Sunday, March 7, 2010

Tactica: Light Cavalry

Hello all, Slick here. Today I would like to continue the Dogs of War tactica series and finish up the core selection by discussing Light Cavalry. Mercenary Light Cavalry are one of the little gems in the Dogs of War list. At 11 points permodel these guys are a steal. Their stats are average across the board so if you are used to having units like Dark Riders you may be in for a bit of let down. Nevertheless, they do have a solid place in mercenary armies. What makes them a key piece in most armies is that it allows the mercenary general access to cheap and plentiful core fast cavalry.

Light Cavalry have several options to make them a very flexible unit in mercenary armies. There are essentially two builds with this unit: scout/light combat and scout/light missile. The missile variant equips Light Cavalry with a bow for an additional 4 points per model. Small units of missile armed cavalry can make solid flanking units for harassing lightly armored enemy flankers, flyers, war machines, and the occasional lone character. They are of course also useful as march blockers regardless of how you build them. With only average skill you should not expect too much from their shooting attacks unless you take a large unit. However, Dogs of War can field enough missile troops that makes going overboard on a fragile light missile unit inadvisable. Their primary targets should be small and lightly armored units or to try and get a kill or two on heavier units to take away 1pt of rank bonus (assuming a unit if 5 wide of course). It is not always possible to soften up all of your opponent's units before you meet in close combat, thus being able to pick off the odd trooper here and there can pay dividends later on in a battle.

The more common and in my opinion more useful build for Light Cavalry is to equip them with spears for just 1 additional point per model. You can also add shields for an additional 2 points per model. Thus equipped, a unit of Light Cavalry can provide a solid flank or even rear charge on occasion. It is fairly easy to field 2-3 units of Light Cavalry in a standard game (2000 points) so that you can lose a unit or two and still have options. These guys are the premier flanking unit available to mercenary generals unless of course you care to try the more hybrid medium (non-barded heavy cavalry) version of heavy cavalry. Command groups are an debatable for this unit, although I personally would advise against ever using a standard bearer in one of these units. Light cavalry are simply too fragile to include a potentially free 100 victory point bonus for your opponent. A champion and/or musician are more worthy options and I would tend towards just running a musician if you plan on hit and run tactics. You cannot and should not rely on these guys to take on anything tougher than other light cavalry or infantry (skirmishers). Avoiding ranked units and heavy cavalry are essential. Light Cavalry do make excellent bait units which you can use to redirect your opponents units. Just make sure to have a musician so that you are not relying on Ld 7 for rally tests.
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