October 2020 FAQ Update Review – Iron Hands

In advance of the upcoming release of Codex: Space Marines and as promised, Games Workshop dropped a massive FAQ update on us today (remember when we said fifteen books needed FAQs? Turns out it was more). There’s a lot to digest, so we’re poring over every word of the updates and noting what’s changed and our thoughts on what it means for the faction. In this article we’re looking at Iron Hands and the changes to the Iron Hands Supplement.

Initial Take

The Iron Hands were already good, and this update doesn’t do much to slow them down. Iron Father Feirros gets some clarifications and a change to his Signum Array, but anyone who was salivating at the thought of combining the Ironstone with the new Duty Eternal is going to be disappointed. Other than that, though, you’re looking at a FAQ that isn’t going to change a lot about how your army plays.

Iron Father Feirros

Iron Father Feirros – Credit: Games Workshop

The Iron Father actually picked up a buff, which is honestly not something I expected to say. His Signum Array ability has been changed to be used in the Command phase, and it now adds 1 to hit rolls for a friendly Iron Hands unit within 3″. This has the same effect as before on most of your list, but he can now affect himself and actually confers a benefit on models with 2+ BS who have a penalty to hit for some reason, at the cost of being less useful for vehicles with degraded profiles or anything with a BS of 4+ or worse. On balance, this will work the same in most applications, and is more useful in infantry focused lists but less useful if you somehow wind up with a vehicle hanging on at literally 1 wound. Of course, if that happens, you could just use his repair to shove 3 wounds back on it, which will probably put it back to full BS anyway due to your chapter tactic.

Speaking of which, they’ve deleted his Master of the Forge ability and changed Blessing of the Omnissiah to be a flat 3 damage repair, which clears some clutter away from his datasheet. He still keeps the <MASTER OF THE FORGE> keyword, so really this just makes his datasheet easier to read without changing what he does on the table. Finally, his Servo-arm now no longer takes a -1 to hit, which brings him in line with other Techmarines. Neat.

All in all, his datasheet is cleared up and his Signum Array works like the Techmarine’s Awaken the Machine Spirit ability, except he can use it on any model now. It’s not as useful on vehicles with degrading profiles now, but the fact that he can use it on himself is a nice boost, even if you won’t be using it all the time.

Warlord Traits and Relics

Adept of the Omnissiah has been updated to refer to the version in the new codex rather than using the language here. This has the effect of making clear that it doesn’t allow a Techmarine to repair twice, they just upgrade their innate Blessing of the Omnissiah ability to repair d3+1 damage.

The Betrayer’s Bane relic combi-melta picks up the new melta rule, making it an Assault 2 melta gun that deals d6+2 damage within 6″. This is definitely a buff to the weapon, but probably doesn’t put it over the top into being actually competitive.

The Ironstone took a nerf, clarifying that it doesn’t stack with other abilities that reduce damage. In other words, you can’t stack this with Duty Eternal to make a Dreadnought turn 3 damage into 1. This is a good change, and we would have been surprised if it didn’t happen.

Iron Hands Intercessor by Booley
Iron Hands Intercessor. Credit: Jack Hunter

Stratagems and Psychic Powers

The only changes here are grouping the stratagems and psychic powers into the same categories you’ll see in the codex. Most of these are what we expected to see, but Cogitated Martyrdom is in the “Requisition” category, which seems odd. This won’t have much of an effect on competitive lists, but if you’re playing in a Crusade campaign, it does mean that you’ll never be able to use it for 0CP even if you give your Captain an honorific.

Other than that, everything looks the same. Optimal Repulsion Doctrines still lets you overwatch on 4+, even though that part of their chapter tactic is gone. You probably won’t use this often since it’ll now cost you 2CP total to use it (1CP + 1CP to fire overwatch in the first place), but in the right situation it could be a nasty trick. Second, with the addition of Adaptive Tactics in the new codex, Iron Hands can now put two units in Devastator Doctrine on any turn. At 3CP total, this is pricy, but if you really wanted to do war crimes to your opponent, this will let you do that. If not, you can still do half a war crime for only 1CP.


The flesh may be weak, but the Iron Hands still aren’t. They retain basically all of their supplement-specific tricks, and the only real nerf here is something that we were expecting to see anyway. If our review of the new Codex had you working on a new list, rest assured that it’ll work more or less as you expect it to. The Sons of Manus aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.