An Inquisitor’s power is, on paper, higher than anyone – except the So yes, that inquisitor could declare exterminatus, but nobody will do it out. Exterminatus. A Warhammer 40, graphic novel. Inquisitor Delius Alastor, traumatised by the death of his retinue, battles the plots and schemes of the.

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Exterminatus is the biggest middle finger the Imperium can give to xenos and Chaos infestations on their own exterjinatus.

Before you go into some sort of sanctimonious tirade about the morality of blowing the fuck out of an entire planet, understand the context. A world deemed worthy of Exterminatus is one considered past the point where anything can be salvaged from it – whether because it’s about to be inquisitof to countless ravening giant insects that will zerg-rush and eat fucking everything or reality-warping omnicidal fungi that reproduce into millions of spores every time imquisitor dies and will all kill you because they think it’s fun or because it will be turned into a fucking daemon-and-tentacle-rape-infested shit-pit where neither sanity nor time has any meaning.

It’s the last-ditch measure and it’s there because the alternative sucks even worse. It is the Scorched Earth strategy on a planetary scale: Or, you know, because the Inquisitor who ordered it decided he wanted one for his birthday.

Inquisitor – Exterminatus Magazine Full Inventory from Games Workshop – Noble Knight Games

Oversight on Exterminatus orders is fairly nonexistent and it’s easy to see why. The problem is the same one real life atomic weapons have, who do you want to have to be able to launch them?

You want the most powerful, highly ranked people to have that authority, but if they’re so highly ranked exterjinatus with so much power, who watches them? Who second guesses an Inquisitor’s judgement about if a world is to be blown up or not?


The Imperium’s only solution is to just declare the trigger happy sod Excommunicate Traitoris afterwards if they don’t agree. The over the top villainy of Warhammer 40k means that some fuckholes within the Imperium do get trigger happy with this, ordering an Exterminatus on worlds over things like a few of its people coming into contact with alien technology, or a small hint of heresy that would probably not require killing everything, or a loose pubic hair being in the Imperial’s cereal this morning.

On the bright side, these instances are few and far between, and anyone caught destroying an uncorrupted planet, either for the lulz or stupidityis seen as wasting the “Emprah’s Resource, Time and Money”, and is forced to explain their legitimate reasoning ; though their excuse would most likely be something along the lines of “Chaos was there!

What, you’re surprised that an Empire of “Space Nazis 2. You’re in for a whole new series of surprises Joking aside, it’s somewhat fluff dependent; in Seventh Retribution by Ben Counter, for instance, the Exterminatus is never even mentioned as a ‘solution’ despite the fact that the planet got infested with half a dozen daemons with great powers.

Also in both the Space Wolves Omnibus and in the Ultramarines Nightbringer books, we get Inquisitors saying they have been at it for well over a century without calling down the Exterminatus even once. Even in Retribution, Lord General Castor admits that the world was lost anyway. Bitching any further will rile the Commissariat. You have been warned. Saturating planets with over-sized cannons larger than apartment buildings is the stereotypical way of nuking the fuck out of something you don’t like.

Virus Bombs are warheads loaded with the Life Eater virus, a biological payload that causes living tissue plant or animal to rot and decompose which probably gives Nurgle a massive boner. The gist is that they release a virus that spreads by contact and causes necrosis of tissues and rapid decay of plant and animal tissues.

This immediate rot causes a buildup of flammable gases, which in turn can be ignited by one of the lazors above or any still smoldering Lho sticks, or any other source of flamesweeping the area in firestorms.

A relentless bombing of these fucking things is what reduced Tallarn from a verdant forest world to the desert hellhole it is now. They were edterminatus used by Warmaster Horus to kill off loyalists in the Traitor Legions during the Istvaan Campaign of the Horus Heresy Life Eater virus eats through any filters and corrodes power armour till it gets to the gooey marine inside, though a Dreadnought can endure it easily.

Though a popular method of Exterminatus during the Great Crusadeaccording to Amberley Vailvirus bombs are only rarely used in the “present time” because the Inquisition has figured out that every time they’re used, they feed the fucking Plaguefather. Atmospheric Incinerator Torpedoes are plasma torpedoes that burst in low planetary orbit and super-heat the atmosphere of a planet until all combustible material ignites.

This method of Exterminatus was used on Medusa IV. Pretty much like the Virus Bomb, except it skips right to the firestorm part and directly turns the planet’s surface into an endless expanse of raging hellfire.

It is said that the aftermath of the planet’s surface Medusa IV’s case was melted to glass and that the entire world burned like a piece of amber in space even a month after the attack had been launched. They are only effective on planets with relatively stable atmospheres made of flammable gas, however, and plasma torpedos are both somewhat rare and expensive.


Another weapon that has similar results from the Atmospheric Incinerator Torpedo but its function is completely different. Regarded as the most powerful incendiary device accessible in the Imperium. Think White Phosphorous on steroids.

A salvo of several Modalis Atmospheric Missiles from orbiting warships will blanket an entire world in deadly Phosphex. The resultant firestorm of green mist will eat away at every carbon-based element on the planet, rendering it uninhabitable. All that would be left would be dust and echoes.

The primary method of Exterminatus used in the 41st millennium, these are basically nukes OD’d on steroids. These capital ship-fired warheads each generate a series of massive, self-sustaining nuclear reactions, which, when fired in bulk, fuels a much larger reaction that causes the devastation to spread and multiply, eventually glassing the entire world with a thermonuclear holocaust given a sufficient barrage. If you fire enough in the same spot it will break through the crust of a planet, causing part of the mantle to erupt out, royally buttfucking the entire planet in the process see Fire Warrior end cinematic.

Krieg is an example of a radioactive perpetual-winter world that survived multiple cyclonic torpedo strikes, though in this case it was on a much smaller scale and in some sources are described as standard nukes. This was the method that probably killed Typhon, in combination with the above shoot-the-shit-out-of-it method.

Another theory holds that the bombardment is used to remove anything that might prevent the torpedo from reaching the surface or to weaken planets crust.

Only the Inquisition and the Space Marines are authorized to carry cyclonic torpedoes in their warships, the former because the Inquisition has the authority to do anything, and the latter because the Imperium figures that if the Space Marines can’t beat it, nothing else will.

Cyclonic Torpedoes are pretty variable in their strength, either due to there being different classes of torpedoes or the fact that the strength of a single cyclonic torpedo has never been nailed down in official materials.

In one case, ol’ Abby dropped a dozen to fry a single hive, in another a single torpedo is a qualified planet cracker. Similarly, this method is the easiest to thwart with shields, as they disrupt the stacked efficiency needed for ongoing detonation.

Presumably this variability in strength is due to “Cyclonic Torpedo” being as broad a description as “atomic bomb”, which can refer to both a Davy Crockett and a Tsar Bomba. In the two-stage torpedo, a melta charge activates first to allow the weapon to burrow into the planet’s crust and down to the core.

Exterminatus – Warhammer 40k – Lexicanum

The second stage thermonuclear charge then goes off, causing the planet to break apart Death Star style. This is really the only way to deal with Necron Tomb Worlds since, due to inquisitir tendency to make everything subterranean, they aren’t overly bothered by the other methods which devastate the surface but leave the planet as a whole mostly intact.

Talos of the Night Lords used a smaller version of these when a Genesis Chapter strike cruiser tried to hide behind a moon.

So he blew a continent-sized hole through the moonand watched the loyalist ship get torn apart as a new asteroid field got shotgunned into space. This method involves radically altering the orbit of a nearby moon or large asteroid and placing it on a collision course with the planet, and therefore requires the use of several Mechanicus voidships. This method was used to destroy Phaenon Prime when the Virus Bomb failed to wipe out the planet’s corruptive influence.

Needless to say, this pretty much fucking annihilates the planet in question or whatever else it’s thrown at like Huron’s defensive systems. Despite its flair and effectiveness, the Administratum vehemently requests that Imperial commanders avoid this method whenever possiblebecause it’s stupidly expensive — it can take weeks or even months for the moon or asteroid in question to actually strike the planet, which costs rations and sublight fuel while the ships sit around doing fuck-all; orbital bombardments only cost about one day’s worth of rations and fuel, plus the ammunition, which comes out to be less expensive.

Krourk Ogryn are known as the most brutal, powerful, and primitive tribe of Ogryn in the Imperium and that’s saying something. They are so well-known for their frightening savagery in close combat that they’re considered a solid match for Orks, and are also known for being so primitively stupid that the Imperial Guard can’t even teach them to use traditional Ogryn weapons like ripper guns.

Their reputation is so fearsome that it has gotten to the point where deploying thousands of these things is considered a crude method of Exterminatus amongst Imperial commanders, given that they’ll attempt to kill anything within visual range, friend or foe. Several factions outside the Imperium do things similar to the Imperial Exterminatus adding any examples from the lore would be greatly appreciated.

However, most of them don’t use these methods often. The Craftworld Eldar have some respect for life and not nearly as many weapons of mass destruction as they had before the Fall so they don’t do it often. Didn’t stop them from purging all life in the Octarius system to clean up Kryptman’s mess, though in that case the Dark Eldar provided the WMD.

The most well-known Eldar engines of planetary destruction are called Blackstone Fortresseswhich are ancient weapons they designed to fight the C’tan. To put it simply, think of a floating citadel with a distort weapon like the ones the Wraithguard have the size of an Emperor-class battleship. During the Gothic Wars, three Blackstone Fortresses combined their power to cause a star to go supernova, destroying an entire solar system.


In Apocalypse War Zone: The Dark Eldar originally had this, but they gave it away because they didn’t have the psychic power to activate the weapon. If they had, the Tyranids would have had all of the genetic data of the Orks and the Eldar, enabling them to fashion unthinkable monstrosities.

Before the fall and possibly still kicking around somewhere they had devices that fired entire suns or black holes at their enemies. The Dark Eldar lack a good stockpile of planet-killing weaponry and prefer to keep planets intact for slaves, although they are still capable of exterminating the populace of entire planets if they wanted to.

One method is pillaging the shit out of it. It has been proven time and time again that an entire major kabal or dozens of separate, smaller kabals, is more than capable of kidnapping an entire planet of its populace, faster than that local PDF trooper can finish his scream of agony.

Granted, being taken captive isn’t part of an exterminatus’ MO, but if you know the fate of a hapless mortal in Commoragh; they are already dead. There has also been one instance of an entire Hive World being poisoned by the Dark Eldar, smashing a Space Hulk at a realm and havings its warp drives detonate to release hordes of daemons, and there’s also counting the DE’s ability to steal entire suns; allowing them to turn entire habitable planets into ice worlds if need be. Like the Craftworld Eldar, they also possess a psychic doomsday device called The Fireheart to implode a planet’s core.

The Kabal of the Dying Sun has a stockpile of WMDs devices that extinguish stars, while Vect keeps black holes in his back pocket to troll people. The former is kept in check by several things; they don’t know how all of them work, many are psychically activated – psychic powers being forbidden in Commorragh, if other Kabals found out about this stockpile they’d gang up on them and it’s usually more lucrative for them to conduct raids.

For the latter, portable black holes are a special occasion weapon. The Dark Eldar can also just have other races kill planets for them.

Through manipulation from the sides; they could convince and managed to do so at one point the Imperium to declare Exterminatus on a planet. The Necrons have lost many WMDs, but may have several more just waiting to be awakened.

Maybe the Necrons are more trigger-happy with Exterminatus than the Imperium, but they’re better at ensuring there’re no witnesses. One of their most notorious Exterminatus-tier machines was the World Enginewhich was a planet-sized vessel equipped with the largest gauss weapon known to man.

A flying rape-machine of ungodly proportionsit took a coalition of several Space Marine chapters and the entire Imperial fleet of the Vidar Subsector to destroy it. For some reason, it had shields that could withstand the bombardment of an entire navyyet it was vulnerable to a ship impacting at sufficient velocity.

Although it is likely that the shields weren’t designed to deflect speeding projectiles the size of a city, moving exherminatus them at top-speed. The Maynarkh dynasty deploys a peculiar device edterminatus causes supercharged solar flares that incinerate the daylight-facing sides of ALL planets in a system.

Unfortunately for the population on the side of the planet facing away from the sun, incinerating half a planet’s surface would also incinerate jnquisitor atmosphere, stripping the whole planet bare of its life giving biosphere, or whatever gases it had trapped. Even more unfortunately, Maynarkh Necrons are even more interested in making a planetfall and skinning them alive.

Maybe inquieitor certain circumstances, if the Necrons wanted to destroy a world, they could just unleash a particularly powerful Transcendent C’tan shard on it without a Tesseract Vault. Though it would most likely escape and be nearly impossible to return to Necron control, it would achieve the same effects.

Also, the Tombworld of Thanatos has a giant hologram map of the galaxy known as the Celestial Orrery, and if you were to destroy a star on it, the real life counterpart would go supernova.

This makes the Necrons by far the most powerful faction in the entire galaxy, extterminatus they could instantly kill everyone else in the galaxy without exterinatus risk. This might even let them beat the ‘nids and chaos through starvation unless it does the opposite.

Their motives for not using this weapon are unclear, but it could jnquisitor any number of things. It might have a limited number of uses or a recharge time, they definitely want to some amount the living around to find new host bodies, they could just really like conquering planets, they could be afraid it would ubercharge Nurgle, or afraid it would cause the ‘nids to start targetting tomb worlds, or any combination of the above.