Warhammer 40k has many tales of characters’ downfall – but none are as tragic as the rage-filled fall of Angron. The World Eaters Primarch has become synonymous with blood and battle – but it never had to be this way. From the Horus Heresy to the 41st millennium, Angron’s story embodies the tragic streak in Games Workshop’s gothic sci-fi setting. Come with us on a blood-filled tale of anguish and fury, as we explore who Angron is and how he came to be Warhammer 40k’s winged angel of death.
Many of the Space Marine Primarchs fell to the Warhammer 40k Chaos gods – Nurgle, Tzeentch, Slaanesh, and Khorne: Lorgar of the Word Bearers; Mortarion of the Death Guard; Magnus the Red of the Thousand Sons; and the warmaster Horus Lupercal, to name a few. The Warhammer 40k factions are littered with their traitorous sons.
But Angron, the Red Angel, had perhaps the least choice in the matter. Betrayed on all sides and alone with a terrible curse, Angron didn’t fall so much as he was pushed into the dark, grasping hands of Chaos. With a brand new Angron model and World Eaters codex coming in 2023, it’s high time we told his story.
Angron Warhammer 40k stats
Games Workshop recently ran an Angron rules preview on the Warhammer Community website, giving us a glimpse at this daemonic powerhouse’s fighting prowess. As befits a devotee of the murder God Khorne, Angron is a mincing machine in the melee phase.
Angron’s base statline is extremely aggressive, starting the game with a move stat of 16”, 12 attacks, weapon skill 2+, and a basic strength of nine. Like other massive models in 40k Angrons’s stats will degrade as he suffers damage, but it’s an extremely belligerent starting point, with more native damage potential than equally large models like Chaos Knights.
Angron’s two blades, the sword Samni’arius and the axe Spinegrinder, can be used in two different attack modes which turn his hand-to-hand lethality up to eleven. Bloodletting Sweep triples Angron’s attacks, while Skull-Taking Slash gives him an effective strength 14, AP -4, and deals D3+3 damage. He slices, he dices!
As well as melee brutality, Angron has three different auras, each with a six inch range, that he can activate during the command phase. Infectious Rage grants World Eaters core units an additional attack, Glorious Bloodletting allows other World Eaters units (including non-core units) to reroll ones to hit in melee, and Righteous Slaughter prevents friendly and enemy models from falling back from combat.
With a toughness of seven, and 18 wounds, Angron just isn’t that tanky for a model his size – but GW hints that you’ll be able to return him to play using a rule called Reborn in Blood, so death won’t be the end for this monster.
Who is Angron?
When the Primarchs were scattered throughout the galaxy, many landed on planets that tested them – but none were abused as Angron was. His adoptive home, the supposedly ‘civilised’ planet of Nuceria, enslaved him as soon as he was discovered. Forced to fight in brutal gladiatorial battles, Angron swiftly proved to be a skilled and savage warrior, but also a reluctant one.
The slave masters had a solution for that. Similar to performing a lobotomy, a psycho-surgical implant was hammered into the young Primarch’s head. This implant, known as the Butcher’s Nails, amplified Angron’s anger and rage, causing considerable pain when he wasn’t fighting and killing. Under the influence of the nails he slaughtered his father-figure and mentor, the gladiator Oenomaus, under the approving eyes of his slavers.
This terrible act forced Angron into action. Breaking out of the slave-pits, he inspired a full-blown slave rebellion, forming an army that fled into the mountains to wage a desperate war against the Nucerian slavers. Though they defeated every force sent against them, there was little to eat in the frozen heights and continued fighting began to take its toll on the rebels.
Finally, seven armies were sent to put down Angron’s rebellion once and for all. Surrounded, out of food, and beyond exhausted, the slaves prepared for death. Then, reprieve arrived – in a twisted form. The Emperor of Mankind’s fleet had slid into orbit, the Emperor himself teleporting down to the battlefield to speak with his missing son.
Angron was offered his own legion, power amongst the stars, and a lifetime of conquest in the name of the Imperium of Man. But, uniquely amongst all the Primarchs, he refused. Demanding to be left alone to die with his fellow freed gladiators, he turned down the Emperor in defiance.
The Emperor was not so easily thwarted, however. Just as the battle was to begin Angron was teleported away, leaving his brothers-in-arms to die without their leader. Filled with incalculable rage, Angron was subdued by his gene-father’s limitless psychic will for a brief meeting, before being whisked away again to meet his own Space Marine legion, the War Hounds.
The World Eaters Primarch
Angron had no interest in being a leader or father to a legion. Isolating himself, he slew all who approached him, and only a warrior known as Khârn (later called Khârn the Betrayer) was able to break through to him. Forming a small bond with the distraught Primarch, Khârn finally brought Angron to the bridge of the War Hounds’ battle barge, where he reluctantly took control over the legion.
Though Angron led them in battle, there was no real link between the newly renamed World Eaters and their Primarch. Looking to emulate him, they retro-engineered the Butcher’s Nails and hammered implants into their own heads, becoming a legion obsessed with slaughter.
The World Eaters also took on many of the other trappings of Angron’s cruel Nucerian upbringing: they fought in gladiatorial combat; they committed to bring planets to compliance within 31 hours – the length of a Nucerian day; and they inflicted decimation on themselves when punished.
When the Horus Heresy reared its head, Angron was one of the first to join his brothers in rebellion; the furious Primarch held no love for masters of any kind and he saw the Emperor of Mankind as yet another slaver.
Throughout the many battles that followed, it slowly became clear, both to the World Eaters and the other Primarchs, that the Butcher’s Nails were killing Angron. This led Lorgar to attempt to save his life – or as Angron came to see it, damn him forever.
Through blood sacrifice and terrible magics, Angron was transformed into a Daemon Prince of Khorne. Born into a new crimson form with wings that blot out the sun, Angron the Primarch died that day, becoming an avatar of blood and death and taking up a cursed black sword in the name of the blood god.
Angron, Daemon Prince
In the ten millennia since his transformation Angron has continued to battle endlessly in the name of his patron god. Though he has been defeated, Angron always returns at the head of colossal legions of World Eaters Berzerkers or fiery Khorne daemons.
During the 38th Millennium Angron led fifty thousand Berzerkers on a rampage through Imperial space that lasted over two centuries. Seventy sectors were brutalised by this unholy crusade, known as the Dominion of Fire. In the end it took four Space Marine chapters, two of the Warhammer 40k Titan legions, and over thirty Astra Militarum regiments to retake what was lost.
Later, on a planet known as Armageddon, Angron appeared again to wreak destruction on the Space Wolves and their allies. Only through the work of one hundred Grey Knights was it possible to banish Angron back to the Immaterium, with only thirteen of the secretive, psychic Knights of Titan surviving the encounter.
Recently, an attempt to summon Angron once more was thwarted by the Salamanders – yet there are signs that Angron, Daemon Primarch, will rise once again in the 40k narrative. With a new model announced by Games Workshop and a specific World Eaters Warhammer 40k Codex arriving on shelves, one of the few certainties in Warhammer 40k is that Angron will be back – more furious and deadly than ever.
If you’re itching for more tales of tortured chaos Primarchs, read our guide on Konrad Curze of the Night Lords. Alternatively, go back to the Emperor’s light with our guides to Sanguinius of the Blood Angels; Rogal Dorn of the Imperial Fists; Jaghatai Khan of the White Scars; and Ferrus Manus of the Iron Hands.