In the Raven Guard novella Corax: Soulforge, Corax takes on and destroys two Defilers on his own.

I have been trying to think of a situation where a Primarch has been shown to equal or better this kind of ability in combat? Are there any combat scenes in the Horus Heresy books that show Primarchs being able to better this feat?

I am looking for examples of Primarchs without assistance from the Warp. I know Angron survived a Warhound Titan standing on him, and lifted the Titan up. But that was after he turned to a Daemon Primarch. I also know that Fulgrim killed Ferrus Manus but again a Daemon helped him to do that. I will accept post-Heresy examples (I know Vulkan appears in The Beast Arises series and Guilliman has returned to the 42nd millennium).

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    the warhound standing on Angron was before he was a daemon primarch, also in that bit Lorgar tanked a shot from it to the face.
    – NinoM
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 11:06
  • I may be wrong but I thought Angron Lifting the Warhound was effectively the start of him turning into a Demon Primarch? The culmination of Lorgars ritual
    – Richard C
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 11:52
  • Well that's debatsble, but he didn't ascend until nuceria, the stomp happened in ultramar (forgot which planet) also your question without warp assistance is wel not really applicable the primarchs are made from warp fuckery. Corax is one of the most in though of his warp powers.
    – NinoM
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 13:00
  • Not an answer, but some observations: I recall Russ defeated a 'titan', though whether that means a mechanical walker or a mythical Fenrisian creature is unknown to me. Sanguinius defeated a Bloodthirster at the Battle of Terra. It was a close fight but Sanguinius was exhausted. Alpharius dodged multiple bullets when he first met Horus on his ship's bridge. So lots of impressive feats but hard to rank and the lore doesn't match the tabletop game. Commented May 10, 2019 at 13:43
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    As Accio_Answer mentioned, Sanguinius defeated the Bloodthirster Ka'Bandha on Signus. Right after that, he decapitated the Keeper of Secrets Kyriss. He fought again Ka'Bandha at the Battle of Terra, breaking the back of the Bloodthirster.
    – Taladris
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 15:33

5 Answers 5


Honestly this answer is quite similar to your previous question

Below is the statline of the different Primarchs along with their point costs, these costs generally correlate with power in combat. As you can see, Corvus certainly is not the runt of the litter but not quite on top either. Forgeworld has not yet released a statline for Lion so that is why his table is empty.

So disregarding the Daemon Primarchs and unlimited revivification of Vulkan, Horus would be the best to have on the battlefield according to point cost. However Magnus the Red and Sanguinius are coming in closely after in point cost, and Magnus the Red unleashing his psychic powers could stop time and destroy entire armies on his own. With pure potential for destruction, Magnus would certainly take the cake.

table comparison of Primarch stats

  • 2
    lets just say that i hope they have health insurance. Commented May 10, 2019 at 13:03
  • What a bad ass!!!!!
    – Daft
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 15:30
  • Angron's inv save is 5++, unfortunately he's not that great compared to other primarchs due to a bit too much power creep in later rules
    – TommyBs
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 10:27

It really depends on the battle.

All the Primarchs are better than their peers at something. Pre-Heresy without any warpcraft, in a one-on-one bare hand brawl, Angron would come out on top.

Armed with swords and no armour, my money would be on Sanguinius.

Corax would be the best assassin of the bunch, while Vulkan literally can't die so technically he will always win I guess.

Fully decked-out in their armor and all their weaponry of choice, probably Horus. He was made Warmaster after all so not only is he one of the best fighters, but would (probably) understand the psychology of battle better than any of his brothers.

Also he gave the Emperor a good kicking after defeating Sanguinius, which couldn't be easy.

Several 40k characters in front of an eye motif

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    I doubt Horus is the best in combat, probably angron Russ or the likes. And Horus was literally high on warp when he fought the emperor by all four gods
    – NinoM
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 12:58
  • @NinoMemelink It's a tricky one to answer, there's an obvious case for Angron coming out on top alright but I tried to think of it in terms of more than just brute strength. If it's a punching in the face contest, then Angron wins all day. But I thought Horus would probably be able to out maneuver Angron and use his strength against him somehow?
    – Daft
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 13:18
  • ahh yea, it's very tricky indeed so many variables. I think the trouble with angron would be his complete disregard for him self in combat, however as an all in warrior I'd take the lion over Horus.
    – NinoM
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 13:26
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    I think Horus was selected as a Warmaster not because of his individual fighting prowess, but because of his charisma. He was basically loved by all his brothers.
    – Taladris
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 15:51
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    @daft however one of the major reasons Sanguinius could not be made warmaster was because of that fact. he was an angel in an imperium that denounced all religion, he would be a constant reminder that there were greater powers and would further enforce the notion that Big E was a god. which said emperor most certainly did not want. Other than that Horus and Sanguinius were more or les equal, horus was loved or at least respected by all including the khan and alpharius, a fact which Sanguinius could not boast off regarding those 2 primarchs. Commented May 10, 2019 at 23:07

If you want to believe the tabletop rules then... Leman Russ is the strongest Primarch, at least when it comes to fighting other Primarchs.

The 1d4chan made a series of simulations how Primarchs would fare against each other. Surprisingly, Russ is able to defeat all of them. Some fare better than worse - Vulkan is a real tank and Horus has a slight chance of winning, but overall he is indeed what he was meant to be: a Primarch killer.


I don't remember Corax as being described as particularly strong, compared to the other Primarchs, so it is not clear that other Primarchs could not have destroyed two Defilers, if they had the opportunity.

That said, a few prowesses come to my mind:

  1. Though it was a tough fight, Sanguinius defeated the Bloodthirster Ka'Bandha on Signus, and then decapitated the Keeper of Secrets Kyriss. He fought again Ka'Bandha at the Battle of Terra, breaking the back of the Bloodthirster. See Fear to Tread for the events on Signus.

  2. Roboute Guilliman destroys a huge Ork tank in the eponymous book of the Primarchs.

  3. Ferrus Manus killed the Great Silver Wyrm Asirnoth, who was supposed to be impervious to harm

  4. I know the OP discarded that example, but I think it shouldn't be overlooked: Fulgrim killed Ferrus Manus in a fight! He was not possessed by the daemon at the time, but only influenced (thanks for Vostrannon for the comment).

  5. Honourable mention (not a battle prowess, but I cannot resist): Konrad Curze hides for weeks on Lion'El Jonson's flagship Invincible Reason, killing many Dark Angels. After that, he hides on Maccrage for some time, being tracked by three Primarchs, his rampage fuelling discord among the members of the Triumvirat and basically bringing down Imperium Secundus by himself!

There are a few PvP (Primarch vs Primarch) fights in the books:

  1. (thanks to Yasskier) Corax was about to kill Lorgar in the Dropsite Massacre (see The First Heretic). Lorgar is saved in extremis by Konrad Kurze, and then Corax is able to resist to 2 Primarchs for a short time (before being rescued by his Raven Guard).
  2. When it comes to PvP, Konrad Curze is the best! He nearly killed Corax at the Dropsite Massacre.
  3. Then he slit the Lion's throat on Tsagualsa, and would probably have killed him save for the intervention of a Dark Angel.
  4. On Maccrage, he fought both Lion'El Jonson and Roboute Guilliman! (Vulkan Lives?). The fight was interrupted by Konrad Curze's trap.
  5. Then a resurrected, insane Vulkan tried to kill him. The fight was interrupted by John Grammaticus who stabbed Vulkan with the Fulgurite to cure the Primarch's insanity (sic). (Vulkan Lives)
  6. Konrad Curze was finally beaten in a fight by Lion'El Jonson in Angels of Caliban.
  • Fulgrim was not possessed at the time. He was influenced by the daemon, but his grief after killing his closest brother is why he opened himself up to possession.
    – Vostrannon
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 19:05
  • In the "First Heretic", Corax almost killed Lorgar and managed to hold on his own when his traitorous brother was supported by Konrad Curze. That IS badass!
    – Yasskier
    Commented May 11, 2019 at 9:04
  • @Yasskier: right. I wanted to add Primarch vs Primarch fights, but I was not sure that I remembered well.
    – Taladris
    Commented May 12, 2019 at 4:53

All the following is assuming pre-Heresy and no Chaos interference:

  • In combat, Sanguiniusis by far the best warrior. In a 1v1 fight he'd take any Primarch.
  • Granted, Curze is a wild card and unpredictable, making a matchup between him and anyone almost a coin toss.
  • After those two, it would be Leman Russ followed closely by Horus.
  • Angron in a 1v1 would lose to most primarchs unless he gets a lucky hit. Angron is a force of destruction, not a warrior; the more skilled of the Primarchs would easily outmaneuver him.
  • Do you have any evidence for any of this that you could edit in? Why do you think they are in this order.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Mar 15, 2020 at 18:06

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