Adjusting the Empire

As I continue to play test list options for a GT this September, our gaming group started the *perfect* paint and play campaign to help me come up with a functional list that I really enjoy.  We’re playing the adjusted Mighty Empires campaign out of the Blood in the Badlands book and each person has three separate armies that they control on the campaign map.  The beautiful part is that each army has to be unique, you can’t just have three clones of the same list.  This is a great vehicle to test out some variants of what I want my Empire force to be.  The other nice piece is the paint and play component – every month we submit 500 points worth of painted models for judging.  This will be great to get my Hurricanum, Demigryphs, and other new additions finished in a timely manner.

The core of my army will remain generally unchanged:

2 horde halberd blocks (at least 40, up to 50)

2 cannons

1 steam tank

1 hurricanum

1 demigryph unit of 4

That’s the core foundation that I know I want to work with.  There are some major questions I’m still figuring out: do I want to go with multiple warrior priests or one arch lector on a war altar?  Do I want minimum magic or the lvl 4/lvl 2 I’ve been running before the new book?  Do I want multiple demigryph units?  Should I use detachments?

Last week, I got a practice game in against a nurgle warriors of chaos list.  Considering that the Empire got more combat oriented, this is actually a great test of how the new army functions, because I *need* to get buffs off on my halberds in order to stand a chance against warriors because their raw stats are better.  With the nerf in Empire artillery (mortars), there is a significantly reduced ability for me to weaken those combat blocks before they get to mine.  Here’s the list I took:

  • Level 4 Wizard Lord w/ Dispel Scroll (shadow)
  • Level 2 Wizard (shadow)
  • Captain (BSB, Full Plate, Shield, White Cloak of Ulric)
  • Warrior Priest (Shield, Armor of Destiny)
  • Warrior Priest (Enchanted Shield, Heavy Armor, Talisman of Endurance)
  • 50 Halberdiers with a 25 man spear detachment – joined by Warrior Priest and Captain
  • 40 Hablerdiers, joined by Warrior Priest
  • 2 Great Cannons
  • 2 units of 4 Demigryph Knights
  • 1 Steam Tank
  • 1 Celestial Hurricanum

My opponent had 2 warriors blocks, festus, a lvl 4, a helcannon, a bunch of dogs, 2 shrines, and the spawn special character.  I took a pretty bad loss in this game, which was partially poor tactical decisions on my part and partially because of some bad dice.  I miscast on turn 1, losing my wizard with Miasma – the KEY spell I needed in the shadow deck for combat.  I can blame the unlucky dice, but the reality is I should have made sure both my wizards had the signature spell since it was so crucial.  My three cannon shots to his helcannon managed to snipe all three dwarfs, and the helcannon then proceeded to slam into a demigryph unit.  I couldn’t roll hits to save my life, and they eventually fled.  His shrines kept rolling 7s, but I did manage to take care of those.  I did have a laughable incident where I combined the last edition steam tank with the current edition, using 5 steam points to move when I can only use 3.  Oops!  My steam tank held up his one block while I let his festus led unit charge my 50 man horde.  I had attempted to buff the unit in the previous phase, but a low dice magic phase made that difficult (and Dan wisely saved his scroll for the re-roll wounds battle prayer).  I made a crucial oops at this point – forgetting that I had the hurricanum still alive and thereby counteracting nurgle’s -1 WS aura.  Had I remembered that, the game would’ve gone completely differently but as it stands that’s on me to remember.  The first month or so of games, I fear, is going to be a lot more of shaking off the rust than anything else.  The nail in the coffin in this game was when he charged my large combat block, he had 8 power dice to my four dispel dice, and then IF’d the spell that gives -1 S and -1 T to my halberd unit.  I anticipated the reduced warmachine power of the new Empire, one thing that I need to be better about is my magic defense – I was spoiled by the dispel dice the AL and warrior priests used to give me.

Here are the takeaways I have from this game:

  • I was worried about leadership 8 for the army (with no popemobile), but the Captain cold blood rule is a nice way to balance that out
  • If I take two wizards for shadow, both need to take miasma.  Period.  I’m tempted to take two level 2s or two level 1s, but the problem is I’m already light on magic defense and that +4 to dispel off the level 4 is really handy.
  • I feel I’ll need to take more than just a scroll caddy, but the problem is there just isn’t much else in the way of magic defense.  Sure I can take magic resistance, but I’m more afraid of debuffs than direct wound spells … there just aren’t many options for strengthening magic defense besides the 15 point item that lets you chuck one more dispel dice at an attempt per game.
  • I need to be more effective with demigryphs.  In my first test game they found a good target: aboms.  This game one unit was busy chasing around spawn and hounds that cluttered the flanks, and the other got pinned in on the other side by a helcannon.  In the future I think I’ll deploy my spear detachment on the interior of the halberd unit, and free up the demigryph for a supporting charge on the other flank.

In one of my other armies for the campaign, I’ll do an arch lector with light wizards.  At first I thought light would be redundant, but then I realized that was really only true of Bironas’ rerolls from ASF.  Speed of Light + Pha’s is still GREAT combat defense (and against Ogres I don’t need to worry about my spells bouncing like Miasma), and could lead to some juicy autohit scenarios if the Hurricanum survives.  Auto hit 30 halberd attacks are scary.  Auto hit 30 attacks with rerolls to wound are even scarier.

The other “toy” I want to test out in my third list is the helblaster + engineer.  And I think I’ll take metal for more auto hit possibilities on the halberds, plus putting enchanted blades on the helblaster and the engineer’s bs 4 is a tantalizing, if expensive, prospect.  We shall see!


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  • What GT in September?

  • bugeatergames

    Rock Wars GT

  • Lucky!  I can’t swing that this year, but it is definitely on the radar for next year!