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Hello Empire players;
I am creating this thread to help one of my friends, a new empire player who is becoming increasingly frustrated playing against one of our friends who has recently taken up Dark elves. Today he expressed his frustration by saying hes loosing faith in empire and may not want to play Warhammer anymore. I find this quite sad seeing as for one hes my friend and secondly hes already made an investment in the game. The last four games that he has played have been against this dark elf player and he has been crushed every time. Iv been trying to make suggestions but as an outside player and not knowing Empire very well, I find it difficult to help him. At the moment we are playing low points between 1000 and 1500 seeing as we are all starting fantasy.
But any ways I will cut to the chase, do you guys have any suggestions for my friend who is having a lot of difficulty with this dark elf player?(hes one of the main opponents he plays against)
My friend who has been playing empire has done a small amount of research into the army and has tried a variety of things, he has yet to decide which state troop he like the best because he is having trouble fighting against Dark elves initiative 5. At this point hes pretty much willing to try anything to get an upper hand, in our most recent game he tried to take a hell blaster volley gun but to no avail it was taken out in two turns by a repeater bolt thrower.
My empire friend is not a very aggressive player, hes used to playing an imperial guard gun line and is still getting used to all the shooting modifiers that come with playing fantasy. Is gun line a viable option when it comes to empire and how would it work in terms of units? If this is not the case does Empire excel in an Anvil and Hammer strategy or a Scorpion/Pincer style? I realize this is some more or less rudimentary stuff but my friend is used to playing roll as many dice as possible and win that way in the shooting phase.
I'm planning on showing him this thread when this thread so any and all suggestions for list composition or strategy would be much appreciated, I would hate to see my friend lose all taste for fantasy due to a demoralizing match up.
I suggest you find the last list he used and post in here, that way it'll be easier to dissect it and figure out what he has as a foundation to his army, and provide help from there.
Lvl 1 Shadow Wizard
Lvl 2 Life Wizard
x50 Spearmen, FCMD in 10x5 formation
Hell Blaster Volley Gun with Master Engineer attached
He may have had a Captain with a BSB as well but I don't remember, this is the first time he tried using a horde block in a list
in the past he has used like two or so blocks of 20 swordsmen I believe, up till now he has been using Fire lore which served him better his last few games.
The most useful thing he did magic wise this past game was getting off the Dwellers Depths once.
The dark elf player will typically take two large blocks of warriors, a block of corsairs, a both thrower, and a sorceress, other than that it varies he some times takes cauldron of bloods or dark riders and usually some Crossbow men.
1. This might not be a problem of the Empire being poor, so much as the Dark Elves being a hold-over 7th ed list, and one that has several nasty (I hesitate to use the word cheesy/broken) tricks up their sleeve. Especially if the Dark Elf player is already experienced, I would try talking to him and asking that perhaps he tone down the list a bit. I don't believe in "letting someone win" but I also don't think that you should constantly crush someone game after game - especially if that person is new. I don't want to insult anyone, but if the Dark Elf player can't see the logic behind toning down to keep a fellow gamer in the hobby, then he is probably a piss-poor general who gets his rocks off by beating up on noobs and telling everyone what a wonderful win/loss record he has.
2. Without knowing about the list, I can tell your friend that running Empire like a gunline Guard army is the wrong idea. In previous editions, the Empire actually was a gunline. This time around, they changed it up and made the Empire a lot better at getting into people's faces and wearing them out in close combat. 8th edition in general isn't particularly kind to a gunline approach - the units are too large, there are very few "multi-shot" weapons, and shooting modifiers will cut the effectiveness of a volley in half before you even roll to wound. Don't build a gunline. In fact, Empire can play games without using any missile weapons at all and do extremely well.
Now, at low point games, I can't really be of much help. I play my Empire at 2500pts, and there are a lot of differences. Empire has never done well in small games - the Detachment system is a big part of the army (in my opinion - others will disagree) and we lose that advantage in small games. This is especially in 8th, where you can use Detachments to spread rules and character effects out across the entire army. Because of this, State Troops are actually a tad overpriced when viewed as independent units, and imbalances like this are only magnified in smaller games. You may want to tell you friend that, so that he knows that if he sticks with it, it will pay off in the end. Armies have "sweet spots" where they fare better. Empire is the only army that has no upper limit - they fight as well in a standard 2500pt game as they do in a 5000pt game.
Edit - sorry, got to see your post with his list. Here's the breakdown:
Wizards - he needs to drop one of them. Keep the L2 and give him Lore of Shadows. Life is only good if you can pick up Throne of Vines to make Regrowth worthwhile, or you can guarantee that you'll get Dwellers. For a L2 this is very hard. Shadows on the other hand, the signature spell can save Empire's bacon, especially against Dark Elves who rely so heavily on Initiative and Weaponskill in combat. Other spells like dropping Toughness will make your State-Troops feel like they're S5 (again, Elves don't have much armor, so you don't need real Strength to drop their saves), while making the Elves S2 or S1 will do a lot for your own survivability.
50 Spearmen - Worst of the Core Troops, sadly. They offer very, very little. Free Co will net the same number of attacks more effectively, you don't lose any until you lose 21 models. The spears lose attacks with 11 casualties. Best two options are Halberds or Swordsmen. Against Dark Elves, I'd actually stick to Swordsmen for the added protection and WS. Elves will hit Halberdiers on 3's, Swordsmen on 4's, and the Swordsmen will retain a 5+ save with a Parry. This is important when the Elves are hitting first in every round.
Also, 50 is too many. It's too much of your army in a low-point game, all tied into a single regiment. He would be better off spreading them out. Furthermore, he doesn't need the full command. A musician and banner bearer is enough, Champions are usually worthless unless you are escorting a character and even then you have to wonder if it's really adding much. Drop the Champ, and drop 10 models. That saves him quite a few points right there.
10 Halberdiers - too small. Good unit otherwise. Use them as a detachment, take the 10 models from the 50-man regiment and put them on the Halberds. 40 man parent, 20 man detachment. Perfect.
10 Crossbowmen - if you're going to use missile weapons, these are your best bet. He might want to keep these in order to shoot the Dark Riders. However, the chances of anyone out-shooting Dark Elf repeater crossbows is virtually impossible. Aside from DoC Flamers, they are probably the best missile weapons in the game. If Dark Riders are present, the Crossbows are worth it insofar as they might earn their points back by killing the cavalry. If the Riders aren't there though... it's points wasted. You might want to pass that on to your friend, he may want to save those points and use them somewhere else.
Hellblaster with Engineer - certainly doesn't need the Engineer. In small games you don't have the luxury of spending that many points just for a security blanket to protect against misfires. If he's that worried about misfires, ditch the Helblaster. If he keeps the Helblaster, ditch the Crossbowmen. Losing the Engineer and one of those two missile units will free up a LOT of points.
Captain BSB - yes. This is important. Not only will a BSB make his army a lot more stable, but it will also give them "Hold the Line." That makes it almost impossible for your units to be broken in combat - you're typically going to be Steadfast against Elves, with re-rollable 3D6 LD checks is a brick wall. This will also transfer to that Halberdier block. Grabbing a Captain is a necessity for this army.
One other thing that you might want to look into a Hurricanum and a Priest. It will be hard to find the points, you might not be able to fit both, but either one will really level the field against Dark Elves. If the DE players isn't relying heavily on magic, you might actually want to swap the L2 Shadow Wizard for a Priest instead. The Hurricanum will level the WS playingfield, by allowing you to hit on 3's just like the Elves. If you combine that with Shadows, you could get that number down to hitting on 2's. The Priest on the other hand will give you Hatred, which keeps up with the Dark Elves (who also have Hatred). It also gives you access to Prayers. I would actually rate the Priest higher than the Wizard, if you have to drop the Wizard to get the Priest, do it.
Hope this helps your friend.
Thank you very much for the reply Captain, ill be sure to pass on the word
One thing I distinctly remember him asking me is how he should deal with war machines, normally I would suggest that he just run a unit of cheep fast calv down the side and get into combat with the Bolt thrower or any warmachine in general. However due to the volley fire thing on the Bolt thrower allowing it to fire 6 shots a unit of out riders or something could be easily picked off. Yes I suppose that it distracts the unit for two or more turns which is a good thing, but as far as i'm aware it would be a costly throw away unit (I don't know the point cost of pistoleers or out riders) are they good enough to be able to shoot the crew or would they need to be close enough to get into combat with the machine if he were to do this?
would huntsmen (i believe their called) be able to fill this role of war machine hunter instead of a fast calv unit? I don't know their point cost but I would assume that they are a two or so points higher than that of a halberdman? More hearty verses shooting due to skirmishers, and have to numbers to take a crew in combat if shooting was not enough? But I have no experience with empire so ill let you tell me.
Excellent advice! I would drop both the blaster and the Xbows. Get a cannon, or possibly two at 1500. Hear me out. It addresses three of his units in a way that nothing else can. Cauldron of blood, check. RBTs, double check. And cold ones riders, well, you'll only kill one per turn, but how many would ten crossbows or a blaster kill over the course of the game? And when the hydra(s) inevitably rear a bunch of ugly heads? You'll be ready.
I would look at a cheap arch lector, a BSB, and a L2 shadowmancer and/or a L1 druid (wyssan's wild form for S4/T4 troops) for characters. Probably go with the wyssans guy alone at 1k. Add two units of ~35 swordsmen, the cannon, and a shagin wagon.
AL with heavy armor, great weapon, and white cloak (basically, all the blessings of glittering scales, except it's not light armor, plus a dragonbane gem, plus a talisman of endurance=60 points of stuff for 50 points, and you still get to take heavy armor, which glittering scales would block...it's a steal!)
BSB with talpres, plate, and enchanted shield (2+/4++).
L1 with wyssan's wild form.
Two units of 30 swords with musician and standard bearer.
That brings you in 42 points under. Use that to bump up to the L2 lore of shadows mage, or add three models to each unit of swordsmen (that's not laughable at a 10% bump)
For 1500, I'd add a pair of cannon, make the swordsmen 35 models each, and take both casters that I mentioned above. That leaves 132. You could get a blaster, but I would actually take the swordsmen to 40 with 70 of the points, then find 3 points to get an engineer for the cannons.
The cannons are a major investment, and I'm not even taking them at 2k (though they're priority one above that points level). But I don't play all my games against DE, either! The AL plus the BSB gives you rerollable LD9 for the whole army, and both are going to be kind of hard to kill, to boot.
Last edited by Marnepup; May 22nd, 2012 at 05:56.
IG since 1999 __ DA since 2002 __ Tau since 2005 __ SoB since 2007
Brets 1997-1999 __ TK since 2009 __ Empire since 2010
Nah, fast cav would just die, and at 97 points for five pistoliers with a musician, far too expensive a throwaway unit! Honestly, if he takes two bolt throwers every time, take a cannon instead of the hurricanum in my suggested 1k list. Facing guaranteed bolt throwers every time, my usual 'it might not do anything, depending on who you're playing' worry about spending 12% of your budget on a cannon is set aside.
Kamigawa? Is that paper river or god river? 日本人ですか?
Last edited by Marnepup; May 22nd, 2012 at 05:52.
IG since 1999 __ DA since 2002 __ Tau since 2005 __ SoB since 2007
Brets 1997-1999 __ TK since 2009 __ Empire since 2010