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Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard’s beloved Rough Riders are back

Games Workshop has unveiled plastic models and preview rules for Astra Militarum Rough Riders, a true cult classic Warhammer 40k cavalry unit

Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard Rough Riders plastic models reveal - Games Workshop image showing a full unit of Attilan rough riders charging into battle

Imperial Guard Rough Rider models will soon return to Warhammer 40k, Games Workshop has announced. The lance-wielding cavalry of planet Attila have been part of Warhammer 40k since its first edition, but they’ve gone without official models for years. A Warhammer Community preview post on Monday showcases the updated kit – and introduces a few of the Rough Riders’ new rules.

Attilan Rough Riders are Astra Militarum cavalry units that ride real, live, organic-looking horses and wield explosive-tipped hunting lances. They’ve been part of Warhammer 40k lore since the first edition, Rogue Trader, representing the eclectic forces fielded by the Hammer of the Emperor, as well as the Imperium’s mixture of archaic and science-fictional technology.

The news of the Rough Riders’ return comes after GW announced October as a month of brand new Imperial Guard model reveals – so far including a full Astra Militarum army set featuring new artillery guns; a new Cadian Castellan HQ; new Commissar and Heavy Weapon team models; and a closer look at the new Kasrkin elite troopers.

Monday’s WarCom article provides profiles of two different melee weapon profiles for the Rough Rider Hunting Lance weapon: frag and melta tips. Frag tips are Strength User, AP-1 weapons, which multiply each successful hit into three hits, making them infantry-killing weapons. Melta tips are Strength User+2, AP-4, damage 3 weapons, suitable for putting holes into vehicles or bringing down elite infantry.

Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard Rough Riders plastic models reveal - Games Workshop image showing the stat block for the attilan rough rider hunting lance

One other lance tip is shown in the video accompanying Monday’s article, which has a twin-pronged design similar to Adeptus Mechanicus Skitarii taser weaponry. If it shares rules with the taser goad or taser lance, as well as looks, it will be a fairly high strength and high AP weapon that inflicts additional hits on to-hit rolls of six.

In previous editions, Rough Riders could only deploy their hunting lances in the same turn that they charged into combat, but the WarCom article doesn’t say one way or another if this restriction will stay in place.

WarCom also hints at a formalisation to some of the Astra Militarum’s faction rules, coming in the next Codex. It says that Rough Riders can benefit from orders issued by officers because they have the Platoon keyword.

We haven’t seen this keyword before, but it seems pretty clear that it exists to control which units can and can’t benefit from orders, and potentially to allow the rules team to balance the army list by adding or removing the keyword from units – something it’s done widely using the Core keyword.

Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard Rough Riders plastic models reveal - Games Workshop image showing an attilan rough rider model with hunting lance (frag grenade variant)


The Rough Riders’ uniform combines a riding coat with standard guard flak armour pieces, and their helmet is edged with fur trim, a nod to the Attilan Rough Rider models of yesteryear.

Despite a long history in the lore and rules, the Rough Riders have only had two tabletop miniature iterations before now, one in Rogue Trader and another for second edition Warhammer 40k. Those models have long since retired from active duty.