-By: Scott (PG_Sc077y)
Cavalry, as a unit type, is one of the most interesting units in the game. They can provide a significant amount of tactical flexibility, mobility, and hitting power combined with accuracy to make any unit in the game blush. They have reposition, most have a damage buff built in, and all cavalry can make impact and mount attacks.
They are also very expensive, and can get taken off the table easily if you aren’t sure how the rules for them work. So, in this week’s rules clarification, I want to discuss cavalry.
The first point I want to make, honestly is a little pedantic, but important nonetheless. There is no such thing as heavy cavalry or light cavalry anymore. It’s all just cavalry. Ignoring special rules on the cards themselves (like Trollkin Longriders or Cygnar Stormlances) all cavalry act the same way. So, every rule we are going to discuss, like reposition, and mount attacks, affect any unit with the cavalry advantage (the horse head icon) on the stat line on the card. Though it is worth mentioning that reposition isn’t a cavalry rule, though almost all models in the game with the cavalry advantage do have reposition (except one, and I’m looking at you, Xerxis 2!) So with all of that said, let’s jump into some rules clarification on cavalry!
When discussing cavalry, the first and most misunderstood concept with them, and often the hands down worst to explain to people, is the mount attack and an impact attack. 1st, let’s clear this one up. While an impact attack, and a mount attack are all made with the mount weapon listed on the card, they are not the same type of attack. Ill break them down below, but one thing that needs to be remembered straight away to prevent confusion is that a Mount is essentially a weapon with some special cavalry rules, which include mount attacks, and impact attacks. It’s better to think of the mount attack as an additional initial attack that is not modified by the user’s strength (since it only has a pow, and not a pow + str, like how guns aren’t affect by strength modifiers unless the thrown rule is used).
So what are the different attacks? Well a mount attack is an attack made with a mount weapon on a cavalry model against another model. It’s an initial attack with its mount weapon vs one model inside of its melee range. (right now, no warrior model with a mount has a longer range than 1/2 inch.) In short, it’s a melee attack that doesn’t benefit from the models strength stat.
Not so bad right. Just think of a mount attack as an extra melee attack and your golden. But what are impact attacks you ask? How are they different? Well hold on, cause it’s about to get deep, pun intended…
Impact attacks are attacks made, that are not initial attacks, but instead of making a mount attack when a cav model is charging, if the charging cav model would touch another base in its way of charging, the cavalry model then makes a mount attack against every model in its .5” mount melee range. That’s EVERY model. Not just enemy models. That’s a distinction worth noting.
So not to be a complete plagiarist, but if we look at the rule book it gives us an example, but isn’t worded very clearly, so let me try and clear some stuff up. In the example, the cavalry model is charging some infantry.
The Storm Lance declares the Exemplar A as his charge target. He then changes his facing, and moves in a straight line to charge his target. On his way, there, he comes into contact with a small based warrior model, Exemplar B. Because his base will contact the exemplars base, you will do your impact attacks there, and if you kill the model blocking the path to your charge target, you will continue moving to your charge target.
So this raises a few questions I get asked all the time, so I wanted to take a minute here to answer them:
What happens if the cavalry model doesn’t kill any of the exemplars in the way? Then you measure melee range and if he is not in range of his charge target, you have failed the charge.
What if he only killed Exemplar B? Then the Stormlance would continue on his charge target exemplar A. Of course, Exemplar C would get a free strike, because nothing in the rules states that cavalry charges ignore free strikes.
What if there was nothing in the way, and it looked like this: it’s a direct charge. What happens? Then the Stormlance would declare its Impact attack on his charge target. That’s perfectly fine to do. The rules are clarified in the last errata that if you delcare an impact against your charge target, you will stop movement when the model is in your mount melee range, and change facing to directly face the model. Then carry out your impact attack as normal.
So, impact attacks on the charge, and mount attacks when not charging right? What else is there to know? Hold on, im going to drop some truth on your today. A couple of cavaets to playing with cavalry first. Impact attacks happen, regardless if the models is in formation or not. Command range has nothing to do with getting trampled by a war steed. Sucks to be the boots on the ground I guess. Additionally, you can only make impact attacks once during your charge, but if you charge a model behind others, like in the example give earlier, you will continue moving, assuming you kill your impact targets and nothing is stopping you. Lastly, you have to qualify the movement as a charge for impact attacks to happen, meaning if you didn’t move at least 3”, then its not a mount attack.
Cavalry models get an additional die on melee attack rolls against their charge target. This does not mean they get an additional die against their mount or impact attack targets. This ionly applies to the actual initial charge attack. And as we read earlier, impact attacks are not initial attacks, so they can not benefit from the cavalry charge attack rule. Tricky, but it makes sense.
WHEW! That’s a lot to cover….but wait…there’s more!
While it isn’t a cavalry only rule, I did want to drop a few lines on how reposition works. I have seen a lot of people confuse the ruling in a lot of ways, so I want to clarify that you can reposition after completing a charge. Now that is to say, if you have a five-man unit, say, of Uhlans, you can issue the run charge order, get 3 of them into combat with a completed charge (remember, impact attacks don’t count for completing a charge, only the models melee range on its initial attack) and reposition after the combat is over. The two that did not get into melee and complete a charge can’t reposition, but the three that did CAN. So, go ahead and get back into wall of steel solider, your fellow Uhlans are counting on you!
As an aside, and a cute tactical tip, repositioning after shooting makes some cavalry units hard to pin down. Repositioning for 5” after shooting with Blighted Nyss Raptors is a great way to infuriate your opponent, and force them to dedicate a LOT more points into killing them than they are worth. It works, I’ve been getting shot up by Raptors since MKIII started, trust me. Its good.
And, one more for the road. Dragoons are models that begin the game mounted. They are all solos, and all have the cavalry rule. Dragoons have two sets of life boxes. The first is their damage while mounted on their horse, the second is them off their horse. Once a dragoon takes lethal damage and all its mounted damage boxes are marked, the models is then replaced with its dismounted solo model. The dismounted model loses the cavalry rule, and there are probably some specific rules, as well as changes to their defense or armor that happen when they are dismounted too. The one thing I want to mention is that it doesn’t matter how much damage is done to the model in its mounted form, it will always dismount, then you must attack it again to kill it.
For example, if I have Darrage Wrathe, who suffers 87 points of damage to his mount, the damage does not carry over and he is just killed. Instead, the full damage is applied to the mounted health bar, the excess is removed and ignored, then the mount model is replaced with the dismounted model. In this sense, you basically have to kill a dragoon twice.
Man, that’s a lot to write and a lot to keep track of. I hope this helped a lot for many of you, as cavalry can be extremely rewarding to play, but also very difficult to understand and use properly.