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Warhammer 40K: Who Are The Exorcists Space Marines?

4 Minute Read
Mar 04

The Exorcists Space Marines are the focus of the upcoming March 2021 White Dwarf – but who are they? Let’s chat.

In case you missed the preview, the Exorcists Space Marines are going to be the stars of the upcoming Index Astartes feature in White Dwarf 462. Complete with a new Chapter Tactic and more rules you can use on the tabletop they are going to be a unique and playable option in the very near future.

But this news also got us wondering about this Chapter. Who exactly are the Exorcists? Sure, they fought in the Badab War and are a 13th founding chapter…but what’s this about allow warp daemons to possess their recruits? Yeah – let’s learn a bit about this chapter.

The Exorcists are a Space Marine Chapter with a particular speciality in combating Daemons and the forces of Chaos.  They were formed as a successor chapter of the Imperial Fists* at the end of M35, or early M36, in the Thirteenth Founding (The Dark Founding). They have a somewhat worrying creation as they were test subjects for a new form of Daemonhunters. On the subject of the creation, a single communication remains, and was sent from a Genetor-Major of the Xenobiologis core, named Lauram Clelland.

Exorcists Initiation Ritual

The Marines of the Chapter underwent a process known as “Daemonic Possession Therapy”. Each Marine was, under very tight security, subject to possession by a minor denizen of the Warp. The creature was allowed to remain within the host body for twelve hours until they were cast out by a Daemon Hunter. Some of the Marines were so damaged physically and psychologically that they had to be terminated. Most however survived and needed only minor reconstructive surgery.

After a minor period of recuperation the subjects were taught the ways of combating Daemons, trained in the use of the 666 verses of the Book of Exorcisms and equipped with the weapons of an Exorcist. To test their new creations, the Marines were put into combat on a Daemon World on the northern edge of the Eye of Terror. A squad of the Grey Knights were held in reserve, just in case they turned on their masters, while the Exorcist Space Marines achieved a kill ratio of 97:1. Most impressive, especially against Daemons. Test results showed that their adrenaline production tripled and the levels of serotonin dropped drastically. This made the Marines much more aggressive and gave them increased combat effectiveness. Only 1% of the Marines fell to Daemonic infestation again, but the scientists believed they could eradicate the likelihood of this happening. On the basis that their souls are incorruptible and pure, they are effectively invisible to most warp daemons as their souls do not register for the leak of the mortal corruption. Only extremely powerful daemons are able to spot them.


Exorcists original color scheme. From White Dwarf magazine #101(UK).

Notable Campaigns

Chapter Organization Codex Deviations

The Exorcists are a Codex Chapter, though they deviate in a number of key areas. The Chapter numbers twelve companies instead of the standard ten. They maintain two additional Scout Companies to have high influx of neophytes. Without such, the Exorcists will cease to exist due to their highly unconventional training methods.

Another prominent feature of the Exorcists are the Orisons, specialist cultists who dedicate themselves to particular fields of expertise or knowledge. The most renowned of the Orisons are the Enochian Guard, roughly equivalent to a Chapter’s Veteran 1st Company.


Learn more about the Exorcists at the Lexicanum

The Exorcists are a truly unique chapter and it’s great to see them get some rules you can use in 40k. They are still a bit of a mystery and hopefully the upcoming White Dwarf will shed some more light on this chapter. They have quite the combat history and their ability to face down daemons of the warp is perhaps on par with the mighty Grey Knights.


If you’re looking for a Daemon Hunting chapter that isn’t Grey Knights and has access to Primaris Marines, the Exorcists just might be the ones for you.

*In Headhunted (Short Story) — Heroes of the Space Marines (Anthology) it is said that Exorcists were created from the Geneseed of the Grey Knights.


What do you think of the crazy initiation process of the Exorcists?

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