Detachment Focus: Fellhammer Siege-Host

In this series of articles we take a deep dive into a specific detachment for a faction, covering the faction’s rules and upgrades and talking about how to build around that faction for competitive play. In this article, we’re covering the Fellhammer Siege-Host Detachment for the Chaos Space Marines.

The Tenth Edition release of Codex: Chaos Space Marines gives the faction access to a whopping eight detachments, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. These can dramatically change how the army plays, as each one tends to push players to build in a different way. In this series we’re diving deep into each Detachment and talking about what its rules are and how to play it.

Detachment Overview

It’s pretty clear from the art and the rule names that the Fellhammer Siege-Host is designed to represent the Iron Warriors on the tabletop, with their siege-and-trench warfare style of combat and their philosophy of “Iron Within, Iron Without.” As a result the Siege-Host offers some decent durability buffs over other Chaos Space Marines Detachments, though it’s not as vehicle-focused as you might expect. 

Detachment Rule: Iron Fortitude

Each time a ranged attack targets a non-DAMNED HERETIC ASTARTES unit from your army, if the Strength of that attack is greater than the unit’s Toughness, subtract 1 from the Wound roll.

This is pretty good. It’s a solid defensive buff that’s both good on your vehicles for ensuring that really big guns like Lascannons and Railguns only wound them on a 4+, and it’s great for making sure your Infantry aren’t going down easy to the likes of plasma guns and mortars. The big downside here is that it does nothing for you in melee, suggesting that Fellhammer Siege-Host armies want to scrap at a distance with opponents, or at the very least if they engage in melee they want it to be on their terms. 

Iron Warriors Chaos Lord and Space Marines. Credit: SRM


There are a few interesting options here to consider. None are generically good; they’re more options you have to build around a bit. The good news is that they’re all pretty inexpensive.

  • Bastion Plate (10 points) – Goes on a non-JUMP PACK Chaos Lord. Once per battle round, when you fail a save for the bearer’s unit, you can change the damage characteristic of that attack to 0. This is solid. It’s going to do its best work on something like a Daemon Prince or Lord Discordant, but it’s also very good on a unit of Terminators, where the combination of Iron Fortitude and this helps create a really tough unit that can weather a bit more damage. 
  • Warp Tracer (20 points) – In your Shooting phase, after the bearer shoots, pick an enemy unit hit by one or more of those attacks. Until the end of the phase they can’t have the Benefit of Cover. At 20 points this feels overcosted, but being able to tag certain units for a +1 AP boost is pretty solid. It’s just hard to make it work with the existing character arsenal for Chaos Space Marines. 
  • Ironbound Enmity (15 points) – Each time the bearer makes an attack while within range of an objective marker, add 1 to the Wound roll. This is okay. It’s going to do its best work on one of the big characters, and it’s a good way to “have your cake and eat it too” with a Daemon Prince, where you can give them this and the Mark of Nurgle for +1 Toughness, or double up on this and the Mark of Khorne for S10 attacks with +1 to wound, letting you effectively hunt vehicles. 
  • Iron Artifice (10 points) – Infantry model only. The bearer’s weapons have [ANTI-VEHICLE 4+] and [ANTI-FORTIFICATION 4+]. Ignore the fortifications part. If you’re taking this, it’s on a hammer Chaos Lord, where it will combine very nicely with his Devastating Wounds ability to give you dev wounds on a 4+. Combine that with something like Persistent Assailants and your once-per game boost and suddenly you’ve got yourself an easy path to dropping 12+ wounds on a vehicle in one go. It also works just fine on a Master of Executions.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones


The Fellhammer Siege-Host Stratagems aren’t amazing but they’re pretty useful, and they offer a mix of defensive boosts, spiteful retaliation, and a couple of solid damage buffs which rely on either your unit or the target being below half-strength. The big challenge here is that these tend to mostly be reactive.

  • Persistent Assailants (Battle Tactic, 1 CP) – Pick a unit in your army that was picked as the target of an attack in the Fight phase, but hasn’t fought yet. For the rest of the phase, that unit can re-roll hit rolls, and if your unit is below half-strength, they can re-roll wound rolls instead. This is a decent retaliatory move, and a solid consolation prize for eating some melee attacks before you strike back. 
  • Brutal Attrition (Epic Deed, 1 CP) – Used in the Fight phase, after an enemy unit picks its targets. Pick one non-DAMNED Infantry unit in your army that was picked as a target; after the attacking unit finishes making its attacks, roll one D6 for each attack, to a maximum of 6D6 per attacking unit. For each 4+ you roll, the attacking unit takes 1 mortal wound. Getting free grenades back on an enemy unit each time they swing at you – and most of the time you’ll take six or more attacks – and the ability to punish opponents for trying to charge you with multiple units is just great. This is my favorite Stratagem in the Detachment.
  • Pitiless Cannonade (Battle Tactic, 1 CP) – Used in your Shooting phase. Gives a unit critical hits on a 5+ against units below Half-Strength. Situational, but very solid since you’ll know full well when it can be used. Remember that this causes your Dark Pacts to trigger on a 5+ and if you have a Helbrute around you’ll snag both effects. Good for finishing off that unit that might otherwise have lived with a single wound left.
  • Point-Blank Destruction (Battle Tactic, 1 CP) – Used in the Shooting phase on a unit that’s within Engagement Range of an enemy unit. Until the end of the phase, your unit’s ranged weapons (except for the blast weapons) gain the PISTOL ability. This can be yet another solid way to make an opponent regret trying to tie you up, though it won’t get you out of combat in time to move. I particularly like it on Obliterators, who otherwise don’t have a way to shoot out of combat since they lack Big Guns Never Tire.
  • Steadfast Determination (Strategic Ploy, 1 CP) – Used in your opponent’s Shooting phase to give a non-DAMNED unit a 5+ Feel No Pain. This is just wildly good, and it’s incredible on 3-wound infantry like Terminators where it can help them power through Devastating Wounds. 
  • Siegecraft (Strategic Ploy, 1 CP) – Used at the start of your opponent’s Charge phase. Pick a unit in your army and until the end of the phase, if an enemy unit picks your unit as a charge target, they get -2 to the Charge rolls (this isn’t cumulative with other negative modifiers). This was previously a Stratagem on Death Guard in 9th edition and it’s really good. Having to use it before charges are declared is a bit of a downer, but the net effect is so good that it makes up for it. It’s a great way to dodge pesky 9” Deep strike charges and great for causing multiple charges against the same unit to fail. Sometimes it’s just about preventing an opponent from getting to an objective. 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Playing This Detachment

The biggest problem that the Fellhammer Siege-Host Detachment has is that it’s highly reactive. Almost all of its stratagems require putting the game firmly in your opponent’s hands and that’s really not what you want to be doing as a Chaos Space Marines player. Doing mortal wounds or getting re-rolls after you’re being hit isn’t nearly as satisfying or useful as killing things before they get to hit you in combat. Likewise, shooting in combat with PISTOL weapons isn’t nearly as good as being able to just Fall Back and shoot, something you can get access to in other Detachments. 

If you’re playing the Siege-Host, you’re looking to build around that kind of reactive playstyle, and that will typically mean slower, more durable units and a heavier focus on ranged firepower than most Chaos Marine armies traditionally go with. This is the army where I think a 10-model brick of Terminators has the most play, since their ability to shrug off shooting in the open can be really strong, and I think some mid-size Daemon Engines and Helbrutes might have a bit more play here since they’re more likely to catch S10+ firepower.

A Sample List

Here’s a sample list I’d run with my current Iron Warriors models. I don’t think it’s particularly competitive, but it’s got some decent output and it makes use of the Detachment rules and has a good shot at using the Stratagems well. Note that this list uses the current printed points in the Munitorum Field Manual.



Master of Executions

Master of Executions
– Iron Artifice

Chaos Lord in Terminator Armour
– Combi Weapon and Power Fist
– Bastion Plate



Cultist Mob

Legionaries x5
– Lascannon, power fists

Legionaries x5
– Lascannon, power fists


Chaos Rhino


Chaos Terminator Squad x10
– 2x Reaper Autocannon
– Power fists, chainfists
– Combi-weapons

Chaos Vindicator

Chaos Vindicator

Chaos Vindicator

Obliterators x2

Obliterators x2



Beast of Nurgle

It’s a tough list to crack from a wound standpoint, and that’s most of what it has going for it. There are some tricks here, and if you do get into combat with these guys you’re going to regret it but ultimately the goal here is to play slightly more aggressively with units like the Vindicators and hope that you can use the -1 to wound and Feel No Pain Stratagem to tank any return fire for a turn. Basically to play like you’re going to trade and then end up not trading. That’s the ideal goal here, and the Warpsmith is on hand to help make sure those Vindicators stay on the table a little bit longer. 

Warpsmith. Credit: Rockfish
Warpsmith. Credit: Rockfish

Final Thoughts

The Fellhammer Siege-Host is a strange Detachment. I see what it’s going for – the defensive buffs are solid – but it feels like a set of rules more suited to Death Guard than the current Chaos Space Marines army, whose army rule pushes them more toward aggressive, offensive play and whose datasheets push toward fast melee engagement. The result is a Detachment which has some power, but isn’t really doing what the army wants. Even the Detachment rule is a bit of a miss; Chaos Space Marines have a great mix of fast units and decent transports which can avoid being shot until they hit melee, and so having a rule protecting them from shooting is nice if you’re playing on planet bowling ball but not nearly as important when dense terrain layouts drop visible shooting distances down to something more like 24”. Depending on who you ask in the Goonhammer offices, the Fellhammer Siege-Host varies in power from “meme-worthy” to something more like “Hear Me Out” levels of power. I personally think it falls into the latter group, with some rules that are decent and interesting but ultimately not what you want for the book’s best datasheets.

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