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First of all apologies if I`ve missed a thread already dedicated to this subject I did try the search tool but got nothing back of any use.
The only reason I ask this question is I`m predominantly a fantasy player but a friend is trying to convince me to try 40k which im open too but before walking into it what armies are considered "Top tier" or indeed overpowered?? which do people think are underplayed played too much etc.
Thanks in advance for any help people can give
At the end of the day any tiers are entirely worthless as each gaming group will gravitate towrds certain things that invalidate what anyone else says. Though there is an elemnt of people on the internet who are very vocal about what they consider competitive and what is not, mostly these people come from the groups that think the same thing, thus breeding a circular culture (because they think its useless nobody uses it thus it becomes useless). You'll find this group is mostly inhabited by those that consider grand tournaments and the like the absolute yard stick of 40k (which in reality makes up a tiny fraction of the fanbase as GW has said of various occasions).
The simplest way to look of it is this: the newer the codex the more likely it is to have each unit costed correctly for the 5th edition ruleset.
Yet this does not write off the old codices at all, Dark Eldar and Witch Hunters can make some truly wicked armies (though at the cost of variety, both codices suffer from them being balanced and costed for 3rd ed) while the others require some more...creativity to get around some of their weaknesses.
You'll find that people write-off necrons (for example) due to them suffering heavily from some changes to the game when 5th edition rolled around. While these can be seen after a little play time it is hardly the game breaker people think if you have a vaired group and not full of people who only powergame (not that powergaming excludes necrons either, you just have to think up more ways to deal with the problems).
In my own experience I feel those armies people rate highly are "point and click" while those that require what one could call advanced tactics are left on the side to be forgotten. Though I will admit some of the codices (Daemon Hunters being THE example) do have holes that cannot be fixed by clever playing.
Well isn't it obvious? Space Mary Sues are top tier with Spess Wolves and Blood Angels. Dark Angels and Black Templars can be pretty tough but have lost some of their shine due to the newer codexes. Codex Ultramarines is also very powerful. Imperial guard are quite powerful. Especially with chimeltas and vendettas but aside from that they dont really have that many ultra mega killy units. Tyranids are not that powerful considering they are in 5th ed oddly. Many people think they should not have had an update and they have recently had some nerfing FAQ changes.
4th Edition armies like Orks and Daemons are pretty balanced due to them being designed for 5th edition. Chaos and Tau are showing very obvious signs of codex creep but are not really dead. Current Dark Eldar are surprisingly fine but... who knows how that will change soon.
Necrons, Witch Hunters and Daemon hunters have some big balance and model problems. Necrons have very few models and options, Witch and Daemon hunters have a lot of expensive metal models.
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You should be careful putting 40k armies into tiers, as the deciding factors in a fight are usually the players' strategies and dice rolls rather than the army choice. Also, your level of competitiveness is a big factor. Against most people in casual games, the differences between the tiers is far less pronounced than it is in major official tournaments. That said, there are some differences in power between armies, mainly due to how much time a codex has gone without an update. Again, I want to be clear, these tiers are my opinion, based on what I've read from high-level players. They are very much open to interpretation, reflect mainly on highly competitive, rigidly built tournament lists with experienced players as opposed to casual play, and should be taken with a massive grain of salt.
Tier 1 (Currently most powerful)
Codex Space Marines
Tier 2 (Still very competitive, with only some small differences)
Tier 3 (Some issues, but still completely viable)
Dark Eldar (though not for long)
Tier 4 (Playable, though with some glaring problems holding them back)
If you're not planning on competing officially, then you'll likely only notice the differences at the Tier 4 level. Using the way I've classified them, there's not a huge difference between the top and middle tier armies. They may have some things in them that are obsolete or underpowered, though these problems can be worked around without too much effort. For example, Chaos Space Marines can take a Land Raider the same as Codex Space Marines, but don't get the same range of options and weapon choices for them. Their Land Raiders are still perfectly usable on the tabletop, but the amount of roles you can use it for is a bit more restricted. A problem, sure, but hardly an insurmountable one. On the other hand, when you get to the Tier 4 level, then you start to see codex creep in ways that fundamentally affect the army, and are much harder to deal with. Necron Gauss weapons, which are used by most of their units, were weakened considerably by the changes from 4th to 5th edition. A lot of the pskyer abilities that Daemonhunters have simply don't work in the latest edition. These problems can be mitigated through good tactics and careful army planning, but there's no way to make them go away entirely.
Simply put, if you want a powerful and forgiving army, play Space Marines. The downside to that is that everybody else plays Space Marines, and everyone who doesn't play Space Marines tends to build their lists around beating Space Marines. Really, the only armies you'd find challenging to play with and win are the bottom 3. It can be done, but it will take more effort on your part to make it happen.
Last edited by Nitrokitty; October 1st, 2010 at 00:50.
40k tiers are not so much 'stronger vs weaker' as they are 'many options vs few options'
With a newer codex you could put together a half dozen different 'competitive' lists which are all substantially different in terms of unit composition and strategy.
The older books tend to have on or two solid lists and minor variations, typically using the same few units.
Same goes for witch hunters, if you go pure sisters of battle you'll murder through silly amounts of blood angels and space wolves wioth very little effort, but as they are another rareish army you don't get to see what they can do.
This is why tiers are useless, peopel rate armies/builds in relation to what they see and play and thus get no absolutes.
For example I would certainly not rate SW and BA very highly, but i'm primarily a DE player so I can literally lol at 99% of things they put on the table with little effort, but a green tide (aka taking loads of ork boyz and charging) is something I fear a great deal.
It surprises me to read people's opinion on Chaos Space Marines. Most tournaments I watch always have at least one ridiculous CSM army that ruffles most opponents into submission (Lash, Plague Marines, Defilers come to mind). Quite the menace.
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I agree with pretty well all that has been said here, with there being "general tiers" that vary very much depending on local groups and so these tiers are mainly used in very compedative atmospheres but there is one main issue that is yet to be touched on.
The tiers are good generally however some armies will really suffer at smaller point levels while others will do well.
Imperial Guard for example can fairly easily pack 5 chimeras and 2 russes into a 1000 point game. How many armies can take that on in a game of so few points?
How about Necrons in 500 points? Thier basic force (a lord and 2 10 man warrior squads) is already 460 points. You can take that and a res orb and go off to war, a blood angel army can pack enough combat troops to roll through this and table the necron player 9/10 times.
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Eldar 3rd Overall/Best General of 26--2nd Overall/Best General of 7--1st Overall/Best General of 11
And of course I post tiers and people go ballistic without actually reading the rest of my post. Especially the "my opinion," "open to interpretation," and "massive grain of salt" parts. Still, I don't hold with the "tiers are useless" view because there ARE observable differences in strength between armies, just not as big as some people make them out to be.
I'm more surprised they're rating Dark Angels so highly, we're like the red headed step child of codices.Originally Posted by Rabbit
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