The big strength of the Gwŷr y Gogledd is their Shock Cavalry, they can start off a campaign with two Groups of it, one of Elites and One of Warriors. Give them a suitable Leader (in the picture above they’re being led by my Lord and his Champion) and they pack a considerable punch. “Shock Cavalry charging into contact double the number of dice they roll in combat and any shock they inflict in that round is doubled”.
That formation above, two groups of Shock Cavalry, Lord and Champion would roll at least 13 dice in a normal melee, if they’ve charged in that’s doubled to 26, and all the shock inflicted on the enemy will be doubled.
If you can build a decent hand of Fate Cards it gets even better. Aggressive Charge gives +1 on your chance to hit, and Artorius, a card that’s only usable by Shock Cavalry, gives you a +1 to the effect of any hits caused. If you can get both these cards together with a Carpe Diem, the damaged dished out can be enormous. Audacia can be used to add to the level of the Lord, adding more dice, as does Hero of the Age, a British Carpe Diem and then any British suited cards used.
With good luck and some judgement it’s possible to get a situation where the Cavalry are rolling more than 30 dice, with plus one to hit, plus one on hit effect and double shock. Get everything lined up and it could be more than 40 dice. There’s nothing in the game that’s at all likely to stand against that kind of hitting power. The difficult bit is getting it done.
Shock Cavalry do have their weaknesses. They cannot charge the enemy if they have any shock on them, and their opponents will try and use skirmishers, missile troops and raider cavalry, all of whom can inflict shock at a distance, to keep them from charging in this way.
And you must not let them get charged by the enemy – if that happens they don’t get their charging bonus, they can’t use cards to any great advantage and they die just as easily as their foot equivalents. To make things worse there are fewer of them. And watch out for a counter-attack while they’re milling around in a state of shock after a victorious charge.
I’ve fought against them more often than I’ve fought using them, in a long standing campaign where I was playing the Scotti and I can report that they’re fun to play against as well as to play with.