Thursday, July 5, 2012

6th Edition: Power Weapon Designation

Hi I'm Dante, and I have a problem: What is my Power Axe?!

09 07 12:
Games Workshop has released FAQs and errata for 6th Edition, as well as updating army codexes. In so doing, G Dub has clearly defined just what unusual power weapons are.  The Axe Mortalis is an axe that swings at initiatve 1. Glaive Encarmines are now designated by the model. I'm going to leave this post up as a testament to ambiguous written rules. I'm thankful that G Dub addressed, and retired this issue- Gone

 and just what unusual power weapons For those of you unaware, as of sixth edition power weapons have received four specific classification(s): Sword, Axe, Pole Arm, and Blunt. Power Fists and Thunder Hammers are excluded from this list, as each weapon type retain their rules from the previous edition. Each new classification confers specific rules how the weapon behaves, including initiative modifiers, and Armor Piercing (AP) value(s). For example, swords strike at AP 3, whereas Axe(s) add one strength, are AP 2, but confer the 'unwieldy' special rule (reduced initiative).

So, whats the problem?
It would seem that there is a measure of contention with regard to power weapons and how a power weapon is classified as of 6th edition. One such assertion is that models or units that are equipped with power weapons that have special rules, are not unusual or unique. Therefore, such weapons would be designated as they are modeled.We'll get to that a little later...

What does this mean for previous codices and power weapon(s) contained therein? For example in the Blood Angels codex, Sanguinary Guard come equipped by default with a power weapon called the Glaive Encarmine (GE). The GE is described as a two-handed master-crafted power weapon. The Sanguinary Guard box set contains a mixture of sword(s) and axe(s). There is contention that each model's Glaive Encarmine should perform as it appears on the model- some would strike at normal initiative; ap 3 (swords), whereas, others would strike at a reduced initiative;ap 2 (axes).

Another example would be Dante's Axe Mortalis. The weapon as described in the Blood Angel's codex is a master-crafted power weapon. Not a big deal right? Peering at the Dante model itself, the Axe Mortalis looks well, you guessed it- like an axe! So, a power axe would reduce Dante's initiative of 6 to an initiative of 1- an obvious disparity that would determine how Dante is applied to an assault.

Welcome Dante! We're the Sanguinary Guard.

In the new rule book Games Workshop stated that the master crafted rule makes a power weapon something other than what the model represents. I'll explain how as follows:

On page 61, 3rd paragraph, the rules state,"If a model's wargear says it has a power weapon which has no further special rules, look at the model to tell which type of power weapon it has,"(emphasis mine).

On page 32, Special Rules are defined as (but not limited to), "uncommon rules to govern uncommon circumstances." and, "Whenever a creature or weapon has an ability that breaks or bends one of the main game rules, it is represented by a special rule." Page 39, 'Master Crafted' is listed as a special rule. The word 'uncommon' is synonymous to the word 'unusual'.

In the following paragraph, the first sentence reads, 'Whenever a creature or weapon has an ability that breaks or bends one of the main game rules, it is represented by a special rule,' further defining special rules for the sake of the game.

On the same page in section 'What Special Rules Do I Have?' the first sentence, fourth paragraph reads as follows, 'Most of the more commonly used special rules in Warhammer 40k are listed here, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. Many troops have their own unique abilities which are laid out in their codex.' This sentence correlates the word 'unique' to special rules, and special rules described in a codex.

To recap, "if a model's wargear says it has a power weapon which has no further special rules, look at the model to tell which type of power weapon it has: if it's a sword or dagger, its a power sword; if its an axe or halberd, its a power axe; if its a blunt weapon like a mace or staff, its a power maul; if its a spear or lance, its a power lance."

A Sanguinary Guard's Glaive Encarmine has one or more special rule(s) (master crafted), therefore it is not defined by looking at the model. Likewise, Dante's Axe Mortalis has a special rule (again, master crafted) and is also not defined by looking at the model.

Where does that leave these unusual weapon(s)?

Page 61, Section 'Unusual Power Weapons', paragraph four, "Many Models have unusual power weapons that have one or more unique rules. If a power weapon has its own unique close combat rules, treat it as an AP 3 Melee weapon with the additional rules and characteristics presented in its entry." (emphasis mine)

Note the text above quoted directly from the 6th Edition book does not refer to 'unique special rules' (a term used in this blog post as the primary assertion why power weapons are designated by a model) nor is the term even used.

In conclusion, a power weapon with a special rule is not defined by it's model. Further special rules are defined as unusual, and even unique in the Special Rules section of the rule book. The Blood Angels codex specifically states that if an item is not detailed in the wargear section in the back of the codex, then the item is unique.

Therefore, a power weapon with one or more special rules are treated as an AP3 melee power weapon. A power weapon listed in the Blood Angels codex and not found in the wargear section is further classified as a unique weapon, and would therefore be treated as an AP3 melee power weapon for the purpose of the game. An exception to this rule would be LeMartes' Blood Crozius because the Blood Angels FAQ specifically states it is a master crafted Power Maul (BA FAQ, Page 2).

In the end, this is one subject that you should discuss with your opponent prior to the start of the game to avoid contention later. Until which time GW FAQs the rules governing Power Weapons (if they do), I will be applying the rules as outlined above to my units.

This one was easy.


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