So you actually came back for Part 2. We figured for sure we’d seen our last page view on Goonhammer dot com after part one but here you are, hate-reading the fuck out of us. That’s fine – we’ll take the page views however we can get them. As a quick refresher, in this series, ANAmal.net and TheChirurgeon are giving the definitive ranking of space marine legions/chapters/after-school clubs/European art-rock collectives from the first founding. This week, we’re covering Legions VI through X. So strap in and prepare to seethe with rage as we clown on your favorite power-armored fucksquad.
VI Legion: The Space Wolves
ANAmal.net: Toilet clowns. Fuck them. Take them out behind the woodshed in the Slam Sector and put them out of all our misery.
TheChirurgeon: The Dark Angels player has logged on, I see.
ANAmal.net: Hey now, they have positive aspects too. For example, there are no Space Wolves successor chapters. That’s a good thing they did, was not reproduce.
TheChirurgeon: I think there actually are a few.
ANAmal.net: There was one, I think, but they all died due to their weird pug snouts couldn’t take in enough air. Also they drooled all over the furniture so no one would re-home them.
TheChirurgeon: That checks out. Everyone knows these are the marines that got all the inbred, recessive genes.
ANAmal.net: I don’t mind the norse berzerker thing they have going on, and I can even allow Wulfen to exist as a warning of how Space Marines should not be, but the dog gimmick sucks and I’ve gotten dumpstered by Space Wolves so many times. I’m also still mad about how good their jets were back in 7th, when the Dark Angels got glass cannons that weren’t actually that much of a cannon, and the Wolves somehow used guns to glue two Razorbacks together.
TheChirurgeon: My god are the Wulfen models bad. With their power jorts and weird high-stepping poses and the champion who looks like he’s falling backwards. I didn’t love the old metal Wulfen from Eye of Terror, but I’ll take them over the current batch of Sasquatch-on-ice looking fucks.
ANAmal.net: The single most damning thing I can say about those models is that the jorts are the best part of the sculpt. Here is the number of times I have looked at the Space Wolves and thought “cool model”: none. I have done this None times.
TheChirurgeon: At least the 30k version of the Wulfen look rad as hell with their skull helmets and black armor. Basically the only part of the 30k Space Wolves range that doesn’t look embarrassingly bad or have upside-down guns. Though to be fair, the upside-down guns are extremely on-brand for these drunk idiot marines.
ANAmal.net: That’s maybe the one endearing thing about them, is the Mechanicum giving them the messed-up reject bolters, knowing they’d never notice because every Space Wolf is too stupid to use the thing, other than as a club. The chapter actually screens for that, keeps them all dumb but obedient.
TheChirurgeon: That and tiny metal Ragnar.
ANAmal.net: Old metal Ragnar rules because looks like a lumpy dipshit, but he is still one hundred times better than new plastic Grimnar, with his “this is pod racing” ass.
TheChirurgeon: Fuckin’ Santa Claus-ass Chapter Master. Everyone else is out here dying and this fuckass is trying to win the Iditarod
TheChirurgeon: Bjorn’s the real star of the chapter. Every model he’s had owns and I love that his one request about being interred in dreadnought was “Hey don’t cover me with a bunch of wolf shit like some 12 year-old girl’s Tweety Bird Trapper Keeper”
ANAmal.net: Yeah, his dying request was for them not to be Lisa Frank assholes with his sarcophagus, and of course they went and did it anyway. He still got off easier than Murderfang, who has the coolest name in 40k but is also a Dreadnought what has his bare fucking head sticking out the front. They took the “no helmets” idea to its logical extreme, and just like everything else about this worthless chapter, it turns out that their core competency is being comically exaggerated fuck-ups.
FINAL RATING: 1 out of 5 Hairy men in cut-off jorts howling at the moon on an XXL Men’s t-shirt that smells like wet dog
VII Legion: Imperial Fists
TheChirurgeon: The Ultramarines catch a lot of shit for being boring, but for my money, these guys are the true boringest chumps of the 41st millennium. Just a slice of white bread covered in mayonnaise being served at a Country Club 30 miles outside of Raleigh.
ANAmal.net: Pottery Barn lookin ass fortress monastery. Purity seals are just old receipts from different CostCo runs. The chapter so bland and patrician that they live on a giant boat (a yacht, not a houseboat, which would at least be cool in a scumbag type of way).
ANAmal.net: The sole personality trait of their primarch is that he sucks and has no friends. Which, I mean, sure, the primarchs were all messed up in their own ways, but when your brothers include two different types of Dracula and a smelly trash goblin, being the least-likable of the lot is really saying something.
TheChirurgeon: I like how the fluff tries to dress this up as “he’s just too upstanding and honest and SOME PEOPLE are put off by that. It’s like everyone you’ve ever met on a reality show who introduces themselves by talking about how they just “tell it like it is” and like to “keep it real with people” and you know immediately that A) that person is a complete asshole and that B) they are absolutely going to be the first person to get in a fistfight down at Beachcomber Bar.
ANAmal.net: There’s also Sigismund, who was a thousand years old when he showed up in Black Legion and clowned on Abbadon as hard as continuity would possibly allow.
TheChirurgeon: I got nothing but respect for Sigismund. Dude’s hard as a coffin nail.
ANAmal.net: Yeah, Sigismund can’t do enough work to redeem this extremely pointless legion, but he tries, and single-handedly saves them from the absolute bottom tier.
TheChirurgeon: It doesn’t help that these guys are widely known as the biggest pains in the ass to paint. Holy fuck, an entire legion in bright yellow. Even the fluff acknowledges how stupid this is conceptually, and then shrugs it off by making the legion a bunch of dumbasses who are just like “stealth is for cowards; we prefer to walk headfirst into enemy fire and get shot in the face.”
ANAmal.net: A legion of ceramite-clad superhuman warriors, none of them wearing shirts, all stumbling forwards, taking fire from enemies in concealed positions, screaming “Hold me back, bro!” at each other while they absorb bolt rounds into their exposed pecs.
TheChirurgeon: The downside of clowning on their paint jobs is that all the Imperial Fists players I know are so fucking good at painting it makes me angry to look at their beautiful, stupid, bright yellow models. This has to be how god felt after he created Gronk.
ANAmal.net: Gronk would definitely be an Imperial Fist, but he wouldn’t even realize they were an army, he’d just think he joined the rowdiest frat on campus.
TheChirurgeon: …with the weirdest hazing rituals.
FINAL RATING: 2 OUT OF 5 Weird pain fetish gloves your buddies ask you to stick your hand in on a dare while snickering
SIGISMUND RATING: 5 OUT OF 5 Dead characters we really should have kept away from him
VIII Legion: Night Lords
ANAmal.net: Shit yeah.
TheChirurgeon: My first legion, the Night Lords perfectly encapsulate everything that a 13 year-old kid in the 90s would have thought was cool as hell. They’re basically like what would happen if you took a copy of 1994’s Spawn / Batman crossover drawn by Todd MacFarlane and written by Frank Miller, put it in a blender with a copy of Mortal Kombat II on the Sega Genesis and a Wolverine action figure, then pulped it into a fine paste and poured it into a plastic mould for space marines.
ANAmal.net: To be fair, 13 year-old you wasn’t exactly wrong. These guys were, and remain, the raddest dudes in the galaxy.
TheChirurgeon: No, obviously 13 year-old me had that shit figured exactly right cause the Night Lords are still the coolest-looking legion by a country mile, what with their skulls and lightning bolts and batwing skulls.
ANAmal.net: They have such a commitment to their aesthetic that it wraps all the way around from being completely doofy and starts to own again. I’ll admit I’m not as up on the traitor legions as you are, but I do know that cutting off someone else’s face and stapling it onto your face is the most metal thing you can do.
TheChirurgeon: The problem is that, while initially their primarch was a cool, dark, tortured figure, every new thing we learn about him makes him less like “Trent Reznor Batman who just went full-on Punisher” and more like “Criss Angel in a hot topic moping about how dad doesn’t get him.” I fully expect the next book on Night Haunter is going to just contain a bunch of the poetry he wrote about enacting dark vengeance.
ANAmal.net: Curze is the type of budding sociopath that would fry ants with a magnifying glass, but it didn’t work because there’s no sunlight on Nostramo, and that just made him even more fucked up, but he was cool with it because Becoming Fucked Up is the source of his power. I’m surprised the Night Lords ever conquer anything, they seem more likely to be out in the yard stabbing each other and trying to train a vulture as a pet.
TheChirurgeon: They also run away. Like, a lot. Half of their battles in the Night Lords trilogy are them fucking off before shit gets real. And also that one scene where a dude literally headbutts a terminator to death and it is the rudest shit.
ANAmal.net: That is the single most disrespectful thing I have ever heard.
TheChirurgeon: Those books are so good.
FINAL RATING: 5 OUT OF 5 Corpse-painted Juggalos shopping for butterfly knives out of a catalog they found in the woods
IX Legion: Blood Angels
TheChirurgeon: The second prettiest legion, filled with blonde vampire fuckbois whose MO is roiding out over that one time their dad got beat up in public.
ANAmal.net: I’m always of two minds about these guys. On the one hand, Sanguinius legit owns. On the other, every other thing about them sucks ass.
TheChirurgeon: Sanguinius’ model is cool as hell. It looks even better splayed across Horus’ feet as a casualty.
ANAmal.net: Their successor chapters are a real murderer’s row of fuck-ups too. The Flesh Tearers got all the blood idiots and none of the artificers or noble warriors, but they sent the real assholes to the Soul Drinkers, where they all sprouted spider legs for some reason.
TheChirurgeon: It’s a shame because the Flesh Tearers are my favorite of the “rules-recognized” successor chapters. They’ve just got such a cool paint scheme and Flesh Tearer Furioso Dreadnoughts are cool as hell.
ANAmal.net: Furiosos in general are dope as hell. Blood Angels as an army are fairly sick, provided that every model either has a jump pack or is a wizard inside of a robot. Unfortunately the overlap on the Venn diagram of “has good model” and “has good rules” for them is just “jet pack/thunderhammer Captain”, which means you only ever see BlOoD aNgElS sLaM cApTaInS in their own little quote-unquote “army”, and it’s stupid and it sucks to play against. Evidently the only part of the chapter that didn’t get devoured by Tyranids on Baal was the nursery where they raise the jumpy-smashy bois.
TheChirurgeon: It’s also a shame that as soon as you get past the Death Company and Furioso Dreadnoughts, the Blood Angels’ aesthetic turns into “this is an army of Alucards”
ANAmal.net: I’d actually like them more if they leaned harder into that. They need to all have dumb accents and high collars, and call their captains Count. Name all their jets after different species of bats, who cares. Nothing matters anymore, just make each chapter as stupid as possible instead of trying to be cool with this Gilded Host garbage.
TheChirurgeon: Yeah I think I agree. They’d be cooler if they just went HAM on being a Legion of Draculas.
ANAmal.net: It actually sucks that 40k has legions for most of the characters from The Monster Squad (you got Draculas, Wolfmen, even an army of The Mummies), but I don’t think there’s a good Frankenstein legion.
TheChirurgeon: What about the Death Guard? They’ve got that “pile of rotting corpses” thing going on. Plus you’ve got the Legion of the Damned who are basically g-g-ghoooost marines (oooOOOooo). Feels like there’s enough going on to get a graveyard smash going
ANAmal.net: Legion of the Damned are some Scooby Doo villains, you’re gonna capture one and pull off his helmet and it’s just your racist landlord inside, who wanted to scare people off the property so he could turn it into an overpriced AirBnB. We’ll cover Death Guard next week, and they almost get there, but they don’t properly re-attach parts, so it’s just that being around them is a grave-robber’s wet dream.
FINAL RATING: 4 out of 5 Draculas. But like, Gary Oldman boobhair Draculas in red satin bathrobes – too cool to be the Robert Pattinson sparkly Draculas, but not cool enough to be Blades
X Legion: Iron Hands
TheChirurgeon: The most Robocop legion.
ANAmal.net: 1. “Serve the public trust”, 2. “Protect the innocent”, 3. “Uphold the law”, 4. “Any attempt to throw hands at Fulgrim results in shutdown”
TheChirurgeon: “5. Shoot the dicks off anyone who comes near you. The flesh is weak.”
ANAmal.net: Felt cute, might chop off my hands later, idk.
ANAmal.net: I vastly prefer the plot to The Man With The Iron Fists over the Iron Hands’ story. It has Wu-Tang in it, and Dave Bautista just wrecking shop on dudes. That’s a guy that knows what turning yourself into metal is all about, right there.
TheChirurgeon: Someone tell the Hellsreach or Astartes animators to make Our Scene 27 with an Iron Hands marine taking on a horde of Chaos Cultists, thanks
ANAmal.net: To pitch in on this one, I asked for input from our local Iron Hands player, Goonhammer author haha I’m kidding we don’t have one. No one plays this army and no one ever will.
TheChirurgeon: Yeah I’ve legit never seen an Iron Hands army in person. The closest I think I’ve gotten is back in 7th edition when they got cool rules and then there were a bunch of “Counts as” Iron Warriors armies suddenly using Iron Hands rules because the Chaos rules were so goddamn bad the alternative was to just leave your mans in a closet to save everyone the time and hassle of dumpstering them. Even trying to get a photo of them for this article was a major chore until I remembered I painted one from the Deathwatch: Overkill box.
ANAmal.net: I should be clear though, I actually do enjoy the Iron Hands’ particular brand of bullshit. Slowing turning yourself into a robot instead of just working out like a normal person is a cheat code to getting swole that I can get behind.
TheChirurgeon: Yeah I mean the alternative is apparently having Cawl cut you open and giving you pec, bicep, and glute implants, then you flatline on the operating table for like 8 minutes and when you wake up, you can’t ride in a rhino no more.
ANAmal.net: Cawl had 10,000 years to figure out what the hell he was doing, though. Old Iron Hands shows up, and he only knows machines. He’s got a hammer, so everything starts looking like a nail. Not a terrible guy, just I think maybe he shouldn’t have been allowed to tinker on things made out of flesh.
TheChirurgeon: It’s definitely a shame that no one plays them. I suspect that part of it is that space marine dreadnoughts have been adorable but bad for a long time and taking a shitload of them is about 50% of the Iron Warriors’ jam.
ANAmal.net: Yeah, and the other 50% of their main deal was being able to attach Terminators, who were also adorable but bad, to their squads. Iron Hands are frustrating because they could have been so cool. A tank-humping chapter of cyborg marines sounds incredible, but the version of them we got in this hellish reality is lame, and the wasted potential makes it even worse.
FINAL RATING: 2 OUT OF 5 useless, fleshy limbs we had amputated in our relentless pursuit of mechanical bodily perfection
Hey you’ve already read two of these, why not keep torturing yourself?
Well, that’ll do it for Part 2. We sure had fun, didn’t we? We hope you enjoyed reading this as we enjoyed writing it, so I guess not very much. As always, we welcome your feedback with open arms, and firstname.lastname@example.org is available if you need to violently Have Opinions at us. If there’s anything you think we missed, or a point you disagree on, be sure to talk shit about us to your internet friends on forums, Discord, or Slack. We may never know exactly what you’re saying in those private conversations, but I’m sure we’ll get the gist, and we definitely 100% care what you think about it.
And be sure to join us next week for part 3, where we cover Legions XI to XV.