Making Power Attacks Free

Power attacks should cost focus/fury. There is a whole element of being able to make free power attacks under certain conditions (chain attacks, spells and feats) that would have to be modified to account for “free” power attacks. If they were free, they should still cost something, like replace initials (similar to special attacks).

The reason we don’t use power attacks as much as we used to is because their functionality and utility has changed. Throws used to be able to target an enemy, and you could get to a pretty good distance (half strength, which could really be cranked up on certain models). With strength gone, and with targeting gone on a throw, you’re bound to see fewer throws being made.

Throw utility is not reliable. This has to do with distance. Because it’s a random d6, the chance to remove a model from a zone is slim to none. A model has to be on the edge of a zone, with less than an inch inside for a throw to be a good bet.

Utility was made worse by restricting ranged attacks on a turn where a power attack is made. I understand the desire to limit the threat extension of a trample/gun or slam/gun, but not being able to throw or headbutt something, then shoot it when you have dual attack is a change that greatly reduced the throw or headbutt power attacks.

In my opinion, slams and throws need to be between 3-6 inches, not 1-6 inches. The power attack damage roll should be a flat 12 and flat 14, not based on the size difference, but be based solely on the size of the model making the attack (12 for medium based, 14 for large, 16 for super, and 18 for huge). Finally, headbutts and throws should allow for ranged initial attacks. These changes would increase the amount of utility and predictability, therefore increasing their frequency.


It’s not a fix, but perhaps if a model with two open fists (like the Kodiak/Momma Bear) could get extra distance on it’s throw. Remember that there used to be single-hand and double-hand throw attacks before.

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Having throws distance be Strength dependent would help a lot as well. It wasn’t hard to calculate and allowed strong models to excel .

Just because there are a handful of spells that make them free isn’t a reason to not make them free in general. The spells could easily be tweaked in compensation.

Yeah, I liked that stronger jacks were better at throwing. But the Strength stat is gone now, as is the scatter template. Bit of a shame, but if that level of streamlining brings more players into the game, then so be it.

This is a great post, throws need an improvement. Changing it to 3-6 in may be the compromise for say heavies, and leaving on a D3 for lights.

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How about 3-6" (or maybe 4-6", as it’s more easily resolved for a larger-based model throwing a smaller-based model by rolling 1d3+3), and d3" for throwing a model with an equal base size?


That’s consistent and easy to remember. A good solution there.

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Longer throws sounds like a good idea.

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I’m thinking power attacks should still cost focus (to not dilute its significance) but it is also worth exploring certain power attacks like throws from open fist being an ability instead i.e. You don’t have to chose to do initials or power attack; it is part of your initials already thus not consuming your whole combat action.

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Just to clarify, you mean a steamjack could, as part of its initial attacks, make an initial power attack with one arm by spending a point of focus and a standard initial attack with the other arm, correct?

(Also, I realise I’m really not up to date on the Warmachine/Hordes rules any more… we play the FMF role-playing game regularly, though.)

So if you have an open fist you can do a throw instead of making the normal attack with it? And then you can attack with your other weapon as normal?

I think that this is partially correct. Warmachine is definitely a game of strong positioning - considering how much of a role arc nodes, control ranges, and caster assassinations have on the game. I’ve always had the belief the best players with strong positioning can use those to their advantage.

Now I’m not one of the best, I probably don’t even qualify as good lol, but I had two fun opportunities against a Menoth player with my Cygnar the other day. He had only light warjacks and I had an Ironclad. I was able to use a Slam or Throw against him, which cleared out a flag for me and caused two of his warjacks to be sprawled on the floor, giving me a huge advantage

I could similarly see this being super helpful versus khador, being knocked back d6" when you have a… Speed 4 (yay!) Is such a big deal, it can set them back an entire turn of positioning.

I definitely don’t think they’re meant for every game. I can certainly picture a few matchups where they’d be basically useless. I will also say that trampling is practically useless. Howeverr, I think that planning ahead and being sneaky about them can make them super useful. Especially if you dangle a seemingly “better option” (looking at you Quake Hammer) in front of them to distract the other player.

Fair. I mean to suggest that making them free is less preferable to me than making them valuable. I don’t mind paying for something that has value.

I don’t think a power attack such as a slam should be free, it is to powerful of a tool.

This thread is more about throws and headbutts. Slams are powerful for several reasons, throws are less so partly because you don’t have the threat range of slams.

Slams and tramples are fine as is because they have their utility.

Throws and especially headbutts are kinda niche. Some brawler-style jacks (like the Kodiak and Freebooter) seem to be designed for power attacks, but if you want to reliably trigger the Chain attack: Grab & Smash you pretty much need to boost both initials, and probably the power attack too, leaving you with no focus to buy additionals after the target is knocked down.

So why not just use a big axe or anchor and smush the target with direct damage instead?

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In some cases you can get more utility using a power attack - maybe get a sight line for a mule or defender to the enemy caster, or slam/throw something into a key solo.

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Yeap you got that right. Just like any other ability but requires a focus to use. Then if you have another melee weapon, you can still attack with it (and by definition, if that’s an open fist too, you can spend another focus to use that to throw stuff too. If that’s too strong, then just limit the throw power attack to once per activation).

Sorry,I meant throw. I still think they are pretty strong. Just needs an increase to the D6 RNG.