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I'm a Dwarf player, through and through. Running a 2000 pt. heavy infantry army with some hefty war machines and competitive characters is always fun, plus I absolutely adore the fluff.
I play with a core group of 3 players, and we over the past few months have been escalating from 500 to 2000 pt. armies and have been playing each other every 500 pts. or so. Now that we're at 2000 pts. and consistently blasting the hell out of each other's armies, it seems we're all starting to look at second armies.
From the looks of it I'll be dealing with Lizardmen, at least.
So I've narrowed my selections for a second army down to Empire and Warriors of Chaos. I think my main aims are to A) Actually have a magic phase B) Have decent manouvreability (remember this is relative and coming from a Dwarf player) and C) Not be an Elf.
I'm not an Elf man.
Not at all.
Anyway, I haven't got a hold of the current Empire army book (have the 6th ed. one, though, from a while ago) and don't plan on buying an army book until I've for certain decided on my army of choice. I've flipped through display copies at my local gaming store, but really that's no substitute for anecdotal and learned evidence from actual players. The only Empire player at my frequented establishment is a buffoon, so I figured I wouldn't start with him. The man can barely work a tape measure.
Can an Empire army be effective as a magic heavy, tactical force? Once again, keep in mind that tactical to a Dwarf player means I'll be doing more than electing to Hold, and maybe to spice things up a bit, drop an Oathstone. I realize that High Elves seem to fit this mold somewhat, but I hate the models and the fluff, and frankly, I absolutely adore the Empire Wizards. They have so much character to them!
At the moment, I'm leaning towards Empire over Chaos simply because I don't think I could stand painting a whole bunch of dark, gritty, heavy armor. Just the notion of brightly painted swordsmen and dynamic Bright Wizards is what's drawing me here. Are my notions about Empire in 7th ed. valid? Can this style army be competitive at a casual level?
Thanks ahead of time.
of course! The emire is a very flexible army; you can have leigons of cheap footmen, an all horseback army, a static gunline, a mix, or, as you want, an army that leans on magic. At 2,000 points you can have 3 wizards, and a wizard lord. Top them up with enchanted nasties, stick them in with a big unit, or on a (flying) horse, and there you have it.
I play both armies. Empire is infact the most flexible army, because they are like "average" that all of the other armies jump off from. This means that they are the jack of all trades, master of none.
One thing that Empire can do very, very well however, is shoot. But that is counterbalanced by the game's balance of the shooting phase.
Their magic suffers from their same generic status. They have no casting bonus, no dispelling bonus, no special rule or ability for their mages. They are stock standard wizards right from the big red book.
For your warriors, you also have a very mobile army, as they have fast cavalry for core, and the some of the best cavalry in game as special. Unfortunately, they're not quite as "tactical" as the empire. They tend to just rush forward and hack and kill. They can certainly be a thinking man's army, but it's more in unit-to-unit interaction and list-writing.
If you want magic though, Chaos is good at that. Tzeentchian mages are some of the best in the known world. All of their mages are also competent fighters, as they can wear armor and carry magic weapons with a real hint of success. What that means for you, is that taking magic in a chaos army, does not detract from your combat prowess.
And not all Chaos armies need to be dark and gritty. Tzeentch is blue, Slaanesh warriors keep their armor clean and polished. Khorne and Nurgle are your dirty ones, because to them, the finer things in life don't require hygiene at all.
Hm... quick question-- can Tzeentch take lores from the BRB? Or are they restricted to their Tzeentch magic?
Because I think one of the things that drew me to Empire casters is really the notion of having 4 Wizards, all with different lores-- from modeling, painting, fluff and gameplay standpoints.
Was thinking a Life, Fire and Light Wizards, with a Metal Wizard Lord.
I suspect there is an item/gift that allows them to pick from the BRB, otherwise, they're stuck with the LoTzeentch.
But otherwise, what I have to say has been said. The Empire are probably the most flexible army out there. If you go up against a gunline, you can go Cav-heavy to try take it down, go a gunline yourself, or take massed infantry to soak up said gunline.
I started with lizardmen, moved to Empire, and now I'm starting WoC. Empire, by far, has been the most fun army for me to build and play with, though tactically they are completely different from WoC. What empire does well is flexibility. What it doesn't do particularly well is rack up kills in close combat.