Empire, after several games…

So, I’ve gotten a handful of games in with the Empire at this point: 1-2 a week since the new book came out.

I’m doing okay with it.  (By “okay with it” I really mean “I’ve yet to lose with it,” but it’s not a point I’d like to swagger over, since several games have been learning-the-new-book games, and there was even a teaching game in there.  That’s very different from crawling to the top of the challenge pyramid with it.)

This is basically the list I’ve been running for the past couple of weeks:

General of the Empire (General) – Armour of Meteoric Iron, Sword of Might
Battle Wizard Lord – Heavens, Lvl 4, Talisman of Preservation

Battle Wizard – Shadow, Dispel Scroll
Captain of the Empire (BSB) – Great Weapon, Shield, Armour of Destiny
Master Engineer – Light Armour
Warrior Priest – Heavy Armour, Enchanted Shield, Ironcurse Icon, Warrior Bane
– Warhorse, Barding

Halberdiers x33 – Full Command
– Handgunners x10
Halberdiers x32 – Full Command
– Handgunners x10

Demigryph Knights x4 – Full Command, Steel Standard
Great Cannon
Outriders x5 – Champion w/ Brace of Pistols, Musician
Outriders x5 – Champion w/ Brace of Pistols, Musician

Celestial Hurricanum
Luminark of Hysh
Helblaster Volley Gun

Next time I play, I plan on swapping on of the Demigryph Knights for a Witch Hunter with a Brace of Pistols. I like having an ablative Demigryph, but in combat I’ve found I don’t always get him in to swing, and he makes the unit pretty unwieldy to maneuver (225mm wide).  Conversely, I’ve yet to not yearn for that 4+ (Witch Hunter + Aura of Protection) Ward Save vs. unpleasant magic.

For the most part: the General and the Lvl 1 go in one unit of Halberdiers, the BSB and the Lvl 4 in the other.  The Warrior Priest joins the Demigryphs, and the Engineer (obviously)  hangs out by the Helblaster.  Ideally, I place the Cannon near enough to the Helblaster that the Engineer can go support it if necessary.

I vanguard the Outriders up so they have a good angle to shoot at things until they get charged, stand and shoot, and die.  Halberdiers hold back as long as they can.  The Demigryphs hang out on a flank and either push forward really aggressively or hold back to counter-charge or, at least, disincline my opponent from charging where they might be able to countercharge.

The Hurricanum and Luminark move around enough for the whole army.  I’ve had really good fortune in getting them where they need to be to support whatever needs their support just in time.  Ideally, the enemy pushes towards me: once they’re within 24″ the Handgunners and Helblaster open up.

Heavens has been magnificent.  The debuffs it offers goes a long way to helping out my otherwise mediocre dudes (the Wizard Wagons help a lot, too).  Harmonic Convergence on the Helblaster is, frankly, bullshit. So good.  I need to never not take Miasma on the Shadow Wizard.

The Cannon is a cannon.  I’d love two, but I can’t afford the points.  The Helblaster is soooo good.  In one game I rolled one misfire (that the Engineer rerolled) total.  Well before that, I rolled three 10s.  It’s amazing.

I tried Pistoliers instead of Outriders, thinking that their additional mobility would help with War Machine hunting: they’re cheaper, but for a reason.  The lower BS, the lower range, the lower number of shots really hurt.  I love Outriders, however.  Amazing BS, disgusting rate of fire.  Someone at the store (John) suggested (in the last book, but just as applicable now) taking a Champion with a Brace of Pistols: this means that, when they stand and shoot, they always do so at 12″ from the Champion.  Depending on positioning, this means that at least half of your Outriders should be firing at short range.  This has been amazing.

The two Wizard Wagons are so good, I feel like they’re auto-includes.  I don’t think I can say that one’s better than the other, though: they’re both very useful in different ways.  Halberdiers hitting on 3’s (or, if Miasma’s in effect, 2’s) is really, really nice.  The 6+ Ward save runs hot and cold: sometimes it doesn’t do much, other times, it makes the army (within 6″) invincible.  I hate them, though, because they’re going to be nightmares to paint. :(  If and when you assemble them: magnetize those suckers.  It’ll make transport a lot easier.

Demigryphs are really intimidating.  They hit pretty hard, and I’ve been pleased with them.  Hatred from the Priest is immensely helpful.  If they ever FAQ it so Hatred doesn’t affect mounts, though… I’m going to have to rethink things.