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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 faction that doesn't have many defenders arguing that they're the real "heroes" of the setting are the Dark Eldar. 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.
    • 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?
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    • 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?
    • 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?
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    • Are the Tyranids advancing on the galaxy, or running away from an even worse extra-galactic threat?
      • Given the sheer, galactic scope of the setting, a case could be made for all of these being true, at least for some members of a given race.
    • 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).
  • 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.
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    • Infamously the "Forge the Narrative" has become almost a mantra for GW when it comes to anything they write. This includes using it as an excuse for poorly written rules and not clarifying discrepancies (instead telling the players themselves to work out an interpretation). The fandom has not taken this well.
    • "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.
  • Badass Decay:
    • The Emperor understandably 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 a 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.
    • The Tyranids' 6th Edition codex has removed a good number of their deployment options and a good number of their most powerful units, including the Doom of Malan'tai (although to be fair, Malan'tai in a spore pod was fairly cheesy). They've been significantly nerfed, and were a low tier army before the update, knocking them down to bottom tier along with the Sisters of Battle. So much for the "Great Devourer". With that in mind, know that Robin Cruddace, who wrote the 5th and 6th edition codices for the Tyranids, is a massive Imperial Guard fan and went so far as to add a battle report stating that the Tyranids were beaten by a Tau cadre who tricked them down disadvantageous evolutionary paths. In their own codex. Information provided without comment.
    • 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 it's model did not age well; most of it's contemporary monsters have doubled or (in the case of Greater Daemons) tripled in size making the Avatar look hilariously tiny by comparison.
    • Averted with Dark Imperium. since they are moving things forwards again. Abaddon took a level in badass, the people who lose end up losing WELL, and all in all...things are happening again.
  • 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 crazy awesome and should be brought back.
    • The Ultramarines, the Grey Knights, and the Tau due to their alleged overly perfect status 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 Space Wolves are interesting in that even fans of the chapter have a Broken Base; which portrayal of the chapter is best? Some prefer the honorable bro-marines, some the grim berserkers of the 31st Millennium, some choose a depiction in between.
      • Even Space Wolf models are developing a Broken Base, as many people are wondering if the wolfy wolf wolves on everything (like this; a rocket sled pulled by giant wolves) is awesome or just ridiculous.
    • 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, and the fact that to some it drives the setting a bit too close to Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy for their tastes, 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 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 point, but more 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 that many 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 guardsmen 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). Other fans are just waiting to see what will happen.
    • 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 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.
    • You know what? Every single decision anyone makes, and every new setting detail, pretty much splits the fanbase in two. The 40K fanbase can't agree about ANYTHING.
    • Metal vs plastic miniatures (although that could apply to wargaming in general). Except Finecast. Which everyone hates.
    • "Magnus did nothing wrong."
    • The mere suggestion that 40K may follow its Fantasy counterpart's lead and introduce Female Space Marines will send fans charging into one of two camps: one camp says it's a cool way to shake up the metaplot and maybe bring in more players, and the other says it desecrates the established lore of the Marines and should never be considered. 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 FAQ and absolute refusal to put a line of communication about rules for fans, several places would erupt into flame wars about how a rule was suppose 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 faster FAQ, 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 incompatable with parts from earlier space marine ranges (which is a lot) 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.
  • 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 to simply outright reject fighting Eldar armies. 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, 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 it's supposed roots of the core being Fire Warriors supported but not overshadowed by battlesuits.
    • Lots. The largest case is with armies; players will typically go for whatever army is updated the most recently since as an edition goes on, the creators start to figure out what makes an army effective under the current rules, so more recently updated armies tend to be better than the ones released earlier. Also, the cost of models means that Space Marines get this trope a lot because they're (relatively speaking) the least expensive to play. Games Workshop has noticed this and focused very heavily on releasing more and more Space Marine armies.
    • 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 them against him. 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.
  • Complete Monster: Warhammer 40,000 is a dark and brutal place to live. No side is truly in the right, with most not even remotely in the "good" territory of the Well-Intentioned Extremist. That said, a select few manage to stand out:
    • Ezekyle Abaddon, known as the Despoiler, is the heir of the fallen Primarch Horus. Abaddon is consumed with hatred for all that lives, even his former master, and seeks nothing less than the extermination of all he can manage while uniting humanity under the dark banners of Chaos. As the only man with the support of all the Gods of Chaos, Abaddon has united the forces of Chaos under his banner no fewer than thirteen times in the Black Crusades. During these ventures, each of which has killed millions if not billions, Abaddon storms the galaxy itself, burning and destroying all he can until the forces of the Imperium inevitably defeat him. Abaddon hardly minds as he is able to destroy and kill in great number, something he loves more than anything else. In the 13th Black Crusade alone, Abaddon launches a successful assault on Cadia, finally exterminating the planet and carving a bloody swath through space in his quest to Holy Terra, killing trillions in order to overthrow the Emperor. Willing to send countless numbers of his own to their doom—if not killing them himself—and living only to destroy everything he can to the point he rejects Daemonhood to continue the slaughter on the material plane, Abaddon is the champion of Chaos and is one of the most evil and brutal beings in all of the dark world of Warhammer 40,000.
    • Erebus, First Chaplain of the Word Bearers, was the first ever Chaos Space Marine. After his fall, Erebus set up the slaughter of the Interex civilization to prevent them from warning the Imperium about Chaos and arranged for the corruption of Lorgar and Horus Lupercal, setting up the Horus Heresy that would turn the galaxy and Imperium into hellholes and cost countless lives. Erebus helped to arrange the Istvan V Drop Site massacre where he had countless Marines loyal to the Emperor slaughtered and purged an entire planetary system of life to empower daemons with the intention of corrupting the Blood Raven chapter. In the present, Erebus continues to serve Lorgar, and was involved in the 13th Black Crusade where he sacrificed millions to summon Daemons to assist the aforementioned Abaddon's forces. Responsible more than almost anyone else for the horrific state of the galaxy, Erebus repeatedly shows why he is one of the most vile servants of Chaos around.
    • Even among the Traitor Legions of Chaos, Fabius Bile, the self-styled "Primogenitor", is an unspeakably vile force feared and hated across the galaxy to those who know his name and actions. A Mad Scientist extraordinaire longing to exceed the scientific accomplishments of the Emperor, Bile refuses to pledge himself to any one Chaos God and instead sells his services to whomever can take him, stringing behind him a legacy of depraved experiments, genocides, and horrors with entire sectors of lives reduced longing for death from what Bile has brought upon them. Among Bile's many atrocities are forcing those he has flayed to carry a cloak made of the skin of dozens behind him, earning him the epitaph Manflayer; forcing the population of Dimmamar to take in his own mutative serums or suffocate by changing the composition of the very air they breathed; squashing down over a million prisoners into amplifying drugs for his followers, whom he also treats as test fodder; engaging in degenerate experiments with clones, earning him fear and respect from the world of Palamar V; and his proudest accomplishment, the "New Men", with the populations of entire worlds transformed into powerful but blindly murderous specimens of his own image. In the Chaos-ravaged world of Warhammer 40K, Fabius Bile, reviled by even the Traitor Legions he is ostensibly a part of, is a man who has dedicated his life to immortality through infamy by means of the destruction and perversion of billions of lives in his never-ending quest to permanently etch the foul memory of his name on the universe.
    • Asdrubael Vect, Archon of the Black Heart Kabal and Supreme Overlord of Commorragh, is one of the eldest beings in the galaxy and one of the most unspeakably vile. The lord of the Dark Eldar who keeps the horrific culture of torture and depravity going, Vect masterminds the slaughter and torture of countless innocents on a constant basis while also engaging in mentally tormenting a luckless slave, even revealing a drink they were sharing will give him agonizing stomach cramps for days. What sets Vect apart is his willingness to cross even the few lines other Dark Eldar have, having captured an Imperial Salamander to lure the Imperium to Comorragh and allow them to kill off his own people just to eliminate his rivals. Being a master torturer who feeds off the agony of others, Vect once faked his own death to allow the Dark Eldar to lapse into a terrible civil war, and once the battle lines had been drawn, Vect dropped a sun on the rebels, wiping them out along with all the innocents and civilians in that section of the city, damning all their souls to be devoured by Slaanesh. Unspeakably devious, hiding behind a mask of civility and refinement, Vect is almost unmatched in cruelty and evil even in this grim dark future.
  • 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 40000 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.
    • The popular fan-pairing of a nameless Vindicare and an Eldar Farseer from Dawn of War. 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.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • 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". (Although please keep in mind the whole "stealing relics from other chapters" is entirely Fanon.)
    • 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.
  • 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. 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.
    • The Red Scorpions chapter gets a lot of attention from the Forge World team. In terms of both model kits and rules.
    • Kaldor Draigo, some Grey Knight lost and trapped in the Warp who somehow managed to just eternally battle daemons, 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 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.
  • 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 makes them very popular with players who enjoy building stuff on their own, 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. 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.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Almost all of the story beyond the actual tabletop sessions (since you model and customize your personal army, letting you make them exactly as dark or noble as you like) and the codex books (which are highlights of victories and propaganda). There are so many Shoot the Shaggy Dog stories, and unequivocal victories for any given side are happening at the same time as a dozen crushing defeats. The grim morality of the setting and GW's overeager attempts to reinforce it are no help whatsoever.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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".
    • 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.
    • 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 noblest group in the series, but still believe Violence Is the Only Option and embrace Fantastic Racism. 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. For every planetary defense action, the Imperial Guard are also used on one hundred or more xenocidal crusades or repressive campaigns to keep worlds from seceding. The Inquisition doesn't even bother trying to hide its own nature.
  • 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 have arguably good reason, 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. 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.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The Adeptus Mechanicus, to a certain degree among the fanbase. Probably helped by their recently released codexes.
    • The Imperial Fists (and related Space Marines chapters) qualify. They have a much larger fanbase than the limited amount of fluff and overly generic nature should indicate. If they win, it is usually as part of a battle force consisting of multiple Space Marine chapters. If they are by themselves, they tend to lose more often that not. The defining characteristics are an increased emphasis on will power, pain being educational, and discipline. These are all defining characteristics of every single Space Marine anyways. They aren't one of the "never had anyone fall to Chaos" chapters, so they clearly do not have a will-power advantage in actual practice. Space Marines are already some of the most highly disciplined troops in the setting. Pain being educational is kind of meh when you consider most Space Marine candidates die during training. They don't lose enough to be The Woobie, they don't win enough to be Badass, and they are defined by being uniquely more generic than most Space Marine chapters. On the other hand they are excellent fighters of siege warfare, they were the only legion who were allowed to recruit from Terra, and they were one of the most important legions to the defense of Terra from Horus. Despite being Out of Focus they are the second most important chapter in the entire Imperium.
    • Thanks to some positive portrayals in various novels, and buffs to make them more viable on tabletop, the Imperial Guard have lately been enjoying extreme popularity. We can't imagine why.
    • Amongst the Imperial Guard, the Commissars, despite them in the game just being a unit that gives a small buff to statline and leadership, has a huge following to the point where it's almost mandatory for Imperial Guard novels to include at least one.
    • Khârn the Betrayer is the most popular named Chaos Space Marine character due to his unfailing ability to kill everything around him, his role as the protagonist of the excellent short story The Wrath of Khârn, and his starring in a series of comedic fanfics on 4chan that portray him as a pretty nice guy despite the Ax-Crazy. Thanks to his popularity, Khârn is set to have a book detailing one of his adventures.
    • For the first time ever since Matt Ward's relentless shilling reduced them to Scrappy status, some Ultramarine characters are this. Specifically, these characters are found in the Horus Heresy novels such as the Tetrarchs, whose main quality seems to be comically over-sized shields and badassery. The Sisters of Battle, after basically being written by Ward as mobile blood banks for his favored factions, are also seeing this treatment with the fans.
    • The Iron Warriors, despite not being the most prominent of the Chaos Legions, have a following for being much less Stupid Evil than the rest. The Thousand Sons are very popular amongst the Chaos Legions as well, mostly due to the sheer amount of undeserved shit they got during the Horus Hersey and their Primarch Magnus the Red being amongst the most sympathetic of the traitor Primarchs.
    • 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.
    • The Black Templars due how they prove to be badass even among Space Marines. This popularity elevated them to full codex status during 4th edition and still retained their Chapter Tactics in 6th, an honor usually reserved for only First Founding Chapters (the Black Templars are a second founding of the Imperial Fists).
    • Tzeentch is probably the most popular of the Chaos Gods next to Khorne, despite receiving the least focus.
    • The Space Wolves standing against much of the Imperium's Kick the Dog against its own people helped earn them a sizeable following, prior to their 5th edition Codex where they were turned into a Tier-Induced Scrappy because of how they were in a number of ways a better version of the vanilla marine codex. The Salamanders as well, for similar reasons; although they're relatively small-time compared to the other chapters, they have a very large fandom because they're pretty much the only Space Marines who will go out of their way to help and protect regular people. Shooting civilians is something they... frown upon.
    • 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.
    • Speaking of minor xenos races that 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.
    • Ghazgkull mag Urak Thraka is as much THE defining Ork leader of the setting as his Arch-Enemy Commissar Yarrick is to the Imperial Guard. Even if he wasn't a 12-foot tall, musclebound, iron-claw-wielding cyborg Ork tactician warboss, he would still be incredibly popular with the fanbase for showing the galaxy how terrifyingly destructive a smart Ork can be.
    • The Adepta Sororitas, aka the Sisters of Battle, are extremely popular with some segments of the fanbase, with widely liked fluff and models, but have been completely sidelined by the company, with no physical codex or new models released since 2004, and 1/4th as many units as any other main codex. Their Ensemble Darkhorse status was actually enough to convince Games Workshop to finally start working on new models for them again in 2017, after they were inundated with demands for plastic Sisters in their first community survey.
    • The Salamanders went from a relatively unknown first founding chapters to one of the more popular ones due to recent fluff portraying them as champions of humanity; unlike other space marine chapters they are often found to defend the weak rather than parade their superiority over others. It helps that in 5th edition they received Vulkan He'Stan, who made Salamanders one of the more powerful Space Marine armies.
    • Thanks to the Badab War, Alot of Minor Chapters have recived followings. Such as the Carcharodons, Lamenters, Raptors, and Minotaurs.
    • The Carcharodons as mentioned above, 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 Dark Angels are fairly well-liked thanks to their nobility, aura of secrecy and unique "Repentance Warriors" gimmick. It helps that they're also one of the least ostentantious of all the Astartes and have something of a Memetic Badass reputation as spies and secret-keepers. Similarly, the Legion of the Damned are highly popular for being even more noble, badass, and mysterious than even the Dark Angels.
    • The Tyranids have the Swarmlord. The Swarmlord is an ancient, unique and incredibly powerful Hive Tyrant, made whenever the Hive Mind needs to come up with new tactics. It helps that the managed to take the Ultramarines down a peg, mostly through outwitting Marneus Calgar and beating him in a one-on-one fight.
    • Alessio Cortez, for being a major Badass Lore wise, and having a Cool looking model on the tabletop. Many Non-Crimson fists players have even converted his model for use for their own armies.
      • Perhaps not his official model, as quite a few people actually consider it to be one of Games Workshop's worst sculpts of all time. Pedro Kantor's model, on the other hand, is quite a popular starting point for custom Space Marine Captain conversions.
    • Out of all the unique Imperial Guard regiments, The Death Korps of Krieg are the most popular.
    • 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.
    • Another popular Space Marine chapter is the Lamenters, 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 Ffct they also happen to be one of (if not) the the unluckiest factions in the setting, only adds to their popularity.
    • 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."
    • Another Warband that has received a good amount of attention would be The Purge due to how horrifically successful they manage to be (See the Vaxhallian Genocide).
    • The Men of Iron, the human-made AIs 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 is an Urban Legend of Zelda floating around the internet that says 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.
  • Fanon:
  • 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 40K 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. Of course, the United States having a population five times larger than the United Kingdom (thus equaling a larger potential fanbase) might contribute to this. Another major factor is that in Britain it's generally considered a children's game for rich kids, while in the U.S. it's associated with college students and other adults (i.e. people with their own money).
    • 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 40k 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 40k universe, e.g. Hmkids or Hammer of Faith, also deserves mention.
  • 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.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: Not just swords, chainswords! Not just Space Marines, ten-foot tall genetically-enhanced superhumans in huge Power Armor tearing up hordes of enemies, hard-dropping from orbit like meteorites! Not just a Red Shirt Army, but billions of troops throwing themselves into the maw of death FOR THE EMPEROR! Not just Mordor, but a twisted evil area of space hundreds of light years across! Not just the Inquisition of a repressive religious theocracy, but one that can destroy worlds for the taint of heresy! (And worse, it might be the most practical decision!) You must have thought of a few expletives when you saw the pages, at least.
    • And, in the setting, the Gathering Storm books consist of changing numerous things, including killing major characters, wiping out planets, and more.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mary Suetopia:
    • The Ultramarine domain of Ultramar: a functional, prosperous, stable realm in the otherwise decaying Imperium. It has been gradually subverted, though, as it still isn't a very nice place to live given that it's one of the hardest realms of the Imperium to live in. To further clarify, Ultramar's position in the galaxy means that pretty much every up-and-coming alien warlord, Chaos daemon prince, Tyranid Hive Fleet, or Tau Shas'O wants a go with them at some point.
    • Subverted by the Tau Empire, whose propaganda tries to put out that they are this. People still consider them to be one compared to the general grimdarkness of the setting.
  • 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 Warhammer Universe 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.
  • Misaimed Fandom: You'd have an easier time listing factions which don't have a Misaimed Fandom.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Happens every second, crossed both by less evil and, of course, more evil factions. The only distinction between them is that less evil factions have to commit atrocities just to survive (mostly), while more evil don't care at all.
    • The Tau and Craftworld Eldar are about the only factions who even realize there is one, and the Eldar don't think it applies to anyone else.
    • 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.
  • More Popular Spinoff: Of Warhammer.
  • 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.
  • Never Live It Down: Matt Ward will probably never live down the number of Game-Breaker codexes he wrote. Grey Knights is the infamous one, not least because its Game-Breaker aspects were compounded by the now-notorious accompanying fluff. He's also become truly infamous for the White Dwarf interview in which he stated all Space Marines see the Primarch of the Ultramarines as their spiritual liege. It's to the point that fans speculate the reason Games Workshop no longer credits individual writers for codexes is because any book with his name on it is destined to be savaged by the fans.
  • 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.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Matt Ward seems to be slowly moving into this. His Space Marine codices are generally regarded as terribad, but his Necron codex is more "only" divisive, and the Iyanden supplementary codex he wrote was actually somewhat positively received.
    • 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.
  • Scapegoat Creator:
    • Matt Ward has gotten so much hate for his codices that people blame him for stuff he isn't actually responsible for. Ward-hate has reached Memetic Mutation levels, with Ward being blamed on forums for codices or stories (or natural disasters) he's not responsible for. Though he has gotten less hate recently, he is seemingly being replaced by Robin Cruddace, who was responsible for buffing the Imperial Guard note  into ridiculousness, and nerfing the Tyranids into the ground. Most fans still feel sour to Ward, however, and don't think he should be allowed to write without a co-writer. Ward even got blamed for some of the model designs (especially the baby-carrier Dreadknight), which he had nothing whatsoever to do with other than writing rules for them.
    • Games Workshop itself has started to become this, due to its over-zealous defense of its copyright (to the point it's attempted to copyright the words "Space Marine"), ridiculous price inflation, continuous handing of Codexes to writers like Matt Ward, and general business dickery.
    • 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.
  • The Scrappy:
    • The Squats to some, especially to Games Workshop themselves (although there remains a die-hard Squat fandom who keep trading the old models and tinkering with army list rules).
    • Zoats were never popular, not even among Tyranid players, and were quietly removed from the game after 2nd edition. A Dropped a Bridge on Him-style Hand Wave explaining their absence was featured in a later codex.
    • To an extent, The Crimson Slaughter due to the fact they had been getting significantly more attention over the more well-known (and popular) traitor legions such as The Black Legion and Iron Warriors (to the point where they even replaced the former as the representation warband on chaos marine box art). It dosen't help that their lore is somewhat predictable compared to other minor warbands and their color scheme pretty much copies the World Eaters.
  • 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).
    • 8th edition Zig Zags this. Aiming to fix and do away with as many of the previously mentioned mechanics as possible, while sadly adding a few of its own. Mortal Wounds and the changes to Deep Striking being the biggest. Mortal Wounds, a carry over from Age Of Sigmar inflict damage which neither armor or invulnerable saves can be taken against. Killing most infantry models outright or putting damage on larger creatures and even vehicles for simply having rolled well. Deep Striking models no longer scatter and can be placed anywhere as long as they remain nine inches away from enemy models. Which only compounded the deep strike problem from previous editions by making it impossible to go off target or mishap.
  • "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".
  • 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.
  • Stoic Woobie: A justified case with the Eldar. Their volatile emotions mean they can't afford to consider the terrible fates and choices facing them beyond the extent that it motivates them to fight on. They're definitely hurting, but they can't show it.
  • "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's Heresy:
    • 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.
  • This Is Your Premise on Drugs: Warhammer 40000 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 40000 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 England, 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 Continental 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 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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