Bretonnia Tactica So my first army was Bretonnia and I still own it so I thought I’d take it upon myself to write up a more comprehensive tactica. People have a view that the book is so old that it can’t be good anymore but in the right hands Bret’s can be lethal. Introduction: Bretonnians are a very mobile army, well armoured and heavily reliant on the charge to break opponents. The lance formation means they’ll usually have +3 combat res, hitting your core units on 3’s at S5. However, they are very poor in subsequent combats (except Questing Knights and to a lesser extent, Grail Knights). However, the lance allows all units either side of the strip down the centre to hit as if they’re in contact (including bizarrely the horses!). Speaking of the horses they all have barding so act like a Cold one granting a +2 to a Bret save and they aren’t hindered in their movement by this. Bret’s have the opportunity to pray to receive an army wide 6+ ward save (for knights only) and 5+ ward save against S5 and above. It’s very rare a Bret opponent won’t pray but once in a while you might see it to throw you off, particularly with peasant heavy armies like the infamous ‘Agincourt’ list. As cavalry they’re also immune to thunderstomp so your steggies aren’t going to fare as well. Getting a charge off is very unlikely however, if the steggie survives the charge you can probably hold them up for the rest of the game, Bret’s really struggle if they can’t break an opponent and LM leadership causes them serious pain. Oh and of course if you do get lucky enough to charge with your Steggie, they loathe impact hits. All Bret cavalry fears one thing the most, getting charged on the flank, because of the lance formation units tend to be very long so flank charges are more viable than usual. Knights Errant are particularly vulnerable thanks to impetuous and you can bait them with skink skirmish clouds. One of the most unexpectedly painful units is a huge block of Men at Arms with the Prayer Icon of Quenelles, it’s not a cheap combination to create as it requires an extra 100 pts of character (or 200 with the Ruby Goblet) but it does mean they receive the blessing and will therefore have 5+ ward against your temple guard. You’ll have a higher weapon skill and they’ll only be wounding you on 4+ whilst you’re on 2+ (although if they’re going overkill they might have the ruby goblet which means you can’t wound them on better than 3+) but they’re only 5 pts a model compared to your 14… Longbowman are underrated and most Bret players will have a unit. The stakes give the unit soft cover and they have volley fire and a 30” range but this also means they’ll be in formation so if you can get close they have no armour and will fall like flies to javelins and blowpipes. Bret’s two best units are Grail Knights and Trebuchets. Grail Knights charge on S6, I5 with 2 attacks each at WS5. They also count as Characters so expect to get a challenge thrown at you, even their horse will be hitting before your Saurus! Unit Champions and maybe even Scar Vet’s might want to have a think before accepting. On the downside they’re very expensive and Bret’s can only take 1 unit unfortunately for them because GW only updates FAQ’s every five years. Trebuchet’s are quite brutal ,they’re a stone thrower with S10 over the centre circle and S5 over the rest of the small template. Expect to see at least 2 and for them to be chucking rocks early on at your Temple Guard. They should be a priority target for your Skinks or Chamo scouts. One final note on Bret’s before I go into the guide proper, obviously all their cavalry units have swiftstride, however, one Virtue allows them to roll an extra D6 to add to their charge, if you see a Paladin in with Grail Knights, chances are, that’s what he’s got and it’ll make a mess of anything it hits so don’t be too confident you’re out of range. Lists: Expect to see a mixed army most of the time, peasants to hold up things like your temple guard and plenty of knights of the Realm/ Errant. Being multi charged is a real possibility and Saurus warriors will struggle to punch through Bret armour, at S5 they’ll also be mitigating most of your save. At the back trebuchets shower you with rocks and Pegasus knights swoop round to go hunting. It’s hard to give a totally typical list but the following are also quite common: Full Lance – Knights of the Realm and Errant Knights backed up by a DeathStar Grail unit. It relies heavily on multi charging and breaking an opponents army early. Full Errant – Cheap and cheerful, floods the board with cavalry and is more resilient to casualties but struggles badly against chaff. Agincourt – Full bowman with a couple of knight units/ men at arms to deal with the opponent when they get too close, max number of trebuchets and a small unit of Pegasus knights for war machine hunting. Not a lot of fun to play but very irritating for armies like Wood Elves with low T and armour saves, not really a problem for us as we can weather the shooting. General Tactics: We have better, stronger characters than Bret’s but we are much less mobile as an army. We’re also vulnerable to some of their better virtues and things like heroic killing blow and few thunderstomp targets reduce the value of our steggies. Bret’s also have a very narrow frontage so it’s unlikely we’ll get our full hits in and we’re almost always going to be receiving the charge. Their high armour save also means they’re less bothered about poison than other armies although weight of fire can of course, always take its toll and at t3 we can even wound normally as well. Peasants, trebuchets and bowman on the other hand are very vulnerable indeed since they have a limited or no AS. Bret Knights are very reliant on their armour save so units like Skrox are very painful to them at -4AS but don’t forget they’ll still have a 5+ward. We’ll have a much better magic phase than them, so buffs to improve our core S are good or the lore of metal is devastating to them. The key is to try and draw units in so they can be flanked and easily dealt with, oh and for gods sake, kill the trebuchets! If you can survive the charge through the BSB LD re-rolls and deep ranks and steadfast, Bret’s will struggle, most of their units then drop to S3 at which point the tide turns firmly in our favour. Small harassing units or Razordons are helpful (assuming no banner of Challons) to make multi charges difficult and to break up their attack. Sallies are vulnerable to Pegasus Knights but the long length of the lance can sometimes make it worthwhile to risk them anyway for catching the whole lot in a template. Special Characters: Green Knight: On paper, very strong, he’s ethereal, four attacks (at +2s or +D6A depending on what mode you use his sword and causes terror). His trick is to appear in a natural (so not ruins etc) piece of terrain although he can’t charge until the following turn. He’s actually pretty tasty in close combat and has a chance to return even if killed. Ultimately however he tends to be a fluffy rather than competitive choice for Bret players. For LM there’s no war machines for him to kill so to make his points back he needs to go for one of your characters and it’ll take him a couple of turns to kill a Steggie. However he’s not really great for what Bret’s really need help with which is massed infantry so he’s not taken often and there’s always the time where he decides not to appear the whole game. Fay Enchantress: Likely to be only seen at very large point games as she’s very expensive. +2 for Lore of Life, and free castings in heavens but her most important use is to allow Bret’s to have more than 1+ Grail Knights (Grail Guardians) and to gain the blessing without praying which is huge. Still not worth the points though and not a competitive choice except at 3k+. If she’s not got Grail Guardians she should be an immediate target for your skinks and even if she does it’s definitely worth throwing a Scar Vet or tooled up Old Blood at her. King Louen: I’ve played plenty of massive games with my Bret’s and I’ve never, ever felt the urge to take him. For the points he can be killed off by an Old Blood on a Cold one for a third of the cost without breaking a sweat. His main benefit is an 18” leadership bubble and there are better ways for Bret’s to get leadership enhancements. Oh and you can get multiple Pegasus knights but that’s a hell of a tax to pay… Note on Bret Characters: Bret Characters would be fantastic if they are allowed to take Knightly Virtues and their full magic points allowance but unfortunately they can’t do that, some rather cheeky Bret opponents might claim to ‘forget’ that rule however! Bret Characters also pretty much always will accept challenges as to not do so means losing the blessing of the lady which can’t be regained (except by one special magic item). Note that this also applies to the entire unit they’re with as well. The standard warhorse is by far the most common mount with 1 attack and adding +2 AS but Paladins on Pegasus are also quite popular for 3W and the additional attacks and stomp. Oh also, no one takes a Hippogriff, ever. Lords: Bret Lord: Fairly underwhelming stats but he’ll likely have a 2+AS at least. Bret players typically are a bit lazy and rely on the blessing for the ward save and gear up their characters with goodies instead. He’s LD10 so expect him fairly central. It’s impossible to really say what he’ll have as Bret’s have plenty of options but virtue of the joust with lance of Artois is quite common, killing blow on the charge with re-rolls so be careful about receiving, especially as he’ll be hitting you first. Prophetess: Lvl 3 or 4 caster, if she’s mounted she’ll also have a 5+ AS and a 6+/5+ WS. She tends to be taken with Lore of Life as it synergies well with Bret’s. Dwellers is a nice spell to have against chaff (or anything really but Bret’s struggle with chaff) and regrowth is great for Grail Knights. She has MR2 so just be aware of that if she’s attached to a unit. Silver mirror is a favourite, it’s a dispel scroll with a S6 wound on a 2+, nice for finishing off a wounded Skink Priest or a very unlucky Slann. Paladin: For a BSB choice, likely to be in a unit of peasants or amongst some Knights of the Realm. The orders get expensive very fast for characters, Grail Knights and Questing Knights are pretty resilient anyway so he’s a bit of a waste of points with them, oh also a compulsory choice but you’d always expect to see one anyway. Non –bsb tends to be used to add some punch to a unit that might otherwise struggle, Knights of the Realm are popular, Questing Knights aren’t unusual or he’s feeling very risqué, as the front three of Grail Knights which is very expensive but likely to leave a bloody hole in anything it hits and the only way to increase the unit size above 12. You might also see him on a Pegasus as Bret’s are limited to only having 1 of the unit. It’s an effective choice more suited for warmachine hunting but he’ll still make a mess of things like Skinks on the charge or small units of cold one cav. It also grants him 3W. Damsel: Pretty inexpensive (same cost as our priests) and they provide MR 1 , fairly typical to see them at lvl 2. Bret’s can get hold of 2 dispel items so expect to see them used as caddies or with the prayer icon and peasants to allow them to get a ward save. Lord of Beasts tends to be the favourite as Knights at S6 and T4 are pretty nasty or men at arms with S5 halberds. Magic isn’t really the Bret’s strong point but defensively they can hold their own pretty well. Core: Knights of the Realm: Compulsory for Bret players to take at least 1 but they’re a pretty all round solid choice. 2+ AS, S5 on the charge. Just be aware the lance counts towards their ranks so don’t rely too heavily on being steadfast. Utterly useless after the charge where they revert to being S3 and therefore very likely to lose in a grindfest. Knights Errant: Easy to bait as they're impetuous but most Bret players tend to have their brain wired to ‘charrrrrge’ anyway so it may not be as great a tactic as you think. Their best trick is the Errantry Banner which makes them S6 on the charge and more than compensates for them being WS3. Peasant Bowman: Don’t laugh, they’re very cheap, have a 30” range and will essentially permanently have soft cover thanks to their stakes. With volley fire expect them to focus on your Saurus and only bother with your Skirmishers when they get within 15”. They’ll also likely of taken a flaming attack upgrade which is only a bother if you’ve taken Life and Earthblood with your Slann. Men at Arms: Fairly terrible core stats but all Bret Peasant units can take their LD from nearby knights and it’s not uncommon for them to be given a Paladin on foot with Virtue of Empathy and the Ruby Goblet. As they’re quite cheap expect to see them either as a very large unit with goodies like the Prayer Icon to give them a ward save (in which case they actually start to become a serious threat), or in a small unit with deep ranks to deal with chaff. Special: Questing Knights: Very underrated in my view. Great Weapons so they don’t care about receiving the charge and they get to re-roll psychology tests. They’re S6, WS4 and although they have a 3+ save they still get to use the shield for shooting. I really like them as they can handle long combats which is something Bret’s struggle with and you also don’t need to use the lance formation so flanks are less of an issue. Grail Relique: More of a fluffy choice than a competitive one, they’re stubborn albeit on LD 8 but they have hatred as well. Unfortunately they’re quite expensive for their points so Men at Arms tend to be better, a common tactic is to put the relique in the front for the 4+ AS. Pegasus Knights: Probably one of the best war machine hunting units in the game, S5 on the charge and the Pegasus gets 2 S4 attacks plus a stomp. They’re not cheap but they’re not that easy to kill either at T4 with a 3+. Whilst LM might not have warmachines, Sallies are very vulnerable or lone Scar Vet Cowboys. Mounted Yeoman: I have to confess, I’ve only used them once but wasn’t too impressed, they’ll even struggle in a straight fight with Skink Skirmishers! They might be used to block you off from charging the Pegasus knights or as re-directors but a few clouds of poison will drop them very quickly. Rare: Trebuchet: For 90pts Bret’s get one of the best (in my humble opinion) pieces of artillery in the game. The rock lobber misfire chart is fairly forgiving and it’s S5 (S10 over the hole), a priority target. Grail Knights: They are very, very expensive but they hit like a ton of bricks and at S4, WS5 they aren’t appalling at continuing to fight after the charge either. I5 means they’re usually going first, however like all Bret Cavalry they hate being charged, a Scar Vet on a Cold One with a Great Weapon will really ruin their day and although they’re immune to psych, they’re not unbreakable. Just reassure yourself that they’re the equivalent of three temple guard. Oh also all their attacks are magic so Etheral Slann’s beware! The Vows: Bret’s have three types of vows and characters can only join units if they an equivalent vow which is why adding characters to Grail Knights gets so expensive. Knights Vow: Ignore panic from peasants… yeah not really one you were planning to exploit but Knight units breaking DOES cause panic in peasants. Questing Vows: Re-rolls for failed psychology tests, quite nice as it works as a mini BSB, more annoying for us as it negates Skrox and Steggies. Grail Knights: Immune to psych, grants magical weapons and allows access to the grail weapons including the shield which is one of the best items Bret’s have. It’s expensive for Bret players to do so expect them to have a plan if you see characters in a Grail unit. Magical Items: I don’t plan to cover every magical item here but these are some of the key ones to be aware of: Weapons: Sword of the Quest: Like the Obsidian blade except you can use it two handed like a great weapon which is quite tasty and allows characters a decent chance of wounding Old Blood’s and Scar Vets, particularly as we rely on armour saves. Sword of the Lady’s Champion: Negates such a heavy reliance on the charge as it essentially allows characters to consistently wound high targets, also dangerous for LM. Sword of Heroes: It has a chance of instant gibbing your character but it’s pretty unlikely, definitely the least dangerous of the three. Birth Sword of Carcassone: Like a reverse dawnstone it forces re-rolls on AS, dangerous for us with our heavy reliance on armour. Morning Star of Fracasse: A pain in the arse, it has a decent chance of destroying magic items, however, it tends to be on a Paladin rather than a Lord so your Scar Vet could be laughing if he’s minimally geared. However, Lord’s geared up to hold up characters the whole game also love this so be aware if the Bret player leaps at the chance to challenge your Old Blood. Lance of Artois: Often seen with Virtue of the Joust, the re-rolls mean a higher likelihood of getting KB off, hardly reliable but not something to be laughed at and it’ll still be 3/ 4 S6 hits. Heartwood Lance: Grants the usual +2S on the charge and re-rolls to wound which combined with items like Tress of Isolde and Heroic Killing Blow can be good. Curaiss of Fortune tends to be a more popular choice but either can be painful to an unprepared character. Wyrmwood Lance: Not a terribly popular choice as most Bret players prefer additional hitting power but for us actually very dangerous. A quick blast of this over our expensive Chamo Skinks is likely to cause a panic test or worse, wipe the unit. At least it can't be used in CC. Armour: Grail Shield: Any Character will the Grail virtue will have this as it upgrades them to a 4+ ward. Gromnil Great Helm: Relish how annoying the Dawnstone can be, more fool you, the Bret’s can do it twice with this. Very likely to be seen. Armour of Agiluff: Not such a problem for us as our characters’ WS is pretty much on par with the Bret’s but still annoying as it’s basically a -1 to hit and a +1 for your opponent. Cuirass of Fortune: Re-roll failed wounds, sometimes seen with lance of Artois and virtue of the joust for a player whole likes to bet everything on a charge or with Virtue of Heroism (heroic killing blow) Talismans: Insignia of the Quest: 3+ ward as soon as you hit one wound, nasty trick is to give this to a Lord and then heal them back up with life. Enchanted Items: Falcon Horn of Fredemund: It’s very expensive but it does ground all fliers which can be a pain if you’re planning to launch your terradons/ ripperdactyls somewhere. We’re less bothered as we don’t have a dragon though. Ruby Goblet: Really nasty for us with our Temple Guard who would normally be wounding on 2’s but are now wounding on 3’s against potentially a 5+ ward as well if used in conjunction with the Prayer Icon. Also very irritating for any of our dino’s with thunderstomp. Mane of the Purebreed: Might grant a bit of extra combat res for a Bret player but not really anything to be concerned about. Antlers of the Great Hunt: Actually quite a pain for us as if any of our Scar Vet’s/ Old Bloods on Cold Ones get charged and then broken they at least normally stand a good chance of running away but this tilts the balance firmly in the Bret players favour. Tress of Isolde: Makes it easier for a Bret player to get hits in against a target, for only 20 pts a pretty solid buy and one you might see quite often in conjunction with the razor standard or flaming banner if they’re feeling cheap. Gauntlets of the Duel: This is actually a major pain for us, Questing Knights are a good one to put a character in with this. First charge he kills the unit champion in our temple guard and helps deal with our combat res, second round of combat we have no choice but to duel with the Slann and that’s not going to go well… Arcane Items: Silver Mirror: Dispel Scroll that also has a high chance of doing a S6 hit, near an auto include in Bret armies. Prayer Icon of Quenelles: I’ve already discussed it but if you see a large block of Men at Arms, chances are this is in it. Chalice of Malfieur: Has a chance of wounding its owner but improving the Bret dispel phase, uncommon but some players who are feel lucky might take it. Potion Sacre: Best used to have a punt at turning an unfortunate Damsel into a mincing machine with Transformation of Kadon but not a bad defensive item either to help with an irresistible dispel. Banners: Banner of the Lady: With Steadfast not great anymore and a max of +3 combat res for removal of rank bonuses isn’t really worth a 100 pts but you might see it in a Grail Death Star. Banner of Defence: Not really a worry for us as Bret players will have defence against our only ‘warmachine’ anyway since it’s S5. Twilight Banner: Yeah so that rocky outcrop, knights don’t care anymore when they charge you through impassable terrain, however, they still need to clear the obstacle so more dangerous on the shorter lances. Errantry Banner: Compulsory in a Unit of Knights Errant for the S6 Banner of Chalons: No stand and shoot is very bad for our units like Razordons, be aware of this, it’s very cheap as well so is almost always included. Virtues: Again, I won’t cover everything but here are the most pertinent, Bret players have to pay double the price if they take more than one so if you see it on one character, chances are it isn’t on another: Virtue of Knightly Temper: This is brutal, granting additional attacks for wounds made, with Tress of Isolde you could be looking at a Lord killing 7-8 Temple Guard on the charge. Virtue of Heroism: Heroic killing blow is a massive threat to us, however unlikely, expect to see it and this may be one of the few virtues taken twice if a Bret player knows they’re facing LM. Virtue of the Ideal: Occasionally taken to boost a lone hero stats but its not common and eats up a lot of magic item points for a Paladin. The other problem is ensuring he’s never within 6” of a unit for the ld penalty. Virtue of the Impetuous Knight: +D6 inches on the charge is huge for Bret’s, this is as near to an auto include virtue as you’ll see. Virtue of Audacity: Since our base S is 5 this is a pain, re-rolls to hit and wound is guaranteed against both our Scar Vets and Old Bloods, expect to see this. Virtue of Duty: A +1 combat res isn’t bad but not it’s not that cheap, fairly common on a Paladin in a unit. Virtue of the Joust: More likely to see Audacity if your opponent knows they’re playing LM but this is pretty useful with the Lance of Artois. Virtue of Confidence: Quite easy to exploit if you know your Old Blood will mince his Paladin anyway but irritating against unit champions with the re-rolls. Virtue of Empathy: Basically allows the Knight to lead peasants and will be used in conjunction with the Ruby Goblet. The LD boost mitigates a lot of the peasant problems so try and kill him in a duel if you can.