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 Community photo showing a large Adeptus Mechanicus army for Warhammer 40k, in Mars colours, with Onager Dunecrawlers, Skitarii and Electropriests

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. Here’s a list of all the Combat Patrol boxes released so far:

Warhammer 40,000 Combat Patrol Box Sets

  • Blood Angels
  • Dark Angels
  • Death Guard
  • Deathwatch
  • Drukhari
  • Space Wolves

Warhammer Community artwork showing Drukhari kabalites and an Archon

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 six products and – wouldn’t you know it – five of them are for Space Marine armies (albeit one of these technically a sickly, chaos-tainted Plague Marine army).

Below, we’ve done you a real solid, and provided a breakdown of all the Warhammer 40K Combat Patrol boxes that have been released (or announced) so far, with all the models included, how your new mini-army will play, and where to go from there.

Here we go, then, starting with the most recently announced:

Warhammer Community photo of the models in the new Adeptus Mechanicus combat patrol box

ADEPTUS MECHANICUS COMBAT PATROL

GW revealed the contents of the new Adeptus Mechanicus Combat Patrol box in its Sunday Preview article on Warhammer Community on May 16, confirming that the patrol box would go up for pre-order alongside the AdMech 9th edition codex, the new Skitarii Marshal model, and the AdMech cards and dice, on Saturday, May 22. This means all these products have a final release date of June 5, 2021.

The AdMech patrol box will include 15 models, for a total of 20 power. Here’s what’s in there:

No. of models Unit Slot Power
1 Tech-Priest Enginseer HQ 2
3 Kataphron Destroyers / Breachers Troops 7
10 Skitarii Rangers / Vanguard Troops 5
1 Onager Dunecrawler Heavy Support 6

On the face of it, this looks to be a pretty well-rounded starter force for the Adeptus Mechanicus. However, while we might fairly assume the make-up of the new Combat Patrol Box has been designed with the incoming 9th edition codex in mind, we’d still wait until the new book is in the wild, before you decide whether this box is your best option.

In particular, we’re interested to see what changes, if any, are levied upon the once-mighty, now out-of-favour Onager Dunecrawler. Not long to wait to find out…

However, May 16’s preview had two more surprises, in the form of Combat Patrol boxes for 9th edition’s launch-leading factions – Necrons and Space Marines:

Warhammer Community photo of the models in the new Necrons combat patrol box

NECRONS COMBAT PATROL

The new Combat Patrol box for the soulless, domineering Necrons also goes to pre-order on May 22, and releases on June 5. It features four units, totalling 15 models, and a rather tasty 29 power. This is what the box will contain:

No. of models Unit Slot Power
1 Necron Overlord HQ 6
3 Tomb Blades Fast Attack 5
5 Immortals Troops 4
5 Deathmarks Elites 4
1 Doom Scythe / Night Scythe Flyer 10

The inclusion of the iconic, very deadly, and $60-on-its-own Doom Scythe is undoubtledly the big draw here.

But, with precisely none of the Necrons’ stunning new model range featured in the box, we don’t reckon this one will prove wildly popular among bargain hunters. Not when there’s Necron halves of the 2019 Indomitus box still floating around at after-market prices, in any case.

 

Warhammer Community photo of the models included in the new Space Marines combat patrol box for Warhammer 40k

SPACE MARINES COMBAT PATROL

The new Space Marines Combat Patrol box will also see the light of day soon, going up for pre-order on May 22 and shipping out from June 5.

Effectively the same as the Vanguard Space Marines Start Collecting box, plus an Impulsor, this one has 18 models, and, at a whopping 33 power, it ties with the Blood Angels box in giving the best in-game bang for your buck of the range so far (assuming GW sticks to the same price).

Here’s the run down of its contents:

No. of models Unit Slot Power
1 Lieutenant in Phobos Armour HQ 4
10 Infiltrators / Incursors Troops 12
3 Eliminators Heavy Support 5
3 Suppressors Fast Attack 5
1 Impulsor Dedicated Transport 7

It’s a solid start to a sneaky, mobile, Phobos-armour-focused Primaris Space Marine force. The inclusion of the Impulsor makes a big difference on the tabletop, adding a quicker method of ferrying your Infiltrators, or Incursors, to lock down those all-important Primary Objectives (as well as providing some tougher wounds your opponent will need to chip through).

You’ll want to get yourself a Captain pretty quick-smart, though, for that to-hit reroll aura. Having a Lieutenant is good, but you do need the pair.

Warhammer 40K Combat Patrol Drukhari box mock up photo

DRUKHARI COMBAT PATROL

Purchase: Games Workshop webstore

A sinister faction of twisted, sadistic, sensation-addicted Aeldari, the Drukhari dwell in hidden cities deep within the ancient, interdimensional Webway, constantly conducting fast and furious raids on real-space targets all over the galaxy, to bring back fresh, living captives for their dark masters.

The Drukhari come in three horrifying flavours – the dark-armoured, hierarchical Kabals, the shrieking, knife-covered Wych Cults, and the unhinged, vivisectionist flesh-sculptors of the Haemonculus Covens.

The units in this Combat Patrol box represent a classic, mobile Kabalite force, with a total of 18 models included. Here’s what you get:

No. of models Unit Slot Power
1 Archon HQ 4
10 Kabalite Warriors Troops 6
5 Incubi Elites 4
1 Raider Dedicated Transport 5
1 Ravager Heavy Support 8

As the best ‘all-rounder’ of the Drukhari sub-factions, a Kabalite patrol gives you a balanced, flexible force from the outset, with the tools to pursue victory either at a distance, or up close and personal.

It’s the two vehicles that make this Combat Patrol perhaps the best value box of the range so far

Ten Kabalite Warriors pack a surprising amount of anti-infantry poison firepower, and now have some Primaris-marine-killing oomph, thanks to your newly-upgraded Damage 2 Splinter Cannons. Add in the heavier firepower aboard your Ravager gunboat and Raider transport – whose Dark Lances now deal out D3+3 damage – and you’ve got a healthy amount of shooting for such a small force. Drukhari really shine in close combat, though, and you’re set there too. That Archon can easily be equipped as a champion duelist, and will excel at chopping up enemy characters (assuming you keep them safe from sniper fire on the way in). The horn-helmed Incubi are ready-made melee blenders, their blades making short work of more or less any infantry in your way (unless it’s Death Guard terminators, but we don’t talk about those).

Frankly, though, it’s the two vehicles that make this Combat Patrol perhaps the best deal yet in this new range. Drukhari are a high model count army (which already means higher cash costs in general) and most lists will need at least a couple of the bigger skimmers to transport their squishy, lightly-armoured troops to the frontlines. Getting two of these as part of a particularly robust starter army (at the now standard price of $140 / £85) is going to be a significant saving for those getting started with Drukhari.

Warhammer 40k combat patrols guide Dark Angels photo

DARK ANGELS COMBAT PATROL

Purchase: Games Workshop Webstore – $140 / £85

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.

Combat Patrol: Dark Angels went up for pre-order at the same time as the new Dark Angels Codex Supplement, on January 30, and released on February 6. It’s available now on the GW store and other retailers.

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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