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I've been wondering. Why do so many Empire lists still garrison core missiletroops like the Handgunners or the Crossbowmen, i mean, arent they really just a waste of points?
For 80 points you get 10 shooters with a BS of 3. That means that they'll on an average day hit with 3,5 and approximatly wound 2 normal T3 infantry models. But now that every army fields large (if not huge) blocks of infantry, it doesnt make a difference at all wether or not there is two guys missing in the enemy blocks or not.
So why not spend only 75 points on a mortar - or 100 points on a cannon - and get some firepower that has the potential of killing ALOT more enemy models each round.
I just cant see why anyone would put use in our missiletroop selection for 8th edition.
80 points for 10 skirmishing archers who can also be scouts, or 80 points for 10 handgunners or crossbowmen, who have strength 4 shots. They also have the option to bring banner.
They count for Core points, and can be used as detachments.
(if you don't mind ill look at this as an opponent, since i usually am) :p
I think the detachment rule or skirmish is what makes them worth it, although i think those guys are pretty expensive. A difference between a handgunner line and a warmachine is that my fast cavalry cannot approach those gunners frontally, my wolves have to make a flanking move before having a crack at whiping them out, instead of dieing during the approach. for me thats bad, because that ensures my Ld6 goblins will be away from the general/BSB leadership bubble.
i fear detachments, they can blast the force out of my charge, but when i compare the militia troops, it's just rediculous that free company have 2 hand weapons and are almost half the cost. I guess those make the best detachment.
An occasional handgunners unit (12-18 guys to protect against fast cav) sounds like a pretty good plan to me.
Warchief Diggah o da Bloodmoon Squiggahs
Simply it's because warmachines fill different areas to other shooters. As Digger said, archers are core units - which warmachines aren't. This means you get more firepower in the same size army.
I'm interested in this thread, as the next time my Empire hits the table, it will probably be a full-ranged army. Again however, I speak mainly as an opponent:
1. It's actually quite rare to see a Horde. The only models which should be Horded are typically >5pts each. Against foes like my Elves or Warriors, and against pretty much everything short of O&G and Skaven, people should be worried about your guns (TK and VC no, but who worries about them). S4 and -2 to your save is terrifying. You realize that you get a Gunner for fewer points than I get an Elf with a Spear? You get 2 gunners at least for each of my Warriors. Small units will have difficulty with Empire's cheap shooting attacks.
2. Weight of Fire. A mortar is cool, a Cannon is cool. A mortar and 30 Halberdiers will only kill as much as the Mortar. A Mortar and 30 Handgunners will wipe a regiment off the table. The amount of damage that you can do before combat is shocking. A lot of people can't afford to field large regiments of their best fighters. 14 Swordmasters for example. If you cut them down, all I have to fight you with are Spearmen. I'll win, yeah, but I won't do it quickly enough, and you've just scored over 200vps for my Swordmasters. A mortar has trouble hitting small regiments, and a cannon will only kill 2 of those Swordmasters unless I'm dumb enough to feed you a flank shot.
3. Detachments. This is something I won't be making use of in my next Empire army, because I'm trying to field minimal core. However, Detachments are brutal. When I charge in with 14 Warriors to kill your 30 or so Spears, and you suddenly blaze away with 12 Handgunners, you're going to make me angry. After your Warmachines and Gunners have whittled down my regiment, the last thing I want to do is go up against a Stand-and-Shoot reaction. If I were really a jerk of an Empire player, I'd field regiments of 20 Bowmen, and then back them with detachments of 10 Handgunners. Charge me. If you hit a Detachment, I S&S and give you 80 or so points. If you charge the Bowmen, I stand-and-shoot with 3 regiments. That's a LOT of shots outbound, on top of the other damage I've been doing all game. You can also spread that fire. Back when points didn't matter, I would field regiments of 10 Handgunners and 2 detachments of 5 more, rather than 2x Handgunner regiments. Smaller regiments meant that I could split fire, so if my initial 10 shots don't work, I can add 5 more instead of committing overkill 10 shots. You can't split those potential 30 shots from a Volleygun.
4. Misfires - Troop guns don't misfire. If your mortar explodes, it's not killing anything now. Gunners might miss, they might not kill as many enemies, but they won't stop firing, you won't lose 110pts or 75pts or 100pts because of a single bad roll.
3 words, Tashin - Hochland Long Rifles.
They've killed more T3 mages than you can shake a stick at. They're even better now we use true LOS. I usually take 2 or 3 10-man HG regiments with HLR's in each. If you put 1 wound on a T3 mage, an miscast can see them go pop. If they try to hide the mage, then all the spells that needs LOS or forward arc are taken out of play.
The careful application of terror is a form of communication in itself - Zutta Law #4.
Thanks for all the replies fellas.
I was writting this long and awesome post to argue against some of your points, but my computer crashed and now its all gone. I'll rewrite it later.