Cavalry?! What for?!

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Gooblah, Aug 17, 2007.

  1. Gooblah

    Gooblah Heh...

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    This is a stupid question, but why should I invest in Immortals, Chariots, War Chariots, or any cavalry units until Knights, Cavalry, and Cossacks?? I know most people will say for things like pillaging, quick attacks, etc., but to me it seems rather pointless, since by the time Horseback Riding is actually available from other civs, copper and iron are already acquired and most cities have spearmen in their garrisons!

    The current game i'm playing features a Standard Archipelago in Vanilla 1.74 with Cyrus. Since Cyrus's UU is the Immortal, and i can attack Hatty and Monty using galleys, how can I maximize its, or any cavalry's potential?
     
  2. MrCynical

    MrCynical Deity

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    They aren't bad for defending against stacks of attacking AI units (since the AI is often NOT competant enough to bring spears or pikes), but beyond that I'm not too fond of them either. They aren't much good for cracking cities, which tends to make up most of the challenge of conquering a civ.
     
  3. AlessioCerci

    AlessioCerci Prince

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    you can easily have immortals before anyone else has spearmen. Besides not every city normally has a spearman unless the AI is expecting your attack with cavs. (horse archers are pretty useless i agree)
     
  4. Naismith

    Naismith Prince

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    Chariots are very useful for dealing with barbarian axemen. They can defend your roads, improvements etc. better than any other unit, especially since axemen seem to be unit of choice for barbarians.

    What speed do you play on? The slower the speed, the more impressed you will be with war chariots and immortals. Assuming you can get horses hooked up reasonably early, that is.
     
  5. Random Oracle

    Random Oracle Warlord

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    From Warlords on Chariots get +100% against Axemen, which makes them great anti-barbarian units among other things.
     
  6. SickCycle

    SickCycle Prince

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    I personally love horses, not so much in the early game but there are some beautiful uses.

    You already mentioned the pillaging, horses are superb for this not only that they can move onto a tile and pillage the same turn due to there 2 movement but also because you can upgrade them with sentry and extend there view, with that said they also make great fog-busters.

    Not all cities will have a spearman in them and there strength is relatively high, I recently had a game where Justinian cracked open a city of mine defended by machine guns using nothing but a stack of cataphracts.

    Speaking of which, if you want to get into civ specifics thats where they start to light up a little bit, not that I'm any expert.

    Immortals as someone said can be available very early, they get a +50 vs archers and a +100% vs axeman the preferred early rush unit. They are great for fog-busting and anti-barb work as well.

    War Chariots, can also be used as an early rush but really what they are good for is decimating axes, they have 5 strength and 100% vs axes, great in MP since a lot of players rush early. They can beat out a Immortal, Axes, and other Chariots. Great Defensive units but also can be used for rushing/pillaging.

    Keshik are great for pillaging and raiding, they get a first strike so that helps against attacking with negative odds such as fighting spearman it also can move over terrain at no cost so they are great for moving across large areas of land or attacking through rough terrain, where as a normal unit would be slowed or crippled these units can move with easy and evade any unit of its time, while doing your dirty work behind enemy lines.

    Horse Archers upgraded with combat I + shock also equal 8 strength, I think that is worth mentioning. Which you can do with a barracks and stable.

    Cataphracts are also another good one, they are 12 str knights..

    A Pikeman is 12 str after its 100%, a cataphract with combat I and shock is 16.2 if my math is right, what more needs to be said? It's very unlikely the AI stacks will be promoted with Combat I, II, and Mounted. So you're left with a unit with absolutely no counter.

    To make it better Justinian is also Imperialistic which means you get 100% great general xp, it's very easy to be spitting out level 3 cataphracts, even without switching over to vassalge/theocracy.

    Cossacks, are cavalry that slaughter other cavalry which make very good counters to the enemy pillaging your territory as well as pillaging yourself.

    These are UU but they are powerful horse units non the less.
     
  7. sargasm

    sargasm Chieftain

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    Mounted units are also particularly effective at quickly getting to and pillaging your opponent's metal resources, disabling their ability to make Spearmen/Pikemen. So just bring enough mounted units to pillage their Copper/Iron and to whittle down those initial city-defending spears, and you're in business.
     
  8. Pikkis

    Pikkis Prince

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    If you're lucky enough, you don't have to wait until others can trade it to you! In my newest game I got Horseback Riding in 3550BC from very friendly tribal village!
     
  9. GenocideBringer

    GenocideBringer King

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    Why not just research it yourself? The lost research time for other things is made up for by the fact that you can trade it with others.
     
  10. popejubal

    popejubal Emperor

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    Even if you don't have a cavalry-heavy army set to attack your neighbors, there are a few excellent opportunities that only the pretty little horsies provide.

    1: Sentry.
    Seriously, who is going to take a Axe/Mace-man to Combat 3 and then give their unit Sentry. It's a total waste. Sentry units are exceptionally useful to have, however, since being able to see that one extra square ahead means you won't be blundering into an AI trap when you march across the wilderness.

    2: Medic.
    If you aren't Agressive, a Barracks and a Stable in one city can provide you with all of the healing power you need through most of the game. The fact that these medics have 2 movement is just a lovely bonus. Toss an Explorer with Woodsman 3 (just 10 XP, what a bargain!) onto the stack and you have a super-fast healing stack to throw at an enemy.

    3: Flying Reserve.
    Do you really want to put 5-10 units in each city on the off chance that the AI might attack? Why not put 2-3 units in your outer cities, 1-2 units in your core cities and have 3-10 mounted units that can quickly get to any of your cities for extra defense when needed. These fast moving reserves can also be used to exploit any weakness that one of your neighbors shows if something convenient appears.

    4. Horsies are pretty.
    'Nuff said.

    5. Fogbusting.
    Chariots are the single best unit that you can use for Barbarian prevention. Barbarians aren't generated where someone is looking, so get those Chariots up to 5 XP, give them Sentry and you have a lovely unit that can see 25 (or more!) spaces and is quite good at killing both Archers and Axemen, the two primary units used by the Barbarians.

    6. Exploration.
    After the Animals are gone and replaced by Archers and Axemen, you won't be able to explore with Scouts and I think everyone will agree that Explorers are just plain worthless. Having a unit with 2 movement that can see 25 spaces is a lovely thing.

    7. Soften up your undefeatable enemies.
    Sometimes you face an enemy that you just can't beat. If you throw a few horses at him, the horses have a decent chance at retreating and can do enough damage in the process that you may be able to defeat those Longbows in the Forested Hill Fort that is protecting your opponent's Iron.


    In essence, mounted units are nice because they have 2 movement and because they can take the Flanking and Sentry promotions.
     
  11. Ruler

    Ruler Prince

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    Bunch of Horse-archeries can easily take cities down with low culture. So, your main stack is heading to capital and horse-archeries are taking the cities on the sides or little bit further.
     
  12. Molon Labe

    Molon Labe I committed the faux pas.

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    I'm not a big fan of horse archers, and I have yet to find a really good use for Keshiks or Numidian Cavalry to really make them shine.

    But I think you're missing the boat on War Chariots and Immortals. I don't remember who said it, but in the Hatty ALC thread, War Chariots were described as "Axemen on wheels". That's pretty accurate.

    The War Chariot and the Immortal are incredible UU's. If you don't use them to take cities and completely wipe out neighbouring civs, then you aren't using them to their potential. I have wiped out two civs easy and kept some juicy capitals using those units. Others have done even better.

    If I start a game as Persia or Egypt, I'm pretty confident that there will be one or two civs fewer by the classical age.

    After those units go obsolete, the promoted survivors make brilliant Knights and later Cavalry and Gunships. Particularly if you're the Charismatic and Imperialistic Cyrus. That gives them many more wars to shine in.

    These units are great and I honestly abuse them more than Praets.
     
  13. VoiceOfUnreason

    VoiceOfUnreason Deity

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    Adding to the other replies: Blitz promotions are fun.

    Blitz promoted Wheelz become Blitz promoted Cavalry become Blitz promoted Gunships.
     
  14. Polycrates

    Polycrates Emperor

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    Also: The ability to incite revolts with your spies and instantly strip city defences means that you can make an effective lightning attack with your horsie archers/knights and and really catch an opponent with their pants down.
    Plus, stables mean that cavalry units are often better-promoted than their foot-going equivalents, and so you can always give them flanking 1+2 to significantly increase their survivability.
     
  15. Lurking Liu

    Lurking Liu Prince

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    Everything else you said is spot on (especially horses being pretty :) ) but I just had to comment on this real fast--Someone, somewhere, did an analysis of the healing methods and found that Medic and Woodsman III only stack if they're on the same unit. So if you have a Mounted Archer with Medic and an Explorer with Woodsman III, you'll be healing at the greater rate. Unfortunately, this does mean that the new "best" healers are Spear/Pikemen with Woodsman III and Medic. Because, y'know, those are so easy to get :p
     
  16. JackOfClubs

    JackOfClubs Warlord

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    But you don't need Horseback Riding for Chariots, only Wheel and Animal Husbandry. If you start with Wheel, this makes Chariots a very early unit.

    War Chariots are great against Archers as they ignore first strikes. Before metals, Archers are the city defender of choice so Egypt can make a very credible early war. (And Egypt starts with Wheel!)
     
  17. kniteowl

    kniteowl Pirate Captain :P

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    You still need them to counter particular units, Chariots counter Axeman, Knights counter Crossbows, Cavalry Counter Grenadiers and Gunships counter Tanks.

    I'm not sure what Horse Archers and Cuirassier counter, Musketman maybe? but Knights can already do that....

    And in BTS they also have the flank attack on Siege units
     
  18. Alternator

    Alternator Chieftain

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    Horse Archers make good sturdy raiders, since nothing but Spearmen from their era will have more than even odds against them baseline. They're also cheaper to upgrade to Knights than Chariots are, which is a good reason to make your "mass and promote" army out of them.

    Cuiriasser, I have no idea either.
     
  19. sargasm

    sargasm Chieftain

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    Cuirassers seem to be just a slight improvement over Knights -- they have a bit higher strength and an innate withdrawal chance. But if you have Cuirassers, you're only one tech away (Rifling) from Cavalry, so you might as well just keep going.

    Speaking of Cavalry, can anyone tell me what the big deal is? They are countered by Riflemen, which the AI loves to fill up its cities with. This would lead me to expect that the big city-attacking unit would be Grenadiers, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
     
  20. kniteowl

    kniteowl Pirate Captain :P

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    I was thinking more people would build Cuirassers because they generally beeline to Liberalism and take Nationalism as a free tech, but that's no longer the case as the AI now techs a lot slower therefore Cuirassers aren't useful anymore.

    But I get the feeling you could reach Military Tradition around the same time as Guilds if you bulb GS down the Liberalism Route.

    The only thing I can guess Cuirassers doing is countering Cannon but usually you 'll have cavalry by then.
     

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