The key to the survival of an Empire army is the tactics you employ, this applies to all armies yes even those who simply march forward cough*Chaos*cough.
There are many viable tactics and strategies you may employ to ensure your opponent gets a damn good beating but Iím only here to talk about the individual roles of each unit and perhaps how they fit into the overall scheme of the Empire army.
Cavalry, Infantry, Artillery and Characters so many choices so little points. The best ways to ensure your army can stand up to everyone you need what is known as an all-round army. This does not involve 4 Wizards, 4 Cannons and 2 Helblasters OK! It simply means you have a little of everything and in the Empires case we certainly do have a little of everything. Any way Iím onto to talking about the roles of each unit now.
Firstly and certainly the most important is infantry. No army is complete without it, no matter how hard you try.
State Troops are foremost amongst your infantry with the ability to be independent, detachments and parent units. They are hard to budge with 2 detachments by their sides; there are many different combinations of detachments and parent units.
Spearmen make the greatest parent units because for the most part they get charged often and units armed with spears usually donít run after getting charged.
Swordsmen and Free Company make good detachments because Swordsmen can survive well with a 4+ save and can deal out a reasonable amount of damage, Free Company are relatively easy to kill but have double the attacks and strike first if they counter charge.
The other types of infantry are the Greatswords and Flagellants; both make good defensive units being Stubborn and Unbreakable respectively. On the other hand both make good offensive units.
Greatswords work well in small groups flank charging the enemy, try to use them as detachments if you go offensive but of course they arenít detachments so you will have to rely on your units holding before the Greatswords get a charge in.
Flagellants are a little better at being offensive on the other hand although they may not appear so they are expensive and being used like a swarm is in my opinion a waste of their potential. On the charge they have 2 attacks at strength 5 the WS2 may appear to be a drawback but it is only very minor, against most opponents you will still be hitting on a 4+. With a frontage of 6 or 7 and a Prophet of Doom they should be able to break the enemy. Take another 2 ranks you will only need to kill around 5 guys and win the combat with a reasonable minus to the enemy Ld.
Next you have your missile troops. They are great, not only for whittling down the enemy, but sometimes destroying them!
Handgunners are great for killing cavalry and tough hard troops like Dwarfs.
Crossbowmen on the other hand are good for shooting at other missile troops with their longer ranged weapons and for whittling down troops for that extra precious turn (they get to fire 1 turn earlier than Handgunners usually with the extra 6Ē range).
Archers are another type of shooting troops, they can skirmish, this makes them mobile and good at screening your own troops. The Str3 24Ē range bows make them a little weak against anything with T4 and/or good saves.
Huntsmen on the other hand are great; scouting is good for stopping marches and for getting up close to the enemy early. Also with their 30Ē range longbows and the fact that they too skirmish make them better than Archers for a mere +2pts each. Iíll take that any day. Huntsmen are far more flexible than Archers so I rarely field Archers.
Now weíre onto cavalry, they are great guys to field with WS4, a 1+ save (2+ for White Wolves) and 1 unit may even have S4. On the charge, they also gain +2S. Now who could ask for more? (Besides Chaos players). Of course White Wolves are a little different but Iíll discuss them after Knightly Orders.
Knightly Orders are great shock troops and hard to destroy even with handguns so expect any spell, gun or war machine with Ďno armour saveí attached to it to shoot those Knights up but donít worry theyíll need to expend quite a lot of points to destroy those Knights complete. A unit of 5 Knights is good for flank charges but hitting the front is a bad idea due to no ranks or outnumbering bonuses, a unit of 10+ on the other hand can easily hit the front of enemy units and break them. This brings us to a problem, Dwarfs or any other race with T4, Ld8+ and a damn good save. They are hard to break so I suggest doing a simultaneous charge with either Pistoliers or more Knights in the flank and Knights in the front. Trust me on this Dwarfs are very tough. A magical banner can do wonders for a Knight unit but I advise keeping the Griffon Banner away from them because quite often they lack the ranks necessary to take full advantage of it. Knightly Orders in a protracted fight will rarely win; they need to charge to break the enemy.
White Wolves are a little different, only having a 2+ save they are far more susceptible to missile fire but have a higher strength in combat after the first round. This makes them great in protracted fights (Inner Circle White Wolves have S5 in all rounds of combat, S6 in the first round if they charge).
On to the most important part of the Empire army, War Machines! They are great for doing anything. Cannons kill the toughest and meanest monsters, Mortars crush those massive units of Goblins and Skaven while the Helblaster deals out serious amounts of fire power into those tough well armoured units like Dwarfs (oh how I hate them!).
Placement of the War Machines is a big part of using them well. Donít just put them where they can see the enemy, think ahead, where will the enemy be going? Donít forget that War Machines also happen to have 360 degrees LOS.
Cannons are for killing heavily armoured guys, monsters or anything with lots of wounds and/or a high toughness.
Mortars are for killing lightly armoured troops that come in large quantities like Goblins and Helblasters are for killing elite troops with good toughness and/or armour save.
Try not to waste the Helblaster e.g. donít shoot at 10 goblins unless itís a dire necessity because it might blow up!
With all that out of the way we are left with Pistoliers. They are fast, cool and one of the greatest fast cavalry units in the game. Flank charging is their speciality, pistols are best in combat but seeing as fast cavalry have a 360-degree LOS they shouldnít have too much trouble getting a shot or two off.
When used by themselves they do quite well but if they flank charge an enemy that has been engaged in the front they truly excel. Also a character joining them will reveal more uses, a Battle Standard Bearer with the War Banner is good for showing how good Pistoliers can get, flank charged by that unit and the enemy dies dies dies (sorry to sound like Skaven there)! Also a Warrior Priest is another good character to join them when fighting any evil teams.
Now all thatís left is characters. Iíll start with Lords.
My favourite is the Elector Count; the ability for a magic banner to be given to a unit of State Troops is great. The Griffon Banner is my favourite. He also has Ld so heís good for making your line hold; now you may want to make him an all-powerful fighter but youíll fail because heís barely better than a Captain. Simply give him a ward save and nice armour save. That should keep him alive and thatís all that matters. Also donít mount him. A Grandmaster is better to use and the Elector Count should keep himself within 12Ē of the largest part of your army which is usually your centre containing infantry, shooters and war machines.
The second Lord available is the Grandmaster. Now he is a much better fighter than the Elector Count, but he must be mounted. Heís good for leading your unit of Inner Circle Knights making them a very dangerous unit, the Immune to Psychology rule is great because you no longer have to worry about small things like Panic or Fear. Also the Ld9 is good for helping out your other Knight units so try to keep them close if possible.
The third Lord is the Wizard Lord, he is good to use in 3000+ games because you can still field a Ld9 general. A nasty tactic people often use is to give the Wizard Lord the Lore of Fire and Van Horst Speculum and then go off and fight the toughest character around creating a mega fighter! The Sword of ĎAlways Hitting on a 2+í is also good to use with him. A Wizard Lord is good at offensive magic and you should use him if you wish to get a few spells off.
Heroes provide a little more variety with 4 different choices.
Captains are useful for providing help to your units and giving them Ld8 if they are out of range of your general also a Captain on Pegasus provides a good character, scout, war machine and monster hunter. Monster hunting is fun with him but it requires the Sword of Fate.
Warrior Priests are also good in this role and more, they provide an extra dispel dice can Ďcastí prayers and makes a unit he joins hate the evil guys. In my opinion he is too expensive to be used unless the enemy is one of those evil teams.
The Engineer has a simple role, to increase the effectiveness of your artillery, if you take it simply for the Hochland Long Rifle consider simply using a Marksman from a Handgunner unit.
The Battle Wizard has two roles, to defend against enemy magic and to provide offensive magic. Give him 2 dispel scrolls and you have a great magic defender.
Well thatís it for now see you next time at the forum!