"Leadership is not magnetic personality, that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not "making friends and influencing people", that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person's vision to higher sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations."
- – Peter F. Drucker
"Julius Caesar learned that Alexander, having completed nearly all his conquests by the time he was thirty-two years old, was at an utter loss to know what he should do during the rest of his life, whereat Augustus expressed his surprise that Alexander did not regard it as a greater task to set in order the empire which he had won than to win it."
- – Plutarch
"Did you mean rowboat guilty man?"
- – Microsoft Clippy
Roboute Guilliman ("Row-Boo-tay Gill-ee-man”) /ɹəʊ-'buːt-eɪ 'ɡɪl-ə-mæn), otherwise known as the Lord of Ultramar, the Battle King, the Blade of Unity, the Ruler of Hosts, Lord Commander of the Imperium, The Uncrowned Monarch, The Victorious, The Thirteenth, The Avenging Son, The Avenging Beancounter (If you're Konrad Curze), Robu, Big Bobby G, Rawbutt Girlyman , Robust Guiltyman , Grandpa Smurf and Our Spiritual Liege (among many, MANY nicknames, see below) is the Primarch of the Ultramarines and quite possibly the single most skub-inspiring person in Warhammer 40,000 (with the pooooosible exception of Kaldor Draigo). This is thanks to his varying depictions as a total ungodly Mary Sue in older material, or being a quite likable, intelligent and awesome leader in others. The dislike for him is often based more around his legacy and the reception (or lack thereof) of a certain infamous book, although he did have a cold, imperious streak to his personality that occasionally caused friction between his brothers and himself, most famously being partially responsible for being one of the factors that turned Lorgar to Chaos, in addition to Alpharius. Maybe. It's hard to tell. Though to be entirely fair Lorgar's fall was about 60% his own fault, 30% the Emperor's, 9.9% Malcador's, and .1% Guilliman's. He alongside Jaghatai Khan should be commended on the sheer fact that they were the only Primarchs that behaved like a functional adult. In a family filled with violent schizophrenic edgelords with a persecution complex, overly aggressive and competitive morons with a furry fetish, easily manipulated idiots who can't handle no as an answer, super-autists with the dumbest-of-all daddy issues that never shuts the fuck up, rage-a-holic retards with another set of daddy issues who could barely cooperate worth a damn, hypocritical dipshits with another unhealthy dose of daddy issues that stinks of literal shit, enormous flaming douchebags with an ego a mile wide, socially inept dickheads who can't even lie their way out of a paper bag, socially inept incompetents with massive trust issues, arrogant dweebs who spent more time dabbling in dangerous shit despite being repeatedly warned not to, prancing obnoxious melodramatic dumbasses who can't even keep their mouths shut, uncompromising jackasses who can't even admit they fucked up, and upstart dickheads with a massive inferiority/anonymity complex. Being one of the few with his head screwed on right is a breath of fresh air from all the idiocy that plagued the Great Crusade.
Apparently, he and Sigmar are behind the sudden surge of good policies done by GeeDubs. As of the current trajectory, it seems that GeeDubs has been infected with Animu and is slowly turning Warhammer 40k into Warharem 40k, due to Grandpa Smurf suddenly getting not one but two potential ship baits thanks to Dark Imperium: Plague Wars (plus the ones he sort of got during the Gathering Storm, what a player). Oh, and he accidentally gives a preacher a religious erection. This is CANON. As of the end of the trilogy his Custodian liaison is somewhat tsundere for him, yeah, this is what happens when you let a loyalist primarch run amok in the 42nd millennium.
Of note, Guilliman is also the first Primarch to make an actual appearance in video games, debuting in Battlefleet Gothic: Armada II whilst riding around in his personal flagship: The Macragge's Honour.
- 1 History
- 2 Personality and Capabilities
- 3 Guilliman the Failure...And Why That Makes Him Awesome
- 4 Popular Opinion
- 5 Gameplay
- 6 Nicknames
- 7 Gallery
Much has been made of how "easy" Guilliman's early life was compared to many of his brothers, and how Macragge was a supposedly great place to live. The reality is that while Macragge was no Barbarus or Nostramo, life there was far from easy. The primary culture of the planet was very similar to that of ancient Sparta, and weakness was tolerated about as poorly as it was on a planet like Medusa. For instance, when children were born, they would be examined to determine if they were weak or strong. If they were weak, they would simply be left out in the wilderness to die. All children who weren't just left to die would be placed in military training academies when they were six, and again, those who were weak would die. So not exactly a paradise world. Guilliman was found by the planet's ruler and some of his retinue while they were on a hunting trip. Konor Guilliman, the man who took him in, was a pretty cool dude who advocated helping the common man and pushed for meritocratic reforms. These were a major influence on Roboute and stayed with him throughout his life. Guilliman loved his father dearly, and was known to have considered Konor to have been his "real" father, while the Emperor had merely been his creator. It also says something that Konor's seneschal, Tarasha Euten (hereafter referred to as GuilliMom), was effectively Guilliman's surrogate mother, making him the only Primarch to have a conventional family, a fact that twisted Konrad Curze's nipples to no end (which goes double when she tells him to go fuck himself).
When Roboute was 12, he was sent to war against the Illyrians, Macragge's version of the Gauls (or of the actual Illyrians, whom the Romans conquered long before they took Gaul, probably the latter since at this time Ultramar and later Ultramarines were basically Romanized Gauls in space). During the campaign, Roboute realised that instead of having to rip and tear through the Illyrians, many of them were willing to negotiate and drop their guns for a place in Konor's dream. When he met with the Illyrian chieftain, Guilliman presented a sacred artifact that the consuls of Macragge had stolen generations ago as a peace offering. This was the second major impact in his life - to try diplomacy first before war.
When he returned, Roboute found his home in disarray. Konor had just become the victim of some political treachery, Ancient Roman-style. His co-ruler, Gallan, was pissed off at all these reforms Konor pushed through, so he sent his army to rape, pillage and burn while lying to the Senate that Konor was behind it. Seeing his once peaceful home burning, with soldiers looting and killing the people they swore to protect, left the third major impact on Roboute and the most likely source of why he was always so anal about protocol - the alternative in his eyes was total anarchy.
After helplessly watching his father die from a poisoned wound, then finding out that Gallan, who had been pretending to be on his side, was the one behind Konor's assassination, Roboute was about to murder Gallan in front of the Senate before realizing that doing so would set a precedence for infighting while Macragge continued to burn (Gallan was later ceremonial beheaded on a rock, which would later be used by the Ultramarines to execute their traitor brothers in the future. Also, the rock was a reference to Tarpeian Rock, yet another Roman reference for Guilliman's backstory). This was the fourth major impact on his life: by controlling his emotions and deferring to the Senate's laws, Guilliman ironically won the Senate and enabled his father's dream. By the time the Emperor reached Macragge, Roboute had ruled for five years and turned the world into a place where you had to earn your place, not just be born into it, exactly how his (adoptive) father would have wanted it. When the Emperor arrived Guilliman had acquired several systems in the sector through diplomacy and was getting ready to annex the others in what would become the start of Ultramar. He willingly knelt to the Emperor and joined the Imperium of Man, acquiring special status for Ultramar as autonomous from the central government (directly, rather than due to practical reasons), leaving Euten in charge while he went off crusading. Think of Ultramar administratively being to the Imperium what a single world normally would be.
Great Crusade and Horus Heresy
Guilliman utilized his skills as a tactician and strategist to fight in his Father's crusade, preferring to form battle plans rather than actually participate in the fighting himself (though he still did his fair share of Xeno-killing). In the hopes of passing down some of his strategic expertise, he worked very hard to turn the Ultramarines into an army of thinkers. His primary rule as a commander was "Information is victory", emphasizing that Space Marines needed theoretical knowledge and practical experience, in other words, a sound understanding of the tactical situation and a means to achieve their objective. Given that battle plans proved to be the first casualty, Guilliman soon realised that he would need to refine his own strategies even as he codified them, lest they fall apart in the chaos of warfare. With over 250,000 legionaries, he managed to achieve compliance on the highest number of worlds during the Great Crusade, but was surpassed in military victories by the Luna Wolves, Space Wolves and Dark Angels. Meaning he was either a good diplomat or his crusade encountered more peaceful human societies. Guilliman also made a point to turn conquered planets into model military worlds, and the Ultramarines would not leave until a modern Planetary Defence Force was established. He really should've been put jointly in charge of administration post-Ullanor, which would've made premature, excessive taxation of newly integrated worlds a lot easier to avoid (and therefore fewer worlds would have joined Horus' rebellion). Or probably not: after all, Guilliman didn't change a thing on Nuceria, a feudal world of people enjoying slaves and pit fights (not to say they were fucking responsible for the mess Angron turned into) after incorporating it in his empire. It was of no concern to Roboute; the only things he cared about were resources and taxes arriving on time. So while central worlds of Ultramar prospered, provinces were much shittier places to live. It may also have been that as a Legion Homeworld, Guilliman did not have the authority to do things. If he had, it would have been "going over Angron's head" and stepping on his turf. While it would have also made sense to have improved Nuceria, Guilliman may have left that for Angron to do himself. That sort of ineffective courtesy feels about right for Guilliman. Though it should be noted Angron never returned to his homeworld before destroying it and his legion recruited from other worlds
When civil war broke out, Guilliman was tricked by Horus into taking most of his Legion to Calth for a joint Ultramarines/Word Bearers engagement. While most of his Company Captains believed it was just the Warmaster flexing his muscles, Guilliman realised that there was a political angle to it as well: when the Emperor of Mankind rebuked Lorgar Aurelian for spreading the Lectitio Divinatatus, he ordered the Ultramarines to burn Monarchia, capital city of Khur, as an example of what would happen to those who continued to defy the Imperial Truth. Guilliman carried out his orders and didn't show Lorgar any sympathy, but privately confided to some of his officers his discomfort in doing so, feeling that the total humiliation would irreparably damage relations between the XIII and XVII Legions. Guilliman saw this as a chance to mend fences and forge friendships the old fashioned way: by getting Space Marines to kill Orks side by side. Unfortunately, Horus and Lorgar used the Calth muster to kill nearly half the Legion in a surprise attack. When he found out Lorgar's treachery he personally declared to hunt Lorgar down and kill him, only to be attacked by some sort of Daemonic proxy that blew up the main bridge of his flagship and voided him out. So Guilliman did what any other pissed off Primarch would do: go on a rampage against Word Bearers trying to board the Macragge's Honour by punching them to death. In near vacuum. Without a helmet. For almost twelve hours. (Dan Abnett is still pretty proud of that scene). Not long after that, Kor Phaeron tried to recruit him for Chaos' cause by stabbing him with a corrupted blade like Horus, but Guilliman wanted none of it and punched the Dark Cardinal off him so hard the old man had a heart attack. In the end, though, the Ultramarines managed to wrest control of their defense grid back and shoot any Word Bearer ship not retreating posthaste to smithereens.
"Did you fear I’d turned with Horus and become a threat to our father? Have you come to sanction me, like Russ’ wolf pack?"
"My dear Roboute, I did not think for a moment that you had turned. I thought you’d done much, much worse. I think we both know you have."
- – Emprah's First and Thirteenth sons have a nice and brotherly chat about the situation on hands.
After the Battle of Calth severely hurt his Legion, Guilliman had to contend with the Shadow Crusade as Lorgar and Angron went on a merry joyride through Ultramar, razing 26 worlds with their main fleet and who knows how many with the splinter fleets. Oh, and Guilliman got a severe kick in the bottom from Angron on Nuceria after trying to beat the everloving shit out of Lorgar. In the end, though, Guilliman seemingly managed to get both the Word Bearers and World Eaters off his lawn. Ultramar was however cut off from the rest of the Imperium by Warp Storms preventing travel and astrotelepathic communication. After seeing off the Shadow Crusade, Guilliman acted on the assumption that due to being unable to know if the greater Imperium or the Emperor survived, he would need to act on the worst-case scenario that they had both fallen.
Consequently, if his father could not be saved at least His ideals would be, and so he set up a new government called Imperium Secundus, a second Imperium of Man which would reject Horus's alliance with Chaos. Although potentially traitorous to an outside observer, Guilliman's motives at least were sincere, he made a big hoohah about not taking the throne himself since he would look like a Tyrant if he did. Fortunately/Unfortunately, The Lion arrived at Macragge and didn't like where it was heading. Neither brother trusted the other with the job of ruling the next Imperium, so Sanguinius got the job only to settle the matter between the two and was declared regent of the Imperium in the Emperor's absence, only for the whole thing to be abandoned when Guilliman learned to his horror that the Emperor wasn't dead and that his whole plan was little more than a pointless waste of time. It continues to be a source of shame to him even in the present time that he got manoeuvred by Lorgar into creating the Imperium Secundus.
It's worth mentioning that there is a bit of historical precedence for it, given the whole "Imperium is Space Rome" thing. What is now known as the Byzantine Empire was the successor to Rome, that split off just before the Western half collapsed. Because of this, they were able to save a lot of the finer points of civilization that went to shit during the Medieval Era such as literacy, education and hygiene. It would take centuries for the rest of Europe to catch back up to them.
Despite his fuckup, Guilliman managed to lead over one hundred thousand Ultramarines to Terra with the Dark Angels and the Space Wolves, intent on helping the Blood Angels, Imperial Fists, and White Scars defending Terra. Horus, learning about this and knowing that he could not sustain the assault on the planet anymore once the bulk of the loyalist forces came into the fight, lowered the void shields upon the Vengeful Spirit in an all-or-nothing gambit to win the war by killing the Emprah in a duel. Alas, Guilliman and his reinforcements arrived too late to stop the traitors (who despite the death of Horus still held space around the planet) from retreating to their ships and fleeing Terra. This and his own feeling that said lateness could have been prevented had he made for Terra sooner only motivated him harder to kick the Scouring off, where those traitors that wouldn't or couldn't make their way to the Eye of Terror were hunted down and cleansed, planet by planet. Guilliman also pushed for his reforms in that time, which led to considerable divergences of opinions; but in the end everyone seemingly agreed and went "Okay, let's do this Codex thing!" (only for several chapters to begin either partially or completely ignoring said Codex or only giving the idea lip service when Guilliman had his attention elsewhere. Not much later, Guilliman got himself stabbed in the neck by Fulgrim in an absurdly one-sided duel; the resulting poisoning had him sitting on a stasis throne for the better part of 10,000 years (
I know; somehow the poison was more of a big deal than the actual stab wound in his fucking neck neck wounds can be healed even in unaugmented humans, eldritch warp poison can be a lot trickier).
41st millennium / Gathering Storm
"We shall give the humans a demigod. A king reborn with a deathly blade."
- – Prince Yriel
"Why do I still live? What more do you want from me? I gave everything I had to you, to them. Look what they have made of our dream. This bloated, rotten carcass of an empire is driven not by reason and hope, but by fear, hate and ignorance. Better that we had all burned in the fire of Horus' ambition than lived to see this."
- – Guilliman, grousing to his father about what the great-great-great-x1,000,000,000,000 etc. grandkids have done with the house while they were out
After being poisoned by Fulgrim, Guilliman was put into stasis. A popular rumor was that he was slowly healing, though that would be impossible in stasis. Eventually, after a kiss from Yvraine and a nice mechadendrite massage from Cawl, he got better. He plays a major role in the third Gathering Storm book. That's right; Guilliman is back! And in plastic! Somebody call Fulgrim, he'll be pissed! (Spoiler alert: he is really, really pissed. So is Mortarion. Magnus had a chuckle though. And of course, our Spiritual Liege probably 'enjoyed himself' after hearing this news)
After Roboute was resurrected, he goes full-blown Saitama and proceeds to wipe out an entire horde of veteran chaos marines with his manly man-fists without taking a single scratch. He then took command of the local imperial forces and used his tactical genius to inspire the combined forces of Chaos to simultaneously shit themselves. Within a month, Guilliman weeds out the entire invading Chaos force on Macragge in a series of battles and heroic duels worthy of any primarch. He then looked to liberate the rest of the Macragge system, this time with help from the Primogenitor Chapters, the Dark Angels, Space Wolves, White Scars, a Sisters of Battle army, the remaining Black Templars that fought on Cadia, more Guardsmen, a ship containing an entire Knight Household, an entire Imperial Navy battlegroup, and the Mechanicus with an entire Titan Legion backing them. He also declares the independent sovereignty of the five hundred worlds null and void, assuming direct control over his former territories. There was no kill like overkill.
After Robby G has finished his job in ousting Chaos from Ultramar, the Ynnari bid their farewell, as they have psychic mumbo-jumbo to do elsewhere. Roboute and Yvraine said their goodbyes, Roboute said that he is in debt to Yvraine for bringing him back to life and Yvraine telling Roboute to stay safe. The respect between the two is interesting, because it shows two historically opposed forces allying towards a common goal, showing that Geedubs might be going a bit old-school with this, having the (somewhat) less evil factions uniting against chaos, tempering the Grimderp of the setting with a little pragmatism, and who better to do that than Mr. Practicality and the world's most morally flexible Eldar?
During his coronation as uber-boss of Ultramar, a fragment of Fulgrim possessing a planetary governor infiltrated the many, many pilgrims and dignitaries who had shown up to verify the Primarch's resurrection, and offered him a golden wreath to wear. The wreath was cursed to show Guilliman all his potential glories and lead him to the embrace of Slaanesh. When he saw through the deception and ordered the infiltrator slain, Fulgrim promised that Guilliman would never take any satisfaction from his victories ever again. Ironically, this will probably be a good thing. It means that Guilliman will never become a glory hog or so full of hubris he ruins everything again. He won't seek victory for satisfaction, he will seek victory for the goal. Exactly as a good leader should. Sidenote: this probably also makes him immune to possession by Lucius the Eternal (or maybe he already was, he is a Primarch after all), ironically enough, also if you think it through til the end he is now the greatest living threat for Lucius' continued survival. Fulgrim didn't think this one through, did he?
Saint Celestine and Inquisitor Greyfax have convinced Roboute to tolerate the Ecclesiarchy (for now anyway). Suffice to say, he was NOT pleased with the whole space Catholicism thing that had been going on while he was asleep, seeing as Lorgar's desire to worship the emperor ruined everything. After learning about the Ecclesiarchy's more level-headed members and realizing its use, Guilliman works the Imperial Faith into one of his speeches even though it leaves a bad taste in his mouth. He is still at the core a defender of the Imperial Truth, however he understands that the Imperium in its current state needs faith to survive.
Later, Nurgle inflicted a plague on Ultramar called The Sorrows/Weeping Plague that spread via insects and caused its victims' eyes to rot out. The only known cure for the disease was to be admitted to the presence of Guilliman himself. Realizing that it was a devious trick to play on the Primarch's compassion and contain Guilliman in Ultramar, he declared that he would not repeat the mistake of defending his own realm while the rest of he galaxy burned and needed to go to Terra for the Greater Good of the Imperium, and left his Apothecaries to try and find a cure.
It is known that while heading to Terra on Macragge's Honour, the Thousand Sons transported him into the Maelstrom, where he and his allies were attacked by a warband of Red Corsairs and daemons led by Kairos Fateweaver. Kairos managed to "bind Guilliman in chains of his own guilt, anger, and disappointment" (kinky) and tossed him into a cell on a Blackstone Fortress (clinky), which the Red Corsairs apparently got from Abbadon as a gift in exchange for their
arms loyalty. However, his rescue came in the form of none other than Cypher who had been led to Guilliman by the Harlequins and a bunch of Khornate daemons led by Skarbrand assaulting the Blackstone Fortress when Kairos insisted on keeping Guilliman alive for future plans. Cypher made a deal with Guilliman, freeing him and the crusader army from bondage and offering the Fallen Angels' support in exchange for a free pass to Terra and the Imperial Throne Room to fulfill his destiny. After fighting their way through an army of daemons and escaping through the webway, they were pursued by the Thousand Sons but fought their way through to Luna and continued the battle on Terra's doorstep, and eventually Guilliman winds up dueling Magnus himself. Guilliman' odds of victory were slimming, until the Sisters of Silence, supported by the Imperial Fists and the Adeptus Custodes, drop in and punt the Thousand Sons' dusty asses back into the warp. When he finally arrived on Terra, Guilliman had a sudden, dreadful epiphany after seeing Cypher's sword. He then reneged on his deal and ordered the Custodian Guard to seize Cypher before he could be granted audience with the Emperor (though Cypher, being Cypher, immediately escaped, but is shown to have a particular bad case of butthurt, first time in 40k history!). Given how honorable Guilliman is, it must be something bad if he would resort to backing out on his word.
Guilliman then gets an audience with the Emperor behind closed doors. To his pleasant surprise, the Emperor was still alive and able to communicate after ten thousand years (though it was difficult enough for Guilliman to withstand said communication that it's unlikely the Emperor could have communicated with anyone but a Primarch for ten thousand years while the Imperium corroded around him). To his much less pleasant surprise, he found out Big. E no longer cared about pretending to be remotely human, and that he, like all his 'brother' Primarchs, were merely tools in His big plan. Ironically, even in the audience, like the rest of his life, the Emperor is very human but does not realize it due to how disconnected he is from normal humans. Tragic, but also kinda funny. Big.E loved mankind as a whole but never individual humans, not even his so-called "sons"; and that rankled Big Blue. What exactly passed between Emps and Bobby, only they know, but was presumably along the lines of: "Roboute, I know that last time you went Empire Building I got really mad at you and all, but uh... I sorta need you to do some Empire Building again." to which Guilliman agreed. When he emerges back out of the throne room, he would only say he got all the enlightenment he needed and then declares himself Lord Commander of the Imperium (his old job) before forcibly deposing some High Lords he doesn't like and replacing them; and ordering them to start getting shit done to restore the Imperium to its once and future glory.
Whilst deposing some of the High Lords may seem unnecessary given the fragile state of the Imperium, do note that Guilliman is a meritocrat and an administrator first and foremost, so if anyone can save the Administratum and the Imperial Senate, it's him. Thus, his reshuffling of the High Lords is perfectly in character as the High Lords have been repeatedly established as largely self-serving individuals, incompetent in administration at best and utterly uninterested in anything other than expanding their personal power at worst - in short, everything Guilliman is not. If anything, it would have been very out of character for Guilliman to look the other way given their (lack of) overall performance. Ironically, when shit hits the fan, the High Lords usually do a very good job of kicking shit's face in in leadership of the Imperium.
Also he may just be DONE with the Emperor after learning that he and the other Primarchs never meant more to him than tools. Unlike those that used that as an excuse to go rebellious and crazy, though, Guilliman isn't suddenly going to turn traitor. Instead, he recommitted himself to the ideals he fought for during the Great Crusade and the people of the Imperium itself.
"God damn it guardsmen, listen to me. I didn’t come back from Fulgrim’s date rape drug trip to come back to a new Eye of Terror the size of Magnus’s hate boner for the Space Wolves, because a bunch of clowns took my dad’s xenophobic stance and decided that just because the empire was on the brink of total annihilation that humanity didn’t need to worry about allies or mutual interests in not being dead! I WILL NOT RISK HUMANITY’S ONLY ALLY BECAUSE YOU ARE TOO STUPID TO GET THE ”FUCK ME” SIGNALS FROM A WOMAN WHO IS OLDER THAN YOUR FAMILY LINEAGE! DO YOU KNOW WHAT I HAD TO DO TO YVRAINE, THAT CRAZY WOMAN WAS DARK AND CRAFTWORLD ELDAR! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT IT’S LIKE TO HAVE A BDSM SESSION WITH A NATIVE AMERICAN THEME WHILE YOU CAN’T TAKE OFF YOUR ARMOUR? I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT, YOU FUCKING COWARD GET YOUR ADAMANTIUM BALLS OUT OF YOUR COMMISSAR’S PURSE AND FUCK THAT ELDAR’S PUSSY BEFORE I SEND YOU ON A ONE WAY TRIP TO THE PLAGUE STARS!"
- – The Primarch is adjusting well to Aeldari diplomacy.
To stem the tide of traitors, xenos, and Chaos, Roboute Guilliman declared the Indomitus Crusade against the enemies of the Imperium. In order to accomplish this, he unveiled the Primaris Marines, a project 10,000 years in the making to create a superior Space Marine. Between battles, he's also begun to revise the Codex Astartes and compose a (relatively) accurate history of the Imperium of Man, founding a new division of the Adeptus Terra to act as historians (much to the Inquisition's annoyance - and yes, quite a few Inquisitors would say 'no' to a Primarch even if he is the regent of the Imperium, though the Ordo devoted to preserving history is probably overjoyed and the rest know better than to get in the way of someone the Custodes seemingly obey without question). The Crusade lasted about a century; while it was able to drive the forces of Chaos away from some of their new holdings, Guilliman knew that it was only enough to stabilize the Imperium in its current state. Mr. 13 Failures might have failed to get to Terra as he planned, but he still got a nasty blow in and Guilliman knows it.
The Dark Imperium novel has portrayed him as having become far more cynical over the events of the Indomitus Crusade, in no small part due to frequently butting heads with the Inquisition and the Administratum, who see Guilliman's push for reforms as a threat to their personal power. While he still believes in the Emperor's ideals, his belief in the Imperial Truth has also been shaken. He knows the Emperor is not quite human any longer, but noted that even if Emps is a god, someone that cold and ruthlessly callous doesn't deserve worship in the first place. According to Guilliman, when he met with the Emperor, the latter treated him as little more than a favorite tool that had only just been recovered for a highly urgent job, as opposed to the last of his loyal sons. On the flip side, though, even the realization that Emps never loved his "sons" (The ultimate reason Horus broke and started the whole Heresy clusterfuck) did not break him. E-money might not love him as a son, but that doesn't mean his ideals aren't worth fighting for and Guilliman intends to do it right this time!
As of now, Big Bobby G is splitting his time between his history work, preventing the Imperium's appalling situation from getting worse by pointing a power-armored finger in the right direction, and applying power-armored boot to asses where needed. He's also busy writing the Codex Imperialis which is basically the Codex Astartes on civil society and good governance. The compilation of the Imperium's history is just one part of the new Codex, with which he intends to fix the semi-functioning clusterfuck that is Imperial bureaucracy. He hopes that if (or when) he dies for good, his successors will use it for guidance rather than going with the head-up-ass approach they've taken in the past.
Despite his dislike of the Emperor's detachment from humanity, he has also begun to realize that circumstances forced the Emperor to take his autocratic stance - and that he may very well end up becoming a dictator himself too. While for the time being he still hopes to preserve his ideals in the face of the grimdark galaxy he lives in, he has accepted that if push comes to shove he may need to give them up for the sake of humanity's survival.
A fun fact is that he is also quite creeped out at the whole 'turn-a-baby-into-a-flying-cyborg' thing going around in the AdMech and Ecclesiarchy. He also gave up trying to correct the myths about him and his fellow Primarchs after 80 years or so, because people kept repeating them anyway. According to a techmarine who may or may not have been just fucking with one of Cawl's minions in the novel The Great Work, other lingering elements of people’s religious devotion to his mythologized status includes a disturbing tendency for people to kill themselves after meeting him, because
they will never be Ultramarines they know that they’ll never experience a more significant moment in their lives. This isn’t entirely restricted to mortals—again, allegedly, one techmarine became tongue-tied when meeting the Primarch, and was so ashamed by this lapse that he promptly went down to the machine shop and burned out his own tongue with a plasma cutter.
After the Devastation of Baal, he ordered the Mechanicus to terraform Baal Secundus back into its paradisal state before the long night and appointed Commander Dante as the Warden of Imperium Nihilus. He's also acquired an original copy of the pre-Heresy Lectitio Divinatus (signed by the original author) which he only got by wrestling it from the Inquisition. (You may have noticed that Guilliman and the Inquisition do not get along very well, but the Inquisitorial Representiative is still in support of Guilliman's authority when coup happened.)
During the Plague Wars, Grandpa smurf acquired a quirky Rogue Trader called Yassilli Sulymanya who is both a handpicked historian from the Primarch himself and an atheist whom he saved from a witch-burning. The two kind of hit it off when it comes to the standards of relationships of a normal women and a posthuman demi-god...as you can imagine, such inclinations combine with the fanfic fuel of YvraineXGuilliman has led /tg/ to declare that GW is now teasing us with Primarch waifu bait/love triangle/ship wars. It doesn't help that Yassilli nicknames our giant blueberry Robu, although he made it clear immediately that he didn't appreciate it (there's also the fact that he's like 12ft tall, so attempting to Do The Deed would be like trying to park a BIG MAC TRUCK IN A LITTLE GARAGE
Cadillac in a broom closet). Still, that's quite a bit of ladies he staffed in the High Lords. Other than that, we also see Mortarion still acting like a petulant bitch after 10,000 years before Gorillaman himself laid an epic smackdown of burns. That's of course, is before Morty (As further expanded in Godblight) stabbed Gman with a syringe filled with literal super-AIDS concocted by Ku'Gath, killing Papa Smurf for the second time. However, thanks to literal Deus ex Machina, Bobby G in fact, unkilled himself through the help of E-Money himself, thereby confirming that GeeDubs is so inept at writing a story they literally gave Big Blue Wonder canonical plot armor (though no less than Celestine, daemons, perpetuals, Daemon primarchs, necron overlords etc GW loves canonical plot armor). After that, the Emprah took over Grandpa Smurf and proceeded to shove his golden, flaming power sword right into Papa Nurgle's STD-ridden man-pussy, by literally burning down his garden which permanently wounded him. Making Nurgle the first Chaos God to actually be harmed in 40k. And you thought Rey had too many asspulls.
Funnily enough the whole scene made Chaos fans taste for once what the rest of the fanbase feels when their fav faction gets screwed due the Chaos Gods pulling their typical Diabolus Ex Machine, finally there is some justice in the universe.
Oh yeah, and Big Blue Wonder is fucking LIVID with what the Ecclesiarchy has done during the conflict (sending a group of Sisters of Battle to free a possible Living Saint against Guilliman's orders and killing several loyalists in the process; granted, it did save Guilliman's life but that doesn't change the fact that their actions were still treasonous, never mind the fact that he was uncertain as to whether or not the Saint was actually being empowered by Tzeentch), and making his handpicked militant-priest to promptly shit/jizz himself in fear/awe at the possibility of being killed by a son of the Emperor. He also seems to be becoming more prone to outbursts of rage, something that caught even a Custodes by surprise as such a trait was unexpected from Guilliman, but perhaps it's unsurprising given all the shit he's been through lately.
Following that little incident and a bout of introspection on his part, he's started to wonder if maybe Lorgar and the Ecclesiarchy were right about the Emperor's divinity, and has chosen to start reading that old copy of Lectitio Divinatus to learn whether it might have a grain of truth in it. With the reveal in Godblight again, any fan theories that Robot Gorillaman would be influenced by Lorgar's fan-fic was thrown out of the window. Turns out, Roboute is an actual adult with a functional brain and proceeded to find the evident flaws in Lorgar's tract and then invite a Librarian and an Eldar Farseer by the name of Illiyan Nastase (YES. That guy. Who somehow re-retconned himself back into existence), to have a legitimately intriguing chat on the nature of godhood and whether or not the Emprah fits the definition of one.
Since waking up Guilliman has now fought more of his brothers than anyone other than Russ. In fact if it really was Omegon then his faced more of his brothers than any other primarch (7 to Russ' 6). Fighting against Lorgar and Angron during the heresy and losing badly, and fighting Curze with the Lion during that one episode and barely surviving. Then he faced Omegon and Fulgrim after the heresy, (supposedly) killing the former and nearly dying to the latter. Then following his return, he's fought against Magnus and Mortarion, losing to the former and having to be bailed out by his allies in both cases. This actually goes well with his image of a leader of men, Bobby G may not be as strong as most of his brothers; especially the daemon primarchs, but most 42nd millennium imperials will fight against overwhelming odds heads-on to save the guy who is doing all in his power to bring the Imperium back from the brink, as pointed out in the supplements and novels. Guilliman knows that and that's why he never gives up.
Personality and Capabilities
"Amongst his brothers, none had been more idealistic than Roboute Guilliman. None had envisioned a brighter future, not just for Mankind but also for the warriors of the Legiones Astartes. That flame of hope had been a part of him for as long as he had lived. Even now, as it was smothered by darkness and woe, Guilliman realised that his flame endured."
- – The Gathering Storm III: Rise of The Primarch
Roboute Guilliman is a mix of the classical patrician and the archetypal virtuous politician. He's studied, efficient, extremely intelligent even when compared to his own demigod brothers, and morally resolute. He values merit and results over birth or flattery, and he emphasizes in his troops that information is victory, that a sound grasp of theory and a strong ability for the practical is necessary in resolving all problems. He's also rather tolerant of different moods and mentalities, so long as they still serve the Imperium's goals. The barbarous overtones of the Space Wolves, the standoffish eccentricities of the White Scars, even quiet religious practices on his own world, these things never bothered him. In his mind, the Ultramarines had clearly demonstrated the superior merit of their ways and those ways would rub off on the more eccentric factions of the Imperium over time. This is not to say he didn't have his moments when someone managed to rile him up, in those situations he has been shown to be wrathful enough to give Angron a run for his money and scare away even greater daemons (of course being armed with the permakilling Emperor's Sword makes him a great deal scarier).
Call it faith and trust, call it arrogance and presumption, but Guilliman genuinely believed that he controlled the most disciplined, civilized peoples and armies within the Imperium and he thought his way was best. And frankly, he wasn't exactly wrong. The five hundred worlds were, and remain, perhaps the single best large-scale segment of the Imperium in terms of general quality of life. But contrary to what many think of him, he didn't go out of his way to force his ways on others. He simply made all his writings and tactics available to all his brothers, and told his men to be at their best when fighting alongside the other factions. In his own words, he quite respected all of his brothers and had a brotherly affection for some of them. He only ever criticized or scolded when the circumstances seemed extreme, such as Alpharius's unnecessary targeting of enemy civilian populations to damage morale, Perturabo's wasteful decimation of his own Legion or Angron's needlessly brutal assaults and pointless carnages leaving only piles of bodies and a ravaged planet behind. Where he saw such problems however, he was not shy about expressing his opinions. This attitude was likely the reason Guilliman was passed over for the role of Warmaster; he didn't get along well with many of his brothers, counting only Rogal Dorn, Sanguinius, Horus, Ferrus Manus (even though he was too proud to give Guilliman credit), and Vulkan as friends. Though he did not count them as friends, he had a sincere admiration and respect for both Leman Russ and Jaghatai Khan. He even included the former amongst his "Dauntless Few", a group of four of his brothers who he believed could pair their legions with his to become unbeatable. He also saw a potential for common ground with Lorgar, but that potential was never explored because of... reasons. He also had a great deal of respect for Lion El'Jonson despite considering him to be a complete ass (which to be fair to Guilliman, the Lion absolutely was).
Guilliman was also an organizational savant almost unmatched in all the galaxy. He was known to calculate logistical information and strategies far faster than the Mechanicum's best logic engines, planning out entire planetary invasions in his mind in moments. As indicated, only Perturabo possessed a similar level of logistical skill and/or interest. Unlike Perturabo however, Guilliman actually cared about the people under his command, and would not engage in practices, however mathematically sound, that would see unnecessary bloodshed. Though many of his brothers were godly tacticians, Guilliman was one of very few Primarchs who were known to truly focus on what came after a war: how the world could be used, improved, colonized, uplifted, integrated and becoming a full-fledged supporting member of the Imperium and the Great Crusade instead of being left a war-torn ruin. Guilliman insisted on ensuring that any populated world the Ultramarines took was left with working infrastructure, an able & trained PDF, and a decent quality of life for civilian populations - something that his brothers, save for Dorn and Horus, paid little to no attention to, a trait that would come back to bite the Imperium in the ass later.
Guilliman possessed perhaps the single greatest strategic mind in the Imperium. This is contrasted to those Primarchs who were perhaps the best tacticians, ie those who were best at winning individual battles, such as Corax, the Lion or Horus. This was because Guilliman's view of tactics and strategy tended to be less flexible than those of his aforementioned brothers, but once he figured you out, you were screwed. Corax, for instance, once managed to best Guilliman in three training exercises through the use of irregular and Moritat squads. Guilliman had initially had a very strict view of what constituted a fighting formation, and was quick to relieve or dismiss under-strength or casualty depleted units. He'd also drawn strict delineations between what constituted a combatant versus a non-combatant, and he tended to dismiss from his tactical outlines those he considered to be non-combatants. Corax however, demonstrated that irregular units could be decisive in winning engagements, and that civilians could be adeptly utilized as ad-hoc military formations. Guilliman, who had been staunchly convinced otherwise, quickly changed his mind regarding Corax's unorthodox tactics when he saw their merit, and incorporated them into his own strategies. Corax would later say of the exercises, "From the fourth simulation on, he had my mark and I could not beat him... I won battles against him but never a war." Of his brothers, only Horus and Dorn possessed a similar grasp of grand strategy. Perhaps the most clear example of this strategic prowess was the successful completion of the Indomitus Crusade. This 100 year long military campaign was of a scale similar to that of the Great Crusade itself, yet was orchestrated and implemented on virtually every scale by Guilliman alone, and in record time.
However, Guilliman's tendency towards cold calculation often bled into his personal life. The best example of this might be his dealings with Lorgar. After the Ultramarines were used by the Emperor to sanction the Word Bearers, Guilliman privately admitted to some of his officers that he sincerely regretted that it had happened, being uncomfortable with censuring his brother that way, and fearing that the damage in relations it caused between the XIII and the XVII would be permanent. After all, there was much potential for kinship between Lorgar and Guilliman, and their legions. What legions were more devoted to the Emperor than those two? Which brothers thought most of the future, of what came after the conquest? However during the actual sanctioning of the Word Bearers, Guilliman's demeanor was so emotionlessly cold that Lorgar believed from that day on that Guilliman hated and looked down upon him. The reality is that what Lorgar had mistaken for icy contempt was in fact Guilliman working as hard as possible to maintain an air of completely professional detachment. He didn't want Lorgar to think that the razing of Monarchia had been a personal matter (which it hadn't), yet he succeeded in projecting his professionalism too well, treating Lorgar like a distant colleague rather than a brother. The sudden void of lost potential between the legions was tragic. So what did Guilliman do after the fact? Did he seek out his brother later to make amends? Did he have a quiet meeting with his brother to confess his discomfort and seek reconciliation? Send a nice gift basket perhaps? No. Guilliman set up a formal, impersonal meeting between the two of them, alongside their captains, retinues, and aides. Forty. Years. Later. By that time it was much too late.
Despite his personal shortcomings however, and beyond his tactical & strategic genius, or his skills as an administrator and as a statesman, Guilliman's most noteworthy characteristic is being one of the few well adjusted, sensible people in the entire freaking galaxy. He encouraged his sons to diversify their interests from pure combat, not to art or fine crafts, but to law, governance, city planning and infrastructure. He was a pragmatist, and was well aware of the need for his sons and indeed his legion to be useful outside of war, knowing full well what would have to happen to some legions when the Great Crusade ended. Guilliman was also one of the few Primarchs who didn't really see the Emperor as his father, paying lip service to the idea but being the first to state how shitty the Emperor was at raising kids and he never fully forgave the Emperor for using him and his Legion as a tool to humiliate Lorgar. In fact, he quite explicitly saw the Emperor as merely his creator, and always viewed his foster father Konor as being his real father. He understood how to run an empire, how to inspire loyalty and how to temper the flawed nature of humanity with organisation and discipline. The Emperor's greatest failing was always a lack of understanding in the people he ruled, a flaw that few saw in him, save perhaps for Malcador the Sigillite and Guilliman.
Ultimately we get a picture of a man who's charismatic, but impersonal. Brilliantly intelligent, but often blinded by arrogance and faith. Meritocratic and receptive to the common man, but often cold and distant. A superb general and warrior, but above that, an equally competent statesman and leader. If Horus was a conqueror at heart, Lorgar a demagogue and Magnus a scholar, then Guilliman is a statesman, a man whose concern is less the glories and bloodshed of war, and more the careful administrative work that follows (albeit one that has an unmatched ability to punch through your entire body if the need arises.) While it's not often shown, Guilliman actually cares greatly for his people, not just as statistics but as individuals, he can be friendly not just to his soldiers and the upper tops but even to the common folk, sincerely, on that sense he is ironically one of the most humane Primarchs despite accusations of being too clinical and dispassionate, this development of character is better seen in the Plague Wars, where it's shown along the story that he has managed to develop amicable or at least working relationships not just with Adeptus Astartes, but with baseline humans and even Custodes and Xenos, harem jokes aside it has become evident he has learned from the mistakes seen in the Heresy, people will not always agree with you, and sometimes it's better to let them be. He has also seemingly attempted to do for the Ultramarines what the Emperor did not do for his sons; be an actual father figure. During his meeting with Uriel Ventris for instance, he did his best to have a humble, respectful and paternal conversation with the 4th captain rather than being overbearing or attempting to overawe him. This meeting had a profoundly positive effect on the world-weary captain.
After his long nap he seems frustrated with the new (old) Imperium and shaken by his meeting with the Emperor, but that good 'ole Ultramarine spirit is still with him, so he got up, stretched his limbs, and went to town for an ass whooping. A few of his actions thus far are imminently noteworthy. He dissolved the independent sovereignty of any worlds that were historically part of Ultramar; started catering to the Imperial Creed in one of his speeches; is openly cooperating with xenos witches; has essentially taken the role of Emperor 2.0. That's not to say that any of those choices are wrong or unnecessary, but they're each notable because they show that Guilliman is now more inclined to sudden, imperious action where once he might have used diplomacy. However, this may be a result of having to singlehandedly salvage the entire Imperium even as it fights against his attempts at reform, a task that with careful diplomacy would take even centuries that the Imperium can't really afford. Overall, Guilliman is disillusioned with his "dad", disgusted by the Ecclesiarchy (he outright told their representative he considered them a lesser evil), disappointed with the state of the Imperium as a whole but still willing to step into the breach and help humanity elevate itself. His faith in the Emperor has been badly shaken but his sense of duty and faith in humanity is as strong as ever and as the top quote of this section points out, he may be the Emperor's sense of hope for a better future for mankind, which comes to explain the grudge Mortarion and Magnus have for him after they fell for Nurgle and Tzeentch respectively. Mortarion fell to the heart of despair, and Magnus also did the same thing around the other side. Guilliman defies this and acts as an anti nihilist, willing to struggle to his last breath if it comes down that for the slightest chance to give mankind a happy ending.
Guilliman the Failure...And Why That Makes Him Awesome
Guilliman is also interesting because he is one of the only primarchs that explicitly failed at doing something prior to the Horus Heresy and the events that preceded it, and grew beyond that mistake as a person. Specifically, he was unable to prevent his foster father Konor Guilliman from being killed while he was away on campaign. Part of growing up involves realizing that you aren't the center of the universe and that you can't always have things go your way, and in most people this manifests through repeated failures and disappointments in life. Most of the primarchs, however, faced little to no difficulties or setbacks in uniting their homeworld or during the Great Crusade due to the sheer power and charisma they possessed, and as a result they basically went through life on easy mode. This caused most of the primarchs to grow up to be spoiled, entitled manchildren. Sometimes spoiled sweet, but spoiled nevertheless.
As a result, when things didn’t go their way, whether that be the betrayal of a close friend, an inability to save their sons, being told “no” by someone who actually had the power to make the decree stick, causing irreparable damage to something that couldn’t be taken back, confronted with the fact that their methods were not working, the rebellion of their homeworld, or perhaps most notably the inability to save their father, it absolutely broke them. Angron and Mortarion both failed at conquering their homeworlds, but in both cases the Emperor stepped in at the last second and saved them, which created a lingering sense of “what if” and caused both to shift the blame to the Emperor for their problems, rather than forcing a moment of introspection. Fulgrim is notably one of the only primarchs to never experience personal failure during the Horus Heresy, and as a result he was still a spoiled manchild after becoming a Daemon Primarch until Ancient Rylanor denied him, which is explicitly noted as a huge blow to his pride.
Guilliman blamed himself for not being present to prevent the death of Konor, not the Emperor or some external foe. This gives Guilliman a sense of humility and pragmatism that the other primarchs lacked. This can be seen in how Guilliman set a trap for the High Lords of Terra by allowing them to orchestrate a coup, using the exact same strategy that was used to kill Konor. Papa Smurf learns from his mistakes. Not to mention how he was the only primarch with his eye on the long term during the Great Scouring; the effectiveness of the Codex Astartes may be debatable but at least Guilliman was thinking about the future rather than focused on immediate vengeance or drowning in self-pity, this wasn't the first time Guilliman lost a father. While Guilliman may be less colorful than the other primarchs, he is definitely more mature, and he is probably one of the few loyalist primarchs to understand while he may be a superhuman demigod, he isn’t all powerful.
"All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved."
- – Sun Tzu
Guilliman is partially hated by the community at large because of Mattards Codex: Space Marines. However, it is worth stating that Guilliman was probably one of the most important figures holding the Imperium together after the Horus Heresy. He's one of the few Primarchs to realize that the Emperor's ideals were more important than the man himself, which is something that Malcador kept preaching.
He was also among the best Primarchs when it came to logistics and organization, though Perturabo was probably better (but Guilliman wasn't an antisocial autistic weirdo, so there's that), which is pretty much one of the only reasons why the Imperium of Man didn't collapse after the Horus Heresy. He was able to train and equip more Marines during the Great Crusade than any other Legion (though he also stole some from the Two Lost Legions giving credence to the Word Bearers accusations on his Legion, as was confirmed in The Chamber at the end of Memory(note a demon shows this and demon are always trustworthy), and he wrote the Codex Astartes, still the standard for Space Marine tactics. He is credited with reorganizing the entire governmental and administrative system of the Imperium of Man (yes, the reorganized Administratum ended up running the galaxy into the ground, but the fact that it's still running at all is a good sign).
However as the Horus Heresy series continues, it is revealed that it was actually Malcador the Sigillite who had been creating the foundations for the later Imperium. In fact it is continuously being hinted that Guilliman positioned himself to take over the Imperium after the fall of the Emperor, being almost explicitly stated in Vengeful Spirit. Whether through good intentions or through sinister means has yet to be revealed. Funnily enough Kor Phaeron, who hated his guts, identified him as the Primarch best suited to succeed his dad, though given the source, that may well be intended as an insult. Well, and the well-known fact that Sanguinius had all of the Emperor’s best traits, including his massive psychic power, and none of the flaws. So, Sanguinius would be the best Emperor/Prince/whatever. Despite this, Guilliman claimed that he had no desire to be Emperor and promised his brothers that if the otherwise impassable Ruinstorm abated, he would immediately send his fleet to Terra. That said, the Blood Angels managed to get back to Terra somehow, despite being on the wrong side of it, so it's unknown just how difficult it was to get back. (The Dark Angels and the Smurfs covered the Blood Angels' path from the Traitor onslaught)
Unfortunately, thanks to 10,000 years of propaganda and exaggeration (and Matt Ward's Codex: Space Marines), Guilliman is absolutely perfect in every way and treated as second only to the Emperor through the entire Imperium. This is incorrect, considering that Sebastian Thor is actually the main Imperial saint, and Sanguinius is the primarch most beloved by the common men of the Imperium. Regardless, Guilliman is pretty high on the list and the only Primarch whose body
is was on public display Lenin style. This "better than thou" shit is sad and quite paradoxical, since Guilliman himself genuinely recognized some Primarchs were better than him as leaders. He also considered Dorn, Sanguinius, Ferrus and Russ as what he called "the dauntless few" feeling he'd win any war if fighting alongside any one of them and their legions, which shows a willingness to work alongside at least some of his brothers and respect for their abilities. He has sometimes been portrayed as petty or jealous of his brother Primarchs but also intelligent enough to acknowledge his own errors when proved wrong. Far from the "perfect in every aspect" figure Matt Ward promoted, the HH Guilliman is actually a man with a lot of very human weaknesses but possessing the humility to admit them as flaws he must deal with.
Astelan, while a prisoner of the Dark Angels goes into detail explaining how Guilliman was purportedly the 'greatest' of the Primarchs, but only in the context of what the Emperor intended for them. Astelan describes that Guilliman was "not the most able-minded, nor as charismatic, and not as physically adept" and was the inferior of Horus in every respect. His greatness came from the fact that Guilliman never once wavered in dedication and service and created his Space Marines to be exemplars of the imperial ideal, not merely conquerors. This also had the (at the time unintended) side-effect of making them unlikely to become corrupted. (Although Astelan was also a traitor and a fallen angel, so he remains a questionable source.) Of course, the same could be said of the Blood Angels and Imperial Fists. Guilliman and his Ultramarines were the perfect sons, not necessarily perfect soldiers. Again, the same can be said of the Blood Angels and Imperial Fists except they also manage to be the perfect warriors/soldiers (respectively) as well as the perfect sons. It's also worthy of note that much like Rogal Dorn and Lion El'Jonson, Guilliman was a possible candidate for the position of warmaster, but was rejected for the same reasons they were: he didn't get along with a quite a number of his brothers unlike Horus who was nearly universally respected, even by the more batshit insane Primarchs. Though apparently the Emperor also forgot Sanguinius existed. You know, the guy with all the best traits of the Emperor and none of his flaws, was revered by literally everyone, and was loved by every Astartes and every Primarch. He just had the slight issue of technically being a mutant with those wings and it seems that was the deal breaker.
However, contrary to that, he also did a lot of tricky things in Horus Heresy, like that whole Imperium Secundus thing, and it's popularly theorized that he was bitter that he never got to be Warmaster, which despite his claims that he had no desire to become Emperor, when he appointed the High Lords of Terra he nominated himself for the seat of Lord Commander of the Imperium which was a title "Warmaster" could only dream of, as he had both the command of the entirety of the Imperium's armed forces and civil institutions (remember, one of the reasons Horus being pissed off at dad was that he had no control over decisions made by High Lords of Terra). So claiming that no man should have the power of a Legion, then place himself at the top of the chain of command for all of the Chapters that his remaining brothers were left with was a bit hypocritical.
Or was it?
It's quite likely that Guilliman's actions in creating the Imperium Secundus, and his later actions during the reformation of the Imperium, are a reference to the Roman practice of Roman Dictatorship. A roman dictator was more or less what we think of as a modern dictator, with one key exception. The dictator was given absolute executive and military power over Rome and her holdings in times of crisis, when the gridlock and bureaucratic red tape of Roman society got in the way of doing what needed to be done. But as strange as it sounds to our modern minds, dictators were elected to their position, and without exception in all the history of Rome every dictator willingly stepped down and returned power to the senate. Except Caesar and Octavius. For the latter case, he is the most revered one (Augustus), hence it is entirely reasonable for him to keep being dictator. And even then, he was smart enough to maintain power through indirect means so as to let the Senate think that they were in control, when in reality he owned all of the institutions that actually mattered when it came to governance.It's highly likely that Guilliman's actions after the Emperor's death are a reference to this practice: he set aside the normal moral and legal rules restricting him so that he could restructure the Imperium. And just like Augustus, he gave the official leadership position to Sanguinius to avoid accusations of being a deliberate separatist. Despite the fact that he was in the perfect position to assume power over the entire Imperium, he probably would have relinquished power to the Council of Terra after some sense of stability had returned (he was stabbed by Fulgrim before that moment came though). This is further supported by how heavily his legion leans on Roman culture, and how much Guilliman himself draws on the famous generals of Rome (Julius and Augustus Caesar, Trajan, Cincinnatus, etc).
So with that being said, he was no more flawless than the other Primarchs; even during the Great Crusade, while he was considered to be one of the greatest strategists in the entire Imperium, he was defeated in combat simulations by Corax of the Raven Guard, having to be specifically taught that there is no fixed dividing line between non-combatants and soldiers when people are defending their homes; that under-strength units should not be ruled out as ineffective; and that small units of adaptable troops can be wielded with just as much effect as larger battalions and chapters. Furthermore, Guilliman stuck closely to his tried and true methods, refusing to give credit to what he considered "unconventional" tactics, pissing off many other Primarchs, most notably Alpharius. Even though he would later be shown by his own men how effective such unconventional guerrilla tactics would be and would include then in his codex.
Therefore, while some people insist he was the Primarch with the greatest mental capacity and adaptability, he struggled with lateral thinking and would frequently fail to see the flaws in his methods until explicitly shown the error of his ways. Also, though the Codex Astartes undoubtedly did a lot of good things like making sure each chapter could feasibly fight under most conditions no matter their heritage or preference and ensuring that no one person could control an entire Legion's worth of Space Marines, forcing all of his brothers to split their Legions into Chapters risked a second galactic civil war.
Additionally, although it isn't (entirely) his fault, Guilliman is usually blamed for turning the Ultramarines into such little bitches. The Codex is now basically treated as infallible by the Ultramarines (at least the more blind fuck ones; there's at least some who take it with a grain of salt and realize where its strengths and weaknesses lie), even though he specifically said that the Codex should not be treated as a bible to be followed unerringly... except for the organizational parts, which he forced on his brothers as part of the post-Heresy reforms and which were upheld by the High Lords of Terra as a means of keeping the Astartes in check.
Recently he's been increasingly entrusted to the care of the Mighty Dan Abnett and his asshat level is dropping rapidly. Now, Guilliman isn't portrayed as a power armored Sun Tzu, but as a logistical genius, planning planetary conquest in a way that would leave said worlds in a state that could quickly be returned to order and Imperial rule. His high number of compliant worlds is a direct product of this, helped by his Legion's innate tendency towards discipline, hierarchy and monomaniacal fixation on whatever their objective might be. Abnett also doesn't make him a "master of all trades". The Khan is better at scouting operations, Russ is better at killing other Marines, Sanguinius has better people skills, etc. Abnett's Guilliman is a great administrator, better than any other Primarch, but not better than Your Dudes at what they're defined by.
This adherence toward a rigid chain of command did end up becoming a double-edged sword later on, since when Guilliman was put into stasis the Ultramarines still tried to follow him (thanks to him being the at the top of the chain) and as such started to forget that the Codex Astartes was only meant to be a guideline, as opposed to a definitive text. More importantly, they slowly lost their ability to adapt to new situations, which was their most famed of traits, until the Tyrannic Wars illustrated the need to improvise new strategies when old ones failed them (which was 10,000 years later, so they had a pretty good run relying on the Codex as strictly as they did).
Once upon a time, thanks to the rabid fanboying of Matt Ward, most of /tg/ hated him, but many of them have since come around. Still expect people to bitch endlessly about how he was an absolute narrow-minded hypocritical jerk, but don't feel bad about it. On the other hand his characterisation since his return especially in the 2 novels by Guy Haley has been pretty well received by the fanbase. He's been lucky to survive his encounters with Magnus and Mortarion who both easily outmatched him and is deeply unhappy with the Imperium and the Emperor alongside supposed allies like the inquisition actively making his life difficult because their power is threatened. Pretty far removed from the mary sue spiritual liege of Ward's imagination, at least until GW, BL and/or Ward inevitable undo it all with bad writing (like recent article in White Dwarf about Indomitus Crusade where every logical loophole is patched with "but Guilliman was in charge, so it worked out").
Ironically enough, Guilliman has something the Imperium needs even more desperately than new technologies and peace: managerial skills, among the primarchs Guilliman was the only one who actually seemed to be bright enough to understand and strongly insist upon. No empire, no matter how militarily powerful initially, could maintain that strength forever given the effects of corruption and inefficiency upon tax collection and military production, and civilian and military morale. It says something about most of the denizens of 4chan that so few of them have ever pointed out this simple fact (as in little of them have management experience, but hey, we're considering gamers here).
On a side note, he likes Shakespeare's work. Which is nice.
Suddenly, Forge World!
When Tempest came out, it significantly downplayed his flaws, though not as much as knee-jerk reactions made people fear. In Tempest Guilliman is "held by some as a paragon among the Emperor's sons", and that he "is as much a statesman as he is an indefatigable warrior." He's also as just as great a strategist, in addition to being very level-headed, one of the smartest and most analytical, constantly basing new and better designs off of existing materials, as well as refining battle plans thanks to having a mind that calmly and coldly allows him to analyze everything around him and wonder how various things like his marines, his armour and his weapons could all be improved. He observes what other Primarchs do with their warriors and tries to make them better in his own creations, in doing so (specifically copying Perturabo's Siege Tyrants in the rules) they say he's "proving himself once again the master of all of the myriad disciplines of war." Or at least trying to. This is further evidenced by his rules below where he's good at buffing his army, but not to the degree of Alpharius or Perturabo while as a warrior in a straight-up fight he only loses to Horus, Leman Russ, and Fulgrim(not counting psychic interference or Primarchs with a bit of momentum behind them).
In addition, Guilliman's Ultramarines during the Horus Heresy were one of the most disciplined of all the Legions, as well as by far the most numerous, the ones who prized intelligence above all to help them formulate the best battle plan, and with the best training/recruitment (rivaled only by the I Legion, whose training was faster but overall must have been less efficient in some way given the much greater number of Ultramarines(or the Lion just didn’t have reliable access to 500 individual worlds for recruitment)) not to mention being familiar with the less eccentric legions MO's and able to pull them off without any problems which had a lot to do with their rigid chain of command. The Imperial Fists were known for their interlocked shield walls, the Iron Hands for their steadiness under fire, the Iron Warriors for their willingness to accept casualties, the Salamanders for their courage in the face of overwhelming odds, and you can bet the Ultras learned from these aspects of all their ways of warfare. This isn't to say that the Ultramarines could do anything any other legion could do, but rather to say that they were *almost* as capable at any given task as any of their brother legions, which granted them much greater flexibility than most other legions. For example, if the World Eaters got into a campaign where the enemy could consistently avoid getting into melee, they'd be fucked. If the Night Lords got into battle with a fearless enemy, they'd be at a disadvantage. Ditto with the Alpha Legion and a smarter opponent, the Iron Warriors and an especially mobile opponent, etc. Due to the Ultramarine's discipline, diverse training, and expert planning, they ended up having a level of tactical flexibility matched only by a few other armies. In any case, in Tempest Horus considers the Ultramarines as the greatest single military threat to Horus's rebellion. The books outright state that if the Ultramarines were aware of Horus' rebellion they and their Auxilia would be able to make the 500 worlds a bastion that by itself, would be able to weather the entire heresy and challenge Horus for control of the eastern half of the Galaxy, even before the Traitor Legions took massive losses on Isstvaan III.
A more generous explanation could be that since the books were written after the Heresy from an in-universe perspective, it could just be a case of "history is written by the winners" kicking in again, since (rather thankfully) "Everything is canon, not everything is true." Or maybe Matt was secretly brought back for that particular book, which would go quite a long way in explaining all of the Smurf wanking in it. It's likely we'll have to wait until the follow-up book on the Shadow Crusade to determine which of those it is. This doesn't entirely go against 40k's history however, while saying the smurfs and their auxiliaries could take on all of the traitor legions at full strength is undoubtedly complete horseshit, Ultramar was always considered to have been one of the greatest threats to Horus' rebellion and was the prime reason that the Battle of Calth took place; to get them all in one place and hit them with a surprise attack, and then pin the Ultramarines in place for the duration of the Heresy. The same applies to Guilliman, who has always been considered to have been one of the most intelligent and adaptable of Primarchs, as well as being gifted with his own brilliance.
Thankfully Guilliman still retains some flaws. First, he has little in the way of a creative spark. Submit a novel idea to him and he'll adapt, optimize, expand, integrate and generally improve upon it; but he won't be the one coming up with said ideas on his own. For instance, after seeing the Iron Warriors deploy Tyrant Siege Terminators he realised Perturabo's idea had a lot of merit and he developed an improved version of Cataphractii Terminator Armour equipped with additional sensors and augurs to make his Fulmentarus squads even more efficient at blowing shit up. Guilliman was the one to formalize the use of and optimally deploy Moritat, but he only conceptualised the very idea of using such irregular troops after getting his arse kicked in simulations by Corax who used said Moritat against him to throw his carefully laid battle-plans into disarray. He made his own versions of power weapons that were far better than regular power weapons as they were more precise/lethal when in trained hands, yet he could only do that after studying countless designs of regular power weapons. Even his own armour is artificer armour that he improved in various ways after studying the merits and disadvantages of other designs. Furthermore, the Space Wolves were confirmed in Inferno to react more quickly to unexpected problems than Legions more "reliant on highly coordinated planning"; which might as well call out the Ultramarines by name. This is shown on the tabletop with a rule that lets the opponent wrong-foot the Ultramarine army if the UM warlord is killed.
Second, you have his often blind faith in the assumption that his and therefore Ultramarine nobility and camaraderie will rub off on to other, less forward thinking legions, which was a direct contributor to his massive losses at the utterly disastrous Battle of Calth. Know No Fear makes a point to show numerous times that there were signs and hints all over the place of what was going to happen, right after the book makes a point to show Guilliman's incredible observational skills, almost outright stating that he really should have picked up on the disparate details. Tempest also points out that the Horus Heresy actually began almost a year prior to the Battle of Calth and that both the Word Bearers and World Eaters were already burning their way through the 500 Worlds of Ultramar before they even reached the Calth system. Guilliman ignored those signs, and practically delivered his legion to Lorgar on a silver platter, deliberately setting troop arrangements so that his men intermingled with the Urizen's. He thought that spending time together at the muster and again later, killing orks would be a bonding experience that would help the legions grow closer. It didn't, and not only did it not help, his troops being where they were gave the Word Bearers a MASSIVE advantage.
To Guilliman's credit, consider that a force with the advantage of surprise, was equipped with superior wargear (that the Warmaster made sure his traitors had), that had orbital and air supremacy, and had access to almost unlimited demonic hordes ambushed a force completely out of position and almost instantaneously cut off from their command structure. With ALL THOSE ADVANTAGES, the Word Bearers only achieved a 3:1 casualty ratio by the end of the battle, though the Ultramarines stellar performance under the circumstances did little to soothe the loss of almost half his legion, half a million Army and Auxilia as well as billions of civilians. It is perhaps no surprise that Imperial history records that Guilliman completely lost his temper and cool at Lorgar when the treachery was realised (insert max troll face here), perhaps this was what allowed him to survive and fight immediately afterwards the near vacuum outside a ship for 11 hours without his helmet?
But lets be clear: Say what you want about him being a back-stabbing cheater, Lorgar delivered a master-stroke by being able to conceal months of earlier engagements from his enemy and then cause ~140,000 Ultramarines to be either killed or crippled in a single engagement; such a force of Space Marines was larger than some entire legions. This is compounded by the fact that Lorgar completed all of this by only deploying 50,000 of his most disposable troops and leaving the battle under the command of Kor Phaeron so he could continue pillaging with Angron. In addition, the real goal of Calth was never to actually kill Guilliman or obliterate his legion but to create the Ruinstorm and force Guilliman onto the defensive and starve Terra of resources that Guilliman would pull from elsewhere and help the Traitor cause in the long run. Lorgar might not have been anywhere near the same level as strategist or general as Guilliman in even warfare, but military victories won through surprise, misdirection and clever deployment are just as valid.
On the other side (and that is a good point) Guilliman and the Ultramarines are not as "noblebright" in Tempest as they can be in other pieces of background. While he promotes meritocracy and progress and refuses to waste any life, Roboute is always described as cold and logical, obsessed with efficiency, and not a kind of crusading philanthropist. FW's Guilliman is first and foremost a statesman and a warlord willing to make the most effective system possible, and Tempest implies he used a kind of political police of his own (the Vigil Opertii) to silence any opposition in Ultramar. Just like the Imperium does. The only difference with the other Primarchs is Guilliman cannot deny HE is responsible for all the authoritarian shit happening in HIS private empire. Feel free to think what you want about Guilliman being OP or a Mary Sue, FW still made him more grimdark than before, even if he remains a nice dude by 30k standards.
True to his legion, Roboute Guilliman is fairly average as far as Primarchs go, both in terms of his stats and his points cost, but it's the rules and equipment you really want him for. He and any unit he joins can re-roll failed charge distances, and the Concussive special rule doesn't do shit against him. All Ultramarines in play gain +1 to Ld while he's in play and he also makes Invictarus Suzerains and Legion Terminators troops as long as he's the warlord. Preternatural Strategy can force opponents to re-roll successful attempts at Seize the Initiative while also granting all units from one entry in the Ultramarines army list Implacable Advance, Interceptor, or Tank Hunters if they don't have it already, and by that they do mean entry, not just one unit, so if you selected Legion Predator Strike Armour Squadron to have Tank Hunters then every Legion Predator Strike Armour Squadron in your army will gain the rule. It also buffs his WS by 1 for each round of combat within a challenge after the first one (e.g. he becomes WS8 on the second round and so on), although it resets back to 7 after the challenge is over or if his opponent swaps out for somebody else via something like Glorius Intervention. Finally, Unyielding Will negates all negative leadership modifiers and allows him to re-roll failed Deny the Witch tests. (Funnily enough, this actually makes him a decent counter for Lorgar's psychic faggotry, though it won't help him deny Lorgars' blessings.)
Guilliman's Armor of Reason gives him a 2+/4++ and the ability to re-roll the first invulnerable save he fails in each phase. (Not per turn, per phase.). As for his weapons, he can choose one of two melee weapons to use in any given assault phase: the Gladius Incandor (a Paragon Blade with Shred) and the Hand of Dominion (a S10 AP1 Power Fist with Concussion). Both of them are Specialist weapons, so regardless of which one he picks he still gets an extra attack. Finally, his gun is the Arbitrator, a S6 AP3 combi-bolter with Assault 2 and Rending- which he might as well have left at home for how often it fires it as he has a Cognis Signum to use instead (+1 BS to a unit instead of firing a weapon himself). Overall, he gives out a nice variety of buffs and can really hold his own in a fight while being one of the best tactician characters in the game.
Due to his low mobility and vulnerability to tarpits, he's unlikely to make his points back by killing something expensive. That said, +1 Ld is a reasonably strong bonus, and the insurance against seizing is good insurance against things going Not as planned. Also, the sky is the limit with the unit entry buff. Tank Hunting Support Squads or Heavy Weapon Squads sound good to you? How about Rapiers? A Cognis Signum is always nice to have. Capping all this off is that you can run a basically tax-free list by taking the severely broken Suzerains as troops.
Don't forget, this is all for only 125 points more than M.A.C. daddy, further proof of 30k superiority.
30K Roboute Guilliman VS Other 30K Primarchs
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 Roboute Guilliman 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. Also do note that Preternatural Strategy is taken into account (obviously) so prepare to see even more mathhammer than for the other Primarchs.
- Roboute Guilliman VS Horus
- Horus will use his Talon of Horus (rerollable 3+ is better than flat 2+, and Disabling Strike can counter the slow-burn effect of Preternatural Strategy) and hits 4 times, wounds 3.555 times, 1.778 after saves, then 1.564 for the Armour of Reason and IWND will take that down to 1.231 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.222 times (Gladius), 0.74 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.407.
- Guilliman loses this fight (Quite appropriately).
- Note: Due to the nature of the fight this match doesn't take into account Preternatural Strategy (Because it is balanced by Disabling Strike). Also do note that after the first few wounds inflicted from Horus, Guilliman will have his S significantly reduced and the Gladius Incandor will become useless. However, Disabling Strike doesn't affect the Hand of Dominion, so Guilliman will still wound Horus on a 2+.
- Roboute Guilliman VS Angron
- Angron Round 1: Angron has Hatred, so on the first turn he will hits 5.333 times, wounds 4.444 times, 2.222 after saves, 2.008 after Armour of Reason re-roll and IWND take it down to 1.675.
- Angron Round 2: Angron hits 4 times, wounds 3.333 times, 1.667 times after saves, 1.453 after re-roll and IWND will take that down to 1.12 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Angron Round 3 and thereafter: Angron hits 3 times, wounds 2.5 times, 1.25 after saves and 1.036 after the re-roll. Then IWND take it down to 0.703.
- Guilliman Round 1/2/3: hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.222 times, 0.741 times after saves and FNP (5+), then IWND will take that down to 0.407 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- At this point Guilliman should switch to the Hand of Domination since he will inflict enough damage to stunlock Angron at Initiative 1.
- Guilliman Round 4 and thereafter: hits 3.333 times, wounds 2.778 times, 0.925 times after saves and FNP then IWND will take that down to 0.592 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman loses. There is no point can he overtake Angron's average damage output.
- Roboute Guilliman VS Fulgrim
- Fulgrim Round 1: hits 4.861 times (Fireblade is MC), wounds 3.601 times (Child of Terra Warlord Trait), 1.801 times after the Invuln, 1.582 after the Armour of Reason and IWND will take that down to 1.249 at the start of the next turn.
- Fulgrim Round 2 and thereafter: hits 3.714 times, wounds 2.889 times, 1.445 times after the Invuln, 1.226 after the re-roll and IWND will take that down to 0.893 at the start of the next turn.
- Concussed Fulgrim (cannot happen earlier than round 3): Hits 2.708 times, wounds 2.106 times, 1.053 times after the invuln, 0.845 after the re-roll and IWND will take that down to 0.56 wounds.
- Guilliman with Gladius Incandor Round 1/2: hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.222 times, 0.74 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.407 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman with Gladius Incandor Round 3 and thereafter: hits 3.333 times, wounds 2.963 times, 0.988 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.654 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman with Hand of Dominion Round 1/2: hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.083 times, 0.694 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.361 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman with Hand of Dominion Round 3 and thereafter: hits 3.333 times, wounds 2.777 times, 0.926 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.593 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- An unsurprising loss for Guilliman. If Guilliman chooses to use the Gladius Incandor, Fulgrim will out-damage him in the long run, and if he chooses to concuss Fulgrim, Fulgrim temporarily loses his extra attacks, but Guilliman cannot put out enough damage to keep Fulgrim concussed, meaning Fulgrim gets back up to his normal initiative, gains his extra attacks back, and beats down Guilliman.
- Roboute Guilliman VS Mortarion
- Mortarion hits 2.5 times, wounds 1.666, 0,833 after saves, 0.625 wounds after Armor of Reason, and after IWND it becomes 0.292 wounds.
- Guilliman Round 1: hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.083 times, 1.042 after saves, and IWND take it down to 0.486.
- Guilliman Round 2 and after: hits 3.333 times, wounds 2.777 times, 1.388 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.833.
- Easy win for Guilliman.
- Roboute Guilliman VS Ferrus
- Ferrus: hits 2.5 times (Forgebreaker and Servo-arm), wounds 2.083 times, 1.042 after the Invuln, 0.834 times after the re-roll and IWND will take that down to 0.501 at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman Round 1: hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.083 times (Hand), 0.694 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.361 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman Round 2 and thereafter: hits 3.333 times, wounds 2.778 times, 0.926 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.593 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman wins this fight.
- Roboute Guilliman (with the Hand of Domination) VS Konrad Curze
- Curze Round 1: hits 4 times, wounds 3 times, 1.5 times after the Invuln, 1.286 times after the re-roll and IWND will take that down to 0.953 at the start of the next turn.
- Curze Round 2 and thereafter: hits 3 times, wounds 2.25 times, 1.125 times after the Invuln, 0.911 times after the re-roll and IWND will take that down to 0.578 at the start of the next turn
- Guilliman Round 1/2: hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.083 times, 1.0416 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.7083 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman Round 3 and thereafter: hits 3.333 times, wounds 2.778 times, 1.339 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.055 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman easily wins this fight... theoritically
- Note: As usual, Konrad should attempt to even the odds with Hit and Run, negating Preternatural Strategy while gaining the +1 attack for the charge (and sniping some wounds with his knives). Even with Guilliman using the Hand of Domination, there is a chance Curze doesn't suffer any damage from it (31% when Guilliman is WS7/8 and 20% when he is WS9) so he will actually negate Preternatural Strategy between 37% and 31% of the time, which is enough to give Rob a run for his money or even kill him if the Widowmakers score more than a single wound.
- Roboute Guilliman VS Vulkan
- Vulkan hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times, 0.833 times after saves, 0.633 times after Armour of Reason and IWND will take that down to 0.3.
- Guilliman Round 1: hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.083 times, 0.694 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.139 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman Round 2 and thereafter: hits 3.333 times, wounds 2.778 times, 0.926 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.37 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- A long as fuck fight, but Guilliman takes the win 'cause he does marginally more damage.
- Roboute Guilliman VS Lorgar
- Lorgar hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.083 times, 1.042 times after the Invuln, 0.834 after the re-roll and IWND will take that down to 0.501.
- Guilliman Round 1: hits 2.778 times, wounds 1.85 times, 0.926 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.593 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman Round 2 and thereafter: hits 3.333 times, wounds 2.963 times, 1.48 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.15 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Even with forcing Guilliman to re-roll 5's and 6's for the first round Lorgar will still lose.
- Note: this doesn't take into account Psychic Powers and with Precognition on Lorgar will easily win. Guilliman's rerollable DtW doesn't do shit, as it only works against witchfires and maledictions, while Lorgar's most powerful spells are blessings.
- Roboute Guilliman VS Perturabo
- Perturabo Round 1: hits 2.667 times, wounds 2.222 times, 1.111 times after the Invuln, 0.911 times after the re-roll and IWND will take that down to 0.578.
- Perturabo Round 2 and thereafter: hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times, 0.833 times after the Invuln, 0.633 after Armour of Reason and IWND will take that down to 0.3.
- Guilliman Round 1/2: hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.222 times, 0.74 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.407 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman Round 3 and thereafter: hits 3.333 times, wounds 2.963 times, 0.988 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.654 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Again, Guilliman wins pretty safely. Starting to see a trend here.
- Roboute Guilliman VS Alpharius
- Alpharius hits 2.917 times and wounds 1.702 times (Remember he has Preferred Enemy), 0.851 wounds after the Invuln, 0.643 after Armour of Reason and IWND will take that down to 0.31 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman Round 1: hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.222 times, 1.111 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.778 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman Round 2 and thereafter: hits 3.333 times, wounds 2.963 times, 1.482 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.148 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman wins really easily, as the damage Alpharius does is almost irrelevant, thus making the claim that he personally killed the lord of the Alpha Legion actually believable...
- Roboute Guilliman VS Rogal Dorn
- Dorn Round 1: hits 2.666 times, wounds 2 times, 1 time after the Invuln, 0.8 wounds after the re-roll and IWND will take that down to 0.467 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Dorn Round 2 and thereafter: hits 2 times, wounds 1.5 times, 0.75 wounds after the Invuln, 0.55 after the re-roll and IWND will take that down to 0.217 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman Round 1/2: hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.222 times, 1.111 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.778 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman Round 3 and thereafter: hits 3.333 times, wounds 2.963 times, 1.482 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.148 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman easily wins this fight, taking a lot less damage and dishing out more.
- Note: Dorn doesn't use Sundering Blow because he would actually cause less damage with it.
- Roboute Guilliman VS Corvus Corax
- Corvus hits 4 times (Scourge)/3 times (Shadow-walk), wounds 3 times (Scourge)/2.25 times (Shadow-walk), causing 1.5 wounds (Scourge)/1.125 wounds (Shadow-walk) after the Invuln which drop down to 1.286 (Scourge)/0.911 (Shadow-walk) and IWND will take that down to 0.953 (Scourge)/0.578 (Shadow-walk) wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman Round 1: 2.5/1.666 times, wounds 2.0833/1.389 times, 1.389/0.926 wounds after saves and 1.055/0.593 wounds after IWND.
- Guilliman Round 2 and thereafter: hits 3.333/2.5 times, wounds 2.963/2.083 times, 1.975/1.389 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.642/1.055 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman easily wins this fight
- Note: Like Curze, Corax could try to use Hit and Run to even the odds, having even more bonus than Curze thanks to his uber-Furious Charge, but unlike Curze it wouldn't work for too long as the second time they fight (whether Corax charges or Guilliman catches him) Guilliman will have him concussed (He's using his fist for a reason) for the rest of the fight and will kill him before Corax can escape again, thus making the strategy not viable against Papa Smurf.
- Roboute Guilliman vs. Leman Russ
- Leman Round 1 & 2 (using the Axe of Helwinter): Hits 4.886 times, wounds 4.071 times, 2.035 after the Invuln, 1.817 after the re-roll with IWND taking that down to 1.484 at the start of the next turn.
- Leman Round 3 and on (using the Axe of Helwinter): Hits 3.719 times, wounds 3.099 times, 1.55 after the Invuln, 1.331 after the re-roll with IWND taking that down to 0.998 at the start of the next turn.
- Roboute Round 1 and Round 4+ (using the Hand of Dominion): Hits 1.667 times, wounds 1.389 times, 0.695 wounds after saves, and IWND will take that down to 0.362 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Roboute Round 2 & 3: Hits 0.833, wounds 0.694 times, 0.3472 wounds after saves, and IWND will take that down to 0.014 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Result: It's not even a challenge. Leman Russ kills Rowboat Girlyman almost effortlessly. What do you expect from trying to go up against The Emperor's Executioner. That furry fucker was designed from the ground up to kill every Primarch in the entire game.
- Roboute Guilliman VS Jaghatai
- Jaghatai: hits 4 times, wounds 2 times, 1 wounds after saves, 0.5 wounds after the armour of reason AoR and IWND will take that down to 0.166
- Guilliman Round 1: hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.083 times (Hand), 0.694 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.361 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman Round 2 and thereafter: hits 3.333 times, wounds 2.778 times, 0.926 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.593 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman wins, but Jaghatai could use hit-and-run to negate Roboute's Preternatural Strategy, and unlike with Corax and Curze his 3++ gives him a reasonable chance of not being concussed. Guilliman will still probably win on average but it's closer than the above shows.
- TL;DR version: Surprisingly, despite being one the best army buffers amongst Primarchs and his generally not outstanding (for a Primarch) stats, Guilliman is actually a beast in 1 on 1 fights if they drag on long enough, beating all but the most specialised Primarchs and mathematically losing only to Horus, Angron, Fulgrim and Leman Russ. Truth is that he's very well balanced with a choice of good weapons for offense, a decent defense and an extra ability that benefits both. He loses when his more balls out brothers just dump damage on him but when he has the chance to let his strategy impact the fight he'll typically win. He'll likely fall down the rankings some more when Sanguinius and the Lion step onto the field but with his army buffs he'll remain a great choice.
"Why do I still live? What more do you want from me? I gave everything I had to you, to them. Look what they have made of our dream. This bloated, rotten carcass of an empire is driven not by reason and hope, but by fear, hate and ignorance. Better that we had all burned in the fire of Horus' ambition than lived to see this."
- – Guilliman is back, and he wants to know what the fuck went so wrong with the Imperium.
The first Loyalist Primarch to come back to 40K, Lord Commander of the Imperium, clad in the Armour of Fate, a present from Cawl that brought him out of stasis. He wields his old gauntlet, the Hand of Dominion, with his "Bolter" (a gun that would put any Heavy Bolter to shame) now underslung and carries no less than the Emperor's Sword.
Encompassing the Ultramarines philosophy, Guilliman is a talented jack of all trades, but he's no master-of-none.
With 9 wounds, he is just below the threshold allowing enemy units to target him if not the closest unit, even if he is a towering monster. With T6 and and 2+/3++, he's really hard to bring down with small arms fire (a successful Bolter shot only has 5% chance to wound him, a Lasgun 2.7%, and this is without taking into account accuracy) and his high invulnerable save allows him to tank stronger shots. Don't expect him to handle a Volcano Cannon, though. If he goes down, he comes back on a 4+ with D6 wounds, but unlike in 7th, this can only be done once per battle, even if the roll is failed. On small point games, you can use him as a fire magnet, at higher point you can be sure your opponent will do whatever is in his power to bring him down, so shield him accordingly. This will not be a waste as surrounding units will greatly be enhanced by his auras. As a Character he does benefits from the Honor Guard's protection, so you can mimic the "old" Victrix guard.
While away from the enemy, Guilliman can pump 3 S6 AP-1 W2 shots 24 inches away (6 at 12), bringing pain to light infantry and inflicting serious damage to multi-wound weak-save units such as Tyranid Warriors, but the -1 AP will not allow him to do more than token damages to heavily armored foes, so don't waste your shots on 2+ enemies or tanks. With his 2+ BS, rerolling any to-hit rolls and 1s to wound (as of the 2nd 8th edition codex) thanks to the XIII Primarch's rule, most of the shots will hit their target (84% of the time at rapid fire range) and if you choose your target wisely, most will wound too.
Guilliman will hit with the same accuracy and re-rolls in close combat, where he really shines. He can choose to split his 6 attacks between the Emperor's sword, striking at S8 AP-4 3 D with a chance on a to-wound roll of 6 to inflict an additional D3 mortal wounds, or S12 AP-3 3 D if he uses the Hand of Dominion. You'll almost always be using the Sword as up to T4 he wounds on a 2+, and up to T7 on a 3+, and you'll benefit from the higher AP and the chance to deal extra mortal wounds. (Combined with Guilliman's ability to reroll failed wounds, this makes wounding on a 5+ a lot less bad than you'd think, such that the Gauntlet is only better in edge cases: i.e. if the target has T9 or better, an armor save of 3+ or worse, AND no invulnerable save.) Coupled with his high armor saves, almost nothing in the game short of Knights, Magnus or Mortarion will beat him in close combat one on one, though he'll die a horrible death to squads of TH/SS Terminators and such. He is also not that great against hordes with morale boosts, as he has lost his Sweeping Strike ability, so make sure your other troops clean the path to help him focus on high value targets.
But as impressive as his martial skills are, Guilliman is depicted in the fluff as first and foremost a tactician, and he has the special rules to back this up.
First, as the Warlord in a battleforged army, he gives 3 additional command points, allowing to rack up easily 10+ command points even in small points games. His warlord trait plays more into his role as a beatstick and not a general (ironic that they gave Calgar the Adept of the Codex warlord trait, even though Guilliman WROTE THE DAMN THING). Nobility Made Manifest allows Ultramarines Infantry units (which means non-characters too) to heroically intervene at 6"
Second, he allows all Imperium units (not just Ultramarines, Imperium as a whole) within 12 inches to:
- Advance 1" further
- Charge 1" further
- Reroll ALL hit rolls of 1
- Reroll failed morale tests (although potentially ending with a worse result, so use at your own risk).
As the Ultramarines' Primarch, he also has a 6" bubble that grants them a re-roll for all failed rolls to hit and wound rolls of 1 (changed with the Ultramarine's supplement), which, as explained above, also applies to him.
He has one major flaw, though, he cannot ride any transport, as he's classified as a Monster and not an infantry unit for some reason, not even in a Mastodon or a Thunderhawk. Maybe he wasn't too keen on being dragged in the air, hanging on the Dreadnought grapple. He has no option to deepstrike either, so he's doomed to footslog, even though his high movement of 8 mitigate this a little. On the bright side on things, you can't buff your army while in a transport, so you didn't want to put him in a metal bawks anyway.
TL;DR: Guilliman is a monstrosity and point for point one the best units in the game, being at the same time resilient, fast, deadly in close combat, no slouch in shooting and a nice force multiplier for any Imperial Force.
In terms of the model, per GW's typical modus operandi lately, it's absurdly overdesigned to make things difficult for the recasters and chinamen of the world, showing that despite GW's consumer friendly steps as of late, pulling in money always comes above common sense or consistency. However, this type of over-designing does happen to favor the filthy heretic, as there have been plenty of bitchin conversions by chaos players, lopping off his head, replacing it with an appropriately sized ugly chaos faction head of their choosing, filing off the Smurf iconography, and then painting it with whatever grungy/fabulous colour scheme that looks passable, and presto! You now have yourself a possessed/empowered/favoured Chaos Lord!
Roboute has been given so many nicknames by /tg/ that, if we're being honest, they deserve their own
section page at this point. His many nicknames include but are no means limited to:
- Bobby G String
- Robu (canon from the novel Dark Imperium: Plague War, no, seriously! - although he made it clear that he didn't like it)
- Robot Gridman
- Rowboat Girlyman
- Robust Girlyman
- Roman Gorillaman
- Rawbutt Girlyman
- Robobutt Gigatan
- Robo Beancounter
- Rampant Gullytan
- Roaring Gulag-man
- Robot Gigglytan
- Raw-Rigged Ginger-Fan
- Robot Gulliver
- Robo Git
- Robo Clint
- Robot Cunt
- Roberto Gilligan
- Roberto Guillermito
- Robust Gilligan
- Robit Ghillie Suit
- Reboot Gigabyte
- Robert Gullible
- Robert Güllemann
- Roberto Gūilé
- Roboot Girlymayne
- Robot Gorillaman
- Rawdog Gorillaman
- Robooty Guillotine
- Roobyboob Goobytube
- Robust Gigoloman
- Ripplebutt Giggleman
- Rawnut Jellyman
- Roman Gogillian
- Rusty the Gullible
- R. Gooliman, Esq.
- Robalybobaly Guilabywibbalyman
- Rowrowrowyourboat Gentlydownthestreamlyman
- Roblox Gullibullyman
- Rubbertree Girlyman
- Robo-ute Gillaman
- Rowboat Grillyman
- Romanov Enderman
- Reboot Gilligan
- Bobby McGuillicutty
- Bobby G.
- Big G
- Big Bobby G.
- Daddy G
- Roboute Guilliblastoma, WHO°IV Bringer of Cerebral Inflation
- Really Gay
- Rob Butthole
- Raw Booty Girlyman
- G Man
- Rabbit Guiltyman
- Benedict Cumberbatch
- Any variation of Benedict Cumberbatch
- Guillermo del Toro
- Rumbleboffin Counterpunch.
- Rodent Guillotine
- RoBOOTY G-Aeldari-man
- Every possible combination of the previous nicknames
Julius CaesarAugustus in SPESS
- Big Blue Daddy
- Papa Ultra Smurf
- Grandpa Smurf
- T.S.Gracchus Getinthevan
- The Blooser
- The Blue One
- Ward's Ever Chosen Robart
- Your Spiritual Liege
- Big Blue
- Big Blue Bob
- Big Blue Bastardly Bob
- Big Blue Mary Sue
- Boss of the Bastard Blueberries
- Gary Sue
- Marty Stu
- Captain Imperium
- The real fake emperor
- The Empersonator
- Emperor 2: Electric Boogaloo
- The Emperor 2: Electric Bluegaloo
- Ultraman (shares his name with Superman’s evil counterpart)
- THEE GREAT VIOLATOR (Due to his creation of the primaris marines)
- The grand Blueberry
- The Greatest Little Derivative Pile of Blueberry Pudding Pop Fuckery That Has Ever Glazed The Surface Of This Shitty Little Galaxy
|The Primarchs of the Space Marine Legions|
| Loyalist |
Corvus Corax - Ferrus Manus - Jaghatai Khan
Leman Russ - Lion El'Jonson - Roboute Guilliman
Rogal Dorn - Sanguinius - Vulkan
| Traitor |
Alpharius/Omegon - Angron - Fulgrim
Horus - Konrad Curze/Night Haunter - Lorgar
Magnus the Red - Mortarion - Perturabo