Total War Warhammer/Tactics/Bretonnia
"For the Lady, as one!"
- – Game battle chant for unexpendable units
- – Game battle chant for expendable units
This is the tactics page for the Total War: Warhammer version of Bretonnia.
Why play Bretonnia?
- Because you like the chivalry ideals from ancient legends and don't care about the peasant half.
- Because you enjoy throwing disposable peasant fodder at a problem until the knightly heroes show up to save the day.
- You love the sight of infantry being thrown flat-on-their-back by the force of cavalry charges.
- Because you really do believe that magical swords distributed by women in ponds are the best justification for supreme executive power.
- Cavalry: The widest selection of heavy cav in the entire game, each being able to fill out different purposes. While a minority of other faction's cav units can go fisticuffs with your horse boys, you are the cav faction.
- No $$$ required.: It's the only completely free faction. All you need is the base game and the Bretonnia download or the Repanse FLC and you get the entire faction (Minus 3 legendary lords if you only get Repanse)
- Air Force: You can really dominate the air if you wanted to invest into it. Louen combined with Hippogriff knights or Pegasus Knights can win most if not all sky engagements, and after that you can pick and choose your fights from the sky.
- Numbers: Your peasants cost about as what you invest in their infrastructure, AKA Nothing! You are more or less the only order faction that can effectively use swarm tactics due to how cheap they are.
- High Armor: Aside from Peasants, knights and high tier units have more armor than most and can be quite resilient.
- Good economy: Your economy is easily the strongest in the game. Farms bring in insane amounts of cash and can be built literally everywhere. The way CA intends to counter this is through the Peasant Economy, that reduces income from farms when you have too much infantry on the field, but being a good Bretonnian, you don't really use Peasants except Archers anyway. Add in trade and a de facto monopoly on wine if you control Bordeleaux, and your treasury will never be empty again.
- Easy Diplomacy: Everyone from the Order factions likes and trusts you, even the High Elves. This makes for easy trade deals and alliances, keeping your heartland safe from any outside threat.
- Lack of Supply Lines: While other factions get a percent increase in upkeep for every Lord they recruit, Bretonnia doesn't. Field as many armies as you like! Follow every army with another army consisting entirely of peasants who lack upkeep for some easy battles.
- Piss Poor Infantry: Your Peasants fight with shitty cheap weapons at best or farming tools at worse. With bad leadership, armor, and defensive stats, even your "elite" infantry gets their booties smacked by most mid tier infantry. Playing Bretonnia means conceding the front line in most cases.
- Anti Large: Any opponent with a functioning brain will get anti large against you. Expect halberds or big anti-large monsters to try to wipe your cav out. Large units are also more susceptible to enemy missile fire and in melee skirmishes the AI can fire with impunity (it usually tries to avoid friendly fire like the plague).
- Micro-Intensive: To make the most out of your cavalry, you will need to micromanage your Knights a lot. Also: The lance formation is a trap, don't use it.
- Very easy campaign: It's fair to say that if you are not necessarily a fan of sandbox campaigns where you do not do a whole lot of map painting, Bretonnia can become very dull very fast. Once you have united Bretonnia, there is little to actually do outside of maxing out Chivalry and... that's basically it. Repanse de Lyonesse balances this out with a more unique starting position but not by much.
- Convoluted Vow System: The Vow system is as straightforward as it is convoluted and, at times, constrained in the most annoying of ways due to the weird restrictions it places on your Lords ability to access the better units in your roster. It's not very fun trying to kill late game Greenskin, Chaos or Dark Elf armies only with Knights Errant and the garbage tier peasant infantry,(especially against their legendary lords) yet you will need to do this to get access to even the most basic of your better cavalry. While it's indeed very fluffy, you will after a while struggle to find enemies to even fulfill your vows, making you feel like Don Quixote chasing after Windmills. Picking the wrong vow at a bad time will slow down your campaign considerably.
- Fatigue: Until you get some research countering this and some perfect vigor units in the late game, expect your horsie boys to tire quickly. Cavalry tire faster than melee infantry when running and lose a significant amount of fatigue while charging — and expect to be doing a lot of both.
- Expensive Knights: The upkeep on knight units is very high even after you fulfill the necessary vows. Expect peasants to take up most of your early game armies until the economy train gets rolling.
- One-Trick-Pony: Bretonnia is known for exactly one thing; Cavalry. While you have mediocre archers and artillery, you will never be able to match the infantry of virtually any other faction, you have no monsters or skimishers. If you tee up against a Bretonnian, you'll already know the core strategy they're going to be using against you.
- On a battle level : Your different legendary lords offer only minimal differences in your army composition (at most, Alberic's army will have more Squires while the Fay will have more Battle Pilgrims Pilgrims), so expect to be easily countered in multiplayer, and all your armies to be pretty similar, making your campaign a serie of battles with little variance between them.
- On a campaign level : Much like the other non-updated races from game one (so Warriors of Chaos, Beastmen, Vampire Counts and Dwarfs), no lord-unique mechanics for you! While the chivalry mechanic itself is unique to Bretonnia, none of the legendary lords really offer much to differentiate themselves from one another. Not to mention, excluding Repanse (who starts in Nehekara), the three other LLs will have very similar campaigns after the first twenty turns or so.
- Blessing of the Lady: If one of your armies does a lot of good stuff (conquering enemies, never retreat, not using cowardly tactics such as ambushes) it earns the favor of Bretonnia's favored deity. The Blessing is really spectacular as it gives a flat 20% physical resistance to all your units. Beware: retreating once means the loss of the Blessing until that lord earns it again.
- Lance Formation: The Mighty Duck's Flying V is a trap. Your cavalry can assume a lance formation, giving them increased speed and charge bonuses, but actually you're better off not using it. Why, you may ask? Because the way the game works, the Charge bonus, which the majority of your units heavily relies on, only gets applied to the models that actually hit the enemy. Also, charge bonuses begin dropping rapidly after contact. Only the tip of the formation will get full damage. Maximizing the impact of your charges is crucial to your success on the battlefield and as an added disadvantage, the lance formation makes it also considerably more difficult to retreat from melee combat. CA has stated that it is used to charge through deeper formations to get to the back line but always expect to see a couple of horses stuck in the center of the enemy.
- Vows: Your most crucial campaign mechanic. Your Lords need to fulfill vows to the Lady to get access to your best bits. You can still recruit them, but they will cost considerably more upkeep (up to 5 times as much as you would pay normally). These vows are essentially mini-quests that become more difficult with each Level, of which there are 3. You always get to choose between 3 such quests but beware: once you take a pledge, you cannot change it. The main problems with the vows comes when sometimes the conditions of the vows cannot be fulfilled anymore (for example, one quest requires your Lord to defeat a Greenskin Legendary Lord, of which there are not many around by the time of the late game), keeping your Lord stuck with a Vow that he cannot fulfill, and damning your army to only use Knights Errant for the rest of the game. Be wary of that. Picking the wrong vow at the wrong time can screw with your campaign more than you would like. The only exceptions to this is Louen Leoncoeur, who starts with all vows already unlocked, and Repanse, who starts with the first two already completed.
Legendary Lords and Subfactions
- King Louen Leoncoeur: The Royarch of Bretonnia and a bona fide Grail Knight rumored to have even kissed the Lady of the Lake. Whether this is exactly true or not doesn't matter, in Total War: Warhammer he is an expensive, balls out, wrecking ball of pure Grail Knight awesomeness. There is little that can give him much trouble, he flat out stomps nearly anything and anyone that dares to face him head on. If you like, you can even put him on a royal Hippogryph. Still, very expensive for what he does.
- On the campaign map, he starts in the main Bretonnian faction of Couronne and, more importantly, has all vows already unlocked at the start. his start primes him for a crudade agienst Marienburg and Norsca.
- The Fay Enchantress: Your caster Lord wielding the Lore of Life. Comes with a few buffs, and while she has little armour, she can be surprisingly decent at killing infantry, since her Mist of the Lady ability deals constant damage to all enemies around her at no cost.
- in campaign she starts in the lower of Bretonnia, being situating around Estalia (currently an Empire clone without mods), the Wood Elves, Dwarfs, Beastmen, Grom the Paunch, and possibly Skaven if they move north. In the early game she can recruit extra peasants and has stronger casualty replenishment, with her personal army focusing on Grail Guardians and Battle Pilgrims.
- Alberic de Bordeleaux: Your dedicated Anti-large Lord, buffing his army's Knights of the Realm to make them even deadlier against monsters, and Foot Squires to make them actually useful against enemy elite infantry. His Trident of Manaan gives him the ability to use a water-based Wind spell twice per battle, and greatly reduces attrition damage taken at sea, so feel free to go pirate/black ark hunting with him.
- He is the money maker of Bretonnia in the campaign, betting a bonus to trade, especially since he is closest to Ulthuan. His other bonus is a preference for recruiting knights.
- Repanse de Lyonesse: Bretonnian Jeanne d'Arc, if Jeanne didn't meet a tragic end and lives way, WAY longer. Some 500 years after driving the servants of Chaos from Bretonnia, she now leads an Errantry War against the undead of Nehekhara because... reasons (probably because ultra-conservative Bretonnian lords don't want a PEASANT GIRL leading Lyonesse). Unfortunately, as an Errantry War faction, she can't confederate with the other Bretonnian lords, but she can with other Errantry factions in the Southlands with little fuss. She is an old faction total war crusader, giving a bonus to peasant units and Questing Knights, refilling their water supply from fort to fort as they purge the desert of filth.
- in combat, she is a Questing Knight lord, being an infantry slayer and granting bonuses to help your troops win the grind.
- Sir John Tyrewald: (campaign only) Not a mainline Legendary Lord, but a buffed unique vanilla Lord with a unique model, a tweaked skill tree, and prepackaged with his own Legendary Hero (Donna). Leads the Knights of Origo, who will confederate with Repanse early on barring early elimination shenanigans.
- Bretonnian Lord: a discount King Louen. Out of the box, he does all the same things as the Legendary knight lords, minus their fancy buffs and bound spells. A decent melee character who can help you save gold to spend on more knights (hard to go wrong with more of those).
- Prophetess (Heaven, Life, Beasts): Lord version of a Damsel. Saves you on lord and mage in MP making her a cheaper option if you want to focus your gold on other aspects of an army. In the campaign, recruiting a new lord is the fastest way to get a wizard early game.
- Paladin: bodyguards of your lords but most notable as gooners with a roaming pack on Pegasus mounts being a dive bombing threat to most units.
- Damsel (Heavens, Life, Beasts): your wizards. Also, have an aura that reduces magic Damage for your unit surrounding them.
- Henri Le Massif: (Chevaliers De Lyonesse only) Repanse's big boy right-hand and the only Paladin in the game with access to a Hippogryph mount. Deals a lot more AP damage. Fun trivia: Big Hank still counts as a large unit even when on foot.
- Donna Don Domingio: (campaign only) A tweaked vanilla Paladin with an alliterative name, a sweet scarf, and an allegiance to a faction that's likely to confederate with Repanse early on.
- The Green Knight: The first Legendary Hero. A ghostly hero that lasts for 15 turns (25 in WH2) every time you summon him. He is basically a Paladin that trades the bonus vs large for drastically increased damage and defense, 70% physical resistance, unbreakable, and the inability to be killed or wounded after the battle (what with already being dead). The downside is that you only gain a summon after reaching certain chivalry thresholds (at least until you reach max chivalry).
Important Note: All infantry units, as well as Mounted Yeomen, use up slots in your Peasant Economy. If your unit count for Infantry units exceeds the limits of the Peasant Economy, you get less money from Farms, the more, the worse. Not that you mind, because Bretonnian Peasants are really shitty. It's important to keep in mind, because the AI doesn't have this limit and will build Peasants nonstop, so you need to disband many armies when you confederate the various Bretonnian factions or your economy goes haywire pretty fast.
- Peasant Mob: Grab your pitchforks and torches, because this is all you're going to get! Your free, expendable meat sheild unit. They won't last long in any fight and even lose against Skavenslaves. Still, they're free. Use only in a pinch.
- Men-at-arms/Spearmen-at-arms: Your okay-ish infantry, mainly used as meat shields to establish a front line. They'll do their job alright, but don't expect them to do a lot. Come in all varieties you could ask for. Will loose to their Imperial Counterparts in a one on one.
- Battle Pilgrims: Now these guys are pretty interesting. They do a much better job at holding the front line than Man-at-Arms could ever hope to and even deal decent damage, especially when combined with a Grail Reliquae. Decent morale, good enough armor, plus a shield for good measure.
- Grail Reliquae: An odd piece, even more so when you realize that these are four guys imitating a horse for a deceased Grail Knight. They won't last long in prolonged combat, are especially vulnerable to ranged units (especially Warplock Jezzails) but buff your melee infantry like crazy, most notably is the +16(!!) bonus to leadership and immunity to Psychology. If you have an infantry-heavy army, one or even two of these won't hurt, but remember to keep them in the second line.
- Foot Squires: Your "elite" Infantry, not as terrible in the damage department as Men-at-arms, but nothing special. They hold longer than the other options, but don't have a shield and most other basic infantry will still make mince meat out of them. I personally recommend just sticking with Battle Pilgrims, because the latter is not as expensive, doesn't require a T4 Barracks and not as vulnerable to missiles. They are considerably more effective in multiplayer, where they are decent and very cost-effective can openers to used against units like Chaos Warriors.
- Peasant Bowmen: Your only source of missile troops, but a decent option, just on the merit of cost-effectiveness alone. When used in bulk, they are not to be underestimated. Can come in three flavors, normal, Fire and Pox arrows.
- Mounted Yeomen: Very bad. Like, really, really bad. Why would you use these? They are horrible in melee, have terrible leadership, use up slots in the Peasant economy and their charge bonus isn't exactly anything to write home about either. There is literally no reason to use them. Knights-Errant perform better for almost the same price. The only way to make them useful is if you recruit their Mounted Yeomen Archer variation, mounted cavalry able to fire on the move, but even then...
- They are significantly better in Multiplayer where running farms are never a problem and Gold is a serious limiting factor in list building. They still aren't very good in melee but fill a vital role as the fastest units in the Bretonnian roster which is necessary for a throwaway harasser unit.
- Knights-Errant: Your first real piece of cavalry, and an okay one at that. They don't need any vow taken and should form the basis of your early game armies. They cannot take a hit and should largely rely on their charges to deal the majority of damage. Phase them out as soon as you can.
- Knights of the Realm: Your classic Bretonnian Knights. Heavy armour, shield, a great charge bonus, these are the staple of your army and really easy to get. Use them, love them. Require the first Vow to be completed.
- Questing Knights: The linebackers. If you can manage them good enough, they can even replace your melee infantry quite easily. AP attacks mean they are great against any form of melee infantry without bonuses against large units. Require the second vow to be completed.
- Grail Knights: Your definitive elite. There is little that can give them a lot of trouble. They hit hard, move fast, never tire, inspire units around them, and get a bonus vs. large. Your dedicated monster and single entity unit killers. Require the third vow to be completed, so they're exceedingly hard to actually unlock.
- Grail Guardians: More defensive versions of Grail Knights with extremely high melee defense, so high in fact that they can hold their own against units that normally counter cavalry. If you don't like the micro-intensive playstyle of your shock cav heavy armies, you can use them. Grail Knights are generally more effective as offensive units. Require the third vow to be completed.
- Pegasus Knight: Flying, fast, anti-large killers that are very good at killing monsters and other large units but will die if anything sneezes in their direction and cannot push through a blob to escape. The only high tier unit that requires only the first vow to be completed.
- Royal Pegasus Knight: Slightly better than the above stats-wise, but also come with perfect vigour (never tire) and immunity to psychology. Require the third vow to be completed.
- Royal Hippogryph Knights: Plenty of health and hit very hard: absolute beasts on the battlefield; however, they cost a ton and require the third vow to be completed.
- Field Trebuchet: Powerful and nice range with very slow rate of fire and below-average accuracy. Best used to destroy towers and walls in sieges so your cavalry can get in and to deal AoE damage to enemy infantry.
- Blessed Field Trebuchet: Upgrade to the above: slightly better stat-wise but also come with the bonus of not inflicting friendly fire.
A lot of the general strategies against these factions is going to boil down to one simple task; Cycle-charging cavalry. Your cavalry is your bread and butter in every matchup, so the key take-away in this section will be units in particular you'll need to look out for.
- Beastmen: Another particularly fast faction, the Beastmen are largely unarmored, so a few squads of Peasant Bowmen with Pox arrows can get some surprising value against a majority of their units, further crippling them for your famous cavalry charges. Anti-Large cavalry will serve you quite well in this matchup. Grail Knights and even Pegasus Knights will serve as the tip of your spear against Minotaurs, Cygors and Ungors, while Knights of the Realm or even Questing Knights can mop up the rest of the Beastmen roster.
- Bretonnia: A mirror matchup against Bretonnia will go exactly like you'd expect it to go. You'll want to do everything you can to make sure you initiate combat first, and if that means sacking a peasant mob or two to bog down opposing Grail Guardians so that yours can get the charge bonus against them, then that's what it'll take.
- Chaos Warriors: Hoo boy, that's a lot of armor. Chaos Warriors are one of the slowest armies in the game, so you should have no difficulty outmaneuvering their forces to make that optimal charge. Despite your relative inadequacies at frontline engagements, Battle Pilgrims and Foot Squires can still deal not inconsequential damage to their forces while holding them in place for your Cavalry. You'll want to try to shut down any Hellcannons they bring, as that'll be the primary source of ranged pressure on your forces. Without that, you're free to run circles around them from dusk until dawn.
- Dark Elves:
- Dwarfs: Toss up, but with an advantage to you. Dwarfs units are slow, they don't have cavalry of their own, so your cavalry will be able to move unopposed, especially since Slayers can be counter-charged easily. On the other hand, a good chunk of their units have Defense Against Charge, high mass, and their gunline can wreck you.
- Empire: It can be a bit tricky to have a plan against the Empire due to their sheer versatility, but there's one thing you know for certain; your Cavalry is better than theirs. Peasant bowmen will not deal remotely as much damage against the rank and file as the gun-wielding Empire missile units would against yours, but they can still get some honest work done against them. Foot-Squires can also best Empire missile units in combat if you can manage to get them there relatively unmolested, but don't imagine for a second that they'll hold the line against their dedicated melee troops. Trebuchets are also a solid backline option to help punch holes in the Empire's formations for your cavalry.
- Greenskins: You're in luck, Greenskins don't really have anti-large units. Their huge monsters (araknarock spiders, rogue idols) can be tough, but your anti-infantry cav should have a good time. What's better, is that the leadership of the Greenskins is surprisingly lower than what you might expect; a few successful flanking charges against their front line units can break them quite readily.
- High Elves: The battle of the noble arrogant assholes, and believe it or not you actually have a very sizable advantage. The Asur have NO chance against you in the Cav fight, so grab some Grail Knights and watch as they run amok. Silverin Guard tend to be popular here as their Charge Defense, Anti Large and Magic Resist make them a semi decent counter to Grail Knights, though if you swarm them in peasants then you don't have to worry about them resisting your charge. If you don't want to risk your knights against the spear wall then grab some Field Trebuchets and kill them from afar. Dragons can easily be taken care of by either archers or double paladins. Plus Paladin support plus healing from the Fey Enchantress can make your Grail Knights all but unkillable for the Elves. Sure you have no chance at winning the infantry fight in a vacuum, but if you care about winning the infantry fight why the hell are you playing Bretonnia?
- Lizardmen: First thing, leave the kids (peasants) at home. None of your infantry options stand a ghost of a chance against the Lizardmen; even the lowly Skink Cohorts are capable of besting them in combat and that's not even mentioning how quickly their massive Dinosaurs will chow through the pitchfork-wielding masses. Assuming they don't immediately just route the field from the sheer amount of fear/terror caused by all the monsters. Instead, double down on your strengths. Bretonnian cavalry will easily outpace anything the Lizardmen could ever field. Key units to build lists around would be your Grail Knights and (Royal) Pegasus Knights, who not only specialize against large targets, but are also immune to fear and terror. Though you can't expect their support for long, your peasant bowmen can really hinder the Lizardmen frontline and combat potential with the Pox variant, allowing some of your higher tier cavalry a touch more staying power for when you need to hold the line.
- Norsca: Don't even think about it. Norscans are just as mobile as you are and have an abundance of Anti-Large damage that will burn through your Knights as if they were gasoline-soaked tissue paper, both of their LLs completely wipe the floor with yours and there is no hope of winning the infantry fight either. And that's not even taking their monstrous options into account, with Fimnirs smashing through your precious few heavily armoured units. Evade them where you can and better pick something else.
- Skaven: While the Skaven missile units and artillery will put yours to shame, your cavalry is among the most suited to ruining the general Skaven strategy of blowing things up from across the map. Virtually nothing the Skaven have will be able to outrun your cavalry and a few well timed charges can break the relatively fickle leadership of their infantry quite easily. Knights of the Realm can do solid enough work against the general unarmored masses, but you'll want to keep some Questing Knights in reserve for any Stormvermin or Warpfire Throwers they might be packing... Unless the Skaven roll out Throt. A Clan Moulder-lead army can be one of your most difficult matchups, since Mutant Rat Ogres have little trouble blasting through your knights, Abominations are nearly unkillable for your piss poor infantry and Throt himself can frequently give Bonus vs. Large to all Skaven around him.
- Tomb Kings: Don't, despite what a Repanse campaign would suggest. The undead spears/halberds will tie your cavalry down and kill them, while the constructs are tough enough that even your anti-large cavalry will have a lot of trouble killing them, and their necropolis knights/chariots/nehekharan warriors will mulch your infantry.
- Vampire Coast:
- Vampire Counts:
- Wood Elves: If there's any faction capable of rivaling your cavalry charges, it's the Wood Elves. When engaging a mounted Wood Elf army, it really boils down to who gets the best initial engagement. If you can inflict a decisive charge against the Wood Elf cavalry, you'll neuter their offensive presence significantly, if they're not straight up cleaned off the battlefield. With the Wood Elf cavalry gone, you'll have virtually free reign to outmaneuver and slaughter the elves with your cycle charging prowess. Now, when it comes to dealing with the trees, you have several options; magical attacks and/or fire. Peasant Bowmen are a cheap as chips choice that can actually get quite a lot of value against Wood Elves as a whole (as not only are they unarmored, but a majority of them are unshielded as well). Lastly, though you'll need to screen them quite aggressively if you want them to stay online, your Trebuchet, though inaccurate, can blow holes in the Wood Elven front line and archer ranks long before they get into retaliatory range. Just make sure to keep tabs for sneaky vanguard deployments trying to circle around.
- Always recruit an extra Lord to follow your main armies around. You don't pay supply lines, so the few hundreds of upkeep it costs you will be dwarfed by the Chivalry gained (since you gain Chivalry for each army that takes part in a battle), and that way you can do the "Raze evil faction's settlement for the bonus to Chivalry" while using your extra Lord to colonize it if you want.
- The Bretonnian economy is based around peasants. You can only have a certain number of non-knightly units before your economy starts sputtering; however, knights are expensive and your only archers and siege units are peasants. Luckily, Vows enable you to cut the upkeep of knights by significant amounts, meaning all-knight armies will be feasible in the early game if you do enough fighting to complete a lord's vows, and the more settlements you own the more peasants you can draft into your armies. The other unique aspect of the Bretonnian economy is that it is divided into two chains: farming and industry. Building the highest tier of one industry will soft-lock the other out of a settlement's productivity, meaning you'll have to demolish that other building chain. Generally speaking, farms earn much more than industry; the exception is in settlements with a Gold or Iron resource, whose unique buildings benefit from the industry bonus building. However, industry also functions independent of the faction's peasant cap, meaning you can field armies of peasants without losing income. You'll simply be making less than you do with farms.
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