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"Tell your daemon-spawn lord, Krangrath, that I do not care for his outbursts. The Blood God may be appeased by skulls, but the Everchosen demands obedience. Tell him that if he does not immediately deploy his armies to the Cinderbite Expanse, I will personally nail his wings to the Varanspire and take his horns as a trophy, meagre as they are."

—Thaddorn Soulspear of the Bane Sons, Seventh Circle of the Varanguard


The ground trembles under the thundering hooves of the Varanguard, their warped steeds carrying them into battle while the warriors roar the name of the Everchosen.

These "Knights of Ruin" are Archaon's wrath unleashed upon the Mortal Realms, and the ground is soaked in gore beneath their advance.[1d]


Under the pitiless gaze of the Dark Gods, only the strongest survive, and there are few more deserving of their favour than the Varanguard. Warlords in their own right, they have grown cruel and powerful over lifetimes of slaughter and conquest. It is fitting that these mighty champions of Chaos should be chosen by Archaon. They are his will, they are his might, and they are a scourge upon the realms.[1d]

Each Varanguard is a veteran of countless campaigns, the blood of vanquished empires dripping from his blade. Each is a legendary warrior, and has risen through the ranks of the armies of Chaos upon the heaped corpses of his rivals.[1d]

Mortal lords and kings, Daemon Princes and Greater Daemons – all do well to respect the authority of the Varanguard. Even the most powerful emissaries of the Dark Gods have no thrall over them, for when the Knights of Ruin ride into battle it is by the bidding of the Everchosen alone. When a warrior joins the Varanguard, they forsake their allegiance to any but Archaon, and none are foolish enough to undermine his authority.[1d]

The warriors of the Varanguard are divided into the Eight Circles, each a numberless host that rides at the head of Archaon’s endless hordes and leaves only desolation in its wake. The dark moods and destructive intentions of the Everchosen are reflected in the different circles and the way he uses them to fulfil his goal of total domination. The immense undertaking of subjugating the Mortal Realms means that Archaon must rely upon his Varanguard to win far-flung campaigns and succeed at tortuous endeavours on his behalf. This grand strategy of violence and cunning, destruction and dominance, driven by the Three-Eyed King, can only result in final victory if all the pieces come together. To this end, the varied strengths and talents of the Eight Circles are deployed towards whatever conquests Archaon’s plans require. Ever-shifting is the Everchosen’s favour, however, and no circle is preeminent in his eyes for long. Such is the fickle nature of Chaos.[1d]

During the Nexus Wars, the Varanguard were the first of the Everchosen’s warriors to set foot within the Allpoints, carving a bloody path through stubborn defenders as the first gates fell. During the brutal slaughter that followed, the knights of the Varanguard smashed their way through defender and attacker alike to run to ground the eight lords of the Allpoints. When, at last, the sounds of battle faded, the Varanguard presented Archaon with the lords’ severed heads.[1c]

Such is the ferocious reputation of the Varanguard that even Chaos Lords – be they hulking brute seething with the red rage of Khorne or cunning sorcerer gifted with the arcane might of Tzeentch – know better than to stray into the knights’ path. To merely question a Varanguard’s authority is to court a swift and brutal death.[1c]

Often, however, simply staying out of the Varanguard’s way is not enough to avoid their blades, especially when they come as messengers of the Everchosen. On the cusp of the destruction of the Weeping Keep, a hundred of the chosen knights rode into the Chaos encampment that surrounded the beleaguered fortress in order to convey Archaon’s displeasure to the besiegers. For a year, the vast Chaos army of the Gorefaith Path had battered itself against the walls of the keep, while each of its twisted commanders bickered over who would be the one to claim the glory of its defeat. Archaon had grown tired of the delay in the stronghold’s destruction, and so the Sixth Circle of the Varanguard, the Blades of Desolation, set about making an example of those who displeased their lord. By the dawn of the following day, when the Everchosen himself rode into the camp, the Chaos host had been executed to a warrior. Their broken bodies were piled into a tangled ramp over which Archaon and the Blades of Desolation charged, before seeing to the Weeping Keep’s fall.[1c]

When Archaon’s armies finally batter down the Gates of Azyr, it is the Varanguard who will be the first to storm the walls of Azyrheim – an honour for which they have waited many long centuries. Though few among Sigmar’s armies have crossed blades with the Varanguard, the knights’ dark reputation has made its way even to high Sigmaron. Such are the grim tales surrounding Archaon’s eight vast warrior circles and their chosen knights that Sigmar would be foolish not to see them for the dire threat that they are – second on the field of battle only to the Everchosen himself.[1c]

The Eight Circles of the Varanguard

  • First Circle - The Swords of Chaos, First Circle of the Varanguard, ride into battle at the side of the Everchosen himself as his dark champions and brutal executors of his will.[1b]
  • Second Circle - Torture and fear are the meat and drink of the Souls of Torment, Second Circle of the Varanguard. They are the slayers of hope and the bringers of despair.[1b][1e]
  • Third Circle - Shadows disgorge the Scions of Darkness, the dreaded Third Circle. Their black-souled riders are as the night given form and deadly purpose.[1b]
  • Fourth Circle - Burning nations and tortured peoples are reflected in the cruel helms of the Reavers of Chaos, Fourth Circle of the Varanguard and merciless pillagers of the realms.[1b]
  • Fifth Circle - The heads of kings and emperors hang from the saddles of the Scourges of Fate, Fifth Circle of the Varanguard, for none can escape their vengeful blades.[1b][1e]
  • Sixth Circle - Fortresses crumble and armies scatter before the charge of the Blades of Desolation, Archaon’s hell-forged hammer which he wields to break the realms asunder.[1b]
  • Seventh Circle - The Bane Sons, Seventh Circle of the Varanguard, hold that Chaos grows stronger as it feasts upon itself, and so consume the flesh of enemies and allies alike.[1b]
  • Eighth Circle - Archaon alone knows the name of the Eighth Circle of the Varanguard, and no man, monster or civilisation to have felt their wrath has ever lived to tell the tale.[1b][1e]


  • Ensorcelled Weapon.[1f]
  • Daemonforged Blade.[1f]
  • Warpsteel Shield.[1f]
  • Steed of Chaos (mount).[1f]