Battle Bros: Season Three, Chapter V: Two Bros Enter

Battle Bros is an ongoing bi-weekly column where Drew (PantsOptional) taught his brother Chris (head58) how to play Warhammer 40,000 and now they’ve been challenged by rival Bros. Catch up on their past adventures here.

Meet the Battle Bros


The older of the two brothers, but newer to the game. “Learned” to play Iron Hands and Bostonian Orks. 


The younger brother, more experienced in the world of Hams but increasingly obviously worse. Really sneaking in this column under the wire.

CHRIS: You’re still here? What the hell are you doing? You read that the big Bros v Bros match isn’t happening, right? We don’t have anything for you? Go read Competitive Innovations or something useful. Why are you in my living room? It’s two in the morning! Who let you in, and… is that my cheese you’re eating? And what did you do to my bathroom?

DREW: Ease off the shtick, friend. There is something you and I need to address.

I know it’s painful to remember the last column, but I had a very specific set of instructions aimed at the reader. A prohibition, specifically: Thou Shalt Not Make Bros Slash. Thankfully, our readers obeyed this mandate. And yet I have in my possession this exact thing, sent (digitally) to my very home.

I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart.

CHRIS: I will point out the particular reader who requested said slash. At least one of us is making your wife happy.

DREW: Careful, counselor; one more outburst like that and I’ll have no choice but to find you in contempt. With the Brodown shelved for the moment – and frankly after seeing some of the con photos and the lack of masks therein we now know we chose uncharacteristically wisely – we turned to y’all readers for advice.

The people have spoken! Did we listen? Sort of. After the vote overwhelmingly came in to shelve the Bros v Bros match To Be Continued at a future date, we took note of one particular comment by Noted Reader “mooftak”:

good lord mooftak look what you done did

Placing our fates in the hands of our Benevolent Overlords? What could go wrong? Well, we found that out right quick when without a moment’s hesitation Greg told us: Blunderdome. Each of us makes the worst list we can from what we have and passes it to the other one to play. But unlike Blunderdome proper this is a smaller affair, one in which we’re not just making lists that are intentionally amusing but rather one where we can hand our opponent some trash-ass crap with malice aforethought. This is brutal. This is personal.

This is Brotherdome.

Please boss do not kill us for this one

CHRIS: I feel like this was kind of a gimme, given that by definition any list I make is going to be terrible. But yes, inflicting suffering on each other? Have you seen the shit I make him drink? We’ve been training for forty-odd years for this! If only I could force him to paint 90 Boyz as part of the match! And then have Boyz nerfed so big blobs of them aren’t as good anymore!

I’m guessing anybody reading this has read the Blunderdome series (or is married to one of us, and thus legally obligated to give us clicks) but let’s steal go over the rules of the list building, slightly modified for us idiots:

  • The list has to be matched-play and tournament-play legal;
  • Your list has to be a minimum of 990 points;
  • You can only include a maximum of one fortification;
  • You can only include a single faction and subfaction;
  • No Auxiliary Support detachments;
  • You must take a free Relic and Warlord trait, if possible;
  • You must take Psychic powers on units that can have them;
  • If you buy an additional upgrade or optional add-on, you have to use it – you can’t spend CP on nothing;
  • You can’t take Inspiring Leader as your Warlord Trait;
  • You can only draw faction units from a single book;
  • Guideline: Your army should be as bad as it can be while still being functional.

We decided on 1000 point armies, and full WYSIWYG is in effect. Why make this easy on ourselves? I’m glad it wasn’t 2000 because I might have been forced to put actually effective stuff into my list.

DREW: That was a real worry for me. I thought about giving you my Chaos list and saying “good luck, asshole” but honestly that force is a little too planned out and might actually end up working accidentally. I also thought about just handing you my Heresy Iron Warriors just to see them touch the table but that turns out to be way too much work unless I just want to put a Vanguard in there with a bunch of Chaos Chosen.

CHRIS: We’re a little more limited than the Cool Kids Blunderdome Crew in that we don’t have the breadth of factions or the embarrassing depth of models in our collections that some people have, but we’ll make this work just the same. And as we said last time, we don’t do that online stuff so this is real plastic on the tabletop. I can’t give him a list exclusively consisting of Firestrike Servo-Turrets and Hammerfall Bunkers because I wasn’t dumb enough to buy a bunch of them.

I will admit, though, that after Greg gave us our marching orders I did a quick spin around eBay looking for cheap rescue models I could grab, maybe some Thousand Sons or Word Bearers or something. Maybe Dark Angels. Just some pure dogshit army. But a) that shit adds up fast and b) not knowing those factions I might accidentally buy something decent.

DREW: Oh no. Please don’t make me play Thousand Sons, anything but that

CHRIS: Because the problem here is my collection is pretty small (despite what my credit card balance might say), and as I stated above w/r/t the Hammerfall Bunkers, I don’t tend to purchase and paint up complete garbage. I bought some stuff in the last days of 8th that isn’t great anymore (looking at you, RepEx) but it’s not unplayable. So I decided I’d need to lean into janky or obnoxious combinations. Which is kind of my specialty.

My first thought was to make him deal with 90 Boyz crammed into a 5” deep deployment zone. Take Makari as Warlord. And let’s make it Red Sunz. Fuck you, you actual fucking fuck. But I fear that 90 T5 bodies might be slightly too good – I only have 10 of them with shootas. It would be hard to chew through all that with whatever nightmare he’s going to vomit onto me. I really don’t think I have enough Ork stuff that just fails to thrive.

Which leaves me with Iron Hands, who are inherently better but I can do dumber things with them. It’s probably the wrong call, but it wouldn’t be Brotherdome without it.

SHIT! I thought I had painted all these garbage idiots! Well there’s my week sorted.

DREW: I want it on the record that if you hand me unpainted models, you’re the one taking the 10 point shame deduction, not me.

++ Patrol Detachment 2 CP (Iron Hands) [990pts] ++

Stratagems: Scion of the Forge [-1CP], Relics of the Chapter [-1CP]

  • HQ

Techmarine [90pts, -1CP]: Adept of the Omnissiah, bolt pistol, power axe, servo-arm, Chapter Command: Master of the Forge, Stratagem: Paragon of Iron (Adept of the Omnissiah) [-1CP], The Ironstone, Warlord (Warden of the Ancients)

  • Troops

Infiltrator Squad x10 [245pts]: Infiltrator comms array
Infiltrator x9: bolt pistols, marksman bolt carbines
Infiltrator Sergeant: bolt pistol, marksman bolt carbine, haywire bolts

  • Elites

Bladeguard Ancient [85pts, -1CP]: heavy bolt pistol, Reliquary of Gathalamor, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter [-1CP], Will of Iron

Reiver Squad x5 [110pts]: combat knife, grapnel launchers, Reiver grav chutes, special issue bolt pistols

  • Fast Attack

Inceptor Squad x3 [120 points]: assault bolter

  • Heavy Support

Centurion Devastator Squad x3 [250pts]
Centurion : grav-cannon, hurricane bolter
Centurion: Centurion missile launcher, two heavy bolters
Centurion Sergeant: hurricane bolter, two lascannons

Eliminator Squad x3 [90pts]
Eliminator Sergeant: bolt pistols, camo cloaks, las fusil
Eliminators x2: bolt pistols, camo cloak, las fusil

++ 990 points, 2 CP ++

As we learned in the fight against Gronkzkhull and the Stompa, Iron Hands love only two things: heavy weapons and vehicles. So no vehicles period, and only what Heavy guns I can’t avoid. This immediately suggested the ideal Warlord: a Techmarine. Not a Primaris one either, a sad smallboi Master of the Forge with nothing to Forge on. Warden of the Ancients is a completely useless Warlord trait here, and I burned a CP on the Paragon of Iron strat to take a second trait, Adept of the Omnissiah. And what the hell, give him the Ironstone. So that’s my Warlord not contributing a damn thing all game.

A Bladeguard Ancient was another fairly obvious choice, and I could waste a couple CP giving him the Reliquary of Gathalmor and the Warlord trait Will of Iron on the assumption that Drew won’t have any psykers since Smite might do some work.

A while back I bought a unit of Devastator Centurions, solely because I thought they looked awesome and Iron Handsy. Now I hear you saying Centurions are way too expensive but they’re not completely useless: 2+ saves and 4 wounds each are pretty chonky. But here’s one of my dirty secrets: I love magnetizing weapon options. Partly because it helps me navigate decision paralysis. So when I built the Devastators I magnetized all three different weapons options, and each one in the unit is getting a different weapon. They may not be as bad as I want, but Drew is going to have to roll separately for each of these losers. Making him hate life is worth more than victory points to me.

This may be our only time on the table, boys, let’s not mess it up.

I was crushed to discover I only ever picked up three Scouts for playing Kill Team back in the day. I suppose I could buy two more and paint them up, but that’s money and time that Drew doesn’t deserve. I do however have a full unit of Reivers, and they’re almost as bad. These guys have no business being Iron Hands. See also: Infiltrators (another CP for Haywire Bolts on the sergeant, guessing no vehicles in what Drew puts together). Why did I start out my army with a bunch of this Raven Guard nonsense? Into the pot it goes!

DREW: Don’t worry, I got the Scouts you’re missing. I am not, however, so low as to make you play with the actual cat food models that call themselves Reivers. Okay, yes, I am, but I only have one of those models. In any event, some of this list is looking real familiar… roll tape!


++ Patrol Detachment  (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – White Scars Successor) [6CP, 991pts] ++

Chapter Selector: Custom Chapter, Preferred Enemy, Scions of the Forge, White Scars Successor

  • HQ

Librarian [6 PL, 115pts]:, bolt pistol, Chapter Command: Chief Librarian, force sword, Headtaker’s Trophies, Smite, Warlord (Hunter’s Instincts), Might of Heroes, Null Zone, Psychic Scourge


Tactical Squad x10 [190pts]: bolt pistols, boltguns, sergeant with combi-melta

  • Elites

Bladeguard Ancient [85pts]: heavy bolt pistol

Scout Squad x6 [96pts]: bolt pistols, sniper rifle

  • Heavy Support

Centurion Devastator Squad x3 [300pts]: Centurion missile launcher, heavy bolters

Devastator Squad [250pts]
Devastator Marine x5: boltgun
Devastator Marine Sergeant: boltgun
2x Devastator Marine w/multi-meltas
2x Devastator Marine w/lascannon

++ 991 points, 6CP ++

CHRIS: Shit, he has a psyker.

DREW: I know that not everyone reading this column is necessarily fluent in the mechanics of 40k, so I’ll break this down a little. What we have here is a collection of rules and units that I have hand-crafted to completely fail to work with each other even a little bit. This is artisanal dogshit.

You know the difference between you and me? I make this look good.

In this particular challenge, I have one advantage over Chris, which is that since my models are modeled and painted to be a Successor Chapter I can run them as any Chapter I want in order to find the worst possible application of Chapter Tactics, Warlord Traits, Relics, and Stratagems for the units in question. But most of the established Chapter Tactics are too useful as-is to keep; instead I have to mix and match with Successor Chapter Tactics and oh boy did I hit paydirt. Preferred Enemy grants a bonus against a specific faction but I picked T’au since that’s completely useless in this match. Scions of the Forge allows a model with a profile that degrades as it takes damage to count their remaining Wounds as double for the purposes of that degradation and of course there are no such models in this list. You’re welcome.

The White Scars super-doctrine and many of their Stratagems revolve around making the most of fast units who love to charge, so naturally everything I took is slow and plodding. The word “bike” isn’t even allowed in the same room as this list. Chris and I are definitely thinking alike here in terms of mixing up weapons, although I hesitated to mix it up too much and give him any weapons that would be useful against infantry. Finally, the cherry on the top: the Bladeguard Ancient who has no Bladeguard in the rest of the army to benefit from its aura that grants +1 to hit. It still grants a 50/50 chance of letting dying models within 6” pop off a last shot, but that’s just there to give Chris false hope only to see it dashed on the rocks.

Like hell I’m giving you a newer model with a good paint job for this, suffer

From there it follows as you might expect. There’s a Warlord Trait and Relic that are of minimal use to the Warlord they’re on, some psychic powers that are okay, and a Chapter Command upgrade that mostly exists to waste points. Hunter’s Instincts could have bit me in the ass but I gambled that he wasn’t going to put any Monsters or Vehicles in his list and now that I see his list it feels good to be right.

CHRIS: Well, “right” isn’t exactly what I was, loading up the Bladeguard Ancient with not one but two anti-psyker toys. It is very amusing and incredibly on-brand that we have a lot of overlap here. Both of us grabbed the Centurions and the Bladeguard Ancient. Says a lot about those models.

Aw, look at that, they think they’re helping!

But White Scars successor, damn, that’s some top-shelf targeted to just stink up the place garbage with that list. The best – the only – melee weapon is the Librarian’s force sword? Ugh.

DREW: You’re welcome, and thank you for… wait. No. What’s the opposite of “thank you”? I’d use the F word but you used up our entire budget about a dozen paragraphs back.

It feels like maybe we accomplished our goals nearly perfectly since I’m looking at both of these lists and all I can do is sigh. Are there worse lists out there? Sure. But we don’t have to play with any of those. This is the poop that we have to touch.

As for the match itself, I see no reason to let us have any say in our own fate, so let’s opt instead to randomly roll the mission and may God have mercy on our souls, especially since we’re unlikely to have a copy of the new and “better” (?) Nachmund GT 2022 Missions by the time we get around to playing.

CHRIS:  There’s a lot going on in that Nachmund book, and I think it would be generous to say I understand none of it. I feel like I was barely getting comfortable with GT2021 – how do people do this?

So next time we’ll present the painstaking details of a mission we won’t understand, played with armies we won’t enjoy (or probably understand). This is the true zenith of “a thing I supposedly enjoy has become an albatross.” You’re welcome. Just please remember the only two people to blame here: mooftak and Greg, history’s greatest monsters.

Also I 100% reserve the right to swerve and flood the board with Orks.

Next Time: We Gotta Stop Listening to the Fans

Will Chris just flood the board with Orks? More importantly, if he does, will he make sure to hide any power tools from Drew first? We’ll all find out together.

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