I know I've ripped Empire in my earlier blog, but after learning how to use it, I have to say I'm impressed.
I've played 5 games of Empire vs. Chaos with my wife. She totally killed me the first 2, then I won, she won, I won. Chaos 3, Empire 2.
I did see that others shared my view that Empire just couldn't hold their own very well, but I've since changed my mind. The key to Empire is the QZ and cheap cards. The cheap cards gives you the advantage of possibly playing 2 cards on your first turn, and most likely being able to play 2 or more with 4 resources on your 2nd turn. The reason the QZ zone becomes more important is the cheap cards will cause you to go through them faster. Once you have about 5 resources set up in KZ, you really could possibly go through 5 cards. Remember, Empire has 0 cost tactics and units (Peasant Militia) and of course development cards. You need to make sure you have QZ working for you, and fast. You will need to feed the KZ as well, and I'm not saying ignore it. All I'm saying is with other races, I ignored the QZ on the first few turns, and I don't think you can do that with Empire and be successful.
The 2 games I won, I was lucky enough to get a Huntsmen in my hand, they only cost one and that allowed me to play 2 cards on my first turn. My 2nd turn I was able to have 4 resources, and again could play 2 cards feeding both KZ and QZ.
In the last game we just played I was able to build up to 4 draws from QZ and 7 Resources from KZ. I protected my QZ with a Reiksguard Knights (Counterstrike 2), this made my wife much more wary of attacking that zone. With The Greatswords(gains a power when a unit enters same zone for one turn) in my BZ with Pistoliers going in and out to give extra power to my Greatswords, I was able to hold my own and the game was very close. I had burned her QZ and my BZ was about 2 damage away from burning. By making sure I was getting plenty of cards each turn, I also had a better chance of getting the rather vicious Judgment of Verena, which I did get I believe in my 5th turn . That destroyed all unit and support cards in zones w/out developments. Unfortunately for my wife, she only had developments in BZ and so she was pretty much stripped of her resources. Then I did a Forced March(Move a target unit from one zone to another) to her only unit in BZ, Chaos Knights, and moved it to her QZ. Because I had a ton of cards in my hands with7 resources to play, I was able to load my BZ with units on the next turn, my Greatswords getting a power for each unit entering the zone that turn, and was able to finish off the KZ zone for the win. To my wife's credit, she did get my BZ zone burning right before I was able to deliver the coup de gras.
So I've changed my mind. Empire does require a lighter touch, but after a few games, I think you will see that if you can quickly get units spread out in your KZ and QZ with the cheap cards, you can put together a machine that pumps out units. Combine those units with the some devastating tactics, and you can definitely win using an Empire Only deck.