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I have big trouble winning this matchup. The HE roster seems to really show its weaknesses here.
The "default" Empire build you will get is something like:
- Lord on Griphon (Boris or KF) - Hammer of the Witches - Silver Bullets (not 100% of times but pretty often) - Royal Altdorf Griphites - (rarely) Steam Tank - token frontline (sometimes couple Greatswords thrown in) - Zintler's Reiksguard - Life mage
The problems with this matchup is that due to the flying Lord, contesting the cav game is impossible. At the same time, while you can put pressure with Shadow Warriors on his cannons, this takes a fairly long time to do and in the meantime you need to dodge his lord trying to terror rout you and make you lose models.
Take Tempest right? Boris regenerates, KF has 80 armor and gets healed. Sure shooting his lord is sort of worth it but you're in a for a grind that will probably expend most of his ammo because you will likely get heal capped. Unless you wanna take Sisters, but they're too expensive and also you need to take Net too at that point. Also, you have only 1 net, and you're outmatched on cavalry, infantry and probably Lord choice too. Tempest also normally doesn't 1 shot the enemy lord, and if he is a flyer he can dodge it pretty much until it doesn't matter anymore
Spearmen are good for blob fights vs cav but Demis are far more resistant to them than any other cav with 120 armor. WL are cool to win frontline but I'm not sure it's necessary. Also this is a matchup where they're below average. I think 1v2 vs 2 Emp Swordsmen they lose? Or at least are left with so little HP that they just get terrified or cycle charged easily.
Frontline is also a problem, though not a huge deal: Swordsmen beat Spearmen and Greatswords although more expensive beat WL. Shooting the frontline, even from the sides to avoid shields, is not worth it because you have limited ammo and higher priorities.
- far inferior cavalry game where it's hard to predict the Empire at the same time. 1x DK (to which HE have no counter) is given. But will you see 2? Or 2x Emp Knights? Will there be Zintler's Reiksguard? Will they bring Accusation to snipe your Fireborn (with no counterplay)? Or Final Transmutation which means that the Empire goes around unpunished? - inferior infantry game - inferior artillery game - arguably tied for monster mash
This is not to mention strong combos such as faith demis or FT.
Any tips on how to win this matchup? After playing it several times it seems to me that HE is behind a lot.
I haven't tested KF 1v1 vs a Star Dragon but it wouldn't surprise me if fully kitted KF ties with fully kitted SD. Empire also has arguably better support in air duels in the form of Silver Bullets and Cannons as well as access to sick cannons and nets too.