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40K: Building the Thunder Warriors

3 Minute Read
Nov 1 2016


Today we take a stab at the Emperor’s mighty Thunder Warriors – and how we would bring them to the tabletop.

Meet the Thunder Warriors

The Thunder Warriors have always held a special place in our hearts.  Here’s the basics on them from Lexicanum to get you up to speed:

“Thunder Warriors were the elite super soldiers that marched with the Emperor to conquer Terra in the Wars of Unification. The engineering that the Emperor used to create the Thunder Warriors, whilst creating superior fighters, was not as efficient as what was used later to create the Space Marines, nor was the technology as advanced or the geneticists as entirely willing. These proto-Astartes were organized in twenty regiments of no more than a few hundred warriors, each named by the Emperor himself.

The Thunder Warriors battled throughout the Unification Wars and united Terra for the first time in millennia under the rule of the Emperor. According to myth, they were all killed during the final battle of the Unification Wars, the Battle of Mount Ararat.”


We’ve always wondered exactly what these monsters would look like on the tabletop. We know they were legendary even by Space Marine standards and small numbers of them laid waste to many times their number of Astartes in the aftermath of the Unification Wars. These are the Emperor’s first crude attempts at genetic modification. They were not something as sophisticated and mentally conditioned as the the later Astartes, but were instead a means to an end.  A blunt instrument meant to conquer Terra, then pass into history.  It was said they were hardened against psychic attacks as many of Terra’s warlords used such forces to enforce their will. It was recorded that they could quickly kill and butcher vast numbers of lesser foes on the battlefield compared to their own numbers.

We have had stats for the 30K era Astartes thanks for Forge World, but the arrival of stats for the Custodes fills in a missing link to let us take a stab at recreating the Thunder Warriors on the tabletop.

The Rules

Here is our set of completely unofficial rules for you narrative gamers and Unification Wars fanatics to try out.



Some Notes:

Full rules for Fury of the Legion and Chosen Warriors are in the Forge World 30K Legion Army List but the short versions are:

  • Fury of the Legion: If the squad does not move, it may fire it’s bolter weapons twice in a turn, then not fire them the next turn.
  • Chosen Warriors: The models may declare and accept challenges.

What we have here is a melding of the Legiones Astartes army list with some elements from the Adeptus Custodes.  We have attempted to create the blunt physicality and power of the Thunder Warriors.  You can see the early martial prowness that will be burnished into the later Astartes – without much sophistication in either equipment or tactics.  You get a feel for the hulking frames seen with the Custodes, shorn clean of that organization’s lifetime of endless training and superior genetics.  Make no mistake – these Thunder Warriors do one thing. They butcher enemy infantry – and they do it well.

Thunder Warriors Rules Download (PDF)

So go ahead and take them out for spin. I’m sure you can use them to recreate the Emperor’s conquest of Terra versus a host of count-as foes, or perhaps even see what might occur if small numbers of the Thunder Warriors survived to the 40th Millenia.

~ Above all – we hope you have as much fun out there using them as we had creating them!


Author: Larry Vela
  • GW Minis, Sisters of Battle, Heresy & Trollbloods