Codex: Grey Knights by Mat Ward – Book Review [Bellarius]


Bellarius hails the magnum opus of Our Ward In Heaven, Codex: Grey Knights by Mat Ward.

“PRAISE BE!” – The Founding Fields

There is little to deny that as a whole the literary content of Black Library is amongst the worst on the planet! Dire beyond comprehension and filled with individuals barely capable of stringing together a sentence let alone craft a story!

Worst amongst these are the Codices, drivel, upon drivel, upon drivel! Vile, foul content which does nothing to truly detail the Warhammer universe! All of which further drives the franchise into the ground and is TERRIBLE!!! it makes it truly questionable as to how Warhammer itself even became more than a joke amongst the wargaming community, let alone a worldwide phenomenon! The one true shining light of literary GENIUS!!! amidst all of this is the ungodly talented Matthew Ward, striving to FORCE quality into a franchise which has never even known the concept of the word!

Ever righteous in his actions, ever crafting marvels above all criticism, the Ward has reintroduced many a mistakenly removed aspect to this game which were otherwise CRUSHED in the name of “progress” “development”. Removed in the feeble, dull-witted attempts to try and improve upon this already flawed title! Bringing back the true divinity of the ℧LTRAMARINES did he revert canon back to the second edition!

No more would chapters be deemed “equal” and “brothers in arms”! No more would they reflect the lessons learned from glorifying one force above all others depicted in the amateurishly scrawled Horus HeresyNO! It was and always will be the LTRAMARINES who dominate above all! The Ward understood it was to GUILLIMAN that every single space marine owed his allegiance over the genetic mistakes! The by-products of forging the ROBUTE GUILLIMAN which were the other primarchs!

AND he understood that to turn from the Codex, to deviate or ignore its teachings in the slightest was of the highest crimes! Rewriting the histories of those BLACK, FOUL, UNHOLY beings like the Space Wolves and Black Templars, forces not worthy to share the 41st millennium with GUILLIMAN’s demi-gods of children and those who bowed to their will, accepting all before them! Rewriting their histories so that they were dying out, shunned by all of man’s empire and regarded a little better than mutants and heretics! In his infinite wisdom did he grant redemption to those few whose primarchs had begged GUILLIMAN to bestow his Codex upon their chapters such as the White Scars while enforcing upon them the necessary scarring required for even questioning the dictations of the one true son of the Emperor! Establishing a rivalry with the Raven Guard and making both chapters so weak a force they couldn’t combat a single threat the LTRAMARINES could not deal with personally!

He would further enforce this upon other codices, introducing such HOLY WORDS into the Codex of the Blood Angels: “Indeed, it was Guilliman who would have the greatest lasting effect upon the now leaderless Blood Angels. Through the Codex Astartes – that great treatise on the restructuring and ordering of the Space Marines – Guilliman’s legacy would reshape the Blood Angels Legion into the Chapters that defend the Imperium to this day.”

And true to this would he enforce it, glorifying his benevolent influence over the NEAR-TRAITOR Sanguinius and making the sons of the Blood Angels worshipful of him above all others! Further did he instil unity amongst them! No more would there be confusing terms found within their legion, no more would there be the psudo-latin titles and descriptions worthy of only the LTRAMARINESBLOOD was all they were and BLOOD was all their equipment would be! With bloodstrike missiles, blood champions, blood talons, blood lances and blood drinkers in their worship of the blood father! Using it to emphasise upon their true corruption from within, killing the chapter and how even those so vile they are barely better than the berserkers of Khorne could find redemption in following the CODEX OF GUILLIMAN so zealously!

Emphasising upon how even a chapter so corrupt as they could easily overpower any force they oppose! Crushing all enemies in their path and reintroducing the true power, THE DOMINANCE!, of the space marine for the first time in years!


Further in his actions would the Ward cast his gaze upon the FAKERS of the Adeptus Sororitas, mocking parodies of the true space marines and WOMEN! He did witness their efforts to mimmick the space marine, armed with his armour and bolter, and he was displeased! With righteous fire did he bring his wrath down upon them! In the fifth edition Rulebook of Warhammer 40,000 did he remove all but a handful of their number from existence! Reducing their foul orders to but a HANDFUL in number as it was the closest he could come to annihilating them from his game!

In ever following book did he write, the Ward did make every effort to humiliate and burn them from his game! Unleashing the Flesh Tearers upon a comradery who DARED to be on the same battlefield as a glorious Astartes! Having no mentioned or involvement in the Codex of our beloved space marine chapter, nor recognition of their PATHETIC efforts to defend the Imperium! And so recently having the head of their beloved SUBSTITUTE PRIMARCH SEBASTIAN THOR!!! taken by the necrons as a trophy!

Further did he empower his own armies with their traits, better deserving forces of their own traits STOLEN before they could be given to true forces! To the Blood Angels did he gift every theme of religious warfare, their use of fire, their iconography of the heavens in a DIVINE effort to make the HERETICAL army of fake Astartes redundant!

Yet somehow did the effort fail!

From what we can only assume was the efforts of those foul, dejected inhumans who could not accept the perfection of the works from Our Ward In Heaven, did the effort to wipe them from existence fail. Then in a stroke of brilliance did the Ward think of a true way to strike against such foul heresies against his game while continuing to enforce the dominance of the space marine over all others and the GLORIES OF GUILLIMAN! To bring his unearthly talents to the GREY KNIGHTS!


For far too long had the Grey Knights suffered under the inept writings of others! For far too long had they been unable to be the focus of their own book! Forced to bear the name CODEX: DEAMONHUNTERS!!! Acting as simple muscle for the Inquisiton rather than a force in their own right! The previous authors denying the space marines to CONTROL THEIR OWN CODEX!!!

The Ward’s first act was to correct this! All but annihilating the presence of the Inquisition in their book, reducing them to their true and proper role as simple infantry to bulk out the forces with the Emperor’s TRUE SERVANTS! Further did he correct the foul mistakes of other inept authors, such as the crude, borderline illiterate efforts of the being known as Ben Counter! No more were the Grey Knights to ignore the dictations of the Codex Astartes! No more was the force intended to guard the entirety if the Imperium against daemonic threat permitted to outnumber the true CHAPTERS OF THE EMPEROR by over three times their standard number! They would be corrected to number one thousand space marines as all other TRUE CHAPTERS!

Furthermore none of the MYSTERY or LITERARY DEVICES which had plagued so many codecies would be present here to wreck this force any longer! The pointlessness of questioning their origins from the Emperor?! NO MORE! They would have their origins as his sires, carrying his gene-seed confirmed and completely known! Thus retconning Counter’s foul books and any like them from further plaguing the Black Library and contradicting the Ward’s works! Correcting any pointless questions, pointless plot hooks, pointless fan theories or opportunities for new stories and interest from information we did not know! No, the Ward understood what fans wanted was POWER! Ignoring the constraints of canon or logic did the Ward take the step forwards and make the Grey Knights immune to corruption, immune to the taint of Chaos, without any risk of falling thanks to their genetics rather than skill, talent or training!

Nevermind that this action contradicted all we know of the Horus Heresy! That as they had been similarly built upon the genetics of the Emperor no space marine or primarch should have been able fall to Chaos! Nevermind that the Emperor himself was an unenhanced human without gene-seed! That the custodies were created in entirely different ways to the recruitment process of a space marine, individually crafted and gene-forged in far more perfection! NO! The Ward understood that none of that mattered! That all Warhammer needed was more POWER given to Humanity’s greatest warriors!

This certainty was reflected within his book’s rules! Unit stats so great none could stand against them! Rules which could allow them to instantly kill any foe, even if the Knights themselves were slain! Equipment which made them immune to any army they encountered such as the foul Tau Empire, something which had NO PLACE within his game!!! Rules so beneficent to his game, so above criticism that this lowly reviewer, this servant of the Ward is not worthy of listing them! Yet they must be taken into account, for they display his GENIUS when it came to his reinvention of the Imperium’s second greatest chapter! No longer were the Grey Knights to be closed minded towards using the weapons of the enemy! No longer were they to question their PURITY or the right to use weapons tainted by Chaos or the presence of Xenos! Now the Astartes would freely fight alongside those who wielded such weapons!

Inquisitors carrying xenos tech into battle, the radicals wielding blades with trapped essences of daemons, and those with the hosts of daemons bound to their command were no longer denied to ASSIST the Grey Knights in battle! For these warriors now knew pragmatism and that they could accept such heresies for they were pure! That their very genes guaranteed that they would not be corrupted by any action, any heresy and even consorting with the daemons of Chaos would not be permitted! ALL WAS PERMITTED IN THE NAME OF THE EMPEROR! No act of heresy on the part of the Grey Knights or their allies was to be questioned!

The Ward did all but remove the lines between heresy and purity in his actions, and all for the better! Further did the book go retconning ill-thought out ideas such as the difference between psychic power and sorcery! All were equal now, they WERE the same thing! This permitted any act the Grey Knights might take, even rituals of Chaos!

Best of all this removed any need for the Sisters of Battle within the Inquisition! Their questioning, their BLIND hatred for the powers of psychics made them ill-needed for the Ordo Hereticus! The Codex now listing the Grey Knights as the only militant arm of the Inquisition! In one fell swoop of GENIUS did the Ward remove their need from this game, did remove the canon existence of the ridiculous joke which was the Deathwatch but also improved his own armies! Just as he had LIBERATED traits from the abominations which were the Sisters of Battle did he take their characters! Take any who might have previously served them, made them viable for using on the battlefield and given them identities they did not deserve were gifted to the Grey Knights! The likes of Karamazov were to now bolstering the ranks of the Grey Knights as they SHOULD BE! Not flaunting about with FAKE SPACE MARNINES! Others such as units previously specific to them, knowing that the Sororitas were undeserving of having their kind!

AGAIN did he strike against the foul Sororitas, trying to crush them even further and out them as the PATHETIC WRECKS they truly were!!! Against the Bloodtide did he display how every encounter between the true space marines and the parodies of the Ecclesiarchy should take place! With the Grey Knights SLAUGHTERING those who might get in their way, MASSACRING those who had not fallen to the creature of Chaos, then making use of them in the only way they could: Smearing their armour with their gore in a Chaotic ritual banish the Bloodtide and its master, the bloodthirster Ka’Jagga’nath! Making every effort to glorify the SACRIFICES of the Grey Knights and their warriors while ignoring the pathetic efforts of the Sororitas!

But most of all Our Ward In Heaven did understand that he did not need to show any such actions on the part of his space marines, did not need to display such decisions! The reader only needed to be told them! Told what was happening and told there was no difference! HE UNDERSTOOD THAT THE TRUE TALENT OF A WRITER WAS TO TELL INFORMATION NOT SHOW IT! Something which had only improved EVERY book he had ever worked upon and prevented him from losing sight of what is important! Prevented things like semblances of so-called balance and weaknesses from sullying his visions of what Warhammer SHOULD BE!

Such a mentality has LONG had his characters held in high regard above all others: Sicarius, powerful and talented above all for reasons we mortals cannot question! The Sanguinor, an improved variation of Saint Celestine UNSULLIED by influence from the Sororitas existing purely because the Ward could create him! AND EVERY ONE OF HIS GREY KNIGHTS!

Save for those ruinations he did not personally create, the Ward did forge individuals befitting his own vision of this chapter! Justicar Thawn, a figure immortal and UNKILLABLE! Mordrak, capable of figures back from death itself! And Kaldor Draigo, powerful beyond all reckoning and unconquerable! No answers were given to the abilities of these characters, no hints or even reasoning for why they might possess such powers, they simply WERE!

Draigo himself is the best example of such genius! No time was spent to establish his unique abilities or reason as to why he possessed skills and sheer raw power great than even that of some of the primarchs! NOR WAS IT NEEDED! The Ward understood that readers only wanted to see their victories, their conquests of all and how Chaos was no true threat to such beings!

Smashing the primarch Mortarion and his bodyguard single handily, now an even greater parody of the ALMIGHTY GUILLIMAN!, Draigo established his strength above all. Without effort, without trial, without even straining to bring the primarch and his warriors low did he defeat them all! Carving his name into the triator’s heart to monument the POWER of the Grey Knights! The Ward did further refuse to be constrained by the writings of others!

He understood that long established FACTS such as the Warp’s nature as anathema to all morals, that any who entered its real would immediately die, were things only to be ignored! Previous laws by JOKES of writers, beings INCAPABLE of crafting worlds as only he could! Details such as the landmarks of the Warp, the Gardens of Nurgle and City of Tzeentch, being purely concepts reduced to the point where mortals could understand them were cast aside! Used as demonstrations of Dragio’s POWER and SHEER AWESOMENESS as he destroyed them! It is to this day a HERESY that the Ward was forced to dictate that Draigo had no impact upon the Warp, that his every TRIUMPH was instantly corrected to prevent the Ward’s marvels from conquering all of the Warp! Yet even here did he manage to bypass such CENSORSHIP of his MAGNUM OPUS! Introducing permanent victories by Draigo such as the theft of the axe belonging to Khorne’s champion! SLAYING the chosen daemonettes of Slannesh! And OVERCOMING the supposedly endless maze of Tzeentch’s city!

It would take a million words to truly GLORIFY the true intelligence, originality and skill poured into this book but every moment of it is EXEMPLIFIED in Draigo!

Codex: Grey Knights ignores the works of lesser authors, ignores the constraints which lesser mortals would try to place upon the Ward and allows him to display his TRUE DIVINITY! It is the work in which he truly displays his skill above all others and separates those with no faith with the TRUE GAMERS and TRUE FANS of Warhammer 40,000! Upon looking at its pages the eyes of those NON-BELIEVERS in his abilities have been seared from their skulls while those who embrace his knowledge ascend to the SKIES!

For such a monumental book there is no score which is truly high enough to award to such a book of true greatness! But this lowly being shall try none the less:

Verdict: 999,999,999,999/10

And to all those who hate the Ward, to all those who DENY what he truly is and attempt to criticise the SACRED COW ABOVE ALL CRITICISM which is Matthew Ward there is one thing you should know!

ONE THING which ALL should learn before bearing judgement to this title, questioning its TRUE AWESOMENESS ABOVE ALL!!!



April Fools.


Verdict: 999,999,999,999/10 Verdict: 1/10


Special thanks to all the raging fans of this author, and all zealous fandoms everywhere, for providing so much inspiration. This long parody wouldn’t have been possible without you.


Long time reader of novels, occasional writer of science fiction and critic of many things; Bellarius has seen some of the best and worst the genre has to offer.
Find more of his reviews and occasional rants here:

  • Kor Phaeron