27 June 2012

40k: Assessing the Iron Warrior Situation

With the release date of 6th Edition plummeting towards us, with the promise of Chaos Space Marines the first codex out of the blocks, supported by Chaos in the box set, my Iron Warriors look set to be the first of my 40k armies to see some love.

Back in their heyday they were my go-to tournament army – reliably successful if never spectacular. I never did the over-popular 3x Defiler, 9x Obliterator, 2x Daemon Prince list – I have too much integrity and respect for the spirit of the game – but I did run multiple 6-man units and no Aspiring Champions to max out on heavy weapons. What this has led to is a collection containing lots of heavy and special weapons and not many bolter grunts or Champions.

When I first started the army I fell in love with the fluff and wanted to create a true Legion. Of course I started with the characters and created the Champion at the top of the page, along with the converted Techmarine above.

Next came my Warsmith – how many of you can identify the component parts?!

He was great but susceptible to large blasts, lascannon fire and power weapons so, more often than not, died before contributing much to the cause. His elevation to Daemonhood swiftly followed and I was keen for the Daemon prince to be recongnisable as a bigger version of the Warsmith.

He has been a loyal servant to the cause and, as part of a firepower-driven force, always sat behind the firebase as a protector and deterrent. It didn't always work (his bark was usually worse than his bite) but he has clocked up his fair share of kills.

Despite building a Chosen Squad, a Command Rhino and Dreadnoughts – which did see action at a Conflict tournament one year – these units never made it to the first team, the Dreads now victims of an Ebay-based culling.

The Iron Warrior Basilisk and Baneblade (yes, I have an IW Baneblade!) were great support vehicles in non-competitive games, but it was the multitude of Predator tanks that provided the covering fire in tournaments – being able to take 4 in a single list was amazing and ensured they were the first things to be included.

I also have several Rhinos, a Vindicator and 6x Obliterators – it's all about the heavy weapons.

However, I've said this before and I'll say it again, the most valuable unit I ever fielded were my infiltrating Chosen. These guys were the real deal – the S. A. bloody-S.

Never have I seen such panic inflicted by 5/6 individual models in 40k, with a points cost barely scraping 100. If I was lucky they might inflict a kill or two, but more often than not their value lay in disrupting the enemies plans – the threat of what they could do, behind enemy lines, forcing my opponent to divert troops to deal with them.


Obviously, confirmed details about the new codex are quite thin on the ground so it's a little too early to be making sweeping statements. Similarly, we'll all need a game or two under 6th Edition conditions before we know what works or not. However, some initial observations can be made.

I didn't partake in 5th Ed much at all, certainly not with the Iron Warriors – I was so disgusted by how much character my army lost in the latest Chaos codex that I effectively retired. This means that the gulf between my 40k playing experience and the upcoming rules will be bigger than most of you.

I think my future IW lists will need to be more flexible than in the past – the glass(ish) cannon isn't going to cut it anymore. This would indicate my need for more grunts – I'll need to flesh out my 6-man squads to be full 10-man units and fill some of my redundant Rhinos.

The other thing that has been sadly missing is Terminators. I like the idea of a horde of Iron Warrior Terminators, but the cost implications will prevent this too much. If a new Dreadnought model is produced (and they tweak the rules) then that might be a must to support my Termis.

Aside from that I think I will need options when it comes to HQ. A Terminator armoured Warsmith would be a great addition, but the real need will be a Sorceror of some kind. I have several Thousand Sons magicians that I could use for the short-term, but it's gagging for an awesome Sith-like conversion.

If, as rumoured, there are Cultists then that opens up a whole new doorway of possibilities… it's all very exciting!

++40 days of 40k++

Don't forget the current giveaway – get your hands on a plastic Captain Tycho!

Also Mike Howell – get in touch with me, you won a prize!


  1. Never played back when the Legions were running around pillaging the war tables. I did however play quite a bit of 4-5th edition and let me say that Chosen have held their ground. My poison of choice was a six man squad with five plasmaguns and a blank aspiring champion all packaged up into a tight little Rhino. Infiltrating a rhino with this much fire power is any units worse nightmare. The blank champion provided me with a free wound while also allowing for my Greater Daemon to reenforce them if things were looking grim.

    One thing you can look forward to is the inclusion of allies which means traitor guard units. This will definitely bring the Iron back into your warriors. I look forward to seeing where you go with this army and your thoughts on the new codex/edition.

    1. Like the traitor guard idea (if not the prospect of painting it) and I have a boxful of plastic guard somewhere in the attic – and it would make the Baneblade more feasible.

      40k is unlikely to be my main game again, but I'd like to give these guys a refresh and bring them round to being a proper army rather than the tournament pic 'n' mix army that they are at present.

  2. Now I may know next to nothing about the wonderful world that is 40K, but I have say these look amazing! They remind a little of the borg collective from Star Trek; very cool indeed.

    1. The best bit about collecting 40k is having an entire army in front of you in all its splendour. I am looking forward to seeing my Iron Warriors like that again, but with 10 years more painting experience.

      They are meant to be seige masters, so hopefully that will come through as part of their 6th Edition refit.