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Two Warhammer 40k Reddits go to war

With the Iron Warriors and Imperial fists subreddits neck and neck for subscribers, fans on other subreddits are flocking to their banners.

Warhammer 40k reddit subscriber war - the reddit logo, a smiling ovoid face with an antenna superimposed on an orange circle, and a Warhammer 40k boltgun, a large blocky gun with a scope and a scrap of parchment draped over it

The ancient feud between the loyalist Imperial Fists and traitor Iron Warriors Space Marines is well known to 40k fans. So when Redditors noticed that the r/ImperialFists and r/IronWarriors subreddits were neck and neck for subscribers, the outcome was inevitable – begun, the Warhammer 40k Reddit subscriber war has.

Though it’s hard to trace a specific start point, things seem to have kicked off on Tuesday. Rallying calls – in the form of memes, naturally – have proliferated across Warhammer 40k faction subreddits, as fans make the case to add their subscriber numbers to one side or the other. Both r/ImperialFists and r/IronWarriors have since risen from under 16,000 subscribers to at least 19,000.

Warhammer 40k Reddit war meme - image of Yorm the Giant from Dark Souls three facing off against a tiny warrior - Yorm is labelled r/deathguard40k, the human fighter is labelled with several imperial subreddits

Redditor THE_FOREVERDM_1221 has been a particularly prolific demagogue for the 40k Chaos powers, putting out calls for aid for the Iron Warriors in a variety of subreddits, including World Eaters, Death Guard, Nurgle, Orks, Chaos Knights, and even Skaven.

Warhammer 40k Reddit War meme - a picture of Aragorn from the Lord of the Rings film with the caption "The beacons are lit! r/ImperialFists call for aid"; beneath it, a picture of King Theoden from Lord of the Rings, with the caption "And r/salamanders40k will answer"

Naturally, proclamations of loyalty from subreddits aligned with the Imperium of Man have been issued in support of the Imperial Fists; Redditor ObtainableSpatula lit the beacons in the Salamanders, Black Templars, and White Scars subreddits.

Warhammer 40k Reddit war meme - a classic piece of Warhammer 40k artwork, showing Cadian shock troopers advancing from a trench, with the words "Live in the trenches, die in the trenches, the Iron Warriors have my sympathies* when the commissar is not looking" on top

Astra Militarum players also raised their banners, but being corruptible humans, there have been declarations of support for both the Imperial Fists and the Iron warriors.

Warhammer 40k Reddit war meme - an illustration of an Emperor's Children noise marine in purple and black armor with studs, horns, and a flamethrower guitar, with a caption explaining the poster is joining r/ImperialFists because they dislike the Iron Warriors

In a similar display of confused loyalties, at least one Emperor’s Children fan has aligned themselves with the Imperial Fists, out of sheer distaste for the Iron Warriors primarch Perturabo. If you’ve read Angel Exterminatus, you’ll know that there’s some bad blood between the legions.

Warhammer 40k Reddit war meme - a compound meme image; the background image is of a person labelled r/Tyranids lying on the grass watching a fight; the participants on the fight have been replaced by two images, one of a group meeting at a round table, labelled "loyalists", the other a fracas labelled "chaos"

Meanwhile, Tyranids fans have expressed delight at such a large collection of biomass in one place. We’re not sure quite how that translates through the metaphor of an informal competition to get the most subscribers, unless r/Tyranids has access to some Reddit development tools we’re not aware of, but it definitely makes sense in 40k lore.

So far, the subscriber war has been very good natured, with nothing more mean-spirited than a few jokey memes dropped into ‘rival’ subreddits.

Warhammer 40k Reddit War meme - "If Sanguinius wore pants would he wear them like this or like this"; the two options are a coffin on its end wearing pants, or a coffin on its base wearing pants

In the lore, the Imperial Fists vs Iron Warriors feud can be traced back to the Great Crusade, when the Primarch Perturabo cultivated a simmering hatred of his brother Rogal Dorn, who he saw as vainglorious, and resented for stealing honor and fame from his own Space Marine legion.

The Horus Heresy books show the lengths Perturabo goes to to get vindication against his brother, with the Iron Warriors ultimately masterminding the siege of the Emperor of Mankind’s Palace on Terra.

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