In Warhammer 40k Malcador the Sigillite was a powerful psyker, close confidant of the Emperor of man, and a crucial character in the Horus Heresy. Wizened old geezer he may be, but without Malcador, there would not only be no Inquisition or Grey Knights – there’d be no Imperium at all. Read on for the full story of this mysterious, vital character.
Warhammer 40k heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and this frail-looking, unassuming old man may be the Imperium of Man’s most stalwart defender; he certainly sacrificed more than most Space Marines in its defence.
Malcador had a lot of titles – First Lord of Terra, Grand Master of Assassins, later Imperial Regent – but he never favored the limelight, preferring to stand behind the throne (until the end, of course, when he finally sat on it himself, just once).
Who is Warhammer 40k’s Malcador the Sigillite?
No-one other than Malcador the Sigillite himself (and possibly Luna Wolves primarch and arch-traitor Horus Lupercal) know the details of his origins.
What we do know is that he has lived for nearly seven millennia by the outbreak of the Horus Heresy and was a member of the Sigillites, an ancient order devoted to preserving powerful human artefacts.
It has been alleged by Jaghatai Khan, primarch of the White Scars, that Malcador’s true name is Brahm al-Khadour and that he is a Perpetual of immense age, wisdom, and psychic power.
Malcador allegedly met the Emperor of Mankind prior to the Unification Wars, when the Emperor had yet to claim that title. Simply another of Terra’s many warlords working with his trusted advisor, the Emperor and Malcador together developed the grand plan that would, in the coming centuries and millennia, come to consume the galaxy.
After the formation of the Imperium of Man and the start of the Great Crusade to reclaim humanity’s the missing planets and primarchs, Malcador often found himself in charge of Terra (and, to an extent, the whole Imperium) while the Emperor took an active battlefield role, questing to recover his genetic sons. During this period the newly-discovered Space Wolves Primarch Leman Russ, spent considerable time with the Sigillite, and the two became close.
One of the darker aspects of Malcador’s personality reared its head in these years. Desperate to have his own confessor and confidant, the Sigillite began repeatedly cloning an Eldar prisoner by the name of Ael Wyntor, sharing his secrets with the clone until the Eldar was driven first to madness, then to suicide. As each clone died, Malcador would repeat the process over again, resurrecting Ael Wyntor before once again driving them to suicide, hundreds of times over.
Beyond his appearance as a wizened, elderly man and his reputation as a spymaster with an intellect beyond all but the Emperor, Malcador was more than he seemed. When Lorgar, Primarch of the Word Bearers, was humbled at Monarchia, the Aurelian backhanded Malcador, sending him flying twenty metres through the air. An assault like this by a Primarch would kill a Space Marine, let alone a human, yet Malcador remained mostly unharmed.
At the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, Malcador’s assassins sought out many targets and even attempted to slay the traitorous Primarchs themselves, albeit without success. Working closely with Rogal Dorn of the Imperial Fists, the Sigillite helped to organise the defences around Terra in anticipation of Horus’ arrival.
Probably the most enduring legacy of Malcador is the creation of the Grey Knights. Selecting nine Knights-Errant – including Garviel Loken of the Sons of Horus and Nathaniel Garro of the Death Guard – he brought them to a secret location where they were shriven, renamed, and gifted new recruits and weaponry in order to wage a perpetual war against the Warhammer 40k Chaos forces as the Grey Knights.
The fate of Malcador the Sigillite
By the time the Siege of Terra began, Malcador had become weary of constant war and intrigue. Despite this, he helped fend off an attack by Thousand Sons primarch Magnus the Red, though it very nearly cost him his life.
At the siege’s peak, the Emperor decided to intervene and slay Horus personally, selecting a few of his elite forces, along with primarch Sanguinius of the Blood Angels, to accompany him to Horus’ flagship, the Vengeful Spirit, where he would face his son.
In order to keep the portal to the Webway in the basement of the Imperial Palace closed and stop Terra from being overwhelmed by daemons, the Emperor asked Malcador to sit atop the Golden Throne while he boarded the Vengeful Spirit.
Malcador accepted, even though he knew it was a death sentence. His psychic powers, while vast, weren’t strong enough to withstand the forces flowing through the device. Upon Malcador’s ascension to the throne, the Emperor proclaimed that Malcador the Sigillite was no more – henceforth he would be known as Malcador the Hero.
When the Emperor returned from his mission, victorious but mortally wounded, the two were briefly reunited before Malcador’s life faded. The near-corpse of the Emperor replaced Malcador’s decrepit husk on the Golden Throne to begin his eternal vigil, while Malcador – his eons-old friend, ally, and adviser – died before his eyes.
The Malcador tank
The name of Malcador the Sigillite lives on in the Imperium in many ways, one of which is a class of heavy tank which bears his name. Larger and heavier than its counterpart, the Astra Militarum Leman Russ battle tank, the Malcador tank has seen its use wane over the millennia, with many Astra Militarum forces eschewing it altogether.
Despite this, some regiments continue to deploy it to great effect; the Death Korps of Krieg in particular specialises in deploying it on the battlefield. Often armed with a Battle Cannon, Heavy Bolter, and Heavy Stubbers, it is a tank that has carried the name of Malcador to the furthest reaches of the galaxy to ably slay the myriad foes of the Imperium.
Malcador model in Warhammer 40k
Currently there is no Malcador model available for use in Warhammer 40k or in the Horus Heresy battle systems. There have been some fan attempts to recreate the venerable spymaster, focusing on his shrouded figure and skull-topped staff seen in official artworks.
We’ve yet to see if Games Workshop will release an official Malcador the Sigillite model at any point -for now, in Warhammer 40k, it seems the Malcador tank is the primary way to pay homage to this famous Imperial figure.
If we are going to get an official Malcador model, however, it seems likely we’d get it within 2023-24, as the long-running Horus Heresy novel series reaches its final conclusion in The End And The Death Vol. III. We wouldn’t hold our breath, though.
In the meantime, dive deeper into 40k lore with our full guide to all the Warhammer 40k factions, including the 40k xenos races that have proliferated across the galaxy in the 10,000 years since Malcador’s sacrifice.