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How to use Dog Soldiers...?!?

Discussion in 'Civ4 Strategy Articles' started by dankok8, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. dankok8

    dankok8 Elected World Leader

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    I have heard many on these forums question the use of Dog Soldiers because of their lower strength than regular Axemen, but let me tell you... they are a very strong UU and this guide will hopefully convince you of that as well as tell you how to use them effectively.

    This guide assumes you are NOT playing unrestricted leaders (thus Sitting Bull of Native America) and these strategies have been tried in MP and only up to Monarch level and I cannot guarantee that they will work well in their entirety at higher levels than Monarch in SP. I would appreciate any constructive criticism and would be glad to incorporate the ideas of others into this guide as well.

    The 2 great features which distinguish the Dog from a regular axeman are:
    1) No Copper requirement; This is huge!! - you can get it out very early.
    2) +100% vs. melee; this makes them stronger against melee units than a non-Aggressive Axeman; this includes other Axemen, Swordsmen, Warriors, and even Praetorians!!

    The first feature in particular makes it amazing!!

    A major weakness of the dog is its lower strength (4 vs. 5 for a regular axeman). This has 2 major consequences:
    1) Dogs are NOT as good as Axemen at taking Archer-defended cities on a unit-per-unit basis. Archers are the most likely defender you will run into in SP on Monarch and above. Never attack Hammurabi or even Mansa Musa on Monarch and above or in MP - you have been warned!!
    2) They are EXTREMELY vulnerable to Chariots. Horseless targets should be attacked if possible. If the target has Horses, the Pasture(s) should be pillaged ASAP.

    Dog Rush:

    Tech Order: Mining - Bronze Working - Animal Husbandry - ...
    Build Order: Worker - Barracks - Dog - Dog - ... (if the start is coastal and has seafood, insert Workboat in the beginning - it slows you down a bit, but that's life)

    Since Sitting Bull starts with Agriculture and Fishing, he does not need an immediate worker tech right off the bat in most cases. While the Worker is building, use the Warrior to explore the surroundings and find your rivals.

    As soon as Bronze Working is done, get your Worker to quickly chop out 2 Dogs while researching Animal Husbandry. If you plan to rush several opponents and have high food in your capital, switch to Slavery and whip although I've never found a need for this. Even a single turn you waste revolting matters. Speed is of the essence!! Barracks obviously helps - give your dogs CRI.

    SP - Prince and below.

    Go straight in and capture their capital. There is no way the AI will have anything better than warriors at this point (your dogs should get 99%+ odds against these). Just crush them and their cap is yours. Build a few more dogs at home and move on to the next target's capital. Rinse and repeat until you clear the continent and/or win the game. :)

    SP - Monarch and above.

    This strategy is weaker here because the AI starts with Archery. If the city is not a hill and you move in fast enough, your 2 Dogs should get you their capital as the AI is unlikely to have more than 1 Archer at this point. In case there are multiple defenders (Archer and Warrior or 2 Archers), either do not declare war or if you could not see the defenses prior to declaring, try to steal their worker and pillage around, but don't risk your dogs. Try to stick to defensive terrains - forested or jungle hills are best, but forests/jungles and even plain hill work. Dogs have higher strength than archers and are tough to dislodge - the enemy needs at least 2 Archers/Dog. If your enemy has Horses in the BFC, head to those and pillage them if there is a pasture.

    MP:

    Once your first 2 Dogs are done, check if your potential target has Horses in the BFC (circle around its capital early). In MP, this is important, because people know they should build Chariots if they see you around as Native America, at least if they are good.

    If your enemy has horses in the BFC (relatively rare - maybe 10% of games), move in quickly if your enemy does NOT start with Hunting or Agriculture. If your enemy has horses in the BFC and starts with one of these techs, they have some Chariots built for sure if they know what they are doing. It's too big a risk and you should move on to a new opponent while making sure you grab a source of Copper and build a Spearman or two in case this person is trying to chariot-rush you!! If no Copper, quickly grab Hunting and Archery and whip a few Archers that start with CGI/CGII/Drill I.

    If your enemy has Horses, but does not start with Hunting or Agriculture (ex. Romans), it's unlikely they got a Chariot built (a pasture improvement this early takes 4 turns I believe + they likely need Wheel as well to connect the Horses). If you got your Dogs out as quickly as possible, feel free to send them in. If the Horses are not pastured or connected (or there are none), go for the city first if applicable. Use common sense. You don't want to pillage a pasture on Horses that are not connected while your target chops/builds a defender. If your enemy has a single Archer defending, attack the city if it's not on a hill. If there is a 2nd defender, the city is on a hill, or you're fighting a Protective civ, choke the city. Pillage any improvement if you can do so safely and prevent him from working/improving high yield tiles while building an occasional reinforcement to keep the choke on. Your target is likely to quit from my experience. Even if he lifts the choke (don't dedicate your whole empire to keep this guy choked), he's been seriously weakened and is a non-factor in the game 99% of the time. Make sure to keep a sizable army near your other borders and build new cities, buildings to avoid looking like a target.

    Use of Dogs Later On:
    Dogs are great anti-melee units and should be used that way. Along with Spearmen, they form great pillaging stacks much later on into the game when your enemies have chariots. If you go out conquering with Swordsmen or War Elephants, bring a few dogs to protect against enemy Axemen and Spearmen respectively. If you are playing a Roman player (human or AI), use Dogs. Dogs are much cheaper than Praets and can fight them on even ground. Nevermind the fact that you can rush and kill/choke a Roman player with Dogs before he even gets near to Praets. Dogs later on in the game benefit mostly from CI/Shock promotions. It improves their main strength further. CR promotions are useless since they should not be used to attack cities later as are all other specialized promotions because of their low attack strength. Maybe Medic.

    Summary:
    Dogs are powerful because they can come out earlier than any other Bronze Working UU except the Holkan. The Holkan can be used in a similar way and while it is slightly stronger against Archers as it is immune to first strikes, it is weaker against warriors and vulnerable to Axemen. Dogs come out earlier than your enemy can get an adequate defense. This is the main strength of Dogs that should be leveraged!! Finally Dogs kill Holkans so they are better. :lol:
     
  2. Stewie0416

    Stewie0416 Who Cares?

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    How quickly should a dog rush take place? I always think i am too late ( Btw i play noble)
     
  3. dankok8

    dankok8 Elected World Leader

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    The Dog rush should be able to start 30-40 turns into the game. You start building Dogs after completing Mining and Bronze Working (~25 turns) and then it will take you 5-15 turns to complete the Barracks (already started) and 2 Dogs depending on whether there are forests around for chopping and/or food for whipping. That means 3000-2600BC (I never looked at actual year per se but this looks about right) on Normal Game Speed, it is possible to get your Dogs into your enemy's land . Speed is of the essence here!!
     
  4. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Don't a lot of players in MP head for early archery? I supposed you could still choke and pillage but you'd have to be careful since 4 archers on would probably beat 2 dogs on flatlands.
     
  5. troytheface

    troytheface Chieftain

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    Until you meet the Babylonians, or the Egyptians or the Persians in MP. Montezuma and Jaguars or Boudica and Gallic Swordsmen are the superior.
     
  6. dankok8

    dankok8 Elected World Leader

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    If they have 4 Archers by the time you have 2 Dogs, you're going way too slow...If the enemy civ starts with Hunting, it may produce 2 Archers assuming it has built a Worker. Remember, if a civ starts with Hunting, it does not start with another useful Worker techs and so will need to research Agri to build its improvements most likely. Also, it likely does not start with Mining (only 3 civs start with Hunting + Mining - Ethiopia, Khmer, and Russia) and so will not be able to chop/whip their Archers. No way they can get 4 Archers or even 3 out if you are doing this quickly.

    Its only if there are Horses in the BFC or your enemy is Hammurabi or Mansa that they can consistently prevent being choked to death. Another way is to Warrior rush you in the first 20 turns, but you can die to that even if you don't try a Dog rush and get unlucky. Sitting Bull starts with a Warrior and not a Scout so he's not really vulnerable to a Warrior rush.

    Egyptians and Persians need Horses in their BFC to be able to beat this rush better than anyone else which rarely happens. Babylonians are indeed a no-no for this. Bowmen eat Dogs for lunch!! Mali Skirmishers are also very tough so this strategy is not advisable against Mansa either. All other civs can be choked if not killed by this rush more often than not.

    What makes a Dog rush so strong is that it comes so early - Bronze Working and do not require Copper. Another thing is that Bronze Working enables chop/whip allowing you to get your Dogs out faster.
     
  7. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Chieftain

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    What is the maximum defensive lineup you estimate a typical Dog Rush on a Standard Hemispheres map can take on at Normal Speed? Is 2 Archers too much? 2 Archers on a Hill? 2 Protective Archers on a Hill? 2 Protective Sitting Bull Archers on a Hill?

    I've had some experience trying to attack Protective Charlemange Archers on a hill in the midgame with a small Dog/Catapult stack. It was... ...not good.
     
  8. Indiansmoke

    Indiansmoke Chieftain

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    Dogs are crap against archers...a dog rush will only work if opponents haven't gor archers yet.

    A common tacktic in multiplayer teamers, where usually team has mining and techs bronze working first...is drop research to 0% to make a warrior, have him at the edge of your cultural border, as soon as you have bronze, upgrade to dog and go...

    This has worked alot of times as in multiplayer teamers, teams go bronze before archery always...
     
  9. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Chieftain

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    Indiansmoke:

    Apparently, some players can use Dog Soliders to great effect against AIs with archers. I would like to know how it's done and what the specifics of the strategem requires. Would you not want to know the same?

    When learning about Civ strategies, I'm usually more interested in what can be done rather than what cannot be done.
     
  10. dankok8

    dankok8 Elected World Leader

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    2 Protective Archers on a hill is the most you can get. More often, you'll see one non-protective Archer and in that case 2 CRI Dogs can and most often will work.

    Untrue, 2CRI Dogs will beat an Archer is a city most of the time if it is not a on hill and/or Protective.

    That can probably work in teamers and I would not know since I haven't tried it. In an FFA, turning off your research early would set you back too much to be worth it, especially since your enemy may get one Archer out by that time.
    1 Dog vs. 1 Archer in a city is always a losing proposition.
     
  11. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    I figure if Ai cap has 2 archer. 4-6 dog soldiers should do job. You want to do the rush really early. I dont think SB starts with mining so thats a 38ish turn wait on epic.

    So maybe 2 cities then chop dog soldiers like mad. You will want 3 workers or so to max out chopping. I used this strat to take out indians on a previous game. you might want to take a spare warrior just in case. If you hit the money in huts upgrade some warriors.

    One tip I would say is dont hang around. Declare war and move to capital and attack in one stack or the Ai will whip archers on monarch and above.

    On prince and below if AI just has warriors thats a much easier rush.
     
  12. dankok8

    dankok8 Elected World Leader

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    Waiting is actually not good; you'll have more Dogs, but the AI will have more Archers and likely CGI Archers as well (it will have Barracks). Making 2 Dogs and then rushing an enemy is a strategy with a highest chance of success.

    Even if you get say 6 CRI Dogs and the AI has 2 CGI Archers when you declare, it will have at least 3 by the time you get to the city because it's gonna whip. 6CRI Dogs will commonly succumb to 3 CGI Archers. If there are 4 Archers, you may as well kiss your rush goodbye.

    In MP, you have no chance to rush with Dogs if you wait that long...ever!! Another human player will build troops at a comparable rate as you. If you have 2 Dogs and it has 1 Archer, when you have 3 Dogs, it will have 2 Archers, when you have 4 Dogs, it will have 3 Archers and so on (Archers actually cost less than Dogs so maybe even worse for you). 2:1 of Dog:Archer works best (thus it's best to attack with 2 Dogs). Hill or Protective means more often than not you'll fail, but you can still choke your enemy. And, it's better to choke with 2 Dogs than 6 .. it hurts your development much less in the long run.

    I'll post a game demonstrating this rush soon... probably on Monarch.
     
  13. Stewie0416

    Stewie0416 Who Cares?

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    I'm going to try this in my next game. Never played as SB before!
     
  14. TeraHammer

    TeraHammer Chieftain

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    Im a multiplayer player, so I am not sure how much this comment will effect singleplayer games.

    Never promote your troops untill you know what units they will face.

    Play aggressively with your defense. Dont let the enemy pillage your land and ruin your economy. If you live with a city guarded by 5 archers, but your land is in ruin, you lose anyway. Promote archers anti cavalry or anti archers (not sure how this would work with protective leaders- strenght strenght anti-cavalry?)
     
  15. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Well, most of my MP experience online has been on quick. You'll have a hard time meeting less than 2-4 archers on quick unless you spawn very, very close or they decide they're idiots or something. They can tech archery while you're halfway there and still have 3 by the time you get next to the city.

    On more manageable speeds the dog rush is more viable.

    Vs the AI dog rush isn't terrible if they spawn close, aren't protective, and aren't on a hill. The true strength of dogs lies in their defense. They are pretty much BARB IMMUNITY typically, and can soundly handle invasions (will need archers or spears to deal with chariots though). People don't like defensive stuff but these guys are great at it.

    They choke pretty well too.
     
  16. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    In MP thats another matter. (Not tried that yet). I find on monarch the Ai only starts building lots of archers after you DOW. I have successfully done many dog rushes in my time.

    In terms of waiting that long. I dont wait long. I build a second city and chop dog soldiers like mad. using the 2 workers I normally have by 3000bc or so.

    In my experience the Ai will never have more than 2 archers before 2500bc. The excess archers normally go to the second city.
     
  17. Tephros

    Tephros Caffeine Junkie

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    My opinion of Native America is that I'd prefer not to play as or against them, kind of like all protective leaders, but especially ****ting Bull.
     
  18. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    seems like it'd be worth it to switch to slavery, if you're gonna do this. With 2 extra turns, you could whip another dog (lol, that sounds kinda bad...)
     
  19. dankok8

    dankok8 Elected World Leader

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    @Tephros

    Sitting Bull is a good turtler and an amazing defensive civ. No other civ can get CGI/CGII/CGIII/DI or any other 2 promos out of the gate with CGI/DI that early. SB's CGI/DI/Shock/Cover X-bows are scary especially with Catapults. Try to beeline Machinery and take out an enemy or 2. Philosophical is obviously a very good trait and Dogs are excellent pillagers and strongest anti-melee early units.

    @pi-r8

    It could be, but since you are rushing in the first 30 or so turns, your city isn't gonna be very large to do more than 1 whip (size 2-3 most often). Is one whip worth the turn of anarchy if you can also chop to get the same effect? It may not be...
     
  20. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    well you can both whipping and chopping, you don't have to choose between them. But if you've got some high food tiles working, whipping is so powerful it seems crazy not to use it.
     

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