40K Lore: From Zero to Hero

Loremasters, today we go over some of the semi-mythical denizens of the Grimdark that you will be facing in the days ahead.

I know, I know. All the galaxy’s battlefields are a constant stream of Tzeentch Horrors, Marine super character units and Magnus – but no more. Get ready for some mysterious denizens of the grimdark you have have never seen before. Here’s a quick guide so you don’t get embarrassed in front of your troops:

Not seen since Rogue Trader…

Rough Riders

Rough Riders are fast moving troops of the Imperial Guard, mounted on a horse/animal/beast/grox/bike or other mount.

They are deployed on the battlefield as scouts, patrol units and for quick hit-and-run attacks; living mounts allow Rough Riders to function far from Imperial supply lines, in terrain unsuitable for mechanised warfare, and avoid detection. Though armoured no better than the average Guardsman, their speed and manoeuvrability is their true asset on the battlefield, able to charge into the enemy’s flanks for devastating effect.

Rough Riders are primarily trained for close combat, not ranged assault, they are often armed simply with a hunting lance and laspistol or other close-combat weapon, as well as frag and krak grenades; some squads will arm themselves with special weapons such as a flamer, grenade launcher, meltagun or plasma gun. Squads are generally composed of four to nine riders in addition to a Sergeant, who sometimes carries melta bombs in addition to a power weapon or plasma pistol.


The Blood Angels are said to be very excited…


The Predator is a battle tank employed by the Space Marines. It is a more heavily armed and armoured version of the Rhino personnel carrier. There are two major patterns of Predator, the Destructor and the Annihilator, primarily distinguished by their specific weaponry. The Blood Angels and their Successor Chapters employ the assault-oriented Baal Predator.

Construction of Predators remains restricted to a Chapter’s Armoury or allied Forge World, with most Chapters fielding between twenty to thirty of all types.


Rogue Traders report these xenos and “floating polar bears” are recent T’au allies. Not likely…


The Vespid, known as Stingwings by the Imperial Guard or Mal’Kor by the Tau) are an insectoid race allied with the Tau Empire.

Hailing from the world of Vespid, the race was already fairly technology adept when they were approached by the Tau Empire‘s Water Caste diplomats. It seemed unlikely that the Vespid would ever submit for the Greater Good, as their mindset was so freakishly different to anything the Tau could understand that their emissaries made little headway. However after the Ethereals provided the Vespids with a custom-made communication headset, the Vespids suddenly became completely complient, calmly accepting total annexation by the Tau Empire. Rumors have circulated every since as to what true purpose these headsets serve.


Ad Mech Arch-magos belive this image is simply a group of Obliterators attending a Chaos costume party.


Mutilators are mutated Chaos Space Marine heavy infantry who specialize in close combat. Closely resembling Obliterators, they are originally believed to be Chaos Space Marine Terminators who specialized in close quarters fighting, but as with all who harbour an obsession within the Warp, they grew to become the incarnation of the murderous desires in their heart. Mutilators are fed up with the fickle nature of mankind and prefer the simple purity of killing with the blade. This led to their gradual fall to the forces of Chaos.

Now mutated by the powers of Chaos, they have since bound themselves to the bloodthristy spirits of ancient weapons and dedicated themselves to the art of close slaughter. These spirits have psychic reflections in the Warp which make even the smallest scalpel a hungry killing machine capable of growing stronger with each foe it kills. An ancient or relic weapon may even have a limited sentience with a lust for battle that surpasses that of the wielder. Mutilators seek not only to commune with such war-spirits in their weapons but also absorb them, assimilating the Warp-spawned power into their own souls.


Never seen outside their box. Physical existance unlikely.


A Mandrake is a type of Dark Eldar native to the Commorragh region of Aelindrach whose physique has adapted to make him/her camouflaged almost anywhere. They have evolved the so-called shadow-skin, which makes them nigh-invisible out of direct light. They also exist within a different reality itself and are capable of entering into reality straight out of another person’s shadow. No-one knows how this dramatic change has occurred, not even their Dark Eldar kin. While the shadowskin could be just the result of warp exposure, other theories exist. Some consider them to be the very shadows brought to life, while others suggest that Mandrakes are a union of Eldar and Daemon.

One thing that is known about the Mandrakes is their lethality. Even the brutal denizens of Commorragh fear these creatures. Younger Dark Eldar call Mandrakes “creepers”, whispering that they can slink from one shadow and to another. They strike from the shadows, surprising and rending their enemies apart, with strength more often associated with Orks, rather than the Eldar.

Like the Terran buffalo, these once roamed the Hivefleets in endless herds… Now rarely seen outside a museum.


Carnifexes are hulking, powerful Tyranid creatures used as living battering rams. They are often armed with the most powerful Tyranid Bio-weapons, and are used in shock assaults, spaceship boarding actions, massed battles, and for battering through fortified positions and tank formations.

Carnifexes excel at thunderous charges, where their immense bulk is used to crush or smash through any opponent or obstacle. They are not as swift as other Tyranid creatures but their brute force more than makes up for this. A Carnifex’s stampede takes time to build force as their incredible alien musculature strains to propel it forward. As it builds momentum and reaches top speed, the ground shakes with each stride of the monster and foes are scattered or trampled before it, and only fortress walls or Super Heavy Tanks have any chance of surviving the ferocious impact.Most Carnifex kills registered come from high energy attacks – lascannon, plasma and melta weapon strikes to critical locations. Carnifexes can shrug off other small arms fire and even boltgun hits with minimal loss of function.

Come on – nothing this silly looking could be real. Plant people – who loot anything!? I’m calling the Arbites to deal with your lies!


Orks are a warlike, crude, and highly aggressive green-skinned Xenos race. Orks are the dominant subspecies of the Orkoids, which includes the smaller Gretchin and Snotlings. Although their society is entirely primitive and brutal, the Orkoid race is also the most successful species in the whole Galaxy, outnumbering possibly every other race. However, due to their aggressive and warlike nature, this massive race is split into hundreds of tiny empires, warring as much between themselves as against other races. In the purely theoretical event all the Orks were to unite, they would undoubtedly crush all opposition.


~It’s a stranger universe than you thought. Now get out there soldier and kick some butt for the Emperor!


  • Luca Lacchini

    Mandrakes – at least on the datasheet – are quite good, with interesting if not always reliable defences, and a nice boost to offence with that nasty ability to deal mortal wounds.

    Might consider adding a few… my DE lack infiltrators…

    • ZeeLobby

      Yeah. I was looking at Mandrakes. If only they weren’t still finecast :/

      • Uh, I … uh… have metal ones here. 😀

        • CPENinja

          Nice to see you’re still playing Mr. Goldblum

          • Excuse me?

          • CPENinja

            Your monosyllabic expressions of comedy reminded me of every Jeff Goldblum bit he’s ever done.

          • Aha.

        • Muninwing

          i’ve got some metals too… never painted them. gave up on DE, picked them up for funsies.

          though the new rules are making me reconsider this.

        • ZeeLobby


      • Luca Lacchini

        Stop reading my mind!

        • ZeeLobby

          Haha, good to know. And all us DE think alike!

    • MelonNeko

      They are really good, even in hth. Fairly expensive though. Unfortunately mine infiltrated 2 close and got engaged by a trukk -_-

  • alberto alderighi

    muti are decent not

  • Nyyppä

    Slow and pure melee unit that has to walk to get close enough to have a real chance of getting that charge done even when deep striking. Yeah, mutilators are not hot.

    • BaronVonYoloing

      Walk? They can deepstrike 9 inches away from a chosen target without scattering from turn 1. There’s no need to walk them silly!

      • Nyyppä

        Basic math question: How likely is it that a roll of 2d6 is 9 or more?

        • alberto alderighi

          ye exatly also overwatch…

          forget about deep strike + charge first turn like at the end of 7 ed
          also forget to use flamer (all of em ) on deeps trike) their range is 8″

          also 9″ is not form the unit you wanna assoult but from every” unit !! bascially you can wall around you melee scary unit with vehicle
          Theorically you can shiled 3 unit frontali and on sides with 4 units:
          max range betwee 2 unit to avoid deep strike inside em is 19″ since the base of models are around min 1,5 (9+1,4+9 ) you basically cover 20 ” between units and enemy cant deep strike on your front line or sides.
          You also need to put you backline units in 9-10 of the table border.

          8ed is all based on raw strengh, you need to pass and break enemy oppositon, If you deep strike you wil deep strike in front of the enemy army no in their back. 7th was more tactical and more risk vs reward aka deep strike 3 csm termy was always a win / win if you started second and create hole in enemy disposition by let him try to table you then counter attack. (shame ppl at tournmente never got the importance of large blast and termys… GW instead got it pretty sound since they nerfed BOTH pretty hard….)

        • Spacefrisian

          8“ not 9″ why do so many forget that leeway inch.

          • Because thay leeway inch is not being forgotten. They need to be more than 9″ away. So rolling an 8 will bring them “more than 1″ away” from their target which is not close enough for close assault.

          • alberto alderighi

            aye they need to arrive in base contact if i not msitake not inside 1″

          • No, they don’t need to get into base-contact. They need to get 1″ or closer. But you can’t do that by rolling an 8 when you have to be “more than 9 inch away”, because that remaining gap would still be “more than 1 inch” and thus a failed charge.

          • alberto alderighi

            aye k that make sense, didn’t really take attention to that inside 1 on the rulebook.

          • marxlives

            Just have your heavy weapons from two different units focus on the mutilators and have your laz rifles focus on something else. Pew pew pew.

          • ZeeLobby

            And this is why we don’t build our own houses anymore XD

          • KingAceNumber1

            Arguing this point is going to cause me so many headaches. I’m not sure why people skip the “more than” requirement.

          • memitchell

            Yeah, people so often forget that extra 0.000000000000000000000000001″

          • KingAceNumber1

            Not sure what your tone is meant to be with this comment, but the rules are the rules… a 9″ gun will be out of range for every deep strike, it’s really not that difficult. Ditto an 8″ charge.

          • alberto alderighi


          • JJ

            Not true… you must be more than 9 inches away.. so 9.1 even if you deduct the 1 inch of leeway.. you must roll 8.1 inches..aka you can’t do it. Therefore you must still roll at least 9 inches.

          • Nyyppä

            9. With that leeway inch included. Read the rules.

        • BaronVonYoloing

          Okay let’s play:

          Based off random 2D6 die probability calculator – http://www.thedarkfortress.co.uk/tech_reports/2_dice_rolls.htm#.WTaSw-vyvcs – this being the first one I found.

          to get an 8 exactly (which I need to successfully charge) I have a chance of 13.88%. To get this result or better I have an increased chance of 41.64% (roughly) which whilst not great chance is what I consider better than last edition (where I had to roll when I turned up, if I scattered, roll to charge etc).

          Also why are you insistent to look at most things in a vacuum? One does not have to have the mind of Sun Tzu in the example above to just assume that the only way to use Mutilators is straight down and charge. Perhaps (like most deep striking stuff) you spend the turn nearby the unit you want to charge but prepare to charge them in the following turn. In fact this is even easier if you can follow up on this with other supporting units to either take pressure away from the Mutilators (if your’re worried about them being shot when they land) or even support them in that particular area itself.

          TL:DR – you’re chances of straight charging from arriving are around 40% and use simple strategies and tactics before whining.

          • You don’t need an 8. You need a 9. That means ~28% to succeed.

          • Drew

            Still seems like it’s not a terrible option- you have that 28% chance, and in the (much more likely, obviously) case that you fail the charge, your opponent now has a dedicated unit of melee beaters just over 9″ away from their army and has to dedicate not insignificant resources to dealing with them or get eaten next turn.

          • Or he just advances away and kites them, so they have a similarly bad chance to succeed next turn.

          • Drew

            Sure, but ideally you’ve placed them where they can potentially threaten more than one target, forcing your opponent to choose between disrupting their deployment/plan or facing the mutilators.

            I’m not trying to make the case for or against any specific unit until I’ve played the game, but a unit can be seriously disruptive and effective just from the threat it projects, even if it doesn’t just slam into combat straightaway.

          • ZeeLobby

            In this instance I think the sheer cost of them just makes them a much worse choice for this “tactic” than other options. I mean if they could guarantee an assault that’d be one thing, but 3/4 of the time your sinking a large chunk of points into a unit that’s likely to be gunned down with minimal impact.

          • Yeah, raptors would be better suited for that role, they can at least take an icon of khorne and have guns

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah, what I was thinking. Raptors are pretty cool in 8th. Will have to see how they pan out.

          • Xodis

            Rather take Warp Talons and avoid being Overwatched.

          • No icon though

          • Xodis

            No need. Any Psyker on a bike/Jetpack with Prescience can do the job from 18″ away.

          • Exactly

          • ZeeLobby

            Shhh. We don’t need no stinking tactics!

          • Muninwing

            though some resources get to be used immediately… overwatch…

          • Nyyppä

            You’ll need 9. Read the rules. “Around 40%” is incorrect by over 10%.

            We are talking about mutilators here, not the whole game. Don’t try to move the goalposts.

        • euansmith

          Around 28%. I think.

          • Nyyppä


    • I was thinking of doing the same as i have in 7th, send in a chep assault unit to lock the unit overwatching and have the mutilators come in to finish the kill

      • Nyyppä

        Sure. The idea is not stillborn but it’s hard to do.

  • Farseerer

    Oogryns and Bullgryns should be here. There isn’t a guard unit that looks bad now actually.

    • Luca Lacchini

      From a cursory inspection of the list, tanks and a lot of vehicles are royally overcosted without enough improvements to justify it. Profiles look OK, point cost messed up.
      The only thing that went down in points, from what I recall, is the Baneblade of all things, if only by a slight margin.

      • Evil_Adam

        Isn’t it a bit hard to say how points are going to work out in a game that people have only had rules for for a few weeks? They appear over cost in the current 7th edition meta by a lot, but we aren’t going to be playing 7th edition.

  • Spacefrisian

    I think its a good thing snipers arent looked at yet in regards how characters work.

    • Most of them have a few wounds and decent armor, plus Sniper rifles are -1 to hit if they have to move in position. Commissars and the like might be in trouble, but Characters in power armor are probably going difficult to kill. Also, Sniper Rifles aren’t usually in resilient units. If those Scouts or Ratlings don’t get the job done are their first try, they won’t likely get a second chance.

      • KingAceNumber1

        This. I tried running Skitarii Rangers in a 5 man squad with 2 arquebus, but they fold like origami the moment something looks at them and generally you’ll only get about 2 damage through on a character after all is said and done. Not worth 100 pts.

  • Mutilators got worse. I ran them for all of 6th/7th in my death Guard and I don’t think i would use them any more.

    • ZeeLobby

      Yeah… I mean not to mention the models, lol. I imagine we’ll have to deal with a slew of kneejerk claims until some actual events occur and we get numbers to actually show where units/lists stand.

      • Well yeah, I’ve never even seen the GW models just conversions, mine are conversions, but the way I always ran them was in a land raider with typhus and a sorcerer, but now the take up 9 slots instead of 6 and their weapons are much less reliable

  • Xodis

    As a Chaos Fanboy, Mutilators are horrible.
    The less than 45% chance to make the 9 inch charge isn’t too bad and with a better unit completely acceptable, but the weapons themselves are horrible.
    3 attacks at S6-8 AP-1 to -3 and 1-3 damage is horrible for the points not to mention requires you to make it to CC in the first place.
    Then lets talk about the failure to be useful against vehicles, and how useful they will be AFTER the DS within 9″…..Im sure that 4″ movement will keep them in the fray. /endsarcasm. All of this is after you decide to give up any chances of being useful in the other 2 damage producing phases.

    • Xodis

      Oblits at least have some usefulness with a 24″ range, but their costs is what breaks them.

  • memitchell

    That horse cavalry ever fell from grace in a game that promotes wolf-riding Space Marines was a sad. Hope they do see a comeback. I have a squad. Plus, they can be led by my quarter-century old Genestealer Hybrid mini on horseback. Depending on Keywords?



  • m3g4tr0n

    Orks have always been the best. Always.

  • Guillermo Cordido

    Finally mine VESPID quit their dust accumulator function and can finally be fielded

  • af

    Since practically every model in this article is extremely well-known, I suppose the joke is that they weren’t very good in 40K until 8th edition came along? (Before you call Captain Obvious: I don’t play 40K, so I wouldn’t know about this, but I do own many of the models because I like them).