Rise of the Primarch: Meet 40K’s Newest Faction


BoLS will be bringing you Rise of the Primarch coverage all week. Let’s start our exploration with the faction no one expected.

This is a BIG day – with the third volume of Gathering Storm unveiled, GW is reshaping the grimdark in ways no one has seen in the past 30 years.  This book does more than advance the storyline, but adds new rules, characters and factions to the game, and sets us up for bigger changes as 2017 progresses. More on that in the days ahead.

I’m coming for you Fulgrim!

For decades the  player community has been saying that 40K never advances and that of only GW would shake things up a bit it would make everything better.  Then the rumors of the big 2017 shakeup arrived and everyone got all “end times anxious” and didn’t want too much change (we’re never happy).  In Book 3 GW has done a good job of threading the needle.  There are some BIG shakeups in this book, and the Imperium will not be the same again. A lot of cool callbacks to the 30K Horus Heresy era are in there which should delight Black Library readers.  There are minor characters showing up all over the place for their 15 minutes of fame and plenty of loose ends left dangling for Nottingham to pull on in the future.  The book doesn’t end in a cliffhanger, but sets up a “new normal” that is a very different place for the Imperium of Man to find itself in.  Perfect in fact as a place to pause and release a new edition of the game.  I would expect the loose ends and boatloads of foreshadowing to pick up later in the year, hopefully with lots of new crazy minis.

As you would expect Space Marines are the center of attention in the book and the Ultramarines plus their successor Chapters in particular.

Note remember, the Ultramarines are only one of THREE factions with Detachments in the book.  The Grey Knights and Cypher’s merry band of brothers get some attention and detachments as well.

But enough of the teases – we’ll have much more on that this week.  Today let’s take a look at the faction I did not expect to see in the book and what it will mean for the grimdark:

Look at that SEXY cover!  It’s like he just picked up the Iron Throne from Westeros and hauls it around as a backpack.

Here’s the table of contents to give you a head start on what to expect.  Take a good look at those new units and formation names to get a feel for the book.

Now the back cover which you almost never get good look at. See anything interesting in there?

OK, here’s where we start to get into some detail.  Take a look at who’s in the book and who’s not.  There are a lot of very minor cameos in the book including two (and only two) of Magnus’ traitor brothers. The Yncarnne is nowhere to be found in Book 3, but that tricksy Sylandri Veilwalker is all over the place.  If you’re looking for Abaddon, he’s sitting this one out.

Hello Cypher!

Finally a taste of what most surprised me. Cypher’s Fallen Angels are in the book and get faction rules, units, and a detachment. I was at most expecting just a reprint of Cypher’s rules with his updated minis, but instead we get a new 40K faction with an allies table.  I think you’ll agree that it’s a very interesting one and I can’t wait to see what armies people are going to put together with it:

A faction that is Battle Brothers with Armies of the Imperium AND Chaos Marines, but pretty much hates Daemons has a LOT of possibilities. Plus it will only make the Dark Angels even more pissed off.

The Gathering Storm: Rise of the Primarch $50

Cadia, the long-standing symbol of Imperial defiance against the relentlessly encroaching tides of Chaos, has fallen to the fury of Abaddon’s Thirteenth Black Crusade. Craftworld Biel-Tan has been shattered, along with the dreams of their restoration to prominence. Chaos is ascending – all across the galaxy, raging Warp storms cause havoc as reality itself twists in agony.

Hope, however, remains. An alliance of Ynnari and Celestinian forces has found common ground in their desire to ward off Chaos. These heroes of the Imperium and warriors of the Aeldari race through the webway to Macragge, there to attempt the unthinkable – awaken Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines, and seek his leadership in this desperate battle for nothing less than survival. The Storm Gathers…

The Book

Rise of the Primarch is the third book in the Gathering Storm series. This 136-page hardback introduces the Triumvirate of the Primarch – a trio of heroes including Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines – and draws the threads of the thrilling story of the Gathering Storm together in dramatic fashion. Heroes new and old rise in defense of the Imperium, and the universe of Warhammer 40,000 will be changed forever.

The Rules

As is appropriate for such an apocalyptic tome, Rise of the Primarch is packed full of rules content for Warhammer 40,000:

– Datasheets for the Triumvirate of the Primarch – field Cypher, Grand Master Voldus of the Grey Knights and Roboute Guilliman in games of Warhammer 40,000;
– Warlord Traits and Relics for Ultramarines forces;
– Formations allowing you to field The Fallen, the Grey Knights’ Bulwark of Purity, the Victrix Guard of the Ultramarines and the Triumvirate of the Imperium;
– Daemonic Adversaries – these special rules allow you to field Grey Knights against enemies that are not necessarily Daemonic in nature, meaning your Grey Knights can be fielding without breaking narrative;
– 5 Echoes of War missions, detailing key battles from Rise of the Primarch;
– 3 Cataclysm of War missions – these represent desperate battles fought during the Gathering Storm.
– In Pursuit of the Fallen – special objectives to be used when fielding Cypher, units of the Fallen, and models of the Dark Angels faction.

~Have fun folks, and check back all week for more Rise of the Primarch reviews and more.

P.S. The entire fluff book is amazing and like the last page says… “A dark new age called from amidst the fires of endless war, and the Imperium would answer.”

  • Old zogwort

    whooo this looks cool : D

  • Josh Sands

    Super bummed Guilliman can’t hitch a ride at all.

    • Brian Griffith

      Ultramarines will have to console themselves with the pounds upon pounds of cheese that were stapled to the guy as ablative armor.

    • Johan Strandh

      Can’t he use a Thunderhawk or Stormbird even though he is MC?

      • Djbz

        If the thunderhawk rules say that it can carry a monstrous creature, which I’m not sure it does.
        Vehicles it mentions for definate but Space Marines have never had a monstrous creature so i doubt they put it in there

        • Someone

          All super heavy transports can in th core rules , they count as ten models

      • Cergorach

        Nah, this is the opportunity to get those old Primarch dropships out of mothballs…

    • BrianDavion

      I ehard there is a formation consiting of gulliman, honor guard, Cato and some veterns that allow those units to Look out sir for gulliman though, so something

    • Which is odd, considering he had his own personal Land Raider during the Great Crusade.

  • Steve L Duelist

    fallen faction, kick-ass, it is like alternative DA rules

    • Jackie M


      • Steve L Duelist

        look at the faction image in the post, Cypher nor any fallen angels unit may include in an army with DA faction models. So you are either running DA or FA rules.

  • zeno666

    Yay, more space marine stuff.

    • NNextremNN

      another Space Marine stuff rant … what did you expect to get in a book that deals with Space Marines and Chaos? Tyranid? Orks?

      • Maitre Lord Ironfist

        ya gitz, cupher iz da baddest sneekgrot in da wholz orcz unvivarse! He so sneeky hez juzd disguized himzelf az a spezz marinn! To tesd da big humanz skyzdaddy, wut do ya know!

        • NNextremNN

          Well they are allies of convenience 😉

      • Hawt Dawg


        • DJ860

          Who is this Warmachine and what chapter does he belong to?

          • Hawt Dawg

            Warmahordos Sekundus.

          • Drew_Da_Destroya

            He’s part of the Iron Legion, obviously. Chapter Master Tony Stark.

      • Matt


        another internet lurker complaining about another lurker complaining.


        • ChubToad

          I dunno to which lurker you’re referring to, yourself or the others. It’s actually quite fitting and self referring at the same time….

          • piglette

            Anyone remember lurker D?

        • NNextremNN


          another complain about complaining about a complainer.

          your turn ;P

    • BrianDavion

      you realize ultramarines missed out on Angels of Death bonuses right? now we know why

  • Nyyppä

    Did CSM just get allied grav spam?

    • spla5hmummy

      Do Dark Angels have grav?

      • Djbz


        • NNextremNN

          Well let’s wait and see what the Fallen can use.

          • Randy Randalman

            Right. Chaos is getting to ally with Fallen, not Dark Angels.

          • Karru

            Part of me hopes that they have access to everything within the Dark Angel arsenal outside Deathwing, Ravenwing and Named Characters. This is purely because of the possibilities of getting an actual army out of them and not just one unit of guys surrounding Cypher.

          • deris87

            They’d be a Heresy era army, and based on the pictures we’ve seen they’re intended to be built using the plastic HH power armor kit.

          • Karru

            Actually, as part of the “pre-orders” there is now a “Fallen” box which is just the Dark Angel Company Veteran kit.

          • Lewismauler

            Theres also a bundle that includes one of the “fallen” boxes and one of the mkiv heresy era marines.

      • Nyyppä

        I think so?

  • Coltcabunny

    Because if there’s one thing that 40k needs; it’s more factions… /s

    • Cergorach

      *shrugs* They did something fluffy with a remade character mini, further recycling existing miniatures. Cypher was already an existing minis, they just plastified it, released it at a reasonable price with two other SM characters…

      Papa Smurf was already a FW mini, now folks can play 30k UM with their Primarch in plastic… For about half the FW mini + shipping I’m getting three characters… I might even get another box and de-bling Papa Smurf for a more 30k feel.

      They also introduced a plastic GK character mini, a faction that didn’t have a plastic character mini…

      I don’t mind ‘new’ factions like these, I don’t even expect to see them all that much especially in a year or so…

      • Karru

        I’m with you there. This isn’t exactly “new” like Deathwatch, GSC or even Ad Mech was. They just recycled old models, remade one and gave them their own faction. To me, that is actually far better solution than just releasing a full priced codex for 2-4 units.

        • Lewismauler

          lol tempestus

  • Emprah

    I’m sure the Dark Angels will just love Guilliman. How do they ally with the Imperium and the Chaos legions at the same time?

    Are some fallen for Chaos, while others secretly trying to redeem themselves?

    • BrianDavion

      I imagine the book will give some explination, but Cypher has always been… inconsistant in his allegiance

      • Korvalus

        He’s not inconsistent. Cypher has a plan, and that requieres him to play both sides. In the former datasheet for him has fluff bits of him killing both DA masters who oversepped in their “Pursuit of the Fallen” and making a mess in the Imperium and few pages after, executing a Fallen who went too overboard in the hedonist side (He had a harem! A Space Marine, a harem!), guiding the DA to other Fallen acting as a bait and helping the imperials when they’re in a pinch.

        That’s his main selling point: he’s so misterious in his motives and actions that no one knows what he’s into. And now allying with a primarch, Guilliman no less, only adds more fuel to the fire.

        The Fallen themselves has alwais been in a rather grey area. Some are full blown CSM, others “retired” from being an astartes and lived quiet lives, a few want redemtion in their own way, depends of the Fallen in question.

      • Lewismauler

        He’s not inconsistent, he’s for the greater good. The end justifies the means.

    • Morgrim

      Renegades fit under CSM, and the Fallen that didn’t side with Chaos or go and hide in solitude mostly teamed with people that like humanity but not the politics of the Imperium, so it’d work with that.

  • Korvalus

    Am I the only one who noticed these “Daemonic Adversaries”? Didn’t the 3rd Ed. Daemonhunters codex have something similar?

    • grim_dork

      Yes it did, and it was totally cool.

      • Robert Thornton-Kaye

        Indeed. It inspired me to make a nurglesque guard army and to write rules to help players fully turn their armies to chaos: https://fandexes.wordpress.com/2017/01/20/taint-of-chaos/ I will also update my rules for making your own daemons as I really liked the somewhat overpriced random daemons that could be used by adversaries.

  • Emperor’s Champion

    such a shame the smurf’s model isn’t as cool as the art work. Can’t stand the legion/chapter. As a fists player being sympathetic on this subject is insane but still such an awful pose and the proportions are so silly, makes regular marines look “right”?

    • SWISSchris
      • Hrudian

        wow, good job actually. Much more added parts than I saw on first sight 😉

        • SWISSchris

          Found the pic on a 40k facebook site a week or so ago and it’s made me really want the new primarch model to do this conversion for real. I’m just not very keen on it painted up as Robbie G. Would fit in a bit better with my blood angels, crimson fists and space wolves forces that way.

      • Emperor’s Champion

        does feel much better seeing that but my main gripe is the pose, looks like he’s trying to balance awkwardly

  • Aezeal

    A faction that is Battle Brothers with Armies of the Imperium AND Chaos Marines, but pretty much hates Daemons has a LOT of possibilities. Plus it will only make the Dark Angels even more pissed off.

    It’s kinda odd.. isn’t it?

  • phobosftw

    Ah.. the Fallen – I`m super exited by the whole faction thing – But with only
    three pages dedicated to them in the new book, how much stuff can they
    really cram in there? idk….assembling and painting fallen
    legionnaires until further notice – for Caliban!

  • Sparti67

    Interesting he hates demons. So he hates the fallen primarchs who are demons and hates the demon prince marines. However, the legions they lead he doesn’t hate? Cypher has the unique ability to recruit brother space marines of fallen chapters and loyalists. Very cool. Now, if he can get the traitor legions to turn on their primarchs….

  • Meo

    Does anybody else mentally do the Cato Sicarius voice whenever you read his name ?

    • Bofh

      i, cato sicarius, would certainly never read the glorious words of i, cato sicarius, in the voice of i, cato sicarius, for such would be heresy, and i, cato sicarius, am without doubt the furthest thing possible from a heretic, as i, cato sicarius, am immune to heresy.

  • SWISSchris

    Not sure how this is a surprise faction – leaked pictures showed Fallen Dark Angels marines with Cypher weeks ago…?

    • Karru

      Well, for me this is actually a surprise. Giving Dark Angels a repaint and calling them Fallen would be simple. The fact that they are another faction entirely and they have the ability to ally with CSM already raises some interesting ideas.

      • SWISSchris

        Oh yeah good point – the rules are definitely something I wasn’t expecting! I was only referring to the presence of the Fallen in general that have already been shown. Should make for some interesting new army build options – fluffier with chaos renegades (e.g. red cosairs) than the legions IMO

        • Karru

          Precisely! This is exactly what I am hoping for. This would allow people to make “fresh” renegade forces. Use the main CSM codex or the Fallen rules and just add the missing units from one of them.

  • ChubToad

    Cypher has some explaining to do, the entire galaxy wants to know why is he the biggest SM troll in the galaxy.

    • Karru

      Nah, Alpha Legion is still the biggest trolls in the galaxy.

      • ChubToad

        True, they’re up there along GW haters 😉

        • Thomas

          Hahaha, yeah. People who don’t like the same toys as me are bad people who should be shamed.

          • ChubToad

            Exactly! LoL

      • Dan Wilson

        Although apparently AL get out trolled by Gulliman’s tactics in the new book.

  • Corvak

    Thinking my DA army is about to become fallen, though the ravenwing will probably be unusable, or i’d have to make a pure ravenwing force….I just like bikes ;w;

    • grim_dork

      You could always hit the bikes with the mark of nurgle. The conversions are a blast, and yeah you lose skilled rider but T6 is mostly hilarious.

  • ALittleGreeky

    I hope Daemonic adversaries for grey knights is a return of the old rule set that basically turned your enemies into daemons.

  • Thomas

    “For decades the player community has been saying that 40K never advances and that of only GW would shake things up a bit it would make everything better.”

    Not all of us. There’s simply no way they can pull this off in a way that satisfies everyone and doesn’t split the player base. Which is why they’d have been better off leaving 40k as a setting, not a badly-written narrative that comes off as fanfiction that thinks too highly of itself.

    • Denoobie

      You can treat 40k as just a setting and ignore the narrative, or make up your own. No one is forcing you to do anything.

      • Thomas

        People who wanted the story to advance have always been able to by creating their own narratives.

        But it’s hard to just “ignore” canon material. Especially when you want to ignore the new fluff and keep coming up against players running Cawl or the new Eldar or Guilliman.

        Eventually players who hate the new lore will end up being forced out as the new lore makes its way into every aspect of the game until it becomes impossible to keep them separate.

        • Denoobie

          You are exaggerating the importance of the fluff. If fluff dictated list choices the competitive scene would be very different, and every player would have to be a walking Lexicanum. Fluff can easily be ignored, and new models introduced alongside new fluff are only an issue if they break the game. Even then, any player worth bothering with will allow discussion around what units/rules are going to be allowed in any game. Either way, if power creep and imbalance end up making the game too difficult to play, that is a function of the rules, not the fluff.

          • Thomas

            Fluff’s the only reason I’m interested in 40k. I love(d) the lore and aesthetic. The game is just a side-activity, and one that I haven’t enjoyed that much since early 6th edition.

            With the fluff becoming as bad as it has lately, I don’t really find much to love. Which is a shame, because I’ve been into this setting since I was a kid and 2nd edition hit the scene.

  • MechBattler

    Ooh. Didn’t expect them to have Cypher playing both sides of the fence. What’s he REALLY after?
    Or maybe he and his brothers got sick of the secrets within secrets within secrets bullcrap of their chapter and said “Let’s bounce!”
    I know I’d get sick of that really fast.

  • Noah Jerge

    Fallen Angels faction logo is kvlt.