Steelhead Heavy Cavalry

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Mercenary Logo.jpg Steelhead Heavy Cavalry

Mercenary Steelhead Unit

Steelhead Mercenary Companies often include hardened horsemen, providing the speed and power of heavy cavalry at a reasonable price. Though they demand more than Steelhead infantry, employers consider the horsemen a bargain. The cavalrymen have a reputation as tough veterans who seek out the greatest risk because it brings them the best pay. Though some citizens in war- torn areas accuse them of banditry and looting, Steelhead officers insist their men are professionals who take only the normal liberties expected of any red-blooded soldier in a time of war.

Basic Info

Steelhead Heavy Cavalry
Missing Info
Steelhead Heavy Cavalry.jpeg
COST {{{cacost}}}
UNIT SIZE {{{casize}}}
FA {{{cafa}}}
Warcaster 0
BASE Large
M.A. N/A
DEF 13
ARM 17
ESSENCE {{{essence}}}
HP 5
F. Field N/A
WJP {{{wjp}}}
WBP {{{wbp}}}
IHP {{{ihp}}}
COST 11 / 18
3.6 each
FA 2
Warcaster 1
the Statblock


  • Cavalry symbol.jpg Cavalry
  • Flank [Steelhead Halberdier] - When this model makes a melee attack against an enemy model in the melee range of a Steelhead Halberdier, this model gains +2 to attack rolls and gains an additional damage die.
  • Reposition [3"] - At the end of an activation in which it did not run or fail a charge, this model can advance up to 3", then its activation ends.
  • Relentless Charge - While advancing as part of a charge, this model gains Pathfinder.


  • Blunderbuss - 8" range, POW 12 ranged attack
    • Point-Blank - During its activation, this model can make melee attacks with its ranged weapon, with a melee range of 0.5". Do not add this model's STR to damage rolls with ranged weapons. Charge attacks made with ranged weapons are not boosted.
  • Cavalry Axe - 1" reach, POW 5, P+S 11 melee attack
    • Brutal Charge - This model gains +2 to charge attack damage rolls with this weapon.
  • Mount - 0.5" reach, POW 12 mount attack.

Theme Forces

  • Other Factions
    • Mercenary models can be hired by other Factions. Normally those Factions' themes will have a limit on how many models they can hire. Refer to #Other Theme Forces, below.
    • Aside from that, there are a few themes that will change what Faction this model counts as (and thus what "friendly Faction only" buffs it can receive). They are:

Recent Changes

No changes since 2019.03

Thoughts on Steelhead Heavy Cavalry

Steelhead Heavy Cavalry in a nutshell

Steelhead Heavy Cavalry will test your skill with model positioning. If (and it's a big if) you can charge, impact and trigger Flank, you're looking at:

  • Impact Attack(s): MAT 8 + 2d6 to hit, POW 12 + 3d6 damage
  • Cavalry Axe charge attack: MAT 8 + 3d6 to hit, P+S 13 + 4d6 damage
  • Blunderbuss Point Blank: MAT 8 + 2d6 to hit, POW 12 + 3d6 damage

Running a Steelhead Halberdier into position to flank is simple, however, putting it where you can get 2 or more Heavy Cavalry models onto the target where they can either impact or use the Blunderbuss without potentially killing your halberdier with an impact attack requires careful planning. NEVER risk your flanking Halberdier with an impact attack.

Thus, the heavy cavalry is best used charging onesy-twosey at several targets for maximum impact as it is hard to get more than two onto anything but a large base. Few Mercenary casters can deliver them effectively. However, two or three can, and with those casters the Steelhead Cavalry become monstrously powerful and more dangerous than any other heavy cavalry save Chosen of Everblight.

Despite all the drawbacks, when they do hit, they hit like nothing else in Mercenaries. Tack on Bulldoze in Soldiers of Fortune and suddenly they are board control pieces as well. They are also among the best cavalry units in the game on turns they do not charge as they still dish out the pain with Flank factored in.

Combos & Synergies

  • Steelhead Halberdiers - the Heavy Cav do not function without them.
  • Stannis Brocker so you can ride through the halberdiers and the other horsies.
  • Captain Damiano gives them Money Shot and his feat makes their attacks much more effective.
  • Lieutenant Crosse can provide Dauntless Resolve, Ghost Walk (which works a treat with Bulldoze and Tactician), a turn of stealth, and shield guard halberdiers to ensure they get there. He runs them better than anyone else.
  • Fiona the Black Can cast Occultation on them and put -2 ARM on their charge target, Befuddle it into optimal position for a charge, then protect them with her feat.
  • Use Bulldoze in combination with Power Lifter from the Steelhead Ironhead for some serious threat extension.

Drawbacks & Downsides

  • Usual cavalry drawbacks - they are big and shootable targets.
  • The riders' effectiveness against harder targets are tied to the Halberdiers. If the enemy techs against infantry, it usually greatly reduces the cavalry's performance as well.
  • This unit and your support needs spotless order of activation and even so it can be a positioning nightmare - new players beware (and read the cheat sheet in Tricks & Tips).

Tricks & Tips

  • Use one Cavalry model to bulldoze a model your opponent thought was out of range 2" forward to be charged by the rest of his unit.

Activation-order cheat sheet

Getting the most out of the Steelhead Heavy Cavalry is anything but easy for new players. Here's a general run down:

  • Remove any jamming or blocking infantry/model who might get into the way of your Halberdiers or horses, or would threaten you with free strikes.
  • Also pay attention for out-of-activation movements and attacks that might mess with your order of activation (Admonition, Enliven, Watcher, Counter-Charge, Dodge, Riposte/Defensive Strike, Dark Sentinel, Garryth2's feat, etc.)
  • Get your large proxy base. Measure the desired final position of your cavalry.
    • Remember that your hand axe has 1" melee range, but your impact attack and point blank attacks have 0,5".
    • Your impact attacks can hurt friendly models too - leave space if you want to avoid "friendly fire". On the flip side, Flank bonus triggers only on attacks against enemy models, not against your own - but it does trigger on Impact attacks.
    • Impact attacks and charge attacks will happen only if you are able to move at least 3". Also, impact attacks are optional, you're not bound to make it - but in that case if you charged, you won't be able to add your mount's attack to your initial attacks. Read the Cavalry rule run-down for details.
  • Run / charge in with your Halberdiers to engage the desired target.
  • If you have Stannis, measure his final position so that all the Halberdiers you might want go through with your cavalry will be in his CMD radius. Remember, the moving model doesn't have to be in CMD, just the ones you intend to be moved through.
    • If Stannis is already dead, or you didn't bring him (why did you do that?), then grab a laser and check that no charge lane will be blocked by your Halberdiers.
    • If you messed up at this stage and there's no Stannis to help you out, you may still remove the misplaced model with a ranged attack, or with an impact attack from your cavalry - though this should only be an emergency solution.
  • Move/Run/Charge Stannis to his pre-measured position.
  • Move your Cavalry models into the positions you left between the enemy and your halberdiers.
  • Deliver your attacks. Measure carefully where to start. Your hand axe gets the extra damage die for charging, while your point blank attacks won't. However, they may kill your target in range for your point-blank attack.
  • Use your 3" reposition move at your own leisure.



Released in Warmachine: Legends (2008)

Other Theme Forces

Cryx (Edit)

Cygnar (Edit)

Khador (Edit)

Protectorate of Menoth (Edit)

Crucible Guard (Edit)

Other Mercenary models

Mercenary Logo.jpg       Mercenary Index       (Edit)
Mercenary 'Jack Controllers (Human) (Edit)

Ashlynn1 - Ashlynn2 - Aurora2 - Blaize - Caine3 - Crosse2 - Damiano - Fiona - Macbain - Magnus1 - Magnus2 - Montador - Rahera - Shae


Asphyxious4 - Crosse1 - Nemo4

'Jack Marshals

Colbie Sterling - Dirty Meg - MacHorne1 - MacHorne2 - Raluk Moorclaw - Rutger Shaw - Steelhead Ironhead

Mercenary Warjacks (Human)   (Edit)
Light Buccaneer - Renegade (Magnus only) - Scallywag - Swashbuckler - Talon - Vanguard
Heavy Freebooter - Gallant - Mangler - Mariner - Mule - Nomad - Rocinante - Rover - Toro - Swabber
Colossal Blockader - Galleon
Rhulic 'Jack Controllers (Edit)
Warcaster Durgen Madhammer - General Ossrum - Gorten Grundback
'Jack Marshal Thor Steinhammer
Rhulic Warjacks (Edit)
Light Blaster- Gunner
Heavy Avalancher - Basher - Driller - Rockram
Colossal Earthbreaker
Cephalyx Warcasters (Edit)
Warcasters Cognifex Cyphon - Exulon Thexus
Cephalyx Monstrosities (Edit)
Heavy Subduer - Warden - Wrecker
Units, Solos, & Battle Engines
Warcaster attachments

Doctor Stygius - Madelyn Corbeau - Reinholdt - Wyshnalyrr

Lesser Warlocks Rorsh & Brine (Farrow) - Wrong Eye & Snapjaw (Gatorman)
Non-character Units

Cephalyx Mind Bender - Cephalyx Mind Slaver - Cephalyx Overlords - High Shields - Artillery Corps - Forge Guard - Idrian Skirmishers - Kayazy Assassins - Kayazy Eliminators - Legion of Lost Souls - Ogrun Assault Corps - OoI Resolutes - OoI Vigilants - Precursor Knights - Press Gangers - Sea Dog Pirates - Deck Gun - SH Cannon - SH Halberdiers - SH Cavalry - SH Mortar - SH Riflemen - SH Volley Gun - Tactical Arcanist Corps - Thorn Gun Mages
Special CA: Cephalyx Dominator (small or medium based units) - Special WA: Morrowan Battle Priest (Morrow units)

Character Units

Alexia1 - Asphyxious4 - Croe's Cutthroats - Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters - Blythe & Bull - Boomhowler1 - Herne & Jonne - Lady Aiyana & Master Holt - Lynus & Edrea - MacHorne1 - The Commodore Cannon - The Devil's Shadow Mutineers

Non-character Solos

Cephalyx Agitator - Gobber Tinker - Menite Archon - Morrowan Archon - Ogrun Bokur - Powder Monkey - SH Arcanist - SH Ironhead - SH Gunner - Swamp Gobber River Raider Thamarite Advocate - Thamarite Archon - Void Archon

Character Solos

Alexia, Mistress of the Witchfire (2) - Alexia, The Undying (3) - Alten Ashley - Anastasia Di Bray - Balthazar Bamfist - Black Bella1 - Black Bella2 - Bloody Bradigan - Boomhowler, Solo Artist - Bosun Grogspar - Brun Cragback & Lug - Captain Crawtooth - Colbie Sterling, Captain of the BRI - Dahlia Hallyr & Skarath - Dez - Dirty Meg - Doc Killingsworth - Doctor Stygius - Eilish Garrity, the Occultist - Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios (1) - Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (2) - Eiryss, Fortune Hunter of Ios (4) - First Mate Hawk - Flubbin - Flugwug the Filcher - Gastone Crosse - Glyn Cormier, Illuminated One - Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (1) - Gorman the Mad (2) - Grand Master Gabriel Throne - Gubbin - Gudrun the Wanderer - Harlan Versh, Illuminated One - Harlowe Holdemhigh - Hermit of Henge Hold - Hutchuk, Ogrun Bounty Hunter - J.A.I.M.s - Kell Bailoch - Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress - Lord Rockbottom - MacHorne2 - Major Harrison Gibbs - Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile - Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor - Ragman - Raluk Moorclaw, the Ironmonger - Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord - Rorsh & Brine - Rutger Shaw, Professional Adventurer - Savio Montero Acosta - Saxon Orrik - Scythe - Sergeant Nicolas Verendrye - Stannis Brocker - Taryn Di La Rovissi, Llaelese Gun Mage - Thor Steinhammer - Viktor Pendrake - Weird Wendell - Widget, Tinker Extraordinaire - Wrong Eye & Snapjaw

Battle Engines

Hammerfall Siege Crawler - Nemo4

Independent Warjack

Malvin & Mayhem

Theme Forces (Edit)
Flame in the Darkness - Hammer Strike - Llaelese Resistance - Operating Theater - Soldiers of Fortune - Strange Bedfellows - The Irregulars - The Kingmaker's Army - The Talion Charter
This index was last updated: 2020.07

Rules Clarifications

RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : Powerful Charge  and/or Brutal Charge     (Edit)

  • If you declare a charge but move less than 3", then the attack doesn't count as a "Charge Attack" and you won't get the bonus.
RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : Point-Blank      (Edit)

  • Number of attacks
    • Point-Blank gives you an extra initial melee attack (even though, RAW, it doesn't meet the criteria). (Infernal Ruling)
    • If you can make additional melee attacks, these can be Point-Blank attacks regardless of the weapon's ROF. (Locked Thread)
    • If you have the option of choosing between ranged or melee attacks (for instance you combined Point-Blank with Gunfighter), then you need to declare whether you're making melee or ranged attacks this activation, then declare the weapon and the target. (Infernal Ruling)
  • AOE & Spray
    • Point-Blank AOEs work just fine. You hit with a melee attack, and then place an AOE. If you miss, the AOE will deviate per normal (although only a very short distance).
    • Point-Blank sprays don't work. The rules for Point-Blank overwrite the range of the spray weapon, and the range is/was the spray template. So instead of putting the spray template down, you make one melee attack.
  • Other
    • Since Point-Blank only works during your activation, you can't use it on free strikes or other out-of-activation melee attacks.
  • Gunfighter vs Point Blank (Edit)
    • If a model has both Gunfighter and Point Blank, then you should declare whether you're using it as a ranged attack or melee attack whenever you shoot the gun. Because that can limit what other initial/additional attacks you can make. (Infernal Ruling)
    • These two abilities are subtly different, but it's an important difference.
    • Gunfighter allows you to make ranged attacks while in melee.
    • Point blank allows you to make melee attacks with your ranged weapon.
      • Since you can't make both ranged and melee attacks in the same turn, a Gunfighter model has a choice of either initial melee attack(s) or initial ranged attack(s). (unless it has Virtuoso or something).
      • Whereas a Point Blank model chooses to make initial melee attacks, and then gets to make attacks with both weapons.
    • Furthermore, the types of bonuses, penalties, and special effects you (or your opponent) can trigger will change dramatically:
      • Any buffs/triggers on ranged attacks (such as Evasive, Shield Guard, Deadeye, etc) will affect Gunfighter attacks, but not Point Blank attacks.
      • Any buffs/triggers on melee attacks (such as Battle Lust, Riposte etc) will affect Point Blank attacks, but not Gunfighter attacks.

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Rules Clarification : Relentless Charge      (Edit)

RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : Flank      (Edit)

  • You can gain the Flank bonus vs knocked down/stationary models (refer to the latest Errata).
  • Melee range is measured from your front arc so you cannot trigger Flank on models in your back arc.
  • The target enemy doesn't need to be in the Flanker's LOS, just their melee range.
    • Most of the time if something is in your melee range then it is so close it's in your LOS too, and the difference is meaningless.
    • But if you have 2" reach and you're jammed up in B2B with a bunch of closely-spaced enemies, you'll find your LOS is blocked. In this case, you might be able to trigger Flank on an enemy model that is "hiding" behind that front row of jammers, even though you don't have LOS to it.
  • Flank is not tied to a specific weapon, so Mount attacks and Power Attacks can benefit as well.
  • If you have two sources of Flank they are still giving you the bonus from the Flank rule so do not stack. (Infernal Ruling)
  • If the target moves in/out of the Flanker's melee range between the attack roll and the damage roll (for instance if you throw it) then you need to reassess whether you get the Flank bonus for the damage roll. (Infernal Ruling)
RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : Reposition      (Edit)

  • Models out of formation cannot move via Reposition. Refer to the "Out of Formation" rules in the core rulebook.
  • End of Activation (Edit)
    • Some end-of-activation abilities explicitly state your activation ends as part of resolving the ability, and some don't. Either way, you can never do anything extra during or after triggering an end-of-activation ability. You cannot cast spells, purchase additional attacks, use a mini-feat, etc.
    • If you start resolving an end-of-activation-movement (such as Reposition) then you cannot trigger abilities that occur "at any time" (such as Go To Ground). Because you can't trigger it while moving, and after moving your activation has ended. (Infernal Ruling)
    • For units: if any model in the unit starts resolving the unit's end-of-activation-movement, then no model in the unit can trigger an any-time ability. (Infernal Ruling)
    • If you have more than one end-of-activation ability, you have to choose which one to resolve, then your activation ends and you cannot use the other one.
    • See also the training article: LPG - End of Activation.