|Battle Cry||All life is worthless!|
|Warband Leader||Morsaviour Ghonst|
|Base of Operations||Unknown|
|Strength||Unknown, implied to be pretty big for a non-major warband|
|Specialty||Chemical / Biological Warfare|
|Colours||Black, with murky-Green helmet, pauldrons and lower legs, invariably covered in filth|
"The crime isss life! The sentence iss death!"
"You know the person who had the greatest positive impact on the environment of this planet? Genghis Khan, because he massacred 40 million people."
- – Letts, Utopia
(For the record, they have nothing to do with that shitty home invasion movie that happens to have the same name, so don't bother asking about that.)
The Purge... oh boy, where to even begin about these fellas? Well, I suppose we could start with the good news, and those are that these guys are desperate for a galaxy with justice for everyone. They became sick of all the lies, all the evil, and all the corruption in the galaxy that spawned without end. They will thus employ any means they can to turn the universe to goodness, truth, and happiness again. These guys sound perfect, so what's the problem you say? The problem? They determined that the root of all evil in the galaxy is life itself, and they must cleanse the galaxy of every mortal being so all can be reborn, phoenix-like, from the ashes...err, "sludge". Apparently this line of logic is pretty popular, since there's enough of these fellas to crew at least a handful ships and, more notably, an entire fucking space hulk.
Yeeeeah... basically, these guys hate life even more than the Oldcrons did before Matt Ward got a hold of them. Thus, doing the only thing that makes sense in this horrible universe, they have waged an endless war against humans and alien, Imperium and Chaos alike, to blight everything and make it all rot and burn away. Now normally, these just sound like some guys who've been in the Warp for too long - but on a second look, it's not the case, as they only turned rogue/were sighted in M36. Unfortunately for everyone else, The Purge also gained access, or somehow started to manufacture, some of the most powerful chemical and biological weapons ever known. And furthermore, it's quite clear they have the favor of Papa Nurgle or at least took the lion's share of Nurglite Warpsmiths and Dark Mechanicum, since many of their biological weapons are powerful on a scale that even the Death Guard doesn't really get to work with, and their chemical weapons are something beyond just about everyone in the galaxy.
While they don't seem to have access to the special ties of other Nurgle warbands, like the Apostles of Contagion group's specialty with Plague Zombies, the truth is they don't fucking need it. When we're talking chemical weaponry that can dissolve a guardsman whole, and given time has no major problems fucking up a Leman Russ or Macharius tank too, these moralfags mean business. Like I say... ridiculous. They didn't even play a particularly large part compared to their notoriety in what was a fuckhuge and exceptionally grimdark war, the Siege of Vraks. They did good work stalling the Emperor's lackeys, but that primarily was because even the psychotically loyal and
stupid BRAVE men and women of Krieg can't keep fighting when they are being dissolved by rolling clouds of deathly acid, although any Commissars present probably tried to get them to try (implying Krieg guardsmen need convincing). Given that the offensives stalled out, with crazy huge casualties even by the standards of the Vraks conflict (where it was assumed that the sixth wave of twenty thousand would reach the enemy by constructing a crude armored vehicle from the remains of the first five waves), we can only assume that those commissars were unsuccessful, and/or their hats dissolved and thus robbed them of any authority. A less notable defining feature is that, unlike pretty much every other Space Marine force in the setting, the Purge routinely make planetfall with their ships rather than deploying from high orbit, bathing their hulls in the target planet's oceans before drifting high over the land in an attempt to spread their poisons as far and wide as possible in advance of their assault. In the case of their entire fucking space hulk, they basically just flew it into the target like an unusually stinky meteor and then streamed out to finish off the survivors.
Basically, the average Imperial world is an enterprising dandelion and they're an angry horticulturist with access to Agent Orange.
The main reason why the Purge are memorable beyond slaughtering Kriegian guardsmen is that the areas that they fought on are even more uninhabitable than the rest of the quagmire of corpses, promethium and undetonated shells that is Vraks. Oh and they slaughtered FOURTEEN BILLION IMPERIAL CITIZENS IN LESS THAN A MONTH in the infamous Vaxhallian Genocide!! Holy shit! That's gotta count for something, right?
That and they also ripped off Judge Death's logic, at least partially. According to The Tome of Decay, Nurgle and his followers believe that the galaxy is cyclical: It starts out pristine, becomes corrupt, which spawns Chaos. Chaos then destroys the Galaxy, allowing it to be reborn, pure and clean, until Chaos rises again to do it once more. As such, The Purge are perhaps at once the most pragmatic and fanatical of Nurgle's followers. They cut right to the chase to make the transitional period as quick as possible, and seem to be good at it. They don't fuck around with conventional warfare.
At some point, the Purge joined one of Failbaddon's Black Crusades, where they and several other groups were charged with escorting a cruiser capable of destroying the fortifications on Cadia. The Purge killed the other traitors, stole the ship, and blew up several others before flying off with it. Totally Awesome.
They also invaded Medusa alongside the Cleaved and Typhus after the formation of the Great Rift.
Most recently they participated in Abaddon's invasion of Vigilus. There they came into conflict with the local Death Guard forces when their chemical extermination campaigns started killing off all the civillians that had been infected with the Gellarpox. The ensuring battle nearly wiped out both sides, but Abaddon was still pleased as their battlefield became so inhospitable to life that it would be impossible for the Imperium to reclaim it.
Geedubs can't seem to decide if the Purge is an extremist Death Guard offshoot, or a renegade Chapter or warband who just happen to worship the same god. The Black Legion novels and Forge World Siege of Vraks books go with the former, but the Dante novel and every CSM codex they've appeared in lump them in with the renegades instead. As of Vigilus Ablaze and the 2019 CSM book, the latter seems to be the case for now.