Battletome Orruk Warclans: Ironjawz Review

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

~ Bruce Lee

Do you like orcs?

Do you like big orcs?

Do you like big orcs that wear armour?

Do you like big orcs that wear armour, hit like a freight train, come back when you kill them, ignore damage, move multiple times per turn and then smash your fucking teeth right down your throat?

I guess it depends what side of the table you’re standing on, because let me tell you: Ironjawz are legit.

For those who don’t know, I’ve played Destruction right through the period when most competitive players dropped them like a sack of shit. Back in the day it often felt like all that Ironjawz could really do was walk forward into a fight, and then lose that fight.

You were desperately scrambling the whole game, retreating onto Objectives and trying to steal enough Victory Points to carry you through before you got tabled (you always got tabled); and if you sent even a minimum-sized unit left instead of right, it was curtains.

So believe me when I say that I would be the first to call bullshit if I didn’t think this book was up to scratch. Ironjawz in this book feel like a force of nature: it’s been a long time coming, and it’s so, so good.


The Lore

We finally have a Destruction Battletome with Clans, baby!

Free rules? Don’t mind if I do!

The background for all three of these is pretty cool. The Ironsunz get a decent spread, with Dakkbad being firmly entrenched as a sneaky, sneaky git. Bloodtoofs have a new leader, and although it would have been nice to hear what happened to Zogbakk, the constant anarchic crashing through Realmgates is a really nice hook for the subfaction.

Finally we have the new gunslingers in town, Da Choppaz. I love the blue and white checks colour scheme, and they really lean into the hooligan meme. In fact this section is probably my favourite of the three: it really speaks to orcs as free-spirited and true to themselves, with pure aggression and violence being an expression of their nature rather than evil as such.

I’d love to ransack a Free City with these Boyz. Poison the water, salt the earth, smear green shit all over their Gods and leave nothing else standing.


Battle Traits

Let’s start off with a bang: Smashing and Bashing is back. Wipe out a unit in either player’s combat phase, and you get to activate a different unit immediately.

Smash another unit off the board, and you get to go again. And again. And again.

This has always been super strong, but it’s currently at peak importance for two reasons:

  • Firstly, it circumvents Slaanesh’s Locus of Distraction. Their ability triggers at the end of the charge phase and forces you to fight last; your ability then triggers immediately upon wiping out an enemy unit in the combat, and being the more recent ability it therefore takes precedence (as per the Beasts of Chaos FAQ).
  • In practice, this means you can get a flanking unit of Gore Gruntas into some Hellstriders (for example), duff them up, then immediately trigger Smashing and Bashing to swing with your Locussed Maw Krusha into their Heroes. Cop that!
  • Secondly, since the army has had an overall damage boost (and certainly a boost in burst damage for buffed-up mobs), you are now in the position of being able to reliably annihilate enemy units and trigger the chain activations.
  • Smashing and Bashing was only ever as good as your feather-fisted Damage 1 Ladz; it scales up so, so well with the Warchanter bonuses and it multiplies the impact of your boosted damage output.

This alone is a really compelling reason to take Ironjawz over Big Waaagh; perhaps the most compelling reason.

You also get access to the Mighty Destroyers Command Ability. Since it reared its glorious green head in GH19, this is already firmly established as one of the best and most impactful CAs in the whole game.

You get to move if you are more than 12″ from the enemy, charge if you are within 3″ to 12″, or pile in and attack if you are within 3″. Any given unit can only benefit once, meaning you cannot charge in then activate again to attack, with the result that charging is rarely useful; you might be able to wipe something on low wounds with an impact charge from a Maw Krusha for example, but much more often you’ll be using this for moving or attacking.

Both of these are amazing. Moving is exponentially beneficial to faster units like the Gore Gruntas, the Maw Krusha and even the Rogue Idol: you can really have them zooming across the board. Fighting in every Hero phase can really help you power your way through grinds, and stops your key units getting bogged down with dickheads wasting entire turns.

There is a nice new addition to the package with Mad as Hell, which means you get to move D6″ at the end of any phase in which you took damage, as long as you are at least 9″ from any enemy units. Thematically, the idea is that your opponent chipping away with shooting damage gets you fired up and starting to close the gap to get them in combat. In practice that will certainly be useful, but there are also more kunnin’ applications such as moving backwards onto an objective, or deliberately chipping off a wound or two with an Endless Spell to get a Hero Phase nudge.

The Ironjawz Waaagh! has replaced the similar ability on the various Megaboss’s warscrolls. It is now a once per game Command Ability that guarantees you +1 attack within a radius of your Megaboss, and in rare circumstances +2 attacks. Waaagh! bombing has officially bitten the dust, and that’s fine because we can now win by playing proper games of Warhammer instead; but it’s still nice to have this surge of energy up your sleeve for that one turn where you just need to break through.

We also get +1 to charge which means you can’t fail a 3″ charge. That really is crucial for a combat army, and stacks nicely with the Ardboyz musician in particular.

Broadly speaking, the GH19 package has been carried across (with the addition of Mad as Hell), and that’s fine; it was already a huge upgrade above what came before, and this suite of abilities is certainly fit for purpose in modern AOS.

Command Traits and Artefacts

Command Traits

We’ve got some modern classics in here alright, so let’s take a look at the best amongst them. Ironclad is a great starting point for putting your Krusha on a 2+ save. Worth pointing out that it won’t combo with Etheral Amulet, because it is a save modifier, which Ethereal switches off (positive or negative). Still, it’s a solid starting point for any tanky Maw Krusha build.

Brutish Cunning lets you use the Mighty Destroyers Command Ability once per turn for free. I went on record earlier in this article saying that I believe this is one of the most impactful CAs in the whole of AOS right now, so getting recurring access to that for free is massive. The Big Fella is fighting in every hero phase, so get used to it! A real power pick.

Hulking Musclebound Brute has some appeal for Kannonball Krusha builds in a Beerhammer list (combo’d up with the Big Un Mount Trait and Luminary Rod for max mortals on the charge), but you’re going to have a fight on your hands to take one of those first two off me in any competitive build.

Weirdnob Shamans also get their own table, all of which are viable. You can slap on +1 to cast, unbind and dispell if you’re building a power caster; grab some extra CPs if you’re aiming to spam the shit out of an Ardfist (more of which later); or turn them into a 2-spell caster who knows an extra Lore spell.

A Maw Krusha demands further investment from CTs and Artefacts, but if you aren’t commited to taking one, there is definitely an interesting Weirdnob Shaman list or two out there.

Artefacts

For a Megaboss, there isn’t much here that trumps the Artefacts of the Realms. Your power picks are probably still Ignax’s Scales or Ethereal Amulet.

The one exception is Destroyer. Once a game, you slam an extra +3 Damage onto a melee weapon.

What the actual fuck! That’s amazing!

With a Warchanter buff on there, you can have a Megaboss doing 6 damage per swing on a surreal number of attacks. 6 damage per fucking swing! Holy Guacamole.

I personally made the terrible mistake of actually using this artefact in my first game with the book, to get it out of my system before moving onto more sensible, defensive artefacts. It’s just so much fun, you’re going to have to prise it out of my cold, green hand.

Don’t take it. Take something defensive. It’s too late for me, save yourself and don’t look back!

Weirdnob Shamans again have an interesting suite of options. My favourite is the Shamanic Skullcape for the +1 to cast. There is also a twist: kill an enemy wizard in melee, and you can cast a spell they knew for the rest of the game.

If anyone can spot a teleport spell that does not specify “friendly” units, let me know, because I’d frikkin love to redeploy an enemy unit exactly where they don’t want to be, with their own spell. Maximum Troggoth.

The Spell Lore

If you’re taking a wizard, you’re probably taking him for Hand of Gork. That’s the teleport we all know and love and it’s still really clutch. It’s much more of a crapshoot now – you’ve lost the intrinsic casting bonuses from the Weirdnob, as you will see – but if you’re willing to take the risk and cast from scratch (or invest in pumping up your casting), this is gonna be the first spell you take in virtually every list.

There is also an interesting build based around Wrath of Gork, which can put out a high quantity of mortal wounds if your Shammy is surrounded by MSU Ironjawz units. This could combo nicely with something like an Ardfist and a Balewind Vortex, especially if you took the Command Trait to have him attempting both this and Hand of Gork each turn.

The rest of the lore is largely a flop in all honesty. Take one or both of those two spells, and skip the rest.

Mount Traits

Bonus Round! First ever Destro book to have Mount Traits, and they’ve absolutely nailed it.

Seriously, all six of them are viable in some way. It’s so cool to have a full table of 6 items where you can’t immediately narrow it down to the best, the alternative and four varying shades of shit.

I’ve written a whole article on loadouts for Maw Krushas, so I won’t double up here. But the TLDR is that Weird Un will probably be the most popular choice because Defence, but if you’ve already invested in mortal wound protection (e.g. via Ignax Scales) I would maybe allow yourself a little fun with Mean Un for the Damage 3 attacks.


Endless Spells and Terrain

Yeah, sorry, not for you. It turns out that all the plastic in China went into making those ridiculous Ossiarch phalluses.

I’ve covered my thoughts on this topic in the Bonesplitterz article, so I’d encourage anyone interested to take a look at that rather than labouring the point here. The TLDR is that it’s disappointing, but not enough to ruin the book for me.


The Clans

Ironsunz

Yeah…this clan is legit. Ironsunz have always been -1 to hit in the first Battleround, which is incredibly impactful whether you are bunkering up, or YOLOing out there with your dick flapping in the wind, safe in the knowledge that you’ve already got a debuff baked in to help with the counterpunch.

When it first cropped up as a Batallion it only transpired on a 3+, and then in GH19 it improved to a 2+. Now it just happens…what a time to be alive!

The Command Ability that you gain access to is utterly, utterly game changing. You get to counter charge at the end of your opponent’s charge phase. WOW. This will win you matches, right there.

A couple of applications, right off the bat:

  • Your opponent runs minimum chaff onto an objective to cap it without having to fight. BLAMMO you’re into him, killing his dickheads and capping yourself instead.
  • Your opponent charges your Ardboyz to get your bodies off the objective, but he doesn’t want a bit of your tooled-up up Maw Krusha. BLAMMO here’s a Maw Krusha in your grill, and a couple of Mortal Wounds on the charge to go with it. You can have those ones for free, next time I’ll have to charge.
  • Slaanesh (filthy, filthy Slaanesh) use their Locus at the end of the charge phase. Then what happens next? BLAMMO that’s what! You’re into them, and Locus free.

Even just the free movement is huge. Honestly, this is amazing. It will win you games, straight up.

The Command Trait is locked in, which gives you +1 Command Point. It might not be your first choice (you’d always rather have Brutish Cunning, which is similar but significantly better) but it’s not actively bad. It’s still useful, even if not super efficient.

And finally your Artefact reduces rend by 1. It’s basically a worse version of Ethereal, but again that doesn’t actually make it bad – it’s still pretty decent, and it also means you’re not locked into Shyish if you wanted to take Aetherquartz Brooche for example. Similar to the Command Trait, it’s certainly usable.

What a package. People will find ways to win with all clans and none, but I’m gonna come out and say it, this one is da best.

So much so that I’ll be using my red-painted Ironjawz as 40K-style Evil (Iron)Sunz rather than Bloodtoofs.

If you don’t like it, fight me. And you’ll lose, because I’m neg 1 to hit, chump.

Bloodtoofs

So the ability you get is +1 to run and charge, which stacks with the +1 to charge you get just for being Ironjawz. Nice.

It’s not super flashy, but movement bonuses are always impactful. Worth noting too that your Ardboyz will now be charging at +4 cumulatively (including their musician), so a 9″ teleport leaves them needing a 5+ to complete the charge. If only there was a way to get them redeployed reliably, hey? Read on, because Bloodtoofs has you covered!

The Command Ability is more movement jank: this one basically gives you a normal move at the end of the combat phase. You have to have fought (and have a Hero somewhere in the same postcode) but can’t use it to retreat or run; so essentially you need to have blasted away everything that was nearby.

Where I see this one coming into its own is objective screening – both flavours. Your opponent sets up with his models tapping the 6″ line with the back of his base, so they are capping the objective but you are not; after you kick their teeth in, you step forward and capture. Screen that, motherfucker.

And on the flipside: you could find an opportunity to smash something up in midfield, then step onto and beyond the Objective. Again with the back of your bases inside 6″, but the front outside, so your opponent has to fight through a wall of green flesh to get it back. Any extra movement is lethal in an objectives game – and don’t forget, if you took damage in combat, you can potentially double down with a Mad as Hell move too.

The artefact is awesome, but somewhat wasted on a Megaboss since it doesn’t directly boost him personally in any way. The Quickduff Amulet (sweet name too) gives you a free teleport once per game. It’s worded as a Hand of Gork that can’t be unbound, so you can’t double up with a cast of that spell – but a guaranteed redeploy is massive.

I would have loved this even more if you weren’t restricted by the same thing as the spell: namely, needing to be more than 3″ away from enemy models to use it. It would be so powerful if you could save this for a late-game “Now you see me – Now you don’t” switcheroo onto an objective, but being locked by combat means this is primarily an aggro artefact. It’s still really solid for all that – and don’t forget, a 9″ redeploy links in well with the intrinsic charge bonuses that this Clan receives.

So what other goodies do we have? Sadly – nothing. The Command Trait is utter garbage and a major failure. It’s weak enough to begin with, but then being able to use it hinges on a terrain piece (Realmgate) that may or may not be on the table at a competitive event.

Hopefully TOs will let you use it, but you shouldn’t have to rely on goodwill to make up for bad rules. It’s not good enough that they removed the wording allowing you to place a Realmgate, and it’s not good enough that they failed to respond to the FAQs that were submitted on that matter. They’ve completely shafted Bloodtoofs here, and you essentially don’t get a Command Trait which is a huge deal.

All in all, Bloodtoofs is something of a curate’s egg. It’s not a lost cause, but it does seem like they phoned it in compared to the other Clans. Probably one for when you are looking to change things up a bit for a friendly game moreso than going all-out to place highly at a tournament.

Da Choppas

Blue and White Dynamite! I love these guys, themed around Ardboyz hooligans. The ability you get is rerolling charges within 12″ of a terrain feature that is partly or wholly within enemy territory. You don’t need to be wholly within 12″, so overall it’s generous enough to be useful, but tight enough to be thematic for a rampaging horde of vandals. I like it.

Your Command Ability allows a Warchanter to buff up to 3 units of Brutes or Ardboyz. Wowzer! This is arguably the best buff in the game, so getting to triple bang it is awesome. Why not take 2, and buff up 6 units per turn? Go on, it’ll be fun!

Your Command Trait gives a +2 Bravery bubble around your General, which is useful if you lean into the Brutes theme. I also love the name for this one (“Checked Out”), so I like it more than I probably should.

The Artefact is shit on a stick unfortunately. It lets your Weirdnob use the Ironjawz Waaagh! Command Ability, in the same way a Megaboss would. But it’s not like a Megaboss is some kind of tax that you’ll be eager to avoid.

I can see what they were thinking, in terms of allowing you to build a super thematic force (Weirdnobs run the show in Da Choppas) while making sure you don’t miss out on a key combat buff that only a Megaboss can normally provide. But the Ironjawz Waaagh! is only quite good…you can play whole games without it, leaning on Mighty Destroyers instead.

Just as importantly, the Weirdnob can’t function at a high level when he’s locked into a Commant Trait and Artefact that don’t boost his casting and unbinding; his Warscroll just isn’t strong enough for that, unfortunately.

In a balanced Choppas army, I’d suggest going with either two Weirdnobs (so one of them can at least take a decent Artefact to boost his casting), or neither (and avoid the Artefact tax completely – it’s only compulsory if you take a Weirdnob).

Don’t let the artefact put you off: just work around it, because Da Choppas is an interesting combat army waiting to happen. The superpowered Warchanters alone make it a viable choice.

The Warscrolls

Leaders

Let me rephrase that: Heroes. Mighty Fucking Heroes, every one of them.

Megaboss on Maw Krusha: We’ve already done a deep dive on these guys, so I won’t go over old ground too much:

https://plasticcraic.blog/2019/10/14/cabbage-soup-part-1-exploring-new-maw-krushas/

https://plasticcraic.blog/2019/10/15/cabbage-soup-part-2-building-your-own-maw-krusha/

Safe to say these guys have had a decent lift, way moreso that I thought at first glance. The biggest step change is the Strength From Victory rule: racking up those extra attacks can get out of hand really quickly.

Your Krusha also benefits hugely from Mighty Destroyers: it has the speed for a Mighty D move to matter, and the punch for a pile in to be punishing.

Maw Krusha 101 currently is to load him up with defensive buffs; send him skirmishing for a few rounds, beating up dickheads and gaining extra attacks; and in this manner you should be able to keep him alive through the first few Battlerounds, by which stage he has likely snowballed past the point where your opponent can stop him. Beautiful.

Megaboss: Hmmm. I’m still not sold on this guy unfortunately. 150 points seems pretty stiff for what is still a second-rate combat Hero. He’s lost his rend -2 and still moves at snail’s pace.

He does have a role as a sponge for compulsory Artefacts and Command Traits when you are taking a Clan: while they would make your Maw Krusha uneconomic since he demands further investment, the foot boss doesn’t owe you quite as much, so the equation makes a little more sense.

Warchanter: The best buffing Hero in the game? He’s got to be up there. This guy got a major, major lift and is worth every one of his 110 points.

In case you hadn’t heard, you pick a nearby unit, and you give it +1 damage.

Yep.

And you don’t even have to roll for it.

That’s insane.

But it doesn’t stop there: you can also choose for him to know a Beat from a table of three, all of which are useful. Fixin’ Beat heals a unit D3 (get that Maw Krusha back up the charts), Get Em Beat lets you charge with 3D6 from up to 18″ away (awesome with your other charge bonuses), and Killa Beat gives you +1 to Hit (cop that, Geminids). All of these have a Rule of One.

Now these only happen on a 4+, which is a bit stiff compared to other Prayers and Prayer-equivalents; however, that is easily compensated for because the +1 damage buff just happens. They could easily have both been triggered on a 3+, but I think we’ve done pretty well out of it being this way around!

Take one. No, don’t take one, take two or three! These guys are the heartbeat of the army.

Weirdnob Shaman: your Wizard took a bit of a kicking, in all honesty. Still only a one-spell caster, he has now lost his bonuses to cast; he also lost the home run threat of his inconic Foot of Gork Warscroll spell. The loss of reliability on Hand of Gork in particular filters right down through the army.

He does get a free crack at Green Puke each turn (making him a pseudo-two spell caster, albeit severely restricted in his options), and that’s serious business when spammed from a Balewind. Losing the buffed cast and unbind is a bit of a shame from a quality of life viewpoint, but I can still see an argument for taking one as a Hand of Gork threat, if only to keep your opponent honest in guarding his objectives “just in case” you do cast it.

Gordrakk: Meh. Some people like him because his twin axes scale quickly with Strength from Victory; I still see him as a worse Cabbage because he can’t take defensive buffs other than the “Weird Un” Mount Trait. I will be honest, I haven’t played a game with him yet; but I’m also not excited or motivated to do so. Still comically overcosted in my opinion, and I’d rather just pay less for a regular Megaboss that will last longer. Move along!

Units

Ardboyz: Boy did these guys get a buff! The Warscroll has been simultaneously streamlined and improved, with the unit now hitting on 3s with rend -1 across the board. Shields are a free survivability upgrade for 2 in every 5 models, and they still get +2 to bravery and, crucially, to charge.

Coming in at 9 points per wound, these guys are super efficient for what they do. They have a chaff-level points cost, with an elite attack profile and a 4+ save. The bonuses to charge makes them faster than they look; they are just a really solid backbone for any Ironjawz army, and good at everything.

Give them a Warchanter buff, and they have that attack profile we love to see: 3+ 3+ Rend -1 Damage 2. I can tell you from experience that a unit of 10 is an absolute blender; anywhere from 5 to 15 seems to be the sweet spot. Cracking all-rounder unit, right here.

Ironskull’s Boyz: These are low-key a decent little unit. Bang on 10 points per wound is pretty reasonable for what they bring: a proper 6++ after save (applies to Mortal Wounds too), improving to a 5++ on the Boss; and a little sprinkle of extra output from multi-damage attacks and the classic ‘Eadbutt. I did also like the reference in the flavour text to hacking and bashing, which was a neat little touch for Underworlds players like me.

Don’t sleep on these guys. I’m obviously not suggesting you build a list around them, but if you are desperate to squeeze 10 points out of somewhere, you could do worse than trim a minimum unit of Ardboyz down to Ironskulls Boyz. They’re pretty capable of standing on a point and defending it against Khinerai, for example. Sweet models, too.

Gore Gruntas: finally, a warscroll to match the model! These guys have always looked like a crashing wave of muscle and bone, which is exactly how they play on the table now. Your weapons choice dictates either an extra attack, or bonuses on the charge and 2″ reach; both are good, and there’s not much in it, but I’ve gone for Choppas.

Mortal wounds on the charge? Don’t mind if I do! These are another unit (along with the Maw Krusha) that can pop a few mortals in the Hero Phase with a Mighty Destroyers charge, then move off and do it all again, so don’t forget you’ve got that one up your sleeve.

Need a hyper mobile unit with Hero phase moves and bonuses to charge? Gore Gruntas.

Need a hammer to smash something up with a Warchanter buff? Gore Gruntas.

Board control? Efficient points per wound? Mobile screen?

Gore Gruntas, Gore Gruntas, Gore Gruntas.

Brutes: Hmmm. I just don’t see it, unfortunately. They still suffer from being way too similar to Ardboyz: they have identical attack stats (with more attacks per models of course), and their only Warscroll ability is humdrum to say the least. It’s just not exciting enough for what is meant to be an elite melee unit and doesn’t give them anything to hang their hat on.

Their bravery is still a joke, and crucially, they are missing the banner and musician for the +2″ charge. With Ardboyz being on smaller bases, they are almost as good at fighting, faster, more durable and better at scoring objectives. Brutes just don’t have enough daylight in their combat output to make up for their shortfalls in other areas.

The gap is narrow enough that if you like Brutes, they are certainly usable. But you’ll be using them because you want to use them.

Battalions

Interestingly, the Fists still give +2 wounds to the Batallion leader. I wasn’t expecting to see that carry across, but it’s a nice bit of fan-service for long term Megabosses.

There’s not a huge volume, so let’s tackle them in order:

Ardfist

Currently the subject of much online debate, this summoning Batallion needs clarification because there’s no unanimous view on how it functions. I’ll cover this in a little more detail in my Choppas list below, but the ins and outs of the arguments could form an article on their own (and likely will). For the time being, it’s one to discuss with your opponent in casual games, or clear with the TO competitively.

Brutefist

Every Brute does a mortal wound on the charge (on a 4+). Viable if you likes your Brutes, and because it’s not phase-locked you can potentially do some out-of-phase damage: crack off a Mighty Destroyers charge to blast through a weakened enemy in the hero phase, follow it up with a move in the movement phase, then pop off a charge phase charge to smash out some more mortal wounds. Brutes on da rampage! Not a one I’ll be using a lot because I don’t run a lot of Brutes, but if they’re your boys, it’s certainly usable.

Ironfist

Still the go-to in my opinion. The classic “Ironfist move” is replaced by free access to Mighty Destroyers, which doesn’t even have to be used on a unit from the Batallion. As a Mighty D fanboy, I’m all about this. The second thing I like about this one in particular is that it can contain any of your Battleline units in any combination, and wraps them all into a neat low-drop package. Destined to be popular, and rightly so.

Gorefist

Free 9″ move in the first turn. Not bad, but nowhere near as good as a free Mighty Destroyers activation every turn, so I’d always just find the extra points for an Ironfist personally. Not one I’d ever run, even if I was going all-in on bacon.

Weirdfist

Bundles up a Shammy with 3-5 Battleline units, getting your drops down further; and lets him cast two free Pukes instead of one (meaning he can puke up to three times per turn). Everyone seems to have skimmed straight past this one, but it’s not actually bad. Probably suffers again in comparison to Ironfist, but it’s one I could see myself taking out for a spin in a Beerhammer game.

Brawl

A big battalion, and most likely one-drop. You can just about squeeze it into 2000 points, but honestly, you wouldn’t bother. It’s shit and GW blatantly doesn’t want you using it competitively, so they’ve made you jump through hoops and pay through the nose to get your drops right down. Don’t bother, just build a proper army instead.

List Building Archetypes

OK, time to have some fun! As always, I’ll be looking to give you the core of a list to build around, covering a chunk of your Battleline and setting out a playstyle; but leaving room for your individual touch and favourite units.

Balanced Ironsunz

Let’s kick it off with an all-rounder that will see you compete against most armies on most scenarios. This build should stand the test of time and give you a really solid core to work with:

You’re playing it nice and sensible with your Krusha, giving him the Holy Trinity of defensive buffs: negs to hit (Ironsunz), rend protection (Sunzblessed Armour) and Mortal Wound protection (Weird Un). These all have limitations in some way and don’t offer blanket immunity, but combined they will contribute to keeping the big lad alive into the mid-game, where he can really shine.

Dealer’s Choice for the second artefact, but I’ve gone for the Brooch to keep the Mighty D engine firing while also allowing for some sweet, sweet Ironsunz counter charges. This army has two of the best Command Abilities in the game, and you’re going to want to use them early and often!

A neat little trick you can try with this army is to include a Weirdnob Shaman with Hand of Gork (maybe even with the +1 to cast artefact). Fire up the pigs with the Warchanter so they are damage 2 on all their attacks, and teleport them into the backfield.

You have to set up at least 9″ away, but you’re not glued to the 9″ line: why not set up a little further away at 12.1″? Then you can use the Mighty Destroyers move from the Battalion to perform a normal move. With the Gruntas this is a mighty 9″, putting you 3.1″ away from the enemy, and on an infallible charge thanks to the Ironjawz +1.

I hope your opponent has screened front and back, because you’re coming in hard. And when they get to hit back, they’re doing so at -1 to hit…because we’re Ironsunz!

Alpha Bloodtoofs

Under GH19, a lot of Ironjawz builds were focussed on getting up in your opponent’s grill and Waaagh-spamming them into oblivion. Some people liked that one huge turn, some people didn’t, but Bloodtoofs currently leans closest to that playstyle.

We’re taking a big unit of Ardboyz to pump up and throw in there via the Quickduff Amulet. They love the deepstrike with their charge bonuses, but you could easily find a way to pop a couple of wounds on them first if you wanted to get a Mad as Hell to nudge a little closer and make sure.

The plan will be to wrap your opponent in an iron blanket and pin them in their own territory behind a heap of wounds, or deepstrike into the backfield and wipe out the juicy stuff if it’s not protected.

The Maw Krusha and MSU pigs coming in from the front will give you a decent chance at getting +2 attacks from your Waaagh (especially if you’re able to use Get Da Realmgate), and triggering Smashing and Bashing shouldn’t be a problem. After fighting you’ll be able to consolidate and dominate yet more space via the Bloodtoofs Command Ability, and you’ve engineered a huge first or second turn to blast your opponent past the point of recovery.

Summoning Choppas

This list should be able to make use of the Ardfit summoning, while dovetailing nicely with what Da Choppas brings to the party:

The idea here is to kill off your own unit of 5 Ardboyz. Vomit on them with Green Puke to knock a couple of wounds off for starters. Scuttletide should chip off a couple more when it’s set up, and by this stage you are Mad as Hell; perform a d6″ move and take the Scuttletide wounds again. You’re in the end of your Hero phase by now, and a second Green Puke should go a long way to finishing them off. Damned Terrain could help too if necessary, and don’t forget to remove the banner first (if you take one at all) so you can Battleshock off the last one standing if it comes to that.

I’ve also included the Pendulum there, which you might even cast first, so you can put Scuttletide somewhere annoying for your opponent instead if you roll well on that. Best thing about Pendulum is that you can point it towards your opponent and get more juice out of it later, two benefits for the price of one.

You’ll need another wizard to cast both Endless Spells in one turn, but a second Fungoid is always worth his points – especially since you will be desperate for those extra Command Points, which he can generate for you.

Once you’ve knocked off the Ardboyz, you get to throw Command Points at resurrecting them. There is no limit on how many times you can attempt this: keep spending the CPs, and keep rolling those 4+s:

To play it safe, I’ve deliberately left headroom in the Battalion: you start with 3 units and one is now dead, so at that point there are 2 units in the Battalion. There is a school of thought that you cannot add summoned units past the Battalion cap of 5, so let’s assume that’s the case and leave room for 3 extra units to come in.

You do need to roll a 4+ for it to work, otherwise you’ve wasted your CP. Hence why we have built in a lot of CPs to throw at it: one purchased, one from the Battalion, one per turn and hopefully one or more from your Fungoids.

You could double down on this with Aetherquartz Brooch, but I’ve taken the view that it’s more important to keep your Warchanter alive than shooting for a ridiculous number of units (especially assuming the Battalion cap is in place), hence the Ragged Cloak. That also puts you in the right Realm to slap Ethereal on your Maw Krusha if you take one, which you easily could.

Hey Presto! You’ve parlayed a unit of 5 Ardboyz into up to 3 units of 10, exactly where your opponent doesn’t want them.

Deploying 9″ away is no problem for Ardboyz, since they charge at +3; and best of all, because they’re Choppas, they are going be rerolling those charges.

For added fun times, Hand of Gork a single Warchanter over there, and give all 3 units the damage buff via the Choppas Command Ability. 10 Ardboys at Rend -1 Damage 2 will make a mess of most things, and on a 6″ rerollable charge they are hitting what they want to hit.

The Netlist

Now, the good news is: we already have a tournament-winning list to piggy back on!

Any competitive Ironjawz player will know all about Leo Rautonen, who consistently posted 4-1 results with the GH19 rules and competed right at the highest level on the cut-throat UK tournament scene.

Leo has smashed it out of the park by winning the first event he attended with the new book, Bloodshed in the Shires:

https://tabletop.to/bloodshed-in-the-shires-2019

If you’ve read the whole article you’ll know I’m all about Ironsunz.

One thing that jumps off the page is the absence of a Maw Krusha: nonetheless, by including a Megaboss in there, Leo has given himself multiple sources of Mighty Destroyers (da boss himself, and the battalion boss), allowing him to project power in separate areas of the board as well as keeping some redundancy for the late-game push.

Between the Battalion, the Command Trait and the “free” battalion access to Mighty D, Leo will have a decent well of Command Points to draw upon, liberating himself to crack off a clutch Ironsunz counter-charge or two at key moments.

If you want to see how it played out in practice, check out Leo’s tournament-winning match (against Slaanesh, no less) on The Honest Wargamer:

In Conclusion

After years of struggle with this army, was it worth the wait?

Oh yes! GW have absolutely nailed it with this book. Ironjawz finally play like their press, crashing forward in waves like a force of nature. This is no FEC release – if you just push everything wildly forward, you will lose a lot of games – but who wants that, anyway? We’ve got all the tools we need to succeed, and if you invest in this army, the rewards are there.

There is plenty to explore, and a huge range of competitive and fun builds that will keep you krumpin’ for years to come. It’s a 10/10 from me.

Coming up next will be the Big Waaagh review (where I’ll also cover the Rogue Idol), and if you haven’t already, be sure to check out the Bonesplitterz review too.

Excelsior!

One thought on “Battletome Orruk Warclans: Ironjawz Review

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