The Iron Warriors Premature Traitor Legion Ranking

by | Dec 11, 2016

Since the official release of the new Traitor Legion Supplement, I have been sleeping with the book. The Traitor Legion Supplement is a dream come true, a love letter for Chaos Space Marine players. As an old timer it is harder to imagine it has been since 2002 since we had the legendary, but infamous 3.5 codex. Now as we speed ever closer to 8th edition and maybe Warhammer 40k Endtimes, let us hope the Traitor Legion Supplement will live on in whatever comes next. The Traitor Legion Supplement is amazing without being broken, better yet hopefully it will do what no other release has done before…bring balance to the game.

The Traitor Legion Supplement starts off on the right foot by quickly dispenses with the fluff, only dedicating two pages to each Traitor Legion and minimal amount of recycled art and miniature pictures to go along with it. Much like the Generals Handbook this release is about the rules and priced just right at $35.00.

Before we begin here is a few pointers for these reviews…

  • We will be ranking the Traitor Legion individually, the order will be a countdown from 9 to 1.
  • Most important these reviews will assume the reader has a copy of the Traitor Legions Supplement handy.
  • Focus will be on the Traitor Legions themselves, not what you can Ally with for instance.
  • All Traitor Legions get Veterans of the Long War for free, allowing them a version of Chapter Tactics.
  • All Traitor Legions change certain units to Troop choices, only really good for Combined Arms Detachments.
  • All Traitor Legions get unique Detachments, Warlord Traits, and Artefacts.
  • All the Traitor Legions are good and playable, so don’t think any of them are bad just because I rank them lower than others.

So let us begin with number…

The Iron Warriors

Iron Warriors Special Rules

Iron Warriors special rules leave a lot to desire, with most players focusing too much on Obliterators as Troops. Hatred Imperial Fists is fluffy, but extremely situational. Feel No Pain 6+ isn’t that good without ways of making it better. Siege Masters is ok, but would be better if they included Monster Hunters in addition to Tank Hunters. Importantly, you cannot take any unique units or use any Marks of Chaos upgrades.

Iron Warriors Warlord Traits

Iron Warrior Warlord Traits are decent with 4-6 being very useful. Split Fire units and giving your vehicles Will Not Die bubbles isn’t anything to sneeze at. The real bonus is the Warlord Traits for the Iron Warriors fit nicely with most competitive builds this army has to offer with lots of Obliterators, Tanks, and Fortifications.

Iron Warriors Artefacts

The Iron Warriors Artefacts are pretty terrible, with two only accessible for Warpsmiths. The biggest problem is they are all over priced, save one. The Cranium Malevolus is one of the most powerful artefacts in the entire book, causing Nova Witchfire style Haywire attacks that isn’t a one use weapon! Combo this with a similar Black Legion artefact and you will have Super-Heavies and Battle Companies scared in no time.

Iron Warriors Grand Company Detachment

Click here for Iron Warriors Grand Company Example List

The Iron Warrior specific Detachment at first blush seems pretty good, but in reality has major issues. The Iron Warriors don’t get any Formation to really take advantage of Troop Obliterators. Mostly though it is the poor Command Benefits that bring this Detachment down. Masters of Annihilation, only works for Barrage or Ordnance weapons, so tell me how many of those weapon types do Chaos Space Marines have? Intractable Brotherhood, is situational as you are required to stay in terrain or buildings to really benefit. As for the Detachment choice access you do have one shinning unique choice. Strongholds of Chaos allows the Iron Warriors to take 1-3 Fortifications! The drawback is most competitive events don’t allow more than one building and no large connected buildings.

If you are not taking that into consideration this is one fantastic way to really take advantage of the Command Benefits and add tons of defenses to the army. Instead of using Rhinos, imagine an entire army in bunkers using tank traps and a whole host of battlefield debris to really mess with an opponent. Add in things like escape hatches and you have a really unique army, one in keeping with the Iron Warrior pathos.

The Grand Company is stuck with either expensive fit nicely Formations or better with other Traitor Legion Formations. You have to take the Chaos Warband, which doesn’t give you access to Obliterators. Leaving the Iron Warriors stuck with taking the Cult of Destruction, Fist of the Gods, or Helforged Warpack to make the Iron Warriors, well feel like the Iron Warriors. Of the three Cult of Destruction is by far the best, giving the Iron Warriors double shooting Tank Hunting Obliterators! It also the best way to get Warpsmiths in the army as well. At a minimum the Chaos Warband with Cult of Destruction is around 800 points, add in the Fists of the Gods for around 500 depending on what you take. This leaves around 550 to play around with for an 1850 list. You can drop the Fists of the Gods and flesh out the Chaos Warband, like taking max Havocs choices.

You can go ahead and take the more point efficient Formations for the Grand Company, but what is the point when other Traitor Legions do it better?

If you have to deal with Fortification restrictions, then the Iron Warriors are all about Combined Arms Detachments, with either single Oblitorators or bulk spam for Troop choices. This is where Iron Warrior Mark of Chaos restrictions really hurts, Obliterators cannot get T5 making them easy targets for Lascannons and similar weapons.  Iron Warriors do make a great Ally Detachment. Take a Terminator Sorcerer and Deep Strike with Obliterators with the Cranium Malevolus and you can do some real work, all for no more than 400 points.

In the final analyst Iron Warriors would rank much higher if tournaments were not anti-Fortification generally. Games Workshop also dropped the ball by not making Warpsmiths more accessible and leaving out Imperial Guard Heavy Support choices to augment the Iron Warriors.

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