CSM Power Fists vs Power Weapons

I’ve seen a few people debate which weapon to pick out of the power weapons, so I thought I should write up a quick CSM tactica for Power Weapons, Power Fists, Lightning Claws, Chainfists, and Melta Bombs.I’d also like to apologise immediately for the inconsistencies with GW writing Chainfist as one word and Power Fist as two.

 

There are three main things to consider when arming your men. The unit’s role, Initiative order, and point cost, and a minor point is paying special attention to little rules, like Unwieldy, Armourbane, and especially Specialist Weapon. Are you hunting vehicles, MEQs, or TEQs? Or are you opting for maybe a bit more utility? Are you fighting Eldar with excessively good Initiative? Or are you maybe pressed for points?

As far as roles are concerned, against vehicles Melta Bombs are better than Power Fists/Chainfists per hit due to AP1, but you only get one hit with the Melta Bomb, whereas the two latter have several more, especially if paired with another Specialist Weapon. The fists also benefit from MoK in the form of Furious Charge, and while each hit is still less likely to get a penetrating hit, you should have a lot more attacks to get hits with. This works out that you’re less likely to explode vehicles due to AP2, and thus less likely to kill your own guys. On the plus side Melta Bombs are MUCH cheaper, though can’t be used against Infantry as opposed to the Chainfist. The Chainfist can also be combined with the Lightning Claw for an extra attack, allowing you to make attacks, albeit at a much higher point cost.

Now let’s take a look at the Power Weapons. The Power Axe is +1S, AP 2 and Unwieldy, so it goes at I1, same as the Power Fist, so it’s simply a weaker variant of the Power Fist. It does have a role in taking out TEQs, as the double strength you get from the fists is required if you’re already wounding on 2+. The Power Maul has +2S and Concussive, but only AP4, so unless you’re fighting IG, Orks, or wanna wade through Necron Warriors, I don’t see why you’d take it. The Power Sword is the gold standard as far as I’m concerned – Sure, no S bonus, but it has AP3. Lightning Claws are Power Swords with Shred and Specialist Weapon, so for the sake of utility, the Lightning Claw/Chain/Power fist combo isn’t bad as it gives you the option of going risky with a S8 AP2 weapon at I1, or going at I4 (5 with MoS) with S4 Shred AP3, allows you to hunt vehicles with loads of S8 AP2 Armourbane attacks, and as all have the Specialist Weapon special rule you still get +1A for fighting with two weapons.

So in summary:

Melta Bombs
Role: Vehicle busting and killing MCs.
Pros: Cheap.
Cons: Can’t be used against Infantry, only one attack, risk of explosions, Unwieldy.

Chainfist
Role: Vehicle busting, killing MCs, TEQs.
Pros: Armourbane, AP2, several attacks.
Cons: Expensive, Unwieldy, Specialist Weapon.

Power Fist
Role: Killing TEQs, light vehicles
Pros: Can be used to threaten characters without Eternal Warrior wielding Unwieldy weapons.
Cons: Expensive, Unwieldy, Specialist Weapon.

Power Axe
Role: Killing TEQs.
Pros: Cheaper than Power Fists, not a Specialist Weapon, +1 S.
Cons: Unwieldy.

Power Sword
Role: Killing MEQs.
Pros: Perfect for killing MEQs, +2 S.
Cons: Expensive.

Power Maul
Role: Niche vs. Necrons, potentially combined with a Power Fist in a challenge.
Pros: Concussive, AP4
Cons: Expensive

Lightning Claw
Role: Partner for Power Fists and Chainfists for an extra attack and anti-MEQ utility.
Pros: Shred, AP3
Cons: Expensive, especially net when combined with a Power Fist or Chainfist.

Then we’re talking about which units should perform which roles.

Melta Bombs and Power Swords > Power Fist for Aspiring Champions every day of the week. The combination costs less and has more utility. If your Aspiring Champion is in a challenge with something in artificer armour, you’ll be dead before your Unwieldy, Specialist Weapon gets to strike anyway. You’ve got a decent shot at winning a challenge against a SM Sergeant if you’re armed with a Power Sword, especially if you go at I5 (MoS) and re-rolling missed To-Hit rolls from Hatred (SM) (VotLW). You could bring the Power Fist if your enemy is also bringing them, as if their Independent Characters don’t have Eternal Warrior you have a decent chance of killing them. Something that was pointed out to me in the comments by Castigator was taking MoN and a Power Axe. You go last, but +1T and FnP might just see you through.

Chosen… A Chosen with a Power Sword costs more than a bloody Terminator, which has TDA, can Deep Strike, and has a Power Weapon included to boot. Seriously, it’s a wonder Phil Kelly is still alive after the insane substance abuse he endured while writing the CSM codex. Disclaimer: In my own games (I try to play semi-competitively in a semi-competitive meta) I run Cypher with friends, which tend to be 10 Chosen with 2x Meltaguns, 3x Power Swords, and Melta Bombs and Power Sword on the Champion. While they rarely make their points back (roughly 500pt), Gladius Strike Forces don’t like Hit & Run at I8, Power Sword-wielding Chosen with 2+ Cover saves that once in a while become Invisible.

Terminators are too expensive, don’t have the options Loyalist Terminators have, and lack a reasonable delivery method to  really be a deathstar, and have thus been competitively relegated to Termicide squads (Take with Combi-Meltas, melt something, then go into distraction-Carnifex mode). You’ll thus want them as cheap as possible, so don’t bother with upgrades. If you really wanna go tank busting you could consider Melta Bombs on the champion and Chainfists on the rest. I’m not convinced you’re getting value for points though.

Sorcerers? Maybe consider a Power Fist or Chainfist if he’s sporting TDA and Biomancy. Still better to have Melta Bombs and a Force Sword or Force Axe (Insant Death from Force) unless your S improves through Biomancy.

What about Chaos Lords then? Maybe, but what are you using him for? I’d take the Axe of Blind Fury and make him a Juggerlord. Murder Sword if you’re hunting anyone specific or want a specific enemy character to stay away from your Murder Sword-wielding maniac, and then you can take Melta Bombs as well. The Lightning Claw/Chainfist combo isn’t too bad though.

Daemon Prince? Black Mace, wings, MoN all the way, though Axe of Blind Fury ain’t bad if you go MoK.

What Power Swords wish they were

These are what I see as the most optimised ways, and Power Fists, with high costs and bad utility, are awful. There’s a reason Power Fists are cheaper in 30k, and my Alpha Legion Sergeants take Artificer Armour, Melta Bombs, a Power Fist, and a Power Dagger (Specialist Weapon for 5 pt!) for a 2+ save, 4 S8 AP2 As on the charge, possibly with Furious Charge. Last game he got sniped by SM Scouts – 6 to hit, 6 to wound though, but 30k is a story for/from another time…

Advertisements

Hopes and predictions for a new CSM codex

Now that only Chaos, Tau, and the forgotten Sisters of Battle don’t have 7th edition codices, I think it’s likely that Chaos will receive a new codex in the next few weeks, or months at most. I’ve outlined my hopes and dreams for the new codex, but I’ve also compiled my realistic expectations for it.

First of all, I have a sneaky suspicion they’ll issue a Legion/Warband codex.This is because of the Khorne: Daemonkin codex suggests they’ll release god-specific codices.

OP’s hopes and dreams.

The main problem with the current codex is the lack of Legion/Warband/god-specific flavour, poor internal balance, lack of formations, and expensive units. Sure, there are Special Characters that grant some flavour, but they’re limited to boosting sub-par Elites (I’m looking at you, Rubric Marines) to the Troop choices, or giving you access to Plague Zombies. There’s no Chaos Undivided for Night Lord or Alpha Legion players. Essentially, it’s a very dated codex from when flyers were making their entry.

My hopes and dreams are to see Legion/Warband/god (Including Undivided) tactics, similar to Chapter tactics for Space Marines. However, in view of the new Space Marine/DA/BA formations, I see this being dropped for formations instead. This isn’t awful, but not exactly what I want; I’m a big fan of the CAD, as I feel it gives me more freedom to construct my own forces.

I hope Chaos Undivided makes a return, certain restrictions on Marks are imposed, moving Cult troops to either dataslates (I like them, they’re reminiscent of Index Astartes articles) or restricting them depending on your Chapter tactic (or formation if that is the case). If they go with Chapter tactics it could be something like this:
Black Legion: No restrictions on Marks.
Night Lords: All units may take Chaos Undivided for free, 0-1 for all other units.
Thousand Sons : Units may not take other Marks than Mark of Tzeentch, which they can take for free. Thousand Sons become a Troop Choice.

However, I can see how this’ll be formations instead, e.g.
Ahriman
0-2 Sorcerers
2-3 Units of Thousand Sons
Rhinos free and Mark of Tzeentch invulnerable save increases (decreases?) by 1. 

I hope point costs for Thousand Sons/Rubric Marines by 1-2, Berzerkers by 1, Possessed by 2, general drop for Predator and Havoc lascannon cost. This is mainly because discopreds (Predator’s with three lascannons) rarely make up their point cost, Thousand Sons are frankly overpriced, and 7th edition follows 6th edition in being a “shooty” edition, thus limiting their usefulness.

Realistically? I see Thousand Sons dropped a point, maybe. Helbrutes/Dreadnoughts to be improved to the SM statline.

My hopes for new kits are multi-part Cultists, Havocs, Obliterators, and Chosen, maybe a new HQ. Realistically, I see certain Finecast models being redone; Obliterators/Mutilators is a multi-part kit waiting to happen, and new multi-part Havocs as well, especially in lieu of the new Devastators, and a new HQ. Also I find it likely Legion-specific upgrade kits will be available, similar to what the SMs have. Replacing resin Plague Marines with plastic ones also seems likely.

CSMs are currently suffering from lack of good transport options (The Rhino isn’t too shabby mind). Specifically drop pods. Currently the only ones CSMs can take are FW, which isn’t kind on the wallet, and I think it’s likely they’ll be included.

I’m hoping they include Cypher (not strictly Chaos) and the Helbrute formations in some form, or reissue them for people who’ve already bought them – I sure as Hell want to keep playing my Helcult (I said I preferred CAD, not that I hated formations – the the fine script)!

In short, I think CSM players will get formations, some minor rules changes, drop pods, and retooled Havoc and Obliterator multi-part kits.

What’s people’s thoughts on this though? Will Tzeentch change our codex into something fun and good, or will Papa Nurgle leave it to fester and rot?

OP’s thoughts.