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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Pretty much every organization's actions and motivations can be "read" in several different ways.
  • Badass Decay:
    • The Emperor understandably underwent this after he went on life support. Compare how he looks before and after the Horus Heresy.
    • By 4th or 5th edition, some of the new codices are just merciless and humiliating for the Eldar.
    • The Necrons in general, and the Void Dragon in particular, 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. Though in Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain books the Necrons are still virtually unstoppable nightmares and the only thing that Cain absolutely will not fight unless there's no alternative.
      • Their new codex now turn 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.
  • Base Breaker: 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 was either stupid and GW's current direction is magnificent or it was completely crazy awesome and should be brought back.
  • Bellisario's Maxim: This setting runs on Rule of Cool.
  • Complete Monster: What do you expect from the bad guys here when the "good guys" are Spanish Inquisition-era Nazis centered around a totalitarian government (while feeding souls of psychics to the Emperor) / manipulative space elves who don't care about other species at all / nigh-mindless space Communists who (perhaps) practice genocide and ruthless conquest in the name of the Greater Good?
    • Individual examples crop up regularly in the Inquisition. You know... the "good" guys of the setting...
    • There is nothing at all sympathetic about the Dark Eldar. Their codex opens with the line "This is a tale of evil incarnate." That is quite apt. Word of God is that the Dark Eldar are the most purely evil faction in the setting - even more so than Daemons. Daemons are Always Chaotic Evil because of their nature as psychic reflections of the collective unconcious (which is rather Unpleasant, Given The Setting). The Dark Eldar are what they are because the choose to be.
    • Fabius Bile, a mad scientist who performs twisted experiments on anyone unlucky enough to be in his custody.
    • Most followers of Chaos definitely count, especially the Emperor's Children, the legion of which Fabius Bile is part of. It helps that the only way someone can openly serve four Gods who want to kill, mutate, disease and rape the entire universe is by being a sociopathic monster.
    • On the subject of Chaos, Tzeentch is considered a monster by the other Chaos Gods for his constant Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. Whenever he starts gaining power, the others gang up on him. Fridge Logic applies when you realize Tzeentch is the one who usually forges alliances between the Chaos Gods.
      • Which makes it even more perplexing that he is the chaos god of hope in the universe, and counts under his wing a fair amount of Anti Villains in comparison to the other chaos gods. He technically more applies to Blue and Orange Morality than any other deity in the whole universe, casting his status as a Complete Monster into huge questioning, since the other gods at least have (somewhat) humanly comprehensible goals.
      • Tzeentch is both (among other things) the god of plans and the god of messing up plans. At the same time.
    • Slaanesh may seem to be the god of having a good time, but his followers set no upper limit to their excess, and certainly not the consideration of others. This ends badly.
      • After the Heresy, the early Noise Marines took their deviant behavior to a new level with their new patron chaos god, and over 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.
  • Crack Pairing:
    • Nurgle and Isha
    • Taldeer and a Vindicare Assassin.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • The entire Ork race. Practically everything that's ever been accomplished by Orks has happened merely because the things in question are Crazy Enough to Work. Of course, possessing psychic powers that turn their asinine and downright insane thoughts into reality helps, too.
    • 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 entire 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.
  • Creator's Pet:
    • The Ultramarines, the Necrons, and the Tau are each viewed as such by a significant number of fans.
    • More individually, Kaldor Draigo of the Grey Knights looks like he'll leave all other contenders in the dust now. Imagine every stupid Chuck Norris fact you could think of involving 40K....Carving his name into a daemon prince's heart, roundhouse kicking Khorne's champions, burning down Nurgle's garden, pimping out Slannesh's finest daemonettes without the slightest temptation....And play them totally straight with this one guy.
    • The Codex writer Matt Ward for being the guy who made Draigo, and turning the Ultramarines into Creator's Pets (before which, most players didn't mind them).
    • Matt Ward really likes the Ultramarines and Grey Knights. So much that it seems to be hurting their fanbase.
      • Interestingly enough, judging by forums, nearly every Ultramarines player thinks that the Ultras should have a more clearly defined flaw (it varies between writer, some making them proud, some dogmatic, some arrogant, Ward doesn't give them anything), they just can't agree on what it should be.
        • On 1d4chan, the stated reason so many people loved the Ultramarines was because they were The Mario, The Jack Of All Stats, that one beginner class that everyone played. And just making them ultra perfect just destroys that.
    • The main issue is that, while Tau get slight 'creators pet' in the fluff, their army is balanced on a good day and underpowered on a bad one. The Space Marines get MASSIVE creator's pet in their fluff (entire book essentially says there are only 3 kinds of Marines: Ultramarines and their successors, those who aren't Ultramarines but wish they were, and those who don't want to be Ultramarines are are thus Doing It Wrong. No, really,) at least Marines are mechanically balanced. Grey Knights on the other hand are the single most broken army in the entirety of 40k, and that's not even going into the fluff.
  • Creepy Awesome: Quite a few characters embody this. For instance:
    • Lucius the Eternal.
    • The Noise Marines, who embody The Power of Rock turned to Chaos! Mind you, "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".
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • The entire core of Da Orks' humour is their ridiculously, overwhelmingly violent nature.
    • Some may find the setting in general does this, due the over-the-top Grimdark, Impossibly Cool Weapons and war.
  • 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 basically highlights of victories and propaganda). There are so many Shoot the Shaggy Dog stories, and even unequivocal victories for any given side are happening at the same time as a dozen crushing defeats.
  • 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 good, he did have his fair share of atrocities under his belt.
  • 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.
  • Designated Villain: Followers of Chaos. 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 which practice human sacrifice is a legitimate alternative. All in all, mortal followers of Chaos aren't evil, they're just insane. The daemons on the other hand...
    • The Imperium is very intolerant of "traitors" who have turned to the Tau's offer of egalitarianism, though readers might think differently.
      • Then again, the Tau, perhaps the most sympathetic race in the setting, are still space Leninists whose society is run by an unelected aristocracy.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • The Adeptus Mechanicus, to a certain degree among the fanbase.
    • 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.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • One word: Slaanesh.
    • Two words: Dark Eldar. Especially the new Lelith model and artwork. Dat ass.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
  • Fan Nickname: Hundreds.
    • A popular nickname for the blue-armoured Ultramarines is "Smurfs", which logically leads to their Chapter Master being known as "Papa Smurf".
    • Thanks to Dawn of War: Soulstorm, "METAL BOXES" is now a common catch-all term for tanks.
      • 'Spess Mehreens' and 'Emprah' are often spelt and spoken in line with their famously odd pronunciation in the same speech.
    • Sisters of Battle are 'Bolter Bitches' or 'Nuns with Guns'.
    • The Imperium is basically 'Catholic Space Nazis'.
    • The Tau are often mockingly referred to as 'Weeaboo Space Communists'.
    • Failbaddon the Despoiler: thirteen attempts to bust out of the Eye Of Terror and destroy the Imperium, and despite being billed as the worst of their foes, every one has been defeated.
    • Shooting phase for the Guard is unofficially called 'the laser light show'.
      • Similarly, lasguns are called flashlights or laser sights, while flak armour is either cardboard or T-shirts.
        • A common joke amongst the fans: What do you call a lasgun with a laser-sight? Twin-linked!
    • "Pansy Space Elves" and "Scary Space Elves" are common nicknames for the Craftworld and Dark Eldar, respectively; and used as often by Eldar players themselves as by players of other races.
  • Fanon: "The Emperor was Jesus" is a pretty universally accepted claim in the fandom, but the only part of canon that even implies it is in one of the early books, which notes that the Emperor was a number of important historical figures.
    • It has long been accepted among the Fandom that Event Horizon is an unofficial prequel, showing mankind's discovery of the Warp.
  • Fashion Victim Villain: The Emperors' Children wear a garish color of pink, black and purple. Most pictures of the Noise Marines, including Dawn of War, depict them in black, despite Canon descriptions that they wear the brightest, most clashing colours. (Presumably, it's down to gamers' fears of contracting the gay.)
  • Freud Was Right: And the Dark Eldar would make him wish he wasn't.
  • Game Breaker: See here.
    • The new Ork codex, especially the infamous Nob Biker list, an army list designed around a loop hole in the wound allocation rules of 5th edition. Fortunately, Nob Bikers lost favor solely out of fear of the new IG codex. Nob Bikers have a terrible match up against mechanized guard armies due to multiple strength 8 AOE attacks being able to cut them easily. Wow, being scrapped because the list has one bad match up. Sounds like the people playing those lists were only interested in easy wins.
      • For a short while, an Imperial Guard setup called the "Leafblower list", so called because it annihilated everything it hit, was very popular. It died off due to Codex updates and because It's Popular, Now It Sucks is played straight in Tournament setting - once people see a list more and more, they will figure out how to stop it.
    • The Ork special character Ghazghkull Thraka personified this trope throughout the editions. Currently it's because of his two-turn buff that makes all Ork infantry very mobile, and grants him the hardest defence to beat in the game (Rolling a 1 on a six sided dice, four times in a row), but only for two turns. The problem is that the average game is six turns.
    • Second Edition had its share, some of which were errata'd out in White Dwarf. For example, Wolf Guard Terminators were said to be able to take any combination of weapons and could be built from stock parts with an Assault Cannon and Cyclone Missile Launcher [White Dwarf said if such a deadly squad actually existed it would have been included in the fluff text], the Imperial Assassin could in theory be disguised as a Gretchin while wearing Terminator Armour and riding a bike [removed when the Polymorphine Wargear was made specific to Calledus Assassins] and the Strategy Card 'Virus Outbreak' could cripple an entire Ork or Imperial Guard army before a battle even started [the official line was that players should destroy their copy of the card].
      • A lot of Second Edition special characters were also so powerful the game would end up revolving around them; many of the Third Edition changes were designed specifically to play down the monstrously complex special rules and wargear possessed by such characters.
    • Second Ed 'Nids were horrible. Instead of Strategy Cards, the Tyranid player rolled for every character, squad and vehicle with a significant chance of screwing over a good portion of the enemy army before the battle even started; for example, one soldier in a squad could randomly become a Barbed Strangler blast, or a vehicle end up with a "Lurker" inside it that would attack the crew (in close combat, inside a vehicle) if it moved.
    • Before being nerfed into near-uselessness in later editions, the power Psychic Scream was devastating; the power attacked every enemy Psyker and forced them to roll 2D6; over their Toughness (likely) and they couldn't do anything this Psychic Phase. Over their Leadership, they instantly died. It wasn't uncommon for the Tyranid player to have utter control of the Psychic Phase after a couple of turns.
    • GW is trying to tone down players abusing the broken armies by stating that the "Most Important Rule" is to have fun, not to win. Generally Store Managers and a good deal of players look down upon "power gamers", players who play only to win by exploitation. However, to move their products, they inevitably make a few lists composed of the most expensive models, which, of course, only exacerbate the situation.
    • The Space Wolf Codex has been seen by many people as incredibly overpowered. Fleet cavalry with a 3+ invulnerable save? Terminator armor that cancels psychic powers on a 3+ ? Come on...
    • The Imperium's Daemonhunters, which can be put in any Imperial army, are this against the the Daemons of Chaos. All of the Daemonhunters' anti-daemon abilities were balanced when Daemons were just another form of Chaos Space Marine unit, since Chaos Marines could deal with Daemonhunters, but because the Daemons have been made into a separate army, Daemonhunters can make winning for them outright impossible.
      • In addition, Daemons are terrible against any enemy if you don't have insane luck with dice.
      • And now that the new Matt Ward 5th Edition Daemonhunters codex is out (now called simply "Grey Knights," after the military backbone of the Daemonhunters Order), Daemons are pretty much done for. Their monstrous creature, the Dreadknight, can easily and consistently take down a Carnifex - the monstrous creature most players think of when they hear "monstrous creature."
  • Genius Bonus: There's little references tucked away everywhere, ranging from sci-fi to military history to history in general to Scandinavian and even 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, the Holy Roman Empire) 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 source[1], he was born in Anatolia (modern Turkey), where double eagle symbolism has been particularly strong for thousands of years.
      • The Imperial Eagle in some depictions looks very like 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) is the only number more inherently powerful than three. Perfect symbology for a god of magic.
  • HSQ: Not just swords, chainswords! Not just Space Marines, ten-foot tall genetically-enhanced superhumans in huge Power Armor tearing up hoards of enemies, hard-dropping from orbit like meteorites! Not just a Redshirt Army, but billions of troops throwing themselves into the maw of death FOR THE EMPEROR! Not just Mordor, but an twisted evil area of space hundreds of lightyears 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.
  • Idiot Plot: Half the time the fluff can come off as this for ridiculous the Hollywood Tactics employed most of the factions, especially the Orks and Khorn worshipers, and the over the top Stupid Evil and Chaotic Stupid of many factions, especially the Imperium and Chaos Space Marines. The factions favoring evil over practicality has led to a decent portion of the fanbase believing the setting isn't supposed to be taken seriously.
    • Now, to be fair, much of that is intelligently justified within the universe after a deeper examination of it. Khornates are arguably a reconstruction of hollywood tactics; given their prodigious strength and skill individually as warriors and their advanced equipment allows them to overcome nearly any opponent without resorting to complex stratagems. Orks, on the other hand, tend to be mowed down extremely easily due to their vulnerability. In fact, within the setting, the Orks who manage to become credible threats are those who eschew such approaches. Chaos Marines in general go for 'over the top evil' due to religious and symbolic reasons; doing so allows them to gain the favour of their gods and allows them to be benefited in the long term by blessings which are given as rewards due to said actions.
  • 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. Everything Is Trying to Kill You.
    • 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.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • The God-Emperor of Mankind, of course.
    • The most effective Dark Eldar (those who aren't obnoxious Smug Snakes) fall into this category, especially Asdrubael Vect, who engineered a coup that elevated him from a slave to a gang leader to the High Lord of Commorragh.
    • Tzeentch is literally the god of Magnificent Bastards. On the mostly-mortal side of things, the Alpha Legion of Chaos Space Marines is composed entirely of Magnificent Bastards.
    • The Laughing God of the Harlequins is basically the other "good" example (but still a total asshole, so not a Guile Hero). The C'tan Star God know as the Deceiver would be one if he wasn't a Complete Monster that made the Necrons into what they are today.
  • Mary Suetopia:
    • The Ultramarine domain of Ultramar: a functional, prosperous, stable realm in the otherwise decaying Imperium.
      • Apart from the whole eugenics, repression, rabid militarization, constant threat of invasion, y'know. Oh sure, it's functional, but it ain't a nice place to live.
      • Ultramar isn't functional because of those things, it's functional because the government actually gives a crap about the common people.
    • Subverted by the Tau Empire, whose propaganda tries to put out that they are this. And people still consider them to be a Mary Suetopia compared to the general grimdarkness of the setting.
  • Mary Tzu: Creeeeed!!!
    • Tzeentch, although it's justified since he is after all the god of scheming.
    • Also the Emperor and the Primarchs. Somewhat justified, as the Emperor had 40,000 years to refine military tactics, while the Primarchs were designed to be that.
    • Commander Shadowsun of the Tau Empire. Led a Tau armada against a Tyranid splinter fleet and wiped it out without losing a single ship. Made more impressive by the fact that she's a Fire caste commander, so she had no experience in space combat. Sweet Jesus.
  • Master of None: The current Vanilla Space Marines codex makes them fall under this. While they have a ton of varied units for nearly every combat situation, other more specialized armies can do the same but better and more effectively (example: Blood Angels and Space Wolves are far superior at close combat, Imperial Guard have better vehicles, Tau and Dark Eldar are better at shooting and speed, while Grey Knights are just better than everyone else. Its gotten to the point where the Vanilla Space Marines are only considered mid-tier at beast compared to other more specialized armies.
  • Memetic Badass: A wiki called 1d4chan (based off The Imageboard That Must Not Be Named) 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.
  • Memetic Molester:
    • Dark Eldar.
    • Anything associated with Slaanesh.
    • The Alpha Legion have become this since the Horus Heresy book Legion. Some fans now reckon everything was an Alpha Legion plot.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • The Tau and Eldar are about the only ones who even realize there is one, the Eldar having found out about it the hard way, and even then they don't think it applies to anyone else.
      • It's not that other factions don't realize that the moral event horizon exists, it's that whenever it's on the verge of getting crossed, another surge of the Godzilla Threshold pushes it out another hundred parsecs. When you compare burning the surface of a planet to cinders with having that planet either get devoured by Alien Locusts, corrupted and mutated beyond recognition by horrors from the nether reaches of your darkest fears, or even being scrubbed clean of all life (even down to bacteria) by zombie cyborgs, the foremost option is arguably the least horrible (if only because it doesn't seem to "feed" the threat that brought you to this point).
    • 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 intents rather than mass-production in mind, they are likely among the most powerful of the Space Marines in general) trying to protect the Emperor during the Siege of Terra. With this, the Emperor realized that Horus was beyond saving.
    • 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 cause they're worried the Wolves will kill them on sight.
  • Motive Decay: Those who attempt to use Chaos generally end up being used by it - and not caring.
  • My Real Daddy: Graham McNeill for fans of the Ultramarines, who portrays the Ultramarines as competent yet not perfect, and actually tried to tone down some of the more overt Mary Sueisms that Matt Ward put in. Ward then tried to Retcon that out.
    • The same goes for effectively anything Matt Ward works on. The only exception thus far is the Necron codex and even then it was a Base Breaker on whether the changes were for the better or not.
  • Narm Charm: You might note the attitude of this page is that the writers are trying too hard, but we love it for that.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Has its share.
  • Older Than They Think: The Orks were speaking like that well before the Lolcat phenomenon, thank you very much.
  • Purity Sue: The Ultramarines and Grey Knights have been accused of this under Matt Ward. Sanguinius, on the other hand, embodies many of the common traits, yet his badassery and heroic reputation leave most fans with the conclusion that he was Too Good For This Sinful Universe.
  • Scapegoat Creator: Matt Ward has gotten so much hate for his codexes that people blame him for stuff he isn't actually responsible for.
  • The Scrappy:
    • To some, but there remains a die-hard Squat fandom who keep trading the old models and tinkering with army list rules.
    • The "Ultra-smurfs", and anything related to Matt Ward.
    • The Tau, for being a Mary Suetopia.
  • 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). Basically, 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 Second 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.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny:
    • Ultramarines are generic or the view the Space Marine codex devolved into an Ultramarines Codex. The issue is fluff-wise, Rouboute 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 literally 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.
      • Early drafts of 5th Edition had it as this too.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The Space Marines in the game as a whole, and the Ultramarines amongst the Space Marines themselves.
  • Squick:
    • The Dark Eldar basically live on it.
    • Nurgle and Slaanesh are literally made of it.
    • And get this: the Tyranids have a creature called the Dominatrix. Leave it to the Games Workshop people to come up with such a gross definition for that word.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • 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 - dare I say it? - a touch of optimism and faith in the human spirit. It's the insanity of the setting that makes this so effective.
  • 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, then they like to play the game itself.
    • Was true, however, in regard to the awful third design of Citadel paint pot (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.
  • This Is Your Premise On Crazy Awesome: 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 2000 AD, 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. They used to be hated for being horribly weak in the most popular game modes. With the release of their new codex, people now hate them for having some of the strongest vehicle army lists.
    • Daemons, especially since they have an entire (now extremely powerful) army designed to curb stomp them, and the long-overdue for an update. Sisters of Battle/Witch Hunters are getting there.
      • And, with the Sisters of Battle getting a codex that was literally spread over two issues of the official Games Workshop magazine- White Dwarf- they're there: 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.
  • Unfortunate Implications:
    • Depending on the Writer (or artist) these can crop up from time to time in regards to the setting's handling of women.
      • Only in 40K can The Smurfette Principle be turned Up to Eleven. Out of all the Warhammer fiction released there has been one book where a woman was the protagonist and viewpoint character for the entire series. Though that one attempt did show the character as incredibly professional and badass so they are trying.
    • The Ciaphas Cain novels have plenty of female Imperial Guards (one of whom rises to the highest rank in the Guard, though it's noted that she's the only woman to do so) a number of female PDF soldiers, government figures, a tech-priest and a psyker, plus a female inquisitor who is the single most powerful character in the series, but she only appears in person sporadically.)
    • According to Xenology, the Orks' scientific name is Orkus negra. While there is a non-racist reason (In Warhammer, Black Orcs with darker green skin are the biggest and most professionally dangerous Orcs), it still rankles.
      • To make matters worse, White Dwarf's "Battle for Ork's Drift" display had the orks facing off against the red-coated, pith helmeted Praetorian Guard...
    • The Salamanders were originally white, but were early retconned into being black and remained that way for much of the game's history. However, they were recently retconned again so that the black skin was a genetic defect.
      • To be perfectly fair, the retcon also changed the skin colour from 'African-America black' to 'coal black with red eyes'.
    • It is, essentially, an entire universe in which fascism, intolerance, and mass murder is necessary.
  • Villain Sue: The Necrons and Tyranids have been accused of this.
  • Wangst: One of the Eldar paths is called The Path of Grief, its followers referred to as mourners. Their role is to be receptive to the grief of others (possibly literally given the Eldar's psychic nature) and act as a living expression of that grief, so that others do not find the emotions too overwhelming. Given the Eldar's ability to create warp-resonance through strong emotions (such as the creation of Slaanesh) this is probably quite necessary. Being wangsty is Serious Business to the Eldar on the Path of Grief with good reason.
  • The Woobie:
    • Eldar Guardians. Eldar civilians sent into battle with weak (for 40k standards) armor and a short-ranged shuriken catapult; they are used pretty much as cannon fodder and heavy weapons support in comparison to the elite Aspect Warriors.
    • For similar reasons, the average Guardsman and Tau Fire Warrior.
      • At least the Fire Warrior's want to be there!
    • Corax, the Primarch of the Raven Guard, too.
    • 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.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds:
    • The Thousand Sons.
    • The Night Haunter.
  • Woolseyism: the French translation of the ork tellyporta is "téla-tépula", which basically means "you iz here-you izn't here no more". An orkier description of a teleporter you will not find.

Notes

  1. whose current canonicity is disputed
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