Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Joliet, Illinois, USA
Really, this is very situational.
As you say, the ability for a unit to still have an attacking rank is critical in some situations, while the additional defense has often been proven to work wonders in preserving a unit.
Spears are great if you get to attack first (especially since I'm a High Elf player). You get to strike with a flurry of attacks, meaning more will hit the opponent, more will wound the opponent, and more attacks will be left unsaved. That means fewer enemies to strike back.
The Armor Save is great if your troops are otherwise rather weak and will be attacked first (either by ranged attacks, melee, magic, whatever). For units like Swordsmen, the extra save is almost invaluable. They posses a decent attacking ability, but their decent save is what makes them so invaluable to an Empire general.
I'm sure you can think of times when you can expect to attack first, or times when you can expect to be under a constant barrage of violence. Even in a single game this can come up. That's why you really need to consider the options and make calculated decisions to succeed. Or just go with what's cool. It's worked well for a lot of players, but it won't always yield anything truly competitive.
"In the eyes of the Elves of Ulthuan there exists no fear, only grim determination.
Until one has witnessed them in combat, one cannot comprehend the power that they possess."