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In the grim darkness of Warhammer 40,000, there is only war... and awesomeness.

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  • Abnett does these a lot. In Brothers of the Snake, one of the wildest moments in what is, basically, a series of over the top moments is the defense of an unnamed town on a backwater world. Fifty Space Marines from the Iron Snakes chapter fight a massive horde of orks. There's so many that the Marines know they are going to die- but they do it anyway, because they should try. What's really wild, and what makes this scene so touching, is that they pull it off- for, while all of them are hurt, some quite badly, and the equipment they brought is nothing but worn nubs and blunt spears, not one of them fell- and they killed every single ork. It's one hell of a moment.
    • Slightly less inspirational, but one of the few times a Space Marine Dreadnought is actually a character, the second excursion to the planet where it all started. A large group of Dark Eldar attempt to hide from the Dreadnought, which can still see them with its sensors. The Dreadnought calls them out on it, then brings down a stone building on top of them. The dreadnought stomps up to one still-living Dark Eldar and demands to know where the Space Marine commander of the mission is. The Dark Eldar spits a curse; the Dreadnought responds "Wrong answer." and proceeds to riddle the entire rubble pile with bolter shells.
  • In Graham McNeill's novel Storm of Iron, Castellan Vauban, the Imperial Guard commander, duels Honsou, the de facto War Captain of an Iron Warriors Grand Company. Considering the IGs are Badass Normals at most, and Chaos Marines are Super Soldiers with daemons in their heads and armour most Guard-tier weapons can't even scratch, it's incredibly badass to see him shatter Honsou's sword, and then cut his arm off at the shoulder.
    • It's swiftly followed by a villainous moment as Honsou feigns a stagger, drawing Vauban into a hasty finishing blow, only to charge inside Vauban's swing and ram the shattered ruin of his sword straight through both Vauban's breastplate and his heart.
    • An even better crowning moment goes to Julius Hawke. Despite being a self-admitted coward and something of a drunkard, he manages to survive having the rest of the Red Shirts in his guard outpost slaughtered by Honsou's scouting party, then manages to single-handedly tilt the balance of power on Hydra Cordatus by firing an anti-ship missile into the heart of the Chaos army with some help from an Adeptus Mechanicus Magos. He does this while being pursued by a Chaos Marine hell-bent on putting him down, too.
  • Also in Storm of Iron, Forrix gets one when he takes out the Warhound Titan that he had been "hunting". Having finally regained his lost vigour, he goes up against it on foot despite it tearing through his Terminator-armoured soldiers and manages to blow one of its legs off. Quickly turns into a Negated Moment of Awesome as he's utterly obliterated by the other Warhound, right as he stands on the cusp of his most magnificent victory.
  • On the subject of Honsou and company, his sieging of the Indomitable in "Iron Warrior" has to count for something. Not to mention the delicious irony in who M'kar chooses as his host.
  • The Last frakking Chancers. Any and all of them. Constantly.
  • By the Emperor, the CantiCol Lancers of Henry Zou's novel, Emperor's Mercy. The CantiCol Lancers charge a Chaos War Lord to protect the inquisitor that has been fighting with them knowing full well the consequences of such an action, and they do it anyways. Keep note that said War Lord was jumping off of tank hulls, smashing an FPV from his own weight, and threw a fucking Siegfried super heavy siege tank into the air.
    • A random Guardsman from the same book gets his own moment as well. During the final battle to stop the forces of Chaos from reaching the Old Kings, he smashes in the faceplate of an Ironclad with the butt of his lasgun, turns and stabs another one in the face with his bayonet, gets shot multiple times, and still manages to strangle a third one to death before succumbing to his wounds.
  • While both the Fire Warrior game and novel are accused of ridiculous amounts of Beginner's Luck (and rightly so), one genuine moment shines through: Through effectively the second half of the novel, La'Kais has had an unexploded bolter shell (that is to say, a Rocket-propelled grenade) lodged in his helmet after a shootout with a Space Marine. At the end of the incident, Kais is faced with the task of stopping a Daemon Prince alone, with his only edge the chance to weaken his powers by destroying four altars in the chamber. One altar is left. Kais has no weapons, no ammunition, and he just lost an arm. With his remaining arm, he rips off his helmet and throws it. It skids to a stop at the foot of the final altar, where the energy and heat radiating from it cooks that bolter shell off.
  • Titanicus. Three words- "Legio will walk".
    • Two more words, tastefully understated. "Engine Kill."
    • "You are not Kharnus Kollidus. You were once something else, something majestic, something transcendent. I pity you. Tell me, before I kill you, what was your name, long ago?" It takes stones to call out a ten-thousand-year-old Reaver-class Titan on using the wrong name.
  • Lau, the Master of Legio Invictia's Skitarii. A gene-bulked cybernetic warrior who dresses like a tribal, hacks enemies apart with his Power Axe, fries them with a plasma pistol grafted to his arm, and rips out their throats with his surgically modified hydraulic jaws. And he goes into battle hopped up on Combat Drugs, yet has the mind of a master tactician.
  • The Dark Angels combat squad in "Angels of Darkness". While they are outwitted and outmaneuvered by the Falleninfo , which in fairness wasn't that surprising in that only one of the members of this squad knew about the existence of the Fallen at all, they choose to commit suicide within their own fortress rather than letting the entire planet they're on die of a failsafe-virus in sealed in there with them. They could have easily opened the door and left, condemning the world to doom. In the same novel they single handedly take out what amounts to a small warship. There are 6 of them.
    • In the same novel, the Fallen Angel Astelan, for his general resilience to the merecies of the Interrogator Chaplain. Put in perspective, beyond the Dark Eldar, the Interrogator Chaplains are possibly they best torturers in the galaxy. He lasts 14 days in total isolation. He's over 10,000 years old too.
  • Rynn's World, the Space Marine Battles novel, is chock full of these. How about Pedro Kantor beating the absolute shit out of the Arch-Arsonist of Charadon. He beat him up so badly, the Ork Warboss ran away. This is directly after one of the Captains got three of his limbs torn off by the Arsonist's lieutenant in the process of clearing a spaceport in order to save Rynn's World, by allowing reinforcements to arrive.
  • Helsreach, another Space Marine Battles novel, has it's own fair share. Notable examples include The death of the Godbreaker gargant. Two words: "Engine Kill"
  • Thunder from Fenris. The battle with the Plague spawn, the end battle and the challenge, "WULFEN!"
  • Raven's Flight Corax and his remaining Raven Guard fighting the Iron Warriors. You know you're awesome when you have a Powerwhip that can trisect terminator-armoured Space Marines.
    • Also, the Big Damn Heroes moment at the end, where the Imperial Army and Raven Guard save the rest of the Legion from the World Eaters and Angron
  • Legion of the Damned, by Rob Sanders, is filled with these. The best is by far one word. Punisher. The little Thunderfire cannon that could. When Khornate Daemons overrun the eastern flank of the city the Excoriators are defending Punisher was the only survivor and continued to hold them off, alone. It held off Khornate Daemons, Cultist Hordes and berserk Chaos Space Marines by itself. And it that wasn't enough when Zachariah Kersh, the protagonist, sends out a signal to fall back Punisher goes on a search-and-destroy mission through the city. Then it blows down a wall, saving the main characters from being overwhelmed by World Eaters and allowing them to escape, before opening fire into the traitors and killing many of them, including 10,000 year old World Eaters veterans who fought at Terra! They finally kill it by flanking it. Punisher died, but it absolutely owned some of the galaxy's fiercest killers before it died.
    • The Legion of the Damned arrive and absolutely destroy the traitors. Best example is the fate of Umbragg of the Brazen Flesh. By his own admission Umbragg has fought in every single major battle involving the World Eaters. He fought at Istvaan, Terra, Armaggeddon and many other battles. And one lone Damned Legionary comes up behind him and slits his throat, leaving him to bleed out in an alley. One of the galaxy's deadliest warriors died like a common thug in "a street so small and insignificant to the galaxy around it that it didn't even name a name.". The Legion don't stop there. They fill the city and slaughter the Cholercaust. Some scenes described are a World Eater Lord and his cultists being herded into an open space, only to be fried by the Legion's flamers; A traitor named Slorak the Undying empting an entire clip of ammo from his bolt pistol into the face of a Legionary, only to have his head cut in two; A traitor Techmarine being lured into a park and blown up by pre-placed grenades; Foresworn marines being lured into the catacombs beneath the city and actually being stalked and hunted one-by-one by the Damned Legionaries.
    • Scout Omar. During a mission outside the city Omar is ambushed and literally buried alive in a cultist horde after they force him into an open grave. He survives and makes it back to the city as the Cholercaust is besieging it. Corpus-Captain Kersch rescues him, but Omar loses the lower half of his body to a gelatinous Daemon. That doesn't stop him from being a sniper spotter in the battle, and when his shooter is killed he takes the rifle and continues fighting. He is the last Excoriator to die, the bell tower he is firing on is swarmed by Furies. Even his death is awesome as Omar detonates the grenades he is wearing and takes the tower, and the Fury swarm, with him and the falling tower crushes a hell of a lot of cultists.
    • In space... One lone ship is all that defends Certus Minor. They do better than anyone could have expected, taking down many ships with their sole lance cannon. But as they are being boarded a new ship appears. One that is actually visible in from the planet's surface, showing the massive size of the vessel. It then launches a single torpedo and destroys the Keeler Comet that the Cholercaust has been following, the comet was corrupted after passing through the Blood God's realm and had been travelling the galaxy for ten thousand years. And the Raptorous Rex destroyed it with a single torpedo. And then it goes on to annihilate the entire Chaos fleet which consists of hundreds of vessels.
    • Corpus-Captain Kersh, The Scourge, future Chapter Master of the Excoriators. He starts the book in stasis, suffering from debilitating nightmares and undergoes invasive brain surgery to stop him from being a drooling vegetable. Now, most of his brothers wouldn't be too bummed about leaving him to rot, so this procedure was only done because he was the only guy in the Chapter who might stand a chance at winning the Feast of Blades, a single combat tournament with no holds barred, and where the occasional death isn't uncommon. That's right, the guy goes from being comatose, straight into a series of brawls, with only a brief procedure bordering on lobotomy to prepare him for it. Obviously, he wins the tournament, reinforcing his reputation for being a ruthless bastard along the way, to the point where the final match is no longer a one-on one fight, but a three way showdown, because none of the other Chapters want to shame themselves by giving him a fair fight. Oh, and he loses an eye in the early matches of the tournament. He's then offered the chance to replace it with bionic enhancements, but turns it down, because he feels the adjustment time might cost him a fight. So he just fills his empty eye socket with a ball bearing.
  • A subtle and understated one, yet in hindsight one of the most epic moments in 40k literature has to be in Graham Mcneill's The Last Church a story set in the earliest days of the canon in which a man heavily implied to be the very last Christian priest, whom after having his faith verbally ripped to shreds by a mysterious visitor, and having his beloved Church set alight and desecrated by Proto Space Marines, manages to deliver an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech to none other than the Emperor, beautifully calling him out on his hypocrisy and brutality, as well as pointing out with perfect accuracy and foresight how utterly crapsack his vision is, before rejecting him entirely and deciding to burn with his Church rather than be any part of it. Even more awesome is how this event is implied to have left an impact on the Emperor later on, considering how he listens to the long-lived but very human Malcador the Sigilite.
  • The ending of Gunheads. After witnessing the death and suffering of numerous Cadian Regiments - all for a largely pointless suicide mission (in the eyes of the characters) - the reader is treated to this final line:
    And men, forever after, would remember this day.
  • In one of the more recent books, Pariah, the POV protagonist Bequin is being chased by a Word Bearer Astartes. As she's being chased, an old man in an old black long coat emerges from the shadows, and bars the Astartes' way, armed only with an old long sword. He then proceeds to Cut the pursuing Traitor in two, deflect several bolter rounds, and then kill it with a single slash to the head, all while psychically screwing with it. The kicker? It's Eisenhorn, now a couple of hundred years old, and still as unflinchingly badass as he was in Thorn Wishes Talon.
  • In the novel Blood of Asaheim one of the characters, Baldr Fjolnir, is infected by a Nurglite plague and enters a coma. Meanwhile across the battlefield the Space Wolf Blademaster Váltyr battles against the Chaos Plague Terminator Champioin Thorslax the Blighted and is killed fighting him. Immediately after that the remainder of the Pack attack him, the Wolf Guard Gunnlaugur Skullhewer and his brothers Jorundur the Old Dog and Olgeir Heavy-Hand, and Thorslax dominates them utterly. Just before he can finish Gunnlaugur though Baldr appears, completely corrupted by the plague. Thorslax approaches him and calls him brother, but can't even finish the word before Baldr blasts him with lightning. His armour breaks apart, his boils and blisters explode and his flesh melts; and all the while he is screaming. By the end all that remains of Thorslax the Blighted are a few charred chunks of ceramite and meat. The surrounding army is described as "being unable to decide whether or not they should bow down to Baldr or flee in terror."
  • An example from Graham Mcneill's The Ark Mechanicus: The Speranza, the titular Ark Mechanicus, is revealed to be from the Dark Age of Technology. This reveal comes in the form of Archmagos Lexell Kotov linking with the Machine Spirit of the Speranza, causing its AI to unleash a variety of targeting systems no one, not even the AdMech on the ship, knew about. These systems turn out to be capable of functioning perfectly normally in a Warp storm, to the point where the Speranza is able to seek out and one-shot an Eldar cruiser- again, in the middle of a Warp storm -with a black hole cannon.
    • The Machine Spirit wasn't done yet, though- The cruiser has a Farseer on board, which allows it to dodge the Ark Mechanicus' shot despite it traveling at the speed of light. The Speranza, however, isn't having any of this, and proceeds to barrage the cruiser with chrono-gun fire, bombarding it with tachyons that teleport the ship a nanosecond into the past, forcing it into the black hole's path.
  • Towards the end of Josh Reynolds's Apocalypse, the Anchorite - a Horus Heresy-era Word Bearer who went back to worshipping the Emperor as atonement - joins the fray, just before Amatnim can behead Calder. He then banishes Amatnim's daemons with a word, and kicks the crap out of Amatnim and his fellow Word Bearers long enough for Calder to get back up and rejoin the fight.
    ‘Amatnim.’ The Dreadnought leaned forward. ‘I know you now. One of Kor Phaeron’s curs. You liked to burn books, I recall.’ Another staccato laugh. ‘Books aren’t known for fighting back, are they?’
    ‘Stand aside? No, I’ve done that enough for one lifetime. I stood aside at Isstvan and Calth. But not here, boy. Not now.’
  • In War of Secrets, the third student of Commander Puretide, Shas O'Kais, has basically become the Tau Doom Slayer due to 200 years of being aware while frozen, only running combat simulations. He assaults a Space Marine Monastery by himself and manages to not only fight off but win against several dozen marines, including eight terminators, the Chapter Master of the Dark Angels along with his honour guard. It took the chapter master calling in Orbital Bombardment on his own monastery to stop him, which didn't even kill him in the end.
  • No love for Ancient Rylanor? A loyalist dreadnought from the Emperor's Children, thought to have died on Isstvan III, only to be rediscovered millennia later by a trio of Thousand Son's marines investigating a signal sent out. A signal he made to lure in FULGRIM. And what does he do upon seeing his traitorous primarch, now a Daemon Prince? DETONATE A VIRUS BOMB TO TRY AND KILL HIM. One of the Thousand Sons contains the explosion, and Fulgrim proceeds to tear into Rylanor, cutting into his dreadnought shell, offering to have him be reborn as a chaos marine. The response?
    Rylanor: Never! All we have left between us is that we will die together! I am Rylanor of the Emperor's Children. Ancient of Rites, Venerable of the Palatine Host, and proud servant of the Emperor of Mankind, beloved by all. I reject you now and always!
    • His sheer devotion causes the leader of the Thousand Sons to kill the marine containing the explosion, allowing it to kill them all. Fulgrim later reforms, but his pride is so shattered by his once son's defiance that it lingers upon him like a wound.
    • It should be noted that as a Daemon Prince of Slaanesh, Fulgrim's faith in himself as being perfect made him nearly unbeatable in combat. With his pride suffering a permanent wound in this battle from both Rylanor's defiance and the betrayal of the sorcerer Vistario, Fulgrim's newfound doubt in his own perfection permanently weakened him.
    • The Sorcerer, Vistario deserves a spot too for his final moments. As Fulgrim tore into Rylanor's sarcophagus to reshape his ruined body into a servant of Chaos, Vistario comes to realize the lack of anything in Fulgrim that can be respected to the degree of Rylanor's conviction and honor. And so he and his brothers meet that conviction with sacrifice.
  • Godblight finally delivers a good old fashioned post-heresy Primarch smackdown as Guilliman and Mortarion at last have it out after 10000 years of pent up anger and frustration. Mortarion wins. And we don't just mean he wins the fight. He straight up kills Guilliman. But the awesomeness isn't over. As The Emperor himself possesses Guilliman corpse, rips into his traitor son for his 10 millennia of idiocy, and then twists the knife by still saying Mortarion can be forgiven. And the cherry on top after Mortarion is whisked away for punishment by Nurgle, Big E decides he doesn't like Nurgle's realm and destroys a huge chunk of it. The Emperor is back and he's done sitting around.
    • Oh, and if you are wondering, yes, He brings Guilliman back to life, despite Guilliman getting injected a dose of a poison outright more powerful and virulent than the Anathame and declares him His Right Hand.
    • Not only that, it's strongly implied the other missing Primarchs are set to return with scores to settle against Chaos.

    Tabletop Game Background Material 
  • Ork Mekboy/biker/Warboss/raving lunatic Wazdakka Gutzmek once found himself up against an Imperial Warlord Titan, a Humongous Mecha protected by powerful energy shields and armed with enough firepower to level entire cities. Undaunted, Wazdakka ramped his bike off a cliff and rammed the Titan with it, overloading the energy shields and setting both him and his bike on fire. The bike continued on its trajectory and slammed into the Titan's head, whereupon Wazdakka, still on fire, proceeded to butcher the Titan's pilot and bridge crew.
    • That's not the best part. He kept the skulls of the Titan crew as trophies. To this day, they are still burning.
    • Hell, even without the sheer awesome of that story, Wazdakka gets a few. For example, he once fitted a scavenged Battle Cannon to his warbike. For reference, a Battle Cannon is the primary armament of a Leman Russ Main Battle Tank, and he had it bolted to his frickin' bike. Aside from the inherent ammunition problems of bike-mounted tank guns (Battle Cannon shells being almost the size of a human torso), every time it fired the recoil not only slowed or even stopped him, but sent his bike hurtling backwards. Given the average speed and mass of a Speed Freek and his warbike (around 70mph is considered slow, and orks are both physically larger and proportionally more massive than humans, with bikes built to scale), that implies the sheer scary awesome hugeness of his BFG.
  • Speaking of Orks, Warlord Grizgutz was prepared to launch his WAAAGH! into the Warp; however, due to a freak Warp Storm he and his WAAAGH! travel back in time before they set off. He then attacks his past self in order to have two of his favorite gun. The two time-displaced armies then declare war on themselves/each other, inadvertently saving millions of human lives.
  • Perhaps the best Ork story ever: the Great Boss Tuska fought a demon, decided that the Warp would be fun and then led a WAAAAGH! first to Prosan, an Imperial hostile environment training world for practice, and then into the Eye of Terror itself. While there, they demolished every world they came across until they met a sentient world, which spawned creatures that were more than a match for the Orks. A Daemon Prince of Khorne, the Blood Prince, came up and slaughtered what was left of the warband. Tuska's Weirdboyz threw pure psychic force at it, and it killed them with a gesture. With his final breath, Tuska reached between the Blood Prince's legs with his power klaw and "made a gesture of his own". But that wasn't the end of Tuska, oh no. Khorne was so impressed with Tuska and his boyz' mindless battle-lust that he brought them all back to life—to be slaughtered all over again. And again. And again. Now, every dawn, the Orks are returned to life fighting-fit, and are set against opponents they can never beat — a waking nightmare for anyone else. The Orks? In essence, they'd found Ork Valhalla. To quote Tuska:
    "I told you I knew where da best fightin' woz!"
  • Just Orks. They invent a man portable teleportation device, and use it to shoot snotlings (a smaller ork sub-species) inside people. They build spaceships so large they have their own gravity well, and shoot asteroids as small arms fire. They use nuclear reactors to power guns (kustom mega-blastas), armour (mega-armour) and just about everything else. In hand to hand they are the equal of a fully equipped space marine in power armour with boltgun (armour that surpasses most modern tanks, armed with a rapid fire grenade launcher) with only an axe and armour that's basically a leather jacket with bits of metal stapled to it. Also see Deffrollaz, Power Klaws and gargants. Oh, and did we mention that all of the above only works BECAUSE THE ORKS BELIEVE IT DOES?
  • The latest Codex ups-the-ante by having Ghazkull battle Hive Fleet Leviathan to a draw on the planet of a Warboss he came to smash, only to be suddenly swallowed by a Trygon in one gulp in the middle of said stalemate. Usually, this is an instant death-sentence, even if you are Abbadon the Despoiler himself. Not for Ghazkull, oh no; he not only survives the swallowing, but then proceeds to rip and blast his way out of the colossal beast's belly like a Chest Burster, roaring triumphantly. To top it off, this epically-heroic sight inspires the respect, courage and Undying Loyalty of the entire planet's Orks, including the Warboss Ghazkull came to smash, as he leads them to annhiliate the entire hive fleet from the surface of the world. That's right folks; Hive Fleet Leviathan, which rolled over entire Segmenta and Chapters of Space Marines like a tsunami was exterminated by the bravery of Ghazkull Thrakka. Pure. Bad. Ass.
    • Being partly digested by the Trygon did hurt him a little - if swimming in acid and having a bone-spine pushed through you counts for anything to an ork as tough as Thraka. His Dok, Grotsnik, later has to pull it out with the help of a DEFF DRED. No other race can manage surgery with a Dreadnought-equivalent as an orderly, but then they're Orks.
  • The Ultramarines 1st company defending their chapter fortress from the Tyranids. They managed to hold them back long enough for the Imperial fleet to destroy the Tyranid bioships (by flying a battleship right into middle of them and detonating its warpdrive), but in doing so died to the last man.
  • Commander Shadowsun had a crowning moment when she managed, by leading several raids, to disrupt a Tyranid splinter fleet so badly that the Tau armada was able to destroy it without losing a SINGLE vessel.
  • When the World Eaters champion Kharn and his troops were fighting against a warband of Emperor's Children on a planet where during the night the temperatures would drop to lethal levels even for space marines, he was disgusted because his men stopped fighting in order to escape the cold. So he grabbed a flamethrower and started running around, burning all shelters and slaughtering everybody, friend or foe. He pretty much singlehandedly caused both legions to fragment and earned the name "Betrayer".
  • Primarchs were made to be awesome, but a few need to be mentioned here:
    • Sanguinus for breaking a Bloodthirster's spine on his knee.
      • He basically held back the entire invading army of Chaos at the gates to the Imperial Palace by himself.
      • That last part (and damaging Horus' armor in their fight) is the reason that Sanguinus ties with Roboute Guilliman for greatest Primarch in the eyes of the Imperium. And for most fans, Sanguinius beats Guilliman by miles.
    • Mortarion, for the time before he got found by the Emperor. We're talking about somebody who didn't stop helping people, despite being feared by them and eventually managed to single-handedly drive off invaders from said people armed only with a scythe.
    • Vulkan squaring off against an attacking force of technologically adept super-sadists with nothing but a pair of hammers. And winning.
      • A page discussing the awesomest parts of 40k one would be remiss to leave out Vulkan's Awesome Moment of Crowning. With the earth-born progenitors of the Salamanders pinned down on a world beset with Orks , their chapter master wounded and their munitions low, it seems all hope is lost. But just as things seem their darkest, Vulkan arrives to save his sons, backed up by 3,000 Nocturne-born initiates and wielding the most high tech equipment Vulkan could think up. Seeing their reinforcements and the arrival of their long-lost father, the earth-born Salamanders rally and the Orks are crushed between a hammer and anvil, with those fleeing purged by the flame. With the battle won and their Primarch revealed, the earth-born Salamanders bowed before their Primarch .Yet to their surprise Vulkan bade them to stand, and he, with all of his new Nocturne-born sons, bowed before them. This becomes more awesome and heartwarming when one remembers how shittily the earth-born marines were often treated when met with their new Primarchs.
      • The crowning moment of awesome for Vulkan after being captured by Conrad Kurze, A.K.A psycho Batman, following the Drop Site Massacre. After being tortured both mentally and physically, killed numerous times and subjected to numerous taunts from his fallen brother, the Onyx Primarch uses Conrad as a bludgeon to beat the shit out of a force field guarding his personal hammer Dawnbringer. Finally, he uses a teleporter button he had on the thing to teleport halfway across the galaxy to Ultramar.
      • But none of this should be surprising because Vulkan is a onyx black, red eyed, immortal, dragon-slaying, space demi-god blacksmith who was the size of a goddamn kodiak bear when he was four.
    • Leman Russ is a genetically engineered super Space Viking. This alone makes him pretty awesome, even before mentioning he was Raised by Wolves - Horse-sized wolves with mean streaks a mile wide. The crowning moment, however, would be meeting the Emperor. Russ mocks this stranger, and then invites him to join in the feasting and competition. Russ defeats him in eating and drinking competitions. Let me say that again. Russ beats The Emperor - essentially a meaner version of Jesus - in a drinking competition. The Emperor is pretty pissed off by this point, so he punches Russ while wearing a Power Fist - an anti-tank weapon. After a second, Russ gets up, laughs, and hugs his papa.
      • He also claimed to have a mild headache after the fight, but caused by the amount of booze he drunk not the punch.
      • Leman Russ' first act when he emerged from his incubator pod after getting teleported out of the Emperor's laboratory was to climb out of a volcano. Let me repeat that: the first thing Leman Russ did as a newborn child was to CLIMB. OUT. OF. A. VOLCANO. badass personified.
      • There's also the time he broke a glacier with a single punch. A GLACIER.
      • Nothing compared to the fact that the infant who would one day become Night Haunter to the people of Nostramo, CLIMBED OUT OF THE MOLTEN CORE OF HIS HOMEWORLD.
      • See Sanguinius's CMOA above? Yeah, Bloodthristers are pretty tough. But Russ? He picked up and broke Magnus the Red. Yeah, the same Magnus that was a Primarch frequently described as a "giant" with a gaze that can kill a man.
    • Angron apparently managed to slaughter a group of Eldar sent to assassinate him (apparently foreseeing his future as the Khornate Primarch) as an infant.
      • After the Horus Heresy, all the surviving Traitor Primarchs are content to remain in the Eye of Terror, delegating to their armies or warring against other Chaos forces, and even if they leave they don't do much. Except for Angron, who one day decided to leave the Eye of Terror accompanied with an enormous force of Chaos Marines and daemons, and proceeded to rampage across entire sectors, eventually banished when he was attacked by an entire company of Grey Knights.
      • Before that, Angron's first incursion into the Imperium as a daemon prince was an event known as the Dominion of Fire. With 50,000 Khorne Berserkers at his back, Angron wrecked seventy sectors across two centuries of unrelenting war. It took four Space Marine chapters, two Titan legions and thirty Imperial Guard regiments to stop his rampage and send him back to the Warp. Even more impressive considering this was entirely with just close combat infantry, with no artillery or ranged support; the Imperium with all of this only barely won.
      • And even before he became a daemon prince, Angron was badass as all fuck. He once clawed his way up through 200+ feet of solid debris and threw a Warhound Titan off of him when it tried to stomp on him. Angron also beat Sanguinius in full rage mode, something only full Chaos-empowered Horus could do.
    • Roboute Guilliman vs. Alpharius, no items, final destination. When Fulgrim fought Ferrus Manus, it took a vast number of blows. When Guilliman fought Alpharius, each took only one swing. Guilliman survived. Alpharius didn't. Though there are doubts even within the setting as to whether it actually happened, though if it did it was badass.
      • And not just for the battle itself: The only reason why the battle happened was because Guilliman broke with Codex Astartes protocol — the very document he had created and claimed to Alpharius was superior to any of the younger primarch's complicated plans and trickery — and directly assaulted the Alpha Legion command camp before deployment finished. In other words, the only way he won that battle was by proving Alpharius right — and he still lost the war for the planet because the Alpha Legion outfoxed him at every other turn.
      • The way the Alpha Legion won was also a CMoA. Normally when you beat the leader and slaughter his command structure, the troops go into disarray. Guilliman lost because he was stunned that the Alpha Legion literally didn't care about the death of their primarch. He thought he'd taken out the tactical head of their legion, then he found out why their symbol is a Hydra...
      • There's also doubt amongst the fandom as to whether or not that the 'Alpharius' slain by Guilliman was the real deal... This is because that the very first thing that any member of the Legion says when they meet someone is "I am Alpharius."
      • Except it's all lies. The document that the whole account is based on was discovered in the archives of an Inquisitor who was later revealed to be an Alpha Legion spy, and the Ultramarines themselves claim to have no knowledge of it at all. What really happened may well have been awesome for the Ultramarines, for Alpharius, for Guilliman, for the Alphas...or it may never have happened. One theory is that Guilliman actually won a decisive and humiliating victory and the account is the Alpha Legion trying to cover it up. Or, he faked his death. Or he died and won. Or long games are being played by everyone concerned. And this mystery is what makes the franchise awesome in itself.
    • Night Haunter/Konrad Curze. Even in death he still manages to win. He's left the Imperium and sided with Horus, and assassins have been dispatched to kill him. His reaction? Have his men stand down, sit back, and let the assassin kill him, with the final words "Death is nothing compared to vindication", showing that the Emperor is just as bad, resorting to tactics that are just as heavy-handed to get things done. And that's in addition to being so terrifying that hardened criminals could be sent screaming at the thought that they'd caught his attention, and rogue systems instantly paying every outstanding tithe to the Imperium at the mention that Night Haunter even might be the one to come claim them.
    • The Sanguinor, implied to be a reincarnation of Sanguinus' noble, idealistic spirit, got a huge one in his first recorded sighting, the Khartas incident. The Blood Angels are chasing some Ork Freebooterz onto a world when the pirates' warp drive break down and opens a rift, allowing Daemons of Khorne to pour through. The Daemons are led by Ka'Bandha, a Greater Daemon of Khorne who is to regular Bloodthristers what Bloodthristers are to Gretchin, and who fought Sanguinus during the Horus Heresy. Ka'Bandha makes mincemeat of nearly all of the thirty Blood Angels who made planetfall, and the few survivors prepare to make a Last Stand inside a ruined cathedral, when Sanguinor turns up (and by that, I mean he pulls an aerial Dynamic Entry which knocks Ka'Bandha out of the sky) and proceeds to utterly own the Greater Daemon, breaking his axe, impaling him through the chest on his sword, and then picking him up, flying into orbit, and body slamming him onto the planet's surface, reducing the mighty daemon to a giant blood-filled crater (which is still there to this day) and single-handedly fucking up the hordes of lesser Daemons, buying enough time for the survivors to bail.
  • Marneus Calgar in the Space Marines codex. He charges dozens of Eldar and an Avatar Of Khaine (the Eldar's giant avatar of their god of war) armed only with his powerfists and some super armor. He smashes any Eldar in his way out of his way, attacks the Avatar, grabs its sword when it tries to decapitate him and then smashes it in half with his next blow. Did I mention the avatar is over 20 feet tall and had been smashing away anything in its path for most of the battle with no trouble?
    • "Only his powerfists?" Come now, the Gauntlets of Ultramar are made of sterner stuff than that!
  • Canoness Praxedes single-handedly slew a Hive Tyrant in close combat and then led a group of Sisters of Battle in a hit and run campaign against a Tyranid invasion, letting a huge shrine world evacuate through their efforts. This is an ordinary human woman (not a Marine), single-handedly killing a two story tall creature designed to be a close combat killing machine. It is no wonder that she was posthumously given the title of Saint.
  • Granted, not as inspirational, but Khaine, after being repeatedly wounded and having all his soldiers die, striking down the Nightbringer, who was materialized for about a billionth of a second.
  • Pre-heresy Iron Warriors, who specialised in garrison and siege tactics. One instance had ten Iron Warriors in a garrison watching over a disgruntled population of 130 million. And they're still pretty badass in the 41st millennium too.
    • Possibly a Negated Moment of Awesome: during the Great Crusade, the Iron Warriors were treated as semi-expendable workhorses by the other legions, delegated with all the most gruelling fortification and garrison duties and given no honour for it (as in, commanders ordering legionnaires to dig trenches would be met with "Why aren't you getting the Iron Warriors to do this?"). Leaving ten Astartes to watch over 130 million people wasn't out of them being badass, it stemmed from the Imperium treating the Iron Warriors as the No-Respect Guy, splitting the legion ever thinner to control more planets. Is it any wonder Perturabo sided with the traitors when the Horus Heresy broke out?
  • Captain Lysander of the Imperial Fists. After having a streak of bad luck, which culminated with him getting caught by the Iron Warriors (who hate Imperial Fists), Lysander finally managed to demonstrate his awesome. After suffering a month of horrible torture, he managed to break free of his restrains and escape, armorless and weaponless.
    • It gets better; once he linked up with the Imperial Fists again, and after a year where they made sure he was uncorrupted, he led his forces back and killed every single Iron Warrior he could find.
  • Logan Grimnar. After the first war for Armageddon, when any witnesses to the armies of Chaos were shipped off-world to be worked to death, he was the only man in the entire Imperium who had the balls to stare down both the Inquisition and the High Lords of Terra and call them on their shit, and the only one who could get away with it. Nearly anyone else would have been branded a heretic, nearly any other chapter would have been declared Excommunicate Traitoris. Not him, and not the Space Wolves. Ever since, the Inquisition has walked softly when the Great Wolf is in town. It didn't save the people of Armageddon unfortunately, but that moment of unshakable loyalty to the common men and women of the Imperium, rather then to the heartless machine known as the Administratum, was the closest thing this setting has ever gotten to a Heartwarming Moment.
    • The master of any first founding Chapter has the authority to do this. No Inquisitor is going to pick a fight without a damn fine reason because they'd essentially be starting a war with that Chapter, their successor Chapters, any Chapters they have solid alliances or a history with and any other Chapters who fear the same thing happening to them later, plus any human forces who ally with the Marines. Any Inquisitor who tried would likely be killed rather than allowed to precipitate a civil war second only to the Horus Heresy.
      • It doesn't hurt that the Space Wolves are one of the chapters that still maintains legion strength, either. They're known iconoclasts.
    • Actually, "call them on their shit" is just too lenient (and too weak) for choices of words about his and Wolves' deeds: That period is called as Months of Shame, when Logan Grimnar and Wolves (in honour and trust to those Badass Normals who fought alongside with them during the First War for Armageddon) openly defied the Inquisition's orders to "contain" those who might be tainted by Chaos, by using their own vessels to shield those spaceships (full of survivors from the War) from being fired upon, and eventually, led to direct armed confrontation between the two parties, up to the point that the Inquisition lay siege upon Wolves' homeworld of Fernis. And despite their heavy losses, Grimnar and Wolves stood firm to their ideals. This is both a CMOA and CMOH in itself, even more so when one considered Grimnar personally killed the two people responsible (one Inquisitor, and one Grey Knights Grand Master) by making their way to their bridge outnumbered (granted at one time he chose to take the bait, but still), and walked away from it unharmed. BAD. ASS.
    • Grimnar's objections even forced a slight policy change within the Inquisition, something almost unheard of. He has also been known to wage Wars of Compassion against elements of the Imperium itself. This isn't just the actions of a few Space Marines, or a minor Chapter, or even the actions of a powerful Chapter within their own territory. This wasn't the kind of stuff that the Administratum could sweep under the rug or ignore. This was open treason, committed by one of the oldest and most experienced Chapter Masters, one of the oldest and most experienced Chapters, working outside their home territory.
    • That double bladed axe Logan carries? He got that off a Daemon Prince, one killed on its own homeworld in single-combat. That is more than just a challenge and a half. The weapon then tried, and failed completely, to corrupt him when he picked it up. Let me put that another way, Logan Grimnar is so Badass he made Chaos itself bitch down. Then, because he quite liked the weapon as a trophy, he had it reforged by the Wolf Priests so it wouldn't corrupt those around him. That weapon allows him to deal enough damage to pierce Magnus the Red's armor, temporarially killing a PRIMARCH!
    • The 13th Company of the Space Wolves have spent ten thousand years in the middle of a Negative Space Wedgie. Uncorrupted.
  • In additional to garden variety badassary, each ancient Space Marine Chapter has their own legendary warriors who are each worth an army (or twelve). Ultramarine Chief Librarian Tigurius can mindscrew the Tyranid hordes. Dante of the Blood Angels is prophesied to defend the Emperor at the Time of Ending and can kill daemons in a single blow. Bjorn the Fell-Handed has saved his entire chapter on countless occasions and was killing sorcerers even before he became a Dreadnought. One gets the sense that if/when the Imperium goes under, they're certainly capable of dragging their destroyers down with them.
  • The Inquisition itself deserves a very special spot in this category. Imagine it, a bunch of regular guys in leather coats and armor tasked with facing down the entire galaxy that never seems to run out of shit to hit them with and succeeding! Face it, the Inquisition is the only force the Imperium has consistently getting results, and really, for all their intolerance, they have a henchan acceptance policy that makes the Greater Good look narrow-minded. Literally ANYONE, from the lowest factory worker to a High Lord of Terra can become an Inquisitor, provided they survive more than a decade of absolute hell. They're the ONLY group in the Imperium who not only don't dislike psykers, but psykers and mutants can become respected Inquisitors and wield judgement over pretty much anyone who called them "freaks" before. Yes, they're batshit insane sometimes—they've earned it!
  • The Imperial Guard is composed of just regular guys with bad guns (and, admittedly, awesome tanks). They routinely get involved in battles with eight foot tall fungus monsters, undead robots led by the god of death, satanists wearing a solid ton of armor, ravening swarmbeasts who exist solely to eat flesh, and space elves capable of ripping them apart with mind-bullets channeled from hell itself. And they don't always lose.
    • The Mordian Iron Guard deserve a special mention for repulsing a full Chaos invasion of their home planet. Let us repeat that; the Mordian Iron Guard, without a single Astarte, faced down a major Chaos invasion which included deamons and CHAOS SPACE MARINES and they WON!
    • As a subset of this, a Commissar's job is to be even scarier than all the nasty beasties listed above. They are very good at their jobs.
    • Part of the reason the Imperial Guard appeals to people is because that, unlike every other faction in the setting, these are essentially modern-day soldiers wielding current-day weapons backed by what is implied to be ancient farm vehicles with guns bolted to them and are not only expected to face cosmic horrors, stupefyingly advanced aliens, physical gods and zombie-alien-robots, but are expected to win. And the best part is, most of the time they do win.
  • Ollanius Pius, the guardsman who (before GW retconned him out of existence) faced down Horus himself to give the Emperor time to recover and kick Horus' ass. Having just seen Horus kill a primarch and beat the crap out of the Emperor. With nothing other than his flashlight and cardboard armor. He died, but he held the line for long enough for the Emperor to get it together and end it.
    • The awesome part is this: he, a lone Imperial Guardsmen, the type who are eaten alive in the millions by enemies across the galaxy, faces down an enemy who just ripped apart a Primarch. He fearlessly steps in between his Emperor and Horus with a flak jacket and a lasgun, while Horus wields a claw bigger than he is. When Horus swats him out of the way like a fly, the Emperor truly realizes he has gone entirely to Chaos, and rends Horus from existence.
      • 1d4Chan has an interesting account from his point of view, which makes it even more awesome. It ends with this line: Ollanius Pius does the duty his Emperor requires of him. He dies standing, and holding the fucking line.
    • He's now been retconned back into existance, and made even more Badass. He's a Perpetual now, which means he can't die normally. But nothing more than that, so he's just a Badass Normal with a ton of experience.
  • The entire Astral Knights chapter. A Necron machine world (imagine the Death Star with hieroglyphs and flashy green Tron Lines) was ripping a new one to a huge human coalition. The Imperials couldn't pierce its shields, all the attempts of teleporting troops on the world failed... So what did the Astral Knights do? They pushed their main battlebarge at its full speed, rammed the machine world's shields so hard they shatter them for a brief moment, and began to destroy as many reactors and shield generators on the surface as possible before being wiped out by the vastly more numerous Necrons. The only Astral Knights who survived were those who were engaged in other battles hundreds of light years away, but those who fought and died made enough damage to the battleship to finally make it drop its shields and offering an easy victory to the Imperium.
    • Even better, the Imperium allowed the Mechanicum to sift through the wreckage so they could recover the battlebarge, tow it to a desolate world and turn it into a memorial for the entire chapter, with a statue for each of the 772 Battle-Brothers who fought aboard the Necron vessel. And even though the world it's on is a desert wasteland inhabited only by a few scavengers, the memorial is guarded by volunteers from each of the fourteen other chapters who fought beside the Astral Knights that day, including the Ultramarines and the Blood Angels.
  • Even the pathetic Gretchins get a Moment of Awesome, despite being the punching bag of everyone in the galaxy as well as actual players of the game. Specifically, it goes to the Grot orderlies of Mad Dok Grotsnik, who brought the dok back to life after he was killed by Ork nobs for planting bombs in their heads without their consent. Sure, Grotsnik was completely whacked out of skull balls to the wall bat shit insane afterwards, but think about it: Gretchins are more cunning than the average Ork, but only because they have to be to avoid dying. Like Orks, they're not actually intelligent. No Ork or orkroid species, save for actual doks, are competent enough to revive someone. How did they do it? By doing something no Ork would do: they learned from Grotsnik how to heal instead of how to kill. That's pretty damn impressive. It was followed by Grotsnik's Moment of Awesome, when he detonated the bombs inside the heads of the nobs who had done him wrong, while cackling, dancing and jumping around, and howling at the sky.
  • Rynn's Might: A Land Raider of the Crimson Fists that, deprived of its crew, fought an Ork warband single-handedly to the end, on behalf of its machine spirits. After running out of ammo and gun barrels, it still tried running the orks over. And once disabled, it opened its hatches, the Warboss blindly stepped in, and...
  • Slaanesh defeating Khaine, the Eldar God of War and Murder who defeated the Nightbringer, and getting into a fight with Khorne, during which Khaine was accidentally shattered into a million pieces.
  • Battle of Hades Hive. In which Commisar Sebastian Yarrick stalled the entire Ork WAAAGH! long enough to turn the tide of the war, utilising a severely outnumbered force. During said battle he lost his arm, but stayed conscious long enough to kill the offending Ork Warboss, cut off his bionic arm, hold it up as a trophy, urged on his troops, and finished off that attack wave. Not until the skirmish was over did he pass out. Then Yarrick replaced his arm with that of the Warboss. Yeah, CMOA for the Old Man of Armageddon.
    • And Yarrick has only gotten harder since then. He is probably the only human that can inspire honest-to-Emperor fear in Orks, Ghazghull (the single most powerful and admired Ork in the entire galaxy) considers Yarrick to be a Worthy Opponent, and he is still personally killing Orks despite being several centuries old. When he heard his enemies thought he could kill with a glance, he replaced his eye with a bionic one that could fire a laser specifically so he could do just that.
  • Nork Deddog was an Ogryn bodyguard to Catachan Colonel Greiss. When Greiss was hurt in combat, Deddog walked over to a downed Chimera vehicle with medicine inside and grabbed it - not the medicine, the Chimera. He then lugged it out of a ditch and twenty meters over to his colonel, showcasing both his badassery and his indomitable loyalty (though not necessarily his intelligence).
    • It should be noted that through a lifetime of fearless service to the Imperium, Nork managed to do what few of the Imperium's heroes (especially expendable line troops like him) ever accomplish: Lived a full life and died of old age.
  • One moment of Imperial awesomeness happens when a demon of Slaanesh once tried to rip an entire section of the galaxy out of realspace and into the Warp, his plan being to set up a theocracy with him as its ruler, each major city on every world he ostensibly controlled being host to a giant golden statue in his likeness. When his gambit was about to succeed, he had all of his followers in every city gathered around the statues, worshiping him as he split himself up into enough pieces to be able to fill every statue so that he could feast on the souls of his worshipers. By this point the Imperium had found out and sent a fleet to deal with the place, and at the time where the gambit was about to succeed, they had a ship above every city, targeting every statue with a lance blast. At a predetermined time, every ship opened fire. Every statue was obliterated and every worshiper was killed, annihilating the demon and his followers in one fell swoop.
  • There's one moment in the Space Marine Battles novel Helsreach, while the commanders of Armageddon's defense are meeting. Commissar Yarrick is talking about how Hades Hive won't survive the week, when a Captain of the Angels of Fire Space Marines Chapter steps up and says that they should try and defend it, because it was where the Ork invasion was broken sixty years ago. Yarrick is adamant in his decision, and the Astartes laughs at him, saying that he's underestimating them and that any Astartes in the room has more military experience than he does. Yarrick doesn't reply, doesn't say anything. He doesn't get angry, doesn't break down. He just stares at the Space Marine, until eventually the arrogant sap realizes he's goofed up and sits back down.
  • Maugan Ra, Eldar Phoenix Lord of the Dark Reapers, gets a few. First, he was able to defend a planet from a splinter of Leviathan Tyranids, single-handedly, which included bisecting a Tyrannofex. To put that into perspective, the Blood Angels had to call up all of their successor chapters to save their planet from the same fate. Secondly, saving his craftworld, Altansar, which was lost to the Eye of Terror almost ten thousand years ago. During the 13th Black Crusade, Maugan decides to go into the Eye, which at this point of time was launching huge assaults into space, and succeeds in dragging the entire craftworld back out. Here's hoping the other PL's get to do something that badass.
    • Oh, and he's stated to be one of the two Phoenix Lords who are still alive.
  • One from the Black Crusade roleplaying game's background; Ax'Senaea the Thrice-Possessed, the Executis Primaris of Laodomida and the sample Daemon Prince, mentioned on the page's entry for "The Baroness", and arguable as a triumphant example of the Badass Normal. In short, this was a woman who so refined her sheer willpower that she was convinced by a sorcerer she could "reverse" a case of Demonic Possession, allowing her to leech off of the daemon's energy to sustain herself instead of being consumed. So she promptly did so... and, to the sorcerer's own surprise (he was expecting her to die), she actually succeeded. Over the course of decades, the daemon trapped inside her soul was painfully drained of power, unable to lift a finger, until she sucked it dry and cast it back into the Warp. Then, as her name suggests, she did it twice more, and digested the next two. This is an awesome moment in itself; whilst some similar cases of symbiotic or human-controlled daemonic possessions get mentioned, it's generally accepted that possession is a Fate Worse than Death, that leads to the inevitable destruction of the human as their mind is snuffed out and their body becomes a tool. But that's not where Ax'Senaea's awesomeness ends: the very first daemon she captured in this way? A Keeper of Secrets. That's right, the biggest, baddest daemon Slaanesh has in hir army; a monster so terrible that most people lose their souls just looking at it. And it wasn't a fluke; she basically beat down and ate three Eldritch Abominations. She was about to go for number four when Slaanesh hirself showed up and turned her into a Daemon Princess out of a combination of sheer interest in her skills, to make her stop lunching on hir greater daemons, and as a huge "f*** you" to hir greater daemons for not being able to stop her.
  • One from the new Death Company supplement from Black Library, and perhaps one of the most badass of the Blood Angels to ever live. During the long years of the Seventh Black Crusade, the full might of the Blood Angels Chapter falls upon a vast Black Legion warband on the world of Mackan. Although the conflict ultimately ends in the near-extinction of the Blood Angels at the hands of Abaddon the Despoiler and his primary lieutenants – the sorcerer-lord Iskandar Khayon and the swordmaster Telemachon Lyras – the Blood Angels Reclusiarch Thalastian Jorus becomes one of the few Imperial heroes to ever land a blow against the Warmaster of Chaos. With his Chapter devastated, the Chaplain endures weeks of hardship in the wilderness and the constant trials of keeping his crazed warriors undetected on Mackan. When the time is right, Jorus leads his Death Company in a lightning raid behind enemy lines, butchering the unprepared sworn warriors of the Despoiler’s honour guard, and allowing the Reclusiarch to lock blades with Abaddon himself. It is said the Warmaster still bears the scars of that battle, even three millennia later. Whatever the truth of the matter, it is known that the Despoiler honoured Jorus once the war was over – perhaps in mockery, or perhaps with nothing but sincerity. After Mackan, thousands of Blood Angels corpses were desecrated, their gene-seed ruined beyond recovery. Of all the Chapter, only a handful of bodies were left undefiled: Reclusiarch Jorus and his Death Company, clad in their battered and broken black ceramite, seated in makeshift thrones made from the armour of those Black Legion warriors they had killed on that fateful night.
  • Prince Yriel's backstory. Basically, he was Craftworld Iyanden's highest-ranking admiral, until one day, he led an attack on a Chaos fleet. Although the attack was a big success, he was berated by the Seer council for leaving the craftworld lightly defended. He took his Cool Starship, the Flame of Asuryan, and sailed off, not to be seen again for decades. Later, Iyanden is attacked by the Tyranid hive fleet Kraken, and the Eldar take heavy losses in the face of the swarm. Just as all hope seems lost, out of the blue comes the Flame of Asuryan... followed by a huge Eldar pirate fleet, and they begin turning the tide. Yriel descended to the craftworld himself to take part in the fighting, and took the Spear of Twilight, an immensely powerful weapon that apparently holds the power of a dying star and sucks the soul out of whoever wields it, and used it to personally slay what was implied to have been the Swarmlord. By stabbing it through the face. To re-iterate, the same Swarmlord who is currently cutting vast swathes of destruction through Orkish territory, and once came scarily close to killing the Ultramarines Chapter Master Marneus Calgar. Yriel. Stabbed it. Through the face.
    • In the Valedor books Yriel topped this. How? By wounding the Hive Mind itself.
  • The New Damnos War Zone book is just full of Ultramarines being awesome, long story short the 2nd Company failed to save the world form Necrons so the Ultramarines lead a force to win it back. Some things included, Calgar lifting a Necron Pylon and firing it at the Necron battleline. Scouts sneaking into the Overlord's chamber and planting melta bombs so when he returns for repairs it blows up in his face. And captain Sicarius of the 2nd killing a Transcendent C'tan (one of these gave the Emperor a hard time) in a duel by jumping on top of the body of the Necron Lord he was fighting to reach it.
  • The fluff for Commander Farsight and his True Companions, collectively known as The Eight. A world under Farsight's protection was being nommed by Tyranids, and with his defenses rapidly being overrun, Farsight had the planet evacuated while he and his allies retreated to a top-secret, secure lab to protect the last few Earth Caste scientists working on a way to fight the Tyranids. Though he'd done all he could to hide the lab, it was eventually discovered by the swarm. What followed was a Hold the Line of true awesome, eight battlesuit-equipped Tau (six Crisis Suits, a Broadside and a Riptide) against an entire swarm of Tyranids. Farsight himself duelled the fucking Swarmlord, keep in mind, the same Swarmlord who almost killed Marneus Calgar, with just his Dawn Blade against all of its swords. The other members of the Eight cut down a massive number of Tyranids until eventually the Air Caste came to extract them, retrieving The Eight plus one of the Earth Caste scientists (who in a badass move of his own took control of the Riptide Battlesuit and used it against the Tyranids, Farsight declared him an honorary Fire Caste member for this). At first it seemed like it had all been for nothing, as the Tyranids nommed the planet's biomass as usual. Then the hive fleet began to rot and decay until it was completely annihilated, and it turned out that the Earth Caste scientists had developed a biotoxin which would take effect once assimilated by the hive fleet, and sacrificed themselves to ensure it would reach the fleet.
  • The Fall of Shadowbrink is a CMoA for the Tyranids. When their invasion wakes a Daemonic portal that allows the Quadrifold Abominatum, an alliance of a single Greater Daemon from each of the Chaos Gods, the Tyranids at first ignore them because Daemons have no biomass. They ignored the Primordial Annihilator. Only when a fortress containing millions of Daemons arises does the Hive Mind realize that it isn't dealing with prey, it's facing a fellow predator. It wastes no time in responding appropriately by sending millions of Tyranids in a suicidal attack to distract the Daemon Lords while elsewhere the Ripper swarms continue to devour Shadowbrink. This allows the Hive Mind to focus on creating more ranged bioforms, numbering in the tens of millions, before sending them against the Daemons. The combined firepower of the Tyranid horde tears apart the Great Unclean One, which in turn makes the Lord of Change flee the battle. Finally only the Bloodthirster and Keeper of Secrets remain, the two lead a charge against the Tyranid line and are met by many Tyrannofexes and Trygons, the Hive Mind having absorbed the Daemons' strategies and formed a counter-strategy. The Daemonic lines falter and the Bloodthirster is dragged back into the Warp as he wrestles with three Trygons simultaneously. With the Daemons bested, the Tyranids consume Shadowbrink.
    • The rematch is also quite awesome. When the Great Rift opens the old portal on Shadowbrink roars back to life and the daemons, apparently having learnt absolutely nothing from last time, come charging out. The Hive Mind, not about to take this lying down, dispatches its newest weapon Hive Fleet Kronos. The Tyranids methodically land at the the eight central focuses of Warp energy, deploying nodes of Zoanthropes and Malaceptors. Around them the Shadow goes so strong even Chaos can't resist it, and the daemon portals begin to close. Khorne's legions try to charge their position - key word, try. Kronos just shells them to oblivion with massed artillery and fleshborer fire. The daemonic presence on Shadowbrink is relentlessly hunted down and exterminated, putting the Great Devourer at 2-0.
  • The Wrath of Magnus trailer is enough to bring a tear to the eye of any Thousand Sons fan. And oh does he deliver: Silver Towers popping all over Fenris, one of the Wolves planets destroyed, a daemonic incursion within the Fang itself, all topped off by showing up in person to lay an utter smackdown on the Wolves and Grey Knights. Grand Masters, tank columns, a dozen Rune Priests, battleships, nothing comes even close to stopping him before Grimnar gets a lucky shot in with a bit of help from Khorne.
    "These miserable echoes of Leman Russ will face a Legion renewed with arcane might!"
  • A couple of moments truly stood out in the Fall of Cadia:
    • Saint Celestine returning once more to kill Urkanthos.
    • Belisarius Cawl and Trazyn The Infinite managing to shrink The Eye of Terror.
    • Abaddon The Despoiler taking on the combined might of Ursakar Creed, Saint Celestine, Inquisitor Greyfax and Trazyn's collected forces in single combat.
      • When Trayzn throws out his tesseract labyrinth, the troops that come out of it count: a regiment of Vostroyans, Tanith marksmen, Ultramarines taken from just after the Heresy in Contemptor armor, lost Salamanders, and an Adeptus Custode!
    • Special mention goes to Jarren Kell, Creed's lifelong friend and Colour Sergeant. When Creed was to be assassinated by the Bringers of Despair, Kell did not hesitate to form a rearguard action against them, sacrificing his life to save Creed's. The Bringers of Despair are Abaddon's personal elite guard of Terminators, some hailing from before the Heresy when they were still the Justaerin, the personal guard and champions of Warmaster Horus. It takes titanium balls to stand up to these guys and succeed, even if suicidal.
    • Creed and the Cadian 8th stay behind to hold the line against the infinite tide of daemons pouring into Cadia, allowing others to evacuate the doomed planet, until literally the very last moment. As 1d4chan put it in a short and awesome line, the planet broke before the Imperial Guard did.
    • The Craftworld Eldar, Dark Eldar and Harlequins teaming up in a single assault to take down an attacking force of Black Legion Marines, saving the Imperial crew that had survived the destruction of Cadia.
  • Gathering Storm and 8th Edition in general. After continual Status Quo Is God, Things. Are. Finally. Moving. This is no Age Of Sigmar - the End Times are upon us but the setting is going nowhere, it's just getting even more AWESOME!
    • Fresh from the destruction of Cadia, Chaos is marching on Terra under the united banner of Abbadon and has done what no other faction has ever done before: literally shattered the galaxy into pieces. After being relegated to ineffectual villainy and losing to the Imperium for years, Chaos is badder than ever.
    • The Eldar's gambit with Ynnead has finally paid off and an avatar of the nascent god has been summoned into existence... and no-one's quite sure what's next or even who's side it's on. And the fractured and dying Eldar race is finally showing signs of being on the up.
    • Finally, Imperium fans rejoice for Roboute Guilliman is back. He's awoken from his stasis, taken one look at the insane Orwellian nightmare the Imperium is and is not happy one bit. He's acting Emperor now, and he's vowed to fix it. Also, Cypher is on Terra and the Adeptus Custodes are fighting again.
  • Yvraine, the Daughters of Shades and the Emissary of Ynnead, gets several in her backstory. Including killing a Hive Tyrant in melee combat via Groin Attack, being the first person in thousands of years to nick Lelith Hesperax's skin (and being regarded as a Worthy Opponent to the veteran Succubus as a result), and fighting on despite being impaled through the sternum and losing a hand. Her most awesome moment though might be reversing the Rubric on a dozen Thousand Sons in front of Ahriman as a demonstration of her power, reverting them to their normal selves... and then undoing it just to mess with him. While it might seem more like a Kick the Dog moment, remember that Ahriman has burned entire star systems and killed millions in his quest for the cure for the Rubric so far; Yvraine doing so casually in front of him is an incredible display of power.
  • Hive Fleet Gorgon's triumphant return. Decades after being narrowly beaten and chased off by the combined forces of the Imperium and Tau, the Tyranids reveal themselves again by invading a Space Hulk held by Plague Marines of the Death Guard. After vicious fighting the first wave is repulsed, but the Tyranids eat several of the Plague Marines in turn. In the second wave, the aliens show just how adaptable they really are by deploying newly-developed toxins so potent they cause the Plague Marines to melt. To reiterate, Plague Marines are walking sacks of disease and decay blessed with immunity to all the ills of real space by the god of disease himself. And even they couldn't withstand the Tyranids' concoction.
  • Everything about the Necrons. If every other faction is up to eleven, then the Necrons are up to 22.
    • To give you an idea of how awesome the Crons are: the ever-devouring Tyranids, who have no problem attacking Forge-Worlds, Craftworlds and Chapter Homeworlds avoid Necron Tombworlds. It is all but stated that the Tyranids are scared of the Necrons.
    • The Necrons fought in the War in Heaven some 60 million years ago. If the Horus Heresy burned the galaxy, then the War in Heaven broke reality. It was a conflict between beings which would make the God-Emperor himself look weak. Compare to that war, every single conflict is like a small skirmish.
    • Gauss Weapons, from the basic Gauss Flayer to a Heavy Gauss Cannon and beyond, are a mix of awesome and Nightmare Fuel. Using science which is way beyond what any other faction can even begin to comprehend, Gauss Weapons fire beams of green energy which pull atoms towards the source. In essence, they don't punch through material as much as remove it from the path of the beam, disassembling whatever object/person/structure was fired at to its constituent atoms.
    • The C'Tan transformed the Necrontyr into the soulless Necrons. As revenge, Szarekh, the Silent King, rallied his people and overthrew the Star Gods. Because they couldn't be killed, Szarekh had the C'Tan shattered into shards which were imprisoned in Tesseract Labyrinths and forced to serve those they once enslaved. Talk about Poetic Justice.
      • A small addendum: It has been proven that C'Tan can be killed. The Maynarkh Dynasty managed to completely obliterate Llandu'gor, the Flayer. With his last breath, the Flayer cursed the Necrons with the Horror Hunger known as the Flayer Virus. Furthermore, the destruction of a C'Tan is said to have damaged causality, and it is implied that one of the reasons the 40k universe is how it is is because of that event.
  • The Warzone Octarius duology features a number of awesome moments from the Imperium, Orks, and Tyranids alike, but the greatest can only be the epic final clash fans of the xenos have waited multiple editions and well over a decade of real time to see, pitting the Swarmlord against the Overfiend of Octarius for final victory in the much-contested sector. The Swarmlord wins, clinching victory for Hive Fleet Leviathan and triggering the Consumption of Octarius.
  • An obscure, seldom heard bit of background lore speaks of what may be the most awesome feat ever accomplished by any human: Tzeentch makes his home in an ever shifting, ever changing maze known as the Crystal Labyrinth, where even space and time bend around each other in constantly shifting knots. If you can navigate those without losing your sanity, you still have to pass nine gates, guarded by a sphinx who will ask you a different, incredibly difficult riddle at each, the kind only the most brilliant minds could ever hope to solve; failure to answer correctly will mean death. And yet this maze was successfully navigated, apparently effortlessly by... a little girl, and her small black dog. And not even Tzeentch himself knows how she did it. Fans have theorized on her being everything from a phenomenally powerful child-psyker, to the Emperor himself Trolling Tzeentch. Equally possible and far more awesome, however, is that she really was a completely ordinary little girl who somehow stumbled into the Warp, and solved the unsolvable maze by virtue of a child's imagination. In the grimdarkness of the far future, many fans prefer to believe the latter.
  • The reveal trailer for 10th edition contains a spectacularly vicious jungle battle between Space Marines and Tyranids, containing a number of very awesome moment. Highlights include a Terminator, run straight through in battle with a particularly large and nasty Tyranid Prime, continuing to fire his assault cannon right into its chest even with its fanged maw mere inches from his face, followed immediately by said xenos horror cleanly tearing a Terminator in two with no more effort than ripping toilet paper.

    Tabletop Game Battle Reports 
  • The ork warboss known appropriately as Killaboss had not one, but TWO massive CMOAs in the most recent White Dwarf's apocalypse battle report. His first was taking down a warhound scout titan with what was described as a "classic right haymaker against the somewhat higher chin of the titan". Killaboss then survived a DIRECT HIT from a Kill Sat fired at him by the warboss whose position he was trying to usurp, and was only taken down when a good deal of the combined remaining imperial forces, including super-heavy tanks all opened fire on him.
  • The Storms Of Ixia Narrative Campaign features numerous examples of these:
    • In the very first mission, an Orcish horde under Warboss Gruffnod and his lieutenant Big Mek Grotchucka are attempting to overrun an Imperial Guard encampment. One of the Imperial Guard officers is a Master Of Ordinance, who can call down a lance strike from the orbiting frigate every turn. However, due to Grotchucka's "Disrupshun Device", there's a 50% chance that the Ork player will get to place the lance strike instead. On the first turn, the Master Of Ordinance chooses to take the gamble and call in a strike. He succeeds in getting the instructions through, and scores a direct hit on Grotchucka and his Mek squad, completely vaporizing Grotchucka.
    • Imperial Knight Munatius one-shotting a Heirophant Bio-Titan. Not to mention killing a Morkanaut and a Gorkanaut in the same fight and on the same turn, and of course picking off a Morkanaut in an earlier duel.
  • This one Eldar vs Imperial Guard batrep has two Crowning Units of Awesome:
    • A Striking Scorpion squad attacks the Imperial Guard lines. All of them save the Exarch are cut down by massive amounts of lasgun fire. The Exarch runs into a guardsmen squad, and massacres three guardsmen with his claw. The guardsmen hit back for the Exarch to laugh them all off. Next turn, the Exarch kills one of the guardsmen, and again survives being assaulted by the rest of the squad. The Guardsmen, now panicking, try to flee but fail to get away and the Exarch kills them all in retreat. That Exarch then runs into a heavy weapons squad and begins chopping them up as well, massacring all save the Sergeant and the Lord Commissar; the Lord Commissar, enraged by the perceived incompetence of his men, executes the Sergeant and challenges the Exarch alone (that in itself is pretty badass by the way). The Lord Commissar takes a mandiblaster hit to the chest, and then three melee attacks with the scorpion's claw, which all hit and wound. The Exarch is then cut down by Imperial Guard shooting, but... Damn...
    • The Imperial Guard, not wishing to be outdone, have their own hero of the game, in the form of a rank-and-file Guardsman with a melta who brings down a Wraithknight.
  • This story. Loophole Abuser deploys his entire army in reserve. His opponent's response? Deploy a line of scouts along the enemy's table edge, leaving no legal space for his army to enter. Judges rule that the second player has won the game.

  • Deff Skwadron. Back to front, cover to cover awesome. I mean, you've got Orks, and planes, and dakka, and putting those together automatically results in awesome, but Deff Skwadron just takes that awesome and ramps it up twelve times.
    • One of the issues' plots involves Deff Skwadron finding out their front lines are under attack, while their Fighta-Bommas are all in the middle of being repaired. After the Skwad commander guns down all the Meks repairing the Bommas (on grounds of suspected sabotage) they then proceed to chain the disassembled Bommas' engines to their Wartrukks and Warbikes and charge into battle. Let me say that again: they drove jet-propelled motorcycles into combat.
    • Heh, good ol' Killboy...
    • How about the issue "Sink Da Grimlug" where they're sent to take out a massive enemy battleship, get shot down, take the ship out from the inside, and fly away on a stolen Bommer... Which they decide to use to bomb the base of a rival skwadron.
    • Killboy wading into the ravenous Squig payload to open the bombing bay from the inside, because he's the only one with a cybork body. He survives the bombing, the landing, and the ensuing panic.
    Gimzod: Payload deployed, boss!
    Uzgob: What about Killboy?
    • Killboy in general:
    Gimzod: "Killboy. 35 missions flown, 35 replacement fighta-bommerz an' 35 major bionik surgery proceedures. 67 konfirmed kills, includin' 43 actually belongin' to the enemy..."
  • The Redeemer. A batshit crazy Priest from Necromunda. Picture Batman with his head on fire, a chainsaw sword, snappy one liners and henchmen who sing a modified version of the Battle Hymn of the Republic in his honor as he kills the alien, mutant, the heretic. Yeah, it's good. "IF IT DOESN'T HURT! IT DOESN'T COUNT!"

  • Virtually all Golden Demon winners.
  • One White Dwarf issue a few years back featured someone who had built a diorama of a Tau Stealth Suit (page 2 of this PDF) which blends in so well with the backdrop from the right angle that you can barely see it. Bear in mind that the backdrop isn't just some vague shape; it's a pretty heavily detailed Imperial-made wall, with panels, grilles and even skulls. Now that is stealth.
  • A clever German modeller took a 54mm Space Marine from Inquisitor and converted him so that he is painting some 6mm Epic Marines!