View Full Version : Keshiks, etc.


dsurban
Aug 22, 2010, 08:30 AM
I've made several attempts to utilize Keshiks and other early mounted units to no avail. They seem to be a waste of beakers/worker turns/hammers. Their advantage, of course, is their ability to move quickly. However, a sizable group of them can easily be slain by one or two spearmen.

Can anyone recommend a way to utilize these units? Having to drag along some melees seems to defeat the purpose of using mounted units. Are they only good for destroying improvements? If so, the AI can still send spears out on their roads for quick mop-up duty. Either way, they feel like a tremendous waste of resources.

Thanks!

The Almighty dF
Aug 22, 2010, 08:34 AM
I've made several attempts to utilize Keshiks and other early mounted units to no avail. They seem to be a waste of beakers/worker turns/hammers. Their advantage, of course, is their ability to move quickly. However, a sizable group of them can easily be slain by one or two spearmen.

Can anyone recommend a way to utilize these units? Having to drag along some melees seems to defeat the purpose of using mounted units. Are they only good for destroying improvements? If so, the AI can still send spears out on their roads for quick mop-up duty. Either way, they feel like a tremendous waste of resources.

Thanks!

With the exception of War Chariots and Immortals... yeah, mounted units suck as city-attackers. They're your pillagers, worker takers, etc.
Immortals and War Chariots, though? Full on city destroyers.

dsurban
Aug 22, 2010, 09:05 AM
Do you think it's worth the investment? Pillaging is very time consuming, and you're likely to only steal a worker or two before they get pulled into the cities. I tend to try to keep my early wars short and effective, pillaging only vital resources or food in cities with tough defense. Spending the research time/hammers to build mounted units for pillaging seems a costly tangent. Usually, I'll end up picking up HBR in a trade later on, and only utilize knights.

Moroktonos
Aug 22, 2010, 09:14 AM
Rush out earlier (a HA rush only requires 3-4 cities max!), chop or whip them heavily. Pillage copper/iron (anything else is a waste unless you're choking). Try to line up your attacks so that you can take out the most important cities as fast as you can. Burn cities if you don't think you can defend them.

HA rushes work best against low unit prob leaders (stealing pyramids from Roosevelt). If I'm taking out an aggressive freak like Montezuma, I'm going to want catapults.

The Almighty dF
Aug 22, 2010, 09:26 AM
Do you think it's worth the investment? Pillaging is very time consuming, and you're likely to only steal a worker or two before they get pulled into the cities. I tend to try to keep my early wars short and effective, pillaging only vital resources or food in cities with tough defense. Spending the research time/hammers to build mounted units for pillaging seems a costly tangent. Usually, I'll end up picking up HBR in a trade later on, and only utilize knights.

It's worth an investment I'd say, just remember to make up a diverse army. Your main enemies in early war are archers and axe warriors, which aren't too big of a hassle with the right promotions.
Chariots and horsemen are great for destroying roads and improvements to make sure your enemy can't build anything to defend themselves.

Rush out earlier (a HA rush only requires 3-4 cities max!), chop or whip them heavily. Pillage copper/iron (anything else is a waste unless you're choking). Try to line up your attacks so that you can take out the most important cities as fast as you can. Burn cities if you don't think you can defend them.

HA rushes work best against low unit prob leaders (stealing pyramids from Roosevelt). If I'm taking out an aggressive freak like Montezuma, I'm going to want catapults.

This... works sometimes. But again, horses work better as cripplers for an actual, non-rush war.
I also like to use them as city defenders, since they can quickly navigate my early empire. Better than my other defends can.

drlake
Aug 22, 2010, 11:08 AM
I've had fairly good success with HA rushes up to Emperor. The key is to do it early enough, just like any other rush. 3 cities seems to work better than 4, for example. Beyond that, you need to have barracks and stable in the production cities, so that the HAs have two promotions. Then you can effectively use Flanking promoted HAs to soften up the defenders, killing them with Combat-promoted units. Doing it that way dramatically reduces attacking casualties, making it much easier to take cities and even kill off spearmen.

Ghpstage
Aug 22, 2010, 11:11 AM
Used well Horse Archers are outstanding empire destroyers.

The key is to base your tactics around mobility,
You don't really want to be moving into blind tiles, making use of hills and a Sentry unit, usually a Chariot will allow you to see what your up aaginst before you commit.
Threatening multiple cities on a single turn is a very effective tactic, the AI will be forced to move defenders around and usuallly leaves one poorly defended.
When threatening cities the AI will start moving around defenders, losing their fortification bonuses. You can use this to shepard the AI mobile defence stacks around, Spears are most easily killed when out in the open without any extra bonuses.
The 2 moves allows you to go for certain key targets much earlier, in particular the capital and any metal resources. Early on the capital is most likely going to be responsible for most of an empires production, once this falls the AI will lose much of its ability to fight back. Taking out metals (either the cities or resources) will obviously prevent the enemy making use of most things that have a good chance against your HAs.
Also 2 moves allows yo to take a city on the first turn of war very often, it can be done to any city with 1 or less border pops by moving from the BFC corner.

Cusanus
Aug 22, 2010, 11:24 AM
Provided you have horses, keshiks are an amazing unit. They usually allow you to conquer at least one of your neighbours' empires completely.

Using Keshiks as city defenders, as Almighty suggested, is just a weird idea and a horrible waste of their great potential.

- - -
Might help you most if you just play out a horse archer rush posting some saves and screenshots on this forum. If you want, I can check a map for horse availability before you play.

What level are you playing on, anyway?
(Doesn't matter much, though. Horse archers work well up to immortal.)

MuteWolf
Aug 22, 2010, 11:34 AM
I like using the Mongols and a part of that is their special unit. Though they aren't great for attacking cities directly (though I have used them for it) they make good home defenders. Usually I can run around mopping up any units that have made it past my primary SOD or are coming from some small city I haven't hit yet. In my experience this is often just a single unit since the city isn't producing a ton and the keshik can wait until they are on a less then great tile to attack. Same is true for any barbs that may wander into my turf, usually easily handled by my keshik.

Cusanus
Aug 22, 2010, 11:41 AM
I don't get why you people keep saying HA's weren't good as city attackers.

When you use HA's, you should use them early. The main enemy unit must be archers, and they don't have great odds unless they're fortified in a hillside capital.
Unlike chariots, HA's are not stopped hard by one or two spears (unless they're fortified in a hillside capital :rolleyes:). You lose a few extra units, but you should still take the cities.
Of course, one of your main priorities still is to cut off the enemy's metall supplies.

MuteWolf
Aug 22, 2010, 12:27 PM
I don't get why you people keep saying HA's weren't good as city attackers.

When you use HA's, you should use them early. The main enemy unit must be archers, and they don't have great odds unless they're fortified in a hillside capital.
Unlike chariots, HA's are not stopped hard by one or two spears (unless they're fortified in a hillside capital :rolleyes:). You lose a few extra units, but you should still take the cities.
Of course, one of your main priorities still is to cut off the enemy's metall supplies.

I don't think that they are particularly bad at attacking cities, I agree they can be quite good early on when the cities are all probably fortified by archers. The issue is that they don't get the usual promotions for city attacking. The flanking promotions can be nice to help whittle down a decently defended city but they're not as good as say a swordsman or axeman with some city invader promotions. So If I am going to invest hammers into making assault troops it will probably be in an axeman, unless I need something to get there quickly and/or they only have archers.

The Almighty dF
Aug 22, 2010, 12:39 PM
I don't think that they are particularly bad at attacking cities, I agree they can be quite good early on when the cities are all probably fortified by archers. The issue is that they don't get the usual promotions for city attacking. The flanking promotions can be nice to help whittle down a decently defended city but they're not as good as say a swordsman or axeman with some city invader promotions. So If I am going to invest hammers into making assault troops it will probably be in an axeman, unless I need something to get there quickly and/or they only have archers.

Not to mention that, as suggested, they're only good at city attacking if you -rush-, and only if the opposing city is guarded only by archers, isn't on a hill, and isn't a protective leader.
In the end, it's still best to stick to units that are better at city taking, and using HA's for what they're best at: Crippling said civ as you're taking their cities.

pi-r8
Aug 22, 2010, 12:42 PM
combat 1 is actually better than city raider for attacking archers, usually...
and horse archers can easily take down cities despite hills, protective leaders, or spearmen.

CHEESE!
Aug 22, 2010, 01:05 PM
Boredom is the main reason I Keshik rush.

mirthadir
Aug 22, 2010, 01:49 PM
Generic rules of early mounted warfare:

1. Hit quick. Chariots, optimally, will go before the AI has lots of walls up, if religion is in play you might also try to hit before the first border pop in non-cap cities. HAs normally will face walls on higher difficulties, but hitting before the AI gets another 20% culture defense is very helpful. Waiting too long gives the AI time to do things like find Fe, build more spears, or worse research jumbos or LBs. Micro well to finish your techs quick (often going writing doesn't slow you down all that much for HA and has many benefits) and your units out quick (chop/whip is good).
2. Hit hard, when working without siege it is a fact of life that you will have to throw away units merely to damage the ones you are attacking so the next unit can make it through. If you don't have enough mounted to completely kill a city (barring *maybe* one defender), skip it and smash something else. Ideally you want enough firepower to slam the cap on the first few turns.
3. Use promos wisely. If going CI/Schock will stop the spear from getting targeted, hit it with an CII or FII unit so you don't burn a promo by attacking archers with a useless promo.
4. Accept partial victories. Take the AIs cap, a Jewish holy city, and two other cities, but face a dozen agg spears? Good enough, call it a day and come back and kill them later with pults/keshiks and a few stack protectors.
5. Be an opportunistic bastard. If an AI-AI war breaks out, you can bet that the serious defenders head to the front - leaving lots of territory for you to snag on the cheap in the rear. Consider trading HBR and brokered techs to start such a war. If you just barely take an AIs cap and are sure to lose it to a counterattack incoming (e.g. a spear and two swords are on the hill next to it), sue for a ceasefire (you want to hit once you heal and fortify the city with non-mounted units) or peace (you want time to recover and build more offensive units).
6. Get alpha quick. This opens up several key abilities - spies to drop city defenses via revolts, tech trades to create AI-AI wars, and the ability to recover via extortion (leaving the AI with one city and demand all his techs to let him live ... for 10 more turns).
7. Scout ahead. Know where the enemy has metal (use the yield of the tile to find Fe) and know which cities are going to be harder. Plan your attack route to neutralize (more or less in order) - the cap, the metal, any high culture cities (wonders/holy), and whatever valuable you can take cheap. If the AI has a stack of spears/archers on a hill in the jungle - leave it you have bigger fish to fry (and as an added bonus the AI will often cut down the jungle so you don't have to burn worker turns doing it yourself.

Cusanus
Aug 22, 2010, 03:37 PM
(use the yield of the tile to find Fe)

That works? :eek:


Cool... kinda cheesy, but cool.

madscientist
Aug 22, 2010, 06:20 PM
The Keshiks are awesome units and work well with the leaders traits and UB. Build them once you have a barracks and GER, then promote them to flanking II and attack cities, even against the best defenders they have a 50% survival rate, plus they generally damage the initial defender since they get a first strike. Worried about spears, bring a few combat I, shock keshiks which are close to spear strength. But the power of the Mongols is bringing along the Agressive promoted melee units.

Another point of the Keshiks is that they strike out from a stack and because of the immunity to terrain can return to the safty of the stack.

Many will probably disagree with me but I find Keshiks the second strongest UU after the Prats.

CHEESE!
Aug 22, 2010, 09:42 PM
AGG does nothing with Keshiks. Aside from the very slight Barracks bonus.

plasmacannon
Aug 22, 2010, 10:26 PM
I've made several attempts to utilize Keshiks and other early mounted units to no avail. They seem to be a waste of beakers/worker turns/hammers. Their advantage, of course, is their ability to move quickly. However, a sizable group of them can easily be slain by one or two spearmen.

Can anyone recommend a way to utilize these units? Having to drag along some melees seems to defeat the purpose of using mounted units. Are they only good for destroying improvements? If so, the AI can still send spears out on their roads for quick mop-up duty. Either way, they feel like a tremendous waste of resources.

Thanks!

If you are playing the Zulu, with a Spearman that moves 2, just like your Horse Archer, then your HA can be defended from other HAs and chariots. Since this Spearman gets terrain bonuses add woods1+2 for a defense that can beat a swordsman or axeman, in the woods.

TheMeInTeam
Aug 23, 2010, 05:42 AM
If you are playing the Zulu, with a Spearman that moves 2, just like your Horse Archer, then your HA can be defended from other HAs and chariots. Since this Spearman gets terrain bonuses add woods1+2 for a defense that can beat a swordsman or axeman, in the woods.

If you're going to bring impi along with HA, then you probably want shock since the only unit that will consistently beat field HAs is spears (swords and axes are not so hot vs HA), and AGG impi with shock should deter them.

I've not tried that though, because it takes a bit long to set up and you have to be pretty lucky to get copper + horse. Usually part of the draw of mounted is a combination of the speed at which you can attack using it and the speed at which it moves once you do so. If you just HAPPEN to have copper while plotting a HA rush as shaka, go for it, although one could argue that possibly shaka could go straight for the impi and hit much earlier.

madscientist
Aug 23, 2010, 06:27 AM
AGG does nothing with Keshiks. Aside from the very slight Barracks bonus.

No, but the combination of Keshiks and AGG melee units are VERY hard to stop. There is no weakness there against anyone, Prats uncluded.

CHEESE!
Aug 23, 2010, 07:30 AM
This may be my poor strategy, but I've always thought a 2-move, IMC unit shouldn't have Melees tagging along.

madscientist
Aug 23, 2010, 07:35 AM
Picture this, having a stack of doom marching in the enemy forrest/jungle where your Horse archers can strike out at any unit with at least a 50% chance of surviving (assuming flanking II) and a 100% chance of rejoining the stack if victorious. Or beter, use the stack to protect the Keshiks and then unleash them against pillagable resources.

CHEESE!
Aug 23, 2010, 07:42 AM
Interesting. First voice I've heard detailing a non-rush strategy for Keshiks. I've read the Khans but you don't really go into detail on the stacks, so this is new for me.

madscientist
Aug 23, 2010, 07:44 AM
Interesting. First voice I've heard detailing a non-rush strategy for Keshiks. I've read the Khans but you don't really go into detail on the stacks, so this is new for me.

Probably because I got so caught up in the pillaging and razing. Except for ripping apart MOnty in the Kublai RPC I generally bring my Keshiks to battle with Mongolian steel.

mirthadir
Aug 23, 2010, 08:20 AM
No, but the combination of Keshiks and AGG melee units are VERY hard to stop. There is no weakness there against anyone, Prats uncluded.

Ballista Elephants FTW. A slow moving stack of Keshiks is a dream come true for the Kmer. Even generic jumbos can mess up a classical stack pretty hard for decent cost effectiveness. Shock Jumbos mean you need a ton of spears to protect the keshiks.

Now sure that is two techs further down the line, but at higher difficulties you should expect the AI to get construction pretty quick; and also recall that you have to spend a lot more turns getting this offensive force than a high level AI does getting his counter.

Outside of the Kmer, CKN would appear to have a :hammers: per :hammers: advantage over a slow keshik/melee stack. Now the AI will need MC and machinery, but with Oracle a the stock AI advantage you may well see both as they don't need HBR.

And for purely defensive measures, SB can eat that stack for lunch. CGIII archers don't even need a hill to decimate those keshiks, dogs are grade A counters to the melee and no strategic resources are required.

On the higher difficulties, sure you can run around and pillage and slow war your way to an eventual war win with a massive stack that can kill anything leaving a city. Good luck with that. If you get some, the other AIs won't snap up cheap land that you or your target would otherwise have settled on the cheap. If you get more, the unit upkeep won't burn through all your pillage cash. And if you get yet more, while you nerf trade opportunities and sink a massive amount of early :hammers: for minimal territory gain the other AIs won't start to lap you in the tech race.

In early wars really can bypass most units in the field if they are not cost effective kills. Either the unit will run to a city where your offensive units can take it down or it will head to your cities where it will die to a fortified spear, axe, or archer. Almost certainly, you could get superior results by skipping the keshiks (two whole techs) and just pummeling the AI with earlier steel (so you definately don't have to worry about pults coming into play).

madscientist
Aug 23, 2010, 08:28 AM
Balistas are much later that Keshiks and very situations, but you are correct they are the counter to Keshiks. Then again a few catapults will weaken Balistas.

CKN are way too late, hell I admit rifles and muckets are counters to keshiks.

SB is tough for everyone, but flanking II keshiks will seriously weaken those magnificent CG III archers and kill Dogs outright. It's always bloody to take out SB, but doable.

mirthadir
Aug 23, 2010, 08:39 AM
For deity, Jumbos vs a mixed Keshik/Fe melee stack is going to come into play; I'd even give it decent odds on immort.

CKN, if the Chinese oracle MC, the beaker count is simply not that high for AI advantages; if you are getting construction too then certainly the AI has enough bonuses on higher difficulties to be getting them.

Now sure you can take down SB with Keshiks + Fe melee, however you can also take him down much easier with pure keshiks. The odd spear may show up, but you will save far more :hammers: by far by giving SB fewer turns to whip in new archers of doom. Given the high promos the archers have, Keshiks are better than swords.

revengeofmakno
Aug 23, 2010, 09:21 AM
I love Keshiks. Nothing is perfect but like most unique units, Keshiks definitely have their moment and eventually it passes. (even after it passes, they remain the best scouts and as always, mobility has many uses). Get them early and use them aggressively to take cities, raid and interdict mercilessly. If a spear does show up, it should not end the fun as you can disable the relevant mines to prevent more of them and trading off a shock promoted keshik for a spear is part of the cost of doing business. Even if you don't eliminate your nearby opponents completely, they will have been weakened and held down technologically so that your follow on melee units or cats can finish the job.
Horse Archers are obviously not as great but if there is flat, open terrain around, they are extremely effective in the ways that Keshiks are.

TheMeInTeam
Aug 23, 2010, 09:26 AM
Nothing upgrades to elephants, and they have to have ivory.

AGG unit spam AI and longbows (esp protective) in #s are what really walls keshiks, but when on the offensive keshiks should not be moving with slow melee as doing so forfeits a large portion of their advantage.

Doubtful the AI will pull elephants on a dedicated keshik rush on immortal, but that doesn't meant it's a good idea regardless if your rush is handing out freebie land. Freebie land going excessively to 1 civ is already enough of a BS garbage issue in this game without the player contributing to it.

michmbk
Aug 23, 2010, 11:46 AM
The key to successful keshik romps in my mind is speed. 2-3 cities and go go go. Use all the new cities to keep massing keshiks, and you can overrun your continent. Hordes of properly promoted keshiks (half flanking, half combat) stand up fine to anything pre-longbows, and once you've massed sufficient production, can overrun longbows, pikes, maces. Works very well on emperor and below, and if timed right, can be successful on immortal, although speed becomes ultra-critical on immortal in my mind.

TMIT has a bunch of better demos than mine below, but this game was a great example of keshik power overrunning a continent.

http://forums.civfanatics.com/showpost.php?p=8330198&postcount=16

http://forums.civfanatics.com/showpost.php?p=8333336&postcount=17

One other important thing is to make sure to use all the gold you're getting from taking cities to get your economy righted, by heading to alphabet/currency/COL. The mongols really need to focus on economy while they're taking cities, otherwise you make it tough to support the large empire you'll be taking from other civs.

I'm used to experiencing a slowdown for awhile after I've hit the above techs, as I tend to have too many units and cities, and need time to whip in all the courthouses. What I've found is that you usually will get a wonder or two by taking other civ's cities, and you can suicide some of your old keshiks while righting the economy. Then you can take off again with all the land you've claimed via keshiks.

mirthadir
Aug 23, 2010, 08:29 PM
I love Keshiks. Nothing is perfect but like most unique units, Keshiks definitely have their moment and eventually it passes. (even after it passes, they remain the best scouts and as always, mobility has a many uses). Get them early and use them aggressively to take cities, raid and interdict mercilessly. If a spear does show up, it should not end the fun as you can disable the relevant mines to prevent more of them and trading off a shock promoted keshik for a spear is part of the cost of doing business. Even if you don't eliminate your nearby opponents completely, they will have been weakened and held down technologically so that your follow on melee units or cats can finish the job.
Horse Archers are obviously not as great but if there is flat, open terrain around, they are extremely effective in the ways that Keshiks are.

Keshiks actually have an odd useful life curve. When they come onto the scene they are one of two top units for their era and argueably the more powerful of the two. With spies, particularly if you can burn metals/ivory or get AI-AI wars going they can still make decent head way against LBs; using a slow moving siege stack and a fast moving "city raider" stack you can keep pushing them through the middle ages. Oddly enough at steel they become relatively more powerful. Cheap and goes anywhere is pretty decent with cannon backing; I generally find keshiks (or Impis for that matter) more useful during cannon wars than in the mace/treb/knight/musket era. I don't think they fully die until rifles.

CHEESE!
Aug 23, 2010, 10:18 PM
I'm considering altering Keshiks for a scenario I'm doing (don't ask). Would a Praeshik (as I call it) be OP? A 8 str-Horse Archer with no ITMCs. Perhaps I could add an extra requirement, like Copper.

mirthadir
Aug 24, 2010, 09:29 PM
In a word, yes. Think about what the odds for a Spear vs Praeshik would look like. This is not pretty. Now think about LB vs Praeshik. Ooh that hurts too. In short a C1/Shock Praeshik with spy support has no counter until jumbos and nothing else really stops it until pike. In both cases pilleage can make it run for miles. Right now LBs are roughly on par with keshiks out of the box, and ahead with mods/promos; this goes away completely with a 33% strength boost (think how many promos that is).

Having a metal requirement won't do too much, swap HBR for IW and you should be good to go. If you really need the thing to be that broke (remember this is a stronger upgrade than sword -> prat) I suggest following the prat and boosting the :hammers: cost.

plasmacannon
Aug 24, 2010, 11:52 PM
A Mayan Holkan with Combat1 and Formation would be the best counter to it.
Holkans are Immune to 1st strikes, nullifing the Praeshek's advantage there.
It would be a 9.4 attacking the Praeshik's 8.
If the Prae attacked the Holkan, the Holkan would also get terrain defense.
It can also gain woods2 to keep up with the Prae.

Personally, I think it is too powerful, unless you are increasing the other units according as well.

Elephants, and Ballista Elephants would be the next counter, obviously.
They can also get Combat1 and Formation.

vicawoo
Aug 25, 2010, 01:45 AM
I wrote a semi-finished guide on different tech paths to horse archer rush. I'm guessing your lack of effectiveness is getting it too late; aim for turn 50-60 normal speed and your rush should be on target to rip through most defenses.

Dealing with spears: shock does reasonably well against small numbers of spears. If the city has high defense, remember AI will tend to go for kills with good odds. So if you park a shock horse archer on a tile from which he cannot move back to the city (one tile no road, two tiles with a road), he will sometimes conveniently leave the city, kill your horse archer, leaving a low hp spearmen with no bonuses to clean up.