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40K: The Iron Warriors Are Back!

8 Minute Read
Dec 8 2016
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Just like you, I am very excited about the Traitor Legion book. The Iron Warriors are back with a vengeance!

I feel like 40K is just better when Chaos is a strong contender.

Iron Within… Iron Without…

Today, I’m here to chat about the Iron Warriors. Iron within.. Iron without..  We’re going to cover the basics of the Cult Legions first and then get deeper into the Iron Warriors Special Rules.


The foundation of any of the Chaos Cult Legions is now the Chaos Warband formation. The Iron Warriors special formation is called the Grand Company.

This Warband formation is:
1 Chaos Lord
0-1 Chaos Sorcerer
1-3 Chosen, Terminators or Possessed
2-6 Chaos Space Marines
1-3 Raptors, Warp Talons, Bikers
1-3 Havocs or Helbrutes

Special Rules:
The ability roll twice on the Chaos Boon table and take one or both
All units in the formation are Objective Secure.

I know what you’re thinking: A Chaos Lord.. ugh.

It is really not as bad as you think and here’s why. The minimum that you can get away with spending on this is around 450 points. This is purchasing the bare minimum, cheapest, squads with no upgrades. This isn’t practical for the Lord, the Raptors/Talons or the Havocs. You’re going to have to sink more points into these guys to justify taking them but that isn’t bad with their new bonus rules that we’ll get to below.


Let’s say we’re going to have a couple hundred points in upgrades leaving us with 1200 or so points to spend on some meaningful Iron Warriors good stuff.

The Gifts of Perturabo

Iron Warriors are able to take Obliterators and Mutilators as Troop choices. This is something noticeably absent from the Chaos Warband above and completely not a part of the Grand Company Formation. I think this is going to really make an Iron Warriors general think about taking this legion in standard Combined Arms Detachments.

You can seriously rain objective secured Obliterators on people. I’ve found that placing 2+ save models, that can actually impact the game, deep in your opponents deployment zone is pretty annoying. I highly recommend this as a strategy for Iron Warriors and Obliterators (I am still not impressed with the Mutilators).

The Iron Warriors, outside of any special detachments, get a few special rules. All Units get Veterans of the Long War for free. You can Reroll glancing/penetrating rolls against buildings (if you didn’t otherwise glance or pen) and you get a blanket +1 to the damage roll. All Havocs, Obliterators and Mutilators get Tank Hunter. Veterans of the Long War have a 6+ Feel no Pain. Wow…

The restrictions are no Unique Units, No Marks of Chaos and you can’t upgrade any units to have Marks of Chaos. Imperial Fists and Iron Warriors have essentially eternal hatred, being able to re-roll 1s every combat. This alone is good enough. With these rules you can get right to work building a ‘basic’ 7th edition army.


The Grand Company

Enough about all this non special formation stuff… If building a mutating beefy CaD isn’t spicy enough for you, maybe you want to try the Iron Warriors Grand Company.



Like I said up top, the base of this Decurion style detachment is the Chaos Warband.

You have likely seen it already but the special rules for the Grand Company are:

You can reroll the scatter for Barrage and Ordnance weapons and non vehicle units have stubborn and units within a formation have Fearless.

These aren’t bad at all. One of the big draw backs to Chaos Space Marines in the past has been their lack of And They Shall Know No Fear. The leadership special rules here go a long way to bridging that gap.

Unfortunately we don’t have the ability to take any Obliterators in the Chaos Warband. This makes it somewhat difficult to maximize the formation benefits in our mandatory point sink. This is why I suggest taking the minimum here to be effective with the Decurion style formation.

The good thing about getting Tank Hunter for free is you don’t have to be concerned if you’re fighting tanks or not. Heavy weapons do a good job on eliminating a lot of high value targets you are likely to see. When you do come up against something with an armor value it’s just an added bonus.

This means we should likely invest some points into your Havocs. This is less of a slippery slope than in a basic CAD because the Havocs here gain Objective Secured from the formation. I still fully believe that Objective Secured wins games when two equally skilled players are facing each other. This makes me feel better about taking Havocs in the first place. When you tack on the additional benefits, at no additional point cost, I feel like this is the right move.

iron warriors


With the formation benefit you can even make a case for Chosen but unless you are putting weapons on them for a specific strategy, go with the minimum investment here too. This goes the same for the Chaos Space Marines.

The cheapest option for the ‘fast’ section is the bikes. Bikes are good but Raptors okay as well. I still say go with the bikes, get few weapon upgrades and rely on Jinking with Feel No Pain to make sure these guys are able to get their licks in. These would make a good unit to keep in reserves for late game objective grabbing. Bikes are so good because of the toughness buff, their speed and the jink. They have too many special rules to not be considered an option. That’s why you see them in everyone’s list.

Bikes are useful but it’s not going to hurt you to keep them off of the table for a round or two while you soften up the enemy.

Kick Em When They’re Up – Kick Em When They’re Down

That brings us to the big question: How do we soften up the Enemy?!

I am going to jump right in to the Cult of Destruction:

This formation is an auxiliary choice for the Grand Company. Auxiliary choices are 1+ for this formation.

3-5 Obliterators or Mutilators
1-3 Warpsmiths

Each Warpsmith can nominate a nearby obliterator or Mutilator unit to fight or shoot twice that turn. They have to choose different weapons for each attack. This is similar to the Chapter Ancients rule from the Blood Angels release.

The Warpsmith is a bit of a tax but you’re going to have no shortage of units to hide him in since you’re taking the Chaos Warband anyway. He is also another way to get some 2+ save guys in your army. He is pretty much an evil Tech Marine if you aren’t otherwise familiar with him.

This is nice. The buff only works within 8 inches so it can make deepstrike shenanigans difficult to pull off but it does pair well with a specific Iron Warriors formation we’ll talk about next.


I can see you wanting to spend a lot of points in this Obliterator department. They are already decent choices in the game right now and getting a few bonus rules pushes them over the top. Again, the double shooting is nice, but it may be worth it to take these guys as standalone troop choices in a CAD. This cannot go understated as a big benefit to the Iron Warriors.



The other great, and a bit of sleeper, Auxiliary choice is the Strongholds of Chaos. This allows you to take 1-3 fortifications as a single choice with no restrictions. Is this the way we can finally actually pair the Haemotrope Reactor with a Void Shied? I am not sure if anyone really knows how to do that but this, paired with the Promethium Pipes could actually see some play. 3 Plasma Obliterators maybe? I know that points become prohibitive when dealing with buildings but I think the Iron Warriors seriously have the potential make these buildings work for them.

The most recent Planetary Onslaught book did change the rules on a few fortifications and now allows you to bring your own city to the table for just a handful of points. This formation further enables that.

The Artifacts of Medrengard

How else can we soften up the enemy?!

One of the cool things about this book is that all of the legions get their own set of Relics and Warlord Traits.

A couple of the beefy ones for Iron Warriors are the Fleshmetal Exoskeleton and the Cranium Malevolous. My spelling of 40k Latin may be off here but my rules are spot on:

The Exoskeleton gives the wearer 2+ armor saves and It Will Not Die. On a character who already has Feel No Pain and a few wounds – this does not suck. It will give your warlord some pretty decent durability while your heavy weapons punish the opponent.

Imagine a gun line of Obliterators firing plasma cannons and plasma guns (twice) in the same round while backed up by a Haemotrope. That is a fair amount of down range pain being protected by a possible void shield and 2+ armor. With your warlord and all your heavy damage output units also being durable you are making it very difficult for your enemy to effectively Alpha Strike. Alpha Strike armies are huge in the game right now.

If you are looking for something a little more up close and personal, you can check out the Cranium. This thing functions similar to the Cult Mechanicus wargear. Enemy vehicles within 2d6 take an automatic Haywire hit in the shooting phase. No Cover Saves allowed. It’s 30 points, but I like it. The army is an absolute hard counter to a Marine Gladius but this is icing on the cake and also does work against Skimmers.

If sitting back and shooting isn’t your thing you can equip the mandatory Chaos Lord with this thing and send him into the fray. It seems pretty cool to be able to model up a Chaos style servo skull.


The IVth Legion on the Tabletop

This is Chaos so the points do get tight.

A sample 1850 list without the Fortification idea can still come in with 6-8 obliterators (in squads of 2), 2 units of Havocs with Autocannons , a pair of Heldrdakes (from a formation), 3 Warpsmiths, a Chaos Lord with the Cranial thing and multiple squads of dudes in Power Armor or on bikes.

The difference between this list before the Traitor Legion supplement and now is that now they pack a lot more punch! Sometimes you’re shooting twice, sometimes you’re getting Tank Hunter and there is a good amount of multi wound 2+ save with an Invulnerable for durability. Sprinkle in the Fearless/Stubborn and some Feel No Pain? Yes, please.

I think the Iron Warriors are a big winner with this release. It will be so nice to see actual Chaos Space Marines back on the table again.

~What do you think?


We will be talking a lot about these legions on upcoming episodes of Forge The Narrative.

Paul Murphy
Author: Paul Murphy
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