40K: The Greatest (Active) Imperial Commanders

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The Imperium is going through some literal dark times. Here are a few of the heroes who might lead them through it.

It’s no secret that the Imperium of Man is in some dire straits. With the Cicatrix Maledictum cutting the galaxy in half(ish) and an emboldened Chaos resurgent across the Immaterium, with Necron Dynasties reawakening to full strength while the Ynnari kill everyone. Well. Not any more, it seems, but you get the idea. Things do not look good for Homestarrunner.

But when times are tough, there are a few who really step to the forefront to show us all the mettle of their pasture. Here’s a look at some of the greatest still-active Imperial Commanders.

Roboute Guilliman

Aka Bobby G aka Big Blue aka the reason Hellblasters are gross aka Blast from the Past aka Boboute Guilliman. The Primarch of the Ultramarines, Boboute is responsible for kicking the Imperium into gear. After coming back from being only mostly dead, Boboute has steadily been cleaning house.

Whether it was kicking it the corrupt High Lords of Terra, definitely not letting Cypher kill the Emperor, definitely not being Mind Controlled by a now freed Emperor, or launching the Primaris initiative and the Indomitus Crusade, Boboute’s been busy. An empire boost through and through, when he was found on Konor, he turned it into a jewel of a world after straightening out the ruling class.

He’s a matter strategist and a hero the likes of which the current Imperium has never known, and though his ways are strange, he seems to be fitting in well.

Belisarius Cawl

Aka Belisarius Cawl (me maybe), this Carly Rae Jespen lyric in hiding has been the mastermind of a plan 10,000 years in the making. And though a plan that takes 10,000 years to complete sounds like the sort of thing an Eldar would do, and Cawl is on record saying he’s not sure if his mind is his own, and Bobby G was only bright back through the grace of the Eldar who have been going out of their way to keep him safe–this definitely isn’t some kind of Eldar scheme, so you should stop asking.

He has helped the Imperium immeasurably, taking the Geneseed of Marines, and turning that towards building even biggerer and betterer soldiers. He’s also a master strategist who was instrumental in the Terran Crusade. Now he continues his work with Mars at his back, it’s only a matter of time before he becomes Fabricator General. Though Guilliman distrusts Cawl because he created a definitely-not-an-AI version of himself out of servo skulls.


Aka The Old Man. Dante is a Space Dracula of the finest caliber. He’s been Chapter Master of the Blood Angels for over 1,100 years, and is looked up to by the veterans of other chapters who remember his heroism from when they were just scouts.

As the oldest living–or at least non-Dreadnaught–marine, Dante has a lot going for him. He’s basically seen and done it all. Twice. And bought the T-Shirt. Man, myth, and legend, his victories on Armageddon are known throughout the Imperium. He cut Skarbrand in half. He killed the Swarmlord. People say he’s the Chuck Norris of 40K, but really, Chuck Norris is our pale imitation of Dante.

 Commissar Yarrick

Aka Old One-Eye but not THAT Old One-Eye. Yarrick is legendary throughout the Militarum. He saved Armageddon, which is a weird sentence to type out. But Yarrick’s use of brilliant strategies and endurance beyond reason have made him one of the only humans that Gazghkull respects, and cemented his position in Imperial Lore.

Having somehow managed to survive the events surrounding the fall of Cadia and Guilliman’s return, it’s only a matter of time before Yarrick takes the center stage again and saves the day.

Knight-Commander Pask

Speaking of Cadia, though, we’d be remiss if we left out ol’ Two-Orders Pask, the tankinest Cadian to ever command a Tank. Master of the Leman Russ, Pask has a storied and distinguished career. With a reputation as a Cadian among Cadians, his Steel Tithe of raw recruits drill and train and drill some more until their worthy of ‘being trained by a Cadian.’


But wait, you might be saying, spittle flecking your keys as outrage rises, Creed is stuck in Trazyn’s vault. Well, if you think that wasn’t Creed’s plan all along, you’re a fool. After all he no doubt wanted to be caught to rally the other imperials heels within. I can picture Creed calmly informing Trazyn that it is the sworn duty of all officers to try to escape. If they cannot escape, then it is their sworn duty to cause the enemy to use an inordinate number of troops to guard them, and their sworn duty to harass the enemy to the best of their ability.

It’s only a matter of time before he makes his great escape.

It’s Commanders like these who will doubtless guide the Imperium out of Darkness.

  • SilentPony

    Missing Grimnar and Calgar

    And if you’ve read Dante, he’s actually a really tragic character who has survived purely by luck and the Sanguinor giving him a hand in secret. He just wants to die, and stopped caring about anything a long time ago. Its great!

    Also…Cawl? Seriously? Celestine is way better, and she’s not even that good!

    • pokemastercube .

      i would give you grimnar (just) but not calgar.

      my understanding with dante, is the sanguinor was only really a aid in his pre-chapter master days (to him any way, the sanguinor works in strange ways), and even with at his age he just wants to die, that doesnt mean he wants everyone around him to die, plus if he just stands there in the middleof a battle to be killed it would be a form of heresy. he would have to go in proper combat. and going back to everyone around him, he would still do all he can to lead them to victory, so his experence is key for that.

      • SilentPony

        But remember when he was musing if he was switched with a chapter serf, he’d be totally okay with that. At this point he simply doesn’t care. Chapter Master, serf, servitor, Guardsman, civilian…its all the same ultimately.

  • Capitán Leonatos

    Dante 1547 years old… I think

    • pokemastercube .

      something around that, but ur not born chapter master, the whole thing is his commanding experence comes from that 1200 years as chapter master (i’m adding the 100 years time has moved forward now)

  • Also he TOTALLY didnt make any primaris using renegade geneseed. Nope, no sir

  • Sjon Cornelissen

    Where is Helbrecht? He command the largest ‘chapter’ of the Astartes.

  • James Regan

    Dante is probably still the most experienced commander- Cawl isn’t a commander by proffesion, and while Guiliman is surely more intelligent, he’s only about 1/3rd of Dante’s age, having spent most of his existence frozen in time. It’s also worth noting in respect to Yarrick, Dante was his superior in the Armageddon war (as overall commander of the imperial forces), whilst Yarrick was a ‘boots on ground’ hero type. Also Yarrick’s definitely dead- not from the rising storm and associated events, but because that was followed by 100 years of indomitus crusade, during which, barring hostile action, he died of old age.
    Guiliman is probably still a better commander though, just worth noting that when guiliman faces some new warp spawned threat the like of which hasn’t been seen in centuries and wondering how to approach it, Dante’s wondering where he left the gun he used to kill the last one of those.

    • AEZ

      Juvenenat treatment means Yarrick could be alive right? Or does that have real defined limits?

      • James Regan

        Yeah, I do wonder about that- it’s not anything on marine lifespans, or what the mechanicus can do (obviously, we don’t want ‘combat servitor yarrick’), but he might still be within range- however even the superior stuff for marines tends to lead to them physically ageing past 350 or so, so at what point would he stop being physically able to lead as he used to is also worth considering (‘Yarrick, head of an out of the way schola progenium’ isn’t exactly what we’re looking for either)
        Maybe he’s now just ‘really old one eye’

        • AEZ

          apparently juvenat can get you to 400 years (well according to the wiki)

        • generalchaos34

          he’s more machine than man these days, so he is probably bordering on Tech Priests life span….so he’s fine and he’s got enough righteous anger to last a few more centuries at least until he’s a head operating a gorkanaut (his final form!)

        • vlad78

          We don’t really know with marines ot from Sanguinius blood line. They die usually on a battlefield too early to be sure.

          Back in the days Sigismund survived at least a millenia before encountering Abaddon one last time. (or so it seems) Granted he looked very old by that time but was still fit enough to give failbaddon a run for his money.

    • william timonen

      It is 100 years in real time, time has avred differently in different part of the galaxy. Some parts it has been more than a hundred years, and some less than a hundred years. So its possible that he simply was in one of the zones where times had moved slower.

    • bfmusashi

      Da WAAAAAAAGH keeps Yarrick alive so proper orks can have a right good fight.

    • SilentPony

      To be fair, the Heresy being the incredible fluster cluck that it was, Guilliman fought the original version of everything Dante has faced.
      Bloodthirster Ma’Far’Big’Blood is only a known entity because the Primarchs first fought him, without any help of lore, anti-daemon powers and psykers.
      And Horus eclipses Abaddon many times over in terms of power and authority. Abaddon makes deals with Doombreed. Horus commands Doombreed.
      The problem isn’t that Chaos is more powerful, its that the Imperium is weaker.

      • James Regan

        probably dante just has the edge dealing with ‘nids then, given they were happily eating other galaxies back then

      • James Regan

        oh, and abbadon does have the daemon/sword that will kill the emperor, in his favour, whilst horus just had to hope drach’nyen did it of its own accord in the webway

  • Spade McTrowel

    **You forgot me**
    Go back to sleep, Bjorn. They’re talking about real-alive, not fake alive.
    **But you used Cawl**

    Fair point.

  • frank

    So this is a list of the authors favorite characters? I don’t really get the point.

  • Tim

    How is Dante on this list but not Azrael?

    • somewhatdamaged

      Because Azrael was still in diapers when Dante passed his fifth century as Chapter Master

  • 2Sexy4HisShirt

    Missing Grimnar guys, missing Grimnar…

    • NNextremNN

      They were looking for Imperial Commanders not mutants.