40K: Horsing Around With Rough Riders

They might not be in the codex but you can still charge into battle with the Rough Riders!

The Astra Militarum Codex is out and there are lots of good things in the book. However, while everyone is coming up with new lists, some folks are mourning the loss of a classic unit: The Rough Riders. That said we aren’t giving up on them yet! After looking through the Codex, we think we’ve got a good work around.

The Rough Riders were (and still are) good now. You can still take them thanks to the Index, but Games Workshop “forgot” to create new models for them. Fortunately GW is also a fan of conversions and they dropped us some hints as what players can do as a work around. Say hello to the Ventrillian Nobles:

These guys dress pretty old school. Their armor has a slight 18th century vibe to it. But they are a good starting point for our Rough Rider replacements.

As you can see, the main elements for this army are your standard guardsmen with some feather hats. And where do you get those helmets/feathers from? The Free Peoples of course! Formerly known as Empire Handgunners/Archers, the basic infantry kit comes with a ton of heads you can use as a swap. So that got us thinking – what other Free People Units could we reassign to the Guard?

Freeguild Pistoliers! Feathers? Check. Fancy Helmets? Check! Horses? Check! All we need to really do is do some basic torso/arm swaps and find some replacement lances and we’re set. Oh and the bases…can’t forget those need to get upgraded…

The lances could come from other kits or you could make your own with brass rods – you could even attach them to their backpacks. Most folks aren’t going to give you too much fuss over some cool conversions. The scale will match and the unit is worth taking – and this seems to be a good work around.

If Games Workshop really wanted to show Rough Riders fans a little love, they could even rebox those Pistoliers and toss in a couple Cadian sprues – problem solved! Now, they won’t be the classic Attilian Rough Riders but we feel like it’s better to have “Generic” Rough Riders than to not have them at all.

Alternatively you can also just order a Death Rider Outrider Detachment from Forge World…

But where’s the fun in just “building” kits?! I want to do some conversion work!

Another fun option is to go with the Demigryphs. Swap out the head, maybe a torso, add a backpack and you’re pretty much ready to go:

Rough Rider Fans – don’t lose hope! Their rules can still be found in the Index which are still 100% legal for play still – Ride On!

  • D. B.

    If they, for instance, had kept the rather nice Tallarn Rough Riders in the active range, that unit might not have seen such a decline. Instead, people were landed with the Attilans, which are even more dated (to put it mildly).

    • Chad Underdonk

      Watch it pal or someone is likely to take a chain sabre to you while you sleep 😛

      • SonoftheMountain

        How are those Valhallans treating you Chad?

        • Chad Underdonk

          Killing and dying in the Emperor’s name! Kinda nice that the rules finally came around to my playstyle.

          • SonoftheMountain

            Yeah I’m kinda mad I sold my Mordians

  • Luca Lacchini

    I keep my almost-Catachans on Cold Ones, I spent too much on bits and stuff and paint time to scrap the ten of them so easily. Imperium Index 2 at my side.
    And I’ll keep my Ministorum Priest with eviscerator too, to jump out of a Valkirye with some melta and flamer veterans. I discovered I’m attached to the old maniac to just swap him with a *proper* vanilla chainsword one.

    “Howlin’ Mad” Malcalm Gramlich will do the grav-jump again, the hell with the point cost.

    • Chad Underdonk

      At least the Eviscerator priest is pictured on page 60 even if he has no accompanying rules!

  • Kicker Kalozdi

    I love the new AM codex, but I really am pissy that GW did not include rough riders in there despite having legit rules for them in the Index that finally make them appealing again! I sincerely hope GW releases some errata/FAQ that clarifies if rough riders can use doctrines. And, really, GW should make some models for this fun unit that offers up so much uniqueness to the game! My wild-West “7th Cavalry” inspired horse/tank army would have been way easier creating has there been a dedicated GW rougher rider kit. But, yea, the Pistolier horses is what I used and they are ideal bits! http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b7d6198fab4b9bea160686327a96ef2e765cd926466ffedb39a18d107e9ad8cc.jpg

    • I_am_Alpharius

      Doctrines are also ‘Infantry’ or ‘Tank’ centric. So, Rough Riders would not benefit from their rules; although it is important to note Rough Riders don’t prevent your army being Battle Forged.

    • Spacefrisian

      Gw has a habbit removing those things like mounted models, be it bike, horse or…Eldar Vyper (yeah Saim Hann once had a guy on a Vyper, Nuadhu Fire heart, warchief of Saim Hann)

      • Simon Bates

        Way back in 2nd ed Eldar had the option to mount most characters on the back of a Vyper.

      • I miss the Chaplain on bike, the first 40k model I ever saw…

  • Dan

    Yeah seems like they’re trying to axe Rough Riders altogether. I guess they’re mostly the last vestige of the Imperial Guard being quasi-Napoleonic instead of modern military.

    The problem with Index Rough Riders is that not only do they not get doctrines but if I recall all orders are “infantry or vehicles only” and they only have the one fast attack unit.

    Krieg will be the only bastion for our cavalry. At least they get Rough Rider Officers and Rough Rider Commissars to give horsey orders and enforce equine morale.

    I sure do hope they give Death Riders the options to take special weapons and maybe lasguns as a replacement for hunting lances. Myabe some kind of obsec for cavalry squadrons like Leman Russes can get. Then we can have legit, flexible cavalry regiments. It’d be pretty cool.

    • I_am_Alpharius

      You are correct; orders are ‘Infantry’ only or ‘Tank’ only, depending on the Officer issuing the order. Doctrines are also ‘Infantry’ or ‘Tank’ centric. So yes, Rough Riders would not benefit from their rules; although it is important to note Rough Riders don’t prevent your army being Battle Forged.

  • Chad Underdonk

    If anyone wants to sell their classic Attilans at a reasonable price I still need to collect about 55 more to reach my goal of 120 to form a full Cavalry troop! Just leave me a response here!!! 😀

  • Rainthezangoose

    The remove of Rouge Riders just seems lazy, then again I play Dark Eldar so I used to losing units through GW being lazy or fussy about not having models for stuff …..

    • Rainthezangoose

      The main issue with the Index is why I don’t want to pour love and craft into making custom skeleton archers for my death army using the Tomb King legacy warscroll. “Legal” but for how long.

  • pokemastercube .

    i love having cold one rough riders

  • memitchell

    I have 10 Attilans. Used them last week. They are kind of the poster boys for what don’t work so good in 8th edition. Set aside that they can’t get buffs from orders, etc. They do have a decent Reserve rule. So, that’s good. It would be really good if they could charge 3D6 or 2D6+3. Alas, no. They have a typical WS4+, with no boosts in sight. It would be much better if the were WS3+, cause they don’t hit enough. So, they don’t wipe out a squad of anything, really. They don’t put a dent in a big squad (even with horsies attacking, too). S5 on the charge looks good. Not enough to do much against vehicles, but I guess OK against MEQ. AP-2 is fair. And D3 Damage looks real good. So, name your optimum target. Bubble wrap? Nope, bubble warp works best against them. Vehicles? Well, you wont get enough hits or wounds to one shot a vehicle (maybe a Sentinel). You aren’t good enough to be a good one-shot wonder. And, if you get stuck in combat, you suck in combat, after the charge. You are T3 with a 5+ Sv, so don’t stick around for long. None of this is bad, but none of it is good, either. I guess they join a long list of things that can seize, but not hold an objective. Unfortunately, the points (and ca$h) are better spent elsewhere. Someone tell me I’m wrong, and why. And, I get the theoretical massive amount of damage they can cause. So can everything else in the game. But, I have average luck, like everyone else. Oh, and I get the style points, too. My RR’s were very well painted by a now deceased friend (F’n motorcycles, man!). I think of him every time I look at them. Just wish the designers had been more creative with their rules.

    • I agree. RR aren’t worth it. At least not one squad of 10. Maybe 20 coming in on the same flank, but that 9 inch rule is tough sometimes.

      Death Riders are what you have to go with. 1 additional lance attack. One additional S4 horse attack. +1T, +1 SV. Ignore casualties from shooting for morale. Ignore terrain penaltirs when charging. 5+ FNP agajnst s4 and below. Easily worth The extra points. The only loss is no special weapons, but death riders don’t really need them.

      You may also say “but they don’t get outflank”. Yes they do. Command squads. 68 points for 4 more riders that enable you to put several units into an outrank pool as one drop (which really helps when fielding a lot of them)

    • Fredddy

      I ran 3 units of them (two converted from the Pistoliers, one from Bretonnian knights), yes, they do not deal that much damage even if you roll the charge of 9. But 3 RR squad is more than enough to wipe out a regular objective-holding unit of the enemy, and this makes a great mess for an army based on smaller, elite units: the enemy has to hold back more units than he originally planned, and this is a big win for you.

  • Simon Bates

    IT’d be very cool if in a Chapter Approved or WD they could do some regiment rules for Attila, which affect cavalry (and probably only cavalry). Better still if they could throw in mounted officers and veterans, along with orders that can affect cavalry units.

    • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

      Give’em ObSec Outrider Detachments, Zealot light, better assaults, and solid down-range shooting and you might have something.

  • Rough Rider 4 life

    Seriously though I run 70 to 80 death riders a thunderbolt and 2 thunderers… and the thunderers are the thing holding me back and never earning their points.


    • abaddonsmummy

      Wow very impressive, are these the original RR’s, it looks like they are.
      Nice paint job too.

      • They are converted to look like them. The only original RR model is one of the officers who is the “colonel”

        They are made from Empire horses, Victoria miniatures riders and puppetswar veteran heads