Here are the basic formations for when you run two Hone and two Fortify users. H stands for Hone user and F for Fortify user, in the examples, H and F are interchangeable.
For everyone to get buffs, the ideal positioning is a rotation of the following:
However, finding a square where you can position yourself may prove difficult. You will often form the second-best formation, a line where the two middle horses are fully buffed:
H H F F or H F F H
Of course, you can also spread the line over several rows/columns in the map:
Lastly, the T formation isn’t as effective when all your horses have Hone or Fortify since the middle horse will get all the buffs and the three allies will only get one buff:
H F H
You may have to use skills such as Swap and Reposition to place your bait or throw your attacker forward. In general, Reposition is the best skill but the numerous obstacles cavalry faces (read: trees) give Swap a better value in Horse Emblem. You will generally want Swap on your blade tome users so they can slip between two buffing allies.
Rule of thumb: Run Swap on Bladetome users or units that require buffs, and Reposition on all others
A typical Horse Emblem fight can be divided into two parts: baiting and then rushing.
- Wait for the enemy to get separated/overextend if necessary (eg. buff-reliant comps, lone horseman in a mixed comp). Remember that the AI will move toward its favorable match-ups. Stay grouped and buff the unit who will bait.
- Bait with your unit that has a color advantage. Retaliating and killing is preferable but not necessary.
- Repeat until the enemy's numbers have dwindled down enough
- Pick off the remaining enemies one by one, repositioning and waiting for the next turn if necessary.
Your firepower should be high enough to not need two allies to take down an enemy. You can reposition to safety and wait for the next turn if there is one enemy that will cause you trouble. Take your time and play it safe.
This section will provide you with a general idea of who to be wary of and how to counter them. Since horse emblem is a strong and flexible composition with increased movement, those threats are few in numbers.
Quad and Firesweep Archers - Threat rating: 4.5/5
As your tanks are usually slow, they will get quadrupled by the likes of Bride Cordelia and take heavy damage via Luna. As such, Brave and Firesweep archers are not to be baited without a raven tome and triangle adept (if the archer doesn't have Affinity Cancel, if they do prefer a high defense unit like Xander), and you should jump on them with your extra movement instead. You may have to wait several turns to do that safely though.
Anti-cavalry Weaponry - Threat rating: 3/5
Wolf tomes are niche and underpowered so nobody runs them. The physical anti-horse weapons are new, so they should be few and far between outside of their introductory season. The blue slot of horse emblem being typically offensive, Gray should not pose a problem. Mathilda with her cavalry movement and Affinity Cancel is more annoying and you should avoid baiting her.
Anti-cavalry weaponry does not reduce incoming damage, therefore their users can be easily deleted during player phase.
Reinhardt - Threat rating: 3/5
Reinhardt, when not in a horse emblem comp, will often overextend so baiting him is easy. He is commonly paired with a dancer so his range is huge and you may find yourself sending one green or high-res blue horse alone forward. Since most Reinhardts pack Lancebreaker, if you chose a high-res lance horseman you may want to take B Tomebreaker to cancel the Lancebreaker.
Infantry Blade Tomes - Threat rating: 3/5
Despite not benefitting from movement buffs, infantry blade tome users pack quite a punch. Thankfully their def is low so you can jump on them easily; or use TA/high resistance units to bait them, provided you buffed their defenses correctly.
Spring Camilla - Threat rating: 3/5
Due to flier buffs, her high def and green color, Horse Emblem comps which aren't running Leo will find Spring Camilla a bit difficult to one shot. Jump on her with several of your units.
In this section we will detail team compositions you may face and how to break them.
Dancers - Threat rating: 4.5/5
Dancers offer one extra action to their allies and often pack Wings of Mercy, meaning that if you somehow fail to kill an enemy they will be able to target one of your other horses in a disadvantaged match-up. Dancers will prefer to attack you if you are in range and nobody else is. If you aren't, remember to add extra movement to every enemy and position yourself safely. Rallying a dancer then getting danced seems to be part of the AI's tactics so be careful even when you bait dancers.
Full Horse Emblem - Threat rating: 4/5
The thing with Horse Emblem is that it is reliant on buffs and the AI doesn't use these effectively. Do not bait on the first turn as it is when they are the most buffed. Split them up and make sure there are no reinforcements you can't handle when you end the player phase.
Flier Emblem - Threat rating: 3/5
Most fliers sport high speed so doubling them is difficult. Thankfully, Fliers are almost exclusively physical so a good tank should be able to wall them while your mages fire from the rear lines.
Armor Emblem - Threat rating: 2/5
Horse Emblem is able to target resistance, the weaker stat of armors. If they stay grouped in a full-Ward formation, one-rounding them is difficult. Take your time chipping them off and repositioning.
Mage/Melee combo - Threat rating: variable
Who hasn't met a Draw Back mage staying behind their melee ally, waiting for you to engage? Snipe that frontliner, then double-Reposition to put a favorable match-up wall in front of your nuker.