Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord – Hammer and Anvil Basic Guide

Ever want to kick some Aserai? Tired of getting battered as Battania? Tired of arriving too late to win as the Khuzait? Got a band of buds trying to play Vlandia? Well your wait is over! In this guide we will be introducing the units and learning the basics of Hammer and Anvil.

How to Ensure Victory Over the Rabble

Introduction: Why Use Tactics?

It is not enough to simply put 6 uncoordinated masses on the front-lines of a battle. A mass of troops is not a credit but a liability in the absence of sound tactics and a level head. I will take you step by step on a journey from transforming your experience from one of chaotic in-fighting to one of decisive victory. What you have now are 6 chickens with their heads cut off, but with proper tactics your team could become a formidable hydra reaping victory after victory.

The first thing to understand are the different units. Later we will learn how to combine them.

Bannerlord Units

There are a variety unique units that you can command in Captain’s Mode.

First and foremost are Line Infantry

These are usually heavily armored infantry with large shields. They are capable of forming a line that is nearly impervious to arrows and skirmishers and able to survive on the front lines longer than any other class of troops. These are best used by setting your units into a shield wall formation (Press F3 and then F2) and giving them a hold position order at the front of the battle. Note that when they are holding position they tend to stay in their formation better and are much more likely to defend against enemy attacks, but they will not last long alone.

Shock Infantry

These units do the most damage are and generally capable of killing any other unit in one or two hits. They are usually equipped with two-handed axes or in the case of Battania falxes and mauls. These units have light armor and no shields and are thus weak to archers and skirmishers. These are best used by charging after your line infantry has pushed in to tank the damage.


These units are divided into levy archers and elite archers. Levy archers are more numerous and are generally able to be equipped with spears making them a good stand alone unit that can do ranged damage and defend against cavalry. Elite archers have fewer troops but each one does more damage. These are both very strong against shock infantry and if equipped with extra arrows can even kill Line Infantry by sending repeated volleys into them. These are best used from a great distance and ideally from a higher elevation than your own infantry.


Skirmishers are quick and do exceptional damage against shock infantry and line infantry if attacking from behind. They are however very difficult to use on small maps and are only effective if you can survive long enough to fire off all of your javelins. They are usually weak in melee and should be treated as a sort of powerful missile used from the flank.


These are divided into light and heavy cavalry. In their current state the AI is generally unable to couch their lances and usually prefer using spear thrusts, greatly limiting their damage potential. They are however very effective at disrupting the enemy team during your team’s charges. These are best used by charging from behind immediately before or after your team is about to engage in melee, thus knocking down the enemy troops and giving your side a tremendous advantage at the start of combat.

The Hammer and The Anvil

The general advice above should suffice for solo players, but the real strength of each of these units comes out during combined arm attacks. In this guide we will be learning about the most tried and true of battle tactics, The Hammer and The Anvil. If used effectively this tactic will form the basis for many if not most of your victories.

The Hammer and Anvil

Generally this tactic is described in terms of line infantry and cavalry, but considering the damage output of cavalry at the moment it is far more effective with line and shock infantry. It works by first having the line infantry advance against an enemy unit in shield wall, this way they will tank all of the enemy units damage allowing the shock infantry to fight without being stunned or killed by incoming attacks. The shock infantry moves towards the side of the line infantry and then charges. By doing this your shock infantry will automatically move to the sides and back of the enemy unit attacking with impunity. This is extremely effective and will drastically increase your damage.

Note that this can be expanded to include more than 2 players so long as the “Anvil” is tanking the damage.

This is illustrated in the pictures. Here you see the line infantry (Dark Blue) advancing while the shock infantry (Light Blue) moves to the side. On charging, the shock infantry automatically begin surrounding part of the enemy’s infantry (Red) and soon after annihilate it.


Units work best when allowed to fulfill their primary role unimpeded. One of the best ways to do this is by having some players hold the front-line while others attack the now distracted opponents. The Hammer and Anvil, while simple, is extremely effective and can form the basis for many of your tactics. Remember to practice this until it is second nature and in time you can begin adding other troop types and roles to further increase your effectiveness. The Hammer and The Anvil are the heart of your army, and any team not employing it will have a hard time responding to it!

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13512 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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