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Warhammer 40K: Who Kills the Emperor?

4 Minute Read
Feb 05

GW has been setting it up for decades. Everyone has knives out for the Master of Mankind, but who is most likely to do the deed. Here are our top suspects.

The Master of Mankind has been walking on his solitary path for over 40,000 years, shepherding humanity to a destination only he can see. He has conquered first Terra, then the Sol system, then carved the Imperium out of a hostile galaxy. Only to see it all burn to cinders thanks to the Ruinous Powers – his true Nemesis. For the last 9,000 years, he has sat immobile on the Golden Throne of his own design, awaiting the next phase of his story.

All around are those who would thrust a blade into his withered body and cast him down. More disturbing, there are those who say – that is exactly what he wants. But who is most likely to perform the final deed?

Abaddon (and maybe technically Drach’nyen)

Obviously, the Despoiler has spent the last 9,000 years carefully planning to do exactly that. With each of his 13 Black Crusades, Abaddon has been accumulating power, forging unholy alliances, gathering damned artifacts, and plotting his course to Holy Terra. There is no doubt he plans to one day stand in front of the Emperor and cast his corpse to the ground. The only real question is whether he wants to kill him with his own hand, or technically grant Drach’nyen the kill via his possessed blade. At the very end, will Abaddon consider the debt repaid for the Emperor killing his Primarch in single combat?


One can never know the motivations and actions of Cypher. But his pattern of movement is unmistakable and slowly but surely is closing in on Terra. His latest close call saw him perform the impossible task of guiding Guilliman to the throne room, only to be taken into custody by the Custodes – and escape their care. The oversized blade upon his back is never unsheathed and many say it is the Lion Sword, broken and reforged weapon of the Dark Angel’s Primarch. Does Cypher seek to present his father’s sword to the Emperor in person and seek ultimate forgiveness for the Fallen, or plunge it into the Master of Mankind’s heart? Based on past actions, whatever Cypher’s goal – it is unlikely the Custodes can hamper him.

The Inquisition

What if the true wish of the Emperor is to rid himself of his crippled mortal shell? Is the Master of Mankind not a master of the Warp already, merely awaiting the chance to reincarnate into a new mortal shell – restored to the height of his powers – to lead humanity into a new Golden Age? The Thorians of the Inquisition not only fervently believe this, but move to one day find the perfect Divine Avatar for the Emperor to reincarnate into. When they find the perfect host, they only need to kill the Emperor to complete the process.


It is also possible that all of this scheming is too clever by half.  In a galaxy beset by hostile threats and species, the Emperor’s death may come at a much more mundane hand. In the past 9,000 years, both the Eldar and Orks have both invaded Holy Terra. The Imperial Palace and the Custodes have been besieged time and time again, and the Necrons have a deep connection to Mars. With the Great Rift cutting the Imperium in two, and new resurgent threats like the Ta’u, Necrons, and Tyranids growing by the day – the Emperor may be swept aside by the likes of those he ruthlessly culled during the days of the Great Crusade. The galaxy’s poetic justice in a sense, or perhaps the longest of Long Games played by The Silent King.


The final enigma is Lord Guilliman. He has communed alone with his father and it is he alone who knows the truth. He may be the Emperor’s last living child, speaking to his father’s soul, and executing his plans to reshape the Imperium – a long-delayed continuation of the Great Crusade. Or perhaps… just perhaps the deed is already long since done, and it is truly a desiccated husk that sits on the Golden Throne. Leaving Guilliman as humanity’s super-human immortal regent, awaiting the return of a Lord who will never come.

~If one of those was to do the deed, who do you think is most likely? Or did we totally miss an obvious perpetrator?



P.S. This is the BoLS Team’s Murder on the Orient Express/Ocean’s 11 theory for how it goes down:

  • Eldar use the webway to get everyone into the Throne Room.
  • Abaddon kills the Custodes.
  • Cypher drops off the Lion Sword.
  • Guilliman picks it up, stabs the big E.
  • Inquisition hides the body and kills any witnesses.

Then it’s MILLER TIME, err… 10th Edition time (maybe with a reborn Emperor)!

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