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40K: What Sub-Factions Do We Want

4 Minute Read
Aug 02

GW is giving us sub-faction rules for all the armies so far – but some codexes will be trickier than others.


So far we’ve seen the Space Marines codex and gotten some peeks at codex Chaos Marines.  In both cases we know GW has throw in just under 10 sub-factions, who get both background AND special rules.

In many cases these sub-factions are obvious. First Founding and Traitor Legions are low hanging fruit.

GW has already mentioned things like Ork Clans and Eldar Craftworlds, so I think it’s a no brainer when those codexes come around.  I want to go through the codexes and talk about what I think GW will give us.  As you’ll see there are some sticky areas of the Grimdark where it’s gets…complicated… 

The Easy Ones

Orks – The Ork Clans. I can’t wait to see all our favorites come back. Go Kult of Speed!

Craftworld Eldar – The “big craftworlds”. From Ulthwe’s Black Guardians, to Alaitoc’s Pathfinders I’m drooling in anticipation to get my 1990s Craftworld rules back.

T’au – Break up the Sept worlds and give each specific ways of achieving the Greater Good. Kroot and Kroot mercenaries make it all a little trickier.


Necrons – Give each Dynasty something special.

Ad-Mech – Give the great Forge Worlds their own rules. While you’re at it, can we finally just combine the Cult and Skitarii into one force?


The Tricky Ones

Dark Eldar – I guess you can throw in things like Major Kabals, Haemonculis covens and Wych Cults

Astra Militarum – It’s so vast I dont even know how would chop this up. You could bring back famous worlds like Mordians, Death Korps, Tallarn or you could break it up by regiment type – Infantry, Artillery, Abhumans, Air force.  It’s hard to know how to start with the Guard.

Tyranids – The Hive fleets are a solid place to start, but then you have to balance that against the entire “rapid evolution” concept of the Great Devourer. In theory each Hive fleet should be able to morph into whatever it needs to survive, so it’s a tricky balancing act.

Harlequins – such a dynamic organization and so few units. It might be hard to deal with.


Imperial Knights – the Households are obvious starting places, but the army’s small modelcount makes it hard to balance. What the Knights need is some non-knight cheap household troops to flesh out their armies. Fast walkers and men-at-arms would do wonders and further define the faction – and give sub-factions more to play with.

Chaos Daemons – They daemonic legions are limitless, but as with the Astra Militarum the trick is how to tackle sub-factions. Do you cut them up by place of origin (say Daemonic legions from the 3rd ring of Slaanesh’s realms), or do you define famed generals (Greater Daemons) of the ruinous powers  and give their legion’s special rules?

Adepta Sororitas – The Great Orders (Ebon Chalice, etc…) are obvious starting points.

I’ve Got Nothing…

All the following have one of two problems – either they are a very small organizations, so sub-factions are difficult to define. Some like Genesteaer Cult have fluff problems, like they don’t have long lifespans and are almost “consumables” for the Hive fleets. For the Space Marines, do you go “Clan Raukaan” and give each company special rules? Some like the Inquisition almost defy organization.

Genestealer Cults – ???

Grey Knights – Such a small organization…

Space Wolves – Great Companies?

Blood Angels – Companies?

Dark Angels – Companies?


Deathwatch – Famed Watch-fortresses?

Thousand Sons – Famed Warbands?

Death Guard – Famed Warbands?

Inquisition – good luck… the Ordos perhaps, but outside of that it’s a mixing pot of unrelated units that can’t easily operate alone.

Lots to Learn this Month

We are a week away from both Chaos Marines and Grey Knights codexes arriving. Death Guard will be right behind them. This means by the end of the month we will have more info on how GW plans to address sub-factions in the smaller organizations.


~ How would you handle sub-factions for some of those tricky codexes?

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