LPG - Cavalry

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This article is part of Warmachine University's Learning to Play the Game (LPG) series, which is "Intermediate Training" aimed at new players who are still learning the core rules.
(See also Basic Training and Advanced Training.)


This article is an introduction to Cavalry. The official rules are included near the bottom of this article, along with some Rules Clarifications that have popped up over the years. The Rules Clarifications cover several corner-case scenarios that the main text doesn't go over.

We start with 5 Storm Lances squaring off against some single-wound infantry.
The first Storm Lance declares a charge vs the green target. He makes impact attacks against two models along the way, kills them, and finishes his charge movement. It's a successful charge.
The second Storm Lance tries the same thing. However, he does not manage to kill one of the two models (highlighted red). The surviving model is blocking his charge lane so his charge stops. It's an unsuccessful charge, and his activation immediately ends.
The third Storm Lance tries the same thing. Again, he fails to kill one of the two models (highlighted red). This time, it doesn't block his charge lane so he continues onwards. He takes a free strike from the red model who rolls like a boss, and the Storm Lance dies.
The fourth Storm Lance tries the same thing, but has moved less than 3" when he gets in B2B. Since he moved less than 3", he cannot make impact attacks and his charge lane is blocked. It's an unsuccessful charge, and his activation immediately ends.
The fifth Storm Lance declares a charge vs the green target. He positions himself to one side intending to make impact attacks against all three models. However, since his charge target is one of the models impacted, he needs to turn to directly face before rolling any dice.
After turning to face, only the charge target is left still in his impact range and LOS. The impact attack then kills his charge target, but it still counts as a successful charge.
Now that all the Storm Lances have finished moving, you're ready to start their Assault attackd.
The blue one gets a shot at his charge target. The red ones get a shot at their charge target, even though they're stuck in melee with a different model. The green one gets no shot because he already killed his charge target.
With the Assaults finished, they're finally ready for their Combat Action. The first Storm Lance (blue) gets a charge attack. It will get a boosted attack roll (because it's a Cavalry charge) and a boosted damage roll (because it's a charge).
The second and fourth Storm Lances (red) failed their charge so get no Combat Action.
The fifth Storm Lance (green) has no one in his melee range, so has wasted his Combat Action.
Overall, a very poor activation.

Recap for Newbies

How the Mount works

A Cavalry model which doesn't charge

  • Can use its Mount during its Combat Action as an extra initial melee attack.

A Cavalry model which charges

  • It can "pause" mid-movement and make unboosted Impact Attacks with its Mount (see below).
  • It can pause only once.
  • If it makes a successful charge it gets a boosted to-hit roll and a boosted damage roll against its charge target. It has to use a non-Mount weapon vs its charge target.
  • It cannot use its Mount as an extra initial attack during its Combat Action.

A Cavalry model which charges but moves less than 3"

  • Cannot make Impact Attacks and cannot use its Mount as an extra initial attack during its Combat Action.
  • Can make initial melee attack(s) vs its charge target, but only with non-Mount weapons. It won't be boosted because it wasn't a successful charge.

A unit of Cavalry that gets the Press Forward order:

  • Note that with the Press Forward order, you must run or charge. Sometimes models in a unit will be forced to charge but move less than 3", in which case they lose all their Mount/Impact attacks as mentioned above.
  • Since each model is moved one at a time, the "pause" to do Impact Attacks is done one at a time. So it goes:
    • Move model A, pause to do Impact Attacks, finish moving model A.
    • Then move model B, pause to do Impact Attacks, etc.
    • Once all models have moved and Impacted, then you can start on their regular Combat Actions.

Other

  • Gunfighter attacks can be used when you charge, but are not considered to be a "charge attack". As such they don't get the boosted to-hit roll or the boosted damage roll.

Impact Attacks

  • While charging, if you get in B2B with a model, you can "pause" the charge movement to make Impact Attacks. You can only do this if you've already moved 3" before getting B2B.
  • Although they happen during a charge movement, Impact Attacks are not charge attacks and therefore do not get boosted.
  • You have to pause in a legal position, not overlapping obstacles or other models.
  • Once paused, if your original charge target is in your Mount's melee range, then:
    • You have to turn to directly face your charge target before rolling dice.
    • Your movement ends, rather than pauses, and you resolve any relevant "ends its movement" effects (such as Countercharge) before rolling dice.
    • You count as making a successful charge, no matter what gets triggered next.
  • Once paused (and turned to face your charge target if applicable), you make an attack with your Mount vs every model in the Mount's range (friendly and enemy).
  • Once you finish these Impact Attacks, you continue your movement towards your original charge target (if you haven't already reached it). You don't get to make any more Impact Attacks.
    If the Impact Attacks didn't kill everything in your charge lane, and you don't have a special rule letting you move through them, then your charge movement will stop.

    Tangential Impacts    

This one is bit polarizing. The players that are for this tactic state that: maths proves that if the charging cavalry model contacts a model precisely on the tangent then they will both contact it (so they can trigger Impact Attacks) and also not be blocked by it (so if the Impact Attack fails to kill it, their charge lane isn't blocked).

However this tangent point is literally infinitely small and the counterargument is: sure tangents are mathematically possible, but we're not playing maths. We're playing with actual models and doing measurements ourselves, and there is no way humans can be that precise.

The generally accepted solution is, tangent impacts are ok only if both players agree they're ok. If you or your opponent are using Cavalry models it may be worth having a quick chat before the game "Hey, are you okay if I/you/we do tangential impacts in this game?"

Cavalry & Assault

Assault allows you to make a ranged attack after' completing your charge movement, but before making your Combat Action.

Since Impact Attacks happen during your charge movement, when it comes to a unit of cavalry with Assault it goes:

  • Choose one model, declare a charge, carry out Impact Attacks (all as described above).
  • Choose the next model, and repeat.
  • After all models have charged, start doing Assault attacks.
  • After all models have made their Assualt attacks, start doing their Combat Action (melee charge attack).

Dragoon

A Dragoon is a special type of cavalry solo model that can become dismounted mid-game. It has two damage tracks and when the first damage track is filled, you replace the horse model with the infantry model. When this happens the model's base stats decrease (SPD, ARM, etc) and often they'll lose a bunch of special abilities (such as Lance weapons).

Damage cannot "overflow" from the first damage track to the second damage track, so dragoons always take a minimum of two attacks to kill.

Super Cavalry

A few cavalry models have extra special rules which make them even better at being cavalry. They are relatively straight-forward to understand:

  • Crushing Weight – When it charges, this model is not required to move at least 3˝ to make impact attacks. Instead of making impact attacks only once, this model can make impact attacks each time it contacts a model for the first time during its charge.
  • Line Breaker - This model gains an additional die on impact attack rolls.
  • Trampling Hooves - This model can make charge attacks with this weapon in addition to making impact attacks.

Official Rules

Cavalry symbol.jpg

From the 2020.02 edition of the core rules.

Cavalry

In addition to all the standard rules for models of their types (battle engine, warcaster, etc), cavalry models have the following additional rules in common.

    Mount Attacks    

A cavalry model’s Mount not only provides transportation but also is a weapon in its own right. Mount attacks are melee attacks with a 0.5˝ melee range. A cavalry model using its Combat Action for melee attacks can make one initial attack with its Mount just as with any other melee weapon.

Mount attacks are resolved normally except that the STR of the cavalry model is not added to Mount damage. The damage roll for a Mount attack is 2d6 plus only the POW of the Mount.

Mount Melee Attack Damage Roll = 2d6 + POW of Mount

Mounts are indicated by a horseshoe icon in their stat bars.

    Cavalry Charge    
Cavalry models gain boosted charge attack rolls.

    Impact Attacks    

A cavalry model cannot make an initial melee attack with its Mount during an activation it charged. Instead, a charging cavalry model uses its Mount to make impact attacks. If a charging cavalry model contacts another model during its charge movement and has moved at least 3˝, it can stop and make impact attacks with its Mount (see “Mount Attacks,” above) against all models in the Mount’s melee range. The cavalry model makes these attacks even if it is out of formation. Impact attack and damage rolls cannot be boosted. Impact attacks are simultaneous. After resolving the impact attacks, the charging cavalry model resumes its charge movement. The charging model does not resume its movement if it is pushed, slammed, thrown, or placed while it was stopped. It cannot make further impact attacks during this charge. If the charging cavalry model did not move at least 3˝ before contacting the other model, it does not make any impact attacks and must stop its movement at that point.

If the cavalry model chooses to make an impact attack against its charge target, before making any impact attacks the model turns to face the charge target and its charge movement ends. If the impact attack destroys the charge target, it does not result in a failed charge.


Cavalry symbol.jpg

From the 2020.02 edition of the core rules.

Dragoon

Dragoons are models with a mounted stat card and a dismounted stat card. They begin the game mounted but can become dismounted during play.

When a mounted dragoon suffers damage, apply that damage to its mounted dragoon damage boxes. When all these damage boxes are marked, the dragoon becomes dismounted instead of disabled. Damage points in excess of the mounted dragoon’s remaining unmarked damage boxes are not applied to its dismounted damage boxes. If a dragoon is dismounted while advancing, it cannot continue to advance; if a dragoon becomes dismounted during its activation, its activation ends. Remove the mounted dragoon and replace it with the dismounted dragoon model (see “Replacing Models,” p. 33). Apply effects that were on the mounted dragoon to the dismounted dragoon. When the dismounted form replaces the mounted form, the dismounted form is not considered to have entered an area and does not trigger effects triggered by entering that area. Once this replacement is complete, any further damage the dragoon suffers will be applied to its dismounted dragoon damage boxes. The dragoon is disabled when all its dismounted damage boxes have been marked.

Rules Clarifications

RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification:  : Cavalry      (Edit)
(Click Expand to read)

Mount Weapon
  • Although the core rulebook specifies mount weapons have 0.5" range, this doesn't "overwrite" models that have a longer mount range listed on their card. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Mount Weapons are melee weapons. (Infernal Ruling) This means:
    • Mount Attacks can benefit from any buffs that affect "melee weapons" (such as Acidic Touch and Elasticity) or "melee attacks" (such as Battle Lust).
    • Mount Weapons can be used to make free strikes.
    • If the model doesn't have any regular melee weapon (such as the Gun Carriage) then it does have a melee range, can engage enemy models, and can make free strikes; anyway.
    • Despite being a melee weapon, you cannot use a Mount's special attack on the same activation you charge. (Infernal Ruling)
      • Exception: If you have Trampling Hooves, because that allows you to make charge attacks with your mount when you charge.
  • Mount attacks will trigger "Melee attack" stuff like Battle Wizard.
  • You can purchase additional attacks with your Mount Weapon. (Infernal Ruling)

Impact Attacks - Movement

  • You cannot "stop" in an illegal position to carry out Impact Attacks. For instance, halfway over a linear obstacle, or a flying cavalry stopping while it 'overlaps' other models, or stopping halfway through an Incorporeal model.
    • The reason is, you need to obey the rule "this model can advance through [stuff] if they have enough movement to move completely past it".
    • Stopping during your movement doesn't satisfy that rule, whether that's the "stop" at the end of the model's normal movement or the "stop" for impact attacks.
  • If your charge target is included in your Impact Attacks, then you need to turn and face it and end your movement before starting the attacks (refer rulebook, last paragraph of 'Impact Attacks').
    • As such, things which trigger at "End of Movement" (such as Admonition) will occur before your Impact Attacks.
    • On the other hand, if your Impact Attacks don't include your charge target, then you're interupting your movement to resolve them, and thus stuff like Admonition won't trigger.

Impact Attacks - The attack(s)

  • You resolve stuff that occurs "after the attack is resolved" (such as Battle Wizard) before continuing with your charge movement.
  • If you have an ability that boosts your "first" melee attack (such as Stir the Blood), then only one attack will be boosted even though you're making multiple simultaneous attacks.
  • If you choose to make any impact attacks, you make all attacks against all models in the Mount's melee range (even friendly models).(Infernal Ruling)

Impact Attacks - Other

  • You cannot use "any time" abilities while resolving Impact Attacks. Because Impact Attacks occur during movement; and you can only use 'any time' abilities before moving or after moving, but not during movement. (Infernal Ruling)
    • Exception: If your Impact targets include your charge target, then your movement has ended (refer rulebook, last paragraph of 'Impact Attacks') and thus you're fine to use "any time" abilities.

Cavalry unit

  • If you have a unit of Cavalry, charge them and do impact attacks, remember you interrupt movement to do impacts, but you have to resolve all movements before doing any charge attacks. So for example it would go:
    • Cavalry model A charges enemy X, and contacts model M. Stop and make impact attacks against M. Then continue movement to X.
    • Cavalry model B charges enemy Y, and contacts model N. Stop and make impact attacks against N. Then continue movement to Y.
    • Cavalry model C charges enemy Z, and contacts model O. Stop and make impact attacks against O. Then continue movement to Z.
    • Resolve model A's charge attack vs X, B's vs Y, and C's vs Z. (This can be done in any order, as per normal)

Other interactions

  • Cavalry model with no melee weapon
    • If you have a Mount weapon but no regular Melee weapon (such as the Efaarit Scout), you can still declare a charge. (Locked thread)
    • You can make Impact Attacks along the way.
    • Once you get to the charge target, however, you can't make a melee attack against it. Because you can't use the mount weapon for a charge attack, due to the way the Cavalry rules are written. (Unless you have a rule like Trampling Hooves.)
    • If you don't charge, the mount attack can be used as an initial melee attack.
  • Countercharge & Cavalry ( Edit )
    • A model with Countercharge and Cavalry can make Impact Attacks during the countercharge. (Refer "Charges Outside of Activation" in the rulebook).
  • Warcaster/Warlock Cavalry ( Edit )
    • Warcasters/Warlocks can't cast spells or use their feat while resolving Impact Attacks. Because Impact Attacks occur during movement - you can use spells or feat before moving, or after moving, but not during movement.
      • Exception: If your Impact target(s) include your charge target, then your movement has ended (refer rulebook, last paragraph of 'Impact Attacks') and thus you're fine to use "any time" abilities before starting the Impact attacks.
  • Flight on a Cavalry model (Edit)
    • Although you can move over obstacles/models while charging, if you want to stop and make Impact Attacks while you fly "over" models you need to stop in a legal position. You can't make Impact Attacks while your flying horse is on top of obstacles, models, etc.
  • Gunfighter & Cavalry ( Edit )
    • A cavalry model that charges then makes a Gunfighter attack will not gain a boosted charge attack roll, because a ranged attack is not a charge attack. (Infernal Ruling)
    • You also won't gain a boosted charge damage roll, as per normal for a Gunfighter.
RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : Dragoon      (Edit)

  • Dragoons become dismounted instead of becoming disabled, so you can't trigger anything that works on disabled (such as Tough) when you kill their horse.
  • If a dragoon is dismounted while overlapping another model (such as an Incorporeal one), then you have to rewind to the dragoon's last legal position before resolving the dismount. (Infernal Ruling)
  • When a Dragoon is dismounted, even though you replace the physical model, it is considered the same in-game model for the purposes of whether the original attack hit/damaged it (for stuff like Chain Attack or Drag). For instance, you could hit the mounted model with your first attack, damage it enough to dismount it, then resolve Drag vs the dismounted model. (Locked thread)

Rules Clarification : Crushing Weight - None yet. (Edit)
Rules Clarification : Line Breaker - None yet. (Edit)
Rules Clarification : Trampling Hooves - None yet. (Edit)

See Also