Well lookie here! Some kind soul has leaked photos of the latest White Dwarf Battalions, and this time around it’s Ironjawz that are getting the love. Come On You Boyz In Green!
We’ve seen a couple of these White Dwarf articles before; the Syll’eske Host certainly has had its impact on the meta, winning a raft of events; the Fyreslayers and Nighthaunt examples, not so much. Where will this one land? Let’s take a look at what this rules update might mean.
White Dwarf rules releases usually come bundled up in a tight, thematic package: this time, we’re focussing in on Dakkbad Grotkicker and the Ironsunz. You can expect some exposition on the background to this Clan, which is one that has already been explored to some extent. Ironsunz are sneaky and love setting up kunnin’ traps for their enemies, which already comes through in their rules; what I’d really love to see here is an interesting short story too.
While we’re talking about being dead kunnin’, this Battleplan from the original Ironjawz Battletome is great for anyone who has the joie de vivre to give something different a crack. This one is highly relevant to Ironsunz; having played it myself, it’s definitely one I’d recommend it for a change of pace.
Big Battalions are back, right? Tzeentch has the Changehost, and KO got theirs. Woo hoo, here’s a one-drop for Ironjawz!
Yeah nah. This doesn’t fit into 2000 points, carries loads of taxes, and the bonus is garbage. It’s an outright waste of paper and an insult to the memory of the brave trees who died and were pulped to print it.
Well this one is certainly a little more interesting! Let’s break it down:
You are locked into Ironsunz, but that’s ok; they are arguably the best Warclan anyway, with very little in the way of taxes and a badass counter-charge Command Ability.
First thing to note it that the compulsory Megaboss on Maw Krusha needs to take the Right Fist of Dakkbad Command Trait. Honestly, I don’t really get this. Is this saying that you have to make him your General, or only that if you do so, you must take that CT? The latter is entirely redundant, since you are locked into Ironsunz, which means that he would be obliged to take that CT anyway; presumably, then, it is meant for thematic reasons, so that Dakkbad has to be your General and he isn’t taking orders from some footslogging goober. Which is fine, except that the Command Trait in question is telling us that he is Dakkbad’s lieutenant rather than the man himself. So a forced, supposedly thematic choice is simultaneously telling us that this Megaboss is explicity Dakkbad and explicitly Not Dakkbad, which makes no fucking sense whatsoever.
On the plus side, the Ironsunz artefact is not forced onto your Maw Krusha. Why does this matter? Well, it’s essentially a worse version of Ethereal Amulet, so this opens up a strictly better option for investing in your big fella.
What also works in nicely is that because you are taking a couple of Megabosses on foot in this Battalion, one of them can take the Sunzblessed armour instead. And for these guys, it’s not strictly worse than Ethereal; because they are not Monsters, they can get a cover save too, which means that against Rend 0 they are on a 2+ save in cover. So all in all it’s a pretty efficient way to distribute your Artefacts.
Now, you might not want to take Ethereal Amulet on your Maw Krusha at all; you might want to build for power and take Metalrippa’s Klaw, for example. Either way though, taking this Battalion does not remove that option, which can only be a good thing.
You will be fucking rolling in Command Points. One for the Battalion? Check. One for the Right Fist of Dakkbad? Check. One for Turn 1? Check. One for free when you roll a 4+? Check.
You are guaranteed to start the game with 2x CPs, and have either 3 or 4 at the top of your first turn. That is massive for an army that is so CP hungry. Mighty Destroyers is one of the very best Command Abilities in the game; because you cannot take an Ironfist or Brutish Cunning, you will need every one of those CPs, and that’s even before we get onto counter-charging. This abundance of such a precious resource is what makes the army viable despite the heavy taxes it imposes.
Extra attacks for your whole army? Don’t mind if I do! Honestly, you do kind of need these since it’s a squeeze to fit in your Warchanters. But it’s a very, very solid Battalion ability.
However…I don’t run Brutes. I’m hardly the only person to have rung that bell, but I believe that they are just squeezed out between your other Battleline choices. Their attack profile is identical to Ardboyz and Gore Gruntas (3+ 3+ -1 1) except for the special weapons, which are arguably worse (more damage, but a worse To Hit roll). Even with a Warchanter buff, they don’t give you a tool to deal with anything that you can’t already deal with by taking Ardboyz, who also have the (huge) benefit of +2” to charge. If your opponent laughs at rend -1, they will continue to laugh at your Brutes.
Losing their rend -2 hurt too much; they just don’t have anything to really hang their hat on. Whether it’s something straightforward like a Skullreapers-style Mortal Wound on 6s to hit, or rend -2 on the big weapons, they just don’t have any real oomph as a dedicated combat unit, and certainly not enough to make up for being so pathetically slow and prone to Battleshock.
So does an extra attack solve that? Eh. It certainly doesn’t hurt, and the dedicated Brute fans will be pleased to see it.
Death and Taxes
All of this doesn’t come cheap. The Battalion itself is a whopping 220 points, but it doesn’t stop there; you also have to take two Megabosses. TWO Megabosses, WTF? So that’s 520 points down the shitter before we even get started.
The worst thing is, they aren’t keyword bolded; so if you want to take a double Krusha list, you can, but you still need to carry the burden of those two goons. I don’t know anyone who owns multiple Footbosses, so I guess it will sell some models; and it is pretty thematic as a “proper Ironjawz” list for people who are into that sort of thing. But competitively speaking, you really could do without pumping 300 points down the drain, especially since it most likely squeezes out your second Warchanter (or first and only Shaman).
And given that Warchanters are close to essential, this is certainly a low-drop package, but realistically not one drop; you’ll always need to invest in Sikk Beatz who adds a drop on his own.
Moggorz’s Rekrootin’ Krew
Yeah I’m not blown away by this one. You’ve got the rules up above, so if you see something that looks interesting please do let me know; however I can’t see myself taking this over an Ironfist or Ardfist. At 150 points I’m not sure it’s even as good as they are, especially when you consider the compulsory Megaboss on foot and Brutes. In that context, taking away the Ironsunz ability feels a bit unnecessary. This one’s not for me.
Ok, let’s have some fun with this.
I’ve always been a fan of Ironsunz for a twin-Maw Krushas list, for the reason that Sunzblessed Armour and Ethereal Amulet dovetail so nicely. What does it look like with this Battalion?
You know what this would be really good against? Flamers. Those guys will do fuck all against these fat bastards. No bonuses to hit, because it’s a small unit; probably not even an Exalted wholly within 9”, because they can only teleport one unit now; and you just laugh at that rend -1 as you roll all your 3+ saves.
When you remember that we are Ironsunz, so natively at -1 to be Hit in the first Battleround, Flamers will be hitting most targets on 5s and Heroes with Lookout Sir on 6s. That’ll make a nice dent in their output! A unit of 6 Flamers with an Exalted nearby can be expected to put between 2 to 3 wounds on an Ethereal (or Sunzblessed) Krusha, dropping to 1 wound (1 fucking wound) if they don’t have the Exalted buff.
This is how I would deploy in that matchup:
Why screen if you’re confident your Krusha won’t take much damage? It’s all about the Mighty D. You want to be 12.1″ away from the deepstriking unit, so your Mighty Destroyers move doesn’t compell you to charge, and waste a turn fighting them. Instead, you fly straight past them, on your way to murderfucking the core of their army, and leave your other units to chuck a bucket of ice cold water on those Flamers.
It also means that your Warchanter is >18″ from your frontline, and so can’t be targetted, while remaining wholly within 15″ of your Krusha. Your opponent ends up swapping some Flamers for your chaff, and you’re off to the races with extra attacks all round.
Weird ‘Un will help protect you from Tzeentch’s magic output, and Mean ‘Un gives you the weight of damage to punch through the surreal number of wounds that Horrors put on the table. You’ll still have an uphill battle, because the points costs for Horrors and the Gaunt Summoner are so comically out of step with what they put on the table, but against Flamer-heavy builds specifically you can at least make a game of it. And all this with an army that is great fun to play, and has plenty of play in it against a lot of other factions you’ll encounter too.
Nothing but nothing but big Orruks:
Personally I was a little bit disappointed with how many Brutes you can get on the table here; this really is just the minimum Battalion requirements, a single Warchanter and as many Brutes as you can physically fit. Which really isn’t that many, by the time you’ve spunked away 520 points on a Battalion and two Megabosses.
While this isn’t a bad army by any means, I’d feel pretty confident taking it on with a more standard Ironsunz build featuring an Ironfist and two Warchanters.
Counterpoint: Why Bother?
Although I like the double Krusha build in Ironsunz, does it actually need Da Bossfist to operate? I would argue that it doesn’t – and is probably more efficient without it. You’ll lose the extra attacks, but that’s not a deal breaker with only two attack profiles on each Maw Krusha:
By running one of these lists, you can have more mobility, more wounds, more bodies on the table, more access to those sweet, sweet Command Abilities and even more damage output. A “free” Mighty Destroyers move every turn from Ironfist is usually more valuable than a 50:50 shot at a CP, and the second Warchanter boosting the output on 16 attacks per Krusha is more valuable than a lone extra swing on two weapons profiles.
There is a strand of opinion within the Ironjawz fanbase that Megabosses and Brutes are the proper Ironjawz. This is partially because it fits the lore (Ardboyz are generally hangers-on around the fringes of Ironjawz society), but more commonly (in my experience) because a lot of people prefer the more modern sculpts. I only half agree with this myself – while I do love the Ironjawz models and agree that they are superior, I do still like Ardboyz too, especially if you perform a minor kitbash with unhelmeted heads. It’s those helmets that can make them look a little goofy.
But for those players who do feel that way, Da Bossfist offers a perfectly viable new way to play the models they are attached to.
From the viewpoint of a competitive gamer who quite likes Ardboyz, the total package is ultimately of limited appeal; the taxes are high, and because of that, it takes away as much as it gives. It’s fair to say that I won’t personally be buying another Megaboss on foot just to run this, but it will be of interest to that section of the community it seems to be pitched at.
Looking at the bigger picture, there is a trend starting to emerge here for White Dwarf Battalions being “interesting” rather than overtly powerful: Nighthaunt, Fyreslayers and Ironjawz all fit into that category, and that’s fine. In that context, Syll’eske Host seems to be a true outlier and perhaps a bit of a fuck up.
Across this programme as a whole, the WD team have done quite a good job of focussing in on under-represented units (such as Mortal Slaanesh, Hexwraiths and now Brutes and Megabosses), and honestly, that’s a pretty good angle for these articles to take. Not everything needs to be cutting-edge competitive, and having super-thematic rules that give you a reason to dust off the other half of your collection for a friendly game feels very appropriate.
Now having said that – can Gloomspite please get some filth?