View Full Version : Empire and what are good core choices?

27-02-2011, 07:16
Recently I was asking some questions about the GS where I said I was new to 8th edition and trying to get a good idea on what I need to build on. So with that said now I'm trying to figure out what would be good core choices and especially sizes of units I should start thinking about. I'm starting with 2500 pts. that I will build upon. Help is greatly appreciated! :)

Lord Solar Plexus
27-02-2011, 07:44

27-02-2011, 13:16
Personally, Im not a fan of redirecting someone to a thread with so many pages. Ive been trying to get to grips with the Empire and its core choices for a while but am not too bothered as I will do with the models I have.

However, if Ive been reading things correctly:

Swordsmen > Halbediers > Spearmen

Additionally, swordsmen are preferred because of their defensive capabilities. Empire core choices are never really killy (disregarding magic buffs) and with their decent save (or 6++ parry) they stay around the longest...what you want them to do.

For a bit more killing power, halbediers are a good choice.

I don't see people taking spearmen that often. I have a lot of them so I will be using them but i'm not very competitive.

But all in all, the differences between the troops aren't huge and isn't a deciding factor in whether you will lose or win.

Again, all of this is based on what i read in that tactica thread (ive been following it for quite a while) and not on actual experience.

I don't recall anything conclusive on unit sizes. But I think 30 (or 30+) is good for all.

27-02-2011, 17:39
Well let me say thank you to Lord Solar Plexus for the link,...many, many pages of reading. Next I want to say thank you to SteelTitan for taking the time to post your thoughts which is what I needed, a kind of breakdown or summary of what all those pages were saying. I will read them but what you posted helps to put things into perspective for me so thank you. I am with you because I own 40 spearmen from the previous edition and only 25 swordsmen and 15 halberdiers so I think I'll just stick with them for now, besides I love a good challenge and no for me winning has never been the sole objective. The biggest thing I have enjoyed with the hobby\game is coming together with others that share a common interest with me and having a great time! :)

27-02-2011, 17:45
I agree with SteelTitan, I only use Swordman and Halberdiers... in my Empire army, usually go with a vast unit of Swordman and detachments of Halberds

27-02-2011, 18:31
swords 5 wide and deep as the Northern Atlantic Sea +/- 15 man halberd det.'s

27-02-2011, 23:28
I still love the huge blocks of Halberdiers. It fits very well with the fluff. Add in a Lore of Beasts Wizard and those halberdiers are S5/T4......
Swordsmen tend to be in Detachments or smaller units as they are supposed to be the 'elites' of State Troops.
My plan for an Empire army is 2 huge blocks of Halberdiers w/Swordsmen Detachments and a bunker unit of Spearmen for the BSB.
That's my take anyways lol. I play for fluff and fun, not to paste my opponents ;)

Torpedo Vegas
27-02-2011, 23:35
Wrote an article here (http://irollboxcars.blogspot.com/2010/12/dark-eldar-and-state-troops.html)about them.

Lord Solar Plexus
28-02-2011, 08:41
Sorry, I guess I could have elaborated my thoughts as well. ;)

Judging by the internet, almost everyone takes nothing but Halberdiers these days, 40 or even 50. Over on Warhammer Empire, the guys are convinced that such a unit can easily take on and mutilate HPA's or Chaos Warrior deathstars. I'm not entirely convinced this is true but hey, everyone's mileage varies, and these doubts notwithstanding, I do field mainly Halberdiers in blocks of 30-40 depending on the size of the game. Better defensive stats are cool but at one point you will want to actually kill stuff - losing a few models less and re-rolling steadfast tests alone is rarely going to win games.

I find it quite telling that nobody even mentioned the other core choices. Missile units aren't often taken because BS 3 hits too little and even a small unit costs as much as a mortar. Units of 10 Crossbows or Handgunners can still be useful to engage support units with a small footprint that a mortar is unlikely to hit and that you don't want to waste a cannon on. Fast Cav, single characters, weapon teams, redirectors or remnants...

Knights are still a useful core choice. Some say they don't break units on the turn they charge but honestly, neither does our infantry, or not necessarily much better. Combining the two can work well though. You'd need units of 9-10 at least but Empire is one of the armies that can actually afford such units.

Lastly there are core Flagellants. I still like them despite their cost and fragility. Unless the opposing unit has a ton of attacks, they can tie stuff up and even make a mess out of nearly any enemy unit. They really shine against anyone with lower Ini - Dwarfs, Lizards, some undead, or when boosted to Ini 10. If you get that spell off, Flagellants will carve a bloody swathe through your opponent's ranks.

28-02-2011, 09:11
Nobody mentioned free company :)

I can see them being nice detachments. I have loads and if taken as detachments, I can use my halbediers and swordmen as parent units.

28-02-2011, 10:35
I asked myself this question too since I have no experience with Fantasy or Empire and have just started collecting.

Most people have said that Swordsmen are great at stopping enemy deathstars due to their durability but dishing out damage isnt their forte. Halberdiers can dish it out as well but not take it. So my theory is to have large blocks of Swordsmen with a deatchment of Halberdiers for flank destruction and Handgunners to soften the enemy up.

I was wondering about crossbows though and also Flagellants look cool so im probably going to have a unit of those to mess stuff up

28-02-2011, 11:24
I don't have experience with swordsmen but i do with Fantasy in general but I think that saying that swordsmen are great at stopping enemy deathstars is a bit overrated.

Deathstars are generally tough hard to beat units so lets assume at least strength 4. That means you only have a 6++ parry left. Combined with WS4 and T3, that is not overly tough to beat or even a proper tarpit.

Lord Solar Plexus
28-02-2011, 11:26
Torpedo Vegas kind of mentioned FC in his link. I don't think they make good core. Remember that a detachment is not core. Yes, magic boosts will improve them but magic boosts will improve other core choices even more. Also, magic is fickle, no matter if some claim they see nothing but IF's.

Having said that, Okkam's is indeed best on Free Company.

While Swordsmen do indeed have slightly better defensive stats (they are also I4), they aren't the ideal tarpit at 6 points a pop.

28-02-2011, 16:34
Anvil: 50 Swordsmen, 5x10 deep w/ BSB griffon banner

Hammers: 2x50 halberdiers each with 1-2 halberdier detachments @ 20 strong.
each parent unit contains 1 warrior priest with a great weapon.

Cheap troops. gives you numerical superiority. and allows for plenty of options with your leftover points. The above should cost around 1400 points.

I am NOT saying that these are battle winners, but they can form the basis of a strong army.


always include a lvl 4 mage lord, they are dirt cheap.

28-02-2011, 23:39
I don't see the point of swordsmen. They're too expensive to make good tarpits and they still die in droves. 6++ is worthless 5 rolls out of 6. I say just take halbediers, they'll tarpit nearly as well and have the ability to kill something.

01-03-2011, 05:54
Well there certainly is a lot to think about! Personally I like the idea of a big unit of GS so that's a for sure thing. Seems swordsmen would be a greater support flanker than a big unit choice especially for a big unit of GS! I don't know. You guys here have the experience and that's why I'm listening!

I own 40 spearmen and was hoping to run them in some capacity. Funny thing the one unit that everybody seems to talk about is the one I only own 10 models of and that's halberdiers. I'm not shy about buying more models I just want to start with a solid and competitive 2500 pts. army and build on it. By all means please keep the suggestions coming and thank you all for your posts!!! :)

01-03-2011, 13:26
I think I have to agree with pretty much everything already said in this thread. One of the nice things about the Empire is that we are totally spoiled when it comes to core choices. I regularly battle against a Beast player and he only really has two choices that work, which again results in armies that pretty much feel the same way every time. Most Empire core units have pros and cons, but they are all usable. My advice to you might seem abit cliché, but it's simply to go for the minis you think look best. If this means you'll only have archers in your army, that's okay.

01-03-2011, 14:20
I also use 2 units of 10 FC as detachments for my Halberd block, and 2 units of hand gunners. both just have a marksman with Hochland rifle and repeater handgun... at 2000pts I prefer just to have the one sniper rifle

02-03-2011, 05:32
I know I have the spearmen and plenty of them but the more I read the more I like swordsmen. I really like them as a detachment but the big block sounds good as well! Well people all I know is I've gotta start painting soon!!! :)

02-03-2011, 06:55
If you want halberds over spears you could always go for the weapon head swap (http://www.fragilearmytransportbag.justinhillauthor.com/pictures%20for%20fragilearmytransportbag/halberdiers%203.jpg). Unless your spearmen are metal it should work fine regardless of what edition they're from.
Apart from that I can only mirror the opinions voiced here, swordsmen and halberdiers over spearmen.
Knights are also core choices and I always find a use for them in my army lists, both with lances or great weapons.

02-03-2011, 07:06
Torpedo Vegas kind of mentioned FC in his link. I don't think they make good core. Remember that a detachment is not core. Yes, magic boosts will improve them but magic boosts will improve other core choices even more. Also, magic is fickle, no matter if some claim they see nothing but IF's.

A small unit of 20 FC could be usefull in the tower scenario I guess. Never tried it, but that could be a use for them. Otherwise, I would indeed prefer other core troops. Halberdiers might not generate that many attacks, but the S4 means they will usually be more effective against almost everything.

But indeed, Empire has a solid selection of core units. Halberdiers would take my no. 1 spot, while swordsmen are decent as infantry blocks as well. Even spearmen and militia are not so terrible they are completely unplayable as core. Flaggelants are expensive, but don't match up that unfavorably with greatswords, though they kind of lack staying power.
Furthermore, the shooters are often overlooked for artillery these days, but I still like them. A small unit of 10 handgunners can target supportive small units, some archers can maneuver (though often better fielded in detachments), and a bigger unit of say 20 crossbows can take command, the flaming banner (if you have a general), and take care of that regeneration before a cannonball finishes of that hellpit or hydra.
Finally, knights got a bit of a hit in 8th, but they are still quite usable. A small unit of 5 or 6 (in 3x2) doesn't take up much space, is very hard to kill, can generate some extra hitting power, or could start hunting war machines or supportive units with their speed.

Anything goes, really. Some units are slightly better than others, but no clear losers in the core section imho.

02-03-2011, 10:26
If you want halberds over spears you could always go for the weapon head swap (http://www.fragilearmytransportbag.justinhillauthor.com/pictures%20for%20fragilearmytransportbag/halberdiers%203.jpg). Unless your spearmen are metal it should work fine regardless of what edition they're from.
Apart from that I can only mirror the opinions voiced here, swordsmen and halberdiers over spearmen.
Knights are also core choices and I always find a use for them in my army lists, both with lances or great weapons.

Well I'm using M@A as my state troops so I already get the best of both Spears or Halberds... turning them into swordmen is me hoping that the empire sword arms match/same size at M@A wrists :)

03-03-2011, 17:57
I just posted the stats on the combat effectiveness of the various types of Empire State Infantry on the following thread: http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=295430

In short, Swordsmen consistently more likely to perform better in Combat Resolution, followed usually by Spearmen, and last by Halberdiers. Halberdiers vulnerability usually exceeded the offensive benefits in terms of CR, but sometimes their additional hittiness makes them better than Swordsmen when fighting smaller enemy units that they may be able to wipe out over several rounds, even if they take more casualties in the process.

Spearmen come off the worst, because their effectiveness drops if they are charging, and they are just as vulnerable as Halberds if they are faced by S5+ enemies which deny their armor save. Technically, they do better than Halberdiers for CR on average, though.

Regarding the other Empire core:
Free Company: They hit about as hard as spearmen, except they lack any armor whatsoever for the same price. Only worth it as detachments.
Handgunners/Crossbowmen: Good cost efficient shooters. Not miracle makers, but useful and recommended! Usually handgunners are better, but Crossbowmen are good for coutnering enemy ranged units.
Archers: More situational. Useful for screening or a little mobile shooting from cover, or possible infiltrating tactics.
Knights: Great! Use in either small support units of 5-6, or ranked 10-12. Potentially a useful place to put a warrior priest.

03-03-2011, 20:50
30 man blocks of halbs and swords and you'll be fine.

Don't obsess over minor differences in state troops, although I will say I think spears with shields are sub par compared to the others. But if you already have them built, use what you have.

You are extremely unlikely to ever lose a game because you took the 'wrong' kind of state troop for your infantry blocks.

I don't take many missile troops. 8 points for a naked BS3 human? Haha, no thanks.

I do take lots of war machines. I like smallish units of greatswords. If you take a horde of 40 greatswords and stick a WP and BSB in there your opponent is going to cast dwellers once and get like 300 points off of you :(

20 flagellants as core (if WP or AL present) can make a nice surprise for someone in a tower scenario :) Remember the combat starts anew each turn, so you get hatred +flail bonus every round of combat!

Lord Solar Plexus
04-03-2011, 05:36
30 men, really? I can't imagine how they even become and stay (!) steadfast.

04-03-2011, 06:04
Best core choices?

40+ Units of halberdier or swordsmen. Units of 10-18 Knights do really well IF you give them 2 handers but get them into combat ASAP so they aren't shot up.

A unit of 50+ Halberdiers with the razor banner and a WP or Arch Lector will really give people a hard time, and might be the most competitive choice.

Those are probably the strongest choices, but not by miles and miles...so if something else tickles your fancy, by all means give it a shot.

04-03-2011, 06:07
30 men, really? I can't imagine how they even become and stay (!) steadfast.

It depends on what you intend to do with them. If I use units of 30, they will only engage weakened enemy units (as honestly, all Empire infantry should). Sure, they will lose against any similar numbers if those reach combat, but once that unit of 40-50 has taken two mortar hits and is down to 15, your unit of 30 can take them down while being steadfast.

04-03-2011, 14:40
Personally I'm fielding two units of 20 handgunners, each with a 10 handgunner detachment, backed up by a twelve man unit of gunners and a small (20 strong) unit of free company for my core and it seems to work alright for me.

That said, it's a Nuln army so it's backed up by a Steam Tank and a ton of War Machines so i might be a bit biased.