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Alkanchel
20-10-2008, 19:34
I've just started plotting on a new empire army. After a couple of weeks of pondering, I'm still left with some unresolved issues.

For all matters, we are considering 2000 pts, all-comers.

Heroes

My initial idea here was a General, a BSB Captain, a lvl 2 Wizard and a Warrior Priest. The General was supposed to have the Doomfire ring (which I suppose can be used in close combat (due to not being a magic missile) to beef up CR, and to drain enemy dispels), some sort of magic combat effectiveness enhancer (dawn armour? toughness test-hammer?) and the common magic banner boost to one of the main state troop regiments.

The captain I figured as a BSB with the Griffin-banner in another of the main state troop regiments.

The wizard I envision as a versatile dispeller (with rod of power), with celestial for those handgunners and stuff.

Finally, I imagine that a Warrior Priest will 1. add a much needed dispel die, 2. drain enemy dispels with prayers and 3. in some extent boost a units close combat effectiveness. Putting the priest on a horse in a unit of knights gives a hypothetical unbreakable (with prayer) 1+ save unit, which I think could tie up a full rank bonus static CR monster unit for some turns.

However, this setup gives two dispel dice and no dispel scrolls, something that feels rather naked. The rod of power in some way makes up for this, but I'm a tad nervous of being emasculated by magic in a strategically weak moment (such as when the rod fails).

Also, the general is expensive, and allthough ld9 and a magic banner for state troops is nice, I'm not sure if he will be able to give his money worth. I would like it if he could be kitted out to reliably kill off lots of little guys, but empire's magic items are rather lacking in that aspect.


Troops

My main unsurety comes from swordsmen vs spearmen here. I've gotten the impression that you will be charged, and trying to make the most of this, I feel that spearmen might be better at taking a charge and toughing it out. Guess I'll have to try and see.

Also, is a detachment counter charge a smart move to pull? Generally, we will be hoping on more or less static CR to win, and a flank charge buys CR at the expense of putting terribly many more soft targets in base contact with the enemy. If a counter charge is to be pulled off, I feel it simply has to be with swordsmen, due to their higher survivability. Any experiences?

Screening important units with non-panic causing squads of skirmishing archers also seem like a good idea. And a nice balance between crossbowmen and handgunners. I feel a fairly large proportion of missile troops are needed, since the bad maneuverability of the army will be a much greater flaw if missile troops can't be used to direct the strategical flow of the game.


Special

My main consideration here is Outriders. Strategically, they won't differ too much from handgunners. Their greater movement and fast cavalry status will ensure they get better firing positions, and pointswise they give about the same bang for the buck. Their big drawback is of course their fragility and their special slot. Where I am right now, I think I will pass up on the outriders.

Instead, three cannons/mortars and a unit of pistoliers will probably give a good balance of speed, crowd control and capability of handling chariots/monsters/etc.


Rare

Honestly, I'm unsure of if any of the rares are worth their price and/or unreliability.

The volley gun is a joke. The misfire risk is somewhere in the 40%'s for each firing of the gun, and it generates shots, not hits... It is of course statistically capable of firing as thirty S5 handgunners for one round, but I feel that risk need to be minimized, at least risks as blatant as the helblaster.

Then the helstorm. Having two more strength than the mortar, nastier missfire table and an additional artillery dice unpredictability. This is my favourite of the rares, I could imagine two of these could wreck some real havoc. The 5" template is big enough to hit something, even if it scatters wildly, and in WFB, a 5" str 5 template is pretty damn good. However, I'm very unsure of if the extra strength outweighs it's potentially huge scatter.

Finally, the steam tank... is it really capable of earning back it's points? 300 pts can buy a whole lot of other units. I guess it gives some needed dominance in table control, but is it really worth it? It's also rather fragile, with a steam cannon that can be totally devastating (dare one fire it?) and a T6 that can be potentially harmed by almost every model in the entire game, and since every wound is worth about 30 pts, I think there will be plenty of candidates.

That was everything so far. Now please give me lots of interesting feedback :)

RossS
20-10-2008, 20:11
I don't think that you are giving outriders enough credit for what they are capable of doing. They are a superlative gun platform. Even if they are expensive and very delicate, they can absolutely tear through units. My 2000 point Nuln army's special slots are filled by a unit of pistoliers, a unit of outriders and two cannons.

The Rocket Batteries are the newest addition to my army, but they are fabulous. I think that if you want to take one, you probably should take two. They are wildly innacurate, but if you take two, at least one is bound to blast the hell out of something. I face a lot of horde armies, and these babies absolutely savage my opponents' lines.

Faustburg
20-10-2008, 21:19
The problem with the General is that with the Griffon standard bumped up out of reach for anyone but the BSB, the point of his existence really went out the window... There are really no banners actually worth taking for a unit of state troops either...

And putting the Griffon Standard on the BSB makes it pretty vulnerable, and the bearer himself quite useless as he will only dish out a measly 3 S4 attacks.

Wizard and priest gives you a basic 4 dispel dice, not three. Enough to survive the magic assault of an enemy not going totally overboard with magic, and if they do, it is not really anything you can build to realistically counter everything anyway, you will have to prioritize the spells you absolutely can't let through and hope to kill their spell casters with a lucky cannon ball or such.

Detachments, always detachments... besides the supporting/counter charges, they can wander off to fight light menaces like small fast cavalry units harrassing you, claim table quarters, march block, etc.

Grand Master, with knights and mounted Priest is the way to go. Or a War Altar lector, if you can stand the sneering remarks of your opponents...

Atrahasis
20-10-2008, 21:27
Heroes

If you're taking a Lord, it should be an Arch Lector. 2 Dispel Dice, 2 Bounds along with the option of a War Altar are golden, and the Hatred more than makes up for the loss of WS and A.

Core

One word : Swordsmen. Spearmen are OK, but in most cases you're not going to do significantly more casualties, so survivability is key. Swordsmen are also very good for detachments for the reasons you state, but can be expensive. I run free company (9 points/detachment cheaper).

Specials

Outriders are brilliant the narrower frontage, ability to get out of the way of threatened, and 360 LOS are invaluable in a line missile unit.

Rares

I think you're about right. I like the Hellsturm, but I don't know if it's exactly a competitive choice.

Kahadras
20-10-2008, 22:08
I tend to prefer a defencive set up when it comes to Empire...

Characters - For a Lord I like the General. He's dirt cheap. Give him a decent armour and ward save, a great weapon and stick him in your battleline to provide that leadership bubble. With Heroes I'd sugest a BSB to help out your battleline as well. Give him a decent armour save and leave it at that. For magic I'd go defencive. A level 1 wizard with Rod of Power should do the trick. I'd then back him up with a Warrior Priest who you could mount, armour up and give a magic weapon to and use in your hammer unit.

Core - Deep block units of Swordsmen to form the center of your army. Make sure they have detachments. A couple of Crossbowmen to give some ranged support and a couple of small five man cavalry units to provide a hammer to shove into the flanks of your opponant after you've held his charge.

Special - Take a couple of Cannon to deal with big scary things (your crossbowmen can deal with anything else). I'd then sugest some Pistoliers as they're fast and can really annoy your opponant by march blocking and peppering things with pistol fire.

Rare - Not too keen on TBH. A steam tank is probably the best way forward as they scare players. I like HBVG as well but that's more of a personal preference than anything else.

Basicaly I feel that Empire are best when forcing their opponant to come to them. Whittle units down with marmachines and missile units. Use cavalry on the flanks. Light to slow down and annoy enemy units. Heavy to wheel into the center to provide support for the block troops. Swordsmen to hold the center with their detachments for support.

Characters are mainly there for support. The lord and BSB for their leadership bonuses and the other two to provide dispel dice to hold back your opponants magic from doing anything too nasty.

Kahadras

Othiem
20-10-2008, 22:22
Apologies, long winded reply ahead:



The General was supposed to have the Doomfire ring (which I suppose can be used in close combat (due to not being a magic missile) to beef up CR, and to drain enemy dispels), some sort of magic combat effectiveness enhancer (dawn armour? toughness test-hammer?) and the common magic banner boost to one of the main state troop regiments.
Doomfire ring is nice and will drain dispell dice, however putting it on a general is a waste, since your general will likely be in combat. He will have to shoot through the unit he is in combat with, who will then be immune to the panic effect of taking wounds due to burning head, thus negating much of point of the spell. Also, since such wounds occur in the magic phase, they will not count towards combat resolution. If you want to buff your CR, the laurels of victory and one of the various cheaper weapon options are the way to go, which weapon you choose depends on who you think you will be facing.



The captain I figured as a BSB with the Griffin-banner in another of the main state troop regiments.
Hard to go wrong with the griffin banner, it's good. However my personal preference is to go with a generic banner, and give the captain Van Horstmann's and a Sword of Justice, turning him into my stealth character killer. Good for kicks and giggles vs random opponents. Our banner selection isn't that great, so don't be afraid to go generic and gear out your BSB differently. For your list that is lacking in the magic department, Aldred's Casket and a Sigil of Sigmar could help power up your magic phase. 2 separate bound spell items are another option.



The wizard I envision as a versatile dispeller (with rod of power), with celestial for those handgunners and stuff.

Assume you're talking about lore of heavens, which I'm not really a big fan of. For empire, sheer numbers are a much better defense against shooting than a ward save. I'm a bigger fan of lore of death myself. Lores of fire and metal are compelling as well, since there's an annoying amount of regen in the game now, and empire access to flaming attacks is minimal.



Finally, I imagine that a Warrior Priest will 1. add a much needed dispel die, 2. drain enemy dispels with prayers and 3. in some extent boost a units close combat effectiveness. Putting the priest on a horse in a unit of knights gives a hypothetical unbreakable (with prayer) 1+ save unit, which I think could tie up a full rank bonus static CR monster unit for some turns.

This is a good setup, and giving hatred to a knight unit helps with the rubber lance effect. Consider putting the Doomfire ring on the warrior priest, as he'll be charing around the flank he'll be in a good position for shooting. If you're looking to use knights to tie up a unit though, consider GWs instead of lances. Lance knights need to break on the charge, get quick support, or it's all over for them. This is especially bad since you have a hero (and a dispell die) tied up in said unit.



Also, the general is expensive, and allthough ld9 and a magic banner for state troops is nice, I'm not sure if he will be able to give his money worth. I would like it if he could be kitted out to reliably kill off lots of little guys, but empire's magic items are rather lacking in that aspect.

If you want killy, you'd be better off with a Wizard Lord. Empire chars are all about the side effects. Laurels of Victory will win you fights, and tossing a Standard of Arcane Warding on some state troops will help with your dispell problems.



Troops

My main unsurety comes from swordsmen vs spearmen here. I've gotten the impression that you will be charged, and trying to make the most of this, I feel that spearmen might be better at taking a charge and toughing it out.

Take both, swordsmen are the better at taking a charge and lasting, since their WS4 helps them survive. Spears are better for blocking off weaker units. If you really want to take charges, consider a unit of greatswords, best unit in the empire for it.



Also, is a detachment counter charge a smart move to pull?


Depends who you are charging. Swordsmen make good small detachments for removing rank bonus without giving away too much CR. Milita are good vs lightly armored units like undead. If you are up against an enemy where countercharges look like a bad idea, you can always deploy your detachments as screens for your main units, then flee and pray you can countercharge.



And a nice balance between crossbowmen and handgunners. I feel a fairly large proportion of missile troops are needed, since the bad maneuverability of the army will be a much greater flaw if missile troops can't be used to direct the strategical flow of the game.

Don't forget hochland longrifles for your gunner command. These things are one of the most overpowered items in the empire list. Since our heros don't stack up to other armies combat heros, the best thing you can do is pick off the leaders and avoid challenges before they even reach your lines.



Special

My main consideration here is Outriders. Strategically, they won't differ too much from handgunners.

Nope, they are completely different. Pistoleers are a harassment unit that will have to bait and flee the enemy. Outriders are a high powered mobile firebase that will spend most of the game standing still. If you have a large squad of handgunners and xbow men though, you can safely pass on them



Rare

The volley gun is a joke.


Nope, the volley gun dominates whatever location is is placed in. Yes on average the damn thing will blow itself up, but your enemy isn't working on averages, they are working on worst case scenario, and that is that the volley gun will rip through whichever expensive unit they send at in a single round of shooting. By simply not being worth the risk, the gun can hold up a whole flank on it's own.



Then the helstorm.

Yup, these are awesome. The key to the hellstorm is to not really give a damn what you hit, just make sure it hits something. Fire in a dense concentration of your enemy and hope for the best. Great vs undead hordes and demons, where the goal is to force them to take as many hits as possible. Less effective vs smaller elite armies, but them's the breaks. I prefer to take helstorms in rare slots so that I don't need to take mortars, freeing up more special slots.



Finally, the steam tank...


Steam tanks are widely, and correctly, considered the cheesiest unit in the empire list. I don't care who you are, 10 wounds against a 1+ armor save is going to take awhile to inflict. And even if they do kill the tank, that's at least half the game that the heavy guns were not aimed at your troops/cav. Also remember the stank is one of the only sources of impact hits in the empire army, good for HEs and ASF blackguard units.

You forgot flagellents in this section. A lot of people seem down on them, but I love them. Unbreakable makes them the tarpit of the empire, and their martyr ability gives them the flexibility to generate some kills if you think they have a chance at winning combat. Hard to justify against the other special choices, but since you've got a warrior priest, they're core!



That was everything so far. Now please give me lots of interesting feedback :)

Well it was a lot of feedback at least.

Kahadras
20-10-2008, 22:31
Nope, the volley gun dominates whatever location is is placed in. Yes on average the damn thing will blow itself up, but your enemy isn't working on averages, they are working on worst case scenario, and that is that the volley gun will rip through whichever expensive unit they send at in a single round of shooting. By simply not being worth the risk, the gun can hold up a whole flank on it's own.


I agree. OK in some games it's blown itself up on the second or third turn and it's a rare event when it lives to see the end of the game but the firepower it can put out is very scary. I've seen many people go out of their way to avoid getting within 12 inches of it.

Kahadras

Alkanchel
21-10-2008, 12:30
I don't think that you are giving outriders enough credit for what they are capable of doing. They are a superlative gun platform. Even if they are expensive and very delicate, they can absolutely tear through units. My 2000 point Nuln army's special slots are filled by a unit of pistoliers, a unit of outriders and two cannons.

Yes, they are certainly powerful. But I'm not sure if they warrant filling a special slot, when handgunners/crossbowmen will be able to substitute for them to some extent. There are no cannon substitutes... What I might do is go the rocket battery-route, and then use pistoliers, outriders and two cannons as special choices, as the rocket batteries will fill the mortar's shoes.



Wizard and priest gives you a basic 4 dispel dice, not three.

I meant that they give me one dispel die each. Not counting the basic dice.



Doomfire ring is nice and will drain dispell dice, however putting it on a general is a waste, since your general will likely be in combat. He will have to shoot through the unit he is in combat with, who will then be immune to the panic effect of taking wounds due to burning head, thus negating much of point of the spell. Also, since such wounds occur in the magic phase, they will not count towards combat resolution. If you want to buff your CR, the laurels of victory and one of the various cheaper weapon options are the way to go, which weapon you choose depends on who you think you will be facing.

Damn. I knew my hellfire-plan would be thwarted. Also, I've considered the laurels, however, I'll still have problems getting the general geared up to in a dependable way put the laurels to good use. Imagine putting the sword of sigismund on the general together with laurels, and then pitting him against some elite infantry with, say, S4, WS4 and 4+ sv. He would hit with two attacks, wound with 1.33 hits and land about one unsaved wound. This for exactly 100 points worth of equipment. I'm trying to figure out a set up that will let the general be a valuable addition to CR, but so far I'm rather sceptical.


Assume you're talking about lore of heavens, which I'm not really a big fan of. For empire, sheer numbers are a much better defense against shooting than a ward save. I'm a bigger fan of lore of death myself. Lores of fire and metal are compelling as well, since there's an annoying amount of regen in the game now, and empire access to flaming attacks is minimal.

Lore of heavens for the very shooty first level spell, and the remote chance of getting amul.

Concerning lectors, war altars and flagellants, I think the models are kinda lack luster, and I would have to be hard pressed indeed to include such protestantic thematics in my army. I'm currently pondering counts-as alternatives and modelling options, but I have no really good ideas.

Chiron
21-10-2008, 12:49
For Rare units I'd highly recommend some DOW Duellists and Light Cavalry

Othiem
21-10-2008, 14:39
Damn. I knew my hellfire-plan would be thwarted. Also, I've considered the laurels, however, I'll still have problems getting the general geared up to in a dependable way put the laurels to good use. Imagine putting the sword of sigismund on the general together with laurels, and then pitting him against some elite infantry with, say, S4, WS4 and 4+ sv. He would hit with two attacks, wound with 1.33 hits and land about one unsaved wound. This for exactly 100 points worth of equipment. I'm trying to figure out a set up that will let the general be a valuable addition to CR, but so far I'm rather sceptical.
General has WS5, so WS4 is the same as WS2 to him, anything higher though and he really shouldn't be in combat with them. He's certainly not for going up against elite infantry though, cannons are for that. If you're looking for max CR out of him, how bout General on foot + laurels + beast's wizard w/ bear's anger + armor of meteoric iron maybe? Try to get hammer of sigmar off on him as well, and you have a beatstick.




Lore of heavens for the very shooty first level spell, and the remote chance of getting amul.

Um....first level heavens lets you reroll all ones to hit for a single target unit.....not exactly what I'd call shooty. Amul's okay I guess if you're looking to play more defensively, but it's still pretty bleh.

Alkanchel
21-10-2008, 16:46
General has WS5, so WS4 is the same as WS2 to him, anything higher though and he really shouldn't be in combat with them. He's certainly not for going up against elite infantry though, cannons are for that. If you're looking for max CR out of him, how bout General on foot + laurels + beast's wizard w/ bear's anger + armor of meteoric iron maybe? Try to get hammer of sigmar off on him as well, and you have a beatstick.

Yeah, there's some good points. However, what I really would like is a simple, not too expensive, kit on the general, that would give a reliable source of casualties. Maybe a great weapon and full plate with barded horse is enough.



Um....first level heavens lets you reroll all ones to hit for a single target unit.....not exactly what I'd call shooty. Amul's okay I guess if you're looking to play more defensively, but it's still pretty bleh.

I figure portent of far would could have a rather large impact if used on for example a unit of outriders (or a helblaster), netting an extra wound caused every eight shots or so. Compared with the ubiquitous fireball, I think portent have better tactical width, and about equal impact in pure ranged damage when there is viable targets to use it on.