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I was replying to a thread in the army list section, and came to the realization that I really dislike RAF. Not for flavor purposes or unbalance, but because I think the list is kind of crummy and exposes a lot of weakness. This is doubly true with all the new army books getting such a shot in the arm. Please help me understand the appeal of this list.
Here are my complaints.
1) Pegasus Knights interact poorly with psychology. They will panic frequently. They will fail Fear and Terror often. I expect these units to spend most of their time fleeing or rallying, rather than charging.
2) They have bad (comparably) armor saves. Obviously the point of toughness makes that less of an issue, but it's still sorely missed against AP weapons and poison.
3) They have terrible static combat resolution. Yes yes, flanks and rears, whatever. A lot of rank and file can still win these combats handily unless you're hitting them with a ground pounder at the same time. In these circumstances, I'd rather spend the buck sixty five on something less likely to run away, like making that ground pounder bigger. The beauty of Bretonnia is that the flanks and rears aren't really that big of a deal, since you are blatantly the most dangerous army overall for dynamic combat resolution.
4) The lists I've been seeing skimp on magic defense. That seems pretty awful. In any tournament setting it's pretty likely that you'll get at least one player with a level four and some number of level twos. Pegasus Knights hate trying to dodge magic missiles.
I've been playing more or less the list below, with occasional tweaks and adjustments, for about three years. I've been extremely successful with it, and most recently won back to back best general awards. I am confident that in addition to trying to avoid the issues above, I've improved my Army Comp score AND my Sportsmanship score.
BSB on a horse, Virtue of Duty, War Banner (in Knights of the Realm)
Paladin on a horse, Virtue of Impetuous Knight (in Knights Errant)
Damsel on a horse, two Dispel Scrolls (in Grail Knights)
Lord on a Hyppogrif, Regen Armor (in your backyard)
~16 skirmished Bowmen
3 Pegasus Knights
11 Knights Errant, FC, Errantry Banner
8 Knights of the Realm, FC
9 Knights of the Realm, FC
6-8 Grail Knights, FC, Conqueror's Tapestry
I've tried RAF (outside of tournament play) a few times and found it to be considerably worse than the above.
I agree, although my regular tournament list is a hybrid of the RAF.
I think people overdo the peg knights, as they're good, but not good enough to win tough games versus fear causing, unbreakable opponents. And who are the fear causing, unbreakable opponents right now? Daemons and Vampires, which you'll be facing in any decently sized tournament setting. And if they snipe your general or have the banner that drops your leadership by 2, you're screwed.
I think the ability to have some shooting (skirmish bowmen or stone thrower), along with some big knight units, really help the Brets do well agains these types of armies. I also love Yeomen, as they can flee and march block just as well as the Peg knights, but for cheaper. Those Pegasus Knights are very good, but I've thrown multiple units of them at units like skeletons and plaguebearers, only to have them bounce off and flee in the next combat phase. The RAF also suffers from toughness 5 and 6 beasties like hydras, treemen, greater daemons, and the like, as they don't have a lot that can cut through their armor AND toughness together. Charging a treeman is pretty much suicide, even if you hit it from a front and flank. The treeman will just whomp a few Pegasus knights until you fail a combat.
Two Damsels toting magic defense should be standard in a tournament list, as you'll get wiped out otherwise. I took less magic defense to several games, and learned very quickly that good players will exploit it. I played a 2nd gen slann army, where he rolled the big Metal lore spell, the one that does 2d6 hits. He just moved up 4'' and blasted me before I even got to move. Immediately I was 230 points down in a game I would have won if I spent points on defense.
If you're going to take multiple Peg knight units, 2 units of 4 will suffice in both 2000 and 2250 points.
I pretty much agree too lol. There are far better Bret lists.
Well, to play devil's advocate (I actually dislike RAF lists too - if nothing else, they give Bretonnia a bad name).
The Royal Air Force dominates one phase of the game - Movement, obviously, which is a very important phase. Games are won and loss in the movement phase. So you are pretty much always going to be deciding when and where combat takes place and always getting the charge. You can hit your opponent's weak support units - wizards, war machines, archers, fast cavalry with impunity.
Start to get problems, I imagine, when your opponent decides to bring something other than weak support units.
Against Undead you have to make a mad rush for the army's general and hope you kill it. That's really the only chance I can see RAF having against such an army.
I think the way to do RAF then (as Sephiroth pointed out), is just a Lord with a Pegasus and 2 units of 4 or 5 Pegasus Knights each, and the rest of your points on the standard Bret stuff.
I like them for one reason alone, the Pegasus knight models are awesome, and having more of an awesome model is awesomeness, who cares about anything else
To be honest I was never a huge fan of the pegasus model either. So difficult to safely pack in to a case. Specific to Bretonnia, I think the model is only as cool looking as the heraldry you paint on it. SOOOO MUCH flat space... Ugh. Takes forever. :p
I've never run them, for two reasons. The first is the bad name they give our army. The second is a combination of the reasons listed above. I sum it up as "They're not that great compared to a regular army."
Ummm I do not like them anymore than you all. But they do have some serious advantages.
The leadership is the same as knights. So they aren't more likely to break away from fear or terror than any other unit you can field.
With so much reach and flexibility these lists can afford to carry little defense in the magical department. How much hurt can an opponent bring when he's got no more than 2 turns within range of your units?
They perform very well against gunlines. They get to pick off missile units with great speed. Well anything but an organ gun.
Very efficient character assassins. (when hiting a unit of infantry, you are likely to get away with that extra D6)
You can also bring alot more hurt to enemy units, as you can generally get a full lance and a half on any frontage. (or 2 against 25 MM bases, corner to corner)
It also gives you more units to maneuver with. Big lances are very stiff in this regard. At the same time, you get more units to sacrifice and bait with.
But most importantly, it's fairly easy to play for beginners, and will do well against players who haven't played often against such as list. It's very overwhelming at first to see all this calvary backed up with flyers.
This type of army will generally lose the effectivy when matched up against tough infantry like dwarves, or against an infantry heavy army (empire or skaven)