View Full Version : Some Bretonnian strategy mistakes that I've made so you don't have too...

01-11-2011, 14:48
Last saturday was a 2500 point fantasy tournament at my FLGS. I've just got started with Brettonians, and prior to Saturday I'd only played one game with them...against someone that was borrowing a demon army, so I really don't count that. I had the oldest army book in attendance, with one Dwarfs player being the second oldest.

I didn't do well, placing 5th of 8. There were some particularly stupid mistakes I made, in addition to some things that perhaps should've just been run slightly differently. I decided to post a quick write-up of the more blatent of these mistakes so that hopefully someone would benifit. Also, there may be a BIT of griping at the end, so feel free to skip that last part....

Anyway, a big part of my problem started with army construction. I feel that I had a pretty good list going in, but the problem was I always construct my list based on what is currently popular in tournament play, which is NEVER what you see at my local tournies. In fact, it is IMPOSSIBLE to predict what armies will show up at my store. You can put money on Warriors and Dark Elves, but thats it, and there will only be one each of those.

My list:
Bretonnian Lord w/ Grail Vow
-Sword of the lady's champion, Armor of Agiluf, shield, Virtue of audacity (I think), barded brettonian war horse.

Paladin BSB w/ Gral vow
-Virtue of not getting the +1 for outnumbering, shield, barded war horse, lance

Damsel (lvl. 2) w/ Lore of Life
-horse, talisman of preservation

Damsel (lvl. 2) w/ Lore of Beasts
-dispel scroll, talisman of 5+ ward

Thoughts on the above.
-The lord was designed to kill things like steam tanks, dragons, BIG things like that. His strength is always one more than his targets toughness, he has WS10 and he gets to re-roll misses to hit and wound against things that are naturally stronger than he his. This worked really well against demons, where pretty much EVERYTHING is stronger than 4. However, it DOESN'T work well against things that don't are S4, like pretty much EVERYTHING in the game. Wounding on 3+ with 2 attacks isn't that great if you're only modifying a chosen's armor save by 2.

-The BSB is there just for the re-roll, but I used faulty positioning and so that rarely came into play. I kept him cheap and with a unit of KotR, but he really wasn't much of a factor. Certainly a S4 T4 character with 2 attacks and only a 6+ ward save against most things that KotR attack isn't to troublesome.

-Damsels. They existed ONLY to buff my knights and peasants and to provided some magic defence. They couldn't even do that. With no sort of trickery or inherent anti-magic built in like so many other armies have, they're impact is laughable. Trying to outcast slaans or chaos wizards is just hard to do with these guys. Again, I was going for cheap, so if anyone is having luck with Brettonian magic, please pipe up

50 Men at Arms w/ full command, shields, polearms

20 archers w/ defensive stakes, braziers

12 KotR w/ full command

12 KotR w/ full command

Thoughts on the Core Choices:
I can't stress that enough. I was afraid. I paid for it. These guys won't wreck things in close combat or anything, but in horde formation they are capable of holding the line as long as a knight is nearby. Give them +1 S and +1 toughness, and they are actually not half bad. They were also BY FAR the cheapest horde at the tournament. I put my beasts damsel in this unit, and I would've done MUCH better in the first (dwarfs) and second (lizards) games had I been more agressive with these guys and more aggressive with the buffs for them. They can be a combat unit if you throw magic at them!!

-The archers were actually a solidly performing investment. They're BS isn't crap (lol...) and with braziers they are a serious threat to regenerating things. Defensive stakes I'm not yet sold on, but I'm not sure I would've moved them much anyway, so the jury is still out!

-KotR are ok, and in units of 12 they are very ok. Thing is I DIDN'T do ANY multi charges and I deployed poorly in the first game so that one unit wasn't supported properly. MULTI-CHARGING IS KEY!!! One unit of KotR isn't too scary. two units...charging (+2S)...with a +3 combat rest starting out is VERY, VERY scary. Just watch the uncomfortable glances your opponent throws your way when you lay down 3 lance formations right next to each other. These guys exist to hit things hard and roll flanks. Their horses are fast and such a small frontage makes them suprisingly mobile. They don't do well in a fight of attrition, so you need to wipe on the charge for maximum effectiveness. This is suprisingly easy when you get a frontal charge and a flank charge off on the same unit. Then you've got one unit that can run the chargees down and one unit to hit any exposed flank left to your over run. It works, and it works well.

-3 Pegasus knights w/ gallant & standard

-These guys where supposed to hunt war machines and characters. I didn't do this. I got sucked into desperate flank charges, where they are all but useless. Keep your head in the game, and don't let them get involved in a combat that they can't win, which is pretty much a combat that they're outnumbered in. The knights on top of the pegasi aren't good, but the pegasi themselves are GREAT! S4 w/ 2 attacks and stomp is nothing to sneeze at. My first game I used them well and took out a flame cannon on turn 2 and pulled off a rear charge on a block of ironbreakers to support my grail knights on turn three. This works surprising well, and with T4 and 2W they are surprisingly resiliant. Don't do what I did. Keep them on track and on target.

-9 Grail knights w/ full command and razor standard



-Grail knights are our best knights, and they are VERY VERY nifty. ItPSY is fantastic, and their multiple attacks are GREAT!! However, like all knight units (that AREN'T chaos knights.... :mad: ) they can't go in alone. SUPPORT THEM!!! A unit of KotR in support of these guys goes a long, long way. Even just having some pegasus knights in support makes a world of difference. Also, regrowth on these guys is GREAT! Yeah, you'll probably only get 1 knight back a casting, but those knights are worth a TON!!!

-Trebs. possibly the best, cheapest war machine in the game. If you're luck is better than mine (which it most likely is, mine is abyssmal...) than you're having a great run with these guys. They killed a few handgunners the first game and sat around a lot, they OBLITERATED a horde of kroxiskinks, a salamander, some temple guard and some saraus warriors in the second game, and did nothing but net my opponent some VP by both blowing up in the first turn of the third game. Worth the points, but my luck in the third game made me want to shed some angry man tears...

Some pretty general stuff went wrong. As listed, I didn't support my knights properly which left them to do things that you shouldn't expect them to do. Also, the third game, a chaos sorc. on disc was running around by himself and for some reason I still don't understand, I didn't sick my pegasus knights on him. He in turn WRECKED my battle line, killed a damsel and polished off my lord and the grail knights for desert. Casters by themselves show nothing but stupidity on your opponents part. MURDER THEM!!! Flying war beast calvary can QUICKLY show them the error of their ways. Also, just to reiterate, don't be afraid to get your men at arms into a fight.

I think that I'd also do better to find a way to get another unit of knights on the board. Hard to do at that points level, but I think its possible. Also, during army construction I need to figure out ways to max out my magic phase and really make life at least somewhat difficult for my opponent. I'm not sold on including a lvl. 4 damsel, but if anyone can give some level 2 shenanigans that would be appreciated.

Also, as promised....
For those people that say KotR are perfectly priced for what you get, I submit to you that a BASIC WARRIOR OF CHAOS is
WS 5, S4, T4, I5, LD8, A2, Sv 4+ and IS 9 POINTS LESS THAN A KNIGHT(!!!) which is WS 4, S3, T3, I4, LD8, A1, SV 2+. I mean, seriously, that is just wrong. In fact, one thing that the tournament showed me is that these guys are just completely outclassed by MOST enemies that showed up, and are ALWAYS more expensive than comparable core choices. This is WHY you can no longer commit them to a fight without another unit in support, where as chaos warriors, knights, lizardman, etc... don't think twice about such things.
oh, and before you pull the whole 'but they're blessed by the dark gods!!1!1!' thing on me, I will point you to the fact that Bret. Knights are RAISED FROM BIRTH to do nothing but fight. They are formally trained on how to fight, ride, lead, and be brave from the time they cut the ambilical. I think that at LEAST warrants an upgrade in strength, ws and leadership. Saying they are essentially just regular dudes in armor is just rediculous. Just sayin...

Anway, Rant= Done. Don't make my mistakes. I know that the next time out, I certainly won't!!

01-11-2011, 15:43
A warrior of chaos is not on a horse, and if he was, he would have the -1Mov penalty for barding.

He also doesn't have a free 5+ Ward Save.

And don't have the Lance formation, which is pure gold.

Gotta put stuff in perspective mate.

Also, what's worng with your list is that it's not MSU. Bretonnia is a MSU army. 8th Edition Fantasy is a MSU game. You say you can "no longer commit KoTR into a fight without any other support unit", but truth is you never could and certainly will not want to in any army now, not kust Bretonnia.

Just drop the damsel, drop the 50 wound counters and dont get just another big unit of knights in, get 4 smaller ones more.

01-11-2011, 16:45
A few things:

1) bret horses do suffer the -1 for barding, they just have a higher movement value. Still equates to the same thing, but that is a 'meh' point
2) the ward is only 5+ against S5 or better. Against everything else (most normal troops) it is only 6+, which I will also say most normal troops get anyway due to parry. Also, I have to sacrifice the possibility of going first to get it, which is a (minor) bad thing.
3) They don't have the lance, but they have larger bases and as such still get plenty attacks back hitting on 3 and wounding on 3. They ALSO get a 3+ armor save and 6+ parry save standard if they roll with a shield, so higher strength, toughness and more attacks, for moving a little slower (and we won't get into the charge distances...see swiftstride vs. standard charge) and one less point of armor with the exact same ward save.

A 12 man lance against a block of 20 WoC can expect to dish out 10 attacks (4 from the front 3 including champion, 6 from lance support) at WS 4, S5on the charge, S3 in subsequent rounds. This is AFTER the WoC get to strike first, with 16 attacks (11 from the 5 in front including champion, 5 from the supporters) at WS 5 S 4, so hitting on 3s, wounding on 3s. If you're ok with your rolls, you may only loose 1-2, but if you're unlucky its going to be more, which in turn takes away some of your responding attacks. I'm not saying this to say that the lance is crap, just that its not the OMG AWESOME SAUCE that some people seem to think it is. It is a useful tool, and thats about it.

Also, people so soon forget what knights could do in previous editions. In previous editions, due to the way casualties were removed, you could effectively eliminate a block of infantry (usually run in 20-25) without too much of a worry. You would charge, swipe and they MAY get 1-2 attacks back at you b/c you had pretty much wiped out their front rank. They would probably break (no steadfast) and you would simply ride them down. Rinse, Repeat. The fact that you used to be able to and now you can't is just that, a fact. Knights used to be the hammer units of the game, and that is what the Brets were designed for. This role has completely changed, and now every charge must be carefully weighed and measured. The odds are, if your unit of knights charges in and DOESN'T break the unit its charging in the first round, you'll really be feeling that S3 T3 expensive paperweight, again because the Brets were designed during a time when crushing things on the first round was much more probable than it currently is.

All that to say, I simply disagree with many of your points. I think that the price for a KotR is too much for what you get compared to other core choices, so either a price decrease or a stat increase is in order. That being said, I'm not at all advocating that Brets suck and are useless, I'm simply coming to understand that they are now falling into the realm of the finesse army, and I won't complain a bit if Wood Elves or Dwarves get a shiny new book first. Brets are still viable, and people often make the mistake of unerestimating them due to the age of their book, which is actually a good thing for us.

But, I will certainly be trying out the damsel dropping. do you only run 1 then? What are people doing for magic defense? I'll give it a shot without the men at arms and see what happens.

01-11-2011, 16:57
Don't worry the 10-25% reduction in points for the entire Bret army is coming, if boar boyz are any indicator- KE in the new book should drop to somewhere between 16-18pts per, KoTR will go down to 20, and questing and grail knights will receive even larger point reductions, that and peasants will also probably go down 1 pt-

As far as lists go-

Where was your lvl 4 life prophetess with crown of command, and verdant heart?

And your lvl 1 on foot with icon of quenelles so that those M@A can also have the blessing

Also, no Heroic Killing Blow?

I like to put the banner of defence on a small unit of grail knights (there job- is to get shot at, opponents tend to fear grail knights and will do anything they can to destroy them- as such they are probably best used as decoys- or left out of the list)

Also you should try- 12 KE with the errantry banner + either paladin, or lvl 1 damsel with the Mane of the Purebreed- (the unit now hits at Str 6 and the horses hit at Str 4)

As far as bowmen go- go big or go small- (when it comes to watchtower, Brets are kind of in troube anyway) so I like small units of 10 (they are probably not worth the effort to kill) or take 40-50 to give yourself another horde/tarpit unit-

bert n ernie
01-11-2011, 17:01
Hi there.
I won't say too much, as I think generally you should look at the Brett tactics thread, and also perhaps a look at this youtube channel:

Lots of Brett games there in easy to watch format along with thoughts on what works and what doesn't. In fact the best bat reps I've seen so far for any army.

I think that the thing that tripped you up more than anything else was the fact that you didn't have a proper test game before going to the tournament. Bretts play very differently than most armies, and they play differently in this edition than they did last edition. That means that you do need to learn how they work, and how they work for you before trying to complete with other players (some of whom have a much easier time figuring out how their army works).

As far as I can see, your Brettonian lord does not have a great set up, and would be better with the heartwood lance and the Heroic Killing blow virtue, or something similar if you want to take out monsters.

The BSB is very important. If he doesn't have a banner he should have something which rerolls his armour save, as he does need to be kept alive and central.

I personally use a L4 caster with Heavens, although many people use life.
The reason I do this is simply for casting harmonic convergence at a high level.
If you position well, and surprise an enemy units with a bunch of charges all in one turn this spell will really pull that big combat into your favour.
Of course if you are going to charge a high I enemy who can kill some of your guys you either need;
a)spells you know you'll get off to keep your guys alive
b)a higher I
c)flank and rear charges.

I don't mind fighting high I enemies, or enemies that can kill knights, but I need to put a lot of work in against an enemy which has both.

You might not be getting into combat for 3-4 turns, but this is ok. He is unlikely to have enough shooting for that to be a problem.
Get into position with your knights. They are much better at that than foot troops. Take your time, and hope for him to mess up. If he charges, it's ok to flee (as long as you are using your BSB properly).
Your unit of pegasus knights should really help with this. In fact I'd recommend getting another.

If you must, use one unit to hold him in place while the others get into position to flank and rear charge. In this situation you're likely letting him get a charge, but by buffing your unit in the previous turn, and positioning so that you will get counter charges the losses should be worth it.

Men at arms aren't necessarily bad. Most players use them in fact. I don't however, so can't say much.

Just so you know- at that points level I am looking at the following knights:
12 Errant (with errantry banner)
5 Errant

01-11-2011, 17:17
A few things:

1) bret horses do suffer the -1 for barding, they just have a higher movement value. Still equates to the same thing, but that is a 'meh' point
2) the ward is only 5+ against S5 or better. Against everything else (most normal troops) it is only 6+, which I will also say most normal troops get anyway due to parry. Also, I have to sacrifice the possibility of going first to get it, which is a (minor) bad thing.
3) They don't have the lance, but they have larger bases and as such still get plenty attacks back hitting on 3 and wounding on 3. They ALSO get a 3+ armor save and 6+ parry save standard if they roll with a shield, so higher strength, toughness and more attacks, for moving a little slower (and we won't get into the charge distances...see swiftstride vs. standard charge) and one less point of armor with the exact same ward save.

1) is wrong

2) is wrong as parry saves are only in CC (and you really just want ir vs. shooting and the shooting that hurts you is S5+) and going second is not a negative thing by all means

3) lance formation just rocks and at the time is priceless. So priceless I can bet it will be nerfed/removed in subsequent editions :(

What I have to say to you is, try out more units of 9 knights (or 8 + Paladin).

Multiple charging is the key for Bretonnians in 8th and we certainly can dish out one of the best MSU out there for that.

When I said drop one Damsel and the Men at Arms I actually meant this:
If you're using Damsels for magic defense only, a lvl 1 with Life + Dispell scroll usually gets you through the first 1/2 turns and after that you are mostly in combat. If you're playing MSU you would need more magic defense though, as you enter combat relatively later due to maneuvering for combined charges. I'm running my Damsels for buffing, si I take more of them but in a list such as yours, one should suffice. Try it out and check the difference for yourself. The Man at Arms are just a shot in your own foot. You will find yourself maneuvering your Knights around the huge block which will be more cumbersome to you then an threat to your enemy. If I was facing such a unit I would just ignore it the whole game or lock it with some of my block, or even nuke it with magic. It's not a huge dung, but you're spending points best spent in more Lances of Knights (which doesn't by all means mean that peasents are useless and you sure can have a few lists working with them).

The key thoughts I would like to bring out is cheaper,smaller and more numerous units. I'm running like 6 lances of 9 total and it fares great.