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I was going to pop into my LGS with a 1,000 point list that looked essentially the same as every 1,000 point list on the intertubes: Sorceror, biggish block of Marauders, medium block of Warriors, small block of Knights, couple of units of Warhounds. But I finally worked out why I don't like the list. It hasn't felt right since I started building it and I couldn't quite figure it out:
I hate the boringness of it.
I think I want to try and put together an all-cavalry list. Even at 1,000 points, I think this could work rather well. I was wondering what things you might suggest taking or avoiding in the list - or if you have any ideas for negating the guaranteed large blocks of steadfast troops I'm likely to come across.
Off the top of my head, I was thinking something along the lines of:Exalted with Book of Secrets, barded steed
10 Marauder Horsemen
5 Marauder Horsemen
5 Marauder Horsemen
Exact wargear and unit sizes would clearly need to be worked out a little more thoroughly. But for a quick write-up, that gives an idea of what I'm think about.
Does anyone have any thoughts about this as a type of army in 8th Ed., particularly at 1,000 points? For expanded games I have a host of models I can use to make a more balanced list. But at 1,000 points I can see some variation of this list being surprisingly competitive.
I like cav lists (since I'm a Bret player aswel) but there's one thing you'll have to keep in mind is that with all cav you won't have a real combat lock unit. I use a block to lock a unit in combat and then swoop around with the cav to take a flank or rear.
As for chaos cav two units of 5 khorne knights are more than enough to seal the deal. As for Horsemen I like two settings: 5 horsemen of khorne with flais or 5 of slaanesh with throwing axes, slaanesh for the redirection khorne for small combats.
What I don't do with cav is making the units larger than 6 (save for characters joining units) with cav you have all that movement so you don't want to restrict it by making big blocks. Also the main weakness of a cav list is shooting, since they can't bring big enough units to with stand a full focused shooting fase. So its beter to divide your troop this way uor opponent has more targets amongst wich he has to devide his shooting.
How would you use a list like the one I proposed to deal with, say a 40-strong block of Marauders with great weapons? If I could find a way to hit them in the flanks, I can see that working quite nicely, I guess. But I need to have a threatening unit that requires my opponent to present his unit's front-face in a predictable direction in order to get the flanking charge off. And... well, that's where the infantry come into it, huh?
Darn. I keep coming back around to this same idea. I wonder if it would help me to look at a 2,000 point army list to get an idea of how I plan to grow my army - perhaps that would make it easier to start off with a largely infantry-based army.
Well try to keep my lists within this setup:
I devide my army in two segments, each segment contains at least one of the following: 1Infantry Block (at least 18 when going warriors 30 with merauders, pref stubborn or something similar) or Hellcannon (because of the unbreakable), 1 Knight unit, 1 screw up unit (dogs or fast cav).
Each segment is around 1000 points. If you use a segment well you're opponnent is faced with two 1000points blocks running towards his line's with two screw up units walking in the way of his escape roots.
I used this list not so long ago. Was quite fun but not amazingly effective. Still, it was fun.
Shorgar Heart eater -130pts
Exalted, Barded Steed, Halberd
5 Knights, Std, Banner of Rage. -255pts
20 Horsemen, MoK, Std, Flails -222pts
5 Horsemen, Flails -75pts
5 Horsemen, Flails -75pts
The trouble you'll have with all Cav lists is the battle of attrition. You have a low model count and can't afford to spend time in protracted fights. This is what Infantry excel at so, when you commit you need to be sure you are out of that combat in one or two turns. Combo charging is pretty much your only bet. I used my Chariots to support charges on big block units and also charged in with Knights or Horsemen to add more wounds to the mix. Hopefully this will strip away enough ranks to deny steadfast.
I played All-cav armies all the way from 5th edition on up to 7th, only stopping when they nerfed cavalry in 8th.
There are some basic tenets to cavalry. Some of them, Warriors can answer for, but others, we are no better prepared to deal with than any other cavalry force.
1. Never take return fire
Cavalry used to be great because their charge was devastating - you could kill the entire front rank, and the enemy was left unable to strike you back. 'Step Up' has changed that, allowing subsequent ranks to still attack just as if they were in the front. Now your cavalry are guaranteed to take return hits unless they completely wipe out the foe.
Unlike infantry blocks, Cavalry are paying for more than just their combat/shooting effectiveness. They are paying for their movement. This makes them more expensive. Take the typical Chaos Knights - he has 1pt better armor than a Warrior with a Halberd and Shield, and his statline is identical to a basic Warrior. However, he costs nearly 3x as much because he's riding a horse, which, honestly, doesn't add much.
2. You are only as good as your charge
Cavalry is good once. The turn they charge is where they do the most damage. Warriors can get around this - our Knights are always going to be S5, and our Marauders carry Flails so they aren't required to get the charge. This is good, because half of the Cavalry gameplan is maneuverability. The downside in 8th is that everyone gets the same 2D6+M charge value. For cavalry, that means that we can reliably charge about 3" further than our foe. A bit difficult to estimate, and not a huge advantage is it? But guess what, WoC cavalry is still paying for that 7th edition advantage that said we could usually charge 9" further than our enemy.
3. Static Combat Resolution (SCR) is your biggest foe
In the old days, charging an enemy in the flank with at least 5 models was enough to negate their rank bonus. These days, we need to hit the enemy with 2 intact ranks to negate their ranks. Further, ranks are becoming a much larger aspect of the game, thanks to Steadfast (more on that next) so the enemy can usually guarantee a fat rank bonus. Add this to the fact that the enemy can potentially close the kill gap by striking us back, and you have much more narrowly won combats.
4. Steadfast, and an inability to fight long battles
Because Cavalry is pricey, and because they are only good on the charge, you don't want to get "stuck in" to a large battle. We pay for that movement and maneuverability remember, and every turn we spend locked in place by a stubborn foe, is just one more turn that those points are being wasted. Cavalry wants to hit the enemy, break them, and move on - preferably overrunning right into a fresh foe so that we can avoid enemy shooting and magic missiles in the interim. Now that we've got Steadfast to deal with, it's almost guaranteed that we're going to be stuck into fights for as long as the enemy has a second rank.
So pretty much everything Cavalry has done well, is less important, and everything that caused them a problem, has become even worse. If you still want to play cavalry armies, this is how I would go about it:
Think in terms of an all-plate, Infantry army. The price of a Warrior and a Marauder Horsemen is almost identical, so you should be running hefty units of MCav. These days, I run block of 15 for an all-cav list. It's a big unit, it's got some really long flanks, and it can be a bear to maneuver, but having at least a few ranks to soak up the damage can be huge.
I also don't run MoK on my blocks. The most they get is MoS, to make them immune to panic, which is the biggest bonus you gain from MoK. Better still, not being Frenzied means that I have to take fewer LD checks to keep my men from going off on insanely heroic charges. There is one thing that I've been known to do differently than other players - I am willing to take Light Armor and Shields on my MCav. The Fast Cavalry rules aren't as beneficial to an All-cavalry army, especially one which lacks armored cavalry as a core selection. That 4+ save can really help, much moreso than a meagre 5+ or 6+. In fact, if you aren't going to give them a 4+, don't give them any armor options at all, and just go right to Flails (another must for our men).
Now that we have blocks of 15 MCav, any additional points should probably go into Knights. Hefty units of 6-10 would be my best advice, although 10 can be a bit pricey. These guys are going to be your real damage spammers and frontal chargers. Being able to send these guys up the front for several attacks, pin down an enemy with a constant S5 regiment, and then send in MCav to finish the job, is the only way to move up field. You should keep this in mind, and go for a 1:1 ratio between units of Knights, and blocks of 15 MCav.
As far as characters, you want to keep it to a bare minimal. Remember, we're already winning combat, with a +2 for flanking, hopefully a rank or two, canceling enemy ranks, and dealing lots of outbound damage. But we haven't dealt with Steadfast. There are a few ways to handle this, and you should probably use them all. Each method will reduce enemy leadership, hopefully so low that they have no option but to break and flee, even if they are testing on Steadfast.
First, there is the WoC banner that reduces enemy LD by -1. This is great. You probably want a BSB in the army anyways, my suggestion is a Steed, Halberd, MoT, and this banner, and stick him into a Knight unit. The enemy needs LoS to the banner, and if they are in combat, they can only see the unit in front of them. Hence the BSB going into a regiment that will be there, in front of them, waving the scary flag around.
Next up, there's Lore of Death, and Doom and Darkness for -3ld. You don't need to be inside the foe to cast this, but since you can't really grab MoT and still take Death, I'd suggest simply running another cavalry Sorcer, preferably a Lord, and sticking him into a unit. Gearing him for combat is good, survivability is a must, but don't go overboard - you're always better off with more MCav or Knights.
Finally, the MoT spell "Pandaemonium" can force enemy units to test on their own Ld rather than a commanders. Not as big a deal, but this works well in conjunction with the other two, and could give you a reason to field a Disc-rider to deal with smaller enemy threats or move around to places where he's needed.
The list won't be as competitive as an Infantry block, and I assure you that no two infantry armies will ever be identical among the followers of the Dark Gods - our book is too solid and offers too many great options for someone to follow your exact theory. Plenty of room for customization, but if you want to run a Cavalry army, go ahead. There are ways to make it work, but it would be so much easier and more competitive to stick to infantry, or at least a mix of the two.
This is interesting reading. Thanks for the comprehensive reply. If you get the time to check out my 1,000 point army in the army list section and tell me what you think, I'd appreciate. I'm trying to take into account the advice I'm given, but there are so many suggestions from people and so few points available that fitting everything in to a cogent strategy is doing my head in!