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Hey all. I just recently came back from a 2250 pt tournament in which I played all manners of nasty armies dead set on crushing my characters to a pulp. I fielded a speculum on my general because I anticipated needing it against vampires, chaos lords, and the like.
now, I know the item is far from useless, and is in fact pretty spiffy, but it seems that the only time this could be the case is if the opponent either is oblivious of the items existence, or if he has no options but to fight you in a challenge (such as being IC, etc). Every game I played I had the opportunity to use the speculum in combat, but never once did my opponent allow me to. None issued challenges into units they knew had characters, and always accepted challenges with champions in place of more desirable characters. Part of this could have been the fact that it was an open list tournament so opponents could know what I was packing ahead of time, but only one of my opponents even bothered to look at my sheet. I felt, at least with the group that I game with most frequently, that the points I used on the speculum could have been much better spent on more troops or the like.
Has anyone seen the speculum work spectacularly, or does anyone have any tips of other ways to deal with nasty characters and protect our terribly fragile characters (in comparison, at least)?
I run a Speculum on an Arch Lector. When you look through the basic Lord choices for the Empire, the Lector is really the only way to go. You give him a speculum , war alter and mace of helstrum (normally a big risk, but then hatred kicks in) and you have a fast moving anti lord character (with all the benefits from the walter) that also has the ability to slay big monsters and cast 3 bound spells in a turn.
You should never rely on your speculum to do the work for you, so kitting out a character to function as a magic user, character/monster killer or just to hold up the enemies big nasty units due to unbreakableness means your points are well spent all over the shop.
I suppose not running the Walter could be part of what made the item feel like a waste of points for me. I fielded the Lector on foot in one of my core units with the sword of power and the standard armor of meteoric iron. He usually does pretty well this way. However, all of my opponents invalidated the usefullness of my magical versatility by being supremely anti-magic (I also used another warrior priest in my other large core unit and two wizards), so In many ways I think I might have been better off using an Elector Count.
I suppose my point is that the Speculum seems like an incredible value at first, but so many people are aware of it that unless you specifically build your character around making the item devastating it isnt going to go very far. I'd never thought of the helstrum mace combo before, I may actually consider using it now. Thanks for the reply.
The mace is a great bit of gear. It can fell a dragon in one hit (if you are lucky) and lets you deal with nasty buggers like Steam Tanks. On an Arch Lector it is great due to the re-roll from hatred.
I tend to stick mine with some knights on a barded steed and shield, gives you a good save.
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The "A Smart Player Will..." theory is a complete paradox. If we make an assumption that everything we do is outsmarted, then theoretically we can never win.
I run a WP with a GW, VHS, and often something like a ward save. Even the spikiest saurus of doom fears him. Hatred + Loads of attacks + S6-7 = much much fun fun
It's also a great psyh-out tool. Characters that usually leap to challenges are now more nervous to do so.
Truthly in all my time in playing empire about 5-6 years i've never used it yet. I dont really know why i always thought it was to evil to use for my army. I might give ashot tho once i get around to making my archlector on his war alter.
i use a lvl 1 wizard(lore of shadow) with VHS.i use shhadw steed to fly him into combat and chllenge the big enemy leader.
Perhaps I simply need to try using it more as a weapon than a defense- flying right into the enemy seems to be a good method for obvious nasties like bloodthirsters and the like.
The psychological advantage is key. Making your opponent scared enough to alter their tactics is an advantage that cannot be defined by a point cost.
I would say to keep your opponent guessing. Sometimes use the spectrum, sometimes don't. Just the possibility of its being in your army is enough. Its all about the mind games.
Finally, if you ever face one of the new WoC armies, where their characters are forced to issue and except challenges, the effectiveness of the spectrum is far more guarenteed.
Last edited by Zarak; November 19th, 2008 at 18:26. Reason: Cut out some of the needless rambling
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With your point in mind though, the speculum can be an amazing psychological weapon, but I just think that the overall effectiveness of it is lost against players expecting it. Granted, I havent yet played it against monsters like bloodthirsters or chaos champions that can't deny the challenge (the lector wielding it always seemed to end up in combat with the unit that didn't have a character at all), in which I'm sure its invaluable.
That said, the psychological effect of the speculum can be used without actually having the speculum, in which case the points could be potentially spent better elsewhere.