How is Cavalry to be used in this game?

kweassa

Sergeant at Arms
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Practice it in custom battles in a setting of 150 Vland knights vs. 300-400 Imp legionaries. If you get the charge-regroup mastered, you'll win.
 

Dabos37

Squire
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Are custom battles working as It should? I mean, cavalry in custom battle is pretty OP but when I use it in campaign, cavalry is meh at best. Cavalry units still get some kills and make some work but archers are x100 more effective.
 

kweassa

Sergeant at Arms
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Are custom battles working as It should? I mean, cavalry in custom battle is pretty OP but when I use it in campaign, cavalry is meh at best. Cavalry units still get some kills and make some work but archers are x100 more effective.
Is it the archers that are x100 more effective? Or is the NUMBERS of archers a player party usually musters, that is really effective?

In a 100-man party for example, on average the AI rarely maintains more than 20 archers, often something like maybe 15 archers of uneven quality. In contrast, when people say "oh archers are so overpowered," you look into their parties and it's like more than 1/3rd of the army are archers, comprised of high ratio of fian/palguard-tier archers.

Try use just the same numbers of archers as the enemy does, and see just how 'effective' they are.


That being said, there's no difference between cavalry in custom battle and in the campaign.
 

Dabos37

Squire
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Well, I am especially referring to the difference between Champion Fians and Banner Knights. Take 20 units of each and compare. x100 is of course an exageration but x3 is probably true.

Part of the problem is unshielded units and AI not using shields effectively but I really cannot think in which situation I would prefer elite cavalry over elite archers in this game.

I don't find cavalry useless as people say but I think they are not even close to be great in campaign battles. They usually kill low amount of units and most of the times, they are units which were actually router.

Plus the cavalry charge is really bad in Bannerlord, you can even make a frontal charge with 20 Knights against 30 looters and 2 or 3 get killed as much which makes no sense.
 

King Yngvar

Squire
WBVC
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do you think anyone here has charged cavs into tier 5 spearmen? I thought I'd need less than 50 tier 5 knights to knock down 5 looters with a charge but i was wrong. the problem is that they "slide" too smoothly and effortlessly pass units instead of colliding and knocking them down at the very least, maybe introduce trample, downed units take extra damage by being ran over. like now they take 3 charge damage and get up after 5 seconds. in reality, they'd have died from the impact and been crushed to meat sauce by the hooves.

personally i use infantry to trap cavs and archers on the hill to shoot them down. very effective combo. anything less than 30 knights will not return, let alone inflict casualties on my forces. like the imperial elite cataphract is wearing serious armor (tier 6 with 40+ defense points), in an arena match 1v1 i slash him for 5 damage in the chest cause his beast armor absorbed 45 damage. the same cataphract dies in 3 arrows from a tier 3 imperial archer... wtf???
That's because arrows are too effective against armor in vanilla. I've set bow and arrow to cut in spitems and downloaded the custom damage mod tweaking arrows to use the localisation damage of pierce but the effect against armor of cut. I've also increased metal armor values.
Arrows are now much less deadly to anything in metal armor when I play singleplayer.

Unfortunately, the sliding issue with horses into formations I don't know how to fix. Perhaps a trample effect and much higher charge damage countered by static spear damage and damage from falling off horses would do the trick.
 

KingEroc1st

Recruit
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Yesterday I went around killing Looters with my army doing some experiments on cavs. I had 80 tier 4+ cavalry, i'd say maybe 30 are the noble types, 20 javelin types and the rest tier 4-5 heavy cav like the vet caravan guard or vlandian vanguards. in all the fights i was against 40 looters+, i set all my other formations to face away, run back and hold fire. so only my cavalry was engaging.
I had heard from someone setting your riders to skein formation would improve their ability to charge so i did for all tests.
I was trying to figure out the most effective way to attack enemies with cavs resulting in the highest casualties. and basically tested 3 methods on repeat. After an initial charge, i would form up the cavs, face enemies and charge again as squre as possible for max collisions.
the set up: i line all the cavs in front of the oncoming looters, facing the enemy, in skein, when they are about 75 meters away i order to attack.

1) ordered them to charge with f1 f3. they rode towards the enemy, kinda held formation but squished a bit towards the center, passed through the looters killing about 5-10 each time . after the charge however, they go into headless fly mode and run around indivitually, had to form them up again. after 3 charges the looters routed with 10-20 men left still alive. i left the knights to their own devices after their third charge and they eventually mopped up the enemies.

2) order the knights to fire at will (this allowed my compaions holding bows to shoot and javelin guys like the aserai faris to throw) and then charge with f1 f3. this time instead of heading straight for the enemy, they tried to circle around like horse archers, all the javelin and bows went on ahead and circled the enemy while the ones without ranged attacks were behind in the formation and when they closed in they charged loosely. Despite this method being the most messy and my men didn't stay in formation. they got about 30 kills in the initial charge and finished the enemies quickly after

3) order the knights to "move through" the area i want to attack by commanding them to run past the enemy. only movement orders, no charge no attack, no fire arrows. they stayed mostly in skein formation, had the best collision with enemies and ended up killing 10-15 per pass. one time, i was against 80 looters and they seperated into 2 layers, some kept running forward towards my army location, some turned around to chase my knights. this resulted in 1 charge passing through their seperated 2 groups once each, allowing for a massive 30 kills.

conclusion. seems javelin riders are more useful offensive wise. but of course they tend to have less armor and the throwing opens them up for attacks, when i lose riders they die the most. noble knights are not much stronger offensively than their average counterparts. even though the weapon skills for same tier units has an advantage, i guess it's mostly the extra armor? idk. and lastly, the charge command sucks, they lose formation and attack inefficiently. just move them, they'll automatically attack enemies as they pass, this will allow for much easier form up of your knights after the initial charge so you can easily do another one quickly. one of my companions that started this experiment with 40%hp got forked off his horse by a looter with pitchfork and wounded in the process. no casualties otherwise.

But you gotta take into account that i'm fighting looters, with no shields and no armor. they are basically 1 shot kills for the knights. while tier 4+ units might take 2-3 stabs to go down not to mention shields can block 100% of damage. it looked awesome vistually, but 80 tier 4+ cavs performed as well as 40 tier 2 infantry vs looters. i can't really say i'm happy about the results.
 

KingEroc1st

Recruit
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Spearmen are pitiful. A force of spearmen won't be able to take out an equivalent force of cavalry, its embarrassing how badly they get wrecked. They can only stop horses and... nothing else. They can't kill anything, they're completely useless.
they are horrible offensively yes. but they offer the op shield option to take 0 casualties from enemy archers and they offer the other op "stun" ability against horses in their proximity. Frankly spear+ archer is a much better counter to cavs atm than shock troops with polearms, cause i take 0 casualties while shock troops are very vulnerable to arrow fire. the only time i have some vulgers or falxmen is when i put them right behind the shield wall. and this way they can chop at the enemy cavs or infantry comin in and not take arrow fire.
 

Old-Bull

Veteran
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Horse archers are stupidly effective. If the enemy is attacking my troops I just line them up behind my archer line and wait. They add a lot to the volleys of arrows from the approaching army, cutting down the approaching troops. When the enemy gets within 50 meters, I tell the horse archers to charge so they circle and harass the enemy. When the enemy breaks and runs the horse archers cut them down.

You can also use horse archers to force a defending enemy to attack. Set the rest of your troops up in a normal defensive formation and leave them there. Take your horse archers into range of the enemy and create a line like you would with archers. After the horse archers inflict enough casualties the enemy will attack. Then retreat your horse archers back to the rest of your army and fight the battle on your terms.

Regular cavalry should be used for three things:

1. Fighting other cavalry. When you see other cav approaching your army just move your cavalry in their path and tell them to charge. You have to watch them or they'll lose their target and charge the other troops, but until you can tell them to attack an individual group of other troops, this is the best solution. Its micro management but they're the best solution for killing the other guys cavalry unless the enemy is stupid enough to charge his cav into an archer or spear line. The ai is that stupid but cavalry is used to defend against other cavalry.

2. Flanking. Use the speed of the cav to circle the opponent and charge their flank. This works best when their troops are already engaged. If they aren't they'll just turn towards your cav and cut you down. It they are engaged you'll slaughter them with zero cavalry losses.

3. Killing their routed troops. Easy peasy. Charge your cav when they're running away.

Things to avoid: charging an archer line or a spear formation. Head first charges against any enemy will result in casualties, heavy losses if it's an archer, spear, two handed, or skirmisher line.

Until they add the functionality for targeting individual groups of troops, cavalry requires micro management to be effective, and it probably still will after that.

My army is 50 percent cav, 20 percent skirmisher, and 30 percent archers and I rarely lose many of them. Use their SPEED. It's their biggest advantage. Hit and run. Engage, disengage, and draw the enemy back to your skirmishers and archers on top of a hill.

Horse archers are stupid powerful, but so is heavy cav if you use them correctly.
 
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HalfMetalJacket

Regular
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they are horrible offensively yes. but they offer the op shield option to take 0 casualties from enemy archers and they offer the other op "stun" ability against horses in their proximity. Frankly spear+ archer is a much better counter to cavs atm than shock troops with polearms, cause i take 0 casualties while shock troops are very vulnerable to arrow fire. the only time i have some vulgers or falxmen is when i put them right behind the shield wall. and this way they can chop at the enemy cavs or infantry comin in and not take arrow fire.
The Vlandian Pikeman is truly pitiful then. Spear, but no shield lol.

I was mostly speaking in the vacuum of all cavalry vs all infantry, and shock troops are able to straight up annihilate cavalry no matter what. Spearmen can't and dismounted cavalry men go around beating their asses, its silly.

I guess if nothing else, shielded spearmen really are difficult to hurt compared to shock troops. But damn, infantry spears need a buff.
 

KingEroc1st

Recruit
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The Vlandian Pikeman is truly pitiful then. Spear, but no shield lol.

I was mostly speaking in the vacuum of all cavalry vs all infantry, and shock troops are able to straight up annihilate cavalry no matter what. Spearmen can't and dismounted cavalry men go around beating their asses, its silly.

I guess if nothing else, shielded spearmen really are difficult to hurt compared to shock troops. But damn, infantry spears need a buff.
I think the pikemen have the longest weapons in the game, so they can do serious damage from behind the shield wall. same goes for the menavialans from the imperials, but personally i find they are weaker than 2h troops like axemen/vulgiers strictly from number of kills they can manage. most spearmen have a sidearm though, and many have throwing javelins that can volley out dozens of kills before the clash. which is key in reducing enemy morale. which are you talking about? i personally think an imperial legionary can go toe to toe against say a tier 5 cataphract that's dismounted. obviously tier 6 troops have much higher weapon skills so its not even fair.
 

HalfMetalJacket

Regular
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I think the pikemen have the longest weapons in the game, so they can do serious damage from behind the shield wall. same goes for the menavialans from the imperials, but personally i find they are weaker than 2h troops like axemen/vulgiers strictly from number of kills they can manage. most spearmen have a sidearm though, and many have throwing javelins that can volley out dozens of kills before the clash. which is key in reducing enemy morale. which are you talking about? i personally think an imperial legionary can go toe to toe against say a tier 5 cataphract that's dismounted. obviously tier 6 troops have much higher weapon skills so its not even fair.
Menavliatons are not in the same class as pikemen. Pikemen have spears, they can't swing their weapons for massive damage. They suck.

Legionaries I do not really consider spearmen, they tend to throw away their pila, which helps them a lot more against cavalry than trying to stab them.
 

flavior flavius

Recruit
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Things to avoid: charging an archer line or a spear formation. Head first charges against any enemy will result in casualties, heavy losses if it's an archer, spear, two handed, or skirmisher line.
And this is a problem. Cavalry should rip right through an archer line, skirmisher line, or light infantry line with few or even no casualties. The only thing that should counter cavalry is spearmen and other cavalry and that is not how it works right now. Archers are currently overpowered for a variety of reasons and Cavalry are currently underpowered due to a variety of reasons (mainly their horrible AI). However, I do think cavalry is undercosted in terms of wages in singleplayer... once cavalry gets buffed up to where it should be, a cavalryman should be twice as expensive in terms of wages than an equivilant tier infantryman.
 

Gelimer

Recruit
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If you raise the price of cavalry, it will only penalize the player since the AI is filthy rich.

This said, it makes sense that cav is more expensive but please remember that the player already has to provide warhorses ( expensive) to upgrade several cav units types .. so we are already paying more for cav...

So what they could do is to force the player to provide a horse for every horseman ( unless taken prisoners wih their horse or if they are mounted mercs) and cav type. They dont have to change the upkeep as it is

This way you get to invest in your cav by buying warhorses for elite units and horses for light cav ( which is already the case for some units ), but for all cavalry units.
 

Old-Bull

Veteran
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And this is a problem. Cavalry should rip right through an archer line, skirmisher line, or light infantry line with few or even no casualties. The only thing that should counter cavalry is spearmen and other cavalry and that is not how it works right now. Archers are currently overpowered for a variety of reasons and Cavalry are currently underpowered due to a variety of reasons (mainly their horrible AI). However, I do think cavalry is undercosted in terms of wages in singleplayer... once cavalry gets buffed up to where it should be, a cavalryman should be twice as expensive in terms of wages than an equivilant tier infantryman.
Yeah, they still have some work to do on balance, collision physics, armor, and the effectiveness of projectiles because cav should destroy archers and infantry without big ass spears.
 

KingEroc1st

Recruit
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i've done more testing in custom battles. using cavalry only and combined with other troops.

cav only actually seems to be doing better vs enemy infantry if i just leave them to f1 f3. might be taking some early deaths, but eventually the results are comparable if not better than constant control and forming up and charging as a group. (i basically knocked myself out after issuing f1 f3 and fast forward to the end, comparing the result of this method to me surviving the entire battle while giving orders to my troops), maybe i can practice and get better at using cav to charge infantry but i don't think it will make much of a difference.

cav charge from the flank when infantry is clashing does bring a huge wall of green kill text. but if you look closely it's all done by your infantry while the enemy formation is torn up by your cavs. the knights themselves hardly get kills.

now i can manage to not lose them as much but frankly their offensive powers are very lackluster. still gonna mass horse archers and archers i guess...

Ran a test of imperial heavy horsemen vs veteran infantryman, i needed the same number to barely win. did another test with 50 horse archers vs 100 vet infantryman, i lost 10 men and wiped him, and that's because after a little while, even though the horse archers still had ammo, some of them would charge into the infantry group 1 at a time to melee and suicide.