Hear Me Out, Chase: Iron Warriors

There’s more to 40k than just grinding out endless RTTs and rolling on endless maelstrom tables for wacky results. In Hear Me Out, Goonhammer authors explore building offbeat lists and playing with new concepts, and put those concepts to the test in a game environment. This week, Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones is continuing to play around with the new Chaos Legion rules from Psychic Awakening II: Faith & Fury. 

Welcome back, everyone! If you were around last week, you followed along as I tested out a new Night Lord’s army I bounced off of Chase, and I talked about potentially doing Iron Warriors this week. Then I asked you to weigh in on social media and most of you said: “yeah do Iron Warriors that sounds rad.” Which was good, because I already have a lot of Iron Warriors, albeit filled with small models on the wrong size of bases. But it was also good because I really wanted to try them next. Iron Warriors may look really bad next to their Imperial Fist rivals these days, but their legion trait — Ignoring Cover, plus some other nonsense about buildings — is pretty good, and with the release of Psychic Awakening II: Faith and Fury and the new points drops in Chapter Approved 2019, they have a lot of cool options for running armies that already use some of the faction’s strongest units. So without further ado, let’s dive into the list I’m thinking about:

Okay. Round 2. Gunum here! Once again dragged down into trouble of my own making as Rob continues to pump out -inspired- lists. Constantly impressed with his direction.

I’m ready for today’s take on… -checks notes- Iron… Warriors…

I don’t even know what these do yet… and THAT MAKES THIS MORE EXCITING!

Let’s get to it! 

The List

+++TheChirurgeon’s Iron Warriors – 1,998 points+++

Iron Warriors Battalion Detachment (418 points, +3 CP)
Specialist Detachment: Devastation Battery (-1 CP)

HQ: Chaos Lord w/Bolt Pistol, Chainsword (74), Field Commander: Armourbane Trait
HQ: Chaos Sorcerer w/Force Sword (84), Mark of Slaanesh

Troops: Cultists x10 (40), Mark of Slaanesh
Troops: Cultists x10 (40), Mark of Slaanesh
Troops: Cultists x10 (40), Mark of Slaanesh

HS: Havocs x5 w/Lascannon (170), Mark of Slaanesh

Flyer: Heldrake w/Baleflamer (140), Mark of Slaanesh

Iron Warriors Spearhead Detachment (848 points, +1 CP)
Soulforged Pack Specialist Detachment (-1 CP)

HQ: Lord Discordant on Helstalker w/Autocannon (160), Mark of Slaanesh, Relic: Insidium
HQ: Lord Discordant on Helstalker w/Autocannon (160), Mark of Slaanesh

HS: Defiler (142) w/Defiler Scourge, Reaper Autocannon, Mark of Slaanesh
HS: Obliterators x3 (285), Mark of Slaanesh
HS: Obliterators x3 (285), Mark of Slaanesh

Iron Warriors Battalion Detachment (732 points, +4 CP)

HQ: Chaos Lord in Terminator Armor w/Chainaxe, Combi-Bolter (98), Mark of Khorne, WARLORD: Daemonsmith
HQ: Lord Discordant on Helstalker w/Autocannon (160), Mark of Slaanesh

Troops: Cultists x10 (40), Mark of Slaanesh
Troops: Cultists x10 (40), Mark of Slaanesh
Troops: Cultists x10 (40), Mark of Slaanesh

+++Total CP: 11+++


The Theory

OK, here’s what I’m thinking:

  • The Obliterators are too good to pass up now, and their ability to drop in and delete big chunks of a marine army is definitely their strongest selling point. I can pair them with a Chaos Lord in Terminator Armor for maximum efficiency and give him the new Daemonsmith Warlord Trait to give the Obliterators extra shots. In a pinch, I can also give him the Iron Warriors’ new relic Combi-bolter to add some extra damage to this group. I reckon most of the time they’ll deploy as a group so he can lend his auras to both. Infiltrators can be a pain for this, but I’m only trying to drop within 24″, not get as close as possible, so I like these guys a lot. In addition to the usual Veterans of the Long War/Endless Cacophony Stratagem pairing for double-shooting +1 to wound goodness, I can also use the Rampant Techno Virus Stratagem with these guys to re-roll their weapon stats. It’s a 4-CP move for one shooting phase, but it buys a lot of killing power and the list has some CP to play with.

If you’re playing Iron Warriors and not just tech-virus the hell outta your army. What even are you doing. These things are -clutch- and I think were undervalued even before their points drop.

  • I know what you’re thinking – Havocs aren’t quite good enough to get there. But I really like them here, because A. They give me some much-needed ranged anti-tank firepower, and B. I can use the new Cannon Fodder stratagem on my unit of 13 Cultists to protect them, forcing opponents to shoot the Cultists before they can shoot the Havocs. I can also use either the Delightful Agonies psychic power or the Iron Within, Iron Without Stratagem to help keep the Cultists alive a little bit longer in a pinch, and I’ll be planting that foot sorcerer by them all game to ensure they have a proper assist with Prescience most turns. The Havocs themselves get to take advantage of being in a Devastation Battery specialist detachment, which means they can use the Punishing Volley stratagem to fire in the opponent’s shooting phase, and I can babysit them with a field commander Chaos Lord who has the Armourbane Warlord trait, which will give the quad the ability to re-roll wound rolls of 1 against Vehicles in the Shooting phase. Combine that with other Stratagems they have access to and I have a relatively mobile squad of anti-vehicle guns that can wipe out a lot of enemies.

There is something to this, to be fair. Havocs come with a bunch of little tricks that are handy right now. Not only that but with their specialist detachment they can be -very- useful for reaching out and doing some early damage. 

  • The Sorcerer is gonna take Prescience and Delightful Agonies most games, but I may swap out Prescience for Warptime if I need him to babysit one of the bigger Daemon Engines during a game.

A must-have in all CSM lists. Our psychic spells are just too good to ignore. 

  • The Heldrake is there to make a first-turn charge and tie up troublesome units that might otherwise cause me problems on turn 1. I particularly like this guy with the Unholy Vigor Stratagem to bring back 4 wounds in a turn – if my opponent can’t finish him off immediately, he’ll hang around and be a real nuisance with his baleflamer. He can also benefit from the Lord Discordant auras if he lives long enough for them to catch up.
  • The Lords Discordant is the standard gang of threats, big melee monsters who can really do some damage, disrupt enemy vehicles, and boost my other daemon engines (though admittedly, there aren’t a ton). I’ve given one the Insidium relic, giving him +1 Strength, +1 Toughness, and +1 Wound, making him a little bit harder to take down than the rest of these yabbos. I’ve also put the group into a Soulforged Pack Specialist Detachment, so I can Advance and Charge with one in the same turn in a pinch.
  • The Defiler may seem like an odd addition here but I want to give the old monster a shot. He can hit pretty hard in melee, and the plan is to basically treat his gun as an afterthought as I run him toward the enemy with one of the Lords Discordant. He’s probably the most likely cut in this army, and I could see replacing him with a Maulerfiend down the line. Still, several cool tricks apply to him and if I need him to shoot at something in a pinch, I can make that happen (though I will rarely if ever, want to be doing this. My large crab son will be fighting in melee).

This has a ton of shooting. It can fight stuff. It’s a crab. You can say Crab People when walking it around for free chuckles. You might be playing chaos, but the laughter of those you are about to slaughter, that’s free. 

  • The Cultists are there to fill out a detachment and use the Cannon Fodder Stratagem to protect my Havocs. They can also hold objectives while everything else charges forward.

What do you think, Chase?

Okay so, let’s go into it. The very first thing I’ll say is that I think you’ve grown a lot in your list building since the last HMO, basically by just having a pure Chaos Space Marines army. Hooray, progress!  Next, I think I really like what you’re doing here. We have three detachments, we have Lord of Discord, we even have a Defiler! What’s not to love. Oh wait, I know… 

There seems to be a lack of wiggly arms here. When I think Iron Warriors, I think machines of doom. I think Daemon Engines! I think….. You know what. Let’s turn this up to 11. HEAR ME OUT, ROB!

++Gunums’ Warriors of Iron – 2,000pts++

Iron Warriors Brigade Detachment (2,000 points, +15 CP)
Specialist Detachment: Soulforged Pack (-1 CP)
Gifts of Chaos (-3 CP)
Field Commander (-1 CP)

HQ: Lord Discordant on Helstalker w/Autocannon (160), Mark of Khorne, Relic: Insidium Field Commander – Master of the Soulforges
HQ: Lord Discordant on Helstalker w/Bale Flamer (170), Mark of Khorne, Relic: Cranium Malevolus
HQ: Lord Discordant on Helstalker w/Autocannon (160), Mark of Khorne, Relic: Techno-venomous Mechatendrils
HQ: Warpsmith, WARLORD: Daemonsmith

Troops: Cultists x10 (40), Mark of Slaanesh
Troops: Cultists x10 (40), Mark of Slaanesh
Troops: Cultists x10 (40), Mark of Slaanesh
Troops: Cultists x10 (40), Mark of Slaanesh
Troops: Cultists x10 (40), Mark of Slaanesh
Troops: Cultists x10 (40), Mark of Slaanesh

Elite: Chosen x5 /w Auto Cannon (70) Mark of Slannesh
Elite: Greater Possessed (60) Mark of Khorne
Elite: Greater Possessed (60) Mark of Khorne

Fast: Chaos Spawn (20) Mark of Nurgle
Fast: Chaos Spawn (20) Mark of Nurgle
Fast: Chaos Spawn (20) Mark of Nurgle

HS: Forgefiend w/ Hades Autocannons, Plasma mouth (140) Mark of Nurgle
HS: Forgefiend w/ Hades Autocannons, Plasma mouth (140) Mark of Nurgle
HS: Maulerfiend w/ Lasher Tendrils (122) Mark of Nurgle
HS: Maulerfiend w/ Lasher Tendrils (122) Mark of Nurgle
HS: Maulerfiend w/ Lasher Tendrils (122) Mark of Nurgle

Flyer: Heldrake w/Baleflamer (157) Mark of Nurgle
Flyer: Heldrake w/Baleflamer (157) Mark of Nurgle

Huh? Huuuuuuhh? Pretty cool right? Doing a lot of the same things, but quite different.  We’re going for hardcore forward presence. Thanks to the Lords Discordant each having an artifact and just being general badasses themselves, we are able to make a lot of use out of the flipping sweet Iron Warriors relic. Next, we have a Warp Smith! His warlord trait causes all of our Unmodified 6’s to do an extra hit from our Forgefiends. Forward pressure from the -fast- Maulerfiends and the Lords of Discord give a lot of different pressure. Also, moving this to a Brigade opens up a bunch of options for us to use the bad-ass new Iron Warriors strats, like Unholy Vigor!  When I think of Iron Warriors, I think Iron. Machines. Death. Let’s go. I’m ready to see how you do Rob. I doubt you’ll win a second time, as Hear Me Outs, are clearly cursed. 

I don’t know if I’m sold on the Greater Possessed here. I think you don’t have enough shooting, though I do appreciate the silly amount of mechanized tendrils you’ll be whipping around and breaking during the transport process. I also really don’t care much for Forgefiends; they haven’t been good since they lost the ability to use a Warpsmith’s BS in that 7th edition detachment. Also you have no Obliterators, the hallmark unit of the Iron Warriors. Still, I’d be interested in seeing how it plays.


The Test

For this test, I’ve convinced my buddy Eric to play a game against me using his Adeptus Mechanicus.

+++Eric’s AdeMech + Imperial Knights List+++

Adeptus Mechanicus Battalion Detachment (+5 CP)
Mars Forge World

HQ: Belisarius Cawl
HQ: Techpriest Enginseer

Troops: 3x Kataphron Destroyers w/Grav
Troops: 7x Skitarii Vanguard
Troops: 7x Skitarii Vanguard

HS: Skorpius Disintegrator w/Belleros Energy Cannon

Imperial Knights Super-Heavy Detachment (+6 CP)
House: Raven

SH: Knight Atropos
SH: Knight Gallant
SH: Knight Crusader w/Rapid Fire Battle Cannon and Avenger Gatling Cannon

+++Total CP: 14+++


An interesting task to take down a trio of knights, though this is probably not as optimized a list as Eric could bring. It’s no cyborg hillbilly yacht club, anyways. The Atropos could be a problem if I can’t take it down early enough, and I’m now starting to worry about the amount of anti-knight firepower I have. If I don’t get at least average rolls for the Obliterators, that could be a real problem. The mission is 6 objectives with Hammer and Anvil deployment, which isn’t great for me. It gives Eric lots of room to hang back with, while my Lords Discordant will have to run to him. Still, I think I can manage this if I can do enough damage with the Discordants.
TheChirurgeon’s Note: I had to assemble two Lords Discordant for this game really quickly, and they still aren’t painted. I’m also behind on my new Obliterators, so please forgive the smaller bases there. I am aware that it is shameful to play with unpainted models, and I apologize.

I deploy most of my forces forward. I immediately regret that I have a list that calls for 60 goddamn cultists. Moving and stowing these things is a massive chore, and I’m glad at least that I have movement trays for them. three squads are placed to hang back on my objectives, while a fourth will protect my Havocs with Cannon Fodder as needed, and the last two will press forward to capture forward objectives. Eric opts to let his knights hang back a bit, knowing it’ll force me to come to him, and he can choose which side of the table to funnel me to. Which in this case, will be the side with the Kataphron Destroyers enjoying Cawl’s aura. I put my Havocs on top of a building, close enough to the Chaos Lord to get re-rolls, and within power range of the Sorcerer.

Forgive the quality; the lighting at Eric’s place suuuuuucks

Turn 1

Eric’s got fewer drops than me by a country mile but we still tie on our roll off on seven consecutive rolls before he finally wins and I fail to Seize. I opt to use Prepared Positions to give my dudes cover. I’m not 100% sure this is the right move given how much CP I’ll need later for all the Iron Warriors’ cool tricks. Eric goes to use Shroudpsalm and I have to remind him that Iron Warriors ignore cover. Hell yeah, relevant Legion Traits!

Eric finishes moving and I use the Punishing Volley Stratagem to open up on his Gallant with my Havocs. It’s not my favorite target, but he’s managed to move his Atropos and Crusader out of line of sight from my Havocs and it’s worth it to get an extra round of shooting. He rotates Ion Shields, and I realize that isn’t limited to the Shooting/Overwatch phases. I score 3 wounds with my Lascannons and he saves two, but I put 5 damage on the Crusader. Not amazing. The rest of his turn 1 he manages to kill some cultists, puts 5 damage on one of my Lords Discordant, and takes another 4 off my Heldrake, which uses Iron Within, Iron Without to shrug off two incoming wounds.

On my turn I follow up by healing the Heldrake using the Unholy Vigor stratagem. Combined with Infernal Regeneration, that’s a hell of a combo. I charge the heldrake up the table along with the Defiler and Lords Discordant and use cultist shooting to clear out a few Skitarii Rangers. I charge a squad of rangers and the Destroyers with the Heldrake, but only manage to kill a single Destroyer. The Lord Discordant makes his charge against the Atropos and manages to drop 12 damage on it. Good, but not enough to bracket it.

That Heldrake is gonna cause p r o b l e m s

Turn 2

Turn 2 goes better for Eric; he falls back and shoots the Lord Discordant to death, and drops back from the Heldrake as well before charging it with Cawl, but he wasn’t able to kill it, leaving it at 4 Wounds. He wipes out a cultist squad and kills my second Lord Discordant using the combined shooting of the Atropos and Crusader. He also heals both the Gallant and the Atropos, bringing the Atropos back up to 18 wounds left.

On my turn the pain arrives: the Obliterators and Chaos Lord drop behind enemy lines and open up on the Knight Gallant. They manage to drop it to 10W left after some abysmal rolls shooting twice, which isn’t ideal. I also put some wounds on the Disintegrator, dropping it to 4, but I fail all my charge attempts as I’m out of CP. My Defiler manages to charge the Knight Atropos though, and is able to kill it in melee pretty quickly thanks to some S16, AP-3, D6 damage Defiler Claws. I secure kill more and hold more.

The Vindicator is a proxy Skorpius.

Turn 3

OK at this point I’m in the driver’s seat. Eric uses Machine Spirit Resurgent on the Knight Gallant and charges it toward my Obliterators while the Crusader backs up and shoots my final Lord Defiler, and between its shooting and Cawl’s, manages to drop him to 3W remaining. He charges forward with Cawl in a last-ditch effort, but isn’t able to seal the deal and gets murdered for his efforts. The Knight Gallant loses 9 wounds to Overwatch fire from the Obliterators (who hit 4 times, generating another 4 hits at S7, AP-2, D3), leaving it with only 1 wound but more than enough to stomp the hell out of the Obliterators and Chaos Lord. Unfortunately for Eric, the Gallant only manages to push through 2 damage, then I murder it with my Chaos Lord. As expected, he Noble Sacrifices, killing my Chaos Lord and another Obliterator.

Now I’ve pretty much got things in the bag. I press forward with my last Lord Discordant and the Defiler, and close in from all angles. The Obliterators take out the Skorpius and his Enginseer. And then I charge his Knight Crusader. It manages to interrupt and kill the Defiler before he can hit it, but the Lord Discordant finishes it off. It Noble Sacrifices, killing a Destroyer and damaging the Lord Discordant and Heldrake.


At this point, the writing is on the wall for Eric, who is going to be tabled on Turn 4. We call it here, and the Iron Warriors win, 14-5. A decent game that got away from Eric pretty early when he rolled some abysmal rolls for Cawl and got murdered by the Defiler. Good game, Eric!

WHAT!!! Two in a row?! Impossible. I’m shocked. I’m appalled. I’m genuinely kind of impressed. I think getting second against his list was actually, pretty good for you! You got to use your neat stratagem from your specialist detachment. Not only that, with units of Oblits in reserve, going second gives you a much better option for targets as they expose themselves. Great job playing forward and putting early pressure on those knights. I think the calls you made a lot of sense and honestly, was pretty good. Your opponent could have hung back just a little bit more in more of a shooting position since your list can be so aggressive, but overall not much else he could have done. 


The Results

Another win for a HMO list! But it wasn’t all perfect. After playing this I have some thoughts:

  • I massively underrated Unholy Vigor. The ability to heal 4W in a turn with daemon engines is really good, and single-handedly moves you up a bracket most of the time you need it. I used it twice on my Heldrake, which kept flying around harassing Eric’s units in his backfield.
  • Not sure about Havocs. They were OK but tbh the Lascannons were still too much variance. Even with Prescience and the Chaos Lord’s aura and re-rolling 1s to Wound against Vehicles from the lord’s field commander trait, they still didn’t do much during the game. Maybe they need non-knight targets to shoot, but Eric never really needed to go after them to force me to use the Cannon Fodder Stratagem.
  • Obliterators are real mean and Daemonsmith is great. You need full squads to get the most out of it but holy crap getting extra hits on 6s with re-rolling 1s to hit ended up scoring me more than a dozen extra hits over two turns. The one thing I can’t stress enough is that you really want to have Rampant Techno-Virus handy to take out big targets. I didn’t, because I had run out of CP very early, but I should have saved it. In retrospect, Prepared Positions may not have been that important for me, but it’s tough to say. Anyways, I’d definitely save CP for RTV in future games, just to combine with VotLW  and Endless Cacophony.
  • Need to try this against marines. That’ll have to happen at some point, but I like this list’s chances against any successors rocking Stealthy and whatever, since it’ll completely turn off half their army ability before the first turn.
  • The Defiler: Surprisingly OK. It’s probably better if I replace it with a Maulerfiend or Venomcrawler, but the Defiler was surprisingly good. Would consider running one again.


Next Time: World Eaters, Probably

Pretty impressive. 2 – 0 with the new Chaos book and keeping it in the house of pure Chaos marines this time. I like what you have going on here right now. Comparing this list today vs the Night Lords list I think displays the vastly different ways you can play CSM now that Faith and Fury have given us these unique options.  Keep it up! Good Game, Rob! 

Thanks, Chase! As always, I had a blast doing this and jamming out list concepts with you. And yeah, at this point I’m 2-0 with Night Lords and Iron Warriors down. What’s next? Emperor’s Children? Alpha Legion? At this point I’m going to say World Eaters, most likely, just because I actually have those painted but I can proxy stuff up if I need. If you have any recommendations or requests, or a list of your own you’d like to show off or get feedback on, feel free to drop a note in the comments below, or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.