We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Warhammer 40k Corvus Corax - the Raven Guard Primarch

Corvus Corax is the Primarch of Warhammer 40k’s Raven Guard Space Marines, master of guerilla warfare and stealthy combat - come meet him.

Warhammer 40k Corvus Corax - a black armoured warrior with taloned claws and a jump pack

In Warhammer 40k Corvus Corax, or The Ravenlord, is a character wrapped in shadow, both literally and figuratively. The Primarch of the Raven Guard Space Marine Legion, he remained loyal to the Emperor of Man throughout the Horus Heresy, but not without making significant sacrifices.

A master of stealth and guerrilla warfare, rebel leader but loyal son of the Emperor; Corvus Corax is a complicated figure who has never stepped into the limelight of the setting. Preferring to fight from the shadows, he and his Space Marine sons became renowned for their ability to strike from nowhere and cause immense damage through hit-and-run attacks. Yet at the heart of Corvus Corax’ story is a tale of betrayal and loss.

If that all sounds a bit too… emo for your sensibilities, well, may we suggest you check out some of our guides to other Warhammer 40k factions? The Orks and World Eaters, in particular, are much less self reflective.

If you like our heroes anti- and your backstories dark, here’s everything you need to know about Warhammer 40k’s Corvus Corax:

Warhammer 40k Corvus Corax - a handsome black-armoured man with ravens on each hand

Who is Warhammer 40k’s Corvus Corax?

When mysterious forces scattered the Primarchs throughout the universe, the infant Corvus Corax landed on Lycaeus, a moon which orbits the Forge World Kiavahr. The rulers of Kiavahr had used Lycaeus as both a source of cheap manpower and as a prison for undesirables, all of which shaped Corvus Corax’s view of the universe.

Named Corax, ‘The Deliverer’ in the tongue of Lycaeus, he began to learn the many tools of the rebel as he matured. Demolitions, urban warfare, stealth, and guerilla combat – the rapidly growing Primarch mastered them all. He also discovered he could Shadow-Walk, a psychic ability that let him meld with the shadows and disappear from view.

Between Corax’ powers and his innate mastery of warfare, it did not take long for him to become leader of the growing rebel movement, organising them into cells and beginning a campaign to foment discord on the moon. When his rebels finally struck, they slew the entirety of the Lycaeus defence forces.

Kiavahr retaliated harshly; Corax was prepared. With atomic mining charges, ambushes, and forces that melted away when faced in open battle, Corax brought down the rulers of Kiavahr and free its people. In celebration they renamed their moon ‘Deliverance’.

Warhammer 40k Corvus Corax - Ravenguard space marines legion models

When the Emperor of Man appeared to reunite with his lost son, the pair sequestered themselves for over a day before emerging to appoint Corvus Corax Primarch of the Raven Guard Legion. Deliverance became the homeworld of the Legion, and the colossal Ravenspire was built to be the fortress-monastery of the chapter.

During the Great Crusade, Corax and his Raven Guard distinguished themselves by engaging in covert operations, infiltrating behind enemy lines, striking at weak points, and performing lightning strikes.

Though always loyal to the Imperium, Coraxbegan to distrust those of his Legion who counted Terra as their homeworld due to their more extreme tactics on the battlefield. Eventually he purged his Legion of this contingent, sending Terran-born marines on missions that would not see them return alive.

Warhammer 40k Corvus Corax - a black armoured warrior with taloned claws and a jump pack

Corvus Corax during the Horus Heresy

When the Horus Heresy erupted into open battle during the Drop Site Massacre on Isstvan V, the Raven Guard suffered almost irrecoverable losses. Despite this, in the heat of that great betrayal Corax was almost able to slay Lorgar Aurelian, Primarch of the Word Bearers, his hand only stayed by the intervention of Konrad Curze of the Night Lords.

For 98 days Corvus Corax fought a desperate battle of hit-and-run attacks on the black sands of Isstvan V, before finally escaping with the few Raven Guard who remained alive. He sought assistance from the Emperor to help rebuild his forces, who granted him the use of a hidden laboratory filled with the genetic secrets of the Primarchs.

Using the knowledge he gained there, Corvus Corax and his Chief Apothecary developed gene-seed that could create Raven Guard who were stronger, faster, and more intelligent than those created before. Named ‘Raptors’, these new Space Marines matured faster, allowing Corax to repopulate the Raven Guard within a matter of weeks instead of years.

Warhammer 40k Corvus Corax - a black armoured warrior with taloned claws and a jump pack

Unfortunately unbeknown to Corvus Corax, the Alpha Legion had infiltrated his Legion on Isstvan V. They sabotaged the gene-tech used to create the Raptors, causing daemonic mutations to appear across their bodies.

When the infiltration was discovered the Raptor repopulation programme ceased and all Alpha Legion operatives were purged. Those Raptors who survived were allowed to continue fighting for their Primarch and the Raven Guard despite their physical mutations.

The Raven Guard never took part in the Siege of Terra, instead coming to the aid of the Space Wolves to save them from destruction during the Battle of Yarant. They also assisted Lion El’Jonson during his Crusade of Vengeance, eventually assaulting the Death Guard homeworld of Barbarus alongside both the Space Wolves and Dark Angels.

Warhammer 40k Corvus Corax portrait - a glowering, long haired man with sunken eyes

Corvus Corax warp form

After the Horus Heresy, the experiment that created the Raptors weighed heavily on Corax. Locking himself in his chambers in the Ravenspire he sought freedom from his guilt, only emerging to finally leave his Raven Guard and depart the Imperium in the direction of the Eye of Terror, leaving a single pronouncement as his parting words: “Never more”.

Corvus Corax became obsessed with hunting down those Primarchs who had turned traitor during the Horus Heresy, especially those who took part in the Drop Site Massacre. During his time in the Eye of Terror he became mutated by the Warp, his psychic ability to meld with the shadows becoming twisted and infusing him with the warp.

How far does this transformation go? The short story ‘Shadow of the Past’ by Gav Thorpe in the anthology Sons of the Emperor depicts the Word Bearers being harried by a relentless predator they at first take to be a daemon. This mysterious antagonist can move as pure shadow, shatter into a cloud of vicious crows, and slaughter legionaries by the score: this, it transpires is Corax. But the Daemon Primarch Lorgar himself states in the tale that ‘This is no daemon’.

Corvus Corax meaning

Like many of the names and terms used in Warhammer 40k, Corvus Corax has a real life meaning; it’s the species name for the common raven. Corvus comes from the Latin word for ‘raven’, while Corax comes from the Greek word for… ‘raven’. So Corvus Corax’s full translated name is Raven Raven. As far as ‘bad Classical names’ go, he’s doing better than Ferrus Manus, Primarch of the Iron Hands , but not by much.

Warhammer 40k Corvus Corax model - a huge, black armored warrior descends on his jump pack to slaughter a traitor marine

Corvus Corax model

Raven Guard fans can get their hands on an official resin Corvus Corax model for the Horus Heresy Warhammer 30k system. His highly detailed model comes with a diorama base, descending from the sky on his Korvidine pinions to slay a traitor Space Marine.