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First strike seems useless

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by R0gue, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. R0gue

    R0gue Noble

    Joined:
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    It seems the 1st strike ability is useless

    Chineese UU - Cho-Ko-Nu with upgrades 3-4 1st strikes, which you would think was great but no.

    Example 1; here is what I did which I thought would have easily won

    x5 Cho-Ko-Nu (3-4 1st strikes, can cause collateral DAM haha nope) I lost the battle. What annoyed me was, I was getting shot @ by the archers right away. (they only had 2 max 1st strikes v my 4 max 1st strikes) My UU was dropping like flies (though I did win against the archers.) Killed the chariots, lost to the elephants.

    v

    x 4 Archers (1-2 1st strikes)/x 2 Chariots 100% v axemen /10% stength / x2 Elephants 20% strength

    the odds I got was 73% with the archers
    64% against the elephants
    84% against the chariots

    after this battle you would think mmmm why did the 1st strikes had little effect.

    Example 2

    x 6 Cho-Ko-Nu (3-4 1st strikes, can cause collateral DAM haha nope) I lost again. The 1st strike seems useless. I thought the 1st strike would have weakend the nmes then won on the 2nd round?

    v

    x5 Elephants (20% strength / x3 chariots (100% axemen / 20% Strength)
     
  2. Derakon

    Derakon Chieftain

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    I found some information on combat here. No idea how up-to-date that is. First strikes basically give you a chance to deal some extra unanswered damage -- basically a combat round where the first striker may deal damage, but if they fail then they don't take any damage in response. The amount of damage you deal depends on the ratio of your strength to the defender's strength.

    Say the archers you were attacking had strength 4.5 (CG1 promotion) and your CKNs have strength 6. According to the link above, your ratio is 1.33~, which means that you have a ~57% chance of winning each combat round, and each time you do, you deal 18 damage. If you have 2 more first strikes than the archers do then that equates to dealing ~20 damage at the start of the fight, on average (.57 * 18 * 2). That's about a fifth of the archer's base strength; a decent help but nothing amazing.

    If you're fighting an unpromoted war elephant (strength 8), then your ratio is .75, which gives you a ~43% chance of winning any given combat round for 17 damage. Say you get 4 first strikes, that's ~29 damage at the start. But for the rest of the fight, with your much lower ratio you're going to have a tough time of it. Things get worse if it's promoted, of course.

    This is why first strikes are generally mostly useful if you out-tech your opponent. A machinegun with 3 first strikes vs. an attacking unpromoted maceman will have a ratio of 2.25, giving a success rate of 69% and damage per success of 29 -- that's 60 damage! Couple that with the greater likelihood of success in normal combat rounds and the machinegun will come out of the fight almost unscathed.

    If I recall correctly, the animations played during combats basically are intended to create an "interesting" exchange, and generally have next to nothing to do with how the combat actually plays out. I turned them off after watching my 20th iteration of "attacker kills 2 of defender's 3 guys, then remaining defender one-shots all attackers". It gets pretty recognizable.

    Generally speaking, you're better off improving your ratio by taking Combat promos (or specific counter-unit promos like Cover or Shock) than you are taking Drill.
     
  3. UWHabs

    UWHabs Chieftain

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    Understand what the first strike does. And understand collateral damage, since CKNs do deal it, and it's very vicious.

    The odds that are listed are correct. Sometimes you just get unlucky, though. CKNs vs elephants you will lose more than you win (I mean, it's 6 strength against 8. Without the first strikes/collateral your odds of winning would be like 12%).
     
  4. Torrello

    Torrello Chieftain

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    I'd take colateral damage over 1st stikes any time. Sure you might loose the 1st one, but that 'suicide' mission just softened up the rest of the stack (providing it's not a huge stack) making subsequent fights easier.
     
  5. Tyrael

    Tyrael ALC Lurker

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    Generally you'll only want to take drill promos when your troops are more advanced than your opponent's troops. Since you're going to win anyway, drill's first strikes help your troops escape combat without taking any damage at all, so you don't have to stop to heal. You can plow through a backwards civ's cities faster that way. I don't know anything about CKNs though.
     
  6. Druin

    Druin Chieftain

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    I have never played with CKN's but I have to imagine that DrIV Cho's would be a fairly straightforward mass produced war unit. Bring accuracy trebs just for burning cultural defense then slam as many Cho's as needed into the city until the DrIV takes over and they stop taking damage from attacks. Seems like one of the few units in the game that fits the "throw some away to win the rest" mindset that isn't a siege unit.

    The benefit of DrIV over combat would be that as soon as the collateral damage reaches the critical level the cho's would stop taking damage from each attack so while the first few would be throw-aways every time, the rest could always move on to the next city immediately.

    Again, this is all theoretical because I have never played with them!
     
  7. Jerrymander

    Jerrymander Epistemologist

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    First Strikes are not useless. Try a beeline Gunpowder Ethopia game, and come back and tell me how useless First Strikes are.

    Musketmen are more useful than Crossbowmen.
     
  8. Bibor

    Bibor Doomsday Machine

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    IF total strength of your unit >= total strenght of their unit = go first strikes.
    IF total strenght of your unit < total strenght of their unit = go combat or specalize (flanking, formation, shock etc.)

    It's that simple.

    As Jerrymander said, Oromo warriors have base STR 9, thus beating all medieval (except knights') unit strengths and are equal to other musketmen. The kill both.
     
  9. TheWilltoAct

    TheWilltoAct I am observe

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    There's also a possible argument for using first strikes if you are outmatched and just want to get in at least the one strike before losing. I'm no expert on combat though, so that's just a thought.
     
  10. plastiqe

    plastiqe Grinch

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    Drill sucks. Even when you're fighting with troops that outmatch a backwards opponent, I'd take combat III with march over drill IV every time.
     
  11. obsolete

    obsolete Chieftain

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    I agree. I also have to throw in that City raider seems useless as well.

    I promoted a sword to a city raider, and attacked a longbow defending in a city. Guess what?! I lost! WTF.

    I'm NEVER going to use that dumb promo ever again! It's broken.
     
  12. jabberwalkee_

    jabberwalkee_ Goodie hut resident

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    Drill comes into its own when fighting at a tech advantage and/or with plenty of seige. It doesn't increase your wins by much, but it lets you take those wins with little to no damage, allowing you to keep moving your army without having to stop to heal. This is quite powerful, especially on faster speeds where your tech lead may not last the length of a long war.
     
  13. plastiqe

    plastiqe Grinch

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    City raider is amazing, your problem is that you were using an ancient era unit against a medieval defender and expected results.

    City raider is great to have on 3-4 guys in your stack, and is by far the best promotion for most of your siege units.

    Edit: I read that again and I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic. Next time use the sarcasm face. : /
     
  14. Derakon

    Derakon Chieftain

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    Plastique: you could also look at his nick and/or post count. I doubt someone with over 4000 posts here is going to have trouble figuring out why a swordsman can't take a defending longbowman. :)
     
  15. fathertuck

    fathertuck Chieftain

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    I've never thought of it that way. When you stop to heal you lose the momentum of the advance, so to promote your units with drill makes sence. I usually take the combat and city raider promotions when I go on the offensive, but I should take this possibility also into account.
     
  16. Bibor

    Bibor Doomsday Machine

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    Yea, I had this same thing happen to me with Catapults. I'm thinking about boycotting promotions on them alltogether.
     
  17. TheWilltoAct

    TheWilltoAct I am observe

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    Promotions can't make up for a lackluster matchup, though they can help slightly.
    Having a city raider 3 swordsman is great, but you still need siege (usually) !
     
  18. Ataxerxes

    Ataxerxes Chieftain

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    I think you have the right idea. Combat is usually better, but Drill sometimes works quite well.

    I'm more likely to take Drill if I'm Protective (Drill I free) or (yum!) Ethiopia. Drill is a funny promo line. Drill I-III aren't that great. Drill IV is where it pays off. Ethiopia can get Drill IV at 5 XP's on Oromos and Protective Civs get Drill IV at 10 XP's instead of 17. This is one reason people like Churchill so well, Drill IV Redcoats at 8 XP's.

    If you have a tech lead, Drill on Tanks is great! Drill IV reduces collateral damage and is terrific for one powerful defender on good terrain. No matter how many times you're attacked, it helps reduce damage from each attack.
     
  19. Killroyan

    Killroyan Chieftain

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    Sarcasm from Obsolete is not understood. Lol, thx for the laugh guys.

    About drill, I think it is fine. If you play the breakout map with a choke point you will see how incredible strong Drill is.
     
  20. goodolarchie

    goodolarchie Chieftain

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    I really only use drill in situations that I know are going to have enemy units attacking my stack. I still think of garrison, city raider, and even combat being better than drill lb-for-lb. Garrison is only def and limited to cities, so if you're looking to hold a chokepoint, try Drill. For instance, it's amazing what oromos with drill IV can do in stacks of 3-4 behind enemy lines. I've had them do more damage defending against a stack than a cannon would have, suiciding.
    There's a good writeup in the war academy about first strikes if you must know the math.
     

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