The Swarmlord is a legendary Tyranid creature created by the Hive Mind with the purpose of out-thinking the enemy and developing new strategies when standard Tyranid strategies of physical and biological adaption fail. It has destroyed empires and driven civilisations to extinction, and now it is the foremost Tyranid threat to the Galaxy. It is known as the Swarmlord by the Imperium, but it has been known by many other names including the Tyrantlord of the Hive Mind, the Herald of the Great Devourer, and the Destroyer of the Kha'la Empire.[1a]
It is the pinnacle of the evolution of the Hive Tyrant bioform, a truly unique monster. The Swarmlord is essentially immortal, like a Hive Tyrant, as once killed it is reborn by the Hive Mind with the exact same experiences, character and knowledge, in essence becoming stronger than its predecessor every time because of its new experience. But unlike a Hive Tyrant, the reincarnation of the Swarmlord appears to be a stress-induced response that is triggered only when conventional strategies of the Hive Mind fail and greater resourcefulness and tactics are needed. To this end, the Swarmlord possesses more autonomy from the Hive Mind than any other Tyranid creature, and its connection with the Hive Mind is so strong it can emerge amongst any Hive Fleet, transcending any physical limitations separating the different Fleets. The Swarmlord has aeons of battle experience and bloodshed to draw upon. In fact, it is as old as the Tyranid race itself.[1a]
As weapons the Swarmlord wields four bone sabres, crackling with disruptive power, that are capable of slicing through adamantium and force fields as if they were nothing. They differ from commonly seen Tyranid Boneswords in that each sabre has a crystalline growth, not indigenous to the galaxy, at its core that partially protrudes through the blade's serrated surface. The Swarmlord can parry with these sabres at such speed that its foes find it all but impossible to inflict a hit on the creature.[1a]
- 745.M41 - Tyran and Thandros - The Swarmlord led Hive Fleet Behemoth's final assaults against Tyran and Thandros during the Imperium's first contact with the Tyranids, utterly decimating the enemy forces.[1b]
- 745.M41 - Battle for Macragge
- During the Battle of Cold Steel Ridge, the Swarmlord directed Hive Fleet Behemoth to defeat every one of Marneus Calgar's and the Ultramarines' tactics. Calgar himself was almost killed by the Swarmlord, but managed to escape alive with the help of his Honour Guard while the Swarmlord killed the commander of Calgar's Honour Guard, Aloysius.[1b]
- During the Battle of the Polar Fortresses, the Swarmlord led the attack on the Polar Fortresses of Macragge, defended by First Captain Saul Invictus of the Ultramarines 1st Company. In the end, the entire 1st Company was killed and official Imperial reports listed the Swarmlord as slain.[1d]
- 991.M41 - Ichar IV - The Swarmlord is defeated in an epic duel with Marneus Calgar during the Battle of Ichar IV
- 997.M41 - Hodur Sector - The Swarmlord returned to attack the Imperium, leading the swiftest and greatest planetary invasions of Hive Fleet Leviathan. In the space of four months the Swarmlord oversaw the absorption of two dozen worlds including Talon, the homeworld of the Storm Falcons, and Endragiga, a major shipyard of the region.
- 999.M41 - The latest Imperial reports indicate the Swarmlord is assaulting the Orkish Empire of Octarius.[1c]
- ~M42 - The Swarmlord appears during the Devastation of Baal. He was slain by Blood Angels Chapter Master Dante, though the Space Marine was badly wounded in their battle.
- M42 - The Swarmlord appears on Sanctum leading a massive Leviathan horde. While the Imperials are victorious in driving back the main Tyranid attacks, the Swarmlord goes missing after the battle.
- 1: Codex: Tyranids (5th Edition)
- 2: Codex: Tyranids (6th Edition) (E-Book Edition) - Ichar IV
- 3: Cassius (Novel)
- 4: Codex: Tyranids (8th Edition), pg. 63
- 5: Leviathan (Box) - Rulebook, pg. 250