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Warhammer 40K’s grimdark setting besieged by terrifying bugs


Warhammer 40,000 enters its 10th edition, with streamlined new rules and a host of new models for players to paint and deploy. But it’s one thing to look at all these Space Marines, Terminators and Carnifexes and think they’re cool, and quite another to understand the lore Why all these minis are assembled for a grim battle.

The announcement trailer for the 10th edition is narrated by Roboute Guilliman, the man responsible for running the Imperium of Man. Guilliman is a son of the Emperor of Mankind, one of 20 Primarchs who were created in a lab over 10,000 years ago to help their father conquer the stars. Guilliman was the first loyalist Primarch to rejoin the setting in 40K, and he’s been depressed while trying to drag the crumbling corpse of the Imperium, a parody of his father’s vision, from the brink of extinction. As the trailer suggests, he’s not optimistic about the current state of affairs.

He is rightly concerned. In recent lore, the Imperium of Man’s main concerns have been the heretical, corrupted Space Marines and the extra-dimensional forces of Chaos. But there’s a new villain on the block: the Tyranids. The Tyranids are some of the scariest enemies in 40K because, unlike Abbadon the Raider or a deadly one Drukhari, Tyranids have no sense of humanity, communication or emotion. They only want one thing: to eat all your biomass and use it to make more Tyranids.

Tyranids have been played as a major threat for some time now, with lore saying that the forces that originally arrived in the galaxy were just a vanguard of a larger fleet. That larger fleet has finally arrived and is reaching the western side of the Milky Way. The hive fleets on the east side of the galaxy are still a threat – the galaxy is effectively surrounded. The Tyranids attack, they want biomass, and most of all, they see you as a piece of candy.

To make matters worse, Guilliman has deployed most of his forces far away from the western front of the galaxy to deal with the Great Rift that has torn apart the galaxy that split the Imperium in two. Until now Imperium Sanctus was the more fun part of the 40K setting. Now it has a major insect infestation and even hardened Space Marines with meltaguns and flamers are gobbled up like bonbons.

It looks like this conflict is going to be a big part of the story for the 10th edition of 40K. Tyranids will likely not only be part of the 10th edition launch box, but Space Navy 2 pits the heroic Ultramarine Captain Titus against a swarm of Tyranids.

The faction has also evolved in recent years to include Genestealer Cults, a sub-faction with their own table armies and rules. Genestealer Cults like to sneak into a world, find a hiding place and start preaching the good word. While they often seem benevolent from the outside and the unfortunate people who get kidnapped are forced to see them as the good guys, the Cults are in Big Bug’s pocket. Once they build up a hidden power over generations, the Genestealer Cults attack from within, then summon a hive fleet to finish the job.

We will likely learn more about the state of the galaxy as the 10th edition approaches. Factions like the Aeldari and the Necrons will certainly have their own thoughts on how to stop the Tyranid swarm. The final Arks of Omen book, detailing the return of loyalist Primarch Lion El’Jonson, will likely also include some knowledge about the current state of the Imperium and how it deals with its perpetual war on multiple fronts.

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