Like the Rhodoks, the Nords have no cavalry. To make up for this their troops have good Athletics and sturdy armor. Additionally, from Nord Warrior onwards their infantry often have throwing weapons (Javelins or Throwing Axes). The quality of their ranged weapons, as well as their efficiency with them, increases with upgrades. The Nords also have an archer line; they are slightly less skilled than their Vaegir counterparts but are significantly better at melee fighting.
Initially, Nord infantry with ranged weapons behave like archers; they will move into range and shoot at enemies until the enemies move out of range or all their ammunition is expended, at which point they will charge with their swords or axes drawn.
The strength of the Nords comes from their powerhouse infantrymen. The Nord Huscarl is the best infantry unit in the game. Nord infantry is expensive and difficult to level, but they make up for it with brute stopping power and the highest statistics of all infantry units. Uniquely, many Nord lords are functionally infantry, charging into battle without their horses. Nords primarily use swords and axes, and have a chance of spawning with throwing weapons. They are strong, exceptional in both dealing damage and withstanding it. Nords are the most desirable line of infantry in the game, their only downsides being their relatively high wages and the length of time it takes to train Huscarls.
In contrast to their infantry, Nord archers are less useful. They are not very fast-firing and not as skilled as other ranged attackers. Their main advantage is that, like Rhodok crossbowmen, they are unusually proficient in melee combat. They are also cheap. Nord Veteran Archers make use of Bodkin arrows and have a decent Power Draw, so their damage can be pretty good. These upsides aren't the ones they need to be great ranged attackers, and Nord archers should only be used by Nord AI while player characters look elsewhere. It's not surprising that this is the case—no one chooses Vikings only to keep them out of the fray.
Nord cavalry is exclusive to Warband's custom battle and multiplayer modes.
When fighting on foot alongside your men, order them to stay near you. When enemies get within range of their ranged weapons they will start firing automatically. When they run out of projectiles, or when the enemy are close enough, order a charge.
Some Nords spawn with axes, which give them a huge bonus against enemies that rely on their shields to survive. All Nords generally have better armor than many comparable troops, so against even odds you may well come out on top.
If you are on a horse you can use it to draw enemies within range of your Nords' projectiles, or to distract them when they are within melee range.
A lack of horsemen of their own means that some strategy will be required when facing foes like the Khergits or other cavalry heavy factions. The simplest way to overcome this problem is to either employ Mercenary Cavalry, another faction's cavalry, or utilize terrain to your advantage.
If you can, lead your men to the top of a hill or on the near side of a riverbank and then tell them to hold their ground there. Use the "spread out" command once or twice to ensure some space between them, which will lessen the damage dealt by lancers and horse charging. The terrain obstacles will slow the enemy horses down significantly (and possibly cause the AI to try to find another way around), but your men can freely use their ranged weapons. After the horsemen are within the ranks of your forces order them to close ranks; this will trap some or all of the horsemen, and your men will quickly kill the horses. Many cavalry troops are simply not designed for foot combat and so will go down quickly after this.
Another tactic is to have your infantry group up just as the cavalry attempts to charge, they get caught amongst the men and can be killed easier. This works best against enemies with lances such as the Swadian Knight.
As the attacker if your men are in a huddle they will be easy prey for archers. Tell your men to spread out multiple times and then charge on in. The AI causes men to run swinging their shield freely thus exposing their centre mass, thus it may be prudent to charge over broken ground. If you're on a horse and have a good shield you can circle around the enemy (which should cause all or most of them to shoot at you instead of your charging men). Once your men close to melee range the archers will change their weapons and you can either dive in to help or simply sit back and watch the massacre.
A defensive tactic is to form the infantry into a shield wall. Enemy AI archers will not usually aim for head-shots, so your infantry's large shields are able to withstand most attacks until the archers run out of arrows, in which case they'll usually charge and get cut down one by one. For even more safety have your men partially below the reverse slope of a hill to hide their legs. Using this tactic against horse archers is problematic unless you have steep terrain to the rear.
When besieging a castle, have your forces hold fire and line up in a shield wall. If you are handy with a bow or crossbow, you can pick off many enemy archers. As the enemy runs out of ammunition, order your forces to charge. High-level Nord units (such as the Huscarl) will quickly massacre infantry and archers. If you plan on besieging often, a large force of Nord Huscarls will almost always ensure victory.
Against ranged horsemen
Khergit Skirmishers and Horse Archers focus on ranged attacks; Steppe Bandits and Khergit Lancers also have ranged weapons but they use them a lesser extent.
First draw your men together and let them use their ranged weapons. When they are running out of ammunition either tell them to spread out or order a charge (as they will be a much easier target all grouped together).
Against mixed forces
Against a variety of troop types, be prepared to change your tactics frequently. If you have the superior force in numbers and/or quality (such as against Looters) you can just let your men charge and be done with it, but against equal or superior troops you will need to do at least some management to minimize your casualties.
The enemy cavalry will always reach your men first. Use the cavalry techniques above to take them down, and then group together to take out the infantry (enemy forces generally spread out when charging which means two or three Nords may be able to swarm around individual men and quickly cut them to pieces). After this the archers will arrive and start being a nuisance, so spread out once more to lessen the damage; if your men have no ranged weapons left, simply call a charge. Only top-level archers really have decent melee equipment, so you should have an easy advantage once your men are close enough for the enemy to change to their melee weapons. If you have a horse you can ride around and mop up the ranged horsemen (if they have any) while your men deal with the archers on foot.
|Unit||Upgraded From...||Lvl||Upg||Wage||HP||Str||Agl||Int||Cha||1 Hand||2 Hand||P-Arms||Archery||X-Bows||Throw|
(Attributes given are base stats only, actual in-game attributes will be randomly higher by an amount dependent on the troop's level.)