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40K: Chaos vs Imperium, Who Wins?

4 Minute Read
Apr 12 2017

It’s a grudge match for the ages – Chaos vs the Imperium. So who do you think will win?

Let’s all gather ’round and talk about the looming fight between two of the biggest super-powers in the the 40k universe: Chaos vs The Imperium. We know this show down is going to happen. The “Storm” is done gathering and it’s time for the clouds to burst.

In this corner…

On one hand we’ve got Chaos, arguably the defending champion for all eternity. “Chaos” itself is the psychic energy that composes Warp space. That energy emanates from all life in the galaxy and it’s that raw emotion and spiritual/psychic energy that feeds it. Within that “chaos” warp entities have risen – the dark Gods of Chaos. They have been influencing events since…well, forever. And from this point of view, Chaos is certainly the Goliath in this relationship.

But that’s the lore side of things. Looking at it on paper Chaos has got some soft spots that the Imperium can exploit. If we were going to look at based purely on the numbers Chaos Space Marines aren’t exactly helping the cause. They bring the Heldrake (who got nerfed hard), some tough troops (Nurgle Marines), some cheap troops (cultists) and they have a few formations that can bring the pain (Cyclopia Cabal). They have some neat tricks but really it’s all about those Chaos Daemons and summoning, amirite?

Chaos Daemons and the dark tidings of Tzeentch are really what the Imperium would have to look-out for. If the lore reflected the tabletop (and not the other way around) then Tzeentch would be killing it. After taking home wins at two major tournaments (LVO and Adepticon) this year (so far) the picture is starting to look clearer. Sure, they had some assistance from allies, but hey – you can’t take on the galaxy without some help.

A New Challenger Approaches


The Imperium has just gotten back a MAJOR hero. Sure they took some losses along the way but if anything this only helps to solidify the Imperial War-machine behind the risen Primarch. And with the Cadia Gate down allowing the Eye of Terror to spread they needed on in the “win” column.

When it comes to that “military-industrial complex” the Imperium has that covered. They can ramp-up production across a million (billion?) worlds and crank out WMDs like no other force in the galaxy. If you were going to pick a fight with one of the factions in the the physical reality, the Imperium wouldn’t not have been my first choice. The Orks love to fight, but really they haven’t had a good WAAAGH in awhile. The Eldar are on life support. The Tyranids are a real threat – but they are going to duke it out with the Tau (and the Ultramarines) on the Galactic East while the big fight goes down in the Galactic West. And the Necrons? Well they are being all…Necrony.

On paper, or at least in the lore, the Imperium is vast – almost countless, with endless resources, and trillions of souls bending to the will of the God-Emperor. I’m not here to get into an argument about if the Imperium is “good” or not – I’m here to talk about the fact that his virtually endless war-machine has it’s sights fixed on Chaos and is now united behind a leader who knows how to wield it.

If you want to talk numbers the Marines also out number CSM by a wide margin. But if we’re looking at total numbers of Imperial vs Chaos, the Imperial forces outnumber the combined forces of Chaos by almost 2:1. (That’s if you take all the Imperial forces and add them together and all the Chaos forces and add them together.)

Just based on player count alone that’s a definite advantage for the Imperium. Now that’s probably skewed because we don’t have all the data (number of allies, Win/Loss counts, etc) but the raw numbers don’t lie. If this was a popularity contest the Imperium would be an auto-win…but, it’s not.


These are just the battle lines that are being drawn. And with the hints at a 40k Campaign approaching it’s going to be an arms race for sure. Which side are you going to stand with when the dice start rolling?


It’s going to be a wild ride this summer! “Xenos forces” aside, who do you think would win a fight between the Imperium and Chaos. Based on Lore? Based on the Tabletop?

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