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It seems like many of the lists in the Army List section rely entirely on Handgunners for their ranged ability. Is this a no-brainer choice or a personal, although common, preference?
I see a lot of advantages to Crossbows and Archers. Keep in mind I'm very new to Warhammer, but I've never been one to accept a popular choice on the grounds that everybody does it so it must be the best option.
Crossbows - Longer range - probably one more round of shooting before a unit gets in charge range. Slightly less armor piercing.
Archers - Move and fire, and skirmishers, but lower strength.
So, are crossbows and archers worth taking over handgunners?
Right now, in 2,250 points, I'm thinking about running 2 units of Handgunners (with attached Battle Wizards) and one unit of Archers.
X-Bowmen are great, they're very high on my "to buy" list. The extra range can prove to be decisive. Don't know why no-one uses them.
Archers are useless. They cost the same, they get penalties for moving and firing, Skirmishing really isn't that great imo, and the S3 is pitiful unless the archer in question has A) a longbow and/or a High BS (of which Archers have neither).
The best way to run a gunline is to have a good mix of Handgunners and X-Bows.
For your 2,250pts, take one to two each of X-Bowmen and Handgunners, plus any in detachments. Speaking of which...
Detachments: Never give ranged detachments X-Bows. The extra AP on Handguns is superior to the extra range.
Thanks for the advice. I will probably only run 1 xBow, 2 Gunners, + 2 Artillery, + Magic. I'm not going for an empire gunline, but a balanced list with decent fire power.
Most people that I know, use handgunners because they're easier. You start the game with handgunners, GW typically pushes handgunners, nobody really thinks anything different. I suppose that yes, the crossbows would be better to use, I don't see why not. They are cheaper (if i properly remember) have a longer range, and only 1 less ap. What I'd like to run, is the probability and cost-benefit of 1 extra round of shooting over 1 extra AP. Just quickly looking at it, I'm thinkink that 1 extra round of shooting would be better.
X-Bowmen and Handgunners cost precisely the same.
i run something of a gun line, my ratio of handgunners is 2-1. (Literally, i have 2 units of 10 handgunners and 1 unit of 10 x-bowmen).
I prefer handgunners for their looks and fluff and because empire can not outshoot other armies at longe range so i'm going to have to draw them into close range. And Handgunners are better at mid-low range.
Got a "good" rumour from a GW staffer? Forget about it, LO'ers know more than any random GW shop staffer.
Voor alle nederlanders:
The Dutch Legion
crossbowmen are just as useful, and to be honest it comes down to personal preference between them and the handgunners. HGunners are featured in the fluff a bit more. Archers have their uses as the only skirmishers in the list so a small detachment unit can be very useful in blocking LOS or redirecting charges.
My problem is that the infantry still stinks. The swordsmen are the only troop choice worth taking. The halberds and spearmen and militia are so pitiful and easy to die that it's a no-brainer to just take tons of swordsmen, even moreso than last edition since half the armies now have Empire always strikes last rules.
Archers make an excellent detahment and screening unit. This is when the skirmishing comes in the handiest.
Move and shoot it also valuable for support reasons. Being able to reduce a rank here and there as you move out to be sacrificed can't be done by any other unit in the army.
And because someone else mentioned it. Militia also make great detachment because for 30 pts you get a unit that can be used to redirect charges into favorable positions.
I take a unit of HG's with a detachment of 5 archers and 5 militia. Works well for redirecting units looking to get to the warmachines.
handgunners are nice... they have neat models, are cheap points-wise and do good ap damage... the debate between xbows and hgunners is like that between natural grass and astroturf - there is no 'answer' both have exactly equivalent pros and cons in different areas...
aside from magicky bits my empire army @ 2250 includes:
1 hellblaster volley gun
1 steam tank
now, i know the rocket battery is a better choice but... there's something to be said for the mental berth an opponent gives you for fielding a hellblaster... the 'widened eyes' to 'hellblaster placement' has thus far been 1:1...
so... handgunners are a personal choice, not a no-brainer... an army without them works well for me... my first few iterations of empire did include them, however
I never take any empire missile troops besides pistoliers and sometimes outriders. They cost alot compared to infantry and only have 3 BS. They cost way more than the damage they do, I never bring them. give me swordsmen and vanilla knights over handgunner or xbows any day.