|Faith, Steel, and Gunpowder
An Overview of the Empire Units from Warhammer: Diskwars
|Warhammer: Diskwars | Published 11 December 2013|
“Three things make The Empire great – faith, steel, and gunpowder!”
–Magnus the Pious
Led by Emperor Karl Franz, the Empire is the largest and most powerful nation in the Old World. Its armies are built upon a backbone of professional infantry, and enhanced by units of fully armored knights, Battle Wizards, and artillery. The Empire’s armies are renowned for their discipline, and their diversity gives them strength.
In our last preview of Warhammer: Diskwars, we looked at the game’s rules for army building. Today, we explore some of the units and strategies you’ll discover as you look to form regiments for an Empire army.
Marching the Empire to War
Each of the races represented in the Warhammer: Diskwars Core Set owns a distinct array of stats and a distinct set of abilities that, together, result in a unique play style. These differences are most notable among each race’s heroes and elite units, but they translate all the way down to your grunt infantry.
For example, even though the Empire’s Marienburg Swordsmen boast stats and abilities that resemble those shared by units from other races, their subtle differences add up:
The result is that we see slightly different tactical applications for the Marienburg Swordsmen than we’d find for their counterparts among the other races. As we pull more of these pieces together, we find more differences in each race’s tactical strengths, and the synergies we’ll find further distinguish the different armies. In the end, the Empire doesn’t play like the other races, and part of learning how to use them (or any army) in the game depends upon understanding their strengths.
Developer Michael Gernes further explains the Empire’s unique approach in Warhammer: Diskwars:
“The Empire is the greatest nation of humans in the Old World, made up of a number of elector states that all maintain their own armies. The Empire’s troops are diverse and capable, but are not as specialized as those of many other races. Its war machines are powerful, but they are also vulnerable to misfires and counterattack. The Empire’s main advantage as a fighting force lies in its flexibility, and in its leaders’ ability to support their units at crucial points of a battle.
“In Warhammer: Diskwars, then, an Empire player needs to master the art of coordination and commit his disks at the right time. In turn, by setting up certain combinations, you’ll be able to more fully utilize many of the Empire’s best disk abilities. For example, you could move Reikland Crossbowmen into position with one activation, then use Karl Franz’s ability, later, to allow them to make their powerful medium range attack.
“Once a player learns to make the most of such disk abilities, the Empire truly feels like an army that’s greater than the sum of its parts, and you’ll definitely be rewarded for thinking about the synergies between your disk and card abilities when you build an Empire army.”
The Empire’s heroes not only stand at the center of its army; they define the shape of their regiments. Each of the three heroes the Empire finds in the Core Set can inspire his troops with a unique ability.
Luthor Huss is a Priest and a powerful melee fighter who gains frenzy and resistant (, ) while he’s empowered. Naturally, when he forms a regiment, you’ll want to include Push or another command card that allows you to empower a unit. Then, in order to take advantage of his frenzy ability, you’ll want to recruit units that can help you lure multiple enemy units into a cluster.
Volkmar the Grim
Another Priest, Volkmar the Grim brings two additional recruitment points to the table – thirty-six as opposed to Luthor Huss’s thirty-four. This can make the difference between recruiting the Talabheim Greatswords or the heavier Cavalry unit, the Knights Panther. Then, with his ability to empower a target disk within short range, Volkmar the Grim further establishes himself as a leader who excels by making his regiment stronger.
Still, if you’re looking for ways to enhance the options available to your entire army, it’s hard to look past Karl Franz. He’s a powerful combatant with Flying, Impact 2, five attack strength, five counter strength, and five toughness.
However, even as he can boast such beefy stats, the greatest strength that Karl Franz brings to the table is his focus ability, which allows him to move up to two activation tokens from allies within long range to other unpinned, unactivated allies within long range. This ability won’t net you any additional activations, but it will help you to get the most of the activations you have available to you. Additionally, this is where we first see the Empire’s flexibility really come into play; if you have a diverse army, with some heavy melee units, as well as some ranged attacks, and some Magic, Karl Franz ensures you’ll be able to use the type of ability (or deal the type of damage) that you need most… at the time you most need it.
Among the Empire’s troops, you’ll find a diverse mix of mobility, magic, ranged attacks, and melee strength. Together, these units provide the diversity their commanders need to engineer adaptable battle plans.
This Infantry unit has the movement speed it needs to get into melee quickly, and then while it’s pinning an enemy disk, it gains swift for its counter attack, meaning your opponent will likely avoid engaging the Greatswords in a scrum. Otherwise, this unit can deal its four counter damage before the enemy that pins it gets to deal damage with its attack (unless it also has swift). Add to this ability the Greatswords’ five toughness, and you get a unit that’s great at isolating enemy troops and besting them one at a time.
The Bright Wizard is the only Empire unit with Magic in the Core Set, but that’s really no reason for concern among Empire players. The truth is that the Bright Wizard is point-for-point one of the most potent Casters you could hope to find. For a mere seven recruitment points, the Bright Wizard allows you to deal three arcane damage to any target unit within medium range. That’s enough damage to destroy a number of units, like the aforementioned Kurgan Marauders, but more importantly, that’s enough to threaten even the heartiest heroes.
Two Bright Wizards, coordinating their attacks, could deal a wound to an enemy hero like Kairos Fateweaver. Use Karl Franz to move their activation tokens to other units, and you can have both your Bright Wizards fire twice in one round, delivering enough Magic damage to utterly destroy nearly any unit.
One of three Empire units with Impact, the Knights Panther are a fast Cavalry unit that delivers a powerful blow. You’ll want to get them into position early to charge their foes, deal their three Impact damage, and then finish off whatever foe they pin with their five attack strength. These hard-hitting knights also have resistant (), which helps them live through their first combat to ride down other foes.
Where the Knights Panther are among the Empire’s most direct combatants, the Hochland Pistoliers are best used to harry your opponents forces and lure them out of formation. Their Mobile keyword means they can fire their ranged attack before or after moving. Furthermore, their Scout keyword means that they can take a free move action before the game’s first activation phase, and this can play into a number of opening gambits.
For example, if you race your Pistoliers toward the middle of the battlefield, your opponent may hesitate to send his units into range of their attack. Such hesitation may be all you need to ensure that your disks are at just the right distance at the end of the first round to launch a devastating series of attacks in the second round.
Like the Hochland Pistoliers, the Steam Tank also has the Mobile keyword. However, though it’s Mobile, the Steam Tank isn’t very fast. Nonetheless, it’s resistant to physical damage and boasts a powerful ranged attack. It also has Impact 3, and because it’s Mobile, the Steam Tank could theoretically roll over an enemy, dealing its three Impact damage, and then target that unit with its cannon, dealing as much as nine more damage (should every attack somehow hit).
The versatility the Steam Tank offers through its different keywords and ranged attack make it a perfect addition to any regiment with Karl Franz, and if you do add it to your army, it’s worth thinking about adding Myrmidia’s Blessing to your hand of command cards to catch your foe off-guard with a sudden burst of speed.
War Drums on the Wind
Can you hear the distant sound of war drums beating? Warhammer: Diskwars is nearly here, and in just a couple weeks, you’ll be able to field armies for the Empire and the game’s other races in fast-paced tabletop warfare!
Keep your eyes open for news that the game has arrived at retailers, and until then, stay with us for future previews, including a look at the Orc hordes in our next army review!
Warhammer: Diskwars is an epic game of heroes, armies, and brutal warfare for 2 - 4 players. At the game's heart art its disks, which represent heroes and units from the Old World. These maneuver across the battlefield by flipping end over end, and if any two disks overlap at the end of the round, they must fight!