Part One, Empire versus Lizardmen Basic Principles The Empire army has changed substantially between their seventh edition and eighth edition book. The cost of all of their state troops went up. They lost a lot, and they gained a lot. Lost: The Steam Tank was nerfed a bit (long overdue). All the state troops became more expensive. The artillery faced a minor amount of cost increases and nerfing. Gained: Monstrous Cavalry, many synergistic bonuses. Put these things together, the Empire basic strategy has changed from spamming you with cheap infantry led by and artillery and an invulnerable Steam Tank to coordinating attack forces with support units. This is a net improvement to Empire players and a net improvement to Empire opponents because the army is less boring and predictable than before. The Rule of Three: Almost all non-character Empire troops have WS3, BS3, S3, T3, and I3. Swordsmen, Greatswords, and all the knights have WS 4. Elite knights have S4 and Outriders have BS4. With the prices increases of most Empire Core, LM will win most toe-to-toe fights with Empire troops. Note Empire heroes are loosely constrained by the “Rule of Four” though higher Weapon Skills are fairly common. Synergy: In the eighth edition book, Empire players don’t have to be constrained by the Rule of Three because they have a wealth of ways to buff their troops. Most Empire characters boost the units they join in some way. The various Magemobiles buff all units within six inches. The key to fighting the Empire under the new book is to figure out which buffing unit your enemy is relying on most and then kill said unit, herd it into a suboptimal place, or counteract it with an augment or hex spell. Detachments also represent synergy because multiple units share their strength with each other. A detachment is a small unit of infantry attached to a larger infantry block. If the parent unit is charged a detachment can declare a stand and shoot on their behalf or make an out of sequence counter charge against you during your movement phase. Detachments gain most of the special rules of their parent unit (Stubborn, Immune to Psychology and the like). Finally, to get ANY victory points for destroying an Empire infantry, you have to kill or run off the table EVERY model in both the parent and child units. I know the THEORY for working around Detachments. I just have trouble putting into practice. A skilled or lucky player can come at a parent unit from such an angle to make a supporting charge by the Detachments. If you charge the detachment instead, there is no counter charge and if you can break the detachment in the first round of combat you can overrun into the parent unit. Variety: The Empire has access to almost every special rule and troop type in the BRB except Monstrous Infantry. Empire lists can be built in many different ways. Here’s a fairly succinct article that covers different styles of Empire armies and basic principles far better than I ever could. Types of Empire Lists Competitive lists tend to incorporate a little of several things as opposed to hyper-specialization. Empire Infantry Empire has a wide amount of Core infantry options to choose from. State Troops and Militia are Core, the rest of the Infantry options are Special. With their very similar stats, they are differentiated by their weapons more than anything else. State Troops: State troops are pretty vanilla. They are dangerous in numbers and they are dangerous when buffed. State troops can all have detachments or be a detachment. They pretty much only differ in their equipment. Spears and Light Armor: The cheapest unit available to the Empire. Players can buy shields for one point each, but very few players choose to do so. Being the cheapest unit available, spearmen tend to be used in bulk, fielded as tarpits more often than not. Halbreds and Light Armor: Halbrediers are probably the most popular Core choice because it is the cheapest way the Empire can get S4 hits. They can also buy shields optionally, but I don’t think any players ever choose to do so. Frequently seen in horde formation. Handweapons, Shields, Light Armor: Empire Swordsmen stand apart from other State Troops by virtue of having WS 4. Between their higher weapon skill and better saving throws, they die slower than any other State Troop type. Handgunners/Crossbowmen: The two shooters cost the same and they pretty much play the same. Both have no armor at all and have Move or Fire. That means our skirmishing shooters can whittle them down with poison shooting pretty steadily while staying out of their fire arcs completely (if unmolested by melee troops anyway). Handgunner unit champions can take a fancy upgraded gun to give them Sniper, but at 10 points for the Champion and 10 points for the gun, a single BS4 Sniper shot is little cause for concern. Crossbowmen tend to be viewed by most Empire players as the better of the two. The greater range of crossbows is thought to outweigh the -1 armor piercing that hand guns have. Archers: What sets archers apart from other state troops is that they can skirmish. I shouldn’t have to tell a LM player what a skirmisher can or can’t do. That means lots of mobility but relatively little hitting power. I pity skirmishers without poison. Like their less mobile shooting counterparts, archers have no saves whatsoever. Also they are only M4 while ours are M6 so they can’t really compete with us on that level. Archers are very popular for wizard bunkers and chaff detachments. Free Company Militia: Militia are technically not state troops but they play very similarly. These guys have no armor and two hand weapons. They can be a detachment unit but they cannot have a detachment. They are easily the least popular Empire Core unit, almost universally viewed as being over-costed. Great Swords: Most Empire army lists that aren’t based around their cavalry will take at least one unit of Great Swords. Great Swords carry great weapons (thus hitting at S5) and are Stubborn. Due to the fancy Full plate armor that elite Empire troops get, these have 4+ armor saves despite their lack of mounts or shields. Like most elite infantry options they can take magic standards. They can have detachments but cannot be detachments. Unless the whole army is going with a MSU motif, you will probably see these guys fielded in a horde with the BSB, a battle priest, and maybe a nearby magemobile making a potent army center. Flagellants: These funny looking crazies are Unbreakable. On paper, this is a very awesome special ability, but I have to figure out how to use it correctly, and I have never personally seen them used by an opponent. I plan to use them a lot in my armies whether it’s optimal or not because I like the models. They have flails so they lose a lot of potency after the first round of combat. In close combat they roll to martyr themselves. Flagellants don’t need buffing support units because they buff themselves. If they lose one or more members to martyrdom (self-inflicted wounds by a special ability), the survivors get one or more useful buffs for a single combat round. It’s pretty random. They either get to re-roll failed to hit rolls; re-roll failed to-hits and to-wound rolls, or get both rerolls with +1 Toughness. Huntsmen: Basically archers that Scout. I am so used to playing with Chameleon Skinks that these guys seem pathetic: No poison? No multiple shots? No BS 4? No extra penalty to enemy shooting? Why bother? We don’t have any war machines or anything else that is especially vulnerable to Huntsmen unless the army includes Markus Wulfhart. As long I mentioned him I might as well cover him now. Markus Wulfhart is a fluffy SC version of the Empire Captain. He is the least popular Empire Special Character by far, but is quite potent against Lizardmen (and no one else). Markus Hates Monsters. For us this means Stegadons, Bastilodons, Carnosaurs, and Troglodons since our other dinosaurs are not technically monsters. For the record: our dinosaurs are not REALLY monsters, they are merely misunderstood. Markus real power is in the shooting phase, he has a magical bow that inflicts d3 wounds and never has to roll more than 4+ to wound a monster. Lists that include Markus Wulfhart can upgrade a unit of Huntsmen into Wulfhart’s Huntsmen. Wulfhart and his minions are immune to psychology, can reroll missed shots against monsters, and when shooting at ridden monsters they always hit the monster not the rider. Also, they get a similar bonus against Salamanders and Razordons too. When shooting at a monster with handlers, they automatically hit the dinosaur, never the handlers (they don’t get the re-roll to hit though because they are not Monsters, but warbeasts). Combine this with the Scout rule and Wulfhart’s boys are dangerous against our warbeasts and Stegadons alike. In most cases an Empire player who wants to hunt our dinosaurs is better off with a cannon though, just saying. I guess it’s better to have options than not have options. Empire Cavalry Empire has many good cavalry options, including two Core options. Most armies use a combination of troops on foot and on horseback, but it is conceivable that you can find yourself facing an entirely mounted Empire army. Knights: Knights can be taken as Core. With the fancy Full Plate Armor that the Empire has access to this means they have Core troops with 1+ saves, or 2+ if they swap their lances and shields for great weapons. There isn’t a clear consensus among Empire players if lances are better or if great weapons are better. They have great armor saves but there other stats are still constrained by the Rule of Three. Knights of the Inner Circle: A single unit of knights can be upgraded to Inner Circle Knights. They are the same as vanilla knights except that they have S4 and can take magic banners. They still count as Core, so they are a popular choice in many Empire lists, especially given the cost increases State Troops suffered. Demigryph Knights: Some Empire players loathe the idea of knights on flightless griffins, but for everyone else, this is becoming a must-include unit. For barely more than the cost of a Kroxigor, the Chicken Knights of the Empire are great value for their points cost. Empire players don’t get to have T4 troops with multiple wounds very often. They still have the armor save of 1+ or 2+ depending on whether the Chicken Knights are taking halberds or lances and shields (most players choose lances for the better armor save). They are ridden by Inner Circle Knights which is nothing to sneeze at, but the real power comes from the chickens. With three S5 armor piercing attacks and a Stomp each the chickens are quite potent indeed. The second rank only gets the rider’s attacks for supporting attacks not the mount. Because of this, most players only field Chicken Knights in groups of three or four. The chickens are tough to kill but if you get the opportunity take even one down with magic or shooting, you should do so. Two Chicken Knights are a lot less likely to beat you in CR than three. Surprisingly these potent birdies are Special not Rare. Reiksguard Knights: These are basically Inner Circle Knights taken as Special options. They are stuck with Lances and can’t swap them for anything else like the other knights can. The one thing they have that Inner Circle Knights don't is Stubborn. Pistoliers/Outriders: These two Fast Cavalry units are basically the same except that Outriders have BS4 have slightly better guns. I don’t think they are a major threat to our blocks. Fast Cavalry is dangerous to our various Skirmishing units, especially Salamanders. Even some experienced players often don’t realize that they would be better off charging our Skirmishers than shooting at them (Rule of Three with -1 to hit sucks), so don’t let on that they are making a small mistake if they want to shoot at your Skinks. Try to make sure whatever is pointed at them gets a decent stand and shoot. I’m referring of course to javelin Skirmishers and Razordons. Grand Masters: These are the Lord versions of Knights, representing the heads of various knightly orders. They don’t have a lot of non-magical equipment options (they basically have to take what knights have), but they can be kitted out to be extra deadly with the right magical items. They have the best basic combat stats of any characters on the Empire list (6 WS and I) made all the more deadly by the Inner Circle Knights they are likely riding with. Like most Empire characters, they bestow a small bonus on units they lead. In this case they make Inner Circle Knights Immune to Psychology. Most cavalry based armies take a Grand Master as the army general. The SC Kurt Helborg is the Grand Master of the Reiksguard Knights. He makes Reiksguard Knights Immune to Psychology. More importantly he has the best statlines of any Empire character (even the Emperor, though the Emperor has better gear and powers). He has four attacks at WS7 that wound automatically ignoring armor saves. Every casualty he personally inflicts counts as two wounds for CR purposes. No Empire SC ever carries a shield. Thus, the Reiksmarshal has an AS2+ and no Ward save at all. He’s not invincible, he’s just very good at killing and breaking his enemies. Empire Artillery It’s taken a hit in eighth edition but it is still a key aspect of most Empire armies. Cannons and Mortars are Special, the rest are Rare. You can pretty much take any of them down with Chameleon Skinks and our two flyers. You can also use Ice Shard blizzard, Pha’s Protection, and Net of Amytok to weaken the effect of their shooting on you. The difficulty in doing so is based more on how well they positioned their infantry relative to the artillery than anything else. Great Cannons Straight out of the 8th edition BRB, there is nothing really “Great” about them but the Empire book likes to put “great” in front of things. What’s there to say about cannons that you don’t already likely know? They are great at killing dinosaurs and okay at killing our block infantry. They can theoretically kill a Slann in one hit if the Slann but generally takes above average luck to do so, especially if the Slann is bunkered. Remember if they try to fire grapeshot that the shots take BS rolls to hit and don’t hit automatically, very important when Chameleon Skinks are on the receiving end. Mortars: Mortars got hit with the nerf bat hard in 8th edition, so they are being gradually phased out of many lists. They function as a stone thrower that uses the large template. It only hits at S2 armor piercing for everything not under the central hole. This means the Mortars are really only useful when fighting an army with large amounts of T2 models. I know of no such army, so mortars are--oh wait don’t we have an army that uses a lots of T2 models? Mahrlect. The templates are big enough that even skirmishers can be effectively smacked with this weapon. If the central hole is lined up with a Kroxigor, a Mortar can put the hurting on BOTH components of a Skroxigor block. Depending on what units you are taking in your own army, a Mortar might actually be more dangerous to us than a cannon is. Chameleons Skinks have no defense against Mortars. Hellblaster Volley Gun: These things are quite random. They roll three artillery dice to determine shots and if a single one of them misfires they lose half of their total shots. This means they tend to bounce back and forth between rolling very large numbers of shots and very small numbers of shots. They don’t auto-hit. Constrained by the Rule of Three, this means they can’t shoot at Chameleon Skinks very well, so they can’t protect their gunline with the Volley Gun the way Dwarfs do with the Organ Gun. At short range with no other modifiers the best they can do against Chameleon Skinks is hitting on a 6. They fire enough volume of shots that they are a threat to our other Skirmishers though, particularly our flyers which don’t typically have wounds to spare. Since the hits are all S5 armor piercing, the main niche for the Volley Gun is shredding cavalry not skirmishers. Hellstorm Rocket Launcher: Like the other “Hell” weapon, the random nature of the weapon means they seesaw between being strong and being weak round-to-round based on the whims of the dice gods. They fire d3 rockets using widely scattering small templates. The hits are S3 armor piercing. They have a slightly better shot of wounding Sauri then the Mortar does, but this is mostly another anti-Skink weapon. Due to the low accuracy of this artillery piece it's not very popular with experienced Empire players. Master Engineers: They can substantially boost any artillery piece. They can give their BS4 to a single artillery piece every round and re-roll any single artillery die (except the one determining a cannon ball bounce). They can only assist one machine per turn and they can’t shoot their own missile weapons while doing so. They have five missile weapons they can choose from, but they are almost always better off boosting a war machine instead so engineer weapons are basically fluff choices. A Master Engineer paired with a Hellbalster Volley Gun is truly brutal making it hit more often and less prone to misfire at the same time. Nine times out of ten a Master Engineer gets assigned to a Volley Gun for this reason. Engineers can ride warhorses or mechanical horses. Mechanical horses are widely viewed as being the weakest, most poorly written item in the new book, so you will rarely see them on the table. I don’t see the point in giving a steed of any type to a character whose primary functions necessitates staying in one spot for the entire battle but I guess it’s better to have options than not to have them. They have a wide variety of missile weapon upgrades too, but these are not often taken because an Engineer can't fire his weapon while assisting a war machine. Weird Chariots Steam Tank: I played against one once under the last rulebook. It was a nightmare. I was playing a team game and despite a large block of Temple Guard and 30 Dwarf Hammerers we couldn’t put any decent wounds on the thing. In the old days your only real option was to use lots of magic or try to tie up the STANK with a tarpit and focus on the rest of the army OR build your whole army around STANK hunting. Steam Tanks can’t slaughter half your army single handedly anymore, but they are still tough. I feel the same way about army lists with two STANKs as my opponents might feel about me taking six Salamanders. Used by itself, a STANK is often used primarily as a tarpit to hold a nasty unit in place (in our case Temple Guard). Used in conjunction with other units, it’s a way to bypass the “Rule of Three” by boosting the CR of the lesser unit with STANK inflicted casualties. The Steam Tank provides the killing power, the infantry or cavalry unit provides static CR from a banner and ranks. “What can the STANK do?” Well it needs to spend Steam points to move, shoot the steam cannon (basically a cannon), or use its Steam Gun (a low strength breath weapon). In close combat it can spend Steam Points to get large numbers faux impact hits. The player decides how many Steam Points they want to use or generate each round. The Misfire chart is fairly complicated. Bottom line, the more wounds the STANK has suffered and the more Steam Points they generate, the worse the misfires are. This means if you can tag the Steam Tank hard early in the game, you can force an opponent become more circumspect in how they use their Steam Points. The STANK can only generate Steam Points during the Empire player’s round so it’s basically a giant paperweight during the Lizardmen turn. “How can you kill it with Lizardmen?” I have yet to kill one myself. The STANK has a 1+ Armor save but their Toughness have been lowered to 6 now. Lowered to 6. It still has 10 wounds. The awesome armor save means our usual solution to kill big nasty things (ie shoot it with skinks) is not very effective. It has three weaknesses, first movement is random, so you can usually get the charge (if you WANT to charge it). Second, it only gets the engineer's attack on non-Empire turns so it's awesome power is only available half the time. Third, the more wounds it suffers, the more severe its misfires potentially become (this means if you wound it early, your opponent will have to be cautious generating Steam Points). Between its toughness and armor save, you are probably wasting your time trying to kill it with anything less than S5 (even that is pushing it). The best can opener unit is probably a (large) Skroxigor block. The Kroxigor deal out S7 hits which have a decent chance of causing unsaved wounds and the Skinks provide cheap shock absorbers versus the impact hits (two thirds of them anyway) to keep the Kroxigors safe. Another option is to use a Saurus character packing a great weapon. If you want to kit out a Saurus character specifically to be a can opener, I would suggest taking a Potion of Strength. Magic makes can opening much easier. The Steam Tanks are a chariot now, not a war machine. This means they get to test the engineer’s Initiative against Purple Sun or Pit of Shades. You need to either focus on high strength spells like the Penumbral Pendulum or Uranon’s Thunderbolt or spam the STANK with high numbers of low strength magic missiles like Flock of Crows. The lore of Metal will melt a STANK to slag with a minimum of fuss. Death sniper spells bypass armor saves. If you can hex the STANK or buff the units attacking it, the STANK’s awesome stats become less helpful. A Wandering Deliberation Slann or High magic Slann fond of swapping for signature spells can probably down a tank with the Death and Metal signature spells alone. “Gee, Scalenex, that’s a lot of specific builds just to kill one unit, do I have to do this?” No. The Lizardmen are a moderately mobile army. You can win a match without killing the STANK if you can bypass the STANK and go after the rest of the Empire’s units if you are careful (or in my case lucky). You can also tarpit the STANK with a big block of cohort skinks. If you can wound it early, you might be able to afford to leave it alone, since the player will have to be circumspect when generating Steam Points and the Steam Tank will be slightly less dangerous to you. Magemobiles: Luminarks and Hurricanums can be taken as specialty mounts for Light or Heavens wizards respectively. They can also be taken as Rares (this is far more common). The War Altar of Sigmar can be taken as a specialty mount for Arch Lectors only. The War Alter is a 0-1 choice too. In addition to all looking like they are way too big to be pulled by two horses and way too fragile to handle fast paced rides in battlefield conditions, each of the three magemobiles have two other things in common. They buff all friendly units within six inches and each have a bound spell with a power level of 4. The mage mobiles function as a normal chariot in combat, but they are not particularly impressive in a direct combat role. They only have AS 5+ and their attacks aren’t that great. They are far more useful as a support unit then a fighting unit. If you are in a multiunit combat with a Magemobile in the fray, you should probably put maximum possible attacks into the buff wagon and take it out of play. Most Empire players are well aware of this and generally try to keep them out combat. An experienced player will likely make a box with their infantry blocks to both maximize the number of models receiving the Magemobile’s buff and shield the unit from enemy charges at the same time. I haven’t personally seen Magemobiles in a cavalry army, but they are certainly fast enough to keep pace with units of horses if the general is so inclined. This would leave the magemobiles a bit more open, but most aggressive strategies sacrifice some defense for some offense. The Hurricanum is the most popular of the three. All units within the buff range gain +1 to hit. This stacks with any other bonus to hit. It also provides the Empire’s magic phase with an extra Power dice every round (max one bonus die regardless of how many Hurricanums they have). It has a bound spell that controls the weather with random effects ranging from a literally harmless rain shower to an effect with the punch of a non-scattering Stone Thrower. The Luminark is the next most commonly used magemobile. All units in the buff range enjoy a 6+ Ward save. Handy, because relatively few Empire units get parry saves. Whereas the Hurricanum generates a bonus Power die, the Luminark generates a bonus Dispel die. The bound spell of the Luminark functions as a S8 bolt thrower with 36 inch range that automatically hits. The potency is increased against undead and demons but we don’t need to worry about that as Lizardmen. The Empire only has one War Altar of Sigmar, so it's a 0-1 choice. If It just happens to be the case that the one War Altar has nothing better to do today than pick a fight with the Lizardmen, you should be ready. The units within the buff range now all Hate Lizardmen. Unlike the other two weird chariots, the War Altar can hold its own in close combat. It has a 4+ Ward save and gets whatever attacks the Arch Lector can dish out (his stats aren’t great but he has the 100 point allowance of magical items like most Lords). The War Altar can be upgraded to cause Terror. The Bound spell is Banishment from the Lore of Light. The Arch Lector’s battle prayers now enjoy the same 6 inch buff range instead of being limited to the unit they join (since you know, they physically can’t join a unit while riding the War Altar). Warrior Priests and Arch Lectors: Might as well talk about the Empire’s warrior clerics since I mentioned them several times in the last entry. Warrior priests are inexpensive characters that are like miniature magemobiles in that they are oozing with buffs. First off, a Warrior Priests bestows Hatred on his unit. For some reason this does not apply to other characters in the unit. I’m guessing that addendum was added to prevent Munchkins from using the combo to gain re-rolls with attacks made with runefangs (shudder). Priests also channel power and dispel dice. They have three bound spells with power level three, each last till the start of their next magic phase. The first one lets their unit re-roll failed to Wound rolls. The second bestows a 5+ Ward save on the unit. The third bestows flaming attacks on the unit and inflicts automatic S4 flaming hits on enemy units in base contact with the Warrior Priest. The latter spell inflicts bonus damage against undead and demons. Needing only a 3+ to cast their spells, there is nothing to stop an army with multiple priests from buffing the crap out of multiple units round after round. Luthor Huss, the Prophet of Sigmar is a SC version of the Battle Priests. He rides a barded warhorse and has a 4+ Ward save making him about the only SC besides the Emperor that has decent saves. He has an additional battle prayer to the basic three which makes him and his unit temporarily Stubborn. Archlectors are virtually identical to Warrior Priests, but they have an extra wound and Ld and can take the War Altar of Sigmar. Both Arch Lectors and Warrior Priests are constrained by the “Rule of Four” meaning that while they make the units they join deadly, they themselves aren’t that tough. Most Empire players compensate for this by loading them up with protective magic items. Volkmar the Grim is a special character version of the Arch Lector with a number handy bonuses including a 5+ Regeneration save (now all they are missing special ruleswise is Sea Creature!). Volkmar is usually fielded with the War Altar though this not required. Most general's on foot are arch lectors. Character Mounts Warhorse: Only Witch Hunters completely lack the option to ride a warhorse. Given how knights all have AS 1+ or 2+ that means any mounted character can ride a nice secure bus to their destination before opening a can of whupass or unleashing buff effects left and right. Most Special Characters are on horseback. Imperial Pegasus: Empire Captains, Empire Generals, and Battle Wizards can all ride Pegasi. Pegasi are monstrous beasts which means the rider and mount share a profile. Pegasus riding Captains (affectionately called a “Captasus” by Empire players) are a very popular combo. Most Captasi are minimally equipped magical item wise but nearly always carry a Charmed Shield as protection from enemy artillery, so you probably shouldn’t aim your Giant Bow at a Captasus, tempting at it may be. The Charmed Shield may stop a cannon ball most of the time, but it won’t help much versus a volley of poisonous darts (though his armor will help there). Usually an Empire player will use their Captasi against us the way we use Terradons against no-war machine armies: to run interference. A Battle Wizard gains a lot of flexibility on a mobile spell casting platform, especially if they are using a magical lore with low range spells like Death or Metal. If it’s a wizard on a pegasus, a barrage of poisonous darts or magic missile ought to solve your problem, unless the wizard happens to be to be Balthasar Gelt. Balthasar Gelt is a L4 Special Character wizard on a pegasus. He has variable level Magic Resistance equal to the number of wizards on the other side (max three, minimum one) and a 3+ Ward Save versus missile attacks. Thus, taking him out with ranged attacks is difficult. Point for point, he is probably the best SC on the Empire list. Besides the aforementioned defensive powers, he has Lore Mastery of Metal and gets +2 to cast spells. Gelt can’t fight his way out of a wet paper bag, but his flying mount assures that he can usually avoid close combat. If you see Gelt before you, I suggest trying to charge him with Terradons or better still, Rippers. Pegasi can be upgraded to be able to re-roll failed Stomp rolls and/or be upgraded to re-roll 1s when rolling charges, handy for a Captasus, likely to go unused with a flying wizard. Imperial Griffins: Imperial Griffins can be ridden by Empire Generals and Battle Wizard Lords who have the Lore of Beasts. Imperial Griffins have nearly the same base stats as dragons making them very deadly in close combat. They have no armor save. Lizardmen players know what to do when faced with a high toughness enemy with no armor. Class? “Shoot it with Skinks, Professor Scalenex!” That’s right class. Flyers are fast, so you are not likely to get more than one volley of shooting at a griffin before it successfully charges something. Griffins can be upgraded to have an additional head (makes the model look tacky in my opinion). The extra head gives an extra Chomp attack which gets +1 to hit versus enemies with the Large Target rule. The Bloodroar upgrade makes the Griffin’s Terror more potent. Enemies taking Terror or Fear tests add an extra die for the Leadership test and remove the lowest number. That means for us we that roll four dice and then remove the lowest and highest number. This is the most common mount for the Emperor since it’s fluff appropriate, there are many models of the Emperor on Deathclaw the griffin floating around the marketplace and Deathclaw is slightly better than a regular griffin despite having only one head. Imperial Dragon: The only person in the Empire who can take this as a mount is Emperor Karl Franz. In games of 2600 points+ you might see a dragon used though you can probably play 100 games against the Empire and never see the Imperial Dragon, but forewarned is forearmed as they say. Demigryphs are conspicuously absent from character mount options though an Empire SC in the quasi-official Throne of Chaos book rides one. Characters (Who weren’t already covered) Empire General: Pretty vanilla. Human fighty lords. They have Ld9 and a wide variety of equipment and mount options. EDIT. Despite the name they are not very popular generals. Grand Masters have better fighting stats and Arch Lectors provide useful buffs (both with the same Ld). Empire Generals have the Hold the Line! power which means Empire units led by the General take break tests (but not other psychology tests) as if they were Cold Blooded. Empire generals are taken mainly when the Empire player wants his general to be on a flying mount. On foot an Arch Lector is usually better. On horseback, a Grand Master is usually better. Marius Leitdorf is a SC general. He rides a barded warhorse. He gets four attacks with his runefang making him nearly as deadly as Kurt Helborg. Like Kurt Helborg he only has an AS of 2+ with no Ward saves. He is also batshit insane. Periodically he has to make a Crazy Test (TM), which may give him a bonus or may give him a penalty. The net result is hilarity. Since my army is based on Leitdorf’s province, I plan to use him frequently, eventually, but mostly for fun and not crunch. Emperor Karl Franz is the Special character general. Karl Franz has no real weaknesses except for a high points cost. He has Ld 10 and his base command range is 18 inches. This goes up to 24 inches if on Deathclaw the Griffin or the Imperial Dragon. He has a 4+ Ward save. His armor save falls between 4+ and 2+ depending on what he is mounted on. He also has MR 2 and Immune to Psychology. He can take a runefang (which I think I mentioned wounds automatically with no armor saves) or he can take Ghal Maraz which does the same thing with the addition of inflicting d3 wounds per hit. If you would like to see what Ghal Maraz looks like, consult the cover of the Big Red Book. That’s right, it’s that warhammer. As mentioned earlier he can ride any mount the Empire has to offer. You’ll usually see him flying around on Deathclaw or riding a barded warhorse leading of a unit of Reiksguard or Inner Circle Knights. Empire Captains: The hero equivalents of Empire Generals. Captains can ride horses or pegasi. They have slightly lower base stats than Generals, but they still have Hold the Line! Because of the low cost of Empire Captains and high value of Hold the Line! (awww the humans want to roll three dice for leadership rolls too, how cute!), it’s conceivable that most/all of the Empire’s units will have a character leading them if the Empire player is so inclined. Empire Captains are the only BSB option the Empire has, usally said BSBs have their entire 50 point magic item allowance spent on defensive things. Ludwig Scwarzhelm, the Emperor’s Champion is a SC version of Empire Captains. He is automatically the BSB in any army that takes him and he has an 18 inch hold your ground range instead of the usual twelve. He is always on a barded warhorse. Like most mounted Empire SCs, he has an AS2+ with no additional protection. His unique magical weapon has Killing Blow and re-rolls failed to wound rolls. If he is in the same unit as the emperor, he has a chance to take hits aimed at the emperor unless the emperor is in a challenge. In the unlikely event you are facing a deathstar cavalry unit with both the Emperor and the Emperor’s Champion in it; you should probably kill Ludwig first, then target the Emperor. Better yet, tarpit or redirect the unit. It’s hard for the Lizardmen to field something that can take on a unit like that head on, but you can rest assured that nearly all of your opponents points are wrapped up in that monstrosity if you tie it up, you can take apart the rest of the army fairly easily. Battle Wizards and Battle Wizard Lords: There are only four official GW supported armies with access to all eight BRB lores, Demons, High Elves, Lizardmen and Empire. The current magical item list has no Arcane items at all so they are stuck with what’s in the BRB. Demons, High Elves, and Lizardmen all have special rules that benefit their spell casting in some way and the Empire does not. The Empire does win out in the other three in at least one regard. They can field their wizards cheaper. That means you can find yourself facing a variety of lores arrayed against you. They can take a L1 Beasts Wizard just for Wyssan’s Wildform. They can take a L1 Metal Wizard just to melt a Stegadon per turn with the signature spell, they can put a Death mage on horseback to ride in the general’s hero bus and Spirit Leech enemy characters or unit champions away and still have plenty of points to buy other characters. Their options are endless. There is no one lore that dominates Empire army lists, Empire generals tend to have diverse opinions and they like to exercise their options. Since the current Empire army is based on units synergistically supporting other units, you are likely to see wizards focusing on buff spells and hexes. Note that battle priests are popular and they compete with wizards over the same power dice, so this limits the Empire’s magic phase somewhat. The majority of the lists I’ve seen tend to have one L4 wizard and one L2 wizard with a different lore rather than an enormous Swiss army knife army with lots of different wizards. Witch Hunter: Like Markus Wulfhart, this is a mostly fluffy character choice that by sheer coincidence is extra dangerous against Lizardmen. While constrained by the Rule of Four with pistols, light armor and sometimes great weapons, they aren’t very scary at first glance. They have MR 2, are immune to Fear and treat Terror as Fear. Still not impressed? Before the first turn begins, they nominate an enemy wizard as their primary quarry. They get to re-roll To Hit rolls against said quarry. More importantly they gain Killing Blow against said Quarry, even with shooting attacks. They also have Sniper versus their primary quarry. I’m going to operate under the assumption that the Quarry will be a Slann. That means there is a chance, however small, for a 50 point hero can kill a Slann bunkered in a Temple Guard with a single shooting attack. This should make a Slann’s blood run cold(er). Witch Hunters have another use. They can provide MR to a whole unit for about the same cost as Lodestone talisman. If you see a Witch Hunter in a big infantry block, the Witch Hunter was probably bought as an afterthought (or the player wanted the unit to have Magic Resistance). If you see a Witch Hunter in a small unit of archers, then the Witch Hunter is sure to chase after you. While considered by many as a fluff choice, they are so inexpensive they barely cost more than the magic talisman that bestows MR 2, so they are included in many Empire Death Stars. Magic Item List Runefangs: The 85 point sword is for Lords only. It wounds automatically and ignores armor saves. Considering we Lizardmen players are accustomed to enjoying having several high toughness well armored units at our disposal, runefangs are scary. The silver lining means a character with the runefang has at most 15 points of magical items to provide additional protection (most special characters with a runefang have no additional protection at all). Keep in mind that a mounted General or Grand Master can still get a 1+ armor save without any magical items at all, I guess it’s not a mystery why characters can’t ride demigryphs. EDIT: Generals may only get 3 attacks with a runefang but Grand Masters get four. Fluffy lists give runefangs to generals, competitive lists give them to Grand Masters. Mace of Helsturm: The Mace functions a magical great weapon in all respects. Additionally, the bearer may forfeit his normal attacks to make one attack that is at S10 D3 multiple wounds and counts as a Flaming Attack (still has Always Strikes Last). At 50 points it’s not very popular. Most people prefer their lords to have more than one attack and prefer their heroes to not spend all their magic allowance on weapons. Armor of Meteoric Iron: This item gives the wearer and automatic 1+ AS and a 6+ Ward save. A popular choice for Battle Priests or BSBs on foot but mounted characters can easily get saves like this for cheaper. Helm of the Skavenslayer: This is only cheap item on the Empire magic item list. It adds one to the wearer’s armor save and lets them cause Fear. They cause Terror against Skaven and Skaven Hate the wearer. Anyone wearing this helmet should really be on our side right? The White Cloak of Ulric: This over priced Talisman bestows a 5+ Ward save that is increased to 2+ for Flaming attacks. All enemies in base contact take -1 penalties to all to-hit rolls. Van Horstmann’s Speculum: When fighting a challenge, the bearer of this gets to swap their Strength, Toughness, Initiative, and Attack with their enemy. If you see a captain or a wizard making an unusually bold challenge then they probably have the Speculum and you should probably send a unit champion to meet the challenge instead of your tooled out Scar Veteran. You might even win and get underdog challenge points. Ring of Volans: This overpriced enchanted item has a one use bound spell. The Empire player chooses a lore and selects a spell as if the ring were a level one wizard. The power level is the base casting cost which means this is usually more difficult to cast than most bound spells. Because they have to roll their spell out the beginning of the game, they can’t even surprise you with it. Griffon Banner: This banner is powerful, but it is BSB only, which means anyone carrying it can have no other magical items and is therefore vulnerable to be clubbed to death by Sauri. The Griffin Banners doubles their CR for extra ranks. A unit with the Banner always automatically restrains pursuit. Steel Standard: This cheaper magic banner is very handy for Empire lists. A unit with this banner can ignore Movement penalties for barding and re-roll 1s when charging, pursuing or fleeing. Demigryph, Inner Circle, and Reiksguard Knights can all choose this banner (well, not multiple units in the same army of course).