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Monday, 11 July 2011

Where’s all the Heavy Cavalry?

Horrible Heavy Hitters?

Do heavy cavalry still have an important role to play in Warhammer Fantasy?  For many people the answer is no, but Lange Grinevitch has always encouraged listeners of the to continue to use the heavy hitters in 8th edition.  He suggests that cavalry is no longer a blunt instrument, but when used effectively can change the course of any game.  I agree with Lange, and think those that have totally excluded heavy hitters, like my Choas Knights, are missing out.  Fellow RHQ blogger Sean Davis emphasis the importance of having a clear role for cavalry when putting together your list, and this I believe is the key to using cavalry in 8th ed, but what roles should cavalry fulfill?

Khordale has shared some great pics of his Dead Winter-Empire Army on the Garage Hammer forums which are back up and running smoothly!

Refreshing Roles

Vaulsc is a New Zealander who produces YouTube battlereports, and recently attended EQ2011.   He had good success at the tournament playing his Empire, which included a unit of ten knights.  When contacted by a viewer inquiring why he takes the knights, Vaul responded by saying that they do a great job of finishing off units.  This makes perfect sense to me because swift-stride means the knights are much more likely to catch fleeing units, and even though Empire armies are known for their shooting, they still need to be able to deliver a finishing blow.  Another interesting method of using knights of the Empire was suggested by Sean Davis in his first blog post.  He proposes using a unit of the knights as a mobile bunker for your  BSB and general.  This is another use for cavalry I’d never thought of, but when swift reform is combined with the speed of the knights, you should be able to get your general where he’s needed, plus have a reserve unit which can finish off depleted units such as Vaul suggests!

These awesome looking Dragon Princes were painted up by my good friend Chris. He has recently started up his own blog which includes a battle report of a game we recently played, and his review of the Game of Thrones HBO series.

Successful Setup
So it is important to have a clearly defined role for your heavy cavalry, but we all know it’s also important to equip and support our units in the right way.  I contacted Dan Heelan this week, and he suggested the best way to equip any unit of heavy cavalry is with the Banner of Eternal Flame.  He suggested that the flaming banner used in conjunction with the speed of cavalry allows for an excellent mobile monster hunting unit, and that this unit should be able to deal with our favourite monsters, the ‘A bomb’ and Hydra, since they don’t get to regen or  thunderstomp.  But even this unit will need support from other units to be successful.  Mordante over on, has been using a unit of harpies, and chariot to support his Cold One Knights.  The harpies help by re-directing units, and and the chariot helps to finish off units in the second round of combat! I have always been a fan of the combined arms method, but find it’s easy to forget about in 8th edition when your often trying to make monster sized units.  So keeping in mind you need a clear role and the right support for them, maybe it’s time for you to take out those heavy cav models, and give them another try!

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Thanks for reading, and thanks to this weeks contributors!

Mike Sweetman

All pictures used without permission to promote the Warhammer community.


  1. very nice article. I have referenced to it at different times to remind myself of the uses for cav and also the changes with 8th. Just a suggestion for a future article is shooting in 8th non warmachines. is shooting less effective in 8th due to hordes? or just more selective? thanks for the dedication and time you invest into the community of wargaming!

  2. Thanks for your kind words kdawg. Comments like yours help keep a writer going. Shooting in 8th would be an absolutely awesome topic! I'm looking forward to tracking down some comments to help me right the article! Thanks for the idea!