Warhammer 40K Logo
Warhammer 40K Logo

Warhammer 40k presents a vast universe of never-ending war and intense drama in a bleak future. Players dive into this dark world through tabletop battles, interacting with unique factions. From the noble Space Marines to the sinister forces of Chaos, each group has its own history, culture, and battle tactics. The lore of Warhammer 40,000 depicts a galaxy filled with conflict as these factions fight for survival, dominance, or the thrill of battle. Understanding the diverse factions is crucial for both playing the game and appreciating the depth of the Warhammer 40k universe. Players can align with the devoted Adepta Sororitas or control the alien hordes of Tyranids, each offering distinct playstyles and strategies, creating complex and exciting tactical challenges. This diversity ensures that both new and experienced players can find a faction that resonates with their preferred style of gameplay and narrative interest.

Picking Your Army in Warhammer 40k

Warhammer 40k is a tabletop miniatures game known for its rich universe, where humanity battles aliens, heretics, and daemons in the grim darkness of the far future. One of the first and most exciting steps when getting into Warhammer 40k is picking which faction (or army) you’ll collect, build, and play. With so many options to choose from, it can be daunting. Here’s a breakdown of Warhammer 40k’s major forces to guide your decision:

The Imperium of Man

The Imperium is the dominant force in the galaxy, a sprawling, oppressive empire locked in endless war for its survival. Imperium armies offer a mix of hardy troops, powerful vehicles, and elite warriors.

  • Space Marines: The iconic superhuman soldiers, each a legend in their own right. They come in varied Chapters, each with unique playstyles and aesthetics.
  • Astra Militarum: The rank-and-file of the Imperium – countless soldiers backed by hulking tanks and artillery.
  • Adepta Sororitas: Also known as the Sisters of Battle, these fanatically devoted warrior-women wield holy fire and faith.
  • Adeptus Mechanicus: The cyborg techno-cult who worship the Machine God, fielding strange and powerful war machines.


The ultimate antagonists, comprised of traitors and daemons from the Warp, a realm of terrifying psychic energy. Chaos armies are often devastating in power but can be unpredictable.

  • Chaos Space Marines: The original Space Marines who turned to the powers of Chaos. They maintain a twisted version of their former martial prowess.
  • Death Guard: Plague-ridden and monstrous, they spread foul contagions and boast incredible resilience.
  • Thousand Sons: Sorcerers and dust-animated automata fueled by potent psychic energies.
  • Chaos Daemons: Manifested horrors from the Warp, they come in varieties dedicated to each of the Chaos Gods.


The galaxy is filled with alien species, each with their motives and unique playstyles, making them a great option for players wanting something truly distinct.

  • Necrons: Undying роботизированные warriors of an ancient race, wielding advanced technology and capable of self-repair.
  • Tyranids: A ravenous, bio-engineered swarm focused on melee combat and overwhelming the enemy with sheer numbers.
  • Orks: Crude and hilarious greenskins who love a good fight and build ramshackle but endearingly effective war machines.
  • Aeldari: Piles of a once-great empire, now split into various factions like the technologically advanced Craftworlds or the sadistic torturers of the Drukhari.
  • T’au Empire: A technologically superior, younger race with powerful long-range weaponry and battlesuits.

Factors to Consider

Here’s a table to help you narrow your choices and some questions to consider:

PlaystyleMelee-focused, ranged-focused, combined arms, psychic powers
AestheticsGrim & gritty, gothic, monstrous, advanced, alien
LoreWhich faction’s backstory and themes resonate with you?
ComplexitySome armies are easier to learn than others

Where to find more information

  • Games Workshop’s Website: Browse faction descriptions and images (https://warhammer40000.com/the-armies/)
  • YouTube: Explore channels dedicated to Warhammer 40k and look for faction overview videos.
  • Your Local Game Store: Friendly staff can offer guidance and let you see miniatures in person.

Key Takeaways

  • Warhammer 40k features a variety of unique factions with rich backgrounds.
  • Each faction provides distinct playstyles and strategies for players.
  • Understanding these factions is crucial for both gameplay and narrative engagement.

Factions Overview

Warhammer 40k is a universe teeming with diverse factions, each with unique characteristics and backstories. Understanding these groups is key to the game, their lore, and choosing which to bring to life on the tabletop.

Imperium of Man

The Imperium of Man is the largest faction, made up of humanity’s defenders. It includes the Space Marines, advanced soldiers with special gear, Astra Militarum or Imperial Guard, the backbone of the human armies, Adeptus Mechanicus, the tech experts, Adeptus Custodes, elite guards of the Emperor, and Adepta Sororitas, also known as the Sisters of Battle, fierce warriors with a religious zeal.

Chaos Entities

Chaos is split into four main gods: Khorne, the god of bloodshed, Tzeentch, the master of plots, Nurgle, the bringer of decay, and Slaanesh, the god of excess. Their followers include Chaos Space Marines, once loyal but now fallen, Chaos Daemons, manifestations of Chaos itself, and various cults and renegade factions vying for power.

Xenos Races

Xenos Races are the aliens of Warhammer 40k. Notable among them are the Orks, a war-loving and rowdy species, Eldar or Aeldari, ancient beings with psychic powers, Tyranids, a hive mind of beasts devouring worlds, Necrons, robotic skeletons from an ancient past, and the T’au Empire, a young race with a focus on range and technology.

Army Composition and Tactics

When building an army, players choose units based on roles such as infantry, tanks, and vehicles. Factions have distinct playstyles, for example, Space Marines offer balanced and versatile forces, while Eldar might favor hit-and-run tactics. Armies have both strengths, like speed for Eldar, and weaknesses, such as the fragility of some units.

Hobby Aspects

Creating a Warhammer 40k army involves picking miniatures, assembling, and painting them. Players often choose an army based on how it plays or its aesthetic. They bring their force to life through paint schemes and details that can be as simple or complex as they like.

Warhammer 40k in Other Media

Warhammer 40k extends beyond the tabletop to books, animations, and games. Games Workshop and Forge World offer resources while third parties create novel stories and digital experiences. All these mediums enrich the lore and the community’s connection to the factions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Warhammer 40K offers a plethora of factions each with unique strengths and lore. This section addresses common queries related to these diverse groups.

What are the different playable factions in Warhammer 40K?

Warhammer 40K features a wide range of playable factions including the Imperium of Man, Chaos, and Xenos. The Imperium of Man consists of the Astra Militarum, Space Marines, and many others. Chaos is split into factions like the Chaos Space Marines and Chaos Daemons. Xenos includes diverse alien races like the Orks, Eldar, and Necrons.

Which Warhammer 40K faction is considered the most powerful?

The concept of the most powerful faction in Warhammer 40K often changes with game updates. However, factions like the Space Marines are typically strong due to their versatility and range of units.

Which faction do Space Marines belong to within the Warhammer 40K universe?

Space Marines are part of the Imperium of Man. They are elite warriors dedicated to defending human space from various threats.

What are the characteristics of the Tau faction in Warhammer 40K?

The Tau are known for their advanced technology and ranged firepower. They possess sophisticated weapons and prefer to engage enemies at a distance rather than in close combat.

How often do faction tiers change in competitive Warhammer 40K?

Faction tiers can change with each new edition of the rules, major updates, or after the release of supplements and codices. These updates can shift the competitive balance among the factions.

What is the most popular faction among Warhammer 40K players?

Popularity can vary greatly but Space Marines often top the list due to their iconic status and extensive lore within the Warhammer 40K universe.

Similar Posts