Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Initiative...why power fists aren't as powerful as we think

When I first started 40k, I was under the impression that powerfists were auto-included in every unit I could get them in.  ID against most models and the ability to threat MCs and Dreads made them seem amazing.  As I played though, the 25pt. price tag and strikes last began to take its toll on me.  In many cases, playing against my friend's assault-ier Blood Angels, my fist would die before it got to strike.  Then if I was lucky enough to get to hit, I would hit only once due to needing a 4+ ultimately not doing a lot to even up combat. 

It was at that time that I began to acknowledge the presence of the much under estimated power weapon.  For 10 points less, I get a weapon that strikes at initiative and that ignores armor.  It also can be combined with a pistol to get a +1 attack unlike the powerfist.  The drawback, of course, is that it doesn't wound as easily and that it can't scratch a dreadnought.  Luckily, Space Wolves and Vanilla marines come with Krak Grenades (which aren't great). 

Since most armies these days are marines or MEQs, being able to strike in initiative order is really important to winning combats.  Power weapons allow this to happen which ultimately reduced my opponents' ability to fight making my assault units much scarier.  This would probably be criticized as playing against the metagame, but when I have plenty of anti-tank (14 missiles, 2 lascannons, 8 meltas), the fist really doesn't matter all that much to my list building. Plus, for every fist I give up, I can get 1 2/3 of a marine back into my army.  More boots on the ground means more dice rolled, meaning more wounds dealt anyway.  We all know what happens to statistics when we roll more dice. 

So, next time you are on autopilot slapping on powerfists, take time to think if you can accomplish the same goal by playing smart with your army and using cheaper weapons options while beefing up your army.

What do we think?  In the current metagame, can it be more productive to gear up with power weapons instead of powerfists?  The big three armies right now are IG, Wolves, and Angels.  Two are MEQs that you want to be able to fight with in initiative order and the third, is T3 and easy to squish with power weapons adding additional wounds to already easy to kill squads.

*addendum- Another reason to praise various power weapons over the powerfist is the wolf claw/lightning claw.  These weapons allow you to reroll various combat rolls including rolls to-wound making them more effective than regular power weapons.  On top of this, in many cases they cost they same in army books as power weapons.  Just an interesting thought.

1 comment:

GDMNW said...

The old power weapon and fist dichotomy eh? Just be grateful you're not taking imperial guardsmen who still can't wound anything when they're using a power fist!

Anyway, I think this is all about deciding what each unit is for. If you include dealing with dreads and tough opponents then the fist is a no brainer, but the fact one power fist cost almost the same as two marines will soon slide into focus.

Sooner rather than later you drop fists from everyone who doesn't need one. They're definitely not just in case weapons, unlike flamers which are so cheap that sometimes you just toss one into a unit just-in-case.

Power weapons are also tough choices. You save ten point but you're still spending and sometimes what you should really be doing is finding a way to rapidfire or soften it up some other way before you end up in combat.

Ahh, the endless musing of list building. Pure joy

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