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The best minor 40k Space Marine Chapters, as ranked by fans

Warhammer 40k fan ChromedDragon delved into many sources of data to work out which minor Space Marine Chapters are most popular among fans.

Gabriel Seth, Chapter Master of the Fleshtearers Space Marine chapter, a bald-headed man in battered red and black power armor, with the icon of a blood drop inside a circular saw on his pauldron

Like football teams and super heroes, everyone has a favorite Space Marine Chapter, and it’s probably one of the famous ones. One Warhammer fan brought together data from many sources to work out which other Space Marine Chapters, besides the big twelve, are the most popular.

ChromedDragon, who prefers to be known by his Reddit handle, is a 3D artist who works in game development – he just happens to love compiling data on niche topics. Not counting the twelve famous Space Marine Chapters that have received their own Warhammer 40k Codexes at some point, he found the most popular Space Marines are the Crimson Fists, followed by the Blood Ravens, Lamenters, Carcharadons, and Flesh Tearers.

The Crimson Fists Space Marine chapter makes a last stand - Space Marines in dark blue power armor with red gauntlets stand back to back on a hill of the dead, fighting against an oncoming foe

ChromedDragon’s full dataset includes over 60 chapters, and you can find much of it over on Reddit if you want to know where your favorite Chapter places. He has updated the data set since first posting it as an infographic on March 10, so you may have to delve through follow-up comments to be certain of your Chapter’s placement.

To actually work out the rankings, ChromedDragon started with a simple Reddit post asking people what their favorite Space Marine Chapter was. The 400 responses to his post were a start, but very thin evidence to base any conclusions on.

He also included other data sources: the size of subreddits for each Chapter, the number of painted army listings on eBay, the total number of Google Mentions, and posts in other forums where people talked about their favorite Chapters.

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Some of that data proved to be less useful: “eBay listings weren’t useful with the sample sizes of the smallest chapters, a single person selling an army could completely throw off the table”, ChromedDragon tells Wargamer. He adds: “I stopped using Google mentions after it really just showed how old a Chapter was and how likely its name was to appear in other things”, as in the case of the Raptors’ Chapter name appearing in the Chaos Raptors unit.

Not all of these metrics were treated equally: “I weighted one comment that indicated clear Chapter preference to 50 subreddit members to 50 eBay listings”.

This is very rough and ready data, and biased towards Reddit communities – you might get a different outcome if you were to repeat the investigation using a different method including Facebook groups or Instagram hashtags, or weighting the factors differently.

Gabriel Angelos, Chapter Master of the Blood Ravens Space Marines, wearing heavy red Cataphractii terminator armor and carrying a huge double-handed thunderhammer

As for why the top five are so popular, Wargamer will hazard some guesses:

  • The Crimson Fists are one of the oldest Warhammer 40k factions, appearing on the cover art for Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader, and they have a special character model for Warhammer 40k.
  • The Blood Ravens starred in the famous Dawn of War Warhammer 40k videogame series, and if that was still getting new entries, we’d expect them to be at the top of the list.
  • The Lamenters are another ancient chapter, and their daunting color scheme and tragic lore makes them a hot topic for YouTube painting and lore videos, not to mention a subject of memes.
  • There are two excellent Warhammer 40k books about the Carcharodons by Robbie MacNiven, which in turn inspired incredible and influential conversions, and they featured in the fan-favorite Badab War campaign books by Forge World.
  • The Flesh Tearers are the Blood Angels angrier siblings, meme famous, and their Chapter Master Gabriel Seth has both a 40k mini and a starring role in several Black Library books.

For a very different kind of community initiative in the world of Warhammer 40k Reddit, check out our coverage of the Imperial Fists and Iron Warriors Reddit subscriber war.