There have already been some epic showdowns in the Black Library’s Horus Heresy series. From Fulgrim dealing the death blow to Ferrus Manus, to the ‘Gang Up’ on Night Haunter in Unremembered Empire, there have been some real stormers that had me flipping through the pages so fast my digits were covered in paper cuts. As good as these have been (and some of them have been truly epic), there are still some I’m dying to read about, a few I’m a little sad we didn’t get to see (or see more of), and some that it’s just fun to imagine. I’m sure you’ll have different ones, and if you do, stick them in the comments section below. Here’s my Top 10 (there may be some spoilers for those of you who haven’t read these books yet)…
10. Looking Forward To (Again): Lorgar vs Guilliman
We got a brief showing of this in First Heretic where Daddy Ultramarine delivers the ultimate humiliation to Lorgar, destroying the city and planet the original bad guy was most proud of for his perceived hubris, but we want more. We got another view of this battle later in Betrayer too but Angron was also involved – I want Primarch-a-Primarch fight with no distractions (and if anyone’s a distraction, it’s Angron). I’m sure there are plenty of others who want to see the Imperium’s most noble son get his hands on the true father of the Heresy again and this time without any outside interference. Especially after Guilliman’s brooding message to Lorgar after the betratal at Calth (one of my favourite quotes from the Horus Heresy series so far): “Lorgar of Colchis. You may consider the following. One: I entirely withdraw my previous offer of solemn ceasefire. It is cancelled, and will not be made again, to you or to any other of your motherless bastards. Two: you are no longer any brother of mine. I will find you, I will kill you, and I will hurl your toxic corpse into hell’s mouth.” Now that’s what I’m talking about! At the moment, Lorgar is still guarding the monster that Angron has become, but hopefully, at some point, these two will get it on again with no holds barred, no one else getting in the way, having been so close in the past.
9. Missed: Angron vs Corax
In Deliverance Lost, we see the aftermath of the Dropsite Massacre, with Corax and the shattered remains of the Raven Guard in hiding, waiting for rescue. Their hunter is none other than the craziest of crazies, Angron who is bellowing and screaming for Corax to face him. He demonstrates a wild rage and almost desperation as the butcher’s nails drive his bloodlust and, sensibly, Corax only acquiesces when he has no other options. It’s sensible because Angron would have doubtless ripped him in two had he not been rescued jsut before the two got to each other. On a fairer battlefield, using all of the tricks at his disposal, Corax might be one of the few Primarchs that could actually cause Angron some problems, with his stealth and ability to conceal himself giving him not an advantage, but an edge that other Primarchs wouldn’t possess (save perhaps Alpharius). Without those tricks it would probably be a short fight but we never found out with Corax being rescued just before Angron could bring his chain axes to bear, but that doesn’t stop me wondering whether Corax’s ability to strike from the shadows would have given the monster some problems.
8. Missed (sort of): Angron vs Russ
Yet another mention of the World Eaters’ reluctant father here. Ok, so during the ‘Night of the Wolf’ incident, covered in Betrayer, we do get this fight. In that book, we witness Russ trying to teach Angron a lesson about how his legion are less than the Wolves, but while Angron batters the Wolf Lord to a win, we know that Leman Russ wasn’t really trying to kill him (or at least hadn’t come with that intent). Instead Russ came to school him. As much as it fits into the plot, it did kind of rob us of an opportunity to see the two most ferocious Primarchs go toe-to-toe with all guns blazing. Angron didn’t really learn his lesson and while many believe he could take Russ out based on this fight, there are those loyal enough to the Emperor’s Executioner that they see him dispatching another Primarch for the All Father, especially if he’s really going for it. Both are ferocious warriors, and both possess an almost primitive fury, but only one would walk away from the ring and, honestly, I’m kind of on the fence about it, even after the ‘Night of The Wolf’ story. The smart money might be on Angron, but it’s no cut and dry conclusion and it’s unlikely we’ll get one of those now.
7. Imagine: Kharn vs Lucius
Apart from sparring in the training cages, we’ve not seen this one yet. This may well happen in a book that comes after the Heresy is done, if GW ever get around to writing about the Battle of Skalathrax, where Kharn earned his ‘Betrayer’ nickname. It’s not mentioned that Lucius was present at this post heresy bust up between the World Eaters and the Emperor’s Children that ripped both legions apart, but the idea of the best swordsman and duelist, and loyal servant of Slaanesh going head-to-head with Khorne’s chosen rampager is a juicy one indeed. Would skill or fury win the day? Unless some grudge is created in the books between the two, this fight may not happen beyond a training exercise, but I’d love it if it did. And just because Kharn can’t kill Lucius (without becoming Lucius), it doesn’t mean he couldn’t smack the purple off of him. Or could he…?
6. Looking Forward To: Dorn vs Perturabo
This is one of the great Primarch grudges (not that we’re short on those) and it would be great to see it settled. We’ve already seen Perturabo pull down at least one of Dorn’s defensive structures in Angel Exterminatus, but what we really want to see is Dorn manning the walls while Perturabo is there to take them. This will happen in a big way when the two meet at the Emperor’s Palace on Terra when we reach the end of the series (if this series is indeed going to end) where Perturabo masterminds the assault and Dorn does likewise for the defence of the Imperial walls. Jealousy and Envy should make it a great matchup, but it will be a while before we get there.
5. Imagine: Garro vs Typhus
I’m not saying this won’t happen, but I can’t think of an occasion where it definitely will. If we’re talking about ‘30k Mad Beef’, these two have plenty of it. The host of the Destroyer Plague and Malcador’s agent didn’t like each other when they were in the same legion (a fact that’s gone into in depth in Flight of the Eisenstein)and now they’re on opposite sides, the hatred is bound to be intense. Should they ever get the chance to settle this score, we can expect one hell of a throw down with both regarding the other as a traitor. Will the Sigilite’s wards and the Emperor’s blessings protect Garro from Nurgle’s rot? Can Garro even hurt his old adversary now that Typhus is the chosen one of the Grandfather? Will we ever find out? I sure hope so!
4. Looking Forward To: Praeco Deictus vs Dies Irae
Ok, so the Praeco Deictus doesn’t have to be involved here (in fact, that’s not even the name of the Titan pictured above), but I wanted the name of an Imperator Titan that could go up against the awesome sight of the Dies Irae, the behemoth affiliated with Horus himself and the Legio Mortis. It’s quite probably the most infamous God Machine of the Heresy and its weapons were the first to tear a hole in the defences of the Emperor’s Palace during the siege of Terra. To be honest, I don’t even know if the Praeco Deictus was there, but there’s a good chance and though the Dies Irae is known to have destroyed an entire Titan battle group, I really want to read about it going Titan-a-Titan with one of its own. The epic scale of destruction that two of these constructs going at each other could bring is something truly awesome.
3. Looking Forward To: Luther vs The Lion
Possibly the ultimate case of throwing a house party when your Dad’s out of town only for him to return early and start yelling, Luther is going to have some real explaining to do when the Lion returns to Caliban to find those left behind running amok. When the Lion returns to Caliban after the Heresy, he finds his dearest friend has turned to the Dark Gods and they kick off proper at each other (handbags and everything). Their fates are now both part of Dark Angels lore, but the battle between them has always been hailed as one of the most dramatic and calamitous bust-ups ever amongst the Space Marines. They were still fighting as the planet was destroyed and that’s a story I’m dying to read.
2. Imagine: Azkaellon vs Abaddon
Firstly, yes, that’s an image of the Sanguinor because, as rumour has it, that’s actually Azkaellon and I couldn’t find any other pictures of him. Moving on, let’s call this an undercard fight for the next and final entry on this list (if you haven’t guessed what it is already, you should now) because it’s something that I’ve been thinking about for quite a while. If you’ve read Unremembered Empire, you’ll know that Azkaellon doesn’t come out of things too well, but as a Space Marine, it’s not like he can’t be rebuilt faster, stronger, and tougher than before. He’s the head of the Sanguinary Guard, and Abaddon is the most noteable member of the Mournival and a Justaerin to boot. I’ve just always imagined that a battle between these two would be a great thing to read about. Pitting two fiercely loyal warriors against each other, both the archetypes of their legions, one fighting with grace and speed, the other with power and strength. It’s a classic in the making, but with them both being kept apart during the battle of Terra, I can’t see how it would happen.
The Top Spot – 1. Looking Forward To: Sanguinius vs Horus
Some of you might have been thinking I’d go with the Emperor vs Horus but I thought that would be a bit obvious (like this isn’t!?) and besides which, in terms of emotional drama, I think this has more. The Big E isn’t known for showing his emotions, but Sanguinius wears his heart on his sleeve, and more than that, he and Horus had once been the best of friends as well as the closest of brothers. When people refer to the Heresy being ‘brother against brother’, these are the two I’m thinking about. More than that, it’s quite literally an Angel fighting a Daemon (as Horus can hardly be called human or even a mere Primarch by this stage). From the symbolism to the emotion to the fact that they’re both such warriors of renown, this is the brawl I want to see happen. I know it will, but the wait is already killing me. I even know the outcome (as we all do) and yet it’s still at the top of my future self’s reading list. We’ve seen the pictures, we know the story, but I really want to read the words. Probably several dozen times at least. It will be off the flippin’ chain.
So that’s my list. I could have picked a few more too, and I have to confess that there are still a few of the existing books I’ve not read yet so I may even come across some of these rumbles there (though I doubt it – I like to think I’d have heard). As mentioned, if you’ve got your own match ups that you want to see, or if you can tell me where to find one of the above that I might have missed, stick them in comments section below. Onwards!