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I am an avid 40k fan and my past experience in FB was a total disaster, about 6 years ago with Vampire Counts and Bretonia.
Although I am thinking a little about trying it one more time with a different army, and I am thinking of the Empire.
My questions are about the meta-game as well as perspectives of the empire in the 8th edition.
- Is the dominance of mounted units similar to the dominance of mech in 40k? I scrolled though quite a bit of armies that are competitive, or at least people hope them to be, and found that they consisted mostly of cavalry. How would a foot armies perform and would they be considered competitive.
- What do you think of the Empire in the 8th edition, will it decline in power or grow due to a good selection of troops and cheap heroes/lords.
- Deathstars. A lot of armies use this technique as I noticed, is it a general must or a fad in the meta-game?
- Leaders. Who are the best hero-level leaders? I read a lot about warrior-priests and they seem very powerful for a modest amounts of points both as a support unit as well as damage unit.
- Variety. Many older armies in 40k suffer from lack of it. You have 2-3 units that perform well and have to field them in order to survive. This is something that newer codexes try to avoid allowing a greater range of approaches to list building. I really dont like to have to field units A B C every game in order to be able to win.
- Other consideration that I have is an on-time renewed army book. My 40k armies being Blood Angels (3 years of poor-quality brochure while waiting for a real codex) and Inquisition DH/WH ( 8 years and counting) do tempt my patience with a very inconsistent updates that make them somewhat uncompetitive, and borderline unplayable with very limited options.
- Point limits. How big are the usual games. I prefer to have a 1000-1500 points in 40k, but most competitions in US seem to have higher points as a standard. I dont like long games, I would rather play 2-3 short games than 1 very long one.
If you have any more thoughts that you would think will help me make my mind about FB as well as Empire I would be delighted to hear from you.
Thank you kindly,
Last edited by WhiteRussian; May 18th, 2010 at 01:59.
Welcome to Warhammer Fantasy mate! The empire are a fun army due to the fact that they are a very flexible army and you can do a lot with them. Any who, on to your questions.
*As for the 8th edition rule with the characters, the empire shouldn't really be that effective by it, since there characters are already pretty cheap and dont take up that many points. And since there state troop units are usually around 25x men already, they should gain more from the 8th edition rules then most armies.
*There really isn't a death star for the empire, but the general is a good choice for giving a state troop unit in your army a banner and also for his leadership.
*The warrior priest is a good hero, somewhere between a captain and a battle wizard. Although he can't take dispel scrolls, he has some nifty prayers and adds a dispel dice to your army. The battle wizard is just your standard lvl. 2 wizard in most armies, and the captain is a good choce if you take him as a BSB.
*The Empire has a lot of variety. You can do a gunline, balanced, knight army, heavy infantry, warrior priest list, magic list, etc. It up to you mate!
*The empire book is fairly new, and they can still compete with most armies, but some they might have a hard time against (particularly the new skaven).
*The usuall size games in fantasy I have seen are either 2000 to 2250 point games. And to put it bluntly, fantasy games usually go a longer then the standard 40k game. Hope this helps mate.
1: Cavalry Dominance- Cavalry lists in WHFB are not the same as Mech lists in 40k. The two ideas evolved differently. The people you usually see playing cavalry in fantasy (myself included) are willing to have a small force that will spend less time under the guns and hit a great deal harder. It's a much bigger trade-off than the ubiquitous Mech armies in 40k. It's a personal choice. My WoC started as a mixed list, until I realized that I enjoyed the hitting power and the speed of Knights. So I dropped ~50 models from my list and picked up more cavalry. Others have gone with a more infantry-based approach. My cavalry was decimated on turn 3 by a foot-slogging Empire army.
2: Empire in 8th ed- well, to be honest, we don't quite know yet. There are a ton of rumors floating around for what 8th might bring. I will say that no matter what happens, the Empire is prepared for it. They are the most balanced army, and are really the "standard" for everything else in the game. They have a mix of Fast and Heavy cavalry, they have cheap statetroops who boast everything from +1S halbers, 2rank spears, excellent sword and shield, and even multiple attacks, depending on the unit. They are very, very "average" troops, but the 'detachment' system is a huge help, and their flexibility means that in the hands of a good general, they can go toe-to-toe with anything in the game. Sort of saying "Oh, I see you are good at magic- but how is your shooting phase?!" and viseverse.
3: Deathstars- They exist, but typically in an army where a regiment is able to be buffed. Vampires have the 'Dickenhof' Guard for example, which is a regiment which benefits specifically from a magical banner, plus a second banner which could make any regiment better, but makes Guard even harder, and then a character/weapon combo that turns the regiment into a powerhouse. Some armies can do this, Empire really doesn't have anything so selective that it buffs a single unit. I've seen Empire deathstars, usually a regiment of 14 Knights Inner Circle, with a Lord and a Warrior Priest in the regiment, possibly a BSB to make the unit a little harder, but it's nothing nearly as scary as a true 'Deathstar'. Just like cavalry- some armies can, others can't.
4: Leaders- in my experience, the Empire leaders suffer from being 'average'. The Priest is good because he fights like a mild hero, dispels like a wizard, and casts Bound Spells, which are safe. The best thing he does is give you Flaggelants for Core. Empire will have no problems with the % restrictions on Heroes, because they rely far more on having points to spend on their regiments, rather than supporting characters.
5: Variety- variety is what you make it. There are a few different lists available to each Fantasy race, but you will find that within each archetype, there are regiments which will simply perform better. Sure, we'll tell you that Hochland Long Rifles aren't worth it except on Outriders, but that's only if you play a gunline. You could elect to play Cavalry or Infantry. That's the best part about the Empire's flexibility- they can play a few different archetype lists, whereas Warriors of Chaos for example, can only play 1 very well.
6: The Empire book is still solid, because it was well written. Now, if they keep ***king things up like they have been, you might run into the same trouble as the other books like VC, or go to the wayside like TK. Altogether though, there are fewer races in WHFB (because admit it- 40k is 50% space marine 'variants'), so the books do get updated more frequently.
7: Points- at the moment (although this might change), WHFB works on a sliding scale. The bigger the game, the more spots you have on your Force Organization chart. For instance, you can't take Lord choices until you hit 2000pts. You can only have 1 Rare choice before 2000pts. A lot of people like 2k because it gives them the option to use everything in the book. Fantasy games do tend to run a bit longer, but not noticeably so. It comes down to learning your core rules, because there are more of them than in 40k, and keeping on task. I can play a 2k game in about an hour and a half for tournaments, or 2-3 hours for casual chit-chat gaming.
Fantasy Battle is a rewarding game all-in-all (again, might change). I've seen lots of people convert 100% from 40k to Fantasy, selling their 40k stuff and buying into FB. I've never seen that happen in the reverse. Fantasy is currently more balanced, more sensible (in my opinion) and more original than 40k is. You will actually see one of every army during your career, rather than deifying the Eldar player because he's a "rare breed".
I would swap over, get yourself a 1500pt army, and go from there. See if you enjoy the game. Empire are a good starting army, because they can grow with you. If you find yourself wanting to play cavalry, you have the ability to make a full army of it, rather than the High Elves who stop and stutter and go "Oh no, but I must include infantry". And a year later, when you want to go with a horde infantry army, you can buy Free Co. and do fine, rather than whining like a Brettonian player and saying "but my infantry is terrible". And when you finally strike a balance and want to use your entire 3000pt collection- hey, they're all the same army so go ahead.
Everyone's points are well thought out and worth taking to heart - no need for me to repeat them. What I would say is that the Empire has that much choice and customisability (if that's not actually a word it is now!) that it's hard for them not to be worth taking - they can counter most army builds quite successfully, they can have an effective gunline, a mounted army, huge blocks of troops. Also, there is not a great deal of redundant units in the book - almost everything has a place and a use. Er, except the Master Engineer, he's not that great. Though I do like the Mechanical Steed - turns him into a little mini-chariot.
Points-wise you get a lot of Empire for your points. It's easy to make a small army quite effective with the Empire, I've had great success at 500pts. If anything the big the points value the more I struggle with the Empire as I eventually start to run out of space on my battle line and units start getting in each other's way. Perhaps more an indictment of my lack of generaliships skills but worth considering all the same.
And as for 8th Ed, as CaptainSarathai says, who knows. It would probably be worth holding on till it's released just to make such you aren't buying an army that is no longer effective. I don't see that being the case but at this stage who knows?
Hope some of this has been useful, if you do decided to go for an Empire army you'll have a blast. It's full of character, the models are good (in my opinion) and it's tactically versatile.
Personally, I think 8th edition will be good for the empire. It seems to bring more power back to the footsloggers. Empire doesn't have the best footsloggers, but they're neck and neck with greenskins and skaven for their ability to flood the table with a horde...and the improvements to infantry seem to be better for large units than for elite units (okay, that applies to large, elite units, if you want to go AYEIOB with a deathstar). Since empire knights suffer from delusions of mediocrity (The only ones I can think of that underperform to a greater degree are TK heavy horsemen), any improvement to foot troops is a bigger boon to the empire than it is to an army that actually has good cavalry (empire light cav are quite good, but I'm talking about heavies here). The limits on points spent on characters also benefits empire in that it barely affects them, whereas it's a serious blow to armies that live and die by their character choices, such as both flavors of undead. In fact, my empire list would probably be more effective without the expensive peg-mounted wizard lord than it is with him, since dropping him would free up some serious points for another unit or three.
Deathstars are an interesting thing. It's AYEIOB. Kind of like the 3rd edition BA playing buddy of mine whose entire list was designed to generate as large a death company contingent as possible....with all leftover points put into dreads. If you couldn't bring down, say, 18 death company before they got to you, he won. But at the same time, if you got them under half strength before they got to you, you could handle them, and then mop up the spammed 4-5 man squads all over the board that existed for the sole purpose of generating DC models. Same in WFB. Anyone taking a deathstar is going to live and die by it. If you decide to take it on, you'd better be able to take it out, or he'll auto-win. If you can't, it's usually not entirely impossible to avoid it entirely and just kill off the rest of his army for at least a draw. Empire doesn't really have a decent deathstar option, but it does have the tools to take one down. Dickenhof Guard is a perfect example. If you know you're facing one, you can generally snipe the characters out of it early, then drop a few mortar templates on it as it advances to force the VC player to burn his spells healing the unit, then, when it arrives, mortar it again, blast it with gunfire, and charge it with three units at once to strip it of hitbacks, gain the bonus for flanking, and get a large enough combat resolution result to crumble the unit into oblivion. It's not anywhere near as easy as I make it sound, of course!
Variety...you name it, and empire has it. Unlike most other armies, there isn't really a "never take this" unit, even the engineer is decent if you use him right (attach him to a volley gun to improve its accuracy, and give him either pigeon bombs for fun or a sniper rifle for effectiveness...actually, even giving him the mechanical steed is okay, since it makes him a decent counter to the usual weak-but-fast warmachine hunters). Most other armies have units that are almost never taken, some have units that are almost always taken, but there isn't the 40k-esque dynamic where you can guess your opponents list with 70% accuracy based on nothing more than what codex he's using.
Points limits are a little deceptive in WFB, since it's neither unusual nor unreasonable to spend roughly half your points on characters. A lord level special character might even cost you a third of your points for one model! But, WFB games still take longer than 40k because there's an additional phase (magic) and movement is a little more complex, what with wheeling, reforming, turning, etc.
2k seems to be a very popular points level because it unlocks lords...but 1999 is also common because it's basically a 2k game with sub-2k force org (including the lack of a lord).
IG since 1999 __ DA since 2002 __ Tau since 2005 __ SoB since 2007
Brets 1997-1999 __ TK since 2009 __ Empire since 2010
As was said before, one of the best things about Empire is that they're average. They're not Vampire Counts or Tomb Kings, and you won't see them dancing all over the power scale. They'll just sit right in the middle, because they're only human; squishy, silly humans. I, for one, find that a good thing. I had a 6th edition Daemon Army, and since the new edition came out, nobody will play me. You won't have that problem with Empire. Another note is that you can field a deathstar unit in an Empire army, but only if you're willing to import them from Tilea or the Ogre Kingdoms.
I'm too lazy to come up with a witty sig.
Oh god, I ran a 15 man regiment of Ogre Bulls once, with a BSB carrying the Banner of Warding. It was hilarious when my opponent realized that I was going hit him with that, when he'd been expecting mobs of squishy humans.
Tilean Deathstars are pretty much unheard of, except for LongDrong's Slayer Pirates or the Undead regiment (I've never used either of them though).
Otherwise yep- Empire are average, so the only thing that's going to hurt Empire players in 8th ed. is their own selection of models (possibly).