Not many people I know play cavalry units. It could be that they are generally tough to paint, expensive in monetary terms, or expensive in game terms. However in the hands of the right general, cavalry units can decide whether the game is won or lost. Cavalries in Warmachine are broken down into 2 sub-types: Normal (heavy) Cavalry and Light Cavalry. Analogically speaking, I find that Heavy Cavalry are like spearheads. When they hit you, they hit you hard. Their hit can shake the core of your army so hard that in some cases, you just cannot recover from it. I remember the first time I played against a cavalry unit in Warmachine. When it broke through my ranks, I was simply stunned!
On the other hand, light cavalries are like arrows. They are light (pardon the pun), silent, and deadly. Light cavalries usually flanks the enemy. When they attack you, you feel like you just got hit by a precision arrow striking a crucial body part. You can still fight, but unlike the heavy cavalry ‘shaking and stunning’ you, the light cavalry just disabled your arm. There are differences between the two but similarities do exist. One similarity is that they both put you in deep shit.
Cavalry units follow standard unit rules, but have the following additional rules.
Charging bonus: When charging, models get +2 to hit
Very useful ability to have as it makes your cavalry hit more accurately. Just don’t forget about it!
|A search for an impact attack related picture yielded this.|
Impact Attack: Allows mounts from heavy cavalries to make attacks.
Impact attacks allows the cavalry model to break defensive lines/intervening models when making a charge. Unfortunately due to its “all comes down to one hit” nature, it is mostly used as an “additional attack” on the charged target instead after using other models to take down defensive lines/intervening models.
|Perhaps the movie is about cavalries hitting over intervening models.|
Tall in the Saddle: Ignore intervening models with bases smaller than their own when making melee attacks.
I believe this is the reason why most cavalries were given Reach-based weapons besides the aesthetical nature of it. Mostly under-used, but it does come in handy from time to time.
|Ride by attack! (see what I did there?)|
Ride by Attack: Can combine its normal movement and action when activating.
Like Tall in the Saddle, this is mostly an under-used ability. However, the potential of ride-by-attacks with ranged weapons is simply too sweet to not try out at least once.
Light Cavalry movement: After completing its action, light cavalries can advance up to 5”.
Light cavalries cannot perform ride by attacks and impact attacks. They can, however, use their mount as additional attacks (when not charging) and have a light cavalry movement to reposition them after completing their actions. This rule is the reason why light cavalries are really good flankers besides their high speed in nature.
Albeit being a tad bit expensive, calvaries offer you a bang for your buck. The downside is that according to some local buddies, they can be quite difficult to paint. Nevertheless, I strongly recommend giving these horsies a try as it will open up some pretty interesting dynamics within your game.
If you can change/add/delete one thing in the Cavalry rules, what would it be?