Empire: Detachment Tactica – Ranged units
I’ve looked around at a few different Empire lists created recently and one thing I’m seeing with those lists that use a ranged unit as a detachment is that there is an overwhelming preference for Handgunners over Archers for this ranged element. My question is very simple: why?
If we look at Handgunners their obvious strength is the hitting power of the Empire Handgun. It is 1 Str better than the bow and it benefits from the Armour Piercing rule. It has the same range as a bow also. It’s one “down-side” is that it is a move-or-fire weapon.
Archers are a second ranged choice for a detachment. Their bows match the handgun in range yet they are slightly less powerful and they do not grant the Armour Piercing rule. The one upside that archers have is that bows can be fired after the archers move.
Crossbowmen are the third and final ranged choice. The power (Str) of the crossbow is the same as that of the Empire Handgun yet the crossbow does not benefit from the Armour Piercing rule. The crossbow does have a slightly longer range than both the bow and handgun. However, just as the handgun it is a move-or-fire weapon.
Taking into account that more often than not we aren’t playing a battle in which your troops are deployed in one spot as a whole and don’t move the entire game, it is highly likely that your parent units will have to move at some point during the battle. In order to benefit from the Detachment system the detachments assigned to the parent unit will have to keep up with them and remain within the few inches closeness that is required.
Given the last paragraph you can see that Handgunner detachments, in moving to keep up with their parent unit, lose out on a few turns of acting due to their move-or-fire weapons. Sure, they will certainly be able to stand and shoot in all ways available to them, but other than that and firing at other targets once their parent unit is engaged, they simply walk around the battlefield in formation with their Parent unit.
The same can be said for Crossbowmen.
Archers, on the other hand, are able to move normally and remain alongside their parent unit in the move phase and then still release a salvo during the shooting phase. Granted, you will most likely need 5s or 6’s (or more) to hit. In addition, Archers may also perform all of the duties granted to it by the Detachment system just as the Handgunners mentioned above.
Looking at this I see that Archers will get to shoot much more often and create a chance for enemy casualties than Handgunners when used as a detachment in most normal scenario situations. So why are so many lists overlooking them in this role? Did I miss a major point that is the reason why Handgunners are used more in this role?
Lector Hans Richter
Currently attached: 7th Army of Bergsburg, 3rd Regiment, 4th Battalion - 1st Company
"So Be It"
8th Edition Empire: W:2/L:1/T:0