BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

How to Play Imperial Fists in Warhammer 40K

4 Minute Read
Jan 26 2024

Today let’s take a look at some basics of how to play and get started with Warhammer 40k Imperial Fists.

The Imperial Fists are a proud and stoic Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes. As one of the First Founding Chapters, the Imperial Fists have the distinct character of their Primarch, Rogal Dorn. On the tabletop, the chapter fights best with precision firepower.

Below we offer some tips on how to play the army and get started with the army.


Who Are The Imperial Fists?

The Imperial Fists were the VII Legion of the original twenty Space Marine Legions.  They are recognized to be among the most loyal Chapters to the Emperor. They have been instrumental in holding the Imperium together during the bleakest of times with renowned stubborn resilience. Because of their service to the Imperium, especially their role in leading the defense of Terra during the Horus Heresy, the Imperial Fists are also known as the “Defenders of Terra.”

The homeworld of the Imperial Fists is still officially given as Holy Terra. However, in functional terms, the Chapter has been fleet-based since being united with their Primarch Rogal Dorn. After his ascension, the massive starship Phalanx has served as their mobile Fortress-Monastery. Nonetheless, the Chapter still maintains a presence on Holy Terra. Notable fortifications on the homeworld include the Pillar of Bone and Column of Glory.

Why Play Imperial Fists

Imperial Fists Intercessor

The Imperial Fists bring everything we should expect from a Space Marine chapter, while showing a stoic and dour knight attitude. They also have some great characters, totally unique to their chapter.


Strengths of the Army

  • Heavy shooting.
  • Marine Versatility.

Weakness of the Army

  • Like most marines, an elite army with relatively few bodies.

Imperial Fists captain

Imperial Fists Rules

Space Marine Army Rules

  • Oath of Moment: This powerful rule allows you to target an enemy unit in the Command Phase and give your entire army re-rolls against it.

Imperial Fists Captain Lysander

Anvil Siege Force

  • Rules: The Siege Force is strong in this one. Shield of the Imperium gives Heavy to all of your ranged weapons and further buff weapons that were already Heavy.
  • Enhancements: These enhancements are very much themed around Imperial Fists and their style of war. For some classic flavor, Fleet Commander is an update of Orbital Bombardments.
  • StratagemsHail of Vengeance is a very solid ability, allowing a unit to shoot back at a unit it just lost models from.

What to Buy

The Imperial Fists are no longer a Supplemental Codex. The army consists of a few unique units and a particularly suitable Detachment. To play the army you only need Codex: Space Marines.

Key Faction Units To Know

The army has the immense Space Marine unit roster.  Here are some suggestions to get you off on the right track.

1. Captain Lysander

Imperial Fists Captain Lysander miniature
An iconic Imperial Fists hero and Captain of the First Company, Lysander is the rare character who has been promoted (he was a Special Character Sergeant in 3rd edition!). Now the Captain is a pretty great beat-stick, smashing his foes with the Fist of Dorn.


2. Tor Garadon

Imperial Fists Tor Garadon
Another Captain, this time the Primaris Captain of the 3rd Company. He is an even better buff piece than a normal Captain, thanks to his Signum Array.

3. Centurions (both varieties)

Centurions of both varieties are great with Imperial Fists. Their large number of weapon profiles can take advantage of their Detachment bonus’.

4. Primaris Intercessors

Like all Space Marines Chapters, a core of Primaris Intercessor squads is never a bad way to go. Their bolt rifles are great.

5. Primaris Aggressors

Like Centurions, Aggressors have lots of profiles to stack buffs on. If you want to stay with Primaris units, these will get you the firepower you need.

Sample Starter Imperial Fists Army

Captain Lysander. 1 Model. He is equipped with:  Fist of Dorn.



Primaris Intercessors. Ten Models. Every model is equipped with: bolt pistol; bolt rifle

Primaris Intercessors. Ten Models. Every model is equipped with: bolt pistol; bolt rifle

Other Units

Scout Squad. Five Models. Every model is equipped with: bolt pistol; boltgun; close combat weapon

Impulsor. It is equipped with: two stormbolters, shield dome.

How to Play Imperial Fists

Obviously all Space Marines are all rounders, but there still are ‘combat’ Chapters and ‘shooty’ Chapters. The Imperial Fists are one of the preeminent ‘shooty’ Chapters. Top shelf, especially with bolt-family weapons. If you need to crack open a tank or bunker and spray the insides down with bolters, an Imperial Fist gunline should be your go to choice.


Primarch-Progenitor, to your glory and the glory of him on earth!

Author: Allen Campbell
  • Goatboy’s Grimdark Armylist - Dark Angels Deathwing Inner Circle Task Force!