Friday, October 16, 2009

Core Competency- Trial and Error

(My Empire 2008)

Not that I am expert by any stretch but having played the army exclusively now for three years I’d hope I’d have a particular insight . I read a lot of stuff on various WFB forums on how to correctly play Empire “The Empire” or the puny humans of the WFB universe.

The Empire has the most well rounded force in the game, they are average at everything but excel at nothing, Potent combination's of units do exist, and they do have access to some of the most powerful shooting in the game, as well as the exclusive and under used Detachment system. I am not a power gamer so I don’t endorse or playing Gunlines, running multiple Steam Tanks, basing every game around using the War Altar. I constantly struggle between the Theme of my army and its competitiveness, trying to be competitive with basically Strength 3, Toughness 3 army in the current power environment is my goal and its no doubt a challenge.

For this discussion I’d like to talk about the Empire in the context of one of my favorite local tournaments, Core Competency Which has one themed caveat that is the basis for the event, your army have 40% of your 2250 points( or 900 points ) must be Core Troops. This isn’t standard by any stretch in today's tournament environments. Most players in GT style event don’t run anywhere near 900 points of Core troops, In fact I played an fellow at last years Adepticon WFB championships who had the audacity to drop less than 300 points of Empire Core troops on the table for our match. Fortunately the Empire has some great, cheap core troops and I am sure going to use them. Here is my planned list for the event


Luthor Huss- Prophet of Sigmar , Army General

Warrior Priest, Icon of Magnus, Armor of Meteoric Iron

Captain of Empire, Battle Standard Bear with The Imperial Banner

Captain of Empire, on Pegasus, Sword of Striking, Pistol

The fist comment most people mention at this list, is what? No Lord..Normally I always take a Lord

however given the theme of tournament and that Special Characters are allowed Renegade Priest Luthor Huss fits in perfectly as my Army General for 180 points, you get a Fear Causer, with a 4+ ward save something any other character needs to take 70 points in items to gain. An Arch Lector will give you leadership 9 and and extra dispel die, which is very nice however he's 225 points after items, Empire Characters are for the support of your units not take on every bad ass enemy hero in the game. The goal of this army is support the blocks of troops against the number one nemesis of an Empire Army, "Psychology".

Fear, Terror and Panic wreak havoc on Humans and this Army has redundant psychology protection, Both Priests not only grant their units hated, but are immune to fear, Luthor Huss even Causes fear. The Imperial Banner allows anyone within 12" to re-roll any failed Psychology result and as well as any failed rally tests, yes, I am only leadership "8" but I'll take my chance with always having two rolls to roll 8 or less. The Captain on the Pegasus is my assassin, his role varies from game to game, from march blocking, to war machine or wizard hunting...he is always a target...but if they zeroing in on him they arent targeting your more important units.

Core Troops

900 points of Core are

24 Swordsmen/ Full Command

9 Free Company Detachment

9 Free Company Detachment

24 Swordsmen/ Full Command

9 Free Company Detachment

10 Handgunners, Marksman with Hochland Long Rifle

10 Huntsmen, Scouts Skirmishers

6 Knights Champion, Full Command

20 Flagellants, (core due to Warrior Priests)

The Swordsmen / Free Company Detachment combination is for me the back bone of the Empire, others will make arguments for Halberdiers, Spears, Archers as core blocks or detachments but in the end WS 4, with a 4+ Save to the front is great adjustment for the S3, T3 of the troops at 6 points each, its been a long hard stuggle to justify using my Greatswords over the second block of Swordsmen, where you pay 4 points a model more for Str 5 and the Stubborn rule..thru years of playing them, I've finally left my Greatswords for games above 2250 and am sticking with the grunts. 3x 3 units of Free Company is the way to go for 3x3 you get 6 attacks vs 5 against standard infantry and odd are with less room to strike back 5 men will remain to cancel your rank bonus. Protecting the flanks of the blocks is key, IF elite infantry or character flank my core blocks and characters

it is quickly game over for the Empire, all the rest of my core troops are there to help support those two blocks of infantry survive.

Special Troops

Great Cannon

5 Pistoliers, Champion w/ Repeater Pistol, Musician

Every Empire list should include 1 Cannon, even thou my luck has been shit with it of late, killing

that Dragon, Giant or Bloodthirster on a good day make this 100 points indispensable. IF your Pistoliers

stay on the table to make to turn 3 these guys are very useful, unfortunately they are always target number 1, so running off the table getting shot up or what not...most of the time they're cannon fodder, but if they are still on table turn 6, odds are the Empire has won the day...I go back and forth with these guys..dropping my Greatswords for Swordsmen allowed me to put them back in the list. we'll see how my last practice games go.

Rare Choices

Steam Tank, Engineer w/ Repeater Pistol

I played for the last two years without the Stank, In favor of messing around with other semi-useful Artillery. The Steam Tank is great but not for shooting the cannon...the way I roll misfires..I loving using something that doesn't force me to roll the Artillery a Terror Causing, Flank Protector that can dish out the pain in close combat I love it..not to mention I've been getting great use of the the S2 Steam Gun...If can just remember to make my engineer fire that repeater pistol when need be I'll be all set!.

(Spring 09)


So far I have this list or slight variations of against High Elves, Beasts of Chaos, Warriors of Chaos, Lizardmen, Daemons of Chaos, Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings.. 10 games in total. Results are mixed, generally against the same of lesser tier army's the list does very well, if not winning, Drawing or losing as result of an incident that's got nothing do with list performance, Against top tier armies like DoC It really boils down to luck, (an all Khorne list scoring an 18 WPS recently tabled me in 5 turns.) Although I had very good game against a Core Comp VC list the other night that could have went either way turn 4, and didnt go my way.. The real counter to things like VC and DoC is the War Altar solely to be able to cast a bound 5 "cleansing flare", I do run alot of Warrior Priests so it fits my Theme, however I dont see myself getting one anytime soon and the fact that making the army competitive could rely on one gimmick from one unit irks me to point of not using it.

If all else fails I may bump Luthor Huss up to an Arch Lector on a horse and trim some points elsewhere..the jury is still out on that decision I'd still like to get in a few more practice games in. I'll be following up on this and WFB in general over the next Month as the tourney approaches.


Shrink to Fit said...

Thanks for sharing your insights. It's always nice to read someone else's thought process with regard to their army.

Best of luck at the tournament!

Felix said...

I have yet to face a steamtank, and your description of your list makes me think that I really don't want to. Seems much easier to deal with two cannon...

ZeroTwentythree said...

I had been using 2x25 swordsmen AND 25+/- greatswords, all with detachments. Recently I got frustrated with the greatswords (lack of) performance vs. their relative cost compared to the core state troops. So I've also dropped them from my list, and like you, I will probably only bring them out for larger games. It's gone well so far.

I'm not certain I agree that they are the most well rounded army in the game. (DE are first to spring to mind as an alternate for my vote.)

John@Plastic Legions said...

You're right, I have played DE enough to know they match or outpace me in every phase..I am always like "man, I wish I had one of those!"..etc..kind of going by the sterotypes when I typed that!

Conspyre said...

It's interesting, the way you feel about the WAltar is pretty much how I'm feeling about the Anvil of Doom at the moment. While I know it's a key unit for the kind of Dwarf army I run, I just feel bad about being forced to take the one unit that I know my opponents will complain about.


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