Soul reaver cavalry vs infantry

It’s a strange thing. These two units are very similar, yet the difference in game is huge. Both are vampires, but one is seen as one of the best units in KoW 3rd edition and the other is so bad it was buffed in clash ’22. This blog post looks into both units.

A stat comparison:

First of all, both units have a lot in common. Both have melee 3+, defense 5+, 15/17 nerve, Unit Strength of (4), life leech (2) and are vampires. The difference is as follows:

Soul reaver cavalry: Movement 8, 20 attacks, height 3, Cs (1), TC (1)

Soul reaver infantry: Movement 6, 25 attacks, height 2, CS (2)

Originally, both were 250 points. Since Clash ’22, the cavalry has received a 10 points discount, while the infantry were only saved from a nerf because Clash ’22 didn’t nerf anything at all.

What is it that makes such a difference? Having played with both of them (even in one army), I feel I can contribute something.

Hitting power

The main difference between both units is the number of attacks and CS value.

  • Normally, the cavalry will do 8.9 wounds against a def 5+ unit and infantry 11.1. Infantry do 25% better.
  • When hindered, however, the cavalry will do only 5 wounds on average against def 5+, while infantry deal 8.9 against this same unit. The difference is now 67% better.

This difference is very remarkable. Infantry do a lot of damage, even when hindered, while cavalry have to take care not to be.

Speed

First of all, in 2nd edition Kings of War, Speed was valued low. As Kings is a game of movement, as the game matured, the Rules Committee quickly summised that speed was far more than it was costed at that time. Bear in mind that Clash of Kings packs couldn’t change point costs during that edition.

So during 3rd edition, speedy units were increased in price. This is the reason why a movement 8 unit should be a lot more expensive (or less good) than a comparable movement 6 unit. In the case of 6 vs 8 the difference isn’t that pronounced. A movement 6 unit usually doesn’t get the first charge and needs chaff. A unit with movement 8 also often doesn’t get the charge and needs chaff.

While movement 8 is better than movement 6, the difference isn’t as big as the difference between 7 (meh) and 9 (great).

Height

Soul reaver infantry has height (2). The cavalry has height (3). This means that the infantry can hide behind most chaff (zombies, ghouls) while the cavalry can (and will!) be targeted if not shielded by revenant cavalry.

As the units are a bit of a glass cannon (a strange defination for a def 5, 15/17 nerve unit, yet they will be singled out by anything your opponent can throw at them if not hidden) This is the difference between hiding out-of-line of sight or becoming prime targets for shredders, big rock throwers and any other war machine out there.

Phalanx

At the start of KoW 3rd edition, Phalanx was not really a thing. Now in 2022, I encounter the rule quite a few time. Especially elves and ratkin are famous for their phalanx-battlelines which do suck for anything on a horse.

When facing phalanx, the average damage for a unit of soul reaver cavalry is 5 wounds against def 5+, while the infantry still does 11 on average. So, when facing a ratkin battle line, a combo charge of two units of soul reaver infantry will wipe out a shock troop horde, while a pair of regiments of mounted vampires will only scratch it.

So the infantry remain the champions

Clearly, the increased damage, lower height and ignorance of the phalanx rule matter a lot more than 2 points of speed. There will be times that the increased speed will help one out, but on average the infantry does a lot better than the cavalry.

2 thoughts on “Soul reaver cavalry vs infantry

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