Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Powerfist vs Thunder Hammer

When deciding on the equipment for my Thunderlord & Thunderwolf Cavalry I got to thinking about the benefits of the thunder hammer over just a plain powerfist. Granted the thunder hammer will always be infinitely cooler but is it worth the extra points?

On the face of it both weapons fulfil a very similar niche. Both double the wielder's strength and reduce his initiative to 1. They also require a pair to be able to gain an extra attack for two close combat weapons. For Space Wolves the power fist is 25pts and the thunder hammer is 30pts. You may be thinking 5pts isn't very much but it may be that you have 3 models in your army that wield them and by switching to a powerfist you get 15pts back and that's an extra grey hunter. Not only that but it may give you the flexibility to change things around elsewhere in your list. As I've mentioned before choosing your list is an essential part of the game these days and being economic with points is vital.

For our 5pts extra we get the ability to take a multi-wound opponent down to initiative 1. Also for vehicles we inflict a crew shaken result in addition to any other damage result. Sounds worth it initially but when you think about it is it really that great?

Unless the multi-wound opponent has eternal warrior then chances are a strength 8 unsaved wound will be enough to cause instant death. This is even more likely when you think about thunderwolves with S10 hammers. That's assuming you get into combat with a character anyway. Therefore this is only really going to affect eternal warriors and monstrous creatures (or anything T6. A lot of monstrous creatures are initiatve 1 anyway but it's still going to be useful against the likes of trygons or avatars.

Against most vehicles who's rear armour is AV10 you're likely to penetrate. If you roll either a 1, 2, 5, 6 (or for single weapon tanks a 3) then the additional "crew shaken" result that you get doesn't really achieve anything. It's only any good if you immobilise the vehicle. Oh and if you don't stop it moving do you think it'll hang around waiting for your thunder hammer to strike again?

Therefore, for me the only advantage is reducing opponents to initiative 1. As we've discussed this is pretty situational so in my opinion it isn't worth the 5 points. This leaves me torn. I really want to give my models thunder hammers because they'll look much better with them. The hobbyist in my wants hammers and the gamer in me wants power fists. Given that I've got thunder hammers from Arjac and another terminator I think I'll go with the fists. What do you reckon?

7 comments:

  1. I was thinking about this on Sunday as I drove home from the tournament thinking about my army. I was thinking more about Terimators rather than Thunderwolves but my thoughts were very similar.

    The Thunder Hammer is definitely cooler, it's a lot more useful against Daemons and sometimes that Stunned result on a vehicle can be golden. Is all that worth 5 points? Yes, but do you really need it?

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  2. Rule of cool - Thunderhammers look better so they are better ;-)

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  3. Split the difference and give them a power fist holding an oversized ax. As long as you make clear that the ax is just to look cool, and the fist is the real weapon, you should be able to have your cake and eat it too.

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  4. Thunder Hammers are a big deal against:

    -Fighty MCs (Trygons, Tyrants, Daemon Princes, etc): These tend to be high-toughness and high initiative- certainly, things like Tervigons and Carnifexes are already I1, but the real bad boys are faster than that. If you can survive the initial round of attacks, a Hammer insures that you'll get to make a second.

    -Vehicles that you MUST shut down (Vindicators, Russes, etc). Depending on the tank, Weapon Destroyed may or may not save you, but certainly Immobilized won't- this is where the Hammer comes in, as it's nice to have a guarantee that you'll shut it down once you get a roll on the damage table.

    Whether or not you want Hammers over Fists depends a lot on what unit it is. For TWC, who only get one special CCW per squad, the Hammer can be useful; on Grey Hunters, where you're less likely to be tangling with the above, you may not need it.

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  5. Take thunderhammers, if you aponent is I-1 They can be Jaws of the world wolfed! All you have to do is shoot at a target that is passed the close combat and poof no more "nightbringer" or the like! Yes a few of your models will have to take the test to but your I-4 (it uses your base I not your weapon I)

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  6. Thanks for all the comments guys. Glad I got the debate going!

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  7. I take fists on my Wolf Guard, but have a TH+SS Wolf Lord with Saga of the Bear specifically to field against nastier MCs/EW chars/Mephiston. I wouldn't take them army wide or on a Wolf Lord without Saga of the Bear, but giving myself the option to isolate and negate some of my opponents possibly nastier combat units is appealing (Mephiston, I'm looking at you).

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