Sunday, March 7, 2010

Tactica: Dogs of War Heavy Cavalry


Hello all, Slick here. Today I would like to continue the tactica series on Dogs of War units. I have previously covered Pikemen, Crossbowmen, and Duellists. To finish off the review of our Core units it is now time to take a look at mercenary cavalry. First off, I will review Heavy Cavalry, one of the few 'hammer' units available to Dogs of War generals.

For a mere 19 points, Dogs of War have access to core heavy cavalry which come with a solid stat line. The heavy cavalry feature a Weapon Skill of 4 as well as Leadership 8, which is certainly above average for generic troops. The remaining stats for heavy cavalry are 3s. Their initial cost includes good equipment which gives them a 3+ armor save. Typically this still falls under the medium cavalry category. However, with rumored changes to cavalry in 8th edition, having access to both heavy and medium cavalry as core will certainly be beneficial to mercenary generals. Currently, rumors are that cavalry with a 2+ or better armor save will not be able to march. You can imagine how this will impact armies that feature heavy cavalry deathstar units. The only upgrade options for heavy cavalry aside from a command group are to add barding for an additional 2 points to bring the total to 21 points per model. In most cases this is the preferred route to go as you can field several 5 man units of heavy cavalry that will hit with Strength 5 on the charge. They lack the 1+ armor of Empire Knights or the pure skill of comparable elite cavalry units in other armies, but they are also fairly cheap.

Command groups for these units depend on which role you want them to fulfill on the battlefield. Small groups of 5 heavy cavalry do not need a full command and are typically best served by adding a musician and/or champion. If you intend the unit to be sacrificial then no command is needed at all of course. If you plan on building a hammer unit then a full command group becomes viable. A typical hammer unit would optimally run between 7-9 heavy cavalry with full command and would typically be joined by a Captain as well for extra punch.

Using heavy cavalry without barding does not seem to be too popular or widespread from what I have seen in Dogs of War builds. This seems to be more of an issue with the current state of Warhammer Fantasy than the Dogs of War rules. There are so many high strength units/spells/etc. currently in the game that any competitive Dogs of War build (DoW are competitive?!) is better off forgoing this option. Personally, I think it would be fun to try and make this variant work as you trade 1 point of armor for an additional 2 inches of movement. This can add some interesting tactical wrinkles to your battle plan and your opponent may be caught off guard if they are used to slower moving heavy cavalry. The extra movement afforded by not using barding should be enough to setup more advantageous charges or for getting up the flanks. Note, you are still Strength 5 when you charge with this variant.

A unit or two of heavy cavalry is always a welcome addition to a Dogs of War army and is one of the few units with good armor and high strength (on the charge) that mercenary generals have access to. Again, they are core, and have no other restrictions on them whatsoever. Take them! Hopefully you have found the above tactica helpful. Stay tuned for a review of Light Cavalry.
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