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How to Play Iron Hands in Warhammer 40K

5 Minute Read
Feb 1 2024

Today let’s take a look at some basics of how to play and get started with Warhammer 40k Iron Hands- more machine than man!

The Iron Hands are a dour and adept Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes. As one of the First Founding Chapters, the Iron Hands have the distinct character of their Primarch, Ferrus Manus (get it!?). On the tabletop, the chapter fights with devastating firepower and stark resilience.

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

Who Are The Iron Hands?

The Iron Hands were the X Legion of the twenty original Space Marine Legions, sometimes referred to as the “Iron Tenth”. The Chapter is notable for their heavy use of bionics and their reverence for all things mechanical, and thus their close ties to the Adeptus Mechanicus.

With Ferrus Manus at their head, the Iron Hands quickly became renowned for their ability to confront enemies of the Great Crusade head-on, gaining a reputation as ruthless and calculating fighters. They excelled at high-intensity warfare against both technologically advanced foes and brutal xenos such as Orks whose sheer power and vast numbers constituted a grave threat to the success of the Crusade. As their battle style required advanced war engines, the Iron Hands began to establish their notoriously close ties with the Adeptus Mechanicus, whose culture was astonishingly similar to their own.

After the Horus Heresy

Following the Horus Heresy, the Iron Hands were in a state of disarray and still reeling from their near-destruction, and the death of their Primarch. While many Imperial factions bayed for blood and rushed to vent their fury upon their betrayers, the Iron Hands gathered their strength on Medusa and convened the Iron Council in a conclave known forever after as The Tempering. It was this gathering that determined the human race itself – in all contemptible emotion – was to blame for the Heresy, and must be purged of flaws. So it was that the Iron Hands determined their guiding mission. They would exact payment for the wrongs done to them, but with a measured ruthlessness. Thus began a bloody campaign that continues to this day, fought by the Chapter and those amongst their successors shaped by their teachings.

Why Play Iron Hands

iron hands vs CSMs

The Iron Hands bring everything we should expect from a Space Marine chapter, while being extra resilient. They also have a great character, totally unique to their chapter.


Strengths of the Army

  • Resilience
  • Vehicles
  • Shooting

Weakness of the Army

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

iron hands Primarch - Ferrus Mannus

Iron Hands 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.

Ironstorm Spearhead

  • Rules: The vehicle and Dreadnought detachment! Armoured Wrath means all your units are a bit more reliable with once-a-phase re-rolls.
  • Enhancements: These are mostly designed to give out auras which can then benefit the vehicles the detachment is built around.
  • Stratagems: These are built around vehicles. Ancient Fury is great for the absolute slew of buffs it stacks onto a Dreadnought.

What to Buy

The Iron Hands 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. Knowing what units to take makes use of the Chapter’s rules can be tricky. Here are some suggestions to get you off on the right track.

1. Iron Father Feirros

The unique hero of the Iron Hands Chapter, Iron-Father Feirros has rules to buff all manner of vehicles and infantry.

2. Redemptor Dreadnought

The Redemptor really shines in this detachment, who will work at full capacity to near death.


3. Repulsor Executioner

The Repulsor is a resilient line tank. Add the detachment rules and a Techmarine baby-sitter, and you have something very hard to move.

4. Primaris Intercessors

Like all Space Marines Chapters, a core of Primaris Intercessor Troop choices is never a bad way to go. They are durable, have decent firepower, and are forgiving of mistakes.

5. Sternguard Veterans


The weapons of Sternguard are perfect to take advantage of the Devastator Doctrine.

Sample Iron Hands Starter Army

Iron Father Feirros. 1 Model. He is equipped with:  bolt pistol; Gorgon’s Wrath; Harrowhand; 2 servo-arms.-

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


Other Units
Redemptor Dreadnought. 1 Model. It is equipped with: 2 fragstorm grenade launchers; heavy flamer; heavy onslaught gatling cannon; Redemptor fist

Total:  ~500  pts.


How to Play Iron Hands

The Iron Hands play as a resilient and powerful ranged archetype of Space Marines.  Iron Hands excel as an armored gunline with a forward vanguard of dreadnoughts, who are backed up by Feirros or other Techmarine support. From there, purge the battlefield with a cold, calculating, and dispassionate advance.

The Flesh is Weak!


Author: Allen Campbell
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