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View Full Version : Empire Halberdiers - what are their uses?



sideorder_of_chips
14-07-2008, 16:56
Pretty much in the post, what point is there in empire halberdiers? I know they are good as detatchments but what is the point of a full sized unit that couldn't be achieved by swordsmen or spearmen?

Grus
14-07-2008, 17:07
My personal opinion is that the only thing that speaks for halberdiers is fluff and possibly the models. Otherwise I think that spears or swords/shields are better options for any use (including detachements).

Phytrion
14-07-2008, 17:27
That's the problem with Halberdiers (and Halberds as a weapon) - according to the fluff the provinces levy most of their state troops as Halberdiers, yet there's really no functional reason to use them in game.

sideorder_of_chips
14-07-2008, 17:37
That's the problem with Halberdiers (and Halberds as a weapon) - according to the fluff the provinces levy most of their state troops as Halberdiers, yet there's really no functional reason to use them in game.

Apart from seeing them die by the dozens if they ever actually make it to combat. It can be quite amusing to see them win a combat because they took all the hits and a Empire General with a runefang does all the killing...

neXus6
14-07-2008, 19:09
My personal opinion is that the only thing that speaks for halberdiers is fluff and possibly the models.

Fluff would drive me to take lots of Halberdiers and that would be all the motivation I would need...IF the models weren't so terrible.

Whoever thought having 1 in 5 empire state troopers unable to afford shoes deserves a big pay cut in my opinion. Militia can afford shoes, Brettonian pesants can afford shoes, chaos marauders can afford shoes, even orcs and goblins can afford shoes but oh on not the highly trained (for humans) empire state troops. :rolleyes:

Kidjal
14-07-2008, 19:12
just me that treats his poor old halberdiers like glorious veterans then? ;)


I love my halberds. Give them a preist, get them to charge and reroll to hit strength 4. Yeah they die but they're cheap! Flank charge with militia and you're good to go.

In reality I've found less use for spearmen than halberds. My three main units of the line are 20 swords, 20 halberds and 15 greatswords.

sideorder_of_chips
14-07-2008, 19:25
Fluff would drive me to take lots of Halberdiers and that would be all the motivation I would need...IF the models weren't so terrible.

Whoever thought having 1 in 5 empire state troopers unable to afford shoes deserves a big pay cut in my opinion. Militia can afford shoes, Brettonian pesants can afford shoes, chaos marauders can afford shoes, even orcs and goblins can afford shoes but oh on not the highly trained (for humans) empire state troops. :rolleyes:

I think with that particular model, the story was: the soldier sold more or less everything so so he could have a twin-tailed comet hammered onto his breastplate. He even had to sell his shoes. It really does break your heart.:cries:


just me that treats his poor old halberdiers like glorious veterans then?


I love my halberds. Give them a preist, get them to charge and reroll to hit strength 4. Yeah they die but they're cheap! Flank charge with militia and you're good to go.

In reality I've found less use for spearmen than halberds. My three main units of the line are 20 swords, 20 halberds and 15 greatswords.
14-07-2008 20:09



There are probably loads of veteran halberdiers, its just that the electors have to keep a certain number around at all times, thats why they don't get promoted.

the only real reason I see for them to exist is to soak up damage that you don't want better men to take.

blurred
14-07-2008, 19:46
They don't have any uses, unfortunately. Free company fighters do a better job as a detachment and spearmen as a parent unit.

sulla
14-07-2008, 20:09
Whoever thought having 1 in 5 empire state troopers unable to afford shoes deserves a big pay cut in my opinion. Militia can afford shoes, Brettonian pesants can afford shoes

Bret peasants probably can't afford shoes. The local Duke provides shoes for the peasant to rent (it probably takes 2 generations to pay off the rent on men at arms wargear):evilgrin:

Windings of a snake
14-07-2008, 21:43
Well the problem with those very nice and extremly fluffy halberdiers is just not the weapon, but who is using them.

In general infantry still kicks the bucket save those with sufficient army specialialities ore rules of them own.

Compare a halberdier with a dark elf spearman of those to come. They are to my personal distress no unit that is a great or even good bang for your buck.

Do not get me wrong i do like infantry a lot but those are painfully indecent.

neXus6
14-07-2008, 23:37
It is a bit odd that a soldier who has trained all his life with a sword is WS4 but a Soldier who has trained all his life with a Halberd is only WS3. :p

It's something which was wrong with the previous Empire book and it is still wrong. I guess they decided noone would care about halberdiers supposedly being the back bone of the Empire armies while they were getting given terminator horses, pigeon bombs and multi-rocket launchers. :rolleyes:

And yeah I guess the Duke buys the brettonian pesants shoes...but you reckon the Empire could knock something up when 1/5th of your state troopers are running around barefoot. :D

The Farmer
15-07-2008, 08:16
Graham McNeil uses them apparently, "I'd take strength four any day" is something he once said.

Aside from that if you give them a shield, you can use them with handweapon and shield as slightly worse swordsmen. The thing with halberds is that empire infantry aren't meant to kill anything and the lack of survivability present in the use of the shield and ws 4 of swordsmen just make them better as blocks or even detachments.

Irisado
15-07-2008, 15:31
If you take a look at this thread (http://warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=138424), and scroll down the opening post, you'll find links to two posts (one of which was written by me - shameless plug ;)) about the uses of Empire Halberdiers. You may find them helpful.

sideorder_of_chips
15-07-2008, 20:10
Darn you and your power of logical thinking!:evilgrin:

I see what you mean about the versatility they can have and the warrior priest thing.

Youve inspired me to take up my very old unit of halberdiers (the realy old plastic ones with only a single pose) and maybe even add a command unit and a warrior priest! Check out here (http://warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=152465) for these updates.

Grontik
15-07-2008, 20:32
I prefer Halberdiers over Spearmen and truth be told if I had more of them I would probably never use the spears. Str 4 is gold compared to WS4 most of the time so buying them shields makes them great.

stashman
15-07-2008, 21:32
The problem is that Swordsmen are too cheap ;)

Thats why there is less Halbardiers!

Irisado
15-07-2008, 21:33
Youve inspired me to take up my very old unit of halberdiers (the realy old plastic ones with only a single pose)

I've got some of those lurking around too! I used to field them as detachments, but they have been superseded by the sixth edition plastics (not seventh, since they are truly awful models in my view).

I love Halberdiers for all sorts of reasons, so I'm glad that you've decided to think about adding them to your army.

neXus6
15-07-2008, 22:08
If only GW could make some good looking Halberdiers I'd do an Empire army instantly. :p

I started converting Halberdiers, old state troop plastics ALL with the militia Halberds and the swordsmen shield arms + shields...I love the unit. It took a lot of time to scrounge all the halberds for it but it was worth it...now I don't even have that core starting point of State Troops all with shoes. :(

Firebreather
16-07-2008, 04:55
It seems I'm in the minority in liking Halberdiers in any way, even if it is only as the occasional detachment for Swordsmen and the like. They've done well for me in such a role, actually, though that's just my personal experience.

I most certainly agree with the majority of people in saying that as a unit itself(ie. NOT a detachment), Halberdiers are pretty grim, and I wouldn't be likely to ever consider them for such a role. Compared to the Empire's other choices for large blocks of parent units, Halberdiers simply don't stack up.

So, my thoughts are that as detachments they can be okay, but for anything else choose Swordsmen, Spearmen, etc.

Marwynn
16-07-2008, 06:53
They make you feel good for fielding a "fluffy" list as they are decimated by almost everything else out there.

Heh, joking aside they're not that bad. Sure, a 6+ save with a S4 weapon on a WS3 guy sounds horrid.

... but you see...

Hmm I don't know where I was going to go with that.

Oh yeah, "I'll take S4 any day".

They're fine in detachments of 3x3, and even okay in large blocks. Just don't expect them to live or do anything useful other than tie down a potential flanker. If you're looking for damage dealing it's the crazy Flagellants you have to look at. For durability the Greatswords and the Swordsmen are where it's at.

All they gotta do is give Halberdiers Heavy Armour instead of a shield upgrade and they'd be solid. It's not like we have a lot of Heavy Armour users in the Empire. If the Elector Counts are required to maintain a standing force then these guys would be equipped better as a matter of necessity; they're going to be the only ones fighting unless other units can be brought forth.

The other part of the problem is the weapon itself. Yay, +1 Strength. Spears don't provide that (unless you're mounted and charging) but then again you get a second S3 attack. Hand weapons can be paired with shields, giving +1 AS, and with a higher WS of 4 they're even tougher to wound.

Halberds need looking into for sure. Not just for the Empire but the weapon itself.

neXus6
16-07-2008, 08:33
Actually I think that was always the problem. You could never just change the halberd rule before, if you made it better then the problem is while you would make you Empire Halberdiers better you would ALSO make Halbered armed Chosen Warriors of Khorne better and they were utterly hidious as it was.

I'm not one to often support bunging special rules into a unit, but certainly they need something, be it heavy armour, a lower points cost or something. Mind you it is very hard to balance things when in general armies are always getting better and you always have a huge gap between oldest and newest. :p

sideorder_of_chips
16-07-2008, 15:32
I think that heavy armour would make more sense as I don't find the shields very fluffy (as health and safety oriented as they are).

Also, in the case of fluff, halberdiers appear to be quite brave and skillful. For examaple, there was a heroic stand a unit of Stirland made at Hel Fenn and there was a mention of a veteran unit of halberdiers that took on alot of Plague bearers single-handed and almost won (if it wasn't for that pesky Great Unclean one and his darn Nurglings). I think the rules should represent the fluff and vice versa.

_Lucian_
16-07-2008, 16:17
Halberds need looking into for sure. Not just for the Empire but the weapon itself.

Has to be said halberds on chosen chaos warrios is definatly the way forward, the problem with a halberd is there should be someone strong naturally holding it not a nancy human, skaven or elf....

your biggest issue with balancing the state troops is getting the theme of the army right. Unless im mistaken no one takes any of the infantry in an empire army to do damge (flaggies are an exception) because the majority of the time its outclassed. In most circumstances even heavy armour AND an increase to WS4 simply wouldnt enable them to be a hard hitting unit (look at storm vermin). Quite simply empire infantry is about static res and characters, not necessarily killing things, or atleast it is to me. To change halberdiers into something more capable of kiling would change the dynamic of an empire foot based army (possibly). I simply struggle to see how they can fulfil there role as a hammer.... historically thats what halberdiers were.

kroq'gar
18-07-2008, 03:37
Well... my idea for halberds was always this.

Elector count: does not give 50 point banner. Gives one regiment of halberds the option to upgrade to the counts standing force.

ld 8, ws4, i4. armed with halberds, second rank fight like spears. (same outfitting as a regular halberdier, but they are just better with the equipment).


As far as it goes, i have many halberds... never leave home without them. normal set up.
20 swordsmen, 2xdetachment of 10 halberd. Have three of these regiments
20xgreatswords, 2x detachment of swordsmen

Zot Zot
02-08-2008, 00:32
One thing that could help would be reworking the weapon itself. Give it three possible uses.
1) Standard: +1 Str, requires two hands or
2) Acts as a Spear: Fight in two ranks or
3) Acts as Great Weapon: +2 Str, go last.

Obviously, this would make the weapon more expensive, but much more adaptable (and explain why the Elector Counts keep them around in droves. Mabye even drop #1 and make a Halberd a combination (spear/great weapon) weapon, which in my humble opinion, the actual Halberd historically did.

I agree whole heartedly about allowing Halberdiers to take Heavy Armour (but no shield) as an upgrade. Shields make little sense when your weapon is two handed. You don't see Greatswords taking shields (just in case someone shoots at them.)

All that being said, choosing your Imperial Infantry has a lot to do with what your foe is. Halberdiers are about offense. Defensively, Spearmen & Swordsmen last longer due to the better armour save. Halberdiers need to hit hard and put their foe down, since light armour and average Toughness isn't going to stand up for long to return blows. The unit of Halberdiers I use ALWAYS is led by a Warrior Priest (those reroll on misses should not be underestimated.) And they hit with Str-4, so they are really a boon against slow tough foes like Orcs or Dwarves.

One 4 is usually worth two 3's in most cases. Better chance to wound and slicing through a layer of armour to boot.

Halberdiers also only cost 5 points and a full command is only 20 more.

I also happen to like the 7th ed models, forming a virtual wall of sharp blades with plumed helms. I have a unit of 25 with some Mordhiem Wardogs to bulster thier numbers.

No matter their shortcomings, I feel a unit or two of Halberdiers can be of great value to a crafty general. Don't sell them short.