Beginner's Guide: Iron Hands Tactics


Today’s article is all about the Iron Hands. A faction mostly known for their famous saying ‘’Flesh is Weak’’. You are just starting out in the Warhammer 40,00 universe or searching for a faction that loves toughness, armor, robots and metallic parts? You are searching for a Space Marine project full of conversion and kitbashing? The Iron Hands are for you!

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Who are the Iron Hands

The Iron Hands are a deceptively deep and philosophical chapter. In short, their gene-father, the Primarch named Ferrus Manus, was the first Primarch to die. Before his death, nobody thought it even possible to see a Primarch die. They were demigods in the eyes of everyone, friend or foe. Since his death, his sons took the saying ‘’Flesh is Weak’’ more literally than ever. Without their father to explain that to become more bionic didn’t mean to lose their humanity, the Iron Hands became well known as a legion favoring bionic implants and dreadnoughts above anything else.

The name of their chapter comes directly from the fact that Ferrus Manus himself had metallic arms made of animated metallic liquid. That story is more legend than anything since Ferrus never told the true story behind his arms. His sons follow that legend by replacing their butchered arms after big wars with bionic implants that enhance their abilities.

That tendency gives them a natural resistance more akin to machine than their cousins from other chapters. Therefore, they have a natural affinity with tanks, Dreadnoughts and everything that falls under the vehicle or mobile armored war suits.

Iron Hands Play Style

THE thing to remember with the sons of the Gorgon is that you are tougher than any other Space Marine out there. So, on top of your armor save of 3+ all around you have a special save of 6+ on the damage that has penetrated your armor. The better your armor the tougher you are of course, but even more frustrating than that, your opponent must pierce that bionic part that is making most of your body now.

Vehicles are your best friend. Why camp around when you can move and be resistant to damage? Use the cover to your advantage with your units but don’t hesitate to overrun the enemy with your Dreadnoughts and your tanks moving around your troops.

To have a chance of taking you off the table, your opponent will have to focus his efforts, if you bring the big and tough guns like Dreadnoughts and tanks he will have to make tough choices and there is your opportunity to capitalize on. Use your characters to repair your already tough vehicles mid-fight and see the smile of your friend fade away when he realizes that… Flesh is Weak!

Army List:

++ Patrol Detachment (Imperium – Space Marines) [49 PL, 960pts] ++

+ Configuration +

**Chapter Selection**: Iron Hands

+ HQ +

Iron Father Feirros [6 PL, 110pts]: Bolt pistol, 2x Servo-arm

Primaris Lieutenants [4 PL, 69pts]

. Primaris Lieutenant: Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Master-crafted auto bolt rifle

+ Troops +

Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 85pts]: Bolt rifle

. 4x Intercessor: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades

. Intercessor Sergeant: Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades

Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 85pts]: Bolt rifle

. 4x Intercessor: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades

. Intercessor Sergeant: Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades

+ Elites +

Redemptor Dreadnought [7 PL, 166pts]: 2x Fragstorm Grenade Launchers, Icarus Rocket Pod, Macro Plasma Incinerator, Onslaught Gatling Cannon, Redemptor Fist

Redemptor Dreadnought [7 PL, 157pts]: 2x Fragstorm Grenade Launchers, Heavy flamer, Heavy Onslaught Gatling Cannon, Redemptor Fist

+ Fast Attack +

Inceptor Squad [7 PL, 123pts]: Assault bolter x2, 2x Inceptor, Inceptor Sergeant

+ Heavy Support +

Hellblaster Squad [8 PL, 165pts]: Plasma incinerator

. 4x Hellblaster: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades

. Hellblaster Sergeant: Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades

++ Total: [49 PL, 960pts] ++

Iron Hands Tactics and Strategies

First and foremost, we tried to keep it as low budget as possible and to not repeat more than 2 times the same unit. The philosophy we used to build this list is the following:

-Small budget

-Cool models

-Diversity of models to paint and not get bored

-Flexibility for future purchases and adaptation to grow your army later

To give you an idea, this list needs you to buy the starter set of Dark imperium (160$ US),  Ferros (40$), Easy to Build Redemptor Dreadnought (40$), Redemptor Dreadnought (65$) and in bonus you have your rulebook and a Death Guard army to sell or keep for a future project or awesome corpses on your base to show your superiority. Also don’t hesitate for your future purchases to look at the Primaris Iron Hands conversion kit.

For a long time, the Iron Hands were underdogs almost never seeing the surface of a table. In the past 2 years, they have become one of the most played army in the Space Marine chapters possibilities. Let me tell you about why:

Trust in your armored units to advance and use their big guns to decimate anything in their path. They are tough and they can take it. Your enemies will want to take them out and use their big guns on them. That’s why you have other units to pick out those units and try and take them out first. If you can do that, your walking machines of death will be monsters among man. Both of your Dreadnoughts are equipped differently so that they can pick out targets that fits best with them. Being tough doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be flexible.

Since they will get shot at, keep your Ironfather not too far so that he can repair them. His Master of the Forge rule makes him able to heal 3 wounds on your guys. Also being within his 6’’ aura gives them 5+ against damage passing through your armor save. That is a freaky intimidating march of the regenerative mechanical monsters.

Your Intercessors, lieutenant and Helblasters are there for objective grabbing and supporting your Dreadnoughts. They are not pushovers either, but their place is to help and win you the game by playing the objectives and killing pesky little things that get in the way of your big guys. The Inceptors are your flexible tool. Drop them on an objective, a key part of the table, next a unit that needs to die or just simply give another hard choice to make for your enemy. While they try and kill those guys your Dreadnoughts are getting less fire shot at them. 1 round without getting shot at means better healing from your Ironfather so that is an important key.


The sons of the Gorgon are fighters that prevail even outside of covers. They give you access to a durability that every other chapter would die for. A backstory full of tragedy, able to adapt to rough situations others would be decimated in and tools of war to your disposition that is endless. The Space Marines have a lot of tanks and they help them win battles. In your iron hands, these Dreadnoughts, these Landraiders and these Repulsor Exeutionners are gonna make you win wars in no time. Intimidate your opponent by just putting your toys on the table… that’s the dream!

Heading: This is how you get a free army list designed for you!

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As always thanks for reading!

Special thanks to Games Workshop for the use of their images and for making the best game ever!

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