The Grim, Dark Galaxy of Warhammer 40k Trading Cards

Wow these cards look awesome, shouldn’t surprise anyone since they are made by Panini the most creative designer in the business right now. Let’s look at some Warhammer 40k Trading Cards!

So far on this site we’ve been looking at anime trading cards from AliExpress. While I do have a lot of those, the boxes cost less than a sandwich in many cases, that isn’t all I have. I also have a series of sports card boxes to get to at some point, and some even stranger stuff – You know they made trading cards that are actually little model kits? I have a bunch of those too! Today though, I really want to show you this excellent Warhammer 40k trading cards.

Table of Contents

Cards and Coffee episode where I break a mega box of these Warhammer 40k trading cards
The packaging for the starter set of Dark Galaxy Warhammer 40k trading cards by panini.

The Box… er, Bag? Binder? The Starter Kit

These are western trading cards, specifically European as they are produced by Panini and only sold in the UK specifically. I don’t know why these are not sold in North America, or even the rest of Europe, I mean I kind of do – Games Workshop licensing dept is run by drunk raccoons. I kid, I kid, it probably is licensing issues – but for whatever reason they only sell these in the UK. If you check their site there are actually a ton of amazing sets only available there.

So I had to import these Warhammer 40k trading cards, as you know “right of first sale” is easily my favorite international legal doctrine. I ended up ordering them from a kind of amazing seller named Booghe Toys. They were not cheap, western cards are more expensive to begin with, but then I also had to pay Ebay fees and shipping which is not as easy to game as it is from China, shipping was nearly as expensive as the product itself.

I ordered a range of products from the series so I could get more packs but also look at the different ways this is sold. Today we’re looking at the starter kit, all Panini sets have one of these – they are actually sold at supermarkets like magazines in the UK, it’s kind of amazing. I paid just about $35 for this all-in shipped and everything, you’ll notice the retail price is £8.99 which is closer to $12 – so that gives you an idea of the ebay tax lol.

But I really wanted them, so I paid it anyway. In the end I’ve effectively paid $6 a pack for these – which is now by far the most expensive packs I own. Still, I shouldn’t complain at least I’m not collecting NFL cards – where a single pack can cost $7,000, and that’s not some out-of-print thing, that’s a 2023 retail product at it’s retail price. Anyway the point is I love Warhammer 40k.

The starter kit comes with a card binder, it’s all clear plastic and cheap feeling though, it would be a shame to put these awesome cards into something like that in my opinion. I won’t use that, I’ll use my fancy binders instead. It also comes with a ton of information about the universe, this set, and the other Warhammer 40k products. Then it comes with 3 packs, which is why I bought it.

The Set

This is the first western set we’ve looked at, you can throw out everything I’ve taught you about how the Kayou and other AliExpress sets work. Those sets use rarity levels, and subsets to break things up and give you plenty of things to chase. The western manufacturers make a product that really can only be described as a slot machine.

Rather than different cards being at different rarity levels, in these you get the same cards with different treatments, called “parallels” and “inserts“. In some sets, mostly the sports oriented ones, these will be numbered too like x of 255 or x of 10 or even 1 of 1 if you get incredibly lucky.

While some Chinese manufacturers, like LeCard’s Duel Gundam series, have started printing serial numbered cards like that – it’s still pretty rare over there. Having serial numbered cards or an insert scheme greatly increases the production costs of the product.

One major benefit of western cards is that anti-gambling regulations across many countries make it so the manufacturers tend to just publish odds everywhere. So we can know pretty much exactly what is in this before we buy and start opening things. The set starts with 225 base cards – already that is significantly larger than any set we’ve look at – most AliExpress sets have 40-50 base cards. 150 of those are “Only War” cards, the base base rarity. Then you’ve got 50 webway, 15 inferno and 10 adamantium which are chase cards for the set.

For parallels, which are random cards that card replace an only-war card in pack, there are 3 types: crusade, vanguard and purge. Each parallel has different rarities, so crusade is 1 in 3 packs while purge is one in 10 packs. Then there is one other type of card called “voidborn” which are only in the blaster and mega boxes – don’t worry I have one of those too for later. That’s a lot of cards to collect, even with my 29 packs of 8 cards each, I’m not getting close to completing this. Still I should see a ton of Warhammer 40k trading cards!

The Warhammer 40k Trading Cards

Another thing Panini does that you don’t see often is multiple pack art, there are three distinct designs in the starter kit. I don’t think they are different like a box promo pack would be – just different artwork. From what I’ve read the artwork on this product is generally from the various Codexes that have been published – but the art in those was always stellar so no complaints here. The packs feel different then the others too, they aren’t foil they are more paper-like, maybe a recycled paper?

I opened 1 pack so far, as you know we do around here, so I have 8 cards to show you today. I’ll only put three in the article but you can find the rest in the database. First one is a classic, Cassius is a famous leader of the Deathwatch Space Marines. These Warhammer 40k trading cards look great! Full color printing on both side, about the same weight as those 10-yuan Dragon Ball cards. This card is an “only war” card, so this is the base rarity non-parallel version of the card. I love that the backs have little bios, and I can even read these ones.

Each pack has 8 cards, from the rarity chart we should expect to see 6 of those base “only war” cards, and I did. The other two should be upgrades then, this one is a “crusade” parallel of the Venomthropes. This is the lowest level parallel at 1 in 3 packs. It looks cool, that border is what makes it “parallel” – the artwork is the same as the base card. The border has a silver foil treatment on it, the base cards don’t have any foil just coated color printing.

Then this “webway” card was my special in this pack. From the chart there should be 1 of these in each pack so this is not an upgrade, but just the standard special for these packs. This one features the Biophagus, a kind of medic for all that is worth in this universe. This card has foil embossing and that sweet almost stained glass background. It’s a great looking card, not quite to the level of the Gundam cards, but still I’m really happy with it.


So that’s a look at our first western set of trading cards, and we started with Warhammer 40k trading cards! Kind of interesting how much is different and still you see so many common elements in the layouts and framing designs. The parallel and insert system is kind of fun too – although it does quickly approach slot-machine levels of gambling, so be careful if you are prone to addictions like that. We will look at more of these in the future, and even get into the modern Sports cards being produced by Tops and Upper Deck. But now, I have a pack battle to run, let’s do this!

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