Start Competing: Bretonnians

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Bretonnians? Aren’t they dead? Yes, very dead. But technically, you can play them. I wouldn’t recommend it but the option is there! For Goonhammer 96 we’re looking at the option to play one of the factions we lost from the transition from The World That Was into Age of Sigmar. We don’t know yet what The Old World has in store, or if Bretonnians will make an appearance, but in the mean time if you have some really old metal motels kicking around and want to play with them now, read on!

Faction Overview

Bretonnia is a nation inspired by Arthurian Legend, with a heavy French overtone. The Knights of the Realm live in luxury, questing on behalf of their deity The Lady. While ostensibly obeying the code of Chivalry these Knights are very little like the highly moral legends they claim to be. The peasants are kept on their own land, inbred and subservient, with any attempt at insurrection crushed. Bretonnia met a fatal end during The End Times, when the undead hordes of Nagash laid waste to the country and the Lady was revealed to be the Elven Goddess Lileath in disguise. With no recourse left, the few survivors met a cruel end. It is rumored some Bretonnians may have been reincarnated, particular as Sigmar’s chosen, but nobody knows for sure.

The faction is only here because when Age of Sigmar launched, they created warscrolls for everything. This was before even battletomes came along, to consolidate what was and wasn’t playable. Even without this, Bretonnians had their entire line taken off the store after End Times, so it was increasingly rare to see anyone still playing them. If you have some buried in your closet somewhere, or a willingness to scour EBay for expensive metal models, you can, in theory, play them.

Strengths

  • Surprising diversity – For a dead model line, you actually have a lot of models that check off many niches an army needs. Cheap hordes? You got em. Wizards? Oh yeah. Cavalry? Is that a joke?
  • Good synergy – Among Nobles at least, the Heroes can buff each other, making them surprisingly powerful
  • Decent Charge Phase – Although you lack the tricks of newer factions, all your cavalry isn’t the worst in the charge phase.
  • Gain Respect – Any grognard will wipe a tear from their eye in joy seeing you rock these models.

Weaknesses

  • Old as hell Warscrolls – Age of Sigmar is a different game from 5 years ago. Rend, damage, mortal wounds, reroll auras have all become much more plentiful. You’re sitting with some very 1.0 era warscrolls and you will feel it.
  • No Battletome – And likely never will be, unless something crazy happens. As such your only allegiance option is to play as Grand Alliance: Order, and playing a grand alliance is rarely a good time, especially forcing restrictions on yourself.
  • Stratified Society – For the most part, Heroes can buff units with the NOBILITY keyword, which naturally your peasants do not have. Your peasant units are very weak and basically exist to die in droves. Fitting.
  • Hard to get – As emphasized, getting these models is hard, they’ve been out of print for years and so you either need to find these in your old collection or be very dedicated to paying money for a gimmick.

If you still want to go through with this, the warscrolls (and point values) can be found in the Warhammer Legends section of Warhammer Community.

Competitive Rating

N/A. Officially, you can’t play this army in a Games Workshop sanctioned tournament. Some local tournaments and of course, casual matches are fair game. These war scrolls aren’t supported in any official capacity so check with your opponent or local TOs before trying to play them.

The point values were never updated, being part of the Legends line but that doesn’t mean they’re overpowered. Even without this, you’re stuck playing Grand Alliance: Order without any of the flexibility that grants. You are playing this as a gag and if you win games then The Lady bless you.

Duc Charles de Brun and his Bretonnian knights. Credit: Stephen Dipper

Battle Traits

Trait. Singular. Since Bretonnians have no allegiance of their own we’ll need to work with what we got. Due to there being no Battletome to work with I’m going to approach this a bit differently and be more broad in where I draw sources from, since we’re going to need every edge we can get. Largely these come from Grand Alliance: Order in the core rules.

Defiant Avengers

Reroll all Battleshock tests. Really bad for you! Most of the units that could make use of this ability have standard bearers which do the same thing and you can’t reroll a reroll. Additionally, the King just makes Battleshock a non-issue within a 24″ radius. So in the end, there’s few units who get to actually make use of it.

Command Traits

The Grand Alliance traits are all pretty bland, fitting their broad nature. So some work better than others. While they’re all “OK” I’m going to rate them based on how well they work for Bretonnia.

  • Strategic Genius – At the start of the first battle round, receive a bonue command point.
    • I don’t hate it. One command point isn’t a lot, and you don’t have a ton of command abilities (You only have 2, and one is just the same with a smaller radius) but due to your lack of buffs and battle traits you’ll want to lean on the generic ones a lot more. B
  • Inspiring – Friendly units do not take battleshock tests while they are within 6″ of your general.
    • Pretty limited for you, the King already lets you avoid battleshock within 24″ of him, which is a massive chunk of the field. You’re better off just taking him. D
  • Dauntless – You can re-roll charge rolls for your general.
    • Really good for you. Many of your horseback knights get to charge from 18″ away with 3D6 instead of 2D6, and this will help your General keep up. B+
  • Tenacious – Add 1 to your general’s Wounds.
    • Bit boring, but combined with a Feel No Pain from the Damsel and it can make a difference on a high wound model C
  • Legendary Fighter –  When your general is selected to fight, add 1 to the Attacks of one of their melee weapons for that fight.
    • You’re best in melee so this a good pick for you. The exact wording is a bit strange but it lets you pick which weapon to increase the attack characteristic, which doesn’t really help here because all your Heroes with multiple weapons are on mounts, who can’t benefit. B+
  • Master of Defence –  6+ Feel no pain.
    • The Damsel can grant you this, but she can only cast it once per turn so it cant hurt to have it on your General as backup, letting her focus her attention elsewhere.

Artefacts

Losing the artefacts from Malign Sorcery hurts especially here, since you don’t have your own to pick from. You still have a broader selection of artefacts than you did command traits, drawing from the Grand Alliance Order in the Core rulebook or the Realm Artefacts from General’s Handbook 2020. The artefact section is a lot stronger here, good mix of interesting one use powers and genuinely useful weapon buffs. The big issue is because you have no Warscroll Battalions you’re only getting one, so make it count.

Order Artefacts

  • Quicksilver Potion – Once per battle, at the start of the combat phase, the Bearer can fight first in the combat phase.
    • Its only once per battle but it can be key in the clutch, especially against something like Slaanesh.
  • Obstinate Blade Pick one of the bearer’s melee weapons. Improve the Rend by 1.
    • Your rend really sucks. Early Age of Sigmar was a lot more ginger with handing out Rend and you are no different. This is definitely a high priority on your list. A
  • Relic Blade: Pick one of the bearer’s melee weapons and increase the Damage characteristic by 1.
    • Similar to the Obstinate Blade, your damage isn’t great, even on big stuff. Not a bad pick but I’d probably rank it below higher rend. However this can still combo well with Legendary Fighter on the same character A-
  • Hoarfrost – Pick one of the bearer’s melee weapons. If an enemy model is allocated any wounds from this weapon and is not slain, subtract 1 from that model’s hit rolls for the rest of the battle.
    • Interesting. Can help neuter monsters, though you’ll have to get close to one to do it first B
  • Talisman of Blinding Light – Once per battle, at the start of the combat phase subtract 1 from hit rolls made for attacks that target the bearer for that turn
    • The once per battle makes it less great, but good for your continued survival when combined with a FNP save C+
  • Phoenix Stone – In each hero phase, you can heal 1 wound that has been allocated to the bearer.
    • Your survivability sucks and one wound may not seem like much but it can go a long way. B

Artefacts of the Realms

In Generals Handbook 2020 Games Workshop tossed out the Malign Sorcery artefacts. Healthy for the game, bad for you, since a lot of those were very powerful. Instead they were substitued with one artefact for each realm, which you can designate your army is “from”. This otherwise has no statistical effect and is more of a fluff reason. Since the Bretonnians are legend, you can really come from anywhere!

  • Incandescent Rageblade (Aqshy) – Designate a weapon to attach this artefact to, if you roll a 6, get 2 hits instead of 1.
    • Pretty good, you don’t get a ton of attacks usually though, combo this with Legendary Fighter B
  • Plate of Perfect Protection (Chamon) – Any hit against the bearer with -1 rend is rend – instead.
    • With the abundance of Rend in modern AoS this will do a lot to help your survivability against a modern army B+
  • Predators Torc (Ghur) – Reroll charges for the bearer.
    • Similar to Dauntless trait for Command Traits, you’re in your element charging in the melee phase so this isn’t a bad investment, though the pool of competitive Artefacts is significantly wider than your command traits C
  • Everspring Diadem (Ghyran) – Heal 1 wound to the bearer per turn
    • Identical to the Phoenix Stone B
  • Syari Trueblade (Hysh) – Reroll hit rolls of 1.
    • Not bad, you want every hit to count, but you probably can do better since this effect is easily replicated with the All-out Attack command trait, and not like you have a ton of other uses for CP. C
  • Gravesand Brooch (Shyish) – Reroll save rolls of 1
    • Does wonders for your survivability. B
  • Trickster’s Foil (Ulgu) – Reroll wound rolls of 1.
    • Ah there we go. Chances to reroll wounds don’t come around as much, so this is a solid pick as well. A

Spells

Well you get no special spells, but the Damsel and Enchantress are surprisingly formidable wizards in their own right, and they can use Endless Spells. Most of the generic Endless Spells have limited practical use, but a few are worth looking at.

Emerald Lifeswarm gives you access to much needed healing, healing D3 wounds (or equivalent slain models) for each unit it passes over. If you happen to be in Ghyran it becomes a D6.

Chronomatic Cogs are a high priority for many lists. They can give everyone on the field +2″ of movement and +2 to charge rolls, and while that does effect your enemy too, you’re in your element when charging, especially with Knights who can roll 3D6 and charge 18″. The other mode gives an extra spell to one of your wizards, which can be crucial for a Damsel or Enchantress to get an endless spell off.

Finally, a Mortal Wound machine like Purple Sun of Shyish or Ravenak’s Gnashing Jaws can be a source of mortal wounds that you otherwise lack.

Taking endless spells is risky, it’s not wise to take more than 1 so your opponent can’t wrest control of them, but don’t underestimate their utility.

Bretonnian damsel. Credit: Stephen Dipper

Units

You have a surprising number of units on tap here, hitting a lot of roles an army needs. Strong Heroes and Cavalry, hoardes of peasant chaff and even Artillery, a rarely seen role.

Leaders

For named characters from Warhammer Fantasy Battle, the warscrolls suggest to use a generic equivalent, which I will mark in the unit’s description. There are actual warscrolls for Louen Leoncouer, The Fey Enchantress and The Green Knight, if you download the Heroes of the Old World from Warhammer Community, but these characters have no points so I’ll be skipping them.

King on Hippogryph

The big man himself, he went by Louen Leoncouer once, and the warscroll also replaces a Bretonnian Lord on Hippogryph. This guy does it all, he’s one of your best combat monsters, lets you ignore battleshock within a crazy 24″, unbind a spell like a wizard, and heal D3 wounds per turn. While his statblock is a bit antiquated by today’s standard, it still holds up really well, especially when you consider he gets to reroll 1s to save on the charge, reroll all hits against Monsters and Heroes, and has your only Command Ability to add +1 to hit rolls within 24″, making him hit on a 2+. Definitely bring this guy, he’s costly at 400 pts, but you’ll want to build your list around him.

Enchantress

Also known as The Fey Enchantress, she’s your best Wizard, and you won’t find her terribly lacking. With a blinding fast move speed of 14″ and 2 spells per turn (and can reroll one casting every turn!) she will always be where you need her to be. Her unique spell is very solid, granting +1 to hit for any Bretonnian unit within 16″. She has a few other tricks too, like allowing Grail Knights to reroll all hits within 10″. She can deal mortal wounds if enemies get into combat with her, but don’t let that happen.

Sacred Protector

The Green Knight, by another name. He’s a tanky combat character, with a 3+ save that cannot be modified, and a 6+ Feel No Pain on top of that. He does struggle with only 5 wounds, so don’t get too cocky. If anything is really holding him back though, it’s his Summoned from the Mist ability, which forces you to put him in deep strike. This wouldn’t be so bad, if you didn’t have to roll for it, and he only shows up on a 4+. A couple of bad dice rolls could see him never showing up at all, so I’d probably just avoid this guy.

Bretonnian Lord

This covers several units, including Bretonnian Lord on Pegasus, Paladin and Paladin on Pegasus. A cheaper version of the King, if you’re pressed for points, or if you need a secondary leader. His abilities are all watered down versions of the King’s, only being able to reroll hits against Monsters (But not Heroes) and his command trait being identical to the King’s but only 15″. Skip this guy unless you feel you need more leader support, and focus on other Heroes to support the King.

Noble Champion

Also a standby for a Bretonnian Lord on Foot the Noble Champion fills an important Niche. He has a decent statblock for Bretonnians, with his weapon dealing extra damage against Death and Daemons, so if you end up fighting those you’ll luck out! He also has a rare buff for Peasants, letting them use his decent 7 Bravery instead of their absolutely atrocious one. Ideally you’ll avoid battleshock with the King, but it might help in a pinch. Depending on what you’re taking this guy for, look at the Standard Bearer instead

Noble Standard Bearer

His stat block is largely identical to the Champion, though being on Horseback gives him more movement and a few extra attacks. He gains the same bonus against Death and Daemons but allows all Nobles to reroll their battleshock tests. It’s a toss up whether this or the Champion is better but I think the Bearer wins out slightly, since he can move faster, and if you happen to match up against a Death or Daemon army that extra damage can do a lot. If your list is heavy in Peasants though, go Champion.

Damsel

Also a stand-in for a Prophetess of the Lady the Damsel is a lesser caster than the Enchantress but don’t count her out, as she can fulfill very different roles. She can take a mount, and you might as well, because with a Pegasus she has 16″ move and Fly. She can heal 1 damage per turn to a unit within 6″, which may not seem like a lot but can help keep your Heroes topped off. She only gets one spell, but it grants a 6+ Feel No Pain. Take what you can get. She’s worth taking alongside The Fey Enchantress, for sure.

Battleline

You have 2 kinds of knights, and cheap peasantry. All Knights share these same traits: you can roll 3D6 to charge from 18″ away, which is incredibly powerful to just grant to a unit for free, reroll battleshock tests, +1 to wound and damage and reroll 1s to save on the charge. Rather than repeat myself, just assume those are there for anything with Knight in the name, and I’ll discuss what makes them special.

Knights Errant

Knights Errant and Knights of the Realm are very similar, sporting similar stat blocks and the point cost isn’t too far off.  The Knights Errant are unique from Realm Knights in how they synergize well with the Damsel, allowing them to reroll 1s to hit if within 18″ of her, which is a pretty fair bubble. I think ultimately due to being slightly cheaper and having a better unique bonus, I’d take Errants over the Realm Knights.

Knights of the Realm

Knights of the Realm cost 20 more points per 8 and all that really buys you is an extra bravery. Instead of gaining rerolls to 1s for being near a Damsel, they gain rerolls of 1 to hit when in units of 10 or more. Frankly they cost way too much to be doing that, the extra 20 points just isn’t worth it.

Men-At-Arms

Your final Battleline is your cheap chaff, and boy are they as disposable as they come. At a cheap 120 pts for 10 they have a 6+ save. though a 5+ if they didn’t charge that turn, making them best as objective holders. They have an atrocious 5+ to hit which is improved to 4+ with 20 models of 3+ with 30. So take a large group, keep them propped on a backline objective in case anyone tries to sneak past.

Bretonnian Peasant Bowmen. Credit: Stephen Dipper

Other

These cover many knights (mostly designed with a specialty in mind) and your peasant cannon fodder.

Questing Knights

Suped up versions of your battleline knights. They get 2 attacks per model, have 3+s to wound build in, actual rend and deal bonus damage to Monsters. The boost against Monsters is key, making them crucial to taking down these tankey foes. The downside is you can’t be sure if your opponent will bring one, but still having wounds does do them some favors.

Grail Knights

A side grade to Questing Knights, while they lose the 3+ to wound of the Questing Knights, they can still get that on the charge which is their element. They borrow the bonus damage against Death and Daemons that the Champion and Standard Bearer have, which causes them to have a similar problem to Questing Knights as only being best in their speciality. This is a much more broad keyword and is more likely to be useful. Like questing knights their solid base statline still makes them worth taking, and their anti Death/Daemon power as more of a bonus.

Pegasus Knights

While you’d think these guys would be on par with Questing and Grail Knights, they lose their rend, which definitely hurts. Their only real strength is that they have 16″ move and flight, which isn’t nothing. Bring a squad and have them grab out of the way objectives, or ones your opponent foolishly left guarded.

Battle Pilgrims

A very strange unit. They’re fairly weak, but their leader grants some surprisingly good buffs, including +1 to hit (making them effectively a 4+) and although they have saves of 5+, they can reroll saves of 1 or 2. Definitely pretty tough for a bunch of zealous peasants. In groups of 10 or more, they gain +1 to wound as well, while they won’t kill much, they can make a solid enough tarpit that is just dangerous enough to take a few things down with them.

Peasant Bowman

You don’t have a ton of Ranged options as Bretonnians (naturally, real chivalrous soldiers fight in melee!) but the peasants are under no such limitations of chivalry. These guys are actually really interesting, they shoot from a respectable 20″, and once per game can fire a volley of Arrows, gaining +2 attacks, or +3 with 30 or more models! They also gain two powers that rely on the Bowman standing still, planting stakes in the ground (dealing D3 mortal wounds to anyone who charges in) and lighting braziers (add 1 to wound rolls). These are lost if the unit is attacked or moves, so find a good place to set up shop and fire away!

Mounted Yeoman

Archers on Horseback, these guys can be good objective grabbers as an alternative to Pegasus Knights. They gain a free scout movement, and can plink at enemies from a decent distance away. They are exceedingly delicate with their 6+ save, making moving them behind enemy lines rather difficult.

Artillery

Field Trebuchet

Wow, this is an impressive bit of machinery.. The attack profile is crazy, being able to hit up to 4 feet away (even if they can’t see them!), and one of your few sources of rend better than 1 in the army, It can basically auto-hit a sufficiently large unit, and deals D6 damage. The main concern is you need a crew to go with it, and the crew is very delicate, keep the trebuchet as far bad as you can, but close enough to be able to cover your forces or a strategic point, and this will do a large chunk of your damage.

Allies

They’re not “allies” as such, because none of the factions let you ally in with Grand Alliance: Order or Bretonnia (With one exception, the Kraken-Eater discussed below), but since you are Grand Alliance: Order there isn’t actually anything stopping you from grabbing any other Order models and adding them to your list. To some degree this is really ruining the spirit of the challenge, because at what point are you just playing Grand Alliance: Order as a melting pot and not Bretonnians? If you insist though, here’s a few suggestions you can throw in without messing with the theme too much.

First, Order’s favorite Mercenary Gotrek Gunderson. Gotrek followed your Bretonnians from the Old World and boy is he terrifying. He’s slow, making it easy for a smart opponent to outmaneuver him, but if he gets in he hits like a truck, with 6 attacks with -2 Rend and 3 damage (And he can attack twice!). He’s tanky too, with a respectable 4+ save and a 3+ FNP save.

Stormcast Eternals have Evocators which can be a helpful hammer to your often piddly damage.  They are warrior-mages who hit decently hard, helping you by unbinding enemy spells, charging themselves up with their warscroll’s Empower spell, and hitting units with mortal wounds.

Cities of Sigmar offers a few options, with models that will look more at home next to the aging Bretonnians. Notably, Shadow Warriors offer some deep strike damage from behind enemy lines while your knights fight up front. It’s not very chivalrous, but you’re not actually the one stabbing them in the back, right? Frankly Cities of Sigmar has too many to list but if you’re willing to sully yourself with those note of pure Bretonnian nobility, then definitely sift through these warscrolls.

Finally, if you really want to get out there, Kraken-Eater from Sons of Behemat is a valid Mercenary for any Order Army. Although it seems more like something that your knights are likely to slay rather than fight along side, the chaos they sow on the battlefield can give them the advantage they need. Mega-Gargants do alot, too much to list here, but suffice to say if you need a hammer these guys are a mallet. Massive damage, tons of ways to disrupt the enemy, they will be your MVP if you bring one. That said it’s definitely stretching the concept more than anything else listed here. You are trying to fight honorably, right?

Charles de Brun charges the undead. Credit: Stephen Dipper

List Building

We’re in uncharted territory here. Since Bretonnians aren’t an official supported army, finding tournament lists for them is very difficult, so I’m going to try and do this myself.

Chivalry Reigns

The battlefield is meant for Knights, and the Representatives of the Lady! The Serfs need to remain on their turf, and so we shall embrace what makes Bretonnia great!

Allegiance: Order

Leaders
King on Hippogryph (400)
- General
- Command Trait: Legendary Fighter
- Artefact: Obstinate Blade
Damsel (100)
Enchantress (160)

Battleline
8 x Knights Errant (200)
8 x Knights Errant (200)
8 x Knights Errant (200)

Units
3 x Pegasus Knights (200)
5 x Questing Knights (180)
5 x Grail Knights (180)
5 x Grail Knights (180)

Total: 2000 / 2000
Extra Command Points: 0
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 110

Well…points don’t give us a lot of room here, but what we have is rather tanky. The Knights Errant, Questing Knights and Grail Knights can charge into battle, fighing the enemies they’re best equipped for. They will remain supported by the King, the Enchantress and the Damsel, and the Knights Errant will seek to impress the lady. Try and get the charge first, your real power only comes out when you get to strike the first blow, and luckily you have 18″ range to do it.

The People’s Rebellion

The people have been held down for too long! We must break free of our chains and rise up! Bretonnia and the favor of the Lady truly belongs to those who toil in her fields and till her soil! They may be powerful, but we are many, and our union makes us strong! Let the peasantry rise up!

Allegiance: Order
Mortal Realm: Ulgu

Leaders
Noble Champion (80)
- General
- Command Trait: Legendary Fighter
- Artefact: Trickster's Foil

Battleline
32 x Men At Arms (240)
32 x Men At Arms (240)
48 x Men At Arms (360)

Units
32 x Peasant Bowmen (400)
30 x Battle Pilgrims (400)

Artillery
Field Trebuchet (220)

Endless Spells / Terrain / CPs
Extra Command Point (50)

Total: 1990 / 2000
Extra Command Points: 1
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 189

A peasant heavy list, creates the opposite problem That is a lot of wounds, but man will it not hold up to a stiff breeze . Still, you have a lot of bodies to block enemy advancement, and with a lot of luck you might just be able to bog them down with your spirit (and endless bodies).

Bretonnia United

We’ve been looking at this all wrong. The true strength of Bretonnia lies in its people working together for a common cause, noble and peasant!

Allegiance: Order

Leaders
King on Hippogryph (400)
- General
- Command Trait: Legendary Fighter
- Artefact: Obstinate Blade
Enchantress (160)
Damsel (100)

Battleline
32 x Men At Arms (240)
8 x Knights Errant (200)
8 x Knights Errant (200)

Units
32 x Peasant Bowmen (400)

Artillery
Field Trebuchet (220)

Endless Spells / Terrain / CPs
Extra Command Point (50)
Prismatic Palisade (30)

Total: 2000 / 2000
Extra Command Points: 1
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 126

I actually waffled on this one at lot. Men at Arms are best holding backline objectives, and Knights Errant are tanky, but only 16 may not be enough to protect all the backline artillery. Still, combined with the king and the Wizards supporting them, the amount of ranged damage can do some serious damage early on, if the knights and Men at Arms can take the hit. Regardless of what you do, it’s going to be take a lot of luck and skill.

The Bretonnian Army of Charles de Brun. Credit: Stephen Dipper

Wrapping Up

Well this was quite a journey. Bretonnians have been missed since their destruction in The World That Was and there’s many brave souls holding vigil for the day they return, whether it be officially supported in Age of Sigmar or in The Old World.  I admit going in to this I’m not sure…what I was thinking. Would any one read this? Would anyone care? I’m actually genuinely curious, is there any one out there crazy enough to be playing Bretonnians like this? If you are then please, drop me a line I genuinely want to hear about your experiences!

Maybe next year I’ll look at Tomb Kings…

If you have any questions or comments, shoot us an email at contact@goonhammer.com or leave a comment below!

 

 

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