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I'm trying to build my first Empire army, and I'm trying to figure out which are better for my main unit. I'm thinking Spearmen wiht shields vs swordsmen, a unit of prolly aroun 30, plus detachments (1 freecompany, 1 crossbowman). Prolly going to use a griffon banner either way.
Also, this is alongside a unit of Greatswords, with a halberdier detachment, and knights. SO this unit job is prolly fairly static.
Go for the Swordsmen. It's been my experience that my Spearmen charge and don't get to fight in two ranks, OR I get charged and they kill my whole front rank so I don't get two ranks of attacks anyway. With Swordsmen you get only one rank but a whole lot better stats and armour save so if you charge you kill more and if you are charged you are much less likely to die in great numbers befitting a Skaven horde.
Okay, but if you get charged by knights, say with str 6 due to lances, won't your save go away completely?
And are people smart enough not to charge spearmen? What are the chances they just avoid the unit? If you have a big rank of spearmen, is it better to be charged than to charge, or do you take the charge when you can get it?
edit, need to reread it myself
Also the higher WS will really make a diffrence in closecombat with the higher armour save, even though they might not win when charged, they might be able to hold on to the next turn and deal out a beating then.
But then again, spearmens with the griffon standard can be a good defensive unit, but then again, you should also remember that you can't use the shields if you want to use spears.
Then why does it have shields as an option? Is that onlygood while being shot at?
Well, yes they get a better save against shooting, but you can also to choose to not use the spears but their handweapons instead, but notice that you can't change it back for the reminder of that combat, so you can't have handweapons in the first turn, then change back to spears in the next, well, at least IIRC.
As to your point about getting charge by cavalry, here's a few toughts:
1. WS 4 makes them hit you on 4s in general, instead of 3s.
2. Initiative 4 will make you hit before them (3 in average) if you hold.
3. Beyond the charge, you'll need that 4+ save to soak up the steeds and rider attacks.
I personally use 2 blocks of 25 Swordsman, each with 2 detatchments of 10 Halberds. It works quite well as the swordsmen are the best to HOLD and the Halberds make the enemy take their clicks with the counter charge. My opponents know it as the "Meat Grinder"
Plus you can say mostly any infantry suck by saying "Oh, if they get charged by knights theyre done for." No crap! Knights OWN thats the game. I can say Knights suck cause if they get hit with a cannon theyre "Done For!"
I mean..... way to let the cat out of the bag!
Its all a big over-complicated game of rock paper scissors.
Personally I hate spearmen, they suck, they are as tactically flexible as the spear they wield and I refuse to use them ever!
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Spears can be used in combat with a shield for +1 to an armour save because the spear is a 1 handed weapon.
I still say swords are better.