Where do we go from here?
So, remember the old days where every now and then we'd see a thread about the future of 40k? Theories of who would be the last race standing, who would finally end the Imperium and who would die first?
Well I thin we can go for one of those again. With the release of shiny new lore that has pushed the setting forward, let's hear some more projections with updated info!
The Imperium has a Primarch back to lead them. One of the greatest military minds humanity has ever seen and a warrior that few if any could hope to stand against. Aside from what Roboute himself can bring, the morale boost to the soldiers of the Imperium will be huge.
Cadia has fallen, and the way to Terra from the Eye is laid open. Chaos now has a clean shot, but can they make it work with Guilliman on task?
The necrons' grand overlord is back in the galaxy, and he is recruiting elements of his old empire towards a single goal; the destruction of the tyranids.
The eldar have a new hope for their own future, the manifestation of Ynnead and the path laid out to completing its power.
The orks and tyranids remain an ever present threat, the Tau empire continues to expand and there is even the possibility of the Farsight Enclaves coming back on side with them.
So what do you think?
As far as the Imperium is concerned, I don't think the return of Guilliman is going to have the impact that some would hope. He's returning to whats essentially a bastardized version of the empire he fought for, where religion and infighting have a stranglehold on the Imperium.
I see the Imperium mostly remaining the same, perhaps the successors of the Ultramarines working together more often but otherwise Guilliman is just one primarch and can only effect so much. Especially when you consider how much will get piled against him, or rather who will be piling things against him.
Let's see, (major) faction by faction:
Imperium is still the biggest on the block, but with the galaxy covered in Warp storms it can't fight as a whole. On the other hand, with Guilliman's legendary logistical ability in play... if Mars manages to get the Imperium back in the tech game, there's absolutely no reason humanity can't go into a fairly convincing second Great Crusade. The problem is that it's fighting nearly EVERYONE, with only (part of) the Eldar as nominal allies. The situation is ridiculously grim, but there's hope and that's more than it has had for millennia.
The Eldar too have hope, but they sacrificed a LOT for it. Commorragh is effectively gone, their most powerful military craftworld, Biel-Tan, is in tatters, and their population issues aren't going anywhere. For all that it was used for irony, Vect's "What fool would plan to defeat their enemy by dying forever themselves" has some definite truth in it.
The Orks... meh, they've already won. They've GOT their victory condition.
Necrons will probably accelerate waking up where they can as Chaos breaking loose... probably not in their best interest. If the Silent King gets things together they'll still be focused on the Tyranids. TBH, it's hard to see if any of Gathering Storm will even have any effect on their actions beyond slightly annoying some of their Lords.
The Tau... are actually screwed. Oh, they'll probably pull through by weeabo author fiat, but last we saw of them they were all about to become Tyranid snacks and had lost Aun'Va (and the world he was on) to an Imperial counterattack. Shadowsun needs to step the hell up to the plate, and preferably make friends with Farsight. I don't think they can count on the Imperium to bail them out of THIS Tyranid attack... It's a bad day when you need to pray you accidentally colonized a Necron tomb world, but it might actually be their best hope.
The Tyranids... Much like the Necrons, unlikely to be affected by recent events, but from what we've seen of their interaction with Chaos, they might well end up biting Abaddon in the but (bonus points for doing it literally).
As far as we know, Chaos is currently the only one that currently DOESN'T have something horrible happen to it.
I really don't think we'll have long to wait to see what happens next. Considering how quickly GS came on the heels of the Warzone: Fenris books, I think the next phase will hit us with the rumoured release of 8th Ed on late summer. Lets remember that this is, quite literally, the gathering storm. That storm is going to hit, and hit hard. There are quite a few dangling threads that will need to be tidied up soon.
Abbadon is ready to drop the hammer on a weakened Imperium. What form that hammer takes, I really don't know, but if he has finally reached his endgame, it's gonna be pretty big.
The Imperium is beset on all sides. The SWs have taken a serious kicking and the DA have been infiltrated and influenced by chaos, not to mention that fact that their most closely kept secret is out of the bag. The return of a primarch, especially one with his own ideas of how an empire should be run like Girlyman, could lead to a schism in the ranks. We also still have to see what the arrival of Cypher and the Lion's sword on Terra mean for the Imperium and the Emperor himself. Personally, I don't think Guilliman will be around for too long. They seem to have made specific reference to the fact that Yvraine told him he should never remove his armour, in doing so they revealed a way he could be taken down. Why mention it if it's not going to come into play later? Might just be me reading too much into a single line, but it did jump out at me.
The Eldar are the big ones for me when it comes to the scope of their upheaval. A god returned, and all of a sudden the entire race has a rallying point. Will we see them coming together en mass, with all four factions (five if you count Harlequins as a separate faction) forming a unified front against Chaos, and try to reclaim some fraction of their former empire? If that meant we saw some dino-riding Exodite eldar appear, it could only be a good thing.
As for Orks, Tau, nids and necrons, I think they will only play a peripheral roll until the storm peters out and the dust settles. This whole arc is about moving on the stagnated story line of the struggle for survival against the forces of chaos, with the Imperium and Eldar long being the biggest victims of the predations of said forces, so playing the biggest parts in the story.
Game-wise, I think when The Storm Strikes(TM) we're going to see something big for Chaos, with a triple box for them featuring Fulgrim, Abbadon, and a third that I couldn't begin to guess at, seeing as the other major chaos players like Kharn and Ahriman have recently received new sculpts. I also think we may see the forces in the game broken into factions similar to AoS, as in Order, Chaos, Death and Destruction.
I must admit I am quite excited that I picked this period in time to jump back into the murky, shark infested waters of 40k.
White Scars: Maelstrom is expanding as well, it appears - over Chogoris. They're thus occupied dealing with Huron Blackheart and friends. (Rise p41)
Imperial Fists: Some losses taken, Phalanx is going to take forever to repair and cleanse. Probably mostly okay as a retcon appears to move some of its companies from Cadia where they used to be for the 13th Black Crusade to two other theaters.
Blood Angels: Baal about to be overrun by Tyranids. Note this is mere months after they had to rebuild the Chapter from scraps and the generosity of their Successors.
Iron Hands: Medusa's near the Eye of Terror. No word yet whether it's still actually OUTSIDE it, what with the Eye growing, but it's probably on Abaddon's list of vacation spots.
Ultramarines: Took losses securing Ultramar... Regained a Primarch and overall came out smelling like roses. What else is new.
Salamanders: I... actually don't know. They were on Armageddon for the Third War there, but it's been a year or so and I'm not sure they're still around... Though if they are, it's experiencing a full Warp breach now (Rise p49)
Raven Guard: Deliverance in the path of a massive Ork Waagh, with Chapter Master Kayvaan Shrike being VERY new to that role.
Oh, one point of note on the Orks: As per p27 of Rise, Ghazghkull is on the move again.
I'm hoping, somewhere with more primarchs and Demon primarchs and Triumvirates for Chaos.
It isn't just Guilliman for the Imperium though is it? Aren't the Custodes also joining the fray now? Do we have numbers for how many of them there are? They're absolute beasts on the table top, I imagine they'll pack a punch in the lore as well.
Custodes... probably rather like any Chapter, as many as the story needs. More specifically, we don't know. The Dark Heresy rulebook has a throwaway "Thousand Companions" but they obviously don't show up there, Master of Mankind says "the Ten Thousand" which is probably more factual though they get reduced a good amount over the course of that novel and thousand might be the more correct number at the end.
There's pretty much nothing on what they've done since the events of Master of Mankind, though Rise is obviously somewhat retconning the previous lore which had them sitting naked around the palace. Instead we've got them and the Sisters of Silence bailing out Guilliman with skill and alacrity. Both of those have had a couple millennia to rebuild their numbers (if the Custodes COULD), and we don't know what they've been doing - other than "more than we knew" - so they probably took limited losses.
Actually, one thing everyone should take note of: Every source we have says that unlike the Primarchs, the Custodes don't really do 'own initiative' and ONLY move as the Emperor Himself commands.
Do the math.
Custodes out and about in an Imperium with renewed hope however... Custodes and a Primarch, with allies in the Mechanicus now devoted to progress, with a tenuous alliance to the Eldar and a new god...
There's more in the Imperium's favour now than just the return of a primarch.
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