Making Power Attacks Free

So, I was thinking on Power Attacks, and how they really help to make Warbeasts and Warjacks unique and cool. But, we rarely see Power Attacks being used. There are two main reasons for this, which are related to each other.

  1. They have a steep resource cost. One Focus/Fury to start things off, and usually another to boost as if you are making only one attack, you need it to count. This means that you have to be extremely careful in making them.

  2. Because they are rarely used, they are often easily forgotten or misunderstood.

So, what if we fixed problem number one to see more Power Attacks? What if they were made Free? You would still need to choose to either make initial attacks, a Special Attack, or a Power Attack, but that would be it. No additional cost.
The exception to this that I could see might be Tramples, as the extra mobility and capacity to hit multiple models could be too strong to be done all the time, but even then I’m not positive.

So, thoughts and opinions? Would free power attacks be too crazy and strong? Or would it encourage more cool things on the battlefield?


Yeah, it’s really hard to justify a power attack (excluding slams and tramples I guess) when it costs so much. Also iirc you usually can’t use power attacks when charging? That might actually be even more limiting than the cost. Perhaps if throws and headbutts and that sort of thing basically replaced a charge? So you pay one focus and get the extra movement, same as charging, but instead of a regular melee attack and added initials, you make a single power attack? Maybe then power attacks can be free (but still take away your initials) if you don’t move?

Off the top of my head that doesn’t sound too powerful, although maybe it would hurt infantry since it would be much easier to start throwing stuff on top of them? I guess if being able to move enemy models too easily becomes too powerful, then maybe just making headbutts free wouldn’t be so bad?

Well, I wonder if being able to easily throw melee beatsticks out of their warcaster’s control range significantly devalues melee weapons and even shields (and even armour buffs). I dunno, now that you don’t need a strength check to throw a model anymore, perhaps throws could be very powerful if people get used to using them?


While I’ll miss the days of trying to throw enemy models into other models and fertilize them to facilitate a baldur assassination run…I think I tend to agree they’ll be more powerful now. Less as a fluffy gameplay element and more as a control tool to bully people off of scoring elements

But at least giving them the same threat range as a charge would make them at least less situational; so if you still had to pay for them but at least got the extra threat range, even if you had to pay for it; surely that would be fine? Surely two to three focus to charge and headbutt/throw a model is not too powerful? I mean, drags exist after all.


Meh. Power attacks are more niche cases, I see no issue with a cost. If it comes to power attack vs destroy, I’m likely picking destroy anyways (the DPS of a destroyed target is 0). I generally save throws and slams for impending scenario wins, where the cost of a power attack isnt as steep.

Plus, there are advantages to them (knockdown being the common thread, and “free” knockdown from collateral in many cases), and free power attacks would make assassinations more common.

If you want a free power attack, there are plenty of spells/abilities that enable them.


It’s more like if it comes down to power attack vs do a fair bit of damage (but unlikely to be able to destroy), either for lack of resources or lack of hitting power or something like that. In that case making a play by throwing a model or something would be more interesting than just making a few attacks and hoping to cripple something.

Options make a game interesting, and power attacks are an interesting part of this game’s USP. Or could be if they were realistic options in more than just very niche cases.


Or, do both. A Power Attack followed up by bought attacks is always a great play.

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I think power attacks are really cool, but they don’t often offer sufficient payoff, and the only ones I used somewhat consistently were slams and tramples.

That being said, I think terrain plays a large role. Imagine if the fight was about holding a bridge, for example - suddenly throws would tumble the thrown models into areas where they could not quickly get back into the fray from and potentially suffering significant falling damage.

As an alternative, how about if the fight was an uphill battle on a steep slope (not something you might be able to replicate with actual terrain for fear of damaging models tumbling downhill), with the rule that models pushed downhill slide a bit further than they normally would, and knocked-down models will roll downhill, potentially damaging or knocking down others?

In all of these cases, I think such terrain permutations should always be worth points for the side that benefits - so if you get to defend a hill, you must pay points for getting to use those defensive positions.


Terrain and scenario are great motivations for power attacks to be effective. I’ve seen it matter in a few Dark Rising games the last few weeks.


Could you share some inspiring highlights?

That’s sacrificing your initials AND a bought attack - so at least 2 attacks - to knock a model down. So you’re making at most 2 melee attacks. Then they stand up for free (since you’re already in melee range) and make 4+ attacks against you next turn. Unless the knockdown enables an assassination or something, it’s probably not worth it.

Sometimes you’ll be able to throw them and still in be range to buy another attack or two, but usually throwing them means not buying any extra attacks, at least not with the model doing the throwing. So a throw attack followed up by bought attacks is extremely situational.

The big ones came in scenario vs assassination victories. While it ended up not mattering, in the Evacuate scenario, I had to deal with an enemy Lucant B2B with 2 civilians. The only way to free them was a throw from my Cyclone (since otherwise I’d win by assassination and lose out on league points).

Oh yeah. It’s totally going to be situational. Usually it would be best to throw them away , although I’ve had times that headbutting followed by bought attacks to take out a system was best.

I feel like that’s the problem: they are arguably TOO situational. Well, that’s not necessarily a problem, but perhaps a missed opportunity. Throwing stuff is fun. Just look at Monpoc.


Yeah, I’m hoping that making them better will increase their use. Making them free is a good first step.

I think part of the issue here is that the players have to engage with the options offered by power attacks, too - if players are too wary of power attacks and move accordingly to minimise their use against them, the power attacks act as a deterrent to certain gambits, which isn’t very impressive but at least shows they do have an effect.

Power attacks are really cool and cinematic, but you need missions that encourage these “cinematics” to come into play. Maybe you need to have a “style” award or “morale” counter for creative uses of such abilities that can influence the outcome of a campaign or battle - i.e. the other side is simply shocked and awed by what their opponent can accomplish so that their morale eventually crumbles even if they managed to rout the other side, leading to a draw or Pyrrhic victory.

The problem is that this probably needs a referee, or a really complex scoreboard to account for maneuvres (e.g. +1 morale for attempting it, +1 for pulling it off, +1 for each secondary effect like falling damage, snuffing a firebox, or clearing a path for other units).

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That would be neat for a specific scenario, or checklist of things to do, but not as a general rule.
Power Attacks are really tactical things to do. They won’t pop up all the time, but I’ve seen games won by clever use of them to reposition models, or otherwise gain an advantage.

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Power attacks have actually come up more often in the role-playing game than in the tabletop wargame. The favourite that has been used the most often is Grapple (which isn’t in Warmachine, of course) to immobilise enemies we want to capture alive.

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Back in the days when Weapon Lock was a Power Attack.


I think the rules change that stopped you power attacking and shooting if you had dual attack made power attacks much worse than envisioned. I agree trampling and shooting seemed very strong, but throws and slams and headbuts would all be much more sensible working with dual attack. The change makes power attacks rare.

But the interaction of slam the shoot alot, still exists. For example in Khador, a spam then shoot, would be worse than charge, beat back, shoot. Which gets you the same threat, and is allowed. And is free with the agressive head. Or if you have the knockdown fist or freeze mace, you might crit with that then shoot alot. And boosting that makes it very possible. And you can do that after a charge.

Power attacks are still pretty good, but the opertunity cost and the things you can do with them are not plentiful enough.

I’d like to see a new power attack that allows many more cohort models rip down buildings, mainly so every army could interact with them.

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