans Squad~

Shopping List

$264, 8 sets of Dark Angels Company Veterans Squad (

Army List

Dark Angel Successor (Bolter Fusillades, Master Artisans) Patrol Detachment (1000) 3CP

(-1CP Relic of the Chapter, 1 extra relic)

HQ: Lieutenant: Master-Crafted Boltgun, Power maul,  Warlord (Brilliant Strategist) (-1CP Paragon of the Chapter) (Decisive Tactician) The Primarchs Wrath

TR: Tactical Squad: 10 models, Melta Gun, Missile Launcher, Power Fist (215)
TR: Tactical Squad: 10 models, Melta Gun, Missile Launcher, Power Fist (215)
TR: Tactical Squad: 10 models, Melta Gun, Missile Launcher, Power Maul (205)

EL: Chapter Champion: (-1 CP) Hero of the Chapter, Fury of the Lion, The Armor Indomitus (70)
EL: Company Veterans: 3 Models, Power Maul Storm Shield Sergeant, 1x Veteran w/ Power Maul, 1x Boltgun Veteran

HS: Devastator Squad: 5 models, 4x Missile Launcher (150)

“Gunum,” I hear you thinking dear reader, “this looks a lot like the other marine list we saw earlier.” Well though that may be true, the Outer Circle provides us with quite a lot of options here that causes it to shine over the vanilla bois and our Inner Circle brethren. With our collection of bolt weaponry, combat squad-able Tactical Squads, and overlapping Warlord auras, this force becomes something to be reckoned with in the middle of the table. Utilizing Master Artisans to a maximum degree in shooting and melee is always a key trait of my lists. Not only that, but since we have so many built in re-rolls, the Outer Circle is never in need of a captain. We can easily go after objectives with the foot-slogging marines, and the weight of fire provided by our missile launchers allows us to threaten any kind of target we come across. Finally, my own special take here is the inclusion of power-mauls. At a low point game like this, getting high strength close-combat attacks can add up, especially when stacked with my warlord traits of +1 strength and +1 to charge rolls. Finally, we have our chapter Doctrines that we get to use almost in every phase. Well. One phase. But the Tac doctrine is where our bread and butter is here. Charge me if you wanna get shot in the face!

Competitive Outlook

As with everything I build, I already think this list is infallible and the best. It exudes Cool Energy with dudes holding archaic swords and maces, and endless Good Energy with ObSec bodies and the ability to threaten everything. (Except Magic. Please don’t smite me.) With this evidence, the list is Cool and Good making it unstoppable, probably.

Rob: We may as well do a play-in bracket between these two lists rather than throw them both into the wood chipper that is playing against some of the other armies. So stay tuned for that game/thought exercise, I guess.


The Unnumbered Sons of Guilliman

Patrick “Artum” Robins

Consider the humble intercessor. They’ve come a long way since their debut and now stand as one of the most satisfying and well balanced troops choices in the game. While the kit doesnt provide the raw flexibility of the tactical marine kit with its oodles of special weapons and melee options I’m confident we can wrangle up a list that will put up a fight.

Ultramarines Intercessors. Credit: SRM

Shopping List

$240, 4 boxes of Primaris Intercessors.

Army List

Ultramarines Patrol Detachment (996 points, 4 CP)

HQ: Primaris Captain, Chapter Master, Master Crafted Stalker Bolt Rifle, Master Crafted Power Sword, Warlord: The Imperium’s Sword, Relic: The Soldiers Blade (135)
HQ: Primaris Lieutenant, Master Crafted Auto Bolt Rifle, Hero of the Chapter: Master of Strategy, Relic: Seal of Oath (75)

TR: Intercessor squad: 10 models, Auto Bolt Rifles, 2x Astartes Grenade Launcher (210)
TR: Intercessor squad: 10 models, Stalker Bolt Rifles, 2x Astartes Grenade Launcher (210)
TR: Intercessor squad: 10 models, Bolt Rifles, 2x Astartes Grenade Launcher (210)

EL: Veteran Intercessor squad: 7 models, Auto Bolt Rifles, Astartes Grenade Launcher (159)

A Neat setup that uses all but one of the forty bodies provided to you, and thanks to Codex Astartes rules on rank and insignia markings we can clearly delineate the six different types of primaris marine in Mark X Tacticus armour with a bolt rifle in play. The complete lack of sergeant melee weapons makes things a tiny bit awkward, but fortunately The Soldiers Blade from Codex Supplement: Ultramarines is here to save the day. As an unpowered but extremely sharp blade that can replace either a regular/master crafted power sword or your garden variety combat knife any of the combat blades in the kit should be game for the captain to wield and give you a decent melee option, alternatively you could combine several of them to make a larger combat sword if you’re feeling adventurous. Modelling wise the only complicated bit would be working up an iron halo but between the 16 tilt shields and various reliquaries and rifle scopes you could mock something up. Then its just helm Laurels and a company stripe for the captains right pauldron, a red/white stripe for the Lieutenants helm, white helms and trim for the veteran squad and your standard red and red with white stripe helms for the sergeants

Competitive Outlook

This list boils down to a lot of what Ultramarines do in its purest form; pick a single unit in the enemy army and cause them to cease to be, and laugh whenever people try to charge you. Anyone attempting to charge you should with proper positioning have 30 intercessors firing back at them and if at the end of combat there is anyone left in engagement range with you, you’re free to walk backwards and gun them down, or potentially charge back in with Fall Back and Re-Engage. Between the seal of oath and judicious use of rapid fire to either put out 60 auto rifle, 40 Bolt Rifle, or 20 Stalker Rifle shots (and four launcher grenades) as required by your opponents armour save/wounds characteristic you should have a solid chance at killing something key to your opponents game plan and then grinding them down through attrition if nothing else with your 39 sturdy marines.

Rob: The best thing this list has going for it is ObSec and some extra CP but it’s gonna struggle against anything heavier without a way to do more damage.


Blood Angels Dreadmob


We like big bots, and we cannot lie. Taking advantage of the versatile Blood Angels punchbot kit, we’re able to get a  Librarian to fill the mandatory HQ slot, and then split the rest between Death Company and Furiosos to dodge the Rule of 3. What we love about this is that it doesn’t even have to dip into regular/Venerable dreads, leaving a list that is 100% unique to the Blood Angels.

Credit: Lungboy

Shopping List

$413, 7 Blood Angels Furioso Dreadnoughts

Army List

Blood Angels Vanguard Detachment -3CP (1,000pts, -3CP)

HQ: Librarian Dreadnought: Chapter Command: Chief Librarian, Storm bolter (175), WARLORD: Gift of Foresight, Powers: Quickening, Wings of Sanguinius

EL: Death Company Dreadnought: 2x Heavy flamer, 2x Blood talons (145)
EL: Death Company Dreadnought: 2x Heavy flamer, 2x Blood talons (145)
EL: Venerable Dreadnought w/Multi-Melta (140)
EL: Venerable Dreadnought w/Assault Cannon (135)
EL: Furioso Dreadnought: Heavy flamer, Magna-grapple, Furioso fist, Heavy frag cannon (130)
EL: Furioso Dreadnought: Heavy flamer, Magna-grapple, Furioso fist, Heavy frag cannon (130)

If you prefer Team Edward to Team Jacob, you could do this with Space Wolves with Bjorn, Murderfang, and Wulfen/Venerable Dreads as well, but we cannot recommend that because we do not respect Space Wolves. Namaste.

Competitive Outlook

Imagine 4 robots on the edge of a cliff, punching you repeated in the face and groin. Then imagine 3 more doing the same thing.

A dread-heavy list like this is going to have to go all-in on punishment, because it can’t spare any models on Activities (not that it can do most of them anyway – giant robot fists are too clumsy and oafish to deploy a scrambler or raise a banner), and doesn’t have Objective Secured. Fortunately it’s very good at punishment, shrugging off incoming fire while it bullies the opponent into a corner and smashes them into paste. Good luck scoring much against them though, while they proceed to rip and tear through whatever puny non-robots you’re putting down. It’s a skew list, but the best kind of skew, and looks cool as hell on the table. Insanely brutal, 5/5 on looks and theme, should go far in this event.

Rob: I like the ability to combine dreadnoughts and psychic powers for a list that can throw out a few mortal wounds and then also beat your skull in. The Librarian Dreadnought can swoop in with Wings in a pinch and just murder something, and the Furiosos are great. I think this list is better than the Wolves version because of what the Librarian Dreadnought gets you, but taking him + Murderfang + a bunch of venerable dreads is also pretty funny. There’s also probably an Iron Hands version of this you could do with VenDreads that would be stupid good.


Next Time: Chaos

That’s it for today, but check out the other posts in this incredibly pointless series if you want more bad ideas. Please, we beg you, do not try this at home. Join us tomorrow when we tackle the lists we built for the Chaos factions, which get real creative with some of these weirdo kits. That one’s mostly Rob’s show, so get ready to put up with his bullshit.

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