One Chapter Master to Rule them All!

After a lot of play-testing, one Chapter Master stands alone!

Reecius from Frontline Gaming here to celebrate what is, in my mind at least, the Grand High Poobah of Chapter Masters!

We play 40K a lot over at Frontline Gaming, a bit addicted, really. And we like to experiment, and we like tournaments. So, those things combine to result in typically well founded opinions on what is “best” from a competitive standpoint, or at least most efficient. Now saying that I in no way mean our opinions override anyone else’s or that they are the only way to do things because they aren’t, clearly. Simply that we base our decisions off of a combination of actual experience, number crunching and informed opinions. Sometimes we’re even right!

So bonafides aside, after a lot of experimentation with different builds for Chapter Masters, and different Chapter Tactics, etc. we have come down to what we think is the best of the bunch.

It was a close race, though! The Black Templars Chapter Master kicked the most butt in a fist fight. The Salamanders CM was slightly more durable and potent offensively. White Scars got hit and run, and the UM CM could join different units and benefit from Combat Doctrines. However, in the end, there could be only one….


And his name is: Iron Hands Chapter Master.

Yup, the until now least well known (from a rules perspective) first founding loyalist Chapter has made a splash in this edition in a big way with Chapter Tactics that are all about increased durability. The Chapter Master with 4 wounds and Eternal Warrior through the Shield Eternal is just beastly. Combine that with a 6+ FnP and It Will Not Die and while he doesn’t hit as hard as some of the others, he lasts longer.

That means that he will hit more often as he takes a lot longer to kill, resulting in more damage dealt over the course of a game. The end result is a combat beast that will yield you the most bang for your buck over the long haul. In our test games the Iron Hands CM effectively has 7+ wounds when compared to the others. Between the occasional lucky 6+ FnP save and regenerating wounds, he just keeps on trucking and smacking fools in the face with his hammer. The only exception to this has been when he goes into combat with something truly nasty such as Swarmy that kills him in a single round of combat, denying him the ability to use FnP (due to ID attacks) or it Will Not Die, but then, none of the other would have fared much better!

We’ve run him on a bike, in Termie armor or in Artificer Armor and they’re all good. For general, all around utility though, the Bike gives you speed, increased toughness, Relentless, a shooting attack, Jink Saves, and overall best utility. Termie armor is typically best when you have a specific insertion method such as with Hmmernators in an LRC or coming down in a pod where you still want to fire the Orbital Bombardment. Artificer armor is for when you want to save some points and plan on having him in a Rhino or Razorback.

So there you have it! Of course, play whichever version of the CM you wish, or none at all, but if your aim is to get the on average most powerful of them, Iron Hands is where its at.

Our preferred build:

Chapter Master

  1. Artificer Armor
  2. Bike
  3. Shield Eternal
  4. Thunder Hammer


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

33 Responses to “One Chapter Master to Rule them All!”

  1. Avatar
    Gordy October 17, 2013 1:08 pm #

    Bike, Shield, Thunder Hammer, Artificer Armor, Auspex. Maybe a combigrav for kicks.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 17, 2013 1:19 pm #

      Shield Eternal, all day, every day, that is the key ingredient.

      • Avatar
        Captn Dees October 17, 2013 2:55 pm #

        I think at smaller point games of course you could do without it, but anything 1500 or higher ya you need that Shield Eternal!

        Also I would like to reiterate I WEEP FOR CHAOS MARINES.

        That is all.

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 17, 2013 5:37 pm #

          I would never not take the Shield, personally.

      • Avatar
        Gordy October 17, 2013 3:03 pm #

        I’m willing to bet that when they do the Iron Hands codex, unless they bring something as good or better than the Shield Eternal to the table, it’s not going to see much use. Or… could you ally vanilla SM Iron Hands with Supplement Iron Hands? How many people would that list piss off?

  2. Jason
    Raw Dogger October 17, 2013 1:43 pm #

    You can’t really base this on the Reece Robbins famous luck. I’ve used him for about 6 games now and have never made a 6+ Feel No Pain or a It Will Not Die. Now, my dice rolling is famous for being exceptionally bad but you see where I’m going with this.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 17, 2013 1:52 pm #

      Hahaha, hey, statistics say you should make a few in the course of a game. You just suck at rolling! haha

  3. Avatar
    Nick October 17, 2013 2:53 pm #

    Quick question.
    Why are the phones not working at Frontline Gaming? I’m trying to get information on my miniature order that I placed a month ago. No one will respond by email or phone. Is this place a scam or what?

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 17, 2013 4:19 pm #

      Haha, no, not a scam. We just changed out phone service and there’s been some issues, our old phones aren’t working on the new system and we had to have a tech come out.

      Have you tried emailing? Frankie handles orders and is really sick, so he has been slow on responding.

      Try my email:

      Oh, and you put you order in less than two weeks ago, haha, not exactly last month 😉

  4. Avatar
    Hotsauceman1 October 17, 2013 3:14 pm #

    Im going against the mold.
    Jump pack, Sheild eternal, Burning blade , Art Armor and I put him in a drop pod.
    Because being a rebel is fun

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 17, 2013 5:36 pm #

      Can you put a Jump Pack model in a Drop Pod?

      Hmm, I swear you couldn’t before but I didn’t see any restrictions on it in the new Dex.

      • Avatar
        Hotsauceman1 October 17, 2013 5:57 pm #

        You can, it just takes 2 slots up. But it may be in the boook.

        • Avatar
          steven morrow October 18, 2013 5:50 am #

          only infantry can embark in transports which does not include jump or jet pack infantry unless stated otherwise. Its under the transport capacity section of vehicles section

          • Reecius
            Reecius October 18, 2013 7:18 am

            Thanks. I thought that was the way it worked.

  5. Avatar
    David Key October 17, 2013 5:51 pm #

    Why does everyone always take the T-Ham over the powerfist. Is it really worth the extra 5 points?(It is obviously cooler looking)

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 17, 2013 5:56 pm #

      Dan doesn’t, he goes fist. I like Concussive for fighting MCs as it means you only swing second for one round of combat. That can mean the difference between your CM winning the fight and losing it.

      • Avatar
        Captn Dees October 18, 2013 9:11 am #

        Ya I don’t take the TH because if I’m going to go after some MC I’m probably blasting it with Grav Guns before going in so it will be Init 1 for at least one turn.

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 18, 2013 9:37 am #

          Fair enough. In a CS with Grav weapons it certainly helps for that first round of combat.

  6. Avatar
    David Key October 17, 2013 5:52 pm #


    Dude, I am telling you. It is all about the double IH CM with the allied DA bike command squad. The unit does not die. Sure, you don’t have any other models, but who cares when you are playing Hero-hammer.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 17, 2013 5:57 pm #

      Haha, fair enough!

    • Avatar
      jadedknight October 17, 2013 9:29 pm #

      I’m curious why the DA bike squad in particular? Versus a regular SM Bike squad?

      • Avatar
        jadedknight October 17, 2013 10:42 pm #

        Ah NM b/c they confer Scout, Skilled Rider and you can’t take a SM command squad with either of the CMs.

        • Avatar
          David Key October 18, 2013 4:42 pm #

          Exactly! They are also pretty nifty with the RW Launcher, plasma talons, and rending ccw.

  7. Avatar
    Julnlecs October 17, 2013 7:37 pm #

    I also like the thunder hammer for concussive. Reece Can you hit a MC with a White Scars CM with a Thunder Hammer on their turn, hit n run and then shoot the MC with Jaws on your turn?

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 17, 2013 7:52 pm #

      Holy shit, yeah you can! It says until the end of the following assault phase, which would encompass the shooting phase between the two! Nice one! It also combos well with blind and such.

  8. Avatar
    Fulcrum October 17, 2013 7:52 pm #

    Am I missing something with swarmy? Do his attacks ignore EW?

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 17, 2013 8:13 pm #

      No, but ID attacks negate FnP, and he forces you to reroll successful invul saves (which is the real killer). That means a 3++ goes from a 2/3 chance of stopping a wound to 4/9. Brutal. He walks through any other model in the game in single combat when he is Iron Armed up. If he as Warp Speed too? Good night.

      In one game, I had him walk though a fully kitted Blood Thirster and Abby without taking a wound, he is a beast.

  9. Avatar
    DCannon4Life October 17, 2013 9:24 pm #

    Can’t tell you how thrilled I am that there is an alternative to the White Scars; I freaking HATE the bike models.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 18, 2013 7:36 am #

      Check ou tthe FW versions, they’re beautiful.

  10. Avatar
    Noah October 17, 2013 11:56 pm #

    I think Mr. Ghazghkull would like to have a word with your Swarmy har har!

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 18, 2013 7:18 am #

      Ghaz is a beast….for one turn! haha

      • Avatar
        Captn Dees October 18, 2013 9:15 am #

        And if only his Waagh power wasn’t so terrible I would consider using him again.



  11. Avatar
    Guy Baillie February 3, 2014 1:58 am #

    I haven’t played much since 4th ed and I’m slowly getting back into the hobby. I would appreciate Team0comps view on the most competitive SM lists. I don’t think mine is bad but it definitely needs work.

Leave a Reply