Posted: September 9, 2013 by The Master of the Adeptus Administratum in News, Rules
Tags: , , , ,

The recent release of Codex: Space Marines has brought with it a number of changes.

Perhaps one of the most unexpected and potentially confusing is the change that has been made to the Servo Arm used by Techmarines and servitors.

In brief – these are now effectively melee weapons with the following characteristics:
S x2 AP 1 Specialist Weapon, Unwieldy.

First, let’s take a look at what these rules specifically state.

Specialist Weapons

+++Excerpt from the 40k Rulebook

A model fighting with this weapon does not receive +1 Attack for fighting with
two weapons unless both weapons have the Specialist Weapon rule.

+++End Excerpt

Unwieldy Weapons

+++Excerpt from the 40k Rulebook

A model attacking with this weapon does so at Initiative step 1,
unless it is a Monstrous Creature or a Walker.

+++End Excerpt

NOTE: With this change, having two servo arms on the servo harness will give the model an additional attack for being equipped with a pair of specialist weapons.

As the Servo Arm is a Specialist Weapon, the Techmarine would only get their base number of attacks and would not count as double- armed without a second Specialist Weapon.  This would make upgrading with a power axe viable, as they would count as being double-armed if they exchanged their bolter.

Some interesting rules that can be found in the FAQs about models armed with Unwieldy weapons…

+++Excerpt from Rulebook FAQ v1.5 – September 2013

Q: Does a model with an Unwieldy weapon Pile In at its
normal Initiative step and then fight at Initiative step 1?
A: No – it Piles In and fights at Initiative step 1.

+++End Excerpt

The FAQ states that a model with an Unwieldy weapon piles in and fights at Initiative 1.   This means that a Techmarine will always fight at initiative 1 as they have an unwieldy weapon, regardless of what weapons are actually being used.  Interestingly, this extends to other models with unwieldy weapons such as power fists and power axes when that model is looking to use krak grenades or melta bombs.

I have been unable to find any rules which would contradict this FAQ answer directly, so until such a clarification is presented, it would seem this is the way it is to be played.

The following FAQ question is no longer applicable as a servo-harness is equipped with two Servo Arms, which now are unwieldy weapons.  It looks like GW missed this one…  Expect that this question is removed from the next FAQ release.

+++Excerpt from Rulebook FAQ v1.5 – September 2013

: Do you get to Pile In twice in Fight sub-phase if you fight at
two different Initiatives (i.e. a Techmarine with servo-harness)?
A: No. You Pile In once, at your highest Initiative step.

+++End Excerpt

  1. Andrew M. says:

    I think in the case of say a model with both an unwieldy weapon, like a power fist, and a non-unwieldy weapon like a lightning claw, one would pile in at the initiative step of the weapon they were using as the primary striking weapon.
    So an I5 Chaos Lord with Fist and Claw would have to decide before I5 as to weather they are going to swing with the claw, or the fist.

    My interpretation.

    • If it wasn’t for the FAQ, I would be inclined to agree. The rules for more than one weapon (p.51) don’t seem to override the FAQ that if a model has an unwieldy weapon that they strike at Initiative 1.

      The FAQ in this instance lets us all down as it doesn’t address the issue and the question isn’t as pointed as it needs to be.

      …”he cannot mix and match the abilities of several different Melee weapons.” Rulebook p. 51



      Q: Does a model with an Unwieldy weapon Pile In at its
      normal Initiative step and then fight at Initiative step 1?
      A: No – it Piles In and fights at Initiative step 1.

      This is the downside of the FAQ portion of the documents that GW releases. Sometimes they cause more questions than they answer, and often the questions are simply not good enough – yielding answers which can be seen as contrary.

      In a tournament setting which follows and adheres to these FAQs, the answers therein even if contrary to understood conventions are still official.

      These sorts of problems were commonplace in previous editions – which is why Astronomi-con did not include the FAQ portion of these updates in any official capacity.

      With sixth edition, by and large the FAQ portions have been much improved.

  2. This Dave says:

    I’m wondering why with this change a Techmarine would ever bother taking a Power Axe. The Servo Arm is now basically a Power Fist so both strike at Initiative 1 being Unwieldy but as the Axe isn’t a Specialist Weapon you don’t get an extra attack for having one. And as the Servo Arm has a better AP and a far better Strength it seems like a waste of 15 points.

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