NewHammer 40,000: Close Combat Weapons

The following comes from the Warhammer-community site.

Let’s take a look at some close combat weapons, shall we?

We’ve seen already that shooting weapons in the new Warhammer 40,000 use a Strength, AP, Damage system, and melee kit is much the same. The main differences being that there is no range on them, and a lot of them will use the user’s Strength as their basis.

Let’s look at some examples – we’ll start with the classic power weapon lineup.

In the current edition of Warhammer 40,000, the axe is the go-to weapon for a lot of folks. Players gladly took the unwieldy rule in exchange for AP2 and a bonus to Strength. Now, the obvious choice is far from obvious, as they clearly all have their uses. That sword, for example, is looking pretty deadly against most things, with the AP-3 helping it against every type of foe. Even with no bonus to Strength, using the new wounding chart shows that a Strength 4 Space Marine is wounding everything up to Toughness 7 on 5s (which is good,  because a lot of our models have swords).

Even the humble chainsword gets a boost. No longer just a standard combat weapon, the iconic combat weapon wielded by the Adeptus Astartes and many other forces, now gives its bearer more attacks in combat. Perfect for grinding through hordes of low armoured troops, the chainsword now functions on the battlefield how it always has in your head. This change also helps differentiate dedicated combat troops from those just wielding improvised or side-arm weapons.

We can see that all of the above still only do 1 Damage, meaning that while they can chip wounds off bigger stuff, they are primarily infantry killers.

What about some anti-armour stuff though? Check out the power fist:

At the cost of being more cumbersome to swing, it’s dishing out multiple damage with every hit, and at a Strength that will find it easy to wound anything in the game.

Another high damage option is Force weapons. Take a Grey Knight squad of any sort: every guy in there has a blade that, as well as having all the benefits of the equivalent Power weapon, also dishes out D3 damage on every wound! Those guys are going to be phenomenal up-close killers, as they should be.

D3 Damage is good, but if you really want to kill something, try the reaper chainsword. This deals a flat 6 Damage to whatever it wounds. That’s enough to carve a Chaos Lord in half, and a couple of hits will wreck most small and medium vehicles in a single Fight phase.

Make no mistake, when facing a dedicated melee unit, stuff is going to die in combat really, really fast.

Melee is changing quite a bit! What do you all think?


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49 Responses to “NewHammer 40,000: Close Combat Weapons”

  1. Avatar
    Fluger May 19, 2017 6:44 am #

    Now assault marines have a purpose.

    I really want to see Ork weapons…

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 19, 2017 2:27 pm #

      Dud, jump pack units of all flavors are VASTLY better in NewHammer for many reasons, which will become clear as we get more information.

  2. Avatar
    Threllen May 19, 2017 6:46 am #

    Meh… a bit underwhelming. We already saw how force weapons worked from the Rubric Marine datasheet and inferring that power weapons were the same just with a flat 1 damage was a pretty safe bet. They also already spoiled power fist yesterday in the live QnA. So all we really got that was actually new was the chainsword and reaper chainsword statlines.

    Is it June yet?

  3. Avatar
    Cephalobeard May 19, 2017 6:53 am #

    Now if only Fusion blades werent a relic and I could make my Gundam Wing Tau Melee army a dream come true.


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    WrentheFaceless May 19, 2017 7:06 am #

    Huh, Grey Knights may be scary in assault like they’re supposed to be in the fluff

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    HeavyPlate May 19, 2017 7:14 am #

    Good stuff today. More of that picture unfolding.
    I’m curious if the Chainsword thing is each round of combat or subsequent or how it interacts with fall back.
    That Reaper Chainsword is Bonkers strong vs big targets. Straight up 6 wounds(per model it hits) is crazy.
    Minor gripe about the Power Fist. From the information in front of us now, Ghaz is supposed to be one of the best Combat dudes in the galaxy, being given one of the few profile 2+ to hit. Currently his weapon is just a standard power fist, so he’ll go back to 3+ on most things unless that changes. *Grumble grumble grumble*
    Still loving the how it’s coming together. Kind of rooting for them putting on a battle report or two before the release.

    • Avatar
      Ytook May 19, 2017 8:13 am #

      Assuming that’s how he’s armed this edition, it’s all new, we don’t know yet.

    • Avatar
      Threllen May 19, 2017 8:18 am #

      They may actually have an incentive this game to give him a ‘kustom’ power klaw that ignores the -1 To Hit. Maybe even does more damage or has better AP. Will have to wait and see what he gets.

    • Avatar
      winterman May 19, 2017 8:26 am #

      Granted hitting at 3+ with a fist natively will be rare. And leaves opportunity for extra plusses to hit. Example, AoS Ironjawz heavy hitters work exactly like this — the big damage powerfist esque stuff hits on 4+ but the army has tons of ways to stack several +1 to hit buffs and reroll 1s, which really only help the heavy hit stuff due to rule of 1s. But makes those units hit like a ton of bricks. Safe bet that this mechanic is what they have in mind for Goffs and Orks in 40k.

    • Avatar
      Ty May 19, 2017 9:56 am #

      Also the possibility that the Power Claw and Power Fist aren’t the same thing in anymore.

    • Avatar
      HeavyPlate May 19, 2017 10:03 am #

      It is why I said unless it changes. 😜

  6. Avatar
    Jesse Sinclair May 19, 2017 8:02 am #

    From the Imperial Knights faction focus:

    “The canny Knights general will need to be wary of enemy models with multiple D6 damage melee attacks such as Trygons, which can severely damage or destroy Knights in a single lucky round of combat.”


    • Avatar
      wintertalon May 19, 2017 8:04 am #

      Trygon will like be a Lord of War Choice I think.

      • Avatar
        Jesse Sinclair May 19, 2017 8:07 am #

        I’m perfectly ok with that.

      • Avatar
        Threllen May 19, 2017 8:19 am #

        They are a pretty large model. It would be kind of cool if they got a hugely buffed statline to be more like an Imperial Knight-level unit.

      • Avatar
        winterman May 19, 2017 8:28 am #

        They used to be super heavies so maybe. But I dunno I think that bar has been so high now. I mean is a riptide gonna be a LoW? Doubt it.

        Now what I want to see is a new plastic Tyranid Lord of War…

  7. Avatar
    wintertalon May 19, 2017 8:03 am #

    Bonesword likely -3 rend and d3 damage on a 6. Seam to be a good choice. Points will make or break them I think. Warriors and shrikes got really nasty.

  8. Requizen
    Requizen May 19, 2017 8:08 am #

    Ready to see what Warscythes are like! And Rod of the Covenant for my Praets. And Wraith weapons…

    Just give me the Necron article already!

  9. Avatar
    Ytook May 19, 2017 8:19 am #

    The amount of people on other places going on about how this confirms that close combat is worse than shooting… it’s so weird, they’re just determined to hate it 😛

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 19, 2017 2:25 pm #

      Lol, right?! And on other forums they’re convinced melee will be overpowered, haha.

      Sheesh, just wait to actually play the game a few times, folks =P

  10. Avatar
    Davis A Centis May 19, 2017 8:29 am #

    I was crunching weapons; Chainswords are going to be brutally effective! Was very interesting to see that all weapons definitely have their place as well. The Power Axe, whom I was worried that being the “middle road” would mean it’d be phased out, is actually a top performer due to the way the new to-wound system works! However, outside of dealing with things like the Annihilation Barge, the Maul underperformed the other options. Without having to name any stats, which model are you either:
    a) Most excited about having a Power Maul?
    b) Most worried about facing a Power Maul with?

    • Avatar
      Sanchezsam2 May 19, 2017 8:41 am #

      Bullgryn are the only option i see powermauling with….

    • Avatar
      Ytook May 19, 2017 8:50 am #

      Depends on how toughness is distributed, a strength 4 model with a maul would be wounding lighter vehicles and monsters (t6 from what we’ve seen) on 4s and toughness 3 infantry on 2s, that’s pretty dang good. On lower strength models a maul would be far better than the others against high toughness low armour units like Orks and Nids. I don’t think the Maul is as universally useful as the sword or axe judging by what we’ve seen but I can definitely see it’s place.

    • Avatar
      Threllen May 19, 2017 9:08 am #

      IMO the Power Maul is the major loser in the new edition… at least for MEQs. Just did some quick calculations with sword/maul/axe for a MEQ and there are very, very few situations in which the maul is the best for the job. Anything 5+ or 6+ save it’s usually the best but other than that the only time it’s really a clear cut winner is against T5 models (due to wounding on a 3+). And even then it ties the axe against stuff that is T5/3+ save and straight up wins against T5/4+. Even against T6 models it’s rarely useful because the way wounding works now both the sword and the axe are wounding on 5+ whereas the maul is 4+. So not a huge advantage for the fact it loses a lot in the rend department.

      • Avatar
        Beau May 19, 2017 9:31 am #

        Powermaul will be the best for fighting daemon monsters I bet

        • Avatar
          Threllen May 19, 2017 9:37 am #

          Depending on the daemon, most likely. If the rend value of a weapon is useless to you, then obviously you want the most strength.

          But I find, more often than not, I’m fighting stuff that has decent saves. That’s why I like the catch-all of the power axe to give you that crucial S5 as well as provide a small rend. To me it just seems like best “take all comers” weapon whereas the power maul NEEDs to be against something with terrible armor or where it hits a specific breakpoint in strength-to-toughness.

          • Avatar
            Beau May 19, 2017 9:44 am

            Yup! Also stats can go over 10 now so a pfist would be better against highest toughness targets (come on GUO).

            Personally I am excited about all of my Terminator force axe sorcerers!

      • Avatar
        Ty May 19, 2017 10:02 am #

        The maul is better against t6 3+. Only marginally so but that’s true for basically all comparisons here.

  11. Avatar
    Blight May 19, 2017 8:29 am #

    They did confirm on Facebook that having a pistol and CCW doesn’t grant an extra attack anymore. No word yet on two CCWs. The knight article brought up several questions with its reference to the knight’s feet being weapons.

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 19, 2017 2:26 pm #

      Yeah, that is a big change and one of the reasons why you will see so many different weapons combinations, now.

      • Avatar
        Dbiesto May 19, 2017 3:14 pm #

        Even if the two special weapons for +1 attacks gets nerfed I’m still using my csm lightning and fist lord because, well, chaos lol.

  12. Avatar
    winterman May 19, 2017 8:35 am #

    Will be interesting to see how this all shakes out for non-marines. Will other CCWs get +1 attack, like wytch weapons and such? Guessing so, but could do other things to compensate for the loss of +1 attack from 2 CCWS. What about our 4 armed friends? Tyranids have had their CCW rules and how many attacks they deliver massively changed every edition so I am curious what is in store for them.

    Also looks like a nerf to the ubiqutous Power Fist/Lighting Claw combo. No extra attack, and based on the QnA you gotta pick one or other (which isn’t a change but speculated as possible cause of AoS)

    • Avatar
      Ytook May 19, 2017 8:45 am #

      Got to remember that everything is changing, Nids may have more attacks by default now, assault marines could have 2 attacks base (which I suppose the new chainsword would give them anyway).

      Could easily also have “paired (insert weapons)”as a single weapon profile giving the special rule +1 attack.

      • Avatar
        Threllen May 19, 2017 9:09 am #

        Yeah, much like “Twin ______” is actually just a single profile with double the normal shooting attacks they could have a profile that says “pair of power swords” and a bonus rule that gives you a bonus attack.

  13. Avatar
    melbards May 19, 2017 8:43 am #

    Kinda weird how the sword has more penetrating power than an axe…Traditionally axes were used to penetrate armor. just a small nitpick…

    • Avatar
      Davis A Centis May 19, 2017 9:02 am #

      Ah, but those are historical weapons where the penetrating power is based on the strength of the blow, which was proportional to the force the item was swung at. These are futuristic weapons imbued with Space Magic, and one can help you hit hard, but the other is simply better at cutting. Any Space Magician knows that!


    • Avatar
      Threllen May 19, 2017 9:11 am #

      If you think of it from the perspective of magical energy-imbued weapons a sword has a much sleeker cutting surface than an axe (hence why we chop things up with knives and not axes). So if you don’t need the additional force behind the blow it kind of makes sense that swords can slip through chinks in armor easier.

      Or more realistically… they wanted to keep axes with +1 S and, because unwieldy is gone, that meant that swords needed a better rend or they would be useless.

      • Avatar
        Beau May 19, 2017 9:40 am #

        Also historically a long sword with enough force behind it could impale armor. I actually have a Spanish breastplate and the wearer had died that way, then the plate was looted and repaired lol

    • Avatar
      Ty May 19, 2017 10:03 am #

      Also historically hammers were used in combat to counter heavy armor, but you balance and all. 🙂

      • Avatar
        AbusePuppy May 20, 2017 6:16 am #

        Well, I mean, I’m pretty sure a Thunder Hammer will be better against armor than the Power Sword, so that but is accurate at last…

    • Avatar
      Sigmar May 20, 2017 11:25 am #

      I am sorry to read about these common misconceptions.
      As a HEMA (historical european martial arts) instructor i feel the urge to correct them (i teach how to fight with/without armor with sword/2handerswords/poleaxes/lances/shield/dagger based on historical treaties like fiore dei liberi’s flos duellantorum and joachim meyer and so on.).
      1) swords do not cut throu armor. They don’t. They can stab throu chainmail but a knight wears plate, mail undeaneath and a stuffed vest (gambesson) so big NO on cutting AND thrusting plate. This is why as armor got more prevalent, swords became less about cutting (sabre-ish) and more about thrusting (straight, pointy) to stab at not protected junctions. Than gunpowers came up and armour became irrelevant and we saw a rise in sabres use again.
      2) AXES ARE UNWIELDY! you have to constantly keep swinging to keep momentum (it weighs a lot) and when you miss, you are open to die. They also got no guard. They also cannot thrust. they can only cut. They are against an armoured opponent, useless. Against an unarmoured one, very tiring because your only defense is to keep striking at him, you can’t effectively parry with the blade and the wood haft can be cut or let the blade slip on your hand. Terrible weapon. Cool but terrible. When it was used? a 2 handed axe has REACH, you put it on a guy behind another one with a shield and he pummels enemies safely. A one handed axe is used to HOOK enemy shield and open their guard for a thrust. With a shield also good but sword better.
      3) In knightly fighting maces and concussive weapons are KING. why? Because they deliver force into an object. Often the plate will hold or be deformed but the force will still get into the body and pulp every single bone. They do not need to be contantly swung BUTgot no guard and are much, much less efficient as a defensive weapon.

      Axe = do not use unless against few unarmoured opponents. Not good.
      Langmessers/sabres/katanas = unarmoured opponents only.
      Hammers/maces= plate knights. Best option. Less effective than sword against unarmoured.
      Straight sword (trust me you do not know what a broadsword is): jack of all trades. Can pierce mail. Can cut and pierce unarmoured. Can pierce openings of plate. Cannot pierce plate. This is your go to weapon if you do not what what you will encounter.

      • Avatar
        Sigmar May 20, 2017 11:28 am #

        EDIT: also you cannot parry a mace hit effectively. it will open your guard. So sword vs mace = keep striking or he hits you and you either dodge or die.

        PS = axe do not cause enough concussive damage. Even 2 handed likely will just dent and bounce off, effectively reducing their further cutting capability

        • Avatar
          WestRider May 20, 2017 12:38 pm #

          I remember seeing a demonstration once where some guys put a chainmail shirt on a wooden frame and hit it with various weapons. The one that made the biggest impression on me was the mace. The commentary was basically “Well, the *mail* is still fine” as the arm of the frame is hanging there in it completely shattered.

  14. Avatar
    melbards May 19, 2017 10:21 am #

    Halberds and ball and chains were much more likely to penetrate or dent armor (and thus cause critical injuries) than swords, I don’t doubt that swords COULD pen armor but historically speaking axes and blunter objects were much easier to do so with. Swords were more of a jack of all trades kinda weapon, could be used defensively and could stab and slash with.

    IMHO swords should give bonus to strrength in 40k as swords could be used to easily pick out weak spots/chinks in armor. This would reflect the fact that weak spots are less tough. Often medieval footman would stab heavily armored foes in the spots between two plates.

    Axes offered raw armor pen but at the cost of accuracy.

    Just a small minor detail that i found strange….Still very much happy about 8th and most, if not all of the changes.

    • Avatar
      WestRider May 19, 2017 12:12 pm #

      I still feel like Power Swords should have gotten some sort of Parry Rule to represent that they are more useful on defense than the others. For each Sword in a target Unit, the Attacker has to re-roll one successful to-Hit Roll or something.

    • Avatar
      Jesse Sinclair May 19, 2017 5:44 pm #

      Er, depends on what that AP value “reprensents”. Yes, polearms and similar were much more likely to punch straight through armour, and required far less training to use effectively, someone quite good with a sword (or much more often a spear) was far my likely to bypass armour and manage to do far more damage by targetting a join or other weak spot (which was one of the reasons plate armour evolved to such a ludicrous point with all its overlapping elements).

      It did require significantly better training to do so, definitely your garden variety soldier wasn’t going to pull it off. But this is 40k, where rule of cool prevails and each model is a mighty hero or fearsome villain, so I guess it works.

      TL;DR version: if AP represents not just punching through it, but using finese to bypass, them the sword having a higher AP makes sense.

      • Avatar
        melbards May 19, 2017 7:29 pm #

        That`s a good point Jesse. I could now see the reasoning behind the sword doing more AP. I still personally would have liked the other way around, but it does make more sense now I suppose.

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    Panzer1944 May 19, 2017 8:51 pm #

    With everything coming out I’m not sure if I heard if weapons still cause instant death if your strength doubles out what you are fighting. If thats not the case anymore little sad to see my fist and thunderhammers tuned down some.

    • Avatar
      Ytook May 20, 2017 2:37 am #

      No instant death, but double strength compared to toughness is the only way to get 2+ to wound.

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