Start Competing: Iron Warriors Tactics

The bitter, angry Marines who simulate battles with tabletop wargames, the Iron Warriors are masters of Siege Warfare. This would be great if buildings weren’t completely worthless in Warhammer 40k. Faith and Fury gave them some new life however, with some very solid tools that have helped the make the occasional showing in successful competitive lists. The Iron Warriors have some neat tricks that revolve around shooting and Obliterators as well as a few interesting tricks for vehicles. This coupled with a pushed set of abilities and a decent legion trait make them a decent contender for legions that you’d consider running a detachment of in your Chaos Space Marines army, particularly if you’re running daemon engines.

Legion Overview

The Iron Warriors have typically taken a back seat to the other traitor legions in terms of power and competitive play, but have quite a bit going for them in 9th edition with a lot of strong tricks they can make use of. They’re worth considering as a single detachment option in some builds, particularly if you’re running a detachment of daemon engines or vehicles. Because they’re focused on shooting and ranged units, the Iron Warriors tend to work best as the compliment to a melee-focused detachment that can flip objectives after the units on them have been softened up with shooting.

Strengths

  • Vehicle support. The Iron Warriors have better vehicle and daemon engine support than any other legion, with multiple stratagems and warlord traits that boost vehicle shooting and make it harder to kill vehicles. That’s unique among the Chaos Space Marine legions, who tend to favor INFANTRY with their stratagems.
  • Obliterators. The Iron Warriors have stratagems and warlord traits that natively boost the output of CULT OF DESTRUCTION models, giving them stronger Obliterators and Mutilators than any other legion. Given that these are already decent units, that’s a fine bonus to have.
  • Mark-Agnostic. The Iron Warriors aren’t locked into a single mark of chaos, leaving them free to pick and choose where it makes sense – you can give the mark of Slaanesh to shooting units, Khorne to fighting units, and so on. Though most of the time you’ll be giving your units the Mark of Slaanesh so they can shoot twice.
  • OK Legion Trait. Ignoring save bonuses from cover isn’t the most amazing trait ever, but it’s relevant in almost every game and it’s a good upside when you tend to lack high AP shooting. There are worse things to have and it’s at least relevant on Helbrutes.
  • Good stratagems. The Iron Warriors have a pretty solid set of stratagems and most of them are priced to move.

Weaknesses

  • Weak Melee Support. Iron Warriors have a lot of tricks for boosting shooting, but not much to help you on the melee front if you aren’t fighting Imperial Fists. That’s not the end of the world, however.
  • Additional Traits. The Iron Warriors have some powerful warlord traits and no way to get additional traits. That stinks!
  • CP Thirsty. The Iron Warriors have a lot of great stratagems but they’re going to add up quickly over the course of a game. You’ll need to manage your CP use carefully and make sure you aren’t overdoing it or else you’re liable to find yourself running on fumes by turn 3.

 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Legion Trait: Siege Lords

Enemy units don’t get any bonus to their saves for being in cover when Iron Warriors are attacking them. Also, you can re-roll failed wound rolls against BUILDINGs. That second part is worthless, but the first part of this trait has become much more relevant as 9th edition pushed us toward more sensible definitions of cover and it matters when you’re shooting at Raven Guard or Stealthy space marines units. It’s a good bonus for when you’re firing a ton of AP 0 guns into units in cover, or in the rare situations you find yourself fighting something in HEAVY cover. The big irony of course is that Iron Warriors’ other rules tend to favor Daemon Engines and vehicles, almost none of which actually benefit from this trait. So outside of Havocs you’ll find this rarely matters in the armies you actually want to play. C+

Warlord Traits

The Iron Warriors Warlord traits are pretty good! The best of them buff nearby units, helping get other units over the hill to respectability. Sadly, without the ability to give warlord traits to multiple characters, you’re going to have to make some tough choices, and Iron Warriors probably needed to be able to take two or three of these to get over the top competitively as a monofaction force. But let’s enjoy what we have.

  • Cold and Bitter. When a Morale test is taken for a friendly Iron Warriors unit within 6” of this Warlord, do not roll the dice, it auto passes. Originally I was pretty down on this ability but it’s better than it used to be since 9th edition has made morale for smaller elite units more of a focus, and the ability to turn your warlord into a mini-Abaddon who can turn blobs of Cultists into horrible unyielding masses to churn through (who themselves can act as Cannon Fodder for other units) really has the potential to elevate this as a build-around. Yeah, most of the time you’ll want one of the other, better options, but there’s at least a very solid kernel here to work with if you’re invested in testing it. It doesn’t have much utility for non-cultist units, though. B
  • Daemonsmith. When resolving an attack made by a model in a friendly Iron Warriors Daemon Engine or Cult of Destruction unit within 6” of this Warlord, an unmodified hit roll of a 6 scores 1 additional hit. This averages out to an additional hit per volley with an Obliterator. The sheer number of things this can buff and the high volume of shots you can put out with some of those units makes this a very good ability to have. It’s a nice bonus with a full unit of Obliterators, but the real money is likely giving this to a Lord Discordant. The Lord Discordant is a Daemon Engine himself with a buttload of attacks to make use of the ability, and his larger base and higher movement speed will make him the ideal partner for boosting a trio of Lords of Skulls, Defilers, or Maulerfiends. A
  • Iron Without. Gives the Warlord a 5+ Feel No Pain. It’s decent, but not amazing. Best on a Lord Discordant where you need the extra durability to make up for being a huge target that doesn’t benefit from Look Out, Sir protections. B
  • Bastion. When resolving an attack made with a weapon that has an AP of -1 against a friendly Iron Warriors unit that is within 6” of your warlord and is in cover, the weapon is treated as AP 0. This is a decent passive buff, but the requirement that you be in cover makes it pretty rough, since it’ll depend on the terrain and the type of table you’re on. This ability really shines when combined with the Dour Duty Stratagem, which lets you drop the AP of incoming fire by another 1, letting you effectively ignore up to AP-2 for a single (key) unit in cover, and with the bonus to cover save offered by terrain with the Light Cover trait makes for a unit that’s damn hard to shift. The only question is whether that unit will be on an objective. Note that this also works in melee if you happen to be in HEAVY cover. A-
  • Siege Master. Friendly Iron Warriors Havocs and Vehicles within 6” re-roll 1s to wound. Strong ability that turns a Chaos Lord into a combo Lord/Lieutenant and just isn’t something Chaos really gets for its shooting attacks. Good to have for Reaper Chaincannons, daemon engines, and anything else with a high rate of fire. Most of the time you’ll probably be better off with Daemonsmith, but this is going to have broader applications if you aren’t running Obliterators or Daemon Engines. But you should be running those. A-
  • Stoic Advance. Friendly Iron Warriors do not suffer the penalty to moving and firing Heavy weapons while they are within 6” of this Warlord. This dropped in value substantially with the introduction of Big Guns Never Tire in 9th edition; its value now is pretty much limited to Reaper Autocannons on Chaos Terminators, since Havocs don’t suffer the penalties for moving and shooting and you’re probably not all that worried about the -1 to hit on the heavy weapons for the 1-2 heavy weapons in the chaos space marine squads you aren’t taking. It’s a neat idea and it used to be solid, but there’s just no reason to really take it now. D

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Stratagems

The Iron Warriors have a really strong list of stratagems, and most of them are priced to move. Most are also flavor wins and they really hammer home the idea that you want to run Obliterators, Havocs, and Vehicles in an Iron Warriors army.

  • Iron Within, Iron Without (1 CP). Use in any phase when a unit is about to lose a wound. Roll a D6 for that wound, and each other wound you lose afterward in that phase. On a 6, you don’t lose the wound. A Codex reprint. It’s OK, especially because it can apply to your vehicles to buy them some additional protection against incoming attacks. When and where to use it will depend on the target and what’s shooting at you but just remember to make sure that when you use it the shots coming in have a damage value equal to or less than the number of wounds per model in the unit that’s being shot. B
  • Methodical Annihilation (1 CP). Use in the shooting phase when you pick an Iron Warriors unit to shoot with. Pick one of the following effects to last until the end of the phase: re-roll damage rolls, or re-roll any or all of the dice to determine the Type characteristic of weapons that models in the unit are equipped with (so re-roll the number of shots). This is solid on a squad of Lascannon or Missile Launcher Havocs, and stacks well with Veterans of the Long War and Endless Cacophony. It’s also great on Chaos Terrax-Pattern Termites, where re-rolling damage on the melta cutter can be devastating, and it’s solid on Decimators and Chaos Leviathans, where a few of your weapon options have variable shots, damage, or both. Re-rolling the number of shots on a dual Soulburner Petard Decimator is pretty nasty, getting you an extra shot or two on average. You’ll want to save this for those times where you have a clear path to taking out a key target and this will help ensure that it happens, rather than being something you throw out all the time. A
  • Dour Duty (1 CP). Use in your opponent’s shooting or your charge phase when an Iron Warriors unit is chosen as the target of an attack. Until the end of the phase, when you resolve an attack with a ranged weapon against the specified unit, reduce the AP of the weapon by 1. Also notably not Infantry-locked, so a good way to blunt incoming damage against a Daemon Engine. Combines very well with the Bastion Warlord trait to let your unit ignore up to AP-2 on incoming shooting attacks, and doesn’t force you to be in cover to receive the benefit. B+
  • Unholy Vigor (1 CP). Use at the start of your movement phase to give an Iron Warriors vehicle up to 3 wounds back. It’s a big boost, and helpful when paired with a Warpsmith who can give you another D3, or just good to have in your back pocket to pop over a profile bracket threshold. Stacked on top of Daemon Engines’ built-in 1 wound regeneration, this can really help your models stick around and combined with iron Within, Iron Without and Dour Duty makes a clear case for Iron Warriors as your Daemon Engine detachment choice. It’s also the best option for taking a triple Lord of Skulls detachment. B+
  • Tank Hunters (1 CP). Use in the shooting or Fight phase when you’re shooting or fighting with a non-cultist Iron Warriors unit. Pick a vehicle, and until the end of the phase you can re-roll wound rolls against that vehicle. This is another great ability, very strong for taking out enemy vehicles and getting full re-rolls on your wound rolls is hard to come by. Also wonderful that this works on your vehicles and daemon engines. A
  • Rampant Techno-Virus (1 CP). Use in the Shooting or Fight phase when you pick an IW Obliterators or Mutilators unit to attack with. Until the end of the phase, you can re-roll any or all D3 rolls made for that unit’s flesh weapons. A good way to ensure you’re getting the best possible profile from your Obliterators, and a lot cheaper than bringing along a Master of Possession and spending a power on getting the same effect. You probably won’t end up using this on Mutilators since they’re mostly going to be in your list as cheap, reliable Engage on All Fronts/Deploy Scramblers units, but solid in a pinch. B+
  • Cannon Fodder (2 CP). Use at the start of your opponent’s shooting phase. Pick an Iron Warriors Infantry unit, then pick an Iron Warriors Cultists unit wholly within 6” of that unit. Until the end of the phase, enemies can’t target the selected unit if the Cultists unit you picked is a closer visible target. A hilarious and flavorful way to protect your units, but ultimately showcases how the value in Chaos Space Marines armies is in non-INFANTRY units and deep strikers. Good for preventing your Havocs from being shot at, and a great way to ensure that they continue to spit out the volumes of firepower they need while giving them 30 ablative wounds (especially if you’ve taken the Cold and Bitter Warlord Trait). Also great with Obliterators, Mutilators, and Terminators, though you may often find them set up far ahead of helpful screening units and unable to benefit. Decent if you’re going to take a squad of Raptors as well. B+
  • Bitter Enmity (1 CP). The throwaway rivalry stratagem. When you’re fighting an Imperial Fists unit in melee combat, you can re-roll the hit and wound rolls. These faction-specific stratagems are the worst. On the plus side, Imperial Fists are trash right now and there isn’t an Iron Warriors player around that can’t get a good chuckle out of that fact. D

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Relics

The Iron Warriors Relics are pretty good, with all but two of them being focused on doing damage.

  • Fleshmetal Exoskeleton. The Codex relic for Iron Warriors. Gives a 2+ armour save and you regain 1 wound at the start of each turn. Kind of worthless on a Lord Discordant (though healing 2 wounds per turn is pretty funny), but a solid add to a Winged Daemon Prince, or Jump Pack Chaos Lord, who can use the extra security of a 2+ armor save. B+
  • Siegebreaker Mace. Replace a power maul or accursed crozius. Gives you a dual-profile melee weapon – Swing or Smash – where Swing is S+2, AP-2, 2 Damage and Smash is Sx2, AP-3, D6 Damage and you can only make two attacks, but for each one you roll 2D6 and choose the highest result. This is an OK weapon, least of all because it gets you a 2-damage weapon that doesn’t penalize you on your to hit rolls in its Swing mode. The part that stinks about it is that it’s now replacing a Power Maul that’s Strength +3 thanks to the October weapons update. B-
  • Cranium Malevolus. A model with this relic can use the Cranium instead of shooting. If you do, you roll a D6 for each enemy vehicle within 9” and on a 4-5 it takes D3 mortal wounds and on a 6 it takes 3 mortal wounds. This is really a really, really good replacement for shooting on a model that will be hanging out in the enemy lines, tearing stuff up. Looks great on a Daemon Prince or Jump Pack Chaos Lord/Sorcerer as a way to push out extra mortal wounds, especially against units that are crazy tough to crack like Custodes. If you’re mixing Iron Warriors and the Purge, this is great to have as well as a way to activate the latter’s legion trait. B
  • Insidium. This model gets the DAEMON keyword (if it doesn’t already have it) and gets +1 Strength, Toughness, and Wounds. This is a great way to introduce some extra cross-faction synergy with your warlord and a detachment of daemons but it’s also just very good on a winged Daemon Prince or Lord Discordant, where the bonuses to Strength and Toughness matter. B+
  • Axe of the Forgemaster. Replaces a power axe or daemonic axe with one that’s S+3, AP-3, 2 Damage and whenever you fight a vehicle, unmodified hit rolls of 5+ inflict D3 mortal wounds in addition to regular damage. Pretty dang tasty, especially on Jump pack Chaos Lords who want a way to get a 2 damage weapon without taking -1 to hit. For Daemon Princes it’s a bit more of a tossup since you’re giving up 3 damage on the daemonic axe and you could just take the Hellforged Sword instead but on the whole the AP and Strength bonuses give this a minor edge. Post October weapons-update, it manages to be better than both a power fist and a thunder hammer, making it a very solid relic to give to a melee-focused lord. This is kind of what Siegebreaker Mace wants to be when it grows up. A
  • Spitespitter. Replaces a combi-bolter with one that’s 24” range, Rapid Fire 2, S5, AP-3, D3 damage. Decent, if a bit boring. Fine on a Terminator Lord you want to place with Obliterators as a way to have him be more helpful on the shooting side, where he can push out 4 shots on the move. B-
  • Techno-Venomous Mechatendrils. Replaces mechatendrils on a WARPSMITH with a set that does 4 attacks at S User, AP 0, 1 Damage but every hit scores a mortal wound. This is an interesting and powerful upgrade for Lords Discordant (who have the WARPSMITH keyword) and gives them the ability to add 4 mortal wounds to their already considerable output. The only downside is that you probably don’t really need the extra output. There’s also not really a compelling reason to ever put it on a regular Warpsmith. B+

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Notable Units

Iron Warriors don’t have any special characters or units of their own, but there are a number of units that perform well or better in Iron Warriors armies, and are worth talking about here.

Lords Discordant

Lords Discordant are a strong unit and a nasty add to any list despite their 9th edition points increase and they’re even nastier in Iron Warriors armies, where you have a number of buffs that benefit them specifically plus a set of stratagems that can boost vehicles and daemon engines that also apply to them. Iron Warriors Lords Discordant love the Insidium Relic for the extra strength, toughness, and wound and while they’re also a good fit for the Iron Without warlord trait, where they’re really going to shine is with the Daemonsmith trait. As a Daemon Engine himself, the Lord Discordant will benefit from the extra hits the trait generates and his speed and resilience make him the ideal unit for rolling up the table flanked by a trio of Defilers (or forgefiends, or maulerfiends, or decimators, or…), where he can lend both his +1 to hit aura and the Daemonsmith aura to them as they advance. He’s a bit squishy sure, but with the Insidium and the Iron Within, Iron Without and Unholy Vigor stratagems in your pocket, you can help ensure he’ll stay on the table long enough to make an opponent regret targeting him. The Lord Discordant is also fast enough to give you a unit that can help reliably score Engage on All Fronts. Just remember to give him proper support – the Lord Discordant is a pretty tough unit that hits hard but due to its high movement value it’s very easy to have him outrun his coverage and end up stranded behind enemy lines.

Warpsmiths

Warpsmiths used to be a decent bargain owing to the need to fill HQ slots in a detachment and the fact that they clocked in around 60 points. At 70 points they’re still reasonably costed (especially now that flamers and meltaguns have both improved substantially) but given that most armies will be looking for a way to squeeze more HQ slots into their lists rather than fill one out with cheap options, their value is much diminished. There’s potentially a role for them in an army that’s heavy on daemon engines and wants some extra repair work, but Warpsmiths are pretty slow and will struggle to keep up with vehicles unless they’re advancing every turn (to be fair, there’s almost no penalty for them to just do this).

Masters of Possession

While Masters of Possession don’t get a ton of value out of being Iron Warriors on their own, their ability to cast the Cursed Earth and Infernal Power psychic powers gives them powerful aura-based effects for buffing nearby Daemon Engines, including the Lord Discordant (who very much appreciates having a 4+ invulnerable save). As a non-Daemon who buffs Daemons, the Master of Possession is also a good target for the Insidium relic (though there are better options) and he’s a great companion to a traveling castle of daemon engines with a Lord Discordant. Like with the Warpsmith, the Master of Possession’s big downside is being slow – he can’t deep strike and he doesn’t have a Jump Pack option, so if you’re bringing him, he’s going to have to advance every turn and hope to stay up. This will usually mean moving him first or being very careful with how you move your daemon engines so you don’t end up outside his aura or leaving him exposed.

Vehicles of All Shapes and Sizes

Iron Warriors have a bunch of stratagems that affect Vehicles, making them a good fit for vehicle-heavy strategies. Iron Warriors Helbrutes enjoy the benefits of the legion’s trait, and stratagems like Dour Duty, Iron Within, Iron Without, and Unholy Vigor all make Iron Warriors vehicles significantly harder to remove from the table. Meanwhile Tank Hunters and Methodical Annihilation stratagems and Siege Master Warlord trait can help turn any vehicle in your army into a vehicle-destroying badass. And while we’re on the subject of vehicles…

Daemon Engines

Daemon Engines are even better in Iron Warriors, owing to all of stratagems we just mentioned plus the Daemonsmith Warlord Trait which can help you get extra hits off your Hades Autocannons and Soulburner Petards. Unholy Vigor is extra funny on Daemon Engines, since they’re already healing back 1 wound per turn and cranking that up to 4 or, better yet, 4+D3 with a Warpsmith can be the kind of swing that makes your opponent throw their arms up the in the air with exasperation. Just the best feeling. Iron Warriors Heldrakes are great for helping the faction score Engage on All Fronts and Linebreaker and Defilersare very solid in Iron Warriors armies.

The Lord of Skulls

Because Iron Warriors have the best Daemon Engine stratagems and buffs, they’re also among the best places to put a Lord of Skulls. The only competition here is going to be from Black Legion and World Eaters, where Abaddon and Kharn can give them full re-rolls to hit. But if you’re going to run the triple Lord of Skulls, you probably want them to be in an Iron Warriors Detachment.

Obliterators and Mutilators

Obliterators and Mutilators both get extra value in Iron Warriors detachments thanks to the Rampant Techno-Virus Stratagem being available to re-roll for your Fleshmetal guns. They also benefit from most of the other options in the faction as well and as INFANTRY they have access to protection from Cannon Fodder if you’ve got some Cultists handy. Mutilators are still primarily going to be a cheap, durable way of scoring Linebreaker/Engage on All Fronts and dropping scramblers for you, however – don’t waste the CP on them unless it’s going to pay off big.

Havocs

Havocs of all varieties perform better as Iron Warriors. With Lascannons they’re a great fit for Methodical Annihilation to re-roll their damage rolls, and Tank Hunters will ensure they wound anything they shoot at. Combine these with the Endless Cacophony Stratagem to shoot twice and you’ve got a nasty unit of tank hunters. On the flip side, they’re also just fine with Reaper Chaincannons, where the SIege Master warlord trait and will typically want to be in a Rhino (sometimes both squads going in the same rhino) so they can drop out when needed and light up an enemy target, though they can also be protected with Cannon Fodder.

Terminators and Bikes

Less something you’d do offensively, Terminators and Bikes are some of the most durable units Chaos Space Marines have for controlling objectives and both make great targets for Dour Duty and the Bastion warlord trait, pushing them to ignore AP-2 and AP-1 guns firing their way.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Playing Iron Warriors

If you’re building an Iron Warriors army, whether you’re going monofaction or mixing legions/daemons, you’re going to largely be focusing on units that are good at shooting and can take advantage of the faction’s buffs. One of the key ways to run Iron Warriors right now is to run a trio of Daemon Engines and buff them with a Master of Possession and a Lord Discordant rocking Daemonsmith as its Warlord Trait (Siege Master is an option if you decide to drop the Master of Possession in favor of a Dark Apostle or Chaos Lord). The Lord Discordant gives the nearby Daemon Engines +1 to their to hit rolls and extra hit on rolls of 6, while the Master of Possession casts Cursed Earth to boost the invulnerable saves of the daemon engines by 1 and Infernal Power to give them the ability to re-roll hit and wound rolls of 1. The net result is a group of very tough-to-bring down monsters that are scarily accurate and generate extra hits as they plow forward. This works great with Defilers, Forgefiends, Decimators, and Lords of Skulls and it’s OK with Venomcrawlers.

You’re also generally going to want a unit of Obliterators in your army, since the ability to get full re-rolls on their fleshmetal weapons is incredibly good and helps mitigate the one downside of Obliterators. Obliterators also really want and like buffs to their to hit chances, but these are a bit harder to come by – they’ll teleport in long after Dark Apostles can buff them and usually away from your main army, which means that you’ll typically want to send someone in with them like a Terminator Lord or Sorcerer in Terminator Armor. These can add some good shooting power to the group, especially if you give one the Spitespitter relic combi-bolter but they’re also in a very vulnerable position as the moment one Obliterator dies they’ll no longer be protected by Look Out, Sir (which requires a unit of 3+ models). For armies splashing in Iron Warriors Obliterators, one solid strategy to consider is running two squads of Obliterators, which let you double up on the re-roll benefits while also giving you extra protection. Note that on the whole, the Chaos Lord’s aura is generally going to be better than the Sorcerer casting Prescience. While mathematically Prescience is better, there’s a real chance you won’t succeed with the cast and the Sorcerer is not as good a fighter as the Chaos Lord.

Ultimately the big challenge with Iron Warriors is one that faces the Chaos Space Marines as a whole: The army is generally fragile, revolving around a lot of models that don’t quite have enough wounds or tough enough armor. Unlike say, Emperor’s Children, Night Lords, or World Eaters however, the Iron Warriors aren’t really fast enough to make up for this (or generally don’t help you get to the opponent faster to counteract it). This means that they’ll tend to do better when you can combine them with other legions or chaos factions as a key part of a larger strategy.

Tips and Tricks to Remember

There are a few things you’ll want to remember as you play Iron Warriors that will help you get the most out of the faction:

  • Don’t forget your melee support. Iron Warriors have a lot of great shooting tricks and ways to buff vehicles and it’s easy to forget about your melee support. No matter how good your shooting is, you’re going to need units that can move onto objectives you’ve cleared after the Shooting phase is over, and that means you’ll need melee units. The good news is Chaos isn’t lack for those – just make sure you have a plan for getting your units onto objectives.
  • You roll for Obliterators’ fleshmetal weapons before picking a target. While generally this may not matter as you already have a target in mind, it can sometimes swing your decision. Be sure to get your rolls done before you declare your target, and give yourself the flexibility to fire at something more appropriate if you roll poorly for damage or strength.
  • The Mark of Slaanesh is your friend. Because you’ll want to have the option to shoot twice with Endless Cacophony on your Havocs/Obliterators/Bikes/Terminators, you’ll generally want to make sure they have that option and that means they need the SLAANESH keyword. For the most part, this is also the strongest keyword you can give them anyways, since it also opens them up as targets for Delightful Agonies, though KHORNE and NURGLE both have their advantages.
  • Double up your in-phase effects when you shoot twice. Remember that effects like Rampant Techno-Virus, Tank Hunters, Veterans of the Long War, and Methodical Annihilation last until the end of the phase, which means that when you opt to shoot twice using Endless Cacophony these effects will still be active, allowing you to benefit from them twice. You pretty much always want to take advantage of this where you’re able since it effectively lets you get twice as much value from your stratagems. Just remember that Obliterators will roll again for their guns the second time they shoot and as with the first, they’ll do so before choosing targets.
  • Don’t waste CP on your Mutilators. Mutilators are a great add to the CSM army, able to act as cheap, durable INFANTRY who can score you Linebreaker/Engage on All Fronts and deploy Scramblers the turn they arrive. If they manage to kill something during the game that’s an added bonus, but it’s not the main focus for a 105-point unit and if you try and overdo it with them you’re going to find out pretty quickly how disappointing their 12 random attacks on the charge can be. Use them to score points, distract opponents and, in a pinch, charge units that really don’t want to be in combat. But don’t rely on them as an offensive unit.

Lists

While Iron Warriors don’t benefit too much from the update to Death to the False Emperor in the November dataslate, changes in the meta certainly work in their favor and we’ve seen some competitive pure Iron Warriors lists make the rounds recently.

Preston Tomes’ Monofaction List

Preston took this pure Iron Warriors list to a 4th place, 5-1 finish at the Wargames for Warriors Charity Major event in August, making a strong showing against a meta dominated by Adeptus Mechanicus, Drukhari, and Ork lists.

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Chaos Space Marines) [62 PL, 1,065pts, 11CP] ++

Legion: Iron Warriors
Gifts of Chaos (1 Relic) [-1CP]

  • HQ +

Lord Discordant on Helstalker [10 PL, 195pts]: Autocannon, Mark of Khorne, Talisman of Burning Blood
. Helstalker: Techno-virus injector

Lord Discordant on Helstalker [10 PL, 195pts]: Autocannon, Mark of Tzeentch
. Helstalker: Techno-virus injector

Master of Possession [5 PL, 95pts]: 2. Daemonsmith, Insidium, Mark of Tzeentch, Warlord

  • Troops +

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 50pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 50pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 50pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

  • Fast Attack +

Raptors [5 PL, 75pts]: Mark of Khorne
. 4x Raptor: 4x Astartes chainsword, 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Raptor Champion: Astartes chainsword, Bolt pistol

Raptors [5 PL, 75pts]: Mark of Khorne
. 4x Raptor: 4x Astartes chainsword, 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Raptor Champion: Astartes chainsword, Bolt pistol

  • Heavy Support +

Defiler [9 PL, 140pts]: Defiler scourge, Mark of Slaanesh, Reaper autocannon
Defiler [9 PL, 140pts]: Defiler scourge, Mark of Slaanesh, Reaper autocannon

++ Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment -1CP (Chaos – Chaos Space Marines) [23 PL, 470pts, -1CP] ++

Legion: Iron Warriors

  • Lord of War +

Khorne Lord of Skulls [23 PL, 470pts]: Gorestorm cannon, Hades gatling cannon

++ Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment -3CP (Chaos – Chaos Space Marines) [23 PL, 465pts, -1CP] ++

Legion: Iron Warriors

  • Lord of War +

Khorne Lord of Skulls [23 PL, 465pts]: Hades gatling cannon, Ichor cannon

++ Total: [108 PL, 9CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Two Lords of Skulls, ready to demolish anything in front of them buffed by a Master of Possession
  • A pair of Defilers for ranged support
  • 2 units of Raptors with the Mark of Khorne
  • Two Lords Discordant

Playing This List

A bit of an evolution of the Triple Lord of Skulls list, Preston trades out the third Lord of Skulls – and with it some CP – in order to get a bit more ground support in the form of Raptors and a pair of Lords Discordant. He fills some of that gap with a pair of defilers, which each are capable of acting like a poor man’s Lord of Skulls as the occasion calls for it. The Master of Possession can buff both using the Cursed Earth and Infernal Power powers, giving them a 4+ invulnerable save and the ability to re-roll hit and wound rolls of 1 within 6″, and the Lords Discordant can give them +1 to hit. This list runs two Lords, one of which – with the Burning Talisman – is marked for more aggressive play and early/T1 charges. Preston’s Warlord Trait here is Daemonsmith, taken for the additional hits since he can already get re-rolls to wound from the Master of Possession or the Daemonforge Stratagems and the Lord of Skulls has the output to really benefit from extra hits on 6s. That said, Warp Lord is also an option to get more consistency on casts if you’re looking for an alternative.

With the update to the Death to the False Emperor rule this list may want to the Mark of Khorne on the Raptors for the Mark of Slaanesh and an Icon of Excess, though it currently will need to find 20 points to do so.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Jon Shaw’s Iron Warriors Daemon Engines

Jon took this list to a 4th place finish at the NaughtyK GT in July, again in a meta swarming with under-nerfed Admech and Drukhari lists. It runs heavy on fast Daemon Engines to rush the foe while Cultists blobs control objectives at midfield and perform actions.

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Chaos Space Marines) [104 PL, 1,855pts, 10CP] ++

Legion: Iron Warriors
Gifts of Chaos (1 Relic) [-1CP]

  • HQ +

Chaos Lord in Terminator Armour [6 PL, 110pts]: 2. Daemonsmith, Chainfist, Combi-melta, Insidium, Mark of Slaanesh, Warlord

Lord Discordant on Helstalker [10 PL, 200pts]: Baleflamer, Mark of Slaanesh, Techno-venomous Mechatendrils
. Helstalker: Techno-virus injector

Master of Possession [5 PL, 95pts]: Cursed Earth, Infernal Power, Mark of Tzeentch

  • Troops +

Chaos Cultists [6 PL, 100pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. 19x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 19x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

Chaos Cultists [6 PL, 100pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. 19x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 19x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 50pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 50pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

  • Elites +

Chaos Leviathan Dreadnought [13 PL, 235pts, -1CP]: Grav-flux bombard, 3x Hellforged hunter-killer missile, Leviathan siege drill and meltagun, Mark of Slaanesh
. Two twin volkite calivers

Decimator [9 PL, 160pts]: 2x Decimator butcher cannon, Mark of Slaanesh
Decimator [9 PL, 180pts]: Mark of Slaanesh, 2x Soulburner petard
Decimator [9 PL, 180pts]: Mark of Slaanesh, 2x Soulburner petard

Greater Possessed [4 PL, 65pts]
. Greater Possessed: Mark of Slaanesh

  • Heavy Support +

Venomcrawler [7 PL, 110pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
Venomcrawler [7 PL, 110pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
Venomcrawler [7 PL, 110pts]: Mark of Slaanesh

++ Auxiliary Support Detachment -2CP (Chaos – Chaos Space Marines) [10 PL, 138pts, -2CP] ++

Legion: Emperor’s Children

  • Fast Attack +

Warp Talons [10 PL, 138pts]: Mark of Slaanesh, Warp Talon Champion
. 5x Warp Talon: 5x Lightning Claw (Pair)

++ Total: [114 PL, 8CP, 1,993pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • A trio of Venomcrawlers
  • A trio of Decimators
  • A Leviathan
  • An Emperor’s Children Detachment with Warp Talons

Playing This List

Right off the bat I need to clear something up: The Emperor’s Children Auxiliary detachment can’t actually use the Honour the Prince Stratagem to make charges out of deep strike. As a result, if you’re looking at this list, I’d strongly consider swapping that out for a Patrol Detachment. Put 10 Cultists in there and then trade out the Greater Possessed for a Master of Executions to babysit your backline troops. Or make it a Night Lords Detachment so you can give your Warp Talons +1 to hit on their charges from Deep Strike. Or alternatively, kill the Aux detachment. With the detachment, your plan is to use the Warp Talons to charge out of deep strike to take out a key target that might threaten your daemon engines. It’s a neat add-on strategy but something you just can’t reliably do with an Auxiliary Support detachment, which doesn’t give you access to Stratagems from the Book of Fire.

Other than that, this list stacks buffs on the daemon engines from the Master of Possession, Chaos Lord, and Greater Possessed to create a metal-and-flesh nightmare rolling across the table while the Cultists hold objectives and perform actions.

Euan Bedford-Cooper’s Soup List

Euan took this list to a 2nd place, 4-2 finish at the Kent Wargames GT in August, using a more mixed approach to Iron Warriors to make use of superior infantry options in Codex: Death Guard. He also took it to a 5-0 start at the London GT in September.

++ Vanguard Detachment -3CP (Chaos – Death Guard) [41 PL, 835pts, -3CP] ++

  • Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost [-3CP]

Plague Company: The Harbingers

  • HQ +

Malignant Plaguecaster [5 PL, 95pts]: 1. Miasma of Pestilence, 5. Curse of the Leper

  • Troops +

Poxwalkers [5 PL, 90pts]
. 18x Poxwalker: 18x Improvised weapon

Poxwalkers [5 PL, 100pts]
. 20x Poxwalker: 20x Improvised weapon

Poxwalkers [5 PL, 100pts]
. 20x Poxwalker: 20x Improvised weapon

  • Elites +

Deathshroud Terminators [7 PL, 150pts]
. Deathshroud Champion: Plaguespurt gauntlet
. 2x Deathshroud Terminator: 2x Manreaper, 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet

Deathshroud Terminators [7 PL, 150pts]
. Deathshroud Champion: Plaguespurt gauntlet
. 2x Deathshroud Terminator: 2x Manreaper, 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet

Deathshroud Terminators [7 PL, 150pts]
. Deathshroud Champion: Plaguespurt gauntlet
. 2x Deathshroud Terminator: 2x Manreaper, 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Chaos Space Marines) [36 PL, 700pts, 12CP] ++

  • Configuration +

Battle Size [12CP]: 3. Strike Force (101-200 Total PL / 1001-2000 Points)

Detachment Command Cost

Legion: Iron Warriors

  • HQ +

Lord Discordant on Helstalker [10 PL, 195pts]: Autocannon, Insidium, No Chaos Mark
. Helstalker: Techno-virus injector

Master of Possession [5 PL, 95pts]: Mark of Tzeentch, Warlord

  • Troops +

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 50pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

  • Elites +

Decimator [9 PL, 180pts]: No Chaos Mark, 2x Soulburner petard
Decimator [9 PL, 180pts]: No Chaos Mark, 2x Soulburner petard

++ Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment -3CP (Chaos – Chaos Space Marines) [23 PL, 465pts, -1CP] ++

Legion: Iron Warriors

  • Lord of War +

Khorne Lord of Skulls [23 PL, 465pts]: Hades gatling cannon, Ichor cannon

++ Total: [100 PL, 2,000pts, 8CP] ++

The Standout Features

  • One Lord of Skulls backed by a Master of Possession
  • A pair of Soulburner Decimators
  • Three units of Deathshrouds
  • 3 big units of Poxwalkers to hold objectives

Playing This List

This list trades out the weakest part of the Iron Warriors’ arsenal – the troops – for stronger options in a different book. It loses contagions for its Death Guard units in the process, but Poxwalkers don’t really rely on Contagions to begin with and Deathshroud can live without them. The list also trades out the long-ranged firepower that multiple Lords of Skulls bring for mid-range mortal wounds delivered via the Malignant Plaguecaster and the two Soulburner Decimators, which rely on the Lord Discordant and Master of Possession to ensure they almost never miss. The end result is a list that’s much deadlier approaching the middle of the table, but a bit easier to pick apart once you take out the Lord of Skulls.

You can read more about playing this list on Euan’s personal blog.

Where to Read More

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