I decided to try a game with forces from my two main armies (Gondor and Rohan) and I discovered some things. First off, let me say, that I am a WotR player, so I still have to get used to some of the differences. I love WotR, but even just trying to get familiar with the SBG, I had a blast.
I set a Minas Tirith force of Knights of MT, Rangers of Ithilian, and MT Warriors with Faramir leading, against Red Sheild Riders, Helmingas, and Royal Guards on foot led by Erkenbrand. (Each had 3 warbands at 500 points)
In summary, I expected Faramir's forces to smash the Rohirim into ity bity peices but I was pleasantly suprised. Through a combination of luck and tactics, the Rohirim managed to take the victory. At the end of the 'To the Death' scenario, Faramir and his Banner were both casualties, and both sides' armies were broken, giving Rohan the edge in Victory points.
Here are some of my observations:
Erkenbrand and Grimbold are worth their points and it's worth upgrading their forces. Erkenbrand increases his riders' Fight from 3 to 4, and Grimbold improves his Warriors' Strength the same. I found this made a huge difference, as there were many times that Rohan rolled just enough to carry the fight or wound the enemy. Without these small stat bonuses they would have often been 1 under!
Lances are a bit situational. They seem powerful, essentially giving you the bonus of 2H weapons without the Fight penalty, but because they only work on the charge, getting priority is essential. The only other options is burning might on heroic moves. I only had Faramir's 3 might available, which he used trying to take Erkenbrand out. It might have worked, but for Erkenbrand's successful Fate roll.
The Rohan horse archers were flexible. They could try skirting around the Knights, harrassing them with arrows when they didn't have the best position, but they could also charge in when they had priority in order to limit the KoMT lance bonus. Once the KoMT were within 10 inches, though, they were forced to either run or charge.
A small number of throwing weapons can make a big difference. They aren't super powerful, nor are they consistant, but if your strategy doesn't depend on them, they can be a nice little random element in your favour. That randomness can throw a monkey wrench into an enemy's othewise solid looking defence, sowing some chaos in his ranks, which can have a bit of a psychological effect on your opponent as well.
Once the fight was joined in earnest, mixing the Helmingas and Royal Guard worked well. Multiple combats where the Royals' Fight helped them win the battle, while the Helmingas Strength caused the wounds were very effective. The Royal's high Fight and Defense also held off the WoMT nicely, even when the Gondorians had spear support.
I love Erkenbrand, but I don't know if he should lead. With only 1 wound, he is a bit vulnerable, especially if Nazgul come in to play.
A good part of this game is position, so spending might on the right Heroic move can go a long way toward a win.
The banners were more effective than I'd first thought. Being able to reroll in a fight was a nice edge. However, they are a bit pricey.
Faramir is a beast! For 95 points he got some sweet options that gave him real staying power. Three rounds in a row he went toe to toe with 3 riders at the same time, one of which was Erkenbrand. As mentioned, he should have quickly dispatched the Rohirim leader, but Erkenbrand's successful fate roll kept him in the fight. Faramir was finally overwhelmed on the fourth round of this barrage. I can only imagine the damage Aragorn could do with his free Might and Anduril. Due to his cost, I'd have to reserve him for some really big games.