Here are a few things that I have learned in my year of playing brets, I will start by going down all of the options that we can field then some of the better virtues and magic items that we have access to. Hopefully by then someone else will add their experience to mine. I figure since there is no update in sight, it is time that we bunker down for the long haul and learn how to trample our opponents into dust. For the lady!!
Bretonnian Army Options:
Essential when you can take it: Green (Something I think should be in every list)
Competitive Option: Blue (A solid Choice for any good list)
Average: Orange (Most lists and options are going to get this rating, not quite a liability, but not quite a massive asset)
Situational: Yellow (Optimal in some cases, sub-optimal in others, really depends on the list or the matchup, proceed with caution)
Poor Choice: Red (Can sometimes be fun, but ineffective for points)
Never Ever Take Ever: Purple (Never… ever… take, nuff said)
Bretonnian Lord: This is one thing that Brets do well, I think that any list, both fluffy and competitive should have one of these in it. My common all comers build is HKB, sword of strife, and either tress of isoulde or dragonhelm and potion of foolhardiness, slap him on a warhorse and in a unit of KoTR with the banner of discipline and you are golden. The great strength of this character is his customizeabilty. If you play against a specific army you should build your lord a certain way. Skaven for example, virtue of knightly temper build, against monster lists, a monster hunter, or against anybody else a duelist. Check out the thread for other common lord builds. We Brets do these lords more cost effectively than anyone else with that level of versatility, exploit this
I have never fielded a hippogryph in a competitive list just because it is such a defensive liability for the character even though the mount does get the blessing ward. There might be a situation that this guy works, for example, grinding a bunch of s3 t3 troops that can’t really hurt him back with tons of attacks and a thunderstomp, but other than that I say stay away.
There are some builds that make the Royal Pegasus really work well, these builds are most often challenge based that utilize TONS of rerolls, birth sword, confidence, other tricksters shard, armor of aguilif, just as an example, this bad boy kicks out four strength five attacks, he re rolls hits and wounds at ws 10 and you have to re roll your armor and ward saves against him. Then the Pegasus hits you. He also allows you to take a lot more peggys if you want to run a RAF list. I prefer the standard brets, but his speed and his offense means that he is killing wizards and enemy heroes on turn two.
I think that the best mount however is the lowly Warhorse, cheap, fast, with a plus two to armor means that this character is more defensive even if you run him alone, but this guy should be in a unit of knights, characters were made for lances, put your generals in with the troops, they need to stay alive.
Grail Vow: I would take this vow in only three circumstances, when you are fielding a lone monster hunter lord that is going out of BSB range, when you really want your lord to roll with the grail knights for some tactical reason, or if you want some magical attacks and are set on using a mundane lance or if you really want to use the grail shield or the silver lance. Other than that, I think that this vow is far too expensive
Questing Vow: I think that this is actually a reasonably priced option for some fear and terror protection, also the only way to take a great weapon. Problems are that you can’t take a lance with it and that it only really helps if you don’t have a BSB which should never be the case. Only take if you want to use a quest only item, or if you are joining a unit of questers, or if you are awesome. I love questing knights
Knights Vow: This is the cheap option, makes it a good option, if you are not riding with elite knights keep this. With the BSB rerolls you don’t really need the other vows.
Prophetess Life:I love this charachter, always take lvl four, always take the chalice of malfleur, it is like an extra five dispel dice over the game, and she can heal herself, I also always put her on a horse with the crown of command and put her with my general and bsb in a unit of nine KoTR. This is great for several reasons. One, it gives you great protection from death magic with MR2 on the whole unit. This is very important for the general and bsb. Two, this takes up a spot meaning that you can field a smaller lance and only lose a little power. Three, you have THE BEST wizard bunker in the game that allows her to get real close and still be protected on all sides by a 2+ 5/6++ ws4 band of knights that wants to charge you, name me a better bunker for the same cost that protects as well and is as tactically flexible as this and I will make you a knight of your choice. Four, with the specific build, you put the crown in your second rank, making your unit stubborn ld 8 without your general, and if you put your general, bsb and the standard of discipline in here you are stubborn ld ten. Five, when you drop a unit of nine knights, your opponent has NO IDEA where you will put your three most important heroes, this is massive. All your eggs in one basket? nope, they are not in the grails, they are in the realm knights, they have MR 2 a tough armor save and a solid ward, and besides, you are playing brets, every single charge is a risk. Don’t throw them away, cherish your knights but be brave
On the lore itself, Life is great. It makes you super tough, I suggest life against elves of all kinds, empire, skaven, and basically everything that is not very high toughness or when you want to play slower more defensive lists. Dwellers makes you incredibly potent in the magic phase as does lifebloom. ALWAYS run a support wyssans caster if you do this though
Prophetess Beasts: Above I talked about the kit for the prophetess that you should take, don’t take the chalice if you don’t have a life caster, I would still take the crown on her though, arcane items to consider: earthing rod, dispel scroll, silver mirror, or nothing at all, take your pick. Consider running her on foot for transformation (better for a damsel to be honest)
On the lore itself: If life is for a defensive list, beasts is for aggressive offense. With a good hex to stop the big unit of your opponent from marching, wyssans which is great, and a solid gun spell, you can dish out some pain. But that is a great reason to take this on your lvl two. The real offense comes when you run more than three or four characters, you can make your paladins blenders with bubble savage beasts, or make an impenetrable wall with pann’s. This only works with a very specific type of list though, and the only real reason to take beasts on a lvl four is to ensure that you have the right spells. If you want to play an all comers list that is not a deathstar go for this on your level two
Prophetess Heavens: One of the great reasons to take a Prophetess at all (aside from the 4+ to dispel and all of the tactical options described above) is to get the heavens lore. I think that this lore is great for brets and pretty much any cavalry army, with a pair of GREAT hexes, a magic missile that can push your opponents away, the comet for area denial and a solid pair of killers, just the image of thunderbolts coming from the tips of your mage’s fingers should be enough. The real good spell is Harmonic Convergence, makes knights brutal on the charge and very tough. Take this lore when you take lots of knights and are planning on running a tactical list. I mean tactical in the sense that you are going to be playing the positioning game and destroying one unit at a time. I think that this is a great way to play Brets. Even in a more traditional list this is still a good option. Even the lore attribute is great for brets, being outflanked by a flyer is death for one of our lances, an extra d6 hits can mean the difference
Paladin BSB: Something to note here is that we HAVE to take a BSB, good thing is, he is free for us. In 8th, a BSB is essential to any army that is not all unbreakable. I honestly think that even if this guy was a 40 point upgrade he would still be worth it. He is around seventy points with a horse, he comes with a solid armor save and a solid ward. I don’t think there is any need to give him a magic banner, instead, go for survivability. The dawnstone and the enchanted shield allows him a cheap 1+ armor save, add in a mundane lance or the sword of might, or the wyrmlance and this guy is good to go.
On Mounts: The BSB is for surviving, as such the only real option for him is the Barded Warhorse. It ups his armor, and means you can field him with knights, this is the best and safest place for him. I would never field this guy on a Royal Pegasus, that is foolishness, he will be priority one to kill. And putting him on foot is a big liability unless you are running some silly peasant spam list, not a good idea. Keep it simple knights, and stick to the horses.
Paladin: I love these guys. They are cheap, they are survivable, and they embody Bretonnia in the greatest way. The best thing about them is that you can build one for a max of around 150 points and he can do anything. Need a mobile mage hunter? Slap him on a pegausus, give him a lance and the gauntlet he can kill any mage in a bunker. Need a threat to artillery? Same thing, need an answer to missile troops? Virtue of noble disdain kills em. Need a longer charge? Virtue of the impetuous knight. Peasants fleeing too often? Give him the virtue of empathy and they will stick around. I love paladins, they have never ever failed me. SO MANY OPTIONS that are good, they are difficult to even think of all of them.
Offense Paladins: You can kit one out for challenges with a horse, the gauntlet, the virtue of confidence and whatever else you want and he will eat up champions and lesser characters alike, beware chaos lords though. For a rank and file killer look at the virtue of knightly temper, though I have never been a fan it does work well. My favorite is the troll killer paladin, though he does work on any other strong thing, virtue of audacity and the wyrmlance means he kills a troll almost every round, awesome. Curiass of fortune and a lance make him deadly and cheap, or just a lance is good too, like I said, can’t go wrong
Defense Paladins: A very common and competitive tactic is to drop the gromril great helm on one paladin, the dawnstone on your BSB and run these along with a challenge lord all in the same lance of questing knights. That is a wall of 1+ re rollable armor save that will grind you down. Your opponent also has to allocate attacks which preserves valuable combat res. Because the front of the lance is so small two characters plus champion means that they can barely kill anyone when they strike back, utilize cheap paladins to maximize kills and minimize strikes back
Any mount option can be a good one, when part of an overall strategy. These are not to be used without consideration however, they require forethought. Don’t just throw in a bunch of heroes, plenty of lists work great with just the bsb and the general. Use like salt guys.
For more mobile paladins try out my mage killer, Royal Pegasus, virtue of confidence, lance, gauntlet, other tricksters shard and shield, sometimes grail vow if I feel like ITP, He eats mages alive and is still pretty hard to kill back with three wounds and a nice save.
For all the rest stick to the warhorse, almost as moveable and makes your guys tougher.
See Lord entry for Vows.
Damsel Beasts: In my humble opinion one of these ladies should be in every list. Wyssans wildform is easy to cast on cav and she is a great scroll caddy because she can bunker in knights. She also grants magic resistance to a unit, solid and cheap. Other builds I have seen are fielding her on foot with a giant unit of MAA with the prayer icon to give them the blessing. Giving her a second level is also good, there is no spell that does not help brets from making your characters a whirling death machine or making them nigh unkillable, firing giant spears at monsters or becoming a mountain chimera. Oh, the hex is really awesome too, yeah, as a support caster in larger games or a main caster in small ones, this girl will earn her points.
Damsel Life: This is a very good option, Life is a good lore but not as reliable as beasts, what you want here is lifebloom because it makes your characters a lot tougher, you are looking to roll flesh to stone, dwellers, maybe the shield, and awakening or earthblood aren’t too bad. Throne is only great on a lvl four. This lore works the best with the chalice of Malfleur for tons of dispel dice. Best of all, you can also field her on foot with the MAA and giver her the chalice and the ruby goblet to make them hard as nails and give you some reliable defense from magic.