Empire Core Troop Tactica

Probably not too many people interested in this, but I picked up this article from a forum called Warhammer Empire

Hi Everybody;

So I wanted to find some empire tactica and I came across this site. Pretty cool forum (thanks to whomever started/runs it). I started to read some of the posts and there seems to be this animosity toward Halberdiers. Noticing the last post about this topic was right around when 8th edition came out, its quite possible Halberdiers have been fixed with the new rules. If so, I apologize, please disregard my comments and direct me to the latest thread link.

I'm a budding math-hammer kinda guy. You can bet most game designers are as well especially those who work for GW. So I crunched some numbers and here is what I found. I took an average unit of 20 State Troopers and see how they did statistically.

For all of the examples below, lets assume we are fighting another Empire unit, or an Empire equivalent. I didn't take into account Initiative because no matter where you fall on in striking order, you're going to have at least one or two rounds of fighting at your maximum attacks (unless you get charged by some death star and they wipe you out before you get a chance to strike back, in that case it won't matter anyways)

Enemy Stats:
WS T Sv
3 3 5+

Now since this is an example of killyness, I wont worry about our unit of Empire State Troopers being hit back, we all know how that can go. So we're going to look at each one; Spearmen, Swordsmen, and Halberdiers.

Also, the unit size it 20 models, 5x4

Spearmen

On the Charge
# of Attacks:11
To Hit:4's
To Wound:4's
Armor Sv:5+ (S3 doesn't modify the Sv)
Average Unsaved Wounds: 1.83

Was Charged/Continued Combat
# of Attacks:16
To Hit:4's
To Wound:4's
Armor Sv:5+ (S3 doesn't modify the Sv)
Average Unsaved Wounds: 2.67

As you can tell here, Spearmen perform better as a defensive unit (which is common knowledge)


Swordsmen

On the Charge/Was Charged
# of Attacks:11
To Hit:3's
To Wound:4's
Armor Sv:5+ (S3 doesn't modify the Sv)
Average Unsaved Wounds: 2.44

Now Swordsmen have a shield which gives them a little more survivability, but if it ever had to face something with a WS of 4 - 8, you're going to hit on a 4 (like their spear & halberdier brothers) which negates having a better WS. Now since most of the stuff out there has a WS of 4, all you're Troopers are more then likely going to be hitting on 4's anyways. So the +1 to WS that the Swordsmen is nice, but only when facing units with WS 3 and below. So to give you an idea of if our Swordsman unit faced something with a WS of 4-8, but changing nothing else (ie T and Sv) here's what it would look like.

But what about the +1 to I?
Generally speaking, it is better to go first (or at the same time)


On the Charge/Was Charged
# of Attacks:11
To Hit:4's
To Wound:4's
Armor Sv:5+ (S3 doesn't modify the Sv)
Average Unsaved Wounds: 1.83

(So they perform just as well as charging Spearmen)


Halberdiers

On the Charge/Was Charged
# of Attacks:11
To Hit:4's
To Wound:3's (because of the +1 S from the Halberdier)
Armor Sv:6+ (S4 modifies the Sv by -1)
Average Unsaved Wounds: 3.06

So its pretty obvious that Halberdiers are hardest hitting core unit. Even if we put a unit of Halberdiers up against a unit with a higher WS, they'd still preform the same. There is a lot to be said about +1 S over +1 I & +1 WS +1 SV. Pound for pound, a unit of Halberdiers will kill a unit much faster then a unit of Spearmen or Swordsmen.


Survivability
I've read the arguments about Halberdiers, the best one I can find is giving the Halberdiers the option of upgrading to Heavy Armor. This would be a very nice upgrade as it would increase the survivability of our Halberdiers. But if you gave them Heavy Armor, then they would be more of an elite infantry than a core unit.

When looking at the correlation between Spearmen, Swordsmen, and Halberdiers, they each play a different role;
Spearmen = Defensive
Halberdiers = Offensive
Swordsmen = Little bit of both

Each unit roughly costs the same (5-6 ppm), this is because they're core units. When looking at this through in a game designers eyes, there is only so many roles you can make a core unit fulfill. You can tell they tried to give us options with the three units above. So the reality of the fact is, it all comes down to how you play (and the Empire Army can be played a lot of ways)

So if you're looking for survivability, then a Spearmen or Swordsmen are probably a better choice. If you want raw killy, go with Halberdiers.


Conclusion
Depending on how you play the Empire Army will really tell you what core choices are better. If you play defensively then Halberdiers may not be the choice for you. If you play aggressively then Spearmen probably arnt going to do it for you. Its funny because you can even play aggressively with a defensive army and vice-versa. There are multiple ways of killing the enemy with the Empire. This is quite possibly their greatest strength and their greatest weakness. There really is no single way to play them (unlike WoC or HE).

So I'm fairly certain that Halberdiers are pretty good where they're at. They fulfill a role within the bounds of a unit type. It is quite easy to do poorly with them when not used appropriately. So to call them the weaker of the core units is a mistaken philosophy when you look at the bigger picture.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post.

~Valegorn

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