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A unit of 18 Spearmen or Halberdiers? Seeing as they're the same number of points
First up, welcome to LO!
I'd rather go 20 tbh - full rank bonuses are brilliant.
As to which unit, Halberdiers are more of a unit to be used as a Detachment, to my mind, since they're at their best when striking first, but people make it work with Halberdiers as a mainstay unit; while I'd suggest the Spearmen, go with whatever you feel like. The point of State Troops is to win on CRes anyway.
AFG has got it right. If you can, push the unit to 20 strong, and it will win combats without striking a blow. For the choice of weapons tho, who is your main opponent?
If there someone with a good armour save and high toughness, or who lets you get the charge, then halberds are a good option. Otherwise, 11 attacks compared to 6? Yes please.
Don't rule out Swordsmen. That extra armor save and the extra WS can help. Alot of armies are running WS5-6 now on some of their elites. With our other staters, we're hitting on 5's. Also, if you're not going with a detachment, Free Co. can be just as good as Spearmen and a bit cheaper.
But to your original question, I'd say that it depends on your opponent. I tend to use spears most often though. The only time I regret not having Halberds is against Chaos armies, or Lizardmen. But then, I wonder to myself how I didn't kill them with shooting first... I usually break them on CR anyways.
Plus spearmen came in the starter boxes and I got 4 regiments of them on the cheap
Vs higher T or Armor enemies with average WS, Halberders.
vs regular T, Armor, or enemies with higher INT or opponents that GREATLY outnumber you, use Spearmen, reasoning being that in later rounds, if a higher I opponent is striking first, they may well take out front ranks and restrict the rest of the units abillity to swing back. the Spears alleviate this, giving you more troops that can fight per round.
Use Swordsmen vs regular T/low Armored enemies that have 3 WS or less, to cut their TO HIT down.
Cheers for the great advice, not made up my mind yet but this should help. Also are Flagellants worth it in lower point armys?
If I'm running a Warrior Priest, I occasionally take a unit of 15 or so. It all tends to depend on what kind of list I'm running, though. Block infantry, they will make their way in, but for my hybrid lists, it depends on specifics I feel like using at the time, really.
In a normal point game (2250) I'd go with at least 25 swordsmen with 8 crossbow/handgun and another 8 swordsmen detachments
Buckeroo: I usually run the same, with Swordsmen. I lean towards the Crossbowmen detachment because they've got the better range. However, I never use Spears or Swordsmen for my detachment. I normally choose between Free Co. or Halberds, depending on what T/A i'm up against. The Free Co. have 2A each and will be "counter charging" so they will actually get to attack. Plus, the enemy doesn't get to use spears to the flanks, so they'll be focusing more on killing my front unit of swords, letting my Free Co do the damage.
As to the use of Flaggies in a low point game? I do it occasionally. I don't really like our Priests, although with all the crazy new characters running amok on the field, it's not like we have any better hero choices. I usually only take my Flaggies as troops, and keep the rares open for nasties like Helblasters or Rockets.
Priests aren't too bad. I like flaggies too even though they are very hit or miss (get the charge and kill the enemy unit, or get charged and tarpit the enemy but lose 180 points)
I know all the %'s of taking halberdiers or free company. To me swordsmen lower my chance of losing the battle. There are just too many nasty units in the game right now. Halberds will never hit anything, free company may hit, but against T4 or something with decent armor or fear-causers or just bad rolling, I'll lose more free company then I will kill or get in combat bonuses from flank, outnumber, etc. I just picture myself going against - say a unit of saurus warriors and say to myself, hmm, would I be better trying to roll 4's and 5's or getting a 5+ armor save. For me the armor save is better, because I know that I won't hit or wound and my opponent will make all his armor saves and then hit me with 6 wounds.
So, until they let me use my flaggies as detachments, I'll keep using swordsmen.