[Archive] How to do competative empire without cookie cutter list?


What I would like to know is, is it possible to make a competative/hard Empire list without using either a Steam Tank, Popemobile or Special Characters? If so what would you recommend?

I can pretty much do anything else in the list, but seem to be struggling to get a really good list at 2000 - 2500 points. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


I’m not sure how good it would be now but I used to run a list like this with success. Slight modifications depending on opponent.

2000 points


Templer Grand Master (I used the Blazing Sun model)


Level 2 Wizard (Heavens or Life)

Level 2 Wizard (Fire or Metal)

Warrior Priest on Barded Mount


Knightly Order

2 units of Hand Gunners with Marksman carrying hochlands

Unit of Swordsmen/Spears/Halbard with detachment of Militia


Inner Circle Knightly Order (6th Edition these guys were core)

Great Cannon



Helblaster (I thinnk I’d use Helstorm now)

Lumpin Croops Fighting Cocks.

Border Reiver:

Take a look at this article to see if it gives you any ideas.


Practice using your detachments/counter-charge rule. If you can set up an army that forces him into big blocks of infantry with a flank charge from a detachment, you’ve got something. Use knights as flanking units and keep them cheap and small. I’d go for a good magic defense, but not worry about getting offensive magic superiority. Get a general with good LD, and take items that reduce your vulnerability to fear. Use shooting to force him to you, but don’t count on it to win the battle; build for close combat. An army like this is tough to master, but once you are accomplished with it, it can be difficult to beat, and it doesn’t rely on one or two units to win the game (I don’t see stanks winning games).


Get a general with good LD, and take items that reduce your vulnerability to fear. Use shooting to force him to you, but don't count on it to win the battle; build for close combat.
Agree, I think the Ld 9 from the fighting lord characters is essential for a proper Empire army (so not some silly cheese list).

A Captain on Pegasus with Aldred's Casket is a must too, I find. Sooooo annoying for some armies. Give him a pistol too, so he can pick people off here and there.

The Helblaster is much nerfed these days, but is still very nice against small, expensive units or large targets. I would prefer a mortar over it at 2k though.

I would always take 2 Great Cannons, one is not enough.

The hatred-inducing Warrior Priest with Knights is a nice combo, letting you get the most out of the Knights as well as a dispel dice and prayers from the Priest. VanHorstmanns is good on him too (hatred in a challenge hitting a vampire with his own stats is nice, though I still wonder why it works when he has no reflection), or the Icon of Magnus (so with a grandmaster in the Inner Circle unit, your 2 Knight units both ignore fear). I personally still like the Inner Circle 'Bus' of 10 knights, its just so hard to get rid of.

Sword of Power and White Cloak for the Grandmaster (so many flaming attacks these days) :cheers

BSB with Griffon Banner in a fat unit of Swordsmen with detachments is also nice.

5 Huntsmen for march blocking and baiting can also be surprisingly annoying.


Wow, thank you all very much, some useful sounding relies there. Right I’ll have antoher go and see if I can do something better then.

Thanks again.


Im currently next to undefeated with my Current list… though I know the empire army Very well…

Really it comes down to the type of list you want.

Heres what I play

General of the Empire - Pegasus, Full Plate Armour, Shield, Pistol, Runefang, General

Warrior Priest of Sigmar - Sword of Justice, Von Horstman’s Speculum, Heavy Armour, Shield, Barded Warhorse.

Battle Wizard - Level 2, Death Lore(I choose my lores and keep with it forever but you don’t have to), Luckstone, Dispel Scroll

Master Engineer - Grenade Launching Blunderbuss (nasty surprise for fast cav or heavy cav charging my cannon… LOL

23 Halberdiers - Shield - Full Command - Banner of Arcane Warding

18 Swordsmen - Full Command

18 Swordsmen - Full Command

12 Handgunners - Champion w/Repeater Handgun

10 Huntsmen

5 Knights of the Inner Circle - Preceptor & Standard, Banner of Valour

7 Outriders - Musician, Champion w/ Hockland Long Rifle

7 Outriders - Musician, Champion w/ Hockland Long Rifle

1 Great Cannon

1 Steam Tank

While my list has a Steam Tank in it, I dont consider it to be cookie cutter. Personally I think that Detachments are Overrated. If you play against good players alot… you will find they almost never get their Abilities unless they are Missile troops. Personally I don’t like them… But try them to see if you do.

On my list… My Pegasus is basically a Support unit. He is decent in the rear or flank and can usually handle a challenge on the charge… Watch out for ASF though. The Warrior Priest is basically the micro pope. Having the ability to reroll hits and wounds as if you have hammer of sigmar while also having unbending on him is rather nice… He goes in the knights. The Outriders… Ok. Im going to get the usual “Pistoliers are better!” argument started… They are different Units… that happen to come in the same box. they have completely different uses. Heres my logic for taking them…

5 Outriders cost 105 points with no upgrades. They have 15 shots at BS 4. They take a Multiple Shot Penalty and so at short range will need 4s to hit their target pending it isnt a skirmisher or have some special effect.

Now. That said. To get the same number of shots you will need 15 Handgunners. Which cost 120. They have BS 3 but with no Multiple Shot. So need the same to hit the same target.

5 Outriders give you the following Bonuses over the 15 Handgunners:

- Smaller Unit Footprint. They are only front 125mm where as the 15 handgunners are over 2 times that with a wopping footprint of 300mm

- Cheaper Price. They are 15 points cheaper than their Handgunner counterparts.

- Fast Cavalry Movement. They are Fast. Personally I use them as Handgunners, and so rarely move them unless I get the first turn (which I rarely take). But if they get into a sticky situation… they can easily get away from it before it becomes a threat… Such as moving around a hill as a Unit of Cavalry Approaches their Position. It also Lets you move them up an empty flank and give nice crossfire as the enemy approaches.

- Fast Cavalry Shooting. Being as Handguns and Repeaters are both Move or Fire weapons you have some limitations. One thing people miss is the fact that Fast Cavalry can shoot in 360 degrees! Never Give them Barding… Its just Not worth it for what you lose in return for the increased Armour. The 360 is great against Ambushing Beastmen Herds, Miners, Gorgers, Tomb Swarms and Scorpion, Etc. Anything that risks coming in behind you will have a rude awakening. They are also great to get rid of pesky flyers trying to sit in your back line.

- Armour Save… While a 5+ save isnt something to phone home to mom about its better than nothing which is what handgunners get.

Now. The Cons.

- Special Choice. They take up a special Choice and as such will take away a cannon or unit of Inner Circle you could have used. Personally I only wanted one machine and one unit of Knights… and The Pistoliers didnt fit the idea for the army. They also don’t add to your core requirement like the Handgunners.

- Unit Strength. It only takes 2 models to cause a panic on Outriders at 5 strong. Where as it would take 4 in the Equal shot handgunner unit. Also being as they are smaller they are more vulrnable to templates and such as they can easilly be hit by a flame template and get partials on all and maybe 1 hit if placed just right. Really the save mitigates this part in my opinion as at least you have the off chance of taking no wounds when the handgunners just take them happily

Another point to take into account is that the Champion has BS 5 which is the highest available BS for a Hockland Long Rifle… Needing 4s to hit a character inside a unit on turn 1 is pretty harsh… Expecially if you happen to cast Hammer of Sigmar on the Champion giving him rerolls on failed Hits and Wounds.

The Steam Tank im on the fence on… Personally I have had it do nothing and also have had it roll up a battleline like a carpet. It really depends on how your opponent deals with it… Once it starts taking wounds it gets next to useless.

I use my core more as support as my army is a heavy Shooting army. While its by no means a gunline in the traditional sence its still a nasty one.

I will Agree that the Casket is Nasty… I always forget to do its effect though… So I dropped it from the list. I disagree with the statement that one cannon is not enough… I do fine with only one… I think Skill comes into play alot with it in knowing what to shoot. Also Having a Master Engineer is nice as you can reroll the artillery range to guess making it very difficult to misfire.

I think that Crossbows are probably the best Missile Troop due to the Range and it guarantees a first turn salvo usually… But it really comes down to what you want to play.

Baggronor: You cant take less than 10 Huntsmen… They are now just a unit of Archers with Scout…


Ok, I have had a think and tried a few things and this is my latest list. What do you think? Any good or rubbish?

Grand Master, Sword of Power, White Cloak, Shield of the Gorgon, Shield, Full Plate, Barded Steed. (in Inner Circle Knights)

Wizard, Level 2, Barded Warhorse, Dispell Scroll, Wizards Staff, Sigil of Sigmar

Warrior Priest, Armour of Metoric Iron, Icon of Magnus, Great Weapon. (in Swordsmen)

Capatain, Army Standard, Griffon Banner, Full Plate, Barded Warhorse (in Swordsmen)

23x Swordsmen, Full Command

Detachment - 12x Halberdiers

Detachment - 12x Halberdiers

29x Flagellants

10 x Handgunners, Champion, Repeater Handgun

Detachment - 5x Archers

6 x Knights, Full Command

6x Inner Circle Knights, Full Command, Banner of Arcane Warding

2x Great Cannons

6x Outriders, Muscician, Champion with Hochland Long Rifle

4x Ogre Ironguts, Full Command, War Banner

1x Hellblaster

I haven’t done the points, but if I have remembered everything from my list correctly, its 2500pts on the nail. It needs to stand up to a Chaos Galrauch/Throgg monster horde. I think its ok, but I just have visions of Trolls vomiting on the ASB and removing all my static combat res, but I can’t think of a way to preserve both the ASB and the static combat res (i supoose you can’t have your cake and eat it). Any comments will be appreciated. Thanks.


A nice infantry based nuln army with as many black powder toting rifle shooting cannon mortar or hell blaster as 2k worth of points can feild and watch your enimies fall Zulu dawn style !

Border Reiver:

You remeber how Zulu Dawn ended right?

Kera foehunter:

yea the english won because they took the Zulu charge cards!!

Auretious Taak:

A nice infantry based nuln army with as many black powder toting rifle shooting cannon mortar or hell blaster as 2k worth of points can feild and watch your enimies fall Zulu dawn style !

Dwarves do it better, oh man can they be nasty with the right rune abuse.


I have had the best success with a Templar Grand master, full plate, sword of power, enchanted shield and the 4+ ward save item (can’t remember the name off the top of my head) Stick him in a unit of 10 inner circle of the same order with a war banner in the unit and a BSB captain as well with a sword of might , make the unit six wide with the BSB and templar in the front and charge up towards his hardest unit, its an immune to psychology ST 6 on the charge uber unit. If it bounces it bounces but your opponent will probably focus his attention on it. A few other units of 5 core knights with no command are cheap and hit harder than their points would suggest and if you stick a mounted warrior priest in there they get reroll failed to hits.

I’m using this build with and without the steam tank and it works amazingly well in both. Opponents either flee or die on the charge. I’ve had three units of swordsmen (Empire) charge them in both flanks and fron and still win combat. 1+ armour for the win.


One combo I love:

23 Greatswords

Captain (BSB) (4+ ward save item

W.P. with Armor of Meteoric Iron, and Icon of Magnus

That unit becomes a solid block. Between the buff from the Priest (Hatred), the Captain (who I might give a magic weapon), and GS… it’s also fairly deadly.

I do run the Pope Mobile… but even if I don’t I usually run an Arch Lector. I give him Dawn Armor, and a magic weapon… and usually something else (memory blanking). I tend not to give him Speculum.

I also usually run 3 warmachines, 1 of which is usually a mortar. The 5" template even at S3 -1 AS is fair nice, especially against T3 (Elves, Blood Letters, Daemonettes, Horrors…)

A lot of Empire players think the Helblaster is terrible now, but I still think it is still good. S5 at range and full shots. Granted, you have to roll to hit, I just find that makes it reasonable and not cheesey. Granted, high chance it will misfire… but just pick your targets well. Over 90% of the time I’d say it earned at least its points. Plus opponents are afraid of it, so it will either force them to avoid it (allowing you to set up traps) or respond to it letting other things get by.

I still prefer pistoliers over outrider. They may be pistols, but moving and being able to shoot is nice. I do give them a champ with repeater pistol (so he gets 4 shots). It’s nasty against enemy fast cav, skirmishers, warmachines, or softer units. Plus your opponent will be likely forced to respond to them.

A hochland long rife or two is nice, if you can spare the points, in handgunners… as being able to pick off characters (or even just unit champs) can be nice. Having 2… and focusing on say a or certain heroes can make your game easier. Trust me, I have experience in doing that. One game was an “Alamo” scenario where I was outnumbered 2 to 1 by Dark Elves (And surrounded)… I had to kill points equal to my army to win, The Hochland or two I had was dropping Sorceresses as often as I could. That really helped me out big time.

I also rarely use detachments. Except for the occasional archer detachment. They rarely seem to be able to useful in the way they were intended. I’d rather throw the points elsewhere.

Huntsmen are another unit that I think often gets overlooked. Being able to place scouts as a form of denial, or to be a harasser unit is very nice. In one game I was able to essentially greatly reduce the effectiveness of a Dark Rider unit (they had 1 or 2 left by the time the huntsmen were dead).