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Ultramarines 7th Company
Tactica: Powerfists and how to use them
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Tactica: Powerfists and how to use them
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A review of all the places a Space Marine can take power fists and ways to use them.

Well earlier I had been considering the various ways to employ power fists so I decided to make a thread on the subject as there are more applications than meets the eye. For instance lets go into all the various places we have them split into the various FOC categories.

HQ:

Commander: The commander can take a power fist if he should chose. Of course this negates his high I5 however I recently got to considering. The commander can take a power weapon and a power fist and chose which to strike with.  Alternately a thunder hammer (a counts as power fist with extra abilities) would ensure that in following combat phases the opponent (if a MC or other multi wound nemesis) continues to strike with the commander instead of at its normal (and certainly higher) initiative.

Chaplain: The chaplain comes with a power weapon already but there is even a model with a power fist in addition, like the commander the chaplain can chose which to strike with and can be defencive or he can attack and strikes with re-rolls to hit on the charge and then the nice strength of the power fist it makes good use of all those attacks against a nice tough target.

Librarian: The librarian again comes with his own type of power weapon base that has a nice ability to slay an opponent outright so the power fist is not so great here as other aplications but it still can be taken.

Elites:

Terminators: Regular termies have power fists base and assault terminators can have thunder hammers. Both units have their advantages and disadvantages but this is one way to get a lot of power fists should you desire, thousand sons beware. However there is no need to go over their various tactical applications thats its own descussion in itself.

Veterans: A Veteran squad can get 2 power fists, one on the sergeant and another as one of its special weapon options. A pair of lightning claws can also be taken but nevertheless it is possible to get 2 power fists. With the furious charge or tank hunters those power fists can do some serious damage. With the tank hunters skill those are a ton of strength 9 hits against a vehicle that can be anything from a sentinal or dreadnaught to a Land Raider or Hammerhead. Plus there are a number of other vets to die before you start losing those power fists and other weapons unlike Terminators where every loss is a lot of points.

Dreadnaught: A DCCW is in essence a power fist only dreadnaught sized. Nice and punchy this is a way to get some very strong cc attacks for insta killing and armor hunting purposes.

Techmarine: The techmarine has one (or two if with full servo harness) servo arms. Each one has its own attack and is in essence a power fist. This is a real benefit as the Techmarine can still strike at his normal initiative but still has between one and two power fist attacks in addition. An unexpected place for power fist attacks but not bad considering the model in question does not sacrifice hsi initiative to use them.

Troops:

Tactical Squad: The sergeant if given terminator honors may select a power fist. This power fist can have as many as 4 attacks on the charge and has a whole squad of men to die before the fist is lost. A common place for burried power fists.

Scout Squad: This is an unexpected one but while many people dont do this it is possible to make the scout sergeant a vet serg and give him a power fist. Infiltrating can get the sergeant close to use his fist to do some damage to a selected target. Not cheap and not well armored but nevertheless an option not often taken and another choice.

Fast Attack:

Assault Squad: This is commonly seen, a power fist on assault sergeants is a common enough site and one we are all probably familiar with so no need to go into much detail.

Bike Squadron: The sergeant of a bike squadron can also be a vet and have a power fist. With turbo charging giving an invulnerable save and the extra toughness of the bike this is a good place to stick a fast moving power fist.

Scout Bike Squadron: Again a little seen option but the sergeant of a bike squadron can (as you can guess) take a power fist. With the scouts rule this squad can get their extra move, their normal move and charge. Thats a fairly good chance of catching a unit in assault on turn 1 and that means power fist attacks should the player chose to equip their sergeant with one.

Heavy Support:

Devastators: Dev sergeants can take power fists if upgraded to vet sergeants of course like all other infantry squads. Devs arent normally given a power fist sergeant for its points but it could be useful if say a nasty assasine character tries to lock up and kill your heavy support.

So those are all the places we can take them. In short its every infantry squad or biker the space marines have. Any marine army could have quite a few power fists in the force, not cheap but now lets look at the uses of a power fist and its pros and cons.

The Power Fist

The power fist doubles its wearers strength as any marine player knows. However it also drops the users Initiative to a measly 1. Which means even Firewarriors strike first... ouch. However at a normal str 8 that can insta kill any T3 or 4 multi wound characters and helps ensure that walkers or MCs dont bash through squads without being taken down. A Power Fist can put a nice dent in any armored vehicle and smash down most creatures fairly well. Sergeants wielding fists is one of the most common aplications because of its safety. The power fist is in essence burried in squads of men to make sure it lasts and the points investment is not wasted. However I dont often see marine armies taking more than a couple power fists despite their uses so lets look at some of their pros listed.

Pros


Characters: Characters are often used to assault infantry squads and use their excelent abilities to cut up the poor soldiers without much resistance. However a sergeant with a power fist only needs to inflict one wound to insta kill any character of T4 or less. Assasines, Marine and Chaos characters, Battlesuits and many more can be smashed down.

Monsterous Creatures: A charge from a monsterous creature can be very intimidating. This is usually because the MC will have a good save and a high toughness meaning most attacks that do land a blow wont actually inflict a wound and will then be saved. This means that an infantry squad can be torn to pieces before they can seriously wound their attacker. A power fist however wounds much easier thanks to its high strength and of course as a power weapon negates the good/great saves most MCs will have. Avatars, Greater Daemons, Carnifexs, Hive Tyrants are all nasty threats that any squad of Marines could face and make their day very bad indeed. A power fist can turn the tide and send the MC packing.

Walkers: Playing Tau my greatest frustration would be if a Dreadnaught or other walker assaulted my battlesuits as it would mean usually insta killed suits and no way out of the combat and no chance of even striking back. But Tau arent the only ones who can be cought so. Tac squads, Dev squads and many more all suffer from the possibility of being cought by such a machine and without krak grenades or melta bombs have no way to strike back. That is unless the squad has a power fist or thunder hammer. While marines fall one good blow can finish the attacker and save as many members of the squad as possible so they can get back to the task at hand. Its a shame to lose an expencive squad of marines without them having any way to strike back.

Multi Wound Enemies: There are actually a surprising number of enemies with multiple wounds. Tau Battlesuits, Tyranids of various kinds, Thousand Sons rubric marines and more. These units can mean a long drawn out battle as the marines try to bring down their foes. Where normally four wounds inflicted would mean four dead enemy troops against Thousand Sons thats only 2 dead marines. But four wounds against your marines and well thats four dead. Despite the higher cost of such multi wound units they can still drag down a marine squad fairly well over time and take a lot longer to kill unless of course the multiple attacks of a sergeant or other marine with a power fist negates those multi wounds through insta kill.

Armor: A tank in the way can mean a big problem. Battle cannons can be scary for marine squads and so can the heavy weapons toted by any number of armored opponents. Predators, Falcons, and all sorts of other armored craft to be found throughout the game can pose a problem to marines and an armored hull in the way can force a marine squad to take the long rout. Even a humble rhino can effectively block off a squad of marines by simply sitting in the way. Normally even the lightest of armored vehicles would be difficult for marines to take down but a power fist or two can change that. Krak grenades and melta bombs are all good but with one attack for each model thats not a great chance but with a sergeant or vet with 4 attacks thats another story and can greatly increase your chances of downing that tank or vehicle that bars your path or is shooting up your forces.

Cons

Expence: Power fists are not cheap, terminators and characters are not by any means inexpencive and for vet sergeants your paying for terminator honors first and then the fist itself. Thunder Hammers are even more expencive. Having more than a few fists in your army can get very pricey indeed and a balance of how many to have and where can be very tricky.

Initiative: Power fists drop the Initiative of the wielder significantly in many cases. Striking last can be the doom of the wielder if things turn bad. If you dont get to strike at all those high strength attacks arent doing you any good.

Getting There: Getting a power fist wielding unit to its target can be tricky and deciding whether its a good idea to spend points to place one on a unit that is not going to be rushing to a target can also be a problem. Assault Marines and Bikes are good ways of getting across the field quickly and a line of terminators can center a defence nicely and of course bring a bunch of power fist attacks to the battle if disaster should strike your line in the form of a walker or nasty character. But placing and moving such units into position is not always easy. Bikes and assault marines arent cheap and are not numerous in many cases and a single misplacement in movement can bring disaster as they get shot to pieces or charged by an enemy far more proficient in close combat than they are. Burried power fists are also not always a good bet as a character or MC can place its charge carefully to make sure that the fist wielding model is not in range of the combat and could well cut the unit to pieces long before that fist ever gets a chance to swing.

Oddly enough I had meant this to spark a descussion on Tau online not be its own article but... fate is strange.

"In the 41st Millenium, there is only war."
 
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