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'Competitive' Ironjawz


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So do you only get the keyword if you run every unit with said keyword? So if anything isn't bonesplitterz it means your boar boyz aren't?

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I believe that's correct. If even a single model doesn't have the Bonesplitter tag then boarboys are no longer battleline.

I think they're a little too restrictive as to what is and what isn't battleline to be completely honest.

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Yup. If you don't want to take 3 units of grots orruks savage orruks or ogres, you need everything to be from the one sub faction. 

I think it's a bigger deal for destruction. We have the least options. Book only costs £10 it's that small.. 

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20 hours ago, N_Watson said:

You seem to be the one here who has played the most high points games with ironjawz units. What would you buff them with from destruction in generals handbook to be at least competitive. 

I have pretty much one of everything that the ironjawz have and it cost me a lot of cash lol. Sitting at around 1100 to 1300 is points depending on what I take. How would you fill that out to not be a walk over. Doesn't need to be op, just to get a good game. 


Yeh I have played a decent number of games with Ironjawz at 100 SCGT points (so essentially a "full size" game, equivalent to around 2,000 points of General's Handbook). That said, the games I have played have been mostly using Battleplans from the various Battletomes as opposed to hardcore tournament practice or anything. Personally, I found Ironjawz to be weaker than most other things I've used in AoS, which is why I'm enjoying this thread so much for seeing various peoples ideas in how to make the Ironjawz function at a more competitive level.

I think there are plenty of solid options across Destruction to make a solid competitive force, but the more we delve into that the more we are going to end up talking about competitive Destruction and not Ironjawz...if that makes sense! (Still a good conversation to have). For that I'd look no further than @Sangfroid who is probably the most consistent UK Tournament player with Destruction and has a great knowledge of the options across the Grand Alliance.

I see the main problems as being;

If we are talking pure Ironjawz the list is, lets be honest, incredibly one dimensional. Not just in play style, but also purely down to the lack of actual variety of units available to us - @Soulsmith hit the nail on the head just a few posts up. I think the rush/aggro style lists discussed above are viable (actually probably more so than I originally gave them credit for tbh) and pretty fun, but I'm still not sure they hold up for reasons I have previously stated here. Especially after reading the General's Handbook battleplans, I don't think chucking everything forward is going to win you many games.

The next issue comes as a result of trying to mitigate the first. If we look to supplement the Ironjawz with some additional power/variety, be it Stonehorns, Thundertusks, or whatever else we then run into the much maligned battleline tax. This is something I really dislike. I am sure there are people who will say it's a good thing that you can't just pick and choose what you like (to a point), but it goes against the ethos of AoS (to me anyway) and if nothing else giving me units I have to paint to get an army on the table is something I had been pleased to move away from.

The battleline units available to us are pretty limited and taking away 300/2,000 points (minimum) is quite a lot in my mind. I'm not convinced it actually matters which option you pick from a competitive sense, none are great. Perhaps just go with your preference aesthetically, or pick Ogors because its less models to paint! Orruks with shields seem an ok shout just for hanging back and maybe holding objectives in your territory, but the models perhaps aren't the most inspiring. I have some 40K Ork Boyz painting in the same scheme as my Ironjawz, Da Black Sunz, so I may just replace their guns, rebase them and go with that! It's a tough one for sure.

The first tournament I will be using Destruction at is Brothers of Sigmar in August (check it out in the events section). It's a doubles event so I only get 1,000 points. I was pretty shocked at how poor the list seems;



2x 10 Orruks

2x 5 Brutes

10 Ardboyz

Pretty embarrassing in a thread with "Competitive" in the title!! I will be teaming up with a Moonclan army, so will be leaning heavily on them I fear! That list does have 40pts spare I believe, so could upgrade the Orruks to Ogors, but as mentioned I have the Orruk models already so will save me painting time.

I find it interesting that there was sooooo much hype for the Ironjawz model release on Twitter etc, yet at tournaments there has been so few Ironjawz units on the tables. Perhaps it's because people (myself included) are still painting them, but in reality I fear the aesthetics vs power pendulum might have swung against the Ironjawz!!

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That's for the response Chris. Have been looking at ogors a lot as well when thinking about going destruction over ironjawz. 

I am torn between just saying stuff it, going all ironjawz and hopefully tournament packs balance us a little or GW add more to us, and just giving up on them altogether. 

My Gw store is doing an escalation for the summer campaign and in week 3 we need a monster. The only one available to the ironjawz is the megaboss on mawcrusher which would probably be unfair when others are running things like a demon prince on their lists. 

Leaves me with options outside of ironjawz. The restriction of battle line is a bit of a turn off to say the least. 

Thanks again for your insight and look forward to your run down of the event on The Black Sun? Cheers

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Great post @Chris Tomlin, covered it! I think it might be a matter of wait and see. GW may well be testing everything out with the ironjawz and the general's handbook, and if they perform poorly the new bonesplitterz and beastclaw revamp may alleviate this? or an FAQ. Like they may allow 1 ironjaw unit to become battleline per ironjaw character in the list?

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4 minutes ago, Soulsmith said:

Great post @Chris Tomlin, covered it! I think it might be a matter of wait and see. GW may well be testing everything out with the ironjawz and the general's handbook, and if they perform poorly the new bonesplitterz and beastclaw revamp may alleviate this? or an FAQ. Like they may allow 1 ironjaw unit to become battleline per ironjaw character in the list?

Love this idea!

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1 hour ago, Soulsmith said:

Great post @Chris Tomlin, covered it! I think it might be a matter of wait and see. GW may well be testing everything out with the ironjawz and the general's handbook, and if they perform poorly the new bonesplitterz and beastclaw revamp may alleviate this? or an FAQ. Like they may allow 1 ironjaw unit to become battleline per ironjaw character in the list?

Good idea. Thinking battleline needs a tweak myself. Would have liked if you just needed 3 "choices" of battleline but they could all be in the same unit. As it currently stands it works too much like a tax. Then again I haven't played it so could be off.

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Thanks @Chris Tomlin for the kind words but we both know the King of destruction (currently) isn't me, but I'll be back bigger and stronger next time ;-) 


ive been on the case all day (slow day at work) and come up with a few basic ideas (just competitive ironjaws) that I Reckon can be used as a base some caveats this is because I'm going to the facehammer GT and if I'm not using ironjaws need to make a paint plan for something else!

1) ironjaws do not like shooty opponents but have the toughness to weather some damage its going to be swingy if you get double turned. But if you can get across and in to their grills you should be able to fight thru most things at 2000pts. This is because the shooty lists won't have the space to really have a decent combat element (generally) 

2) our tactics are more nuanced that charge and fight (having looked at the scenarios like Chris said) I think we have a couple of routes to go down which then decides what units are used particularly the formations (formations make us competitive) 

3) our anti army is teleporting opponents as we need them to stay still so we can bash them 

4) all of our units cost the same, have the same volume of attacks roughly but are different essentially on these lines 

ardboyz have the most wounds, have the most reliable charge (+2 musician) and have the best bravery once into combat (standard) a mixture of rend/no rend and to hit across the board 4+

gorgruntas are the fastest, are all but immune to a normal battleshock test, similar damage output to ardboyz but can get lucky and do a lot better. Have to be totally wiped out to stop them from capturing objectives (at least in scgt pools) and if armed with choppas as I think these guys should be they work best as 3 model units

brutes have the best damage output rend across the board but suffer terribly if pressured into battleshock tests. Also they are the one unit that actually benefits from a megaboss with them which further adds to their role as damage dealers as a megaboss with 6a 2s/2s/-1/2 stats (thanks to battle brew magic item) is frankly nails 

So effectively the brutes need to be deployed into combats they can kill enough enemy not to be really hurt in return and we will always want to activate them first where possible (even maybe over a character in some situations). The ardboyz are the tanks they can be thrown at the units we want to pin in place, they are there to die if needs be but will actually still give the enemy a bashing in the process. Goregruntas are similar to ardboyz but they are the flankers and objective capture units or the yolo alpha strike to disrupt the enemy, especially taking the flank to pin a unit who then can't pile in Properley only to be assaulted by brutes. 

so with that in mind I've been thinking of how we can deal with different enemies and I reckon for us it revolves around these 

Double Turn: we absolutely want the double turn first turn every time however we need ways to mitigate our being exposed if we don't get it. Simply put there is 3 ways to do this

1) gorefist formation deploy back so the enemy can't really do anything to you first turn, they are worried about the goregruntas alpha strike so take first turn to buff up and brace for impact you then pop gordrakks command ability on the goregruntas (ideally increase their hit by +1) and with the d6+15+9 move plus 3d6 charge you are striking exactly where you want to and with 16 a 2/3/-1/1 and 15a 3/4/-/1 (never take the risk of the 8" charge here btw) X3 you should really maul the enemy especially as they now only,have one mystic shield. Move the rest of the army up and if you get the Double turn great your right in their face, if not they either try to attack your approaching army or try to finish off the goregruntas either way you will go next and your army can get in and do its stuff (with the chance for a double turn going into T3) if they don't give you first turn then just charge the goregruntas in as above and move the army up

2) Ardfist formation, screen your whole army with ardboyz units and push forwards at maximum speed, ideally you have your tougher units up close to the ardboyz bases so can pile in thru the gaps if you don't get the double turn. it doesn't matter if they all die as you have kept your warchanter safe and then when it's your turn you bring them back on. This second wave is now your objective capture units while the rest of you army pushes into the enemy 

3) ardboyz in a ironfist formation, screen as before but now you have more movement and potentially with Gordrakk and good rolls as well as enemy going first these may actually make it into combat turn one almost surely turn 2! 

Its scenario/opposing army dependent so ideally you want all of this in you army list 

Teleporting opponents: our nemesis as they negate one of our strengths (speed) I think all we can do is ardfist formation models and surround your army with expendable ardboyz, key here is of course keeping the warchanter alive past the initial alpha strike against you. If they don't come down early we just move the whole army to objectives and screen and wait against these opponents I'd also not bother with mawcrusha pieces either to hard to screen and keep safe. 

Wrecking ball: basically the mawcrusha (or Gordrakk) as most scenarios require units to score we have a great piece that isn't very useful at that but is very useful at smashing. A viable tactic is really to shield him up buff to hit (if not Gordrakk) and launch him to his death and probably a bunch of the enemies too meanwhile whole your enemy is dealing with him your army can use its speed (ironfists) to get a better position to swamp objectives and sit and wait and hopefully hold out or,close the gap,and charge in themselves. The new hammer blade magic item on a megaboss on mawcrusha could be disgusting (every MODEL within 3" of base rolls a dice and takes a mortal wound on a 5+) destructive bulk good attacks anyway and that is savage. 

A brute fist also makes a good wrecking ball too but the bigman does it a lot better!


Putting it together will depend on enemy and scenario but will generally follow these lines 

1) Gordrakk 1 formation and 1 character (then units to fill any gaps most likely brutes) 

2) mawcrusha  2 megaboss 2 formations 

3) or 2 mega boss 2/3 formations and units to fill gaps 

so your 3000pt side board (please let this stay) should look something like this......

mawcrusha or Gordrakk 520/700

2 X mega boss 280

2 warchanters 160 

3 X ardboyz 480

3 X brutes 480 

3 X goregruntas 480 

= 2400/2580


Ardfist 40

2 ironfist 120pts 

gorefist 120

brutefist 80 


so 2760/2940 Total 

a little flex in there if you don't take Gordrakk but either way I reckon that contains all the combos needed to make us competitive as we can be against any army, practice and luck play a part of course and some armies we won't be able to deal with well but hey can't have it all! We do have Gordrakk! 

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Nice post @Sangfroid. I think you may be onto something. Obviously there is a lack of mortal wounds and protection from them, but your above strategies seem to play to the ironjawz strengths. Hadn't thought about the ardboys formation tbh. 

I love the way the ironjawz look and the fluff so I will probably stick it out with them until the new year and see where they end up. 

The new models coming out just seem to get better and better though. Going to be hard not straying if something looks good and is op ?

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I'm a little chaffed that Ard' boys aren't battleline outside of an ironjaw allegiance.

Maybe allow formations be able to be ran without the consideration of battleline units so long as your entire army is within one or more formations?

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I'll probably stick with a brute filled ironfist for now. Not really sure what my gaming group is doing yet and we won't really know until the book comes out. We are all planning 2k lists thou so I have that to work with 

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@Sangfroid Very nice post Kieran. Ricky may have had you on a couple of "Best Destruction" trophies, but your knowledge of the Grand Alliance as a whole is better. He's all about the one battalion that he has used in all his tournament games; Beastclaw Avalanche (not to take anything away from his achievements).

I mentioned in another topic that I like the fact Brutes, Ardboyz and Gore-gruntas are all the same points, does make list writing (especially when considering a sideboard) much easier as you can freely switch them around. All though I suppose this can disrupt battalions.

Are you going to take pure Ironjawz to FHGT then? I think I'd quite like to do this as well.

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At least the ironfist and weirdfist areally interchangeable as far as units go. The ironfist is only 60pts but the weirdfist is 100pts which makes sense given a super charged foot can one shot anything.

I'm going to run a 2k ironfist for now until my group settles on what we are mainly doing

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@Chris Tomlin I am torn for facehammer GT between pure ironjaws, mixed destruction or my new death project.

Pure would be as I posted above either a Gordrakk/megaboss on mawcrusha with formations or more bodies and two footslogger  megaboss's. On the one hand I feel the mortal wounds from the grumpy dragon riders are almost mandatory, though the extra bodies by not taking one may be also game changing. 

Mixed destruction i can only see building your army around your battleline units as they are solid and then adding in characters to buff them, so grots with grots, Ogors with Ogors, Orruks with Orruks then with the remaining space either Gordrakk/mawcrusha/stonehorns or a formation of ironjaws and a megaboss or ironguts and tyrants something like


for example........

30 Orruk boyz 300

30 Orruk boyz 300

30 Orruk boyz 300

Orruk warboss with waaargh banner (and is your general) 140

3 X 3 goregruntas in a gorefist formation 660

tyrant with Great weapon 160

Orruk great shaman 140 

the boyz and characters stay close together so potentially at 20+ models the boyz have 3a each (rerolling saves with shields or 1 to hits with 2 choppas), the warbanner makes them reroll ones to wound as well. Tyrant is there for -2 rend and shaman to shield a key unit or whatever. Goregruntas dash forward as above and just try to hold the enemy up as long as possible so the boyz can survive and score enough obj points. It's not very nuanced but it does have 165 wounds of models for the enemy to chew thru and pretty much rend -1 across the whole army. It also doesn't really matter what the enemy targets as really you are just trying to outlast the enemy and have average but solid units which will be costly for them to engage head on

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Well I have a maw-krusha in line for painting so that's what's I'm taking. 

I was looking at artifacts and command traits to give to the megaboss if for some reason I'm not using gordrakk. 

Might is right: +1 to wound rolls.

Battle brew: +1 to hit and wound rolls. Or depending on enemy unit sizes Hammerblade.

Warchanter, weirdnob get Talisman.

Megaboss on foot gets Battle Brew too


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So going pure ironjawz is a challenge as we are very susceptible to shooting and mortal wounds we have to use speed to close on the enemy and assassinate characters and slow down enemy units. Ironjawz are swingy in that you will probably only have big wins, or big losses and nothing in between, but I think this list is a good balance and can give you some draws or small wins. Our tool is the Maw Krusher. Ive played 2 games with this list and I think it is our best way to go.




Just to boost up the shaman so he can sit at the back and magic small stuff off the table, or soften a unit up for the charge from the maw krushas.

The gore grunta formation has some merit too as with the extra  move from the formation the gore gruntas can get into position very fast.


3x Ardboyz/Brutes/Gore Gruntas

These are interchangeable with brutes being the "weakest choice". Ardboyz with shields are nice as they have a good save and a lot of wounds to soak up. Goregruntas are fast and can jump around and charge into units if the extra punch is needed. These units are mostly just for keeping and holding objectives.  Im thinking eventually 2 gore gruntas and one unit of ardboys will be the "best options for this)


Wierdnob Shaman

Megaboss on Maw Krusha


Both Maw Krushas run around and do the killing. The Mega Boss and gordrak will delete most things that they touch. No one is going to try messing with our other units while they have 29 wounds of pure hatred wrecking their lines. The megaboss or gordrakk just use their command abilities on each other depending on which is your general. I like the megaboss as general for the reason his ability can go off each turn on a 1 or a 2 since it will mostly be only him and gordrakk close enough but either one works. The shaman just sits back and shoots magic off at units.


This is about as optimized as I think you can make pure ironjawz and probably only acceptable in a tourney as this is pretty brutal. Yes it can be taken down but it has so much speed and hitting power your opponent will be on the back foot turn 1, and by the time they deal with the megabosses they probably wont have enough to deal with the rest of the army which is roughly 720 points. which should give you a small win or loss depending. Yes it can go bad and you can lose horribly but that is just how i think the army plays, big wins and big losses. If you run just destruction you can have 3 units of normal boyz with shields and 3 megabosses on krushas with about 160 points to spend which i think can be just as brutal if not more brutal than this list.



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If I understand it, Ironjawz becomes your Allegiance. So you gain the ability to take Ardboyz/Brutes/Gore-gruntaz as your Battle line, but lose the extra D6 movement in the Hero phase. This can be worked around a bit by taking the Ironfist Battalion...though it would be better to take both!

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