Dataslate: Cypher – Lord of the Fallen

Games Workshop ends their digital advent calendar with a bang: Cypher, Lord of the Fallen as a Dataslate, adding one of the most elusive figures in Warhammer 40K as a HQ choice to most armies (except Dark Angels Space Marines).

#1 – Cypher – Lord of the Fallen

Cypher Lord of the Fallen
Cypher Lord of the Fallen Dataslate

The individual known as Cypher is one of the greatest mysteries in the war-torn future. His motives and methods are inscrutable. The few who even know of his existence are unsure if he Mankind’s bitterest enemy, or a lost pilgrim seeking atonement. Cypher is a being wrapped in shadow, an entity whose every move is cloaked in mystery. The Dark Angels have sought out Cypher since the fall of Caliban – their old homeworld. Over those many millennia, they have caught up with their quarry many times, but each time Cypher has inexplicably eluded them.

Rumours and legends about Cypher follow wherever he appears – and that can be anywhere across the galaxy. He has been sighted in each of the Imperium’s five segmentum, materialising as if from nowhere. Wherever he surfaces, he brings with him death and destruction, although whether he is the culprit or merely a herald of woe is often unclear. And wherever Cypher turns up, more of the mysterious Fallen Dark Angels are sure to follow.

#2 – Who is Cypher?

Cypher is a character from the Dark Angels Space Marines background, tied to the schism of the First Legion between Luther and the Lion in the wake of the Horus Heresy, which led to the battle that split the Dark Angles home world Caliban (later to become the Rock).

Later (much later) in the Horus Heresy novels by Black Library, “Cypher” was also introduced as a sort of office or title, that different Dark Angles adopted in the Legion before the Heresy.

Either way, the Dark Angels hunt him relentlessly as the Lord of the Fallen. Cypher appears randomly throughout the galaxy, but is rumoured to be slowly moving towards Terra.

#3 – Cypher in the Game

The new Cypher dataslate, capping off the digital advent calender, is the largest yet, and at £11.99 costs you as much as an entire Codex did at the time of 4th Edition or so.

Still, along with Be’lakor, reviving some classic Warhammer 40K lore has (in my humble opinion) been far and away the best use of the digital dataslate format.

I remember rumours about Cypher being planned for the Dark Vengeance box, and hopes he might appear in (possibly both) the Chaos Space Marines and Dark Angels Codex, when they were released back-to-back a year ago.

Now he is here, and the dataslate brings him to the table in two variants: as a single HQ character and as a Chaos Space Marines Formation.

  • As a single character, Cypher is a HQ choice for any primary detachment of the following codexes: Adepta Sororitas, Blood Angels, Chaos Space Marines, Grey Knights, Imperial Guard, Inquisition, Space Marines, and Space Wolves. He does not take up a HQ slot and cannot be included in any army containing Dark Angels Space Marines.
  • As a Formation, you get Cypher along with several units of Chaos Space Marines Chosen.
  • Sneaky as he is, he comes with rules such as Infiltrate, Shrouded, etc.., and, fittingly, gives an extra Victory Point for any Dark Angels opponent that slays him.

All in all, a great, very flavorful set of rules. Pricy, I admit, and thus probably only for true enthusiasts. I love how he fits into a whole host of Codex books. At the same time, this versatility probably means he won’t show up in any of them in printed form.

#4 – Thoughts?

Let me know what you think of Cypher (and, possibly, the last month of GW’s digital advent calendar as a whole)!

I am looking forward to your thoughts!




I am Zweischneid. Wargame Addict. Hopeless painter and founder of Pins of War. I hope you enjoyed this article. Don't forget to share your favourite miniature pictures and wargaming videos at
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  • Michael Dudek

    Definitely pricey, but before people complain too much, there is a lot of content here. Background fluff, Cypher’s stats and special rules, a mini Fallen army list where he can lead a band of Chaos Chosen, and 6 missions in all. It ran about 100 pages on my Kindle.

    And some of the stuff was new, and incorporated info from the Horus Heresy novels. In all, I would have been happier at $10 than $17, but this is still very meaty package compared to some of the stuff we’ve seen from Black Library Digital.

  • Hive Senteniel

    I was completely taken aback but the price but it’s really worth it. You get missions and a dataslate w/ really excellent fluff and an amazingly efficient character who isn’t badly priced (points wise) for what he can do game wise. All in all, Marine players you’ll love this and I highly recommend it.

  • Mr. Wizard

    It seems foolish that you can’t include him in a dark angels list but you can in every other space marine codex seeing as it would be cool to run a fallen list with him. It would make sense to have a rule such as no other named characters could be taken with him. Originally I was quite excited about this but now I am a little bit disappointed.

    • Ruska

      I’m in the same boat as you regarding mixed feelings. Obviously you can run a Fallen list using vanilla marines, but then it loses some of the flavor. This is pretty much what I’ve been doing anyways, given how weak the Dark Angels codex is currently.

      • Bobthemim

        For one Cypher is still available on the GW website..

        and for another the DA book is set AFTER the Fallen and have all the perks of that came with it.. Like the 4++ sheild, the Slavo Banner, Ravenwing/deathwing etc..

        So him being used for SM would work for a Fallen-esque army

        • Ruska

          I’m aware that it’s in the GW store – I got mine for $16 including shipping. From GW it would have been $28.21 after shipping.

          • Bobthemim

            odd that it would cost that much.

        • Yggdrasil

          Well, I had had some plans of a squad of DA Veterans to tag along Cypher, it did seem fluffy (some old Dark Angels, painted in black under their robes) and without the 40k-esque issues you’re mentioning !
          Too bad…

          And the eBook price tag is a bit high indeed :

          • Bobthemim

            You can still do that… just cant field them as DA as the DA that exists now is post-heresy. So much so, even Greenwing gets the benefits from “not knowing”

          • Yggdrasil

            I mean that I had thought of using the “Veterans” entry & rules as a “counts as” for Fallen Dark Angels…

            Now I cannot :(

    • Azrell

      It seem like a pore design chose to let everyone play with cypher but the people that would be most interested in him. It would have been more interesting to have found a way for the DA player to take cypher and force him into the other players army… kind of like the DAs knew he was there but the other player didnt even know his army had been infiltrated by the fallen… you know like in the fluff.