Magnus the Red

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Handsome bastard...

"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief."

– Ecclesiastes 1:18

"If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans."

– Woody Allen

"Knowledge is a deadly friend if no one sets the rules."

– "Epitaph" by King Crimson

Magnus the Red, "Master of Prospero" (a.k.a The Crimson King (AA-A-AAAA), the Sorcerer-King, Cyclopean Magnus, the Red Cyclops, The One Who did (Nothing) Wrong, My Special Magny Magic, The Saucy Spice Boy, Wide Ahriman, and Rudolf the red nosed Primarch) is the primarch of the Thousand Sons and rules over the Planet of the Sorcerers, and formerly Prospero. He is directly after the Emperor as the mightiest Psyker/Sorcerer in the whole Warhammer 40k Universe. He is notable for having an enormously variable physical form with a few common themes he keeps to most of the time (red skin and hair, one eye, etc) and being enormously, staggeringly, almost unbelievably arrogant, and with his shifting physical form and his hubris he's a real chip off the old block. Because of this there is debate over if he had a big ol' red eye in the middle of his forehead, or had normal eyes but one socket was empty (older fluff had the former and more recent fluff the latter). Either way he was a cyclops (The colour of his single eye is also described as constantly changing). He is also the Primarch of the Blood Ravens (maybe), which would explain their colour scheme, high percentage of psykers, their Chapter Badge, their name, their beliefs, and their stealing everything that isn’t nailed down (who are we kidding, including what's nailed down as well, and the nails with that). Of all the Primarchs, with the exception of Vulkan, Sanguinius and Jaghatai Khan, Magnus was one of the most open minded and compassionate to the discriminated, being a psyker and all.

Important Note: As with all things Tzeentchian, this article may confuse you. A lot. Because everyone has a different contradicting story or theory. Read A Thousand Sons (Graham McNeil) and Prospero Burns (Dan Abnett) for a more complete picture of some pivotal scenes for Magny Magic. Post-Heresy, the Ahriman books are a good and confusing read as well. Of course, this may just be a Tzeentchian plot to get you to read Black Library books…

...what I wouldn't give to have an opportunity to go back and fix what I've made of my father's dream.

The Great Crusade[edit]

"The fatal flaw in every plan is the assumption that you know more than your enemy."

– Volrath

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

– Ancient Terran Proverb
Magnus nerdin out in his private astrology room.

Magnus landed on the planet of Prospero, a planet whose ancient civilization was composed predominantly of psykers, who had fled there because they were persecuted by humanity at large for being psykers. As Magnus was himself such a being, he formed a kinship with the people of Prospero in short order. Taken in by Prospero's people, he absorbed knowledge like a big red sponge, and became crazy powerful, and in time far exceeded the power and control of all of his teachers. After a while, he became the single most powerful thing on the fucking planet, and he led a campaign to eradicate a race of predators on Prospero known as the Psychneuein, which had overrun many of Prospero's early cities, and had an unhealthy fondness for laying their eggs in unsuspecting psykers' brains. Which was probably why the beasts had destroyed the entire population of Prospero, save for its capital city, Tizca. One by one, bit by bit, Magnus' forces retook the planet, putting the Psychneuein to the sword, and within a year, Magnus had mostly reclaimed the entire world (except for the Desolation of Prospero, which was everything except for Tizca).

Once the campaign on the Psychneuein was complete, Magnus became the planetary leader by popular demand. Magnus decided to be fucking awesome, and rebuilt the cities (or mostly just Tizca). Like a somehow perfectly stable fortress lasting some 50 years in Dwarf Fortress, Tizca became arguably the most beautiful city in Imperial space, with crystalline spires and pyramids, long marble roads, and psychically-resonant crystals in key locations; designed to calm the turbulent minds of younger psykers and help them control their burgeoning psionic potential. The city quickly became known as a shining jewel of humanity, and one that showed proudly how far its citizens had come from the brink of near-extinction. Prospero also had one of the most technically advanced defensive networks in the Imperium, all of which was hilariously wasted except for the shields when Magnus, in a fit of Primarch-scale angst over his "I screwed everything Dad was doing and failed my purpose entirely in the process" whoopsy-daisy, decided that the Space Wolves should get the rabbit punch.

All this time, Magnus continued to codify and systematise everything he could about the 'Great Ocean' - the name the Prosperans had given the Warp. Huge libraries filled with knowledge about psychic powers and the warp were established, and Magnus himself used his powers to peer into the Empyrean itself, claiming many of its secrets, though at terrible risk to himself. While this was exceptionally dangerous, much of what the Imperium's Inquisition currently knows about the Warp came directly from several of his manuscripts that survived.

With such a powerful mind heading into the warp, it was inevitable that the Emprah (who happened to be out and about the galaxy looking for his lost sons) would eventually take notice. So he eventually came to Prospero, and he and Magnus psychically brofisted before talking for several days. The Emperor taught him even more about psychic powers, but cautioned Magnus to be slow and purposeful. The Emperor was well-aware foul horrors lurked in the Warp and liked nothing better than forcibly sodomising an unprepared Psyker's soul, but Magnus didn't care, especially since his forays into the Warp to save his Legion from the flesh-change had already come at a price neither of them realized - Magnus believed he'd only given up on his right eye, sacrificed ala Odin when he had consorted with Warp-entities whose nature he did not understand. To Magnus, one eye was was an acceptable price and he didn't heed the Emperor's warnings as he believed he'd come out on top of the bargain.

Magnus was put in charge of the Thousand Sons, but would not immediately embark on the Great Crusade - since many of his Legion were psykers, and there had been so many small mutations that a number of them couldn't survive the gene-seeding process. Even worse, during combat, psykers ran the risk of losing control of their powers and underwent "Flesh Change", where their body mutated rampantly out of control at all the Warp energy running through them (we call them something else, but won't speak its name as... wait, I didn't say it's naSHHTLSUROHSONTOOLS!)

Magnus was aware of the mutations his Astartes were suffering, and entered the Warp to seek answers about the cause of this and if a cure existed, though he didn't know that he had consorted with Tzeentch by doing so, and the god of Just as planned saw a lot of potential in this one. In return for knowledge and a way to stop the flesh-change, Magnus lost his eye so hard that he never saw it coming (ah-ha-ha-ha!!).

In any case, because of the setbacks that had befallen the Thousand Sons, the selfless efforts of Magnus to save them, their shared psychic talents, and the continuing distrust and persecution of many Imperial agencies and other Space Marine Legions towards the Thousand Sons' use of psychic abilities and the rampant mutations present in their gene-seed, the Primarch and his Astartes developed an extremely close emotional and psychic bond. One of the strongest among all Primarchs and their Space Marine Legions, exceeding even the Luna Wolves' dedication to Horus.

Finally, about midway into the Great Crusade (100 Terran years after it had begun), the now "stable" Thousand Sons Legion (although numbering only 10,000 soldiers), with Magnus leading them on the field, were permitted to take part in the campaign as part of the 28th Expeditionary Fleet. And it was glorious. When they were deployed, the Sons were a sight to behold, flinging psychic storms to consume their enemies and striking bolts with precision and prescience, using their abilities to ascertain enemies' weak-points. Magnus was unique somewhat unusual among the Primarchs in that he would always try diplomatic routes first, however - in this way, the Thousand Sons won many battles without so much as a shot fired. This did not sit well with Rogal Dorn or Girlyman, who viewed this approach "unmanly" (even though Guilliman was an exceptionally accomplished diplomat, so where that came from is anyone's guess). Perhaps his two most ardent detractors were Leman Russ and especially Mortarion, both of whom distrusted the Sons' sorcerous ways and were somewhat concerned with a really annoying trait the Sons had picked up. After conquering or annexing a world, they would take huge amounts of knowledge: books, scrolls about forgotten /forbidden lore, and ancient artefacts, back to Prospero for study, analysis and codification. And this doesn't sound like the Blood Ravens, you say? Nicking everything shiny that's not nailed down? Point is: nobody looted so prolifically as The Thousand Sons. The White Scars and Blood Angels aligned themselves with them to rig the Librarium. What that did was to actually impose some restraint on psykers, that made everyone a bit more accepting towards them. Their worries only intensified when it was discovered that the Sons had little warp critters (familiars) called "tutelaries" buzzing around them and acting as warp power-packs. This Elegan/tg/entleman believes Magnus’ tutelary was an ADORABLE WARP KITTEN!

When diplomacy didn't work, The Sons were known to fuck entire armies with lightning, fireballs, mass mind-control, precognition of enemy strikes and counter them with precision strikes, dealing so much devastation with only some few squads of Marines. Magnus himself once fought Ork gargants by himself, and despite being able to zap, melt or transmute their hulls with just the power of his mind, he instead scaled himself to the size of a Warlord-class Titan, and beat the shit out of them with his bare hands.

A very important event called "Council of Nikaea" or "The Trial of Magnus the Red", took place about 50 years before the Horus Heresy, where Magnus was called by his brothers and the Emperor to answer for abusing his powers and to install some form of control of psykers used in battle across the galaxy. Magnus attended the Council without any forewarning that it was essentially going to be a trial of him and his sons. He thought, somewhat naively, that it was to be a conclave in which he would be able to extol the virtues of psykers to an open-minded audience. Unfortunately, despite his towering intellect, Magnus was oddly solipsistic and, as noted by Konrad Curze, seemed to have absolutely no common sense (think Sheldon Cooper on steroids). This lack of self-awareness left him blindsided by the fact that he'd actually managed to piss off quite a few of his brother Primarchs with his dismissive arrogance and open displays of warp phuckery. The fact that the Sons were obsessed with preserving valuable knowledge (whatever the source), sat poorly with many of his brothers as well. The Thousand Sons' political opponents among other Astartes Legions found hoarding xenos' artefacts useless and counter-productive to the goals of the Great Crusade (which actually more or less sought to eradicate all alien life in the galaxy). Additionally, oftentimes the Thousand Sons would either be absurdly late to help another Legion who needed support, or would just up and vanish from active warzones to chase some scrap of lore. Both Leman Russ and Konrad Curze had had significant problems arise due to this magpie-like tendency; Russ had at one point needed help with a particular campaign and Magnus had arrived years late due to messing around with some xenos Warp temple, and in Curze's case, he'd attempted to protect the library of a degenerate human civilization from Curze. Where Leman just got a bit annoyed, Curze had straight up shelled the library with the Thousand Sons still inside after he got sick of telling them to clear out. Fortunately the Thousand Sons retreated and nobody was killed, though Magnus was pretty miffed about it.

Magnus was forced to defend his and his Sons' actions, and unfortunately managed to make a bit of an ass of himself. Instead of attempting to compromise with his detractors or displaying any sort of humility, he vehemently defended all of his and his Sons' actions, even going so far as to take the allegorical story of Plato's Cave and alter it to suit his own needs. Likely due to Magnus' own hubris, the Emperor ultimately decided that he had given the Astartes too much free reign when it came to psykers in their ranks. He chose to disband the Astartes Librarius departments and banned the use of psychic powers in combat. The ever fabulous Jaghatai Khan double facepalmed Picard-style, whilst thinking that this was exactly what he'd warned Magnus about. Magnus was ticked off, but quickly realised that there wasn't any easy way for the Emperor to actually enforce this decree without plonking Custodes watchdogs into the Thousand Sons. As such, the Thousand Sons made a show of not using their powers in public while completely ignoring the ban in private. One final interesting thing to note about the Council was that the Emperor had decided to summon Leman Russ to Nikea in secret with a bunch of Silent Sisters cloaking him from Magnus. This rather sinisterly implies that the Emperor thought that Magnus might throw enough of a tantrum that he wanted his personal executioner to be able to ambush Magnus. Maybe Magnus wasn't quite as nice as he let on... Or maybe the Emperor is just phenomenally ruthless. Or both.

Horus Heresy[edit]

"I'm the bad guy? How'd that happen?"

William Foster

"Vanity is what leads you Magnus. You choke on arrogance, unable to see that you are the architect of your own downfall."

– Vulkan, telling Magnus in no uncertain terms that he did everything wrong
He doesn't get much press-time because of how bad he and his Legion got dicked by Tzeentch, but when he DOES, watch your fucking ass!

When Magnus learned that Horus intended to betray the Emperor and slaughter like half the galaxy, he resolved to use any method possible to warn the Emperor. He claimed that the best way to accomplish this was to conduct a massive ritual which would allow him to project his essence all the way to Terra to warn the Emperor in person. Now, this was almost certainly not the best way to accomplish this, and Ahriman even suspected that Magnus' true goal was to impress upon the Emperor how useful unrestrained psykers could be in the hope that he might reverse his decision at Nikea. This is especially true considering that the ritual needed to make this astral projection work required human sacrifice. Once his essence managed to make its way to Terra however, he found a massive psychic barrier surrounding the Imperial Palace which he could not penetrate. So he made a deal with Tzeentch again to combine their powers and smash the psychic seal The Emperor had installed to protect the Webway from the warp (Magnus simply did not bother to walk around the wall through one of the entrances that the Webway has).

To be at least somewhat charitable to Magnus, he was in a no-win situation. Vulkan denouncing Magnus' need to warn the Emperor about Horus' treachery is fucking bonkers. Magnus at the time was a loyal son with direct knowledge of a massive rebellion against the Imperium and his father. He absolutely HAD to warn someone. Doing nothing is only correct in hindsight, which Magnus doesn't have. There's been debate about if Magnus had any options other than sorcery, and there's educated guesses to be made on both sides. Magnus could've used Astropaths, travelled to Terra, or send couriers to other legions to spread the word. A common assumption is that these options would be too slow or completely ineffective since the Chaos Gods would fuck with the warp enough to ensure these methods would fail. The becalming of Dorn's fleet, the astropathic message sent in 'Damnation of Pythos', and the general warp fuckery taking place at the time is cited as proof. In addition, there was no telling how much of the Crusade's infrastructure was compromised by Horus, meaning that there was no guarantee any warning could get through anyway.

The problem with such an assumption is that the Eisenstein's journey is direct proof against this. It managed to survive the warp journey even with a damaged Gellar Field. The detonated warp drive also acted as a beacon for Rogal Dorn's becalmed fleet. Additionally, the astropathic message sent at the end of 'Damnation of Pythos' only got garbled and ignored because it was sent after Istvaan 5 when Terra was bombarded by similarly garbled-yet-urgent messages, and was sent by a regular astropath. Surely Magnus and his legion could've sent a more coherent message. Lastly, this assumption implies that the Chaos Gods have more power than they actually have. If they had that power (which only ended up being used in very specific circumstances which required preparation by other people beforehand), then it would've been used far earlier against Big E's crusade.

In the end however, this is all conjecture and theories. The book where this takes place makes it clear that Magnus' decision to project himself to Terra was based on his desire to deboonk the edict of nikea and make himself look correct, rather than a real lack of options. His men advised against Magnus' decision too, but were obviously ignored. This is why in the end, Magnus deserves to be judged harshly for his thought process and decisions here.

Unfortunately, this deed completely ruined the Webway project the Emperor had been working on for over 9000 years, which would have made the dangerous warp-travel obsolete and would unify the Imperium of Man using a human-engineered version of the Eldar Webway gate. Big-E called Magnus out and banished him back for breaking it and using sorcery to get through the Webway. He was so furious that he didn't even listen to Magnus about Horus's betrayal and declared Magnus a DOUBLE HERETIC. And can you really blame Emps? He told Magnus in 'A Thousand Sons' that he was returning to Terra to master the webway, that it was in a delicate phase, and that Magnus needed to chill out with the sorcery. He also put giant 'DO NOT FUCK WITH THIS' wards around the webway, which should've been all the hint someone supposedly as smart as Magnus needed to back off. And now, he's learned that one of his most important sons ignored basic instructions and caused total catastrophe for the species in the process. Magnus realised that the Imperium was comprehensively fucked and that he needed to do all he could to protect it and Prospero.

When Horus learned of this, he was quietly amused. The Emperor ordered Horus to have Russ bring Magnus back to Terra to stand trial for what he had done, and Horus being a dick, quietly altered Russ' orders to lay waste to Prospero instead and slaughter the Thousand Sons. As Magnus was already officially a (slightly tolerated) heretic, Russ stoically accepted the order to bring a third of his brothers down. (Seriously, Constantin Valdor is way more out for Magnus' blood than Russ himself is.) Russ took his whole Legion to the party, and accompanying the Space Wolves were a full contingent of Adeptus Custodes (led by aforementioned Valdor), millions of Imperial Army troops and an elite anti-psyker unit: the Sisters of Silence (think a unit of Culexus Assassins and you get the general idea).

But even with a supposed kill-order on his brother, Russ did what he could to de-escalate things. First, he tried to Skype Magnus through Kasper Hawser, an agent that had been brainwashed to visit Fenris and spy on the wolves that Magnus was not connected to(because reasons). When the psychic skype call failed, Russ then attempted to contact Magnus and his legion several times via mundane vox channels in an attempt to get them to explain their actions. Even when he was directly above the planet he kept sending Magnus calls to try and get him to just talk to him, but Magnus had put the planet on lockdown and kept denying any contact with the fleet, which royally pissed off Russ. A shame too, if he said fucking anything he probably could have stopped his people from getting fucked. Why exactly Magnus decided to do this is unknown, as it was... well, seemingly no more retarded than any other decision he made during the Burning of Prospero. A potential in-universe explanation for this might be the possibility that Magnus had essentially just shut down mentally after realising the magnitude of his fuckup. He had, after all, quite literally ruined everything for everyone forever despite his best intentions, and there was nobody in the entire Imperium who was more of an idealist than Magnus. However, it took Russ's fleet several months to get to Prospero, which you'd think would be more than enough time for Magnus to get over himself and come up with a halfway intelligent plan. Or, you know, pick up the damn phone.

Magnus, sensing this and realising that this had been Just as planned by Tzeentch and that it has done this to completely destroy both the Thousand Sons and the Space Wolves, apparently decided to counter-dick-move the Lord of All Fate. Instead of calling Russ back and peacefully working out what had happened (which would have solved everything), he decided to accept the destruction of everything that he had worked for, so that Tzeentch's ultimate goal would only be half-fulfilled, because letting your enemy accomplish half of what they want and making the Imperium far more vulnerable to Horus is better than making them fail and giving your traitor brother a harder time. Finally, it was also noted by Vulkan that Magnus' absurdly overblown pride was almost certainly at play in his poor decision making here. While not directly admitted to by Magnus, he almost certainly would not have wanted to admit fault to someone like Russ, who he considered to be beneath him (along with everyone else, but Russ especially). He would also not have wanted to let his Legion in on the fact that he, Magnus, galaxy-brained philosopher king of Prospero, had managed to destroy the hope of the Imperium by being almost hilariously stupid. Of course, Magnus also could have just talked to Valdor if he couldn't bear the thought of Russ shouting "fuckyouIwasright" over and over again through the vox. But, of course, he didn't do that either. Sadly, it is all so nonsensical that an out-of-universe explanation is really the only reasonable one. Prospero had to burn because it was already established lore that it had happened. However, making out either Magnus or Russ to be the bad guy wasn't something any of the writers wanted to do. So instead, they compromised by having Russ, Valdor, and particularly Magnus act like complete retards in order to justify the Burning. If any of them had displayed even average human intelligence, to say nothing of the three superhuman intellects they had between them, Magnus would have just gone back to Terra peacefully.

As Prospero burned, Tzeentch and Magnus engaged in act after act of dickery and counter-dickery; with Magnus finally pushed into a towering rage and taking to the battlefield at his capital: crushing his enemies with volleys of MIND BULLETS (forgetting the whole reason he refused to talk to Russ), before he engaged Leman Russ himself in close-combat. The two fought fiercely and Magnus managed to Falcon pawnch Russ so hard, his breastplate shattered and one of his hearts punctured. Russ was going to die until his two wolves interfered and allowed him to take out Magnus' second eye, and then performed a back-breaker on him that ended the fight (Russ would have died had his wolves stayed out of the fight) (actually, this isn't true at all. The book "A thousand sons" clearly shows that Russ' wolves were quickly swatted away by Magnus, who then proceeds to use some shiny tric-I mean, magic attack that harms Russ badly enough to actually make him howl in pain. Only that this prompts the latter to wave his sword around on instinct alone; and it is in THAT moment that the Wolf King managed to stab Magnus in the eye. Russ actually won the fight on his own, fair and square, even if luck seemed to really be head over heels his WOLF VIKING OVERLORD IN SPESS look in that moment. Suck it up NEEEERRRRRRRRRD. Also there is not reason to believe that the giant-ass warp storm over Tizca that was dramatically empowering the rest of the Thousand Sons was not giving Magnus a similar boost). Tzeentch was even further amused by all of this because it's rare for anyone, let alone a mortal, to predict and out-manipulate the plans of the Architect of Fate himself (though ultimately Magnus didn't really do either). He thus made Magnus an offer: Become Tzeentch's servant and preserve what was left of his Legion and homeworld or watch it all burn in a pool of his own blood.

Pussying out, Magnus agreed because the thought of actually dying to atone for his mistakes only seemed like a good idea until he had to put it into practice. As a result, Magnus' cowardice ruined everything he'd been working towards and explicitly doing the one thing he'd been trying to prevent. The response of Magnus' new patron was immediate: for once, Tzeentch was true to his word. The City of Light was transported into the Eye of Terror onto a Daemon World. Prospero was destroyed that day, but Magnus and (some of) his Legion survived. It is unclear when they ended up on the Planet of the Sorcerers; before or after the Siege of Terra, but Magnus the Red had been so damaged by his battle with Russ and the psychic effort of teleporting to Sortiarius that his soul had fragmented across time and space (soul-shattering back break?). The shards represented different aspects of Magnus' personality, all tied to various places and people in the galaxy (one existed in the past many decades before the Heresy) and all had different motives. One shard helped the Salamanders resurrect Vulkan, whilst another had gone full daemon and tried to kill as many knight-errants as possible. Ahriman and co gathered several of the more powerful shards back together and managed to perform a Rubric to bond them back together into a stable form called the Crimson King. Magnus was saved from fading away but effectively became a daemon prince and the most powerful of all Tzeentch's servants. One of the shards, representing Magnus' good side was bound into the dying Revuel Arvida, becoming Janus. Magnus originally planned to join the assault on Terra purely to get this part of his soul back but seeing as Janus appeared later in The Beast Arises series, we can assume this didn't go to plan. (Though Magnus shows that Perpetuals can be permanently killed by Psyker Powers/Chaos Sorcery when he perma-kill REDACTED)

Magnus had never served Tzeentch willingly, but now had no choice - exactly as Tzeentch HAD PLANNED from the very beginning (we might think), and now he was committed to the very cause he had tried to foil.


Siege of Terra[edit]

"It takes a strong man to deny what's in front of him. And if the truth is undeniable, you create your own."

– Colonel John Conrad, Spec Ops The Line

Magny Magic would join Horus for the biggest rave Terra would ever see, ostensibly for the purpose of providing entertaining parlor tricks for the guests. In reality, the big red wanted his good guy shard back. During the raid on Luna he helped the loyalists escape with the Magna Mater while asking Alpharius not to kill Nykona Sharrowkyn. When he took to the field, he offered comfort and sympathy to his nemesis Mortarion.

His deeds for Morty would give Magnus the cover he needed to infiltrate the Imperial Dungeon, but not before flinging a dying Capitol Imperialis at the enemy walls and creating a breach with its nuke-sized explosion, saving a group of his sons in the process. Psychically cloaking themselves as Blood Angels, he and his entourage would move through the Great Observatory. Even as a traitor, they'd still save a group of refugees from phosphex bombs. What a guy.

After going through the Hall of Leng, Magnus would discover Malcador and Alivia Sureka. The Regent sought to convert Magnus to the loyalist cause, but such an effort collapsed when it was revealed his lost shard was in Janus and thus out of reach. Magnus turned a deeper shade of red before killing Malcador out of rage. Malcador would get better, but meanwhile a regretful Magnus continued to move to the throne room. Apparently, playing Regicide IRL was more enjoyable to Magnus than playing it on a board game.

'Revelation' would make his voice heard in the Hall of Victories, guiding Magnus' group to the throne room. Magnus would destroy the projection of Revelation and get ready to kill his dad, but the Jolly Green Giant would block Magnus' blow. While Magnus' underlings would fight the local Salamanders and Space Wolves, Big E and Magnus would psychically converse. Magnus was shown the noblebright future that could've been, and could still be if he rejoined the Emperor. The only catch was that the Thousand Sons, too deep in their corruption to be saved, had to be purged. He'd get a new legion though, one "Whose flesh will be flawless. Whose fists are steel. Whose hearts are armoured in adamantium. And they would be the pride of the new Imperium".

Magnus refused, thinking that it was an impossible offer made by a callous and uncaring tyrant. The future of humanity as a whole is second when measured against his warp-tainted sons. After all, if anybody's gonna purge the Thousand Sons, it's gonna be Magnus! Just ask Atrahasis during their quest to the throne room, and the ones that Magnus directly or indirectly killed due to his primarch-grade mental breakdown on Prospero. In slight fairness, Vulkan admits he wouldn't have accepted the offer either. After once again trying to kill Emps, Magnus duels Vulkan, but Vulkan eventually managed to beat Magnus. Tzeentch's favorite pet finally gives himself over to the Lord of Change, and is immediately banished by the Emperor's Aegis.

Later on during the Siege, Magnus would appear in the Webway to go to work on destroying Big E's anti-chaos fuckery shield. With demons beginning to rear their ugly heads in the palace, Malcador tasks Vulkan with stopping Magnus. The two once again fight, although at the beginning it's really just a sequence that demonstrates how OP Magny Magic is. This does beg the question of why Magnus didn't do this to Gorilla Man the second they met, but plotholes take a back seat to plot armor. Anywho, having LITERAL plot armor eventually tipped the scales to Vulkan after a while. Magnus would freeze the both of them in Vulkan's mind to try and plead his case one last time before he was turned to paste by Vulkan's hammer.

Long story short, Vulkan would verbally tear Magnus a new one. By itself this doesn't mean much; the fact that Magnus had done everything wrong was immediately obvious to anyone who had actually read the books. What's interesting is what came next. Vulkan claimed that Magnus had actually made up the whole offer that Big E made. In reality, "the last unstained shard of your soul burst in to the Throne Room and begged to be saved. With a heavy heart, Father refused you". Why (or even IF) Magnus interpreted the encounter differently is up to speculation.

Vulkan was clearly aware of the fracturing of Magnus' soul, and seemed to be referring to a different version of Magnus breaking in earlier, seemingly making this version have a memory of a conversation that never happened to him. What makes this part more complicated is that an "unstained shard" of Magnus' soul was installed into Janus, who was indeed given command over a new breed of space marine. Meaning that parts of his memory have elements of truth, even if he isn't aware of which parts.

On the other hand, the Custodes weren't present in the throne room when the offer was supposedly made, lending credence to Malcador saying he and Big E arranged for this offer of redemption to be made. Because of the strong suggestions (golden mist, knowledge Vulkan shouldn't have had, Magnus saying 'Father' later on, etc) that the Emperor was speaking through Vulkan, this would imply that Big E is lying about the circumstances regarding the rejection of the offer. The problem with this theory is that the Emperor has no reason to lie about such an offer. He'd have to trick Vulkan into interpreting the offer differently, which would require a good deal of psychic energy He would've otherwise used for the anti-Chaos shield.

If the Emperor never made the offer to Magnus however, then the part where Vulkan agreed with Magnus that the deal was unacceptable can also be called into question. Vulkan and his legion are known for their borderline suicidal levels of self-sacrifice on behalf of human populations no matter where they are or how large they are. This was codified in Vulkan's Promethean Cult, which (among other things) emphasized loyalty and self-sacrifice to such a degree that the Warrior Lodges never even got their foot in the door. Plus, Vulkan is entrusted by Big E to blow up all of Terra itself if the planet is ever overrun. The idea that he would agree with Magnus and choose his corrupted sons over Mankind is preposterous, making it more likely that Magnus could've made this up.

Tzeentchian corruption could also be fucking with Magnus' cognitive functions to help develop a false victim complex that would drive him from Big E and towards Tzeentch. Certainly, Vulkan does follow his statement by explaining how deep the rot of Chaos has sunk into Magnus at that point and that Magnus dreamed up his own redemption in order to give himself something to rage against, and that Magnus could not be cured and his fate was sealed.

This does directly contradict the idea introduced in Godblight that the traitor primarchs could be saved, although a reasonable explanation is that Big E just wasn't strong enough to do so in the heresy era while in M42 a supercharged Emperor could do it, or that Magnus was broken into so many smaller fragments that it was impossible to salvage whatever he used to be. Another possible explanation is that, while the Daemon Primarchs could be saved, they would need to want to be saved to make it happen. If Magnus's confrontation and conversation with Vulkan is anything to go by, Magnus was in no way genuinely repentant for what he'd done, and in fact still seemed to believe himself justified in his actions.

Either way, Aaron Dembski-Bowden fucking with the work of a fellow colleague (for some reason) via ill-conceived retcons and infuriating use of the 'SIKE YOU THOUGHT' style of plot twist has caused widespread confusion and Skub. In the end, Vulkan drops the hammer in a metaphorical and literal sense. At the exact same time, Magnus casts a spell that unmakes Vulkan at a genetic level. One is sent back to Tzeentch in failure, and the other is shambling back to the throne room with a hammer in his skeletal hands.


An exceptionally skilled depiction of Magnus during the Horus Heresy.

And so, the Horus Heresy came and went. The Siege of Terra occurred, Horus had fought the Emperor and (SPOILER WARNING) failed, and the Traitor Legions were driven to the Eye of Terror. However, the Thousand Sons now had to deal with more immediate problems: with their serving of Tzeentch, the Flesh Change returned with a vengeance. Magnus made efforts to stop this, but being a servant of the God of Mutation has its drawbacks and before long Magnus seemed to have given up. Growing desperate, Ahzek Ahriman, the Chief Librarian and First Captain, took matters into his own hands. Having lost his brother to the Flesh Change before they found Prospero, Ahriman gathered a cabal of other sorcerers, the Book of Magnus, and performed the Rubric of Ahriman in an attempt to stop the Flesh Change.

The results were not what Ahriman expected: while it stopped the Flesh Change and further empowered all psychic Thousand Sons, all non-psyker Thousand Sons had their bodies turned to dust and sealed within their Power Armor, becoming little more than robots needing guidance from a Thousand Son sorcerer.

Confronting Ahriman, once his most favored son, Magnus angrily demanded an explanation. Ahriman basically telling him to shut it did not help and Magnus was about to kill Ahriman when Tzeentch spoke to him: "Magnus, why do you seek to kill my pawn?" (which is strange since of all the chaos gods, Tzeentch cares about his followers the least) Once again, Magnus realised he'd had been used. Disgusted, broken (and still really angry but unable to do anything about it) Magnus simply exiled Ahriman from the Planet of Sorcerers. For the last ten thousand years, Magnus and Ahriman both have laboured to restore the Sons' bodies to their original forms, with Tzeentch ensuring they fail all the while. Though, it is really weird the God of Mutation and Change would be preventing change and keeping some of his strongest minions in a form that cannot be mutated (well, I mean he probably could because Warp but we've never heard about it).

Fragments of Magnus[edit]

Unknown to everyone save perhaps Tzeentch himself and Magnus' inner circle, the teleportation of Magnus to the Planet of the Sorcerers at Prospero had the side effect of splitting the Primarch's soul into a large number of lesser fragments, many of which might not have even been aware of the split and believed that they truly were Magnus the Red. The actual number of fragments is not known exactly, but an allegorical representation of them showed a broken statue of a bird, with some fragments being as small as grains of dirt though the largest piece was definitely recognisable as parts of a bird.

  • The fragment that travelled to the Planet of Sorcerers was the greatest shard of Magnus' soul, although upon its arrival it was nothing like the Primarch or the daemon-prince Magnus that are well known to the 40k universe. Although it appeared to be Magnus the Red, it has the mindset of a senile old man who was dying. This Magnus barely knew where or when he was at the best of times and was constantly forgetting who his companions were or what Leman Russ had done to him or his Legion. This shard of Magnus spent centuries (of warptime, so practically no time at all in realspace) fleeing his memories through the warp while being chased by his equerry Amon who was trying to bring him back. In a moment of lucidity he was the first to reveal that his soul had been shattered, but only by reliving the battle of Prospero did the Thousand Sons have an idea of where the largest shards went to, so Ahriman led a quest to reclaim them and restore his Primarch, gathering enough to amalgamate the Crimson King.
    • The Crimson King, the Daemon-Primarch of Tzeentch as he exists in the present, was the recombination of several shards as the Horus Heresy went on and by far the most powerful of the Magnus-fragments. His first act was to declare that he would join Horus' rebellion and lay siege to Terra to reclaim his greatest fragment (Janus). He would exile Ahriman for the first failed Rubric, would later instigate the Battle of the Fang and then spend the next ten thousand years being a dick, eventually fouling up Ahriman's second Rubric but achieving near-complete unification of all the shards. Unsurprisingly, the only parts that weren't reunited with The Crimson King were all the ones which embodied Magnus' noblest, most selfless qualities.
  • "Magnus" (as the father of the Thousand Sons and author of the Book of Magnus) was the portion of Magnus that seemed to care the most about his legionaries and of his son Ahriman in particular. Much diminished, he remained behind the scenes for centuries attempting to subvert the Daemon-Primarch and guide his son Ahriman (and by extension the Legion) back to greatness and presumably (at a push) back onto the path the Emperor intended for them. It was he who inspired Ahriman to attempt the original Rubric in the first instance since it was actually his own spell. "Magnus" (the father) knew that it would fail, but the flesh-change was overcoming the legion anyway, and the failed attempt would provide Ahriman with both the time and the conviction to eventually complete his great work and attempt a second rubric by pooling his own resources with knowledge gleaned from various other fragments, including the Athenaeum of Kallimakus. It was also he who influenced Amon's dreams to seek out Ahriman to kill him and undo the Rubric and end their brothers' agony. While this shard of Magnus admitted he sacrificed Amon to re-motivate Ahriman to do the second Rubric, he believed it was the proper course of action to save their legion and make Magnus whole without the Crimson King's influence. The end result may have actually cured his legion & father by reuniting the broken primarch and reversing the flesh-change, and allow the personality of "Magnus" (the father) to assert control over the united fragments and redeem himself. However, even if it had worked the interference of the Crimson King would have caused it to destroy the fragments instead. Ultimately, it faded into oblivion rather than allow the Crimson King to reabsorb it.
  • The great library of knowledge: the Athenaeum of Kallimakus actually was a fragment of sorts, but not able to act independently, only providing a link to the stream of consciousness of the original Magnus the Red. However the Athenaeum was corrupted after being discovered by the Crimson King, who attempted to insinuate his own mind into the thought-stream and attempt to assert control over Ahriman's second rubric result. His dipping in and out of the stream introduced flaws into the spell which would still have allowed the Thousand Sons to regain their flesh but would have destroyed all the fragments of Magnus in the process.
  • A lesser shard was hidden within the ashes of Kallista Eris that was carried around in an urn for years yet was completely oblivious to the Sisters of Silence, the Thousand Sons and one of the Knights-Errant, beneath whom the urn had passed almost completely unnoticed. It was only when proximity to the shard of Aghoru that it awakened, although its motivations are largely unknown because it seemed to be operating under the orders of the other shard until it fused with it.
  • One fragment remained on Prospero, representing his acceptance of the Emperor's judgement against him, this Magnus was stuck in limbo and meditation for a while, until Jaghatai Khan rocked up to Prospero to find out what had happened. This fragment served up a nice big info-dump and urged him to pick a side in the war, and in return Jaghatai banished him from Prospero.
  • Another became a daemon of vengeance that was unwittingly passed from host to host (It was thought to be a normal daemon, no-one realised it was a actually a shard of Magnus). It eventually came to inhabit the body of a renegade space marine called Astraeos. This shard saw the Crimson King as a usurper but was eventually consumed after a very quick battle with the Crimson King following the failed second Rubric.
  • One returned to Nikaea and represented the part inside of Magnus that died when the Emperor made his pronouncement against him. This shard was literally a corpse being clawed at by daemonic hands.
  • One represented his warrior aspect and was found on the planet Aghoru seemingly waiting to duel whoever showed up. It held off a Knight-Errant, a Rune Priest, a small squad of space wolves, a bunch of cyber automata and a freaking Samurai at the same time without any overt use of psychic power until it was bound into the body of a mortal. Interestingly, this shard had no intention of reuniting with the greater because Magnus was not actually known for his battle-prowess, so this fragment would rather have remained and made a name for himself equal to Angron or the Lion, nonetheless it later absorbed the shard of Kallista Eris into itself and was absorbed in turn into the Crimson King anyway.
  • Another fragment representing Magnus' desire to seek knowledge for the sake of its acquisition. It was thrust into Terra's past and inhabited the body of King Kadmus, one of the Emperor's enemies, requiring Ahriman to time-travel in order to reclaim it.
  • One fragment remained on Terra and was fused by Malcador to Revuel Arvida, inadvertently creating an entity known as Ianius (Janus). Yes, the same Janus that would become the first Supreme Grand Master of the Grey Knights. It is believed that this fragment embodied Magnus' nobility and connection to the Emperor.
  • From the Prologue and Epilogue there may very well have been a second fragment of Magnus that resided on Terra and was known to Malcador and Rogal Dorn. But where Revuel Arvida housed a shard in his flesh and became Ianius who remained ostensibly Astartes, this shard was fully formed (an oversized giant with crimson skin) and housed within a villa hidden deep beneath the crust of Terra from where he narrates the novel Crimson King. This fragment took upon himself the role of archivist of the Horus Heresy, and pinned his hopes for the future on some all-seeing device in the warp called The Orrery. Perhaps building it with the help of his equerry Amon while he was chasing a different shard of his emotional father through time and space via the warp, or by completing his own orrery separately, or simply referring to the one the Crimson King made. It could then be this shard of Magnus who rescued the ship carrying the body of Vulkan and guided it back to Nocturne so his brother could be resurrected.
    • It may also yet be Janus speaking from an earlier time period before his binding, who knows? The warp is confusing enough without it being inhabited by multiple aspects of the same guy over different time periods.
    • Regardless of whether it is Janus or an entirely separate fragment, one of the Terran shards was believed by the Crimson King to be the first and greatest fragment of the Soul of Magnus and so he was willing to lay siege to Terra to reclaim it, even going so far as name it his sole reason for joining Horus's side of the war.

By the novel Ahriman Unchanged, Ahriman would complete his second Rubric and attempt to cast it on Sortiarius. Unfortunately the Rubric was not completed as Ahriman was interrupted by a member of the Thousand Sons who knew that the outcome would result in Magnus' annihilation and wanted to avoid it, so he seized control of the magical energy before Ahriman could finish the spell and obliterate their father. This resulted in several of the fragments reuniting into the Daemon Primarch Crimson King and increasing his share of power to a state indistinguishable from that which he possessed as a complete being. The aspect of vengeance: Astraeos would be the Crimson King's first victim and be absorbed almost immediately, while Magnus (the father) would fade away into nothing after having hung on for so many centuries only to fail in his objectives to lay claim to the soul of Magnus or heal his Legion- all it could do was deny the Crimson King what little power it still possessed.

  • Although he might have actually succeeded, in by failing to complete the second Rubric, as a side effect Ahriman was uncoupled from his destiny and now "free" from divine manipulations, something that Magnus (the Father) had wished for all of his sons. But even then Ahriman ultimately continued to serve Tzeentch of his own will, so how much of a victory this may have been is up for debate.

This means that while Daemon-Primarch Magnus at the turn of the 41st millennium is in his most complete state and the various schemes of the separated fragments have been put to rest, Magnus is still not "whole" and likely will never return to his original state due to the loss of significant fragments; in particular, the evaporated essence of the compassionate father figure who set the rubric in motion, and probably the missing nobility of Janus, who died centuries earlier in service to the Grey Knights. At this point it can be assumed that Tzeentch filled in the remaining parts with himself, cementing Magnus' state as a Daemon Prince and eliminating any chance of his redemption.

Post Rubric[edit]

Magnymagick and Papa Smurf having a calm and brotherly conversation over at Luna in the 41st Millennium. And I, Cato Sicarius, will prevent anyone from interrupting this conversation!

Battle for The Fang: The unified Magnus the Red: The Crimson King, later showed up on FENRIS ITSELF and became the second Daemon Primarch after Angron to get shit done, rampaging through imperial lines and laying waste to everything in his path with MIND BULLETS and RAW PHYSICAL POWER until the Space Wolves responded and after an extremely hard fight Magnus phased himself out and teleported all his marines out of the Fang after having his back broken once again, this time by Bjorn. While he succeeded in sabotaging an experimental (seemingly successful) Space Wolf geneseed mutation cure and killing an entire Great Company HQ, The Great Wolf (turns out wolfing a Wolf Lord's wolf means warping your hands inside him and ripping his hearts out) and almost killing Bjorn the Fell-Handed himself, he did not finish the Space Wolves once and for all. Of course, Magnus claimed it was not his goal in the first place.

Funny how two out of two Daemon Primarchs to have gotten shit done ended up being repelled by the actions of the Space Wolves. On the other hand, the Wolfies were pushed to their very limits trying to repel the chosen of Tzeentch, and they only got off easy once he fucked off after his main objective was finished.

Warzone Fenris:

Of all the Daemon Primarchs so far seen in the fluff, he seems to be the most collected and coherent, as far as Chaos goes; in the trailer of Wrath of Magnus he actually sounded quite composed and at odds with Angron's "BLUDFUTEBLUDGUD!" or Mortarion's "IHAVESPESSASHMA"; he told the Thousand Sons in a strong but civilised way to put their differences aside to focus on the goal of destroying the Space Puppies, and remarked how all of them were his sons, even Ahriman or any other wayward sorcerer who had gone his own way through the ages and that despite the millennia long past, he still holds Prospero in high regards and consistently fights for his homeworld's memory and people. What a cool guy.

During the campaign, Magnus' goal was never to destroy Fenris (though it would have been a satisfying bonus), but instead to make the Wolves suffer as he and his sons did during the Burning of Prospero: with the Wulfen and their genetic flaw revealed, they would be regarded with suspicion and mistrust. Because the people of Fenris have seen first-hand the horrors of the Warp, the Inquisition ordered a massive purge that saw most of the population of Fenris exterminated. Midgardia basically got destroyed, Fenris became a partly irradiated wasteland, and Magnus pulled Sortiarius into the materium (as the whole invasion of Fenris also turned out to be a massive ritual for which the Grey Knights killing the populace helped a lot, yes Grey Knights dun fucked up). Interestingly, while Magnus is lauded for his vast intellect he seems to have neglected the insignificant detail of *knowing* that the Space Wolves were tricked by Horus into annihilating the Thousand Sons instead of detaining them in order to take them to Terra as the Emperor had decreed. This order was slightly "re-interpreted" by Horus and then passed on to Leman Russ with the known consequences (the traitor legions refer to them as "the betrayed" for that very reason). There goes split personality for ya!

Notably, during the above campaign, Magnus got Mortarion's aid in exchange for the latter taking over Midgardia and transforming it into a plague infested planet. However, Magnus proceeded to back-stab Mortarion by arranging Midgardia to undergo exterminatus before the latter succeeded in claiming it. Magnus likely did this out of vengeance because he's still salty over Mortarion's role during that little Council of Nikaea thing, something something best served cold...

Gathering Storm Book III:

Magnus and the Thousand Sons are found to be lurking in the webway after the resurrected Roboute Guilliman and his allies have escaped from the Red Corsairs. Guilliman, realising that Magnus is hoping to use him to sneak into the Imperial Palace via the webway gate, instead detours to a dormant gate on Luna. A huge battle between Guilliman's forces and the Thousand Sons ensues, whilst the two Primarchs go mano-a-mano. In a rare example of the blue bastards not getting their way and the whole "Daemon Primarch" thing actually making a difference, Magnus' super-psyker abilities bring the G-man within a gnat's testicle of actually getting killed before the loyalist cavalry arrives in the form of the Imperial Fists, the Adeptus Custodes, and the Sisters of Silence. The Sisters nullify Magnus' powers long enough for Guilliman to turn him into a kebab. This somehow causes Magnus to unleash a psychic shockwave that blows him back through the gate, after which some Harlequins who'd tagged along with Guilliman seal it off, stranding him in the webway. Since then, Magnus has been involved in many other major attacks on the Imperium at the behest of Tzeentch, such as the invasion of the Stygius Sector and building an empire for psykers.

On the tabletop[edit]

As a son of the Emperor[edit]

Magnus, back before he was a red giant. Well, a redder giant.
Points WS BS S T W I A Ld Sv
495 7 5 7 6 6 6 4 10 2+/4++

With his decent statline, Magnus has the Primarch rule in all of its goodness, Arch Sorcerer (ML 5 psyker that harnesses on a 3+, needs three 6's to roll perils and re-rolls 1's if he does) plus he randomly generates his powers from any of the 5 main disciplines plus Sanctic (E.G. 2 biomancy, 2 telepathy, 1 divination). now think about rolling all 5 on biomancy! with The Eye of the Crimson King, which gives him line of sight to anything in range while also giving his powers Ignores Cover. Phantasmal Aura makes him harder to hit by forcing anyone in melee or shooting at him (and the infantry unit he joined) -1 to hit while also forcing Barrage weapons aimed at him to add +1 Scatter. He's also a decent army buffer, boosting his legions leadership, making his attached unit Fearless (even though the Primarch rule already did that), allowing Sehkmet Terminators as troops and letting you re-roll reserves.

  • The Horned Raiment is your standard 2+ 4++ armour made of warp energy that lowers the number of wounds taken from the D by 1
  • Psyfire Serpenta is an S8 AP2 Assault d3 gun with Soulblaze(that could be argued to be a plasma weapon and thus weakened by the sallies)
  • The Blade of Ahn-Nunura is an S+2 AP1 two handed force blade.

The February 2019 FAQ nerfed balanced Magnus heavily. Making Mind Wrath a power he has to buy separately along with Infernal Bargain. This increases his cost by 175 points, bringing his total to 670 and making him the most expensive of the Primarchs. Mind Wrath lets him double the range of any witchfire and add a single d6 strength to a maximum of 10 at a penalty of his powers needing +2 Warp Charges to cast. His witchfires still do not need line of sight and Ignore Cover. His Infernal Bargain rule allows his army to cancel out a single Perils of the Warp anywhere on the table once per game, which is a safety net in the event a low level Psyker fluffs his casting roll and subjects the entire army to a potential pinning check. Magnus is still powerful and he is clearly still the best psyker in the game, but not quite the Destroyer Cheese of his first incarnation.

Magnus and Russ having a civilised chat on the philosophy of the Warp. Also, Magnus doesn't have his nipple horns anymore. Maybe Magnus got tired of losing another eye every time he sneezes.

Biomancy so far seems to be the most powerful for him to roll on, as Iron Arm makes him an unkillable juggernaut of S10 T9, Warp Speed let him out-dance Fulgrim and out-rape Angron at 7 attacks on I9, with both combined allowing him to take on Horus or even Russ in a challenge, Enfeeble and Endurance being generally great powers in any situations. Haemorrage sadly continues to be useless, though, and five times out of six you'd roll it instead of some useful power.

Hilariously Biomancy-powered Strawberry can mindbullet most Primarchs from distance in just 2 or 3 turns. Angron, Fulgrim and Corax could even go down in one turn with some luck. Although Lorgar's superior deny and Horus's armor of "fuck your psychic powers on a 3+" may pose a problem, and them hiding in a transport or a unit (probably both) counters this tactic completely - then again forcing your enemy's Primarch to hide just by deploying yours is a victory on it's own (unless it's Alpharius, who's straight up designed to hide in a unit).

You can go for support monster with Divination or supercheese with Telepathy, but those disciplines lack boostable witchfires (Psychic Scream while awesome on its own don't have strength value). Pyromancy is on the other end of the spectrum, with all the witchfires all the time everywhere, potentially with re-rolls to wound from fiery form, but it can't increase his survivability or close combat prowess.

Magnus is THE straight-up best Primarch for his points. The reason for this is his sheer flexibility. While you may not be able to choose your psychic powers, you can tailor him to different roles at the start of any game just by picking a discipline. Up against a melee Legion and need a buffer for your gunline? Divination, motherfucker. Enemy brought a Warhound/Spartan/Primarch who isn't Horus or Russ? Biomancy to fly up and smash it. Up against Admech with those 4+ armour MCs? Say hi to Pyromancy. If there were only a few psychic powers that Magnus' rules could turn into OP nastiness it'd be okay, but with Biomancy in particular, there are an absurd number of such powers. Pray to the Emprah Forgeworld nerfs him.

Just keep him away from sisters of silence... even they might struggle though. Especially since, Psyker or not, this is still a Primarch designed to tear apart anything and everything. A Culexus Assassin hiding behind a unit will also royally fuck him over.

Vs Other Primarchs[edit]

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 Magnus fares against other Primarchs mathhammer wise. Please note that all the various abilities, with the exception of Blind, are taken into account (Blind is ignored because it is just too random and unreliable to come into play) 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. As with Lorgar, psychic powers are not accounted for, which is a slightly false choice given that if you're sending Magnus in for a Primarch duel you probably will buff him but a necessary one if this is to be doable and fair.

  • Magnus VS Angron
    • Angron first round: hits 4.5 times, wounds 3.75 times and 1.875 after saves which IWND will take down to 1.542 at the start of next turn.
    • Angron second round: hits 3 times, wounds 2.5 times and 1.25 after saves which IWND will take down to 0.917 at the start of next turn.
    • Magnus: hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times and 0.833 after saves which FNP and IWND will take down to 0.5 at the start of next turn.
    • Unsurprisingly Magnus loses this one pretty badly.
  • Magnus VS Fulgrim
    • Fulgrim (Fireblade): hits 3.5 times, wounds 2.333 times and 1.167 after saves which IWND will take down to 0.834 at the start of next turn.
    • Magnus: hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times and 0.556 after saves which IWND will take down to 0.222 at the start of next turn.
    • Again unsurprisingly Fulgrim wins comfortably even without taking into account Child of Terra or Mastercrafted.
  • Magnus VS Mortarion
    • Magnus: hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times and 0.833 after saves which IWND will take down to 0.278 at the start of next turn.
    • Mortarion: hits 1.667 times, wounds 1.111 times and 0.556 after saves which IWND will take down to 0.222 at the start of next turn.
    • Magnus actually out-endures Mortarion as his negative modifier to hit balances out Mortarion's superior regen and extra wound. Not that it matters because it will take several lifetimes before either of them actually die.
  • Magnus VS Ferrus Manus
    • Magnus: hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 time and 0.556 after saves which IWND will take down to 0.222 at the start of next turn.
    • Ferrus: hits 1.333 times with Forgbreaker and 0.333 times with his Servo Arm, wounds 1.111 times and 0.278 respectively which after saves becomes a total of 0.695 wounds after saves which IWND will take down to 0.362 wounds at the start of next turn.
    • Another ridiculously long fight but Ferrus' Servo Arm and better invulnerable save just tip the fight in his favour.
  • Magnus VS Konrad Curze
    • Konrad: hits 3 times, wounds 2.25 times and 1.125 after saves which IWND will take down to 0.792 at the start of next turn.
    • Magnus: hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times and 0.833 after saves which IWND will take down to 0.5 at the start of next turn.
    • Konrad wins this one without having to use his hit and run + HOW combo which turns this into a bloodbath.
  • Magnus VS Vulkan
    • Magnus: hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times and 0.556 after saves which IWND will take down to 0 wounds at the start of next turn.
    • Vulkan: hits 1.333 times, wounds 1.111 times and 0.556 after saves which IWND will take down to 0.222 wounds at the start of next turn.
    • Vulkan wins because Magnus can't hurt him.
  • Magnus VS Lorgar
    • Magnus (round 1): hits 2.222 times, wounds 1.728 times and 0.576 after saves which IWND will take down to 0.242 wounds at the start of next turn.
    • Magnus: hits 2.667 times, wounds 2.222 times and 0.741 after saves which IWND will take down to 0.407 wounds at the start of next turn.
    • Lorgar: hits 2 times (Master-crafted and +1A for pistol), wounds 1.667 times and 0.833 after saves which IWND will take down to 0.5 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • In spite of WS6 and 5 wounds, Lorgar's save is increased to 3++ against attacks from Force Weapons, giving him a mutual kill or narrowly win if he concusses Magnus in the penultimate round.
      • Happy psychic fun:
      • Magnus with Iron Arm and Warp Speed: hits 4.667 times, wounds 3.889 times, 0.432 after saves and IWND will take down to 0.099 wounds at the start of next turn.
      • Lorgar with Precog: hits 2.778 times, wounds 1.543 times, 0.772 times after saves and IWND will take down to 0.439 wounds at the start of the next turn.
      • Lorgar with Precog crushes Magnus (after a long time), the rerolls to hit and wound more than makes up for Magnus' aura and boosted Toughness, and rerollable 3++ completely neuters Magnus' damage. Magnus needs Iron Arm, Warp Speed and Endurance to outlast him. Or roll Precognition himself with any Bio-blessing.
  • Magnus VS Perturabo
    • Magnus: hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times and 0.556 after saves which IWND will take down to 0.222 wounds at the start of next turn.
    • Magnus (Blinded): hits 1.333 times, wounds 1.111 times and 0.37 after saves which IWND takes down 0.037 wounds at the start of next turn.
    • Perturabo: hits 1.333 times with both, wounds 0.889 times with his hands and 1.111 times with Forgebreaker and 0.444 and 0.556 times after saves respectively, which becomes 0.111/0.222 wounds at the start of next turn.
    • Perturabo (with Magnus Blinded): hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times and 0.833 times after saves.
    • Another victory for Magnus comes when Perturabo doesn't have Forgebreaker. When he does this becomes a walkover in the other direction as Magnus won't kill him before he becomes blinded and then he becomes essentially unable to hurt Perturabo.
  • Magnus VS Alpharius
    • Magnus: hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times and 0.833 after saves which IWND will take down to 0.5 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Alpharius: hits 1.944 times, wounds 1.512 times and 0.756 after saves which IWND will take down to 0.423 at the start of next turn.
    • As usual, Alpharius loses.
  • Magnus VS Rogal Dorn
    • Magnus: hits 2 times, wounds 1.33 times (Dorn cannot be wounded on more than 3+ thanks to his armour) and 0.67 after saves which IWND will take down to 0.44 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Dorn: hits 2 times, wounds 1.5 times and 0.75 after saves which IWND will take down to 0.417 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Magnus loses this one.
  • Magnus VS Corvus Corax
    • Corax: hits 2.667 times (Scourge)/ 2 times (Shadow-walk), wounds 2 times (Scourge)/ 1.5 times (Shadow-walk) and once or 0.75 times respectively after saves which IWND will take down to 0.667/0.417 at the start of next turn.
    • Magnus: hits 2 times (Scourge)/ 1.333 times (Shadow-walk), wounds 1.667 times (Scourge)/ 1.111 times (Shadow-walk) and 1.111/0.741 times after saves which IWND will take down to 0.778/0.408 wounds at the start of next turn.
    • Corax's superior initiative means that if he uses Shadow-walk he can kill Magnus just before he can strike on turn 15. If he uses Scourge he loses, however. As usual Blind and Hit and Run could turn the fight more in his favour.
  • Magnus VS Jaghatai Khan.
    • Jaghatai: hits 2.666 times, wounds 1.333 times, 0.666 wound after saves with IWND bringing this down to 0.333.
    • Magnus: hits 2 times, wounds 1.666 times, 0.555 times after saves with IWND bringing this down to 0.222.
    • Magnus loses this one too.
  • TLDR:
    • Magnus leads the back of the pack when it comes to fighting primarchs. His WS is only average (for a primarch) and he can't pile on the attacks to make up for it. He isn't particularly tanky either, so any of his melee-focused brothers will knock him over and sit on his dumb ginger head.
    • But hulked out with biomancy he stands a decent chance against anyone but Horus and the Wolf King.

As a Daemon Primarch[edit]

Exactly as planned!
Magnus 7 7 8 7 7 7 6 10 4+R1/4++R1

Rules-wise, he's a beast with 7s across the board barring strength (8) attacks (6) and ld (10). He rocks a 4++ and can re-roll ones (so yeah, throw in the grimoire of names to have a 2++ re-rollable and guy becomes unkillable when combined with the fact that he's an FMC with EW), as well as Daemon of Tzeentch, Deep Strike, VotLW, Fearless, Fleet, IWND, and the WT Lord of Flux: Enemy units within 12″ of your Warlord treat all terrain, even open ground, as difficult terrain; any enemy units that run, turbo-boost, move flat out, or charge within that radius must take dangerous terrain tests. He has what is by far the best psychic output in the game: Mastery level 5, AW (so he DTWs on 3+ against everyone), manifests his WCs on a 2+, has LoS to all units on the table for the purposes of using his powers, and never suffers Perils of the Warp. He knows every spell in the Tzeentch and Change disciplines. With the expansions brought in the new rulebook, this means Magnus can bring to the table 2 D attacks (One of which is an 18" Beam?!) per psychic phase with relative ease, all while still being able to murderize anything that he comes across, and in melee he uses a sword that uses his strength, AP2, Soulblaze, Force, and Transmogrify (a 6 to wound causes Instant death and turns the slain model into a Chaos Sp... you know this stupid gaOHGODWHYBLAGRABAH). He's 650pts, so use him wisely.

Model-wise, he appears to take minor inspiration from his EPIC monkey form (which is a good thing.) He has multiple head options, including a cyclops head, which is incredibly fluffy as his face has been described as constantly changing. His armor appears to be to have changed from golden to silver (but it still has its nipple horns. Sexy, sexy nipple horns), and the motif of a bird skull appears everywhere. He has bird wings, and is posed on a Space Wolf Dreadnought arm. Ah, and he's so FUCKHUEG that he rivals an Imperial Knight.

8th Edition[edit]

Pts WS BS S T W A Ld Sv
Magnus 445 2+ 2+ 8 7 18 7 10 3+

Naturally, Magnus was some of the small slither of cheese that Chaos had access to in 7th, so GW casually nerfed him to ensure their precious space marines didn't have too hard a time (if this was hard to see, don't look at what has become of poor Ahriman). Don't let this hit fool you too much though as Magnus is still a force to be reckoned with. Gone is the all seeing eye, immunity to perils and ease of power casting. In its place we still get the best psyker (still significantly weaker than before as he has now forgotten most of his spells and how to give people the big old D). With 18 wounds, he can take more hits than a Land Raider and Bloodthirster and with 7 strength 8 attacks (*16 with his X2 S blade*), he can still bend over most things in the game with his fancy blade. His new force multiplier effects make him a more balanced command unit but unless you want him to sit at the back as a big fire magnet and hope his measly 3 powers can make up for his enormous cost over his combat hitting power, a Thousand Sons army isn't going to benefit from these too much. Apparently, Magnus has changed his devotion to Khorne judging by the obvious strategy GW have currently geared him to.

Oh, and don't let Thunder Hammer/Stormshield Terminators charge him. They obliterate him, even with Weaver of Fates up to give him a 3++R1; besides, you easily have the manoeuvrability to ensure they virtually never manage to pull this off.

  • In all truth while his insane strength and 7 attacks are brutal, especially when adding prescience you probably want to stay away from anything with an invulnerable save higher than a 4, use him with warptime for mass hit and run and bolstering or intimidating important areas. Smite anything rocking Stormshields or other intimidating saves, and hope he rolls an overall 10, for a juicy 2d6 mortal wounds.
  • Obviously Mortarion was not better enough when compared to Big Red, so GW fixed that by nerfing the cyclops (and boy did they hit him hard). No more invul rerolls, 2D6 mortal wound Smite only goes off on 12+ now, transmogrify from his blade is still not free, if you manage to even pull it off (funnily most characters hide from Magnus) all for 30 MORE points. On the plus side he allows rerolls of 1 for both him and his sons within 9" when making a psychic test, he adds his psychic phase bonus to DtW tests now, he also gets full access to 3 psychic disciplines for a total of 18 spells to chose from and he ignores any mortal wounds caused by perils on a 2+. He's less tanky than he used to be, but he is much more psychically focused than before.

9th Edition[edit]

Pts WS BS S T W A Ld Sv
Magnus 450 2+ 2+ 8 7 18 8* 10 3+

Magnus' Terrible Weakness[edit]

Unfortunately not everything is awesome for the Daemon Prince, aside from getting his ass kicked by the Space Wolves and Grey Knights (though he's hardly alone in that regard), Magnus has a terrible weakness in the form of three completely normal humans carrying Thunder Hammers. This is all 7th edition only, but check it out anyway:

Seriously, three Inquisitors (all of which have 3's and 4's where Magnus has 7's and 8's) can kick his ass. One of them just needs to be carrying a Null Rod and Thunder Hammer, another carries the Grimoire of True Names, Empyrean Brain Mines, and a Nemesis Daemon Hammer, while the third also carries Empyrean Brain Mines and a Nemesis Daemon Hammer. All of this makes for a combination that Magnus simply cannot win against. He is incapable of targeting the unit with his sorcery; while he can and should hit the unit with Wrath of Magnus on the approach if possible, as Beams do not target, this won't help him in melee, where he is reduced to using Boon of Flame to summon support (which will not be able to charge on summon turn) and Boon of Mutation, which is extremely unlikely to help in any meaningful way. If they charged him, the Psyk-Out grenades mean he's I1 for testing against the Mines; if they didn't, why didn't Magnus just get the hell out of there instead of getting into close combat with these guys? On subsequent Inquisitor turns, the bearer of the Grimoire will challenge him; Brain Mines and Challenges happen at the same time, so per the sequencing rules, the Inquisitors can choose to use the Mines second. Magnus must now take an I test on I2 (typically two tests, of course), so with odds at best 1/3 (at worst, 1/9) he can still swing - otherwise, he can't swing at all. If he does swing, it's at WS 2 (so he hits on 5s and is hit on 3s). Mathwise the three Inquisitors beat him to death in 3 rounds (another Triumvirate of the Imperium?). Even if it wasn't for dropping his Leadership down to 5 for Daemonbane tests, the second the Inquisitors Wound him he's Concussed, meaning it's even easier for them to paralyze him with the Mines and spend the second round wailing on him. If you really wanted to fuck him over then you could also ally in a Culexus Assassin, as they (simply by standing near him and not actually getting into the fistfight) combine with the Grimoire to drop his Leadership to 2, making him incredibly likely to die if a Nemesis Daemon Hammer rolls a 6 to wound. That all said, remember that Magnus does not have the Daemonic Instability special rule, so he's not going to take a bajillion extra wounds after losing combat with nerfed Leadership. You could also add to the hilarity with an Inquisitor with Rad and Psychotroke grenades (the Psychotroke grenades especially have a 1/3 chance of either reducing Magnus to I1 or LD 2 for the phase, which will make all of the other effects in the unit even worse for him).

Of course this relies on them actually getting into combat with Magnus, and so long as the player's smart (and your opponent doesn't load up his Inquisitors in something ridiculous like a Corvus Blackstar) you should be able to get around the board without having them ever get into combat with him. The Lord of Flux WT helps in this respect by messing up charges.

Funnily enough too his 30k incarnation is incredibly weak against Sisters of Battle, mainly because they can load up on combi-crossbows and two squads armed with these things will kill him in a single shooting phase while being either more annoying to kill thanks to Adamantium Will, or impossible to hurt with his Psychic powers if they're joined by a Hereticus Inquisitor carrying a Null rod (as they should be). Obviously the solution here is just to make him invisible and take them on in combat, but there's still the rare chance you won't get it (especially if you want other powers for bigger threats).


  • If you translate his name into Latin, you get Magnus Rubricatus, meaning, "Great Red [Man]" (or, "Big Red" if you're feeling lulzy). Also it has "rubric" in it. Sly GW strikes again!
  • The god Thor had a daughter named Thrudr (Strength) and two sons, Modi (Wrath) and Magni (Mighty). They embody their Sire's essential characteristics (much like the Primarchs vis-à-vis of the Emperor). This may well be coincidental though; albeit since it is modern B.L. Fluff that Leman (who is often compared with Odin for various obvious reasons) was the leader of the Censure army sent to capture / slay Magnus and burn Prospero, it is not entirely excluded that this piece of fluff represents an obscure and far-fetched "prophetic" and artistic rendering.


See Also[edit]

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
The Daemons of Chaos
Khorne mark.png 220px-Nurgle Symbol.png Slaanesh mark.png 934501-tzeentch mark.png Hornedratsymbol.jpg Chaosundivided.png
Greater Daemons: An'ggrath
Shalaxi Helbane
Amon 'Chakai
Kairos Fateweaver
Lesser Daemons: Karanak
Horticulous Slimux
The Masque
Syll Lewdtongue
The Changeling
The Blue Scribes
Daemon Princes: Angron
Mazarall the Butcher
Valkia the Bloody
Magnus the Red
Werner Flamefist
Skreech Verminking Be'lakor