My Tactics pledge: I am not the greatest player, nor a seal pup. I will endeavor to speak from my experience and always be honest about what is theory and what is play tested. Never will I assume to know better than anyone else... unless I must call out ego or pretension.

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Master of the Metal ...

The big winner for Chaos Space Marine chapters are the Iron Warriors. The Iron Warriors got a whole host of mechanical beasties and a return of the Warsmith... sorry Warpsmith.

How does this "new" unit stack up to the rest, or is just a glorified Techpriest without a Conversion Beamer? The best thing about the Warpsmith is the fantastic looking model, which often is never a good sign.

Let us start by looking at the rules for Warpsmith and see how it compares to the other Chaos Space Marine HQs

(Click to Enlarge)

Warpsmith Rules 2012

Warpsmith Rules 2012

 Highs & Lows

  • Shatter Defenses
  • Cost: 110 points
  • Mechatendrils
  • Two wounds
  • Chaos Marks

--Master Forge This!!!--

Bizarro Techpriests only know how to destroy! This is pretty cool power with terrain being a very important element to most games. Working even better in tournament settings; where most tables are sparse and reducing one ruin pays dividends. Then there is cursing vehicles, an added bonus that works wonders against dakka tanks.

--Dealership Pricing--

The Warpsmith when compared to Chaos Lords is overpriced. Warpsmiths get some options, but without access to mounts, bikes, or jump packs it leaves the Warpsmith without many creative ways to be played. Factor in no Force Organization changes, nor Fearless and you have a very pricey two wound model.

--Doc Ock--

The Mechatendrils is a better variation on the Servo Harness gone is the random Power Fist attack, Plasma Pistol, and in its place is more useful Meltagun and two extra attacks.

--One too Few--

At two wounds the Warpsmith just doesn't feel meaty enough as a HQ. The idea that some how having two wounds means a unit is more expensive is quite disconcerting. Unless inexpensive, two wound Independent Characters have a hard time not being a second HQ choice.

--Chaos Marks--

Mark of Khorne - 10 pts

Hands down the best Chaos Mark for a Warpsmith. Mark of Khorne is the cheapest of bunch and gives your Warpsmith seven attacks on the charge! Then take an Axe of Blind Fury and you have a Warpsmith that can deliver up to 14 attacks! Taken with a Chaos Lord on Juggernaut with a Daemon Weapon you have a one-two punch with a potential for almost 30 attacks!

Mark of Nurgle - 15 pts

Mark of Nurgle is a decent choice for a Warpsmith. With Mark of Nurgle you avoid being doubled out easily, since you are not able to get a Bike. It is really too bad you cannot get Palanquin as well, removing most problems Warpsmiths have with survivability.


Mark of Slaanesh - 15pts

Mark of Slaanesh Warpsmiths are pretty pointless. If the plan is take a Murder Sword of Black Mace with your Warpsmith then Mark of Slaanesh might have a role, otherwise keeping your Warpsmith cheap and using the Power Axe is the better way to go.

Mark of Tzeentch - 15 pts

Mark of Tzeentch Warpsmiths are too expensive. In order to get anything out of the Mark of Tzeentch you have invest, not only in the Chaos Mark, but in Aura of Dark Glory as well. Even with Aura of Dark Glory that only gets you 4+ invulnerable save and no good Instant Death defense. Too bad Games Workshop has something against 3+ invulnerable saves for NOT Space Marines.

Unless inexpensive, two wound Independent Characters have a hard time not being a second HQ choice.

Putting it all Together...

Warpsmiths aren't one of the better choices in the Chaos Space Marine codex, being more expensive than a Chaos Lord in Terminator armor. What makes Warpsmiths worthwhile is their ability to Shatter Defenses and vehicle curses. Having two wounds and an average stat line doesn't help Warpsmiths. Warpsmiths don't get access much of the Chaos Space Marine options leaving them with few customizable options.

Where can Warpsmiths fit in?

Against vehicles that rely on lots of shooting Warpsmiths are devastating. That means War Walkers, Predators, and Chimeras can easily lose their Hull Points from being cursed. Shatter Defenses is good, as most battlefields have that one terrain piece that opponents hide units in. Shatter Defenses is also permanent, so even if you lose your Warpsmith you can't say he did nothing. Sadly, Shatter Defense doesn’t work against Aegis Defense Lines, nor is the power cumulative something that would have made Warpsmiths very appealing.

Warpsmiths can generate a ton of attacks in assault and as a secondary Champion can be devastating. With the Mechatendrils Warpsmiths have five base attacks,more than a Chaos Lord, and with something like Mark of Khorne that is seven attacks on the charge.

Then there is taking two Warpsmiths for the express purpose of repairing. Warpsmiths behind an Aegis Defense Line with Deamon Engines is a formidable sight. The key is taking Daemon Engines that have It Will Not Die, because that gives you two chances to repair hull points.

With all the tricks does a Warpsmith really fill a void that a Chaos Lord couldn’t? Warpsmiths cannot get Daemon Mounts, so Chaos Lords can easily get up to their attack level. Chaos Lords can get 2+ armor save and built in invulnerable save, where Warpsmiths only have 2+ armor.

Warpsmiths do get a Meltagun and Flamer and joined to a squad of Chosen or Havocs you can get some nice force multipliers. Warpsmiths aren’t Fearless so keeping them with a Chaos Lord is also a very good idea.

Warpsmiths at best are a support HQ choice. With the amount of AP2 attacks a relatively cheap Warpsmiths with a Chaos Lord and Daemon Weapon can be brutal. Between a unit Champion, Chaos Lord, and Warpsmith it provides all the challenge looks you need. If add Combi-meltas or Combi-flamers to the mix you can easily soften most targets before assaulting.

The main drawbacks for Warpsmiths is they cannot change Force Organizations. That is the real tragedy with Warpsmiths, if they could have made Mutilators and Obliterators scoring think of the small model count possibilities! Alas, that didn’t happen.

Warpsmiths would have been better served in Elites, but instead they’re in a spot that doesn’t really do much. Without Fearless they are one failed assault from being swept off the board, especially if they are stuck in a unwanted Challenge joined to a losing unit.

--Ways to play Warpsmith--

The following configurations are by no means meant strictly for competitive play, they represent a cross-section of the Chaos Space Marine codex allowing for flexibility and variety.

Death Star Configuration: 175 pts Warpsmith with Mark of Khorne, Aura of Dark Glory, Axe of Blind Fury, Veterans of the Long War

Balanced Configuration: 125 pts Warpsmith with Aura of Dark Glory

Shooting Configuration: 155 pts Warpsmith with Aura of Dark Glory, Burning Brand of Skalathrax

Khorne Configuration: 185 pts Warpsmith with Mark of Khorne, Aura of Dark Glory, The Black Mace, Veterans of the Long War

Slannesh Configuration: 180 pts Warpsmith with Mark of Slaanesh, Aura of Dark Glory, Murder Sword, Veterans of the Long War

Nurgle Configuration: 140 pts Warpsmith with Mark of Nurgle, Aura of Dark Glory

Tzeentch Configuration: 155 pts Warpsmith with Mark of Tzeentch, Aura of Dark Glory, Plasma Pistol

If you have any questions feel free to email me using the contact information below.

Final Thoughts...

Overall, the Warpsmith is fun and fun only. If you have the points to spend and want another HQ choice that has interesting options then a Warpsmith might find a place in your cold heart. The Warpsmith is a great looking model and might take a few more Chaos Space Marine codexes before it becomes a choice worth of leading your army.


It's Like Tactics is rated theory hammer because these are general observations and assumptions based on only few tested games.