Help With Cavalry

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ColonelKlink

Recruit
So the Mount and Blade game mechanics in truth have been in the works now for.... a very very very very long time. I know that at least some effort has to have been made to balance this...
Is there any counter to cavalry other than your own even larger cavalry force in Bannerlord? It was pretty depressing getting knee deep in my first real merc campaign between the southern and western empires with battles of 1600 men and.... The infantry was just utterly useless against imperial cavalry. Whoever had more won. Full stop, end of story. No point in actually undertaking a battle if you are outclassed in cavalry.
And I don't want to play like I did with warband where I just get Vlandian cavalry, cheese spam it and watch them ride in circles the enemy always falling over himself and unable to do anything.
I liked dividing my infantry into corps and running flanking maneuvers in bannerlord but that seems to be only for minor petty battles amongst idiot factions that lack cavalry. I want to be able to play strategy, get to do something myself. Have some fun not shout "charge!" then initiate literally 45 minutes of riding in circles...
 

Ichon

Sergeant at Arms
Imperial cavalry is not that bad if you have Manavlions, Hired Pikes, Veteran Falxmen, etc. They have to charge to do much damage and quickly get bogged down especially if you can use terrain like a hill or forest.

The real annoyance is fighting 1000 HA when 400 are tier 4 & 5.

Try getting a couple hundred Elite Cataphracts and going into Battania expecting to ride over their infantry... it doesn't happen unless they have only recruits.
 

Ananda_The_Destroyer

Grandmaster Knight
You can kill cavalry with anything. Cavalry, although not as impotent as it was in past versions, is still not that good at killing things. Unless they actually have an equal amount of Cav and can just bulldoze you over, your other units will wear down Cav as they charge in to attack. using you own cav and HA to keep them busy (or kill them outright) will help you ranged focus on killing things.
with battles of 1600 men
It's better to fight single lords as a merc. The AI is garbage in live battles so what appears to be a equal fight will actually end up much harder because your allied parties will mostly trade off or suicide.
The infantry was just utterly useless
Infantry is pretty useless. You can just use ranged units in their place and it's a huge improvement.
 

Kut

Sergeant at Arms
You should get more two hander, polearm, spear and archer units imo. And try thick (5-6 men deep) square formations.

If you don't want more shock & archer troops, try even more (6,8,...) thicker square formations.
 

SpartanBG

Recruit
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
Vlandia has done miracles for me, their spear troops are doing a great job if commanded correctly.
My worst fights were versus khuzaits armies with main forces being elite horse archers (its beatable but you need to really control your formations)
 

ColonelKlink

Recruit
Thank you everyone for your help here. I was very new to this game and I'm starting to learn (I think I finally found a character build I like. )
Playing more I began to realize exactly why cavalry has such an effect. No they don't cause many casualties against infantry generally. It's that they break infantry focus and formations. Meaning if a sufficient wave hits your formation breaks up enough that the attacking infantry is now engaging small clumps of your boys rather than a proper formation. Lol I've started to do this against 2-3 to 1 odds against largely infantry forces. They wind up trickling in instead of all at once!
You should get more two hander, polearm, spear and archer units imo. And try thick (5-6 men deep) square formations.

If you don't want more shock & archer troops, try even more (6,8,...) thicker square formations.

This was the most helpful comment in the thread.... I couldn't figure out how the AI created such deep formations in the campaign mentioned in this thread. it's good to know the game incorporated total war's mechanics in commanding troops! lol.
The funny thing is that I had learned the limits of the shield wall formation when my tier five infantry would lose to tier 1-3 swarming in with 1-1.2 larger forces. It took me a few tries to realize... What was happening is the enemy would boil AROUND the shield wall as they hit it and the guys on the side would be killed by the flankers. This is because the shield wall is such a compact formation. Not knowing how to lengthen it I stuck in line unless I need to absorb lots of missiles. Moreover what I wound up doing is splitting formations so I have 25 man infantry platoons to maneuver and increase frontage further. In the end I'd do the wrapping not the enemy lol.

Imperial cavalry is not that bad if you have Manavlions, Hired Pikes, Veteran Falxmen, etc. They have to charge to do much damage and quickly get bogged down especially if you can use terrain like a hill or forest.

The real annoyance is fighting 1000 HA when 400 are tier 4 & 5.

Try getting a couple hundred Elite Cataphracts and going into Battania expecting to ride over their infantry... it doesn't happen unless they have only recruits.

TBH I had discounted Battania right out of the gate.... Their faction in Warband was the absolute worst, unable to win any equal fight simply by the virtue of the really weird damage mechanics for spears. To make them work you had to tell your infantry to "charge" the cavalry at the exact right moment or their spears wouldn't work.
Spears actually don't appear to be total garbage now (though for some reason it takes 45 minutes to thrust one....) so I gave battania another try. So far? Not.... terrible. It seems that all their quality infantry is buckler and spear? That and archers.

You can kill cavalry with anything. Cavalry, although not as impotent as it was in past versions, is still not that good at killing things. Unless they actually have an equal amount of Cav and can just bulldoze you over, your other units will wear down Cav as they charge in to attack. using you own cav and HA to keep them busy (or kill them outright) will help you ranged focus on killing things.

It's better to fight single lords as a merc. The AI is garbage in live battles so what appears to be a equal fight will actually end up much harder because your allied parties will mostly trade off or suicide.

Infantry is pretty useless. You can just use ranged units in their place and it's a huge improvement.

As a general rule i've avoided ranged because the enemy has these things called shields. I made an archer character and learned quite quickly. Useful against idiot bandits. Garbage against an actual army because 90% of the hits are going into a shield. That said.... Archers or crossbows?
 

anoddhermit

Sergeant at Arms
Imperial shield infantry suck against cav because they don't get proper spears. The pilum is a mystery of game design the world may never fully understand.

Menavliatons will wreck them though. So if you have a balance of both you can have shield infantry provide them cover, while they should destroy cav pretty easily while also giving you a big edge in infantry vs. infantry. The elite menavliaton is a great unit.

(I am assuming you were using imperial units, just due to being in imperial areas mainly from the sound of it)

Square formation is also best to tank the initial charge as it stops them most effectively, but you can use shield wall->charge once cav have become entangled.

You can also use your own cav in square formation to block them even more effectively. Horses are extra ... stoppy.

As a general rule i've avoided ranged because the enemy has these things called shields. I made an archer character and learned quite quickly. Useful against idiot bandits. Garbage against an actual army because 90% of the hits are going into a shield. That said.... Archers or crossbows?

Archers are currently better than crossbowmen generally, but crossbowmen still have some extra utility and durability due to having shields that can suit some compositions.
 
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Ichon

Sergeant at Arms
If you are playing Battania then the Fian Champions are one of the best troops in the game currently-they are accurante enough they can shoot around shields and have a two handed weapon they use at a level only 1 tier down. Crossbows do more damage vs armor so can be useful at times but generally they do best in large battles where the infantry fight takes a long time to resolve or there are several waves. If you are fighting as a mercenary archers will be your best bet, when you become a vasal and start getting into fights of 1000+ per army I'd put the Fians in your castle/town garrisons and switch to Crossbows unless you are right next to Battania and can easily recruit more Fians.

Yes, when to charge cavalry or counter-charge with infantry is a matter of 7 seconds or less, if you miss the window your casualties could double or even lose a winnable battle. I typically F6 but then order cavalry or archers to follow me once I've scouted the enemy position and then decide how to approach. Only divide into smaller groups in really tough battles because it makes the most difference when you are outnumbered and the enemy has substantial #s of elite troops.

I generally form a small group of HA onto my character who usually starts out on foot to build athletics and 1 hand with throwing javelins but transitions into 2 handed lance or rhomphia with a bow and 2 stacks of arrows, as an HA character with HA ordered to target pole arms enemy I've been able to cut down 50+ Menavliatons or Falxmen before the infantry lines clash. Even with battles set to 400, that makes a substantial difference in the outcome.

When you look at casualties after you'll see Menaliatons substantially outperform almost all other infantry- typically I see something like 30 getting 100+ kills for the enemy while my own get a bit better due to keeping my infantry together in a group not spread out as the AI often does.
 

Ananda_The_Destroyer

Grandmaster Knight
As a general rule i've avoided ranged because the enemy has these things called shields. I made an archer character and learned quite quickly. Useful against idiot bandits. Garbage against an actual army because 90% of the hits are going into a shield. That said.... Archers or crossbows?
Horse archers, press 4, f3, f5 and split them into 2 groups, put one in front of the shields and move one to their back and they melt them down. You can of course do this with 1 group of foot archer and 1 HA or even 2 foot archers if you get the enemy into the middle of the map and time it right. You can even have what ever side the enemy is approaching hold fire to conserve ammo then pull back until they turn then open fire into their back and hold fire the opposite group. Like you wanted to do with infantry, but with ranged units or HA that move even faster.

That said.... Archers or crossbows?
Recently Xbows have been nerfed so they're pretty close to bow with less ammo, so in general foot archers with 2 stacks are better. BUT if you're replacing infantry you might like the Xbow troops who have shields and can even be put on hold fire and SW if you want. Beware the advance command will still make them move back because they're ranged, which works horribly if they're in SW. You can of course use both and use the shield icon to slid high tier xbows into their own group.
 
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