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Offline sammay23

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Tactica: Empire All Cavalry [work in progress]
« on: March 04, 2013, 01:09:28 AM »
Empire All Cavalry Army Tactica

Here is my attempt at a tactica for those interested in building all-cavalry armies. I define this as an army made up solely of units with M7 or greater. Obviously there are many potential variations on the theme, but that’s my working definition.

I hope folks will chime in with their own experience and with helpful additions. I think that the more perspectives we can provide with this, the more helpful it can be. I’m not a defensive guy, so please, if you disagree with something, let me know!

Some context: I’ve been playing an all cavalry army since the new book came out. I’ve taken 2nd a few times in local tourneys of 15 or so players, and am generally considered a challenging opponent. This tactica is mostly for players who want to be similarly competitive. I’ve found all cav to be a refreshing and fun alternative to the infantry line, and I’ve also found it far more effective than I initially thought it would be. There has been a steep learning curve for me, and I’m hoping I can share some of my experiences with those who might be interested in trying this flavor of Empire. I also hope that this can be a bit of a living document, in that readers can offer to fill holes in my reasoning, or expand on some tactical ideas. With that said, let me begin with some initial principles that are important, in my opinion, to grasp as you build an all cavalry force.

Principles for an all cavalry army.

I)   Armor as a defensive multiplier.

A 1+ armor save acts much as wounds do. It increases a unit’s survivability. Against a S3 enemy, 5 vanilla knights have as many EFFECTIVE wounds as 30 free company. Why? Because 30 S3 wounds will kill, on average, 30 free company (who have no armor save), or 5 vanilla knights (who each require, on average, six armor saves before failing). Similarly, 5 vanilla knights vs. S4 have the effective wounds of 30 halberdiers, or spearmen, or flagellants for that matter. You get the point.

Thus, armor saves are what provides an all cav army with durability, as opposed to lightly armored infantry armies, who rely on wounds to provide durability. This means that as you consider how best to use your cavalry, you must always ALWAYS  be thinking of their armor.

II)   Movement is your friend.

One shift that can be very challenging is that of realizing the difference between marching 8” and 14” and charging, on average, 11” vs, on average 16”. This can require a substantial shift in how you think about deployment and tactics. With many units of cav, it is possible to feint at one flank during deployment, and then shift your forces to the opposite flank before your opponent can react.
Thinking about flexibility and movement can be very hard for generals who are used to the more static tactics we build infantry-heavy, or even balanced lists around (it certainly was for me). You cannot count on being within 12” of your general, or your BSB. Similarly, strategies centered around the hurricanium or luminark are unlikely to be as effective. This was a big challenge for me – modifying my thinking to realize that units have much greater reach. Hell, cavalry can move 3 ½ inches backward! There are tactical implications.

III)   It’s all about the charge. (Well, it's all about winning combats)

S5 or S6 is massively more impactful than S3 or S4, and an all-cav army will inevitably have fewer attacks than an infantry army. Grinding an opponent down is not that viable. Therefore, we need to be executing charges and winning combats. My experience with all cav lists feels more like 7th edition, where multi-charges were game winning, and jockeying for field position was half the battle. Part of being an effective general with an all cav list is knowing how to get charges off. You need to know that, with swiftstride, the average roll is 9, making 16” your average charge range. You will need to take risks to set up multi charges, and attempt to lure your opponents into breaking their battle line to give you such options.

Calisson has an excellent post on charge ranges. Use it. http://warhammer-empire.com/theforum/index.php?topic=42599.msg705514#msg705514

Summary

With excellent movement, high durability and substantial shock on a charge, an all cav army is about generating the maximum amount of CR while denying as much CR to your opponent as possible. Higher WS and 1+ AS mean our opponents should be killing far fewer knights, while kinghts' relatively higher WS and high S on charges should be generating a lot of casualties. Spells and items that augment this are vital. Everything else is, in my opinion, extraneous. An all cav general wants to be breaking and running down enemy units. Period. No grinding. No shooting. Just beautifully choreographed, completely overwhelming, charges. Of course this doesn't always work. But this is what we're aiming for.

Tactical considerations for an all cavalry army.


I see several different kinds of units in an all cav army. These roughly correspond to infantry armies:

1)   Hammer Units – Most of your units will be hammers on the charge.
2)   Anvil Units – This depends on your opponent. Against S3, S4, all your units are anvils.
3)   Chaff/Hunter Units – Small frontage, disposable.
4)   Ranged Units – Sure. I don’t use any. Pistoliers, Outriders.
5)   Utility Units – Luminark, Altar, Hurricanium.

Troop choice really follows from tactics (picking the best units to fit tactical roles), so I figured I’d lay out my opinions of Cav Army tactics before discussing troop types. I’m hoping for lots of input from other players here. These are oriented around three principles:

a)   Principle One: Divide and conquer

This is a fundamental principle behind a successful cavalry army. Essentially, this involves using your increased mobility to spread out an opponent’s forces and tear them apart one by one. Surprisingly, this seems to work best against opponents with “elite” armies. They are confident in the strength of their units in combat, and often make mistakes out of eagerness to get engaged. If you can get this tactic down, you will find that your most difficult opponents are the ones who work hard to maintain a battle line and deny flanks or ganging up. Some tips on that later, but here are the fundamentals to divide and conquer:

a.   Know how you stack up.

You need to know the odds of winning combats. As you build units, you should think about their hitting power… their defensive ability… 6 charging Empire Knights vs. 4 Ogre Bulls will hit first, hit on 3s, wound on 3s, and do, on average, 2-3 wounds. 3 Horses hit on 4s, wound on 5s, and do, on average 0-1 wound, trending towards 0. 4 Bulls will hit on 4s, wound on 3s – 6 hits, 4 wounds. You save on 2+. On average you take less than 1 wound so, 0-1 wound, trending to 0. You get the point. Know this stuff! It’s what makes for excellent generals. All of your decision-making should be predicated on this knowledge.

b.   Multi-charge everything.

If you can, this is the way to set up overwhelming victories. Be thinking about flanks, frontage, and charge distances. A good opponent is going to try to prevent you from doing this. Sometimes it is worth sacrificing units to set up a later multi-charge. Hordes are a lot less scary if you’re charging their front with two units of 15 inner circle knights (well, IC and Reiksguard, you get the point). Deathstars can be shattered with good multi-charges. The more you can bring all your hurt to bear on one unit, the better. With good charge ranges, you can make an opponent think you are preparing to charge several different units, and then divert all your charges into a single enemy unit. This works.

c.   If you can’t win a fight, avoid it.

Leave pride at the door and accept that you are going to have to avoid some opponents. Huge horde units can be the rock to our scissors. Fortunately, they’re the easiest to avoid. High strength units are dangerous and worth avoiding while you kill off easier meat. Obviously, you won’t be able to avoid everything you might want to, but this needs to be a part of your thinking, particularly since the army is so mobile.

d.   Sacrifice units.

Much like 7th edition, you can still use chaff units to force an enemy to offer a flank, or break a line and expose themselves to multi-charges. Granted, in this army, chaff units are more than 100 points, but this still is an invaluable tool. Also, our chaff won’t be taken out by most small arms fire or magic missiles.

You can also pin enemy units with durable cav. Demigryphs can be excellent at this, because they can continue to dish out pain after round 1 of combat. The Steam Tank is another very useful unit for pinning enemies, which can allow you to disrupt the advance of an enemy line, and force them to delay their advance, or expose flanks.

b)   Principle Two: Get in the backfield.

This is a nice holdover from any balanced Empire list. The major difference is that in an all-cav army, you won’t have a lot of artillery to pick things off behind enemy lines. So this tactic is all the more important. Fortunately, you will have many tools capable of managing this.

a.   You need to be thinking about charging artillery, mage bunkers, etc. by turn 2. High S or no AS artillery are the bane of an all cav army, so you need to have a plan to eliminate them. This is where a Captasus can shine, as well as those small units of vanilla knights. A griffon could be very effective here as well, if you could figure out how to effectively field one. The key is to send multiple units to perform this task. Devote substantial resources to this, so that your opponent is unable to block them all. In an all-comer’s tourney, most folks won’t be expecting an opponent with so many small, fast, dangerous units.

b.   Magic can also be helpful here. A comet, or long-range magic missile can help with artillery and shooters. Timewarp can increase your march range to 28”  More on that later…

c.   Try to set yourself up so that IF an opponent blocks you from getting in their backfield, they will be forced to expose themselves to multi-charges or flank charges from your hammer units.

c)   Principle Three: Be Proactive

This was probably the biggest shift in thinking tactically for me. With so much movement, and devastating charges, you should have a plan before you begin your deployment. Part of the fun, and power, of a cav list is that you can dictate your opponent’s response.

a.   Pick which units you want to focus on. Does your opponent have some units that will provide you with good points value and lower risk? Mage bunkers and artillery are particularly juicy. How can you draw out defending units to expose that soft, delicious, underbelly?

b.   Identify which units will be the greatest threat. Plan to avoid these, hold them up, or divert them. If you sacrifice two units of 5 vanilla knights to keep the Gutstar occupied all game, consider that a job well done! You have the ability to do this with high movement.

c.   Drive the tempo. Think about chess. Plan several moves ahead. Remember that you can feint and withdraw, flee and rally, etc. Think about these opportunities. Your opponents won’t have played against many armies with the mobility of yours.

d.   Lastly, I think that if you can hold your major charges for turns 5 and 6 it’s better than early charges. By major charges, I mean ones in which you commit substantial points values to a combat. I like to hold off on them because I don’t want to risk being caught in a drawn out grinding battle. If I don’t break an enemy on a charge (which happens, even when the odds are in your favor), I’d rather not risk having my units eventually broken. Delaying those charges is helpful for this. It requires planning ahead.

V)   Why No Artillery?

Well, for starters, they don’t have M7. More importantly, your army should be darting all over the field. Unless you have artillery that can defend itself, you place it at great risk. I’m not saying it can’t be done. One of my favorite cav lists had two hellblasters in it. I think I lost one or both in pretty much every game. If enough folks want, we can cover artillery options in here.

VI)   A Note on Armor

There are certainly differing opinions about this, but I fall firmly in the 1+ camp. Do everything you can to have a 1+ across the board. Most opponents are S3 or S4. That 1+ really matters for survivability, and you’ll need it.

« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 01:21:41 PM by Holy Hand Grenade »
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Offline sammay23

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2013, 01:11:21 AM »
Unit Choices

VII)   Command

All units get musicians! Charge-baiting and fleeing are vital tactics for an all cav army. With units of mostly LD8, a musician brings that to 9 for rallies. Vital.

Champions are usually a good purchase. You get an additional, potent, attack, for far less than the cost of an additional cav. However, I find it helpful to field my chaff units and demigryphs without champions, so I can avoid being pulled into a challenge. If I want to snipe a character (read: mage) on a charge, it can be very helpful to direct many attacks rather than have him/her isolated by a challenge. So, I try to mix it up.

Banners can be lost if you flee, which you will. CR is the enemy of a cav list more than death by wounds, but with swiftstride, your units will frequently outrun pursuers and rally to charge again. Don’t give up easy points with a banner in your chaff or small units.

VIII)   Unit Breakdown

Core

Empire Knights – Highlights: 1+ Armor save. WS 4. LD 8.

I don’t generally consider these worth taking in large units. They have the same staying power as other knights, but with S3 after the charge, really lack in grinding potential. Small units of these make excellent warmachine hunters and will topple most missile units as well. I always take with lances.

I typically field these in units of 6, deployed 3x2.

Inner Circle Knights – Highlights: 1+ Armor save. S4. LD8.

The bread and butter of a cav army. These are now core, and should be one of your big hammers. I like units of 10+ in ranks of 5, sometimes more depending on the frontage of opponents. I always field them with lances.

Special

Demigryph Knights – Highlights: T4. W3. S5. A3. Plus an IC knight.

What’s not to love? 2 units of 3 or 4 really add a lot of punch to an army. I field without banners or champions, but with a musician. The greatest challenge I see with these fellows is frontage. Four covers the same width as a horde, which can make them somewhat unwieldy. For now I’ve preferred units of 3 for maneuverability, but can see how 4 with FC could be helpful for grinds.

Pistoliers – Highlights: move and fire, fast cav

Okay, I haven't fielded these since 7th edition, but some folks have strong opinions that, at 90 points, they make for excellent re-directors and chaff removers. The pros are that they vanguard, have infinite reforms, and can slip through enemy ranks. The cons are that they have a poor armor save and are pretty expensive for a fragile, throw-away, unit. With new rules for BS-based missile attacks, the consensus seems to be that you shouldn't expect to hit much with them.

Outriders – Highlights: BS4, multishot

The same pros/cons that hold for pistoliers also hold for outriders. They are lightly armored fast cav, with vanguard and lots of manuverability. The one advantage that outriders seem to have is that, if you can keep them in a safe place where they don't have to move, they do have the potential to dish out some ranged damage.

Reiksguard – Highlights: Inner Circle but Stubborn

Reiksguard are nice. Stubborn is nice. They’re expensive, but if I’m to field a second large unit of “inner circle” knights, these will fit the bill. 10+ in my opinion, with the banner of discipline. I’ve also seen smaller units used to hold up opponents with stubborn. I think this could be useful, but it doesn’t quite fall into my style.

Rare

Steam Tank – Highlights: It’s a tank, and a cannon!

First off, don’t take two. It’s just not nice. But no cav list is complete without one. The unit is so versatile, and draws (and absorbs) so much enemy hurt, it’s indispensible. This will be the only cannon you should take in an all cav army. I use this for area denial, taking down monsters, as the ultimate anvil, or to take out chaff units with the steam gun. I contend that one cannot field a serious all cav list without one of these.

Celestial Hurricanum – Highlights: +1PD, +1 to hit.

It’s a chariot, so it goes in the tactica. I haven’t taken one, so I cannot speak from personal experience, but I can see it being useful, both for impact hits and for its buffing properties. [insert comments about bound spell here].

Luminark of Hysh – Highlights: +1DD, 6+ ward, secondary cannon

The Luminark is, in my opinion, the better of the mage-wagons for an all cav army. Magic defense is more important than offense, and the +1DD really will help. Impact hits could be nice, however its biggest advantage is the bound laser beam on top. At S8 D3 wounds, it’s a legitimate threat, and provides a very nice compliment to the steam tank’s cannon for finishing off tough opponents. Not a must have, but worth the 120 points in my opinion.

Heroes

Captain of the Empire

Yep. Full plate, lance, shield and you’ve already got a nice, cheap, durable hitter. You could kit them out with magical blades, but don’t spend too much. These need to be disposable. Captains can be charged out of units to remove chaff or hold up flankers as needed. They can also be fielded on their own as efficient warmachine hunters.

Captasus. Yes! In an army where mobility is vital, these provide even more of it. Try to get a 1+ if you can (i.e. helm of skaven slayer). Again, I’d field them cheap. I find that opponents do not target them with artillery. They have better, higher priority, targets.
BSB will have a 1+. I like to give him the dawnstone.

Warrior Priest

Yes. Yes! A thousand times yes! Prayers are so very excellent for cavalry, and so important. Hatred is the least of their wonders. Hammer of Sigmar from a charging unit will always draw dispel dice. The 5+ ward is just plain silly when combined with a 1+ armor save. And, warrior priests can be pretty durable when mounted. I tend not to give them a 1+, although I could see a use for the enchanted shield here. 2+ with T4 makes them relatively durable.

I’ll say here that I think Luthor Huss is a fantastic character for a cav army. He is nicely durable, hits plenty hard, and with his once-a-battle buff, actually presents opponents with a dangerous challenge. He can be, for one combat round, the best statted character Empire can field. I’ve never played without him.

Battle Wizard

I take a lvl 4, but I can see how a few lvl 2s with beasts could be dangerous. See the “Dirty Tricks” section for how to protect them.

Witch Hunter

Can’t ride a warhorse. If you want to put him on a carpet, knock yourself out.

Lords

Grandmaster

I put him first because I have something potentially controversial to say: leave him home. In my opinion, he’s too expensive for what he does. I’d rather have multiple captisus or roving captains than a grandmaster. He’s great against tooled up enemies, but there are other ways to remove them. Please, if you have another opinion, share it and I’ll get it in here.

Wizard Lord

I take a lvl 4, with a scroll on a barded steed. See “Dirty Tricks” for how to protect him. I think you cannot field a force without a lvl 4. He’s too useful for magic defense and offense. I also like to keep him as safe as I can, and having to protect multiple mages would be more difficult.

Another option is to take a Beasts lvl 4 on a Griffon. I haven't tested this, but it could be an interesting option.

Archlector

Several experienced players are of the opinion that a AL on the War Altar fits nicely in a cav army. With charmed shield, he can be somewhat cannon resistant, and is used for his bubble hatred (the only hatred that buffs Demigryph mounts!) and for the LD bubble, as well as bubble prayers. At ~300 points, he's a bit steep, but if he replaces your general, he might well be useful. [Need more concrete suggestions here from those with more experience]

General of the Empire

I don’t field one, but the leadership and hold the line are nice. I can see this fitting in an all cav army nicely. One option I have not tried, but would like to, is fielding one on a griffon. That could be both fun and effective in an army with so many high-value targets.


IX)   Magic Synergies

Magic in cav armies is really important. Firstly, you need good magic defense. There are some spells that will wipe out expensive units and ignore armor saves. You need good protection against these. Take a lvl4 and a scroll.

I’ve found that the synergies are different from infantry-heavy armies. I’ve tried to list them below by lore, but a few other general notes worth making first. 1) Your units will be more spread out – inevitably. Spells with longer ranges are simply more useful for a cav army than a static infantry force. 2) Remember that your armor save is one of the most important features of your army. Spells that buff your ability to make those saves, or that add ward saves, are extremely helpful. The more knights you have alive to deliver in a charge, the better. 3) Your mage will probably be in combat before too long. Be prepared to have spellcasting hindered by this. 

Heavens

I list it first, because I am of the opinion that this lore is the best compliment for a cav army. Harmonic Convergence is the finest armor-related durability buff available. Your 1+ vs. S3 or S4 becomes virtually invulnerable when re-rolling 1s. On charges, re-rolling 1s helps immensely, as you want to be causing maximum impact. Curse of the Midnight Winds and Iceshard Blizzard are both excellent hexes, with low enough casting costs that you can force an opponent to make very difficult choices. Comet is a wonderful spell for a high mobility army, as you can deny board area with it and maneuver around with your mobile units.

Life

Raising knights is great. T5 or T7 is nice, although you’re already pretty durable with the 1+. The best thing about life is, in my opinion, Throne of Vines. Miscasts are bad in any bunker unit, but when that unit is composed of Inner Circle Knights… yikes!

Light

Timewarp wins in my book here. So many opponents forget that this doubles your movement, in addition to adding ASF. They’ll never forget again when your hammer unit charges 22” into their mage bunker. A glorious combination. Pha’s is very nice against enemy artillery.

Beasts

Cavalry are beasts! -1 casting cost to all spells!
(Thanks to kobahl and csjarrat for the below)

-Wysanns Wildform, we all know and love it, +1T and +1S is fantastic. really helps those lancers keep the wounds coming in in the 2nd round of combat and keeps them on the board with the higher toughness. thanks to the all cav + lore attribute, its cheaper to cast than usual, needing 5 for a lvl4 to cast, it can be safely 2 diced.

#1 is a poor MM at S2

#2 Can give a character +3T, boosted all characters within 12" get it.  This is where the peggy mage shines. the flying march means you can get exactly where you need to to get the maximum bang for your buck with this spell. it makes your character cavalry bus much much harder to take down and can swing a challenge back into your favour.

#3 Amber Spear, either a bolt thrower or a cannon that never misses. absolute beauty of a spell. very underrated. shines in the all cav list because you are gun-light. sling it against an enemy monster and it becomes easier to cast thanks to lore attribute.

#4 is a really nice movement inhibitor spell and CC spell. The bad guys get a -1 to hit (shooting and CC) And treat ALL terrain (including open) as dangerous that test fail on a 1-2. This can come in really handy to limit a unit that you don't want to charge or if they do charge they have to test and then are -1 to hit you.

#5 is your character booster that can get crazy. Lower level choose 1 dude and give him +3S and +3A. Boosted version every character within 12" gets the boost. If you have a character heavy front line and get the boosted version off, you should be chewing thru most anything!!

#6. Transformation, ditch it, you cant use it when mounted. this is your swap for wysanns


Death

Fire

Metal

Shadow

(courtesy of kobahl)

Lore attribute- Lets you switch places with another friendly character of the same troops type within 18". So your wizard gets caught out of place and is getting attacked? Would like to get some muscle there to help him out? Use the lore attribute to move a fighty character into his place.

Sig spell- Melkoth's Miasma. The targets WS,BS, Int, or Movement, you choose, is reduced by D3. Boosted version lets you get all of them reduced. So many applications here. Reduce those Chosoen warriors who hit you on 3's are now hitting you on 5's...tired of hitting after everybody else? Lower their Int....The tactical list of applications goes on....And cast on a 5+

#1 Steed of shadows- Augment that lets the wizard or friendly character within 12" make a fly move. That could come in really handy to get to where you need to be if you a mobile mage like a Peg wizard. You could fly 20", and then get this spell off and all of a sudden you are in his back field behind all his troops and still in easy hex range. Or if he has a gun line all in a row, use the Pendulum spell to hit them all. A lot a tactical options here.

#2- Enfeebling foe- What's one of our weaknesses? Low T. So lets make the bad guy have less S. Spell reduces target S by D3. Pretty easy to do the math on this one. Great spell

#3- The Withering. What's another weakness? Low S. So let's make all the bad boys we gotta hit a lot easier to wound! Reduces target T by D3. Another easy math problem...lol

#4- Penumbral Pendulum. Straight line 6D6" away from the caster and each model must pass a I test (warmachines auto fail) or take S10 hit with D3 wounds. Boosted lets you double the range. Like stated above with the #1 spell. A mobile mage could really wreck a gun line with this combo.

#5- Pit of shades. What's to say? Casters love it! Low Int troops hate it! Pass the test or die. No saves. Great for getting rid of those big monsters that creep around tearing up our troops. And again, cast in on a warmachine, auto die.

#6- Okkman's Mindrazor. Models use their LD instead of S when rolling to wound. If you get this off on the right unit, they will chew through any target. Or will make the enemy think long and hard on whether he wants to charge that horde of S7-10 unit! And with the lastest change in the FAQ, you can use the Generals IP for LD.


X)   Dirty Tricks

a.   Mage Bunker

Put your mage in the largest unit on the board. I like 13+ knights with full command, and two combat-kitted characters. Make the unit 5-wide and place both combat oriented characters in the front rank. Now there is no more room in the front rank, since you have to have command in front. The mage goes in the center of the second rank. He’ll be safe until you lose your champion. This is certainly not original, and it can be frowned upon, but I feel better doing this, knowing that Chaos can field a caster with a 2+/3+.

Pro - He is well protected from sniping and direct combat.
Con - The unit will be expensive and will be a target for enemy artillery, magic, and elite units. He adds nothing to the combat output of the unit.

Alternately (from zifnab0), you could use a smaller Wizard Bunker - A small (5-10) unit of knights, outriders, pistoliers, or other unit that provides enough models for a Look Out, Sir! roll and is capable of defending the wizard against small arms.

Pro - A small, highly mobile unit that protects your wizard from enemy light units.
Con - Requires an additional 100+ points to protect the wizard that could be used elsewhere.



[clearly more to do, but I wanted to get it up here and started, so I can start collecting opinions and corrections]
« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 03:45:22 PM by sammay23 »
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Offline errantgamer

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2013, 02:23:35 AM »
What a great tactica! Certainly incentive to get to painting my horses. Thanks for all the work you've put in.

However, I believe one can't field units of cavalry 3x2 (as you mention for Empire Knights in section VIII), as the minimum needed for a rank is 5.

Offline Swan-of-War

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2013, 02:59:04 AM »
You can field them 3x2, they just won't get the rank bonus.
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Offline zifnab0

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2013, 01:17:30 PM »
Put your mage in the largest unit on the board. I like 13+ knights with full command, and two combat-kitted characters. Make the unit 5-wide and place both combat oriented characters in the front rank. Now there is no more room in the front rank, since you have to have command in front. The mage goes in the center of the second rank. He’ll be safe until you lose your champion. This is certainly not original, and it can be frowned upon, but I feel better doing this, knowing that Chaos can field a caster with a 2+/3+.
This is a bad idea.  I know this is popular, but it's really not a very good strategy.

You've got 13 knights with full command (probably IC or Reiksguard) and two combat-kitted characters.  That unit is already pushing 6-700 points.  Now you want to throw a 200 point model in there that doesn't add to the combat potential of the unit?  You might as well paint a huge target on that unit, because it is going to get plastered.

If my opponent has flyers or war machines, I put my Wizard in a small unit of knights.  The opponent can either focus on my big IC unit or the small unit of knights.  If the opponent doesn't have flyers or war machines, I run my wizard solo behind the lines.  Once you eliminate shooting and flyers, there's not much that can reach or catch him.

If I'm feeling especially sneaky, I run my wizard behind my opponent's line.  There's usually plenty of room to maneuver and get in range for buffs.

Pistoliers – Highlights: move and fire, fast cav

Meh. Why take these, when you can have pods of armor clad knights hitting the things they would shoot at? I don’t see the value. I really don’t.
Why take pistoliers?  Because they're fast cav!  They can deploy wherever you want, then get a free 12" move before the game starts.  That means they go even more where you want them.  They're excellent redirecting units, can move after fleeing a charge, and, most importantly, get unlimited free reforms.

That means they can reform 1-wide, squeeze through a narrow gap, and reform 5-wide.  Use them to move in front of an enemy unit and position themselves at the proper angle to prevent overruns.  Reform 1-wide and you've instantly got a 250mm frontage (wider than a horde) to speedbump your opponents entire army.

Archlector

No strong opinions about this choice. Anyone?
You need a warrior priest and a general.  Why not both?

Offline sammay23

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2013, 03:51:09 PM »
@errantgamer - as swan-of-war stated, you can rank em however you like, you just don't get a rank bonus. I like 3x2 because they pivot nicely and manuver well.

@zifnab0  - Definitely what I asked for. I agree that placing that many characters in one unit puts a big target on it. Absolutely. That's a weakness. So, how would you write up your opinion about mage position in an advice-giving manner? I happen to strongly disagree with your position, but only because I've played a few dozen games with the set-up I proposed and found it to be very effective. Would you be willing to lay out the strengths of your suggestion?

Also, you raise an excellent point about pulling the wizard from a unit and running him solo, if there are no threats. I do this frequently, but did not put it in the tactica. I'll get that in there.

Regarding pistoliers. I'll put your thoughts up in the tactica. My biggest beef with them is their poor armor save, which makes them particularly vulnerable to magic missiles and small-arms fire. However, you make a good point about their flexibility and manuverability.
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Offline zifnab0

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2013, 04:21:30 PM »
So, how would you write up your opinion about mage position in an advice-giving manner?
Wizard - you have two options for where to place your wizard.

1) Wizard Bunker - A small (5-10) unit of knights, outriders, pistoliers, or other unit that provides enough models for a Look Out, Sir! roll and is capable of defending the wizard against small arms.

Pro - A small, highly mobile unit that protects your wizard from enemy light units.
Con - Requires an additional 100+ points to protect the wizard that could be used elsewhere.

2) Second Rank - Take a large unit of knights with a full command and two characters (e.g. Captain and Warrior Priest) to push the wizard to the second rank.

Pro - The wizard is protected from close combat attacks and ranged attacks by the weight of steel around him.
Con - The wizard adds a lot of points and very little combat potential to an already expensive unit.  This makes the unit a tempting target for your opponent.

-----------

The biggest problem I've had with my knight army is the inability to dish out a lot of attacks.  If they don't break their opponent on the charge, our knights get bogged down and overrun or flee off the battlefield.

We just don't have a great option for where to place our wizards in a knight army.

Offline sammay23

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2013, 05:52:10 PM »
Tactica updated for wizard bunkers.

Agreed about combat output. It's the killer, and why I think heavens and WP prayers are vital to a cav list. So you do everything possible not to fluff the charge.

One thing to note. Aganst T4, 12 S6 hits (IC, Lance) do equivalent wounds to 20 S4 hits (e.g. halberdiers). So, on a charge, cav should perform equivalently or better than similar state troops (against heavily armored opponents, they're even better). However, after the charge, they're much more limited.

It's a tactial limitation, and against Skaven slaverat hordes it can be a severe limitation.
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Offline Calisson

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2013, 10:08:24 PM »
Thank you for your tactica!  :smile2:
One question: how do you deal with the #6 scenario (watchtower)?

-=-=-

Why take pistoliers?  Because they're fast cav!  They can deploy wherever you want, then get a free 12" move before the game starts.  That means they go even more where you want them.  They're excellent redirecting units, can move after fleeing a charge, and, most importantly, get unlimited free reforms.

That means they can reform 1-wide, squeeze through a narrow gap, and reform 5-wide.  Use them to move in front of an enemy unit and position themselves at the proper angle to prevent overruns.  Reform 1-wide and you've instantly got a 250mm frontage (wider than a horde) to speedbump your opponents entire army.
Note that this is true for outriders too.
People tend not to move with outriders in order to shoot. But they can be used just like a fast cavalry, with the bonus of being able to shoot if the need arises - but that's just a bonus.=
Their role is not that much to shoot, but to prevent the opponent to go inside their shooting range. They are fast cav + "area denial" unit.
Fast cav can be extremely handy in order to get control on the opponent's maneuver. They make also great scavengers, hunting the last survivor of an enemy unit which managed to escape - denying all VPs.

Unfortunately, like pistoliers, they are easy game for magic missiles and BS shooting. Fortunately, the present meta does not favour BS shooting. Remains magic missiles.

-=-=-

About ranges, there is valuable data here:
Melee is started at charging distance. Charging distance varies according to the unit.
For M4 infantry, that’s 10-13” (M4 + 2D6, with 72% chances for 10”, 28% chances for 13”). 
For M7 cavalry, that’s 15-17” (M7 + best 2 of 3D6, with 68% chances for 15”, 36% chances for 17”).
For flyers, that’s 18-21” (like cavalry +3”).
For Steam Tank, that’s 9-13” (3D6, with 74% chances for 9”, 26% chances for 13”). That’s quite short, but that’s at 360°, not 90° like others.

If you add one double-move, the range of effect in two turns becomes:
18-21”, ~20" for infantry,
29-31”, ~30" for cavalry,
38-41”, ~40" for flyers,
18-26” for STank.

The Steel Standard makes cavalry M8 and rerolls 1s when charging, which adds further 0.5” to the charging range for a total of +1.5”: 16-19” (80% chances for 16”, 26% chances for 19”).

In the same post, I discuss how to get the charge with Steam Tank.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 10:31:10 PM by Calisson »

Offline Holy Hand Grenade

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2013, 09:53:35 PM »
I really like the work you put into this Sammay.

While squishy, I echo the comments of others on the versatility/utility of fast cavalry for a cavalry army. 

It sounds like you have perfected the art of denying combats by careful use of Fleeing! and setting up decisive combats via multi-charges...but I think a few units of fast cavalry could really assist you in managing the battle.  While this does take away points for the hard-hitting troops, if used right, it actually frees the hammers up to do what they do best-  hit units instead of fleeing.

The other thing they give you is the ability to clear out his chaff to prevent him from giving you a sip of your own medicine-  divertion, march blocking, charge denials, etc.  Something to think about.

A few more comments:

--I agree that Heavens and cavalry go hand in hand.  The Lore gives you a killer buff as well as the ability to clear out chaff, as mentioned above.

--I would include a section on banners.  The Steel Banner and +1 Move Banner are great choices as is the Pennant, allowing a Leadership re-roll to a unit you typically send out alone and unafraid.  The Flaming Banner on a small unit of Demis or Knights is also nice to have against the regen-happy monsters of the Warhammer World.  I personally love putting the Ranger Banner on a big block of Knights....another bane of cavalry lists is a battlefield full of terrain;  smart opponents try to use terrain against you and there is nothing like charging that force over something nasty or putting your unit in the middle of it so your opponent has to take all the DT tests...

--Last, but not least, if I ran an all-cav list I would have one block of Great Weapon knights.  They will die quicker, but they grant you some flexibility and freedom in not having to always get the charge.  If used properly in conjunction with units that do need to charge to get the extra strength, it gives you more tactical options.

Again, great thread.  I was hoping someone would start a Cavalry Tactica to go along with my Infantry Tactica...

My hat is off to you sir!   :::cheers:::
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Offline Porkix

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2013, 11:55:22 AM »
I think in a all-cav army, the weakness of the fast cav is that they become they only good target for magic missile and small arm fire. The big advantage of an army rocking 1+ all around is to that some of the units/tools of your opponents become almost useless. Then your start the battle with an advantage.

I love pistoliers and outriders but I use them with infantry when they can zoom in front of my blocks and my opponent have to choose between the squishy hordes of state troops or the fast cav for his small arm fire.

I would like to mention one additional option for the wizard:
- beast wizard on griffon with white cloak and dispel scroll.
I think it's very not too bad in an all cav list (but go against the principle I state just above...)

For the life wizard, the option to give back wounds to the stank or demi is good since they are auto-include in the list but the regrowth is not good on knights...

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Offline sammay23

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2013, 04:44:44 PM »
Updated pistoliers, outriders, archlector and added a link to Calisson's charge range post.

@HHG Agreed! A section on banners would be excellent. I'll collect info for that and get it in there.

@Calisson - Ah, the watchtower. The WORST of the scenarios. Sometimes I just have to hammer the tower with steamtank cannon rounds, magic, and hope for the best. I typically take Heavens, so I'll comet an occupied tower as frequently as possible. One advantage of the scenario is that if your opponent occupies the tower, then they have one less unit on the board, which can make multi-charging the rest of his army easier. Clean them up, and see how the VPs stand. If the tower is unoccupied (because an all cav army can't occupy it) then I try to use the lure of the tower to set up good charges against enemy units trying to get inside. With faster, longer-charging, units, it's usually possible to set up very nice charges on any enemy unit that comes close enough to the tower to potentially occupy it.

All of that said, it's the worst scenario for all cav. No question.

Anyone have opinions on other Lores for all cav armies? Specificially looking for synergies with cav units.
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Offline kobahl

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2013, 01:37:06 PM »
Hi all. First post here. Just started to build a Empire army and have been reading the various threads for ideas. So I thought I would throw in my 2c on the wizard bunker.

Biggest Con I can see to having him in a big unit of  IC Cav is him suffering a miscast. About 90% of miscast have models that are touching the wizard, or under a small or god forbid a large template, taking at minimum a S6 hit. At worst they are taking a S10 hit. So if he is on the outside middle of the unit he is touching 5 models. Pretty much the same for a small template. A large S10 template will hit almost everybody in the unit. And that 1+ armor save will count for squat against a S10 hit. I think I would run him with some vanilla knights. Or you could run him solo behind the unit. Giving him a -2 to hit from regular BS troops. Stone throwers and such would still have to draw LOS. And he would still get a 4+ LoS roll from any fire directed at him. I guess it would just depend on which army your were facing and the amount of shooting they had.

As for lores I think Shadow is a wonderful lore for both Cav and Inf list. It has 4 spells that deal with problems we face.

Sig spell will reduce a targets WS, BS, Int or movement by D3. Or you could do the boosted version and get all of them reduced.
#2- Reduces targets S. Very handy
#3- Reduces targets T- Again very handy
#6- Mindrazer- If General near by or a high LD in unit you can be looking at S8-10. Real handy!

And spells #4 and #5, Pendulum and PoS are really nice spells. So I think Shadow is a very useful Lore for a Empire army..... :::cheers:::
« Last Edit: March 28, 2013, 02:03:42 PM by kobahl »
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Offline csjarrat

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2013, 02:20:14 PM »
just to let you know, i tried an all cav list a while back, using captains + priests in each big combat block of knights supported by a lvl4 beasts on a pegasus.
the combat buffs are ludicrous when you've got tightly packed characters together and the amber spear is an excellent cannon replacement too.
pegasus gives him excellent mobility, but he def needs that 4++
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Offline sammay23

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2013, 02:56:08 PM »
I've been thinking about trying to field my lvl 4 on his own. I just can't decide whether it's safe enough. The 4+ really helps, but one good cannon snipe and he's toast.

Beasts does seem like a good lore of cav. The -1 casting cost certainly helps. I haven't tried it, but appreciate the info. Would you be willing to comment on the other spells as well? I'd like to update the tactica with more information.
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Offline kobahl

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2013, 04:09:09 PM »
If you are running a character heavy list and want your characters to do most of the killing then Beast lore is your ticket.

The Sig spell is really nice for a unit wide buff of +1S and +1T. Casting cost is a little high for a Sig spell at 10+
#1 is a poor MM at S2
#2 Can give a character +3T, boosted all characters within 12" get it.
#3 is a nice nice magical bolt thrower at S6 with D3 wounds. Boosted you get a S10 w/D6 wounds. Extra cannon shot anyone???...lol
#4 is a really nice movement inhibitor spell and CC spell. The bad guys get a -1 to hit (shooting and CC) And treat ALL terrain (including open) as dangerous that test fail on a 1-2. This can come in really handy to limit a unit that you don't want to charge or if they do charge they have to test and then are -1 to hit you.
#5 is your character booster that can get crazy. Lower level choose 1 dude and give him +3S and +3A. Boosted version every character within 12" gets the boost. If you have a character heavy front line and get the boosted version off, you should be chewing thru most anything!!
And finally #6. Ever want to become a Hydra or a Dragon? Now you can. You can turn your little mage into a big beasty. Just depends on what level you want to cast it....But if going for broke nothing like having a geat fire dragon appear in front of the bad guys.... ::heretic:: Big down side is wounds suffered carry over is dispelled..and it will be next turn...lol. So you suffer 4 wounds...doesn't bother a 10 wound dragon but will kill a 3 wound mage...

So all in all Beast is a good lore for boosting your characters to get the job down. Even a L1 for just the sig spell can turn some average troops into some hard hitting fellows.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2013, 04:15:18 PM by kobahl »
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Offline sammay23

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2013, 04:37:02 PM »
Hmm... nice summary kobahl.

I'm thinking that #5 could work out really well for Captasus-combats. And don't forget that if you're casting on cavalry, it's -1 to casting cost.

I'll add this to the tactica, and thanks for the thoughtful contribution.
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Offline csjarrat

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2013, 04:44:12 PM »
I've been thinking about trying to field my lvl 4 on his own. I just can't decide whether it's safe enough. The 4+ really helps, but one good cannon snipe and he's toast.

Beasts does seem like a good lore of cav. The -1 casting cost certainly helps. I haven't tried it, but appreciate the info. Would you be willing to comment on the other spells as well? I'd like to update the tactica with more information.

cannon sniping isnt too much of an issue when proper terrain rules are enforced, we are after all supposed to have 25% of the board covered in terrain. walls/fences and buildings of all kinds stop cannonballs, and monstrous cav/stank/griffon/buff wagons can all absorb a hit and take the bullet for the lvl4.


edit: sniped by kobahl!!
a 4++ is mandatory of course, and he can hide in/near to larger demi-gryph units for a LoS too.

as regards beasts magic:
-Wysanns Wildform, we all know and love it, +1T and +1S is fantastic. really helps those lancers keep the wounds coming in in the 2nd round of combat and keeps them on the board with the higher toughness. thanks to the all cav + lore attribute, its cheaper to cast than usual, needing 5 for a lvl4 to cast, it can be safely 2 diced.

-Flock of doom, pretty meh S2 magic missile. only keep it if you roll up transformation of kadon (cant use it when mounted). maybe useful to clear enemy chaff or get the last wound off a war machine. good candidate for swapping for wysanns

-Panns pelt, +3T for character or bubble to all in 12". this is where the peggy mage shines. the flying march means you can get exactly where you need to to get the maximum bang for your buck with this spell. it makes your character cavalry bus much much harder to take down and can swing a challenge back into your favour.

-Amber Spear, either a bolt thrower or a cannon that never misses. absolute beauty of a spell. very underrated. shines in the all cav list because you are gun-light. sling it against an enemy monster and it becomes easier to cast thanks to lore attribute.

-Savage Beast, this is the spell you take the lore for. even your warrior priests become pretty scary with 5 S7 attacks re-rolling for hatred! given the concentration of your characters in units in an all-cav list, you can create quite the deathstar with this spell!

-Curse of anraheir is pretty decent. slows enemy units down in the same manner as flame cage or net of amyntok, allowing you to stall their charges and dictate their movement. very handy in an army that relies of speed +movement phase! turns *all* terrain into dangerous terrain. see BRB for rulings on terrain, Open terrain is listed in there as a terrain type and is therefore affected by this spell.
-1 to hits is pretty nice too, reduces incoming pain so that 1+ shines even more

-Transformation, ditch it, you cant use it when mounted. this is your swap for wysanns


as regards a cavalry mage, i have used a cavalry mage to great effect with my High Elves and i can see the tactic transferring to Empire quite nicely:
the white cloak, fencers blades build on a barded steed would work fine from the front rank of a knight unit, allowing you to make the most of the lore of death.
you still have 15pts, so can get some magic defense in the way of the sceptre of stability, though i'd def try and get a lvl2 caddy in with a more buff oriented lore.
when riding in a group of knights, he becomes a brilliant platform for launching purple suns and sniping warmachines/chariots/low LD units with his spells.
being hit on 6's followed by 5+/5++ means he can survive in combat as part of a knightly unit, providing there is a champ to take on challenges on his behalf. keep him against RnF and he's fine, or detach prior to CC and remain close to the unit for the LoS save.

« Last Edit: March 29, 2013, 04:55:02 PM by csjarrat »
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Offline sammay23

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2013, 04:57:59 PM »
Thanks csjarrat! I've incorporated your and kobahl's comments, making for a very nice Beasts portion of the tactica.

I think I'll have to try the mage on a Peg. I think my movement skills have gotten good enough for me to keep him pretty safe, while getting of the spells I need. If you have any battle reports with a peg-mage, I'd love to see. My Ogre opponent would like nothign more than for me to give him a delicious target like my mage. I'd love to see reports on how to use him AND keep him safe (relatively).
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Offline kobahl

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2013, 12:18:22 PM »
Thoughts on Shadow Lore. I would have to say it is up there with one of the best lores to have. There is not one spell that could not come in handy in multiple situations. And all casted at reasonable casting cost!

Lore attribute- Lets you switch places with another friendly character of the same troops type within 18". So your wizard gets caught out of place and is getting attacked? Would like to get some muscle there to help him out? Use the lore attribute to move a fighty character into his place.

Sig spell- Melkoth's Miasma. The targets WS,BS, Int, or Movement, you choose, is reduced by D3. Boosted version lets you get all of them reduced. So many applications here. Reduce those Chosoen warriors who hit you on 3's are now hitting you on 5's...tired of hitting after everybody else? Lower their Int....The tactical list of applications goes on....And cast on a 5+

#1 Steed of shadows- Augment that lets the wizard or friendly character within 12" make a fly move. That could come in really handy to get to where you need to be if you a mobile mage like a Peg wizard. You could fly 20", and then get this spell off and all of a sudden you are in his back field behind all his troops and still in easy hex range. Or if he has a gun line all in a row, use the Pendulum spell to hit them all. A lot a tactical options here.

#2- Enfeebling foe- What's one of our weaknesses? Low T. So lets make the bad guy have less S. Spell reduces target S by D3. Pretty easy to do the math on this one. Great spell

#3- The Withering. What's another weakness? Low S. So let's make all the bad boys we gotta hit a lot easier to wound! Reduces target T by D3. Another easy math problem...lol

#4- Penumbral Pendulum. Straight line 6D6" away from the caster and each model must pass a I test (warmachines auto fail) or take S10 hit with D3 wounds. Boosted lets you double the range. Like stated above with the #1 spell. A mobile mage could really wreck a gun line with this combo.

#5- Pit of shades. What's to say? Casters love it! Low Int troops hate it! Pass the test or die. No saves. Great for getting rid of those big monsters that creep around tearing up our troops. And again, cast in on a warmachine, auto die.

#6- Okkman's Mindrazor. Models use their LD instead of S when rolling to wound. If you get this off on the right unit, they will chew through any target. Or will make the enemy think long and hard on whether he wants to charge that horde of S7-10 unit! And with the lastest change in the FAQ, you can use the Generals IP for LD.

So my take on Shadow lore is that it really compliments any Empire armies weaknesses.Low Int, low S..low T, has 2 monster/warmachine killer spells. My opinion one of the BEST lores out there.... :::cheers:::
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Offline sammay23

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2013, 03:43:42 PM »
Much appreciated again, kobahl! Tactica updated.

I agree about Shadow. With low casting costs and potentially very deadly bigger spells, it can be a great lore for buffing/debuffing. I think Mindrazor is a bit less effective for cav armies than for infantry armies, because we are typically attacking with higher strength to begin with, but it can be very helpful for second or third rounds of combat. Again, not the bang for the buck that it is with a horde of halberds, but still...

Enfeebling foe is a great spell for keeping those armor saves relevant. Dropping S from 5 to 4 is a huge boost in survivability.

Nice writeup. Very much appreciated!
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Offline Grimful

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2013, 12:17:28 AM »
My big question is, how does this list deal with steadfast?

I mean, the whole point is to break enemies on the first turn but when they have more ranks than you do it becomes a much bigger problem as even with disruption they still test on their unmodified leadership.

Do you stagger your charges?
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Offline kobahl

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2013, 01:46:15 PM »
Actually. Breaking them on the charge is not the whole point. At least in my opinion. Cause it's rarely gonna happen. We can grind out the enemy. I think we need to get the enemy to spread his forces out as usual. And we can make him do that with our drops and then when it comes time to move we pull a entire flank back towards the middle leaving around a 3rd or so of his army out of position. Then we plan combo charges  Lock him up with a tank to the front and then hit him in the flank with a ranked cav unit. Deal with his units one at a time. I know..easier said then done....But I think this will be the general practice for a successful Cav army. I hope to get in a game this weekend with my cav list and put this into practice and see what happens. Been changing it up some since I posted it last. Dropped one unit of vanilla knights for a unit of pistoliers. I think they will be good to clear out small units of chaff and units that we don't want to engage with a chaff knight units. I'm looking at sabercats, mangler sguigs and the such. And they can blast lone characters to smitherines..... :::cheers:::
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Offline Krokz

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2013, 11:06:16 AM »
One of best options cavalry army has against Steadfast is Beast lores Curse of anraheir. Against any core horde of 30+ its deadly. Enemy will do anything to dispel it since the alternative is not moving his main horde or loosing 1/3 of its models.

Offline Krokz

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Re: Empire All Cav Tactica [work in progress]
« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2013, 11:19:06 AM »
b.   Magic can also be helpful here. A comet, or long-range magic missile can help with artillery and shooters. Timewarp can increase your march range to 28”  More on that later…
AFAIK Timewarped cavalry can march 20". There is a hard cap at 10" for movement and you cannot exceed it.

Enemy artillery should be dealt with our artillery. Our artillery is good fire magnet for enemy artillery too which effectively makes our charriots last longer.