More Bang For Your Buck – What NOT To Buy For 40k?

By |2016-06-17T08:00:02+00:00June 17th, 2016|Categories: Editorial, Warhammer 40k|

Space Marine w/ Heavy Bolter

When you buy units for your army, do you ever consider how cost effective they are in terms of money? How much bang for your buck do you get from 40k?

I do, because I’m a white collar screw hunting around for that magical job that will pay me a decent wage for my writing skills. (Protip- It doesn’t exist. The writing skills, or the decent paying writing job… You decide!)

Some people though, they don’t have that problem. They’re big important adults with real careers, and just have unopened boxes of miniatures in their closets that they just forget are there. Personally, I can’t imagine being that wealthy… But more importantly, I can’t imagine those people hating money that much. This article is not for them.

The issue I want to bring to your attention today is bang for buck- How cost effective is your codex, and the units in it?

Now in the old fantasy days before Age of Sigmar, this was a real concern. A fifty man unit of infantry could easily set you back 200 bucks, just to buy the first unit in your army. This actually made chaos mortals and ogres one of the deceptively cheaper armies, because you needed less warriors and ogres, less bodies was less wallet. But it’s not as obvious in 40k.

How do you determine which armies have good bang for buck rates? You examine the builds, the formations, and what you need to play… Or at least, play the list you want. Some units have unit taxes… And I don’t just mean the 2 or 3 crappy units in a formation you don’t care about but buy anyway because the formation is a hoser, I mean extra money you have to throw down just to make a unit work.

The Bad:

Space Marines Tactical Squad

Here are some examples of units that are poor performers in bang for buck.

TACTICAL MARINES– These guys aren’t going anywhere unless you buy them a rhino or a drop pod, which effectively doubles the cost of the squad, as far as your wallet is concerned. It’s not an accident that bikestars and superfriends are a big deal… Not only do they wreck armies, their mobility makes them less likely to need a transport.

TERMINATORS- Unless you’ve got some super cool way to make deep strike work like a charm, you’re putting these guys in a raider or a spartan, which like the tac marines, means dropping a wad of cash on a transport.

CENTURIONS- Terminators all over again, but on bigger bases with bigger guns.

CHAOS MARINES- Like tactical marines, but worse, and with spikes.

FIRE DRAGONS- These guys aren’t going anywhere without a ride.

STORMRAVEN- This one’s a little less obvious. When the raven was the only flyer the marines had, it had the benefit of exclusivity. But the newer, cheaper, smaller flyers available to marines can do just as much work without the bloat in points. Moreover, if you really want to do all the cool stuff like drop a dreadnought out the ass of it or halo jump in some assault marines, you gotta buy those too… Not that I’ve ever seen anyone ever win a game by holding 500 points worth of stuff in reserve just to wait for it to show up so they can do one little deployment trick.


You’ll notice that as a general rule, any unit that needs a support unit to function is going to have a hard time delivering value. You’ll spend more in points and money to make it work. Are these low value units always like this? No, there’s more, but the units that need obligatory transports are easy to pick out as poor performers for your wallet. Another great example of units that don’t really do that great, for reasons that aren’t transport related are eldar guardians. 1 box of guardians is nothing to write home about, but if you throw a couple boxes together and then have them stand next to the Avatar, suddenly they’re a fearless murder blob that will shred everything that walks into shuriken range… But you get the idea, for that to happen, you need the avatar and those extra guardian boxes.

So what are some examples of units that are independently strong, on the table and the wallet? Well, as a general rule, it’s the big budget items that are deceptively more expensive. I say deceptively because while they individually cost more, they cost less in the long run because they don’t need a support group of other models in your list to make them perform, adding to their cost.

The Good:

Here’s some examples of models that have great bang for Buck rates.

HIVE TYRANT- Rip him out of the box, shove some wings and devourers on him, and make people cry. If you build him as swarmlord I will kick you in the dick. The flyrant is probably one of the biggest hoser overachieving monsters in the game in terms of value.

DEMON PRINCES- Always strong individually, with more options than pretty much any other model ever. These flying murder assholes have mountains of wargear options depending on whether you’re in CSM, Demons, or some wacky supplement. Even better, that bonkers new flying circus formation will allow you to build an army out of 4 demon princes. That might sound like a lot to you but consider this- 4 DPs is pretty much the same as 2 tactical squads and 2 rhinos… That giant murderball of bat-winged jerks does the same damage to your bank account as the minimum troop choice in a normal marine list.

MAULERFIENDS- Buy 1, throw it at your opponent’s face. Buy another one. Your list and the performance of maulerfiends only gets better as you add more maulerfiends.

SOUL GRINDER- The model that the defiler wishes it was, for less points and the same dollar amount.

WRAITHKNIGHTS- When you absolutely, positively don’t ever want to have friends.

IMPERIAL KNIGHTS- Buy 2 boxes of the renegade boxed game. You now have an entire 40k army, the cheapest one in the game, with the biggest robots. You also have the most flexible army in the game as well- You can use it by itself as imperial knights, or you can split them up and add them as LoW in other armies, both imperium and chaos. As chaos, you have the option of running them as the new renegade knights, or the forgeworld chaos knight. So really, every knight you own is actually potentially 3 knights, depending on how bad guy you’re feeling. Bet you didn’t think one of the fattest units you can buy off the shelf at GW would end up being the cheapest, right?


DAKKAJET- As a general rule, orks have nothing to do with bang for Bucks. Green tide needs tons of boys, meganobs need battlewagons, and the codex just isn’t great. But if there’s one model in that whole damn book that does it’s job, it’s the dakkajet. Gork bless that flying beautiful bastard.

RAPIER CARRIERS AND THUNDERFIRE CANNONS- Mashing these together as one entry because they have a common theme- The rules for them are apocalyptically stupid. Field artillery pieces are ridiculously tough when deployed well, have insane firepower, and don’t really need any help from anything you weren’t already going to buy anyway.

THE WHOLE NID ARMY- Demons used to be the best value army in the GW stable before knights came out, because they were playable in fantasy and 40k. Now with rank-and-flank old school fantasy dead, this honor belongs to tyranid players with the fan-made AOS dataslates.

Want More In Yo face 40k? Check out more form JStove


Spikey Bits Latest

Latest Long War Podcast - Listen NOW!

About the Author: