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How to handle 20 pyre zombie attack early?

Discussion in 'Fall from Heaven Strategy & Tips' started by Smakemupagus, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. Smakemupagus

    Smakemupagus Chieftain

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    The new .41j AI seems to be pretty good at attacking with a stack of ~20 pyre zombies.

    Any advice on tactics to deal with them using a similar #:hammers: worth of axeman/archers? Do units fortified, or defending cities get any kind of partial defense from the explosion? Once the PZs have taken my border cities i can use roads to recapture from 2 squares away and eventually tech up to LifeII mages or something, but that puts me on the defensive for a long time. Anyway that plan is not so good if the border city I lose is a holy city or capitol.

    Is there something strategic i should change like always preemptively attack the Sheaim, or go for horses early? ..What is a recommended counter tech to shoot for in the short term, if LifeII mages is not practical?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Demus

    Demus Chieftain

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    catapults+warriors/hunters/horsemen can work, just make sure your borders are roaded.

    A stack softened up with cata's can be taken out with warriors, which are much cheaper than pyre zombies, giving you an advantage. Hunters and horsemen obviously can withdraw after a kill, making sure they don't take damage.

    When on the offensive, the only thing that can defend against 20 pyre zombies are fire resistant/immune defenders. Orcs come to mind, as do demonic units.
     
  3. FireBlaze

    FireBlaze Chieftain

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    If they are near you, a warrior rush would be in your best interests. Other than that, the Pyre zombie will usually curb stomp you in a 20 Pyre vs 20 Sword/Axe fight.
     
  4. Emptiness

    Emptiness []

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    I have never managed to get the ability to cast Destroy Undead in time to be important for dealing with Pyre Zombies. The Sheaim get Pyre Zombies long before I have Life II casters, and once I have Life II casters (assuming I survive that long) there is no need for Destroy Undead. Either the Sheaim have stagnated, or they have stopped making Pyre Zombies in favor of "more advanced" units.

    The best way to deal with Pyre Zombies is proactive offense. Declare war on the Sheaim and crush them if you can, and if not then torch all their improvements and kill any attempt they make to expand. Limited to one city without improvements, the Sheaim won't get to Bronze Working soon enough to matter.

    Of course, the Sheaim don't always start close enough for such a strategy to be practical. With the new AI economic improvements you might not even meet them (on a large enough map) until after they have Bronze Working. Sending some mounted units to pillage their improvements can put an economic hurt on them that makes supporting an offensive army impossible. If their Pyre Zombies never leave their borders, and only kill some Horsemen, then they're not really much of a problem.

    If you do find yourself being invaded by a stack of Pyre Zombies then you've got problems. The new AI doesn't attack unless it is "sure" it can win, and it doesn't seem to take collateral damage from fallen PZs into account - meaning that even if they were just normal Axemen you'd be in trouble. Units in cities take less damage from Pyre Zombie explosions, based on the city defense modifier, but it really won't matter. 20 Pyre Zombies will kill 15 Longbowmen fortified in a legendary culture hill city, and you're very unlikely to have all of your cities so well defended this early in the game. Fire resistance will certainly help, but you may not be playing the Clan and earning enough xp to take the Magic Resistance promotion on all of your units is going to be impractical.

    A better approach is to take the Mobility promotion on your melee units and employ hit-and-run tactics to pick off Pyre Zombies and then move away from the blast radius of future explosions. (You can also use Horsemen, although Copper Axemen are generally going to have better odds. If you don't have Copper, or you can't get to Bronze Working in time, then Horsemen promoted with Shock can do a respectable job.) Sacrifical Warriors can lead the enemy stack away from your cities, and into terrain that doesn't have a defense bonus (thus making your real attackers more successful). Just remember to send some Horsemen to pillage Sheaim improvements as soon as practical, because that is what will actually shift the tide of the war. The AI is so good at making units that you can crush wave after wave of attackers and the AI won't be bothered at all.
     
  5. Onionsoilder

    Onionsoilder Reaver

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    With the recent patch, I've found several ways to deal with large stacks(they work on both normal units and pyre zombies):

    1) Hit-And-Run. Only one unit takes the collateral damage from the exploding zombie. Chariots work great for this, since they can also take bronze weapons.

    2) Baiting. If you have a disposable unit like Balserph's puppets or any summon, send them adjacent to the enemy stack(but away from your cities). The AI will send the entire stack to kill your one summon, so you can lead them around.

    3) AoE. Malstrom and Ring of Fire/Tsunami seem to be earliest. This can effectively immobolize a stack, because they will stop to heal after takign damage, so you can do this turn after turn after turn, tying up his resources into a stack that never does anything.

    4) Tag! Let them take a useless city from you. Take it back. Let them take it again. Take it back. Because the AI doesn't leave units to guard captured cities, you can do this forever.
     
  6. Smakemupagus

    Smakemupagus Chieftain

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    Thanks for the tips everyone! good stuff

    went back to an earlier save and teched for catapults/chariots instead of trying to shoot ahead for longbows, definitely worked a lot better, although I still couldn't prevent them from taking my Holy city. next time i will try rush/pillage early :)
     
  7. DarkxL0rd

    DarkxL0rd Chieftain

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    I just realized in an earlier game that 4 mages casting destroy undead can kill 87+ pyre zombies in one turn. that turned the tide a bit! I know this doesn't answer your question, but as uber-powerful as pyre zombies are, their Achilles heel is Life II.
     
  8. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

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    Yeah, ever since I convinced Kael to remove the damage cap from Destroy Undead those Pyre Zombies have had much to fear. They were definitely overpowered though during the time when Destroy Undead could only do 30% damage, making it a weaker, highly situational version of Maelstrom. It was lethal before that, but that was pre-BtS when it only effected one tile.

    You know, you could actually kill 10,000 Pyre Zombies just as easily as 87, provided they stand really close together.
     
  9. DarkxL0rd

    DarkxL0rd Chieftain

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    Yeah, it saved me quite a few times when i was playing my first game as the amurites. I realized while playing that they can have 17 channel 3 casters. I know this is off subject but that is just nasty! 4 druids, 4 archmages, 4 liches, 4 high priests and of course gonnaven.
     
  10. Emptiness

    Emptiness []

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    ... and now I have to amend this. I'm playing a game now (as Charadon, of all people) where I managed to get Destroy Undead before the Sheaim got Pyre Zombies. The Sheaim were my nearest neighbor, but had a relatively poor start. They were too far away to make rushing practical (I had a lot of empty space around my start area), but I had a great start (3 sites with flood plains: one with 2 gold, one with one gold, one with 2 wines). Except for basic economic techs I went straight for Sorcery (via Divination, naturally) and got there first. Now I'm letting the Sheaim gobble up their neighbors before I walk in and vaporize them. So it is possible, just very unlikely.
     
  11. Bill Bisco

    Bill Bisco Callous Calling

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    Congratulations you've just continued an irrantional anti-undead and anti-demon bias meanwhile Chalid and the Kuriorate Centaurs have a picnic.
     
  12. Humakty

    Humakty Happy Goblin

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    Kuriotates have a production problem, that's supposed to balance the ultra centaurs out, and it does so on a big map.
    Chalid is another point...
     
  13. slowcar

    slowcar Chieftain

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    i face the same problem right now. playing the hippus, turn around 150, have conquered 3 of my neighbours on a standard pangäa emperor.
    enemy stack seems to be around 20+ pyros, partly combat2+shock.
    i have around 10 shock2 axes, some with mobility, some combat5+shock horsemen and access to chariots in a few turns. will be a very hard fight and i'll lose quite some cities i guess, wonder if i can tech to life2 or something in time...
     
  14. Emptiness

    Emptiness []

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    As the Hippus you should be countering their Pyre Zombies with mounted units, not melee. Trying to get to Life II while actively losing cities is unlikely to work. Start building the best mounted unit you can in all your cities, and use hit-and-run tactics to kill their PZs while keeping the bulk of your units away from their death explosions. Your Combat5+Shock Horsemen will fit right into this role; keep your Axemen out of the combat unless you can avoid the collateral damage (such as a Mobility I Axemen attacking and withdrawing thanks to roads).
     
  15. slowcar

    slowcar Chieftain

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    Sure, my axes have mobility. My plan was to upgrade them to chariots as soon as i can (and have the monies). Chariots with shock2 should be able to do some damage. Nonetheless i will be outnumbered by 3 or 4:1 and will lose my best production city in the next turns.
     
  16. UncleJJ

    UncleJJ Chieftain

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    If you are planning to upgrade your axemen to chariots I would not give them mobility promotions. Chariots normally move 3 tiles and for Hippus the Horselord promotion adds another 1 so a mobility promotion would take their normal movement to 5 and double that on roads. That seems too much to be useful. I use the chariot upgrade to give extra mobility to a highly promoted axeman that doesn't have mobility, if they have mobility then they become champions.

    Losing a production city is bad news for the lost production when you need units and you could lose some buildings by the time you recapture it. But in FfH2 there aren't many buildings you really need, unlike BtS where losing a city wrecks its progress. Also a production city has the ability to rebuild any buildings quickly.

    Have you used the Hippus world spell yet? Warcry adds +1 strength and +1 movement to all units and allows multiple attacks. It has a 5% chance of wearing off so it should last a long time for some units.
     
  17. JonathanStrange

    JonathanStrange PrinceWithA1000Enemies

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    Going back to the original post, I too have usually been able to use mages armed with Life II spell successfully against pyre zombies - one of the few times Life comes in handy.

    I've also used the standard Druid entanglement spells to simply hold the pz's in place while I bring the catapults and marshmallows.
     
  18. Smakemupagus

    Smakemupagus Chieftain

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    Hmm, found another way to handle 'em. This game I declare war on turn 15, first time I meet the Sheaim scout, planning to test out some of the stuff we talked about in this thread. Instead they didn't build anything but warriors for 250 turns, and i waltzed into Galveholm with, like, 5 horse archers.
     
  19. slowcar

    slowcar Chieftain

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    I have successfully fended off the attack. As an afterthought, i should have used rank1 magic to prevent them attacking. there are multiple spells to slow them down. next time i'll move adepts more to the front line of my research, just to be sure.

    Without any magic i lost one town, defeated them short of my capital. The current AI somehow does not defent conquered cities, i was able to sneak in their back and the stack turned back to recapture the city, all the time being diminished by my chariots (attack, heal 1-2 turns, attack...)
    didn't had to use warcry even.

    riders won't work, but chariots do.
     
  20. Ekolite

    Ekolite The Mighty Jungle

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    I think I've found the answer to Pyre Zombie stacks (although admittely they are the answer to most of life's little problems). Hit them with a couple of Overlord Cultists.

    I think the damage done by their explosion is conected to how strong they were when they were killed so if you weaken them with spells before attacking them then their collateral damage doesn't have much of an effect.
     

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