View Full Version : Empire Greatswords

16-09-2007, 23:03
I was thinking of building an infantry heavy Empire army and was wondering about taking a unit of Greatswords to form a tough, hitty center to the army. The main question I have is are they worth it. The great weapon and Stubborn is pretty nice but I'm worried that they'll just get targeted straight from the off and end up a waste of points.

Has anybody had much experience with Greatswords and can provide some hints and tips how to get the best out of them?


17-09-2007, 00:01

I've been playing with the Empire Army for something like two years and Greatswords have always been one of my favourites - and also, one of the fixed troops in any army I construct. I know that many people often critize their contradictory abilities (Stubborn, S5 but strike last, except the turn when they charge), but I do believe in their strength. It's a fact that the backbone on any Imperial Army should be infantry and IMO Greatswords do their job great (as their name:)). Obviously, you need to protect them from opponent's fire and magic and also you need to support their combat. In this sense, I use a detachment of archers to screen them and one of Free Companies to help them in CC.

I hope that you go for an Imperial Army with lots of infantry men!



17-09-2007, 00:18
Yes I've had lots they’re great. They are a target for shooting but as long as its bows (handguns are deadly) the 4+ save should help a lot.

They do have a psychological affect on the battlefield a lot of the time most enemies will avoid them at all cost so keep that in mind.

Only thing you really have to worry about is being out-numbered by fear causing enemies.

Detachments are a must, swordsmen on one side and archers (to use as a shooting screen) on the other.

Bret and other cavalry heavy armies will hate you. As they will not have a good chance to break you and they will get murdered in the second round of combat. As you should have a good rank bonus, outnumber, high number of kills, flank (for the detachment) and there lack of rank bonus.

It’s also a good Idea to have a WP or BSB (with griffon if you can afford it) as if you get them into combat the unit will be all but unstoppable.

I hope this helps :)

17-09-2007, 05:20
They are a great unit and would definitely recommend a unit of 20 led by a BSB. With the stubborn re-roll they become nigh unbreakable and will give opponents something to worry about. Throw in a Warrior Priest for the hatred benefit and you will put out alot of kills.

17-09-2007, 05:23
Its pretty hard to beat the Greatswords in terms of coolness as well.

17-09-2007, 05:38
Its pretty hard to beat the Greatswords in terms of coolness as well.

*nod sagely*

17-09-2007, 06:33
Actually, now that I was thinking of it.

How feasible would an army of Greatswords be?

What I mean is, instead of your usual infantry blocks, what about 4 units of Greatswords, led by Warrior Priests and an Arch-Lector, with some shooting units (I'm thinking Crossbows) for Core.

Could be an interesting "paladin-y" type army >.>

Stupid idea?-

17-09-2007, 09:28
Let's see: 10 points for a WS4, greatsword-wielding, stubborn troops with LD8. What's not to like?! Its a shame they can't have a magic banner, but the points reduction really made them a great unit in every empire army (well, not in knight-heavy perhaps). A BSB is a must have if you want them to be reliable and a warrior priest makes them one scary unit on the charge. My friend uses two units of greatswords in his regular Empire army along with two units of flagellants and I hate him for that. ;)

17-09-2007, 21:07
So it's a good idea to take twenty and get a BSB in there as well. I'm planning to stick mine in the center of my army to form a 'rock' around which the rest of my army can deploy. One thing I was thinking of doing was getting a Standard of Arcane warding in the unit to ward off any magic my opponant might aim at the unit as I can see the cost of the unit being quite high (especialy with the BSB).


18-09-2007, 03:27
It may seem like too many eggs in one basket, but I have used:

20 GS w/ hero or general with handgun, BSB, and 2 detachments of 8 guns. Nothing says "stay away" better than this. They deploy on a hill and form the solid center of the army.

18-09-2007, 10:24
i dont know how this would go as i have not tryed it yet, but in theory (or so i have been told) a unit of 10 GS and a warrior Priest go nice, or with a wizard with the lore of the beast and take the basic spell. both hero's work well and then add a unit of 5 free company as some meat shields from shooting and then add some archers, Halberdiers or Swordsmen to add some punch. this is a god combo for 1000 points supposedly. i would like to try it, especially with the Lvl 1 wizard.

nothing says bring it on then a long haried Noah's Arch mage getting his freak on in combat bear style.

bigbear bailey
18-09-2007, 11:37
I use them alot... They are no doubt my fav unit... Which is followed up closly by knights...

I use them as a flank holding unit and I have found that they are very good at holding off enemys from your warmachines... I haven't used the archers though...

19-09-2007, 21:13
The only downside is that I find the Empire special slots are quite crowded. If you're wanting Inner Circle Knights, Cannons/Mortars and Pistolliers as well you're going to have to make some tough decisions about which choices to make.

Still, 20 greatswords lead by a warrior priest and with a detachment of free company have proved themselves an excellent core to my army.

19-09-2007, 23:42
2 DoW cannons? Should free up special slots quite well

19-09-2007, 23:54
If you're wanting Inner Circle Knights, Cannons/Mortars and Pistolliers as well you're going to have to make some tough decisions about which choices to make.

That's how it's suposed to be though. Special troops are what they're ment to be, special and therefore limited. An average game (2000 points) does give you 4 slots which is plenty IMHO. As Chiron has pointed out you can go for DoW cannon or just take the more 'interesting' warmachines the Empire can take in it's rare slots.

That leaves you space for Greatswords, Pistoliers, Inner circle knights and Outriders.


20-09-2007, 14:55
I use Greatswords a lot but have recently been using Swordsmen instead. I have found very little difference so far. I found myself wanting more special slots and the easiest thing for me to drop was the GS. Not to mention the fact that you hardly ever kill things with them(I just miss a lot I guess)

But if I were to start taking them again I would take a unit of 20. Put them on the flank to hold one side of your line and stick a Warrior Priest in there with the Icon of Magnus. That way you have hatred on the first turn, and a stubbron immune to fear unit that you can count on holding a flank.

As for the DoW Cannon I would never take one. The Great Cannon is sooo much better it's not even funny. If you take any DoW I would take some Fast Cav. Now my special slots are 2 cannons, Inner Circle, Pistolliers and I have liked that set up.


22-09-2007, 06:33
I have 2 big problems with Greatswords. 1- the no magic banner thing is a horrible rule change. I can think of no other "Special" infantry unit in the game that can't take a magic banner. And even if they could take a 50 point banner, there isn't one available in the Empire Army. 2- they just don't stand up well against other elite infantry. Black Orcs/Big Uns, Hammerers, Iron Breakers, Sword Masters, Executioners, Tomb Guard etc will mess this unit up.
Detachments are a must. I tend to agree with Brimmstorm. They are not much better than Swordsman, and Swordsman are core. Might want to save your special slots for other things.

22-09-2007, 21:29
As for the DoW Cannon I would never take one. The Great Cannon is sooo much better it's not even funny.

Yeah but the whole point was that DoW cannon can go in rare slots. No matter how good the Empire great cannon is it's still a special choice.


23-09-2007, 00:27
Greatswords look good.
Stubborn and their decent save is the main appeal.

A dogs of war cannon is just as good at killing single wound models as a great cannon is(well unless they arent standing 48"-60" away then the great cannon is the better choice...but you dont often shoot diagaonally from corner to corner of the battlefield).

Swapping a couple of great cannon for dogs of war cannons saves you a few points and free's up a couple of special slots for a unit or 2 of greatswords.
Plus if you lose a rare slot of say....a helblaster volley gun,you've basically got back the points you just spent on greatswords.

So its entirely do-able and not too big a problem to switch them in.
Well worth giving a go anyway,if only to try once.

25-09-2007, 17:53
I've never considered a DoW cannon instead of a regular cannon (I guess I've always considered DoW's kind of cheating), but the freeing up of a special slot sounds good since I don't have any rares in my force.

Still, I face enough Wood Elves and doing D6 wounds to the Treeman is better than D3.