LORE: What the New ‘Votann’ Are in Warhammer 40k

Leagues-of-Votann-squatsGW has released some spicy 40k Squats Leagues of Votann lore and background on what a ‘Votann’ actually is!

With them (hopefully) coming out later this year, GW has to build up a backstory for the Leagues of Votaan, as lore is just cool! They are really leaning into the ancient tech with them, so this means the rumor of Men of Iron coming along with the faction might be more possible than we originally thought. 

Warhammer Community unveiled a bunch of secrets and why they are now choosing to get more involved with the constant wars of the Grimdark. First, look at the new model reveal, then jump into the lore!

GW Confirms New 40k Squats aka the Leagues of Votann

April Fool’s joke? The Leagues of Votann don’t do jokes! Or probably April for that matter…
40k Squats
Yes, they’re really real. In an April Fools double-bluff that had Tzeentch himself scratching his feathered head, Humanity’s long-lost cousins actually are making their return to the 41st Millennium as a full Warhammer 40,000 faction.
The model itself is really sweet and honestly, the name change is probably a good thing as it just sounds cool. But we won’t mind if you call them by their OG name!
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These warriors have a long and proud martial history, and to those who aren’t on their bad side, they’re known as the Leagues of Votann – though they refer to themselves as Kin.

Although their civilisation shares common roots with Humanity, the Leagues of Votann have an uneasy relationship with the Imperium of Man. Unlike their superstitious Human cousins, the Leagues emerged from the Age of Strife with far more of their ancient technology intact, including some infamous advances the Imperium would consider extremely heretical.

This is a cool idea in terms of weaponry as well. It looks like you just won’t have shorter Guardsmen with Lasguns or something like that. Let’s just hope they have some really cool weapons!

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Their knack for science and a headstrong nature make for skilled warriors backed up by reliable weaponry, as you can see from even this basic trooper. And while there’s no love lost between the Leagues of Votann and Humankind, the resurgence of Chaos and ascendent xenos hordes mean there are usually more pressing concerns than fighting each other.

Leagues of Votann Hearthkyn Models!


These hardy clone warriors form the core of the Kinhosts, and unlike the Adeptus Astartes, they are not bred solely for war. These soldiers are citizens drawn from the populace of the Holds, regardless of gender, job, or social role. They’re Kin who have undergone rigorous martial training, yes, but they also have fulfilling lives outside of war. 

Hearthkyn 3As you can see, they have a ton of weapon options, and GW mentions they can have up to 20 models in a unit. So that means we would expect these to be in boxes of ten.

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Hearthkyn Warriors are often engineered with particular cloneskeins that allow them to specialise in combat – heightened senses, improved stamina, and the ability to see better in the dark, to name but a few. In contrast, others augment their bodies for battle with mechanical limbs and synthetic organs. Held in equal status in League society, Ironkin also fight shoulder to shoulder with their flesh-and-blood comrades – Kin are Kin, even in war.

They have some decent stats and with the wording above, you might be able to upgrade units with special augments.

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These units work effortlessly in conjunction with one another, regardless of their specialization. Some are tasked with sundering the defenses of heavily-armored opponents with ion blasters and HYLas auto-rifles, while others capture battlefield objectives and lay down a hail of saturated fire with their Autarch-pattern bolters.

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We’ll have to see how you can arm them, but it looks like you can make the units fairly specialized.

Weapon & Theyn Options


Each unit of Hearthkyn numbers 10 to 20 strong, and is led by an experienced Theyn. These doughty squad leaders have the honour and responsibility of commanding their fellow Kin – and are able to arm themselves with a variety of hand-to-hand combat weapons, including brutal concussion gauntlets and vicious plasma axes.

Theyns are actually pretty strong with 2 Wounds and what looks to be plenty of wargear!

The Leagues of Votann believe that nothing is worth doing unless it is done well, and they wage war as methodically as any other pursuit. If the cost of the fight cannot be justified, they’ll retire from the battle in good order. Every commander, from Theyns to the grand leader of an Oathband, will ensure no Kin lives are wasted in the pursuit of victory.

Leagues of Votann Sagitaur ATV Vehicle

Sagitaur ATV

Designed for surveying inhospitable alien terrain, the Sagitaur is a rapid-response ATV suited to scouting operations and lightning-fast armoured offensives alongside Hernkyn Pioneers. Its armoured carapace is durable enough to shrug off everything from rockslides to plasma blasts, making it an ideal spearhead for any League-sponsored colonisation effort.

They gave this a rover look for exploring, and it has a distinct look compared to many other Warhammer 40k vehicles.


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Sagitaurs usually operate in pairs – they’re remarkably heavily-armed for their size, with a nose-mounted twin bolt cannon complemented by a swivelling turret weapon, such as a HYLas beam cannon, L7 missile launcher, or MATR autocannon. 

Mentioning they work in pairs gives us a big look into how you can run them. Probably something like running two will only take up one slot, or you might have to take two when you look at the rules they mention below.

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Once they’re right up in enemy lines, they disgorge their ornery cargo – a full squad of infantry, which can be split between the two vehicles. These hardy warriors pop out, engage enemy units with their superior weaponry, and claim vital objectives – while the Sagitaurs speed off to deliver their heavy firepower wherever it’s needed.

So, they will be troop carriers, and we’re not exactly sure how splitting up the units will work, but maybe that means each can only carry five models for the Leagues of Votann lore wise?

Leagues of Votann Squats Trike Hernkyn Pioneer

We’ve seen a few models for the Leagues of Votann, and we wished for more! Well, this is a totally different style than we’ve seen and pretty cool for sure with the retro vibes!

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You’ve heard of flying pigs – well, what about a flying hog? For anyone who hasn’t been following the Leagues since parachute pants and giant shoulder pads were in fashion,* here’s the kind of trike the Kin were riding around in the 1980s.

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Though the old Squat Trikes were noticeably less airborne, you can see a number of key design cues that carried over to the Hernkyn Pioneer… as well as a few places where the technology of the Leagues of Votann has clearly diverged from the Imperium. There’s no mistaking this for a Space Marine bike!


Overall, this is a pretty sweet model, and it’s cool to see them keep with that old Squats trike miniatures aesthetic for the new Leagues of Votann.

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And check out the tough-and-testy triker holding the handlebars of the Hernkyn Pioneer! It’s our first look at a female Kin, clad in a coat and goggles worthy of any aviating outrider. In the Leagues of Votann, when the clan-family calls, everyone answers.

Leagues of Votann New Squats 1We’re all for Squats, so any miniature or vehicle kit previewed for them is exactly what we want to see!

Squats Leagues of Votann Exo-Armour is Back!

Exo Armor Votann

When it comes to protecting their all-important Ancestor Cores, the Leagues of Votann demand no less than the very best weapons and armour around. The honoured warriors who wield them are true elites, wading into battle clad in servo-assisted exo-armour, carrying a name that commands respect from all Kin – the Einhyr Hearthguard.

It looks like they will add a serious combat punch to your army while hopefully having enough wounds and armor to make it there!

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Like Hearthkyn Warriors, Hearthguard are dependable fighters, but their experience and inch-thick battle plating take the Kins’ natural durability to a whole new level. Crack units of Einhyr Hearthguard can be trusted to hold the line and inspire their fellows to stand firm even in the face of untold horrors.

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They aren’t all take and no give, either. Each Einhyr is equipped with a Volkanite Disintegrator and a shoulder-mounted grenade launcher, laying down a solid curtain of fire as they advance. Once the Einhyr Hearthguard join the melee, they’re just as formidable, lashing out with devastating concussion gauntlets. 

They also look to have some serious shooting with a shoulder-mounted grenade launcher and disintegrator. They will most likely be quite expensive points-wise, but we imagine they’ll have the power to back it up!

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These marvels use ancient technologies to increase the mass of a warrior’s fist as they swing, turning an already burly uppercut into an earth-shattering blow that can lift a hulking Ork right off their feet. Those who prefer the deftness of a sword over the raw power of their gauntlets can fit a thrumming plasma blade to their wrist, perfect for slicing and dicing the galaxy’s less damage-resistant dangers.

Exo Armor Votann 6We assume they will be similar to Power Fists, but with a few extra rules for the bladed ones. Either way, this could add some nice combat punch to the army!

40k Squats Leagues of Votann Lore & Background

Leagues of Votann

A secretive people in a galaxy full of mortal threats, the Kin do not discuss the nature of the Votann with outsiders – by sacred custom and sensible caution. The word is used freely enough, but no-one beyond the Leagues has any clue what it refers to.

There’s good reason for this reticence – if the secrets of the Votann were ever revealed to the galaxy at large, the uneasy peace between the Leagues and the Imperium of Man would quickly crumble.

Why? The Votann are Ancestor Cores – super-cogitators, gestalt repositories of inherited wisdom and knowledge. Each League has its own Votann, central to its way of life, and no Kin would hesitate to lay down their lives to protect it – these venerable cogitators are as sacred to the Kin as gods are to the more spiritual races. That’s the sort of thing the Adeptus Mechanicus has strong opinions on.

This really allows GW to lean into new/old weapons that will set them apart from the rest of the armies in 40k. Plus, all this talk of ancient tech allows them to bring some really old stuff back into the game.

Also, the Votanns themselves are a really cool idea, supercomputers that just give all the answers. We’re sure they get 42 a lot of the time, but what can you expect?

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Within these self-organising datastacks and quantum infocores is held all the information a people might need to survive among the stars – weapon specifications, military theory, genealogical data, science, philosophy, and even Standard Template Constructs. There is an unimaginable wealth of lore buried in each Votann, which cannot be allowed to fall into the more superstitious hands of outsiders.

Of course, the 41st Millennium being what it is, not all is well among the Votann – it turns out that even machines of near-limitless power can eventually run out of memory. Whoever first created these marvels did not design them for tens of thousands of years of constant operation, and the sheer weight of data they are forced to compute has begun to slow them down.

Well, it wouldn’t be 40k without tech failing! This would also lead to some really cool scenarios you could play out with them hunting for tech to fix up the machines. They also mention that it can now take decades or centuries for the info to pop out!

Leagues of Votann Guilds Background Lore

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Most Kindreds have some means of defending themselves, and some are mighty battleforces in their own rights – but they tend to unite for protection under the banner of a League. These formal affiliations allow Kindreds to share the benefits of trade, military support, and so on. Leagues like the Ymyr Conglomerate are massive and ancient power blocs, but others have waned in power, or only risen to prominence in more recent times – such as the Seran-Tok Mercantile Leagues, who have profited greatly from trade with the T’au Empire.

This is the 3rd time they have mentioned a connection with Tau, so we expect them somehow to be able to ally, which would be pretty cool to see! Plus, they also talked about how you could take a small detachment in other armies, and it looks like Tau is one of them.

Leagues of Votann lore

But what of the Guilds? These groups exist outside the bounds of Kindred or League, uniting all who practice a particular trade within a given region of Kin space. Whether you make a living by salvaging broken void craft or concocting nutritious liquid rations, there’s a Guild for you – setting standards, providing accreditation, and demanding tithes. Guild membership is voluntary – but there’s no love lost between Guildkin and freelancers, who regard each other as disreputable and hidebound, respectively.

competition – in practice, smaller Guilds rarely extend beyond a single Hold, and maintain key positions within their ruling bodies. Guildmasters typically sit on the Hearthspake – a Kindred’s governing council – as civilian representatives, alongside the military commanders of the Kinhosts and the Grimnyr.

Competition between Guilds can become heated, even drawing other species into the crossfire as jockeying Guildmasters sponsor Oathband expeditions to survey systems rich in resources. Anyone who happens to already inhabit these hotly-contested worlds are out of luck – existing civilisations and ecosystems are a much lower priority than beating rivals to the punch.

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Despite their fractious natures, Guilds are invaluable to Kin society – their accumulated know-how and contacts are what smoothes trade and transit between disparate Kindreds, providing a web of organisation and support that runs throughout the Leagues. From star-mining and gravitic fracking to constructing the far-flung Holds that the Kin call home, every venture is marked by the high standards – and relentless competition – of the Guilds.

The Cthonian Mining Guilds are particularly powerful, embodying the belligerent acquisitiveness of the Kin. Fearless in the cause of locating, securing, and harvesting resources for their race, the Cthonians think nothing of braving environments so extreme that even other Kin would baulk at their hazards. You can expect to hear more about this particular Guild – and its much-modified members – soon enough. 

It’s always cool to see more about the background, and it very easily seems like this is how they might break down the armies into different bonuses and such.

LORE: GW Reveals the Leagues of Votann are Clones!

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The Kin may not know much about their earliest days, but there are certain articles of lost history deemed indisputable, known as “First Truths”. One such principle is that the First Ancestors departed their original homeworld – almost certainly pre-Imperial Terra – millennia ago, aboard vast fleets of generation ships. It is also deemed to be true that these Ancestors set out as prospectors, miners, and void-dredgers, charged with exploiting the riches of the heavens.

The eventual fate of the First Ancestors is uncertain, for Kin myth solidifies into intelligible history only after the long-march fleets began to arrive at their destinations near the galactic core. The records of this period boast the last references to the First Ancestors – and the earliest mentions of the Ancestor Cores.

This makes sense with the new Necromunda Divergent Ironhead Squats Prospectors minis we just saw, as they are some of the only dedicated miners left out there.

Leagues of Votann lore

Likewise, it is a First Truth that the Kin have been a cloned people from the very start.

The First Ancestors are held responsible for the cloneskeins – the systems of stable mutations that underpin the entire genetic structure of the Kin to this day. The gene pool drawn upon by the Leagues of Votann is stable, deep, and varied – this is no race of identical clones. In practical terms, the cloneskeins have produced a species with denser bones and muscles than baseline humans, higher red and white blood cell counts, and formidable strength and resilience.

It’s quite interesting to think that lore-wise, the Leagues of Votann are all clones of some sort, but not from the same source, from all the different first ancestors out there.

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Such was the craft of the First Ancestors that even Kin souls are engineered – they shine more dimly against the tides of the warp than their distant human cousins, with no evidence of uncontrolled psychic mutation. Indeed, only those with the appropriate psychically active cloneskein can activate the so-called barrier-tech the Kin employ to access the empyrean.

Cloneskeins differentiate the division of labour in Kin society, and impart useful abilities on those who possess them. Some Kin might have enhanced reaction times, the ability to see the infrared spectrum, or limited resistance to cosmic radiation and extremes of temperature or gravity. Many cloneskeins manifest in visible fashion, with giveaways including distinctive bodily odours, unusual eye colours, or thick subdermal layers. Such physical variations would be a cause for concern in Imperial society – but to the Kin, they are a badge of honour.

It would make sense then that your heroes and characters could actually be bigger as that could be a mutation, or with this, it opens the possibility for some very interesting special rules!

The Leagues of Votann Weapons are Ancient STLs!

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As with more or less everything else in the Leagues, the collected technological knowledge of the Kin is contained within the Votann. These ancient minds are vast repositories of weapon schematics that would have just about every member of the Adeptus Mechanicus weighing up the merits of becoming a heretek. As with more or less everything else in the Leagues, the collected technological knowledge of the Kin is contained within the Votann. These ancient minds are vast repositories of weapon schematics that would have just about every member of the Adeptus Mechanicus weighing up the merits of becoming a heretek. The Kin, you see, are sitting on a closely guarded network of functioning STCs – a fact reflected across their entire armoury.

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An armoury which, mark you, they are perfectly permitted to improve over time. The Kin may move slowly, but they’re not stuck in technological stasis like some factions we could mention. Their engineers – called Brôkhyrs – command the auto-foundries of each Kin hold from their personal A.N-vyl terminals. But what are they forging?

So STCs or Standard Template Construct are basically files that can be used to fabricate pretty much anything a colony needed in the world they were settling on. Mostly, they were lost since the exploratory fleets set out from Terra millennia ago, and the Mechanicum guards any shreds of data found.

They are basically the evolution of 3d printing’s STL files that we know in real life…

It’s also nice to know that even though The Kin moves slowly, they still improve. This gives the Games Workshop studio a lot of room to give them really cool weapons over time.

Weapon Types

Leagues of Votann Weapons

From the Autoch-pattern bolter to the Etacarn plasma gun, many Kin weapons bear superficial similarities to Imperial weapons, but they’re superior in every respect. There’s a clear shared ancestry between the bolt revolver and bolt shotgun and the bolt weapons of the Adeptus Astartes, but Kin weapons simply work better and hit harder. 

A Bolt Shotgun sounds quite deadly, not to mention their other forms of bolt weaponry that the Astartes don’t have. They say they hit harder and work better, so maybe they get more Strength, AP, or Damage? It would be interesting to see how strong they will make the bolt weapons.


Then there are items like the volkanite disintegrators, which use technology since lost to the Imperium, or ion technology, which is proscribed by the Adeptus Mechanicus. That’s their loss – the T’au Empire certainly seemed to appreciate being taught how to harness it…

This could be the most interesting part of all the lore! First, it points to possible Men of Iron, and a link between the Tau, Men of Iron, and the fact that the Leagues showed them how to make weapons!

We heard rumblings about this, but GW basically just confirmed it, so who knows what type of allegiance(s) they will have in tabletop 40k. Lore wise it gives them a ton of play for the Leagues of Votann for sure!

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All these weapons are supported by smart tech integrated into Kin battlegear. The haptic utility nerve transmission recalibrator modules – HunTR for short – interface with their neural augmetics to establish a feedback loop between firearms and their users. This system projects minute gravitational pulses to maintain a stable firing platform even while running at full pelt – or zooming along on a flying trike.

The Graviton Blast Cannon and SP Conversion Beamer look like some serious weaponry! They didn’t say much about their power, but that, combined with their HunTR tech, could lead to some insane shooting units.

Leagues of Votann Ironkin (or Men of Iron)


Each Ironkin consists of a Cerebral Unit – woven with microfield generators that make it very hard to destroy – and a unique mechanical body. An Ironkin’s body isn’t just some component to be replaced – it’s deeply personal, as much as the bodies of their fleshy cousins, and designed to fulfill a certain niche, such as mining support units, cargo luggers, combat pilots, or shock troopers. Some Ironkin even serve as Wayfinders, whose accelerated logic-cores help them cogitate probable paths through the warp. 

The purpose of the Ironkin is to support the Kin in every aspect of their lives, but it’s important to know that they’re not held in servitude, nor treated as lessers. They’re simply designed to want to be helpful. However, as artificial beings, they can only imitate the emotions of their biological fellows – it’s rare (but not unknown) for an Ironkin to possess ambition, or seek to become a leader.

The model itself is pretty interesting, and we’ll compare it to the Men of Iron below as this is an interesting way (maybe, or maybe the name and design were too hard to claim IP on) to bring them back but with a new flair. Plus, they do say some want to be leaders, so it would be cool to have a special character or something who could lead an army of them!

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On the battlefield, Ironkin combatants fight alongside Kin warriors in pursuit of the goals of the Leagues. They often accompany the Brôkhyr Iron-masters as assistants alongside the less complex COG robots, offering technical support and pitching into combat in a pinch.

From the sounds of it, they might be able to join a retinue and really keep your machines running on the battlefield. Plus, it’s a robot, so it has to be good at fighting to some degree.

Compared to the Men of Iron


Men of Iron

In a previous post, GW mentioned the Age of Strife many times, and the paint scheme between the two models is very “similar”. Furthermore, they mention more than once that the Squats have a very shaky alliance with mankind. However, there are some certain differences, but still, the lore is too close and there were rumors from last summer about them coming to the faction from B&C by way of Valrak

Unlike their superstitious Human cousins, the Leagues emerged from the Age of Strife with far more of their ancient technology intact, including some infamous advances the Imperium would consider extremely heretical.

And while there’s no love lost between the Leagues of Votann and Humankind, the resurgence of Chaos and ascendent xenos hordes mean there are usually more pressing concerns than fighting each other.

So while they are somewhat different, we know what you’re doing GW…

Again though, they are really changing them into a proper faction with a backstory all focused around sticking to the old ways, but a need to venture out. Now with all this revealed, we’d not at all be surprised to see them with some super old robots to help them out!

How Big the Leagues of Votann 40k Models Are: Size & Lore Reveal

How Big leagues of votann

The first thing you might notice is that they look a little squat compared to many other races in the galaxy. Measuring up at around 4ft (1.4m) on average, Kin are minuscule compared to the warriors of the Adeptus Astartes, but they can pack almost as much of a punch.

As you can see, they definitely kept them fairly small, but we also wish they had thrown an Imperial Guard model in there. However, from this comparison, they do appear to be still shorter than an IG model, which makes sense.

Armour & Wargear

Leagues of Votann lore

We know the Leagues have technology far outclassing much of that of the Imperium, and Void Armour is a prime example of this. While the Power Armour of the Adeptus Astartes is always evolving, and may be considered the peak of Imperial body protection, the Kin’s Void Armour takes personal defence to another level.

Void armour comprises hardened, jointed segments which are hooked into the void suit beneath. It is fashioned from magnaferrite weave, and often reinforced with adamantine and enhanced with microfield generators – providing the ultimate protection for these doughty warriors.

Kin & Culture

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Culture in general is incredibly important to the Leagues, and much like the requirement for Imperial Knight pilots to honour their ancestors, Kin are also acutely aware that the Ancestors are Always Watching, a phrase which is used as a blessing, battlecry, and warning interchangeably.

The rugged survivalist culture of the Leagues of Votann has bred a long-lived, hardy, and self-sufficient race. In order to truly honour the Ancestors, every member of a Hold must also endeavour to live a full life, discovering as much as they can and offering their learned experience to the Votann. This thirst for knowledge has led the Kin to launch countless exploratory and prospecting fleets into the wider galaxy – and even fight as mercenaries in other species’ wars!

Well… that’s quite interesting! It looks like GW is going to let them be taken by a wide array of armies. So even if you don’t want a full army of them, they might be able to be taken as detachments in a bunch of armies. Our guesses would be Imperial Guard, Tau, and maybe Eldar?

If you love everything Squats, check out the latest on the new Leagues of Votann rules and Lore below.

Click Gallery below for full-size images.

Here’s the most up-to-date list of new Games Workshop bits from preview models that we should watch out for. Click on the gallery above to see dozens of Rumor Engines with new models still left to be revealed!

All the Newest GW Model & Rules Previews For 2022

Are you excited about the return of Squats er the Leagues of Votann and their new background lore for Warahmmer 40k?

About the Author: Travis Pasch

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