All empire players agree that every competitive empire army begins with the hellblaster volley gun and Flatellents. Sure to be competitive you still need one part steam tank, a smattering of other artillery, and big pile of crossbowmen but every empire army must have the hellblaster volley gun and the flatellents. So when I built my empire army I had known of the aforementioned units.
The basic 2000 pt armies I built for the empire is
Well, in play I have noticed that Ogres are walking dead things as they are too expensive to have ranks and have too low a leadership to hold. Outriders and horse archers are the most expensive way to deliver an arrow and lancers are the best looking model Games Workshop make besides being historical. The lack of an army battle standard bearer is tragic with such low leadership and the abundance of mages leaves the units with slightly lower leadership than they could have had.
Ask most Empire players and this is not the ideal army but it does have its strengths. The army is fairly fast with the slowest unit being speed of six and an average speed of seven. It has a lot of magic and concentrates it in colleges of magic which have a lot of decent one power spells. It also has good a punch when it charges with a lot of strength four or better units. It also has a few units which cause fear.
This army has played fairly well. The general strategy for the army is to avoid general engagements and try to mass several attackers at one unit. Ideally it need to break the unit on the first turn and run the broken unit down. The horse archers are sacrificial and often are forced to screen better units. As small as they are they will usually be killed so the enemy will not get any pursuit. The missile troops may not fire while the ogres are missile blockers intended to catch and kill enemy archers. The trick to this army is to send the lancers or ogres around a flank while leaving the center held by one unit and horse archers. Then to hope magic goes favorably and a unit of the enemy can be held up with a spell. This usually creates the opening for this army to exploit. Once a point advantage is gained run around unit darkness ends the carnage.
The strategy is the perfect match for the army and often yields results.