Hello everyone, Devin here today to talk to you all about how to dominate with Imperial Fist on the tabletop going into 9th edition. Space Marines made it into 9th edition fairly well between the rules changes and the new points. Now is an excellent time to be getting your boys in yellow on to the tabletop.
Imperial Fists are not as durable as other chapters, Iron Hands come to mind here. The key to survival here will be doing a ton of damage out of the gate and removing threats in your opponent’s army. This is commonly referred to as Alpha Striking. With the toning down of many of the indirect fire weapons and the changes to terrain rules pulling this tactic off has become harder in 9th. But it isn’t impossible and the way to get around the terrain changes will be with speed. There are several existing units, as well as some new units yet to be released, that do this very well.
Imperial Fists are a chapter that does raw aggression and hitting power very well. They do it through their excellent shooting as opposed to assault (like White Scars or Blood Angels). The Imperial Fists chapter tactic, Siege Masters, grants them ignores cover for their shooting and exploding 6s on all their bolt weapons. Their unique doctrine, Legacy of Dorn, gives +1 damage with heavy weapons when attacking vehicles or buildings while in devastator doctrine. Previously in 8th before the FAQ nerf this was used to build heavy artillery gun lines. Now it only works during the first turn and the units you take will reflect this change.
Dominate with Imperial Fist Chapter Tactics
Imperial Fists do bolt weapons very well due to their chapter tactic. This means that the core of your army will want to be units such as Intercessors. 9th edition missions favour objective sitting with durable objective secured units and Intercessors do this very well. Especially as the rest of your army is busy with the Alpha Strike. Bolt Rifles combined with the Rapid Fire stratagem will put out 4 shots at half range, all with exploding 6s. I would highly recommend having at least one unit of 10 Intercessors with Bolt Rifles in your list to take full advantage of this.
Auto Bolt Rifles can advance and still be fired. Use Intercessors equipped with these to rush towards the mid-table objectives while still laying down volleys of fire. The exploding 6s from your chapter tactic mathematically negates the -1 to hit penalty for advancing and firing assault weapons. With the addition of a nearby chapter master aura, this is reduced even further to the point of hardly being noticeable. This basic core of Intercessors will hold true for most Space Marine armies but it is in the rest of the list that the differences will become apparent.
Alpha Strike units to Dominate with Imperial Fist:
The Mario Kart. While we haven’t seen much of its rules yet, the Invader is looking like a good choice for an Imperial Fists army. They’re fast, pack an Onslaught Gatling Cannon and are likely to be pretty cheap so will fill the role nicely. A unit of 3 can benefit a lot from Chaplain litanies (+1 to hit and wound) and will throw out 18 S5 -2AP (2 damage against vehicles) shots turn 1, with 6 bolt rifles worth of shooting too. With the litanies on them they will pack quite a heavy punch. There Dakka output is one of Top 3 Salamanders Indomitus Tactics.
A big winner of 9th edition, the Invictor was already showing up in Imperial Fists armies due to the +1 damage buff on its autocannons. Now it gets to move and fire without penalty. Invictors can deploy in no man’s land like scouts and can thus be used either as a heavy turn 1 punch if you go first or a massive distraction if you go second. These things hit hard and hit fast and I think Imperial Fists players will get a lot of mileage out of them.
Another big beneficiary of the removal of move and shoot penalties for vehicles. Redemptors fill a similar role as Invictors but trade the forward deployment for higher toughness and more guns. They have a decent movement characteristic of 8 and throwing a few of these up the table will provide a good distraction for your Intercessors. They also throw out a ton of shots each turn with the Onslaught Gatling Cannons.
Land Speeders are a big winner of 9th ed, gaining the ability to move and shoot without penalty. Assault cannons and heavy bolters will probably be the way to go with these. They are in direct competition with the Invaders though, so we will have to see the final points and rules on the ATVs before that call can be made. They don’t roll as many dice as an Invader in rapid-fire range but the Land Speeder’s shots are all heavy and strength 5 and 6. However, they also have better movement and the fly keyword. Which is better between the Land Speeder and the Invader will depend on the Invader’s points cost.
One of my favourite models, this thing is a beast for the Imperial Fists. Between the Quad Heavy Bolter and the Twin Avenger Bolt Cannon, it will put out a ton of dice that can explode on 6s. Throw on the Bolter Drill stratagem to make each 6 on those guns count for 3 hits. The Fire Raptor is a bit on the pricy side and isn’t the most durable thing for its points but there isn’t much better in the massive distraction category to Dominate with Imperial Fist.
Final Thoughts 9th edition has been kind to Space Marine players and Imperial Fists are certainly no exception. There’s a lot to love with this chapter. Even though the marine nerfs hit them fairly hard I feel there is enough depth to the army to mitigate it. I hope these tactics will give all you Imperial Fists players out there some good ideas and success on the tabletop.
One unit I want to give a shout out to are the Outriders. Iron Hands Bikers can be tougher compared to Imperial Fist. Tons of Bolt Rifle shots off the bikes and a ton of attacks in combat make these guys excellent harassment and counter punch unit that should find a good home in Imperial Fists lists. Second is the Fire Raptor.
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As always thanks for reading!
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