Lion El'Jonson

From 1d4chan
The Lion in his natural state. Looking absolutely disappointed at everyone and everything.

"The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude."

– Aldous Huxley

"Whosoever is delighted in solitude, is either a wild beast or a god."

– Aristotle

"Lion El'Jonson was just a mess, being both a self-absorbed, spiteful and envious prick, and an honorable, courageous, and dutiful warrior at the same time. Fucking confusing."

The Emperor summing up The Lion

Lion El'Jonson, also known as The Emperor's First, Lord of the First, 40k's Sleeping Beauty, Lyyn Elgonsen in first edition (really harping on that "first" motif GW...), Olong Johnson, or simply The Lion (which obviously refers to the beast, but imagine if it was referring to his first name), is the Primarch of the Dark Angels Space Marine Legion and gene template of the Prototype Legionary. He was scattered along with the other Primarchs to the far corners of the galaxy by the shenanigans of the Dark Gods spiteful Space Karen. He finally came to rest on the beautiful but deadly world of Caliban. Raised by monastic order of medieval knights, Lion turned out to be a very honorable man and your archetypal "knight in shining armor". Sadly, just like his dear old dad, he had a hard time sharing his personal feelings and an even harder time sharing secrets, an attribute his sons would go on to DEFINITELY NOT SHARE AND ARE TOTALLY 1000% LOYAL! He also had a really, really hard time getting along with people, mostly because he had an ego the size of the Horsehead Nebula. Now, this was not exactly uncommon amongst the demigod Primarchs (though the Lion was still a special case), but unlike many of his similarly egotistical brothers, the Lion seemingly possessed absolutely no social awareness and had nothing in the way of personal charm (or was just so arrogant that he didn't care to bother with either). So unlike, say, Horus or Magnus, the Lion was either incapable of, or was unconcerned with, concealing just how little he thought of... well, absolutely everyone. Needless to say, this resulted in virtually nobody liking him, but everybody respecting and/or envying him. He wielded a massive Final Fantasy-sized power sword called the Lion Sword. Until it broke anyway, then he wielded a just-as-massive chainsword called the Wolf Blade.

As of the 41st millennium, he's actually still alive. While Roboute Guilliman crusades to unfuck the galaxy, Vulkan [probably] just chilling inside Mt. Deathfire, and Corvus Corax and Leman Russ hunt traitors in the Warp, the Lion has been stuck in stasis is taking a cat-nap within the Dark Angels' fortress-monastery, The Rock. They COULD have brought this to Guilliman's attention and had Cawl wake him up, but they don't know he's there because - SECRETS; and even if they did know, the last thing Roboute needs is his scheming, pretentious dick of a brother eying his job, or pulling underhanded moves like he did during Imperium Secundus. Cypher is currently keeping Lion's sword warm for him.


A young Lion, looking pretty much exactly like his older version (Primarchs don't age so there's no reason why he shouldn't look the same).

"And so the Lion stepped from the darkness and saw there was light. And that light said unto him: "Go forth and conquer your fear. For our enemies are but fear incarnate and only through their smiting might we be free." And when the Lion roared, all who stood before him trembled."

– Interrogator-Chaplain Altheous- Will of Iron

His first decade was spent in the warp-tainted forests of Caliban, completely alone but for monsters and other horrors of that tainted world. He flourished there, and at the end of this decade he was found by a band of knights belonging to a group called "The Order 1886;" his first encounter with humans. Considering how impossible it is to come upon a healthy young boy in the wilderness of a death-world, they believed the child to be a monster, and were prepared to kill him until one of them, a young man named Luther, prevented his fellow knights from attacking (which is good for them as they probably would have had some difficulty defeating a primarch.) Luther and the band brought Jonson back to their Fortress-Monastery and named him 'Lion El'Jonson' which means Lion, Son of the Forest. Yes, there's a language where "Lion" means lion, "El" means The, "Jon" means forest, and "son" is just son. Alternately, he could just be "Lion of the Johnson," which is equally apt (the HH books confirm that bit, which means that Jonson is their word for their planet-spanning forest). Whether the "El" is related to the somewhat Semitic cast of many Calibanite names is unknown (although the setting is much more Brythonic in character). There is a possibility that Lion only lived in the forest for a few months rather than years, as in HH all other Primarchs were shown to be at their prepubescent ages when they came out of their pods, and they will grow to full adult size in a year or so. Following that logic, if Lion had lived in the forest for years, he would be a full-grown Primarch when he was found and not a young boy. Alternatively, in Book 9: Crusade in the forge world Heresy series, Imperial researchers open up the possibility that Lion may have actually been on his own for far longer then previously thought, almost 150 years or so. This could indicate that the Emperor, in his infallible wisdom, may have put certain safety measures into place to make sure his "sons" didn't fall into the wrong (Xenos)hands, such as genetically locking them into an early stage of development (limiting their power) until they eventually came into contact with humans, at which time their growth would increase dramatically; this is further supported by Horus's story in 'Blood of the Emperor', Horus is revealed to have had no super human abilities, apart from being able to rapidly heal during his early years. Horus was a "Dormant Primarch", who's super human abilities would only activate once the Emperor himself gave him his name. When the Knights of the Order first encountered the Lion they estimated he couldn't be more then around ten years of age, though legends had existed for nearly a century before that of a small forest spirit whose body was that of a human, haunting the depths of the forest and leaving mysterious markings in it's wake.

It´s unknown, how exactly the Lion survived all those years within the tainted jonsons forests, and in all the years to come he would never speak of it. He also did not in fact speak for some time after being taken in by Luther, which is, in fact, a symptom of autism, with which he is as arguably canonically as tainted with (see below) as he is with a preposterous name. He is one of the more interestingly developed of the loyalist primarchs.

  • When fighting with Curze (in Angels of Caliban), he reveals that during his ten years amongst the chaos beasts, he had been constantly plagued by promises and threats from the lips of the daemons that haunted him (Apparently you can’t start too young as far as Chaos is concerned) and that his dreams had been of storms and darkness. He is disgusted with Curze and renounces him for his weakness for giving into such things so easily.
  • The fact he emerged damaged but not broken, with even the barest resemblance of humanity after spending 10 years alone without help or guidance, whilst being drowned in warp taint, is remarkable; few of his brothers were tested in such an extreme manner (the only others coming close being Curze and Mortarion), which could explain the Lion's contempt for Curze going beyond perhaps what that nasty little sociopath elicited in Guilliman and Sanguinius. Then again, what broke Curze was far more his visions than his crappy upbringing, so who can really say.
An image so knightly it makes the Black Templars bow in shame.

Within the fortress monastery of the Order, the Primarch was assimilated into the society. There, he and Luther formed a close friendship, despite their differences. Where Luther was charismatic, Jonson was taciturn. While Luther understood the hearts of the men under his and enemy command, Jonson was simply a brilliant strategist, stubborn to a fault once he committed to a course of action. Despite their different approaches to many things, the two men seemed to fill the gaps in each other's personalities and thus became an incomparable team. In the following years, Lion El'Jonson would quickly rise through the ranks of The Order, until he reached the title of Supreme Grand Master of The Order; his great deeds winning him praise among his fellow knights. Luther started to harbour a small seed of jealousy, feeling that his own deeds were overshadowed by those of the Lion. The Lion on his part did not care much about the power and fame that he had accrued, and preferred to be known as a hunter, slayer of beast instead of the king of Caliban. (He was also being very mindful, if not paranoid, about the whispers of Chaos he heard during his youth being fulfilled by his actions.)

As strange as it might sound, the forces at work upon Caliban actually had their own name for the Lion, with the Great Beasts referring to him as "The Nightmare" (no, not the one from Soul Calibur). The powers that were at play upon that tainted world, whatever their origin, started making creatures with the sole purpose of killing him; despite his faults, you know you're a grade A badass when even chaos beasts are running scared of you, and the world itself is actively trying to kill you.

When the Emperor arrived on Caliban to reunite Lion El'Jonson with his legion and send him off to the Great Crusade, not all natives were pleased with his arrival. The coming of the Emperor brought industry to Caliban, its beautiful jonsons cleared, the nature destroyed by machines of the Mechanicum. Some older members of the Order saw further change brought by the Imperials in the ranks of the younger knights: they feared that their old ways and tradition would be lost forever, and thus saw no other solution to the problem than to try and assassinate the Emperor.

Unfortunately for them, they had chosen to involve a young knight named Zahariel into their plot, and he was none too happy about it. Thanks to him, the plot was foiled and he was eventually absorbed into the Legion for his uniqueness of mind and spirit. Lion El´Johnson was given command of the 1st legion, which he named "Dark Angels" after an old Calibanite myth (it seems a lot of the Primarchs are big softies for old myths). Military camps were set up for the general population and those distinguished enough would become Space Marines, either by gene seed transformation (if they were young enough) or through extensive genetic manipulation. The first to undergo such treatment was Luther, who became Lion El'Jonson's second in command.

  • The five hundred members of the legion (all from Terra) that were present upon first encountering the Lion, formed a unique order within the legion. They were known simply as the Five Hundred, and had tasked themselves with creating the Lion Codex, an in-depth recounting of their Lord. The Lion isn't the most forthcoming of individuals, so the Five Hundred would create an expansive collection of knowledge, that would contain their deep analysis of all they had experienced, so that the legion might understand their Lord better (can't help but feel, this is a subtle shoutout to all those loyal members of the First Legion, who have over the years painstakingly tried to piece all the pieces of the puzzle together). This shows readers the difference between a legitimate tactical genius that has the respect of those under their command and a douchebag unsuited for the job.

The Five Hundred probably understood the Lion more than anyone else, and would be the ones to fight as his personal guard. And although the Lion was reluctant to spend their lives, he never admonished them. Instead he would wait for them to assemble on the eve of battle before moving. This silent acknowledgement was all the thanks the Five Hundred ever needed.

Great Crusade[edit]

Bust of the Lion from Space Hulk: Deathwing

"We have killed so many in these charnel-systems, that our hands may never be free of the stain of it."

– The Lion commenting on the Rangdan Xenocides: Scions of the Emperor.

During the campaign known as the Rangdan Xenocides, the Crusade would be halted by a species of such macabre power and technological might, that it looked like the Imperium had met its doom. The Imperium's losses during the Xenocides, would not be exceeded until the dark days of the Heresy; with the implication that entire legions had been [REDACTED]. The First Legion led by the Emperor himself, would be burdened with the "Lions" share of the fighting, with the legionnaires forced to live in their armour for months or years at a time.

It was during this dark time that the Lion was discovered upon Caliban. Upon his discovery, the Emperor would stand down and install the Lion as the overall leader of the war effort against the Rangda. Those Dark Angels, that fought during this campaign, swore the war would have been lost if not for the presence of the Lion, with many claiming that he was the Rangdan's 'destroyer'.

This also goes towards explaining why the Lion didn't travel under the tutelage of one of his other brothers: there simply wasn't enough time. The Lion went straight from leading tech - knights on a single world, to taking the fight to the most dangerous foe the Great Crusade had ever faced across entire star systems and sectors. Talk about a baptism of fire.

The Lion wasn't around during the first war against the Rangdan, but was around for the second (the main event) and the third and final war (the cleanup).

During this time, a certain person using the name "Alpharius" would seek an audience with the Lion. Both the Lion and "Alpharius" understood that the Emperor would eventually have to leave the Crusade and return to Terra, placing one of his sons as Warmaster in his stead; "Alpharius" wanted it to be the Lion. There are two different versions of this encounter, however. The first version appears in Chris Wraight's short story First Legion, wherein a single legionary calling himself "Alpharius" offered to lighten the Lion's burden by secretly taking over operations against the Rangdan so that the Lion and the First could withdraw and rebuild. The Lion of course refused as it was his duty to see the war through to its conclusion. In the second version, from Mike Brooks' Alpharius: Head of the Hydra novel, the Alpha Legion arrives with a full fleet and is ready to make war, which the Lion accepts. In this version, the legionary is in fact Alpharius himself, who is still operating anonymously, as his true goal is finding his brother Omegon in one of the Rangdan warzones. The promise of support for the Warmaster position was a combination of a guess, practical concerns, and an attempt at massaging the Lion's ego. Even though the Lion accepts the assistance in this version, Alpharius wasn't entirely certain that his brother couldn't see through the deception and wondered if he was playing his own game.

Despite their inconsistencies, both stories should be taken in the context of each other. In First Legion the Lion never explicitly sends Alpharius or his forces away, only refusing to withdraw to rebuild in order to take the Warmaster position, since it would make no strategic sense to refuse an offer of fresh ships and troops. In the short story, while the Lion doesn't appear to recognise Alpharius as one of his brothers, the attending captain does note that some kind of unspoken conversation seemed to be going on behind the actual words being spoken. The short story does finish by touching on the fact that the Lion saw through the offer as a dangerous temptation and that he had received similar offers before, all of which had been refused. He had no desire for glory or position, and if he was going to be remembered at all, it would be as the "Slayer of Beasts". In Head of the Hydra Alpharius had a separate personal objective; Omegon had been rumored to have appeared somewhere within the First's area of operations, and even Alpharius couldn't operate a legion sized formation undetected in an active warzone, and never actually planned to supplant the First Legion anyway and had made the concept up on the spot, which kind of plays into the Lion's mistrust about any supposed "offer" as indicated in the other version of the story. In any case, as "untested" allies, the XX Legion were only deployed to peripheral warzones and presumably didn't have much of an impact, since the Dark Angels still sustained massive casualties and the Lion wasn't named Warmaster. Both versions still end up at the same destination.

"We made a promise, brother," he says.
"You think the others will keep theirs?"
"What does that matter to me?"
"Because this world will one day have a single master. It must be you."
He starts to walk again, his boots sinking up to the spurs in mud. Every movement is ponderous, freighted with ingrained fatigue.
"Have a care for destiny!" the knight calls out after him. "An oath can be forgotten. Power cannot."
He keeps walking.
"Then what do you wish to be known for, my liege?" the knight asks, a final plea. "When the annals are written, what do you wish them to say of you?"
He keeps walking. He never looks back.
"That I was ever, and only, thus," he says, tasting the raw, frigid air of another Caliban dawn. "The hunter. The slayer of beasts"

-The Lion from the Scions of the Emperor.

When the Rangdan threat was finally dealt with, there was a decade-long series of purges executed by the Dark Angels and Space Wolves that left entire human-populated sectors lifeless. This was done to ensure what was hoped to be a final victory; these two legions were entrusted above all others to do what needed to be done. Other legions, such as the Luna Wolves and Ultramarines, who had been otherwise occupied with the ongoing wars in the galactic west, were now firmly in ascendance. Those that had retained their strength, having not suffered at the Rangda's hand, now took centre stage in the Great Crusade. Compared to these new 'paragons', the Dark Angels and Space Wolves were now viewed with distrust by the wider Imperium. Accusations would continue to overshadow them, and for better or worse, the Lion didn't seem to be bothered by them.

The Imperium was saved by the actions of the Lion and his Dark Angels, but through their losses sustained during the conflict, they had lost their standing amongst the other legions. With the rise of those that had not taken part in the Xenocides, the Lion had evidently lost his chance at assuming the role of Warmaster. It's likely certain members of the legion saw this loss of prestige as a failing on the Lion's part, leading some like Astelan to view him as an unworthy leader.

Throughout the Great Crusade, there were few records of the Dark Angels' victories kept, but it was widely known that the Lion won acclaim for his masterful tactics and the tenacity of his Legion, managing to accumulate a tally of military victories second only to Horus's Legion. It infuriated the Lion's fraternal rival Leman Russ to have to admit that another Primarch could claim more triumphs than he, but the two would not meet each other until much later.

To give an idea as to the kind of things the First Legion were up to, we can look to the Ikaros Contingency, a directive issued only to the Lion. This gave the Lion authority to "remove" entire sections of the Mechanicum that were considered problematic; it is known that it was used at least 8 times before the beginnings of the Heresy, though the records are tightly sealed away.

The Sarosh Campaign[edit]

Sometime during the Crusade, the Dark Angels took over the campaign from the White Scars, in bringing the planet Sarosh into “the light” of the Imperium. The Saroshi managed to fool both legions into believing that they were interested in becoming a part of the Imperium (though the Imperials suspected that something weird was going on). In reality, the Saroshi were secret worshipers of the Ruinous Powers.

The Lion invited their leader The Lord High Executioner Exacter to his flagship (for dinner) in order to finalize the compliance. The Saroshi took advantage of this by smuggling a nuclear device onboard the spacecraft. The High Lord Exacter then denounced the Imperium and its false Emperor, before personally insulting the Lion by claiming that he and his sons were abominations and nothing more than the product of rutting beasts. The Lion responded by splitting the bureaucrat in twain.

Meanwhile in the hangar bay, Luther had discovered the nuclear device and was pondering whether or not he should let it go off and kill his long-time rival and thus finally becoming the rightful head honcho of the Order. Luckily for everyone, Zahariel was once again in the right place at the right time, and successfully reasoned with Luther. Then they ejected the device into space, where it detonated, causing only minimal damage to the ship. Meanwhile, the Saroshi executed the unsuspecting Imperial civilians and army personnel on the planet's surface.

After the situation in space stabilized, a meeting was called to decide what was to be done with the Saroshi. But before the meeting, Zahariel observed the Lion and Luther speaking in a huddled corner, their words unheard by anyone. Though the intensity of their conversation was plain for all to see. The Lion then abruptly turned away from Luther, his face a mask of unreadable emotion, while Luther's expression was one of despair and anguish. Zahariel would later note that from this moment on, the seemingly unbreakable bonds of trust and brotherhood between the Lion and Luther, were gone forever.

The Lion and his Dark Angels, from the Will of Iron comics

Needless to say, the Lion wasn't too pleased by all this and so he decided to personally lead his forces to the surface. After dealing with the Saroshi and their demonic allies, the Lion made a declaration, announcing that the flow of new recruits from Caliban was not proceeding as swiftly as was hoped. The Great Crusade was entering a new and vigorous stage and the Dark Angels needed fresh warriors, to take the light of the Imperium onwards. Therefore, experienced Astartes were to return to the homeworld with all speed, to ensure that the recruitment of new warriors was put back on track. Luther and Zahariel and around 500 Dark Angels made up of those, that had been injured during the fighting but also some that seemed to have been picked at random were to return to Caliban. Though officially there was no stigma or disgrace placed upon those returning and despite the apparent honour in such a responsibility, many had been shocked at the decision. Especially at the apparent dismissal of Luther, as up to that point, he and the Lion had been inseparable. If the Legion needed warriors so badly, why were they being pulled from the front lines? Training recruits was a job for elders, men who were full of wisdom but past their physical prime.

In “Angels of Caliban”, we are given a brief look into the mind of the Lion, which shows that he is very much conflicted about sending Luther back to Caliban; meaning it to be both a punishment and a genuine desire, to demonstrate to his father/brother that he still trusted him enough, to entrust him with the very future of his sons (he really isn’t very good at expressing himself, is he?). He viewed himself as little more than a warlord, whose place is on the battlefield and believed that he had left his homeworld in the hands of people, that were far more suited to running and safeguarding it, than he ever could. On top of that, he had mixed feeling regarding Caliban itself, as it brought him to question exactly where he belonged. Despite wanting to return home, there was always something more important that took precedence; there was always another enemy, always another war to wage and new frontiers to discover (duty before anything else).

This may seem like a convenient excuse, but the legion really was low on numbers during this period. When the Lion first bought the legion together, they numbered only around 100,000 marines. A pitiful number for what had been the largest of all legions; the First had already suffered significant losses during the first war against the Rangdan and would go on to suffer more during the second war. Although the initial influx of new marines from Caliban was around 20,000, it wasn't enough for the legion, to regain its former might. The Lions decision may seem harsh, but it proved to be an effective one, as by the time of the Heresy, the Dark Angels numbered roughly 200,000. Of course, this did come at the cost of Caliban becoming heavily industrialised and its population turned towards supporting and supplying the needs of the legion (some were not happy about this). Of course, the campaign occurred nearly a hundred years (give or take a few decades) before the breakout of the Heresy. The legion barely breaking the 100,000 mark (some records putting them closer to 50,000; due in part to the losses suffered against the Rangdan). The Legion needed to rebuild and the number of new marines produced on Caliban, due to the experienced marine sent back, managed to produce just over 2000 marines every cycle; by the time of the Heresy, this number had risen to over 4000 per cycle.

The Dulan Campaign[edit]

Despite the fact their legions had operated together during the Rangdan Xenocides, Leman Russ and the Lion would only meet for the first time during the Dulan Campaign.

The leader of that world refused to give in to Imperial rule, going so far as calling Russ the Emperor´s lapdog. Russ, never one to take criticism well, put his efforts into destroying every trace of the enemy while looking for their homeworld.

Unfortunately for Russ, the courts of Terra felt he was taking too long and sent the Lion to finish the campaign for him. When the two met they instantly took a dislike to one another, but agreed to cooperate in order to get the job done. When Russ got word that members of his 13th Company were being held captive with their mutations being broadcasted as evidence of their corruption, Russ deviated from the agreed upon plan to take the enemy capital and so the Lion moved in and killed the enemy ruler; denying Russ his kill.

Russ felt that the kill was righteously his, and had been stolen from him by the Lion. Russ, never one to let go of a stick easily, began a brawl with the Lion by walking up to his brother after the battle and punching him square in the jaw. While Russ was the stronger of the two, the Lion turned out to be the better swordsman and was the quicker. Their duel went on for a day and a night, ending when the Lion threw Russ through a table. The foolishness of their fight seemed at that point to dawn upon Russ, and he got back up and began to laugh, feeling his honour had been satisfied. Unfortunately, the Lion didn't have the same opinion, so he took Russ's laughter as his brother mocking him, and if there's one thing the Lion can´t stand, it's people mocking him. He threw a left hook sucker punch and knocked Russ out cold. When Russ woke up several days later, the Lion and his forces were gone. To say he was furious would be an understatement, but once he calmed down Russ realized that the Lion had actually done him a favour by quietly disposing of any damning evidence of the Wulfen.

10,000 years later both chapters still choose a champion from amongst their number in order to re-enact their Primarchs' duel whenever the two cross paths. There are two versions of the duel: Duellum Honestas, which is to first blood and Duellum Dolor, which is to the death. It is customary for the Dark Angels to recite the ancient battle chant "- Two sucker punches were thrown that day. Only one Primarch walked away."


Near to the end of the Great Crusade the Lion, along with Horus, Fulgrim, and Jaghatai accompanied the Emperor to the planet Molech. The four Primarchs would spend almost one hundred and eleven standard Terran days upon the surface of Molech, but whatever they did during this time was erased from their memories by the Emperor himself (the same thing he did to Zahariel in Descent of Angels). When they departed, they left behind almost a hundred regiments of the Imperial Army, three Titanicus cohorts and a garrison detachment from two Legions to guard the Emperor's secrets.

An interesting little detail is that Molech is apparently where the Emperor made his deal with the Ruinous Powers; the deal was apparently that in exchange for power and knowledge he would provide them with vessels powerful enough for them to enter the material universe. The fact that he returned there with exactly four primarchs is very telling...

Was the Emperor planning to make good on his deal by offering up his sons as sacrificial vessels for the dark gods in order to save his own skin? Why would an almost all-powerful ("godlike" being) give up any of its power? They wouldn't, for that would leave them in a weaker position then you were before. Of course, this is trying to apply logic to Chaos, they may have agreed simply because they were bored, and this would make things more interesting (all primarchs are infused with Warp power after all). It could be that he simply tricked the Chaos Gods, as it is even explicitly said by Ingethel the Ascended in "The First Heretic" that the Chaos Gods considered the primarchs their property. So it could be possible that the Emperor simply bargained for some warp power to create "stable greater daemons" (i.e. the primarchs) for the Chaos Gods, without ever intending on delivering on the promise. Also, this was not the first, but actually the second visit of the Emperor on Molech. Therefore it is far more likely that the EMPRA wanted to fortify this world on his second visit rather than offer four of his sons up as sacrificial lambs. The planet contained a gateway to the Realm of the Chaos Gods and he possibly needed some of his sons for that (or he wanted to keep up appearances that the deal was still on and took them along as some kind of proof). Not to mention that the EMPRA even left an immortal female Perpetual behind to guard (and if necessary) close the gateway forever, should it ever become necessary. Unfortunately, she was killed by Horus before she could finish the incantation, or the whole epic duel on the Vengeful Spirit would have played out entirely different.

Later during the Heresy the Lion would encounter a two-headed Lord of Change (possibly Kairos Fateweaver, the oracle of Tzeentch) who claimed to have met the Lion before but although he recognised the voice of the daemon the Lion could not remember from where. During the Lion's confrontation with the two-headed Lord of Change his mind stirred with vague recollections, of pleading and entreaty.

Did the Emperor, knowing what was going to happen, actively seek to placate the Dark Gods so as to avoid the disaster that would follow? Answer: No/Yes/Maybe, as they consider the EMPRA their greatest enemy, and furthermore refer to him as "the Anathema" for a reason (Anathema means a person or thing detested or loathed: The Chaos Gods hate the Emperor and may even fear what his actions might bring about) The origins of the Chaos Gods loathing for the Emperor may have been the result of his theft, he had wronged them, and now they want payback; you could argue that the Emperor's actions and presence are what have caused the Chaos Gods to turn their attention away from the Great Game towards the Materium (He took the greatest gamble in history, and now the galaxy is paying the price). Horus suspects that the Emprah came to Molech (on his first visit) and stole his psychic might from the Chaos Gods (saying that the Emperor came with a spaceship but left without it) and takes this as proof that the Empra was not always as powerful as he is now / was at the time of the Horus Heresy. However, it is equally likely that that the Emperor simply used a spacecraft on his first visit to Molech, as teleporting across half the galaxy would have represented a huge effort and use of psychic power - even for him - which he would have needed to recover from. This in turn would have made it impossible for him to enter the Chaos Realm and act from a position of power.

Even the word Molech is remarkably similar to the word Moloch which is a biblical name relating to a Canaanite god associated with child sacrifice. ( if you read the page there might be a couple of other interesting similarities that you might find in relation to the Emperor. But then again a guy named after the demon of lust is part of the zealous fun police in 40kverse.

Reaction To Horus becoming Warmaster[edit]

"He counted all men of power to think as he did, yet while the Lion and the Wolf of Luna shared many traits, they were not the same. When news of Horus' new rank reached the Lion he did not pause in his campaigns, did not offer congratulations or lament his own fortune and this, more than the reaction of any of his other brothers, gave the Warmaster pause."

– Horus' reaction to the Lion's reaction to Horus becoming Warmaster

Surprisingly, despite their differences, both Russ and the Lion shared a similar reaction to Horus becoming Warmaster. Whilst many of their brothers threw massive temper tantrums and acted like spoiled brats, both the Lion and Russ accepted the decision with cynical resolve, unsurprised that it was Horus that had been chosen. Neither had been pleased with the decision, but neither of them could doubt his fitness for the role, for none of the primarchs had ever matched Horus’s achievements, nor the intimacy of his bond with the Emperor. Well, except for Sanguinius, that is.

Initially, after Horus’s appointment, there was a silent but very awkward tension between Horus and the Lion. The relationship between the two primarchs had always been fractious (Horus believed that the Lion felt he should be the most revered primarch because his Legion was the first). It had never spilled over into confrontation, but Horus knew that their new circumstances would put their brotherly bonds under additional pressure. Surprisingly it was the Lion and not Horus who made the effort to extend the olive branch, an offer that Horus could not afford to ignore.

The position of Warmaster does not make you the next Emperor in waiting, but as shown in “Unremembered Empire”, was the highest military position in the Imperium. Horus as the first found (at least officially; according to new lore, that position actually belongs to Alpharius, though we only have his word on that...) already had a long and proven record that, although the Lion seems to have been catching up too quickly, had yet to be beaten. Horus also had one thing that the Lion, despite his brilliance, did not: his natural charisma - the ability to get people to do what he wanted and to act as a mediator between his various brothers, who would normally be at each other’s throats. The Lion was both introverted as fuck and had a stubborn, independent streak which meant that although he would follow the orders he was given, he would do it “his way”, which might not gel well with what other people may have wanted.

In the short story The Board is Set the symbolic depiction of the piece used to represent the Lion is the "Double-Edged Sword", which indicates that the Emperor may have known that the Lion had the capacity to bring both favourable and unfavourable consequences, and therefore kept him away from the position of Warmaster for that very reason (though ironically he did trust him and his legion with a SUPER SEKRIT MacGuffin arsenal of Dark Age era artifacts that nobody else in the empire possessed). Additionally, Lorgar was given a vision apparently showing all the Primarchs that would side with Horus during the Heresy. One of the Primarchs shown fits the description of the young Lion arriving on Caliban. The Chaos Gods seem to have really wanted and fully expected the Lion to have joined their side during the Heresy. The fact that the Lion stayed loyal either shows that the Emperor made the right choice with the Lion, or that the sword hadn't swung both ways yet. However, it's more likely that the double-edged sword was the depiction of a loyal tool that can cut friend or foe without hesitation; a Lion that can kill his enemies but also a brother gone astray, as proven in his readiness to strike down fallen brothers if need to.

Horus Heresy[edit]

Shortly after the betrayal at Isstvan III, but prior to the Drop Site Massacre, the Lion and his legion were busy battling for control over the Shield Worlds, but upon learning of Horus' betrayal he emerged from the dark in order to lead a small select group of Dark Angels to capture a set of Ordinatus war engines that Horus would have used against the Imperial Palace. Note: These weapons were so big that a blast from one could take out an entire starport. Despite successfully winning this campaign and capturing the weapons, the Lion ended up having a meeting with Perturabo, who was ostensibly on his way to join with Dorn's retribution force in order to bring justice to the Emperor's traitorous sons. The Lion gifted the Ordinatii to his brother with the understanding that Pert would lend his voice in supporting his candidacy for the position of Warmaster. Suffice to say that the Lion had no idea that his brother had already turned and would likely end up using the war engines on Terra anyway. The Lion then left to re-join his legion. It would turn out that it was Pert who told the Lion of Curze and the Night Lords activity’s in the Thramas sector, and was the one to place the target on Curze’s back. However, Horus was ultimately behind both Pert and Curze's actions, as the overarching plan was to set the Dark Angels up to be so busy with the Night Lords as to remove them from the wider Heresy. In particular, Horus wanted to make absolutely sure they weren't anywhere near Terra when he made his move to take it.

The Emperor's First and Eighth Sons, spending some quality time together. They might not look like it, but the Brothers are having the time of their lives!

Thramas Crusade[edit]

"I was content in the dark places of the galaxy, content to kill in the name of empire and be forgotten. But you have summoned me back with your pitiful flailings at rebellion, for you have endangered the empire my toil has built and for that there is a price to be paid. First we shall speak of my brothers, Curze and Horus, and then you shall learn what terror truly means for the brief remnants of your existence."

– Spoken by the Lion as he drags a Praetor of the Night Lords into the Invincible Reason so that they can have a friendly chat

When the Horus Heresy properly broke out, the Dark Angels began a push-pull war with the Night Haunter and his legion known as the Thramas Crusade. The Night Lords had originally been tasked with conquering this sector, and turning its assets over to the traitors, in order to fuel the war effort in Horus’ name. Perturabo, who was still playing his part as a loyal son, informed the Lion of their activities, to which the Lion, under the impression that Dorn’s retribution force could deal with Horus and friends, left to gather a force of Dark Angels to bring the Night Lords to heel. It would only be during the time he was gathering his own forces that the true scale of his brothers betrayal truly became apparent. The Lion, and the part of the legion with him, would now find themselves on the wrong side of the Ruinstorm, unable to get to the other side, and faced with a enemy that could not be left unchallenged, and that was very much determined to keep them tied up for as long as possible.

While the Lion was a superior tactician to Curze, finishing that particular fight was more easily said than done. The nature of the combat essentially forced the Lion to play a game of cat-and-also-cat with Curze, and if there was one thing Curze was good at (besides being spooky), it was unconventional warfare. Second, successfully ambushing a warp-capable fleet with another warp-capable fleet is almost impossible (during ‘The Lion’ by Gav Thorpe, the Night Lords are actually capable of somehow following the Dark Angel ships during Warp travel; something that should have been impossible. The Dark Angels don’t know how they were doing it, but it is likely that the Night Lords were unknowingly getting a bit of a helping hand), Imperial warp drives are not only inaccurate, but are very difficult to use inside of star systems, so realspace translation with a planetary target in mind has to occur pretty far away from the actual destination. This meant that if the Dark Angels tried to counter a Night Lords incursion, the Night Lords could detect the Dark Angels long before they were in engagement range. By the time the Dark Angels could get significant assets in-system, most of the Night Lords could, and often would, already be gone. Traitor counter attacks on worlds such as Sedrrice and Chenros had left both sides battered and exhausted. The situation had turned into an inconclusive quagmire with no end in sight, which suited the Night Lords just fine. So long as they could continue to keep the Dark Angels stuck on the wrong side of the galaxy, their objective was fulfilled.

Also around this point it was apparent that the Lion was hanging out with the Watchers in the Dark who were apparently feeding him information. (Which is kind of a WTF, are they members of the Cabal or not? And do they want to fuck humanity or not? and what does the Lion know about it?). The Watchers were informing him that his legion back on Caliban were starting to get naughty (though the way that they conveyed this was... unhelpfully oblique), but the Lion also knew that Roboute Guilliman had also raised his banner in the East and could have become a threat almost as bad as Horus. Knowing that it could potentially mean sacrificing his legion if he took too long. He also made it clear during this little conversation with the Watcher that he was 100% loyal to the Emperor. He in fact went so far as to state that he would not suffer the Imperium to be led by literally anyone other than the Emperor, even if that meant he had to fight any or all of his loyal brothers so stop such an eventuality.

After a year of conflict, Curze invited Lion El'Jonson to parley on the planet of Tsagualsa, either to try to turn him or just for the lulz he might get in poking fun at him. Here Konrad Curze once again mocked the Dark Angels telling Lion El'Jonson on how in the future the Dark Angels would be called into question as to whether they were truly loyal or just waiting on the sideline to join with whomever won the battle. This only proves that Curze wasn't in the office the day the memo about “Not Mocking the Lion” was handed out as the Lion after waiting patiently for his brother to stop ranting apologized to Curze for what he referred to as "-such a dishonourable blow." before he proceeded to impale Konrad through the gut with his sword, defiantly proclaiming that "-‘I do not care who knows the truth now, tomorrow, or in ten thousand years. Loyalty is its own reward.". The two brothers proceeded to have a brutal and bloody brawl which at one point had Curze nearly strangling the Lion despite having been sucker-stabbed minutes before. Fortunately for the Lion however, Corswain of the Dark Angels leapt onto Curze's back and impaled him (again), then preceded to strangle him with his own chains, ridding the Primarch like he was in a rodeo, which allowed the Lion to get back up; the two brothers would continue to fight until large numbers of marines from both Legions landed and pulled them apart. Being dragged back to their individual ships while flinging curses at one another, the Lion swore that he would not return to Terra before he had made Konrad Curze and his legion pay for their traitorous actions, inadvertently ensuring that Curze's prediction would come to pass. It was also after this point that the war would start to turn against Curze really badly, once again, do NOT mock the Lion.

Taking Curze's message about being "Savage Weapons" to heart, the Lion stopped chasing Curze around the whole sector and instead tried something different. He enacted a scorched earth policy to reduce the available area that he had to defend. Taking what munitions and warriors he could from less defended worlds, relocating their populations to more defensible locations, then burning what remained so that the Traitors were left with nothing to fight over., but also effectively doing much of the traitor's work for them. However, this policy created such impregnable strongholds that only one of them fell to the enemy, which was Thramas itself, and which was taken for only seven days before being reclaimed by Marduk Sedras and his forces. Unfortunately for the Lion, this also didn't exactly solve the problem of fighting the Night Lords, as their elusive fleets could still withdraw whenever they were engaged; which meant that the Lion also needed a second aspect to his plan that he believed was to be found in the Perditus system.

During the journey to Perditus, there was a short run-in with daemons where the Dark Angels aboard the Invincible Reason found themselves trapped between reality and the Warp without the protection of the Gellar fields. The command deck of the flagship was saved by the intervention of one of the legion's former Librarians breaking the Edict of Nikaea, which helped the Dark Angels to figure out that psychic powers were the best weapon against creatures of the warp. When the Lion reinstated the Librarius, one of the Chaplains got a bit pissy over him defying the Edict of Nikaea and demanded that the Librarian be immediately executed, even as tides of daemons continued to flood the ship. So what did the Lion do? Delivered a brutal backhanded slap which KNOCKED HIS FUCKING HEAD OFF! No-one fucks with the Lion. Any questions? (it should be noted that the Lion did show genuine sorrow and regret over the Chaplain's death).

This scene has caused no small amount of nerd rage amongst Dark Angels players. Mostly because it was fucking stupid.

When reading this scene there is a number of things to bear in mind:

  • this is not a common occurrence; the shock displeased by those who witnessed the event goes to show this was not the normal behaviour that they are used to from for the Lion.
  • the entire ship is currently trapped between reality and the Warp without the protection of the Geller field.
  • the Invincible Reason is currently being overrun by a tidal wave of daemons, and the longer things take the greater the loss amongst his Little Brothers.
  • the Lion gave the Chaplain multiple chances to step down, explaining that, yes the Librarian had broken the edict, but their current situation required their power to be utilized. The breaking of the edict would be dealt with only after the daemons had been dealt with first.
  • the Lion struck out in anger hitting the Chaplain with the back of his hand, as proven by the armor shards embedded in the back of his gauntlet. This looks more like a disciplinary action then an actual attempt to kill. The Lion lashed out in blind anger, not intending to actually kill; it's up to you to decide whether this makes it better or worse.
  • It only took a split second for the Lion to realize what he had done, and his normally stoic appearance was replaced by one of anguish. After looking at the hand that struck the Chaplain he knelt, his eyes never leaving the ruined body and swore that they would mourn for the Chaplain once the ship was once again safe.

The author of “The Lion”, Gav Thorpe was asked what made him decide to kill off the Chaplain, his reply can be found here[[1]].

The ace in the Lion's sleeve was an awesome, yet clearly heretical, sentient warp engine of unknown origins called Tuchulcha, that the Lion had known about during his time in the Great Crusade campaigning with Mortarion. Upon arriving at its hidden location he found that a group of Death Guard and Iron Hands were arguing over it. He very clearly told them both to stand down, or he would destroy them, the engine and the planet itself if need be, rather then let it fall into traitor hands, to which the Death Guard carried on, believing he was bluffing… that was until he actually followed through with his threat, only redirecting the attack once the Death Guard had backed down. This artifact was part of a trinity of sentient Warp constructs consisting of itself, the Plagueheart and the Ouroboros (the creature at the heart of Caliban). All three parts were at one time part of a single warp entity used by the Old Ones to create their Webway network, or at least part of it. Strangely enough Tuchulcha refers to Caliban as its home and that ‘Salvation’ is waiting there, not just for it but for the Dark Angels as well. However, since the Lion had no real way to tell friend from foe since the Death Guard were working for Horus and the Iron Hands were now working for Rowboat Girlyman. He ended up shouting at Typhon for a bit, telling the Iron Hands to go fuck themselves, and took the Tuchulcha for himself.

At around this time, Magnus, from his location in the Eye of Terror had sussed out that the Lion was carrying around the "seeds of his own destruction", but it is uncertain if he is referring to Tuchulcha, the Watchers in the Dark, the soon-to-be-Fallen Angels, or something else, since there seems to be a lot of influences surrounding the First Legion during this period.

The Dark Angels used the Tuchulcha to ambush the Night Lords and eventually break their legion, forcing them to scatter and become a raiding force from then onwards. Konrad Curze, after emerging from the deathly coma caused by the savage mauling he had received at the Lion's hands during the ambush, would end up lurking around the Dark Angels flagship playing a deadly game of hide and seek, which the Lion almost won until someone interrupted him by radio.

By the end of the conflict the Dark Angels had suffered almost 10,000 casualties, whilst the Night Lords had suffered the loss of around 40,000 marines; the Night Lords had 100,000 marine fighting in the conflict (100% of the legion) vs 70,000 Dark Angels (35% of the legion). But in completing the campaign, the Lion had to effectively damn himself twice in order to do so. The first by being just as destructive as the Night Lords and effectively ruining much of the sector, and the second by bringing the forbidden Tuchulcha device on board his ship and using it. Though to be fair, the Tuchulcha amounted to a completely game-breaking piece of tech when it came to void warfare, as it allowed the Dark Angels fleet to basically ignore every limitation or danger of Imperial warp drives.

Ultimately although Horus knew he couldn’t keep them out of the fight indefinitely; Curze had succeeded in the strategic objective the Traitors had been aiming for. The Lion had lost his chance to be present at Terra when the hammer fell, and the bulk of the Dark Angels would not be present either. It would take the full might of Lion, two of his brothers, and their legions to finally break through the Ruinstorm; which to be fair isn't that surprising as Horus had decades to secretly plan out everything (and it still didn't go exactly to plan) against his unknowing opponents, and to set out his strategies to isolate or side-line the brothers he knew he couldn't get to turn traitor.

Imperium Secundus[edit]

After the shattering of the Night Lords the Lion headed towards Macragge with a force of 20,000 Dark Angels, leaving the bulk of the Legion under the command of Corswain. His last command to his Seneschal was to find Russ of the Space Wolves, and to engage the enemy wherever possible. In order to make the search as effective as possible the Legion split up into Orders, allowing them to search a much wider area. They would unfortunately fail to locate Russ, as he and the Space Wolves had already been saved by some Calibanite Dark Angels, who 59 years previously had been sent out to distant fortresses across the void and had recently been trying to piece together what was happening during the Heresy due to the nebula interfering with communications. (Which begs the question, how did Russ know the Lion was heading to Macragge in ‘Vengeful Spirit’ if Althalos hadn’t had any word from the Lion and had no idea what he was doing?) Though the Calibanite Dark Angels had sworn themselves to Luther (most have never even seen the Lion or any other primarch for that matter), these ones seemed to still be loyal to the Emperor.

Corswain went on to travel with Belath (the same arse from “Call of the Lion”) to hunt down forces under the command of Typhon. They gave the Death Guard such a hard time that Mortarion himself decided that he needed to take control of the situation personally. Belath annoyed Corswain so much (yes, this guy is so annoying he managed to get under the skin of the guy who held his own in a verbal duel with Sevatar without losing his cool) that he was ordered to commandeer as many transports as he could and head to Caliban in order to collect all the Dark Angels stationed there and bring them into the fight.

Lords of Imperium Secundus

A bit later, the Lion finally made his way out to Macragge with the intention of seeing Roboute Guilliman. Due to a giant-ass Warp storm aptly named the Ruinstorm, pretty much anybody who was on the eastern side of the galaxy had been cut off from Terra. Attempts had been made to penetrate the storm, but nobody had come even close to succeeding as far as those who remained were aware. As such, Guilliman had decided that until he heard otherwise, he was going to assume the absolute worst case scenario: Horus had won, Terra was in ruins, the Emperor was dead, and something needed to be done. That something would end up being the formation of a political institution called Imperium Secundus, which was essentially a space age version of the Eastern Roman Empire. The point was to preserve as much of the Imperium's progress and ideals as possible, and to try to scrape together enough of a fighting force to give the Traitors absolute hell when the inevitable attack came. To that end, Guilliman's forces had found a Xenos device known as the Pharos, a mountain like device which they originally used as a sort of mini-Astronomican. With the light of the actual Astronomican having been cut off by the Ruinstorm, all the disparate and scattered Loyalist forces in the eastern half of the galaxy started converging on the Pharos, either thinking it was the real Astronomican or just looking for some safe harbor. The Lion, due to his ridiculous Tardis, knew precisely where he was going and had the intention of making sure Guilliman wasn't trying to become a third wheel in the current galactic clusterfuck. He arrived on Macragge with no incident despite the Ultramarines being quite on edge (Calth had just happened after all), and put on a parade with his Dark Angels that was so awesome that Guilliman actually got a bit annoyed. This was then sharply contrasted by the Lion straight up hugging Guilliman when they met, which freaked him out so badly that he dropped his helmet, which the Lion then picked up and gave back to him. Guilliman didn't want to give the job of Regent to the Lion because he didn't trust the Lion, and the Lion didn't want Guilliman to have it because what Guilliman was doing was technically treason. In spite of this, the two brothers were actually getting on for a little while...

... And then Konrad broke loose and pretty much waged a one man war against Ultramar, after which Vulkan was revealed to have been on Macragge the whole time and the two proceeded to bitchslap each other about for a bit. Guilliman & the Lion would then have a pissing match because of this over who was hiding the most secrets. Eventually Sanguinius joined the party and they made him regent, solving both of their problems.

The Lion was named Lord Protector of Imperium Secundus, essentially making him the Warmaster, in all but name, of the remaining loyalists now allied with the Imperium Secundus, Sanguinius would be the Emperor and Guilliman the architect (i.e the prime minister). Guilliman would command an army of bureaucrats, senators and lawmakers whilst the Lion would be the general of the combined armed forces. He would be able to take the fight to Horus at the head of the finest augmented warriors dedicated to the most beloved of the Primarchs. Recruited, organised and armed by the greatest logistician in the galaxy and commanded by its paramount general. You really would struggle to put together a better combination, too bad they didn’t really get on or Horus would have had a fight on his hands.

Despite the Primarchs' public display of unity, not all was well with the newly formed alliance. The Lion took Curze’s escape very seriously, seeing it as his own personal failure; the fact that his treacherous brother had once again slipped through his fingers infuriated him and it would continue to play on the Lion’s mind. He also became increasingly annoyed with Sanguinius who despite being made regent seemed to want to do nothing but lock himself away and mope around feeling sorry for himself like some stroppy teen.

As time passed the Lion grew increasingly obsessed with hunting down his wayward brother and bringing him to ‘justice’ for his past crimes (sounds strangely familiar for some reason) and neglected some of his other duties toward Imperium Secundus (seriously is anyone else getting a weird sense of deja vu) in favour of preparing in secret to finally put a stop to the Night Haunter’s antics. (In all fairness you can’t really blame him, hunting down another Primarch, especially one as elusive and dangerous as Curze isn’t exactly something you can half-arse).

  • Guilliman tried to blame the Lion for the attack on the Pharos, even going so far as to try to get Sang to team up with him against the Lion; Sang shot back that despite both his brother’s naming him Emperor, Guilliman had never truly let go of the reigns of power, with Guilliman treating Sang as little more then a figurehead- going out of his way to put on a show in public, yet pulling all the strings behind the scenes regardless to Sang’s wishes. All three brothers had agreed to not drew attention to the Pharos devise, choosing to not have it heavily guarded on purpose (to make it look unimportant- the safety of the device was the responsibility of all three brothers not just the Lion). When the attack against the Pharos device happened the Lion was busy elsewhere, beating the shit out of a portion of the World Eaters legion, freeing another one of Guillimans worlds from traitor forces; all whilst Guilliman was sitting at his desk at home, and Sang was isolating himself in his throne room (at least one of the three was getting shit done).
The Lion looking more like a Neckbeard than usual. Dog the Bounty Hunter would be proud, though.

Through the events of “Angels of Caliban” the Lion proves just what he is willing to do and sacrifice in order to catch Curze, and that he is undoubtedly an apex predator among the warp spawned monsters that comprise his family. With the blessing of Sanguinius he unleashes the Dreadwing upon Macragge, whilst at the same time deploying the Deathwing to protect the capital and enforce martial law. Although the populace were unhappy about the restrictions placed upon them, the Lion had good reason for doing so; terrorist attacks had spread across Macragge, resulting in the death of both large numbers of civilians and even entire patrols of Space Marines. The terrorist activity was spreading out from the mountainous region of Illyrium, whose people it would turn out to have been worshippers of "Chaos" for centuries before Guilliman's foster father was even born. The people of this region had never accepted Guilliman as Macragge's ruler, but decided that discretion was the way to go, and had kept their rituals secret; for as long as a Primarch stood against them they knew that they could not win... yet. The Lion saw the pattern in their workings, and knew that Curze was the one pulling the strings, something Guilliman refused to accept. The people of Illyrium now had their own demigod on their side and were quick to take action against the rest of Macragge. Both the Lion and Guilliman argued over how to deal with them. Guilliman refused to take up arms against "his" people, and the Lion argued that they could not move forward whilst this rebellion acted as a weight around their necks. Sanguinius sided with the Lion much to Guilliman's dismay, although the Lion was warned that orbital bombardment was out of the question. The Lion simply rolled his eyes and did it anyway (in a very sneaky way of course); he orbitally dropped the Dreadwing into the mountains and had them wreck the place with their full arsenal of proscribed weapons. The Lion cleaned up the mess that Guilliman should have dealt with a long time ago, but then again that is what the Lion was there to do; he was there to do the dirty work so the other two could keep their hands clean.

The Lion cornered Curze in an isolated mountain range and ordered the Dreadwing to stand down before going in alone. Curze’s shadowman antics had grown predictable, especially for the Lion, who'd also started drawing more on his hunting instincts than in any of his previous portrayals. The final brutal confrontation between the brothers ended with Curze and the Lion reenacting the Knightfall comic as Batman and Bane, respectively. (seriously the similarities between Russ and the Lion are starting to add-up). The Lion dragged a paralysed, broken, and chained Curze before his brothers for trial, but Curze quickly flipped the script by revealing that the Lion did in fact disobey the direct order from Sanguinius regarding the use of excessive force. Despite doing all the dirty work and handing over Curze to them on a silver platter, the Lion was banished from Imperium Secundus and Guilliman broke the Lion Sword over his knee while delivering a pretty snappy one-liner.

  • An interesting scenario may have played out if the Lion hadn’t wiped out this militarized Chaos worshiping cult (they had kept their ‘faith’ hidden from the rest of the planet whilst Guilliman ruled, but now they had their own demigod on their side). If they had been left alive when the Primarchs and their forces left for Terra, this cult may have overrun the heart of Guilliman's realm in their absence. Guilliman on his return may have had to deal with his very own “Caliban” scenario; in hindsight Guilliman may actually owe the Lion big time for removing them before they could become a major issue.
  • There is certainly a whiff of hypocrisy coming from Guilliman direction here; even in the stories that features him 10,000 years later he reminisces over the countless worlds that he had bought to ruin, of the sheer number of species wiped from existence by his hands, all in the name of the Emperor. What the Lion had done was no different then what was routinely inflicted out by the Imperium upon countless civilizations across the galaxy, during the Great Crusade, the only difference is that now it was his world that was affected. All Primarchs have a river of blood on their hands, and Guilliman getting angry because he was now on the other end of the brutality of the Emperors Crusade is rather funny.

As the Dark Angels were preparing to leave, the Lion had an epiphany regarding Curze's visions; if Curze’s fate was to be killed by an assassin at the Emperor's command, then he needed to be still alive for such an order to be given. If Curze were to be killed before he is meant to, then the loyalists might inadvertently bring about a future where the Emperor’s fate could be drastically changed for the worst. The Lion immediately went back down to Macragge, giving up the last chance he had of saving his legion and homeworld, bent the knee to his brothers and begged them (SERIOUSLY IF ANYONE STILL HAS ANY DOUBTS REGARDING HIS DEVOTION TO THE EMPEROR THEN YOU DESERVE A SLAP) to spare Curze’s life (he’s got better plot armour then the space wolves at this point) and pledges to be his brother’s keeper.

Now knowing that Terra still stood, the three Primarchs gathered the bulk of their forces and headed into the Ruinstorm, with the intent of forcing their way through. Sanguinius would end up almost having a major falling out with the Lion after Hawk Boy decided to break Curze out of his prison, leaving a trail of unconscious Dark Angels behind him, so that Sanguinius and Curze could go to Davin and find out what remained there. The Lion was so pissed that he nearly ordered the planet destroyed with his brother still on it. Realising what he had almost ordered, the Lion deduced that even now the enemy was manipulating them, subtly playing upon their fears, dreams and wants and exploiting their personalities and natural instincts to drag them down a path of fate that would only lead to their self-destruction. Feeling the invisible chains that had shackled him without his notice, he immediately sent a message to Guilliman, warning him to be watchful, as they could no longer trust their first instincts. The message was received by Guilliman, who took the hidden meaning very seriously as he himself was suffering his own inner conflicts of self-doubt and inaction.

Once through the Ruinstorm, the three fleets parted ways. Whilst Guilliman’s fleet tried to punch a hole through the enemy’s fleet in order to allow the Blood Angels to get to Terra, the Lion and his forces went on an Exterminatus spree through traitor-held space in order to draw more of Horus’s forces away from Terra. Did you ever wonder why there is no mention of the Traitors' homeworlds after the Heresy? The Lion and the Dark Angels are why. The Lion unleashed destruction of unprecedented scale, crushing traitor world after traitor world across the galaxy. When the traitors were defeated there would be no safe haven for them to run to.

One of the biggest lessons the Primarchs took from their trip through the Ruinstorm was that symbolism and symbolic actions were very important when fighting the forces of Chaos. A sword is a more effective weapon then a firearm, not because it's more powerful, but because the person has to be the one to drive the blade home. Decisive and thorough action was crucial. The Lion took this lesson to heart; he wouldn't just destroy his enemies, he would wipe them out completely, root and stem.

Exterminatus Campaigns[edit]

This period of time would be known as ‘the passage of the Angel of Death’, as the Lion would throw aside any notion, or façade of the ‘hero’/‘savior’, and would fully embody the aspect of the ‘destroyer’. The Dreadwing whose actions would normally be highly controlled and sanctioned (Redloss once asked if the Lion was sure he wanted to unleash the Dreadwing, as he knew that once the order was given no quarter would be given- among the legion Redloss was a well known Warmonger, and even he was like ‘are you sure you want to do this?’) were let fully off the leach; where the Dreadwing walked, worlds burned.

Just as he told his brothers he would, the Lion tore a path of destruction through the traitor territories. His legion destroyed Chemos and many other worlds, but by the time they reduced Barbarus to space dust, they began to realise that they were not having the desired effect. The traitors seemed to be indifferent to the destruction of their homeworlds and refused to be drawn away from Terra.

The Lion had taken to haunting the abandoned levels of the Invincible Reason since the destruction of Luth Tyre. He didn't even bother to appear when Barbarus finally died. Although he didn't tell the legion the reason why, as it seemed the Astronomican was dead; now that the Ruinstorm was gone the Lion reasoned that the eight weeks of darkness combined with the prophetic visions of Curze and Sanguinius meant that despite their efforts Horus had won. All that was left to do was to make sure it was a hollow victory and the Lion would avenge his father by making sure Horus ruled over an empire of ash. This is expanded upon in Mortis, the astronomican is confirmed to have been snuffed out, not simply obscured, meaning that even though they may have wanted to get to Terra, they would be sailing blind; only the Lion and his inner circle of trust knows this however.

Descriptions of the broken blade.

He confided only in Mistress Fiona, the ship's Navigator, and Stenius, the ship's captain. They had been reliant on Tuchulcha to travel since Luth Tyre but had kept it a secret until they were sure of their chosen path. The revelation that Stenius had been a member of the Lions inner most circle, all along, and had been trusted to use Tuchulcha came as a real surprise to Holguin, as it was a well-known fact among the legion that the Lion had been suspicious of his loyalties; turns out the Lion and Stenius are two fantastic actor’s.

A meeting was called to discuss what their next move should be, with the Lion demanding that all wings of the Hexagrammaton should be heard. Although the gathering took place, the Lion was nowhere to be found. The meeting started seemingly without him, the gathered assembly bowing to an empty throne. The debate gathered momentum with Astartes and mortals arguing on both sides. The Lion brought the heated debate to an end by suddenly appearing among them, seated upon the throne, catching them all by surprise. By remaining unnoticed, the Lion demonstrated that he may have been better at reading people than he let on. Without them being aware of his presence he was able to listen to the honest opinions of his legionaries, as well as his mortal crew. The mortals would never have spoken up in his presence and he was no longer getting open and honest answers from his voted lieutenants. The heads of the Hexagrammation were not just a military force but also acted as his closest advisors and confidants. Despite his efforts to reassure and encourage them to speak their minds, the death of the Brother-Redemptor at the Lion's hands had colored their view of the Lion. Although they may have had opposing views to their Primarch, they now kept them to themselves. This essentially isolated the Lion, leaving him alone without anyone he could truly confide in; this didn't help the fact that the longer the Heresy dragged out, the more the primal beast that slumbered in his heart was being pushed further to the surface. By remaining unseen, he was able to get the honest views of both sides, that he wouldn't have gotten if he had made his presence known.

Ultimately the Lion would choose to continue to attack the traitors reinforcements, strongholds and supply lines, this was mostly due to the fact that without the light of the Astronomican to guide them back to Terra, they couldn’t make it back, even if they wanted too.

Also of note: the book ‘Dreadwing’ insists heavily that the Lion's actions are having little effect, however later sources clearly refute this assessment. Malcador explains to Dorn how important the Lion's actions are in harming the forces of Chaos and he is backed up by Sanguinius, who learned the same lessons as the Lion during their journey. It’s made clear that Horus’s forces are being starved of new reinforcements for the Siege of Terra due to the Lion destroying anyone attempting to do so, and by destroying the traitor strongholds he is denying them any safe haven that they could retreat to, Horus forces were now stuck between Terra and the growing loyalists forces slowly closing in around the siege (this pressure would help push Horus’s hand). It might have looked like the Lion's actions were having no effect from his own position at the traitor's backs, but they most certainly did.

The Lion was also not on his own. He would end up teaming up with many other scattered loyalists forces, including some Imperial Fists who had escaped the siege of their own home world. The Lion would also be joined by Russ (just like in the old lore), his legion, and the Raven Guard (Corax wouldn’t join them personally, but would lend a portion of his legion). The Lion would team up with his brothers long before the events in ‘Dreadwing’ would take place, which brings the canon events that happen in that book into question; the story overall stays the same but the details change.

Also, Corswain and some Dark Angels reach Terra on their own and jump into the fray to reignite the Astronomican, allowing the other Loyalists to get to Terra and take part in the siege - once it is back up and running it will be a race for the Lion and Russ to get to Terra in time, just like the older lore described.


"You never learned! You should have been faster! It was your pride that kept you in the void! And I am guilty, just as you are. So fight me, and we will pass sentence on each other, the guilty slaying the guilty. I will not ask you again!"

– the Lion maddened by grief confronts Russ under the monument of Dulan

Some time near the end of the Horus Heresy the Lion's campaign to destroy the traitor worlds came to a close and he decided it was time to make his way back towards Terra. The Primarchs led their armadas into the warp, where they were then assaulted by daemons attempting to stop them from reaching Terra. Many Space Marines and ships were lost, and worse warp storms personally sent by the Chaos Gods swept them off course and drove them to the many shadowy corners of the universe unseen by men before or since. The fleets drove onwards in an attempt to make it back on course, but many soldiers were lost as they succumbed to starvation, plague, or madness.

  • Note: Corswain and a portion of the Dark Angels legion (the legion had been split up into many different fleets, each under the command of a legion master- in order to take the fight to the traitors over a wider portion of the galaxy) which he was put in charge of before the Lion headed for Macragge, arrived to aid Terra long before the arrival of their Primarch. The Lion has below 30,000 marines currently with him (he arrived on Macragge with only around 20-30,000 Marines), due to losses sustained on the journey to Terra and his battles against the traitor forces. Only 70,000 out of the legion's (roughly) 200,000 marines took part in the fighting at Thramas, leaving around 130,000 Marines scattered across the galaxy fighting their own battles. Corswain should have roughly around 40-50,000 Marines with him when he arrives to help Terra, unless he was able to pick up additional numbers along the way. These numbers would have made a real difference, however Corswain seems to have been unable to recall the rest of the legion after his hunt for the Death Guard forces had ended. He was able to grab a good number of Marines from Luther though. The Luther loyalists were instructed to accompany the loyalist forces and "inconvenience" them as much as possible. The Marines loyal to Luther planned to kill Corswain as soon as they were able to, but just like Luther, after hanging around the Hound Lord for a bit they started to question their conviction. One of them even saved Corswain's life on more then one occasion. They would arrive with a force of around 10,000 marines, and immediately seek to reignite the Astronomican.

The Space Wolves and the Dark Angels dropped into the fighting around the ruins of the Emperor's Palace joining forces with the remnants of the White Scars and the Blood Angels they swiftly drove the forces of Chaos from the rubble. The arrival of Russ and Jonson had broken the forces of Chaos and with the death of Horus they fled in full retreat but for the first time the Primarchs felt no joy in victory and saw no glory in their deeds.

Both the Lion and Russ took the Emperor's loss very badly; maddened with pain, heartbreak and despair, bitter words were spoken (The Lion believed that if Russ had not insisted on stopping to deal with every under siege world they stumbled across then they could have made it on time). Filled with rage Jonson prepared to strike Russ down. Russ simply exposed his chest, offering his heart to Jonson's blade. At the last second, the Lion perceived the madness of the situation. As his blade pierced Russ's primary heart, he turned his stroke aside, deflecting the blade from bone, and missing the second heart. When Russ awoke he found Dorn and Jonson standing over his bed. The Lion approached his brother and bowed his head begging his forgiveness which Russ gladly gave. Gathering around the three Primarchs swore a great oath never to do battle against each other again.

The Horus Heresy had placed a heavy toll upon the First Legion. With their Legion scattered across the galaxy fighting battles alone and without support, it was not the loss of lives that the First sacrificed to Horus' ambition. No, not for them the honourable toll of blood paid by the other loyalist legions, but a heavier burden paid with the sacrifice of the legions unity and identity. Who they were and who they might have been had been slowly but surely eroded away, piece by piece surrendered to Horus' war. The trust, friendship and brotherhood that had existed among the legionnaires shattered beyond repair, Caliban would prove to be the final breaking point.

Fall of Caliban[edit]

" How? How can this be? Do you realise what you have done? That you have doomed yourself is terrible, but in so doing you have condemned your brothers, and even Caliban itself, to damnation. And for what? Look around you, Luther! Look at what you have become. Look at what this has done to us all. What promise did they make you that you would barter away your soul? What could be worth this price? "

– Lion El’Jonson, last recorded words of the Primarch during the Battle of Caliban

"Damn you Luther – how could you betray us? We were your brothers, and now we must join you in eternal damnation."

– Lion El’Jonson, Primarch of the Dark Angels

The events after the Horus Heresy are unclear; the forces of Chaos had been defeated, but they had left the Imperium in ruins. For Jonson one final, shattering betrayal remained to be discovered on his return to his homeworld of Caliban. As the unsuspecting ships of Jonson's fleet moved into orbit they were met by a devastating barrage of defence laser fire (ordered by Astelan). Stunned by the attack the Lion withdrew and attempted to find out what had happened. Luther had used his skills at oratory to lead the Dark Angels under his command to turn their backs upon the Emperor and their Primarch.

The fury of Jonson and the loyal Dark Angels at learning this information knew no bounds. They had fought from one end of the galaxy to the other and now they found that their own homeworld and their own brethren had turned against them. The Lion immediately ordered an assault on the planet, the massed guns of the fleet easily disabled Caliban's defence laser batteries and then scoured the planet driving the rebel Dark Angels back to their fortress monasteries. Lion El'Jonson led an assault on the greatest of the monasteries knowing that this was where he would find Luther. The two opponents were equally matched, for Luther had been enhanced by the dark gods of Chaos (He had become a Psyker of such power even the combined might of the watchers could not restrain him).The two former friends met in a combat the likes of which would not be seen again. The two combatants moved with inhuman speed and agility, their blade movements too fast for any observer to follow and when they connected the impact produced shockwaves that shattered the massive cathedral, causing chunks the size of battle tanks to fall around them as they dueled. At the apex of their titanic struggle they had levelled the monastery but still they continued the battle amongst the ruins.

Meanwhile the massed guns of the fleet carried on pounding the planet, reducing the other fortress monasteries to rubble. As the planet itself started to break apart the battle between the Lion and Luther reached its climax. Luther weakened by the long combat staggered and fell leaving himself open to a death blow but Jonson could not bring himself to strike the finishing blow. As he hesitated Luther unleashed a furious psychic attack that knocked Jonson to his knees and left him mortally wounded. At that moment it was as if a curtain had been lifted from Luther's eyes and he realised the full extent of what he had done, the truth shattered his sanity and he slumped down beside Jonson, no longer willing to fight.

A rent appeared in the very fabric of space and a warp storm of unprecedented fury engulfed Caliban. Those 'fallen' Dark Angels who had served under Luther were sucked from the face of Caliban into the warp and scattered throughout space and time (read the legacy of Caliban trilogy to find out who was responsible). Caliban, already weakened by the loyal Dark Angels' bombardment, was ripped apart and destroyed.

The Dark Angels flew down to the surface of what remained of Caliban and in the heart of the ruined wasteland they found Luther. Luther just constantly repeated the same words over and over again: the Primarch had been carried away by the Watchers in the Dark and one day he would return to forgive Luther for the terrible sins he had committed. Of the mighty Primarch, Lion EI'Jonson, there was no sign.

The Dark Angels took the biggest remaining chunk of Caliban and turned it into their Fortress-Monastery, calling it "The Rock," and to this day, the Dark Angels and their successors hunt down "The Fallen," to torture them until they have confessed their sins and have been granted absolution, then execute them. THERE WAS A SMALL ACCIDENT AND CALIBAN WAS DOWNSIZED BECAUSE IT WAS TOO BIG ANYWAY. IT'S COOL, WE GOT THIS. NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG. The Lion is currently fully healed in a regenerative stasis-induced coma in a hidden section of The Rock, making him the only other loyal Primarch confirmed to be alive as of M41. The 7th edition goes at bit further by stating that when the clarion call of battle sounds for the last time, Jonson will be summoned forth from his millennial rest to defend the Imperium of Mankind from its enemies. Then shall all traitors quake in fear, for the Lion’s vengeance will be terrible indeed... And as of September 2022, if the model leaks are to be believed, that day might be sooner than later.

The Invincible Reason[edit]

.The invinsible reason..jpg

The Invincible Reason was the flagship of the Lion. This mighty Gloriana-class Battleship was one of the largest of its kind and packed a massive amount of firepower, even when compared to its sister ships. During the story of the Lion and the Wolf, the Invincible Reason is described as packing more firepower than the entire Wolf fleet present, the Lion's Primarchs book confirms that the Invincible has hundreds of macro-cannon batteries. The Dark Angels had a preference for Lance weaponry when it came to their void craft, and the Invincible Reason was no exception, having a large number of forward-facing lance batteries. These forward-facing lance batteries would fire in unison, creating a sword of destructive energy that obliterated everything in front of it (kinda like how Eldar Pulsars work in Battlefleet Gothic).

Thramas-void combat.jpg

Estimated armaments:

  • Deck - 10x lance batteries
  • Port - 20x (heavy type) plasma batteries / 13x launch bays
  • Starboard - 20x (heavy type) plasma batteries / 13x launch bays
  • Prow - 2x (heavy type) lances / 6x lance batteries / 2x Nova Cannons / 32x torpedo launches
  • Hull - 7x orbital bombardment lances / 4x bombardment cannons
  • Rear fins - 2x (heavy type) lances
  • Close defense batteries - ?

The Invincible Reason currently acts as their flagship as of M42, and used as an escort to The Rock itself.


"Of all the Primarchs, save perhaps Mortarion, Lion El'Jonson stands apart. Partially this is due to his taciturn nature - a brooding silence hangs over him at all times. Yet there is something more... something buried beneath his noble exterior. Perhaps this is a result of his upbringing, growing to maturity alone in the monster-ridden forests of Caliban. Even at a council of war, the Lion moves like an apex predator. He is always watching, always planning, always hunting. He unnerves even his brothers."

– Remembrances of Malcador the Sigillite

There is a marked difference between the Lion we see before Caliban’s unification with the Imperium and the one we see later during the closing days of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. The Lion on Caliban is portrayed as a rather optimistic if introverted character, looking towards the stars and dreaming of all the great deeds and adventures that waited for him and the people of Caliban if only they could be reached. Later on we see that his optimism and dreams have become bitter and cynical. It is a portrayal of a person who truly desired to bring about a brighter future for his people but when he finally reached the stars he discovered that those dreams quickly turned to ash; there was no peace waiting for them, only more battles. He was a dreamer that had come to the horrible realisation that there is no golden future waiting for humanity amongst the stars, only war without end. (IN THE GRIM DARKNESS OF THE FAR FUTURE THERE IS ONLY WAR)

“We are as the Emperor made us – weapons, created for this bloody time, and as weapons we can ask nothing more of Him than that.” Lion El’Jonson- From Lord of the First

The Lion, may have been one of the few Primarchs to genuinely understand their nature as warp infused creations built solely for the purpose of domination, and this would have affected him deeply, colouring his view of himself and his brothers and hence why he kept everyone at arms length.

During his youth on Caliban he secretly suspected that he was just another beast of the forest due to his singularly powerful nature; Like his brother Mortarion, the Lion had witnessed first-hand the malign influences of the warp, but unlike Mortarion, the Lion had the benefit of learning about the nature of Chaos from the libraries of the the Knights of Lupus, allowing one of their number to remain in the Order after he had brought his world to heel; then successfully exterminating all of the beasts and had leaving himself as the only "Beast" remaining on the planet.

Even after joining the Great Crusade and being made aware of his origins and learning of the existence of other Primarchs who were similar in power and stature to himself, yet each one being singularly unique in their own way; In other words, more "Beasts". It is little surprise that he kept to himself and did not share any camaraderie with them, he certainly did not seek any of them out and was rarely present during celebrated events, quite possibly not seeing any point in if they were truly "Savage Weapons, one and all" as his brother Curze later put it.

It is interesting that like Perturabo and Mortarion, the Lion was also sidelined for much of the Great Crusade and left to fight dirty wars and extermination campaigns. Much of the history of the First Legion goes unrecorded because they operated on the fringes, leaving no survivors in the wake and seldom coming into contact with other Legions. Where the Iron Warriors fought in ignominious wars for ground no-one cared about, and the Death Guard were considered distasteful because of the carnage they wrought, the First Legion did both of those things but on such scale and efficiency that their successes were indisputable; if the Emperor needed weapons to conquer worlds, then the Lion simply busied himself with the business of dispassionately conquering world after world, to the point where his other brothers were certain that either he or Guilliman would eventually have the highest total by the end of the Crusade despite the Lion's late start, and made the Lion a serious contender for the position of Warmaster.

On the matter of Chaos: where Mortarion hated warpcraft wherever he found it and sought for its sanction and destruction, the Lion, whether because of his innate understanding or the knowledge imparted to him from the Knights of Lupus, also saw no hypocrisy in using the warp while simultaneously recognising its dangers. At the Council of Nikaea, while he supposedly favoured the censure of Magnus and was openly in favour of neither side, his representative voted in favour of the continued use of Librarians. Since the Lion was noted as being very capable in the higher echelons of Imperial politics, he would likely not have countenanced his representative being allowed to voice a different opinion from his own, which speaks of an understanding the limits of power and necessity for control. While he did adhere to the edict, when daemons were first encountered during the Heresy, he immediately and firmly reinstated the Librarius, understanding full well the threat that was posed and the weapons necessary to defeat them.

Always the pragmatist the Lion would never throw away an advantage when it came his way, one of the lessons the Lion tried to teach the young knights on Caliban was that if they were ever lucky enough to come into possession of something that could give them an advantage over their opponent, then they would be fools not to use it. When planning an attack or defense the Lion always strove to find the most effective solution to any given situation; he was very much a champion of the idea that you don't always need large numbers to overcome your enemies. Sometimes all you need is the right people in the right place at the right time. A single well-placed bolter round can rip the heart out of your enemy’s formation or even topple an empire. After all, self-sacrifice is to be respected, but the careless expenditure of lives and material is an unforgivable sin.

Just to be clear the most effective solution is not always the “nice” option. Like the Dark Angels of 40k he is the flag bearer for the ends justifies the means mentality. If the most effective solution in stopping a large ork WAAAGH! is to sacrifice a city in order to lure out the enemy into the open where they can be wiped out in one go, then that is what will happen. The Lion will take no pleasure in the act but will not balk when it comes to making such a decision. He had annihilated armies then agreed peace terms with their rulers, like the Emperor before him the Lion could not afford to count the price only the prize. Trillions of lives depended on the survival of the Imperium and it was sheer vanity to think that such a goal could be achieved without cost.

Although we want to see them as the heroes of the setting each and every one of the primarchs without exception are capable of unspeakable acts of butchery beyond our comprehension; each has been responsible for the extinction of entire species throughout the galaxy, the only difference is whether they enjoyed it or not. Lion falls into the category that does not take pride or enjoyment from such acts but still recognises them as an unavoidable necessity.

So, basically he's Batman without the sneaking.

The Lion was regarded as the most ruthlessly efficient commander during the crusade and was so obsessed with his personal responsibilities that he could become blind to other matters surrounding him, including going so far as to break rules and ignore edicts if they proved to be a barrier to victory; Perhaps the best example of this is his behaviour during the Thramas Crusade. The entire point of the conflict was to occupy the Lion and keep him as far away from Terra as possible. However, after a year of playing cat and mouse, for some unfathomable reason Curze decided to taunt the Lion by outright explaining his objective and what it was going to cost the Lion directly to his face. Upon hearing this from Curze's own mouth, the Lion completely flipped his strategy: where before he had tried to protect the region, he then decided that the most expedient means to win was to BURN EVERYTHING and wrecking more worlds of the Imperium than he saved, as well as claiming/dealing with a warp device that would almost certainly have him be guilty of Heresy. Knowing this, he kept his ownership of the device a secret from his brothers Guilliman and Sanguinius, despite also knowing that Guilliman had tried to secure it too.

His obsession with hunting his brother Curze that had him chasing barest scraps of his brothers movements and thus incidentally winning sixteen separate engagements against the Word Bearers and World Eaters during the Imperium Secundus as he moved from lead to lead. He would also ignore Sanguinius's orders and practically demolished a city in order to finally capture Curze.

Only towards the end of the Horus Heresy did the Lion begin to understand how much his obsessions were costing him and had to mentally second-guess his decisions as the fleets were making their way through the Ruinstorm, though at that point the damage had been done, his reputation had already taken a dive with his brothers and his own legion.

He also had a distinct tendency to brood on things, rarely sharing his thoughts with anyone without encouragement and preferring to keep to himself unless specifically called upon. Even those that had known him for years and had grown accustomed to his thought processes could not really hope to follow his line of reasoning. Malcador compared the Lion to Mortarion and the similarities are notable. Both were among the most ruthless primarchs and had no problem unleashing exterminatus on planets (Keep in mind that even monsters like Curze, Perturabo and Angron hesitated to do this), neither had particularly good social skills and spent more time brooding than meeting people halfway, both were betrayed by their second-in-command, both relished in their intimidating and dreaded reputations.

The end result was that the Lion had outwardly poor social skills by Primarch standards, coming across as aloof but undoubtedly superior; there is a reason that the courts of Terra held him in such high regard. Much like his brother Perturabo, the Lion is the sort of commander who would issue orders and expect them to be performed without question, but would not lower himself to your level to explain them. But unlike Perturabo, he is the sort of leader who could also inspire awe, where you would be unable to comprehend the magnitude of the differences between you. This is not to say he lacked empathy or compassion but by his very nature it meant that he would never be able to truly relate to those around him. His relationship with the rest of humanity can be summed up like this: if you were to take a big powerful predator like a lion from the wild and train it to protect an ant colony, no matter how well the lion does its job it’s never going to be able to relate to or understand the creatures under its protection, they are simply too alien to each other. No matter how well trained or domesticated you think the lion is, at the end of the day it’s still a bloody lion and still comes with all the same predatory instincts that it would have possessed in the wild.

However, many of the other Primarchs such as Vulkan, Fulgrim, Guilliman and Horus cared deeply for the idea of humanity; it’s not just a case of nature, but also of nurture- each of those named Primarch’s had a “family” to nurture and teach them, the Lion only had the monsters that hunted him- be weary and kill or be killed. As such, it is clear that simply possessing a Primarch nature is not enough to explain the Lion's views towards humans. It is far more likely that the Lion, who was often quite a distant and cold bastard even with his own brothers, was simply even more distant and cold towards the common people of the Imperium; the overriding lesson to learn is that the Lion saw the importance of the greater whole, which outweighed the importance of the individual pieces- the strange thing is that despite his very stand off nature, a large number of his most trusted inner circle is made up of mortals not marines; it’s more accurate to say that he kept anyone that had not proven themselves at arm’s length, but those that could prove themselves worthy, were treated almost like family (like part of his pride).

He is, in many ways the mirror opposite of his brother Leman Russ; where the Wolf King puts on a disarmingly savage facade on the outside, he is savvy and brilliant on the inside; by contrast the Lion appears noble and majestic on the outside, but holds his savage nature within. Russ originally thought of the Lion as a cold-hearted, arrogant bastard, but after recognising the Lions qualities, he later conceded that the Lion had every reason to be.

As to the whole "unable to read others" thing; the notion came from Brother-Redemptor Nemiel who was himself is a subjective source of opinion on the matter when one considers his dubious history regarding the Order of Caliban. Although Holguin, the Voted-Lieutenant of the Deathwing believed that the whole thing may have actually been orchestrated by the Lion on purpose as a sort of smokescreen. The Lion purposely acts in a way that makes people believe something and then maintains the falsehood, letting rumours and contradicting opinions spread without denying or affirming anything. The commonly held belief that he struggled with understanding people may well be just another falsehood, designed to mislead any potential opponent (which amounted to pretty much everyone). The cherry on top, throughout all the stories he is featured in, We are told that Stenius suffered a horrible accident in the past that left his entire face paralysed, without the ability to show any emotion. However upon the revelation that he was actually apart of the Lion's innermost circle, he "grinned coldly", meaning that even this was a falsehood, and that this act between Stenius and the Lion had been in place long before Nemiel had been asked for his opinion. This is similar to the tests that new potential knights would have to go through to become a fully fledged member of the Order; the Lion is continuing this tradition, always testing and probing his knights to see if they are worthy of progressing further. This would also go into explaining some of his odd mood shifts between different stories and interactions; within the Order the knights who would take part in the tests would take on a role of either the good cop, bad cop and neutral cop. The bad cop would be harsh and belittling (Luther was a bit to good at this, with the Lion telling him he had gone to far), the good cop would be supportive and encouraging, and the neutral cop would remain cold and detached; the knights would continually ask questions of the applicant in order to test if they were worthy; the Lion is essentially playing all the roles when needed; whenever the Lion is shown asking a question, take a moment to consider if this is actually a test of character; what will they do, will they remain strong in their convictions or crumble entirely.

Of course, if the Lion was simply putting on a facade, that facade likely caused him an awful lot of trouble that he could have otherwise avoided. Perhaps the most prominent example of this trouble is that his inability, or lack of interest, in getting along with people is almost certainly what cost him the position of Warmaster. Even the murderous lunatics like Konrad Curze and Angron had more than just one friend amongst their brothers, yet the Lion is only ever referenced as being buddies with the Khan. Though he was an impeccable tactician, the Emperor was probably well aware of the fact that the Lion would have issues getting more than a few of his brothers to obey him. The Lion would have certainly had problems with the more belligerent Primarchs like Angron (even Horus had trouble pre-Heresy Angron). During the Imperium Secundus affair, Guilliman actually said out loud "of all the Emperor's loyal sons, why did it have to be him?" when he learned that the Lion was en route to Macragge. So ultimately, there is a very good chance that the Lion's apparent lack of ability to read people may have simply been another facet of his arrogance. He could probably read most people just fine, but simply never saw a reason not to be an ass.

Influences from Empy[edit]

Some men demand such pomp. They cannot accept the end of one era and the commencement of another without an occasion by which to mark it and give it meaning. Laurels must be given, honours and fair titles invented so that they may be bestowed upon favoured generals. Some men need recognition.” The shadows around the Emperor’s throne deepened. But beneath the layers of obfuscation, deep within the myriad guises of that singularly unfathomable being, the Lion felt the Emperor behold His firstborn son. “Some men,” the Emperor continued, “do not.”

The Lion shares a lot in common with the Emperor. Just like his dad, he's a charismatic and highly intelligent leader that had trouble relating to his subordinates and putting trust into them when it's really needed. Ultimately it's this secretiveness and lack of communication as well as deliberate withholding of some critical information from his sons that turned half of his legion against him, just like the Emperor kinda turned half of his Primarchs by not sharing with them the critical information about the project he left the Great Crusade for and the existence of Chaos gods. In a way it makes perfect sense - Lion being the first Primarch, he wasn't altered as much as others from the original genetic code taken from the Emperor himself.

According to Leman Russ' novel, when it comes to politics, the Lion "does so well on Terra" which implies that he is more than capable of holding his own among the Imperial court. He is further described as having a dark, sombre majesty perhaps more than any other Primarch with a calm presence of one born to rule and comfortable in the role. The story also seems to allude to the unique aspect of the Lion, as he is called the regent to the one who had created them all, possessing a kingly aspect not diminished by time, remaining one of suzerainty, domination and command. This kingly aspect is also demonstrated in Angels of Caliban; when Typhon is in the presence of Horus he feels that maybe he should bow but when the Lion shows up, there is no maybe. He immediately drops to a knee along with everyone else present without a single thought needed. Typhon also mentions that being in the Lion's presence was like prey being discovered by a predator. Even Astartes found themselves flooded with dread. The dread was probably well-founded, as he was the primarch most comfortable with straight-up annihilating planets full of people, if they were enemies. Keep in mind that even madmen like Curze and Perturabo felt guilty about this. The fact that Mortarion admitted to admiring the Lion speaks volumes.

Beyond all other considerations, his loyalty to his father was absolute. The Lion seems to have truly believed that the Emperor was the only power truly worthy of sitting the throne of Terra, stating very clearly that his father was the one and only being to whom he would ever bend the knee; he would rather see he and his legion destroyed than allow another to usurp his father's throne. In fact he wanted very little for himself - a greater daemon of Tzeentch (possibly Fateweaver) found that it had nothing to offer the Lion besides an abstract notion of "freedom" and the prospect that the Lion would live his own life free of the burdens and responsibilities that chained him to his fate. The Lion rejected his offer. This is not to say that he would blindly follow any order given to him. The Emperor may have been his rightful liege lord, but as Dorn explained “The Lion has never been anything other than his own master."

Relationship with other Primarchs[edit]

Reminder: His armor is BLACK not GREEN!

"He saw our imperfection, and he suffered it to remain, and that was the heart of his nobility. In the end, then, he truly was better than us. The archetype of Legions, First of us all. "

– High praise from Leman Russ

There are very few known instances of interaction between the Lion and his brothers during the Great Crusade. This was primarily because the Lion, like the Khan, tended to put in the most work out on the fringes of the Crusade. He was thrown straight into the Rangdan Xenocides and for the most part he busied himself and his Legion with the business of conquering worlds in the Emperor's name, and so was rarely seen at big events. He was not present at the investiture of Horus as Warmaster at Ullanor, nor was he a part of the Council of Nikaea. It seems that despite all of this and his lack of presence during family meetings, his reputation always seemed to precede him whenever Primarchs met.

For instance: Leman Russ first met the Lion at the end of the Faash campaign, and had only heard about him based on his rapidly increasing war record and the fact that he seemed to be doing well in the courts of Terra at a time when Russ was starting to be scrutinized as being unsuitable for his current task. Their first actual face-to-face meeting with each other involved Russ being forced to give an apology for an avoidable friendly-fire incident (the wolves ignored hails, and killed over a hundred Dark Angels by blowing up an enemy ship that they had boarded); Russ considered the Lion insufferably arrogant and promised to wreck him if he pulled similar shit (which is odd as it was the wolves that were the ones in the wrong- an apology is the very least they could do) again. The two did eventually garner a mutual respect for one another, but only after the Emperor had fallen and the bad blood between them had been resolved.

Similarly, Roboute Guilliman seemed to have first met the Lion face-to-face after the Heresy had already begun. He was making disparaging jokes about how good the Dark Angels look on parade, and had to be placated by his foster mother pointing out that the Emperor brought him into the Great Crusade before the Lion was discovered. To his credit however, Guilliman was entirely aware that his negative feelings towards the Lion were mostly due to his own ego, and outright told the Lion at one point that he was one of only two Primarchs that he actually looked up to or ever felt jealous of, the other being Horus. Moreover, Guilliman believed that it was really only a two-horse race between the Lion and Horus for the position for Warmaster. Even so, he didn't include the Lion amongst his "Dauntless Few" (Primarchs whose Legions could pair with his own Ultramarines to defeat any adversary, regardless of the forces laid against them - though admittedly, Guilliman had barely any knowledge of how the First Legion organized itself, or what its capabilities were thanks to the convoluted layers of the Hexagrammaton and the Hekatonystika). Guilliman also later clarified that the Lion's motives were too inscrutable and that he was just too insular to make the Regent for the new Imperium Secundus. This was almost entirely due to the Lion keeping too many secrets, and as such Guilliman simply didn't trust him. He had similar feelings regarding Jaghatai Khan; sincere admiration but little trust due to the closed off nature of the Khan. Though Guilliman himself didn't trust the Lion, he had absolutely no doubt as to the Lion's loyalty to the Emperor.

Rogal Dorn thought that Lion was too egocentric and full of himself to really care about anything but his own feelings and deeds, unable or unwilling to view the world from other people's perspective, and as such was unfit to lead. Though this could also just be a case of psychological projection, with Dorn projecting his own negative qualities upon another. After all, Dorn accusing anyone else of having a prideful, harsh or abrasive personality is a laughable case of the pot calling the kettle black. (Heck I don’t think he had a single nice thing to say about any of his brothers. Even Sigismund in “Templar” silently agreed with Alajos that Dorn could be ‘frustrating’ at times.) However, though Dorn's social skills had all the subtlety and nuance of a barbed-wire bat to the face, he was, as he tended to be, essentially correct about the Lion's personality. The vast majority of the people the Lion encountered, even if they admired him, believed him to be quite a self absorbed ass. His success in leading his Legion however, speaks for itself, as does the amount of trust the Emperor placed in him. Rather amusingly, the two once compared notes on prosecuting wars, with the Lion being quoted as saying "No plan survives contact with the enemy", to which Dorn responded "Then you aren't making enough plans". Despite this seeming antipathy, the Lion was one of only two Primarchs permitted entrance into the inner sanctum of the Phalanx.

The Lion held both Guilliman's and Dorn's accomplishments in high regard, referring to them as "men of the head", but also noted that they could also be too rigid when it came to "sticking to the plan". The better the plan, the better the assault. Yet there are times when even the most well thought out strategies must be abandoned, and instead one must put their faith in their own power and ferocity. Knowing when to forsake the reasoned approach is the difference between victory and defeat. Basically, Lion knew when to use the disciplined and intellectual styles of Dorn and Guilliman and when to let his sons go super space murder-machine like the Space Wolves and World Eaters.

As for Horus himself, the only recorded meeting between the two was at Zaramund in 970.M30 when the Lion boarded the Vengeful Spirit without ceremony or any form of Honour Guard or retinue. He gatecrashed a war-council and caused everyone else in the room to drop to their knees instantly, especially after Calas Typhon had dithered about whether or not to do so for Horus. The Lion says two sentences to Horus before turning to berate Luther about disobeying orders and then stalks off again like a boss. Horus has gone on record as saying that he, unlike his brother, had been raised within the halls of his father, being groomed and raised by the Emperor himself to lead, while the Lion had been nothing but a primitive savage on some backwards nothingness of a world, and therefore was unfit to be Warmaster. The black book Crusade goes into this in a bit more detail: although the Lion was not beloved by his brothers, he was still highly respected, which led to very few of his brothers going out of their way to seek out the reclusive Lord of the First, with only Horus keeping a worried eye on his brother's activities. Horus had grown frustrated by his inability to gain a foothold within his brother's legion, unable to project his influence on the Dark Angels like he could with the others. Although the Lion and the Dark Angels had over the years effectively removed themselves from the spotlight - much of their actions being obscured and hidden away from the records of the Great Crusade - to the point that some had even begun to forget about their glories, Horus was increasingly annoyed by how close his brother and father seemed to be, especially the sheer trust the Emperor seemingly placed in the Lion. Horus and his Legion were the top dogs, their records during the Crusade unsurpassed, so why was the Lion given the keys to their father's vaults that were forbidden to all others? The Lion's reaction to Horus becoming Warmaster worried Horus the most. Although this was the proof that he, Horus, was the favoured son (if you think that sounds petty he also "forgot" to send the Lion an invitation, though to be fair the Lion is about the last person you'd ever want at a party), he had expected the Lion to at least put up a fuss. However the Lion simply accepted the decision without even pausing for a moment in his crusading, almost as though Horus' grand moment didn't matter to him. It should be noted however, that the Lion absolutely did think the job should have been his, and Horus knew it. The Lion just brooded about it rather than throwing a tantrum.

Although he has demonstrated no negative feelings towards Magnus, he still supported the sanctioning of his brother at Nikaea. Why this was the case was never expanded upon. Despite this, his representative was given the authority to stand in favour of the Librarius itself.

Amongst his other brothers; Sanguinius considered him practically beyond reproach, though did not give any reason why he felt that way, and refused to countenance any censure of the Lion for his actions in prosecuting the Shadow Crusade until the evidence against him was irrefutable. Upon his banishment from Imperium Secundus, the Lion held no animosity towards either of his brothers; this was not his place, and he would leave knowing that he and his legion had fought hard. The Dark Angels managed to reclaim much of the Five Hundred Worlds lost to the traitor forces. They could leave knowing that they had helped to secure a foundation upon which humanity could begin to build again. The Lion and his legion may no longer have a place in it, but he knew that as long as Sanguinius and Guilliman were in charge, Imperium Secundus would work out just fine. Still, the reason for the Lion's banishment was a questionable one. The fact that the man in question saves your empire and is probably very popular with the people only makes things more complicated.

His relationship with Konrad Curze has probably seen the most development, though this only occurred after the Heresy had already made them enemies of each other. Their interactions often shown them as reflections of one another; they were both self-raised in the wilds of their own planets and had the potential to have come to the same fates. The Lion admitted that he once considered Curze to have been one of his closest brothers, the two being somewhat kindred spirits (due to the nature of their childhoods, growing up alone in the dark), and Curze in turn referred to the Lion as his "blood brother" now turned "blood enemy".

Apparently, Alpharius found that the Lion was the only brother that he could not abide, ironically because he could "never tell what he is really thinking". Though someone called "Alpharius" appreciated his views on war and secrecy and wanted the Lion in the position of Warmaster, so offered to help him out during the Rangdan Xenocides and keep the First Legion intact. This may be a case of Alpharius being deliberately contrary with his words or may represent the view of an entirely different person, there were two twins after all. This is further covered in Head of the Hydra; whichever one of the twins it was did actually believe the Lion should have been named Warmaster. Even after the Lion declined the offer to withdraw, in order to preserve and rebuild his legion, "Alpharius" still decided to hang around and help out the First Legion from the shadows. However, Alpharius later gave an alternate reason for wanting to help the Lion, and that was to gain access in Legion strength to the area of space where the Lion was operating, as he had received intelligence that Omegon had been located in the region. Alpharius himself was able to infiltrate the Dark Angels legion (although even he had a really hard time doing so), but highly suspects the Lion knew he was there, much to his annoyance. However during Alpharius's initial meeting with the Lion, he was accompanied by nine other Alpha Legionnaires and was confident that the Lion had not seen him for what he was; at least he was mostly sure, but he still had a sneaky suspicion that made him a bit uncertain- one telling of the meeting has the people observing the meeting being aware of an unspoken conversation happening between the two. He was mostly confident that, when he told the Lion that the Alpha Legion had not been reunited with their Primarch (as technically the Alpha Legion never really lost Alpharius), the Lion seemingly took him at his word. Alpharius in his own mind concluded that the Lion was quite self absorbed, but also peerless in a number of ways; although he could never be sure with the Lion, it infuriated him that what he thought was “true” might actually not be true, as he never really knew if the Lion was acting, nor the extent of what he actually knew- the troll got a taste of his own medicine and found it a bitter pill to swallow.

The only "friend" the Lion might have had amongst his brothers during the Great Crusade seems to be Vulkan and/or Perturabo. Though the theory about Vulkan is only based on the in-game mechanics from the allies chart, where their Legions are Sworn Brothers to each other (the Dark Angels' only sworn brothers in fact), though the Salamanders are buddies with a lot of Legions and there is no real indication of what the Lion or Vulkan actually felt for one another personally. After Vulkan's apparent demise, the Lion did seek out Artellus Numeon, the former Pyre Guard commander and now current de facto leader of the Salamanders legion, who had sunk into a deep depression over the discovery of the fate of his Primarch. Mourning in one of Magna Macragge's former cemeteries the Lion (in his own blunt fashion) had a heart to heart with Numeon, in which both shared their loss of Vulkan; the Lion confessed his doubts regarding the fall of Terra and reminded Numeon of his duties as the new Legion Master of the Salamanders. Another thing that could say something about their relationship is that the Lion’s Helm which, as the name suggests, was supposedly once worn by the Lion is said to have also been crafted by one of his brother Primarchs. This could easily be referring to another brudda, however.

As for Perturabo, the Lion had enough trust in him to hand over a bunch of Ordinatus-class weapons just prior to the deployment at Isstvan V on a promise that Perturabo would support him as the new Warmaster in order to continue the Great Crusade. The Lion even pointed out that Perturabo's compliments actually meant something to him, though this may have simply been the Lion being polite; it's kind of sad that Perturabo, who craved recognition, may have screwed over one of the only brothers who actually recognised his worth. It would have been nice if some writefag were to make something in which Perturabo, touched by the Lion's words and trust, decides to fuck over the traitors with the Ordinatus goodies and remain loyal for the Lion's sake.

According to Crusade, the Lion and Jaghatai Khan were actually pretty close. Despite their differences, they had grown to value each other's blunt and frank characters; both are bloody great at snarky comebacks and sarcastic, character destroying one liners. During Unremembered Empire the Lion did end up questioning where the Khan's allegiance would fall. The Lion's job according to Crusade was to be the watchman of his father's domain, to protect humanity's borders from the monsters in the dark (think the Night's Watch from Game of Thrones). Both the Khan and the Lion spent the majority of their time venturing out into the unknown, ahead of even the forces of the other legions; the Khan was the pathfinder, and the Lion cleared the path for those that followed. Both were perfectly happy to be out in the void doing their own thing, far away from what passes for "civilization"; in this way the two were kindred spirits. During the Sarosh Campaign the Lion did take over from the White Scars, freeing them from being stuck in one place, even when many legionnaires from both legions admitted to not understanding way the Lion would bother with such a minor world that held no chance for glory or significant noteworthiness. He probably would have gotten along with Mortarion like a house on fire, given his propensity for thankless solitude and his crappy upbringing. Sadly, the two seem not to have interacted much.

Primarchs like Guilliman and Sanguinius were built to be seen, and play central roles within the future of their father's realm. Not so the Lion. He was built to remain always at a distance, never truly leaving the shadows. He was built to be the distant watchman of his father's domain, who would do what needed to be done to keep it safe (and if needs be destroy it), regardless of how unpleasant the tasks he was duty bound to perform might be; it was something he understood and accepted, and clearly had a significant effect on how he both viewed and felt about his fellow Primarchs. (You could almost call him a "watcher in the dark", wink, wink, nudge, nudge... I'll see myself out).


Even amongst his brothers the Lion was renowned for his brilliant mind. Whether understanding tactics and logistics with the same effortless ease as Guilliman, or doing warp jump calculations in his head faster than the ship's computers, the Lion demonstrated a level of excellence that even the most gifted of his brothers struggled to match. To many he was the consummate general and was arguably the most imaginative tactician amongst the Primarchs, with only Corax, and perhaps Horus, having demonstrated similar levels of situational flexibility and quick thinking.

His tendencies in campaigns were essentially the opposite of Primarchs like Guilliman and Dorn. Where his two brothers liked to plan for everything the enemy could potentially do even before a battle got underway. As an example of this, when Guilliman was worried that the Lion was trying to usurp his position in Imperium Secundus, he asked his mother what could he do against an intellect that matched his own. They agreed that the Lion was a character of action; while he could plan well enough, it was actually his determination that was the root of his success. In contrast, Guilliman's strength was that when given a task, he would spend twice as much time planning rather than doing, and that if he was ever required to stop the Lion, he would start preparing his plans.

As a "character of action", the Lion tended to make a broad flexible plans and then if the situation changed, tended to "wing it" with insane skill. He was capable of a level of adaptability and improvisation which could leave his more bookish brothers looking flat-footed. Essentially, he preferred to feel situations out rather than creating codified plans to deal with every contingency. His battle record demonstrates that the Lion's reliance on his instincts, combined with how the structure and inner workings of the legion functioned, worked to such a degree that the Dark Angels had nearly as many military compliances under their belts as the Luna Wolves by the time Horus became Warmaster.

Because of their complimentary attributes; when the Lion and Guilliman are seen planning together, before turning to ask Sanguinius if he wanted to add his input. Sanguinius laughed at this and stated that there wasn’t anything he could possibly add, as the Lion and Guilliman would have already thought of anything he could possibly have come up with.

However, he did have his flaws as a commander. While the Lion was a virtually peerless tactician, able to seamlessly adapt to changing situations and improvise brilliantly. He had a hands-off approach to his Legion, and had no particular renown for either micromanagement or grand strategy; While he was Grand Master of both the Hexagrammaton and the many orders of the Hekatonystika and was privy to all of their ways and secrets, he largely stood back and allowed the system to work as intended rather than intervene directly. In fact when he first took command of his Legion, he split his forces into equally sized fleets and generally left them to sort things out by themselves. The Lion made command appointments and issued broad orders, but was otherwise not particularly visible to his Legion the same way that some other Primarchs were. The self reliance of those under his command would in turn alienate the Lion from his Legion, many of whom had no contact with him for decades at a time.

His primary problem was that while his capacity for noticing details seemed to go unmatched, his hyperfocus made him lose sight of other factors surrounding him, essentially losing sight of the forest for the sake of the trees. He was certainly obsessed with chasing Curze down until the end of the Imperium Secundus; the Lion had considered Curze’s escape a personal failing on his part, and was determined to bring him to justice for all he had done. As Lord Protector of Ultramar, while he continued to win successive engagements against the Word Bearers and World Eaters, those were always secondary to his personal goal of capturing his brother, and the strategic value of those victories was minimal. Also, the distraction of the hunt also meant that when Sotha fell only one ships worth of Dark Angels was present to protect it; although those that took part, would be later honored for their bravery; they had willingly sacrificed themselves, and their ship to buy the defenders more time. Yet if Curze had not flagrantly mouthed off at Tsagualsa, the Lion might still have been stuck at Thramas for the duration of the war, so something has to be said for drawing his ire...

He was also a superlative swordsman as evidenced by the fact he could draw his blade and strike a blow faster than Konrad Curze could react, and could block and counter a blow that Guilliman had not even seen coming. When the Lion went to war, he fought with clinical movements; a ruthless economy of muscle and motion, each thrust and parry executed to perfection. He was however, sometimes caught off guard when he underestimated his opponent (he is described as sounding bored during his fight with Curze at the start), such as when Curze simply gave up trying to match the Lion with a blade and simply spear-tackled him in their first confrontation; which could have led to his defeat and potential death- a mistake he would not go on to repeat.

During his time among the Order the Lion had learned the lesson to command without doubt. Luther had impressed upon him the need to be unwavering in his convictions even in the face of impossible odds. Later during the Heresy he wondered if he'd learnt this lesson too well, and that what was once firm leadership had now become uncompromising tyranny.

Possible Psyker[edit]

It has been theorised that due to their nature all the Primarchs are inherently psychic to some extent. Each was imbued with warp energy at the time of his creation by the Emperor. The Lion is no exception, and has demonstrated abilities that could be psychic in origin.

  • Prophetic Dreams: A long time before the arrival of the Emperor on Caliban, the Lion’s dreams had been haunted by visions of a golden light (the Emperor) descending upon Caliban from the heavens to change it forever but every time he tried to reach out to the light (possibly his attempt to reach Terra or just his attempts to truly relate to others) it would vanish, leaving him alone in the dark (possibly foretelling the death of the Emperor or even the Lion's own eventual fate: alone, hidden in an unreachable chamber beneath the Rock for 10,000 years).
  • Whilst descending into the labyrinthine mines under Sarosh, Zahariel realises that the smoke filling the tunnels was in fact etheric energies, visible only to Brother-Librarian Israfael and himself. Zahariel took note that the Lion seemed to be able to see these energies too, since his gaze seemed to follow the drifting trails of pain and anguish traced in the smoke. (He seems to be able to see and feel ethereal and warp based energies including warp taint.)
  • When fighting daemons the Lion has demonstrated an ability very similar to a Librarian wielding a Force weapon; seemingly unconsciously channeling the rage and fury from deep within himself along his sword in the form of cleansing white flames causing his demonic opponents to explode. If all the Primarchs inherited some ability from the Emperor the Lion could very well have inherited his father’s ability to destroy souls entirely. Whether or not he knew this (or could have used it to defeat Horus and permanently kill Daemon princes is debatable). Daemons were known as nephilim on Caliban and the Lion remembers hunting these otherworldly beings within the deepest depths of the deep woods, killing them with nothing but his bare hands.
  • The Lion has used mental shields to hide his mind/presence from his demonic opponents (a trick he picked up when he was alone in the wilds of Caliban) and to keep others from reading his mind; he was apparently quite the discussion of interest among the legions' librarians before they were disbanded. Why the legion's librarians were trying to read their own Primarch's mind is unknown, but that kind of activity probably didn't make the Lion trust them any better.
  • Dreadwing has the Lion pulling a Corax, appearing as if from thin air. A meeting of the representatives of the six wings, and a great number of the high ranking members of the fleet's mortal officers and support staff is called. They start by bowing to the Primarch's empty throne before engaging in a heated debate on how they should move forward. As the debate reaches the boiling point the Lion suddenly appears seated upon the throne, despite it being surrounded by observers. It's very likely that the Lion was seated in the throne the entire time.
  • It is implied in "Angels of Caliban" that El'Jonson has some kind of passive psychic abilities that allows him to sense his surroundings and the people and creatures around him. This is apparently how he managed to survive the horrors of Caliban during his early years and allows him to “instinctively” react (jedi-like) to actions and situations far faster than even his demigod siblings would normally be able to (e.g. the Lion effortlessly blocking a blow that Guilliman couldn’t even see coming). "Dreadwing" implies that the Dark Angels may have inherited a watered down version of this power; their "instincts" for hidden perils far surpassing that of the other 'hunters' among the Space Wolves or White Scars. Along with a predisposition to the dark that could only be rivalled by the Raven Guard.

It shouldn’t come as to much of a surprise given his childhood but his abilities seem to be tailored towards hunting down and killing warp entities.

The idea that the Primarchs all had psychic potential has been pretty much confirmed in Inferno, where it states that they were all transcendent beings, forged not just of physical matter but of psychic force, in some this quality was channeled into superhuman physicality (Vulkan, Mortarion), but others held power to manipulate the Warp either directly or subconsciously as prophetic foresight (Sanguinius, Curze), preternatural stealth (Corax) or an aura of majesty beyond the mortal (Lion).

Note that this is of course Black Librarian Heresy since old Fluff gives a quite different version of the Primarchs: all of them being "as powerful as the Emperor and even more powerful in a way". This would be impossible if they were not Psykers. All of them. And the old Fluff also specifically states that they were meant to be healed from the taint of Chaos (i.e. immune to the Perils of the Warp which had cause the Shamans to combine in order to form the Imperial Soul), but that they were a disappointment in this regard because of their too early exposure to the Warp (implied to be responsible for various mutations, such as Magnus' horntits, Sanguinius' wings, and Lorgar's hairetical baldness), which also explains why the Emperor forbade them to use psychic powers at Nikea. In 6th edition (and kind of in 7th too), it can also be pointed that Primarchs stats are similar to those of a normal human specializing in Biomancy. Which is totally unsurprising since their (and tellingly, the Astartes) physical abilities even without their armor is far beyond any amount of bio or gene enhancement. In fact, the capabilities of the Iron Hands bionics go beyond what machines are capable of. If augmenting humans like that would have the same results as Astartes, that is what the Emperor would have done, implying a subconscious...techno-sorcery and biomancy perhaps for all Space Marines and Primarchs.


Named after the poet Lionel Johnson who was a (bum)chum of Oscar Wilde until Wilde spurned him for his cousin, then he posted a few emo "FUCK YOU" break-up poems on Wilde's facebook page before finding religion and penning a poem called "Dark Angel".

During his lifetime The Art of Thomas Hardy (1894), Poems (1895), Ireland and Other Poems (1897) were published. He was one of the Rhymer's Club.

In 1892, Johnson converted to Catholicism (and the 30K Johnson was betrayed by someone called Luther, hmm...) He repudiated former friend Oscar Wilde and directed a sonnet at him called "The Destroyer of a Soul" (presumably the soul of his cousin Lord Alfred Douglas, whom he had introduced to Wilde the previous June). In the following year, Johnson wrote what some consider his masterpiece: "The Dark Angel". The Primarch of the bath-robe wearing Chapter is named after him.

He died of a stroke after a fall in the street, though it was said to be a fall from a barstool (probably as a dark joke about his drinking habits).

The Rock (the club was actually called Caliban's after Prospero's hidden evil spirit in The Tempest) is also a (now defunct) gay night club in Nottingham (where GW HQ is based). Also, he was originally referred to as "Lyyn Elgonsen", which was barely more subtle, but sounded more badass like someone was pronouncing it through a mouthful of co*BLAM*.

One can also draw analogues with the life of the Lion to the tale of Lancelot (roll with this).

  • Lancelot "Du Lac" (of the Lake) > Lion "El'Jonson" (of the Forest)
  • Both were spirited away from their fathers (King Ban of Benwick / the Emperor)
  • Both were raised in mystical environments (Magical kingdom of the lady of the lake / warp tainted forests of Caliban)
  • Both become questing knights of peerless quality, said to be almost faultless by those who meet them.
  • Lancelot covets Guinevere disastrously while the Lion coveted the warmaster position and his acts of self-promotion contributed in part to the fall of the Emperor.
  • Lancelot spends the rest of his life in isolation and shame and after his death his followers went on a penitent crusade clearing up his affairs - pretty much the same story with the Lion
  • Lancelot was involved with the quest for the holy grail (which was a euphemism for God's Forgiveness), an artefact heavily associated with the Knights Templar whom the Dark Angels were partly inspired by. In fact it was Lancelot's son Galahad (who also had a magical sword) who was one of the few knights to discover the grail and thus redeem his family and the kingdom. - See conspiracy much? Welcome to the Dark Angels


How can the Night Lords scare someone, who Knows no Fear?

Heresy 1.0[edit]

Pts WS BS S T W I A Ld Sv
Lion El'Jonson: 460 8 5 7 6 6 7 5(7) 10 2+/4++

The Lion is only a slightly better then average beat-stick, with no notable strengths or weaknesses. He does have the ability to counter some other primarchs' strengths so he's barely inconvenienced by hit debuff effects like blindness or invisibility. He is also able to throw out several debuffs in the first round of combat on his own and has quite possibly the best overwatch of any Primarch in the game. Not necessarily enough for him to turn the tides on his top tier bros (Horus, Sanguinius etc) but certainly enough to put the scare on any other kind of unit that thinks they can take him on.

In keeping with the Dark Angels being sneaky bastards, the Lion has some very deceptively sneaky tricks up his sleeve that make him much better then he first appears.

He has access to:

  • The Lion Sword: a AP1 two-handed Master-crafted sword, with Fleshbane and Lance.
  • The Wolf Blade: a AP2, +3Str two-handed chainsword, with Shred and a rule called Fearsome Ruin, which forces enemies who take morale checks from losing combat against him to roll 3d6 and drop the lowest, due to the horror of all the body parts getting thrown about.
  • The Leonine Panoply: giving him a 2+ armour save and a 4+ inv save, that can be re-rolled once per turn. The re-roll is nice but comes up a bit short when compared to the armour available to his brothers. It's a bit bizarre that even in the description the Lion Helm is stated to be the crowning jewel of the armour, even going so far as describing its force field projecting abilities; almost like the 6in INV bubble was originally intended, but later removed (most likely for balance reasons).
  • The Fusil Actinaeus: a special twin-linked range 18, ST 7, AP 2 Salvo 2/4 plasma gun that can render the enemy blind until the end of their next turn. However he cannot charge after shooting his target., although it doesn't have the Gets Hot rule either, so that's something; he kind of want's his opponent to charge him to get the most out of his Salvo 2/4. It's actually very in character for the Lion to stand still, daring his opponent to attack him; being able to fire off 4 ST 7, AP 2 shots at his foe, and then getting to fire again during overwatch sounds pretty nasty.
    • Multiple rerollable shots of Blinding have reasonable odds of scoring a hit on overwatch, and subjecting an incoming charger to another Blind test.
    • Against elite, high initiative opponents the odd of this are ordinarily quite low, but with the amount of Stasis that 30k Dark Angels can throw out means that many opponents may already be debuffed before they face him.
  • Oh look, he has Stasis Grenades! These drop the Initiative of his opponents to 1 until the end of the game turn if the Lion charges or is charged, basically guaranteeing him the first attack on the first round of any combat no matter who he fights, and also possibly the next round of combat depending on play sequence. .
    • If the Dark Angel player goes first and he charged, or goes second and is charged, then his opponent will be I1 for two rounds.
    • They also stack with the Fusil Actinaeus on overwatch, since Blind tests are taken at the end of a phase, meaning there are good odds (depending on how many shots the Lion makes) that his opponent is also dropped to WS1 for up to three rounds of combat. (The initial charge, the Lions following turn, then until the end of the next turn)
    • It also means that Hit and Run opponents may need to wait a while before attempting to escape from the Lion.

Regardless of which sword is chosen, he is always wounding any other Primarch on a 2+, as he either has Fleshbane or Str10. So that is 5 attacks at Int 7, at WS8 (hitting on no worse than 4+) and wounding on 2+; so although he is throwing out less attacks then some of his brothers (only 1 less really, unless Angron has had time to juice himself up; this is of course not counting the extra attacks the Lion gets when taking wounds), he is very likely going to make more effective use of them.

Rules-wise we have:

  • He can be accompanied by a squad of Deathwing Companions as part of his Lords of War choice. He cannot leave this unit. If the Cytheron pattern Aegis is in use by the Deathwing Companions with the Lion, then any opponent suffers a -1 Initiative penalty; that Int 7 is looking a bit more impressive now; even after the effects of the Stasis Grenades have finished, the shields will still provide the Lion with a higher initiative then most of his brothers. The companions automatically pass Look Out Sir rolls and prevent their charge from being picked out by Precision Shots. This unit, at bare bones, is actually fairly cheep, so having a few of these guys hanging around will definitely keep the Lion in play a bit longer. For the price of one Garviel Loken you get a five man 2+ save unit all armed with Melta bombs, and with 2 +2st instant death attacks a piece; plus they essentially double the Lion's wound, which can be used to automatically tank troublesome wounds, like those caused by weapons like the Talon of Horus.
    • If you wanted to, you can also give each of them a power fist (if you take them instead of the Melta Bombs, it works out at the same cost). If the unit is attached to the Lion then any unit that they charge (or are charged by) are going to have their Initiative dropped to 1 until the end of the turn, essentially allowing them to strike first on the turn they charge. That's at bare minimum, ten ST8, AP2 attacks, hitting at what would essentially be their normal Initiative. Then add the Lions own five ST10 (Wolf Blade) AP2 attacks into the mix, and watch anything that they are pointed at simply disappear. At full strength that would be a grand total of twenty ST8, AP2 attacks; even when used against a high WS opponent like a Primarch, a good number of these attacks are going to get through.
  • The Lion's Choler: when reduced to 4 wounds he gains 1+ attack, and when reduced to 2 wounds this increases to 2+ attacks. With his other rules reducing some negative effects on his combat effectiveness, he only gets better the longer the fight goes on. The rule as written only requires the Lion to be reduced to 4 wounds to gain the extra attack not that he needs to remain on four wounds to keep it. If he is reduced to 4 wounds he will gain an attack, then if he passes a 'It will not die' test he will regain a wound, and as the rule is written keep the extra attack, as he has already met the requirement of being reduced to 4 wounds. This may not have been how it was supposed to work but the way the rule is written means that he can repeat this process every time he is reduced to the required number of wounds. Interesting, going by the way the rule is written any extra attacks he gains at 4 wounds become +2 instead of +1 upon being reduced to 2 wounds; if you can manage to pull off being reduced to 4 wounds twice, those two extra attacks become four extra attacks; although if he then regains more then the two wound requirement they would again become +1 instead of +2. This may not be how it is intended but it does make the rule slightly better without it being game breaking.
  • An Absolute Focus: Never needs to roll more then 4+ to hit any enemy. While this rule and its description sound cool, there are not many instances where this rule will triger in close combat and these will be fight you'll usually want to avoid regardless. Aside from fighting a Warlord Titan: at WS8, your opponent will need the combination of equal/higher WS + a modifier to hit (Read Leman Russ), or to drastically drop the WS of the Lion (Horus or Blinding effects) for the rule to actually be of use. Note that there is nothing in this rule preventing you from using it during overwatch !
  • Sire of the Dark Angels: 3d6 and drop highest morale army wide, and +1 combat resolution in a 12 inch bubble.
    • While this looks like a boring buff, it is still a very useful feature. 3d6 drop highest gives an average result of around '5'. This effectively gives a +2Ld bonus to the whole army that is not capped at 10 like several other Primarchs' "Sire of..." do, so don't expect Dark Angels to run away any time soon. The +1 to combat resolution is a nice added bonus even though other Primarch often offer more. Only Lorgar does Morale better, since Word Bearers do all the same things that the Lion provides but he also lets the army use his Ld10 as well as other benefits.
  • The Point of the Blade: the Lion and any unit may automatically charge 8 inches, ignoring terrain instead of rolling. Makes catching that troublesome Curze pretty reliable.

He is fast, hits hard, and can take a hit and keep on swinging, so although he isn't going to be steamrolling other Primarchs (He will still lose to both Horus and Russ, who remain the top dogs), he will still be an opponent that they will be wary of taking on head to head, as regardless of who they are it's going to hurt. Except when facing Horus, a Warlord Titan and T9/10 models, the Wolf Blade is probably the better option. Against any T8 and below enemies, The Wolf-Blade will statistically deal slightly more DMG than the Lion's Sword whenever the Lion will throw 6 attacks or more with the Added benefit of having ID attacks against T5 and below enemies (therefore 1-shoting custodes and marines). against anything that isn't Fearless, then he's probably going to be taking out entire squads in one turn singlehandedly: while he might not have the attacks to kill everyone, his bonus to combat resolution, plus the morale penalty for losing, means they are likely going to be running away every single time, and with the penalty difference from I7 to I1 thanks to Stasis effects means he is going to catch them every. single. time.

30k The Lion vs Other 30K Primarchs: Heresy 1.0[edit]

Based on current Rules; updated when full rules are released. Primarch fighting, while fun to see, isn't a very competitive thing to do as it'll usually tie up both Primarchs for the entire game without either of them dying. With that in mind this section is all about how The Lion fares against other Primarchs mathhammer wise. Please note that all the various melee abilities are taken into account. (The Blinding rule on overwatch is situational dependent on who charges and actually scoring a hit, which is seldom factored in to these duels) and the match-ups assume the Primarchs are the only ones involved in the fighting, so various abilities like Angron's "The Butcher's Nails" and Rampage do not provide any bonuses.

  • NOTE: The math is finicky here. Sometimes the numbers rack up to e.g. 4.028-4.2 wounds left, and can be debated if it should trigger the Lion's Choler. This affects only one round before the Lion solidly crosses the threshold, and adding the extra attacks doesn't seem to change the outcome of the matches so far.
  • Hit and Run hasn't been factored in, because the Lion has the potential to drop his opponent to I1 for two phases of combat depending on who started the game, making multiple escapes unlikely.
    • The Lion's overwatch is actually pretty decent and has a fair chance (depending on number of shots) of dropping opponent to WS1 for up to three combat phases, which is huge. Ending up wrecking the maths.
  • The Lion VS Horus
    • Horus hits 3 times (Talon), wounds 2.667 times, 1.083 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.75 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Horus (1 Strike): hits 4 times, wounds 3.556 times, 1.528 after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.194 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion hits 2.5 (Wolf Blade)/3 (Lion Sword) times, wounds 2.43/2.5 times, 0.81/0.833 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.477/0.5 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (4 wounds): hits 3/3.5 times, wounds 2.667/2.917 times, 0.972 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.639 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (2 wounds): hits 3.5/4 times, wounds 3.403/3.333 times, 1.134/1.111 after saves and IWND will take that to 0.801/0.778 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Horus wins.
    • This doesn't factor in Disabling Strike dropping Wolf Blade to S7 after 3 strikes, or Sire of the SoH giving Horus d3 attacks after 4 strikes; even when the Lion starts getting his full 7 attack's, Horus is throwing out 7- 9 attack's, there really isn't anything the Lion can do here.
    • That 3+ INV save really makes all the difference. Even after gaining attacks, not enough damage is getting through to allow the Lion to catch up.
    • Horus simply outclasses the Lion both in offensive output and defensive capabilities. The Lion's abilities really count for nothing here, Horus simply needs to wound him four times with the talon, to get the D3 extra attacks, and then pummel him with his mace.
    • Horus has a 3+ save against anything that affects his profile, so he is unlikely to be affected by Stasis, and therefore even less likely to fail a blind test if he's hit by Overwatch.
  • The Lion VS Angron
    • Angron (Round 1): hits 5.333 times, wounds 4.444 times, 1.972 after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.639 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Angron (Round 2): hits 4 times, wounds 3.333 times, 1.417 after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.083 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion hits 2.5 (Wolf Blade)/3 (Lion Sword) times, wounds 2.43/2.5 times, 0.81/0.833 after saves and FNP, and IWND will take that down to 0.477/0.5 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (4 wounds): hits 3/3.5 times, wounds 2.667/2.917 times, 0.972 after saves and FNP, and IWND will take that down to 0.639 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (2 wounds): hits 3.5/4 times, wounds 3.403/3.333 times, 1.134/1.111 after saves and FNP, and IWND will take that to 0.801/0.778 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Angron wins.
    • Nothing really complicated here, Angron simply throws out a lot more damage then the Lion.
    • Even blinded, Angron with Hatred can pump out more damage on the charge than some other brothers do with clear vision! (1.37 unsaved wounds based on 7 rerollable attacks) Though it does hurt him in the subsequent rounds while he recovers. However the Lion struggles to claim a lead due to Angron's FNP, resulting in a mutual kill by the fifth round of combat.
  • The Lion VS Fulgrim
    • Fulgrim (Initiative 1 for up to two rounds) hits 3 times (Fireblade), wounds 2.333 times (Child of Terra), 0.916 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.583 at the start of the next turn.
    • Fulgrim (round 2/3 onward) hits 3.5 times (Fireblade), wounds 2.722 times (Child of Terra), 1.111 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.778 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion hits 2.5 (Wolf Blade)/3 (Lion Sword) times, wounds 2.43/2.5 times, 0.81/0.833 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.477/0.5 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (4 wounds): hits 3/3.5 times, wounds 2.917 times, 0.972 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.639 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (2 wounds): hits 3.5/4 times, wounds 3.403/3.333 times, 1.134/1.111 after saves and IWND will take that to 0.801/0.778 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Fulgrim wins
    • The combination of that 3+ Inv save, higher initiative and number of attacks gives Fulgrim the advantage so long as he keeps it. Under Stasis, Fulgrim puts out marginally more than the Lion, but not a whole lot. However there are about two rounds of combat where Fulgrim will always do better no matter what happens and set himself up for the win before the Lion builds up his own steam. The best the Lion can hope for is to be charged and have a fair chance of blinding Fulgrim for that first bout and getting a good lead before he recovers.
  • The Lion VS Mortarion
    • Mortarion hits 2.5 times, wounds 1.667 times, 0.583 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.25 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion hits 3.333 times (Wolf Blade), wounds 3.241 times, 1.62 after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.065 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (4 wounds): hits 4 times, wounds 3.889 times, 1.944 after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.389 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (2 wounds): hits 4.667 times, wounds 4.537 times, 2.269 after saves and IWND will take that to 1.713 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion wins.
    • Mortarion makes the Lion Sword only wound on 6s. Even if Strength can be used, Mortarion will win against the Lion Sword.
  • The Lion VS Ferrus
    • Ferrus hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.083 times, 0.792 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.458 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion hits 3.333 (Wolf Blade) / 4 (Lion Sword) times, wounds 3.241/3.333 times, 1.08/1.111 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.747/0.778 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (4 wounds): hits 4/4.667 times, wounds 3.889 times, 1.297 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.962 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (2 wounds): hits 4.667/5.333 times, wounds 4.537/4.444 times, 1.512/1.481 after saves and IWND will take that to 1.179/1.148 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion wins.
  • The Lion VS Konrad Curze
    • Curze hits 3 times, wounds 2.25 times, 0.875 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.542 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion hits 2.5 (Wolf Blade)/3 (Lion Sword) times, wounds 2.43/2.5 times, 1.215/1.25 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.882/0.917 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (4 wounds): hits 3/3.5 times, wounds 2.917 times, 1.458 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.125 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (2 wounds): hits 3.5/4 times, wounds 3.403/3.333 times, 1.701/1.667 after saves and IWND will take that to 1.368/1.333 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion wins.
  • The Lion VS Vulkan
    • Vulkan hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times, 0.583 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.25 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion hits 3.333 (Wolf Blade) / 4 (Lion Sword) times, wounds 3.241/3.333 times, 1.08/1.111 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.525/0.556 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (4 wounds): hits 4/4.667 times, wounds 3.889 times, 1.297 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.741 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (2 wounds): hits 4.667/5.333 times, wounds 4.537/4.444 times, 1.512/1.481 after saves and IWND will take that to 0.957/0.926 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion wins.
  • The Lion VS Lorgar
    • Lorgar hits 3 times, wounds 2.5 times, 1 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.667 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (Round 1): hits 3.333 (Wolf Blade) / 4 (Lion Sword) times, wounds 3.241/3.333 times, 1.08/1.111 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.747/0.778 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion hits 3.333 (Wolf Blade) / 4 (Lion Sword) times, wounds 3.241/3.333 times, 1.62/1.667 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.287/1.333 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (4 wounds): hits 4/4.667 times, wounds 3.889 times, 1.944 after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.611 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (2 wounds): hits 4.667/5.333 times, wounds 4.537/4.444 times, 2.269/2.222 after saves and IWND will take that to 1.935/1.889 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion wins.
    • As usual, psychic powers not included.
  • The Lion VS Perturabo
    • Perturabo hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times (Forgebreaker), 0.483 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.25 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Perturabo (Lion Blinded): hits 2.667 times, wounds 2.222 times, 0.861 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.528 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion hits 2.5 (Wolf Blade)/3 (Lion Sword) times, wounds 2.43/2.5 times, 0.81/0.833 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.477/0.5 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (4 wounds): hits 3/3.5 times, wounds 2.917 times, 0.972 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.639 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (2 wounds): hits 3.5/4 times, wounds 3.403/3.333 times, 1.134/1.111 after saves and IWND will take that to 0.801/0.778 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion wins.
  • The Lion VS Alpharius
    • Alpharius hits 2.917 times, wounds 1.701 times, 0.6 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.267 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion hits 3.333 (Wolf Blade) / 4 (Lion Sword) times, wounds 3.241/2 times (Alpharius is immune to Fleshbane), 1.62/1 after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.287/0.677 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (4 wounds): hits 4/4.667 times, wounds 3.889/2.333 times, 1.944/1.167 after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.611/0.833 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (2 wounds): hits 4.667/5.333 times, wounds 4.537/2.667 times, 2.269/1.333 after saves and IWND will take that to 1.935/1 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion wins.
  • The Lion VS Rogal Dorn
    • Dorn hits 2 times, wounds 1.5 times, 0.5 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.167 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion hits 2.5 (Wolf Blade)/3 (Lion Sword) times, wounds 2.222/2 times (Auric Armour supercedes Fleshbane), 1.111/1 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.778/0.667 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (4 wounds): hits 3/3.5 times, wounds 2.667/2.333 times, 1.333/1.167 after saves and IWND will take that down to 1/0.833 wound at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (2 wounds): hits 3.5/4 times, wounds 3.111/2.667 times, 1.555/1.333 after saves and IWND will take that to 1.222/1 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion wins.
  • The Lion VS Corvus Corax
    • Only showing the Wolf Blade, because as you can see the difference is marginal.
    • Corax hits 4 (Scourge)/3 (Shadow-walk) times, wounds 3/2.25 times, 1.25/0.875 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.917/0.542 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion hits 3.333 (Scourge)/2.5 times (Shadow-walk), wounds 3.241/2.431 times, 2.16/1.62 after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.827/1.287 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (4 wounds): hits 4/3 times, wounds 3.889/2.917 times, 2.593/1.944 after saves and IWND will take that down to 2.259/1.611 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (2 wounds): hits 4.667/3.5 times, wounds 4.537/3.402 times, 3.025/2.269 after saves and IWND will take that to 2.691/1.935 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion wins, especially if Corax H&Rs, since it exposes Corax to more stasis and blinding overwatch.
  • The Lion vs. Leman Russ
    • Russ hits 4.667 times (Axe), wounds 3.889 times, 1.694 after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.361 at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion hits 2.5 (Wolf Blade)/3 (Lion Sword) times, wounds 2.43/2.5 times, 1.215/1.25 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.882/0.917 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (4 wounds): hits 3/3.5 times, wounds 2.917 times, 1.458 after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.125 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (2 wounds): hits 3.5/4 times, wounds 3.403/3.333 times, 1.701/1.667 after saves and IWND will take that to 1.368/1.333 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Russ wins.
    • The Armour of Elavagar means the Lion hits on 4+ even if Russ is blinded. However it will drop Russ' combat output by around half (hitting 2.333 times/2.666 on the charge). If Russ gets blinded on overwatch (not counting the actual S7 AP2 hit itself) the Lion will have the Wolf King beaten on the fifth round of combat after his first attack upgrade but before Russ' IWND applies at the end of his own turn. Any other situation results in a win for Russ.
  • The Lion VS Jaghatai Khan
    • Khan hits 4 times, wounds 2 times, 0.75 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.417 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion hits 3.333 (Wolf Blade) / 4 (Lion Sword) times, wounds 3.241/3.333 times, 1.08/1.111 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.747/0.778 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (4 wounds): hits 4/4.667 times, wounds 3.889 times, 1.297 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.962 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (2 wounds): hits 4.667/5.333 times, wounds 4.537/4.444 times, 1.512/1.481 after saves and IWND will take that to 1.179/1.148 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion wins.
  • The Lion VS Roboute Guilliman
    • Guilliman (Round 1): hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.222 (Gladius)/2.083 (Hand) times, 0.861/0.792 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.528/0.458 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Guilliman (Round 3+): hits 3.33 times, wounds 2.963/2.778 times, 1.231/1.139 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.898/0.806 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (Round 1): hits 3.333 (Wolf Blade)/4 (Lion Sword) times, wounds 3.241/3.333 times, 1.37/1.417 after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.037/1.083 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (Round 2): hits 2.5 (Wolf Blade)/3 (Lion Sword) times, wounds 2.431/2.5 times, 0.965/1 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.632/0.667 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (4 wounds): hits 3/3.5 times, wounds 2.917 times, 1.208 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.875 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (2 wounds): hits 3.5/4 times, wounds 3.403/3.333 times, 1.451/1.417 after saves and IWND will take that to 1.118/1.083 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion wins.
  • The Lion VS Sanguinius
    • A little preface for this one, it's actually better for Sanguinius to be charged by the Lion than to charge him because it makes it extremely unlikely for him to become Blind.
    • Sanguinius (Round 1 without charging): hits 4.666 times (Blade), wounds 4.148 times, 1.824 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.491 wounds at the start of the next turn.
      • Sanguinius on the charge (if he passed his blind check) hits 5.333 times, wounds 5.574 times (including HoW), 2.638 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 2.204 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Sanguinius (Round 2 onwards): hits 4 times (Blade), wounds 3.555 times, 1.528 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.195 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (5-6 Wounds) hits 2.5 (Wolf Blade)/2.75 (Lion Sword) times, wounds 2.43/2.291 times, 1.215/1.145 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.882/0.812 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (3-4 Wounds, also round 1) hits 3 (Wolf Blade)/3.25 (Lion Sword) times, wounds 2.916/2.708 times, 1.458/1.354 after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.125/1.021 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (1-2 Wounds) hits 3.5 (Wolf Blade)/3.75 (Lion Sword) times, wounds 3.402/3.125 times, 1.701/1.562 after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.368/1.229 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Sanguinius wins. If he gets charged by the Lion he still wins. Though the reality is that Sanguinius only has one-shot ranged weapons. So the Lion can just stand and shoot his brother until Sanguinius is forced to charge and risk being blinded until the end of his next turn (three phases) and losing.
  • The Lion VS Magnus
    • Magnus hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times (Forgebreaker), 0.483 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.25 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion hits 2.5 (Wolf Blade)/3 (Lion Sword) times, wounds 2.43/2.5 times, 1.215/1.25 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.882/0.917 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (4 wounds): hits 3/3.5 times, wounds 2.917 times, 1.458 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.125 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion (2 wounds): hits 3.5/4 times, wounds 3.403/3.333 times, 1.701/1.667 after saves and IWND will take that to 1.368/1.333 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Lion wins.
    • Psychic shenanigans: The Lion fights well against Iron Arm/Warp Speed Magnus, as he wounds on 2+/rerollable 3+ on a decent number of attacks. IA/WS Magnus should win because of higher initiative, but the Lion has a chance of winning one turn earlier (5.778 wounds). However, Magnus with Warp Speed and Endurance beats the Lion, due to the Lion's current lack of Instant Death.

At this point the Lion looks fairly solid, although he still can't compete against Horus, or Sanguinius, who are still sitting pretty at the top; and Fulgrim or Russ only if he resorts to overwatch trickery. Even with his rules seemingly tailored to counter their combat boosting abilities, he just can't manage to pull it off mano-e-mano; shame. His average number of attacks and defence really keep him from challenging the big boys, but he will still put up a decent performance against the less combat focused Primarchs.

Ultimately the Lion's melee rules don't actually make him a better combatant, They are more about limiting any negative effects to his combat effectiveness, so anyone who has a similar base status to the Lion, but also abilities that boost them are going to really give him a hard time of it. The combo of more attack and a better INV save is almost always going to provide a win against the Lion.

The Fusil Actinaeus is a bit of a wildcard: If he can blind his opponent it will seriously drop the output of his opponent and even boost the Lion's own for several turns. He only gets one attempt at a overwatch and gambling a whole combat on it is risky, but ultimately it is better for the Lion to be charged by anything he can't kill in one turn, and reserve his own charge for targets he knows he can kill without resorting to tricks.

When it comes down to simple combat the Lion is a very solid option overall, his Sire of the Legion rule is pretty average, and he doesn't do anything interesting with the army selection like several other Primarchs do. He ends up being very costly for what he brings to the table; if you want something to just run in and hit things you might be better off taking a Deathstar squad.

In that note: If you can field him in an army with Marduk Sedras, then he can be put in a unit with Preferred Enemy (he is unable to claim the rule personally, but can benefit from an attached squad with it) and effectively be made unable to fail hit or wound rolls.

Heresy 2.0[edit]

Much has changed in this newest edition of the Horus Heresy.

Primarchs have a set of shared rules:

  • Independent Character, Eternal warrior, Fearless, It Will Not Die (5+), Bulky (4) and Relentless. Unit type character
  • They are not effected by negative modifiers to their statlines (other then wounds).
  • Resolve snap shots at their normal BS.
  • All hits from either shooting or close combat are allocated by the Primarchs controlling player. These hits are kept in a separate wound pool.

The Lion in this edition has seen some interesting changes:

Lion: 460 8 8 6 7 6 6 7 7 10 2+(4++)

He has an above average state line for a Primarchs; the exact same as Russ.

  • Legiones Astartes (Dark Angels): just like the rest of the legion the Lion can choose a wing sub-type, however he can switch around which one he uses each turn. The effect carries over to his squad too, but only one subtype can apply each turn so they can't stack. Some are clearly more useful then the others but at least there is some flexibility here.
    • Stormwing: +1 to hit when shooting. This normally only applies to Bolt Pistols, Boltguns, or Combi-bolters. But the Fusil Actineaus gets a specific exemption. However there is almost no reason to ever use this since he already hits on a rerollable 2+. Only use it in the bizarre circumstance that he's attached to a Boltguns using squad, and out of charge range of the enemy.
    • Deathwing: +1 to hit when in combat. Against most targets, this is unnecessary, as with WS8 he already hits on a 2+ with a master crafted reroll; but against bigger opponents like Primarchs, this will be a default option.
    • Dreadwing: -1 to the strength of flame, plasma, volkite and phosphex weapons. For poison increase the roll needed to wound by 1.
    • Ironwing: re-roll hit rolls of 1 against vehicle unit type. The Lion is accurate and gets enough rerolls that he might never need this. Use when attached to a squad armed with combi-meltas or something similar, and then they become more accurate when they need to be.
    • Firewing: +1 to wound against units with at least one independent character. With or without the ability to reroll, most times the Lion already wounds on a 2+, and this doesn't affect his ability to activate Breaching or Rending on his weapons.
      • It's also worth pointing out using the Firewing subtype and the Serpents Bane Rite of War gives him +1 to hit, +1 to Wound, AND +1 attack against his priority targets. Giving him the benefit of the Stormwing, Deathwing, Firewing and more all at once and should be his preferred mode when going Primarch hunting.
    • Ravenwing: +1 to the distance moved when the unit Runs. Best case scenario, he's out of range of something he wants to kill.
  • Master of the Legion: the Lion is also eligible for ALL of the Dark Angel Rites of War.
  • Adamantium Will (3+)
  • The Lions Choler: +1 attack when reduced to 4 wounds. This increases to +2 attacks when reduced to 2 wounds. Same wording as before so if you pass a It Will Not Die (5+) test and go back up to 5 wounds you should still be able to keep the extra attack.
  • The Point of the Blade: automatic 8 when making a charge roll for the Lion and any unit he has joined. Ignores the effects of difficult and dangerous terrain.
  • Warlord: Sire of the Dark Angels: All models gain the Crusader special rule (as the rule is written the Lion also gets the rule, as it’s all models with the Legiones Astartes (Dark Angels) rule- vehicles as well). All models that can see the Lion gain +1 to their leadership. One extra reaction in the shooting phase.

The Lion can exchange the Lion sword for the Wolf blade for free.

  • frag grenades
  • The Leonine Panoply: 2+ save and a 4++. First failed invulnerable save of each player turn can be re-rolled (both players turns not just the controlling players turn). Ok but still no Lion Helm?
  • The Fusil Actinaeus: 18", S7, AP3, Assault 2, Twin-Linked, Blind, Rending(3+). A pretty good gun, that rending on a 3+ will come in handy considering he can snipe characters. Just bear in mind that it is still AP3 against vehicles (Rending only adds to Penetration against vehicles)
  • The Lion Sword: S-user, AP1, melee, Armourbane, Fleshbane, Master-crafted, Instant Death, Two-Handed. A good blade but the loss that +1 str looks weird when you consider that Guillimans one handed blade gives him a +1 to his strength but this massive two handed Sword does not. Armourbane means that he averages 14 penetration against vehicles most strikes, and doing +2 on the damage chart thanks to AP1
  • The Wolf blade: S+2, AP3, melee, Two-handed, shred, breaching(4+), reaping blow(2), Master crafted, Fearsome Ruin. The only Primarch melee weapon that is AP3? And it went from +3 str to just 2+, Why? There are plenty other Primarch weapons that deal far more damage then this sword does and still got to keep their ap2. With the breaching(4+) rule , even with Shred and the ability to reroll, you are only going to get through 2+ Armour 58% of the time; roughly half your to-wound rolls will be at AP2 and the other half at AP3, meaning that half your successful wounds are going to just bounce of 2+ armour, and the rest will be halved again by just a 4++.
    • Because of Shredding, the odds of wounding most targets are increased from 83% using the Lion Sword, to 97%. Six hits that wound using Breaching (4+) on average are likely to generate 3.5 AP2 wounds and 2.3 AP3 wounds, compared to the Lion Sword's 5.0 AP2 wounds. In real terms, when used against hard targets with Invulnerable saves better than 4++ (like Horus) the total number of unsaved wounds becomes so close that Wolf Blade actually turns out to be the better weapon because of the additional attacks that can be granted by the Reaping Blow rule.
  • Stasis grenades= (why?) are now a once per battle item. When the Lion charges he can use these grenades to target an enemy unit, and if the target fails an initiative test(its not even an automatic effect, the target can still just straight up ignore the effects on a successful role) they suffer -1 to their initiative for the assault phase. Not going to beat about the bush here, they are terrible. The Lion already has an int of 7, so the only target he could really use them on is another Primarch, too bad Primarchs ignore negative modifiers to their state line… when exactly are these things ever going to be useful in game?

The Lions new rules are fine but compared to the massive boost many other Primarchs have had, he now looks very dull in comparison. The Wing sub-types really do add a lot to the overall potential and flexibility of the Lion, sometimes the combination of different Wing rules and war gear can greatly increase his combat effectiveness; you really need to pick the right one for whatever situation you are in- don’t just charge in, think first.

The Lion is good at Range, Melee combat- against both individuals and squads, and he is also good against vehicles. Although there are a few brothers he will struggle against in combat (one day we be able to re-enact the dual between the Lion and the Wolf) he does also provide some army wide bonuses, and can also help boost any unit he joins; Overall not bad.

30k The Lion Vs other Primarchs: Heresy 2.0[edit]

Primarch fighting has significantly changed in the new edition. The sweeping changes to the Weapon Skill system really put those with lower scores at a huge disadvantage. While the changes to universal special rules mean that characters can often bring more attacks (like with Rage and Rampage) or newer tricks (Brutal) to the table that they never could before.

This means that Primarch vs Primarch fighting is more likely to actually resolve itself within the duration of the game, rather than taking turns whittling off small numbers from each other.

Also, because Overwatch Reactions are now done at full ballistic skill, shooting will likely play a more significant role. However, for the sake of brevity, there should be no need to include them unless they make a meaningful difference to the outcome.

Although it will not be used to calculate the outcomes below, if you want to go Primarch hunting take the Firewing Rite of War as it gives you a straight +1 to hit in both combat and at range (against units containing a priority target), and +1 attacks in melee.

Horus vs Lion:

Lion with the Wolf Blade (hits on MC 4+): 3.75 hits, 2.18 AP2 wounds + 1.62 AP3 wounds, 0.99 unsaved wounds (0.73 against 3++, 0.27 against 2+), which is reduced to 0.66 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Horus with Worldbreaker (hits on MC 4+): 3.75 hits, 3.125 rounds, 2.875 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 2.54 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Horus wins- Horus wipes the floor with the Lion, having a 3++ and not being able to be hit on anything better then a 4+(In melee). He has more wounds and being able to swap between his str10 Brutal(2) maul and his talon, the Lion doesn’t stand a chance.
The Deathwing subtype does not work against Horus' ability to only be hit on a flat 4+.
If anyone is interested: the Lion Sword causes 1.04 unsaved wounds which is better on its own without the benefit of any extra attacks resulting from Reaping Blow. This means the Wolf Blade is actually the more practical choice as his attack value aught to increase when Horus has his retinue squad.
The Lion beats Horus at range, yes you are still trying to get through that 3++ but Horus has no access to AP2 ranged attacks, so will have to get through the Lions 2+ save; stay at range for as long as possible to try and soften him up a bit before charging, as the Lion does want to be the one charging Horus.

Fulgrim vs Lion:

Lion with the Lion Sword & Deathwing subtype (hits on MC3+): 4.88 hits, 4.07 wounds, 1.35 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.02 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND
Lions Choler +1 attack (hits on MC3+): 5.55 hits, 4.62 wounds, 1.54 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.21 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lions Choler +2 attacks (hits on MC3+): 6.22 hits, 5.18 wounds, 1.72 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.39 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Fulgrim with the Laer Blade (Initiative 9, +2 attacks). 4.75 hits, 3.98 wounds, 1.73 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.4 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Fulgrim, charging with the Laer Blade (Initiative 10, +3 attacks). 5.25 hits, 4.375 wounds, 1.93 unsaved wounds which is reduced to 1.60 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Fulgrim wins- Both brothers have a Master-crafted, Fleshbane sword, and wound each other the same way. The Lion is more accurate, but because of his higher initiative Fulgrim has more attacks, even though they hit less often. This fight boils down to the fact that Fulgrim has a better save in melee.
A few assumptions have been made here. The Emperor's Children Legiones Astartes trait allows their models to fight at one initiative step higher, this is NOT the same as +1 to their initiative characteristic (the same way that Unwieldy weapons do not lower Initiative either, they just fight at Initiative step one). However Fulgrim does get a +1 Initiative bonus in challenges from Duelist Edge and from charging with Sudden Strike.
Fulgrim is slightly easier to shoot at though. He only has a 4++ invulnerable save outside of melee, and Primarch reactions cannot be denied by his Tactical Excellence rule.
If Fulgrim takes the Fireblade, he loses Duelist Edge, and therefore one bonus attack, and only wounds on a 3+. Resulting in 1.00 unsaved wounds per phase, and will lose.
If the Lion uses the Wolf Blade, and can trigger Reaping Blow for extra attacks, his damage potential increases to 1.55 unsaved wounds, increased to 1.72 and 1.89 when triggering Lion's Choler. This still works out as a loss because Fulgrim strikes before the Lion.

Russ vs Lion:

Lion with the Lion Sword & Deathwing subtype hits on MC3+): 4.88 hits, 4.07 wounds, 2.03 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.70 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND
Russ with the Sword of Balenight: 4.25 hits, 3.54 wounds (doubled before saves), 3.29 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 2.95 at the end of the next turn thanks to IWND.
Russ charging with the Sword of Balenight (+1 WS due to Legion trait): 6.22 hits, 5.18 wounds (doubled before saves), 4.93 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 4.60 at the end of the next turn thanks to IWND.
Russ using Counter-Attack the Sword of Balenight: 5.25 hits, 4.375 wounds (doubled before saves), 4.125 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 3.8 at the end of the next turn thanks to IWND.
Russ wins: they have the same statline but Russ gets the extra attack for having two weapons, and although he hits less often than Angron his sword has Brutal(2), so every wound has to be saved twice.
Because Primarchs do not have the infantry unit type, instead of being able to Run, Snapfire and Charge, Russ gains +1 Weapon Skill on any turn he charges, thanks to the Space Wolves Legion Astartes trait. This means he charges at WS9 and hits WS8 on 3+. Also, with that additional -1 to hit means that the Lion will only strike him on a 6+ unless he starts with the Deathwing subtype active. Things only revert to normal in the following turn, but by then the Lion is nearly dead.
It's not much better charging against Russ due to his Counter-Attack, but at least Russ doesn't get the the crazy modifiers in that case.
Also, while it might be tempting to just sit 18" away and snipe with the Fusil Actineaus, Russ's Armour gets boosted against plasma to 3++, so it only causes about 0.43 unsaved wounds when fully resolved and leaves the Lion dangerously vulnerable to a charge in the following turn.

Alpharius vs Lion:

Lion with the Lion Sword & Deathwing subtype (hits on MC 2+): 5.97 hits, 3.98 wounds (S7 rather than Fleshbane) 1.99 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.69 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Alpharius (hits on 5+): 1.99 hits, 1.66 wounds, 0.58 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 0.25 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lion wins. Although Alpharius ignores Fleshbane, weapons are only strength 1 if they did NOT have a strength characteristic before. (This is NOT the same as Mortarion's rule) Meaning the Lion still hits at MC WS8 S7. Alpharius still has his own Fleshbane, but he hits on 5+ thanks to the difference in WS. He hits too few times and the Lion's reroll on saves really helps him.
Alpharius can give himself Preferred Enemy once per battle to increase his output, it doesn't really change the outcome.

Corax vs Lion:

Lion with the Lion Sword & Deathwing subtype (hits on MC 2+): 5.97 hits, 4.97 wounds 2.48 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 2.15 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND
Corax (hits on 5+): 2.33 hits, 1.74 wounds, 0.62 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 0.29 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND
Corax (charging +1 attack, with Rage [4], 12 attacks total): 3.99 hits, 2.99 wounds, 1.24 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 0.92 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lion wins- same initiative and number of attacks. Corax can hit and run to gain a LOT more attacks but the difference in WS really hurts Corax here.
Primarchs cannot be negatively affected by characteristic penalties from Blind, so it doesn't come into play. Whether from Corax's melee or Lion's shooting/overwatch.

Vulkan vs Lion:

Lion wins- the Lion does manage to out damage Vulkan.

Lorgar vs Lion:

Lion with the Lion Sword & Deathwing subtype (hits on MC 2+, Feel No Pain is negated): 5.97 hits, 4.97 wounds 2.48 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.98 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lorgar (hits on MC 5+): 2.22 hits, 1.85 wounds (doubled before saves), 1.60 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.27 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lion wins- Lorgar has the lowest WS and base attacks of any Primarch, but thanks to his Brutal (2) weapon and improved IWND (4+) he is able to put up a surprisingly respectable challenge.
Psychic powers don't really help Lorgar here. Because of Adamantium Will (3+), Lorgar needs to do it with buffs, rather than psychic attacks and none of the standard disciplines do anything to really adjust how much they wound each other eithe, as the Lion Blade really doesn't care about Lorgar's Toughness.
The Diabolism and Anethema discipline does not really help Lorgar. The strength and toughness bonuses granted by the Dark and Terrible power do not affect their abilities to wound each other. While Hammer of Wrath (3) is still negligible.

Magnus vs Lion:

Lion with the Lion Sword & Deathwing subtype (hits on MC 2+): 5.97 hits, 4.97 wounds 2.48 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 2.15 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND
Magnus (hits on 5+, the Lion's save is increased to 3++ against Force Weapons): 2 hits, 1.66 wounds (activating Force for S12), 0.333 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 0 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND
Lion wins- if Magnus just uses his basic gear he will straight up lose. Magnus does have his choice of every psychic powers to try and turn things to his favour, but that is not likely this edition, the Lion's Adamantium Will (3+) gives him an effective defense against any psychic wounds Magnus throws at him. The standard disciplines don't provide any powers that influence the fight here.

Mortarion vs Lion: (Wolf Blade as Mortarion can only be effected by Fleshbane on a 6)

Lion with the Wolf Blade & Deathwing subtype (hits on MC 2+): 5.97 hits, 3.48 AP2 wounds + 1.99 AP3 wounds, 2.07 unsaved wounds (1.74 against 4++, 0.33 against 2+) which is reduced to 1.57 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Mortarion: 2 hits, 1.67 wounds, 0.58 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 0.25 at the end of next turn thanks to IWND.
Lion wins. Despite detractors claiming that the Wolf Blade is a pathetic weapon, it does really well here though it does get complicated. It causes AP2 wounds on a 3+ while rerolling 1s, and creates a separate pool of AP3 wounds on a result of 2. These get saved separately and added together to create the final figure.
Mortarion's lower WS and fewer attacks means.he does nowhere near the Lion's output in damage.

Guilliman vs Lion:

Lion with the Lion Sword & Deathwing subtype (hits on MC 2+): 5.97 hits, 4.97 wounds, 2.23 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.90 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lions Choler (+1 attack): 6.81 hits, 5.67 wounds, 2.58 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 2.25 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lions Choler (+2 attacks): 7.64 hits, 6.37 wounds, 2.93 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 2.60 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Guilliman (Sword) (hits on MC 5+): 2.56 hits, 2.27 wounds, 0.89 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 0.55 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Guilliman (Sword, round 2 and beyond) (hits on MC 5+, rerolling 1s): 2.94 hits, 2.62 wounds, 1.05 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 0.72 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Guilliman (Fist) (hits on MC 5+): 2.56 hits, 2.12 wounds, 1.88 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.54 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND
Guilliman (Fist, round 2 and beyond) (hits on MC 5+, rerolling 1s): 2.94 hits, 2.43 wounds, 2.20 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.87 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND
Lion wins- Guilliman has a slightly lower WS so he hits on master-crafted 5+ but can also re-roll all to hit rolls of 1 after the first round of combat. Shred on the Sword allows for more wounds than the Fist, but Brutal (2) creates more saves for the Lion to deal with.
Ultimately even with all those rerolls, Guilliman struggles to land a solid blow on his brother (rerolling 1s on a 5+ is still only 0.05 of a hit) while the Lion only gets angrier when he takes more wounds.

Angron vs Lion:

Lion with the Lion Sword (hits on MC 2+, FnP is negated): 5.97 hits, 4.97 wounds, 2.48 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 2.15 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lions Choler (+1 attack): 6.81 hits, 5.67 wounds, 2.83 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 2.5 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lions Choler (+2 attacks): 7.64 hits, 6.37 wounds, 3.18 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 2.84 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Angron: 3.5 hits, 3.41 wounds, 1.45 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.11 at the end of next turn thanks to IWND.
Angron (+1 Attack): 4 hits, 3.8 wounds, 1.69 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.36 at the end of next turn thanks to IWND.
Angron (+2 Attacks): 4.5 hits, 4.375 wounds, 1.93 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.60 at the end of next turn thanks to IWND.
Angron (+3 Attacks): 5 hits, 4.86 wounds, 2.18 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.84 at the end of next turn thanks to IWND.
Angron (+4 Attack): 5.5 hits, 5.34 wounds, 2.42 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 2.09 at the end of next turn thanks to IWND.
Angron charging (with base attack allowance): 6.75 hits, 6.56 wounds, 3.03 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 2.69 at the end of next turn thanks to IWND.
Lion wins under normal circumstances. Angron hits like a truck in the first round, and it really starts eating into the Lion's wounds giving him extra attacks, even though Angron picks up attacks as the game continues too. But due to a higher Initiative, much better accuracy, and the save reroll mean that the Lion should be able to claim the win in the third round.
If Angron charges later in the game, after having built up some attacks then he could potentially wipe the Lion in a single turn. But otherwise the Lion will always be the better combatant.
The Lion doesn't have to bother with any Hexagrammaton subtype here, as Angron's Butchers Nails count him as WS3 for attacks rolled against him. Meaning the Lion both hits AND wounds on 2+ when using the Lion Sword.

Ferrus vs Lion:

Lion with the Lion Sword & Deathwing subtype (hits on MC 2+): 5.97 hits, 4.97 wounds, 1.65 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.32 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lions Choler (+1 attack): 6.81 hits, 5.67 wounds, 1.89 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.56 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lions Choler (+2 attacks): 7.64 hits, 6.37 wounds, 2.12 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.79 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Ferrus Manus (hits on MC 5+): 2.22 hits, 1.85 wounds, 2.52 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 2.19 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Ferrus wins- not even close, not at any point. With a 3++ save and Brutal(3) hammer, even with the disadvantage of lower WS, those hits that do land will multiply into so many saves that the Lion can't do much about it.
The Lion Sword negates Feel No Pain, so it hasn't been included.
If the Lion uses the Wolf Blade and can trigger Reaping Blow, his potential does actually outstrip the Lion Sword, starting out at 1.91 unsaved wounds for 9 attacks, then increased to 2.12 and 2.32 for Lions Choler. While his damage output is still lower than Ferrus, he can actually win the fight because he has higher initiative, and can total enough damage to kill the Primarch of the Iron Hands before Forgebreaker hits him in the third round.

Sanguinius vs Lion:

Lion with the Lion Sword & Deathwing subtype (hits on MC3+): 4.88 hits, 4.07 wounds, 2.03 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.70 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND
Lion with the Lion Sword & Deathwing subtype, Sanguinius charged from Deep Strike (hits on MC 4+, Sanguinius rerolls failed saves): 3.75 hits, 3.125 wounds, 0.78 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 0.45 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND
Sanguinius with Blade Encarmine (Hits on MC 4+): 3.25 hits, 2.88 wounds, 0.94 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 0.61 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND
Sanguinius charging from Deep Strike with Blade Encarmine (9 attacks on MC3+): 6.22 hits, 5.53 wounds, 2.26 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.931 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lion wins- though a few assumptions have to be made here.
Despite being S7, the shredding Blade Encarmine is more likely to wound against T6 (88%) than the S10 Spear of Telesto (83%) and is even more likely to wound when gaining the +1 to-Wound from his Legion trait. Also Sanguinius only gets his +1WS when charging from Deep Strike, as his wings do not count as a Legion Warhark Jump Pack. So if he charges normally, he should only hit at WS8 (4+).
Sanguinius hits hard in the first round and due to being able to re-roll all failed INV saves will take little damage in return. After the first round however the Lion starts hitting back faster, with more attacks, and with greater accuracy.

Curze vs Lion:

Lion with the Lion Sword & Deathwing subtype (hits on MC3+): 4.88 hits, 4.07 wounds, 2.03 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.70 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND
Lions Choler +1 attack (hits on MC3+): 5.55 hits, 4.62 wounds, 2.31 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.98 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Curze (hits on 4+): 4 hits, 3 wounds, 1.25 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 0.92 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Curze charging with Bloody Murder (10 attacks, hits on 4+): 5 hits, 3.75 wounds, 1.63 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.29 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Curze using Glimpse of Death (+1 attack, hits on 4+): 4.5 hits, 3.37 wounds, 1.43 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.10 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lion wins- even though they have the same WS and Initiative, and Curze has an extra attack for two close combat weapons; without any rerolls to hit, half of them are missed, and only wounding on rerollable 4+. By contrast the Lion remains more likely to hit and wound.
Curze does get better charge bonuses, but still never really overtakes the Lion at any point. If he Hit and Runs each turn, he's only getting shot in the face each turn too.
If Curze uses the Glimpse of Death, his output does increase, but not by much. Feel No Pain doesn't work against the Lion Sword either. Risking about 41% chance Perils of the Warp for an extra 0.21 wounds hardly seems worth it.
If Curze can outnumber the Lion's unit to gain a +1 to-Wound, it increases his base output by 0.27 wounds per turn, without factoring extra attacks.

Rogal Dorn vs Lion:

Lion with the Wolf Blade & Deathwing subtype (hits on MC 3+): 4.88 hits, 3.66 wounds, 1.83 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.5 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lions Choler (+1 attack): 5.55 hits, 4.16 wounds, 2.08 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.74 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lions Choler (+2 attacks): 6.22 hits, 4.66 wounds, 2.33 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.99 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Rogal Dorn: 3 hits, 2.91 wounds, 1.21 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 0.87 at the end of next turn thanks to IWND.
Lion wins- Dorn has the same WS and Dorn can’t be hurt on anything better the a 4+, while he is damaging the Lion on 2+. So this is one fight where using the Wolf Blade is actually the better option, since all eligible wounds will be AP2 and he has the benefit of Shred.
The Lion's extra attacks, better accuracy and save reroll all help him win here.

Khan vs Lion:

Lion with the Lion Sword & Deathwing subtype (hits on MC 2+): 5.97 hits, 4.97 wounds, 1.65 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.32 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lions Choler (+1 attack): 6.81 hits, 5.67 wounds, 1.89 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.56 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lions Choler (+2 attacks): 7.64 hits, 6.37 wounds, 2.12 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.79 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Jaghatai Khan (hits on MC 5+): 2.22 hits, 1.46 wounds, 0.49 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 0.15 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Jaghatai Khan Charging (hits on MC 5+): 2.55 hits, 2.12 wounds, 0.82 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 0.49 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lion wins- even though the Khan has Hit and Run, the charge bonuses he receive cannot overcome his lower WS and the Lion's invulnerable saves.
If the Khan takes his Jetbike, it gives him the Hammer of Wrath (2) rule, which only adds 0.166 unsaved wounds to his charging total (0.98 for the whole charge)

Perturabo vs Lion:

Lion with the Lion Sword & Deathwing subtype (hits on MC 2+): 5.97 hits, 4.97 wounds, 1.65 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.32 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lions Choler (+1 attack): 6.81 hits, 5.67 wounds, 1.89 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.56 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lions Choler (+2 attacks): 7.64 hits, 6.37 wounds, 2.12 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.79 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Perturabo with Forgebreaker Desecrated (hits on MC 5+): 2.22 hits, 1.85 wounds, 1.60 unsaved wounds, which is reduced to 1.27 at the end of the turn thanks to IWND.
Lion wins- the reduction of the Forgebreaker to Brutal (2) allows the Lion to keep ahead of the saves. Unlike the fight with Horus and the Worldbreaker, the Lion is able to pull out the win thanks to Perturabo's lower WS and fewer attacks which means those hits are rarer.

The Lion is a good all rounder Primarch. He only really loses in places where we expect him to lose, against Horus, Russ, Fulgrim, who are generally agreed to be the best Primarchs in close combat anyway, and against Ferrus Manus with that insane hammer!

The Lion is able to pull comfortable wins against pretty much everyone else thanks to his higher accuracy and the ability to tailor his Legion trait and weapon to the particular situation.

Beyond straight up Primarch fights, his ability to grant army wide Crusader is pretty good for a melee force that wants to guarantee sweeping advances, and the extra +1 Leadership is useful too.

The best part is that he now synergises with his Rites of War, which he couldn't do in the last edition. Meaning that he can actually benefit from the various bonuses, such as:

  • Unbroken Vow (+1 attack within 12" of objectives when using the Deathwing subtype) - this one is quite easy to use and will always benefit him.
  • Serpents Bane (+1 to hit and +1 attack against priority targets when using the Firewing subtype) effectively gives him the Deathwing bonus against his priority targets while still getting the Firewing benefit.
  • Eskaton Imperative (automatically passing dangerous terrain checks, and gaining +1 to wound against anything in Area or Dangerous terrain when using the Dreadwing subtype) - the Lion already wounds nearly everything on 2+.


The Primarchs of the Space Marine Legions
Imperial Eagle.png Loyalist Imperial Eagle.png
Corvus Corax - Ferrus Manus - Jaghatai Khan
Leman Russ - Lion El'Jonson - Roboute Guilliman
Rogal Dorn - Sanguinius - Vulkan
Chaos star.jpg Traitor Chaos star.jpg
Alpharius/Omegon - Angron - Fulgrim
Horus - Konrad Curze/Night Haunter - Lorgar
Magnus the Red - Mortarion - Perturabo