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Warhammer 40K: This Week’s Meta Hotness – Ironstrider Ballistarii

5 Minute Read
Jul 7 2021
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Let’s take a look at a unit that’s been walking over the opposition as one of Warhammer 40K’s top units, Ironstrider Ballistarii.

In the ever-shifting meta of 40K, armies rise and fall. We’ve spent a lot of time talking about armies that are hot or not, but a lot less time looking at units that are running the show. Today let’s start by taking a look at one of the hottest units currently running around the tabletop.

The Unit

Ironstrider Ballistarii are an Adeptus Mechanicus light fire support vehicle/unit. Unlike their sister unit the Sydonian Dragoons, they are a ranged focused unit, with the option of taking a few weapons. These ridden chicken walker-ish warmachines are fast and serve as ranged outriders for the Mechanicus.

Why They Are Good

The Ironstrider was never a bad unit, but in the new codex this unit has seen some significant buffs. Right off the bat these guys hit the sweet spot of being just tough enough to kill that they are very annoying to remove. With T6, 6 wounds a 3+/6++ they take some real dedicated firepower to bring down. Small arms have real trouble with them, and evan anti-tank guns, short of close range melta, will often need two shots to kill one. Given that you can take up to 6 in a unit, this unit is a real pain to remove. Given the army they fight with there are also plenty of ways to heal these guys.


Offensively they are also no slouches. Newly buffed Cognis weapons give them a choice between a 6 shot AP -1 Autocannon, great for killing MEQ, or a pair of super lascannons. Both options are assault, making the unit very flexible. The Cognis lascannon has shown up as the more popular options, and with 4-6 damage per shot its not hard to see why. This makes it a great option to take down tanks, it’s super deadly to Drukhari units, and also good at hitting heavy infantry. On top of these solids stats the unit it core, meaning it can get just a million buffs, and benefits from the new Dontrina, meaning it be super accurate when needed. Not only is it data-tethered, but it can make a nearby unit date-tethered as well. At a current 75 PTs per model, these guys are a super efficient mix of firepower and survivability, with just a little bit of general list utility as well.

A Sample List

Saying a unit is hot is all well and good, but let’s take a look at how players are using it. Ironstrider Ballistarii have shown up in a number of Admech lists sweaping events in the past weeks. One list that highlights them is the list thatSam Dutney ran to take 1st place at the recent Geelong GT (2nd place ran 7 of them as well)  (via 40kstats.com)

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Mechanicus) [57 PL, 1,108pts, 9CP] ++

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+ Configuration +

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

Detachment Command Cost

Forge World Choice: Forge World: Lucius

+ Stratagems +

Stratagem: Archeotech Specialist [-1CP]: Archeotech Specialist

Stratagem: Mechanicus Locum [-2CP]: 2x Mechanicus Locum

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+ HQ +

Skitarii Marshal [3 PL, 45pts]: Relic: Exemplar’s Eternity, Warlord, Warlord Trait (Codex 3): Programmed Retreat

+ Troops +

Skitarii Vanguards [8 PL, 170pts]: Enhanced Data-Tether, Omnispex

. 19x Skitarii Vanguard: 19x Radium Carbine

. Vanguard Alpha: Radium Carbine

+ Elites +

Sicarian Infiltrators [4 PL, 85pts]

. Infiltrator Princeps (Flechette/Taser)

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. 4x Sicarian Infiltrator (Flechette/Taser): 4x Flechette Blaster, 4x Taser Goad

Sicarian Ruststalkers [4 PL, 85pts]

. Ruststalker Princeps (Razor)

. 4x Sicarian Ruststalker (Razor/Chordclaw): 4x Chordclaw, 4x Transonic Razor

+ Fast Attack +

Ironstrider Ballistarii [12 PL, 225pts]

. Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Lascannon

. Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Lascannon

. Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Lascannon

Serberys Raiders [2 PL, 48pts]: Serberys Raider Alpha

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. 2x Serberys Raider: 2x Cavalry Sabre, 2x Clawed Limbs, 2x Galvanic Carbine

+ Flyer +

Archaeopter Fusilave [7 PL, 130pts]: Command Uplink

Archaeopter Fusilave [7 PL, 130pts]: Command Uplink

+ Dedicated Transport +

Skorpius Dunerider [5 PL, 95pts]

Skorpius Dunerider [5 PL, 95pts]

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Imperium – Adeptus Mechanicus) [27 PL, 541pts, -2CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost [-2CP]

Forge World Choice: Forge World: Lucius

+ HQ +

Skitarii Marshal [3 PL, 45pts]: Mechanicus Locum, Warlord Trait (Codex 5): Firepoint Telemetry Cache

+ Troops +

Skitarii Rangers [2 PL, 40pts]

. Ranger Alpha: Galvanic Rifle

. 4x Skitarii Ranger: 4x Galvanic Rifle

Skitarii Rangers [2 PL, 40pts]

. Ranger Alpha: Galvanic Rifle

. 4x Skitarii Ranger: 4x Galvanic Rifle

+ Fast Attack +

Serberys Raiders [2 PL, 48pts]: Serberys Raider Alpha

. 2x Serberys Raider: 2x Cavalry Sabre, 2x Clawed Limbs, 2x Galvanic Carbine

Serberys Raiders [2 PL, 48pts]: Serberys Raider Alpha

. 2x Serberys Raider: 2x Cavalry Sabre, 2x Clawed Limbs, 2x Galvanic Carbine

+ Flyer +

Archaeopter Stratoraptor [8 PL, 160pts]: Command Uplink

Archaeopter Stratoraptor [8 PL, 160pts]: Command Uplink

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Imperium – Adeptus Mechanicus) [18 PL, 350pts, -2CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost [-2CP]

Forge World Choice: Forge World: Lucius

+ HQ +

Tech-Priest Manipulus [6 PL, 110pts]: Logi, Mechanicus Locum, Relic (Lucius): The Solar Flare, Transonic cannon, Warlord Trait (Lucius): Luminescent Blessings

+ Troops +

Skitarii Rangers [2 PL, 40pts]

. Ranger Alpha: Galvanic Rifle

. 4x Skitarii Ranger: 4x Galvanic Rifle

Skitarii Rangers [2 PL, 40pts]

. Ranger Alpha: Galvanic Rifle

. 4x Skitarii Ranger: 4x Galvanic Rifle

+ Flyer +

Archaeopter Stratoraptor [8 PL, 160pts]: Command Uplink

++ Total: [102 PL, 5CP, 1,999pts] ++

Using the Unit

This list makes use of 3 Ironstriders. While this is less than some other lists, they still fill an important role. In a list full of fast aggressive units, they form the heaviest part of the armies anti-tank firepower. Three Ironstrider, even more so with buffs, can put some real damage on a target. Moreover they are fast enough to keep up with the rest of the army. Thanks to being from Forgeworld Lucius they get +1 to saves made vs d1 weapons, dropping them to a 2+ save and making them almost impervious to small arms. Thanks to their date-tethers they can benefit from the warlord traits, or let others do so, anywhere on the table, allowing them if need to fall back and still shoot. The unit’d might not be the only star of the show, but its a deadly part of a precision machine.

Let us know what units you think are hot right now, down in the comments! 

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