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I just played a 2250 game against the Empire. I've never played against them so it was a rude awakening. This is a rather vague group of questions, but here they are: what are the best tactics to use against Empire (i.e. go all melee, go all shooting, go all skirmishing, magic heavy, magic light...)? How do you beat a steam tank much less two steam tanks? How do you beat two steam tanks and two cannons? I was at a loss. Other than my hydra finally killing a tank by turn 5 and then being flanked charged by two units, one of 15 guys and another by five guys, I have no idea what to do. I got duped into using my Master (BS in a challenge with his wizard who had that orb that swapped stats, which sucked. Obviously this was a learning experience for me, but I was pretty sickened when the only unit I had left was one bolt thrower. He only lived because his master engineers had no line of sight to the crew. They did pick off the other crew in turn one. Oh, and he got choice of sides, with his two hills there and managed to get the first turn. Even if I was to lose on both of those rolls, there should be a feasible way to still turn out a victory where I just don't hope I get all 6's for six rounds and he rolls all 1's for six rounds. I'm just not seeing it. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Oh, and we naturally never, ever play with characters involved. And I have DE unit you can get to make a standard 2250 list with. Oh... and one more question. Can the steam tank not be affected by the lore of metal, specifically Commandant of Brass?
Shades to deal with his detachments and war machines - repeater crossbows mow down Empire like so many stalks of wheat.
use Dark Riders, they are the best light cavalry in the game, can carry a reasonable combat punch agaisnt Empire, and again have repeater x-bows
A couple of Repeater Bolt Throwers firing single shot should deal enough damage to STANKS to cause some hurt, although you can alterantively try ignoring them..or investing in a Black Dragon with Lord to rip them to shreds... And diod you take TWO Hydras?
As for magic - with Master Engineers in his force, there will be very little enemy magic - you should be able to overpower all those small units of Empire warriors with magic and the steady stream of shooting a Dark Elf army can release
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Put your lord on a dark steed with HA, Sh, SDC, Hydra Blade, Potion of Strength and Pendant of Khaeleth. Thats only 273 points and he will cause massive damage to your enemy, and is nearly unkillable from shooting.
Apart from that Kithre is right. Shooting will help you here, and so will magic. If you take cloak of shadows for your assassin and put him wiith your scouts, he can kill a cannon crew in turn one and cause havoc behind the enemy, killing shooters. Harpies will also help.
Finally, take cheap troops like spearmen, 20-25 strong with banners. No matter how hard the shooting, these guys are cheap enough to take it. Dont bother for Black guards or monsters when the enemy has an army like that. 2 steam tanks is min-maxing. If he runs an army like that, dont bother for a balanced list, just choose whatever kills it :-)