Thursday, July 15, 2010

All cavalry Bretonnians dead? It'll come back and bite you in the ankles!

Alrighty, got myself a copy of the Warhammer Fantasy 8th rulebook and I've had some time to think about how my Bretonnians are going to be run for 8th.

For the longest time I ran almost pure cavalry armies starting in 5th (when the Bretonnians were re-introduced). It was two units of archers and the rest of my points was put into knights of various types. Kind of a one-trick pony which was fun at first but got boring quickly (both for me and my opponent).

Now the list pretty much stayed the same throughout 6th and 7th edition centering around a core of 4 lances of knights. Now 8th edition rolls around and a lot of people say that the all cavalry Bretonnian army is dead and needs to start incorporating gigantic blocks of men-at-arms (gigantic meaning 50+)

I don't believe it has to be that way. Though admittedly this is more from a monetary stand-point than an actual gaming stand point (I don't have the funds to go out and buy a bunch of men-at-arms boxes), but I still don't think Bretonnians need to resort to hording up the peasants (or knights) to win. I'm also glad that Stelek over at YTTH hurts seems to sort of agree (see here) He's advocating basically a combined RAF and MSU knight list which is what I have been doing for a while already (well not the RAF part, but definately the MSU part).

So my take on a 2500 point Bretonnian army is going to be as follows


Bretonnian Lord - Barded Bretonnian Warhorse, Lance, Shield, Heavy Armour - 140
Prophetess - Lv4 - 225

Paladin - Battle Standard, Heavy Armour, Virtue of Duty, War Banner - 129

4x 6 Knights of the Realm - Full Command - 168 each
2x 12 Archers - Braziers - 77 each

3 Pegasus Knights - 165

2 Trebuchet - 90 each

Brings the total to about 1655 points. Lots of room left to play with (835 points exactly). The last 835 points you can spend on what you have in your collection or whatever magic items suit your fancy. For me that would be a couple of damsels, a unit of grail knights and random magic items to fill the gap. The prophetess is on foot and can follow behind the knights or hide in the woods nearby or whatever. Miscasts are really bad if the sorceress is in the middle of a formation. You could just dump the prophetess for more knights too (she's as much as a decent unit of questing knights)

This would be the core that would do all the heavy lifting. The army would play differently though than previous Bretonnian armies. Rather than trying to charge ASAP like before (6th and 7th it was easy to get into combat on turn 2) you'd wait until the trebuchets and archers did their job and whittled away any horde units you wanted to charge. The pegasus knights would, at the same time, harry the flanks and small units like skirmishers and war machines so that your 4 lances can stay relatively intact and unopposed. Admittedly I would like to field more than just the one unit of pegasus knights but I don't have the models.

Once the trebuchets have done their job you can then charge in hopefully getting 2 or 3 lances of knights into a single unit, crushing them (if the trebuchets worked the enemy unit should not be steadfast after combat resolution) and then reforming and ready to charge another unit (and hopefully being out of the charge arc of any other enemy units). Key here is to eliminate enough of the target unit with shooting/magic that the knights can kill them below steadfast. The trebuchets do not need to put them below steadfast, just low enough that the knights can finish the job.

A unit of 6 knights can withstand quite a lot of shooting as long as it isn't against dwarf handguns or similar. The narrow frontage and shallow depth allows for easy movement and templates that scatter are less likely to hit someone in the unit. Also having multiples of these units will tax your opponent's shooting especially if they have to worry about multiple pegasus knights flanking their artillery. A lot of people are calling for gigantic blocks of 12+ knights but they don't seem to realize that a unit that big is basically just going to move in a straight line. Easy to predict and counter and if it dies that's a huge chunk of points and effectiveness lost.

Anyways, back to painting the buggers, might get them done in time for a fantasy tournament coming up (unlikely but hey I can hope, lol)


  1. I'm really liking Questing Knights now, oddly enough. Great weapons are like lances that never stop working, and since your units are so durable you'll be alive to swing even if you go last.

    Pegasus Knights got crazee good with that free pre-game move.

    Virtue of Heroic Killing Blow is sweet.

    I think Brets will be just fine.

  2. Yeah Virtue of Heroism is really nice now. Heroic Killing Blow and can be used with magic weapons (if I'm not mistaken the Errata does away with all the extraneous text).
    With a lord you can combo it with the Heartwood Lance for some insane combat potential.

    I need more pegasus knights, that vanguard move at the start is really good for positioning. Surprisingly, I think the FAQ, by saying ignore pages 64-65, actually allows multiple Pegasus knight units without needing a pegasus mounted lord.