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"They were forged for Mankind's darkest hour - and that hour is upon us."
Roboute Guilliman
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In the bloody aftermath of the Horus Heresy, Roboute Guilliman charged the Archmagos Cawl with the creation of a new legion of soldiers to defend the Imperium in its next darkest hour. From that moment forth, Cawl worked upon the improvement of the Astartes, attempting to refine both their enhanced biology and their equipment. Obsessively working on his mission for the next ten millennia, the opening of the Great Rift and Guilliman's resurrection saw the Archmagos finally unleash his creations upon a shattered galaxy. The Ultima Founding, as it is known, saw Cawl's new breed of Astartes, the Primaris Space Marines, reinforce the existing Chapters, as well as the creation of a large number of new Chapters made up entirely of Primaris Marines. Guilliman was also forced to rewrite his magnum opus, the Codex Astartes, to reflect the new threats of the dark new era that the Imperium now found itself in.

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Introduced for the 8th Edition of Warhammer 40,000, Primaris Marines are the newest fighting force of the Imperium. Stronger, faster and larger than their brethren, with their gene-seed enhanced by the eccentric Archmagos Dominus Belisarius Cawl, they are also equipped with some of the most advanced armour and weaponry available to the Imperium.


General tropes:

  • Anti-Magic: The Reliquary of Gathalamornote  is a relic of the Indomitus Crusade that Primaris Characters can take. Containing the mortal remains of a powerful Sister of Silence, the Reliquary still retains some of the power of the martyred anti-psyker Blank and is able to prevent nearby enemy psykers from using their abilities.
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  • Art Major Biology: As the more powerful successor to regular Astartes the biology of the Primaris Marines is even more incredible than that of their predecessors, including a further three enhanced implants: The Sinew Coilsnote , coiled metal cables that enhance strength and durability; The Magnificatnote  that amplifies growth and the functions of the other extra organs; and The Belisarian Furnacenote  that dumps chemicals into his body that act as stimulants and that jump-start repair of bone, muscle and other tissues.
  • Back from the Brink: The dissemination of the Primaris Marines has saved a number of heavily depleted Chapters from extinction. The Black Consuls, the Crimson Fists and the Scythes of the Emperor have all been brought back to almost full strength by the addition of Primaris Marines to their rosters.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Unlike regular Astartes, who are strong generalists in combat and able to adequately fulfill tasks outside their specialization with little difficulty, Primaris Marines are extremely niche soldiers. On the tabletop, this means they end up functioning similarly to the Aeldari's Aspect Warriors; dedicated specialists that are superbly effective in their element and nearly useless outside it.
  • Deadly Upgrade: It's possible to convert a regular Astartes into a Primaris, as was the case with Marneus Calgar. However, the process is insanely agonizing even by Astartes standards and has a low rate of success or survival. Calgar actually did die on the operating table, but fortunately for him the Belisarian Furnace jumpstarted his hearts.
  • Elite Mooks: They are superior to regular Astartes in almost every respect, but lack numbers so they've been distributed among the Chapters as this.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: The first generation of Primaris were created nearly two thousand years ago and kept on ice until Gulliman returned to order their deployment. The Imperium they found on waking is near unrecognizable.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Primaris Marines can only take Repulsors and Thunderhawk Gunships as transports, but not Mastodons (which are even bigger than Repulsors and can even carry Centurions and Primarchs, who are clearly bigger and bulkier than Primaris) or Thunderhawk Transporters. Even then, a Thunderhawk cannot transport both Primaris Marines and normal Marines at the same time. The reason for these restrictions has never been explained.
  • Godzilla Threshold: To create them, Cawl had to tamper with Astartes gene-seed. While many Chapter Masters overlook this in light of the Primaris Marines being a sorely needed asset, others view the Primaris with suspicion and hostility, believing that the Emperor's work should not have been interfered with. However, even Guilliman — the guy who commissioned the project in the first place — balked at Cawl's proposal to create Primaris Marines using gene-seed from the Traitor Legions. He suspects Cawl did it it anyway.
  • Hand Cannon: As with their other bolt weapons, the bolt pistols used by Primaris Marines, such as the heavy bolt pistols used by Reivers or the absolver bolt pistols wielded by Chaplains and Apothecaries, are far larger and bulkier than those used by regular Astartes and have an appropriately superior stat line.
  • Hover Tank: The Astraeus super-heavy tank is a massive anti-grav armoured vehicle that blends the technology developed by Archmagos Cawl for the Repulsor armoured transport with highly restricted STC information recovered during the Perun Cross Incident. The anti-grav repulsor plates that hold it aloft provide the Astraeus’ powerful but temperamental weapon systems with an incredibly stable firing platform, allowing the massive armoured vehicle to pour massive amounts of firepower into the enemy as it advances.
  • Human Popsicle: Many of the Primaris Marines were recruited in the aftermath of the Horus Heresy and kept in stasis until Guilliman’s return almost ten millennia later. The Fulminators Primaris Chapter in particular are noted as having been founded while the campaigns of the Scouring were still underway, meaning that they technically predate the Second Founding, even if they gained no actual battle experience until reawakened in the 41st Millennium.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Ghostweave Cloak is a Vanguard Relic that was created with mystic rites and incorporates data-spirits that produce a field of techno-spiritual dissonance that conceals the wearer from both physical and mechanical detection. To represent the difficulty in targeting a warrior wearing the Ghostweave Cloak, the 8th Edition rules make it harder to wound them.
  • More Dakka: The incredibly rare Bellicos bolt rifles were created by a now lost Forge world and possess a tremendous rate of fire that does nothing to reduce the lethality of each weapon's powerful ammunition. The 8th Edition rules for the Bellicos bolt rifle represents this with a very high rate of fire and Strength characteristic for such a weapon.
  • Rookie Red Ranger: Zigzagged. Due to the advanced processes and genetic modifications required for their creation, Primaris Marines have to be produced from the ground up, not merely trained and equipped. This means that new Primaris Marines have little in the way of overall combat experience when compared to regular Astartes, relying on their superior physical abilities and equipment to make up for their shortcomings. Many of the first wave of Primaris Marines however are veterans of the Horus Heresy, having been in stasis for millennia and therefore have significantly more experience.
  • Superior Successor: Guilliman intended for them to be a better kind of Space Marine and Cawl delivered that: the Primaris Marines are stronger, faster and larger than regular Astartes. How they compare against the Custodes is another story altogether.

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Primaris Commanders

Primaris Marines field Captains, Lieutenants, Ancients, Librarians, Chaplains and Apothecaries that share the same tropes as those of their regular Astartes brethren. Tropes unique to the Primaris version of these officers include:

    Captain 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_40kprimariscapreveal2.png

As with their regular Astartes brethren, those Primaris Marines who rise to the rank of Captain combine martial skill, tactical brilliance and inspiring leadership to produce a warrior worthy of leading the Emperor's Angels of Death into battle. Armed and armoured with masterwork equipment from the workshops of Belisarius Cawl, Primaris Captains often lead from the front, inspiring the warriors to fight with even greater spirit.


  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: The boltstorm gauntlets worn by Primaris Captains in Gravis armour are smaller versions of the Hand of Dominion worn by Roboute Guilliman. These versatile weapons consist of a rapid-fire bolt pistol combined with a Power Fist, giving the Captain a mix of anti-personnel firepower and close combat strength.
  • Sword and Gun: Captains in both normal Mark X power armor and the heavier Gravis armor are armed with a power sword and a gun of some variety. In-game, the regular Captain model can be armed with either a normal bolt rifle or a master-crafted Stalker pattern bolt rifle, while the Captain in Gravis armor has the aforementioned arm-mounted bolt pistol.
  • Powered Armor: The Gravis Armour sported by Primaris Captains is even heavier and stronger than standard Astartes armour, though it represents this by granting a higher Toughness score instead of just a higher save.

Primaris Battline Units

    Intercessors 
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The Primaris battleline units, Intercessor squads are roughly equivalent to the Tactical Squads of the regular Astartes. Clad in Mk.X Tacticus power armour and armed with the Cawl-pattern bolt rifle, a refinement of the iconic weapon of the Astartes, Intercessors excel in the deployment of focused firepower that can overwhelm all but the most formidable foe.


  • Gun Accessories: One in every five Intercessors is able to upgrade their bolt rifle with the addition of an auxiliary grenade launcher. These underslung weapons boost the squad’s ranged firepower by allowing the Intercessor to fire their frag and krak grenades at the same range as their bolt weapons.
  • More Dakka: The Auto Bolt Rifle available to the Intercessors is a rapid fire variant of the Cawl-pattern bolt rifle that sacrifices range and armour penetration in favour of a higher rate of fire.
  • Sniper Rifle: Intercessors can swap their regular bolt rifles with stalker pattern bolt rifles, a sniper variant that has greater range, enhanced sights and superior penetration.
  • Weapon of Choice: Their standard arms are Cawl-pattern bolt rifles, a larger and more powerful version of the normal boltgun. In-game they have a 30" range instead of the normal boltgun's 24" range and have a -1 AP which normal boltguns do not have.

     Infiltrators 
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The battleline unit of Primaris Vanguard strike forces, Infiltrators are fast-moving and self-sufficient units often tasked with disrupting the foe's vox-links with their sophisticated omni-scramblers or sabotaging enemy communication posts. Once battle is joined, Infiltrators engage the enemy from concealed positions, bringing down their foes with pinpoint fire from their marksman bolt carbines.


  • Combat Medic: Some Infiltrators are accompanied by Helix Adepts, battle-brothers who have been specially trained by their Chapter’s Apothecaries to heal their Infiltrator comrades in the heat of combat. In-game this is represented by the Helix Adept having the ability to heal wounded members of a squad, only with a lesser chance than a fully trained Apothecary.
  • Comm Links: Some Infiltrator units are equipped with Infiltrator Comms Array that allows them to keep in touch with their commanders no matter the distance or battlefield conditions. In-game this is represented by a unit with an Infiltrator Comms Array being able to use the enhancement abilities of a Phobos Captain or Lieutenant no matter where they are on the battlefield instead of having to be within range of the ability.
  • Gun Accessories: The marksman bolt carbines carried by Infiltrators are equipped with advanced targeters that allow them to pick out an enemy’s weak points at range, even through the smoke and confusion of battle. In-game, this is represented by a chance of automatically causing a regular wound.

Primaris Close Support Units

    Inceptors 
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"To fall upon the enemy with meteoric fury, death blazing from your clenched fists, armoured body impervious to shot and blade, and to tear the heart from the foe – that is the way of the Inceptor, and it is a doctrine that has seen the foul xenos defeated time and time again."
Watch Captain Corvean

Often forming the spearhead of an assault by Primaris Marines, Inceptors are drop troopers who specialise in rapidly deployment into the heart of an enemy formation before unleashing punishing fire at near point-blank range. The speed and shock of their assaults leave their foes reeling and easy prey for a follow-up attack by their battle-brothers.


  • Goomba Stomp: Each Inceptor can potentially cause a Mortal Wound when charging, and based on the extra shock-absorbers on their boots, lack of dedicated melee weapons, and the fact that the rule that gives them the ability is called Crushing Charge, they're pretty explicitly landing on their enemies.
  • Guns Akimbo: Instead of the Sword and Gun configuration of regular Assault Squads, Inceptors wield either paired assault bolters (a pistol-form variant of a heavy bolter) or paired Plasma Exterminators (a pistol-form variant of the Plasma Incinerator used by Hellblaster squads).
  • Hand Cannon: Their assault bolters are larger than normal bolt pistols and are able to mount shields on their muzzles. They also don't count as pistols in the game rules, and hit about as hard as a Heavy Bolter.
  • More Dakka: Each Inceptor is able to put out a punishing amount of firepower due to their paired weapons.
  • Rocketless Reentry: Inceptors are able to deploy directly to a planet's surface by performing a combat drop directly from an Astartes Strike Cruiser in low orbit, relying on their heavy armour and enhanced physics to survive the rigours of such a manoeuvre. In-game this is represented by the 'Meteoric Descent' ability that allows Inceptors to deploy during a movement phase in the same way as other units with special deployment rules in 8th Edition.

    Reivers 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/primarisreivers.png

"Terror is at its sharpest when the certainty of death is first revealed – the moment the blade is drawn, the instant the fangs are bared. After months on the hunt, the fear in the eyes of a heretic is a sight more joyous than any victory feast. The Allfather's wrath will befall them, and I am become his worthy instrument."
Arnar, Blackmanes Reiver

A Primaris close support unit, the Reivers are highly trained assault troops sent into battle with the objective of destroying priority targets while instilling fear into the hearts of the enemy. Appearing as if from nowhere, the sudden assault of a squad of Reivers can shatter the morale of all but the most disciplined soldiers, making them easy prey for the rest of the Astartes Strike Force.


  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Reivers use grapnel launchers in order to scale buildings and ruins as part of their infiltrations. In the 8th Edition of the game, these launchers allow Reivers to ignore vertical distances when moving, something all other infantry models must factor into their movement.
  • Knife Nut: One of the signature weapons of the Reiver is a large, viciously sharp combat knife. The Reivers use these knives to slice apart their opponents in vicious close assault and they are regularly depicted wielding them in a Reverse Grip.
  • Screaming Warrior: The Reiver's helmets incorporate vox amplifiers that greatly augment their roars and warcries to such an extent that even the most disciplined of troops are unnerved by their sudden assaults.
  • Skull for a Head: To add to their sinister nature, and increase the psychological impact of their assaults, the helmets of the Reiver's Mk.X armour are designed to resemble skulls.
  • Stealth Expert: Reivers use stealth and secrecy to infiltrate enemy lines and to maximise the shock of their sudden and extremely violent assaults, and are equipped with a number of specialist items to assist with this mission. Their Mark X Reiver armour is specially adapted for greater manoeuvrability and is equipped with silenced servo motors, and they are often deployed via silent grav-chutes rather than the more traditional but less subtle jump packs. Despite this specialty, the 8th Edition rules for Reivers lack the special infiltration deployment that other such stealth troops typically receivenote .
  • Sword and Gun: Technically, they're a Knife Nut unit, but it still applies as they wield their knives in tandem with their bolt pistols...though sometimes, they do come with power swords.
  • Terror Hero: Reivers employ stealth, terror and extreme violence to shatter the morale of the foe, using equipment and tactics designed to maximise the psychological impact of their sudden assaults. This is represented in the 8th Edition of the game by giving nearby enemy units a penalty to their Leadership value.

    Incursors 
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A Primaris Vanguard close support unit, the role of Incursor Squads is to infiltrate and storm enemy defensive positions, such as trench lines and fortresses, and to destroy the foes strategic assets, such as power generators and munition supplies. Equipped with highly advanced Divinator-class auspexes that link directly to their occulus bolt carbines, Incursors can target their foes through almost any cover, while their razor-sharp combat knives can make short work of enemy soldiers once things get close and personal.


  • Dual Wielding: Incursors are armed with a pair of deadly combat blades with which they can unleash a flurry of blows with incredible skill. In-game, the 8th Edition rules this is represented by these paired blades having the ability to increase the number of hits that an Incursor can cause in close combat.
  • EMP: Some Incursors are equipped with haywire mines, sophisticated mines that produce a sophisticated electromagnetic pulse when enemies pass over them, doing massive damage to enemy equipment and vehicles. In the 8th Edition of the game, haywire mines do multiple mortal wounds against the enemy unit that activated the mine, with vehicles being particularly vulnerable.
  • X-Ray Vision: The multi-spectrum arrays carried by all Incursors are highly advanced auspexes that project a detailed readout of the surrounding area directly onto the Primarus Marine’s visor. These auspex scan are so accurate that an Incursor is able to effectively see their foes through solid objects. The 8th Edition rules represent this by ignoring all negative modifiers to hit from an Incursor’s shooting attacks.

Primaris Fire Support Units

     Eliminators 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/primariseliminators.jpg

A fire support unit of the Primaris Vanguard formations, Eliminators are talented snipers who are able to take out almost any target. Armed with Mk.III Shrike-pattern bolt sniper rifles, Eliminators are equipped with various types of specialist ammunition for any situation. Whether it is targeting artillery crew or enemy commanders, Eliminators destroy their targets with pinpoint fire.


  • Homing Projectile: The Executioner rounds fired by the Eliminator’s bolt sniper rifles incorporate miniature cogitators and microscopic thrusters that allow them to change their trajectory to hit their target with near perfect accuracy. The 8th Edition rules represent this with a bonus to the Eliminator’s hit rolls and ignoring cover when using the Executioners.
  • Poisoned Weapon: The Mortis rounds used by Eliminators secrete a mutagenic toxin that can reduce the flesh of any living creature to slush in a matter of moments. The 8th Edition rules represent this by giving Mortis rounds a chance of causing an additional mortal wound.
  • Sniper Rifle: The Mk.III Shrike-pattern bolt sniper rifles that Eliminators are equipped with incorporate some of the most advanced gun-sights in the Imperium, able to use auspex scans to see through solid matter, and has thermoscopic abilities so that they can target their enemies in any light condition. In-game, the 8th Edition rules represent the high accuracy of the bolt sniper rifle by giving them the ability to ignore the usual targeting restrictions when firing at Characters.

    Hellblasters 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_darkangelsprimarishellblaster.png

Hellblasters are the most common fire support squad utilized by the Primaris Marines, providing mobile firepower in support of their battle-brothers assault. Equipped with some of the most advanced, man portable plasma weapons produced by the Imperium, Hellblaster Squads incinerate their enemies with the power of a solar flare. As with all Imperial plasma weapons, the plasma incinerators used by Hellblasters are highly dangerous when used at full power, leading to many such squads gaining a reputation for martyrdom and self-sacrifice.


  • Expy: Hellblasters are an updated version of the single-armament Special Weapon squads used by the Legiones Astartes during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy.
  • Plasma Cannon: Hellblasters are universally equipped with plasma incinerators, a new and more powerful type of man-portable plasma weapon created by Archmagos Cawl. Each Hellblaster squad wields either the regular highly flexible plasma incinerator, the rapid-fire and manoeuvrable assault plasma incinerator or the longer ranged and more powerful heavy plasma incinerator. Squads of Hellblasters are also able to upgrade their bolt pistols for plasma pistols.
  • Taking You with Me: The background material for Hellblasters mentions that they are more than willing to immolate themselves by supercharging their plasma incinerators if it means they can bring down the most dangerous foes threatening their battle-brothers.

    Suppressors 
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A rapid response fire support unit most commonly utilized by Vanguard formations. Suppressors use their grav chutes and jump packs to quickly position themselves to engage any enemy threat on the battlefield before laying down withering fire with their accelerator autocannons.


  • BFG: Suppresors wield the Accelerator Autocannon, a beast of a weapon that fires foot-long, armour-piercing shells capable of blasting apart heavy infantry and most vehicles. For reference, these are guns that tend to be mounted on TANKS.
  • Jump Jet Pack: The Omnis Pattern armour worn by Suppressors incorporates both a grav-chute and a jump pack that allow them to quickly deploy into the perfect firing position to make the most of their massive firepower.
  • Lightning Bruiser: They have the speed of any other jump-pack armed unit, with the firepower of a Devastator.
  • Pinned Down: They don't call them suppressors for nothing. Their autocannons have a bonus effect of understandably terrifying the enemy into cover, this is reflected in game by units targeted by Suppressors having penalties to shooting.

    Aggressors 
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"Burn the heretic from his lair. Put the torch to his foul idols, and cast all that he treasures into the flames. Only then, when he realises the true cost of his perfidy, grant unto him the oblivion he deserves."
Aggressor Zyphan Torl

Wearing armour that turns them into a veritable walking bunker, the Primaris heavy infantry known as Aggressors specialise in unleashing overwhelming firepower at short range. Their heavy, but mobile, Gravis armour and their ability to fire on the move make Aggressors particularly effective when operating in dense terrain such as urban environments and trench warfare.


  • Arm Cannon: Their boltstorm gauntlets are Power Fists with belt-fed bolters mounted on them.
  • Backpack Cannon: Aggressors equipped with boltstorm gauntlets can also mount fragstorm grenade launchers on their backpacks.
  • Close-Range Combatant: Aggressors are designed to plug up holes in battle lines and pour firepower into enemies that manage to get too close.
  • Mighty Glacier: Aggressors are similar to Terminators in that their Gravis armor is heavy and cumbersome but allows them to carry much heavier weaponry than baseline Primaris units.
  • Shoulders of Doom: Aggressors that take flamestorm gauntlets sport oversized pauldrons to better shield their heads from their weapons' fury.

Primaris War Machines

    Redemptor Dreadnoughts 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_199120101191_redemptordreadnought01.png

Bigger, tougher, and harder-hitting than even the ancient marks of Dreadnought used by standard Astartes, the Redemptor Dreadnoughts piloted by mortally wounded Primaris Marines are advanced combat walkers created by Belisarius Cawl. Fitted with sophisticated systems and armed with a range of deadly weaponry, a Redemptor can unleash tremendous carnage upon the foe while exhibiting speed and dexterity far in excess of that displayed by their more lumbering forbears.


  • Deadly Upgrade: Like the Onager Dunecrawlers of the Skitarii, the tech-priests that originally designed the Redemptor Dreadnought gave little thought to the long-term health of the Primaris Marine interred inside. Because of this, Redemptors that have seen extended combat have had their sarcophagi replaced due to their powerful systems burning out and killing their pilots.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Despite its size, it's also faster than every other type of Dreadnought other than the Crusade-era Contemptor pattern.
  • More Dakka: The Redemptor-pattern Dreadnought can be configured to lay down a terrifying amount of firepower, with two miniguns, two Storm Bolters, and an anti-aircraft missile launcher.
  • Plasma Cannon: Some Redemptors are equipped with macro plasma incinerators, one of the largest marks of plasma incinerator designed by Archmagos Dominus Cawl. Although these large weapons aren’t much more powerful than the heavy plasma incinerators carried by Hellblasters in the 8th Edition of the game, the grater energy output gives them a far higher rate of fire.

    Repulsor Armoured Transports 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_199120101192_primarisrepulsor01.png

"Barricades, is it? And reserves doubtless lurking in the ruins behind, poised to ambush. Send in the Repulsors, and leave nothing but rubble and dust"
Captain Aphael of the Blood Angels at the Siege of Kardalla

The primary armoured personal carrier used by Primaris Marines, the Repulsor armoured transport is a huge grav-tank that combines brute force with the ability to traverse any terrain. Following the same "heavily-armed and armoured multi-purpose vehicle" design philosophy as the Land Raider, the Repulsor is able to unleash a storm of heavy fire from multiple weapon systems while safely carrying its cargo of Primaris Marines into the heart of the enemy battle line.


  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: It can carry ten normally-armored Primaris Marines into battle, or five in Gravis armor.
  • Beam Spam: With the proper loadout, it can put out four lascannon shots per turn, combined with all the other firepower it can take.
  • Hover Tank: The Repulsor uses the same anti-gravitic generator systems as Land Speeders. However, its bulk and armaments weigh it down to the point that it plods along at about the same speed as a Land Raider, its anti-gravitic field keeping it just above the ground while crushing flat everything in its path.
  • More Dakka: Can be configured to have an egregious amount of anti-personnel firepower, or just a huge amount combined with devastating anti-tank capabilities.
  • Squashed Flat: The fate of anything in the path of a Repulsor due to the strength of its anti-grav field. In the Dark Imperium novel, an Iron Warrior tries to jump underneath one to plant an explosive charge but is pancaked instead.
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