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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Every organization's actions and motivations can be "read" in several different ways. In fact, just about the only factions that doesn't have many defenders arguing that they're the real "heroes" of the setting are the Dark Eldar and Tyranids. One could easily fill an entire page with it. Some short examples:
    • The Imperium. Vast, monolithic entity of xenophobic fundamentalists and one of the most horrific examples of Humans Are Bastards in fiction, or sympathetic anti-heroes forced to resort to extreme measures and fight bitterly for survival in an utterly nightmarish Crapsack World? Both may be the best possible answer, as there are plenty examples of both extremities being present. And to make things even murkier, many parts of the imperium operate separately with their own individual rules, codes, views and set of ethics, so both interpretations can be quite valid, depending on which specific part of the imperium you apply it to the most. And like with the Space Marine chapters, this often leads to conflicts and rivalries between different parts of the imperium because they have different operating methods, ethical codes and shades of morality.
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    • The Space Marines. Brave Super Soldiers who do their best to protect humanity from its foes, or a bunch of uptight jerks who are more concerned with glory than protecting people, get way more praise than they deserve and are more likely to fall to Chaos than any other Imperial faction? And again, like with the rest of the imperium, many Space Marine chapters operate separately with their own individual rules, codes, views and set of ethics, so both interpretations could possibly be valid, depending on which specific individual Space Marine chapter you apply it to. This often leads to in-universe rivalry and conflict between different chapters because of their clashing views, methods and ethics towards different topics and situations.
    • The Tau. Sinister fundamentalist collectivists with no place for individuality, or idealistic and good-hearted folk heroically seeking a prosperous future for the universe? Alternatively, a hopelessly naive species doomed to sink in the mire of GRIMDARK reality, or bearers of the hopeful torch the universe needs to rekindle itself?
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    • The Craftworld Eldar: Utterly amoral self-serving bastards, or tragic atoners who just want to save their dying people from extinction? Villains, or victims? Reluctant distant allies of humanity against the encroaching void, or among mankind's most insidious foes?
    • The Orks. Comically bloodthirsty and short-sighted Football Hooligans who present no real threat to the Imperium thanks to them constantly sabotaging their own war campaigns, or a fast-breeding plague of utterly merciless savages who absolutely cannot be bargained, reasoned, or pleaded with and only have fallen as short as they have of ultimate victory because they have as little respect for each other's lives as they do for any other faction?
    • Are the Tyranids advancing on the galaxy, or running away from an even worse extra-galactic threat?
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    • The Emperor's rejection of Godhood. While his stated intention was a misguided attempt to starve out Chaos, This Very Wiki has make a case that this was yet another facet of the Emperor's hypocrisy: He had no problem being revered and beloved (ie the perks of being a god) yet thoroughly rejected people praying to him (ie the responsibility of godhood).
      • It has been noted that going by the Biblical description of the The Antichrist, the Emperor actually ticks a lot of boxes. He's intelligentnote , charismaticnote , a politicalnote  and militarynote  genius, has a distinct physical appearancenote , and no regard for God and his natural lawsnote , is a blasphemernote , is materialistic and controllingnote  and ambitious and megalomaniacalnote . In The Last Church he even introduces himself as Revelation, the book in the Bible where the Antichrist is mainly described.
      • The Emperor as a whole is highly debatable - very many stories and pieces of fluff have elaborated on the Imperium's most key figure and the sum of them do not provide a clear picture on just what he can truly be described as. A heartless, powermongering, shortsighted warlord who did not bother to comprehend the details of his vast empire and got cut down a bit for his arrogance and callousness? A brilliant, insurmountably powerful man who was nonetheless too flawed to successfully bring about the bright future for mankind? Humanity's best hope that couldn't have planned to deal with how the Chaos Gods threw a wrench in his ultimately benevolent designs? Someone who has managed to change or grow in some way beyond any of these pictures after the thousands of years being stuck on the Golden Throne? The only thing that's really concrete about him is his Crystal Dragon Jesus-flavored appearance and the fact it'd be inaccurate to call him perfect. And to make things even more confusing, the shattered Emperor’s pieces have been scattered throughout the universe and each piece paints a different picture of what they all were as a whole, since they all represent different parts of the Emperor himself. In other words, nobody truly knows what the Emperor is all about, not even the Emperor himself anymore.
    • Almost all factions were given some leeway into "misunderstanding" another one, even one ostensibly allied with them. This was intentional so two players would always find some narrative reason for their armies to be clubbing heads with each other, even if they were from the same faction (two companies of Dark Angels fighting each other? Both of them lead by Azrael? One of them is clearly the Fallen led by an imposter. Which one is which however...)
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • Invoked by Games Workshop policy. Virtually every story is in-universe propaganda, so anything that turns out too unpopular can be safely "clarified". The Grey Knights provide a nice example in 2014: Kaldor Draigo's write-up in the Grey Knights codex described him as beating down Mortarion and carving Supreme Grand Master Geronitan's name into his heart. Fans were not impressed at this display of posturing. The audio drama Mortarion's Heart greatly expands on and provides context for how that happened.
    • "The End Times" has actually been an attempt at this. After waning sales, and serious issues with stagnation, they appear to be trying to get stuff happening. Games Workshop is bringing back the primarchs, finally instituting the 13th crusade again, and after 17 years, moving the timeline into the 42nd millennium. Time will tell if this actually increases sales.
    • Games Workshop has stated their main goal with 8th edition is to simplify, speed up, and get rid of the more hated/unneeded parts of the game. As well as dealing with the abuse of allies, psykic powers, and "deathstar" units, which have taken over the competitive scene.
    • The 7th Edition Codex: Grey Knights attempted to tone down and fix many of the complaints fans had about the 5th Edition book, particually by retconning the notorious Khornate Knights incident to exclude any mention of the Sisters of Battle, as well as showing the Sisters as brave warriors respected by the Grey Knights in other lore.
    • Both the 3rd and 8th edition updates to the rules were done to reset the game to a new baseline because the old game had gotten so much rules bloat that they became out of control. 3rd Edition was originally criticized for being a little too overzealous in this aspect, as it removed almost all unique rules upon it's inception (which it would later slowly add back as new codexes and subsequent editions built upon it's foundations). 8th Edition sought to do something similar as well as bring back some mechanics from 2nd Edition (such as variable movement speed and armor save modifiers). While it also trimmed much of the fat from the rules bloat like the 3rd edition update did, it also released codexes at a break-neck pace, allowing it to bring back much of the flavor faster than it's predecessor.
  • Badass Decay:
    • The Emperor underwent this after he went on life support. Compare how he looks before and after the Horus Heresy. Interestingly, though, it's implied he's still kicking the crap out of the Warp-forces from within their domain.
    • In 4th or 5th edition, some of the new codices were merciless and humiliating for the Eldar. However, by 7th edition the Eldar became a very powerful army.
    • The Necrons in general have been steadily losing their mystery and power since being introduced, possibly due to their lack of a recent codex and their original overpowered status. In Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM) books, the Necrons are still virtually unstoppable nightmares and the only thing that Cain absolutely will not fight unless there's no alternative. Their fifth edition codex turned them into bitter individuals who want to become flesh again and merely want to reconquer their empire when they're not busy infighting, instead of unstoppable Omnicidal Maniacs who will stop at NOTHING for destroying every living things in the galaxy. It is also emphasized a lot more than before that they suffered many losses during their long sleep. Whether or not this new direction was a good thing is hugely divisive.
      • The C'tan suffered this even worse. They used to be a pantheon of Magnificent Bastards and the Arch-Enemy of the Chaos Gods, their many schemes and Ancient Conspiracies reaching not only into the Start of Darkness for the Necrons, but also the backstories of many races of the setting. Since then it's been stated that the Necrons turned against them, nearly destroyed them and those who survived were mostly shattered into shards which certain Necron dynasties now use as glorified Pokémon.
    • While Ghazghkull was kind of intimidating when first introduced, his actual list of accomplishments isn't that great. He doesn't seem to be able to win any major engagement against Astartes or Yarrick. Sure, he captured Yarrick once and also pushed back Imperial force at Golgotha, but that's about it. During his retreat from Armageddon, his fleet was overrun by a Black Templars crusade fleet, which is estimated to be about half the size of a chapter fleet. That's rather pathetic for a galactic threat. He seems to be on his way to get some of his cred back at Octarius sector, however, though it comes at the expense of the Tyranids there. His own 7th edition supplement retconned it so that the eternal stalemate on Armageddon was his actual goal, and after getting another one rolling in Octarius he plans to make more.
    • The Avatar of Khaine used to actually be an intimidating sight, and was the super-unit for the Eldar in the first two Dawn of War games and their expansions. But now, too many instances of being subjected to The Worf Effect later, it's synonymous with Jobber in the lore and little more than a showpiece in the game itself. It doesn't help that its model did not age well; most of its contemporary monsters have doubled or (in the case of Greater Daemons) tripled in size, making the Avatar look hilariously tiny by comparison.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Either Squats were incredibly stupid and Games Workshop did the right thing by Retconning them away, or they were incredibly awesome and should continue to be supported. There are no in-betweens.
    • Rogue Trader (the original, not the tabletop RPG) was either stupid and GW's current direction is magnificent or it was completely awesome and should be brought back.
    • The Ultramarines, the Grey Knights, and the Tau due to their alleged overly perfect status.
    • The Necrons' new direction after their 5th Edition 'dex was hugely controversial. Prior to 5th Edition, the Necrons were a race of soulless automatons, deceived and enslaved by the C'tan, a race of ancient star gods who hungered for souls. The new Necrons are The Remnant of an ancient Empire, who shattered the C'tan after the C'tan deceived them and who now form their own royal courts and their own factions. Fans of the old fluff claim that the "Newcrons" have destroyed the old, Cthulhu-style mystique, and essentially removed the alien element from the faction by turning them into robotic faux-Egyptians. Fans of the "Newcrons" argue that the old Necrons were excessively characterless and that the updated fluff makes the race more interesting but keeps them as terrifying abominations.
    • While one of the most well known factions in the setting, the Eldar are this to some circles of the fanbase due their sheer arrogance, being almost exactly like the Imperium and yet still looking down on everyone else.
    • The Space Wolves. Some love them for being drunken, wild-partying anti-authority space vikings. Some hate them for that exact same reason. Their sheer diversity of character in the fluff has also garnered criticism. The fluff has portrayed them with themes as varying as grim and brooding executioners, party bros, honorable marines out for the little guy, psycho-indoctrinated super soldiers, military geniuses, combat pranksters, vicious werewolf berserkers, and disciplined combined-arms soldiers. A lot of the hate also comes from people who dislike the hypocrisy and brutality with which they handled the Thousand Sons at Prospero, especially because they also use psykers in the form of Rune Priest. Finally, it must be said, that a lot of the hate comes from their extremely powerful (when it came out) codex, that was essentially just Marines, only cheaper and better.
    • The more recent interpretation of the Emperor, pushed by Master of Mankind and Dark Imperium that he never loved the Primarchs, and only thought of them as tools, has left a gaping chasm in the fandom. Some people strongly dislike it for various reasons such as it not being in line with virtually any other interpretation of the character, it bringing up Fridge Logic in regards to why he bothered going so far to recover them in the first place, as well as undermining the intended tragedy of the Horus Heresy. Others are perfectly fine with it, while others have come up with rationalizations such as the fact that almost all of them were full adults when they met, so why would he think of them as family, or the characterization in Dark Imperium coming as a result of 10,000 years of entropy on the Emperor’s damaged soul.
  • Broken Base:
    • Is the series a humorless, grim hellhole that's a reflection of the evil men do and where the deaths of trillions daily through genocide, crime, government-mandated famine, and overworking (and that's just non-war deaths) are perfectly fitting with the horrors of humanity, and a setting for stories of everyday humanity capable of heinous deeds and excess struggling with a vast, hostile universe with no room for comedy, or an over-the-top, ultra-campy mishmash of every sci-fi work that's made for Rule of Cool and nothing remotely serious? This ranges from angry fans attacking anything that smells vaguely of idealism/optimism (see: the backlash against Tau, who were once explicitly the only non-assholes in the galaxy) and Ciaphas Cain being frowned upon for being comedic and showing human worlds that aren't slummy Hiveworlds or criminal penal colonies overrun with face-eating creatures, to fans mocking the grimdark of the series (such as the thousands of psykers being slain daily to sustain the Emperor, the portrayal of 99% of Imperial citizens as unsustainably overworked note  slave labourers (or slave bureaucrats), and especially Matt Ward's various additions, the least of which involved Sisters of Battle being slain for almost no reason at all) and increasing Ciaphas Cain and the angry hooligan shenanigans of the Orkz to memetic levels.
      • For that matter, should weapons, armor, and vehicles be as practical as possible, or should they go all out with over-exaggerated designs that would fall apart in real life?
    • The reception for the new Farsight Enclaves supplement has been very mixed. Some feel that the wonderful new insights into the once-mysterious renegade as a character and the introduction of the Eight outweigh any deficiencies, while others worry it shifts the Ethereal caste a little too hard from "mysterious, but vaguely benign space Taoists" to "cackling mustache-twirling cartoon villains."
    • What is the better name? "The Imperial Guard", or "The Astra Militarum"? For that matter, the Militarium Tempestus; it either brought back the old Inquisitorial Stormtroopers people wanted and brought in some awesome formations for use by all imperial armies, or it was a cheap cashgrab on GW's part by making an army that cost less in points, but more expensive in money than Space Marines, especially since the codex lacks even the basic "relics" section, which even other supplements have.
      • On a smaller note, there is a certain number of people that aren't fond of certain naming conventions/name changes of Games Workshop, especially those that smell like they were made for the sake of easier copyrighting. The renaming of Eldar and Dark Eldar into Aeldari and Drukhari is just the peak of the iceberg with people thinking the company trying too hard...
    • Recent Horus Heresy books have brought back Ollanius Pius (aka the epitome of a Badass Normal), the Guardsman who stood up to Horus on the latter's battle barge in a doomed Last Stand after Horus had just defeated the Emperor, but have made him a Perpetual, a 30,000 year old being with Resurrective Immortality. People feel rather strongly about whether or not this was a positive change. On one hand, some feels it empties the entire point, a normal dude standing up against a Primarch, Hold the Line at its finest, and him dying standing in the name of the Emperor; on the other hand, many people have pointed out the sheer stupidity of the act alone, and wonder how did a lone guardsman got inside the Vengeful Spirit that at this point was completely affected by the Warp that even the Primarchs could barely deal with it properly (which is why Sanguinius and Dorn got separated).
    • Every single Codex writer have been subjected to broken bases as well; most notably Matt Ward who was known for making nonsensical plot twists and the occasional imbalanced codex, but he was actually good at internal balance (i.e: very rarely is one unit dramatically better than all others) and buffed a lot of armies that once languished as "weak" or underpowered. On the flip side, Phil Kelly is often noted for good consistent story telling and his codexes are noted to rarely be overpowered or underpowered, but often rely on a specific combo of units, in turn making them very mono-build and not very creative. And of course, everything in between and exceptions about only muddle the issue, as proponents of each writer will point to their good works while ignoring the bad, and vice versa for their detractors.
    • 8th Edition has pretty much shattered the base. One half of the player base sees it as a much needed overhaul, cutting the unwieldy rules down to size making it easier to play. To the other its a travesty that's completely gutted the game and removed its depth in the name of drawing in new players.
    • Metal vs plastic miniatures (although that could apply to wargaming in general). Except Finecast. Which everyone hates and derides as "Failcast" or "Finecrap".
    • The suggestion that 40K may introduce Female Space Marines. Some think it's a cool way to shake up the metaplot and maybe bring in more players, and that after so many retcons and changes to the lore over the years, it wouldn't even be that outrageous. Others say it desecrates the established lore of the Marines and should never be considered due to the amount of rectons needed to make it work. Those against it also feel they should instead focus on already existing female factions, like the Sisters of Battle, or work to create new groups that can include them. It should be noted that GW hasn't announced any plans to introduce female Marines beyond a generic "We're considering many things" statement on the subject of more female models, yet the subject still gets people frothing angry.
    • Due to GW's previously horrible proofreading (including at one point completely omitting a rule), slow output of FA Qs and absolute refusal to put in a line of communication for fans to clarify about rules, several places would erupt into flame wars about how a rule was supposed to function. Not at all helped by the fact that, due to different writers having different styles and interpretations, it's hard to set precedents and many players often took the literal meaning of the rules rather than the intended meaning, to the point that the terms RAW and RAI (Rules As Written and Rules As Intended, respectively) were common terms when rule debates came up. With the change in GW's leadership, this has since become less of a problem as game designers are more willing to respond to such disputes, either directly via social media for small cases, or pushing out FA Qs faster, erratas and clarifications in their publications for bigger issues.
    • The Primaris Marines models are *much* larger than other marines, being one of the few truly true-scale models in the range. This made them incompatible with parts from earlier Space Marine ranges (which is a lot of parts) outside of helmets and shoulderpads, while also made most marine models and human models look cartoonish next to them (GW models are Heroic Scale, which have oversized hands and heads). One half of the community is glad that they finally have truescale marines without resorting to expensive conversions, while the other half is now pissed that their collection of models now look out of place next to the big boys.
  • Bellisario's Maxim: This setting runs on Rule of Cool and trying to explain certain elements with logic or science simply isn't possible.
  • Canon Fodder:
    • The 2nd and 11th Primarchs and their Legions exist specifically to be this trope, to give the setting an air of great mystery and to encourage fans to come up with their own theories on who they were and what they did to get their very existence scrubbed clean from the Imperial record.
    • The Emperor's past, his personality, the extent of his powers, his ultimate plan for humanity and his dealings with the Chaos Gods are all left vague at best.
    • Malcador the Sigilite is practically tailor-made for this. The questions of how a seemingly normal (aside from being incredibly long-lived, but that can be likely attributed to the Emperor's magic keeping him alive) human rose to become a psyker second only to THE EMPEROR in power, and subsequently became his right-hand-man to the conclusion of the Horus Heresy, has never been answered and likely never will.
    • The War in Heaven, the Dark Age of Technology and the Age of Strife are all past events that significantly affect the current story but are mostly left unexplored.
    • Overall, almost every major part of the lore has some aspect to it that's left intentionally unexplained so that fans can speculate and come to their own conclusions or so that Games Workshop can revisit it in a future product.
  • Cheese Strategy:
    • 5th edition's Grey Knights were widely reviled for being utterly overpowered in the crunch (notably, one of their special weapons made the Tau unable to shoot them).
    • The "Fish of Fury" exploit (which even Tau players didn't like), allowed Tau players to move their Devilfish hovertanks as mobile cover by hiding hard-hitting Fire Warriors behind the surprisingly hard-to-kill Devilfish to protect them from melee attacks.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • Tau & Eldar have always been top tier armies, which for Eldar has been since the early 90's and the Tau since their first codex in 2001. At most points in their history one or both of these armies were the core of unbeatable and incredibly frustrating game breaking tactics, such as the Tournament sweeping Tau "Fish Of Fury" tactic.
      • Eldar combine extreme speed, highly specialised and brutally hard hitting melee & shooting units with very high psychic prowess. D Weapons, Wave Serpents, Holofields and board leaping unkillable Titans could be combined into armies so effective that certain factions had no hope of victory and it was advisable for players of these factions to simply outright reject fighting Eldar armies to save themselves the frustration. The current flavour in 8th edition is Dark Reapers.
      • Tau had heavy long-range firepower that could obliterate any heavy vehicles in the game, had very good long-range shooting for their basic infantry (their stock rifles had 30 inches of range in a game that had 24 inches as the general 'maximum' for regular infantry weapons), and also had quick response battlesuits that could be used to intercept and destroy any type of enemy unit before it reached melee. The 8th Edition Tau Codex was met with a firestorm of criticism from Tau players as that army finally received a well deserved nerfing to push it back to its supposed roots of the core being Fire Warriors supported (but not overshadowed) by battlesuits.
    • Lots of this springs up by virtue of the medium. The largest case is with armies. Players will typically go for whatever army is updated the most recently since as an edition goes on or those that higher level players have begun to exploit in tournaments.
    • A combination of Space Mariners being the poster children of the franchise, being a low cost army compared to those large in numbers and Games Workshop pushing them as the starter army for new people to the hobby means that Space Marines take up a huge focus for the rule & models releases and that they are almost never bad on the tabletop. Being probably the easiest army to paint except for possibly Tau, due to their flat, monochromatic color schemes and lack of exposed flesh, doesn't hurt their popularity with newcomers either.
    • Due to increasingly poor rules-writing, a lot of codexes end up having a handful of units that are mind-bogglingly powerful while the rest are left by the wayside. The 6th Edition Chaos Space Marine Codex was the worst offender, with the Heldrake being so overwhelmingly powerful on release that there was literally no reason not to take anything else if you can help it, while stuff like Mutilators and Warp Talons were so crappy that some opponents took it as an insult if you brought those units against them, since it implied that you didn't see them as a challenge. Unlike later Codexes (which ended up buffing only new units to sell kits) all three of those units were new.
    • In part to address the above problems (and after the executives blamed for much of it were replaced) the 8th edition rules reset everything to a new baseline so all factions are more or less balanced. Long useless units were buffed, overpowered units were nerfed, many units were changed completely. How long it sticks has yet to be seen.
    • Much like the Chaos Heldrake mentioned earlier, in 7th Edition, the T'au XV-104 Riptide battlesuit was so unbelievably good that every list had at least one of these monsters despite their fluff stating they were quite rare, becoming emblematic of that edition's legendary problem with "Deathstar" units. It took 8th Edition caving its skull in with the nerf bat to halt the endless legions of Riptide-focused armies.
    • "Meta" and "Netlisting" players who simply copy whatever the latest hardcore army lists won big tournaments, and sell any army that is no longer considered strong.
  • "Common Knowledge": That the Lost Primarchs were created to give players a way to invent their own Legions. Rick Priestly, one who originally came up with the concept of the Lost Primarchs, has clarified that he created them as a way to make the Horus Heresy era more mysterious and full of lost knowledge prior to Games Workshop deciding to use the Heresy as a game setting with detailed novels.
  • Complete Monster: See here.
  • Continuity Lockout (Or at least, Archive Binge): As befitting a franchise that started in the 80's and has steadily been growing in popularity, the amount of information and lore for Warhammer 40,000 is pretty huge, so someone having only just been introduced to it has a lot to go through before they find out precisely what the hell this is about. There are a surprising number channels on Youtube dedicated to nothing but lore videos, to the point that some can release lengthy videos on lore subjects every day and still never run out of content to discuss.
  • Crack Pairing:
    • Nurgle and Isha. Interestingly, this is technically canon, though unreciprocated since Nurgle is keeping Isha hostage.
    • The popular fan-pairing of a nameless Vindicare and an Eldar Farseer from Dawn of War (most fan-fiction specifies the Farseer as Taldeer, who is a canon character, and the Vindicare as LIIVI, who is not). Enough to receive several nods in Dark Heresy!
    • The "Gathering Storm'' supplement has given rise to shipping Primarch Roboute Guilliman and the Eldar Yvraine, Herald of the Dead. Amusingly, even the Games Workshop community team got in on this, releasing a Thanksgiving picture featuring Guilliman as the father at the head of the table with Yvraine as the mother.
    • Ephrael Stern is always accompanied, even on tabletop, by the Pariah Kyganil, who the fanbase invariably refers to as her "Eldar boyfriend", and like a gender-flipped Yvraine and Guilliman, it's probably half-joking and half genuine. Considering the way they canonically interactnote  is about as close to romantic as you can get in a setting like this one, it's hard to deny that the fans have a point.
    • Inquisitor Greyfax barely tolerates Saint Celestine, seeing her as a false idol and heretic tempting loyalists from the path of the Emperor...in canon, at least. Despite this (or perhaps because of it), many fans joke that the reason for this hostility is Greyfax being a massive Tsundere who has a huge schoolgirl crush on Celestine but is too proud to admit it.
  • Crazy Is Cool:
    • The Ork race. Practically everything that's ever been accomplished by Orks has happened merely because the things in question are Crazy Enough to Work. Possessing psychic powers that turn their asinine and downright insane thoughts into reality helps, too. Their ramshackle war machines and slapped-together weapons of war literally only function because the Orks are too stupid to realize their teknologee shouldn't actually function as it does. "Ripping a Chaos God's balls off" is one of the saner things the Orks have done.
    • The Redeemer: an insane Redemptionist who travels the Ashen Waste fighting rat-worshipping mutants. He's like an evil Judge Dredd. And his head's on fire.
    • The Space Wolves chapter. Boisterous Bruisers who throw out the Codex Astartes and tell the High Lords of Terra to piss off, these people should have been declared traitors millennia ago, yet they get away with everything.
    • While we're talking about Marine chapters, there's also the Blood Ravens, an entire chapter of Kleptomaniac Hero strategists who regularly steal sacred relics from other chapters, claiming to have "discovered" them, and occasionally present them to those same chapters as "gifts". Note 
    • Imperial Guard players have the Death Corps of Krieg. An entire army of Gas Mask, Longcoat-wearing fanatics who take the Imperial Guard's ridiculously outdated technology to the extreme, being basically World War One-era trench fighters dropped straight into the 41st millennium. Oh, and they rarely speak, they launch honest-to-Emperor cavalry charges against xenos and daemon engines, and they're so fanatically devoted to dying in the name of their Emperor that their Commissars have to discipline them to stop charging the enemy.
    • Nemesor Zahndrekh, an ancient Necron warlord who's so senile and afflicted with robo-Alzheimers that he thinks he's still a living, flesh-and-blood being. A Bunny-Ears Lawyer extraordinaire among possibly the single most humorless race in the entire setting, Zahndrekh is despised by his fellow Necrons for still following the ancient honor code of his race, treating foes with respect, treating military prisoners with respect and occasionally letting them go free (in direct opposition to the Necrons' Assimilation Plot), treating all conquests like civil uprisings, and addresses his opponents, regardless of species, as "kinsmen", but is such a brilliant tactician that none of the other Necrons can take his position. He's so paranoid about assassination attempts that he has people taste his food for him - food which, as a robot skeleton, he never eats.
    • The Salamanders chapter. An army of fire-obsessed, dragon-themed master forgers. Even their appearance, due to their Gene-Seed mutation, looks badass. They all have jet-black skin and glowing burning red eyes. Their fixation on fire is so great that it could give the Space Wolves’s fixation on wolves a run for its money. Throughout their history, they also had several major losses (but not necessarily defeats per say) and problems that threatened to wipe them out once and for all, but through sheer determination, they still hang in there and persevere, Did we also mention That they all have top-tier wargear due to it all being master-crafted? Or that they’re still thriving and successful despite both having somewhat smaller numbers than the average chapter and living on a Death World? Or that despite their intimidating appearance and questionnable (and undoubtedly batshit crazy) obsession with fire, they’re one of the most beloved (both in-universe and in real life) space marine chapters because they prioritize civilian lives above their own (which is a rare commodity among the Imperium)?
  • Creator's Pet:
    • The Ultramarines are the Jack-of-All-Stats of the Space Marines, being a good and noble chapter with no glaring strengths or weaknesses. Authors largely agree that they should have a flaw to balance that out (such as pride, dogmatism, or arrogance), but they have difficulty agreeing on which. Matt Ward, however, does not agree that they should have a flaw at all. As he will happily explain at great lengths, they are the best Space Marines, and their Primarch is the Spiritual Liege of all other chapters. Fluff written by him tends to focus on the Ultramarines disproportionately, with other Space Marine factions in awe of their skill and abilities. Any individuals who dislike them are quickly proven wrong and/or evil. Unfortunately, (or fortunately) this hurt Matt in the long run.
    • The Crimson Slaughter were accused of this by some people after they, a minor warband of Chaos Space Marines that had only recently received any Character Development, were given a dedicated Codex supplement before eight of the nine Traitor Legions, in addition to their colour scheme being made the default for most new Chaos Marine releases. This wasn't helped by the fact that the only Legion that had one at the time, the Black Legion (who had the previous default scheme), is usually considered too generic for unique rules.
    • Kaldor Draigo, some random Grey Knight lost and trapped in the Warp who somehow managed to just eternally battle daemons instead of dying immediately like most in his position should have. A number of his feats are absurd even by 40K standards, including carving his name into a Daemon Prince's heart and other things which shouldn't be possible in the setting.
  • Creepy Awesome: A major draw of the franchise. Specific examples include, but are by no means limited to, the following:
    • Lucius the Eternal.
    • The Noise Marines, who embody The Power of Rock turned to Chaos! "the years of bloody warfare have honed their bodies into sensory extremes where nothing can stir their emotions other than the din of battle and screams of the dying".
    • The Necrons pre-5th Edition and/or the Necrons post-5th Edition. The base is divided on whether they were this before, after, or both. Regardless, the idea of them as implacable forces of destruction on a never-ending march to Kill All Humans is considered a major draw of the army.
    • The Legion of the Damned are probably the single most menacing and sinister of any Astartes Legion not aligned with Chaos. What's cooler than Space Marines? ZOMBIE Space Marines, clad in black armor. And they're on fire.
    • The Death Corps of Krieg have Space Marine-level devotion in regular human bodies, and their entire culture is based around dying gloriously in the service of the Emperor. Did we mention they're all Badass Longcoat-wearing Gas Mask Mooks who rarely speak and canonically creep out other Guardsmen regiments in-universe (and sometimes even their own Commissars) with their barely-human behavior?
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • The entire core of Da Orks' humor is their ridiculously, overwhelmingly violent nature. They take the Bloody Hilarious trope and run away with it, screaming and shooting into the air while doing so. Their ridiculously awesome weird contraptions and extreme ability to scavenge and mash things together to build just about anything, which makes them very popular with players who enjoy building stuff on their own out of whatever bits they have, and this is not only allowed but actively encouraged. They occasionally come out victorious against the vastly more intelligent and serious (and more outright malicious) races like the Chaos Marines, the Inquisition and the Necrons because they are so incredibly stupid that regular strategies don't work on them. They also treat war as more akin to one gigantic bar fight and enjoy every second of it. It helps that, in contrast to every other army being in some way inspired by a real life historical one, Orks are based on Football Hooligans, which only makes them more endearing.
    • The Imperial Guard/Astra Militarium also gets in on the fun. One Commander Chenkov once ordered an entire squad of his troops executed because he ran out of mortar for the walls. And then there are the Catachans, who consider surviving to age 10 an achievement on their Death World.
    • Some may find the setting in general does this, due the over-the-top Darkness, Impossibly Cool Weapons and war.
    • The Space Elves of this universe managed to squick a literal god of sex into existence out of their unimaginable depravity. And that was before the galaxy went to shit.
    • One of the two most common types of Imperial familiars is the Cherub; a flying cyborg baby with mechanical wings. The way to create them involves taking the body (usually cloned... usually), hollowing out the bones, lobotomizing the brain, and then attach anti-grav things to it while turning the brain into a small CPU. Even people in-universe are noted to be absolutely creeped out by them, especially since their intelligence level is at that of a particularly dim housepet.
  • Cult Classic: This game started up in 1987, and is now probably the subject for the majority of uses of Rule of Cool and Darker and Edgier on this wiki.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Possibly because they're the primary human faction, many fans will give the Imperium more of a pass on its darker deeds than some other races. More specifically:
      • The Emperor tends to be painted by fans as the one purely good character in the whole setting. While he was probably better than the current management, he does have his fair share of mistakes and atrocities under his belt.
      • Imperial Guard Commissars get a surprising amount of this as well, due to the influences of Ciaphas Cain and Gaunt's Ghosts. Chances are pretty damn good that your average Commissar does not want to be buddy-buddy with the men.
    • Fan parodied with Khârn the Betrayer who is canonically a vicious, psychotic avatar of Khorne's wrath, famous for butchering two entire legions in a single night, one of them his own. Fanonically, he's a free-spirited goofball who has fun picking on Slaanesh worshipers and stealing the Nice Hat of any Commissar he meets, and who ultimately wants nothing more than to please his god. A Downplayed Trope, mind you, as fanon!Khârn is not actually any less violent, destructive or prone to butchering his own allies than canon!Khârn - the only difference is that fanon!Khârn is a bit of a Cloud Cuckoo Lander and his rampages invoke Crazy Is Cool and Bloody Hilarious.
    • Speaking of Khârn's god, Khorne himself may rival the Emperor in terms of Draconess. According to Games Workshop, he is the god of bloodshed and hate, who cares not from where the blood flows, only that it flows, be it bystanders or his own worshipers. According to a good portion of the fanbase, Khorne is the god of Proud Warrior Race Guys and martial honor who wouldn't lay a hand on innocent civilians. This version is actually based on older editions, but the merciful aspect is clearly out of date as far as Games Workshop is concerned. It helps that his fantasy version is essentially "Evil Odin".
    • Happens a lot with the Eldar and Tau, as well. Quite a few people view the Eldar a bit too sympathetically, and gloss over their numerous atrocities, not to mention that a good portion of the galaxy's woes can be blamed solely on them. As for the Tau, well, some people really do consider it a rather pleasant place to live, never mind that it's got a very British Empire-esque policy on natives; if you're a human or Kroot, you won't be exterminated, and you won't exactly be a slave, but you'll still get quite a pretty damn rough deal from people who look down on you.
  • Designated Hero: The Imperium as a whole. The Space Marines might be the most popular faction and the designated protagonists, but still believe Violence Is the Only Option and embrace Fantastic Racism, being the spearhead of nearly every evil thing the Imperium does. For every planetary defense action, the Space Marines are also used on one hundred or more xenocidal crusades or repressive campaigns to keep worlds from seceding. The Sisters of Battle are fanatically devoted to the Emperor who fight with fundamentalist fury, but won't hesitate to kill civilians or Imperial Guards on suspicion of being tainted by Chaos. Inquisition doesn't even bother trying to hide its own nature. The Mechanicus kill entire planets (including human ones) out of spite or For Science! and the bulk of the "people" living in their state-within-a-state are servitors. The Imperial Guard gets up to evil actions proportionally less than the Space Marines or Inquisition due to spending the bulk of their time fighting Orks/Tyranids/Chaos, but are still ultimately supporting a xenocidal empire and see combat against "good" factions like non-Chaos rebels and Tau. Then again, as previously stated above, this is also heavily dependent of which specific part of the Imperium you look at and at which specific point in the timeline you look at them. Some parts of the Imperium are nicer or nastier than others. The degree to which this trope applies varies by author; some will be completely upfront about the Imperium being vicious villain protagonists, some will do the same thing and play it up for Black Comedy, some will focus on a specific sub-faction or individual that's more heroic than the rest of the Imperium, and others still (especially works focusing on Space Marines) will just ignore the moral implications of the horrible things they do and support by emphasizing the War Is Glorious nature of their battles (and usually glossing over said actions by focusing only on battles against Always Chaotic Evil enemies) - thus falling into this trope.
  • Designated Villain:
    • Followers of Chaos can start as this. Many of the Chaos Space Marines fell not out of evil, but simply bad circumstances. Human followers who have fallen since then can have arguably good reasons, given that life in the Imperium is so bad joining cults is a legitimate alternative to alleviate their misery. All in all, mortal followers of Chaos aren't evil, they're just insane. Like with the imperium’s Designated Hero status, this heavily depends on which followers of Chaos you look at and at what point in the timeline you’re using to look at them. Some chaos worshippers are nicer or nastier than others. Daemons, on the other hand...
    • The Imperium is very intolerant of Gue'vesa, "traitors" who have turned to the Tau's offer of egalitarianism. Forget that many humans who live in/serve the Tau Empire are often decent people who just want to live under a government who actually treat them nicely, or serve in a military that treats them like people and a valued resource rather than disposable Cannon Fodder; as far as a certain empire is concerned, they're nothing but traitors who are now working for an oppressive empire masquerading as a benevolent communityruled by an alien race, no less.
    • Craftworld Eldar often fall into this role when fighting the Imperium (read: Space Marines). The narrative tends to treat them as unreasonable for attacking the latter or not helping them more, even though most of the Imperium has a very strict and clear kill-on-sight order for all aliens, making them effectively no different from Tyranids to the vast majority of in-universe characters.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The daemon prince Doombreed has a surprisingly following for a character that's only referenced in the background.
    • Nemesor Zandrekh, an old timey honorable general too riddled with robo-Alzheimer's to fully appreciate what's happened to him, Vargard Obyron, his eternally loyal and long-suffering bodyguard, and Trazyn the Infinite, or "Trollzyn" as the fandom likes to call him. Even though the Newcrons catch lots of flack from some quarters, their characters remains rather popular.
    • There's a lot of people in the community who would like to see a codex for the Rak'gol, a relatively minor xenos race. Think the Reavers, except they're cyborg scorpion creatures... and they're even worse.
    • The community would love to see a codex for, there's the Q'Orl Swarmhood, a mysterious race of Insectoid Aliens with a massive empire located in the western parts of the galaxy. Combine their surprisingly advanced technology, fanatical religion, and really alien biology (yes, even for 40K), and a mysterious unknown connection to the Eldar, and you have what many feel is a potentially amazing new xenos faction.
    • Malal is surprisingly popular despite apparently not existing in the current setting due to Games Workshop losing the rights to him.
    • Thanks to the Badab War, Alot of Minor Chapters have recived followings. Such as the Carcharodons, Lamenters, Raptors, and Minotaurs. Among those chapters, the Lamenters stand out. They are a Blood Angels successor chapter who define themselves by the idea of self-sacrifice and defending the people of the Imperium, to the point that their chapter's motto is "For Those We Cherish." Being one of the most unquestionably heroic and selfless Space Marine chapters has won them a dedicated following, despite the very small amount of lore surrounding them. The Fact they also happen to be one of (if not) the the unluckiest factions in the setting, only adds to their popularity. The Carcharodons, meanwhile, have little lore about them. Yet they seem to be a Very popular Chapter rivaling even the Black Templars for most popular Successor chapter.
    • The Space Marine Chapter known as the Scythes of The Emperor, have had a sizeable fan base despite having most of their lore revolve around how they were devasted by the Tyranids. One reason for their fanbase is probably because of their nice looking color scheme. There is even a site dedicated to them.
    • Among Chaos Renegade Warbands (that aren't the Red Corsairs), The Sons of Malice remains one of the more notable and popular. This could be because they are the only offical army to be worshippers of Malal, who is also an Ensemble Darkhorse.
    • The Great Ork War Boss Tuska only appeared in one story, but it might be the most beloved Ork fluff story in the entire setting. You might know him better as "That Ork captain who managed to accidentally create the Ork Valhalla by ripping a daemon prince's balls off."
    • The minor Chaos Warband known as the The Purge have become popular due to how horrifically successful they manage to be (See the Vaxhallian Genocide).
    • The Men of Iron, the human-made A.I.s who Turned Against Their Masters and brought about the end of the Age of Technology some 16,000 years before the game's present, are quite popular among fans, for a faction who have only had a few brief mentions and appearances in older publications. The inclusion of a Man of Iron character (and model), UR-025, in the 2018 Gaiden Game Blackstone Fortress generated quite a bit of excitement among fans.
  • Evil Is Cool: The fundamental premise of the game, really. With every side being evil (or at least not very heroic by normal standards) the main reason to choose an army is that you like their design, aesthetics and combat doctrine.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: The "g" in "WAAAGH!" is silent. Forget that at your own peril.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • With Starcraft. It doesn't help that there are Pop Culture Urban Legends floating around the internet that say Starcraft is a rip-off that was only stopped by Games Workshop defending their IP.
    • Also with the original Warhammer on a certain level.
    • Also, Warmachine. Assuming you've heard of it, anyway
    • Though it's hard to tell how serious it is, the Warhammer fandom developed this with fans of Marvel comics, of all people, for a few reasons, mainly because of Dan Abnett working on Marvel's cosmic storylines like Annihilation and The Thanos Imperative, and because the Marvel Cinematic Universe typically cranks out roughly three successful (and typically) lighthearted movies a year while the Warhammer franchise never managed to get a decent and successful grim and gritty live action adaptation. Ironically, Warhammer 40,000 was influenced by the gritty sci-fi comics of Pat Mills, who hates superheroes, so it's not that hard to see that some parts of the Warhammer fandom may share Mills' mentality.
    • Basically any fandom that has powerful characters, like Dragon Ball, Superman or One-Punch Man because the most diehard Warhammer 40,000 fans will swear up and down that not only could the characters from the Warhammer 40,000 universe beat any other fictional character but it would always be Curb-Stomp Battle no matter who it was causing a lot of arguments.
  • Fanon:
    • "The Emperor was Jesus" is a pretty universally accepted claim in the fandom, but the only part of canon that even implies it is in one of the early books, which notes that the Emperor was a number of important historical figures (with the further implication that the Emperor was lying).
    • It has long been accepted among the Fandom that Event Horizon is an unofficial prequel, showing mankind's discovery of the Warp.
    • The Chaos Daemon Prince Doombreed, a human who ascended before the Age of the Imperium is usually believed to be Genghis Khan. However, Uraka Az'baramael from the Imperial Armour books may be a more likely candidate, since he is said to have led "horse-bound armies" across Ancient Terra, and the description of the massacre that led him to dedicate his soul to Khorne closely resembles the razing of Nishapur.
    • Fans tends to paint the Rainbow Warriors as being Mayan/Aztec/Inca-themed... which makes quite a lot of sense because there was an Native American myth of a being called The Rainbow Warrior who will defend all life.
    • The fan-made web series, If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, has popularized the idea of Rogal Dorn having a mustache/muttonchops, despite him being clean-shaven in every official depiction to date.
    • A popular theory claims that Ork Kommandos actually intentionally use bright, tacky colors like purple, on the basis that you've never seen a stealth squadron in purple camo, right?
    • A particularly well-enforced tenant is that Abbadon is a General Failure. While the fluff paints a different picture, a long part of his career as the nominal Big Bad of the setting has been spent right on the brink of his 13th Black Crusade. Since the narrowly defined previous twelve hadn't taken down the Imperium, most fans had deemed them as failures and Abbadon as largely responsible for it.
    • Quite minor compared to the above examples, but a lot of people make out Commander Farsight as a Shōnen mecha protagonist, when there's nothing to suggest his canon personality is like that.
    • Fans frequently regard Ogryns as a bunch of Adorkable lugs. While Ogryns have never had the spotlight enough to truly make them a clear example of the trope, the quote from their entry on the Other Factions page shows one being able to be contented so easily that telling him the Emperor is very pleased with him is enough to get one to shake off being nearly wiped out to a man, as well as lore stating they're too simpleminded to knowingly and maliciously betray the Imperium's cause, gives this picture some credence.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Roboute Guilliman and Yvraine is a surprisingly popular pairing, mostly because they showed surprisingly amiable chemistry during their journey to get Guilliman to Terra and parted on good terms, even forging a very tenous alliance between the Imperium and Ynnari. The pairing is half a memetic joke and half serious.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain:
    • Canon descriptions of the Emperor's Children, and the Noise Marines in particular, say that they wear the brightest, most clashing colours. Most pictures, including Dawn of War, instead depict them in a somewhat less offensive mix of black and pink/purple (although more faithful depictions do exist). The reason is likely that painting the models in lore-appropriate colours would make for an ugly, incohesive army. Not very appealing to look at, even if the ugliness is intentional. (That said, the belief that Pink Is for Sissies might well be a factor.)
    • Orks, Tyranids and even Necrons at one point suffered this, due to the old philosophy of painting models in bright colors to make them stand out on the tabletop (and partially because the range of colors back then were very bright). The models of this time were also more wacky (Goff Rockers being one of the most prominent) in design as well and looked like they walked right out of Saturday morning cartoons. Modern paintjobs favor subdued palettes with only a few contrasting colors and overall more realistic paint schemes, and the designs of models have become more uniformed and unique.
  • Fourth Wall Myopia: Many of the Imperium's actions decried as stupid by fans (like ignoring Eldar warnings, or taking actions that strengthen one Chaos god) are often the result of ignorance, as the fans tend to forget knowledge is very unequally distributed in the Imperium (there are many who don't even know that the Chaos gods fight each other as much as they fight loyalists and aliens, or that the Chaos gods even exist).
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • With Doom fans, since both settings are hard-as-balls tales of hulking, musclebound Space Marines tearing their way through hordes upon hordes of merciless demonic legions. Some fans even consider the Doomguy an honorary Astartes (or in some cases, that the Astartes are honorary Doomguys.)
    • With fans of Mad Max: Fury Road, since the War Boys are basically human Orks, right down to the ramshackle vehicles and suicidal aggression. There's even a unit of Orks (Goff Rockas) that have flamethrower guitars, like the Doof Warrior.
    • With fans of Judge Dredd as Dredd was one of the inspirations of the setting.
    • With fans of the SCP Foundation, in part since both take place in bitter Crapsack Worlds made up of Mind Screws that also serve as a Darker and Edgier take on popular fantasy subgenres (The original Warhammer is a semi-serious and darkly humorous take on High Fantasy, Warhammer 40,000 is a grimdark take on Science Fantasy, while the SCP Foundation is a (predominantly) grimdark take on Urban Fantasy). What certainly helps is that both franchises have a pretty Unreliable Canon and that the Foundation houses numerous characters/anomalies that wouldn't be at all out of place in 40K (i.e., Able is a champion of Khorne in all but name already).
  • Game-Breaker: See here.
  • Gateway Series: For many people, this introduced them to tabletop wargames.
  • Genius Bonus: There's little references tucked away everywhere, ranging from sci-fi to military history to history in general to Scandinavian and Ancient Babylonian myth (Nergal/Nurgle).
    • One of the first worlds in the path of the first Tyranid Hive Fleet was named "Prandium", which is Latin for "lunch."
    • One of the symbols of the Imperium is a double-headed eagle. In and of itself, this is not surprising, as some of the most powerful and influential empires on Earth (the Byzantines, the Russians, and the Holy Roman Empire among others) have used the same symbol, and it would be just like the Imperium to adopt such a symbol of absolute autocracy. The real bonus comes into play if you consider the God-Emperor's origins; according to one sourcenote , he was born in Anatolia (a.k.a. modern Turkey), where double eagle symbolism has been particularly strong for thousands of years. Also, the Imperial Eagle in some depictions looks very similar to the Nazi variant of the Reichsadler.
    • In Western magical traditions, the number 3 has a great deal of occult/magical potency. Tzeentch's sacred number is 9, being three squared (three times three, or three plus three plus three) and the only number more inherently powerful than three. Perfect symbology for a god of magic.
    • The Adeptus Mechanicus's belief that all technology already exists in the galaxy and only needs to be discovered seems like it's illustrating just how backwards they actually are, but if you talk to any decent programmer, they can basically sum up programming as "discovering the path to the program you want". As all programs are made from mathematical symbols put into sequences, it literally means all programs exist right now, you just need to input the correct sequence to access it (which is one method of thinking when it comes to actually writing scripts and programs). Hence, all technology does really exist, it just depends on your definition of "discovery" and "creation". Considering the Adeptus Mechanicus are often shown to merge themselves with technology, this would be a surprisingly logical (if somewhat skewed) assumption on their part.
    • The aforementioned Rainbow Warriors name being a double reference: One to the Greenpeace vessel, the other to the Native American legend.
    • Tzeetch, the Chaos god of knowledge and magic, has demons and priests with bird features, such as feathers and beaks. What Real Life deity has avian appearance and connection to birds? Thoth, the ancient Egyptian god of knowledge and magic. Bonus points that several of Tzeentch's followers, such as the Thousand Sons, have attire which resembles that of ancient Egypt.
    • In the backstory given to Ollanius Pius, it's mentioned that he's a "Cathar," one of the last remaining Christians (or at least practitioners of a Christianity-descended religion) in the 30th millennium. On the surface, it just seems like a Future Imperfect interpretation of Catholicism. However, Catharism was an actual Christian cult originally practiced in southern France during the 13th century. Furthermore, the Cathars were considered to be very heretical by the standards of the day since they believed the Earth was such a Crapsack World that it was literally Hell (which is rather appropriate if one makes a comparison to the abysmal state of the Milky Way in 40K), and also because they thought people had genderless, immortal souls that would be reincarnated multiple times until they earned access to Heaven. That latter belief sounds surprisingly similar to the existence of Perpetuals (which Pius was later Retconned as being one) in the 40K universe.
    • When you look at them closely, each of the main factions can be seen as representing one of the Seven Deadly Sins:
      • Imperium: Sloth. 10,000 years of stagnation and lack of innovation, throwing lives away to appease a dead deity.
      • Eldar: Lust. They birthed the sex/excess god Slaanesh through their decadence and depravity.
      • Orks: Wrath. They want to slaughter everyone in sight almost entirely for the fun of it.
      • Chaos: Greed. Most of its followers are often driven by a selfish desire to acquire power.
      • Tyranids: Gluttony. Devouring everything in their path is their main motivation and characteristic.
      • Necrons: Envy. The reason they became the way they are was because they Envied the Great Old Ones and their Immortality.
      • Tau: Pride. They believe that their philosophy is the best and if you don't think so, they'll force you to agree. Meanwhile, the other factions would just kill you.
    • It's no coincidence that the Ultramarines are the 13th Legio Astartes and the resident Space Romans with a Julius Caesar Expy for a Primarch: the Legio XIII Gemina was the one that Caesar took across the Rubicon to invade Rome.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • The game is much more popular in the United States than in its native Britain, with most of the spin-off video games being developed by American and Canadian companies. United States having a population five times larger than the United Kingdom is a factor. The other major factor is that in Britain 40k had generally been considered a children's game while adults played the Fantasy equivalent or more serious historical wargames, while in the U.S. it was associated with college students and other grown adults.
      • In countries with a small population like Australia and New Zealand and those with no culture of miniature gaming, 40k is almost inevitably the game with the largest player base.
    • Americans Love The Tau: The Tau are one of the most commonly collected armies in the US, while they have middling popularity at best in Britain and Europe. It might have something to do with the sleek, Robotech-esque aesthetics of their technology, particularly their Humongous Mecha.
    • Germans Love 40k As Well: Next to Dungeons & Dragons — of course — Warhammer 40,000 ranks as one of the most popular Tabletop Games known in Germany. This may have to do with the considerably German middle ages-styled Imperium, the imagery and the tanks of the Astra Militarum.
    • Russians Love The Imperium: Warhammer 40,000 is rather popular among Russians — it is unofficially reported that Russia has the second largest W40k fanbase after the US. Russians tend to like Crapsack Worlds because of life in Russia never being too easy, and 40k in particular because of strong similarities between the Imperium of Man and Russia during different historical periods. The Imperial Aquila is similar to the Russian Double-Headed Eagle, and the universe has lots of Shout Outs to Russian history (Valhallans, Vostroyans, some planet or character names, etc.). The fact that most Russians see an autocratic rule as not so much a dystopian future as something that could finally get things in order may also help. However, the tabletop part of W40k hobby is considered somewhat expensive in Russia, so it is less popular than novels and video games set in the universe. The unique phenomenon of several heavy metal bands whose songs are solely dedicated to Warhammer 40,000 universe, e.g. Hmkids or Hammer of Faith, also deserves mention.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In Rogue Trader, Half-human Genestealer hybrids were quite personable. Considering that nowadays, genestealer hybrids want to seduce members of their host species in order to churn out hordes of mutant babies, this behaviour has a rather grim light shone on it.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • During the late 90s/early 2000s, a series of fluff articles about the various Space Marine chapters and Traitor legions was run in White Dwarf magazine. The Word Bearers article claimed it was unique amongst the Traitor Legions in that its Chaplains were also corrupted, instead of being slain for their defiance in the face of heresy. Come the Horus Heresy novels, and it turns out that the Word Bearers have "Traitor Chaplains" because they were the only Legion to have Chaplains prior to the Heresy — and these Chaplains were actually instrumental in corrupting them in the first place.
    • Furthermore, Lorgar's goals prior to turning to Chaos was to officially promote the Emperor's divinity and turn the Imperium into a theocracy united under the God-Emperor, even going so far as to try and encourage his fellow Legions to adopt Chaplains. In other words, Lorgar has actually won, despite his descent to Chaos.
    • Artwork of Cat Girls is nothing new, even when it's 40k related. Come 6th edition and the rule book actually mentions entire regiments made out of cat people.
    • Trazyn the Infinite came out in the Necron's 5th Edition codex, right after the Grey Knights, and sent Inquisitor Valeria (who debuted in the Grey Knights codex) a Tesseract Labyrinth as a prank. When the Inquisition split off from the Grey Knights, Valeria was nowhere to be seen, and was completely written out of the book when Grey Knights was updated. While she is still mentioned in fluff (and her rules were removed for an entirely different reason), in hindsight it seems that Trazyn was right that she didn't escape the Labyrinth he sent her.
  • Hype Aversion/Hype Backlash: It happens, given how enthusiastic the fanbase can be as well as how prone they are to infighting, attacking fans of other franchises and assuming every Surreal Horror or Cosmic Horror must have been inspired by 40K.
  • I Am Not Shazam: "Xenos", the Imperial word for anyone who isn't human, is the Ancient Greek word for "stranger"note  and is pronounced "ZEN-noss" or "ZEE-noss". It is NOT a plural.
  • Idiot Plot: The sheer amount of Stupid Evil in the setting can lead to one feeling this.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Poor, poor Eldar. Not only are you the whipping boys of the entire game, most of your race got Mind Raped by an Eldritch Abomination and if you're not careful enough, you'll get tortured and raped by Horny Devils for all of eternity. That sure justifies being Manipulative Bastards who would let billions of other races die horrible agonizing deaths to save a few of your own.
    • Bastards that they are, it's really easy to see why the Imperium acts the way it does.
    • The 5th Edition fluff makes the Necrons out to be this—on one hand, they're responsible for their own current, miserable state of being, and they're feared by all other races for a good reason. On the other, they still don't deserve being forced into it, and the majority of Tomb Worlds wish nothing more than to be left alone.
    • Perturabo is a pretty terrible human being, and now a pretty ineffective daemon. At the same time, however, in some portrayals, he's also a creative soul forced into the role of destroyer, who never got even the slightest trace of respect from anyone for his willingness to take on the dirty, brutal, back-breaking, but necessary tasks. It's hard not to feel for the guy when even some of his allies are acting like any task involving hard physical labour is beneath them and Perturabo should be doing it. (Admittedly, in other portrayals, he's just a brutal, coldly merciless jackass.)
    • Konrad Curze was dropped onto a planet of endless night ruled by crime lords through violence and intimidation. He brought the planet to heel by adopting the methods of his enemies, as that was apparently the only way it could maybe be something other than a lawless shithole. But he went to fight in the Great Crusade and in his absence it descended back into depravity; everything he worked for was dashed, and that's not even getting into the premonitions that haunted him throughout his life.
    • Though at least Konrad got to die on his own terms: even that was taken from Angron, who was whisked away by the Emperor to fight a war he never cared about when all he really wanted was to die on his homeworld fighting with his friends in their slave revolt, fighting for a cause he actually believed in. Angron always resented his father for that, and he was a tremendously abrasive asshole to his brothers, but between that and the nails sticking into his brain, it's not hard to see why.
    • Magnus the Red was a loyal Primarch in the beginning, and thus genocided aliens with few to no qualms and conquered every human civilisation he encountered. But during this he wanted to preserve knowledge and culture for the benefit of humanity; he sacrificed his eye as part of an unwise deal with Tzeentch in order to save his legion from mutating into mindless abominations; his homeworld and legion were predominantly sorcerers and dedicated to learning about how to use their powers wisely and well, and then the Emperor bans anyone from using more than the most basic psychic powers (except for the Emperor, of course), thus making the cultures of the Thousand Sons and Prospero anathema to the empire they're helping to build; and finally, when he learns of Horus' treachery he tries to warn the Emperor in the most efficient way he can - by sorcery. Partly because he accidentally broke one of the Emperor's projects in sending his warning, partly because the Emperor just can't believe Horus would betray him, the Emperor sends the Space Wolves to arrest Magnus, and Horus then changed the orders to planetary annihilation, which the Wolves were all to happy to carry out. So after seeing his homeworld razed to the ground, all the cities and libraries burned, the ordinary humans and many of his legion slaughtered, Magnus seizes on the only remaining way to save his followers... which turns out to be accepting the aid of the god who manipulated the whole course of events and having his soul shattered into fragments. These days he's even more of a Jerkass than he was as a loyalist, but he (and the other Thousand Sons who survive from that era) are undeniably pitiable.
    • In the novel depictions, Horus himself is this. All he ever wanted to do was to be a savior to mankind and to be a paragon to be looked up to. Blinded by chaos, he instead instigated the most terrible galactic civil war in human history, either directly or indirectly murdered trillions, mentally broke the other 8 primarch so that they may join him, and in the end did nothing but irreparably damage the empire he and his father worked so hard to build. It says a lot when, after one of his war meetings with the other 8 traitor primarchs, he laments that while he does have the upper hand, all the primarchs among him are broken and mad beasts, while the primarchs he wanted by his side are now arrayed against him and hate his guts. It doesn't help that in his final moments of existence, he finally realized that he was tricked and what he did to avert the bad future was in fact what triggered it.
  • Jerks Are Worse Than Villains: The most evil faction isn't generally considered to be the Chaos, a collective of evil gods attempting to conquer and corrupt the whole galaxy. Normally, that honor goes to Dark Eldar, a group of backstabbing, decadent, hedonostic pirates hiding in the Webway and sometimes going out to kidnap people in order to torture them to death in the most horrible ways possible to stave off the devouring of their souls by one of said gods. Mind you, they can always join their Craftworld brethren and instead stave it off through proper discipline, but that means giving up the hedonism and backstabbing.
    • Going further, the Dark Eldar usually avoid a lot of fan hate because they're Machiavellian badasses with sleek Batman-like vehicles and technology so advanced that it looks like magic, and also they are considered 40k on Nightmare difficulty - their army is exceedingly fragile and very reliant on smart tactical plays or they'll be swept off the table in no time. The Craftworld Eldar however are quite disliked because they are traditionally considered a very overpowered army, and they have condescending attitudes that come across as grating to human audiencesnote .
  • Magnificent Bastard: Even in this Grimdark future, some characters are truly impressive manipulators and strategists:
    • Eldrad is perhaps the most powerful Psyker the Eldar have ever produced. Having once attempted to warn the Empire about Horus's treachery, he has spent his time ever since weaving complex plans to benefit the Eldar, and has perhaps even made the entire Imperium of Man his pawns. Eldrad was responsible for several Eldar raids that produced the eventual rise of Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka and the Armageddon Wars, solely so Eldrad could ensure 10,000 Eldar escaped death at the cost of millions of humans. Eldrad frequently conducts daring plots and schemes to benefit his race, even to ensure the eventual triumph of a new god of the Eldar to defeat Chaos and save his race's souls from Slaanesh.
    • Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka, the Beast of the Apocalypse, is the most successful Ork warboss in history. The self-proclaimed Prophet of the WAAAAGH!, Ghazghkull puts together daring crusade after daring crusade, bringing new advancements to the orks and being a tactical genius even by the standards of other races. Ghazghkull has become a blight on the Imperium, leaving whole worlds burning behind him and constantly outwitting all enemies save for only Comissar Sebastian Yarrick, the one human Ghazghkull truly respects. Ghazghkull frequently inspires other Orks with his sheer charisma and force of will, planning on bringing out a war so great that his deities Gork and Mork come to join the fun personally.
    • Azhek Ahriman is the mortal champion of Tzeentch. A former member of the Thousand Sons Legion, Ahriman is driven to save his legion and correct all his past mistakes by overthrowing Tzeentch himself and becoming a new God. To his end, Ahriman is a brilliant schemer, crafting and "seeding" new cults on a myriad of worlds to find and approach new knowledge while manipulating entire new conflicts so he can swoop in, take all their work and bring himself closer to the Black Library and Tzeentch's true name. Time and again, Ahriman demonstrates why he is worthy of being the champion of the Changer of Ways.
    • Trazyn the Infinite is an ingenious Necron, who is equal to any of the great Phaerons in wit and skill. A collector of rare, historical things and people, Trazyn frequently outwits others to steal things for his collection. Trazyn performs daring heists and uses his fellow Necron lords as body doubles for himself without informing them, manipulating events so he can benefit. When Abaddon launched his 13th Black Crusade on Cadia, Trazyn even joined in on the side of the Imperium, wanting to play the hero for fun, and also to steal Abaddon himself for his collection, though he decided to make due with the Lord Castellan of Cadia instead. Trazyn is even banned from the Necron throne worlds due to his habit of stealing their priceless artifacts, a ban he is well aware of and flaunts for fun whenever the mood takes him.
    • Lady Aurelian Malys is a ruthless Dark Eldar and the Archon of the Kabal of the Poisoned Tongue. Once banished by her former lover Asdrubael Vect, Malys has returned to Comorragh where she proves herself Vect's equal in scheming, amassing an exceptional power base and working to undermine her former paramour to seize his position. Malys once initiated a war between humans and orks to steal an STC known as the Panacea, solely to keep it in her room and deny humanity the chance to cure any disease. Since returning to Comorragh, Malys has shown an uncanny ability to detect Vect's schemes and was one of the few Archons to survive his plotting, with it being whispered that if Vect ever falls, Malys is sure to be the one holding the knife.
    • Duke Traevelliath Sliscus is a wicked Dark Eldar corsair known as "The Serpent". Bored with the decadent courts of Comorragh, Sliscus stole the ships of several Archons, fooled them into coming out to fight him and summarily destroyed their forces. A feared pirate lord, Sliscus's daring exploits have made him a legend to many of the Dark Eldar, and he frequently performs incredible, daring raids, notably being the only opponent to get the better of the infamous Lukas the Trickster by catching him, cutting out his heart and throwing him from his airlock. Well known for how he presents himself, Malys once described Sliscus as "amoral, despicable and impeccably dressed in the bargain".
    • The mysterious Cypher is a former member of the Dark Angels who supposedly fell to Chaos. Since then, Cypher roams the galaxy, pursued by his former Chapter, where he resurfaces, lures the forces of Chaos and the Space Marines into conflicts and lets them fight it out. His methods are utterly brilliant, even if his plans are inscrutable. Cypher is just as likely to hinder Chaos as the Imperium, assassinating Inquisitors, tyrants, Chaos lords and others in bold, daring manuevers before alerting the Dark Angels to his presence. Cypher will event inspire revolutions against tyrants and whenever captured, he performs bold escapes. Whatever Cypher's true plan is, it is clear he is working to an end that he's had in mind for a long time and repeatedly shows himself as nearly untouchable.
    • Lukas The Trickster, or Lukas Strifeson, is a infamous member of the Space Wolves chapter of the Space Marines. Well known for his wicked pranks, such as poisoning a superior with bloat toad venom, Lukas is known for his shocking effectiveness when deployed against the enemies of the imperium. Lukas has caused a civil war among orks with faked transmissions, lured a WAAAGH! to a planet that he then froze solid, tricked a group of Word Bearer traitor marines into landing on thin ice to drown the and has outwitted the Dark Eldar, even the infamous Aurelia Malys herself. Even after Duke Sliscus carved out one of his hearts, Lukas simply replaced it with a stasis bomb to insure whoever kills him will hear his laughter forever. Notably, Lukas has even managed to outwit Magnus the Red, Daemon Prince of Tzeentch himself, always ready with a laugh and a jest against the enemies of his Chapter.
    • Cegorach the Laughing God is one of the few Eldar deities to survive the birth of Slaanesh. In the past, Cegorach even convince one C'tan god to devour others to weaken the pantheon in one of his finest schemes. Worshiped by the Eldar Harlequins, Cegorach is a mad genius with a habit of forming audacious schemes, especially in the pursuit of fighting Chaos. Defending his followers from Slaanesh's hunger, Cegorach organizes schemes to lure the forces of Chaos into doing his work for him. One of the best schemers in all the universe, Cegorach even manages to take a hold in the Dark Eldar to potentially manipulate them, willing to stop at little to ensure the fall of Slaanesh in the end.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • A wiki called 1d4chan (based off 4chan) has turned Eldrad Ulthran into a dick, er, prescient jackass, who will form complicated schemes just so a commissar's hat gets blown off and lands right on Eldrad's head, or a female warrior's breastplate gets knocked off during a battle. The narrator usually suffers as part of the scheme.
    • Khârn note .
    • CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDDDDDDDDD!
      • Creed's rule "Tactical Genius"note  has been inflated to the point that he can hide tanks behind lightposts or outhouses.
    • The Alpha Legion have become this since the Horus Heresy book Legion. Some fans now reckon everything was an Alpha Legion plot.
    • Sometimes, you really have to wonder if Kaldor Draigo is a Stealth Parody of this. He's named after Khal Drogo by Matt Ward; it better be a Stealth Parody.
    • Leman Russ in some circles of the Internet. And considering some of the stuff he's done, you at times have to ponder how much of it is memetic.
    • In a similar vein to Eldrad above, Asdrubael Vect is one on 1d4chan. Seriously, just read his article.
    • Duke Sliscus is an in-universe example. He took three ships from a rival Archon just to show off, and then hilariously Curb Stomped said Archon's best forces when he tried to get the ships back. He also completely owned fellow Memetic Badass Lukas the Trickster (the guy who can punch out Emperor Titans) in a battle of wits. Because of this, he's regarded as an absolute legend in Commorragh. Despite being in-universe, he does have some 40k fans hold a torch for him.
    • Eversor Assassins scream "WRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!" as they tear through their opponents like tissue paper.
    • Papa Nurgle, the idea that he is the god of neckbeards and that everyone secretly wants his disgusting embrace.
    • The Imperial Guard, mostly because to fight (and win!) as an army of regular unpowered humans in the setting requires a set of balls so big they provide a minimum +10 bonus to cover. The fandom insists that every Guardsman gets three items standard issue: his lasgun, his flak vest, and a wheelbarrow for his massive titanium balls. After The Fall of Cadia, a popular saying among the fandom became "The planet broke before the Guard did."
  • Memetic Loser:
    • Abaddon the Despoiler/Failbaddon the Armless, who still failed to destroy the Imperium after thirteen attempts despite having entire legions at his commands and the favours of all four Chaos Gods.
    • Not very many players are able to take the Avatar of Khaine seriously due to all the times they've been humiliatingly Worfed over the years.
    • The Planetary Defence Forces basically exist to be Monster Munch for whatever the main threat of the story is until the Imperial Guard or Space Marines arrive to save the day. Sometimes this extends to the Imperial Guard themselves, though nowadays depicting them as brave and competent (just grossly outmatched) tends to be the norm.
  • Memetic Molester:
    • Dark Eldar, which is no surprise.
    • Anything associated with Slaanesh, which is also no surprise.
    • Callidus assassins, due to their shapeshifting abilities, are used in some fanart to torment Farseer Macha in a number of different ways.
  • Memetic Mutation: Has its own page.
  • Memetic Psychopath: Khârn is an inversion, he is an Ax-Crazy lunatic that will attack anybody in canon, which is likely where the memes about him being a great guy came from.
  • Memetic Troll:
    • Eldrad Ulthuan is one of if not the most powerful Eldar Farseers in the game. Fanon has him exploit his ability to flawlessly predict the future to... play stupid pranks on people, hence the phrase "What a dick".
    • Asdrubael Vect and Creed get similar reputations, and the Chaos god Tzeentch is a god of false hope and betrayal.
    • The Necron thief/collector Trazyn the Infinite has earned the Fan Nickname "Trollzyn", in no small part due to the "thank you" letter from him to an Inquisitor that appears on his character sheet.
  • Misblamed: Matt Ward has gotten so much hate it reached Memetic Mutation levels, with Ward being blamed on forums for codices or stories (or natural disasters) he's not responsible for. While Ward is credited as the 5th edition codex writer, the writing team has admitted they collaborate to a degree on codexes, and several of the most infamous bits of Ward's lore (particularly the Khornate Knights incident) are due to him implementing 2nd edition-era background material rather than them being entirely his own invention. Ward was also blamed for some of the model designs (especially the baby-carrier Dreadknight) when all he did was write rules for something a completely different team made.
    • Tom Kirby, then CEO of Games Workshop, was pretty much blamed for everything from the poorly balanced rules, to the price hikes, to Matt Ward himself. Not at all helped by the fact that he's quoted to have said that he didn't care about the competitive aspects of the game, which many took as him meaning that he will destroy the game balance so long as it helps fuel the sale of models. Basically, take any criticism of GW and his name would essentially be interchangeable despite the fact that he does have to answer to shareholders.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • In the eyes of the Emperor, Horus crossed it when he flayed a loyal Adeptus Custodes alive with a look (being the Emperor's personal bodyguards and created with individualism rather than mass-production in mind, they are likely among the most powerful of the Space Marines in general) for trying to protect the Emperor during the Siege of Terra. This made the Emperor realize that Horus was beyond saving. In early fluff, the person Horus killed was a random Imperial guardsman named Ollanius Pius that stood up to him but had no chance of hurting him, which is even worse.
    • In Logan Grimnar's eyes, the Inquisition crossed it when they sent the regular Imperial Guardsmen who had fought for Armageddon to forced labor camps just for having seen Chaos. After that, Inquisitors have tried to keep their distance from the Space Wolves, mostly because they're worried the Wolves will kill them on sight.
    • Inquisitor Emil Darkhammer's Exterminatus of Hive World Cavlock under the pretext of stopping a daemonic incursion (that was being brought handily under control by ground forces), to both destroy the Dimensional Forge (an Eldar artifact that could create lightyear-spanning Null Zones daemons can't enter) and kill his rival Helynna Valeria in one fell swoop. This blatant abuse of Inquisitorial authority, which wiped out countless Space Marines and Hive City civilians alike was treated as this In-Universe as well, as Darkhammer was declared Excommunicate Traitoris and now he's hunted by the Imperium.
  • More Popular Spin-Off: Of Warhammer.
  • Movement Mascot:
    • Supporters of Donald Trump sometimes depict him as the God-Emperor of Mankind, which IIRC started from a satirical parade float.
    • Alt-Right leaders worldwide follow this tendency and also became Memetic Mutation based on Trump's version. One of the most known versions is in Chile, where Alt-Right politician Jose Antonio Kast (also known by oppositors as KKKast and directly called as "nazi") has his own version of this meme as the "God-Emperor Kast".
  • My Real Daddy:
    • Graham McNeill for some fans of the Ultramarines, who portrays the Ultramarines as competent yet not perfect, and actually tried to tone down some of the more overt traits that Matt Ward put in.note  Others find that McNeill's Ultramarines veer too far into Lawful Stupid territory and hold Relic and THQ, of all people, as the ones who have most recently written the Ultramarines best, thanks to their bang-up job on the video game Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (their portrayal in Dawn of War was also praised).
    • Writer Dan Abnett is this to practically any facet of lore he writes, such is his popularity. As far as many players are concerned, however, he is and always will be that guy who gave the Imperial Guard a fleshing out in Gaunt's Ghosts. The codices turned the army from incompetent joke to unstoppable gods of armoured warfare on the actual tabletop, but it was Abnett who brought about this transformation in the fluff.
    • On the note of writers, Sandy Mitchell, known for the Ciaphas Cain novels, is this for the setting as a whole: while other writers present the universe as an absurdly grim and utterly irredeemable hellhole, Mitchell adds familiar domestic touches such as cups of tea and rugby telecasts, turning the Imperium into a corruption and incompetence-riddled but basically functional real-life state like the US or UK, with a lot of Gothic Punk technology for flavour. Mitchell's approach is viewed fondly by many fans.
  • Narm:
    • 1d4chan on Rogue Trader: "Warning: Contains dangerous amounts of 80's."
    • The Dark Eldar were stuck using 3rd Edition models for twelve years, until they got an update (and some new miniatures) in 2010. The old models didn't age well, to say the least.
      • Speaking of, the game's 3rd Edition. With a tone that grimdark and pessimistic, it definitely wanted to be taken seriously, but the tone was taken so far that for many people it wrapped right round to being unintentionally hilarious.
    • A lot of models that haven't seen a recent update, especially the ones with swords. Just try looking at Abaddon's sword and not think of a chewable vitamin tablet. Though there are some subversions too; such as a kinda popular Cool Old Guy Ork Runtherd miniature, since the guy has a beard and a peg leg.
    • Some of the recent trademark-friendly unit and faction names have been ridiculed for their increasing cartoonishness and (ab)use of the Noun Verber formula. The new Death Guard units added by the 8th edition Dark Imperium starter set are considered a particularly bad case, to the point where some are concerned that Games Workshop may be turning into a Giver of Lame Names.
  • Narm Charm: You might note the attitude of this page is that the writers are trying too hard, but we love it for that.
  • Nausea Fuel: Nurgle and everything and everyone associated with him.
  • Nightmare Fuel: It's a pretty massive understatement to say that this franchise has its share.
  • Older Than They Think: The Orks were speaking like that well before the lolcat phenomenon, thank you very much.
  • Recurring Fanon Character: There are several popular characters created on the /tg board:
    • Cultist-chan is a character created by gender-flipping a Dawn of War Chaos Cultist into a Moe girl, keeping the weird voice but otherwise making her adorable.
    • The Angry Marines are an entire semi-parodic Chapter of Imperium of Man Space Marines themed on Unstoppable Rage (their motto is "ALWAYS ANGRY, ALL THE TIME"), who even had fanrules made for the tabletop game.
    • Several characters birthed from the /tg boards were later immortalized via a single reference in canon books, such as Adept Grendel, a non-combat character from a group of fans' Dark Heresy game who nevertheless managed to pull off some ridiculously lucky rolls to slay several giant monsters, LIIVII, a Vindicare sniper from a fanfic who fell in love with an Eldar, and Commissar Sterne, a commissar who uses Car Fu against all enemies regardless of how appropriate the vehicle is to ramming.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Gameplay-wise, Aun Va. Prior to their 6th Edition Codex, the Space Pope was useless at best and a giant standing liability to your entire army at worst, due to the then-horrible consequences of letting an Etherial die, coupled with his questionable usefulness, extreme vulnerability, and high points cost. Come 6th edition, he's become much tougher, much cheaper, and able to hand outs two powerful buffs at once to multiple parts of the army, making him, in one fell swoop, the most powerful supporting special character in the codex.
    • Roboute Guilliman was previously hated due to being seen as a dull self-insert character by Matt Ward to help represent his favorite Space Marines chapter. However, the recent lore changes come 8th edition and his re-awakening on behalf of the Ynnari so as to "fix" the Imperium has made popular opinion give a complete 180 for him. Thanks mostly to both Dan Abnett and Guy Haley's excellent writing, Guilliman has been greatly humanized, with one of his Establishing Character Moments being him giving a blistering "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the present-day Imperium. Furthermore, Guilliman's generally portrayed as a once-idealistic and intensely flawed man struggling to make the best of the worst situation possible given to him.
  • Ron the Death Eater: The Craftworld Eldar and Tau get this from fans of the Imperium sometimes. Both alien races are forces for good... in a way, but the way some fanon depictions of them go, you'd think they were even worse than the other horrors of the galaxy, like the Omnicidal Maniac Necrons, the Tyranid Horde of Alien Locusts and the Ax-Crazy Orks.
  • Sacred Cow: It is not recommended you say you're not even interested in 40K, especially if you don't like it.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Kill points are generally hated by the fan base for being poorly balanced. Guard players hate the rule with an unparalleled vengeance because it made 1/3 of the game's missions unwinnable until the Guard players got a new codex.
    • The 4th edition skimmer rules received lots of hate because of the way Eldar and Tau players abused them (Dark Eldar not so much due to tissue paper armor and the fact that only seventeen people played them). Both armies could fire through them during their shooting phase and then use them for cover during their opponent's turn — their skimmers were assumed to simply elevate to allow it and descend afterward. Realistic, but BROKEN. The Tau version got the nickname "Fish of Fury". The "Fish of Fury" was considered by the 40K community at large to be so broken, that quite a few Tau players thought it was a cheap tactic. Think about that for a second.
    • The 2nd edition Tyranid 'strategy card' table would often screw over half the opposing army before the battle had even started.
    • 4th edition consolidation rules were hated by shooting armies due to the chain reaction of doom that would always happen.
    • The 5th edition wound allocation rules are hated for being slow, counter-intuitive, and abuse-prone. More so for units with varied war gear and multi wounds such as Nob Bikers and Seer Council. The former is Unwinnable for Tau players.
    • In 6th edition, more and more mechanics are now randomized, rather than chosen as part of your army list (psychic powers, warlord traits) or decided upon by the players beforehand (terrain effects, whether the battle takes place at night, game length). This is magnified for the two Chaos armies (Chaos Space Marines and Chaos Daemons). Chaos Space Marine characters had a chance to disappear because they either got turned into a spawn, or turned into a daemon prince and you had no model on hand (yes, this is actually a rule). And this is triggered by them winning challenges. Daemons got hit even harder, as on top of having a Warp Storm table that could take out a quarter of their army just because the dice gods weren't happy, you now can barely choose any equipment for them; all daemonic gifts are purchased as randomized rolls similar to the Psychic Table, so you can't even account for them (except for weapons, which are the only things you can switch out gifts for).
    • 7th Edition is basically a list of things that annoy the fandom to no end. Unbound, Formations and special Detachment means that most people are confused about how to actually build an army, not to mention the inherent unbalance issues with it all and how rules from one "detachment" affects a unit in another one when they're combined. Super-heavy and Gargantuan creatures, as well as their signature D-Strength weapons, are now so common place that they can be spammed with impunity. And Decurion Detachments quickly pushing the game limit above most people's comfort zones (and budget).
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny:
    • Ultramarines are generic or the view the Space Marine codex devolved into an Ultramarines Codex. The issue is fluff-wise, as Roboute Guilliman, the Primarch of the Ultramarines, wrote the Codex Astartes, which is the guide used by Space Marines to dictate the tactics, equipment, and strategy used in battle. Any other chapter using those rules is generic, but even if Ultramarines had a unique codex, it would look exactly like the generic Space Marine codex. The non-generic chapters are defined by how they differ from the Ultramarines. The first 2nd Edition Space Marine codex was Codex: Ultramarines, which makes the entire situation even funnier.
    • Most newcomers are puzzled as to why the Space Marine bolt gun is described as a self-propelled rocket launcher and the Eldar's armor being described as strong but lightweight, despite the former being barely usable outside of very situational moments facing hordes and the latter being no different than the tissue paper armor that Orks and Guardsmen wear. This is because the system was originally based off of the Warhammer Fantasy system, where the basic humans (the Imperial Guard) are considered the baseline, and their equipment were seen as top of the line. Space Marines, meanwhile, were suppose to be superhuman elite soldiers, as the majority of Fantasy models with similar stats would never be basic troopers. However with the popularity of Space Marines, they instead became the baseline to which everything else is measured by. If you consider the average Guardsman to be the "standard" profile for everything, rather than the profile of the weakest spammable troop in the game, suddenly every bit of the lore makes sense.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Some people see 40k as "Nemesis the Warlock: The Tabletop Game''". It also helps that writers from the comic have also worked on the tabletop game.
  • Squick: The Dark Eldar live on it, Nurgle and Slaanesh are made of it, and yet they were all somehow outdone by the Tyranids. The space bugs have a creature called the Dominatrix. Leave it to the Games Workshop people to come up with such a gross definition for that word.
  • "Stop Having Fun" Guys:
    • The reaction to 6th Edition really illustrates this within portions of the fan base. The wailing and gnashing of teeth about the introduction of random terrain effects and mission objectives with strange effects is an almost textbook example. There's also been a ton of complaints about randomized psychic powers, but the rage against that part is actually grounded: psykers are often commander units who should know damn well what powers they use going into battle, and many powers are a pretty integral part of your strategy.
    • This happened again with 7th edition, due to the concept of "unbound" lists. Unbound means that you discard the force organization and basically take what you want, with almost no restriction (although several people will quickly point out several). The only drawback to this was that your army do not have access to any command benefits while other forces who do adhere to these restrictions (called Battle-Forged) gain free rules which could tip the game in their favor. It was literally hours within release that people started making spam lists, most infamously the "All Riptide" list. In addition, in the last edition if you wanted to take any sort of super-heavy vehicle or a gargantuan creature, you usually had to take a proper army (however small) before you could do so. With Unbound, you can literally field nothing but super-heavy vehicles from any army and their usual overpowered rules are worth losing the command bonuses that Battle-Forged armies have. Naturally, several people complained that the balance was thoroughly thrown out the window and several gaming spots and tournaments started a ban on Unbound Armies, which means people who genuinely use it to make fluffy armies are left out in the cold.
      • Unbound hate fell by the wayside for the most part when Formations became more established as a mechanic. Many of the formations are so ludicrously broken when used as intended (Necron Decurians that make all units nigh-unkillable, Space Marine lists that come with lots of free tanks, Mechanicus lists that make all upgrades free) that unbound armies are frankly underpowered in comparison.
    • Any place that has a discussion of the rules. If you dare challenge anyone's interpretation of Rules As Written (RAW) then be prepared to be verbally assaulted by a one-man crusade against the english language. If you try to bring up Rules As Intended (RAI) then be prepared to be laughed out of the room.
  • Tear Jerker: Here is the dedicated Tear Jerker page for Warhammer 40000. For a series that is so insane, its casual treatment of unbelievable courage in the face of impossible odds makes it a favorite for those who don't mind shedding Manly Tears. Indeed, there's a reason why the novels focusing on the Imperial Guard in particular are so successful, as they slap a human face on the setting and more often than not a touch of optimism and faith in the human spirit. It's the insanity of the setting that makes this so effective. This is summed up best by Dan Abnett:
    In the grim darkness of the future, there is more than war. There are real people too.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Practically a warcry for the hardcore 40k fandom. The fans love to bitch about the game almost as much, if not more so, than they like to play the game itself.
    • Was true, however, in regard to the awful third design of Citadel paint pots (the screw-top), which would universally either seal itself with spilled paint or fail to seal properly due to spilled paint after a handful of uses. Had a happy ending, though, since eventually GW realised people were buying paint from other companies and went back to the flip-top design.
    • Ollanius Pius may be one of the most flagrant examples in canon. Originally, he was the very incarnation of the Badass Normal concept, an Imperial Guardsman armed with nothing more than a lasgun, flak armour, his faith in the Emperor, and balls the size of battle tanks, who took on Horus on the latter's own flagship AFTER he had just taken down the Emperor, the most powerful being known to just about every human in existence. Pius knew it was a doomed Last Stand (and sure enough, he was killed in the time it took Horus to look at him) but pressed on anyways. His sacrifice was poignant enough to move the critically wounded Emperor to action and was widely regarded as a contender for the setting's greatest Moment of Awesome. Then new lore came out and replaced him with a terminator from the Imperial Fists, then a member of the Legio Custodes. Then they brought Pius back, but made him a 30,000 year old with Resurrective Immortality. This change brought a broken base about it.
    • Necron Pariahs were some of the most powerful troops and their presence added to the Cosmic Horror Story of the Necrons. Not only were they removed from the game altogether in the ever-divisive 5th Edition codex, but the the inception of the Pariah gene within humanity that led to their creation by the C'tan was dissociated from the faction altogether. Necron fans... didn't take this well.
    • 8th edition had many players screaming that GW destroyed the game. Getting rid of many rules and mechanics to simplify it, at the cost of all its depth. Changes included characters no longer joining units, initiative in close combat no longer being a thing. Doing away with vehicle facing and armor value, and the psychic phase being revamped with most of different powers gone.
    • 9th Edition has already caused uproar among people who play gunline armies for reworking Overwatch so now it is a 1CP strategem and is nerfed to fit in line with the reworked cover and terrain rules. Other players have pointed out that it might mean castle lists finally no longer rule the roost and fast assault and mechanised infantry-style lists will make a resurgence, allowing for less plodding, more tactical games.
  • This Is Your Premise on Drugs: Warhammer 40,000 is your Standard Sci Fi Setting injected with a cocktail of every drug known to man and genuine lunar dust, stuck in a blender with Alien, Mechwarrior, Starship Troopers, Star Wars, and teeny, tiny sprinkles of Judge Dredd and 2000AD, embellished with spikes and prayer scrolls, bathed in blood and turned up to Eleventy Zillion (and then set on fire). Twice. With 8ft chainsaws.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • The Imperial Guard go through a cycle of this every five years or so. They go from being hated for being horribly weak in the most popular game modes, to being hated for having some of the strongest vehicle army lists.
    • Daemons through most of 5th edition, especially since they have an (now extremely powerful) army designed to curb stomp them, and were long-overdue for an update.
    • The Sisters of Battle's magazine-exclusive codex was universally panned. Written by Robin Cruddace (who also wrote the overpowered Imperial Guard codex and the underpowered Tyranid codex), it has a number of major problems; the most major is each unit has a power of faith that can be activated by spending a faith point, of which they get a rather small pool— and the pool is always the same, small size, be the size of their army twenty women or two hundred. And since the codex was squeezed into two issues of a magazine rather than getting to fill its own book, the Sisters didn't get nearly as many new units as they really needed, most notably in their limited options for taking vehicles.
    • Grey Knights are a high-tier example of this. Go to the Game Breaker page for Warhammer 40,000 and notice how many examples in there are Grey Knights. Or if you just want some brief examples now:
      • Brotherhood Champions can insta-kill anything if they die too.
      • "Psyriflemen", Dreadnoughts with 2 Twin-linked autocannons with psybolt ammunition. The best long-range low-mid armour buster in the game. They can outshoot the Tau, a faction based entirely around ranged firepower.
      • Plasma Siphons. Render all plasma weapons, the best weapons for taking out armoured foes, useless. Grey Knights have Powered Armor as standard. Do the math. Also worth noting that the previously-mentioned Tau have plasma weapons as standard, making games against Grey Knights completely unwinnable.
      • Grey Knights can field up to six Flying units in a 2,000 point game. Flyers can't be assaulted, making it unwinnable against melee armies like Orks and Chaos, and they can only be targeted by units with the Skyfire rule. That gives you two options: 1) play as Imperial Guard and use a list that is only really good that countering GK flyers, 2) hope to The Emperor that your limited flyers can somehow take out their stronger and more numerous flyers, or 3) somehow wipe out all GK ground forces before Turn 2, which is easier said than done.
    • In terms of individual characters, Aun Va was a big one pre-6th edition. Check out the Rescued from the Scrappy Heap entry above for details.
    • The Space Wolves were considered one for a while, due to basically being Space Marines but cheaper and better, as well as having one of the most insanely powerful psychic powers of its day in Jaws of the World Wolf.
    • The Tau have seen time as both high tier and low tier versions of this. The high tier version was largely due to the notorious "Devilfish Bunker" tactic, one of the worst Game-Breaker Loophole Abuse tactics to ever hit the game, which dominated 40k tournaments the world over until the rules were changed. Some Tau players were so eager to distance themselves from a tactic they saw as borderline cheating, they completely removed Devilfish transports from their army list (in an army that really needed them) and slogged their units across the battlefield on foot.
    • On an individual unit note, Chaos Spawn were long considered the worst units in the game due to their terrible armour and random movement. They have since been improved. Tyranid Pyrovores seem to have taken their place in the "worst unit in the game" contention.
    • The Tau Ethereal was also a unit noted for its uselessness. It was not a particularly useful model at the best of time and if the opponent killed it, it inflicted an army-wide debuff that could cause your battleline to crumble. The Ethereal was noted for being one of the only units in 40k that didn't just settle for being useless and actually made the rest of your army measurably worse by its inclusion.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: People expectedly tend to not like the morale officer who also is supposed to shoots them through the head for expressing too much of a sense of self-preservation in a dire situation, but the Commissar is about as sure to appear in fan discussions and works of the Imperial Guard as the mere Guardsmen themselves for being (stylish) walking, talking examples of the Imperium's repressive inhumanity...and probably the *BLAM!* meme.
    • Kharn is the most popular Chaos Space Marine among fans. In-universe, he's easily the most hated since he turns on everyone he gets near...viscerally.
    • The Flesh Tearers are one of the most infamous Space Marine chapters In-universe. Thanks to being a bunch of Ax-Crazy warriors (even if they aren't under the influence of the Black Rage) that are reported to even attack allies and even civilians, which has made them be viewed with scrutiny among the more noble chapters (Like The Salamanders) and A source of investigation from The Inqusition. Out-universe, they are one of the more well known successor chapters (arguably second only to the Black Templars) and get more coverage than one might think.
  • Unexpected Character: Not many people expected the Crimson Slaughter, a relatively-minor warband that debuted in the 6th Edition Chaos codex, to be featured in that edition's starter set, or to have a supplement devoted to them before one of the Traitor Legions.
  • Values Dissonance: The sheer darkness of the setting is subject to a lot of this. Many audiences, particularly Americans, are turned off by it and question why someone would find something so bleak appealing, or why it would be marketed to children (see below). In its native Britain, however, the culture of humor is a lot more cynical, and people view the ultimate Crapsack World that is the 41st Millennium as Played for Laughs in how absurdly over the top it is. Furthermore, a lot of the setting is satirizing British culture of the 1980s that would only make sense to British fans; when stripped of the initial context, it just looks like dystopia for its own sake.
  • Wangst: Only in a world like this could such a trope be a good thing. The Eldar Path of Grief exists because if an Eldar lets their emotional guard down and allows theirself to really take stock of everything their people have lost since the Fall without restraint, the loss is so deep and their emotions are so extreme that they would probably not be able to come back from it; adherents of the Path of Grief thus spend their days weeping, wailing and generally mourning their countless losses on behalf of the rest of the Craftworld, allowing their fellows to remain Stoic Woobies and continue to fight on.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids? / What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Given the subject matter you wouldn't think this would be a problem, but in the UK, Games Workshop stores are usually deliberately set up to appeal to 12 year olds who compose the target demographic. In the US it's considered a very adult setting. Most of Europe has it more in the middle; kids make up a good percentage of the customers and are welcome to learn the hobby, but just as many adults of all ages enjoy the game and adult-only evening events are typical in many locations.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: The Craftworld Eldar and the Tau, on account of the less overtly masculine aesthetic behind the two armies and the general Butt-Monkey treatment they're given in the fluff. It should tell you something that the big four armies in terms of sales are the Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, Imperial Guard and Orks: in other words, armies where everyone is ripped and "charge in shouting at the top of your lungs and brandishing a massive chainsaw" is a key tactic (or with Chaos and Orks, the only tactic; the Imperial Guard go in another direction, think the manliness of World War II but with the nihilism dialled Up to Eleven). The Dark Eldar usually avoid this treatment because Evil Is Cool.
  • The Woobie:
    • Eldar Guardians. Eldar civilians sent into battle with weak (for 40k standards) armor and a short-ranged shuriken catapult; they are used as cannon fodder and heavy weapons support in comparison to the elite Aspect Warriors.
    • For similar reasons, the average Guardsman and Tau Fire Warrior (though at least the Fire Warriors usually want to be there).
    • Corvus Corax, the Primarch of the Raven Guard.
    • The Emperor, big time. Though he did some seriously morally questionable things when he was alive, having to murder many of his 'children', including his most beloved son, really got to him. After he was put on the Golden Throne, he further embodies this aspect: he has no control of his body, is forced to listen to the atrocities that his own people are committing, and can only watch as the world he tried to save collapses upon itself. It's even been said that before all of this, his previous lives were a testament to suffering. Now it's only gotten worse.
    • The Tau Empire as a whole. Accusations of being an Empire with a Dark Secret notwithstanding, they really want to build a better tomorrow for all species in the galaxy through the philosophy of the Greater Good and believe that as much of a dump as the universe is, they still have a fighting chance. Sadly for them, their diplomatic approaches are often treated with hostility and suspicion by the Imperium, several older races call them "naive children" and generally very few people give them the time of day. Worse yet, while some accept their offers of diplomacy, those people and the Tau make a convenient excuse to launch a reclamation campaign by the Imperial Guard, or an Exerminatus if they prove too stubborn. In a universe not dedicated to eternal warfare, they might already have an empire spanning the entire galaxy, ruled in a fair and meritocratic manner — but in this one, they're seem to be destined to forever be the joke among the other factions.
    • Isha. Not only did she have to see most of the Aeldari Pantheon get killed by Slaanesh, she is being held captive in the Garden of Nurgle, where she serves as a guinea pig for Nurgle's plagues, knowing that if he is satisfied with the results, he will use them to infect mortals.
    • On a meta level, the Sisters of Battle. One of Games Workshop's coolest and most unique creations, but with only a digital codex to keep them going, their miniature stock being slowly run down to nothing, and fewer and fewer references in the fluff or Black Library novels, plus being basically the only women you'll see on a 40k tabletop, you'd be hard pressed to find a 40k player who doesn't feel at least a little sorry for them. It doesn't help that Matt Ward treated them as little more than Chaos-resistant bloodbags for his preferred factions to drench themselves in.
  • Woolseyism:
    • The French translation of the ork tellyporta is "téla-tépula", which means "you iz here-you izn't here no more". An Orkier description of a teleporter you will not find.
    • Enginseers become technaugures (techno + augury).
    • The Spanish translation of the Painboy is "Matazanoz", which literally translates more or less as "Healthykiller", and is a pejorative term for bad doctors whose treatments are harmful or even dangerous to their patients.
    • The Spanish translation for the Ork Warboss is 'Kaudillo' note . Those people who know their 20th-century Spanish history will remember a certain dictator who had the same title.
    • The German Skitarii codex translates the expression "to be found wanting" as "für zu leicht befunden werden", which literally means "to be considered too light(weight)". This makes perfect sense, seeing as the Cult Mechanicus thinks that flesh is weak and more metal body parts will make you better and thus heavier.

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