Ironjawz are one of the best armies at doing what they do – namely punching enemies in the face. There are few other armies as dangerous in melee (Daughters of Khaine and Khorne are your closest competition). Your units are harder pound for pound than most anything you will run into, but despite your melee power, it’s nearly impossible for you to actually run over an enemy army. Winning with Ironjawz is a matter of knowing your distances, match-ups, and making sure you are using your forces to the best of your abilities.
One large temptation you will have with the army once you read the rules is to do a BIG alpha strike, using your WAAAAGGGHHHH multiple times and smashing your whole army into your enemy. There is no faster way to lose a game. You win games by moving your pieces into optimal position. Striking a massive waaaaggghhhh and playing into the double turn.
- You can easily one-drop and have some of the better battalions in the game.
- You are devastating in melee
- You have incredible stacking buffs
- Your megabosses on maw crusha are the match of any monster in the game.
- In certain builds you can be incredibly fast across the table.
- You have a small number of bodies, so objectives are a challenge.
- You require a large number of units for your command ability to deliver.
- You have to maintain a close range around your boss to gain all your bonuses
- Your incredible stacking bonuses only work on your turn, so you are very sensitive to being double-turned.
Mighty Destroyers: In your hero Phase, you Roll a dice for every hero, on a 6+, you pick a friendly Ironjawz unit wholly within 12” and that unit can make a normal move. If the General is a Megaboss, they get +2 to this roll.
- This a powerful movement tool and can be used on the Hero who makes the roll.
- The unit has to be wholly within so smaller units are easier to keep in range.
- The Megaboss on Maw Crusha and Gore Gruntas will benefit the most from this, as it’s a normal move.
- When combined with the Ironfist movement, this can easily add another 10-15” to their movement, allowing them to clear the mid-field as necessary.
Smashin’ & Bashin’: In the combat phase, after a friendly Ironjawz unit has made all of its attacks, if the attacks from that unit result in an enemy being destroyed, one friendly Ironjawz unit that has not yet fought in that combat phase can fight, instead of doing so later in the round.
- This is the single most powerful allegiance ability the Ironjawz have.
- This allows you to potentially fight with your entire side before the enemy if you arrange your combats correctly.
- Unlike normal combat priority, you want to choose your fights where a) the enemy is the weakest (such as fights where you are against a few remaining models from a previous combat round) b) the enemy is chaffe and c) you are sure you will wipe them out – understanding exactly how much damage you will do is critical as if you leave a single model standing because of bad math, you throw off the whole ability.
- Keep in mind, this can happen later in the round, so any combat throughout the round can trigger this, not just the first one.
- This ability is especially powerful against models that can retreat (Skinks, Skaven Warlords, Lifetakers).
Eager for Battle: Ironjawz units get +1 to charge
- Small bonus, big benefit.
- You do not fail 3” charges.
Artefacts, Command Traits & Abilities
Reduces all rend against the Mega-boss by 1 (to a minimum of ‘-‘). It’s tempting to take something like the Ethereal Amulet, but you don’t want to focus a magic item on defense (though Ignax’s scales is a tempting alternative if you want, but then you also lose the sword of judgement). The Megaboss on Maw Crusha is a purely offensive tool. He is a bully and he scares people (rightly so). But he isn’t essential for the success of your army. You can achieve the same things with the foot megaboss once he goes down, and he’ll usually go down. It’s best if he does maximum damage before he does.
This goes on the Choppa. The Choppa will start at 5 attacks (Ironsunz) and can easily gain 3-5 attacks from Waaagggghhh. Pushing this attack to Rend -3 means it will clear most anything from its way. Note: Beware Ethereal enemies such as as VLOZD with the Ethereal Amulet or Nighthaunt, they will resist your best tool.
Sword of Judgement
This weapon is a miracle for dealing with enemy Heroes and Monsters. The Megaboss on foot has 6 attacks base with his choppa and will gain many more from Waaaggghhh. He can be given +1 to hit from the Warchanter, triggering the d6 mortal wounds on a 5+. The downside is the Megaboss on foot is very, very slow. This is okay. Your Megaboss on Maw Crusha will be soaking up all of the attention, so you are looking to move this guy into position to strike a hero in a critical position on turn 3-4. This guy is perfect to remove enemies in a scenario like Duality of Death.
The Boss Skewer
This is for your Chanter who should be centrally placed. In general, you want to ignore the -1 bravery it causes to your enemies, that is incidental. The benefit is the +1 to bravery, especially important for moving your Gore Grunta’s bravery to 8 (making the 3 packs immune to losses) and the Brutes to Bravery 7, very important as you will tend to lose 1 or 2 in a fight.
Alternative: If you don’t have bravery concerns, you can use the Spell Mirror (from Ulgu) on the War Chanter and project a bubble of Spell Resistance.
Perhaps the best command ability in the game right now, though situational and requiring a great deal of forethought to maximize. In short, it provides a massive bonus of +1 attack in combat to all units within 15” of the Megaboss on Maw Crusha or 10” of the Megaboss, but it requires that you have enough units around to trigger it. The Migthy Waaaggghhh is triggered in the hero phase, but not checked until the start of the combat phase, so you have to know how you are going to move, charge and understand your entire turn during your Hero phase with perfect clarity to know if this is your BIG turn.
As you start this army with 2 command points, becoming 3 in your hero phase in Battle Round 1 and 4 on Battle round 2, this means you could easily have 4 Waaaggghhhs in a single turn. You need to know that you are going to have 6 units within 15” of the megaboss at the start of combat and that you are going to be in position to do maximum damage. If the enemy still has lots of chaffe, if you failed charges, it’s going to be wasted effort and you will lose your one great advantage.
When using this command ability, the key is to make sure you are going to receive the maximum benefit, understand your units, what you will move when and where you are going to end charges. Again, think of the Megaboss on Maw Crusha like the sun and all the other units are planets orbiting around, always within 15” and never farther.
Megaboss on Mawcrusha
You have the highest move at 12” and the only flying unit. This unit should be effectively the Sun and the rest of your army needs to orbit around him within 15”. There should always be 6 units within this range so you can achieve the waaagghh without issue. The foot heroes generally want to stay close and shielding by the rest of the army around them. The Megaboss is a very powerful melee tool, but he is also on a very large base, so you need to pay special attention to the terrain or you will get caught and be unable to attack.
Never count on the destructive bulk to remove a unit and allow continued assault, assume you get 2-3 mortal wounds when unwounded. On numbers you get 4, but always assume less. This unit is the anchor of your army and should generally be your fulcrum. As you are one-drop, you generally can place him more aggressively, but if you ever have the chance of being Alpha-striked, you want to have Gore Gruntas screen him.
The foot megaboss has a shorter range on the Waaagghhh, so you will need to pull your force in tighter if he is the source of your command ability. His sword makes him very dangerous to enemy heroes and monsters when properly buffed. He is very, very slow, but incredibly competent in combat against other foot heroes. Move him up the board slowly and carefully, keep him near brutes and out of combat in rounds 1-2 and use him as a can-opener in rounds 3-4.
His ability to give +1 to anything is important, but it’s shorter range and he needs to be running to keep up. Think about where your units are going to be after they charge and move him into position so he can give the +1
This is your only spellcaster and the magic of the Ironjawz is weak. There are plenty of powerful spellcasters who can simply shut off your spellcasting, so it’s best not to overinvest in this. It’s fairly easy to get the +1 to cast from having 10 Orruks near the caster, use this to get Mystic Shield on your Megabosses, which can be a life saver. Beyond this and realm spells, the only other spell you cast is a hail mary foot of Gork. As this casts on a 10, you will fail more than you will succeed, even with +2 to cast, but if you are already losing, this spell is a great chance to turn that around if it should go off and repeat it’s damage more than twice.
All of your units that aren’t heroes are Battleline conditionally in Ironjawz, which gives you a tremendous freedom in army construction.
These are the most important unit in the army. You have a dirty dozen of these and they are a valuable tool. Looking at their stat lines, you may be tempted to think this unit will kill something. You are wrong. They will kill enemy chaffe, but beyond that, they are your mobile anvil. Between their high wound to point ratio and their mobility, they are a wonderful thing to shove into an enemy and block them from moving into critical board positions. If properly buffed by the chanter and several Waaggghhs, they can handle lightly armored hordes, but a heavy armored enemy will stop them dead in their tracks.
These are also your screens if you are afraid of an Alpha Strikes (though the Ironsunz -1 to hit can also prevent effective Alpha Strikes).
These are also objective holders and can grab points early before they are body blocked off by numbers. If your army is thought of as waves, then this is the first wave that should come into contact with the enemy.
You only have 10 brutes total in this army in 2 units of 5, but that is all you need. Brutes are devastating fighters in melee, especially when properly buffed. Brutes however are fragile and even with the Boss Pole they are susceptible to losses from Bravery, so you will want to use them carefully. They need to move up the board with purpose and stay out of combat in the first round at minimum, possibly into round 2. They are your second wave, your closers. They should be used to kill hard targets in later rounds when you need to take back points or kill powerful monsters.
Brutes are the most effective against things with 4 or more wounds, as they reroll all hits. It’s not unusual for two brutes to be able to bring down a large monster by themselves. Brute units are really an ablative shield for the Gore Choppa and the Champion with his devastating claw and smasha. Remember, if the unit gets the bonus from the Waaggghh, both the claw and the smasha get these extra attacks and if any of the claw attacks hit, then ALL the Smasha attacks hit. The champion with the benefit of a few Waaagghhhs will kill most of the 12 wound monsters in the game in a single round of combat on numbers. If fighting smaller multi-wound units, make sure they receive the Chanter buff and/or have the Megaboss nearby to reroll their 1’s to hit.
Brutes suffer when they lose attacks and/or suffer penalties to hit, so Death is a real challenge for this
This is the basic Batallion and makes it so all of your pigs and Brute units get to move 1d6 extra inches as long as your chosen “boss” remains alive. Choose the champion of the 6-man Gore Grunta unit, as that gives you two extra wounds in that unit and is the most likely to be able to take any punishment thrown at it.
This is the mega-batallion that gives you 1-drop. Dakkabad’s cunning is determined after set-up is complete but before the battle begins, so you will know before you take your turn whether the enemy has -1 to hit. The bonus attack should be given to the Megaboss on Maw Crusha’s Choppa.
Ironjawz are one of the most rewarding and fun armies to play. The rules are simply and you can quickly learn and master the army. Allowing you more time to focus on tactics on the battlefield. This is far from the most powerful army on the battlefields of the mortal realms, but you have very powerful pieces that is properly applied can punch above their weight.
In general, with the protection of Ironsunz and pig screens you can afford to give away to the first turn. In 90% of all match-ups, unless you are very worried about being reached at the top of 1, you should give away the first turn and play for the double into turn 2. Use your pigs in the bottom of 1 to clear away the chaffe and then use a quadruple waaaaggghhh at the top of 2 to drive into the heart of your enemy.
Your army is very susceptible to Mortal Wounds, Death led by Nagash is your hard counter, which is rough. Your best bet is to make a decision at the top of 1 of whether or not you are going to try to kill Nagash or just endure it. Your best match-ups are against other armies that want to do what you do – get in and scrap in melee.