Note: Ironjawz got some updated (and much better) Allegiance Abilities in the Generals handbook 2019. Also, a new Battletome called Orruk Warclans will contain the Ironjawz and the Bonesplitterz – so things will certainly change in the future.
This is an overall information article about the Destruction Faction the Ironjawz. It will cover the following topics:
- The lore concerning Ironjawz
- What units and miniatures that are available for the Ironjawz
- The special rules regarding the Ironjawz
- A bit about the different battalions available and some of the cool combos you can make with them
- The playstyle and feel of an Ironjawz Army
- Something about the competitive builds for Ironjawz
- The books you will need to play the army
- The cost of buying an Ironjawz army
- Potential good allies for the Ironjawz
- The overall pros, cons and verdict on the army
A note on the artwork
In this article, I have used the amazing artwork from the faction battletome. I have done this to convey the right aesthetic and feel of the army. All rights for the images are reserved by Games Workshop and the very talented artists that have made them (and I hope they will not get pissed by me displaying the army artwork here).
Table of contents for this article
- A short overview of the Ironjawz Faction
- How is the lore and theme for the Ironjawz?
- Miniatures and units available for Ironjawz
- How does the Allegiance Abilities work for the Ironjawz?
- A rundown on the cool Battalions for Ironjawz
- Cool combos available for Ironjawz
- What is the Ironjawz playstyle and how does an Ironjawz army feel on the tabletop?
- How do the competitive Ironjawz builds play?
- What books will I need to play Ironjawz?
- How up to date is the Ironjawz and what are the chances for future changes?
- What is the cost of buying an Ironjawz army?
- What are the Allies available for the Ironjawz?
- Pros of the Ironjawz army
- Cons of the Ironjawz army
- Overall verdict on the Ironjawz
A short overview of the Ironjawz Faction
The Ironjawz is a brutal looking all Orruk (Orcs) army. The overall theme is big Orruks clad in big bulky metal plate armour. The Ironjawz steal metal plate and weapons from other races and bend it into shape to fit their bulky frames and brutal purpose.
In general, the Ironjawz do not really care much for building or crafting their own stuff. Instead, they elect to steal other races big towers and cities and knock them ever when it is clear they cannot hold them anymore. The Ironjawz is that big bully that kicks over your sand castle and laughs about it when you cry.
Ironjawz was one of the first “new” Age of Sigmar armies, but this sadly shows in a negative sense. The faction has very few different models, and their rules are generally lacking the punch to stay competitive. That said, I play them myself and really like their style.
How is the lore and theme for the Ironjawz
areborn to fight. They want to fight the biggest dudes in the world, no matter what they need to do to get there. This means roaming from realm to realm just to see if there is anyone big enough to fight them!
- Fighting is a big part of the Ironjawz culture. If you can show that you got the might, it could be possible to persuade the Ironjawz to fight for you. On the other hand, the Ironjawz will get really pissed if they see a big scrap and they are not invited to the party. That insult will get them really mad and make them join the brawl in an even more fierce state.
- The more fights an Ironjaw is in, the bigger and meaner he gets.
- If a well respected Big Boss dies, it is not uncommon that the tribe will carry the skull around so the old Big Boss can see da' fighting from the afterlife.
- The Shamans are respected and also feared. In true
orcstyle, they have a tendency of blowing up themselves (and anyone unlucky enough to be around) because of the massive Waaagh! energies they harness and unleash on the battlefield.
- The Prophet of Destruction, Gordrak the Fist of Gork, is part of the Ironjawz. Right now we know very little of him (just that he is the biggest and badest
orrukaround), but it is very likely he will be used as part of the overall Age of Sigmar storyline at some point.
units available for Ironjawz
Overall you only have a few kits to make up the army. This is generally a really negative aspect, as it leads to only very few (if any) competitive builds. What is worse, even if you play purely the units you like from a hobby perspective, you will struggle to make your Ironjawz army stand out from the rest as they can get a bit “samey”.
You can find all of the kits for the Ironjawz here (affiliate link to the store I recommend for your country).
The Ironjawz is made up of three battleline units (only battleline in allegiance Ironjawz armies):
- You have the cool looking brutes (big Orruks on foot, 5 in a box). Two different weapon options (short and longer ranged).
- Ardboys (smaller Oruks on foot, the old Black Orcs model with 15 in a box). The Ardboys can actually be equipped with different weapon options in the same unit, making them quite versatile. This is an old kit, so the poses are not as dynamic as one could hope, but it is easy enough to move their arms around. There is also the Underworlds Warband for some additional poses for the Ardboys – and they can also be played as their own separate 4 man unit.
- Gore Gruntas (big pigs with Brutes on top, 3 in a box). Can have either short or longer ranged melee weapons.
The kits fit with the minimum size for a unit, except for the Ardboys that comes with 15 models but only require 10 for the minimum sized unit.
Note you cannot run these as battleline in a Destruction: Grand Alliance army, as they are
Overall, all of the units are seen in armies. The Gore
The Ironjawz have 5 hero options:
- A Megaboss on a Maw-
krusha(even bigger Orruk on a big dragon like creature)
- Gordrakk the Fist of Gork character (made from the same kit as the hero on Maw-
- Megaboss on foot (big
orrukthat hits stuff) WeirdnobShaman ( wizardthat can cast the classic foot of Gork spell)
- Warchanter (has a very good melee buff)
The Weirdnob spell is cool, but Destruction has access to some better wizards that tend to get allied in instead. The Warchanter buff is quite good, so will be seen in all armies that are trying to maximize win rate.
Overall the Ironjawz just lacks more options – booth for being more competitive but also just from a collecting and hobby perspective. You will need to have at least some multiples of one unit type, which for some can get boring quickly.
Any start collecting or box sets available for Ironjawz?
The Ironjawz: Start collecting box includes:
- 3 Gore Gruntas
- 10 Ardboys
- 1 Warchanter
3 Gore Gruntas will normally cost £48, the Warchanter £18 and the 10 Ardboys about £21 – making it £87 in total. You get it all for the price of £60, so you save about £27. Considering that all of the units in the box are useable, the Ironjawz start collecting box is pretty good.
Personally, I would never buy a single box of Gore
Is Ironjawz Endless spells and terrain features a thing?
Sadly, the Ironjawz do not have any Endless Spell or a specific Terrain feature. But in the future it is very likely they will get updated with them.
How does the Allegiance Abilities work for the Ironjawz?
Mighty Destroyers: in each hero phase you roll a d6 for each Ironjawz hero you have. Your general gets +2. For each 6 you roll, you pick a unit wholly within 12″ of the hero that rolled a six (can, of course, select himself). The selected unit can now make a normal move, if it is in combat it can pile in (but sadly cannot attack before the combat phase) and if it is within 12″ of an enemy unit it can make a charge roll.
The Ironjawz have very poor movement (4″ on the foot troops) so some extra movement is very much needed. This trait helps a bit, but I would like something more reliable.
Eager for Battle: all Ironjawz get +1 on charge rolls.
I very nice boost, and combined with the Chronomatic Cogs and the Mighty destroyers this can lead to alpha strike lists.
Smashing and Bashing: if one of your Ironjawz units destroy another unit in the combat phase, you get to select a new unit to attack instead of your opponent getting a turn to attack.
The Smashing and Bashing is a really cool ability and one of the few key strengths that I like to take advantage off. This will often mean that I try to get multiple units into combat at the same time, all buffed by the command ability of a Megaboss giving them more attacks.
A rundown on the cool Battalions for Ironjawz
The Ironjawz have a few very useful battalions, but also some that are mostly seen in narrative games. I will go through the ones that I find interesting (either as theme element or competitively).
- The Ironfist is easy to squeeze in since you only need 3 units of either Ardboys, Brutes or Gore Gruntas (all Ironjawz army will have this). It gives you 1d6 extra move on all battalion units in the hero phase (as long as the Battalion Big Boss is alive) giving you some much needed extra mobility. An often seen battalion.
- The Gorefist requires 3 units of Gore Gruntas (max 5 in the battalion) and can help turn your army into and alpha strike list. If you set up all units from the battalion within 10″ of the unit with the battalion Big boss, all the units get to make a 15″ move in your first hero phase. Couple that with the standard move of 9″ on the gore
gruntas, this means they move 24″ in the first turn and can now make a charge! This is all well and cool, but the Gure Gruntasstill hit like a wet newspaper, so you need some way of buffing them (multiple uses of the Maw-Crusha Waaagh comes to mind) to make it worth your while.
Ardfistis pretty nice, giving you the ability to replace one Ardboys unit that has been wiped out (as long is your Warchanter is alive). After the change to summoning in AoS 2.0, this extra unit will not cost you anything extra.
Weirdfistwill buff a Weirdnob Shaman with a lot of extra range and mortal wounds on their spells. It is cool and thematic, but kind of a bummer when your Shaman gets wiped out first turn. If you are able to keep the shaman alive, you can deal out some serious mortal wounds. Bloodtoofs(big battalion from Generals Handbook) gives +2 bravery, +1 on run and +1 on charge rolls. All pretty good things and you even get to deploy a Realmgate (although it does not really do anything unless there already is another Realmgate on the board). The +2 bravery might actually be the best, as low bravery can become a bit of a problem for the Ironjawz.
Cool combos available for Ironjawz
Abuse the Waagh!: one of the cool things Ironjawz can dish out is abusing the fact that the Waagh ability can be used multiple times per hero phase. This means you can buff Ironjawz unit within 15″ of the Maw-Crush (or 10″ of the Megaboss) with +1 extra attack on each of their attack profiles multiple times. This works really well on the Gore Gruntas (+1 on the rider and +1 on the
- Make sure to have a healthy number of command points to start with (3+).
- Make the Maw Crusha your general and give him the “Prophet of the Waaagh!” trait that grants him rerolls on the rolls to see whether or not he grants extra attacks.
- Put a realm artefact on him that gives a chance to get command points back after each use
- Have a Brute Boss get +3 (or more attacks)
- Attack with 4 Boss Claws (+4/+3/-1 and 2 damage each).
- Auto hit with the 5 Smasha attacks (+3/-2 and d3 damage)
- This is only for a single model. Now you have all the other brutes,
gruntasand ardboysbuffed as well.
I have seen a single Brute Boss wreck some serious carnage, with his 4 mates just standing on the sideline cheering as he wrecked face. This combo can also be good in a Gore Grunta alpha strike Gorefist battalion list.
While this combo is sweet, it is also the one and only “trick” in the army. Besides this, you are just left throwing a +1 buff from the Warchanter and hoping that you will win the grind.
Foot of Gork ftw: another option is to build the
What is the Ironjawz playstyle and how does an Ironjawz army feel on the tabletop
? Inspite of their slow standard movement of 4″ on ground troops, the army can surprise your opponent (and yourself) with how fast they can get across the tabletop to smash your opponent's units. +2 move from Chronomatic Cogs, 1d6 (average of 3.5) extra move from the Ironfist Battalion, one extra move from Mighty destroyers and then your normal move. Even on normal ground troops that will be about 15-16″ movement (3.5+6+6=15.5) before the charge phase. Let us say you need a 9″ to make that first turn charge, you still receive +3 on the charge roll (+1 from allegiance and +2 from cogs) making it a good 70% chance that you will get in.
- Depending on how you construct the army, you can have a massive heavily armoured body count or a very elite though army. All troops have a +4 armour save and even the small Ardboys have 2 wounds each. The Ironjawz feels though as nails and can take a heavy beating. Armies with access to a lot of
rendand multi-wound stuff can be a problem for you.
- The Boyz can punch back, but you will find that the Brutes are gonna do the heavy lifting in combat. The Gore Gruntas models look like they hit like a truck, but on the battlefield, their fighting capabilities are severely lacking. While the Orruks look like they can beat up anything, do not get surprised when your units are outmatched in a melee. The Ironjawz lacks the inherent buffs and combos of other armies.
- Most Ironjawz armies will be forced to play a very objective oriented playstyle. You will try to camp objectives with some heavily armoured orruks, while the rest of your army will smash dudes in strategic places.
- You will only have access to a limited amount of magic and long ranged combat. This will mean that you are not going to do a lot in the shooting phase and the hero phase will primarily be about buffing up your own dudes.
How do the competitive Ironjawz builds play
- Trying to abuse the Waagh ability to spike your damage on the correct turn. Since your units cannot stand up to other units in a fair fight, you need that advantage. This can either be done with an alpha strike list or a more of a “wait and see” approach. The Gore Grunta alpha strike list is cool, but the kit is kind of expensive and on their own, the
Gruntas arenot that awesome (making it a dicey investment). Because of the way the Waaagh! works, it is likely that you want to run multiple small units (MSU) to make sure you have 5-6 Ironjawz units within your Maw-Crusha. This very much dictates the playstyle (keep your forces together) and the builds you can make.
- Try and spam magic with a buffed up Weirdnob. While this can do some damage, it is too easy to counter.
- Play a very objective based army. This means loads of Ardboys bodies to pile on the objectives and praying that you can keep them long enough to win.
Most armies will include the Maw Crusha, making it a very safe buy. The Brutes also seem to do surprisingly well, making them a top purchase.
With the rise of the Gloomspite Gitz, there might also be an okay'ish build with some Grots in there, but I have not really seen anything that works yet.
All that said, right now it is very hard to make a competitive Ironjawz list. If you go to a big 5 game tournament, winning 2 of those games will be a real struggle. Winning 3 games will probably be the very best you can achieve. So if you are looking for something that can compete on the big tables, look elsewhere.
If you just want something that can win you a casual game, the Ironjawz can still hold their own.
What books will I need to play Ironjawz
The Ironjawz have a battletome with Battalions, lore and warscrolls in it. You will find that a few things have been changed according to their Errata and Designers commentary, but not a lot of big changes.
You will need the newest Generals Handbook to get the Ironjawz points as well as their Allegiance abilities, command traits, artefacts and the two extra battalions for them.
The Malign Sorcery book can be useful, as can a few of the spells in the
How up to date is the Ironjawz and what are the chances for future changes
There are some quite persistent rumours that we will see new models and a battletome for the Ironjawz in 2019. I need to see new kits before I believe it, but a new battletome and endless spells are a very real possibility (now that the Flesh-Eater Courts has been redone with a new battletome).
There is also the possibility that Ironjawz will be merged with other greenskinz. As it stands now, the faction is quite small and maybe smaller than GW actually wants. Only time will tell how this ends.
All in all, Ironjawz are here to stay. The models are very popular and the army would be seen quite a lot of it had some more options and better rules.
What is the cost of buying an Ironjawz army
Most starting beginner armies will probably go like this:
- Maw-Crusha worth 440 points and £65
- Most will likely want a Warchanter, but paying £18.5 seems a bit stupid when he comes in the Start Collecting box.
- So let us say you get at least one start collecting Ironjawz, giving you 15 Ardboys (160 points for teen), a Warchanter (80 points) and 3 Gore Gruntas (140 points) for £60.
- We still need one more battleline unit and the Brutes are just generally awesome. We pay £30 for 5 and get another 180 points.
All this equals a straight up 1000 points for £155.
This is not a bad starting army, seeing as the battalions are quite expensive in a 1000 points army. I would start out with that, as it gives you access to all of the units to see what they are about.
If I wanted an easy and cheap way of upgrading this to a 2000 points viable army, I would probably add another start collecting box, another unit of brutes and run with the Ironfist and
This will be 1990 points and will cost a total of £245 (not including the cost of the Realmgate you have to deploy with the Bloodtoofs).
What are the Allies available for the Ironjawz
- Aleguzzler Gargants
- Gitmob Grots
- Moonclan Grots, Spiderfang Grots, Troggoths (so it will likely get the Gloomspite Gitz keyword instead).
Some potential decent ally options:
- The giants can be pretty useful, is low points costs and can be converted to a great “Ironjawz” look
- There are some pretty decent option in the Gloomspite Gitz
battletome,if you are looking to ally in a spellcaster with some better utility and access to some pretty good endless spells. The trolls would also fit in nicely.
- Some war machines from the Gitmob Grots is an option if you want some ranged weapons (but I would not invest in models before we know whether or not the Gitmob Grots and the Greenskinz are getting phased out).
- While the Troggoth Hag from Forgeworld does not fit that well in with the Ironjawz, she is a good wizard so always worth considering.
Pros of the Ironjawz army
- Melee-oriented simple army and battleplan (hold objectives, execute big Waaagh! with loads of extra attack and smash the enemy!).
- A good army for beginners as you will quickly learn all the special rules and stats by memory (not that many special rules and most units have kind of the same stats).
- Overall a very easy army to paint. You have a lot of armour and green skin is easy to make look cool. Not a bad army if you are looking to paint your first army ever (you can take a look at my guide on easy armies to paint here as well as my guide on painting your first army here)
- A brilliant army if you are looking to just buy a small quick 1000 points force (cheap and big minis that are easy to paint).
- Rumours of a potential update (at least new Battletome but maybe also new kits).
- Even though the army has so few options right now, that fact that Ironjawz were created for Age of Sigmar means they are very unlikely to get phased out of the setting (unlike other Greenskinz…).
- The coolest meanest looking Orc models around!
Cons of the Ironjawz army
- Very small range of options with regards to different miniatures
- Not a good army, if you are looking for something very complex to play or something that have loads of different options.
- Battletome and army were released before artefacts, big battalions, endless spells and terrain features were a thing (so semi-outdated).
- Very hard to play competitively. Even in very casual games, it can happen that you go up against units and armies that are strictly better than what you can bring (try and compare 5 Brutes to 5 Evocators and you will feel the pain).
- While Ironjawz can get an update, it could also happen that the update is strictly a new Battletome. With so few units, a new battletome is not really gonna make a big difference. There is also the chance that the Ironjawz will get merged with some of the other Orruk factions (can be good or bad depending on your outlook).
- Their lore needs more fleshing out.
Overall verdict on the Ironjawz
As an Ironjawz player, I have to ask myself if I would really recommend them to anyone in their current state. We are not getting around the fact that the lack of options is really holding them back, from a gaming perspective but also from a hobby perspective.
In the end, I think I would likely recommend them for a new player into Age of Sigmar looking for something simple to play. I would also start out by stating that multiple other armies will beat Ironjawz in close
I would have a very hard time recommending them to a veteran AoS player. On the other hand, that player would probably know what she was getting herself into. Starting the Ironjawz now in order to get a good portion of the army painted before a new update comes out might not be such a bad idea.
Thanks for reading!
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