The Best Calvary for Age of Sigmar's Next General's Handbook

Carter Kachmarik
May 03, 2023


Warhammer Fest’s reveals have finally concluded, and when it comes to Age of Sigmar, we’ve got some exciting developments!  Like I discussed in my article last week (Which you can find here), many players wanted a return to Broken Realms-style narratives, but the one thing no one could have expected was the homecoming of Malign Portents’s big brother: Dawnbringers.  As mentioned, this new narrative saga mirrors 1st Edition’s Malign Portents, with a variety of armies getting new models in the ramp-up to a new Edition, likely coming in the Summer of 2024.  That said, these new models also herald the arrival of a brand-new General’s Handbook, and from the sight of these breathtaking sculpts, it’s no shocker that we’re very likely to see a boon for Cavalry this time around, as many expected.  So, in preparation for that shift towards mounted combat, I wanted to review some of Age of Sigmar’s best & brightest units, and their noble (or ignoble) steeds.

From the reveals this past weekend, we know Nurgle, Cities of Sigmar, & Ironjawz are receiving brand-new cavalry, which makes quite a lot of sense for them to be forerunners.  Each of those factions got their armybook early on into 3.0, and are likely to get their 4.0 tome early as well; moreover, these factions have some stellar cavalry as-is, and these allow you to run an all-mounted force much more easily.  Ironjawz were known for their Gore-Gruntaz during the days of Bounty Hunters, and it’s likely we’ll see them again, as potent, consistent Battleline that manage turn 1 charges like no other army.  Nurgle, similarly, can rely on their Pusgoyle Blightlords, mounted on the surprisingly speedy rot flies, to be a cavalry lynchpin.  This takeaway suggests that the good news is, if you’ve played during the season of Bounty Hunters, you likely already own cavalry for these select factions, given they were Battleline without being Veterans.

Cities of Sigmar, historically, was one of the best armies in the game to do an all-mounted army, with cavalry units in essentially every battlefield role, from Demigryph Knights, to mounted pistoliers.  That said, from a quick count, some interesting numbers emerge about the density of units with mounts across all factions: Depending on how Games Workshop were to approach this focus on mounted combat, more than one faction would be left out.

In its broadest definition, only 2 factions in the game have 0 units in their army list with the ‘mount’ keyword, being the obvious Sons of Behemat, and Kharadron Overlords.  That number greatly expands, however, if you only count non-Behemoth units with the ‘mount’ keyword, to exclude factions like Fyreslayers & Flesh-Eater Courts, and even more if you look to have at least 2 options.  Of the lines which got new models in the Dawnbringers reveal, both FEC & Fyres are getting new models, neither of which are mounted, so there’s a chance this new GHB may favor some armies over another.

Via Games Workshop

Of the Cavalry that currently exist, the stand-out units, beyond those mentioned, are Blood Knights, Kavalos for Ossiarch Bonereapers, and Mournfangs for Ogor Mawtribes.  Blood Knights are the backbone of competitive Soulblight lists, being able to hold enough buffs to be essentially untouchable, while Kavalos & Mournfangs are tanky, resilient flanking units that can take down even elite infantry with ease.  Ossiarchs in particular would benefit from a cavalry-focused GHB, given Kavalos saw a major facelift in the new tome, and Stalliarch Lords sits as a premier subfaction for the army.

“Non-Behemoth units with the ‘mount’ keyword” would be my bet for the specific focus of this next GHB, as having it include behemoths would feel rather similar to the first GHB of the modern era, which was monster-focused already.  By that mark, charge control is going to be a critical component, and armies that quite literally can’t take such cavalry pieces are going to need to adjust.

Via Warhammer Community

There are a few models within AoS that fulfill that criteria without being obvious, the main one of course being Tzaangor Skyfires/Enlightened on Disk.  The on-foot version of Enlightened is extremely strong at the moment, although favor being given to mounts as a keyword could shift that balance, in both Beasts of Chaos & Disciples of Tzeentch.  I get a sense of deja-vu when looking at the units likely to see the greatest benefit from mounted combat buffs, as it’s essentially the same list as during the season of Bounty Hunters, where Battleline with over 5 wounds, or a mount, were premium.  To some degree, we’ve seen several seasons focused on units with cavalry, from the mounted behemoths of Thondia, to the Veteran-avoidance of Gallet; this is a chance for Games Workshop to potentially channel those seasons’ learning moments into a fantastic time for tournament play.

Via Warhammer Community

Even if this GHB doesn’t focus on cavalry, they play an important role in the game we all love; many forces will take it as a means to seize the sideboard, and outflank the opponent, or simply play for objectives at a blinding pace.  Cavalry pay a premium for their maneuverability, but oftentimes the attacks of the mounts surpasses that of the rider, working in concert to deliver Mortal Wounds as ‘impact hits’.  Playing against cavalry teaches you to screen well, to avoid those seemingly-unavoidable crashes of hoof & claw, and Age of Sigmar is uniquely positioned to use the unique facets of its system in that skill curve.  Screening with Endless Spells, now that many are costed appropriately, is a great way to avoid cavalry, and oftentimes armies invested in expensive mounted units won’t be able to devote points to Wizards, or Priests in large amounts.  Moreover, most Chaos factions can coalition-in some Ungor, or order, resilient Vindictors.  If your faction lacks the means to play in a GHB’s favored way, there’s always an opportunity to roll with the punches, and counter the meta.  So, whether you’re someone with an army that lacks cavalry, or one practically drowning in mounted options, the potential to have our next General’s Handbook hone in on grand charges and trampled earth is a glorious one.

What sort of lists are you planning to try with a cavalry focus?  What’s your favorite unit type to play in Age of Sigmar, be it mounted infantry or otherwise?  What else might the next GHB focus on?  Let me know any thoughts you have in the comments below!


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