BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

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

5 Minute Read
Mar 5 2017
Warhammer 40K Hot story icon


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.”

Author: Larry Vela
  • 40K: Guilliman, Then & Now

    Warhammer 40K