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Current state of Iron Hands?

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#1
Juggernut

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Forgive any typographical errors, using an iPhone one handed carrying a baby in the other.

15+ weeks ago I was in the process of assembling an all primaris iron hands army. At the time they were arguably ridiculously OP, and I shifted to painting my traitor guard army. I wanted a good/strong army to contrast the fluffy but not so great berzerker horde I love so much that I could use n small local tourneys and to mix things up with the sweet new range of astartes models, but it seemed like I would quickly alienate myself from the groups of local gamers by busting it out “casually.” Careful what you wish for, and all that.

Since then there have been changes/nerfs of various kinds to IH and astartes in general, but my grasp of what’s “good” was always tenuous at best.

For what it’s worth, where are IH now in terms of power level? Is it “safe” to drop them on the table in casual games nowadays, or are they still just too damn strong against your average list/army, whatever that might be?

My collection/army contains LT/librarians, Intercessors, triple redemptors, eliminators, and hellblasters. I don’t think I own anything else, and don’t plan to. Oh and Feirros, the whole reason I got into primaris IH. Love his model so much.

Thank you for any insight/comments.

Edited by Juggernut, 25 April 2020 - 11:02 AM.

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#2
N1SB

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What a great question.  1 of my 2 tourney-topping friends main'd Ultramarines in previous editions and went with Iron Hands this edition (while I ran Iron Hands in 30k, teamed up with him a bunch of times actually).  He played it before the new SM 2.0 Codex, when it first came out, and after the FAQ.  He had something interesting to say.

 

The Perception/Theoretical: Iron Hands were nerfed, everyone complained about the nerfs, so they're no longer top tier because of the nerfs...therefore bad.

 

The Reality/Practical: they're still top or at least high tier, but you just can't rely on some gimmicky Flyer-heavy lists that only works for their pre-FAQ form anymore, they just do better now with a well-rounded army that synergises their strengths (like what you described)...just like how you're supposed to play.

 

The difference was mainly Iron Hands in relation with the other Chapters in the 2.0 Codex.  Iron Hands and Raven Guard were contesting for the very top slot, Iron Hands got nerfed, but Raven Guard remained about the same, so that's perceived as maintaining the top slot now (which I can agree with, if pressed).  Meanwhile, Ultramarines comparatively moved up because they had that Stratagem that lets them use a different Combat Doctrine, which became more relevant.  So it's like neither Raven Guard nor Ultramarines got some buff or anything, but their stuff becomes more interesting now, with Iron Hands being taken down half a peg.  It comes down to that relative standing.

 

However, in this age where extremes have become the norm, it's like you can't just be really good anymore.  You are either the best or just terrible, and I think from what you described, that's what you were seeing.

 

My tourney friend LOVED the nerfs, because he naturally likes to play Troops hordes, and the Iron Hands Chapter Tactic alone was enough, then everything else pre-FAQ made him more OP to the point of people wouldn't play him.  He was like in exile.  Now he's being accepted again.  He was winning post-nerf (he just moved away, I'll check in with him on his new meta), but the nerfs didn't make him noticeably weaker...they just removed the stigma of playing Iron Hands.


Edited by N1SB, 25 April 2020 - 02:48 PM.

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#3
Juggernut

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Many thanks for the reply, frater! I feel like there’s hope for the army yet, then. Winning is cool and all, but having been on the other side of the table from a few lists that made me question why I was bothering to occupy space for my opponent’s sake, I wouldn’t want to do that to other players and I’m not looking to get revenge.
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#4
WarriorFish

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N1SB covers it, it helps with the perception but on the other hand such perceptions tend to be based little on reality anyway tongue.png For example if you never bothered with the beardy stuff then the changes meant very little to your IH, so you can carry on as before...

 

I think IH are still high tier, but C:SM Marines are generally doing quite well for themselves so maybe that's not such a big difference by comparison now? You should be able to get games in without the notion of being the biggest and baddest bandwagon, so against most armies it should be fine provided their codex isn't too far behind the curve with age smile.png


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#5
Black Blow Fly

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I think they are still top tier and have a variety of good builds. Like N1SB said it’s perception.


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#6
N1SB

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For what it’s worth, where are IH now in terms of power level? Is it “safe” to drop them on the table in casual games nowadays, or are they still just too damn strong against your average list/army, whatever that might be?

 

 

Hey Brother, I didn't properly address your central question, but I think you're strong with your list (it's a nice, well-rounded, take-all-comers list), not too damn strong.  And I think I do understand your key concern (as I play Nurgle for a similar reason).

 

Players know the nature of 40k, losing is part of the game, but they still want a fight.  Pre-nerf Iron Hands wasn't really a fight, it was just weathering a constant storm due to how there was an obvious "strategy" with the ongoing IH uber-Devastator Doctrine: declare your clearly Ultramarines as an Iron Hands successor (I want to call them "Uron Hands" but it sounds like something else), everything has a Heavy weapon, including those Intercessors that are carrying counts-as Stalker Pattern bolt rifles.  From an opponent's perspective, there was no like "I'll just hunker down for the 1st turn, then I'll counter-attack, it's tough but I got a chance," because, like stairs, the IH uber-Devastator Doctrine just kept happening pre-nerf.

 

Now opponents feel like they got that chance.  Iron Hands can still raise the storm, and it still hurts, but it does blow over.  It feels like a proper fight.

 

I'll give a great example because I mentioned 1 of my 2 real close tourney-topping friends is Iron Hands, the other is Raven Guard.  He's still dominant, but it relies a lot on infiltrating a unit of Centurion Devastators, that's his touch-of-death.  He's also a great painter and he actually "true-scales" his Centurions, I should get him to post his conversions here, they look awesome.  But an opponent feels he can counter or plan to avoid them.  It's a tricky puzzle, but it's one people want to solve.  It's a very different feel.

 

And I'll give you an example for your list, Brother Juggernut!  You're taking Hellblasters, good unit!  Pre-nerf, Iron Hands players didn't even bother to, because an Intercessor with a Stalker Pattern Bolter Rifle was effectively the same with the uber-Devastator Doctrine.  Not only does it remove the idea of choice for an opponent, it kinda removes it also for the Iron Hands player, kinda?  Well, Hellblasters are certainly relevant for Iron Hands again post-Turn 1.  But pre-nerf, when playing something is that level of no-brainer, then there's really not any playing.

 

I reckon the broader theme is what professional game devs call player "agency", like their choices matter.  Even aside from this, I think GW and even FW sometimes went overboard for certain armies/units/Formations (remember that time?)  I think Iron Hands were merely brought to the level of where choices matter, for you and your opponents.  It's good.


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#7
Juggernut

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Hey I would have been satisfied with the first response, but the second is even more appreciated. The context of the changes and sort of the psychology of their effects and such make sense in the context you’ve described.

I remember formations well, I guess with some ambivalence, as there were those that I considered reasonable and fun (because *I* used them :P , like the Gore Pack) and those that fundamentally changed the game for the worse, like the Demi Company or whichever gave the Astartes all the free goodies.

I do believe in the social contract of a mutually enjoyable experience, and even a tournament in my town would involve the same small pool of players. Expectations are/should be different, but there are maybe 2 players out of 15 or so who would expect a cut-throat “net list” style situation. Maybe they’ll endure the majority of their lovingly painted fluffy armies getting “undeployed” on turn 1 once, but there will be fewer players the next time around as a result.

I’d rather find that happier medium you describe: of course the chance of defeat is ever present, but there’s gotta at least be a chance of victory/agency involved.

Hellblasters are just too cool not to use!
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#8
Juggernut

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Can’t imagine it changes anything but I also have 3 units of suppressors, for the sake of completeness. :P

Edited by Juggernut, 29 April 2020 - 10:40 AM.

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#9
Aothaine

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How I view it is that the bandwagon players will melt away. Iron Hands are still incredibly strong in one of the most important turns of the game. Then afterward you still benefit from all the other phases. Then there is the lore-side of things. I really think they nailed Iron Hands battle tactics imho. While the forced doctrine change does hurt a bit, they are still beefcakes. :D

 

I play for fun regardless though. Tournaments ruin the game imho. But I'm always down for some fun friendly competitions.


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#10
Black Blow Fly

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Overall we have the best special rules like 5+ overwatch. It’s an incredibly well written supplement.


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#11
Ishagu

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How are Iron Hands?

Probably still the best. The meta chasers have migrated from vehicle spam to Intercessor Spam using an Apothecary and Feirros aura combination to create 60+ Intercessors with a 5++ and 5+++
Combine this with a few strats and it can be quite obnoxious unless you really build to counter it. Ironically Raven Guard can counter this by sniping away the characters.

Generally Iron Hands are the best way to run Primaris outside of Raven Guard deployment manipulation. Both Iron Hands and Raven Guard are far better than the other codex supplements. Imperial Fists are considered nearly as good in some situations but only due to a Vigilus detachment. To me personally it's a bit annoying because I fear a nerf coming to Marines in the next Chapter Approved or FAQ as a result of the community backlash, but outside of IH and RG the faction really isn't a problem or over bearing.

I saw a comment on Ultras moving up the pecking order, unfortunately this is not the case -they were also hit by the Doctrine nerf and are strictly worse than they were prior, and at that point had a less than 50% win rate competitively. The Iron Hands, as a direct comparison, are better in every measure. The Raven Guard are strong but in an asymmetrical way - a case can be made that they are the most fun to play due to the dynamic deployment and movement possibilities.

Edited by Ishagu, 14 May 2020 - 12:24 PM.

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#12
Maouw

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Probably still the best. The meta chasers have migrated from vehicle spam to Intercessor Spam using an Apothecary and Feirros aura combination to create 60+ Intercessors with a 5++ and 5+++
Combine this with a few strats and it can be quite obnoxious unless you really build to counter it. Ironically Raven Guard can counter this by sniping away the characters.

 

But i assume that is the case for competitive/tryhard meta, is the heavy repulsor/dread list still viable i a certain way or the only hope to win as IH is to use that intercessor spam ?
 



#13
Jacques Corbin

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As far as nerfs go, I blame the Tau players. I have seen 3 different players jump on their laptops after losing to marines in my old meta. Mind you, this was in 3 different cities, and I have a marked prejudice against Tau players. Just moved south before the Covid lockdown. No games, but I still have to go to work...

It's nice to see more varied IH lists. The vehicle/flyer spam was pure junk. Intercessors en masse is much easier to deal with.
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#14
Ishagu

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Probably still the best. The meta chasers have migrated from vehicle spam to Intercessor Spam using an Apothecary and Feirros aura combination to create 60+ Intercessors with a 5++ and 5+++
Combine this with a few strats and it can be quite obnoxious unless you really build to counter it. Ironically Raven Guard can counter this by sniping away the characters.

But i assume that is the case for competitive/tryhard meta, is the heavy repulsor/dread list still viable i a certain way or the only hope to win as IH is to use that intercessor spam ?

You can use Repulsors and Dreads, of course - they are still effective, and Iron Hands still provide a substantial bonus.
The damage bracket boost and overwatch bonus alone makes Tanks like the Repulsor more viable and effective.

There is also a definite overreaction to Marines winning. It's funny because the Astartes were a low tier army for years, but that was forgotten immediately after their new codex was released.

I do actually think Iron Hands were tuned too high, and there were strange side effects to their rules that didn't match the lore. Why were Iron Hands better speeder pilots than the white scars? That kind of stuff.
I feel the rules are more fair now in terms of comparing to other factions, and they still have better rules, strats and psychic powers than most chapters.

Overall Astartes are where they should be in terms of rules now. Some chapters actually need some rule boosts!

Edited by Ishagu, 18 May 2020 - 11:25 AM.

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#15
Rodrick

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from the amount of new posts id say dead



#16
Iron Father Ferrum

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from the amount of new posts id say dead


This forum does not constitute anything approaching a significant percentage of Iron Hands worldwide. Judging any faction by what you see on B&C or social media platforms is inherently illogical as you are immediately playing with five cards instead of the entire deck.
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#17
Juggernut

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Good enough time to restart the conversation for 9th, seeing as how we’ve either had points updated and FAQs/errata in place until the new codices.

I picked up Indomitus so those units are in my mix as well, now.

Turn 1 is less of a shoot-everything-off-the-board situation, and the devastator doctrine is so temporary, but IH certainly don’t suck, by my estimation. The 6++ on primaris units still seems quite awesome, as does the vehicle rule.

Edited by Juggernut, 29 July 2020 - 04:14 PM.

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#18
Rodrick

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bikes are great for us, well for every sPace marine chapter,

if primaris apothecary and primaris captain on bike becomes a thing we may see the return of CHAPTER MASTER SMASH :cuss er

Good enough time to restart the conversation for 9th, seeing as how we’ve either had points updated and FAQs/errata in place until the new codices.

I picked up Indomitus so those units are in my mix as well, now.

Turn 1 is less of a shoot-everything-off-the-board situation, and the devastator doctrine is so temporary, but IH certainly don’t suck, by my estimation. The 6++ on primaris units still seems quite awesome, as does the vehicle rule.


Edited by Iron Father Ferrum, 29 July 2020 - 10:01 PM.
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#19
Black Blow Fly

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BRING BACK TEH SMASHHHHHH !!!!!!
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#20
FinkleLord

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For me I've always used Smash Captain on bike. Plus I did an awesome conversion on him and it's hard not to put him on the table. Normally ran with SS, Axe of Medusa and Imperiums Sword warlord trait. 

 

Going to try running him with two Outrider squads and see how it works. 






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