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Before I begin this, let me just point out the fact that I'm not a new player by any stretch of the imagination. I've been playing for about seven years, on and off, always as Empire.
And in those seven years, I struggle to remember any game that I've won (barring a game with allies, which we won out of sheer dumb luck), or even survived without having all of my guys being killed to a man.
I've never much been a big fan of the Empire gun line - it just seems really dull to me. And whenever I try and take a mix of shooting and close combat, my shooters routinely fail to do anything useful. If I go all close combat, my Empire foot troops can't kill sh**- in the last game I played, a horde of 40 halberdiers under the effect of the Glittering Robe (4+ armour save) and a BSB with the Griffon Standard with a Static Resolution of 7 only managed to win against two 12-man units of Tzeentch Warriors by one. They simply can't put up with any sort of abuse- anyone I could actually get into combat with are too powerful to be defeated, and any not is typically mobile enough to run circles around me.
And now, since charger's don't automatically go first, my previous strategy of knights, knights and more knights is pretty much axed.
Do I just suck or something? What can I do to stop losing so bleedin' hardcore?
If it helps, my routine opponents are Warriors of Chaos, Wood Elves, and Beastmen.
The first thing you can do is grab some warmachines. A cannon is helpful in any battle, and mortars are so much more accurate that they are a must as well now. What characters do you use? Use warrior preists in your units. They may be expensive, but they make all your emp. units a little tougher in combat. Add detachments (either combat or shooting), and your units can be come a serious threat to the enemy.
Swordsmen are also good with static res. That WS4, 5+/6++ save can be surprisingly effective in minimising casualties.
The careful application of terror is a form of communication in itself - Zutta Law #4.
I typically use Captains and Templar Grand Masters with my knight units. Occasionally I'll take a Captain BSB on Foot or a Warrior Priest on a Horse to boost my knights. I find that most Characters on Foot tend to die in the first round of combat because of their (relatively) low armour save.
I play with pretty soft armies, but I always bring 1x Great Cannon, 1x Hellstorm and 1x Mortar guarded by a single Engineer. That is a pretty cheap and - quite often - powerful combination, that brings havock in the enemy ranks.
Have you thought of bringing the War Alter and the Steam Tank? Those two are still some of the most overpowered choices within the Empire garrison (even though the Stank is abit easier to kill these days). If you play anywhere between 2000-2400 point games, you should bring an Arch Lector on a WarAlter and a Wizard Lord (level 4) with either Life, Shadow or Metal/Fire.
Those knights arent really that great anymore, but if you insist on fielding them, try running them with greatweapons instead of lances. It works out alot better for me atleast.
That being said, Woodelves and Warriors of Chaos in particular are pretty hard matchups for any Empire player, so dont lose your cool if you're getting beaten by them. Against the woodelves you should definatly bring the SteamTank, as woodelves has nothing that can touch it. If the Warriors of Chaos player usually goes horde marauders, just deploy a handful of mortars and he'll be finished before he even reaches you. If he brings smaller sturdy warriors regiments, just throw up some outriders and handgunners to blast through that armour - and if nothin else, I've had really good experience with riding two units of pistoliers up behind the static warriors of chaos line, harrashing the sh*t out of them.
If you're totally out of hope, try checking some armylists on this forum out and see how other people build their armies.
Last edited by Knightorder; February 23rd, 2011 at 16:10.
Well if you guys are only playing at 1000 points you're at a disadvantage my friend. The balance between the armies are most .. well balanced .. at +-2000 points.
I've had quite the number of 500-1500 point games myself against warriors of chaos and woodelves and let me tell you that warriors of chaos are particular overpowered at that pointlimit. In my oppinion (and with my experience) I'd say that warmachines are useless at 1000 points. So is gunline armies (unless they can move and fire, in which case they are totally awesome).
If I were you, I'd take a captain, BSB, with the Armourpiercing banner and a warrior priest with VHS - to defeat that expensive herochoice of his - and put them in a 50man strong halberdier unit. Then try a 20-30man strong swordsman unit, with a cheap lvl 3 wizard lord. All backed up by 5 knights, 5 pistoliers and 5 outriders, and perhaps some 5man free company detachments for screening.
Hmm, even with 1,100 points, I'd have to shave off the knights and make the outriders another pistolier group.
A Naked Wizard Lord, BSB with Full Plate and Razor Standard, Warrior Priest with Heavy Armour, Great Weapon and Holy Relic, 50 Halberds with Command, 20 Swordsmen with Command, two 5-man detatchments of Militia, and two 5-man units of pistoliers (one with a champion) is 1,098 pts.
I too have been attempting the rollercoaster ride of awesome that is the empire combat army. Sure black powder is cool and all but standing still rolling ranged dice got old for me fast.
I now only take 1 stand still ranged unit tops (still a big fan of pistoliers and outriders) . I use between 1 and 3 war machines at 2k. I find my success is rare and hard earned but it sure is a fun way to play empire. I have found taking a wizard that can swing combats for you with buffs is VITAL, either lvl 1 beasts for wildform, lvl 1 shadows for miasma or if you wanna spend the points, a lvl 3-4 life wizzy. He really does allow you to bring the enemy down to empire troop standards and then your superior numbers should win the day. I am speaking from experience of fighting dwarves and skaven only so I can't help with WoC or wood elves specifically.
Things I have found effective (combatwise) are:
- 30 flaggies 10 wide will kill more than you think (I killed an entire unit of dwarven hammerers on more than one occasion leaving the king all alone). These guys work nicely with a light wizard or arch lector for WS and initative 10 'cos otherwise they are a pitiful WS 2.
- Steam tank, for obvious reasons.
- Knights, but only in units of 10 with a warrior priest for hatred and great weapons.
- Greatswords, but again they need the warrior priest really. I take a unit of 30 or none atall, find small units not useful and lets face it, for 10 points they're still pretty cheap. I honestly think they're great for their points.
- Swordsmen, I was doubtful as to the usefulness of this unit for a long time but they're actually a nice stopping unit for setting up flank charges.
I am no empire expert however so take my advice with a pinch of salt but I think empire while not a fantastic combat army are by no means useless, just takes the right combination of characters and some ranged support.