Future Vs Past: When 30k and 40k Meet.

Let me set the scene: last week, man night, Dave’s house. We arranged a three on two game, three thousand points aside. We decided to re-enact a battle from the great crusade. The Emperor’s minions in the form of 1000 points each of Death guard, World eaters and Mechanicum faced a horde of generic bad guy aliens; Tau and Eldar in this case.

We thought it would be a good old fashioned romp. Was it? Was it hell. The Emperor’s finest spent five turns getting slowly ground into a fine paste. Sniper rifles smashed the Mechanicum forces, whilst Broadsides and a Riptide did for the large units of marines.

The only marine unit to cause any real damage was a lone vindicator who killed close to a whole unit of Wraithguard (in the subsequent turn it was blown to pieces). The game seemed a far cry from the fun we’ve been having with 30,000. Martin and I have been playing through the missions from Betrayal and each game has been a success. So why did this flop so hard?

Can 30,000 vs 40,000 lead to a fun and even game or is the balance completely off?

Disco Missile Dance Party

Disco Missile Dance Party Member

In our case I guess the following things need to be taken into consideration:

  • Taudar – Tau and Eldar: what a truly horrifying combination. The shoot, move, shoot and shoot/ run tactics combined lead to a highly mobile force. The fire power that these two armies can bring to bear is scary. The Tau broadside team with missiles protruding from every orifice (nick named the ‘Disco Missile Party’) killed a unit a turn. Sniper fire killed the high toughness Castellax and Thallax.
  • Three armies vs. two armies: sometimes having three smaller armies really does limit your choice. By the time you cost up a HQ and two heresy core choices you don’t have much change left. I took a unit of twenty tactical marines, twenty boarding marines and a HQ. That was about it.
  • Army composition: when you’re playing a group game it really can be hit or miss as to what everyone brings. Between the Imperial players we didn’t bring much of anything that could compete with the combined firepower of a Taudar gunline.
  • Luck: Dave was rolling sixes like a maniac.


Verdict needs to be delayed for now. The internet scuttlebutt puts 30,000 armies at a disadvantage against their 40,000 counterparts and that is certainly what we saw on Wednesday. Does this represent all games of 30k vs 40k? No.

TL;DR – 40k > 30k

Have you tried it out? Share your thoughts.