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My Little Pony-themed Warhammer 40K army finds a surprising new owner

League of Legends exec will carry the banner of Equestria into battle

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Yesterday we brought you the story of a remarkable eBay auction, a My Little Pony-themed Warhammer 40,000 army built from Space Marine models and valued at nearly $2,000. Today, we’re pleased to introduced the proud new owner of the Emperor’s finest four-legged killing machines.

The auction was snatched up by none other than Marc Merrill, co-CEO and co-founder of Riot Games, makers of League of Legends.

A little birdie inside Riot Games tipped us off, and we were able to get Merrill on the phone for a few minutes today to talk about why he dropped $1,800 on the universe’s most dangerous ponies.

“I love 40K,” Merrill told Polygon via telephone today. “In general I’m a Games Workshop fan and have been playing it since I was an early teenager. Unfortunately, I don’t have as much time these days to do the hobby side — in terms of building models and painting them — as I used to, and as a result I’ll peruse eBay and pick up some cool models.

Marc Merrill
Riot Games

“This was such a distinctive, interesting, unique take that again it just felt like worth collecting.”

Merrill said that he’s been playing 40K since he was a teenager. In his gaming group now there’s a lot of Space Marines of course, as well as some Tau and Necron. His brother has a collection of Chaos Space Marines and various demons. But Merrill has always been more of an Eldar man.

“Eldar was the first army that I played when I was big into it back as a teenager,” Merrill said. “I just always had an affinity for their lore and their armor style. I think their units are super cool.

“But I also love Tyranids, just because the gameplay style is so different. It’s fun to do swarming attacks and field monstrous creature flyers and guys that can deep strike.”

While Merrill has plans to shock and awe the competition at a local tournament with a fully operational Apocalypse Pony landing via orbital drop pod sometime soon, he also hopes that he’ll be able to get his children interested in the hobby one day.

“My kids are a little young these days for that unfortunately,” Merrill said. “My daughter is 2 1/2 and my son is 3 1/2, so they’re a ways off from playing 40K. But some day I would love to do that.”

You can read our feature story on the history and future of Riot Games right here.

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