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Author Topic: Alternatives to the Cannon?  (Read 2801 times)

Offline Sayomi Akimoto

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Alternatives to the Cannon?
« on: May 21, 2008, 07:58:17 AM »
Hi there, I'm completely new to The Empire (And Warhammer Fantasy in general), and forgive me if this has been answered several hundred times before, but what are the alternatives to the Great Cannon when it comes to big nasties and the like?

I've seen all of the other artillery pieces mentioned, but I was also wondering about non-gunpowder alternatives such as magic or big angry magical weapons? If so, could you please tell me their effectiveness in comparison to the Cannon?

Like I said, forgive me if this has been answered before, and if it has, could someone post the link there?

Offline Jon-Michael Lust

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Re: Alternatives to the Cannon?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2008, 08:13:00 AM »
One of the unique things about the Empire is that our army does not rely on having super characters/magic/monsters of doom to win our battles for us.  We rely on all of the elements of our army working in concert to achieve victory.  Because of this, it can be hard to find things in the army list that can match the great cannon when it comes to taking out big nasties. 

There are a few magic weapons that work well against them, but one must keep in mind that our characters are not the strongest in the Warhammer World and work best when providing support to the battle line, not gallivanting off chasing dragons.  Also, because the Empire has access to all eight lores of magic there are definitely a lot of choices when it comes to finding that school to counter some of your enemy's strengths.  However, magic can be unpredictable and should not be relied on to do the job by itself.

Of course, there are also your other artillery options.  The Helblaster, while not used as widely this edition as in last edition, has the potential to put out a significant amount of shots which makes it something to look at if you need to get rid of some cannons.

That being said, there are certainly armies that work just fine without bringing along any cannons.  However, most Empire generals that run balanced lists will bring along one, if not two, cannons backed up with a couple of the options I described above.  Of course, it's your army.  If you want to try out a list without cannons, play a couple games with proxies before you run out and spend a bunch of money on models.  You may find out you actually like cannons (or not).  It's your army and as long as you have fun that's all that matters.

Offline Warlord

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Re: Alternatives to the Cannon?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2008, 08:16:03 AM »
There are only really 3 alternatives (other than War Machines) that I can think of for taking out big nasties, however they are not as easy to use or as versatile as the cannon.

Firstly is the Mace of Helstrum. This is basically a Cannon on a character. Can only hit one model, does D6 wounds at S10. This is an especially useful item for an Arch Lector, because his reroll assists in its use the first round of combat, he doesn't have enough attacks to begin with to make that much of an impact, and on the War Altar he excellent to get into contact with enemy big nasties.

The other item which is good for taking out big nasties is the Sword of Fate. However this really is a one trick pony, as you need to get the model wielding the sword into combat with the monster whose fate he is delivering. Plus, once the monster is dead, you can't really use it for anything else.

Lastly, Van Horstmanns Speculum (little mirror, not anything else... :roll:) can help you swap stats with big nasty characters - Any Lord on Dragon, Treeman or Greater Demon are good targets for this item.

The War Machine is the Helblaster is arguably good at doing what a cannon can do. It can inflict a lot of S5 hits of models, and big nasties (Large Targets) gain a +1 to be hit which definitely helps its effectiveness.

The Steam Tank is a big nasty of its own, and in general if it can get off a charge is fantastic against enemy big nasties. However often it receives the charge (fliers can charge 20 inches afterall) and gets hit quite a bit. You can use this to your advantage, using the tank as bait so that your supporting unit of something can charge in and put some hurt on.
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Offline CaptScott

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Re: Alternatives to the Cannon?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2008, 10:14:20 AM »
Bah, enough regular guns (outrider/pistoliers/handgunners/xbows) can take down most things in my experience.  Alot of big nasties are only toughness 5, and most are large targets giving +1 to hit.  And even if they are tougher you can take them down with enough shots, or weaken them enough for a knights charge, or magic weapon.

Another tactic is just to tarpit them, or try and tie them down with a few cheap disposable units.  If you can keep said big nasties fighting a few detachments over the course of the game, then it is effectively neutralized.
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Offline PhillyT

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Re: Alternatives to the Cannon?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2008, 12:42:39 PM »
All I can say is:  Why.

Why do you need an alternative?  Empire has the best warmachine in the game for it's price.  Why not use the cannon.

Phil
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Offline jlutin

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Re: Alternatives to the Cannon?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2008, 01:32:35 PM »
I am currently running a no cannon list.  I do have shooting to make up for it.

2 units of 5 outriders with champion/rifle.
1 unit of pistollers 6 with champ/rep pistol.

Those can easily take down a big nasty in one turn.  I had a single unit of outriders eliminate a orc on wyvrnn (weak as big nasties go) in one turn.  In the same game the other unit took a giant down to 1 wound in 2 turns.

In addition to those, I have a Warrior priest with doomfire, another WP the AL on war altar and a level 2 wizard.  If necessary they can give a big nasty some loving.

I have never had good luck with cannon.  When shooting at Big Nasties, (ignoring a land short or carry long) you have too many chances to roll a "misfire".  Roll a misfire, turn over.  Roll a misfire or a 2 on the bounce and you probably won't hit.  Roll a 1 to wound and he walks.  Roll less than 3 on number of wounds and he is still very, very dangerous.  Naturally ward saves bugger it up more.

I just don't trust cannon.  I put my trust (for large targets at long range) in 15 shots, 12 hitting on 4's 3 on 3's shooting 360 out to 24" combined with some pistollers running up, redirecting, blocking charges, fleeing, shooting and generally being a pain in the rear.
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Offline PhillyT

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Re: Alternatives to the Cannon?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2008, 03:18:18 PM »
Maybe its a side effect of being a very good estimator of distance, but I find the 100 point value of the cannon is too good to pass up.

That said, shooting is decent too, but that isn't what I use my cannon for mostly.  I shoot enemy warmachines, and for that duty, there is no alternative to first turn cannon fire.

Phil
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Offline jlutin

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Re: Alternatives to the Cannon?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2008, 03:24:46 PM »
I do suck at range guessing.  That is a factor in my choice also.
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Offline PhillyT

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Re: Alternatives to the Cannon?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2008, 03:36:52 PM »
Still, S4 shooting is more than enough for most large monsters.  I remember when my friend and I started playing, he had orcs.  He used to wander over to my hill loaded with handgunners every game.  Every game the 20 handgunners would kill the giant before he reached the "nirvana" of HtH.

Stupid giant.

Phil
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Offline Mathi Alfblut

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Re: Alternatives to the Cannon?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2008, 04:25:55 PM »
Philly, sometimes I think you are too limiting when you say that something is "too" good to pass up, be it cannon or treeman. When something is that, you may infact wonder if it is not a bit... sniff, sniff... Rochfort...
However, I do not think the cannon is cheese, but It do seem to limit Empire players since all you hear is "take a cannon, no take two!"
That way, you will never develop and find other efficient and equally good setups for an army. Making yourself belive that something is "mandatory" will limit you in the end, and it is taking the short route and works toward streamlining and making everyones army looking the same.

A good gamer is happy to just shove aside the unit everyone tell him to take "because you have too", since then that model may be an obstacle to develop a deeper sense of tactics and for the game. And you will nerver challenge yourself to seek new ways.
Some of the finest generals became well known, because they could seemingly do lots with "nothing". Sure, many had some pet unit or tactic, but the bottom line is that some commander could do without seemingly "must have" stuff and might thereby find new ways to approach problems.

That some units preferred by great generals achieve fame and elite status, may not always have to do with them being much better or necessary for the general to win. It could simply be that humanity has a tendensy to follow the rule "If it ainīt broke, donīt fix it!". It is a good rule, but if you never challenge it, you may get blind for change and new ideas.
Alexander had his companions and used them as the hammer in all the battles. Still, you do get the feeling he could have done without them if needed. But they where his companions and he knew them personally and they where sworn to him. So he fought with them.

Caesar however, had his famous Ninth legion, but he shifted his own position from situation to situation. At Alesia, he stayed with his german cavalry and rode with them, their swift regrouping being instrumental in enabling the romans to hold the siege lines against the double assault.
On other occasions, he rushed in beside his legionnares or rode with other cavalry units such as the batavians.
Napoleon was a flexible mind, but in the bottom, he was an artilleryman, and his skilled use of artillery settled many of his battle. Still, he knew the rest of his force, but the artillery was what paved the way to victory.
Wellington was a infantrygeneral, and he rellied upon his redcoats more than anything else. By protecting his redcoats using ridges, he preserved them form Napoleons bombardment, as Napoleon himself observed.

Had not Blucher come to the aid, Napoleon would most likely have prevailed through having a slight advantage in number and a more cohesive force, and maybe because he was in the end a bit more flexible.

Wellington, the hero of Waterloo, would for a long time work against the modernization of the british army, clinging to his redcoats and their drills of line and square, meaning the british army got more and more out of time. I wonder if Napoleon would have been as blind?

Anyway, I say this. If you think that one unit is a "must" put it away and look think carefully. Are there infact other ways to get the same outcome as if you had cannons? Or a treeman for that matter.
Sometimes I do think some unit are too good without them being cheesy because of that, because they offer the straight and simple solution.
How would it be if weather had a stronger position in the warhammer battle? Would we see a somewhat less reliance on cannons?
And the fact that flaming is in the rising, and few armies bar the HE have anything that can really protect against it, the WE trees looks like they may become more threatened. I say it is about time asrai players find new options for the treeman and loads of dryads. It is hard to do, since the HE now almost force you to take such units, but at the same time, rellying upon them can turn disastrous after a few more armybooks.
The cannon is safe however, since it never rains in regular warhammer. A shame, it would have been lovely if there was an option for the gamers to try and influence the weather, representing attempts to try and engage your foe under more favourable conditions for your army.
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Offline Gadget

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Re: Alternatives to the Cannon?
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2008, 04:46:30 PM »
A shame, it would have been lovely if there was an option for the gamers to try and influence the weather, representing attempts to try and engage your foe under more favourable conditions for your army.

It was tried in the Albion campaign a few years back and I think the Lustria campaign explored humidity to a lesser extent.
Whilst a balanced set of changing circumstances within a campaign can add an interesting and flavourful element to battles, within one off games it would make calculating balanced points costs a nightmare for army list writers.
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Offline PhillyT

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Re: Alternatives to the Cannon?
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2008, 08:17:46 PM »
I loved you post Mathi!    :::cheers:::

That said, the cannon is not broken by any stretch.  Plenty of people can't hit a think with it and would prefer a bolt thrower.  I am a good shot and love to shoot my two cannons and paired helstorms.  To me, they are the most fun in the army!

Now the treeman I like because he offers alot of things the WE lacks, like a solid, nasty model.  He is balanced though, since he is a whooping 285 points, so I wouldn't say he is broken either.

Everything else aside, the cannon is an efficient, powerful item, and a must for any general since it does it's job and will give the user experience in guessing, which will pay off immensely in the long run.

Phil
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Offline wissenlander

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Re: Alternatives to the Cannon?
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2008, 11:32:17 PM »
That was a very fine post, Mathi.  As Gadget has mentioned, Albion did have a weather table which was pretty interesting.  I don't remember how it went completely, but I think it could even change in the midst of the battle.

I'm a fair shot with a cannon myself, and I have a lot of confidence in my gun crews.  For me, confidence in my troops swings the battle in my favor quite often.  Even if I screw up something, most of my troops perform admirably.
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Offline Syn Ace

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Re: Alternatives to the Cannon?
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2008, 12:24:46 AM »
I'm a good cannon shot -- and if I have an engie on it to reroll a misfire, i'm gold (outside of a horrible bounce roll). I never leave home without 2 cannons.
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Offline Grudgie

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Re: Alternatives to the Cannon?
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2008, 12:39:21 AM »
Quote
One of the unique things about the Empire is that our army does not rely on having super characters/magic/monsters of doom to win our battles for us.

Bull snot, is what I say to you. This is the biggest bologna I've ever heard since I came to this forum. It is just something Empire players say to convince themselves of their superiority. I can't think of any armys that rely on single unit bad@$$edness much more than the Empire does.

And to answer the question, tho you can kill big things without using a cannon, the cannon is the best and most efficient way of doing it.

Brunth

Offline Gneisenau

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Re: Alternatives to the Cannon?
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2008, 01:08:18 AM »
Bull snot, is what I say to you. This is the biggest bologna I've ever heard since I came to this forum. It is just something Empire players say to convince themselves of their superiority. I can't think of any armys that rely on single unit bad@$$edness much more than the Empire does.

More relying on single units, let's see...

- Lizardmen 2nd gen Slann lists
- VC magic heavy lists
- VC Blood Keep Knight attack forces
- Dwarf "Thorek" lists
- WE two treemen armies
- HE dragon strike forces

etc.

If you are frequently facing Karl Franz and two Steamtanks, I pity you, but a non-cheesy empire list does indeed not include extraordinarily powerfull characters.

Offline Gadget

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Re: Alternatives to the Cannon?
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2008, 01:29:55 AM »
There is a valid point there though, e.g...

1) Strength 10, no armour saves, guess range
2) Brace of pistols, fast cavlary, uprade with a repeator pistol
3) Joined unit has Hatred, casts bound spells, generates a dispel dice, Rare choice taken as a Core Choice
4) Unbreakable, have flails
5) Full Plate Armour, Barded Horsies
6) Machine guns, Horsies
7) Large blast template, strength 3
8) Terror, 'baby' Cannon, it's a freakin' tank
9) Chariot of Fire, plus Lord with benefits of #3
10) Avian guided grenades, re-roll on Artillery dice, lightning Horsie... no, wait...
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Offline Albrecht Hexenjaeger

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Re: Alternatives to the Cannon?
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2008, 01:40:41 AM »
Alternatively, one can reach across the table and bash your opponent in the head with a 2"x4".

Otherwise, just take a cannon.
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