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Ok, So I have been working on this, as there isn't really a full Bret tactica going on, so I thought I would get one under way. I have more planned to actually go through all the units and how to field them, but thought I would post what I have already in terms of general advice. So here it is, with whats planned still to come at the beginning. C&C welcome!
1. Introduction (done)
2. General Points (done)
3. Core Choices
5. Rare Units
Ok, welcome to my tactica for bretonnians, which comes from previous experience for several years with the basics of bretonnians, a good few battles under my belt with new 7th edition rules, and a lot of reading around on the internet and thinking through situations to really get to grips with my favourite army. As I say, not all the ideas in here are original or mine, I definitely donít lay claim to this as a great intellectual work, but serves as a compilation of ideas and tactics and how to look at each unit in the army list, and more importantly should give some good ideas on how to use all those units together.
So what does the Bretonnian army give you? Well many would say lots and lots of Knights! And they wouldnít be wrong, but I feel Bretonnians are sometimes misused, and an all knight list can be a little boring. No unit in the bretonnian army for me doesnít have its own little niche, its own place, and they are all different. It is also worth noting that Brets donít have a massive amount of choice when it comes to Units. We have 4 core choices: 2 knights, 1 infantry, 1 bowmen; 4 specials, two of which we can only have 1 of per army(in a standard list), but knights, flyers, resilient infantry and fast cav, and in our Rare slots we have a choice of 2, again one which we can only field one of, this being heavy knights, and a stone thrower. That with a choice of basically combat character or wizard at each level doesnít give you a lot of variety where other armies can have a lot more.
What is key, is that each unit serves a purpose, and each should be seriously looked at. Saying one choice is rubbish and hasnít done anything for you in battles, doesnít mean it is so, it means its probably not been used to its potential. Brets are an elite army, not only in that we usually donít field a lot of models, but also that what we do field should have specific jobs in mind and is not (or shouldnít be) an army for taking one big tank unit that can take on all comers. We really are an army that needs to work together. Eg. Men at arms are rubbish on paper, as a unit on their own, but for 50 points you can stick a unit in the way stopping the flank of a big hard hitting unit of knights from being charged!
So yeah, Bretonnians can be an army to easily do ok with, but I think to master them is a lot harder than people think.
2. General points
2.1 The lance formation. Bretonnians can rank up in 3s as knights and still get the rank bonus, as well as allowing the knights on the edge to fight on the charge. This is really potent as a formation, and in larger units (9 in lance compared to 10 regular) is clearly a lot superior.
The narrow frontage makes wheeling easier, making it fairly easy to position youself, and you get a lot more combat attacks in the first round of combat. Even charging against a bigger unit he is always at most going to have 5 models in B2B to fight back against you. If your enemy likes to field a huge unit of something you can automatically cut out some of the attacks back by him not being able to.
You can also protect your damsels in a lance, something which is nice and handy and a fine example of collaboration of units. The knights keep her alive, she gives them magic resistance.
Be wary, because all these things come at a cost. We will come to later that it is advantageous to have more small units of knights (MSU tactics). Now when dealing with the small lance of 6, the equivalent unit of knights conventionally is probably 5 in a line. Firstly, with the lance you pay for an extra knight who canít fight. Secondly having knights ranked up like that has a wopping great flank for you to get charged into if things can go wrong. Thirdly, if you donít break the enemy on the first turn of combat, you only have 3 models in base to base that can fight back.
A forth weakness is line of site issues. Our charge range is 16Ē. Units see on a 45 degree angle from the edges of the unit. If the unit is 2 models wider, it can see 2 models further each side, meaning you get a bigger Ďthreat area that you can potentially charge. This can be fun, lining up to charge one unit, the picking a different one to throw your enemy off.
Another is the case of a unit behind you. A lance canít turn on the spot, a ranked unit can. Not always a huge issue, but think of your knights charging through the enemies battle line with an overrun. It takes a lance longer to manouver round for a rear charge in what is left of that battle line due to wheeling.
Also, having ranks makes you tempting for those pesky war machines that deny armour saves! True the one rank is more vulnerable to shots in their flanks from cannons and bolt throwers, however stone throwers, cannons and bolt throwers from the front, flame template weapons, all are going to prefer a clump of knights.
Ok, thats some negatives out of the way, and serves as a reminder that the lance is not your only, and not always the best option. It is however still very good, and as soon as you are going for bigger units, then it is definitely a better choice. Ok, now here comes a slightly controversial bit, but reasoning for some big units.
The bret book was written for 6th edition, where a unit of infantry with full rank bonuses contains 16 models. Now, new books are making infantry cheaper as they now have to have ranks five wide. This anyway gives them 20 models. A lance of 6 has unit strength 12, so used to have to kill 4 to stop itself being outnumbered, (not easy, but not impossible. Also if it killed 4, no models could attack back, unless they had spears. A unit of 9 knights would pretty much always outnumber, and is more likely to do the killing preventing the attacks back.
Now, with 20 model units a must, your unit of 6 knights is outnumbered and going to struggle to do 8 casualties to stop this bonus against us. Also, now have to do five wounds to stop any attacks coming back our way, so we are more likely to take casualties. Even a unit of 9 knights is at the start of combat outnumbered. Now, the other way people go in 7th edition is to take there unit of 16 down to 15, and only have 2 extra ranks. The 9 man lance now matches this in terms of rank bonus, and has the outnumber point too. On its own against units of this size its got a damn good chance of breaking a unit (though we really shouldnít be hitting any unit with just one lance).
2.2 The Blessing.
Not a lot to say here, other than how wonderfully nice it is for your knights that they have a ward save as well as armour saves people would die for. It does protect u really well from things like cannons and strong war machines. Watch out for things like handgunners, low strength no save spells(these are evil!) as anything below strength 5 doesnít give you the 5+. But yes, the blessing is good, and I canít think of the situation when any true bretonnian knight wouldnít prey. In fact, had it the other day I used the fay enchantress in a friendly battle, who gives us the blessing regardless. I still decided to take the second turn cos it just didnít feel right (and I swear having the lady on your side does more than give the blessing, but she is in fact our dice rolling god.)
On to situations where we can lose the blessing. This is interesting. If we decline a challenge or flee. Obviously whenever we lose the blessing it is ideal, but do consider some times it is better to have a fleeing unit at full strength even without the blessing, than a unit being completely taken out in a mis-matched combat. A small unit of errants can flee from the charge, it is a better outcome than taking a charge some times. Also it annoys your opponent when you keep charging them and when they get the charge you run!
As for the other one, this comes with its own cure. Often I have a character on a monster issue a challenge to stop all those lances trying to poke him, and in stead trying to take out the nice juicey paladin in the front rank. We however, have a free champion in each unit, and some times letting him honourably take the challenge and suffer the consequences in a noble and bloody end. This is really useful if you have a lot higher combat res basic than them (which in these situations you should do) and they are likely to run away.
Ok, a quick overview of the vows our knights have and what to think of them.
Firstly, lets look at peasants duty. Two parts to this one. Firstly, these guys can use the leadership of any knight within 6Ē. This is handy, as leadership is a big issue with peasant units. 6 inches isnít that far tho, but since a lot of your army is knighty its a fairly common leadership bump. Secondly, banners for these guys donít count towards victory points. This is nice, but probably not as good as it first looks. It is handy if you think of having a peasant heavy list and getting some big blocks of men at arms. Most other units with the peasant duty a banner isnít really worth the points, but on the whole, while nice, this isnít the greatest rule ever.
Ok, Knights duty, these guys are your bread and butter knights and it doesnít matter to our knights when there underlings run away. This makes peasants really useful as they can do bait and flee to lure people into traps against your knights, without worry they are going to cause your knights to panic.
The questing Vow makes the bearer even handier at dealing with psychology causing creatures. It also means the bearer canít use a lance but does have access to great weapons, formally equal on the charge but now nerfed slightly.
Grail vow, the embodiment of all things bretty! Completely Immune to psychology which is always pleasant. Also these guys always count as magical attacks. This is nice, particularly when many of the virtues only work when the knightly character attacks only with mundane weapons.
2.4 Free champions
A big thing, and the biggest counter argument to my previous point about the idea of a bigger lance being better. Each unit of knights gets its champion for no extra cost. It makes sense that the more units you have, the more champions you get, and naturally the more you take advantage of this rule. It also means your characters in units always have the option of being protected from a challenge.
2.5 Combined Charge
As has been said, a small unit of 6 knights charging the front of an enemy block of infantry isnít really going to do much damage, is likely to lose the combat, and generally isnít what we want at all. But consider charging with two such lances. The enemy has 5 models to the front, two lances are six knights wide, so in theory you should be able to get every model at the front in base to base. This means for the cheap option of 12 knights, you have managed to get 10 of them in combat 2 of them champions. If all those knights are in the same lance for the same points, you only get 10 attacks and 9 horses, compared to 12 and 10. Suddenly two lances charging together is looking pretty good. Also, when you do break the unit, you now have 2 chances to make your persuit rolls to run down that unit and really take them out.
Now the more important thing to do here, is charge one unit in the front and one in the flank. (or both in flanks/rear) It is often worth waiting a turn to manouever a charge so you can get a flank as well as the front, or even just a flank. Removing rank bonuses as well as getting the point for flanking can often swing Combat res another 3 or 4 points in your favour! Charge together and focus on a particular unit at a time to try to overwhelm them. Donít charge in just because you can, stack the odds in your favour!
2.6 Battle Units
Ok, now this is a concept I work with in my army, and it might work for others as well. Look at your army as a combination of 2 or three units. Think how they work together. Think that they should be charging at the same time. Think that certain bonuses only apply once in combat. So you only need one of them to have a banner, musician, rank bonuses etc. So a big ranked up lance of 9 teams up well with a cheap supporting unit of 5 knights in a straight line. No command is needed in the small unit as it is only ever intended to charge in support of the big unit (or if the opportunity rises something they should easily beat like bowmen.) If you have many small lances, say 7 in your list, consider putting command in just over half. Really think how you are going to use each unit, how you are going to work them together. These things can vary in a battle as obviously its fluid and you donít know what could happen.
Some people may argue with this, but banners and musicians are quite expensive. I wouldnít want to be in a tough combat without a banner, but over a whole army if I do that I could save upwards of 100 points for other shiny things! Thats a whole extra unit of vanilla errants.
As long as you stick to battle units, you can work on these things. Even if you have several units of things like bowmen, consider each one as part of a battle unit. If one units target is a block of infantry, if 10 bowmen can take off one model they can drop someones rank bonus down. Look where you canít get that flank and might have to charge two units into the front, this can be a useful tactic. This isnít to mean they have to shoot at units like this, other targets might be more suited, but thinking of a unit as a supporting part of a battle unit helps to get you used to thinking of what overall effects any unit has over what they directly kill.
Wowzers you really know your bretstuff!
nice tactics... i'm suddenly considering dusting off my brets to give them a proper paintjob and try these tacts out
i really like the "battle units" tactic.
cant wait for your ideas on pegasi and griffons and characters
Warchief Diggah o da Bloodmoon Squiggahs
Ok Guys, here is the section on Core units. I don't know why but the first thing that I did here I copied and pasted from word and non of the formatting carried over when I posted it. Here I have tried to sort it out, and it looks fine when I am about to post it now, so hopefully it won't be too bad.
3.1 Knights of the Realm, these guys should go first, considering they are a must have! You have to have at least one unit of these. Ok, these are your bread and butter standard knights, at a lot cheaper points cost than other armies.
With a WS 4, It is either 3+ or 4+ to hit. This does have the advantage in using these guys against lower WS armies helping to minimise the concept of Rubber Lance Syndrome! However, this Weaponskill has another effect. It is also usually only a 4+ to be hit back! This is handy as most things with high strength also have limited attacks, since they will be using great weapons or similar on balance, making you harder to kill yet again.
The other upped stat from average here is an extra point of leadership. This means these guys leadership is as good as our hero choices, meaning they are fine working independently of your general in lower points games, providing a leadership boost to peasants near by, and generally a bit more reliable than their counterparts errants.
You also get a free champion, and can have a unit of 5 with full command for under 145 pts. They are multipurpose, but since other things in are army are more focused, think of them as your bread and butter knights for charging into his combat units.
These guys also make very good lances of 9, as they are still reasonably cheap and you get to choose what you charge! The ability to be harder to hit does mean that against a lot of things you are still going to be hanging around a turn later, because things donít always go to plan! This should give the time for another lance to hammer in on the flank somewhere and help win the combat again.
Also, donít forget Bretonnian Horses. The effect these guys can have is often a lot more than is expected of them. So always always please can people not forget them. Even if they only add on 1 wound in a combat, thats an extra enemy dead, and extra point of combat res, and an extra leadership off the enemy. These guys have done me proud many times now. I donít ever expect them to do stuff, and consider what they do a bonus, but its always there and is an extra bit of umph not to be frowned upon.
3.2 Knights Errant.
I canít describe how much I love these guys, in lots of different ways. They have a lot of uses, which hopefully I will go into some of them here. They have fantastic fluff, the idea of young cocky knights with a point to prove! Got to love it. And this applies on the table as well. These guys have the fantastic effect of being immune to psych on the charge. It truely gives you a unit that is great against fear causing armies like undead. You also have the cheapest knights in the game here (might be wrong on this, but they are definitely close). Think medium sized big things with these guys. Things that are tough, cause fear or terror, things you can easily outnumber and rack up combat res against. You might well not kill them, but you should do some wounds, and hopefully win the combat by quite a few points, and gives you a chance to break the unit.
At this point I will also mention the Erranty Banner, which is only the price of one KE. It adds +1 strength to these guys on the charge, which when you bear in mind these guys immunity to psych consider those big dragony things the enemy is so proud of. 9 of these with the banner and full command is a meagre 221 points, they are racking up 8 strength 6 attacks on the charge. Even with characters mounted on beasts worry about them challenging you. Its really up to you, but if you decline the challenge then you still have 6 attacks back rather than 2, but you do lose the blessing. If you donít you are still likely to win the combat and hopefully make them flee. And at those points they are distinctly cheaper than what they are trying to take out. Hopefully you might have taken some wounds off the thing before hand from the likes of damsels magic or a lucky treb hitting it (this is always funny to happen), but also consider that your opponent just might be scared of your knights, and try to avoid them, keeping a big chunk of his points out of the game, and you at an advantage for the rest of the army.
Also consider these guys at their minimal points. They still have a high save, cost a pittance, and make a unit that can be very useful in support. You can easily fit in several units of 5 or 6 of these for not a lot points, racking up with number of knights you have on the table, and the number of champion characters increasing the effect. These can be really useful for supporting a flank, blocking an enemy charge (wait for the Men at arms section for more details, but these guys can do it as well.) and being generally a bit more sneaky on the table.
However, one thing to say about these guys, and it happens, is the other half of that impetuous rule. Its that they must pass a leadership charge or charge if they are in range. This is a disadvantage when using them as flanking units or protecting flanks, because occasionally they are going to do something you really donít want them to! Maybe the extra points to get KoTR for these jobs is worth it if you want the reliability, but if you are within range of your general then usually youíll be ok.
3.3 Men at Arms.
On paper, not the greatest unit in the world. On the battlefield, these guys arenít going to do a lot either. Well, not necessarily a lot of killing. They do however have some fantastic things to think about. They are cheap, and they are expendable! For 5 points a model these guys are a steal, and the fact that when they flee it doesnít bother your knights at all, makes them perfect as sacrificial units.
A bog standard minimum unit of these is 50 pts. People spend more points than that on one magic item they think will swing the game for them. Think of a unit of M@A like that. You are paying 50 pts to shield one side of a big block of your knights, and redirect any unit that might be there away from you and stop it being a problem.
Ok, so what do I mean by redirecting.
Pic 1, our giant flank on the KoTR is vulnerable to a charge from his knights, which wouldnít be fun.
Pic 2, here we use one of these basic units of men at arms to protect the flank, we expect to lose the combat, fine, and are likely to either be wiped out or flee. In this situation if we are wiped out, or flee, their knights can hold position can still see our knights and charge in the next turn.
In Pic 3, we use redirecting tactics. By putting the Men at arms on a slight angle, we can make it so even if the enemy knights stay where they are they canít see the flank of the knights. This is also a good way of setting them up for a flank charge if you put another lance in behind our one, taking out the enemy knights themselves. Or you can leave them that way, and its going to be at least a turn for them to manouver around, and then another turn for them to charge. This gives you a lot of time to counter them in other ways. On this make sure you arenít leading his knights into a more vulnerable targets.
This tactic applies to various units, but Men at arms are the cheapest. Bare in mind a few other things. These guys are not going to be able to do a lot if they charge the flank of the enemy unit if the knights do something else. They might get a kill or two, and give you the flanking bonus, but they are also likely to get killed, swinging combat res back in your enemies hands. A unit of Knights errant doing this job can be really nasty on the counter charge.
Ok, other things to do with Men at Arms, is give us a big ranked up unit of infantry. They are our cheapest way of racking up a lot of combat res. With 3 ranks, a banner which doesnít cost victory points, and a lot of bodies, these are good at racking up some combat res points. There problem with this is that they can also easily be killed! The best way I have found of countering this, is joint charges to the same side! Limit the number of models the enemy can get into base to base with this unit buy throwing another unit in as well. Consider the combination with 5 questing knights in a line with no banner . To get the most models in combat your going corner to corner with the knights, then adding the men at arms on the other side of the combat. You then get all the benifits of the combat res from the M@As, with minimal attacks back at them, the enemy having to split how they are gonna attack back. Even if they donít win the combat on the first round and break the enemy, they are gonna stick around and still be racking up combat res round after round, and the knights have a continuing good combat way of racking up some wounds back. Even if they wonít break then, you can hopefully throw something into a flank as well to really swing the combat in your favour. Think of this as your typical anvil unit in other armies. Its just with brets it comes by using 2 units instead of one.
You want fairly hefty sized units of Men at arms for this one as well as the cheapest standards and musicians we can field. A unit of 23/24 will allow you to have cover if you take a few casualties on the way. And use either pole arms, or more commonly hand weapon and shield for the parry effect. For the smaller units I would usually go spears, the highest chance of some attacks back to do some damage. Any kills these guys get is a bonus, and will weaken the enemy for being taken out later. Just donít expect these guys to be winning combat single handed.
Again, cheap as chips. These guys come with longbows, which give you a huge range, giving you the chance to pick your targets pretty easily. Ok, they are only strength 3 and BS 3, so donít expect them to be wiping out units as they are. Think again as I have described above of them as part of a battle unit. If they take a rank of a unit by only killing 1 model, that is 1 combat res they have added to every subsequent combat that enemy unit gets in. If the enemy does have some low leadership units, and you have a lot of bowmen(over 30,) you can start to go for panic tests, but thats not what I use bowmen for. Weaken enemy units before they are engaged by your knights. Also, consider the basic minimum unit of these is only 60 points, again throw away. Once you have taken the odd model of the big units these guys have filled their role, and one of two things will happen.
Either, the enemy will have spent points on flyers or fast cav to come and take these guys out. These are usually a lot more than the unit of bowmen itself, and distracts them from march blocking your knights slowing them down. The fact your standard bowmen come with stakes, even though the bowmen themselves are not that tough, often makes whatever is coming for your bowmen try to flank around them. This can usually add an extra turn to them being charged, distracting the enemy unit for another turn.
If they carry on march blocking your knights with these units you can now use your bowmen to whittle them down, try to force panic tests, and also if they are alive at the end of the battle they can hold table quarters for you, but to be honest my bowmen donít often survive.
They have an added effect depending on what sort of army you are fielding, in that they sometimes can help shield your trebuchets. They are an extra unit in the back lines that you have that might just give you an extra turn before the trebs are charged, giving you an extra stone to throw at the enemy.
Braziers are actually really cheap, and useful especially given the amount of deamons armies around at the minute, leading to lots of units of nurgle that have regen. If you have to field them for a tournament consider the option, it can be a useful way to spend 5 points, though its not essential as in some battles its not going to be of any use at all.
Add on to this we have the option to make one of our units of bowmen skirmish. This is really useful and almost always a must. This gives us our unit of skirmishers. We have a mobile unit good for protecting large amounts of flanks, moving and being manouverable, and protecting characters like damsels from missile fire. They are again a very useful unit, but another one that isnít going to win battles for you.
ok, so I havent read the tactica yet (going to do that right now) but a small suggestion based off of first impressions.
Holy Wall of Text Batman!!!
I would suggest reformatting it a bit, use some bolding, underlining, and paragraph breaks to split up the sections a bit. Also use a bigger font. I can definitly see this giving me a slight headache as I read through it.
Ok, I'll add more once I'm done reading through it.
"I am the architect of fate!"
Yeah, sorry about the Textiness of it, it was all formatted in Word and then copied and pasted over to here, but for some reason non of the formatting transfered over when it was copied... It is now a bit of a pig to read, but hopefully it will be useful.
Well you can always use the Ctrl + function on your computer to increase font size and decrease again for reading. Very good work so far quite helpful. I would rep you. but i already have =[
A fantastic piece of work. Rep given and thanks very much.
thread necromancy! haha
But are these tactics still used for brets in 8th?
I think this piece is still quite up to date, even though stuff is missing, such as those dreaded steadfast rules, in a way, steadfast is a good counter to some of these tactics. In combo with the new BSB rules, the Brets have a big problem. Something to write a whole new piece about, something for you maybe? :p
anyhoo, skipping through the works,
use of commands, free champs,
protecting lance flanks, use of M@A, or bowmen it all seems pretty viable.
It also does give some ideas for new uses in the new rules
Big setback: the infantry is called cheap as chips, which is compared to the books at the time of writing. Compared to the armybooks of 8th, 50 pts for 10 redirecting M@A(ws2), is expensive, but they still have the ' no victory points for banners' rule.
Warchief Diggah o da Bloodmoon Squiggahs