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I've been thinking about re-working my empire army to fit with the new rules. I'm really intrigued by the Horde rule, so I'm tempted to have an entire army of hordes.
I'm thinking a horde of 40/50 swordsmen with detachments of 20/25 halberdiers. (I'm also tempted by 50 Greatswords....)
Would this be the best way to go about it, or should I take advantage of spears and have a horde of spearmen, attacking in 4 ranks?
To be honest spearmen are pretty rubbish. Well they seem to be for me anyway. I'd rather take halberdiers in horde formations. Probably around 60 in a unit. These boys, with their sucky toughness and save, will die in droves so need to be taken in large numbers. However with the step up rule and horde rule they'll be throwing out buckets of str4 attacks.
I'd rather take swordsmen as detachments. As they're (slightly) more durable they'll last longer and you want your flanking units to last longer. With only str3 they wont be killing much anyway so they might as well be flankers.
Other than that, be careful with hordes. Taking loads of hordes means you'll have little room to position and manauver your units. It will also be harder for them to support each other as well. Also, if you're fighting a small elite army they'll be able to charge your one horded unit with 2 of his smaller hard hitting ones. This way he can eat your horde army bit by bit.
Its what I do with my Chaos Warriors Against a horde of Orcs/Skaven/Empire I'll charge in 2 units of warriors. Sure you'll be steadfast but if i'm killing 20 a turn you wont be steadfast for long.
Well you have two choices, you could either have as an example a horde of 40 halberdiers and attack with 30 of them at +1 strength, or have a horde of 40 spearmen and attack with all 40 of them. The choice in this example is loose 10 attacks for +1 strength or go for mass dice rolls.
No matter what you go with, put a Priest in the unit. Rerolling all those attacks is good for business. Casting Speed of Light on them is even better.
The careful application of terror is a form of communication in itself - Zutta Law #4.
Make sure you've got enough ranks to be steadfast. Even though you're a horde you're still likely to be loosing combat each round. I'd grab atleast 5 ranks.
Razormind from Lore of Shadow, Lore of light spells etc are all great buffs for a horde of empire troopses.
Definitely not spearmen. I personally go with swordsmen for parent regiments, since the better save and higher WS keep them steadfast longer, and halberdiers for the detachments in order to provide those S4 attacks, but there are good arguments either way. There's no good argument for spearmen.
Also, I don't use the horde formation...it's just not good for bog stock humans... The only way to win with state troops is to minimize your casualties while flipping static CR in your favor. You can't kill your way to victory with halberdiers or swordsmen, but with swordsmen taking the brunt of enemy action, you can reduce your casualties to the point where having a 3+ rank bonus while the enemy has none is significant. By going 5 wide, the enemy can't attack more than seven wide, and by going with swordsmen, you gain a parry save and make many enemies that would hit halberdiers or spearmen on 3s hit on 4s instead. Steadfast swordsmen in a minimum frontage with boosted leadership will last for ages...plenty long enough to get some kaniggits into the enemy flank (opposite the detachment, of course) to start turning the tide.
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