With the new edition of Warhammer 40000 coming later this month, I decided to take a look at the current state of each of my armies at the end of 8th edition and what I’m looking forward to for them in 9th edition.
The Iron Wardens are my oldest and biggest army. I started them more than 20 years ago when I bought the 3rd edition Warhammer 40000 starter box. I played them through high school and gradually expanded the army. At the time, I really liked heavy guns like lascannons so the army features a lot of those. Because this was my first army, it has a special spot in my heart and established what I think of as a classic space marine force.
Because this army is so old, not all of its units still worked in 8th edition, and I only played it a little towards the beginning of the edition before I had finished painting enough of my Fulminators to field. I’d like to play at least a few games in 9th edition with them just for nostalgia’s sake.
When I last played this army, I used the Imperial Fists chapter tactic because it felt like a good match for how I picture the chapter. That was before the newest version of Codex: Space Marines though. The next time I play them, I’ll use successor chapter tactics instead. I like Stalwart to make them a little more resilient to heavy weapons. Then I’d be tempted to go with Preferred Enemy as a nod to them fighting my brother’s Tyranids years ago (He conveniently plays Genestealer Cult now, so it’d still be a useful choice).
The Iron Wardens can choose from six HQ options. The old Marneus Calgar miniature is used as a Captain with a storm bolter and power fist. A second Captain has a storm bolter and power sword. The miniature that I painted with flames is fielded as a Lieutenant with a plasma pistol and chainsword. The Ezekial miniature counts as a Librarian with a force sword. Then a Chaplain and a Techmarine from the old command squad kit fill out the HQ options.
For Troops, this army has four Tactical Squads and a Scout Squad. One Tactical Squad carries a lascannon, two have missile launchers, and the last has a flamer. The Scout Squad only has combat blades and bolt pistols.
The Iron Wardens have five different choices for Elites slots. A Terminator Squad that can no longer be used as-modeled used to bring lightning claws on the sergeant, a heavy flamer, and an assault cannon into battle. A squad of Sternguard Veterans is under-equipped compared to the more modern miniatures with only a flamer and a plasma pistol as special weapons. The Dreadnought is armed with twin lascannons which were great for shooting monsters and vehicles. The last two Elites are an Apothecary and an Ancient that used to be part of the command squad.
The Iron Wardens have one of each of the classic marine Fast Attack units. The Land Speeder has a heavy bolter. The five-man Bike Squad has a power sword on the sergeant as well as a meltagun and plasma gun in the unit. The Assault Marines only have chainswords and bolt pistols other than the sergeant who has been upgraded to a power sword and plasma pistol.
For Heavy Support, the Iron Wardens field two tanks and a Devastator Squad. The Predator has four lascannons for taking out enemy monsters and vehicles. The Vindicator was bought to use its big blast marker to terrorize hordes of Tyranids, but it was more of a short range anti-tank gun in 8th edition. The army’s Devastator Squad carries a mix of weapons – a lascannon, a plasma cannon, a heavy bolter, and a missile launcher.
A single Rhino is available to the Iron Wardens when they need a Dedicated Transport.
Into the New Edition
I think the core rules changes are pretty good for the Iron Wardens. The tanks and dreadnought benefit from now being able to move and shoot without penalty, and the Vindicator’s demolisher cannon will once again feel like a terrifying weapon against all targets thanks to the blast rules guaranteeing a good number of shots against larger infantry units. More line-of-sight blocking terrain hurts the longer range weapons like lascannons a bit.
Unlike my other armies, I have no intention of adding any new models to my Iron Wardens. They’re frozen in time as a 3rd edition era army. Even if I decided I wanted to set up a new firstborn marine army, I’d buy new models and paint them up as a different chapter rather than adding to this army.