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Is it better to use parent units designed for close combat with ranged detachments or Parent units designed for range with close combat detachments?
close combat parent units:
allow you to buy upgrades, bigger squads, detachments will weaken enemy for the charge
ranged parent units- cc units will counter charge flanks, will suffer -1 to hit for getting charged, 2 cc detachments mean more protection.
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Well, I have no knowledge of Empire really, but from my perpective, I think a combat parent unit and a ranged detachment seems nice. The detachment can weaken a unit a bit for combat, then can flank andd still negate ranks, while the combat parent unit (which I'm guessing would be better than a combat detachment) deals the wounds necessary to win the combat. It could work just as well the other way, except a parent shooting unit probably wouldn't have many ranks to help with combat, but the combat detachment might well do, but then the detachment would be bigger and then probably the bigger target for the opponent, making it the same case as before, except the combat detachment wouldn't be as good as a combat parent unit.....I hope that made sense, and also remember that I don't play as Empire and have never faced them, so I may have said some things that wouldn't apply to Empire.....I hope I helped though!
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I would go for the shooting detatchments myself. As they dont suffer the minus 1 for shooting at chargers. Also your combat parent unit can get all the rank bonuses etc as they arent having to worry about shooting. You could do well with this setup.
The other thing is you could have 2 detatchments, one of handgunners and the other of swordsmen or the like.
So you get to shoot them abit first, perhaps make them panic or if that fails get flank and negate ranks with your other detatchment.
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I almost always go with one of each. The ranged detachment very rarely gets involved in CC, they only do it if it's crucial to negate rank bonuses. HOWEVER, if I'm attacking, I almost always use 2 CC detachments, with a detachment of archers once in a while.
Don't know what to have for ranged parent units, as I never use so big units that I care wether they live or not.
My usual detachments for swordsmen, spearmen and halberdier parent units:
Detachment 1: free company or halberdiers. Sometimes swordsmen against elves. Size 8-10.
Detachment 2: handgunners. Seldom more than 5, except for my spearmen who get 8 and deploy in front of a hill with the detachment on top. Sometimes crossbowmen or archers, but that's mostly because I have the models from my old Mordheim warbands and like the nostalgia...
I allways use 1 type of each detachments free company/halberdiers for combat and handgunners or crossbowmen for shooting.
The main reason for free company is because there the only unit in the whole empire army that has 2 handweapons and there cheap as chips at 5pts each a unit of 10 is 50pts which is some bargain IMO they may not last to long since there naked but when counter charging a enemy, throwing 10 attacks each turn is really handy to have but wont do so well again heavly armoured units.
Once in a battle a good while back my 10 FC charged a unit of 10 chaos chosen knights with a chaos lord in it which charged my parent unit of swordsmen and the caused a panic test to the unit of knights cause of the flank charge. they broke and ran off the bored which really saved my armies butt cause i just couldnt stop them even with my cannon.
halberdiers are really good can openers and when facing T4 enemies they will really help to but with upcoming empire update i hope they give halberdiers a boost of some kind heavy armour or ws4 or both would be lovely. But then again there basically naked even with there light armour which will not stop much.
For the shooting detachments
Handgunners and X-bowmen, simpley i use them to shoot the nearest unit with possiably striping a rank off the unit which is a bit bonus with the handgunners bonus against armour they good at killing chaos warriors and orcs but are abit short of range even with the d6 bonus they get for first shoot.
X-bows i really like the extra range you get from it which is why i take them even tho they lack the extra ap bonus there still pretty decent IMO.
The reason i dont bother with swordsmen and spearmen is cause they lack the punch which detachments are ment to give unlike FC and halberdiers
Hope that helps.
I say, with a CC Parent unit, use one of each, this will give you maximum damage. Use 5 handgunners and 8 free company. These units are only 40pts each. Dual ranks of handgunners is useless (since you'll probably reserve the hills for ranged units and artillery) and wasting lots of points on guns is bad since you are moving alot. I take out the ranged detatchments first when I need to save points, since they are really just a little bonus.
Ranged parents however should be only 10 men strong, and then get 2 ranged detatchments. This will let you get a huge amount of gun-toting units. You can then split your fire or lump it all together, and if someone does charge your ranged parent (which, by the way, they should not be able to do!) you will get alot of bullets for the stand-and-shoot!