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=][= Unit(s) of the week: Rough Riders =][=


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It has come to the Commissariat's attention that some of you have not being keeping up with your regular training requirements. As such we intend to rectify this immediately by commencing an intensive re-education of the command corps. Failure will not be tolerated!


This will be a weekly series of threads aimed at discussing the units available to the Astra Miliatrum in 8th edition. This can become a resource for those finding their feet in 8th and our brothers in arms who have joined the fight in the glorious Imperial Guard.


The next series will cover our highly mobile support elements, Fast Attack.

This particular thread will be dedicated to Rough Riders and their slightly more battle hardened brethren Death Korps Death Rider Squadrons.

(My initial post will be focused on the non-FW variants as I am not as familiar with the FW ones, other than they look awesome! I do think they would make a great addition to a guard army, particularly since we no longer have these models available from GW).


A favourite of mine from by gone years of 3rd ed! I had a (still have in various states of repair) a squad of 5 Attilan RR's. The Sgt of which was my first ever conversion, I made the horse rear up on its hind legs. I was quite proud of myself at the time!

Enough reminiscing though, with their hunting lances no longer one use only (no limited to turns they charged) and impressive stats of S +2, AP -2 and D:D3 they can certainly deliver a punch on the charged. They can keep swinging afterwards too with a chainsword + [effectively] an additional 1 attack from their mighty steeds! 

As far as I am aware they are also one of the few units in the game that have a "outflanking" deployment option. This makes them even better at counter assaulting units that arrive in our back lines, or providing well needed assistance to troops further up the field, 10" movement is quite reasonable too.



How have you been fielding your RR's? I'd love to see peoples' models of these! I might even dig out my old 3rd ed ones and take a pic for the novelty. :D


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Death Riders are very much the bomb compared to their more lightly armed cousins.

I believe one of the fantasy flight RPGS classified them as ‘Heavy Lancers’ which as I will explain, is spot on.

So for 6points more than a rough rider (yes that is over a 50% increase) you get a wealth of better abilities and stats

Stock standard they are now WS 3+ , T4, 2 Attacks (so now you get 2 lance attacks as opposed to one lance and one chain sword) and a 4+ save! So already they are approaching Primaris Marines in basic stats. You also have the generic Krieg ability ‘Cult of Sacrifice’ which allows models in this unit to ignore shooting casualties for morale checks… no more getting shot off the board gang! Finally, and certainly not least, Krieg can issue orders to cavalry as well as infantry (to be covered in a moment).

Next up you have their much-improved mount, which nets the model an extra slew of abilities.
First up we have the Augmented Mount rule, which gives the model essentially a 5+ FnP save against anything s4 and below (FW have not yet FAQ’d what Poison and Mortal Wounds count as). They also ignore any effects of terrain on charging (bit of a moot point given this edition’s rules, but hey) and last but not least is the mounts attacks. Instead of Trampling Hooves (which gives me flash backs to Freddy Got Fingered and the ‘look at my hooves’ bit…) we have Savage Claws..because Krieg Steeds don’t dick about. This nets you another 2 (!) attacks after you’ve attacked with the rider at a whopping S4… quite lethal.

Now the Ridemaster (sarge) is the same as his underlings, except he is rocking an extra attack. He can take upgraded weapons, but sadly the Melee Weapon replaces his Hunting Lance… so be careful on that option.

Now the Death Riders don’t have the outflank ability which is a shame…but then enter the Death Rider Command Squadron!

You pay a 1 point increase on these fellas netting you +1 on both BS and Ld for the unit, they also have the ‘Flanking Manoeuvre” ability, which is the same as the Rough Rider one, but it allows you to bring up to 5 other Death Rider squadrons/characters with you. Only downside is they are a 4 man unit.

Now finally and by far my favourite, is the Death Rider Squadron Commander, for a measly 10point upgrade on a normal AM Company Commander you net a WS3+, BS3+ S3 T4 A3 Ld8 Sv 4+ mounted character. He has the normal officer options available to him, as well as all the benefits of the Krieg Steed. He can take a Demolition Charge for a measly 5 points (the visual imagery of this cavalry officer galloping past a bunker and hurling the charge in is golden!). He is also rocking a refractor field if you’re armour save is being negated, which never hurts. Finally he can issue a single order a turn, which is fantastic, meaning you can have an order-giver up fighting with you flanking Death Rider squadrons.

Now the orders that are available to Krieg are the same as guard, except you swap out Take Arim! for ‘Duty unto Death’ which allows an Inf or Cav unit to make a single attack after being killed in the fight phase (so pretty helpful, especially if they charged this turn) and they also swap out   FRF!SRF! (a damn shame) for ‘Without Mercy’, which gives all las guns and hotshot lasguns the pistol 2 characteristic (not much help for Death Riders). The more interesting orders available are most probably Move! Move! Move! Which could put a unit of Death Riders 20”+2d6 up the board which is amazing! But by far the most interesting and powerful one for the Death Riders would have to be Fix Bayonets… allowing them to get a full fight phase instead of shooting is beyond amazing.. given the amount of attacks they put out, you could probably get another charge off also…

One worthy mention also is the Krieg Company Standard, which gives all Inf and Cav +1 to Ld..but more importantly +1 attack… if you can figure out a way to keep a company command squad up with your Death Rider advance, they will make for a murderous unit indeed!!

They will happily go toe to toe with a lot of the enemy’s melee infantry and certainly take their toll! If they go against softer targets (Basic Marines, Guard, Eldar etc) they will absolutely murder them. Factor in orders as well as a Company Banner, a single Death Rider could put out a whopping 10 attacks in a single player turn which is nothing to sniff out.

A full unit of charging Death Riders with Company Standard support put out a terrifying 31 Lance attacks and 20 S4 attacks hitting on a 3+… for a whopping 193 points (10 riders + company command with banner)… people should be very afraid…

So all in all, and I think you’ll agree, that Death Riders deserve the title of Heavy Lancers…

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Couldn't agree more with you TheTrans. Death Riders are well worth the point increase over regular rough riders. I've used a commander, command squad and 5 man rider squadron outflanking near my deep striking scions. It's quite scary when your opponent is advancing towards your gunline only to be pincered by deep striking plasma and a solid close combat force. Most people don't expect something like that when fighting Guard which is why I love it.
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I'm tempted to try Rough Riders as part of an encirclement strategy, and also because I think they might be a fun asset to use as a one-two punch. Maybe combo with Bullgryns, so the big guys take the Overwatch then these guys nip in.

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Useful, like a can opener. That's how I describe them!


They've ben good for me. Cheap way of filling up those fast attack slots for the Brigade detachment and add a bit of punch to a charge. I've started to use them more wisely because even though they have 2 wounds they'll die easily. Bring them on next to some Scions though and they get ignored. Then they can be used to keep the enemy at bay while your Scions go to work.


Here's a pic, posted this before but what the hell. They're now sprayed and based at least!



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Wow, after reading about death riders I really wish my meta was more FW friendly. I especially like that they can bring a mounted commander, that sounds like a lot fun to model and play. 


On the subject of modeling these. What are some good minis to use for this if you want something other than attilan/FW? I've seen a lot of recommendations for WFB empire knights, but those seem unavailable now. I've been interesting in trying out rough riders for a long time, but never like the official kit. 

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Rough Riders are only good as a distraction and harassment unit, e.g. to flank and engage tanks and artillery in the back lines. As a counter-charge unit, they are not going to kill anything of interest.


As already pointed out, Death Riders are an entirely different thing, and definitely much better. I always take the latter, they are well worth their point increase.

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I'm soooo excited about my Bullgryns arriving. They're in a delivery van as I type! They look beastly. Rough Riders are great though. They're so cheap you can just throw them wherever you like. Even if all they do is stop an enemy unit from firing for a turn or compete for a backfield objective they've been worth their points.


Occasionally they'll kill something as well. That's always a nice bonus! I've had two pesky Chaos Sorcerers trampled under hoof (and antler) so far. Three squads of 5 is the cheapest way to fill out your Brigade Fast Attack and I can't recommend them highly enough.


Also a great excuse for some out there conversions. I'm still offering a proverbial beer (or a real one in you're near York) to the person who makes Rough Riders out of the Steampunky Kharadon Overlord Jetpack things strapped onto good old fashioned Guard Infantry!

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If you don't mind having too shave off some spikes and icons, whfb Marauder Horsemen work really well with just a little work. Or if you don't mind them being evil, they're even less work and come ready with a bunch of Spears.

Not bad, but maybe more work than I'd like to do for a whole unit. I might have to look into some historical alternatives as I'd like to get that WW1 cavalry look. 



I only play in casual garage games. I don't think they'd mind so much if I bought the actual FW models, but I can't really afford that in this case. So they aren't necessarily against forge world as much as against using better rules just because they're better. 

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