Do Crimson Fists Have What it Takes for the Meta?

By Wesley Floyd | January 4th, 2019 | Categories: Warhammer 40k Articles & News, White Dwarf

Crimson Fists last stand

Crimson Fists are the first in line for the Index: Astartes rules in White Dwarf magazine. With that said, does their support make them fit for the meta?

It’s nice to see that Games Workshop is spreading some love to the minor factions instead of revving up the same Codex armies. So do the rules in White Dwarf make them fit to face some of the meta lists in 40k? Let’s break down their support!

Crimson Fists Get Support in White Dwarf

wd jan 2019 fists leaks

  • New Chapter Tactics: +1 to hit against units with more models than your attacking unit

This Chapter Tactic is especially useful when looking at the meta. Most lists are still running blobs of Cultists, Tzaangors, and Guard spam. It’s fairly rare that a unit will actually have less models than a Space Marine unit anyway. You can expect to be hitting on a 2+ normally for around 80% of the time.

Warlord Traits

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  • Tenacious Opponent: If there are 10 or more enemy models within 6″ of the Warlord when he fights in the fight phase, add D3 attacks.
  • Refuse to Die: Get back up on a 4+ with d3 wounds the first time you die
  • Stoic Defender: All Infantry, Bikers, and Dreadnoughts gain Defenders of Humanity If they are within 6″ of the Warlord. If they already had it, they count as 2 models per 1 model.

Overall, every Warlord Trait is a solid option and you can see that they’re geared to go up against horde armies (specifically Orks). You can either increase your chances of mulching a unit with extra attacks, get back up against the sheer weight of attacks from something like a Boyz blob or actually go toe-toe with horde armies and objective secured.

Orks have multiple ways to fling a squad of Boyz up the board with no issues. If you’re sitting on an objective with your warlord, your boys won’t be handing it over too easily as friendly models have objective secured and count as two instead of one.

Crimson Fist Stratagems

wd jan 2019 fists leaks

  • Bolter Drill: Same as Codex. Goes well with their new Chapter Tactic.
  • A Hated Foe: Target Unit rerolls all wounds against Ork units.
  • Slay the Tyrant: Target Unit adds +1 to hit against Characters

Bolter Drill sounds solid on paper but you’re mostly going to get two or three extra shots. Not exactly worth it for a CP (Especially when Space Marines struggle to mass CP at 2k points).

bolter drill rule index astartes crimson fists pdf download

A Hated Foe could definitely be used right now. Orks just got their Codex so they are still the talk of the town. You’re more likely to face an Ork player now than at any point in 8th edition and using 1CP to reroll all wounds for an entire unit isn’t too shabby.

orks hor wal

Slay the Tyrant can actually be used to make a Great Value Smash Captain. Give him a Thunder Hammer and a Jump Pack and let him hunt down Characters. We know that Character Knights are everywhere in the meta so he can still be wounding them on a 3+ instead of a 4+. Definitely useful. Even if you have a 10-man squad of Vanguard Vets with Chainswords, Slay the Tyrant can be used to allow them to make short work of an Ork Boy squad. That’s a flurry of chainswords wounding on a 3+ instead of a 4+. (You could also pop A Hated Foe to have them reroll all failed wounds.)

Crimson Fist Relics

Crimson Fists

  • Fist of Vengeance: Same as Codex
  • Duty’s Burden: Replaces Bolt Rifle 36″, RF 2, Str 5, AP-2, D2

The Fist of Vengeance is just a souped-up power fist and is probably what you’re going to take anyway. Especially when you take Pedro Kantor. (you’ll have two special power fists in your list).

Duty’s Burden is really a Terminator killer. It’ll wound T4 things on a 3+, has enough AP to make things think twice, and the 2 Damage will make things die twice as fast.


At the end of the day, The Fist of Vengeance is still the better option. You could open up a Knight in a round or two of combat and characters will avoid the bearer like the plague.

All in all, their rules don’t look half bad. Especially for the faction not having a specific Codex solely around them. Their rules definitely got better and look like they’ll be able to keep up with a few Horde lists out there. We wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a couple Crimson Fists units splashed in the competitive scene for some testing.

What do you think about the Crimson Fists update? What faction would you like to see GW update next? Let us know in the comments of our Facebook Hobby Group.  

About the Author: Wesley Floyd

Imperial fanboy, tabletop fanatic, King of sprues.
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