A Warhammer 40K army in a box: your guide to Combat Patrols

This latest breed of Warhammer 40k starter set has caused a stir - here are the Combat Patrols now on offer, and what may be next

Warhammer 40k Space Marine Combat Patrol Boxes main image

The Warhammer 40K ‘Combat Patrol’ box is a new, small-army box  designed to replace the ‘Start Collecting’ kits which have been a mainstay of the last few editions of the game. These boxes contain enough well-chosen models to field a small, legal (and relatively robust) army for the new Combat Patrol format, but they can also serve as a core nucleus to expand your collection to create bigger and better armies for the larger Incursion, Strike Force and Onslaught formats.

In Warhammer 40k 9th Edition, the Combat Patrol represents the smallest type of match you can play, and requires an army of 25 Power, or 500 Points, in a single ‘Patrol’ detachment (with exceptions), as per the core rules. Between you and your opponent, the total power level cannot exceed 50 (so it’s supposed to be 25 each, but you can always have a conversation about any spares).

Patrol Detachments contain one or two ‘HQ’ units, and between one and three ‘Troop’ units, although they can also plug in up to 2 of the other unit categories: Elites, Fast Attack, Heavy Support and flyers.

Each of these new boxes will thus contain at least 1 HQ unit and 1 Troop unit (to meet the detachment rules), while the rest will be a mix of other unit types.

Warhammer 40,000 Combat Patrol Box Sets

Games Workshop says it will be announcing more Combat Patrol boxes as it releases new Codexes (faction rulebooks) for each of the game’s playable armies over the next year or so.

Warhammer 40k currently has around 20 different armies (depending on how you count them) but there’s no guarantee yet of how many of these can expect their own box.

Rules, OK? Read our Warhammer 40k codex release date guide

At the time of writing, the new range includes a total of five products and – wouldn’t you know it – all of them are for space marine armies (albeit one of them technically a sickly, chaos-tainted Plague Marine army).

Here are the details of the Warhammer 40K Combat Patrol boxes that have been released (or announced) so far:

Warhammer 40k combat patrols guide Dark Angels photo

DARK ANGELS COMBAT PATROL

Purchase: Pre-orders from January 30

The knightly sons of the noble (yet oddly-named) Lion El’ Jonson, the Dark Angels crusade endlessly, as much to expunge the ancient stains on their honour as to defend the Imperium.

Games Workshop announced on January 24, 2021 that Combat Patrol: Dark Angels would go up for pre-order at the same time as the new Dark Angels Codex Supplement, on January 30.

The Dark Angels are known for fielding armies with a strong core of ranged firepower, and the models in this box play to that theme, including a five-marine squad of the ever-sold Primaris Intercessors, three assault-bolter-wielding Inceptors and the imperious-looking, newly-buffed Redemptor Dreadnought, all led into battle by a skull-faced Primaris Chaplain to give them handy combat buffs.

You get a total of 10 models in the box, namely:

No. of models Unit Slot Power
1 Primaris Chaplain HQ 5
1 Redemptor Dreadnought Elites 9
5  Intercessors Troops 5
3  Inceptors Fast Attack 6

This Combat Patrol box is a little lighter on models than most, but the inclusion of the Redemptor is a major win – fit it with the new and improved Macro Plasma Incinerator for maximum ‘Weapons from the Dark Age’ vibes.

Warhammer 40k combat patrols guide Death Guard photo

DEATH GUARD COMBAT PATROL

Purchase: Games Workshop Webstore – $140 / £85

The plague-ridden sons of Mortarion, foulest of all the Warp-tainted Chaos Space Marine legions, have played a big part in Warhammer 40K since the onset of 8th Edition in 2017, and these disgustingly resilient devils are, if anything, even stronger since their hideous new 9th Edition codex dropped on January 23.

You get a whopping 39 models with this one:

No. of models Unit Slot Power
1 Typhus HQ 9
1 Biologus Putrifier Elites 4
7 Plague Marines Troops 12
30 Poxwalkers Troops 7

Yes, you read that right, it contains 30 Poxwalkers. These revolting, shambling so-and-sos are the putrefying sludge on which your Death Guard force will slide inexorably toward the enemy, their foetid forms an ideal, moving bullet sponge masking your footslogging Plague Marines as they inch ever closer to contagion range…

Arguably one of the best value propositions among these boxes – in terms of pounds-to-plastic ratio at last – this one is very impressive. Plus, considering Typhus’ positively collywobble-inducing new datasheet, the inclusion of his undeniably fantastic model in the box is more of a draw than it might previously have been.

Warhammer 40k Space Marine Combat Patrol Boxes Space Wolves

Space WolVES Combat Patrol

Purchase: Games Workshop Webstore – $140 / £85

The ferocious sons of Leman Russ, the Wolves of Fenris, the Emperor’s executioners – call them what you will, they’ll tear you to pieces either way. Or at least, Space Wolves players sure do like reminding you that they will.

You get a total of 17 models in the box, namely:

No. of models Unit Slot Power
1 Primaris Lieutenant HQ 4
1 Invictor Tactical Warsuit Elites 8
10 Primaris Intercessors Troops 10
5 Primaris Reivers Elites 5

This Combat Patrol box should set you up quite well for a Primaris-flavoured Space Wolf army, although we’d recommend adding more melee-focused units as a next purchase – assault intercessors, perhaps, if you want to keep it primaris-focused. The inclusion of the Invictor Warsuit is a big tick, as – apart from evoking the end of the movie Aliens  -these are very effective on the tabletop.

One cool thing about the Space Wolf box is that its Reivers can also be assembled as the ‘Hounds of Morkai’,  a unique Space Wolves variant unit. You also get two upgrade frames with special space-wolfish bits to make sure your space marines look properly viking-y.

Warhammer 40k Space Marine Combat Patrol Boxes Deathwatch

Deathwatch Combat Patrol

Purchase: Games Workshop Webstore – $140 / £85

The Deathwatch are a ‘special forces’ chapter of space marines, specialising in killing aliens. Yeah yeah, we know, all the other space marines also spend most of their time doing that, but these guys are, like, really good at it.

Their box contains 15 models, including:

No. of models Unit Slot Power
1 Primaris Lieutenant HQ 4
1 Primaris Apothecary Elites 4
10 Primaris Intercessors Troops 10
3 Primaris Aggressors Elites 6

They operate as an ‘elite’ army in Warhammer 40k, meaning they tend to field fewer miniatures than their opponents for the same budget of Power Level or points, but each model can hope to deal out more punishment to the enemy before it gets blown away.

Ave Imperator: Our Warhammer 40k Imperium factions guide

The units in their Patrol box have been chosen to reflect their small-team tactics and special anti-xenos capabilities: the Apothecary can help keep critical units alive and fighting that little bit longer, while a high density of bolt weapons should maximise the value you get out of the Deathwatch’s Special Issue Ammunition rules.

Once again, you’ll also get the 2 upgrade frames to give you the bits to make all these models distinctively members of the Deathwatch.

Warhammer 40k Space Marine Combat Patrol Boxes Blood Angels

Blood Angels Combat Patrol

Purchase: Games Workshop Webstore – $140 / £85

Ah, the Blood Angels – noble and civilised sons of Sanguinius, most handsome, tragic, star-crossed and pretty of all the Emperor’s ‘Primarch’ sons. These renaissance Italy-themed space marines are among the most storied and popular chapters of the Adeptus Astartes.

Brave, honest and true, they only very occasionally indulge in macabre vampiric rituals with goblets of suspiciously viscous red ‘wine’ – and it really is only once in a blue moon that one of them slips into an insane, suicidal killing frenzy fueled by the overwhelming psychic grief imprinted in his DNA.

The Blood Angels Combat Patrol box contains:

No. of models Unit Slot Power
1 Primaris Librarian HQ 5
1 Impulsor Dedicated Transport 7
5 Primaris Intercessors Troops 10
5 Primaris Incursors Troops 5
3 Primaris Aggressors Elites 6

In battle, the Blood Angels focus on making a speedy insertion into the foe’s front line (traditionally by jump pack), before eviscerating them in well-drilled, elegant hand-to-hand combat. In the age of Primaris, however, jump packs seem to have become a little passé – so these guys brought an Impulsor hover transport instead.

The inclusion of this super-useful utility unit (perhaps a smidge pricey on its own) has made the Blood Angels Combat Patrol box quite popular – it’s certainly a strong and cost-effective start to a force of ‘the red ones’. Naturally, it also comes with a couple of Blood Angels Primaris upgrade frames, like the other two boxes.

That’s everything we know about the Combat Patrol boxes so far, but rest assured: we’ll keep this article updated as more information gets announced.

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