40K Lore: Astartes Vs Thunder Warriors – The Cerberus Insurrection

Learn of the only known battle between Marines and Thunder Warriors – kept secret for 9000 years.

The Cerberus Insurrection was a conflict involving the forces of the Imperium and the renegade prisoners of the Cerberus prison colony, bolstered by ancient super-soldiers. It is noted as the only time Space Marine and Thunder Warrior forces have ever engaged in battle.


The brutal War Hounds, who would go on to become the infamous World Eaters, were tasked alongside the Terran XXIInd Dracos Regiment of the Imperial Army to subdue the asteroid prison colony of Cerberus that had risen up in anarchic revolt in a state of near continuous rioting and mob violence. Initial attempts to impose order by Terran troops had been thrown back in disarray as it became apparent that among the insurrectionists was a renegade cadre of outlawed Thunder Warriors, long believed dead, calling themselves the Dait’Tar. With many of the Space Marine Legions already assigned to the first Expeditionary Fleets of the Great Crusade and en route to the stars, the Emperor Himself dispatched His War Hounds to Cerberus with explicit instructions to reclaim Cerberus colony and carry the Emperor’s wrath to those that had defied Him.

The War Hounds slaughtered all prisoners, but their confidence would soon be shaken when they encountered the Dait’Tar, despite being greatly outnumbered by Astartes and Guardsmen, the Thunder Warriors held their ground, fighting amongst the bleak tunnels of Cerberus. Eventually, after five hours of brutal close quarters fighting, a signal was received that Cerberus-Primary had been returned to Imperial Compliance. The second wave of Imperial Army troops were ordered with the bleak task of clear-up operations in the wake of the War Hounds’ assault, hunting down any survivors hiding in the warren of tunnels and passageways, of which there proved to be precious few. There were multiple reports of coming across the hulking carcasses of Thunder Warriors, each with four to five Space Marines dead around them, of rooms being turned into blood soaked charnel houses and prisoners weapons being found abandoned. Aside from these facts much else remains a mystery and the entire insurrection is kept highly secret by the Imperium.

Learn More of the

Thunder Warriors


World Eaters

~ If only some Thunder Warriors survived into the 40th Millenia…

  • Regal Giant

    This is from forgeworld and arguably not canon, what I mean by that is that all Games Workshop and Black library sources point to the Thunder Warriors being inferior in every respect to the Legions and any real survivors numbered in the mere handful at best from the Culling.

    Though it seems someone really wants the wishful thought of the
    Thunder Warriors being ‘badasses’ to be true.

    • Bon

      Have you read the outcast dead?

      • batweb

        Is that the one where the unarmed and unarmored World Eater punches through a custodes armour and pulls out his spine? I think power levels are all over the place in that book.

      • ectoplasmic gyrator

        the Outcast Dead, while fun, is The Goonies of the 30k universe. Rampant, goofy f**kery abounds

    • Lord Fangio

      Incorrect. GW and HH book series point to TW being superior to SM. They were designed as a burn bright but quick enhanced warrior.

      • Spacefrisian

        More akin to superior in brute strength but with severe mental issus.

        • Lord Fangio

          Lol severe mental issues and catastrophic organ failure

        • vlad78

          And limited lifespan.

    • Fortnight

      I’m afraid you’re quite wrong. Everything that comes out of GW is canon, unless they explicitly state otherwise. Even if it is contradictory. They’ve said this many, many times over the years. Forgeworld and Black Library and the design studio are all GW and all canon. There not a single argument to be made contrary to this.

      • SYSTem050

        Indeed everything is cannon and everything can be wrong.

        • vlad78

          Hail Hydra.

    • knightsanguis

      You do realise that FW is a part of GW, right? Just like Black Library 😛

      • Spacefrisian

        Well…The secret is out now iguess.

    • Muninwing

      Space Marines are more layered in talent, and more resilient, and more long-term. they are engineered to last, and after all worlds were brought to compliance they would all have set tasks.

      the thunder warriors were hulking one-dimensional beatsticks that were much stronger but at the expense of their longterm survivability. so short-term more brutal, but overall less versatile.

      • Emprah

        This. Thunder warriors won out on strength and damage resistance, while Astartes were more sophisticated tools.

        One of the shorter stories recently shown mentions that Thunder Warriors had extensive cybernetic implants beside biological ones, which may explain how can they be stronger with less gene work, simply by implanting a piston or two.

    • Moik

      “…all Games Workshop and Black library sources point to the Thunder Warriors being inferior in every respect to the Legions and any real survivors numbered in the mere handful at best from the Culling.”

      First part is wrong. TW’s are stronger, a lot stronger than marines.

      And the second part you’re misunderstanding I think… it’s implied that there were only a handful here…

    • Moik

      Also marines aren’t actually very tough… they’re just very efficient to make… and use… they’re not supposed to be powerful, that’s their last consideration.

      First is to be easy to make; a marine makes the parts for more marines, and doesn’t need training (hypnomat)
      Second is to disarm the population of conquered worlds.
      Third is while we’ve got these soldiers may as well use them.

  • Ve Ly Pè

    I don´t how canon this is, but it is EPIC! 😀

    • James Regan

      everything is cannon, always. apart from squats, and old’crons, (the former technically got eaten by ‘nids, the latter… well, just doesn’t make any sense when combined with new ‘crons)

      • kobalt60

        Idk where in the storyline current necromunda sits, but there is a specific area of hive primus given over as quarters for visiting Eldar and squat traders, so they might be back into the current canon. Until they’re not again

      • Oskar Calvo

        In the sencod index, the Squats seems to be abhumans in the I.G. with ogryns and ratlings.
        So, they aren’t dead.

      • Mathew G. Smith

        The old necrons are still around in the background as tombworlds where the awakening went wrong. Except the Pariahs, they seem to be just gone.

  • AmorousBadger

    Did a bunch of marines get totally owned by two thunder warriors in The Outcast Dead?
    As I seem to recall, the dudes from the World Eaters had previously annihilated a Custodian.