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Warhammer 40k Lore -The World Eaters: Khorne’s Butcher Legions


The World Eaters are one of the most savage and bloodthirsty factions of the 41st millenium.

They are a Chaos Space Marine legion dedicated to the service of Khorne, the Chaos God of blood, violence, and rage. Formerly known as the XII Legion of Space Marines, the World Eaters have become a terrifying force of destruction, embodying the most brutal aspects of warfare.

Origins and Heresy

The World Eaters were once loyal Space Marines, created during the Great Crusade, a galaxy-spanning campaign led by the Emperor of Mankind to unite humanity under the banner of the Imperium. The XII Legion, originally known as the War Hounds, were formidable warriors who excelled in close combat. Their Primarch, Angron, was a gladiator who was raised to be a merciless killer in the brutal arenas of his homeworld.

The War Hounds’ devotion to martial honour and courage on the battlefield was twisted during the Horus Heresy, a galaxy-shaking civil war that divided the Imperium. When Angron and his Legion turned to chaos, they became known as the World Eaters. Angron’s implantation with the Butcher’s Nails, a brutal cybernetic enhancement, transformed him and his Legion into bloodthirsty berserkers, erasing their former ideals of honour and discipline.

Rampant Bloodlust

The defining characteristic of the World Eaters is their insatiable bloodlust and thirst for violence. Their allegiance to Khorne, the Blood God, reinforces and exacerbates their desire to spill blood in battle. World Eaters warriors are known for charging headlong into combat, seeking the thrill of melee and the satisfaction of inflicting pain.

The Butcher’s Nails implanted in Angron and many World Eaters amplify their aggression, but at a terrible cost. The Nails cause constant, excruciating pain when not engaged in battle, driving the Legion into an unrelenting fury. This unending agony further distorts their sense of reason, making them almost incapable of reason and self-control.

Warbands and Skull Gatherers

The World Eaters are organised into various warbands, each led by a powerful Chaos Lord or Exalted Champion. These warbands are often highly individualistic, with each lord pursuing their own ambitions and visions of glory. The only commonality is their devotion to Khorne and their insatiable desire for combat.

In their pursuit of bloodshed, the World Eaters have a gruesome practice of collecting skulls from their enemies. They believe that the skulls of fallen foes please Khorne and demonstrate their loyalty to the Blood God. Their armour and banners are adorned with these grisly trophies.

The Betrayer’s Crusade

During the Horus Heresy, the World Eaters were led by Angron as they joined the traitor forces of Warmaster Horus. Angron’s personal hatred for the Emperor fueled his determination to bring destruction to the Imperium. The World Eaters participated in numerous brutal campaigns and atrocities during the Heresy, leaving a trail of bloodshed in their wake.

One of the most infamous events of the Heresy involving the World Eaters was the Siege of Terra, the climactic battle at the heart of the Imperium. Angron led the World Eaters in a bloody assault against the Emperor’s palace, only to be repelled by the loyalist forces.

Post-Heresy Chaos

After the Heresy, the World Eaters continued to serve Khorne, spreading chaos and destruction throughout the galaxy. They launched numerous campaigns of violence and mayhem, earning a terrible reputation as merciless killers.

However, the internal strife within the Legion deepened. Some within the World Eaters sought to retain a semblance of discipline and organisation, while others fully embraced the madness and bloodlust. This division led to further fragmentation and the emergence of different warbands within the Legion.

The Legacy of Angron

Angron remains a central figure within the World Eaters, revered as a mighty and merciless Primarch. He continues to lead the Legion from the Daemon World of Skalathrax, where he resides with his daemonic followers. Angron’s presence serves as a constant reminder of the Legion’s dedication to Khorne and their descent into unbridled savagery.

Relationship with Khorne

The World Eaters’ allegiance to Khorne is unwavering, and their brutal practices align perfectly with the Blood God’s desires. Khorne values the World Eaters’ unrelenting violence and rewards them with potent daemonic allies and gifts of power. The Blood God’s favour manifests through daemonic possession, which is a common occurrence among the World Eaters.

The Black Crusades

The World Eaters have participated in several of the infamous Black Crusades led by the Chaos Lord Abaddon the Despoiler. These massive campaigns seek to weaken the Imperium and establish a new order under the banner of chaos. The World Eaters’ ferocity and battle prowess make them valuable allies in these crusades, as they excel at breaking enemy lines and instigating widespread chaos.

Khornate Champions

The World Eaters have produced formidable champions and Chaos Lords, each possessing a horrific reputation. Khârn the Betrayer is one of their most renowned figures, known for his unstoppable combat prowess and the uncontrollable bloodlust he inherits from the Butcher’s Nails. Khârn’s deeds and frenzied combat style make him a terror on the battlefield.

Renegades and Heretics

Many among the World Eaters are renegades and heretics, having rejected the Imperium and its ideals. They raid, pillage, and wreak havoc across the galaxy. Renegade World Eaters warbands can be found in the Eye of Terror, the Warp-corrupted region where chaos is most potent.

In-Game Representation

In the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop wargame, the World Eaters are a faction of Chaos Space Marines. Players can field armies composed of frenzied Chaos Space Marines, possessed war machines, and daemonic allies. The World Eaters excel in close combat, often charging into battle with unrelenting fury and relentless melee attacks.


The World Eaters are a fearsome and chaotic faction in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, embodying the destructive power of Khorne, the Blood God. Their descent into madness and uncontrolled bloodlust has made them a relentless force of destruction, constantly seeking to please their malevolent patron through the spilling of blood and the collection of skulls. Their legacy is one of relentless aggression and unending violence, leaving a trail of devastation in their wake.