Sunday, August 5, 2012
Power Weapons Pt3. Tactics and Challenges
In this last article on Power Weapons we will take a look at tactics involving picking the best options for your Power Weapons.
Right off the bat, it would seem that the Power Axe is the best option. You lose your Initiative but gain +1S and AP2. In some cases this is true, and in others sadly it is not. We need to examine the new Challenge mechanic to understand our options.
In 6th edition we have gained Challenges much like in Fantasy. Challenges are important for many reasons, but mainly they allow you to protect your squad. By issuing a challenge with a character like Draigo, Lysander or any other tank type character will force your opponent to fight him with their character or back down and not fight at all. This tactic works great against a unit with 1 character, or even against a unit of 1 like a Demon Prince or Dread Knight. If you have a sergeant level character in addition to your bad ass IC, challenge with your sergeant and force him to fight this low level character. He will get slaughtered against an IC, but will keep your unit alive while your IC hurts his unit. Also, if your opponent is the one issuing the challenge, you can try and do the same tactics in reverse. Match your tank to his IC, or you sergeant to his Tank.
Now that we have taken a quick glimpse at the Chess Match of challenging we need to determine which power weapons work best for sergeant level characters. The power Axe is great for its +1S and AP2, but in a challenge against an opponent with a Power Sword could cut you down first before you can attack. This makes the Power Axe powerful against terminators and such, but easily dealt with. The Power Sword has the speed to do well but falls short against any 2+ save opponent.
The pros and cons between the two make it so the swiss army knife that HTH used to be is over. Now your HTH units have to pick a role and stick to it with a few exceptions.
Right off the bat we have to look at Phantom or Hidden Power Weapons. These were terms used back in 3rd edition when character could be singled out in HTH combat. These are squad members with access to power weapons or fists. A quick look at a few units would be:
BT Crusader Squads
There are a lot more, but we will leave it at those. In these cases a Power Axe becomes a very attractive option as you can get your I1 attacks in and not worry about being killed first. Even units with all Power Weapons like Banshees and DCA could benefit from axes. In the case of the Banshees you would only take a few so as to not lose your I10. With the DCA it would be beneficial to take Power Swords and Axes as they have 2 weapons.
Also, units like IG Blob squads with 5 or more characters in them also benefit from Power Axes as they can accept or issue a challenge and still have plenty of back up axes to attack with. Units like these can take full benefit of Challenges and taking low Initiative weapons like Axes.
There are also a few weapons in the game that still ignore armor saves without having an AP value. These weapons for the most part are from 4th edition codexes. These weapons give the benefit of high Initiative and essentially AP2 against non-vehicle units. Some of these weapons are:
Commander Farsight's Dawn Blade (I5 and S5)
Colonel Straken (I4 and S6)
Warp Spider Power Blades(I6 S3 +1A)
Howling Banshee Mirrorswords (I6/10 S3 +2A)
6th edition has added a lot of variables to the game. Power Weapons are one of them and require a lot of Strategy and Tactics to use efficiently.