The 15 Most Ridiculous Badasses From Warhammer 40K

The 15 Most Ridiculous Badasses From Warhammer 40K

Yes, Warhammer Fantasy was home to many ridiculously badass heroes and villains. But Warhammer 40k, its sci-fi sister game set in a grim darkness where there is only war? Basically, the entire universe is made up almost solely of over-the-top buttkickers. Here’s just 15 of some of its most ludicrously badass characters.

Quick note going in: We’ve not included the Chaos Gods or the Emperor in this list, because they’re basically so ridiculous in utter magnitudes of grim-dark badassery that they are far beyond the top of this list anyway. But rest assured, like virtually everyone in 40k, they too are hilariously badass.

15) The Doom of Malan’tai

Following the Eldar Craftworld Malan’tai’s destruction of a Hive Fleet, a lone Zoanthrope (a lowly kind of psychic creature in the Tyranid hivemind) sneaked aboard the Malan’tai Craftworld — a humongous cross-generational ship of Eldar that housed the survivors of the Malan’tai sect after they fled their homeworld — and proceeded to snack on the ship’s infinity circuit, housing all the dead souls of the Malan’tai that powered it.

It transformed into a nigh-on invulnerable psychic monstrosity that promptly wiped out the entirety of the Malan’tai and vanished into unknown space. That will teach them for ignoring the little guys.

14) Kaldor Draigo

If the Space Marines are the Mary Sues of Warhammer 40k, Kaldor Draigo is the Mary Sue-iest of them all. The Supreme Commander of an elite faction of heavily armoured Space Marines called the Grey Knights, Draigo rose up the ranks after slaying a Chaos Daemon Prince single handed as his first act of combat ever.

Draigo was banished to the Warp — the parallel dimension where both the psychic powers of the 40k universe and the biggest bads of Chaos hang out — for his entire life for killing the Daemon, and made chaotic lemonade out of the chaotic lemons dealt to him by spending the next couple of centuries ceaselessly battling and carving his way through horde of demons, undying through sheer strength of will and devotion to the Grey Knights.

13) Drazhar, Master of Blades

An unknown Dark Eldar, Drazhar came to prominence in the order of the Incubi (the Dark Eldar sect of some of their deadliest swordmasters) by randomly waltzing into the Incubi’s Shrine, inviting the Incubi leader to a duel, and then slicing said leader into itty bitty pieces before taking his place. The Incubi are considered some of the fastest, most agile combatants in all of 40k — so fast that they’re a blur.

Drazhar is somehow even faster, capable of basically pulling off that after-image technique from Dragonball Z where a character moves so fast he/she leaves behind an identical image of themselves. Drazhar is basically Goku but with ridiculously spiky armour, twin “disemboweller blades,” and a penchant for murdering everyone he comes across.

12) Commander Dante

Chapter Master of the Blood Angels, Dante is an idol among his fellow Space Marines — and for good reason. He’s widely believed to be the oldest Space Marine in existence, with many sources pegging him as at least 1100 years old. Considering the fact that survival in the 40k Universe is not taken to be granted, the fact that Dante’s been rolling around for over a thousand years is pretty impressive.

Even more impressive? The fact he’s doing it basically just because he was once told he might be a prophetic hero that saves the Emperor one day. That’s some dedication right there.

11) Asdrubeal Vect

Asdrubeal Vect, leader of the Dark Eldar, is one of the oldest beings in existence. He’s spent 99% of said existence basically being the galaxy’s biggest arsehole. With a penchant for killing Dark Eldar that displease him almost as much as he kills his opponents, Vect is the prime moustache-twirling villain of 40k.

Once, in order to prevent Dark Eldar nobles from usurping power from him, he captured a Space Marine ship and tricked both the Imperium and his Nobles into a long, bitter war to ensure the nobles were wiped out. When it was over, Vect proceeded to take that ship and smash it into the houses of the surviving nobles, cackling maniacally.

10) Mephiston

Once a Space Marine of the Blood Angels, the soldier that came to be known as Mephiston succumbed to a maddening, bloodthirsty rage that afflicted certain Blood Angels called the Black Rage. Joining fellow Red Thirst victims in the suicidal legion called the Death Company, the soldier got trapped fighting orks — and denied the embrace of death like his fellow Death Company marines, basically got so angry at not dying that he mentally kicked the bejeezus out of the Red Thirst, becoming the first ever Blood Angel to be cured of the affliction.

He was reborn as Mephiston, the Lord of Death (and one of the most powerful human psykers ever) and returned to the Blood Angels, asking for a promotion. They didn’t say no, and he became their chief Battle Librarian. I mean, would you?

9) Commander Farsight

One of the deadliest and smartest commanders of the Tau Empire, Farsight — or, to give him is full name, Shas’O Vior’la Shovah Kais Mont’yr (try and say it three times fast) — is one of the Tau’s most powerful warriors. He’s so powerful, he’s pretty much the only thing the Space Orks, who live to conquer and fight, actually fear in battle.

On top of being super smart and the leader of a group of elite Tau mechsuit pilots called “The Eight,” Farsight’s personal mech is equipped with a legendary Tau sword called The Dawn Blade, which absorbs the life force of any being it kills and adds it to Farsight’s own life force — and considering Farsight has killed lots of people (especially orks), it means he’s basically immortal as long as he keeps murdering people.

8) Eisenhorn

What if James Bond was both a) kind of insane and b) a religious zealot who went around cleansing the galaxy of anything he deemed heretical? Step forward, Gregor Eisenhorn. One of the most radical members of the Ordo Xenos (a group of devoted Inquisitors who rooted out any sign of chaos in the human Empire), Eisenhorn fell from grace as he chased a chaos daemon host across the galaxy, using increasingly heretical methods to eventually seal it away for good.

Despite stomping on heretics across the way as he did so and saving the galaxy, Eisenhorn was cast out of the Ordo Xenos, and he disappeared into the galaxy, looking to purge heretics in his own way.

7) Ghazghkull Thraka

Once a lowly Space Ork on the planet Uruk who survived getting third of his head blown off by some Space Marines, Gazghkull had his head augmented with adamantium (no, not that adamantium) that accidentally gave him latent psychic powers. These psychic abilities gave Gazghkull visions telling him that he would lead a massive army of Orks to glory. Determined to fulfil the prophecies, Thraka rose to the rank of Warboss, took over a passing Space Marine warship, and promptly tore across the galaxy till his gigantic horde found the Imperial world of Armageddon, which Thraka decided to invade.


Each battle were the largest ever witnessed in the Imperium’s history, and despite being defeated twice, Thraka became one of the most legendary Orks in history.

6) Abbadon the Despoiler

A fallen Space Marine from the days of the Horus Heresy (where a fellow named Horus betrayed the Imperium and basically created the Chaos Space Marines), Abbadon succeeded Horus as the grand Warmaster of the Chaos armies, and then proceeded to invade human space on massive “Black Crusades” thirteen times. Each time, he was beaten — which was later retconned by Games Workshop writers as having each Crusade, despite their failures, be small parts of a much larger plan to defeat the Imperium, pretty much because players couldn’t decide if Abbadon, the supposed greatest threat to the entire galaxy, was either grossly incompetent or the biggest troll in the known universe.

5) Sanguinius

Primarch of the Blood Angels, Sanguinius was literally an angel. As a child he mutated gigantic, feathered wings, and ultimately rose through the ranks of the Emperor’s Space Marines in their earliest days, beloved by all. In fact, it’s Sanguinius’ death, seen above, that makes him so ridiculously badass. During the Horus Heresy, he was cut off from his fellow Blood Angels and engaged in one-on-one combat with Horus himself (who, despite betraying all of humanity, still deeply cared for Sanguinius).

Horus completely stomped over Sanguinius, a death so potent and tragic it instantly created the Black Rage, the disease that afflicted all future Blood Angels that could send them into a crazy, homicidal rampage at a moment’s notice. Poor guy.

4) Kharn the Betrayer

Kharn is basically the poster child for ridiculousness in the Warhammer 40k world. A Space Marine — and later Chaos Space Marine — so masterful in close quarters combat and also so completely mad, when he fell to Chaos he pledged servitude to the Blood God Khorne. How did Kharn pay homage to his new god? By killing everything around him, friend and foe alike.

Seriously, Kharn has an actual kill count in 40k lore that’s in the millions, slicing his way through enemies and allies with his chain-axe (the typical chain sword would have been too gauche). In some novels he’s portrayed a smart and loyal ally among his fellow Chaos Space Marines, but the moment he hits a battlefield he’s hacking his way through anything that moves.

3) Eldrad Ulthran, Farseer of UlthwΓ©

Like Asdrubeal Vect before him, Eldrad is one of the oldest beings in the galaxy, and has spent much of that time using his vast powers to be a dick to everyone who isn’t the Eldar. Perhaps the most powerful psyker to have ever existed, Eldrad used his powers of foresight — strong enough to see years and years into the future — to try and protect the Eldar after their homeworld was destroyed.

He did this mainly by setting into motion horrendous wars involving other factions, just to avoid the Eldar getting into a scrap they might lose (his psychic influence is believed to have been what spurred Gazghkull Thraka on to Armageddon, otherwise he would have marched straight onto the UlthwΓ© Craftworld). On top of being sneaky as hell and responsible for monstrous amounts of violence, Eldrad also happened to be one of the best warriors in the galaxy, once easily defeating Abbadon in single combat.

2) Ciaphas Cain

Commissar Ciaphas Cain is one of the greatest heroes of the Imperial Guard, and one of the finest human combatants in all of history. Except, according to Cain himself, he’s not, which makes him even more of a badass. Star of the Ciaphas Cain novels, which are written as extracts from Cain’s journals sealed by the Imperium because of how they vastly differ from official retellings of his career, Cain was an incredible hero — but all he actually wanted was a quiet placement on a backwater world, and to retire and become a professor.

Instead, through a series of increasingly alarming mishaps, Cain found himself on the front lines of some of the bloodiest battles in 40k, and lived to tell the tale. Not bad for the equivalent of a human grunt.

1) Ibram Gaunt

If Cain was the jokey badass of the Imperial Guard, Gaunt is the serious badass of the Guard. And he is seriously badass. Leader of the Tanith First (nicknamed “Gaunt’s Ghosts”), a legion of guardsmen who were the sole survivors of the destruction of the planet Tanith, Gaunt fights to protect his fellow Tanith and earn them a new world to call home, and does so by being one of the greatest and most honorable Commissars in existence. With a sword that could slice through tanks, a band of some of the most incredible Guardsmen in the Imperium, and often the first person leading a charge at the opponents, Gaunt has commanded the Imperial Guard to victory in some of the most hopeless scenarios the grimdark world of 40k could throw at him. All that, with no power armour, no psychic powers, no nothing. Jeez.

Of course, there’s a lot more than 15 ridiculous badasses out there in the universe of Warhammer 40,000. Want to champion a hero or villain not on this list? Let us know.


  • One thing of note re Sanguinius’ death is that he knew it was going to happen but still went along and did it anyway because it had to be done.

    But maaaan, this list could be made of just Primarchs. And what about THE BEAST?! An ork that was so strong the Emperor himself had to go and kill him… and made Thrakka look like a baby (shit, for that matter look at Zhadsnark. Rides a motorbike to go kill Titans).

    Oh man. SLY MARBO. Now THERE’S a ridiculous character! But so gud.

    I miss the old GW πŸ™

  • Sanguinius didn’t get completely stomped. It is believed that he weakened Horus enough for the emperor to kill him. If it wasn’t for his badass sacrifice the emperor would have lost

  • I was always a huge fan of Captain Tycho who fought in the battle of Armageddon in the last 2 wars, only to succumb to the red thirst in the 3rd battle.

    I always had a massive soft spot for him and was super bummed when they killed him off. 3rd company for life!!

    • Yep, he was bad ass. I still remember how he had to hide his face behind a mask due to the psychic attack from an ork weird boy. Not to mention every time he sees an ork he will just go into pure rage mode.

  • Honorable mentions should also go to..

    Nightbringer – So terrifying he literally imprinted himself as the Grim Reaper on the psyche of every sentient species in the galaxy.

    Commissar Yarrick -for ruining Ghazghul – twice.

    Bjorn the Fel-handed – actually the oldest space marine at over 10,000 years old.

    Leman Russ – because Space Wolves.

    Da Red Gobbo – because Grots are awesome.

  • Aren’t Zoanthropes powerful psykers? Like some of the most powerful Psykers in the game. (It’s been along time since I was involved in 40k)

    • Yeah, they were derived from Eldar DNA and are up there with the most powerful psykers.

      It’d be more impressive if it was a termagant

      • Better yet, a spore mine develops consciousness and we end up with the cute and cuddly kawaii adventures of terggy the spore mine who has an explosive personality… Ok maybe I’ve gone too far here…

        • I was actually considering saying that it should have been a small swarm of rippers that became super powerful psykers and developed into an oddball family, having wacky adventures as they mercilessly devoured their way through the hive ship…

          … but that would have been ridiculous.

  • Every time i see anything about Kaldor, supreme master of Grey Knights I keep envisioning him constantly stuck in that warp doing “Dark Souls” heroics over and over again, until he is summoned to a battle, only to go back again to do “Dark Souls” stuff again and again. πŸ˜›

  • Ah Abaddon the Despoiler… and Kharne the Betrayer. I used to field these two all the time in the same army, a 3000pt Chaos army. It was hectic as hell. Sometimes we’d have weekend long games, 6 – 8 turn long, 10,000 point games. Huge. HUGE games with multiple tables that we had to push together.

    But when those two hit the table together, with Abaddons save roll, plus how powerful his Soul sword was… PLUS his lightning claw… that was a total tableflip moment when he got in hand to hand range in 2nd edition lol.

    Then 3rd edition came along and fucked it all up :\

    • 2nd Ed was SO unfair. Basically Eldar and Chaos ruled everything, for different reasons. My poor Marines didn’t stand a chance…

      • lmao yeah it did, Chaos was completely OP in 2nd ed. But being fair here, Marines completely ruled 3rd ed and they nerfed Chaos beyond reason in 3rd. 4th I had dipped out on by that point and given up on.

        I still love the 2nd ed rules though, I loved the ground level nature of them rather than the ‘squad level’ nature, going model by model rather than unit by unit. Took a lot longer, but each model had identity at that point.

        • I worked at GW when Apocalypse was launched. This is before any of the fliers were plastic kits so people had been forking out ridiculous money for these pieces.

          We had a 16’x4′ board with more models than you can poke a stick at spread across each side, fliers coming in doing bombing runs, special characters and their retinues tearing squad after squad apart before facing off against each other. What a night. I miss those days sometimes :'(

          • Biggest playing field I was ever part of was a 30ft x 8ft table. 2 players per side, 25,000 points each side. It was insane. We allowed orbital strikes each turn (you seriously HAD to) and had flanks of artillery on both sides barraging. Most insane game Ive ever played. I remember we had to work out a system with markers placing down who had moved or we lost track lol. That took 2 whole 18 hour days to play through and I still say we rushed it.

  • I can’t believe you put Sanguinius on this list and left Horus out. His actions divided the Imperium and he alone is responsible for the deaths of BILLIONS.

    I agree with others that the whole list could be made up of Primarchs alone.

    Also you can’t say Dante is the oldest Space Marine unless you’re not including Chaos Marines. Abaddon and Kharn are over 10,000 years old

  • Rogal Dorn!

    Whats that; Horus is coming to take a dump on our porch? K let me just turn something of beauty into one of the most heavily defended points in all of the realm of man.

    Whats that; we used a teleport homer to go straight into the heart of the enemies behemoth ship? Yeah I did, too bad the big bad guy wasn’t there; so instead I slaughtered everything in my
    way back to the palace like a hot knife through butter.

    Whats that; Iron Warrior scum are holed up on Sebastus IV? You better believe he is gonna take a fair chunk of his forces and just merciless push through every cowardly trap the traitor legions have at their disposal, even in the face of a daemonic primarch.

    Whats that; Abaddon the Despoiler just came out of the warp with massive fleet of ships? Better lead a relatively small imperial force against him and besiege their capital ships command deck… and subsequently disappearing…

    Well he was still a bad ass with a giant chainsword (was beyond ridiculous for anything other than a primarch to swing).

    • I’d go Lion El’Jonson or Leman Russ over Rogal Dorn. He’s still more bad-arse than Roboute Guilliman though (although that’s not saying very much, admittedly).

  • Surely commisar yarrik deserves a mention? A mere human who personally led the defence of a hive city, killed the orc leader in single combat and despite having his arm ripped off by its power klaw still rallied the defenders and pushed back the horde before allowing himself the luxury of passing out. Even High marshall helbrect of the black templars respects him so if thats not badass i dont know what is.

  • Technically Sanguinius shouldn’t be in the list. He was dead by the end of the Horus Heresy, 10,000 years before the time period 40k is set in.

    Also Dante’s been alive 1200 years? That’s great, but Bjorn, Kharn and Abaddon have all been alive for 10,000+ years (admittedly Bjorn’s been in a dreadnought for a lot of that, so asleep most of the time, but still)

  • To expand on Ciaphas Cain a little bit, he *did* reach retirement, accepted a teaching position in a Schola Progenium on a relatively backwater world. He’s also permanently on Active Duty, despite being buried with full military honours since the Munitorium could not keep up with Cain repeatedly being reported MIA or KIA only to come back later.

    • this cannot be overstated.
      he spent his entire career in the Imperial Guard ON THE FRONT-LINES, repeatedly acting as part of an Inquisitor’s Retinue, earning the WORSHIPFUL admiration and genuine love of many of the
      Guardsmen likely to frag almost any other Commissar out of simple Self-preservation.

      he earned the GENUINE RESPECT of at least ONE chapter of Space marines, earning the right to Train alongside them, and is Canonically at worst one of THE greatest (minor Augmatics, some minor longev and Genetic enhancements, but nothing that would have put him more then infinitesimally past baseline human) Baseline Human Swordsmen in HISTORY, bar almost none.
      even the IMPERIUM’S ENEMIES, to at least some extent, respected him, the Tau empire Once specifically requesting his temporarily aid against a greater threat to both polities at a time when they could not afford another front to their respective wars, and, in maybe his Greatest achievement Bar none,

      i dont think its POSSIBLE to top the last one.

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