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40K: Using Aggressors The GW Way

5 Minute Read
Jul 28

Games Workshop is unloading some tactical tips on how to best use the new Aggressors in a Space Marine Army.

It’s always interesting to hear (or read) how the designers think a unit should be implemented. They are the ones who came-up with the concept, thought about how it would interact with the game, and put the time in to get it to the tabletop. As players, we get to use the end results of that process and sometimes it can be a little confusing trying to decipher the intent of the unit vs perception of the unit. That’s why when we get these insights directly from the game makers it’s always a good idea to take a look.

Well today, Games Workshop has pulled the covers off the Aggressors and presented their thoughts on how the unit works in their eyes. The strategy revolves around the “Three Ds” – Distraction, Defense, and Destruction!

via Warhammer Community


“Aggressors are a valuable distraction unit in any Space Marines army. A popular tactical concept in Warhammer 40,000 circles is the “Distraction Carnifex” – named for the iconic Tyranid unit, a “Distraction Carnifex” is a unit that’s durable and has the potential to cause a lot of damage if it’s ignored. Aggressors are great for this role; for about 120 points, you’re getting three Toughness 5, Space Marines with 2 Wounds each and a 3+ Save with a pile of power fist attacks and respectable shooting.”

Doing some quick math, Games Workshop figured that it would take roughly 60 bolter shots to take out a unit of 3. When you combine that with Chapter Tactics like Shadow Masters (Raven Guard) or The Flesh is Weak (Iron Hands) suddenly those numbers skew even farther in favor of the Aggressors.  That means that Aggressors will provide enough of a threat that your opponent can’t ignore them, and they are tough enough that your opponent will have to dedicate some serious firepower to kill them – that’s a pretty solid distraction!



You might be thinking “you already mentioned their defense – +3 save, Tough 5, 2 Wounds…plus a Chapter Tactic, right?” Not the type of Defense GW is referring to. They are talking about positional defense on the tabletop. Using the Aggressors as a screen to your other units as a defense vs charging:

“Positioning is one of the most important new mechanics in Warhammer 40,000 – remember that you can’t move units within 1″ of any enemy units. In practical terms, you can use this to your advantage by placing your Aggressors so that enemy units either cannot approach you or are forced to charge the Aggressors if they want to get into combat with a more vulnerable unit – and thus will have to eat a double overwatch attacks from them in the process. Two units of 3 Aggressors can deny an enormous amount of ground.”

Basically, if you want to defend a unit from getting assaulted, make sure the Aggressors are in the path of the on-coming assault unit. The Aggressor’s Flamestorm Guantlet are a terrifying sight for a Close Combat army. 2D6 auto-hitting shots is already pretty nasty. If they didn’t move, they get double the shots (even on Overwatch) so that becomes 4D6 auto-hitting shots. And just for kicks, if you are playing Ultramarines, you’ll be able to Fall Back and unload on them again. Anyone want to do the math on the number of average shots a unit of 3 Aggressors can do is they don’t move and get an Overwatch attack in the same turn? Here’s a hint – it’s a LOT.


So I may have tipped my hand on this next part from GW but Aggressors will bring the Destruction, which is the 3rd “D” – and it’s a beautiful thing when you’re not on the receiving end:

“While it’s not their primary role, high volumes of flame weapons can be surprisingly effective against light vehicles and monsters. One popular skimmer is the Voidweaver, and a unit of Aggressors equipped as above can handily destroy one in a round of shooting, while combining the Aggressors with the Salamanders Stratagem Flamecraft (+1 to wound with flame weapons) and Vulkan He’stan (reroll wounds with flame weapons and melta weapons) allows them to destroy even larger targets such as Carnifexes with ease thanks to sheer volume of fire.”

Flamecraft + Re-Rolls = Dead targets. If you’re opponent is foolish enough to allow them to get close to use them, feel free to “shake-and-bake” those soon to be crispy targets. Then again, Aggressors are surprisingly fast. They might only have a 5″ move, but they can move and fire their Assault weapons without penalty. The Flamers have an 8″ range which means their threat range is 13″+D6″ – Anything on the table that is less than 20″ away is possible target. Or if you want to run and gun with the Auto Boltstorm Gauntlets and Fragstorm Grenade Launchers at 18″, well, you get the idea…


The amount of firepower that just 3 of these models can bring is pretty impressive. If you’re worried about taking on squads of Guardsmen or hordes of Ork Boyz, you might want to consider running a squad or two of Aggressors in your list.

Games Workshop has some more tips on running the Aggressors which you can read HERE. Again, it’s always nice to learn how the developers think a unit should work. Even if you don’t agree 100% at least you’ll know where they were coming from. And if you find some alternative uses for them (like using Flamestorm Aggressors as the *best AA unit in the game) even better!


What do you think of these tactical tips from Games Workshop? Are you going to try them out? Would you like to see more of these in the future? Let us know in the comments below!

*Auto-hitting weapons are fantastic vs Flyers. Does it make a ton of sense? No – but maybe those Flyers shouldn’t fly so low then…

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