With the 500 points game in the bag (and the blood running off the table in rivers), the next 500 was on the horizon and it was time to think about how I could improve on the core force and give it some more teeth. It was fairly easy to guess what Phil’s additions were going be, he already had a unit of Fear causing (yes, really) Chaos Knights [Hells yeah! -Ed.] on his mantel piece and I knew the box of fear causing (yes, really) Skullcrushers wouldn’t be far behind. Armed with this information and fully aware that I had very little, if anything, that could stand up to their offensive abilities I resorted to the one area where I had the advantage – Magic.
It’s not that the Empire is particularly good at Magic, there are races a lot better at it than they, but the fact they can select from all of the eight Lore’s of Magic is what gives them an advantage over most races. This ability means there should be a wizard for all occasions, and when you then consider my opponent has selected an army that eschews Magic in favour of large axes, having this kind of versatility becomes extremely useful, crucial even. [I couldn’t make it too easy for myself. – Ed.]
In one army so lacking in units that can charge into a combat safe in the knowledge they will bludgeon their way through their target in an explosion of body parts, what do you then do against an army that is made up almost entirely of the bastards? The typical tactic is twofold: Shoot them – a lot (and then again just to be sure), and then gang up on what’s left. But this has been made a lot harder in the 8th edition Empire book as most units went up in points and this has had the very real effect of taking away one or two units from you depending on the army size.
This makes a 2 on 1 situation actually rather difficult to engineer in your favour – buts that’s where the Magic comes in. With no enemy wizards arrayed against me I am already at an advantage over any dispel attempts as he will not be adding any magic levels to his dispel attempt rolls and should mean I can get at least one decent spell off a turn. But what would be my Lore of choice for any plucky Battle Wizards I sent to war? There are some very good ones to choose from but in a game this size with what I’m up against, there’s really only one – Metal. [Bastard. -Ed.]
Who’s read the Lore of Metal signature spell? Well it’s practically made for destroying targets in Chaos armour and this is what I will be using to swing the odds in my favour. If I could get just one decent cast to remove a small elite unit, it would make engineering that favourable combat far more likely. When you look at some of the Augment/Hex spells present in the Lore too it’s a one of the best to use when facing Chaos no question – in particular Khorne.
With my wizard decided I got my hands on the Empire Battle Wizard box.
Know the lore you want to take is important as the Battle Wizard box comes with a lot of components and I had to down to the business of selecting the ones I wanted from the array of choice laid out on the frames. In the box there are two main body sections with which to assemble two Wizards but three sets of arms to give some real variety in the poses.
One of the poses is easily the best and a no brainer in selecting, so it becomes a toss-up between the other two. The crystal ball pair of arms was a bit too Celestial for me (plus I remembered you get a Celestial Wizard in the Hurricanum kit too – but I’m getting ahead of myself) so I went with the more animatedly posed arms and it was these I used for my Metal Wizard – with the potential to double up as a Light Wizard depending on the paint job. I gave him a book to be reading off and I really liked the Celestial Wizard staff top over the nondescript meteor symbol, so I removed all the protrusions to reduce it to a simple orb contained within a crescent of metal, very fitting I thought. Combined with the animated pose, the components portray a Battle Wizard on the brink of unleashing a devastating spell, so far so good.
For the second Battle Wizard the sheer beauty of the components pretty much forced me to do a Death Wizard with the rose entwined scythe and hourglass combo being too good to pass up, but I’m thinking I’ll end up using him for Shadow instead as it’s a better Lore that suits the army better – and a grey Wizard is just a bit boring. There were loads of other good components to choose from and you can make most of the Lore’s quite easily, the exceptions being Life and Beasts. And by exceptions I mean pieces synonymous with those Lore’s. You can still make a generic Battle Wizard and paint it to suit though. They look an absolute treat to paint too, but I’ll have to resist and get some rank and file done first for there are many and characters are few.
The Battle Wizard box was one of the first of the multi-part plastic character kits to come out along with the Empire General box. They’ve aged rather well, despite the stylised design not being to everyone’s taste. The slightly angular look of the robes weirdly works for the wizards but the array of items and details on the rest of the models make the robes the backdrop to the main event. Although, again, stuff like the flaming sword isn’t going to get everyone excited, all the other bits are way cool. And all the spares you’ll have knocking around will come in very handy be it pimping characters or making your Mordheim warband a bit more interesting/occult.
All in all a it’s good kit for the money. Two Battle Wizards and a bunch of really good components to use on the rest of the army, everyone’s a winner. Except Khorne, they’ll likely die a molten death.
Empire Battle Wizards are available from Firestorm Games priced £16.20.