Sunday, January 9, 2011

... in which I discuss Bretonnian Tactica - The Knights

The noble Knights of the Realm of Bretonnia are truly the heart and soul of the Bretonnian Army. As a core unit and being calvary, they are a bit more expensive point wise, but used correctly, they can be ten times as devastating as any unit on the board.

In this article, we will look at the 5 types of Knights, their strengths and weaknesses, and the best way to utilize them.

Lets start with a breakdown of a typical knight of the realm. He is on a barded warhorse, which suffers no penalty for being barded, as it is a pure bred warhorse. This gives the knights the swiftstride special rule. Swiftstride: If all units in the group have the swiftstride special rule, when charging, fleeing or pursuing, roll 3d6 and discard the lowest result. This is one of the lynchpins of the knights, in any form. A charge from the knights is devastating, and swiftstride makes it so you can accomplish this with great success.

The knight is equipped with  hand weapon, lance, heavy armor and shield. This makes the knights armor save 2+, as he gets the 4+ from the heavy armor and shield, an additional +1 from being calvary, and another +1 from the horse being barded. And yes, all of these stack to give the knights an impressive 2+ armor save. (Pg. 83 WFB, 8th ed.)

The hand weapon is nothing special. The Lance, which 4 out of the 5 types of Knights is equipped with (Questing Knights are not, more on them later) is where it's at. The Lance grants +2 Strength on the charge attack. I will go into more about this in each Knight type description.

Speaking of the Lance, all Bretonnian Knights but Pegasus Knights can use The Lance Formation. This is a powerhouse for the Bretonnian Army. Any unit of Knights may begin the game in the Lance formation, or may reform into it. What the Lance formtion does: instead of having to be 4 units wide for a rank bonus, the knights only need to be 3 wide. In addition to this, the charge attack gets really nasty. All knights in the first rank fight as normal, and all knights in the second rank may give their supporting attacks. AND, all knights on the flanks may attack as well, no matter how deep. For example, you have a unit of 15 knights, arranged 3 wide and 5 deep. All 3 in the front rank get to attack, all 3 three in the second rank, and the 3 from EACH flank get to attack as well, for a total of 12 attacks on the charge! Dont forget: that the charge only does this work, that you are striking at +2 strength, and that your mounts get to attack as well! That's another 12 attacks from your horses. This is why it is imperitive to charge with the knights, and to eliminate your opponent. If they survive the charge and stay locked in combat, Only the front rank of knights can fight as normal, with the second rank giving their supporting attacks, and they lose the +2 strength of the lance.

A couple other notes about the lance formation: Characters must always go in the front rank, displacing chmpions, standard bearers, and musicians to the second or third rank, as needed. This is OK though, as they still operate as normal even though they are not in the front rank. A Damsel or Prophetess of the Lady may ride in the second rank of the knights, and still be able to cast their magic. And lastly, and this is kind of a biggy, casualties. Casualties inflicted on the lance formation are taken from the rear middle rank, leaving the flanks, then the flanks are removed. Going back to our example of 15 Knights, if you lose 4 to casualties, you would remove the back rank entirely, and then the one in the MIDDLE of the 4th rank, so that you still get the flnk attack bonuses on the next charge.

Calculating the combat result is a monster for a Knight unit on a charge. For example, our 15 Knights charge 30 Orcs and kill 6. The orcs retaliate and kill 2 knights. The Orcs get 3 points for ranks and one for a standard bearer, and 1 for kills, for a total of 5. The knights get 1 for charging, 6 for kills, one for a standard bearer, and 3 for ranks, for a total of 11. (I also suggest any unit of knights taking the Magic Banner War Banner, +1 to combat resolution) Also, get into the ememies flanks or rear since you have the movement to do so!!! The orcs fail by 6, and take a Ld test at -6. Now, you want them to fail, obviously, as they will break and flee, and remember, as being calvary, you get to roll 3d6 and discard the lowest to persue and cut them down! This is particularly effective, as they are taking a -6 penalty on their 7 Ld, meaning that they must roll a 2 or break. Sounds like some Orcs are going to get trampled.

Now, let us look at the Knight units individually.

Knight Errant - 20 pts.
The brash young new Knights. Their stat line is identical to the Knight of the Realm, with the exception of their weapon skill is 3, compared to the 4 of the Knight of the Realm's 4, and their Ld is 7, compared to an 8. They also have the special rules Impetuous and the Knights Vow. The Knights Vow lets them ignore Panic, and any unit with the Peasant's Duty. Impetuous states that if they could charge, and they did not, they must make a Ld test or charge anyway. This is the trade off for the points really. Unit size of 5-15

Knight of the Realm, the core troop. - 24 pts.
They have the Knight's Vow special rule.
8   4     3   3  3  1  3 1  8
Unit size of 5-15

Questing Knight - 28 pts.
Questing Knights have the Questing Vow. This states that they can NOT use a magical or mundane lance. Instead they get a Great Weapon. Still +2 Strength, but not as effective because great weapons always strike last. They also get to ignore Panic and re-roll failed psycology tests. They may not be joined by a unit that has the Knights vow. Their S and I are 1 better than a Knight of the Realm. Unit size 5-12

Grail Knight - My favorite unit - 38 pts
Grail Knights have the 0-1 restriction, and a unit size of 3-12.
They have the Grail Vow and the Living Saint Special rule. Living Saint lets any Grail Knight issue and accept challenges like a Champion. The Grail Vow makes these Knights Immune to psycology, they get to ingore Panic, Fear, and Terror.
Their stat line is impressive.
M  WS BS  S T W I A Ld
8     5     3    4 3  1  5 2  8
There are ways to get more of these units on the table. They Fey Emchantress my come with a retinue of "Grail Guardians" of 2-8. These Guardians are identical to the Grail Knights. King Louen also only rides with the best, and the 0-1 restriction is lifted if he is your General.

Pegasus Knight - 55 pts.
Pegsus Knights have one more Toughness and Wound compared to a Knight of the Realm. They are also flying calvary.This gives them all the rules as fast calvary with the fly specil rule. Fly lets them ignore terrain and move 10'. The fast calvary part lets them use the vanguard for deployment (12' move after deployment). They still get their swiftstride on charge, flee and persue, but they do not get to use the lance formation. They also get to reform for free. They can also use feigned flight. This lets them flee from a charge, and automatically regroup next turn, no roll needed. They can still get chased down, but this is unlikely with the swiftstride. Unit size is 3-10, with a 0-1 restriction. This restriction can be lifted but having a Lord mounted on a Pegausus in command of your army.

In my next article, I will go into more depth with how these units fit into the scheme of an army.

For the Lady! For the King! FOR BRETONNIA!!!

1 comment:

  1. Although i dont play Bretonnian i found this article really helpful for learning what they are capable of. Especially the bit about the lance formation. Great read keep it up :)