If you’re a fan of using polearms in Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord, you’re likely wondering how to couch lance. This feature also exists in other Mount & Blade games where you can lower your polearm while riding a horse. This can set you up for extremely high damage numbers often taking out an enemy in one hit.
This powerful strategy also used in history combines the speed of your horse with a strong lance hit to back it up. But, if you really just want to joust like Heath Ledger in A Knight’s Tale, this guide should work well enough for you. We cover how to get the right weapon type, how to couch lance, and even how to create your own weapon that can.
How to Couch Lance in Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord
Buying the Right Weapon Type First
The act of couch lancing in Bannerlord is relatively simple, but it can be confusing if you don’t know where to start. This is because you’ll need the right type of weapon and a certain tag that allows you to couch it. First, you’ll want to look for polearm weapons that you can either buy or craft if you have a smith in your party.
I recommend heading to a major town where you’ll have a wide variety of items available to buy. And once you enter the Trade window, filter by weapons using the tab near the top center of your screen. Start by searching for polearms with lance in the name since these are typically what you’ll want.
Now before you decide which lance to buy, you’ll need to look for that special tag we mentioned before. You can do this by hovering over the weapon you’re interested in while in the inventory/trade area. This will show you its’ stats such as gold value, weapon class, tier, damage, length, etc.
However, we don’t really care too much about those stats right now. We mainly want to check where the orange tags are that say One Handed, Two Handed, Spear Brace, etc. You’ll need to find a weapon that has the orange tag, “Couch Lance”. Once you have a weapon with that tag, proceed to the next guide section.
How to Couch Lance Once You Have Your Weapon
As long as you have your lance/weapon equipped with the Couch Lance tag, here’s what you need to know. By default, if you’re playing Bannerlord on PC, X is the hotkey for couch lancing. This is in the settings under keybindings as “Switch Weapon Usage”. Other uses for this keybinding include switching certain items from one-handed to two-handed.
Next, you’ll need to ride a horse while using your polearm because you can’t couch lance on foot. While I’d love to see you try and run fast enough, I don’t think the Athletics skill gets your movement speed high enough. This is where it’s useful to have a fast mount unlike a slow Mule or Camel since speed is important.
Once you reach a certain speed with your polearm equipped, an icon near the bottom right corner will appear. This icon is easy to miss if you don’t know it exists since it can blend in with the background. It shows a spear facing upward, a spear facing horizontally, and a small horse head in between.
This icon simply tells you that you’re moving fast enough to now couch lance your polearm. As previously mentioned, you can press X on PC by default to quickly switch back and forth. The horizontal spear in the icon should fill in color representing the change in stance. At this moment, your character will start to lower their polearm and hold it straight out.
Now the tough part is actually hitting your target with all that force behind your horse. While I haven’t done much couch lancing in Bannerlord, I used to love taking advantage of it in Mount & Blade: Warband. My main strategy in Warband was switching to the first-person camera to see enemies a little more clearly. This may work better for you as well.
If you’re interested in crafting your own couch lance polearm, continue reading our Bannerlord guide. While you likely can find a lance to buy on your own, you may want to customize your own instead. This can work well for getting some extra damage or length out of it.
How to Smith/Craft a Couch Lance Polearm in Bannerlord
The development of Bannerlord in Steam Early Access had a lot of confusion around crafting weapons with the couch lance function. Fortunately, the developers have cleared this up since hitting the 1.0 release on Steam. First, you’ll need to visit a town where you can enter the smithy and craft your own weapon.
If you haven’t made your own weapon yet, you can click the Free Build button at the top right corner. Here you can pick any weapon type that you want to make. Examples include Javelins, Pikes, One Handed Swords, and the one we want, Two Handed Polearms.
If you haven’t done much smithing on this character, chances are you’ll need to unlock the necessary parts first. However, you can still look at locked parts and see what you need. After entering the Free Build mode for Two Handed Polearms, select the third item part for handles. Here are the different types that can have the couch lance function.
- Tier 3: Long Ash Staff
- Tier 3: Reinforced Long Pine Shaft
- Tier 4: Hardened Pine Long Spear Staff
- Tier 4: Oaken Long Spear Staff
- Tier 5: Hardened Ashen Staff
Now that you have one of these handles selected, you’ll need to pick a compatible blade type. Unfortunately, not all blade types work if you still want to couch lance your polearm. While you can check different parts one by one, you’ll mostly need a sharp blade or pointy bits. As long as you still have the orange Couch Lance tag visible near the stats, you can craft it.
If you want to experiment with the other two part slots, you can for extra stats. The fourth slot is the Pommel which doesn’t seem to prevent you from couch lancing. However, the third slot for the Guard has several parts that can prevent it. Mainly you won’t be able to use a polearm that has a banner attached to it. Even though one other Guard prevents it as well.
One last bit worth mentioning before ending this Bannerlord guide is that you can still hold a banner while couch lancing. So if you notice that your character has a banner in one hand and a lance in the other, don’t worry. Just make sure to focus on getting your horse speed up and hitting your target.
Jeff is a journalist with over 10 years of experience writing, streaming, and making content about video games. With an associate degree in journalism, he’s a sucker for RPGs, survival games, roguelikes, and more.