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Made in ca
Stormin' Stompa






Hey everybody, my friend and I were discussing the top duellists in 30k, which outside of the Primarchs usually revolved around first captains like Abbadon, Sigismund, and Raldoron. In 40k, this list is obviously much less clear, especially when you expand past the SM circle of heroes. If you had to rank the top duelists in 40k (not including those in 30k), who would they be? In this scenario, I'm assuming 1v1's, no holds barred type fighting.

Also to save it from being a Primarch/Monster fest dominating the top of the list, we're excluding Primarchs, Daemon Princes, and Monster level variety fighters simply so they don't take up a lot of space. This would also include guys like Avatars of Khaine and the Swarmlord.

If I had to do it in Tiers, it would be:

Tier S:

Sly Marbo

Tier 1:

Abbadon
Kaldor Draigo
Lelith Hesperax
Grand Harlequin
Solitaire
Drazhar
Kharn
Trajann Valoris
Mephiston
Skulltaker
Castellan Crowe

Tier 2:

Dante
Ragnar Blackmane
Logan Grimnar
Jain Zar/Asurmen/Karanrandras
Lucius the Eternal
Marneus Calgar
Belial/Azrael
Celestine
Eldrad

Tier 3:

Varguard Obyron
Colonel Straken
Commissar Yarrick
Deathleaper
Commander Farsight
Ethereal Aunshi

With Ghazzy being upped recently to monster status, I didn't want to include him but he'd be somewhere around the higher level of tier 2. It's a bit sad to see that as far as Ork characters go they don't have many feats or explicitly good fighters in our roster barring Ghazzy, at least in the 40k era.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/04/04 01:50:09


 
   
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Props for solely putting sly marbo in S tier, as he should be. All the other candidates would just bounce off his steely abs.

But if we're talking seriously, lelith hesperax, harlequin solitaires, trajann valoris, abaddon, kharn and skulltaker should be in S tier, with lelith topping the list.

If drazhar is in tier1, the other phoenix lords also have to be imo.

Edit: you excluded monsters, but I just wanted to make the point that if we were to include them, the avatar and the swarm lord should top the list. They are superlative combatants and get shafted waaaay to often in the lore...they deserve better.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/04/03 22:06:29


 
   
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Phoenix lords as a group don't make any sense. Several of them are not duellists at all, others are dedicated HtH fighters.

Eldrad and anything tau shouldn't even be visible from the list.

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Nimble Skeleton Charioteer





I'd say Marbo is absolutely not on the list for best Duelist in 40k lol. But funny putting him there.


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jaredb wrote:
I'd say Marbo is absolutely not on the list for best Duelist in 40k lol. But funny putting him there.



So you're saying Marbo couldn't just solo Abaddon with ease? Get outta here....have you seen that guys roided out biceps and heard his obvious austrian accent? The only reason the imperium hasn't won everything is because the high command of the astra militarum is afraid that marbo would just solo any enemy and earn all the glory for himself.
   
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Kidding aside, it's probably Lelith
   
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Stormin' Stompa






jaredb wrote:
I'd say Marbo is absolutely not on the list for best Duelist in 40k lol. But funny putting him there.



It's a tongue in-cheek joke for how fans have basically created a mythos of him being the chuck norris of the 40k universe, but I also put it in S-tier since Sly starts with S Otherwise, totally agree with you.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Voss wrote:
Phoenix lords as a group don't make any sense. Several of them are not duellists at all, others are dedicated HtH fighters.

Eldrad and anything tau shouldn't even be visible from the list.


That's fair, I was a bit lazy and should have specified which ones actually made it for the list. I only included Eldrad due to old fluff that was retconned now where he was able to beat Abbadon in the old Eye of Terror campaign. Also some I felt representation for Tau would be fun if only to see them at the very bottom.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Tiberias wrote:
Props for solely putting sly marbo in S tier, as he should be. All the other candidates would just bounce off his steely abs.

But if we're talking seriously, lelith hesperax, harlequin solitaires, trajann valoris, abaddon, kharn and skulltaker should be in S tier, with lelith topping the list.

If drazhar is in tier1, the other phoenix lords also have to be imo.

Edit: you excluded monsters, but I just wanted to make the point that if we were to include them, the avatar and the swarm lord should top the list. They are superlative combatants and get shafted waaaay to often in the lore...they deserve better.


I definitely agree that realistically the Avatar and Swarmlord should be considered in the upper echelons and unfortunately are treated poorly in universe as the worf of 40k purely because they can come back/there are multiples of them.

The reason why I rated Drazhar as higher is because of how easily he killed Jain Zar in single combat. The Phoenix Lords sadly don't have many feats that are recorded and Drazhar is pretty much a complete murder machine as far as both fluff and crunch goes.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/04/04 01:52:56


 
   
Made in us
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The Nightbringer is the winner if you include monsters.

Non monster I'd vote for either a Dark Eldar or a Harlequin of some sort. Count me in for Lelith.

Sly Marbo is not a great duelist. He's good because he's sly, not because he's some great swordsman.

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To have a duel, you have to see Marbo coming. That is not how Marbo operates.

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Swarmlord deserves to be in the A list. The only reason he keeps getting beaten up is because he's basically unkillable so when GW wants to show off how tough other heroes are they come and have a one on one with the Swarmlord.

Thing is they never technically win, the Swarmlord is immortal and is reborn elsewhere in the Swarm. Technically it always wins because each time it comes back, its stronger for it.


Also the real reason Swarmy never gets to win outright is because the other characters can't be reborn




Also don't forget the Avatar of Khaine is likely going to get a model upgrade when it ever gets updated. So it should be much more in line size and stats wise to the Greater Demons

   
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Also the real reason Swarmy never gets to win outright is because the other characters can't be reborn

Except daemons, the Avatar, the phoenix lords, and various necrons.

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Voss wrote:
Also the real reason Swarmy never gets to win outright is because the other characters can't be reborn

Except daemons, the Avatar, the phoenix lords, and various necrons.


True but most duels are Imperials VS Xenos - its rarer that we get a pure Xenos on Xenos battle. Though GW does seem to be leaning toward having more xenos books. Orks have had a few in the last year or so if I recall right.


Phoenix Lords I'd wager don't so much get resurrected/reborn as remade in the same image, but that's only if the original armour escapes the battlefield.

   
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Lelith is amazing against hordes, not other characters. She can't fight twice unless she kills something, which means against units she's amazing but not so against single guys.

Drazhar can fight twice against anything and even consecutively, without waiting the end of the phase (and the chance of getting killed before he can swing again).

Drazhar is hands down a better duellist than Lelith.

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 Blackie wrote:
Lelith is amazing against hordes, not other characters. She can't fight twice unless she kills something, which means against units she's amazing but not so against single guys.

Drazhar can fight twice against anything and even consecutively, without waiting the end of the phase (and the chance of getting killed before he can swing again).

Drazhar is hands down a better duellist than Lelith.


We are talking fluff, rather than rules, this is the Backgound subforum after all.

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Margo being a “duellist” implies the other party has a chance of winning

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Sly Marbo is not the galaxy's best duelist. Sly Marbo is a One-Man Army. Sly Marbo doesn't have time to duel. Challenge Sly Marbo to a duel and he will slice off your hands and leave you to contemplate the errors of your way while he destroys your army. Once done, he will sneak up behind you and chop off your head with one swing of his knife. That is how Sly Marbo rolls.
   
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Major points for adding Sly Mario as a league of his own.

There was that one space marine who won the feast of blades twice. The feast of blades is a competition of 12 chapters from the imperial fist gene seed. It’s held every 100 years. Each chapter sends 10 champions for 1v1 duels. The winner brings the dornsblade to his chapter untill the next event. The Iron Knights' Champion Hervald Strom is the only one to having won this 10.000 years old tournament twice in a row.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/04/04 20:51:29


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I mean, probably Lelith, right? Didn't she have the highest WS in the game back in 7th? (Excluding keepers of secrets, the Avatar of Khaine, and maybe the Solitaire.) And narratively, "duels" are a big part of her day job. And her rules have often given her bonuses against characters to reflect her focus on fighting other characters.

So yeah. I feel like fluff says Lelith assuming we're talking about a close-ranged knife fight. She might lose a sniper duel to Maugan Ra or a VIndicaire. She might get tricked by a Great Harlie or Solitaire and "win" the duel but lose the greater conflict. But in a stabbing match? I'd like her odds against a phoenix lord, any of the marine characters (including that chump Lucius), a chunky warboss, some stabby Ethereal, or sneaky tyranid that gets most of its kills through ambush tactics.

Sidenote: I don't get the impression Draigo is actually very good at "duelling." His fluff is basically all about how he's bad at solving his problems through any method but the gratuitous application of warp fire. And if we're counting that, I'd like to add any naval commander with his finger on the exterminatus button to the list. ;D
   
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Wyldhunt wrote:
I mean, probably Lelith, right? Didn't she have the highest WS in the game back in 7th? (Excluding keepers of secrets, the Avatar of Khaine, and maybe the Solitaire.) And narratively, "duels" are a big part of her day job. And her rules have often given her bonuses against characters to reflect her focus on fighting other characters.

So yeah. I feel like fluff says Lelith assuming we're talking about a close-ranged knife fight. She might lose a sniper duel to Maugan Ra or a VIndicaire. She might get tricked by a Great Harlie or Solitaire and "win" the duel but lose the greater conflict. But in a stabbing match? I'd like her odds against a phoenix lord, any of the marine characters (including that chump Lucius), a chunky warboss, some stabby Ethereal, or sneaky tyranid that gets most of its kills through ambush tactics.

Sidenote: I don't get the impression Draigo is actually very good at "duelling." His fluff is basically all about how he's bad at solving his problems through any method but the gratuitous application of warp fire. And if we're counting that, I'd like to add any naval commander with his finger on the exterminatus button to the list. ;D


I agree on lelith here, she seems to be an anomaly in that she's absolute physical perfection and I am not talking about looks. Pair that with millennia of experience of killing basically anything that moves in the arena and it doesn't get more skilled than that.
Now, would she beat kaldo draigo in a fight when he throws 50 megatonns of explosive warpfire against her? Probably not, but she's still more skilled regarding her martial abilities in all probability. My point being that martial prowess does not necessarily mean that you are going to win in a duel, especially in 40k.

Regarding draigo....I actually genuinely like his TTS characterisation even though it's tounge and cheek. Him being basically a walking nuke, incorruptible but also absolutely flying rodent gak insane.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/04/05 13:36:33


 
   
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Macon, GA

If we're talking about Duellists, that implies one on one combat, some room to manuever, and the fight rewarding skill as well as sheer strength/ferocity.

You're top candidates are going to have enormous skill/experience as well as the strength to hit hard. This means that longer lived fighters have an advantage, as do anything that gives some juice or edge. Based on this, on top of the obvious eliminations (tau, Necrons, and basic humans), you can probably strike loyalist space marines (shorter lives and no warp powers). Tyranids focus more on quantity than quality, although broodlords won't embarrass themselves. That leaves CSM, orks, Daemons, and the various flavors of eldar.

the list I'd throw together for a top five would be:
Kharn (although Cypher is a twist option)
Skulltaker
Jain Zar
Lelith
Solitaires

Of those, two are explicitly duelists: Skulltaker and Lelith. Skulltaker is the demonic champion of the literal god of blood, so he's got a lot going for him. Lelith seems to be the peak of mortal fighting ability, and is one of the few top tier characters whose fame is almost fully based on her own combat prowess instead of leadership.

In the end, I'm giving it to Lelith.

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 Polonius wrote:
If we're talking about Duellists, that implies one on one combat, some room to manuever, and the fight rewarding skill as well as sheer strength/ferocity.

You're top candidates are going to have enormous skill/experience as well as the strength to hit hard. This means that longer lived fighters have an advantage, as do anything that gives some juice or edge. Based on this, on top of the obvious eliminations (tau, Necrons, and basic humans), you can probably strike loyalist space marines (shorter lives and no warp powers). Tyranids focus more on quantity than quality, although broodlords won't embarrass themselves. That leaves CSM, orks, Daemons, and the various flavors of eldar.

the list I'd throw together for a top five would be:
Kharn (although Cypher is a twist option)
Skulltaker
Jain Zar
Lelith
Solitaires

Of those, two are explicitly duelists: Skulltaker and Lelith. Skulltaker is the demonic champion of the literal god of blood, so he's got a lot going for him. Lelith seems to be the peak of mortal fighting ability, and is one of the few top tier characters whose fame is almost fully based on her own combat prowess instead of leadership.

In the end, I'm giving it to Lelith.


I agree Lelith but you forgot the Custodes. Valor and Trajann are supposed to be quite skilled.

Guilliman probably deserves a mention too as I think a primarch can proooobably handle Kharn in a straight up, fair duel.
   
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Audustum wrote:
 Polonius wrote:
If we're talking about Duellists, that implies one on one combat, some room to manuever, and the fight rewarding skill as well as sheer strength/ferocity.

You're top candidates are going to have enormous skill/experience as well as the strength to hit hard. This means that longer lived fighters have an advantage, as do anything that gives some juice or edge. Based on this, on top of the obvious eliminations (tau, Necrons, and basic humans), you can probably strike loyalist space marines (shorter lives and no warp powers). Tyranids focus more on quantity than quality, although broodlords won't embarrass themselves. That leaves CSM, orks, Daemons, and the various flavors of eldar.

the list I'd throw together for a top five would be:
Kharn (although Cypher is a twist option)
Skulltaker
Jain Zar
Lelith
Solitaires

Of those, two are explicitly duelists: Skulltaker and Lelith. Skulltaker is the demonic champion of the literal god of blood, so he's got a lot going for him. Lelith seems to be the peak of mortal fighting ability, and is one of the few top tier characters whose fame is almost fully based on her own combat prowess instead of leadership.

In the end, I'm giving it to Lelith.


I agree Lelith but you forgot the Custodes. Valor and Trajann are supposed to be quite skilled.

Guilliman probably deserves a mention too as I think a primarch can proooobably handle Kharn in a straight up, fair duel.


Yeah I agree that Trajann Valoris can hang with the best of them. He is the Imperiums most dangerous fighter after all (not including guilliman who is obviously stronger).
I think OP purposefully excluded Primarchs, because they would just top the list. Same with valdor, he is not a Primarch, but if we're including him, he's going to top the list (if you exclude Primarchs and demon Primarchs). Valdor is in a league of his own considering martial prowess.

Edit: since you mentioned it, guilliman would absolutely stomp kharn, same with most entries on the lists.

Edit2: if we were including everyone, that would be my ranking:

S-tier: (Immortal/demigod tier)
-(Nightbringer): he'd top the list not because of martial skill, but because of raw, unbridled power
-Sly Marbo (couldn't help myself)
-Demon Primarchs/Primarchs
-Constantin Valdor (he's an anomaly among the custodes in that he is closer to a Primarch in skill than any of them)
-Skarbrand
-Shalaxi Helbane
-Bloodthirsters
-Swarmlord (yes, the Swarmlord should be right here, even though he gehts shafted in the lore)
-Ghazghkull (I think the big green can also comfortably hang right here, he's supremely powerful especially after octarius)
-Keeper of Secrets/Avatar of Khaine

Tier1 (mortals, lower demons)
-Lelith
-Skulltaker
-Trajann Valoris
-Abaddon
-Drazhar/Kharandras/Asurmen/Jain zar
-Kharn (he's good, but overrated. I was always of the opinion that abaddon can take him)
-maugan ra/baharroth/fuegan
-solitaires

Tier 2: (space Marines and the likes of them)
-Kaldor Draigo/Mephiston (both overpowered psychic powerhouses and basically anime characters....)
-Sanguinor
-Lucius the Eternal
-Harvald Strom (2 time winner of the feast of blades)
-Dante
-Ragnar/Grimnar

This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2021/04/05 18:51:08


 
   
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Stoic Grail Knight




Tiberias wrote:
Audustum wrote:
 Polonius wrote:
If we're talking about Duellists, that implies one on one combat, some room to manuever, and the fight rewarding skill as well as sheer strength/ferocity.

You're top candidates are going to have enormous skill/experience as well as the strength to hit hard. This means that longer lived fighters have an advantage, as do anything that gives some juice or edge. Based on this, on top of the obvious eliminations (tau, Necrons, and basic humans), you can probably strike loyalist space marines (shorter lives and no warp powers). Tyranids focus more on quantity than quality, although broodlords won't embarrass themselves. That leaves CSM, orks, Daemons, and the various flavors of eldar.

the list I'd throw together for a top five would be:
Kharn (although Cypher is a twist option)
Skulltaker
Jain Zar
Lelith
Solitaires

Of those, two are explicitly duelists: Skulltaker and Lelith. Skulltaker is the demonic champion of the literal god of blood, so he's got a lot going for him. Lelith seems to be the peak of mortal fighting ability, and is one of the few top tier characters whose fame is almost fully based on her own combat prowess instead of leadership.

In the end, I'm giving it to Lelith.


I agree Lelith but you forgot the Custodes. Valor and Trajann are supposed to be quite skilled.

Guilliman probably deserves a mention too as I think a primarch can proooobably handle Kharn in a straight up, fair duel.


Yeah I agree that Trajann Valoris can hang with the best of them. He is the Imperiums most dangerous fighter after all (not including guilliman who is obviously stronger).
I think OP purposefully excluded Primarchs, because they would just top the list. Same with valdor, he is not a Primarch, but if we're including him, he's going to top the list (if you exclude Primarchs and demon Primarchs). Valdor is in a league of his own considering martial prowess.

Edit: since you mentioned it, guilliman would absolutely stomp kharn, same with most entries on the lists.

Edit2: if we were including everyone, that would be my ranking:

S-tier: (Immortal/demigod tier)
-(Nightbringer): he'd top the list not because of martial skill, but because of raw, unbridled power
-Sly Marbo (couldn't help myself)
-Demon Primarchs/Primarchs
-Skarbrand
-Shalaxi Helbane
-Bloodthirsters
-Swarmlord (yes, the Swarmlord should be right here, even though he gehts shafted in the lore)
-Ghazghkull (I think the big green can also comfortably hang right here, he's supremely powerful especially after octarius)
-Keeper of Secrets/Avatar of Khaine

Tier1 (mortals, lower demons)
-Lelith
-Skulltaker
-Trajann Valoris
-Abaddon
-Drazhar/Kharandras/Asurmen/Jain zar
-Kharn (he's good, but overrated. I was always of the opinion that abaddon can take him)
-maugan ra/baharroth/fuegan
-solitaires

Tier 2: (space Marines and the likes of them)
-Kaldor Draigo/Mephiston (both overpowered psychic powerhouses and basically anime characters....)
-Sanguinor
-Lucius the Eternal
-Harvald Strom (2 time winner of the feast of blades)
-Dante
-Ragnar/Grimnar


I agree with this list.
   
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I just also included Constantin valdor in S-tier, cause I forgot to add hi., but I think he fits there quite well
   
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Voss wrote:
Phoenix lords as a group don't make any sense. Several of them are not duellists at all, others are dedicated HtH fighters.

Eldrad and anything tau shouldn't even be visible from the list.


Eldrad did beat Abbadon in duel at some point. He was saved by sorcerers who teleported him to safety before Eldrad could finish him off.
   
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epronovost wrote:
Voss wrote:
Phoenix lords as a group don't make any sense. Several of them are not duellists at all, others are dedicated HtH fighters.

Eldrad and anything tau shouldn't even be visible from the list.


Eldrad did beat Abbadon in duel at some point. He was saved by sorcerers who teleported him to safety before Eldrad could finish him off.


That was in a WD battle report just prior to the old Eye of Terror worldwide campaign. In the actual battle report Eldrad won and defeated/"killed" Abaddon.

In the background ending, it described Eldrad fighting and picking a thread of fate leading to victory, but just as Eldrad's staff started to pierce Abaddon's throat, drawing a drop of blood, Abaddon was whisked away to safety by the Chaos gods. Eldrad then despaired as though he had picked a path leading to victory in the duel, it had led to a path in which Abaddon would unleash his 13th Black Crusade. Basically it meant the 13th Black Crusade would happen anyway, regardless of the result of that one WD battle report.
   
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As much as I love my man E-drizzle (Eldrad) he basically falls over if someone gets to close to him and needs to be escorted out of the room for some down time...

Like he can manipulate the fates and bring a whole ork waaagh on top of your fleet... But that's not exactly a duel skill.

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I would much rather everyone have a half ass than no ass.


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Lucius is the best duellist of them all.
Because he literally cannot lose.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/04/19 10:04:38


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 Vector Strike wrote:
Lucius is the best duellist of them all.
Because he literally cannot lose.


Well, OP phrased the question around individual skill, and lucius is definitely not the most skilled of them all.
Also his plot armor is kinda silly and easily overwritten by other plot armor. I mean if they were to ever write a story where for example kharn or skulltaker were to beat up an kill lucius, do you think khorne would allow any of them to be overtaken by some silly slaanesh shenanigans? I don't think so

Or do you think Gork and Mork (or Mork and Gork?) would allow ghazghkull to be overtaken by lucius if he were to mop the floor with him? His plot armor is at least as thick.

Also the way his stupid armor works, lucius wouldn't be able to overtake the swarmlord for example, swarmy wouldn't feel any emotion at all by killing lucius, just squashing another tasty lifeforms to be assimilated.
   
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I see Shalaxi at the top of the list so there you go.
   
 
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