|This article is about the Chaos Space Marines; for the Novel by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, see Black Legion (Novel).|
The Black Legion, formerly known as the Luna Wolves and the Sons of Horus, were the XVI Legion of the original twenty Space Marine Legions. Their Primarch was Horus, known to them as Horus Lupercal, and to Imperial history as the instigator of the Horus Heresy, the first great Imperial civil war. Some time after their defeat in the Horus Heresy, they were renamed the 'Black Legion' by their new commander, Ezekyle Abaddon. Largely since disintegrated as a unified Legion, they can be found operating in countless small warbands across the galaxy, except when they are called together under Abaddon's banner to spearhead one of his notorious Black Crusades.
|Marine||Basic Data||Current Symbol|
- 1 Homeworld
- 2 History
- 2.1 The Great Crusade
- 2.2 Combat Disposition and Record
- 2.3 The Horus Heresy
- 2.4 Horus Heresy Aftermath
- 2.5 Notable Engagements
- 3 Gene-seed
- 4 Culture
- 5 Recruitment
- 6 Fleet
- 7 Noted Elements of the Black Legion
- 8 Additional Information
- 9 Sources
The Luna Wolves are said to have originated from a world called Cthonia; this planet allegedly existed in one of Terra's closest neighbouring star systems. Being within reach even for non-warp spacecraft, Cthonia had been colonised, built upon, tunnelled and mined out most likely since the dawn of space travel. As such, all natural resources had been stripped away and used up millennia before the arrival of the Primarch Horus Lupercal, and the ancient mining technology had long since been rediscovered and removed by the Adepts of Mars. The planet that remained was largely redundant and abandoned, completely riddled with catacombs, crumbling industrial plants and exhausted mine-workings. It is noted as no longer extant in current Imperial records, believed to have cataclysmically lost geo-structural integrity in the centuries after the Horus Heresy. Many put this down to the fact that the planet was tunneled and mined right though to the (dead) planetary core, but there is much conjecture that Cthonia was deliberately destroyed, by person or persons unknown.
The Black Legion was originally known as the XVI Legion and following the First Pacification of Luna, the Luna Wolves. They were the legion of Horus himself. In honour of Horus's great achievements during the Great Crusade, the Emperor of Mankind decreed that the legion should be renamed the Sons of Horus. Sometime after their defeat and exile in the Horus Heresy, the legion renamed themselves as the Black Legion in an attempt to reinvent themselves and lose their ties to the great failures of their past.
The Great Crusade
Formation - The Luna Wolves
The initial recruitment pool of the XVIth Legion was believed to made up of members of the 'hunter clans' of both the Jutrigan Bowl and Samsatian sub-plate slums of Terra. These areas were reckoned to be harsh places to live, with their inhabitants noted for their ruthless, independent character. Whether it was this nature, or the Emperor's genetic design for the legion template, or a mixture of both, the nascent Terran XVIth soon became known for being exemplar shock troops during the initial Imperial expansion campaigns, used successfully to both quickly start and finish fights, either in an initial, fully successful blow, or in being deployed from reserve to enact the killing strike. [19a]
One of their earliest campaigns proved important to the development and formation of the XVIth as a legion: the First Pacification of Luna. Playing the most important role in the action, the XVIth achieved both the critical objective and notoriety during the conflict, gaining the unofficial moniker of the Emperor's Wolves. As a result, they were tithed the bulk of the output of the captured gene-labs for a time, allowing them to rapidly build their numbers. This, in turn, necessitated more recruiting stock. [19a]
Thus, many of the original XVIth are believed to have had a separate, somewhat unusual origin; they were effectively kidnapped from the world of Cthonia by 'recruitment squads' sent from Terra charged with the task of rounding up thousands of individuals from the violent gangs that infested the ancient world. These 'recruits' were then taken to the geno-laboratories on Luna for the modification and indoctrination required to become Space Marines.
Upon the discovery of Horus, the Emperor officially renamed them the Luna Wolves in honor of their past victories and baptism of fire on Terra's moon.[19a]
Despite this somewhat unusual beginning, the end results were reckoned to be exemplary loyal and ferociously motivated troops. By the time Horus was placed in charge of them, the Luna Wolves were ten thousand strong..
Horus, the Primarch of the Luna Wolves, was the first of the Primarchs to be recovered by the Emperor, having been cast much closer to Terra than the others. Horus was for many years the Emperor's only discovered son, and there was a great affinity between them. The Emperor spent much time with his protege, teaching and encouraging him, and soon gave him command of the legion created from his own genetic code. With these warriors to lead, Horus accompanied the Emperor for the first thirty years of the Great Crusade, and together they forged the initial expansion of the young Imperium.
Combat Disposition and Record
Unlike almost all other Legions, the Luna Wolves were led by their Primarch almost from inception. Not only that, they spent decades fighting under the direct supervision of the Emperor himself. This led to them thinking of themselves as the pre-eminent Legion and led to a prideful and confident mentality. They strove to be the best; to conquer more than the other Legions, faster than them, and better than them. It is arguable that they succeeded in these aims, but equally arguable that their 'successful' combat records do not exactly stand up to close scrutiny.
The Early Crusade
As Horus and the Emperor spent much of the initial Great Crusade together, the Luna Wolves were present at all of the Emperor's early victories, winning great glory for themselves. Incidents from these early campaigns that highlighted the bond between the ruler of the Imperium and their commander would become legend throughout the galaxy. At the Siege of Reillis, Horus was knocked senseless by a plasma blast that sent him sprawling to the floor; the Emperor stood over his downed son and slew all that came near until reinforcements arrived. Horus was able to repay this life-debt later, on the Ork world of Gorro, when the Emperor found himself being choked by a huge Ork warlord in hand-to-hand combat; Horus stepped in and struck the Ork's arm from his body.
Eventually, however, the Emperor received word that another Primarch had been discovered, and left the side of Horus and the Luna Wolves to meet his newly found son. Horus was given temporary command of all the Imperial Legions during this time, an indicator of how highly he was esteemed. While Horus was pleased that one of his missing brothers had been found, the thirty years spent as the Emperor's only child had made their mark; he determined that he would always make the Emperor proudest of his and his legion's achievements.
As more and more Primarchs were discovered, and other business of the growing Imperium required the Emperor's direct attention, Horus found himself placed in overall strategic command of large swathes of the Imperial Crusade forces on several occasions. His excellence in this role drew praise not only from his father, but from his brothers; Horus was apparently universally respected by the other Space Marine Legions and their Primarchs. One of the reasons for this was that Horus appeared able to use his forces in flexible ways; able to unleash his Luna Wolves if required, but also able to use them as diplomats. He developed a habit of partaking in local customs whenever bringing a new world into the Imperium, and the Luna Wolves were exposed to many such traditions as a result. The most important of these would be the practice of warrior-lodges. While a form of warrior-lodge had existed in the legion since its early days, after the compliance of a world known as Davin, it became more popular and even somewhat ritualised. This would be something that would have serious implications in the legion's future.[3a][4a]
The Luna Wolves also acquired all the glory of being the greatest Primarch's personal guard, and they shared Horus' credo of fighting to be the best. Under his ambitious command, the Luna Wolves were always at the forefront of the latest campaign, energetically pushing the boundaries of the Imperium ever wider, driving further and further into the galaxy and striving to conquer and liberate more worlds than the other Legions, destroying all enemies of humanity in their way.
The Ullanor Crusade
Perhaps the greatest achievement of the Luna Wolves, the Ullanor Crusade became a feted military campaign of the Imperium and to many is seen as the high watermark of the Great Crusade itself. The Ullanor sector was the domain of the Ork Overlord Urlakk Urg, who ruled over dozens of human-founded worlds. Determined to exterminate the Orks, Horus distracted them by ordering secondary attacks on the outlying worlds by other Space Marine Legions and Imperial Army regiments. With the focus of the Orks on these invasions of their borders, the Luna Wolves dove straight for the throat, initiating a surprise orbital drop directly onto Urlakk Urg's capital world. Horus led his 1st Company Terminator elite into a personal teleport attack on Urg's palace. With the majority of the Terminators dealing with the Ork defenders, Horus led ten of the best into combat with Urg and his own forty-strong retinue. The fight was a hard one, but Horus eventually slew the Ork, casting his broken body out from the battlements of his tower, demoralising his Ork followers. Of the fight between the ten Terminators and the forty Orks, there was only one survivor: First Captain Ezekyle Abaddon.
At the successful conclusion of the Ullanor Crusade a year later, the Emperor declared it the greatest victory yet for his mighty Imperium and was said to bestow much praise upon the Luna Wolves and Horus for their part in the campaign. At the subsequent Triumph of Ullanor, the Emperor himself bestowed upon Horus the title of Warmaster, making him the supreme commander of the Emperor's forces and effectively giving him complete military control of the Great Crusade. The Emperor also suggested, before he returned to Terra and left the rest of the Crusade to Horus, that Horus should rename his legion to cement his position as Warmaster. The suggested name was the Sons of Horus. Horus initially declined this honour and his Legion continued as the Luna Wolves.[3b]
Transformation - The Sons of Horus
Increasingly concerned, however, with a belief that some of the other Primarchs and their Legions did not show him and his Wolves enough honour in their roles as the Warmaster and his personal Legion, Horus, at the suggestion of Sanguinius[3b], eventually took up the offer made to him by the Emperor to change the name and iconography of Legion XVI. Shortly after the Interex campaign the Luna Wolves became the Sons of Horus.[4x]
Not long after the change, Horus was wounded on the moon of Davin by Eugen Temba, an old subordinate who was under the influence of the Chaos Power Nurgle. Horus recovered in the Temple of the Serpent Lodge, a warrior and healing lodge on the planet. During his convalescence, he took part in the induction ceremony of the lodge. In the days that followed, some of Horus' officers detected a change in his character. It is now known that the warrior lodge was in fact a Chaos coven, which somehow managed to ensnare the Warmaster, allegedly due to scheming from Lorgar, Primarch of the Word Bearers.[4x]
A similar warrior lodge already existed in his own Legion, started after the Luna Wolves' first visit to Davin - this was an example of the Primarch's well-tried practice to develop ties with local populations at work; feral natives were more easily recruited into the Imperial fold when the 'Warriors from the Stars' had become brothers - and it is believed it was subsequently used by the Primarch to aid in the corruption of his Marines. Warrior lodges in other legions under his command were similarly used. Horus' fealty had changed; his Legion eventually came to believe that he was actually possessed by a Daemon. Whether or not this is true, it is certain that he was now allied body and soul to the Powers of Chaos, and he had a new vision for the Imperium with himself at its head.
The Horus Heresy
The majority of the Sons of Horus, already fiercely loyal and proud of their Warmaster, had no hesitation at the outbreak of the Horus Heresy. They quickly renounced their oaths to the Emperor and started to worship Horus and his new gods. The remaining portion of the Legion was betrayed and wiped out by their brothers on the world of Isstvan III, but not before reverting to the use of their original name, the Luna Wolves.[5a] The only known surviving Sons of Horus loyalist, Iacton Qruze, was not present on Isstvan III, but he similarly reverted to the name and even the iconography of the Luna Wolves after the events known as 'the Flight of the Eisenstein.
Outside the Legion, Horus' corruption spread to every organisation with which he had dealings, including a division of the Adeptus Mechanicus, and from there to the Collegia Titanica and the Legio Cybernetica. The other Primarchs Horus knew like brothers, and he was already well practiced at motivating them. Appealing to their pride, martial prowess and courage while playing upon past grudges and favours, the Warmaster gained the loyalty of fully half the Primarchs. The war that followed was the most terrible in the history of the Imperium and came close to shattering it forever. Space Marines fought Space Marines and Titans fought Titans. On Molech, the Sons of Horus scored a major victory and Horus was able to acquire the same powers of the Emperor. During this same battle, the pre-Heresy Mournival was reunited aboard the Vengeful Spirit after an infiltration team of Knights-Errant including Garviel Loken was captured and brought before Horus in Lupercal's Court. After a fierce battle that saw the Warmaster slay Iacton Qruze, the Knights-Errant managed to escape. Horus was later confronted by Leman Russ, and was badly wounded by the Spear of Russ during the Battle of Trisolian despite the traitor military victory.
Horus' wound by Russ proved severe, sending the Warmaster into a comatose-like state as his soul was fought over by the Gods of Chaos. Without his guidance the war effort faltered, with many Primarchs refusing to listen and Horus Aximand and Falkus Kibre proving indecisive and stubborn despite Maloghurst's best attempts to retain cohesion and enact Horus' will. At Heta-Gladius, the Vengeful Spirit itself faced destruction under the leadership of Aximand as Maloghurst enacted a ritual to try and restore Horus. Thanks to the sacrifice of Maloghurst, Horus' soul was restored, and the Sons of Horus arrived at Ullanor for the general muster of traitor forces before the move on Terra.
At the climax of the war, the traitors struck towards the Sol System and brought closure to the Solar War. By this point, the Sons of Horus had begun deploying Newborn Legionaries, new Space Marines hastily created during the Heresy itself. After his victory in the Solar War Terra was invaded by Horus, and the Emperor's Palace itself was besieged and breached. In the end, though, it was Horus who was slain, and with him died the rebellion. On the 55th day of the siege, Horus, in a bid to end the campaign quickly, lowered the shields around his flagship, daring the Emperor to board it. He did so, and although the Emperor was brought low in their resultant duel, Horus was killed. It was a traumatic and devastating blow for the Sons of Horus, who immediately broke off from their assault upon the planet below. The remnants of the Imperial boarding party who had not already left were scoured from the vessel by Abaddon and his 1st Company Terminators.
Horus Heresy Aftermath
Horus' death broke the Sons of Horus' morale, and they were the first of the Traitor Legions to retreat from Terra, an act that would earn them the hatred of all the other Traitor Legions. The Legion re-grouped on the world of Maeleum inside the Eye of Terror. There they built a fortress-tomb for the safe-keeping of the Warmaster's corpse and even in death still revered him as their commander. Nobody was appointed in his place and the Captains of the Legion would offer sacrifices and pray for guidance in his shrine.
The Sons of Horus were initially the most aggressive Legion against the Imperium, as if to atone for their previous cowardice on Terra or perhaps to attempt to 're-prove' that they were still the best Legion. The Sons dedicated themselves not to one single Chaos Power but constantly shifted their allegiance to whatever god suited them at the time. Marines willingly became possessed by the Chaos Gods' daemons; with every change in loyalty, the daemons of the rejected god abandoned the hosts, leaving them lifeless husks. The once great Legion constantly dwindled in number, until they neared extinction. Eventually the desperate experimentation and research by the Legion's Sorcerer-Librarians uncovered a method of possession that did not destroy the mortal host, saving the Legion.
The Traitor Legions, along with the restored but still numerically inferior Sons of Horus, then became embroiled in a series of internecine wars triggered by the Emperor's Children legion, culminating in the destruction of the Sons of Horus' fortress on Maleum. To the disgust of the Sons of Horus, the Warmaster's corpse was taken by the Emperor's Children and several clones were created by their self-styled 'Primogenitor', Fabius Bile.
Rebirth - The Black Legion
It was at this point that the old Sons of Horus Justaerin Captain Falkus Kibre was able to track down the Vengeful Spirit and Abaddon deep inside the Eye of Terror. Abaddon revealed his intent to destroy the clone of Horus and reform the Sons of Horus into a Legion to finish the war Horus had begun. After smashing the Emperor's Children fortress and killing the clone of Horus, Abaddon declared himself the rightful successor of the Warmaster. Painting their armor black, Abaddon renamed his forces the Black Legion, rejecting Horus' name and all the failure that went with it. Abaddon managed to reunify the bulk of the old Sons of Horus under his banner, crushing all who resisted. The founders and inner circle of his newly formed Black Legion became known as the Ezekarion. The newly christened Black Legion faced its first serious threat in the form of the Death Guard warlord Thagus Daravek, who was a chief rival to Abaddon in his rise to power and another potential Warmaster of Chaos. However, Daravek was eventually defeated, and Abaddon's power grew exponentially as he gathered many allies across the Eye of Terror, most of the Daemon Primarchs included. Using Chaos rather than being enslaved by it, Abaddon has waged the Long War on the Imperium ever since, most notably during his thirteen Black Crusades.
The Great Crusade
- ???.M30 — The First Pacification of Luna
- ???.M30 — The Siege of Reillis
- ???.M30 — The Battle of Gorro
- ???.M30 — The Overseer War
- ???.M30 — The Melchior Compliance
- ???.M30 — The Battle of Gyros-Thravian
- ???.M30 — The Castigation of Terentius
- 881.M30 - The Emancipation of Drune
- ???.M30 — The Battle of Gate Forty-Two
- ???.M30 — Dagonet — Compliance action. Victorious.
- ???.M30 — Battle of Davin — Compliance action. Undertaken in concert with the Word Bearers. Victorious.[1, 4]
- 000.M31 — The Ullanor Crusade; liberation action against an Ork Empire. Victorious.
- 001.M31 — Battle of 63-19 — Compliance action. Victorious.
- ???.M31 — War on Murder — Extermination action. Campaign abandoned.
- ???.M31 — Compliance action against the Interex empire on Xenobia. Compliance attempted by negotiation. Campaign abandoned.
- 004.M31 — Battle of Davin's Moon — Police action against an apparent rebellion by Imperial forces; combated daemons. While victory was achieved, Horus was gravely wounded.[4x]
- ???.M31 — Compliance action against the Auretian Technocracy. Victorious.[4x]
- ???.M31 — Battle with the Eldar on the Tza-Chao
The Horus Heresy
- 005.M31 — The Battle of Isstvan III. Legion split; Horusian faction ultimately victorious.[5x]
- 006.M31 — The Drop Site Massacre. Victorious.
- 006.M31 — Battle of Diamat
- ???.M31 — Ohmn-Mat — Destruction of world
- ???.M31 — Scarato Uprising
- 006-008.M31 — Battle of the Coronid Deeps
- 008.M31 — Horus survives an assassination attempt on Dagonet and purges the planet. Victorious.
- 009.M31 — Battle of Arissak
- 009.M31 — Battle of Dwell
- 009.M31 — Battle of Molech — Assault on the Knight World of Molech. Victorious.
- 010-14.M31 — Solar War — Horus begins his march on the Sol System. Victorious
- ???.M31 — The Battle of the Aragna Chain — Tybalt Marr defeats and executes Shadrak Meduson
- 011.M31 — The Second Battle of Paramar. Victorious.
- ~011.M31 — The Battle of Trisolian. The Vengeful Spirit is boarded by Leman Russ and Horus engages his brother in a vicious duel.
- ~011.M31 — The Battle of Yarant
- ~013.M31 — The Battle of Heta-Gladius
- 014.M31 - The Solar War. The Sons of Horus take part in the conquest of the Sol System before the drive on Terra. Victory.
- 014.M31 — The Siege of the Emperor's Palace. Death of Horus. Defeated.
- ???.M31 — Eye of Terror Slave Wars — Against the Emperor's Children. Culminates in the Battle of Harmony.
- 781.M31 — The 1st Black Crusade. Mass invasion of the recovering Imperium
- 597.M32 — The 2nd Black Crusade
- 909.M32 — The 3rd Black Crusade.[2x]
- 001.M34 — The 4th Black Crusade.[2x]
- 899.M34 — The Battle of Tryjon II
- 723.M36 — The 5th Black Crusade.[2x]
- 901.M36 — The 6th Black Crusade.[2x]
- 811.M37 — The 7th Black Crusade. Otherwise known as the Ghost War. Slaughter of the Blood Angels at Mackan
- 999.M37 — The 8th Black Crusade.[2x]
- 537.M38 — The 9th Black Crusade.[2x]
- 001.M39 — The 10th Black Crusade.[2x]
- 301.M39 — The 11th Black Crusade.[2x]
- ???.M41 — The Kapua Uprising
- ???.M41 — Casvsarae Insurrection. The Black Legion with their abhuman rebel allies fought against the Salamanders
- 143-151.M41 — The 12th Black Crusade. Otherwise known as the Gothic War. Ultimately defeated.[2x]
- 612.M41 — The War of the Wolf
- 777.M41 — The Battle of the Iron Labyrinth
- 813-830.M41 — The Siege of Vraks
- 959-961.M41 — The Pandorax Campaign
- 998.M41 — Crythe. Assault of an Adeptus Mechanicus world. Driven off.[8x]
- 999.M41 — The 13th Black Crusade. Cadia destroyed.[2x]
- ???.M42 — The destruction of Raeddon
- ???.M42 — The Battle of Gandor's Providence
- ???.M42 — The Battle of Aralest
- ???.M42 — The Battle of Dhormet
- ???.M42 — The Battle for Isthael Beta
- ???.M42 — The Battle for the Echovault
- ???.M42 - The Drakon Crusade
- 111.M42 — The Battle of Raukos
- ~100.M42 — The War of Beasts. Haarken Worldclaimer invades Vigilus.
The gene-seed of the Luna Wolves was always considered reliably pure. However, following their dedications to Chaos, the Space Marines of the Sons of Horus started to exhibit random mutations, and it is likely that this taint went right down to the gene-seed level. The regular practice of seeking Daemonic possession may also have accelerated the effect. However, such mutations in the reborn Legion are seen as a mark of favour from the Chaos deities and are generally displayed with pride.
One unique feature of the Luna Wolves pre-heresy was the high incidence of battle-brothers bearing a strong physical resemblance to Horus. These "Sons of Horus", as they were so nicknamed, were prone to rising through the ranks faster than their brothers.[3c]
The Luna Wolves were a highly efficient military force that thrived on the personal charisma, ambition and pride of their Primarch. These traits carry on into both their organisation and their motivation, with ambition, brotherhood and pride all being notable features of their inner workings.
The overriding belief of the Legion prior to the death of Horus and their defeat at Terra was their complete superiority above all the other Legions, and indeed any and all enemies. In continually seeking to prove themselves as the greatest Legion, they did indeed achieve most in terms of sheer numbers of worlds brought into compliance prior to the outbreak of the Heresy; the Legion in its loyalist incarnation was a flexible fighting force that performed well and adapted quickly to almost any combat situation. It was trained to respond sharply and decisively to the tactical orders of its Warmaster and consequently the chain of command within the Legion was very efficient.
Each Company was commanded by a Captain, but not all Captains commanded a Company: The 1st Company was considered the elite unit in the legion and sported at least two renowned squads led by senior officers, the Justaerin Terminator Squad commanded by Captain Falkus Kibre and Catulan Reaver (Assault) Squad, commanded by Captain Kalus Ekaddon. These squads, and possibly all of 1st Company, wore black-painted armour, in contrast to the white and later pale green of the rest of the legion. Companies contained mixed squad-types, to ensure tactical flexibility. This included fielding Terminator Squads outside of the 1st Company. [3d]
The principle tactic of the legion - one illustrative of their overall attitude - was a decisive surgical assault aimed directly at the command element of the enemy. A compact but hard-hitting force of marines up to several companies strong would compose the initial (and ideally total) thrust of the effort; this battle philosophy was referred to as the Speartip.[3f]
Their defeat and exile was a crushing blow to the collective ego of the Legion, and they broke down and fragmented easily without a purpose or powerful leader to act as the point of their spear. The Legion suffered significantly during the early years of exile when it was leaderless, though since Abaddon's overlordship it has regained a sense of discipline and purpose. Horus' favoured doctrine of 'tearing the throat out of the enemy' by eliminating their high command in a swift strike remains a well-used tactic.
All Black Legion leaders, from the remaining veterans of the Horus Heresy, to the more recently raised, are both cunning and ferocious. The Legion's tactics have been shaped by its lack of numerical strength compared to other Legions, and commanders are adept at using their troops to the best effect.
After the death of Horus, proper structure within the squads and companies disintegrated, and their later dispersal in various spacecraft further fragmented the Legion. Warbands of virtually any size and composition can be found following Black Legion Champions - ranking officers from older times or newly emerged leaders who have won favour through their violent deeds. At times, such warbands rally together under the banner of a greater Champion or even Abaddon himself, for a major raid or incursion into the hated Imperium. However, loyalty to differing Chaos Gods often leads to internal politics and conflict. Possession by daemons is still considered highly favourable, and many members of the Legion strive for the honour of being hosts.
With the Primarch as the apex of the legion's order-of-battle, the next step downwards was filled by the Mournival. Although not an official institution, in practice it was this advisory council that helped the Warmaster finalise and execute his strategies. The four Mournival brothers were seen as the senior Captains of the legion.[3g]
Within the Legion's command structure existed the secretive warrior-lodge, where marines of all ranks and placements could mingle freely and talk openly without having to follow customary rank discipline. Membership was by invite only, and the lodge-members identified each other by the wearing of a silver medallion emblazoned with the Luna Wolf symbol. This system brought individual marines even closer together and increased their bonds of brotherhood and loyalty toward each other, likely increasing combat performance. However, it would eventually aid in the dissolution of the legion's organisation.[3h][4x]
Once considered a large legion, the Black Legion were long considered numerically inferior to other Chaos Space Marine legions since their defeats in the great inter-Legionary wars. While the number of original Legionaries remaining is unknown, and it is unknown how or even if the Black Legion recruit new implantation candidates, it is known that they recruit Marines from other Legions and renegade Chapters.[8x]
In spite of these difficulties, by M41 the Black Legion was the largest of the Traitor Legions, having ten times the numbers of the Word Bearers. This is aided by their policy of absorbing other Chaos Space Marines and their warbands into their own ranks, regardless of which God of Chaos they may follow, if any.
At the time of the 13th Black Crusade, the fleet of the Black Legion had grown enormously, comparable to Imperial Navy Battlefleets in size. These included seven Battleships, thirteen Heavy Cruisers, twenty-three Cruiser squadrons, and thirty Escort squadrons. The Black Legion fleet is also in possession of a number of superweapons, such as the Planet Killer and multiple Blackstone Fortresses. The flagship of the Black Legion's fleet and of Abaddon himself remains the Battle Barge Vengeful Spirit.[8a]
Noted Elements of the Black Legion
Black Legion Armoury
- The Crucible of Lies
- The Eye of Night
- The Hand of Darkness
- The Last Memory of the Yuranthos
- The Skull of Ker'ngar
- The Spineshiver Blade
- The Talon of Horus
- Vengeful Spirit — Flagship/Gloriana Class Battleship
- Magna Tyranis — Gloriana Class Battleship
- Throne of the Underworld - Battle Barge
- War Oath - Battle Barge
- Desolation — Heavy Warship 
- King Eater — Heavy Warship
- Oblivion — Heavy Warship
- Gore Prow — Heavy Warship
- Lupercal Pursuivant — Cruiser
- Horus Triumphant — Cruiser
- Fourfold Wolf - Cruiser
- Cthonia Rising[25a]
- Cthonic Blood — Dauntless Class Light Cruiser.
- Raksha — Frigate.[25a]
- Vengeful Spirit — Flagship/Gloriana Class Battleship
- Planet Killer — Battleship
- Harbinger of Doom — Gloriana Class Battleship
- Blade of Damnation — Repulsive Class Grand Cruiser[2a]
- Well of Souls — Styx Class Heavy Cruiser
- Reign of Terror — Hecate Class Heavy Cruiser
- Baleful Eye — Cruiser commanded by Falkus Kibre
- Will of Eternity — Blackstone Fortress
- Hand of Abaddon — Slaughter Class Cruiser
- Mother of Hell — Cruiser
- Horus — Primarch of the Luna Wolves
- Ezekyle Abaddon — First Captain, 1st Company[5x]
- Tarik Torgaddon — Captain, 2nd Company[5x]
- Iacton 'The Half Heard' Qruze — Captain, 3rd Company[5x]
- Hastur Sejanus — Captain, 4th Company[5x]
- 'Little Horus' Aximand — Captain, 5th Company[5x]
- Serghar Targost — Captain, 7th Company and lodge-master[5x]
- Garviel Loken — Captain, 10th Company[5x]
- Luc Sedirae — Captain, 13th Company[5x]
- Kalus Ekaddon — Reaver Attack Squad Captain
- Tybalt Marr 'The Either' — Captain, 18th Company[5x]
- Verulam Moy 'The Or' — Captain, 19th Company[5x]
- Maloghurst — Horus' equerry[5x]
- Falkus Kibre — Justaerin member
- Boros Kurn — Overseer, Commander of the 16th Independent Assault Battalion[33a]
- Ocram Adraan 'The Butcher of the Icosian Districts' - Commander of the 4th Company's 16th Independent Battalion[33b]
- Grael Noctua — Sergeant of the 25th Company
- Severian — Member of the Crusader Host and later the Knights-Errant
- Argonis — Emissary of Maloghurst
- Raxhal Koraddon — Reaver Attack Squad member
- Janipur — Mournival member
- Litus — Mournival member
- Berabaddon — Mournival member
- Deradaeddon — Mournival member
- Karaddon — Mournival member
- Keyshen — Mournival member
- Minos — Mournival member
- Syrakul — Mournival member
- Korosan Myrlath
- Skalagrim Phar — Reaver Attack Squad Apothecary
- Ghrastak — Dreadnought
- Bakhart — Contemptor Dreadnought
- Salaghast — Contemptor Dreadnought
- Dhekarst — Contemptor Dreadnought
- Ekron Fal — Battle Brother
- Abaddon 'the Despoiler' - Master of the Black Legion and Warmaster of Chaos
- Iskandar Khayon — Founding member. High Sorcerer of the Ezekarion, Lord-Vigilator and Master of the Ashen Dead. Originally a member of the Thousand Sons
- Lheorvine Ukris — Founding member. Officer of the Ezekarion and Champion of the War God's Maw, originally a member of the World Eaters
- Telemachon Lyras — Founding member. Officer of the Ezekarion and Herald of the Warmaster, originally a member of the Emperor's Children
- Sargon Eregesh — Founding member and Ezekarion
- Ilyas — Founding member and Ezekarion
- Ygethmor — Sorcerer Lord and Chosen of Abaddon † [2x]
- Devram Korda 'the Tyrant of Sarora' — Chosen of Abaddon[2x]
- Skyrak Slaughterborn — Chosen of Abaddon
- Threxos Hellbreed — Fleet commander and Chosen of Abaddon
- Urkrathos — Former Fleet commander and Chosen of Abaddon † 
- Zaraphiston — Sorcerer and senior adviser to Abaddon
- Falkus Kibre — Founding member. Officer of the Ezekarion and Captain of the Justaerin.
- Araghast 'the Pillager' — Champion of the Black Legion † 
- Corpulax — Warband Leader
- Zagthean the Broken — Warband Leader
- Xorphas — Warland Leader and Sorcerer
- Ghordar Bann - Master of Executions
- Vex Machinator - Arch-Lord Discordant
- Dhar'leth — Daemon Prince
- Xyn'Goran — Daemon Prince of Tzeentch
- Sylathrax - Daemon Prince
- Drecarth the Sightless — Warband Leader †
- Vorash Soulflayer - Master of Possession
- Eralak — Raptor Commander
- Faenroc the Forgotten — Warband Leader
- Eliphas 'the Inheritor' — Champion of the Black Legion. Originally a Dark Apostle of the Word Bearers
- Malgar Irongrasp — Fleet commander
- Amalaxis Godslayer — Warband leader
- Haarken Worldclaimer — Warband Leader
- Delvarus † - Former member of the World Eaters, became guardian of the Vengeful Spirit.[35a]
- Hadrexus — Chaos Lord
- Zufur — Chaos Lord
- Sikai — Chaos Lord
- Ragged King
- Voidheart — Lieutenant
- Amurael — Chaos Dreadnought
- Valicar — Originally a member of the Iron Warriors
- Ashur-Kai Qezremah — Sorcerer
- Verzekh — Chosen †
- Dorzgogh the Slaughterman — Terminator Champion, took part in the Diamor Campaign.
- Octorian — Warpsmith
- Vortigern — Ezekarion
- Ilyaster Faylech — Ezekarion
- Hakk'an'graah — Bloodthirster allied to the Black Legion.
- Chariz Terenoch — Sorcerer
- Tsevosk — Warlord
- Haxul - Warpsmith
Though the Black Legion is the largest and most organized of the Traitor Legions, it still operates a number of warbands that work in isolation and pursue their own agendas until they are called upon by their master. Others like the Thrice-Cursed Traitors may try to challenge Abaddon's authority.
Known warbands include:
- The 1st Company
- The 9th Company
- Athkor's Destroyers
- The Black Brethren of Eyreas — A Black Legion warband that took part in the siege of Vraks.
- The Bringers of Decay
- The Children of Torment
- The Corpsemakers
- The Crimson Claws
- The Crimson Hurricane
- The Cyclopia Cabal
- Drakkoth's Destroyers
- Heralds of the Inevitable End
- The Hounds of Abaddon
- The Ironspines
- Lord Kadros' Champions
- The Lost Lion
- The Oath-Broken
- The Oathed
- The Riven
- The Sarissan Iron Pact
- The Savage Spectres
- The Sixth Rapture
- The Skull-eaters
- The Sons of Carnage
- The Sons of the Cyclops
- The Sons of the Eye
- The Talons of the Despoiler
- Thaskor's Chosen
- The Tormented
- The True Sons
- The Vaithan Reaver Squad
- The Wolves of Horus
Affiliated Chaos Cults
While there exists countless Chaos cults all over the Galaxy, some of them associate themselves with a certain Chaos Space Marine Legion.
- Bringers of Despair
- Justaerin (Heresy-era)
- Reaver (Heresy-era)
- Luperci (Heresy-era)
- Land Raider Hades Diabolus
Trivia and Notes
- Cthonia is presumably a reference to the Greek Chthonia a complex word with connotations to dead domains under the earth and the spirits of the underworld. Cthonic spirits can be both fruitful and destructive; in the positive sense they are referred to as part of the concept of rebirth - the earth that nurtures. In the negative, they are akin to the revenants of the dead come to claim more souls for hell. Compare to the dead, mined-out state of the Luna Wolves homeworld and the role it had in birthing Chaos Space Marines.
- The Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus were considered a large Space Marine Legion and had at least 25 Companies at one point during the Great Crusade. While no maximum headcount for the legion has been given, when the Luna Wolves 10th Company was deployed in entirety during the Whisperhead action on Sixty-Three-Nineteen it numbered approximately 600 marines. If 25 companies existed with the same strength, the Legion at one point could have numbered around 15,000 marines. This is worth noting as the generally perceived sizes of Legions have fluctuated over the years; for some time the 'small legions' concept presented by the Index Astartes articles was prevalent, and the initial novels in the Horus Heresy Series were written with it in mind. This was later quietly retconned during the series to fit in with the 'large legions' concept put forth by such works as Collected Visions. When the baseline number for legions was 10,000, there being 15,000 Luna Wolves would indeed make them one of the larger legions, and would fit in with numbers presented later in the series (for the number of combatants present at the Drop Site Massacre as given in Fulgrim, for example). Since the move to the legion baseline being 100,000, the Luna Wolves must be thought of as having between 100,000 and 150,000 (the number of Word Bearers, the 2nd biggest legion) marines and the amount of Legionaries in Loken's company becomes merely an illustrative number rather than a useful statistic.
- 1: Index Astartes IV, The Black Legion
- 2: Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex)
- 3: Horus Rising (Novel)[Needs Citation]
- 3a: Part Two, Chapter Five, pg. 289
- 3b: Part Two, Chapter Seven, pg. 343
- 3c: Part One, Chapter Four, pg. 80
- 3d: Part One, Chapter Two, pg. 39, Chapter Six, pg. 127, Chapter Eight, pg. 153
- 3e: Part One, Chapter Six, pg. 132
- 3f: Part One, Chapter Six, pg. 119
- 3g: Part One, Chapter Three, pg. 67
- 3h: Part Two, Chapter Three, pg. 245
- 4: False Gods (Novel)
- 5: Galaxy In Flames (Novel)[Needs Citation]
- 6: The Flight of the Eisenstein (Novel), Chapter Nine, pg. 229 and Chapter Seventeen, pg. 400
- 7: Fulgrim (Novel)[Needs Citation]
- 8: Soul Hunter (Novel)
- 9: Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising
- 10: Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks - Part Three, pg. 53
- 11: Dark Creed (Novel) — The Word Bearers Omnibus, Chapter Four, pg. 539
- 12: Nemesis (Novel)[Needs Citation]
- 13: Dark Adeptus (Novel) — The Grey Knights Omnibus, Chapter Seven, pg. 355
- 14: Codex: Eye of Terror (3rd Edition), pg. 9
- 15: Warhammer 40,000 5th Edition Rulebook, pg. 148 - The Antecanis Massacre
- 16: White Dwarf 391 (UK), pg. 61
- 17: White Dwarf 286 (UK), pg. 71
- 18: White Dwarf 239 (UK), pgs. 39-45 - The Slayer of Worlds
- 19: The Horus Heresy Book One - Betrayal
- 20: Black Legion - A Codex: Chaos Space Marines Supplement (E-Book), pg. 55
- 21: Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 22
- 22: White Dwarf 287 (UK), pg. 38 - Death by a Thousand Cuts - Cadia
- 23: Champions of Fenris - A Codex: Space Wolves Supplement — The Shadow of Russ
- 24: Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pg. 172
- 25: Vengeful Spirit (Novel)[Needs Citation]
- 25a: Chapters 9–11
- 26: Battlefleet Gothic Compendium 2010, pg. 115
- 27: Talon of Horus (Novel)[Needs Citation]
- 28: Imperial Armour Volume Two - Second Edition: War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pg. 18
- 29: Ahriman: Unchanged (Novel)[Needs Citation]
- 30: Gathering Storm: Fall of Cadia[Needs Citation]
- 31: The Horus Heresy Book Four - Conquest, pg. 43
- 32: The Horus Heresy Book Six - Retribution, pg. 30
- 33: The Horus Heresy Book Seven - Inferno
- 34: Black Crusade: Traitor's Hate, pg. 75
- 35: Black Legion (Novel)[Needs Citation]
- 35a: Chapter 15
- 36: Wolfsbane (Novel), Chapter 27
- 37: Slaves to Darkness (Novel), Chapters 17–Epilogue
- 38: Old Earth (Novel), Chapter 9
- 39: The Solar War (Novel), Chapter 3
- 40: Codex: Space Marines (8th Edition, 2nd Codex) pg.15
|Loyalist||I - Dark Angels · V - White Scars
VI- Space Wolves · VII- Imperial Fists
IX- Blood Angels · X- Iron Hands
XIII- Ultramarines · XVIII- Salamanders
XIX- Raven Guard
|Traitor||III- Emperor's Children · IV- Iron Warriors|
VIII- Night Lords · XII- World Eaters
XIV- Death Guard · XV- Thousand Sons
XVI- Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus · XVII- Word Bearers
XX- Alpha Legion