A Power Axe is a Power Weapon taking the form of a single or double-edged battle axe. Power Axes vary in length and design, and have been known to be crafted from one of any number of different materials, though usually Adamantium. As with all Power Weapons, when its power field is activated, usually by operating a control located on the hilt, the blade is sheathed in a lethal corona of disruptive energy. This energy field allows the blade to carve through flesh, bone and most forms of armour plate alike, making a Power Axe a highly effective close combat weapon.
The weight of a Power Axe allows for greater impact forces when striking compared to a Power Sword, but is consequently far less nimble in the hand. Their unwieldiness and inferior defensive capabilities are often mitigated by pairing them with a Combat Shield or other means of protection, allowing a warrior to stay his enemies' attacks until he is ready to strike a killing blow. In most cases, they have a reputation as a brutal and unsubtle weapon; the choice to employ one is often more personal than strategic.
Power Axes are most commonly found being utilised by the Space Marines of the Adeptus Astartes, typically by senior officers, Assault Squad Sergeants, or Vanguard Veterans. Ornately-designed Power Axes, replete with iconography of devotion to the Machine God, are also commonly associated with Techmarines and members of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
In battle, Power Axes can be used either in one hand to facilitate the wielding of another close combat weapon such as a Bolt Pistol or Combat Shield, or in two hands to bring its full devastating power to bear. The Forces of Chaos, and xenos races such as the Aeldari, are also known to make use of such weapons.
Known Power Axe Patterns
- Astartes Executioner Pattern - The armouries of Watch Fortress Erioch contain a set of twelve of these large, heavy-bladed two-handed Power Axes. Each weapon is of master-crafted quality, and each has a long history of valour in the Jericho Reach. Only those who have earned the trust of the Deathwatch Watch Commander are granted the use of one of these axes to slay the enemies of the Emperor.
- Cthonian Pattern - An ancient Power Axe pattern based upon the Carsoran Pattern, this variant pattern was utilised by the Sons of Horus Traitor Legion during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Frost Axe - A Frost Axe is a master-crafted melee weapon, used exclusively by the warriors of the Space Wolves Chapter of Space Marines, and is similar in many ways to more common Power Weapons of similar design. Each Frost Axe is considered among some of the most prized weapons of the Chapter, and each is crafted by a master Iron Priest. The cutting edge of Frost Axes are often made from energised diamond, giving them the appearance of blades forged from purest ice. Other times, for those with the courage and skill to slay a mighty miles-long Kraken from the vast oceans depths of Fenris, the edge may be instead studded with the beast's diamond-hard teeth. Regardless of what the details of their design, all Frost Axes are power weapons of consummate lethality.
- Giantkiller Pattern - A sub-type pattern of Frost Axe, also utilised exclusively by the Space Wolves Chapter.
- Hesperex Pattern - A Chapter-exclusive subtype pattern of Power Axe manufactured and utilised by the brutal Minotaurs Space Marine Chapter.
- Legatine Axe - Created to the specifications of Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines Legion himself after a comprehensive study of thousands of individual power weapon designs from across the many worlds of humanity, the Legatine axe's design is that of a precise and perfectly balanced instrument of war. Requiring great skill to master, the weapon is swifter to wield than most power axes, but lacks the brute destructive force of many of its kind, relying instead on the skilful placement of blows to inflict maximum harm.
- Loi-Pattern - Unlike the more common Mezoa Power Axe with its broad blade, the Loi model sacrifices some cutting edge length for a longer haft, thus keeping the overall weight roughly the same. As it can be swung in a longer arc, it has greater penetration abilities when swung. Each is almost a 1.5 meters in length, and some users modify the top of the axe in order to fashion a very intimidating walking stick. This weapon requires two hands to use.
- Mandato-Angelus Pattern - A known pattern of Power Axe utilised by the Howling Griffons Space Marine Chapter.
- Mezoa Pattern - A commonly used modern pattern of Power Axe.
- Nostraman Glaive - An ancient pattern Power Axe utilised by the brutal Night Lords Traitor Legion during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. Traditionally, kill markings were patterned on ceremonial weapons carried by court executioners.
- Omnissian Axe Astartes Pattern - Often carried by Techmarines to show their devotion to the Omnissiah, this weapon has a long staff-like body tipped with half of the circular Adeptus Mechanicus Cog Mechanicum icon. The symbol forms a blade and is sheathed in a power field. Arcs of energy illuminate the ridged blade and light the skull's eyes with a hungry glow, leaving little doubt that -- even while covered with inscribed circuitry designs indicating its sacred nature -- this religious icon is also a deadly weapon in a Space Marine's powerful hands. Many a foe has realised far too late that what appeared to be a religious walking staff was really a deadly weapon. The Ommnisian Axe also functions as a Combi-tool, serving the dual purpose of performing Rites of Repair on vehicles and other war machines in the field.
- Artificer Omnissian Pattern - Among the cog-toothed Power Axes of the Deathwatch Techmarines there also exist rare and ancient examples of artificer tech. These potent weapons combine all the brutal power of the Astartes Pattern Omnissian Axe with forgotten forgings and flawless craftsmanship.
- Omnissian Axe Sollex Pattern - The Sollex Pattern is another variant of the Omnissian Axe that is similar in most respects to the Astartes pattern.
- Reaper Pattern - A known variant pattern of Power Axe utilised by the Salamanders Space Marine Chapter.
- Surestrike Pattern - A known variant pattern of Power Axe utilised by the Mantis Warriors Space Marine Chapter.
- Ultra Mk II Pattern - A commonly used Astartes Power Axe pattern utilised by many Space Marine Chapters. The Marines Errant are known to favour this pattern.
- Vanir Pattern - A Chapter-exclusive pattern of Power Axe utilised by the vicious Executioners Space Marine Chapter.
- Axes of Ultramar - Constructed of rare ores and jewels found only beneath the surface of the planet Prandium in Ultramar, these are elaborate but deadly weapons, granted only to the most distinguished of warriors from the ranks of the Ultramarines.
Notable Power Axes
- Axe Morkai - This mighty weapon is borne by Great Wolf Logan Grimnar of the Space Wolves Space Marine Chapter. Axe Morkai is an ancient artefact, thrumming with the power of the Warp, and was battlefield trophy taken from a defeated Chaos Champion by the Great Wolf himself. Once he had acquired it, Grimnar had the Chapter's Iron Priests reforge the deadly axe into the likeness of the twin-headed wolf-god Morkai, the guardian of the gates of the afterlife in the myths of the people of the Space Wolves' homeworld, Fenris.
- Axe Mortalis - An immensely powerful power axe, the Axe Mortalis is borne into battle by Lord Commander Cervan Dante of the Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter. Forged in the days immediately after the end of the Horus Heresy, Dante uses this magnificent weapon to slice through enemy ranks and cut down the enemies of the Imperium of Man.
- Lifetaker - This massive black-bladed power axe of archaic design is borne into battle by High Executioner Arkash Hakkon of the Executioners Space Marine Chapter. It is carried by successive High Executioners as a badge of their office. Hakkon entrusted Lifetaker to High Chaplain Thulsa Kane to signify his leadership of the Executioners during the dark days of the Badab War. Upon the end of this conflict, the axe was returned to the High Executioner.
Xenos Power Axes
The military forces of the Imperium are not the only ones who wield these potent weapons into battle. Many of the xenos races utilise the potent properties of such deadly weapons.
- Ghost Weapons - All Ghost Weapons, whether they take on the form of an axe, glaive or sword, have a rudimentary sentience within their Eldar Spirit Stone core that guides the wielder's blows into his target's weak spots. Eldar wraith constructs, such as a Wraithblade, the most feared of all Wraithguard, are known to wield elegant Ghostaxes in conjunction with glowing Forceshields.
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pp. 53, 82
- Codex: Eldar (6th Edition), pp. 49, 64
- Codex: Necrons (5th Edition), pg. 83
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pg. 123
- Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 51
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pp. 56-57, 59, 72, 82
- Dark Heresy: The Inquisitor's Handbook (RPG), pg. 136
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 155
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pg. 98
- Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), pg. 139
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War, Part One, pp. 247, 40-41, 78, 125
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War, Part Two, pp. 70, 80, 90, 105, 129
- Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymera, pg. 112
- Imperial Armour Volume Twelve - The Fall of Orpheus, pg. 141
- Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 130
- Rogue Trader: Into the Storm (RPG), pg. 124
- The Horus Heresy - Book Two: Massacre (Imperial Armour), pp. 53, 57, 104
- Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (1st Edition), pp. 78-79
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition), pg. 61
- Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (2nd Edition), pg. 10
- Warlords of the Dark Millennium - Dante (Digital Edition), pp. 11, 23-24
- White Dwarf 280 (US), "Heroes & Villains of the 41st Millennium: Great Wolf Logan Grimnar"
- White Dwarf 247 (US), "The Great Wolf: Wolf Lord Logan Grimnar", pp. 34-35