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Unleash the Full Power of Bretonnia. Deployment, construction PDF Print
Tuesday, 27 September 2011
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Unleash the Full Power of Bretonnia. Deployment, construction
Page 2

For the 2nd part of my tactica I desire to give an overview about how the game plays in different phases and how to prepare for it. 

Again this is to help you play a better game not to limit you to my tactics and my observations.  This section is to give you an idea how the flow of battle goes and how you should deal with each section.

As with many things keep in mind that nothing survives contact with the enemy and remember this is just a guideline.  Keep your wits around you and keep your plans fluid.  Also play your own game, keep your opponent guessing and don't become predictable.

For the LADY!



So now that you have a decent idea of the uses of your units, let's look at creating an army list.

The first things that are needed are: a unit of Knights of the Realm, a general and the Battle Standard Bearer.  I like to kick things off with a unit of 9 Knights of the realm, 8 if you plan to have a mounted character join them with full command.  It is a very balanced unit that will be able to cover for anything.

The others depend on the point level of the game.  I personally recommend a lord for your general if at all possible.  The extra leadership goes a long way.  A BSB is a standard and was already covered in the characters section.  Once you have decided on the characters you should also have a bodyguard for them.  The key thing is to keep the bodyguard consistent with the characters ability.  You don't want a combat lord wasting his talents in a unit that is often fighting fire support units as an example.  And you don't want your pricey wizard in a suicide unit.

When creating an all comers army list you should bring a counter to everything that is dangerous to our knights.  Consider the big things that may be everywhere.  Warmachines, Fast enemies, Powerful magic, powerful infantry blocks, Monsters and ranged units.  These are the big things that our army should be prepared to deal with.  Keep in mind that some may already be countered by the characters and their bodyguards.

Try to keep a decent balance between dealing with all the threats.  You don't need to go overboard to prepare for them just make sure you have what you deem to be enough.  You can only learn what is enough by experience.  Do you need a unit for thing?  Not really, several things can pull double duty.  Pegasus knights for example can deal with ranged units and war machines.  Be prepared however since defeating your counters is often your enemies top priorities.  For Pegasus Knights again, warmachines and shooting units often try to take them out before they can do their damage.  So be prepared for that, either by redundancy or by support.

Once you have prepared units to deal with the threats mentioned then you must put some extra so you can play all phases of the game.  Make sure you can Shoot, cast Magic and Fight.  Often this is already taken care of by preparing to fight the previous things but in case it's not you should make sure that every aspect can be played.  I also recommend a bit of a balance too.  If you put too much into any one category you risk losing simply because what you face negates that category.  Spread your points around some, it doesn't have to be an even split but keep it active enough to participate. I use about a: 60% combat, 20% shooting and 20% magic support, spread.  This lets me have enough shooting to be effective, enough magic to be effective, and enough combat to hopefully crush the things that pop up.

If you have an overarching plan then every unit should play into that plan.  Use any extra points you have left to make your army work better.  As an example, Many units perform best when they can be deployed after seeing the foes deployment.  To help see others deployment you could take several small archer units and place them first.  This also boosts your shooting ability.  Pulling double duty is always welcomed.

Every unit should be able to contribute something to the overall battle plan.  This doesn't mean that it will contribute a lot to every battle just that it could contribute.  For example peasant bowmen seldom deal much damage to warriors of chaos.  This doesn't mean that I should never take them in an all comers list because as a counter they deal a decent amount of damage to high elves.  Since they may be less than stellar in one match make sure the lack of action won't lose you the game.  This is done by versatility, double duty, and not letting any single unit get too expensive.

You should note that there is a lot of freedom in creating an army list.  This is because as long as you follow a few simple rules you can take anything you'd like.  In fact take any unit that you find works well for you.  Sometimes having experience with a unit is more important than anything else.  There are still some basics but don't be afraid to break them if you must.  The basic rules in essence are:

Cover your weaknesses,

Play all phases of the game,

Don't let anything get too expensive,

Don't pin your hopes on one unit,

and have a plan going in. 



Tactics for deployment are believe it or not just as important as tactics for any other aspect of the game.  By seeing where your foe wishes to go and where he places certain units one can determine his battle plan and be prepared to counter it.  Interestingly enough there are only a few different battle plans that can be used, all of which are easy to determine.

The first is the most obvious and usually only used by either small but powerful armies or rookies.  This tactic is best described as the CHARGE!!!  Tactic.  Though I personally like to refer to it as the Waaagh! tactic because it is very orky.  In essence they line up across the table and double time it as fast as they can across to hit you in the middle of your lines.  Break it and just try to fight everything nearby.  The key to seeing if your foe is doing this is if his most powerful units are placed in the middle of the enemy army.  To counter this you can flank around him and avoid the potent unit in the center while killing the rest of his army.  Whittle down his giant unit because that's what he is counting on to win the game.

The second is often called the hammer and anvil.  It is in essence attack by a flank.  It even doubles as a flank denial at times.  This is common for armies that have decent powerful infantry while cav are expensive yet powerful.  A large unit is deployed centrally that is designed to hold you up while faster or more powerful units sweep your flanks in.  This works best if there is a weak flank so if you suspect your foe of doing this deploy a worthy counter unit to the flank or deploy anything valuable on the opposite flank.  Characteristics of this tactic is a stubborn or tough unit in the center with either fast or heavy hitting units on one flank.

The third is a double flank threat.  It is very similar to the hammer and anvil except fast or powerful units are deployed on each flank.  This threatens to envelop you while the center simply holds.  Fast units sweep your backline of support while the heavier units collapse your flanks.  This is characteristic of armies that have ready access to powerful cav, and mediocre horde infantry (sound familiar?  It should)  It is on occasion preformed by pure infantry with hard hitting units on the flank and tough units in center.  To defeat this you can either match them strength for strength, block a flank and overwhelm one side, or even risk punching through the likely weak center.  A Symmetrical deployment is a common characteristic of this tactic.  Tough in center, power on edges.

The fourth and final is the castle.  This blatantly says "Here we are, we out gun you and will shoot you dead enough so we can fight you when you get here".  This tactic is typical of dwarfs and other armies with an abundance of warmachines, shooting or occasionally magic.  First off... I hate this tactic, it generally turns out to be a boring game of "How many made it in to combat?".   There are two ways to deal with this tactic, the first is try and outrange them.  Our missile weapons have a very long range, greater than the handguns which is the typical thing that would worry our knights.  The other tactic is just get in there as fast as possible and have all of them hit in one weaker area.  If you're in combat then they are not shooting at you.  You can tell this tactic because they will deploy in a half circle around their warmachines, or a line if it's just plain shooting.

Now that we know what we are up against which ones work well for us?  The answer is all but the last one.  A well balanced Bretonnian army can play the triple threat of all three decent aggressive tactics.  An interesting thing is that what defines our basic knights the most is a joined character.  Characters are joined last giving us the ability adapt to the battlefield at the very end.  Do you want that stubborn guy in the middle to anchor things? Or as a flank denial?  Well you often get to pick at the end.

The biggest thing about deployment is forcing your opponent reveal his plan before you reveal yours.  This gives you the advantage of being able to create favorable matchups or overwhelm a certain part of his army.  Of course he is often trying to do the same to you.  This is why certain cheap units are taken, peasant bowmen for us, so we have a chance to figure out what they're doing because of this I recommend never placing first if possible.  Let your foe place first if you win the roll off.  Since we pray to the lady there is no bonus for placing the army first.  Watch and prepare to counter them.

Since determining strategy is such a big thing placing your biggest most powerful unit as soon as possible is more likely to give away your plan and ruin your day.  Keep your own plan as hidden as possible for as long as possible, the less your foe knows about your plan the more likely he is to make a placing mistake and grant you the advantage. I often deploy everything else before I deploy a single knight unit.  This includes trebuchets and M@A (Which I tend to place in the center due to its staying power).  The days of riding forth and right through an enemy are gone, adapt by finding weak points that you can hammer through.  These are found in the deployment so it is important to get it right.

If you don't get the chance to see their deployment prepare yourself for a quick response deployment.  Our knights are fast enough to redeploy on the first turn if placed close together.  It gives you a weakness to template weapons but after the redeploy you should have enough space so that it doesn't hurt too badly.  Whatever you do don't deploy so that's it obvious what you're doing unless you plan to use the incredible speed of the knights to redeploy.  This can change an attack by right flank that he is expecting to an attack by left flank where he is weak.  This is why I deploy cheap bowmen first.  They are cheap and reasonably effective wherever I place them so it reveal little about my plan while I get to see his plan.

And being able to redeploy quickly is our greatest strength in the deployment phase no one quite knows where we will be striking and as such must defend all flanks.  That is nearly impossible to be effective if you throw your full might against one side.  Keep this in mind when you deploy, most other armies are infantry based and as so can't keep up.

The next important thing to consider is your battle line.  This is the line that defines where your effective control of the battlefield is.  If this breaks you may be in serious trouble so keep it consistent.  A nice fluid line that shows where you have control is ideal.  If your battle line begins to look like a circle that's called collapsing the battle line and is generally bad to have happen. 

With Bretonnia one of my favorite tricks is to have 2 battle lines.  One on each flank.  They work separately to try and force a foes battle line to break.  It is dangerous if they try to totally engage one side but often they can't afford to ignore the other side.  If our army wasn't as fast I would not recommend this tactic because we often need the speed to avoid dangerous things that half our strength can't deal with.

Obviously I can't give any solid advice on a phase that depends mostly on your opponent but I will say have a plan of your own going in.  Place following that plan until it is determined that your plan will not work, hopefully this happens before the end of the deployment.

I myself run a heavy double flank attack going in.  Grail knights on one flank, two KOTR on the other.  My general with his KOTR and M@A in the middle, With the general closer to the knights he gets a leadership spread and doubles up with the BSB in a KOTR unit.  Though those often switch due to enemy placement.  I find it surprisingly effective, since he usually only has one unit that can deal with a knight charge and they tend to wish to fight the grails which leaves my other strong flank the ability to sweep right through.  If he charges forward M@A rank up for steadfast and with the BSB and general nearby they are not going anywhere.  Leaving the rest of my army time to mop up or weaken the dangerous units with range.  It hasn't failed me yet and I doubt it will since if it looks like it won't work I change it, since I have the multiple bowmen units I usually get to see the enemy plan.



The battle is often broken down into 3 distinct sections.  The first is the opening.  This consists of usually turn 1 and 2.  This is where we force weaknesses and inflict damage to make difficult units killable.  I shall break down each section based upon the 4 major aspects of Warhammer.  Movement, Magic, Shooting and Combat.  Keep in mind that most of the opening is simply determining what can be killed by what and getting the correct units into place.  A lot of this is determined by your deployment.  Good deployment leads to a good opening.

Opening Movement

The opening movement phase generally consists of moving around to weaker spots getting units to where they are most needed.  As well as faster units trying to get in to combat to eliminate different threats.  In the opening phases move your knights around to locate weaknesses in formation.  Stack the forces in your favor on one side, get favorable matchups.  This is also when we must also eliminate fast units that threaten our back lines while our fast units try to eliminate enemy back lines.

This first turns also reveals the plans that were put into place during the deployment.  If you were able to correctly predict and counter deploy to the enemies strategy then you have the advantage.  Press the attack on the advantage you've gained.  Hit the weak spot quickly and with great force.  Don't ever over extend yourself and keep a fluid battle line.  Force him to react to you if you have the advantage in movement.

If you were not able to deploy to create a weakness and instead have a disadvantage yourself you must quickly remedy that.  Use the great movement to redeploy correctly to counter the situation and don't worry about how silly the movements may look.  I've had crisscrossing knights before and it worked out well enough at the end.  Point is make sure you've matched your rock with his scissors before you consider going on the offensive.  Better to wait a turn and enter combat prepared then to enter early and lose a flank later on.

At the end of turn 2 you should have your plan put into action with no backing out.  Your fate will be sealed after the opening so treat it seriously.  Very seriously. 

As an important note if you successfully defend your back lines and fire support from the enemy fast units then a great luxury is now yours.  You now out gun your foe.  This is the goal of opening movement battles.  Have more fire support than your foe.  If you are unlikely to achieve this then consider getting into combat quickly.  This is often the case when the foe castles in the corner.  Against the average opponent combat should not be needed this early and it is often desirable to avoid it on a large scale for a while.

While the bulk of your forces have their future determined by your plan keep your fast anti-support units like Pegasus knights and Mounted yeoman in mind.  It is their goal to help you achieve having a greater fire support base.  Obvious targets are war machines and ranged units but do not forget the wizards.

When determining targets for your anti support units make sure you determine a valid threat level.  A threat level determines what you would sacrifice to destroy the enemy unit.  An archer unit is a low threat and usually I don't even have to deal with it,  a cannon is a moderate threat, I would certainly risk my pegasus to destroy them. A level 4 mage may well swing the battle in his favor and I would sacrifice a whole knight unit to eliminate them quickly.  Once you have determined the threat, act upon it.  Destroy high level targets first and quickly, moderate are as soon as reasonably possible and low are when you get around to it.

In movement you must respond to these threats as they arise.  The biggest threats to neutralize in the opening are things that have either powerful shooting or magic.  Eliminate these threats quickly and the game will become yours.  Also keep your advantage pressed if you have one don't let up the pressure if you have an advantage and eliminate enemy fire support.  These should be your main goals of the opening movement.


Magic for Bretonnia in the opening tends to be long range damage spells.  Buffs are not as important is dealing damage here.  As such the main thing is target priority.

Light magic missiles are best targeted at fast enemy units and enemy fire support.  You are trying to eliminate entire units to further protect your fire support base.  If you can kill a whole unit near others do so and aim for panic checks in nearby units.  Multiple light missiles is one way to use the early magic phase.  Also consider some remains in play spells.

Heavy magic attack spells should best be targeted at large units.  If you have the dwellers below try to target units that have characters, especially wizards.  They may very well die to it.  It is also a reasonable risk to attempt irresistible force for such powerful spells.  Especially if you are casting from the lore of life since you can heal your wounds later on.  Be wary if you suspect your foe of having a feedback scroll.

A lot of early magic is trying to determine who is more effective in the magic phase.  Can you shut them down or are they shutting you down?  Since it is so early in the game you should use this time to try and pull out dispel scrolls and other one-time use magic defenses.  The best was to go about doing this is using big powerful damage spells.  If it goes off irresistibly then you cause damage, sometimes severe, if it doesn't and they scroll it then they are defenseless later on in the game.

Magic defense is best spent determining what you can take and what you can't.  Enemy spells will be cast, just do your best to make sure that they are not devastating spells.  Light missile spells and buffs you usually can safely let go.  In fact if you can make them cast a buff by placement of threatening knights consider that a victory for you.  If at all possible try to save any dispel scrolls you have through the opening phase.  Unless it looks like you will eliminate their wizards early of course.

Personally I recommend either big spells against well armored foes or weak spells to eliminate enemy artillery or fast light units.



Shooting functions much like the magic phase.  Bowmen target light fast threatening targets to our back lines while the trebuchets target large blocks on infantry and other high priority targets.  In this case it is usually better to fire the heavy weapons first.

Hopefully the threat of the trebuchet also spreads out the enemy a bit so of all the targets to consider pay special attention to the ones that stay close to other units.  The more divided the enemy army the greater our army stands together.  And since it stands together it can pick apart the dispersed army.

In some circumstances the biggest threats are flying monsters Trebuchets were designed to drop these suckers.  Any and every rock possible should be spent firing at flying monsters like dragons.  These are the bane of our existence and should be dealt with quite quickly before they ruin our day.

However certain tactics come into play since shooting is done one unit at a time.  If the aforementioned light units are taken out of the picture (or never existed) what do these units fire at?  The answer is that they: try to support the combat, cause panic and eliminate.

Speaking about the last first, eliminate.  Very few targets will be eliminated by bowmen alone however a Large target may be on its last wound after the trebuchet hit.  It would be wasteful to spend an entire trebuchet shot at the same target so spend some bowmen.  That plucky shot has downed many a giant and even a couple dragons.  Finish the job with the cheap bowmen.  The only other target that may be eliminated is warmachines.  A 6 in the right spot means a dead crew and after a couple of volleys reduced power for the warmachine and possibly death.

Cause panic is the next one.  This is simple and known to many generals already, if you can get a unit to take a panic check you might not have to worry about it anymore and it might just take a few other units with them (Skaven and gobbos anyone?)  in their path to flee.  Simply pick out targets that are lightly armored with few numbers.  You can also fire at large units that the Treb didn't quite bring to a panic check.

Lastly support the combat.  Fire to remove a rank off that unit, soften the blow, reduce the chance for steadfast.  If you have a choice fire at units that will be in combat sooner than later.  Hit the targets to whittle them down for the inevitable midgame damage.

Shooting is very much a situational thing.  This phase you have to play by ear.



There should be a minimal of combat.  Most combat is either overwhelming or delaying.  Support units should be easily overwhelmed by what is sent against them.  After combat you should be prepared to redirect down flanks or get to a safe area.

Overall combat is very light at this time in the game.  Usually your fast units slicing through his support and your other units stopping his fast ones. A key thing to be careful of is that you don't have to pursue his fast units if you think it will put you in a disadvantageous place.

Fast stubborn units can also delay entire units to allow the rest of your army a chance to break the unit later.


Final Thoughts

The opening is where games are decided.  Eliminate the greatest opening threats that you can as quickly as you can and don't be afraid to sacrifice to do it.  Make sure you use speed to get the foe off balance and keep him there.  This is where you must force your foe to dance to YOUR tune.  If you have a strong opening the rest of the game will fall into place.


Last Updated ( Friday, 30 September 2011 )
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