Warhammer 40K Leviathan First Look

Ahead of the massive launch of Warhammer 40K 10th Edition, we got a chance to dive into the Warhammer 40K #Leviathan launch box! #New40k #WarhammerCommunity

Published: June 4, 2023 3:29 PM /

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An image of the box contents, partially painted, of Warhammer 40K Leviathan

With the announcement of their newest big box set, Warhammer 40K Leviathan, Games Workshop also propels the game into its latest iteration - 10th Edition. But what's going on in the Warhammer 40K galaxy, and what comes in this new set? We were lucky enough to get a copy of the upcoming Warhammer 40K Leviathan box set, and I've put together my thoughts and first impressions on the box and the new edition! We'll follow up with an in-depth review of the set and system, but for now check out my initial reaction to Leviathan!

Before we dive in here, want to know more about Warhammer 40K? Check out our brand new Warhammer 40K Guide, which covers how to play, the different factions of the game, how 10th Edition ushers in the new era of the game, and more!

Warhammer 40K Leviathan Is A Hefty Box

The first thing I noticed as I dove into unboxing Leviathan is the sheer weight of the box. This is a truly robust release, and while it's not a Starter Set - and therefore doesn't include things like dice and a measuring stick, or any terrain - it includes sprue after sprue of models, and a thick, hardcover rulebook. This handy image from Games workshop does a nice job of depicting and breaking down all the contents:

An image of Warhammer 40K Leviathan depicting all components of the box.

I'm really impressed with the way Games Workshop decided to kick of this new edition with a box set containing 72 models (some of which are rather large). I thought that was really quite impressive. This is a truly massive amount of models, and for reasons I'll get to below, assembling everything was a snap!

The box is divided into two fighting forces, the Space Marines - those super space soldiers dedicated to eradicating all threats (Alien, Chaotic, and otherwise) from the imperium of mankind. And then there's the Tyranids, a seemingly neverending swarm of bio-genetically adaptive alien bugs who can lay waste to a planet in no time at all. 

An image of Warhammer 40K Leviathan Tyranid models, partially painted
A sampling of the swarm, some partially painted Tyranid models ready for their glow-up!

Warhammer 40K Leviathan's New Rules Rule

We'll do a deeper, more analytical dive into the new rules for Warhammer 40K Leviathan in our proper review of the box set (coming soon!), once we've had a chance to fully playtest everything, but for now I just wanted to speak to the way they feel upon first read through. To put it plainly, this is the massive refresh and upgrade to the ruleset that I believe the game has needed for a long time.

There are key decisions here that absolutely enhance the gaming experience. Some of those changes are major - like the way Battleshock tests now work, and how the psychic phase has been removed and folded into other phases - while others are relatively minor - like the design of datasheet cards for models. This truly is a game that's been made much more streamlined, but doesn't remove any of the complexity. 

Warhammer 40K Leviathan Miniatures unpainted gray
L to R: Apothecary Biologis, Captain in Terminator Armor, Librarian in Terminator Armor - Models like these are now considered Leaders, and can be added to a unit of frontline troops (instead of throwing out auras like they used to)

The rulebook itself is also an incredible source of inspiration. While there's a dedicated section in the middle of the book for the actual rules of how to play Warhammer 40K, the Warhammer 40K Leviathan rulebook bookends either side of that with pages and pages of lore, incredible artwork, and photographs of almost every major faction in the game. Flipping through it, I was hit with nostalgia for the days of my childhood, where I'd leaf through a rulebook - whether for Warhammer or D&D -  and just get lost in the story and visuals. Maybe I didn't really know how to play the game, or have anyone to play it with, but I knew I'd be a forever fan because of the depth of the tale being told through the rulebook.

That's the feeling I get with this new book, and I hope there's some kid out there who picks up this book and gets similarly inspired. If you'd like to take a peek at the rules yourself, Games Workshop just posted the rules for 10th edition for free. This is a great jumping on point for the game and the new rules are definitely worth leafing through.

An image from the Warhammer 40K Leviathan rulebook
An image from the Leviathan rulebook depicting a Combat Patrol of Adeptus Custodes - this image along would have sent adolescent Giaco down a rabbit hole of inpiration.

Warhammer 40K Leviathan's Models Are More Accessible Than Ever

My favorite aspect about this entire box is the way the models are constructed and meant to be assembled. Every single model in Warhammer 40K Leviathan, from the lowly Termagant to the lumbering Ballistus Dreadnought, are all push-fit. That means that, while you'll still have to snip them out of their plastic sprues, you'll not need an ounce of glue to put these models together. This, to me, is a micro-chasm of the entire Warhammer 40K Leviathan experience - the models (like the game itself) are more approachable and accessible than ever before, but in my opinion no complexity, detail, or design flourish is lost at all in the process.

We're still, as you can see throughout this article, in the process of painting and testing different paint schemes and processes on these models, but they look absolutely stunning even base-coated white or with a quick and messy wash.

An image of Warhammer 40K Leviathan Terminators in action, based in white
The Terminators are ready to, well... terminate!

All in all, as we continue to dive into Warhammer 40K Leviathan, there's a general feeling that Games Workshop is listening to the fanbase, and also understanding how to bring new players into the hobby without alienating the dedicated fanbase. This set doesn't wipe away the levels of complexity that make the game so special, but it makes smart quality of life improvements across the board that should make just about everyone happy.

Stay tuned for more! For now, I've got Tyranids to pulverize with my Terminator Squad.

The copy of Warhammer 40K Leviathan used to create this preview was provided by Games Workshop. All photographs (save the photograph depicting the contents of the box) were taken by the author for the purposes of this preview.

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Giaco Furino joined the TechRaptor team as a Staff Writer in 2019 after searching for a dedicated place to write and talk about Tabletop Games. In 2020, he… More about Giaco