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HA rushing promotions

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Choggy, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. Choggy

    Choggy Prince

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    I'm a huge fan of early HA rushes. Wonderful units they are, can overwhelm an AI civ defending with archers and don't get pwned by spears in the same way as chariots do. Plus they have real longevity.

    My promotion choice is Combat 1 and then medic, the idea being that you take a city, heal up quickly and then quickly move on to the next city. A subsequent promotion to Medic II means they can be used as healing units in much later wars with more powerful units, such units are also imo the best candidates for Great General promotions.

    However, in a separate thread somebody suggested flanking promotions instead. Since it was a thread helping somebody out I didn't want to derail it, but I've never much bothered with flanking promos for HA rushes and it got me thinking.

    So my question is, for HA rushes what are the benefits of flanking promotions for HA rushes over the promo path I use? Do they still retain their longevity? Or are there other promo paths that are also effective?
     
  2. Cam_H

    Cam_H Deity

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    Choggy,

    The idea behind Flanking is 'survivability'. In essence, you hit enemy cities initially with Horse Archers that have Flanking with the hope that if they don't win their battle outright, that at least they'll withdraw to fight another day while having done some decent damage to your enemy's best defender. After you've used a few Flanking-promoted Horse Archers, then send in the Combat-promoted units against the weakened enemy, as these should have good odds due to their increased strength (via the Combat promotions) against damaged defenders.

    Medic promotions are often applied to a Chariot or Scout if possible, and promoted up to a Super-Medic with a Great General. These units are cheaper :)hammers:) to produce, and also will be unlikely to have to defend if placed in a stack, therefore less likely to die in battle (more info > Unit Healing by PieceOfMind).
     
  3. Seraiel

    Seraiel Deity

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    You only need 1 Unit with Medic promotion as it's enough for all units on that tile. Therefor, combat-promotions for the rest.
     
  4. ahcos

    ahcos King

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    I found flanking to be only useful in a few certain situations:

    a) Fighting against tech superiority with very high numbers, like HAs vs. LBs
    b) Fighting with just a few mounted units just to kill off siege (flanking damage is applied to the siege wether or not the unit wins a battle), in order to weaken the enemies SoDs colateral damage potential
    c) on single units to weaken very powerful single top defenders, like machine guns

    Other than that, i usually prefer the combat line. Yes, you'll lose some more units, but don't forget that there are also several drawbacks on the flanking promotions:

    a) you might withdrawal, but there's a good chance that you won't damage the defending unit at all
    b) withdrawing units naturally get less promotions or don't get them that fast, because withdrawing doesn't give too much experience
    c) flanking is totally worthless on defense
    d) units that withdraw are close to zero HP, and will therefore take a long time to heal. Combine that with less promotions (= free healing) and it will often cost you several turns for healing
    e) the flanking promotion line isn't as rewarding as the combat line with March, Blitz, Pinch, Formation, Shock, Cover and later on CombatIV and V

    Usually it's clever to promote at least one unit in your stack to FlankingI->Sentry, but usually that's about it for me. I largely prefer combat almost all of the time.
     
  5. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Flanking gets better as speed slows, because you have more time to heal and make withdrawn HA more useful in subsequent fights (and opposition has relatively less time to rebuild reinforcements).

    Whether you take flanking or combat depends heavily on how many more battles you anticipate needing to fight with your units. Combat will probably be the faster war route, while flanking tends to be more hammer-efficient as long as you can break the major production cities before the AI spams you.
     
  6. soundjata

    soundjata Be like water

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    Sad Obsolete is out of the forums. Otherwise he would come here and say:
    "Flanking is NOOOOOOOOB promotion"
     
  7. Choggy

    Choggy Prince

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    Thanks everybody. Would I be right in saying that Flanking also works when you're attacking units with a lower strength rating in the same way as drill promotions work best for melee units?

    From what Seraiel said and the article linked to by Cam_H says there is no point in having more than one medic promoted unit in a stack. Right...got that.

    So, moving on to later HA rushes against LB's..is it even worth it or is the survival rate too low? Can cover promoted HA's on their own get the job done? (I've never tried, I've always promoted my HA's to knights but knights are susceptable to Elephants and pikes so need to be part of a mixed stack)
     
  8. Ormur

    Ormur Prince

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    I always used to promote quite a few mounted units as flankers but then I saw here on the forums that it wasn't as effective as just using combat. I've tried not promoting flanking in two or three games now and at least it doesn't seem noticeably worse. I lose a bit more units but it still takes fewer on the whole to take a city.

    Sometimes if I was anticipating a defensive war (because I was busy or someone more powerful went WHEOOHRN) I built a few flankers for preemptively taking out siege and I imagine it's still a good choice for that.
     
  9. Seraiel

    Seraiel Deity

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    I just attacked Frederick with 30 Units in 500 BC. Flanking-Knights took out all the Siege in a Counter-Attack in T2 of the war, so I could not attack his city, after that Flanking-Knights took out my pikes with very few losses.

    It's right what ahcos said, Flanking isn't the best promotion for any situation, but it has it's use. I guess Flanking 2 must also work quite well against Archers.
     
  10. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    Why? Non-keshiks are already immune to first strikes, and there's huge break points from combat.

    If anything, you'd consider it against super entrenched spears, but even then speed and numbers necessitate shock.

    The times in classical war you might want flanking, is killing siege, and using them to weaken units past 50% collateral in catapult pushes.
     
  11. Seraiel

    Seraiel Deity

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    Ok, this was a HA-Thread, I forgot and thought of i. e. Chariots who aren't imune to FSs.

    Btw, in Replay #1 I took out Hannibals Siege with Flanking-Cuirrassiers, and with having no Siege, he suicided his whole 70 units Stack to a 60% cultural city having maybe 15-20 defenders.

    And, I'm just playing Hannibal for fun. Do I see that right, that if I Oracle Feudalism, I can have Flanking Combat 2 Shock Numidians at 2000 BC? :D Is this advisable?
     
  12. ahcos

    ahcos King

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    HAs vs. LBs is something you usually should NOT do. It can work if you already have high production because you've already conquered several civs/cities, and just want to kill off another small AI that happened to tech while you fought with raw numbers. You'll have horrible losses, but eventually a ~18 city empire will fight down a ~6 city empire. Again: i would not recommend it, but it works in certain situations, and in those situations flanking is okay, although you run into the same problem as always with flanking: you don't want to fight a battle and not damage the defender at all. Your aim is to kill the defender off, not to damage him. If you really have so much numbers, maybe it's more viable to just promote to combat, bite the bullet and cover your losses with production.
    But from my experience such situations, like the ones i've described, are rather rare. As a rule of thumb i certainly agree with what everyone else emphasized: chose the combat promotion line and things like Shock!
     
  13. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    No, that's the opposite of correct.

    The more likely you are to win the battle outright, the less flanking changes your %chance of survival.

    Flanking is terrible vs things like non-protective archers in a flatland city. You can easily pull solid winning odds with combat II and flanking adds very little to survival rate for the win % you give up.

    If you're hitting a city defended by a spear and a couple archers, leading off with a flanking guy or two might be worthwhile, as you'll be well over twice as likely to survive the fight and are still very likely to damage the spear.

    Just remember that a unit that withdraws is functionally useless (or close enough) until it heals. If you've planned the war so that you won't stop to heal, keeping that HA alive is only worthwhile if you plan on chaining the HA rush into multiple civs/future wars...

    or if you're playing marathon and your medic III scout will heal the sucker so fast compared to normal speed that not even the equivalent of 1 normal speed turn is needed to heal completely.
     
  14. Choggy

    Choggy Prince

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    Fair enough. I forgot that the flanking promo gives you an additional withdrawal chance on top of the percentage victory change you get from the normal combat.

    One thing I find with HA rushes is at the end of it I often have several HA units left over that I don't really need once I've garrissoned the captured cities. Therefore unless I can absorb the unit maintenance cost I'll often delete most of them, keeping only those units with enough promos to warrant future upgrades to Knights.

    The reason why I mention this is because I'm seeing an idea for an 'ideal' early HA rush stack if such a thing could exist. A few flanking HA's as a one-time attack unit, mostly Combat Promo HA's (shock and cover) for the main job vs Archers and Spears and a medic II.

    Regarding cover HA's v LB - I didn't think it was viable (after all by the time LB's come into play you generally need siege, and if you're using siege then speed goes out of the window anyway) but thanks for clarifying anyway.
     
  15. ecuwins

    ecuwins Emperor

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  16. rah

    rah Deity Supporter

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    The problem with a specialized stack is you attack with your shock specialist and the archer defends and when you attack with the combat specialist, the spearman defends, so your specialization really didn't help unless you have enough of them that you eventually get the match you were looking for. But for attacking solo units out in the open, you can take advantage of the specialization.
     
  17. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Hall of Fame Staff

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    Choggy - You were really promoting all your HA's to medic I? As other's mentioned, you only need one medic in a stack. Until you get your first GG, you might promote a HA to medic II in a pinch and possible use him as your GG super-medic. However, the low risk option is to use a scout as a super-medic, or chariot. Almost no chance a scout ever defends a stack.

    I find Combat line the best for HAs too. I think that is pretty standard. However, once in a while, if i have a lot of HAs and up against a tough stack, I will promote several Flanking II HAs. Even then, I will only do this if I already have a super medic, as it will otherwise take forever for these guys to heal. So if you are early in the fight, without a super medic, I would not bother with flanking - it will slow down your war and possible put you in a situation of failed AI counterattacks.
     
  18. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Hall of Fame Staff

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    IMO stack specialization is more important for defensive reasons, of which your point above is a reverse example. Offensively, it's all about siege or mounted, so specialization doesn't matter.
     
  19. coanda

    coanda Emperor

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    Flanking II HAs make sense if you're planning on rushing 2 AIs in a row, and know you have enough to take the first one down without waiting to heal. Which is to say, when the horse archer rush is overkill (which was the situation where I recommended it and suspect kicked off this thread, as the player was on Noble difficulty).
     
  20. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Hall of Fame Staff

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    Yep, interestingly I use flanking a lot on low level HOF challenges. Since you are always up against lame units, you can use flanking to create some pretty powerful HAs and roll the map. The high survival rate means a) the often win and don't get hurt that bad b) you soon end up with a stack of flankII combat I or II HAs, which is pretty burnt.
     

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