The Iron Warriors are the undisputed masters of siege warfare, and today we’re going to be looking at their upcoming rules in Faith and Fury. We’re going over all of their Warlord Traits, Relics, and Stratagems along with a breakdown of how it all ties together.
Cold And Bitter- Just like it is in the Codex, your Warlord broadcasts a 6” aura that makes IRON WARRIORS automatically pass Morale Tests.
Daemonsmith- Your Warlord broadcasts a 6” aura that makes IRON WARRIORS DAEMON ENGINE or CULT OF DESTRUCTION units score 2 hits instead of 1 for any unmodified hit roll of 6.
Iron Without- Your Warlord gets a 5+ Feel No Pain roll to negate damage.
Bastion- This one is copied straight from Imperial Fists. Any IRON WARRIORS unit in cover and within 6” of your warlord treats AP-1 as AP0.
Siege Master- This was the first preview for Iron Warriors. Any IRON WARRIORS HAVOC or VEHICLE within 6” of your Warlord can re-roll 1’s to Wound.
Stoic Advance- Friendly IRON WARRIORS units within 6” ignore the penalty for moving and firing Heavy weapons.
The Iron Warriors have a really unusual suite of Warlord Traits compared to the rest of CSM. Normally, CSM Warlord Traits typically revolve around buffing the Warlord in some way. Iron Warriors instead have a variety of different aura buffs that make your Warlord a more efficient leader, and most of these traits are very good at what they do. Bastion is really powerful if you bring along an Aegis Defense Line for your models in Power Armor, while Stoic Advance can instead let your army stay on the move without sacrificing accuracy. If you want to play with some large units, Cold and Bitter guarantees that you won’t have to worry about any pesky Morale Checks.
There’s really only two Warlord Traits here that don’t make the cut, and that would be Iron Without and Siege Master. You have too many powerful Aura’s to pick from and build around here to squander all of them and take a simple 5+ Feel No Pain to shrug off damage on your Warlord, while Siege Master mostly comes down to math. Re-rolling 1’s to Wound works out to about a 17% boost in damage, while 6’s counting as 2 hits instead of 1 is (math wise) the same as getting +1 to hit on average dice. Regardless of what your Ballistic Skill is, a +1 to hit is a bigger damage hike than re-rolling 1’s to Wound. Therefore, the only reason to really look at Siege Master is if you are using a lot of Havocs and Vehicles that aren’t Daemon’s, since Daemonsmith doesn’t affect those units but Siege Master does.
Siegebreaker Mace- This replaces a power maul or crozius only. It’s a Strength +2, AP-2, Damage 2 Weapon that you can optionally trade all of your attacks in for two Strength X2, AP-3, Damage “Roll 2D6 and discard one of your choice”
Cranium Malevolus- This Relics allows your Warlord to trade out their shooting attacks for the ability to fry enemy Vehicles within 9” for D3 Mortal Wounds on a D6 roll of 4+. If that D6 is a 6, it instead does 3 Mortal Wounds.
Insidium- This Relic makes the bearer a DAEMON, and gives them +1 Strength, Toughness, and Wounds.
Axe of the Forgemaster- Replaces a power axe or daemonic axe, it’s a Strength +3, AP-3, Damage 2 weapon that does D3 Mortal Wounds on unmodified hit rolls of 5+ against VEHICLES.
Spitespitter- Replaces a Combi Bolter with a 24”, Rapid Fire 2, Strength 5, AP-3, Damage D3 weapon.
Techno-Venomous Mechatendrils- Replaces a set of Mechatendrils with a super charged set of Mechatendrils that make 4 attacks, and every hit with this weapon results in a Mortal Wound instead of going on to make a Wound roll.
The Iron Warriors have quite the armory in their Relic lineup, as most of their Relics replace a piece of equipment. However, the big stand out is Insidium. You can give this to a Daemon Prince and have a 9 Wound, Toughness 7 Demon Prince as a Warlord while taking advantage of his larger base size so his 6” aura covers just a little more space. The two weapons that really stand out as something to look into are the Techno-Venomous Mechatendrils and Spitespitter. The Mechatendrils make the bearer a bigger threat in close combat, which is an area that Warpsmiths typically suffer in. Of course, you can also put these on a Lord Discordant to add just a little more punch to an already very powerful model. Spitespitter is a surprisingly appealing Relic if you have a backup Chaos Lord on a Bike. Give him a good melee weapon like a Power Fist or Thunder Hammer, and you have a roving source of re’rolling 1’s to hit that can also put out 4 Strength 5 AP-2 Damage D3 shots a turn at up to 24”. Over the course of the game, that can really add up for the low cost of 1CP to take a second Relic.
Iron Within, Iron Without- Just like it is in the codex, for 1CP this lets any IRON WARRIORS unit get a 6+ Feel No Pain in response to being damaged.
Methodical Annihilation- 1CP, this lets a IRON WARRIORS unit re-roll either the number of attacks it makes with a weapon with random attacks (like a Flamer), or re-roll the damage it does with any weapon that does random damage (like a Lascannon).
Dour Duty- 1CP, This is basically Take Cover from Astra Millitarum. In response to being shot at, you can reduce the AP of the attacks by 1 (E.G. AP-1 becomes AP0)
Unholy Vigour- 1CP, at the start of your Movement Phase you can heal a IRON WARRIORS VEHICLE for 3 Wounds.
Tank Hunters- 1CP, one IRON WARRIORS unit can re-roll all Wound rolls against one enemy VEHICLE.
Rampant Techno-Virus- 1CP, one OBLITERATOR or MUTILATOR unit in your army can re-roll any or all of the dice when generating the profile for their attacks.
Cannon Fodder- 2CP, if you have a IRON WARRIORS INFANTRY unit within 6” of one unit of IRON WARRIORS Cultists, this Stratagem forces the opponent to kill the Cultists first if the Cultists are visible before they can shoot the IRON WARRIORS INFANTRY unit that you chose.
Bitter Enmity- 1CP, one IRON WARRIORS unit gets to re-roll all Hit and Wound rolls in the Fight Phase against IMPERIAL FISTS units.
There’s some really good Stratagems here, and notably they almost all work on VEHICLES. Iron Within, Iron Without and Dour Duty give you tools to reduce incoming damage while Unholy Vigour can repair damage that you’ve already suffered. When you want to get offensive, Tank Hunters and Methodical Annihilation will get you there. You’ll definitely want to include at least one unit of Obliterators to use Rampant Techno-Virus on, as it makes them extremely likely to generate an impactful profile.
The only Stratagem here that’s actually not super impressive is Cannon Fodder. Normally, effects like these tend to be really powerful. However, Cannon Fodder only protects one IRON WARRIORS unit, it’s done at the start of the Shooting Phase, and if the Cultists aren’t visible to to the unit firing then this Stratagem does nothing. Small units of Cultists are going to evaporate into thin air, and while a larger unit might provide a unit a single turn of not being shot at (or more realistically shot at less), it’s now a lot of points and 2CP that you’ve given up to do this in an army that already has a lot of ways to reduce incoming damage. There might be a way to make this work for a single turn to set up some kind of combination, but barring that this is going to end up a much bigger let down than other similar effects.
Iron Warriors have always been about shooting and sieging people to death across the battlefield, and these rules give any Iron Warriors player the tools that they need to succeed. What’s nice about how these rules were designed is that you actually have a few different ways to approach your list construction, based on which Warlord Trait you want to take. Whether you want to use Daemon Engines or regular Vehicles, stay on the move or utilize lots of Infantry, there’s a way to do it and do it efficiently.
This being said, it’s unlikely Iron Warriors are going to be a highly competitive army. The CSM codex is a fairly melee focused Codex, and many of the otherwise solid guns in CSM have about a 24” range. Although you can run some Vehicles with guns that have larger threat ranges, there simply isn’t enough solid long range threats in CSM to saturate the board with those kinds of effects. As a result of this, the Iron Warriors are going to be a lot of fun to play, but probably won’t be gracing the top tables of any major tournaments. Still, the design philosophy for Iron Warriors is spot on, and any Iron Warriors player should be ecstatic to have these rules in their hands.
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