[Top 10] Warhammer 40k Best Factions

The Battle for Macragge

In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war. The world of Warhammer 40K is a huge and complex one, encompassing the occupants of an entire galaxy, and as such there are many different factions, each battle for supremacy of the galaxy.

Some are smaller but more specialised, while some have large hordes of soldiers, while others rely on advanced technology. But which of these is the strongest? Who stands above them all? We’re going to dive into the strengths and weakness of each faction, and determine who will win the war for the galaxy.


10. Leagues of Votann

Thunderkyn of the Ymyr Conglomerate weather the storm


The Leagues of Votann , originally known as squats, are a more recent addition to the 40K lore. They are short, squat soldiers, who were originally human, but have adapted over many generations to high-gravity worlds to be short but strong.

While they have existed for a long time, they have spent many years in isolation, mining the mineral-rich worlds of the galactic core. They have very advanced technology including robot warriors known as Ironkyn, huge AI computers called the Votann (also known as Ancestor Cores), advanced power armour, and powerful laser beam weaponry.

More recently they have revealed themselves, beginning to trade with other factions, giving up some of their precious materials in exchange. They could become a major power in the galaxy in time- but for now, their numbers and limited territory holds them back.

Leagues of Votann Strengths:

  • Very strong armour
  • Lots of resources
  • Close social ties

Choose Leagues of Votann if…

  • You like the image of battalions of strong but short warriors
  • You prefer high-tech lasers and moon buggies to tanks and firearms
  • You’re okay with a independent faction, with less ties to the rest of the story


9. Genestealer Cults

A squad of Aberrant warriors with power-sledgehammers smash into a building


The Genestealer Cults are mutated workers, soldiers and civilians of the hive worlds of the Imperium. They are created by the insidious Genestealers of the Tyranid species, and taught to worship the tyranids as a faith, hence the name ‘cult’. While they do not have large numbers yet, they can pop up anywhere, on any world, and wreak havoc - capturing important industrial hubs and claiming weapons and vehicles for themselves, and eventually preparing the world for invasion by a Hive Fleet of the Tyranids. Some cults even contain soldiers of the Imperial Guard, similarly converted to the genestealers’ minions.

Generally, they fight using industrial equipment such as mining lasers and explosives, and use modified construction vehicles for transport and combat. As their ranks grow, highly modified leaders appear in their ranks, who can marshal powerful psychic abilities to lead the rest of the forces in an uprising - a full takeover of the world known as Ascension Day.

Genestealer Cults Strengths:

  • Ambush tactics - can appear anywhere
  • Growing numbers
  • Powerful psychic leaders

Choose Genestealer Cults if…

  • You like the idea of big swarms of mutated warriors with scrappy weapons and hijacked tanks
  • You think power armour is for suckers - just get bigger guys!
  • You’re happy to be unwitting pawns of an alien horde that devours everything in its path


8. Orks

Ork Dakkakopter goes dakka dakka dakka!


The Orks are bestial humanoids spread all across the galaxy, who are unique in that they generate a highly powerful psychic field around them, with it being stronger the more orks are present. This psychic field allows them to accomplish feats which would be otherwise impossible, especially seen in the vehicles they drive - insane mechs and planes that are essentially powered by belief. They often gather into large groups, and go onto vast crusades known as a WAAAGH! - where they attack and slaughter anyone who they can find.

They love a good battle, and seek it out wherever they can find it- and in the Age of the Dark Imperium, there is plenty of warfare to go around. Some even consider this new age of constant Ork attacks, and more sightings of psychic orks known as ‘Weirdboys’, a ‘Great WAAAGH!’, a single huge crusade sent by the Orks’ gods, known as Gork and Mork.

Orks Strengths

  • Huge numbers - they grow from spores!
  • Innate psychic field gives them crazy technology
  • Strong battlelust - powered by the WAAAGH! cry

Choose Orks if…

  • You have an unending rage, and only care about destroying your enemies!
  • You like vehicles that are only held together by duct tape, a few screws, and pure psychic force
  • You aren’t worried about diplomacy or making friends - the Orks have no allies but the Orks!


7. Drukhari

The warriors of Commorragh rip and tear under a dark sun


The Drukhari, or Dark Eldar, are a species who only care about killing. While they are kindred to the Asuryani and other Aeldari, they are a far cry from the noble and resolute spirits of the Craftworlds. Instead, they revel in piracy, enslavement and torture.

They live on the world of Commorragh, a dark and corrupted place, where they mobilise pirate fleets to raid and terrorise other worlds. The remnants of a once-great people, they have powerful ancient technology made from a material called Wraithbone, resulting in dark matter weaponry and anti-gravity.

They are lead by Asdrubael Vect, the supreme overlord of Commorragh- though a recent civil war has broken out, against the prophet Yvraine. This civil war has suppressed the Drukhari’s piracy for now, but whoever wins will be a force to be reckoned with in the galaxy…

Drukhari Strengths:

  • Arcane rituals and dark magics
  • Ancient Wraithbone technology
  • Highly trained warriors

Choose Drukhari if…

  • You like lithe warriors with a dark religion and a pirate aesthetic
  • You prefer elite warriors over big hordes of soldiers
  • You like characters with complex designs


6. The T’au Empire

A T’au Battlesuit blasting its way through the enemy!


The T’au are a very interesting society, consisting of many castes and many different alien species all working together for the ‘greater good’. While this rigid system can be constricting, the T’au may be the most socially progressive and caring society in the galaxy.

They are also unique in their advanced Battle Suit technology, an advanced form of power armour worn by their Fire Warriors, which they use to defend their borders. The T’au philosophy is one of strength through defence - by having a strong wall of soldiers around their own territory at all times, this protects their people and disincentives enemy attacks. One of the most notable species in the Empire are the Kroot, reptilian soldiers with the ability to copy genetic traits of other species. This means they can evolve rapidly to fit any environment, so long as some sort of creature already lives there for them to hunt. Kroot make very formidable warriors.

T’au Empire Strengths: 

  • Awesome Mechs
  • Very diverse culture
  • Strong defensive capabilities

Choose T’au if…

  • You love mechs!
  • You want an army with lots of different types of soldiers, rather than one where everyone looks the same
  • You prefer being noble and defensive over indiscriminate slaughter


5. Necrons

Necron warriors emerge from a glowing monolith, reanimated from their mechanical slumber


The Necrons are one of the newer threats in the galaxy, having only recently awoken from their underground tombs. Many centuries ago, the Necrons were a superpower in the galaxy, only rivalled by one other faction, called the Old Ones. In a great war with the Old Ones, the Necrons decided to convert themselves into robotic, digital forms, to attempt to win the war. They lost in the end, but millions of them went into stasis-tombs, to sleep until after the Old Ones were gone. Now, with their enemy long gone, they have re-emerged, and want to reclaim their lost territory.

Due to the living metal technology that makes up the bodies of all of the Necrons, they are able to repair themselves at will, making them incredibly hard to kill. They are also equipped with powerful Gauss Weaponry, which can dissolve an enemy’s armour and melt their skin. 

In addition, their armies are accompanied by large, non-sentient robots known as Canoptek constructs, which use all of the Necrons technology to devastating effect. 

Necrons Strengths:

  • Endless waves of regenerating warriors
  • No need to feed or house the soldiers
  • Powerful gauss technology

Choose Necrons if:

  • You like the idea of ancient-egyptian themed warriors made of steel
  • You prefer barren tomb worlds with strange monuments to cities or temples
  • You aren’t interested in psychic magic or spells - technology conquers all for the Necrons


4. Eldar

A winged Autarch soars above his army, unloading fire into the enemy


The Eldar, also known as the Asuryani or generally as the Aeldari, are the remnants of a proud and ancient empire of elf-like humanoids which once spanned many planets. Now, they instead travel the galaxy on huge colony ships known as Craftworlds- which are almost like a planet in their huge engineered environments. They accomplish all of this using Wraithbone, a very potent material which they keep very secret and secure.

They also are able to use an ancient network of portals called the Webway, which was made by their forbears. The Webway allows them to pop up anywhere, anytime, and attack - but they only do so when they believe that attacking is in the best interest of their craftworld. Otherwise, they try to keep to themselves unless they are provoked.

Aeldari warlocks are some of the strongest psychic mages in the galaxy, training their bodies and brains to channel pure warp energy. This means they can accomplish feats that others would think impossible, such as raising the dead or seeing the future, to allow them to see what their enemies are going to do before they even do it. These are guarded by some of the fastest and most efficient warriors in the galaxy - running in and defeating their enemies before anyone can react.

Eldar Strengths:

  • Psychic Mastery
  • Mental resilience
  • Very fast troops

Choose Eldar if…

  • You like the aesthetic of lithe eleven warriors who stop at nothing to protect their dying people
  • You want to charge into the battlefield with grace and speed, killing anything in your way
  • You aren’t interested in large numbers of troops or heavy support - you prefer to rely on small, elite units


3. The Imperium

Space Marine Warriors prepare for battle in their hall, decked with banners


The Imperium of Man is the largest faction in the galaxy. Spanning atleast a million worlds, the Imperium protects its citizens from the xenos threat - that is, aliens -, as well as from the forces of Chaos, who wish to corrupt and control humanity. The Imperium is ruled by the Emperor, a once-great man who now only exists as a body on a magic throne. He is worshipped by the people of the Imperium as a god.

There are three main forces which protect the Imperium:

The first is the Adeptus Astartes or Space Marines, who are hulking, genetically modified soldiers in power armour. They are organised into chapters, and each chapter acts as an individual organisation, flying around the galaxy fighting the Imperium’s enemies.

The second is the Astra Militarum or Imperial Guard, a huge military with soldiers taken from every world that the Imperium rules.

The third is the mysterious Inquisition, who use psychic powers to root out alien threats and Chaos corruption wherever they appear, and destroy them. Inquisitors can essentially do anything to carry out their mission, as far as destroying entire planets.

Overall, the Imperium is seriously a force to be reckoned with. These three groups can hold off almost any threat.

Imperium Strengths:

  • Vast numbers of soldiers
  • Powerful psychic Inquisitors
  • Huge fleet of ships

Choose the Imperium if…

  • You like being the defenders of humanity, the last thing protecting countless worlds from destruction or corruption
  • You want to switch between elite power armoured warriors and huge battalions of soldiers
  • You prefer humans and guns to anything too high-tech or alien


2. Chaos 

The chaos god Slaanesh appears before a new brood of her Daemonettes


The forces of Chaos live to see everything else destroyed. Alien or human, good or evil- the Chaos Gods want to kill them all. Powered by - as the name suggests - pure chaos, the Chaos Gods are four eternal beings who exist in a dimension called the Warp. Their soldiers; the Daemons and the Chaos Space Marines, appear from the Warp to destroy, corrupt and mutate anything they can get their hands on, thereby fueling their masters’ power.

While the forces of Chaos are mostly trapped in the warp, recent events mean their capability for destruction is vastly increased. The opening of the Eye of Terror, a huge tear in the fabric of space, Daemons and Chaos Space Marines have pouring forth at a rate never seen before. This is allowing them to slowly but surely wear down the Imperium, their biggest enemy, as well as destroy many smaller factions.

They rely on their insane psychic powers, as well as on mutating their soldiers beyond recognition. While the Chaos Space Marines were once noble protectors of the Imperium, they are now corrupted beyond recognition, making them even stronger than before.

Chaos Strengths:

  • Vast hordes of Daemons
  • Elite, corrupted Chaos Space Marines
  • Chaos magic lets them corrupt others to their side

Choose Chaos if…

  • You want to be the grossest and scariest faction in the galaxy
  • You only live to destroy and corrupt, not build and settle
  • You prefer to serve dark gods than make your own choices


1. Tyranids

An army of Tyranids devours a world, burning everything


The Tyranids are a huge hive mind, one massive devouring swarm that eats everything in its path, and uses that biomass to grow more new warriors and monsters. They evolve rapidly, creating new bioforms - that is, new monsters - to continue to devour and destroy. Originally from outside of our galaxy, the tyranids are truly alien - not like anything anyone has seen before. They are the greatest threat to the entire galaxy.

While the current invasions of tyranids consisting of 9 major hive fleets assaulting the galaxy seems terrifying and unstoppable, long range scans suggest that an even larger invasion force is slowly making its way through the dark between galaxies, headed for the milky way - a fleet so large that it would be almost impossible to hold it back. The Tyranids also have a special ability to mitigate psychic powers - an ability known as the shadow in the warp - which prevents the psychic magics from being used against them.

Some bioforms have been around for a long time, such as the Gaunts, roughly human sized hexapedal soldiers with living weaponry, or the monstrous Carnifexes, huge creatures the size of tanks and just as strong. Testament to their evolutionary speed however, new bioforms have recently been spotted, as well as new, stronger variants of the old creatures. Gaunts carrying huge living artillery or psychic parasites, as well as monstrous leaders who manifest powerful psychic forces such as the Neurotyrant and the Norn Emissary, have all been seen on the field of battle during the Fourth Tyrannic War.

If not stopped, the Tyranids, will destroy all known life.

Tyranids Strengths:

  • Endless multitude of warriors
  • Huge, destructive beasts
  • Massive fleet of biological ships
  • Huge anti-psyker capabilities

Choose Tyranids if…

  • You want to be the strongest, most destructive force in the entire galaxy, eating everything in your path!
  • You want a diverse army - swarms of ground units, big flying creatures, and huge crushing monsters are all there
  • You don’t want to be making any allies, and hate subtlety - your only language of negotiation is DESTRUCTION

So, that’s a rundown of the 10 strongest factions in Warhammer 40K’s lore today. But in the changing galaxy, anything could happen. Perhaps the Aeldari will discover new psychic power, or the Imperium will discover more lost Primarchs to help them turn the tide of chaos. Any day now, a new faction could become the strongest, displacing the Tyranids from their top spot! But that’s one of my favourite things about 40K - yes, there is only war, but there is still always hope that things could change.

You may also be interested in:


More on this topic:

Hailing from rainy England, April spent much of her youth curled up in front of the TV, chasing high scores and completing quests. Now, her quests bring her to the writing desk.
Gamer Since: 2010
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Baldur's Gate 3
Top 3 Favorite Games:Fallout 4, Metro 2033, XCOM: Enemy Unknown

More Top Stories