D.R.A.I.C.H. - Strike the Empire. (7th + 8th quick update)
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Author:  Calisson [ Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:03 pm ]
Post subject:  D.R.A.I.C.H. - Strike the Empire. (7th + 8th quick update)

Empire is the largest nation in the World. Expect to meet them often in your expedition to the Old World.
This antitactica should help you to deal with them.

1. The Empire.
2. Empire’s gunline – and how to beat it.
3. Empire’s infantry Static CR – and how to beat it.
4. Empire’s mobile tin cans.
5. The Steam Tank.
6. Empire’s Priests & Magic.
7. The War Altar.
8. Empire’s characters & monsters.
9. Magic against Empire.
10. The Empire’s power lists.
11. Terrain.
12. Best DE units against Empire.
13. How to win more than a game

1. The Empire.

Empire troops come in an incredible variety:
- strong shooters, including shooting fast cavalry; WHB’s best cannons among many other special and rare warmachines;
- numerous and various melee infantry with the exclusive detachment system and unbreakable flagellants;
- core heavy cavalry with impressive save; the feared Steam Tank;
- cheap magic-users who have access to all 8 Lores; while the distinctive priests can spam bounded spells;
all of which can be combined into either balanced armies or extremely specialized ones.

However, it is vulnerable: most units suffer from poor leadership and low toughness.
It is not that powerful: the R&F infantry is weak; shooting, including most warmachines, lacks accuracy.
It lacks mobility: the Empire has few flyers, only monster mounts; the whole army is not very fast; shooters are very static.
The magic is modest: usually, Empire armies do not have much magic offence nor defence.

We will examine the Empire along these four dimensions: shooting – melee infantry – mobile armour – magic.
An Empire army is made along one (rarely) or several (2-3) of these dimensions.

Author:  Calisson [ Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:04 pm ]
Post subject: 

2. Empire’s gunline – and how to beat it.

An Empire Army can be played integrally as a gunline. It’s boring for both opponents, but it’s fearful, and you must be prepared to face it – and beat it.

Core troops include all kind of shooters:
- Crossbows shoot at 30” with S4.
- Handguns shoot at 24” with S4 AP, a very good wounding power.
- Handgunner’s champions can use the Hochland long rifle (HLR), one of the most feared rifle in the game as it can snipe characters at 36” inside units (“Look Out Sir” does not work). HLR are also available for engineers and outrider’s champions.
- Bows are les of a threat but are skirmishers.

Don’t be afraid. The accuracy is not good: usually at long distance or against charging foes, only 1/3 shots do hit. Same goes for HLR. Also, all of them are “move or shoot” except the weak bows.

The detachment system allows these troops to come in tiny units of 5 shooters, able to pick up distinct targets. These tiny units never cause panic to nearby troops. Bowmen, especially, can be used efficiently just like we would use harpies. You’ll have to destroy them one after one. Easy but it can take some time.

All these troops have no armour and low Ld. They vanish at first show of force: terror, shooting or, more efficiently, melee. A charge of DR is enough, and you can avoid the “stand & shoot” by moving on the flanks.

Fast cavalry come in two varieties, both special troops:
- pistoliers can move 16” and shoot at 8” with 2 shots per model, S4 AP. Fortunately, only 1/6 shots are hits. They are great at diverting and hit-and-runs. They are used pretty much like our RXB DR.
- outriders don’t shoot if they moved. Fortunately because they shoot at 360°, 3 shots per model at 24” with S4 AP. As usual, 1/3 shots do statistically hit at long distance, but that leaves out many. The sheer firepower of the unit can also help dictate an enemy's deployment and movement.

The only trouble of Empire’s fast cavalry? They die young. They are very fragile compared to their cost so their impressive firepower is easily shut down. These two light cavalry have 5+ save and are always a top priority target for the opponent’s magic & shooting. Don’t ignore them, shoot them and magic them as a high priority, because it is easy and efficient, and if you don’t they will be a real pain.

Finally, the warmachines.
With special choices of cheap mortars or the excellent cannons, and rare choice of Helblaster multiple gun or Helstorm rockets, they can wipe many forces off the surface of the Earth.

Mortars and rockets use the large template. Fantastic against tight formations. Helstorm Rocket Battery is just an improved mortar: though more likely to scatter, it hits harder and cuts through most infantry armour.
There is one more template weapon: the engineer can use pigeons to send a small template anywhere he has LOS.
All template weapons are inaccurate (at most 1/3 hit) but dangerous.

The Helblaster gun battery will usually shoot only once before being charged (provided two units position for a charge). The Helblaster HURTS. 3 artillery dice worth of S5 -3 save shots at 24" range. High risk of misfires, high chance of causing enormous casualties. The potential is terrifying, however in average, 13 shots are released at long distance (12”-24”) so only 4 wounds are made. Consider the unit shot to be destroyed, however good surprises will happen. Sometimes.

The most dangerous weapon for the opponent is, with no doubt, the cannon.
Cannons are very popular as a Monster/Heavy cavalry/Hero/War Machine killer. Incredible range, S10 no save, D6 wounds, destroy monsters and chariots with a single shot, and could easily snipe characters were it not for the “look out, Sir” rule (which fails 1/6 of the time).

In order to mitigate the risks:
- Don’t look at the mouth of a cannon, it brings bad luck. Explanation: the cannon cannot miss the direction, however the range is not accurate: it must be guessed, one artillery die is added and the cannonball crosses a length equal to an extra artillery die. If you present the flank of your chariot/hydra, the cannonball will have to land within 50 mm, compared to the full 100 mm showed if you present the front or rear.
- use screens & covers. A cannon must aim at a target, although the range can be “over-estimated” and the cannonball may hit a lot further than “intended”. Even if it is not a blatant abuse of the rules (i.e. as long as the range was not unrealistic, it’s fine), you’re still at risk hiding behind your own troops, because they are legitimate targets; here, hiding behind terrain is your only hope.

All shooters/warmachines like to go on top of hills, where they have a clear view of unscreened targets. A bonus for them comes if the slopes of the hills are steady enough to count as difficult terrain and hence slow down movement.

What can be done against an Empire gunline (or against the gunline part of a balanced force)?
You cannot wait at distance, because of the range of the warmachines. The sooner you act, the better.
When you get closer than 24", you face a death platoon. Try to bring more bodies than there are bullets…
If ever you can get in melee, you win the game. Take out quickly the warmachines and your whole day will improve. Harpies can do it, or Dark Riders

Dark Magic spell #1. Prevents the shooting from a single unit. Efficient but can fail or be dispelled, leaving the sorceress in danger of being shot at. The Empire army often lacks magic resistance, so it is a chance to take.
Bladewind is amazing. It ignores the machine and only hurts the crew, who will die like squirrels in a wheat thresher. Alternately, Lore of Metal has a spell that messes up war-machines.

Panic is your friend.
One of the keys for beating empire is making them take panic tests.
If you wipe one US5 unit out, other units in vicinity may panic.
Concentrate your shooting & spells on units that can panic, one unit of shooters or fast cavalry close to the gunline. Preferably one that would panic something behind them as well. Shoot for units that also have wizards in them to get more bang for your buck. If he puts units like hand gunners in front of war machines... those make great targets.
Warning: detachments don’t trigger any panic, just like our harpies.

Screen your elite infantry.
Against a true gun line, expect to loose some units. The trick is to provide more units to shoot at (especially taken from the list above) than the opponent has units to shoot with.
Put in the front, in order of preference: hydra, unshielded or shielded warriors, COC, corsairs, Harpies, or even COK.
All these can soak more bullets/bolts/arrows per pt value than other troops.
Never screen with DR: they are much too expensive and fragile for that.
Trouble is that shooters on a hill can select their target above other troops.

Cover your troops behind terrain.
Easier if you were able to set up some terrain yourself, as the rulebook proposes (p.2).
Trouble is that by hiding, you won’t achieve anything. It may be a last resort, you let the opponent start, nobody moves for 6 turns and in the last turn, you occupy all 4 table quarters. Very boring. Just to teach your opponent how dull (and ineffective) his game can be.

Bring in terror causing dragons or hydras.
These beasts fear only cannons; most other projectiles bounce off their scales. Hide them from cannons in turn 1. Move them closer, still hidden. Suddenly, rush towards the gunline, avoiding most LOS if you can. Breathe one unit off, it my even panic and trigger more panic if the fleeing unit hits other units. Cause terror to many of these low Ld units. Charge the remaining. There is little that can resist that. The only difficulty is with cannons.

Very efficient: lots of harpies.
You can't go wrong with harpies against gunlines. They are cheap, they are expendable, and they rip crews and shooters. The more you have the easier for you. Turn 1 they get shot but nobody panic for them. Second turn, whoever survived charges warmachines or even shooters (the distance is too short for stand & shoot).

EDIT: make clear that DR are crap against gunlines: too expensive to be sacrified, they are a treat for any shooting.

Author:  Calisson [ Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:05 pm ]
Post subject: 

3. Empire’s infantry Static CR – and how to beat it.

An Empire Army can be played with almost only infantry – and by doing so, a clever Empire tactician managed to win a tourney, giving his nickname TVI(The Village Idiot) to that strategy.
Cannons and a few knights are there to support the infantry. Archer detachments are there to provide a light screen (like harpies for us) and shoot light march-blockers. The bulk of the army is made of hundreds of resolute infantrymen.

State Troops (spearmen / halberdiers / swordsmen) offer basic infantry at a low cost. Of particular note are the WS4 I4 4+ save Swordsmen, and the Free Companies (2 attacks each!).
The cheap, numerous core infantry use the Detachment special rule: small units backing up larger “parent units”. Detachments don't cause panic and get to “counter-charge”, “support charge” or stand and shoot against units going after the parent unit. They also can make great screens/diverters.

Greatswords are a mix of our executioners and black guard. They have a 4+ save, great weapons and are stubborn on LD8. They have good combat skills. Being stubborn, they can hold units up for the knights to destroy.

Flagellants are unbreakable, frenzied, carry flails and can sacrifice soldiers to gain Hatred/re-roll to wound and/or +1 combat resolution. They thankfully have no armour, are T3 and WS2. Watch out: Flagellants make a perfect tar pit, being unbreakable compensates for their poor combat skills. Fortunately, they are frenzied footsloggers and can be easily taken away.

An infantry-heavy Empire army will count on its static combat resolution and its compact battleline.
When the battleline is charged, the Empire side receives: +3 rank bonus, +1 likely outnumber, and the detachment counter charge provides instantaneously +1 side-charge plus cancelling the charging unit’s bonus. Assuming that both sides have a pennant, this sums up to +5 SCR that the charging unit must overcome. Even after bloodshed, the Empire is likely to win. If they loose, it should be by not much. In that case, they count on a general and a BSB in vicinity.

How to counter this infantry army?
The Empire mass army can absorb most shooting and magic alike. DE don’t have template warmachines. However, we have mass murdering spells in the Dark Lore, #4, #5 and #6. The more troops the Empire brings, the least shooters or magic defence he brings, leaving an easy cast for our sorceresses.
Cause a few casualties with magic or shooting to soften them up first, and send in a hard hitting unit.

We can’t compete with the SCR, but we can count on great ACR. Empire infantry get a 4+ save in close combat at best. Some DE units will dish out lots of hits: WE are the best, by far. Then come BG, Shade with AHW, Execs, Corsairs and shades with GW. COK and COC are good but more expensive for the same result. Also, WE and corsairs get more ACR from detachment charges than they loose from SCR.

The Empire mass army is designed to take frontal incoming charges. It leaves no space between the many units for you to squeeze any DR. Furthermore, an infantry-heavy army is the mark of a player who wishes to play real tactics. It may indicate a very good general.
You can play tactical, and that should make the game a really interesting one.
Once the line is broken, it is easier to get side charges. Depending on the opponent’s tactical skills, that disruption can be quite difficult to obtain.

The Empire mass army has little movement and not much control over the opponent’s movement. It moves quite like a monolith. DE should have little difficulty to outmanoeuvre them. A COK/COC/hydra charge on the side can cause havoc.
Harpies and other flyers can fly above and threaten the rear, where they will get a SCR of 5 (rear-charge and lost rank bonus) not forgetting the ACR. It takes a skilful Empire general will have means to counter that.

In order to get rid of the detachments, to get them out of the way so they don't flank you, you can declare a charge on the detachment, and when it runs away, assuming you're positioned correctly, declare enemy in the way on the main block unit and charge it afterwards. That works well to get rid of detachments too!
However, if you are not well positioned, be wary that the detachment may flee in order to leave you missing the charge and prone to a flank charge by the parent unit.
Also, if you see a block flanked by one or two of these... expect it to become Knight bait. Should you send in heavy cav, the Parent Unit may hold (if it likes its odds) or flee (perhaps stranding the charging unit), but the detachment(s) will fire. And hanguns can cause quite a bit of damage to our Knights and Heavy Infantry.

Finally, the psychological war is a liability for the Empire. Bring in a terror beast and watch all the missed panic tests.

Author:  Calisson [ Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:05 pm ]
Post subject: 

4. Empire’s mobile tin cans.

An Empire Army could be played exclusively with heavy cavalry. It is rarely done, although “all cavalry” fluffy armies show up sometimes with core knights, special pistoliers & outriders, and rare Steam Tanks.

The Empire benefits from inexpensive core 1+ save Knights.
Empire knights can be very deadly as they have great hitting power, and have great armour save. Not that quick with M7, not that dangerous with a single attack with lance, especially on following turns of melee, but getting through the armour is irritatingly slow. Their Ld 8 allows them to remain in prolonged melees even if not much happens, since if they loose at all, it is by a little margin.

Usually they come in two settings:
- low cost, expandable unit of 5 naked “vanilla” knights.
- tough unit of 10, possibly upgraded to “Inner Circle” (getting +1 strength), and getting the help of some characters: a priest provides them hatred (they become at this point quite similar to COK), a Grand Master makes them ITP and is excellent in melee. Watch out: they may have a banner providing them +D3” movement on the charge.

Taking care of all these moving tin cans can be done with the following.
- KB Execs (to be made stubborn with the nearby CoB), an assassin with maxed KB and natural ASF, strong attacks such as the hydra’s or charging COKs’ can get through the armour.
- A good SCR will easily defeat small units of knights.
- RBTs are nice, but the best is by far magic. See next chapter.

If you start your troops over 30" away and move up harpies and dark riders, you can put him in a situation where he can try to charge them with knights, but you will flee and eat his knights with hydra or cold ones, or he can try to shoot them down, but you will have too many targets, so you will end up eating his war machines. After your harpies or dark riders take out warmachines he will have to come at you if you have at least 2x10 crossbowmen and a reaper bolt thrower.

Then, in complement to the knights, there is the Steam Tank. Charges as far as 15”. Toughness 6, save 1+, 10 wounds. Dangerous on the charge, less dangerous in further turns of melee.
It has many characteristics similar to knights, just made worse. It deserves a chapter on its own: the next chapter.

5. The Steam Tank.

It is the most deadly unit in the empire army. This tank can demolish units in shooting and in combat, and is extremely hard to kill. Expect any Empire army to have one, or even two for WAACky lists. It is the equivalent to our hydra.

Some characteristics.
The steam tank is a large target. Nice to shoot at, but most projectiles bounce off. Also, it can shoot back at you with its cannon.
Little magic can affect them: only if there is a given strength to the spell, otherwise it is ignored.
Adding to their resistance, STanks are unbreakable. The thing is invincible!
Its charge is painful, up to 6D3 impacts with S6. However, when in melee, it is hit automatically and inflicts damage only during its own turn.

Dealing with a Steam tank usually means avoiding it. One way to achieve that is to charge yourself, tar pitting one of your units for the sake of the others, or in order to let a tougher unit come.

The vulnerability of the STank is that after it has lost a couple of wounds, it cannot generate enough steal to remain effective; it moves less far, inflicts less damage and is more liable to self-wound. Therefore, it is utterly important to inflict it the first 3-4 wounds, after what the steamtank is nearly useless, just ignore it altogether. It will barely move at all and at worst shoot with the cannon and risk self-wounding. The best his owner will hope will be to earn 100 VP for 1/4 table and concede no VP if 1 wound is left, because you don't get half points for a half dead Steam Tank. In many cases, crippling a steam tank is enough to take it out of a game, or just turn it in to an overpriced cannon. Cripple it, kill everything else and come back to it later.

Now let’s see which weapons against steam tanks are available to the Druchii. Most of these weapons are as effective or better against knights.

Shooting can deal enough damage to slow down the thing.
The RBT does an average of .666 wounds at long range (single shot), and .222 wounds at long range on a multi shot.
At close range the RBT does on average .833 wounds ( single shot) or .555 wounds (multishot)
It would take 4 RBTs 7.5 rounds of shooting to kill a single steam tank at long range. RBTs are effective at stopping steam tanks but not killing them.

Don’t waste your RXB on the STank. 40 RXB (that seems like a lot, right?) shoot 480 shots per game. Assuming the RXB hit the tank on an average of 4+, 40 will wound, and finally 6.66 will pass through its armour. The beast is still alive in turn 6.

Exec Axe Dreadlord will kill the beast – but must catch it before
If you really want to kill the steaming beast, a Dreadlord with Executioner's Axe is your best bet.
A Dreadlord with Exec Axe will have 4 automatic hits, wounds on 2 (S10, since 10 is max), ignores Armour and does D3 Wounds. An average of 6.67 wounds. Each turn!

However, it will be hard to catch the tank with a model on foot, so the help of Steed of Shadows is recommended or you need a tar pit.
This kind of lord does require a tailored list to fit him.

The trouble with that tactic is that your DL costs 248pts, pretty expensive for a single job - and he's your general, you lose 348pts if he runs off the board or gets caught, while the Stank costs 300pts.

Aside from the Executioner's Axe, a Dreadlord with the Hydra Blade + Potion of Strength or with Caledor's Bane can put a hurt on the Stank but is unlikely to kill it in one, and reduced strength in subsequent rounds makes it hard to finish the thing off. Either weaken it with Reapers first, or be sitting on top of a Dragon which can dish out strength 6 in second and subsequent rounds.

Assassins are plain useless.
Manbane is a poison. Warmachines are immune to poison. Steam Tank is a warmachine. End of story.

Other units will slowly cut through.
On a frontal charge, 5 COK should do 1.4 wounds, 2.6 with cauldron. Next rounds, it becomes .3.
5 Execs will do 1.25 wounds in average, and 2.5 with the COB. This remains in following turns.
The hydra and its handlers will cause close to 1 wound per turn.
5 BG will deal .9 wounds per round.

Putting the machine in pieces can be done. During the process, the STank is less and less likely to generate enough steam to defend itself.
One difficulty is to get in contact with the target – preferably by charging yourself. You could send harpies (yes, harpies) in order to delay it and get time to bring a real combatant: by charging on the flank, as long as they remain US5 it’s a draw. As soon as they drop below US5, they autobreak, but 6-7 harpies could stop it for 2 turns.
Terror is an issue, so keep a Dreadlord nearby. COK have to take two tests (stupidity, then fear); Execs (and harpies), one test. BG or hydra, or frenzied WE, no test.
Another thing to consider is that a ST is never killed in one round. So you have to make sure nobody could help the ST.
Final consideration, all the units mentioned above are useful against the Empire anyhow, especially against knights. Don’t waste them just for a STank.

Forget lore of shadow. Steam Tanks are immune to spells that don't deal damage directly. Pit of Shades doesn’t work (FAQed).

Lore of Metal works against the Steam Tank; commandment of Brass doesn't of course, but the 3 damaging spells work, among which two are extremely useful:
#1 Rule of Burning Iron = not many wounds but you only need to deal like 4 wounds to really cripple the tank.
#6 Spirit of the Forge: 2d6 S7 no AS hits on his Steam Tank (yes that's wounding it on 3+) = massive damage!
Take Lore of Metal and watch his smile fade as you kill his Stank and stop his warmachines and magic items from working.
But watch out: at 24" you'll expose the sorc to retaliatory shooting, from STank or other shooters.

Cast Metal and Shoot RBT at the thing for 1 or 2 turns. When it has received 4 wounds, ignore it unless you have nothing else to shoot or spell.

Author:  Calisson [ Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:06 pm ]
Post subject: 

6. Empire’s Priests & Magic.

Although the wizards are very cheap and may see a revival if an 8th edition rulebook boosts magic, most Empire players don’t go magic-heavy because they need more the Ld of their martial heroes.

They have a unique character with mixed characteristics: the Warrior Priest.
Not really a gallant warrior, but this guy inspires hatred to the unit in which he is (except heroes) and has the same Ld as the equivalent warrior hero. You’ve come to appreciate hatred enough to understand its benefits.
Also, he provides 1 DD just like a level 2 magic-user.
Finally, he can “cast” one bound prayer among a choice of 5, acting like a bound spell with a power level of 4.
Warrior Priests are slightly less efficient than captains in melee and should not be a problem for you.

The lord version is the Arch Lector, with twice the benefits: 2 DD, 2 bound prayers.
The Arch Lector can mount a chariot, the War Altar, which can “cast” any one spell from Lore of Light with a power level of 5 (a different spell can be chosen each turn). When you consider the power a spell like Soulfire, Healing Hand or Cleansing Flare can have, that's plenty for the opponent to be concerned with, at no risk of miscast to the Empire.
Prayers are easily dispelled. But if you add all of them, with no chance to miscast, plus the availability of a ring which casts Burning Head from the fire Lore with a power level of 3, and a casket which can “capture” one opponent’s spell and cast it like a bound spell, you understand that the “prayer spam” will require lots of DD to get stopped.
Factor in the fact that you can have the Arch Lector on a War Altar and 3 other casting characters (Warrior-Priests or Wizards, or a mix of both!) in the army at 2000 points and you'll agree that the Arch Lector brings a potentially powerful magic phase on his own, and can be just as valuable, if not more so, than a Battle Wizard to an Empire army's efforts.

7. The War Altar.

Some D.netters expressed a trouble to get rid of a War Altar, a.k.a. “pope mobile”.
Indeed, it has a magic resistance of 2, a ward save of 4+ adding to an otherwise ridiculous save of 5+, and it is unbreakable.

However, pope mobiles are silly easy to get rid of. It is a chariot, so any hit with S7 will destroy it.

Shoot at it!
It is a large target, T5, 5 wounds with save 5+ and 4+, so many shots will take it down.
Assassin with Manbane + Rending Stars = Dead Chariot in 1 turn. Nuff said. S7 rules.
Reapers and RXBs can take a bit longer but will get the job done eventually.

Either get the chariot first:
If you have S7 available, attack the War Altar, it's the source of power. Without it, the Lector isn't unbreakable nor has he a 4+ WS. If you are fear-causing, kill the altar = Lector autobreaks.

Potion of Strength and Hydra blade should do it. Just accept the challenge and slap the chariot.
Master with Caledor's bane, dreadlord with executioner's axe, hydra (1 wound a turn will beat the chariot down eventually in 4 turns of combat).

Since the chariot has no driver, if you hit it, it uses the steed's WS of 3. Swapping stats (with the Van Hortsmann Speculum, see next chapter) will still have you hitting on 3's and with 2+D3 attacks you should hit it 3-5 times and wound it at least 2 times and one failed ward later it's toast. Now of course you should be careful to have the PoK on the character. On an average D3 of 2 you'll have 4 attacks with Hatred that will make 3 wounding hits and 1.5 will be stopped by the 4+ ward of the Altar. Even a minimum of 3 attacks should result in 2 wounds before ward.

Or get the rider first:
Some D.netters advocate to attack the Lector first, contrary to many other’s advice. He's easier to kill and while he's alive, he can keep using the chariot to cast evil spells. When he's dead, the chariot is nothing more than a roadblock.

Executioners (to killing blow the guy on top), witch elves/corsairs plus cauldron (to killing blow the guy on top), etc....
Cold one knights kill the lector on the charge...
If the Arch Lector happens to use the sword of Fate, then you could be in trouble as he would have 4 attacks with s4 and no armour saves and D3 wounds, meaning with hatred he'd get approx 3 wounding hits that will need to be saved by a 4 or less (= 3+ ward). You'll fail 1 of 3 saves and take D3 wounds meaning it's all down to his D3 roll to determine if you live. On the charge his attacks will average cause a kill against a Dreadlord 33% of the time. Fortunately, if he has the Sword of Fate, he has to tell you he has the Sword of Fate, and he has to tell you which of your characters he'll be scoring D3 and no AS against. So you don't have to be that careful.

Neutralize the thing.
Tie it up with a cheap infantry unit. Even crossbowmen can do the job.

Author:  Calisson [ Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:06 pm ]
Post subject: 

8. Empire’s characters & monsters.

With basic leadership ranging in the 7 and 8 range, Empire players often try to select a General that will boost their troops' leadership to a respectable level. In most competitive environments, that means taking either a Templar Grand Master (which makes a unit of Knights he joins Immune to Psychology) or an Arch Lector (who grants 2 dispel dice, can cast two bound Prayers/spells per turn and can ride the monstrous War Altar). Of these two, the Templar Master is harder hitting.
The Empire General (i.e. the regular one) and Wizard Lord are also available, but less often seen.

Heroes of the Empire fulfil a variety of roles:
- Captains beef up units or can ride a Pegasus to hunt mages/war machines
- Warrior-Priests are mini Arch-Lectors. They grant one dispel dice, can cast one bound spell per turn and give the unit they join Hatred.
- Battle Wizards are fairly cheap points-wise, and have access to all 8 basic Lores.
- Engineers can improve the accuracy of Empire War Machines, but are pricey and seldom used.

The Empire does have a dragon! But there is a single one, which can only be mounted by the Emperor Karl Franz. Unlikely.
Griffons are flying, terror causing, large targets, no armour, 4 wounds. Like a Manticore, less hatred and KB.
Pegasus are the most popular monster mount. Expect to see captains on Pegasus quite often.

Magic Items.
A quick word on some of the best Empire items:
- Van Horstmann's Speculum. A favourite of Wizards/Arch Lectors, it swaps stats with its attacker in a challenge. Beware. If he uses this in the right duel a 150 pts hero can destroy a tooled out Dreadlord. You should have regiment champions in as many units as you can. Don’t initiate duels. If the enemy challenges you, accept the duel with your regimental champion.
- Rod of Power. This item allows a Wizard to store up to 3 power/dispel dice for use in his next phase. Storing two is reliable, and a great offence or defence boost. Point-for-point the best item in the Empire list.
- Icon of Magnus. Makes the units accompanying the Bearer immune to fear. Amazing with Greatswords or big Knight units.
- Shroud of Magnus. 5+ Ward save and magic resistance 2 in one item? Nice!
- Doomfire Ring. Bound Burning Head spell. Keep an eye out for it at 18”. Easy to dispel.
- Aldreds casket of sorcery: always bore by a Peggy-riding captain. Steals a spell out from an opposing caster. And may launch it like a bound spell.

9. Magic against Empire.

Magic is really your friend against Empire.
Empire has a wide selection of Lore but they are very basic magicians. He is likely not to have much magic defence except the natural defence of the Stank and the War Altar’s MR.
With a strong magic phase, you can outperform his magicians easily. There’s no way he can outperform your magic phase if you’re magic heavy and manage it well.

Two Lores are obvious against Empire: Metal and Dark. If he fields a lot of knights, Lore of Metal can be a better bet.

- Metal Lore: all ranges at 24". You want spell #1 or #6 only for Stank, #2 for cannons, #3 and #4 for other troops, only #5 is useless.

- Dark Lore: Chillwind, Word of Pain, Bkladewind, Soulstealer and Black Horror are all good for a Sorc4 on a dragon, flying close to the enemy line, or a Sorc Level 4 with the FF.
Word of pain, soul stealer and black horror are great. Empire shooting is on the whole not very resistant to Chillwind or Bladewind which can get rid of crewman very easily due to them being close combat attacks. If you take three mages then you can take 3 Chillwind spells, meaning you can really reduce the amount of firepower you will take.

- Fire Lore: Fatal Conflag is infinite range, 3 other have 24" range, very likely to destroy the single unit from which you position at 23".

- Shadow Lore: spells 2, 3, 5 and 6 seem interesting.

- Death Lore seems less interesting than the other Lores. If you have a terror-causer or a means to cause lots of panic tests (such as heavy shooting) then you can take Death magic on a level 4 in hopes of getting Doom and Darkness.

Oh, yes, the Familiar + range 24" is enough to remain out of most shooter’s range.

10. The Empire’s power lists.

Sometimes heavy gunlines show up with the hope of killing everything at distance before anything. Boring but it happens. :evil:

The most popular power list seems to be a double STank and Altar list, backed up with a couple of cannons. :twisted:

However, the lists which can win tournaments (and did) are infantry lists lead by real tacticians. :P

The lists are not everything: the most important is the general. As Dark Haven (or Jules) mentions, The Empire is like playing TK, its all about synergy. Nothing more.

The Empire tactics against Druchii are discussed there: Tacticas for W-E: Dark Elves

11. Terrain.

Empire dislikes terrain, because it blocks its warmachines LOS, slows down infantry and interrupts the order of its battleline.
There is one exception: hills in the deployment zone. They provide the Empire player multiple advantages:
- he can put his gunline in two ranks on the hill and have all of them shoot. This allows him to have more guns per width.
- from the hill, they can see above your screening units.
- Eventually hill slopes will slow down your progression towards him (if counting as difficult terrain) and with 2 ranks he has additional CR not forgetting the +1 CR from defending a slope.
- guns on the hill can shoot over more guns in a single line in front of the hill. It makes a lot of guns per width.
- most warmachines don’t have range problems, on the contrary they benefit from distance to delay the opponent’s charge.

In comparison, the hills will provide you less advantages, and only if you take RBT.
Any other kind of terrain is usually an advantage to DE: shades can hide in woods, hydra can move at full speed under cover, DR and flyers can go around or above.

Author:  Calisson [ Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:07 pm ]
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12. Best DE units against Empire.

Empire lists are decent at everything and can build up almost any kind of army. No matter how long you study the empire list you can never guess what you will face. Empire can pick 2-3 phases in which the army will do well. Against Empire, an all comers list would be the preferred way to go, it will be able to exploit what weaknesses there are.

Dark Riders and Harpies are what let Druchii players set the game's pace. Take a few units of each, as they are both amazing units.

Many harpies as cheap screen, you can’t have too many. Harpies are key for diverting knights charges away or for going after war machines. 4 units would be nice, and you should never leave home without at least 2 of these units.

Dark riders are baiters without peer, hit harder, and can bring crossbows for extra punch. Dark Riders are nice but too expensive to act as harpies. Dark Riders are pretty useless against Empire gunlines. Too expensive.

Repeater crossbowmen are golden against most empire units. Your 5+/4+ save is enough to keep you in hand to hand fights against everything but the knights and your shots can tear up anything he has except his knights. If the Crossbowmen have shields then they're not a bad combat unit either!

Lots of spears, or if you want, 10pts corsairs . The cheapest, the more numerous, the best. The cannons will kill only 1 model per rank. You run, at turn 3, all remaining units are in melee and he is dead: he cannot shoot anymore and he fights badly. A unit of 20 Corsairs does well.

NO CHARIOTS, they are the cannon’s treat.
No expensive fragile über unit, shades COK or BG: fragile, way too expansive, and unnecessary against feeble humans.

15 Black Guard either with the Banner of HG or The Banner of Murder (for that extra bite!) – or even naked!
Black Guard with the ASF banner will chew through any block unit he has. To help win combats, bring an assassin in at least one block unit. Just have him kill rank-and-file troops on the first turn (challenge with your unit champion instead). He should break from combat resolution and you'll run the unit down.
If you don't like the obviousness of the ASF banner, the armour piercing banner is another option.
But even naked Black Guards make a fantastic tar-pit unit to hold up units of knights. You can run units as small as 8, receive the knight’s charge and wait for the rescuing side charge.

Executioners with the BSB and the ASF banner could give empire knights a shock, by removing some of the knight’s high strength charging attacks, and strike first at strength 6 every turn.

Cold ones are good units to use against knights, to hold up and counter charge the knights.

Witches are excellent against Detachments, because really putting a Detachment into their flank just gives you more attacks.

Shades have their uses, especially with a KB assassin inside, if used correctly and protected from shooting. Shades with great weapons can be a great unit to charge into the rears of empire knights, they may not remove ranks, but will grant +2 combat res, and will have strength 5.

Rare: two hydra or 4 RBT ?
The hydra will attract all the cannon shootings. Cannonball is S10, D6 wounds, no save. In average, the hydra 5 regenerating wounds will need 3 cannonballs to overcome. Don't forget to show the hydra side rather than its face to the cannons, so as to make the estimation more difficult!
Hydra versus handgun: the regenerating 5-wound hydra is killed by the 10th successive shot. Its scaly save 4+ becomes 6+ versus AP S4 guns. The big size means easier to shoot at: 24 handgunners will kill it in 2 turns.
But on the other hand, once in melee, the terror will cause havoc in the low Ld empire.

The RBTs are your friends: they are able to stay away from the 24" deadly range; only the cannons will threaten them; they will threaten the cannons and even the Stank (large unit, S6 against E6, D3 damage and its save 1+ is nullified).
The RBTs are also the best weapon against the Outriders. If your harpies can bait a unit of knights sideways, they can put a single bolt down a flank... for extra greatness.

Either take a hydra to cause terror works well (also good for eating knights) and two Reaper Bolt Throwers single-shooting his Steam Tank and make it useless pretty quick.
Or, better, take 4 RBT, reduce the Stank to 6 wounds, it become static, it will not charge. Then you can fire at whoever needs it.

A Dreadlord is only useful against a STank. If you take RBT, it is not useful. Better take a sorceress lev4.

For your master, PoK and SDC of HG are a good way to reduce the impact of cannonballs, but helpless against other handguns. On the other hand, Ring of Darkness is a rather good way to reduce the impact of handguns.

No Pegasi against shooty Empire. They get killed way too easy.
Dark Steed is cheaper, offers enough manoeuvrability, and allows you to hide them inside units while they are still susceptible to enemy fire.

You can have a manticore. Keep it as cheap as possible, you will position it in turn 1 at 4" of his gunline, which makes 2 units test for terror. The dragon egg is nice against the unit you're facing. If they succeed their terror test, you face one round of deadly shot. If they fail, two less units, and you will be well positioned to side-charge the other units that cannot shoot at you unless they reposition (and don't shoot in their turn). If ever they reposition and face your manti, you can select not to charge and to fly circles around them, until all of Empire units will have tested against terror.

Of course, a Dragon will have an easy game against Empire, except when facing cannons.

Since most of an Empire army is T3 manbane won't help a great deal. But the KB-maxed assassin is great against the knights.

Shadowblade will cause sooo much disruption on top of having the capability of taking out most of the army himself. He starts inside the Helblaster and next charges the other cannons or whoever is visible; he will easily win combats against E3/little or no armour humans, despite numeric inferiority. The problem is that he does not overrun, so he is vulnerable to the outriders when not in melee (remember that the outriders, as fast cavalry, can shoot behind them - however, they are not skirmishers and cannot shoot through each other, so only one can shoot on the side). So be careful to position Shadowblade out of the outrider's visibility.

Consider 2 sorceresses and a Supreme Sorceress (2 with Dark Magic, one with metal).
If you give the Focus Familiar to one of them, you shouldn't have range issues, anyways.
A sorc on a manti or a dragon reduces the number of sorceresses, but adds the proximity to the enemy battle line, useful for Dark or Shadow Lores.

Author:  Calisson [ Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:07 pm ]
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13. How to win more than a game

Empire players have a distinct attitude with WHB.
Contrary to some DoC, VC or DE players, they cannot be suspected to play just for winning at all cost.
All of them do care about the fluff behind their army.
Well, for some of them the only fluff is that they want to play a “good” list so DoC, VC or DE are not to be considered. You can tell them if they bring in the purest gunline or a double-STank / War Altar / 3-4 cannons list. If it is the case, then feel free to beat’em to ashes.

Now, if you face an honest Empire list with:
- no more than one STank, no more than 2 cannons, no more than half of the units being infantry shooters,
- or at least 1 engineer
- or mass infantry
then you can tell for sure that the player’s purpose is not to win at all cost, but to HAVE FUN. 8)

If your opponent is a good player, it’s your opportunity to have a great game yourself and to win a friend. Play tactical. Try Shadow Lore. See how your opponent behaves, he is not unlikely to teach you a valuable lesson. ;)

If your opponent is not a better player than you are, you may have an easy win, not very enjoyable for anyone. If this is the case, of course you can help him to improve his skills, of course you can decide you would tune down a little bit your list next time, but also pay attention to the painting of the Empire army.

For Empire players, the colours in which the troops are painted have a meaning: they tell from which province the troops come. Look how well painted :o are the banners, the champions, the horses. Ask which province it is, which fluff comes along with, if this is the reason why he is fielding such troops rather than such other ones. Try to understand the coherence of the fluff: is it a religious sigmarite band, an engineer-led mechanical experimental troop, a city militia, a knight’s crusade?

And win a friend. :D

Author:  Slortor [ Thu Nov 05, 2009 6:49 pm ]
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Calisson wrote:
Assassins are plain useless.
Manbane is a poison. Warmachines are immune to poison. Steam Tank is a warmachine. End of story.

does that apply to rending stars as well? I presume it must - meaning that Ninja assassain is S5 stars vs. the tank...

Am I right - or just being a dolt?

Author:  Calisson [ Thu Nov 05, 2009 6:58 pm ]
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You're right. Any poison is useless - meaning that the normal strength of the weapon applies.

Author:  Cathel [ Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:17 pm ]
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I had a quick read and what I liked most is item 13.
Thanks for taking "out of game" in the equation and, of course, for providing another precise help for us generals with a limited opponent range.

Author:  Calisson [ Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:19 pm ]
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Interesting testimony about how hard it is to beat Empire in small games.
how to defeat a proper gunline empire, 1500 pts ?
Actually, it is a mix of Gunline and Tin Cans.

Also, need help with Empire Knightsis not only a testimony but also plenty of good advice.
To read if the tactica above does not suffice.

Author:  Calisson [ Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:47 pm ]
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Quick update for the 8th edition.

2.1. Ranked shooters:
Footed or mounted shooters are hardly seen nowadays:
- Infantry shooters are too weak in combat and usually lack targets small enough to justify taking them over regular infantry.
If you face a gunline, it's quite easy to run around (they cannot move and shoot) and kill them in melee.
- Cavalry shooters (outriders and pistoliers) are too expensive and, as well, lack small targets. Furthermore, they don't shoot anymore at 360° and pistoliers suffer from long range now.
The good point for them is that outriders can shoot in 2 rows, and if there is any infantry in front of them, they benefit from a handy +2 cover. However, this is not enough to make them good choices.
If you face them, they are the most juicy target for your magic missiles and shooting. They are also quite weak in melee.

2.2. Warmachines.
The warmachines have received tremendous boost with the coming of the 8th edition.
Now they need not to guess ranges. Furthermore, a nearby engineer allows a reroll of any dice, once per turn. And that is valid not only for cannons and mortars but also for the hellcannon volleygun and for the helblaster rocket launcher.
You'll find usually one or two batteries of three warmachines with an engineer.
And they are not only accurate, they are deadly.
Nowadays, a model partially under the template is autohit. This means that a large template can eradicate a whole unit.
In order to do that, you can use harpies, shades, DR or Peggy Master, even vanilla COK or Shadowblade. You can run them 3x2, anyway 6 of them will be allowed to hit the crew regardless of your formation.
Often, a hellcannon will be guarding the warmachine. No big deal if you attack with 3 groups of harpies.
Sometimes, a gunline is placed directly in front of the warmachine, which is now able to shoot over it. If this is the case, charge the gunline (with 2 units) and overrun into the cannon.
When you overrun into a cannon, there is a specific rule allowing you to orient as you wish: you do NOT have to close the gap. Take advantage of it to orient your unit towards the next warmachine.

3. Infantry.
Nowadays, any Empire army has two or three blocks of a zillion of men at arms. Very often with halberds. You can kill many and many more, they are still too many of them left and they are steadfast.
The trick is to kill the BSB, and possibly the general, as soon as possible. Empire heroes are not sturdy, your magic should do the trick easily. Otherwise, if you reach melee, concentrate your attacks on them. When they're dead, suddenly the steadfast unit is much more likely to be beaten and to flee.

4. Mobile Tin cans.
No more a problem. Cavalry is less efficient as before, so the sight of a large cavalry unit is rare. However, you'll see often 5 vanilla knights which remain annoyingly difficult to kill with their 1+ armour.

5. Stank.
No more immune to spells. This is your chance, take it.
The old trick to make it useless when 3-4 wounds are taken is still valid. However, now the Lore of Life can restore these wounds.
The STank is still a formidable foe, but its terror is less a problem now and it is less hard to kill it.
Beware that its T is now 10...

6. Magic.
Empire has received a huge boost.
The prayers require PD to be cast, of course, but now you need to exceed these PD to dispel the prayer, so they have become more likely to be cast.
The arcane which can carry DD into PD and PD into PD is close to mandatory.
The preferred Lore is Life, Shadow coming second, but any of the 8 Lores can be seen.

7. The popemobile is no longer destroyed with S7 hits.
But is is much less often seen as before, the Archlectors are more likely to be footed or on horse. They are very likely to have the mirror (Van Horstmann's Speculum) which exchanges all characteristics between foes. Refuse challenges with them.

8. Characters.
Peggy Captains are still popular, they are used exaclty as our Peggy Master (except for the PoK).
The usual characters are an Archlector as general, a warpriest, a Lvl4 (Life), a footed BSB and a Peggy Captain.

9. Magic is still your friend.

12. DE troops.
Don't bother for any shooting.
Take many agile troops.
COC are good to take now.

I have no time to update comprehensively the whole thread.
If anyone interested, feel free to go ahead.

Author:  Killerk [ Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:37 am ]
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I'm 80% sure that in 8th you get a save against a canon. I looked it up and couldn't find a place that say's that a canon is no Armour save, it's mentioned in the bolt thrower. Normal it wouldn't make a difference if since it's S10.
unless some one has access to Hag Graef's Cloak, a dawn stone and a Dark pegas, and then canons have a single character to shoot at, who in return will take them down.

Now the guessing range is well, players place the bounce 6/8" from the target.

A cannon is a template weapon, so it hit's the rider and the mount simultaneously. I found this out at my last tournament :cry:.

in panic is your friend there is no more US5 to panic.

in screening you might want to add that this gives you hard cover (-2 to hit).

swords men are now 4+ save and 6+ ward in HTH.

flagelants cant be diverted so easilythe, but there is a chance.

there is no more +1 for out number. steadfast might be mentioned.

point 4.

steam tank is now 10T, but every thing can wound it.

and the entire Stank is out of date. (it need's to be updated.) Doubt that I will have the time to do something about it. :oops:

Author:  Darktan [ Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:58 am ]
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Also, fantastic guide! all i need now, is a regular empire opponent :twisted:

Author:  Handsome jack [ Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:48 am ]
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with there big blocks of troops and warrior priests the empire halbediers have become a much more respectable fighting force in 8th ed. The step up rule allows them to have 2 ranks of strength 4 attacks with hatred striking back after our attacks are done. With the scr from the detachments it means we have to do alot more acr to beat them. The rank bonuses are done after combat now, where as in 7th they were figured before combat was resolved this means you need to take as many attacks on the detachment as possible. If you can reduce the flanking detachment to less than 2 ranks they no longer disrupt your unit giving you back your rank bonuses. Also the new leadership test to redirect your charge allows you to charge the detachment, if it flees you can redirect into the parent unit no longer needing to worry about being flanked. If he doesn't flee you should be able to destroy the detachment and reform on the parents units flank.

Author:  Babnik [ Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:26 am ]
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Salut Calisson,

Regarding the stank, it looks like lore of life spell can not restore wounds. It has been faq'ed.
I have played against Nurgle great unclean, and he could not heal it.
Same rules apply to the stank doesn' it?

Author:  Calisson [ Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:23 pm ]
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Salut Babnik !

No, that's the opposite, STank used to be immune to most magic (including beneficial effects), the Empire FAQ supressed that:

Steam Tank, Magic phase
Ignore this paragraph

Nowadays, STank can be restored, just as characters, monsters or warmachines.
Be aware that it is with the Life attribude, but NOT spell #5 Regrowth which applies only to ranked units.

Author:  Malekii [ Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:48 pm ]
Post subject: 

Quick question What are vanilla knights?

Author:  Guinea pig hydra [ Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:50 pm ]
Post subject: 

Malekii wrote:
Quick question What are vanilla knights?

No Command/Upgrades

Author:  Malus99 [ Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:15 pm ]
Post subject: 

Malekii wrote:
Quick question What are vanilla knights?

The term 'vanilla' means the basic, or original version, so a vanilla knight is just a plain, 27 point CoK with nothing extra or modified whatsoever, just the standard version.

Author:  Jadin [ Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:51 pm ]
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I thought S7 hits killing chariots were gone out of 8e?

Author:  Malekii [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:15 am ]
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Thanks for the definition

Author:  Calisson [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:59 am ]
Post subject: 

Jadin wrote:
I thought S7 hits killing chariots were gone out of 8e?
The article was made in 2009.
There is an update added for the 8th edition in 2010.
If anyone wants to review the whole article and upgrade the text for the 8th edition, that's fine with me, I have no longer the time to do it myself.

Author:  Dangerous Beans [ Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:01 pm ]
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Sadly I havent fought Empire in 8th Edition enough to write a valid D.R.A.I.C.H. but I would like to make a note about one of the 8th ed amendments you wrote Calisson about the lovely lovely Stank:

Calisson wrote:
and it is less hard to kill it

I assume you're refering to the fact that you can wound Str 10 with even Str 1 hits?

I sadly very very much disagree with this statement: the steam tank has become UNBELIVEVABLY hard to kill - even if you come 'prepared' for it. You mention that lore of life can reheal its wounds - very very true, and this contribute to how hard it is to destroy it. Essentially I think that there are only a few things you can try to do to 'deal' with it:

1. Executioners Axe: pop this chap in a large unit of Warriors (to soak up the impact hits) and then chomp it down. You're still wounding on 4+ though so probably only 2 wounds per turn which will multiply into 4 on average. Thus if you charge (going to be needed if you are to survive the onslaught of impact hits) then it will suck up 2 of your own turns to do so and thats assuming he doesnt cast one or 2 life spells in the time between... Downside? Your on foot and can be very easily avoided. Also, this is not a combo to use in an 'all comers' list - very situational: only becomes of more use agianst other lists if you take a BSB with the Standard of hag grief in the same unit.

2. Magic: specifically Shadow, Death and Metal. Metal being the best at it due to having 2 spells that can seriously harm it: Searing Doom and Golden Hounds. However for an all comers (or tourney) you cannot change the lore you use between games: is using metal immediately shaping your army purely around being able to deal with this and other similar targets? If so then you are going to have to roll up the required spell and so a level 4 or 2 lev 2s will be a requirement minimum: the lev 4 limits you to not really including a Dreadlord whilst the 2 level 2s mean that both will have to choose metal: thus you are immediately limiting yourself.
Shadow offers the most variety with 3 spells: pendulum which only works 50% of time, Okkams on a unit with many attacks or LD9/10 - or pit of shades. Withering helps Okkams and Pendulum if it has been cast too. Finally, there is the death spells of Caress of Laniph, and Purple Sun. Sun kills it outright if you can get it cast and not stopped, Caress is about as good a backup as you'll get providing you also have Enfeeble. However point is, whilst magic is the most effective solution - the steam tank is sucking up your entire magic phase to do so: and even then it is not guarranteed to kill it off (Pit scatters, Sun doesnt go far enough or misfires, Pendulum doesnt wound). Finally however the Empire player has a great counter to whichever nasty one hit wonder spell you take - the DESTROY MAGIC SCROLL. So basically in a 2k game you'll HAVE to take 2 wizards: a level 4 to roll up one nasty spell and a level 2 + tome and hope to roll or pick the 2nd. Only case where a level 4 could do it on their own is on Metal (take Hounds and Searing).

3. Shrug and try to tarpit it. Not really a solution for us as our troops are not exactly what you'd call 'expendable' but a 300 equivalent point unit of 50 naked warriors should hold the thing up: if it doesn't get supported...

So, sadly, its not exactly easier to kill now than before - even crossbowmen can't really dent it due to worse to hit rolls than in 7th (though we gained 6s to wound anything) and that the stank has a 1+ save: so it'll save most wounds that go through:
- eg. a unit of 45 crossbowmen hitting at long range and not moving will get 5 wounds per turn on the thing which it will possibly lose 1 wound to. Oh look, life attribute and its healed up...

Stanks are a nightmare for us to try to deal with: you need about 500 odd points in magic to be rid of it if basically our most effective method that would work in an all comers list.

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