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Warhammer 40K: What Happens If The ‘Bad Guys’ Win?

5 Minute Read
Sep 20 2023

In the grim darkness of the far future, what happens if the war ends and the bad guys come out on top?

There is a case to be made that the “bad guys” in Warhammer 40,000 have already won as the Imperium of Man isn’t exactly a force of good in the universe. It’s an authoritarian empire that doesn’t really care about its citizens a uses them as just another resource to further its own goals. Heck, they feed a thousand souls a day to them Emperor on his Golden Throne. That’s not exactly a sign of a utopian empire.

Feed me, Seymour!


Anyhow, for all of its (many, MANY) faults, the Imperium of Man might not be as bad as a few of the other options floating around out there. So let’s tackle the big bads and ask the question “what happens if they win?”

Note: we’re just going to put the bad guys in their own general buckets. Like Chaos Space Marines and Chaos Daemons are just “Chaos” in this case.

If Chaos Wins


It really doesn’t matter if it’s Abaddon that ends up destroying the Imperium or if the Chaos gods manage to work together to enact their master plan the ending is basically the same. The immaterium will spill forth and the unreality of the Warp will become reality. Does that mean that all human life is destroyed and the warp creatures take over? Not exactly…while it would be “Hell on a galactic level” there’s still some question on if the warp entities can survive without “life” and the psychic contributions it makes.


According to the Lexicanum:

“The Warp is born from the thoughts, dreams, and emotions of every psychically attuned sentient race in the Galaxy. Every emotion and action in the Materium feeds the Warp and it is reflected back, creating its own reality. Should the races of the Galaxy somehow be cut off from the Warp, its malevolent entities would ultimately weaken and starve.”

So that begs the question if the warp “wins” and kills everyone, wouldn’t that ultimately destroy the warp, too? Like a snake eating its own tail? That’s the real question! Whatever happens it’s going to suck for all the folks caught in the middle.

One side note about Abaddon — technically, he just wants to topple the Imperium. Does he want to destroy all life? Does he just want to conquer the galaxy? Or does he just want to recreate the Imperium in his own image? Whatever the option is, it’s gonna be pretty bad for everyone else.

If Orks Win

Jokes on you! The Orks have already won. “Wait, what? How did the orks win?” Because all Orks want to do is FIGHT. They are already the most numerous race out there and the only way they would lose is if there was no one else left to fight! But okay, sure — let’s redefine what “winning” would be as “destroying the Imperium.” Cool. Let’s pretend that they do that. Guess what they do next? Fight themselves! Orks just want a good krumpin’ and they really don’t care where or who they have to krump as long as the fight just keeps going.

If Tyranids Win


This one feels more like a “when” Tyranids win instead of an “if” situation. A lot of lore junkies think that ultimately this is the actual ending of the grimdark — the Tyranids standing over the barren corpse of the galaxy. They will literally suck the life from every floating rock in their path and then move on to the next galaxy to do it again. Considering they came from beyond the rim to begin with who knows their true origins. They may have devoured their “home” galaxy and come looking for more. Heck, they might have already eaten countless other galaxies before the dinner bell rang on ours.

The real point here is that Tyranids will devour everything if they win. They are coming for all the biomass and that’s pretty much it!

If Necrons Win

Of all the bad guys the Necrons pose an interesting option. While, yes, they want to exterminate life and reclaim their lost empire they are also anti-Chaos and anti-Tyranids, too. Their Blackstone is anathema to chaos and actually helped to keep the Eye of Terror in check (until Cadia was destroyed). They are also not fans of the Tyranids as that’s one of the reason the Silent King returned. He encountered their fleet beyond the rim and returned to awaken his people and try to mount a defense.

I’m not saying the Necrons are the best option but if they did manage to “win” (again, as defined by destroying the Imperium) then they might lead the galaxy to a successful defense against the Tyranids. If their plan works, that is…

What About The Aeldari/T’au/Others

The Aeldari are a “dying” race and have been since the rise of Man. They are on the outs in the galactic scale (but maybe not according to their win-rates). T’au are the new “up-and-coming” race. Honestly, they might be the next great empire to carve out a chunk of the galaxy for themselves — if they can figure out warp travel that is. As for the Leagues of Votann? Well, I don’t think they are looking to conquer the galaxy (unless their AI overlords change their minds).

The one thing that all these races have in common is they aren’t really “bad guys” in the grimdark. Sure, they aren’t human. But their goals aren’t “kill all life and then profit” either. Are they threats to the Imperium? Sure. But they are also potential allies against some of the bigger problems out there. Too bad it’s the grimdark — otherwise we could see some interesting galactic politics taking place instead of just war. Then again, it’s been said that” war is just an extension of politics…”



We’re just spitballing here — what do YOU think would happen if the “Bad Guys” win? 

Author: Adam Harrison
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