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Battering Rams suck

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Hammer Rabbi, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    I don't really see a reason to build Archers as the Huns except for future-planning. Horse Archers move twice as fast, are almost as strong as Composite Bowmen, and are available at Horseback Riding, I believe. Late early game defense dictates Horse Archers.

    The last time I played as the Huns, Horse Archers remained relevant almost to up the Industrial Era.
     
  2. Babri

    Babri Emperor

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    No they are available at wheel & don't even require horses.
     
  3. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    Ah, right. They're CA replacements. That makes them even easier to acquire, yes?
     
  4. Babri

    Babri Emperor

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    Yes ! No horse requirement + cheaper cost + Huns start with animal husbandry.
     
  5. _hero_

    _hero_ King

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    Whenever I play Attila I always build a 2nd warrior right off the bat for that very reason. If you get the ram upgrade, you now have a competent force to go take a city or a city state out. If you don't, well you've got 2 warriors instead of a warrior and a scout which will come in handy when you discover Bronze Working and start building rams to take people out with.
     
  6. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    When I played them, the HAs became irrelevant even before the battering ram - they're good against units, not cities, and you don't generally win anything but defensive wars in Civ just by killing units. They're faster than, but have no higher strength than, chariot archers, which people generally stop using fairly quickly. Their inability to move after firing, and counting as mounted units, makes them instant kills for pikes the AI loves. You need favourable terrain and isolated enemy units to get enough of a surround to kill anything stronger than a swordsman; now that the AI knows how to use units en masse in an army, anything you kill will cost you HAs in the attempt, and while they may be cheap and quick, if you lose them on the front line you still have to get their replacements into position.
     
  7. Peacemongerer

    Peacemongerer Prince

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    The way I strategize HAs is bombard en masse until they get to like 5 HP, then run away at top speed. One way I've found to maximize them is to take the Faith Healers Pantheon... it makes reloading with them RIDICULOUS.
     
  8. Dunduks

    Dunduks Chieftain

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    HA are good against cities. I had no problems 30 strength cities when I had three HA with logistic.
     
  9. Babri

    Babri Emperor

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    1. HAs don't have city attack penalties so they can be pretty effective cities.
    2. They are easier to mobilize than rams. U always need to have some fast units who can pick up enemies, scout ahead & clear path for ur rams.
    3. They DON'T suffer penalty against spears + they have HIGHER :c5strength:. So spears can't really kill them easily unless u r foolish enough to put them next to a city & 2 spears.
    4. They are good for diverting blows to them as AI is fond of targeting horses. If they are irrelevant for u then u r really missing something.
     
  10. Hammer Rabbi

    Hammer Rabbi Deity GOTM Staff

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    the only city my HAs became irrelevant against was Inca's capitol surrounded by hills with the Great Wall. they had logistics and +1 range and couldnt get into range because of line-of-sight hill issues. otherwise they could punish cities with 38-40 defense easy. i intentionally didnt upgrade them to knights when it became available.
     
  11. ahawk

    ahawk King

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    Addressing the OP, I have to say, Battering Rams are surprisingly situational.

    First, they are a rush unit that needs a larger supporting army than most. Three or four rams might be all you need, but you'll probably want a back-up force of just as many warriors and horse archers to ensure that the rams can actually get to the cities. So all told, it's preferrable that you rolled a multiple pasture start (3 or 4 pastures, hopefully), otherwise just producing the units will take up more time than you'd like.

    Second, battering rams can get stuck behind a single barbarian. I've had at least two or three games where a ram or two took 5 or more extra turns trying to navigate a narrow spot that a barbarian camp spawned into. My horse-archers were busy killing another barb encampment further ahead and it took precious time to back-track and take out the barbs. The random nature of barb spawns means you might get lucky or unlucky regarding whether they spawn into a spot that blocks the quickest route to the enemy AI.

    Third, even if you make it past all that, it's always harder when the nearest city to conquer is just a City-State and not a capital. An early puppeted city is always nice, but it's preferrable to knock an AI out of the game to gain a city rather than to knock out a CS and lose a potential source of food, faith, or whatever.
     
  12. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    1. They only have strength 7. They're less effective against cities than spearmen - and who would attack a city with a spearman, even an Immortal, past the Classical era?

      The trouble being, you have to concentrate fire to kill any one enemy unit. You're talking usually about 3 HAs per enemy unit, if it's a spear or sword - which leaves lots of other enemy units to deal with the rams,

      Firstly, this is incorrect. HA's melee strength is 10. In G&K, a spearman is strength 11. Additionally, HAs don't get defensive terrain bonuses. So any comparable classical era melee unit with a terrain advantage or promotions = dead horse archers. At the time of the Hun rush, that usually means spears, which as above are better even without the HA's defensive drawback.

      And because any semi-intelligent opponent, and even some AIs, will use his melee units together - and often keep them within range of a city (since your HA needs to be within 2 tiles to attack the city anyway) - you aren't going to have the luxury of taking out isolated spearmen away from home. Especially if there are woods in the way. If you're relying on your opponent being stupid to use the unit, that's not much of a recommendation. Even against the AI. This is the peril of "theorycrafting" assuming ideal situations. Most units are good given ideal situations. In most real situations HAs rely on numbers that you can't bring to bear against the average city, which will have at least some surrounding woods/jungle

      A lot of people still haven't worked out how AI targeting works. The AI targets damaged units and preferentially those closest to the city - if you're using rams to attack the city, the HAs won't be targeted as a distraction.
     
  13. Babri

    Babri Emperor

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    1. :nono: They have 10:c5rangedstrength: compared to spear's 11:c5strength: which is a minor difference.
    2. HAs don't take damage when they attack cities, swords & spears take damage & would get slaughtered more easily as they are even worse at retreating.

    1. Always send HAs ahead of ur rams to clear ur path. After all rams are different from other siege units & then are not going to help u killing units in any way.
    2. HAs start with accuracy I & are cheap. Bring more of them if u are facing so many enemies. I only play on King but since AI is the same u can actually fool them just as easily and use hit & run tactics.


    I may not be a great player but I am very good at remembering unit stats. I still remember many unit stats in Aoe I which was released 15 years back. :p

    So now back to your question. HAs :c5strength: is 7 which is higher than chariot archer & spears don't get 50% bonus against them which I was referring to.
    Secondly HAs are ranged units with 10:c5rangedstrength: which means they'll do damge without taking any, but when spears will attack them they'll take damage back. So overall HAs would probably win with some micro.
    I agree that with promos HAs would get worse at defending against spears but they'll also deal massive ranged damage which evens it out. The best thing about ranged attack is that u can attack with many more units at the same time while it is difficult to surround fast moving units when using melee infantry. In other words HAs would be better at focus fire.

    1. Send 3-4 HAs
    2. Kill a spear near a city.
    3. Pull your injured HA back.
    4. Profit.
    I really don't had trouble killing units using HAs. The only trouble was the archer+city attack could sometimes kill one of my rams.
     
  14. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    PhilBowles:

    Non-judgmental question: are you evaluating the HA based on stats or on game performance. I generally don't even look at the stats before I use the unit; and the former only if the unit performed horribly and I have to figure out how to use it properly.

    Granted, Babri and I apparently play on King, but two games on that gives me solid foundation for evaluating HA performance against Classical era units. They perform really well - about as well as Composite Bowmen, specifically, except they have movement 4 and are available at The Wheel.

    In general, you use ChaArchs and HAs to take out units on the field. Their capability against cities is cute, but non-central. In the field, they're not as kingly as Keshiks or Camel Archers, but they are quite good.

    You can use HAs alone, as they are better than CAs, but my experience is that they are exponentially better with a melee unit base - even a lowly Warrior acting as a fulcrum gives HAs much greater margin to operate. The role of the Warrior isn't to attack - it's to enforce ZoC. You stick the Warrior with Drill promotions (even just Drill1) on a hill or forest in the face of the enemy lines, and then snipe away with HAs. A spearman should never even get within a clear attack path of an HA.

    In cases without Rough Terrain, you use HA mobility to FF the enemy units one at a time, using full HA mobility on flat terrain to never allow any full-strength unit within a clear attack path to an HA.

    Using these tactics, Spearmen should never pose a threat to a Hun player, except as a rather significant speedbump against their small Battering Ram window of opportunity. The HAs and Rams are complementary. The Rams can only deal with Cities, and the HAs are primarily good against units. Take out the units with the HAs, then take the Cities with the Rams.

    That said, you are correct in saying that basic HAs generally have a rough time against Pikemen in G&K; though the entire Classical line of units except the Legion generally does.
     
  15. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Deity

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    I just played as the huns for the first time. I knew going in that to get any use of the ram I had to early rush ASAP, which is something i've never done. With 2 rams and 3 HA's I took out rome's 3 cities and a CS to take control of my island continent.

    While I appreciated the units for their own qualities, I really lijed how they forced me to change my playinh style. I don't think rams suck at all
     
  16. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    1. You're right, I was getting it the wrong way round - 10 ranged, 7 melee rather than vice versa. Which just makes them more vulnerable to spears, of course, albeit likely to deal more damage to them before the attack.

      The point isn't comparing swords or spears and HAs vs. cities, it's spears vs. HAs when you have one and your attacker has the other. HAs are very vulnerable to both, because they can't move after firing and get no defensive bonuses.



      1. Yes, this is exactly what they're for. What they aren't for is hitting cities. And they have a tough time clearing a path if an enemy has multiple units where a city can protect them. It's not as though anyone has any reason to hunt battering rams - they come to you. So unless your opponent is bad (such as an AI), you are never going to face an ideal situation where you can separate units from their cities or one another and pick them off at your leisure. You won't get a surround when the defenders are backed up against the city - after all, all they need to do is present an obstacle the ram has to walk around, giving more time for defenders to kill it.

        Yes, they're cheap, but Spearmen are also cheap - the same cost, in fact.

        The AI programming is the same, but on higher levels it gets more units, and that makes all the difference.

        While in multiplayer you're pretty much stuck since the player won't be fooled where an AI will.

        Yes, I know it was. But it's not very relevant if they get a 50% bonus or not when they're so much stronger to begin with. A Horseman has strength 10 - a spearman is a third again as strong with its 50% bonus. The strength 11 spearman is also a third again as strong as a strength 7 Horse Archer without any bonuses. In other words, it doesn't need a bonus to be as good against an HA as it is against a horseman.

        Mainly on stats, since AI performance as the Huns doesn't count and I've only played them once myself, in an MP game where the other players were most comfortable with Prince-level AIs. Since all my early rivals proved to be AI opponents, that too is not a very representative experience. However, even from the perspective of seeing the AI use them, you require a lot of HAs to take down a couple of spears - and since the two units cost the same, that's inefficient for the Huns and you should expect to be outnumbered by a player who's invested equal effort in unit construction (because they know the Huns are coming). Granted, this will not be the case with an AI, however the AI at higher levels gets major advantages in unit numbers. And every Warrior you produce to exert zone of control is one more unit you're waiting on that delays the rush that little bit further - timing that becomes more important at the higher difficulty levels.

        I'm not denying that they're good - indeed my point was precisely that they're for use against units rather than cities. But units rarely sit obligingly in the open field, and no one has any reason to go out hunting battering rams that can't do anything unless they're next to your city. The post-G&K AI even seems moderately good at placing and keeping units where cities can protect them, at least once they've suffered damage the first time.
     
  17. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    The game changes substantially at Immortal that it's very much its own discussion at that point. A unit like the Hoplite or the Atlatlist is really not that useful on those levels for varying reasons. Arguably, even the Legion loses potency when your opponents can field Pikemen against them pretty much all the time.

    From how I've used them, it doesn't take "a lot" of HAs to take down a couple of Spearmen - about 4 or 5 against 3 will do easily, and the Huns can afford to make more units because they're supposed to have hammer advantages to make that easier to do.

    The Warrior isn't something you wait on. You just have that initial Warrior when the game starts. You don't really need many. One will do, actually.

    You can't protect units from HAs because HAs have the same range as cities. So long as the unit is outside the city, the HAs range and mobility ensures that they will be able to fire at that unit with pretty much no consequence. The AI doesn't do this better than any player. If you position the unit around the city so that the HAs can't get at it, then it also cannot protect the city from the Battering Rams that are poised to take it.

    This interaction is not apparent from the stats. Between the hammer advantage, the threat of Rams, and unit-killing HAs, the Huns are really effective in the Ancient Era, though their manner of warfare is atypical.

    Bear in mind that an HA is about as effective a ranged unit as a Composite Bowman; but it has twice the movement. I don't think it's fair to say that Composite Bowmen and Archers are useless. Most people use them as lynchpins for defense and for clearing away units on offense.

    An alternative play with Huns on MP is to NOT rush the enemy player. Use the hammer advantage to spam wonders, settlers, and Workers while the enemy is wasting them on troops. If he attacks, use the HAs to kill off his offense.
     
  18. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    That restricts where you can place HAs within its protection, however, and hence their ability to concentrate fire on individual targets

    I don't know about you, but I very rarely come across cities in wholly open terrain - quite possibly, less post-G&K than beforehand. And while a HA can't fire over hills or woods, a city can. So it's very possible for a city to protect units against archers that have the same range, by placing the unit so that it can't be attacked unless the HA is within the city's range.

    Again, I never made any claim for HAs being useless. But I also don't use composite bows to shoot cities, and not just because they get a city attack penalty.

    That's true, but one would question why you'd choose to play Huns rather than Russia in that case, other than out of the hope that your opponents will squander their early production on units (which, if they do, and you don't, could still end up going badly for you).
     
  19. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    Not materially. The entire point of ZoC is to limit enemy unit movement. So long as the Warrior is impeding one effectively, that's the target. You should be able to kill one with two turns of HA bombardment.

    HAs actually can fire over woods and hills. Any ranged unit on a hill can. You can also fire around a single hill or woods. This limits your scenario to a scenario where the terrain is otherwise flat except for a ring of hills exactly one tile all around the city in question; for all the AI cities. I can confidently say that that has never happened to me.

    Alternatively, the city could be ringed by Forest or Jungle for two tiles around. This will make it hard for HAs to kill units, but also hard for melee units to defend the city against multiple Rams from different directions.

    While it's not impossible for one or two tiles within a city's immediate vicinity to be outside HA targeting, bear in mind that where that unit has to be is defined by where you're aiming the Ram.

    Not really. Huns are REALLY good at early production, easily better than Russia. Not only do they get Animal Husbandry straight off (so they can improve tiles and site cities right off), their bonuses come from Pasture resources, not Strategic Resources. You can easily find a 3-4 clump of those early game, and 5 within a city's footprint is uncommon, but not rare. Additionally, all those resources give you food as well, so you don't have to gimp city growth to work them all.

    For early game hammers, Huns beat every other Civ in the game, including Russia.
     
  20. Gucumatz

    Gucumatz JS, secretly Rod Serling

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    Comp Bows dont get a penalty for attacking cities pretty sure.

    Either way Horse Archers are amazing. Much better than the Battering Ram if you ask me (unless you have a ruins upgrade - which you can take 1-4 cities)

    In multiplayer - every time I get a Horse Archer army up I do not lose. Its simple as that. Even when later units come out - Horse Archers are still cheap to produce with my production bonus, excel in both rough and flat terrain (being able to move into hills/jungles and still attack is mighty powerful early game). Eventually you pick off so many opposing units you start to lose very few, so you have a swarm of them [sure you may lose a few from taking heavier armoured cities] but they wipe out any opposing army around the city. The deadliest thing about the Huns in my opinion - Horse Archers. (Have yet to try Egypt War Chariot warfare - but should be a little less effective, but still pretty good in multi).
     

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