I bet that whenever Bretonnia is mentioned in any context, the Grail Knights are the first thing that pops up in many people’s minds. They are almost synonymous with their kingdom, and are pretty awesome in Warhammer Fantasy (soon-to-be known as The Old World) – they are widely considered to be the best cavalry in the world, even surpassing the mighty demigryph knights of the Empire.
That wasn’t transitioned to the tabletop all that much, however, and they felt pretty “mid” for the longest time, mainly due to some “hidden” (for lack of a better word) mechanics, in addition to their statline being not that great. Let’s be honest, they felt more like armored simpls than actual knights. Well, this will be very much corrected in Warhammer: The Old World, where Games Workshop will implement some much-needed rule changes to make the Grail Knights the chivalrous living saints of the Lady they so rightfully deserve to be.
Turning “Just Another Knight” Into a Paragon of Light!
As you can see from the screenshot above, their statline bears the impressive 6 Weapon Skill, 5 Initiative and 2 Attack, already making them formidable threats on the battlefield. But their stats only scratch the surface. Looking further down the line, they carry the best weapons, armor and shields Bretonnia has to offer, and even their Warhorses are a weapon, with their iron-shod hoovers counting as melee weapons. And rightfully so – they are the finest in all the Old World. Their noble steeds are also barded, which counts to a +3 save and a +2 Strength bonus when you add their heavy armor, shields and trusty lances.
And while we’re on the subject of lances, they now give Armor Bane Universal Special Rule – when you roll a natural 6 when you attempt to wound, you get to improve the armor-piercing characteristics of the weapon by the amount shown in the brackets after the Special Rule. To clarify, the new upcoming Universal Special Rules (75 in total) will elegantly eliminate the clumsy Psychology Rules, Monster Rules, and the many, many special rules mentions, uniting them under a single mechanic for ease of understanding.
Very Special Rules for a Very Special Lady
The Lady of the Lake and her gifts will feel very significant in Warhammer: The Old World, buffing her chosen Grail Knights to the Moon (or in this case – the lake). We previously mentioned they are her literal Living Saints, which is perfectly represented in the Living Saints Special Rule, which allows Grail Knights to make individual challenges to enemy characters. This is so on-theme with the virtuous knight aura they got going for them!
Blessing of the Lady is another awesome Kingdom of Bretonnia army rule, which allows your units to wave initiative rolls entirely, in favor of praying to their Goddess. In return for their devotion, the Lady will either grant your army an a +6 Ward Save (invulnerable save) or 5+ against wounds of Strength 5 or higher. But, if you choose to be unchivalrous by fleeing or denying a challenge, well, the Lady giveth, and the Lady taketh away. Another great edition, this army rule perfectly fleshes out Bretonnia.
Unfortunately for the enemies of Bretonnia, the Grail Knights are not that easy to scare, especially with the Grail Vow Special Rule. This makes them immune to Fear and Terror, gives them Magical Attacks, and the first time they fail a Break test, they Fall Back in Good Order instead – chivalrous knights indeed.
I already mentioned that Grail Knights have the Finest Warhorses, which not only gives them attack bonuses, but grants you automatic rerolls when you roll a 1 when charging, fleeing or pursuing. This elegantly transitions to First Charge, Lance Formation, Close Order and Counter Charge and Swiftstride – all special rules that give the valorous knights options upon options when it comes to mounted combat.
Swiftstride, for example, gives you 3” to your maximum charge range, and a +D6” when charge, flight, or pursuit. Counter Charge lets you brace for impact against a charging foe, giving your Grail Knights a D3+1” die roll in response, makes both parties count as charging, and then it’s up to both units’ Initiative. Grail Knights further have the option of Close Order of Lance Formation, either opting for close combat or a devastating charge formation. Finally, the First Charge the Grail Knights make each game breaks the enemy ranks until the next round of combat.
Grail Knights further have the option to become true Monster Slayers with the Dragon Slaying Sword, which also gives them Magical Attacks. If fire works better against their foes, then The Blazing Banner will be the better option, giving the Grail Knights Flaming Attacks.