Hey guys, welcome to the Quick Start Guide for the Empire. I started one of these up for the Warriors of Chaos, and High Elves, and thought that maybe we could use a similar thread here.
This thread isn't meant to serve as a catch-bin for all of your questions. If you're left with questions after reading this, you might want to pop over to the "Starting Empire?" thread
>>> Starting Empire? Post Questions Here
Otherwise, what you're going to see below are the kinds of opinions that you'll get from veteran players if you ask about these units or choices in a thread.The Golden Rule
Let's start with the "Golden Rule," because it's the simplest part of this - nothing that anyone says about building a Warhammer army is 'law'. This guide was edited to reflect the types of feedback that you would typically see in an army list thread, or the kinds of discussions that we've had in various "how to beat," and "what to take" threads. Furthermore, these are choices for competitive armies; these are the optimized choices, for lists that you might consider taking to a tournament. If you're just playing "fluffy" games, or playing against newer players, you might not need to bring an army packed to the gills with all the best bits. But...
The Golden Rule of Empire
-DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED-
Empire itself is not a particularly amazing army. There, I said it.
In the guides for High Elves and Warriors of Chaos, I posted the "Golden Rule" and left it at that. However, those armies are generally considered "top tier" or even [dare I say?] 'Cheesy', 'OP' or 'Broken'. They Empire, on the other hand, is considered more of a mid-tier army. They are not 'best' at any single phase (nope, not even shooting) and are a 'Jack of All Trades' army by all accounts. Therefore, playing Empire is challenge, and half the game is rising to meet that challenge. Always remember:
1) Patience is key. It takes everyone a while to learn the game of Warhammer. It takes a while longer to understand the game - make tactical decisions, know when to sacrifice a unit, how to properly pick your targets, etc. Until you learn these things, playing Empire can be brutal. Expect to come up against opponents with special rules that simply break entire rules (Elves never strike last with Greatweapons, for instance). Empire doesn't get those rules, and their units don't many powerful special rules of their own. Even the rules that they do have, like 'Hold the Line', are tinted with the fact that they only apply when you are losing combat. Stick with it, and be tough. Because...
2) Your army will make you a better general. Playing a low-to-mid tier army forces you to learn the game, and that makes you a better general. Playing a top-tier army can give a false sense of accomplishment, because it's easy to just spam "da best" unit, or to just push your army across the table and win games. This is especially true of Warriors of Chaos -one of the most popular armies in the game- who can usually win simply by getting each of their units into combat with something. Not for Empire. Empire wins games by understanding the game beyond just what units in your army are "da bestest". You learn the opponent's army, you learn your own army, and you use that advantage to play the tightest game that you can.
3) Bragging Rights. You get them with Empire. Nobody can "steal your victory" with Empire - they can't claim that you won because your army was "OP" or because a certain unit is just broken. Nobody expects Empire to win games, they're the underdogs most of the time. Becoming truly successful with Empire is something that few people ever manage - not because they can't, but just because they lack the patience. By the time you start wiping out opposing armies with your Empire, you'll have taken your knocks, earned your stripes, and you're entitled to be proud and boast a little.
Now on to the tactics themselves!
Lords and Heroes
Magic and Magic Items
I'm going to try and color code each choice. It looks nice, it's more professional, and it makes them stand out while making the information quicker to digest (you don't have to read Captain's essays anymore, just look at the colors!). It's a bit tough with Empire, because just about everything falls along a very similar power-band. Nothing stands out as being amazing, remember?
Here's how the colors will work:
Gold - These are the best units or "signature units" in our army. Some of these are even "must haves" like a Battle Standard Bearer, because they are vital to the way our army plays. Units/Characters who are colored gold stand out head-and-shoulders above not only other choices within their section, but within the book as a whole.
Green - green is for 'Go'. These are the units that you will probably take most often, and will receive the least negative criticism for taking. Often, they're best option in their respective section or role.
Purple - Purple is for the more "middle of the road" choices. A lot of the Empire book falls into this category, as a lot of their units are very "average" at what they do. In other guides, Purple meant that a unit has a very specific role to fill - in this guide, Purple is the average, and Green is for units which stand a bit above and beyond that average.
Red - never. Not even once. These are the choices that will get you shouted at through the interwebs. Like gold, there will be very few Red units, because most of the Empire book is pretty balanced overall. There are some choices out there, however, that are just so terrible that you are shooting yourself in the foot by taking them.
Sometimes a unit might have one color, but there will be a certain build for that unit which has a better color. A good example are Imperial Knights Inner Circle with Great Weapons