Common questions about the Empire is: What makes for an effective army? What is the ideal Empire army composition? I’ll go over a few armies I used for my Legendary Empire campaign.
Let’s start with the basics. To perform “anvil and hammer” tactics, you’ll need:
Front-line composed of infantry (the anvil)
Cavalry (the hammer)
Ranged missile infantry
That is a good place to start. Ideally, front-line infantry has shields in order to reduce the damage they receive from ranged attacks, which helps their longevity. Swordsmen and Spearmen (with Shields) fill this role nicely in the early and mid-game. From there, you want to concentrate on melee attack, melee defense, and armor.
For ranged infantry, crossbowmen work well, even into late game. You will want to transition to handgunners eventually due to their armor-piercing damage.
The important thing is to make sure you’re covering the important characteristics:
My personal style when building armies is very defensive: Artillery, strong melee infantry, and ranged infantry to counter enemy ranged infantry. Cavalry are used to flank, take out enemy ranged infantry and artillery.
I divide up my armies into three types: Main army, sub-armies, low-budget armies.
My main army is designed to fight just about any faction, and is heavily anti-armor with some anti-large. It also costs the most so I don’t run more than one of this type.
Legendary Lord (Karl Franz)
Warrior Priest – spells, defensive combat stats, and replenishment skills like Heal Troops.
4 Steam Tanks
6 Greatsword Infantry
4 Demigryph Knights (Halberds)
This army fights defensively using the Steam Tanks, LL, and Warrior Priest as the front contact line. Enemy units will swarm and surround these units.
The handgunners take up positions behind and fire directly into the enemy as they swarm your Tank/LL/WP line. As your front line are all singular entity units, there’s a lot of free space and you can shoot without worrying about friendly fire. The handgunners can also be shifted to the flanks to fire on ranged cavalry who attempt to fire on the far wings of your army.
Demigryph halberds solve three problems: Needing anti-large, needing cavalry to flank the enemy, and taking out artillery. They pretty much eliminate the need for horsemen and halberdiers. I usually keep these in the back to meet large unit attacks. They can also spot cover for handgunners if units break away from your steam tank front line.
As strong as this army is, it has a downside: It is very expensive. You will most likely be able to field only one of these armies until you take a lot of territory.
These are standard armies that are well-balanced between cost and effectiveness.
Warrior Priest (specialized for replenishment) – Decent melee fighters with skills to use in battle to protect your units. With high replenishment, your army can keep going without rest.
4 Crossbowmen – swap these out with Handgunners when fighting Dwarves, Chaos, or Brettonia
2 Spearmen with shields – Excellent at covering flanks, these units will be your budget anti-large units. These should be swapped out for halberdiers mid to late game depending on need.
That is a core of nine units. The rest can be filled in how you want, but you want to cover a few bases:
4-6 Melee units – At the start of the game, these can be swordsmen (or five and a RoR Sons of Sigmar). Later, swapping them for Greatsword infantry is good to deal with late-game high armor units.
2-4 Cavalry – Reiksguard is good in this role, but late game you want Knights of the Blazing Sun instead.
1+ Artillery – Artillery is good in general to deal long-range damage, but more importantly it will force the AI to attack you. Mortar early game, then helstorm rocket battery or great cannon mid to late game.
Witch Hunter (for Accusation and agent protection) – Entirely optional; I use them in certain situations.
While there is no single “best army”, this should provide you with a decent idea of what to build around. Obviously, depending on the enemy faction you’re dealing with, make adjustments (more halberdiers against Brettonia or more cavalry against Dwarves, for example).
You will need armies to keep public order stable in newly conquered territory while your regular armies fight, or need an army to chase down stragglers. That is where the low-budget army comes in. Nothing fancy with a solid backbone, this army is composed of swordsmen, spearmen with shields, crossbowmen, and mortars. This army is great for reclaiming razed territory also (a must as Chaos factions will blow up all the cities they attack).
I hope this guide is useful for you, please leave feedback and also your input on what you think makes for a good army!
The first part of the Dwarf Campaign Guide is now up on the Guides page. It covers the Legendary Lords and Agents, their respective builds, and also army composition. I’m working on part two so stay tuned.
I’ve finally finished writing the first part of my Western Roman Empire Guide. I plan on writing two additional sections that go into campaign details, but please feel free to leave questions and feedback in the comments section.
You can find the guide here or through the navigation bar to the left.
Western Roman Empire Guide – Part 1 – Important Campaign Basics
This is the initial section of the Western Roman Empire guide. This campaign is the first “legendary” start difficulty campaign in the Total War franchise, and for good reason:
You’re at war with a few factions, with more joining before the you reach chapter two. Everyone hates you due to the fact you’re a “Great Empire”. On top of that, your enemies are either neighboring you or traveling through your lands.
Corruption is in the high 70s; your empire is vast but generates very little money per turn.
Public Order is dropping across every province, due to religion, events, and immigration.
So what do you do in this situation? The goal is to survive again the odds, defeat your enemies and the Huns, and recapture/conquer land. The easiest way to go about this is to turtle up in a defensive position, build infrastructure, research technology, and build strong armies before expanding outward.
You need to reduce corruption. Corruption is related to how much income you generate; the more corruption you have, the less money you get. The easiest way to reduce corruption is to lose territory. You can research technology later that will reduce global reduction, as well as specialize your governors to reduce corruption also.
Your troops are expensive. You will probably recruit very few units in the first 20 turns, if any at all. However, Roman troops are some of the best in the game, which justifies the cost.
Each province should to be food positive. Even if your overall food is positive, any province that doesn’t generate surplus food is going to suffer from a base -1 public order and -25% wealth generated (Depending on how much food you’re in the negative, that public order penalty increases). Climate change will reduce regional fertility, so you need as much food as possible to not only keep yourself food positive, but to also boost faction-wide growth and replenishment. Obviously, there are exceptions to this, but I will go into that later.
There are different benefits to Roman Paganism and Latin Christianity. Latin Christianity spreads very well into neighboring provinces, to the point where many will swap to the faith during the course of a campaign. Religious affinity provides a bonus to diplomacy, so it definitely has its uses. That said, Roman paganism gives a +2 bonus to sanitation, which cannot be ignored. It’s up to you as to which you choose. I completed the Legendary WRE campaign with Latin Christianity.
Tips and Advice
Don’t be afraid to lose territory. Losing territory runs counter to the conquering mindset of Total War, but by reducing the size of your initial holdings, you greatly increase ease of management, income, and defensible position.
Be proactive in defending against barbarian factions. The Suebians in Gaul should be your first target. Following that, you will need to fight off the migration tribes (Vandals, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, etc.). and defend against incursions into your territories.
Befriend barbarians and gift them land in non-essential land if possible. Look for good diplomatic traits (reliable, admires strong empires, religiously tolerant) in giving land gifts. This does two things: It removes a threat and reduces corruption.
Let Western Roman Rebels take provinces. Rebels make great stumbling blocks for invaders. As they typically gravitate around the territory they spawn in, they won’t bother to leave the town after seizing it to attack something else.
Utilize the Auxiliary Support Edict. Public Order penalties due to immigration build up over time and max out at -9. in the UI, immigration level will show a max of 15%; it can go higher but it will not be shown (You will notice it when it stays 15% even when you go a few turns with the edict enabled). You will have to shuffle governors around periodically to reduce immigration and help your public order. In fact, I found myself using that edict over most of the others roughly 90% of the time.
Large Onagers and Ballistari are the key to victory. Your military research should be focused on reaching large onagers first. Unit upgrades are good, but none of them are as big of a game-changer as large onagers. Ballistari provide excellent armor-piercing damage and range. While their rate of fire isn’t great, you’ll need them late game when fighting stronger infantry. Combined with the large onagers, you can destroy half of an army before it reaches your front lines.
Ambush, ambush, ambush. You should be rarely putting your fighting armies in towns, only when you need a public order boost or after a battle and need the bonus replenishment. Otherwise, they should be sitting nearby in common corridors in forests to ambush invaders. Gaul has some excellent places to set up ambushes; do this whenever you can.
Initial Core Provinces :
Why these seven?
Good defensive position – Spain being a square shape, every province borders 2-3 other ones. It’s easy to move around and defend. The two Gaulish provinces neighbor Tarraconensis for easy access.
Optimal resources – The land in these provinces are good and fertile, so you gain more food. More importantly, you have some good resources. Two wine and one olive resources, which generate food (and + public order for wine) at the cost of only squalor, which is great compared to farms that generate squalor and – public order. You get marble, a requirement for higher tier capitol buildings, and iron, which is a nice economy boost. But most importantly…
Two gold mines – I believe there are only five gold mines on the map, and you have two of them at the start, and not too far from each other. By having two gold mines, this will be the key to generating a large income in a small number of provinces.
That’s all for the initial strategy. In the next section of this Western Roman Empire Guide, mid-game strategy and defensive points will be covered.