The Empire is a dangerous and often cruel place. Wars, plagues and the predations of terrible monsters can destroy whole towns and force their inhabitants to become beggars, vagabonds and brigands. All who endure such hardships are hardened by their losses, yet some are driven over the edge of sanity by their suffering. Many of these dishevelled wretches see their plight as a morbid sign that the Empire is about to collapse, an irrefutable portent that these are the last, desperate days of a dying world. These men revel in their despair, despondent in all things yet manic in their pronouncements of doom. When battle is joined, bands of crazed Flagellants beat themselves into a frenzy before charging headlong towards the enemy. They throw themselves into the fray without hesitation, against the most hopeless of odds. With howls of doom on their lips and visions of martyrdom in their thoughts, Flagellants fight with wild ferocity, swinging their flails at their enemies and leaving trails of blood and woe in their wake. Heedless of danger or injury, these madmen will continue to fight with reckless abandon until each and every one of them lies dead or dying on the battlefield, thus vindicating their belief that the end is indeed nigh.
- ▲ Damage Dealer: This unit has a strong emphasis on dealing damage. If fighting it, make sure to take it out before it can get into firing or melee range.
- ▲ Frenzy: Units with frenzy cause more damage while their leadership is high.
- ▲ Unbreakable: This unit does not suffer any form of leadership loss and will never rout.
Depending on the situation, flagellants can be one of two things: a great way of holding the line against fear-inducing or terror-inducing foes, and an amazing tarpit. On the line-holding hand, against factions like Vampires which can easily trigger a chain rout, flagellants are excellent as main-line troops. Their unbreakable nature means that regardless of terror, fear, or outflanking by monstrous creatures, these men will not run; with a bit of careful planning, you can position a few of them to stop a chain rout. On the tarpit hand, flagellants work wonders when holding down blocks of enemies for Empire artillery. Especially against factions such as Greenskins and Lizardmen, which are somewhat slow-moving and oriented towards close combat, a unit or two of flagellants sent out against the enemy alone can cause the enemy's main battle line, usually infantry, Lords, and Monstrous Creatures (non-cavalry) to attack them and form a lovely ball in perfect artillery range. This is a one-use function as between your own artillery shelling them and their low defense the Flagellants WILL die. However, it can give you about 30-60 more seconds to absolutely pound the enemy's most important units with artillery, especially since they will be clustered tightly together. Bonus points if this is occurring in casting range of magical attacks with large AOE damage.
Flagellation for Dummies
Flagellants have no armor and no sense of self preservation. This means that they are easy prey for cavalry, missile troops, AoE, and practically anything really. How does this make them any use? As meat shields and flanking shock infantry.
They are cheaper than great swords and are better than them against less armored units. They can be counted on to hold the line to the last man and have the most charge bonus than other empire infantry. Their unarmored nature means that if you want them to survive for future battles (or at least not die too fast) then you must either use shielded infantry to take up the missile damage or have them hide in forests or behind the terrain. However, if you are planning on using them as meat shields then you better be able to kill pretty fast. Although you can rely on their fanaticism, you must remember they are going to battle wearing nothing but strips of cloth.
Arch Lectors and Flagellants
It's worth pointing out that Arch Lectors, as well as Volkmar the Grim, have special abilities that can bolster the ability of Flagellants to hold a line. Specifically, a massive 50% boost to ranged resistance causes them to laugh off enemy missile attacks. If you're using Arch Lectors (which you should be as Empire Generals are awful), it's worth considering Flagellants as your main line unit over Halberdiers and Greatswords.