Here’s Why Iron Hands Bikers Love Indomitus!

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Oh, Iron Hands.

You used to be so good, so broken. “How broken were they?” you ask. So broken Games Workshop had to convene a special snowflake council and change how Combat Doctrines worked for all Codex-compliant Space Marines, that’s how. Now we won’t go into how the 40K Overlords have a tendency to over-react and swing the nerf hammer TOO hard, because I think we can all agree that is a thing that happens in this game we all love. “Live by the meta, die by the FAQ.”

But I digress.

Now we find ourselves in the twilight before the dawn of 9th Edition. With a new edition comes a release box set. These sets have traditionally been a good value for someone wanting to get into the hobby or for the discerning veteran hobbyist. I, myself got started by splitting a Battle for Macragge set with a friend. The 40K Weekend Recovery shared other models to add to the collection. However, this isn’t about Starter Army Necrons and their new toys.

…and Iron Hands Bikers?

So how does the box set, Indomitus, stack up? Well, I’ll tell ya whut, it’s a great box. A really great box. It may be the best bang-for-the-buck starter set Games Workshop has done for contemporary 40K. The box is stuffed full of new Necron models, kicking off the long-awaited re-imagining of that line. Also, in accordance with the Primaris Proliferation Pact (which states all new releases from Games Workshop must give something to Space Marines players, no matter what!) there is a pile of new Primaris marines in Indomitus.

“Neat,” you say, “what exactly does that have to do with Iron Hands Bikers?”

Fantastic question, thanks for asking! What do Iron Hands excel at (besides destroying the meta in 2019)? Most of you are going to say, “Heavy weapons!” and you’re not wrong, exactly. Iron Hands are much like the Bee Gees, in that they are better at Stayin’ Alive. Getting to the point, Iron Hands are survivors, and they aren’t slouches in combat or with non-heavy weapons — they just needed a platform that brings it all together. Enter the new Primaris Outriders, the new motorcycle/biker Primaris units, featured in Indomitus.

Outriders, huh?

Yes, Outriders. There is a unit of 3 Outriders included in Indomitus. Point values aren’t available at the time of this writing. I’m not going to add a list to this article, but I will discuss a thought experiment/work-in-progress Iron Hands list that includes these fast new units.

Show me what you got!

The list is a Battalion detachment with Iron Father Feirros, a Captain on Bike, and a Phobos Lieutenant in the HQ slot. For Troops, we take max-size Intercessors squads with Auto-Bolt Rifles and a Thunderhammer on the Sergeants. For Elites, we’ll take a Primaris Apothecary and use the Chief Apothecary and Hero of the Chapter stratagems to give him the Father of the Future warlord trait. We’ll also take a Redemptor Dreadnought. We’ll take 3 units of Outriders and round the detachment out with a pair of Stormtalon Gunships. Finally, we’ll take two Impulsors to give the Intercessors a ride.

Why would you do this?

9th Edition of 40K, especially Matched/Competitive Play, is going to be more about The Mission and less about just straight murdering your opponent’s army off the table. This means you’re going to need Troops to hold objectives and fast-moving units that can contribute in more than one phase of the game. You’re also going to want hearty, hard to kill units. Iron Hands Outriders check off all those boxes. They are Toughness 5 with 4 Wounds and Move 14”. Combine those traits with Iron Hand innate 6+ “Feel No Pain” ignore wounds ability and you’ve got a fast unit with good firepower, great mobility for board control. With the Devastating Charge Ability, these bad boys make 6 attacks on the charge (7 from the sergeant). 

That seems…okay, I guess?

I understand your hesitation. Space Marine bikers weren’t exactly been burning up the top tables last year, outside of a few niche White Scars builds. Iron Hands were the “castle up and start blasting” army. I get it, believe me, I do. I didn’t put a double-storm-cannon Leviathan in a Lucius drop pod for fluff reasons. But the game has changed, and now the Sons of the Gorgon must adapt accordingly. The way deployment and who gets the first turn has also changed – you alternate unit deployment and then it is a simple roll-off for who goes first. You need to plan accordingly – going first is no longer easier to get because you finish deploying first.

Put it all together!

Turn 1 you start with your Outriders around the Chief Apothecary, soaking up that sweet, sweet 5+++ Feel No Pain.  The Impulsors should be loaded up with Intercessors, and the other footslogging Intercessors should be close to Feirros (for his 5++ Invul) and to provide access to the new Look Out, Sir! rule. Doing this will give your Outriders enhanced survivability if you go second. After that, you have to decide if you want to keep your foot off the gas for the Outriders. Stay in the range of the 5+++ or drop the hammer and go hunting.

Either way, you can shadow the Outriders with the Impulsors. Unload the Intercessors to provide fire support and second wave charges. The Captain on Bike, of course, is there to support the Outriders with his re-roll 1s to hit ability. The planes are there to provide additional fire support or harass enemy air assets. The rest of the army advances up to mid-field and provides the anvil for the Outriders’ hammer to smash enemy units on.

The Redemptor will benefit from Feirros’s ability to give a unit BS2+. The Stormtalons can be deployed as far back as possible to hopefully stay out of enemy fire range.

Will Iron Hands Bikers work?

There’s an old saying: “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” This is true in both war and wargames. Some playtesting is definitely in order. Since the only datasheet we have for Outriders is the one in Indomitus we don’t know for sure if the 3-bike unit is a hard cap or if you can take bigger squads – we’ll know when the inevitable 9th Edition version of Codex: Space Marines comes out. If you can take them in bigger squads, I think taking them in units of 5 would be ideal. We will see what the future brings!

Iron Hands Bikers Conclusion

The Outriders in Indomitus provide a unique opportunity for Iron Hands to take a tough, fast, and capable unit that will contribute to your battle plan in many ways. Joe says check them out!

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