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Fast Cavalry is the focus of this episode and I will be covering the rules and uses of these types of units, how you can get the best from them, what you need to watch out for when using them and how the rules for them actually work.
First up lets look at the 4 main special rules that Fast Cavalry get.
- Free Reform
- Feigned Flight
- Fire on the March
These rules on their own are all very good but when combines together they form quite a package.
First lets look at Vanguard. This is described on Pg 79 and in summary lets you move your units after deploying them. There are a number of way that this can be effective but also a few things that you need to watch out for. Your units is allowed a 12″ move. This happens after scouts have been deployed but before rolling or the first turn. You should really bear this in mind when deploying your unit and also those around it. Be sure to leave space for your fast cavalry unit to move into (or even out of) I like to deploy my fast cavalry units on the full 12″ deployment line as the Vanguard move can then be used to withdraw to the table edge or advance into a forwards position.
Its also a good idea to place your units in a position to entice a unit to deploy against them and then use the vanguard move to get away from that unit. Doing this with 2-3 Fast Cavalry units and another 2-3 flyers or similar and you can deploy a strong force on a flank that if unopposed will be a problem to deal with, but at the slightest show of strength they can fade away.
Just be aware that because you take this move after scouts are deployed, a canny opponent might deploy his scouts in a position where you can’t take your vanguard move at all as it would bring you too close to the scouts.
Fast Cavalry are allowed to make a free reform move at any time during their movement. This manoeuvre offers an amazing amount of flexibility and ken get the unit into and out of some sticky situations but is also often the point of rules disagreements between players.
The Rulebook FAQ cleared up most problems.
Q: When moving Fast Cavalry or Skirmishers, should I measure
from the location of each model before it moves and place it anywhere
within its Movement Allowance (or double its Movement Allowance
if it is marching) ? (p68, 77)
A: Yes. Except when there is a unit or impassable terrain in the
way, the distance moved must include the distance required to
move around these obstacles.
As you can see, its pretty easy to use fast cav. Measure their maximum possible distance before you move them and place a marker. Then move your unit to any position and formation inside that distance. You can get situations where your unit needs to move around obstructions, like other units and terrain or even through small gaps, in this case, move your unit, reform to a formation that can fit through the gap. Move some more. Once clear of the gap reform into a more desirable formation and carry on moving. The distance the models travel during that reform do not count towards your movement. Its just he final position that you take into account.
This is probably the rule that turn fast cavalry from an unusual and annoying unit to a real threat on the battlefield. Feigned flight allows your unit to flee a charge and if they rally in the following turn they can act as normal in the following turn, that includes being able to move and shoot. This is especially powerful when combined with the double flee tactic that I talked about in Episode 14 (Wow! Thats some time ago now!!)
Remember to position friendly units to ‘bounce’ your fact cavalry through wile fleeing to ensure they escape the charging unit.
Fire on the March
Finally we have Fire on the March. This is the rule that allows a fast cav unit to perform a march move and still fire. They can do this after rallying too.
So to sum up Fast Cavalry and to describe an ideal battlefield situation.
You set up 2 units on a flank next to each other. Have your eagles, harpies or another reasonably quick unit near by. If an opponent faces off with a good number of units you can just withdraw and redeploy after a first turn vanguard move and march. Assuming you think you can manage the unit that have challenged your table space use your vanguard more to advance. On turn 1 march both fast cavalry units in the face of your enemy. Position your eagles so when you fast cav flee they can easily get to safety. Flee any charges, the enemy unit is stalled having to charge twice and unable to redirect a 3rd time.
In your own turn the fast cavalry units both rally, march past and behind the enemy and start shooting from relative safety.
If you have anything to say about this episode feel free to let me know by leaving a comment below or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org