WHFB for Dummies: Combat Cavalry


So it seems that to many people, cavalry have become the red-headed step child of 8th edition.  Many of us fondly (or not) remember the times where a unit of 5 Dragon Knights charging into a massive block of infantry was shortly followed with the entire block being cut down and overrun.  Those days are long over. Nowadays, you should consider cavalry as a support unit, something which gives the advantage to your line troops, instead of a replacement for them.  The easiest way to do this, is to have them charge in, either simultaneously, or counter charge a unit tied up with one of your blocks.

Here's an example of how I use them:

You have a large block of Halberdiers (40 seems risky) take the charge from something really nasty, in this case, we'll say a horde of 30 Dark Elf Executioners.

The Halberdiers only slay 9 (21 remain), while the Executioners kill a whopping 15 (25 remain).  Clearly the Halberdiers lose the combat, but they hold due to Steadfast (3 ranks vs 2), ultimately though, it doesn't look good unless they get some help!

Now the Knightly Order charges in!  The Executioners are only 3 wide on that back rank, so only 3 Knights make it in combat.  The knights kill 3 and the horses trample a 4th.  The Halberdiers are still rolling about average, killing 7 more Executioners.  The Executioners are now down to a pathetic 8 models, they desperately strike back, killing a knight and felling 4 more Halberdiers.  The tally at the end of combat comes to +16 Empire vs +6 Dark Elves.  The Executioners flee, though are easily caught by the Empire.


Obviously, the DE player would have been foolish to take that charge, given the set up I showed originally, though I just did that deployment to keep the image compact.  Typically, I would work to get my set up more like this below:

When you get the enemy in a situation like this, you're are set.  The enemy has no chance to pull off a charge on your cavalry, and if they sit back, they'll take the flank from the cav and front from the halberds, meaning they must charge the halberds and hope for the enemy to break.  Many times, more elite armies, such as elves, may not be able to react to a trap like this as well as armies like Empire who have a lot of units on the field.  If you want to know how to get out of this kind of situation, check out my article on Charge Redirection!

Stay tuned for next time, when I cover Fast Cavalry!