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:
Grey Hunters
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.


  1. I have already built a couple more power axe equipped sergeants for my Adeptus Mechanicus Imperial Guard. With all of the local people throwing terminators and other 2+ save models back into their armies for 6th edition, I want ed to at least have a chance, however small. It looks like I am going to have to build a few more to go for the max sized blob squad.

    1. If you want to go max on the Blob Squad, take the 50 guys with 5 axes, have Creed to give the unit FC and Fearless with his orders and then take Uriah as your Ally from the SoB codex. He will give the unit FNP, Stubborn and +1A

  2. You Sir, are an Evil man and I like that. The funny thing is I have been playing my Sisters of Battle army in a local league and started using imperial guard as my allies. I was using Uriah and some death cultists in a rhino but pulled him to use Celestine after 6ed hit. I will add him back and run him with my guard platoon.


  3. i am still using power fists with my crimosn fists. opinions on powerfists in 6th?

    1. After play testing my BA jumper lists in 6th, I concluded that Power Fists were actually a hindrance when equipped to my Sgts. Not only were they prone to getting sniped out at range, but challenges with a model or unit swinging at initiative proved deadly.

      Now, I will take a Power Fist under the following condition(s):

      -The model upgraded isn't the sole character of a unit (for challenge purposes), or has a 2++ save and;
      -The unit cannot take Melta Bombs as an upgrade.

      As stated below, a power axe is 10 points cheaper, gives +1 strength and is AP2- not bad. Combine an Axe with a Melta Bomb (which can now be used against Monstrous Creatures as well as vehicles), and you have a very versatile model for assault purposes.

      In the long run, I think Fists have a place in a unit or army, if, an option for tackling vehicles and monstrous creatures isn't available. Otherwise, I'd avoid a Fist and go with a cheaper alternative.

    2. Sounds about the same conclusion I reached with my playtesting.

  4. The one benefit of a power axe over a power fist is you still get that extra attack for having two hand weapons. A power fist is still a good thing to have but like david said if you are challenged the sgt with power fist (or axe) can be pulled out of the squad, or made to stay out of the fight. I think that if you want a power fist, field it. Like David said if you want to be sure of using the Fist then you will need to put a character or two in the squad, so one can take the challenge while the fist gets to swing.


  5. As Killgore said. I still like fists, but in a lot of cases you can save 10 points with the Axe and do just fine.