After a brief hiatus, my Empire army is finally underway. We are now wrapping up the second week of this year's Escalation League at Game Kastle. Since this sort of format is perfect for getting started on a new army, I've taken the opportunity to jump in with both feet. I'm focusing on getting the basics of the army assembled and gaining experience playing them. Painting and converting the army to fit the theme will come later.
So far I've played 5 games and lost all 5 of them. While I expected to have trouble with a new army, I didn't really expect to start out with such a poor record. Although.... I do seem to remember losing a lot when I first started playing with Dark Elves..... At any rate, I've made a couple of observations about the Empire in 8th Edition at low point levels. First, the Empire generally functions as a hoard army in 8th. Sure, they have core Knights and Outriders are really good, but the most common approach involves hoards (or buses) of Halberdiers as the center of the army. At lower point levels, you just can't get enough troops to outnumber your opponent to a great enough degree to be successful. This is a complaint I've also heard about Scaven at low point levels. I don't see this army really being competitive until we get to 2000 points.
The other thing I've noticed is that a Level 2 Life Wizard is pretty useless. Life, as a Lore, is awesome if the caster has Throne of Vines already cast. With just a 2 spells, you either end up with Throne and one awesome spell, or two spells that aren't as good as they could be. I felt kind of frustrated by it and switched to Light, which felt much more useful.
I'm going to experiment with different units between now and 2k to get a feel for whether I like them or not, with a goal of having a really solid 2k list in a couple of weeks. We'll see how it goes.