Intro to Deity Domination & Timing Attacks

Discussion in 'Civ6 - Strategy & Tips' started by Machiavelli24, Nov 25, 2016.

  1. Machiavelli24

    Machiavelli24 Mod creator

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    Civilization 6, like many strategy games, has a tactical rock-paper-scissors element. Spears beat horses, horses beat swords and swords beat spears. This leads to the idea that success on the battlefield requires combined arms. Have an army made up of a mix of spears, horses and swords, where your spears are facing off against your foe's horses, while your swords face off against their spears.

    The problem with this view is that it is to small. Units do not simply exist. They have to be built. Those factors can't be ignored just because they happened before the armies marched onto the field. As Sun Tzu said: "Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win".

    How Combat works in Civilization 6
    When two units fight it is the absolute strength difference not relative strength difference that matters. A 20 Strength Warrior attacking a 15 Strength Archer will do as much damage as a 35 Strength Horseman attacking a 30 Strength Crossbowman.

    What is a Timing Attack
    The idea behind a timing attack is that instead of researching multiple different technologies to unlock various types of units and building an army consisting of a mix of different types of units you instead research one technology and build an army predominantly made up of that specific type of unit. For example, by rushing for Chivalry and building Knights you can have a stronger army faster than an opponent who tries to get Crossbows, Pikemen and Knights. Your Knight may struggle to deal with the Pikemen but you'll have multiple Knights by the time they can field a single Pikeman and you will be able to overwhelm it.

    What makes timing attacks more efficient than combined arms is the technology tree. It requires less Science to unlock a specific unit. Once that unit is available, building anything but it is often less efficient. In Civilization 6 it is more important for your unit to be an era ahead of its opponent than for your unit to counter its opponent. A Knight does better against a Spearman than a Swordsman.

    Once you have a force of Knights you want to launch your attack. You will have an advantage that will last until your target can catch up on technology and build a few units. It is your upmost objective to do as much damage and take as many cities as possible as quick as you can. Once your opponent has caught up and your advantage is gone consider making peace, consolidating your gains and preparing for the next timing attack.

    What is an Upgrade-based Timing Attack
    You can accelerate the start of certain timing attacks by using unit upgrades. Rather than building a bunch of Knights after researching Chivalry you can instead build some Chariots while you wait to finish researching Chivalry. Once Chivalry completes you upgrade all the Chariots to Knights. This requires stockpiling some Gold but it allows you to start your timing attack much sooner than before. Since the early turns are when you have the largest advantage upgrade based timing attacks are much stronger than normal timing attacks.

    Certain unique units, like the Samurai and Berserker, can't be upgraded into. This makes them less useful as you can't do upgrade based timing attacks with them. While upgrade based timing attacks require more advanced planning they are much more effective and what you should use as your main attack opportunities.

    Timing Attacks
    Time to move from theory to practice. What are some of the good timing attacks available in Civilization 6? Starting from the early game and working forward these are your best options:

    Early Game:
    Slingers->Archers
    It only requires 30 Gold (on standard speed) to upgrade a Slinger into an Archer. Archers can struggle to take cities, especially once walls are online, so this is more useful as a defensive timing. If you need to protect yourself from barbarians or an early attack Archers are hands down the best unit to rely on.

    Horsemen
    With 4 movement and 35 Strength Horsemen are effective at surrounding and overtaking enemy units, even when rough terrain is in the way. When combined with the production policy they are relatively cheap to build. This timing relies on having two copies of horses to pull off as building encampments in all your cities is often too disruptive to incorporate into early development.

    Warriors->Swordsman
    With the same strength as Horsemen Swordsman don't have as much going for them. Their slower movement makes it harder to quickly finish off ranged or retreating units. Upgrading only requires one source of Iron so once you get Iron Working you'll be able to look around and determine if this timing attack is something you can pursue. Its main advantage is speed, as the Warriors can be pre-built and potential have some experience accumulated from fighting barbarians.

    Chariots->Knights
    This is the strongest early game timing attack. The technology can be reached very quickly and the chariots can be pre-built. Keeping the momentum after the initial upgrade can be tricky as the bonus production policy for Knights isn't available until Monarchy.

    Mid Game:
    Horsemen->Cavalry
    This timing attack requires a long term commitment but is very strong. In order to make it work you need to beeline the bottom of the technology tree. This often means delaying naval and factory rushes. Horsemen become ineffective on the battlefield long before Cavalry become available so most of the Horsemen will be built as part of an earlier Horseman based timing attack. The survivors from this push will often become garrison fodder for Retainers (+1 Amenity in cities with a garrison) that sit idle until it is time to upgrade them to Cavalry. By this stage of the game you will have the policy that reduces unit upgrade costs. Running that policy for a turn or two while you upgrade everything will greatly reduce the amount of Gold you need to stockpile to do upgrade based timing attacks at this stage of the game.

    Bombards->Artillery
    This technology path is relatively easy to pursue. The Bombards can be built while researching the two technologies to get Field Cannons and Artillery. Field Cannons are actually an upgrade for Crossbowmen, which is why they are not part of this timing attack. While Artillery will be effective at dealing with cities it will struggle to kill units. Making this timing attack less effective than Cavalry based attacks.

    Late Game:
    Knights->Tanks
    If you are looking to do a late game attack this is your strongest option. It even has a second wind when Modern Tanks are unlocked. Tanks have the same combat power as Helicopters but are earlier in the technology tree. Getting the Oil to upgrade the Tanks is the tricky part. There is a good chance you will not have access to land based Oil when you research Combustion. That will delay the start of your attack until you can hard tech Plastics to access water based Oil.

    A foundation for war
    Each of these timing attacks are an opportunity you can choose to pursue. Successful domination does not require doing all of them. Rather it requires focusing on the possibilities your empire can best support and vigorously executing them. Some of these timing attacks, like those based on Swordsman or Knights, require certain resources to be present. Others, like the Cavalry or Tank, require focusing on one part of the technology web at the expense of others.

    A successful timing attack requires planning and foresight. Sacrifices you make preparing for the war will provide decisive advantages once the first shots are fired. Follow the advice of Sun Tzu, win first and then go to war.
     
  2. Arent11

    Arent11 King

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    Sumeria is actually build around this strategy. War carts and Ziggurats exist for the sole reason to allow you to directly tech to knights.


    P.s.: I can only access the wiki right now, but shouldn't that be stirrups for knights?
     
  3. trojan13

    trojan13 Chieftain

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    Great summary!

    Few notes
    - Frigate/Caravels in water maps(particularly in new MP map) is strong. Can be upgraded from galley/quadreme.
    - Prepare generals when timing attack. For example, if you had two generals from classical/medieval era on top of spamming chariots, knights would be 58 combat strength, stronger than pure muskets(55 or 59 in deity) in renaissance.
    - Build battering ram/siege tower before them being obsolete. They are still functional with cavarly, or tanks even if you can't produce.
     
  4. Lord Yanaek

    Lord Yanaek Emperor

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    Sorry to disagree but War Cart aren't just good to upgrade to knights. They are formidable units on their own and allow very early heavy cavalry rushes that nobody but Sumeria can pull.
     
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  5. ShinigamiKenji

    ShinigamiKenji King

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    What about Archers -> Crossbows? Is it because the strength leap isn't strong enough?

    Also, I'm curious how you would mix some uniques in these timing attacks. For example, Scythia's Saka Horse Archers upgrading to Field Cannons.
     
  6. frog_gamer

    frog_gamer Chieftain

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    Archers -> Crossbows costs 200 gold, not really feasible?
     
  7. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    While upgrading Archers to Crossbows may be expensive, I wouldn't say its not feasible. There are just much better upgrade timing attack options. Also, the upgrade is 100 wealth per upgrade with the +100% wealth upgrade policy; not sure of the timing of that policy, but again there are better upgrade timing attacks in this Era, like Horsemen -> Knights.

    The biggest issue with Crossbowmen is many units of its Era can beat it. So it must be used aggressively, before one's opponents military catches up technologically.

    Crossbowmen -> Field Cannons is another upgrade timing attack. No idea how much the upgrade would be, but there should be plenty of time to build up an arsenal of Crossbowmen. Bombards -> Artillery is probably better, though the time to build Bombards is rather limited.
     
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  8. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    Faith Timing Attacks:

    With the Theocracy government, one can buy most military units with Faith. This seems to be well timed for Musketmen and especially Conquistadors, who get +10 strength with a Missionary or Apostle in the same tile. Later, Bombards, Field Cannons, Artillery and Cavalry can be purchased with Faith. This is best used with the +30% Faith belief, so the units are only 77% as expensive in Faith.

    The best aspect of Faith purchasing, is huge amounts of it can be generated and none is spent (or used on unit or building maintenance), except for the Missionaries to spread one's religion (spreading one's religion isn't even needed except to prevent an opponent from winning a Religious Victory). There are often huge unit/building support expenses that need to be supported via wealth (gold) generation, making wealth upgrades or outright buying via wealth less appealing. The downside to buying via Faith is there is no upgrade via Faith. The upside is Faith purchases can be done in any of one's cities, even those without a Religion or Holy Site.

    Best of all, one can sent a Settler to another continent, build a city there and start spamming units with Faith. In ten turns, one can have a formidable carpet of doom (five turns, if one sends 2 settlers). No delay in sending large numbers of units overseas; one just needs to send a settler or two over after ship building or cartography if necessary.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
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  9. Machiavelli24

    Machiavelli24 Mod creator

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    They are good. I consider it more of a defensive timing than an offensive one. Crossbows are kind of awkwardly timed, after a Knight push but before a Cavalry push. If I did a Knight push I often want to use the window for Crossbows to ramp and prep for my Cavalry push.

    There are nuanced plays where a small wave of Crossbows can be used to supplement an existing Knight push but I didn't want to get too fancy in the main guide. I wanted to keep the focus on Cavalry based attacks because they are the strongest mid game option (so long as people are willing to sacrifice factories and focus on the bottom of the tech tree).
    ---------------
    Continuing off Sun Tzu, Faith based plays have some weird and interesting mid game timing attack options. They deserve an article of their own. Some of the unique units that can't be upgraded into can be used as part of a Faith based timing attack. Spain, England and France are all good candidates. Japan and Norway could work but I'm more skeptical. The units would likely be outclassed by the time Theocracy was online.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
  10. Arent11

    Arent11 King

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    Of course they are great units. The statement was exaggerated on purpose. Maybe my English is not good enough to convey that ^^
     
  11. kingchris20

    kingchris20 Wisdom Seeker

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    This is great info!

    I played my first deity game with Monty the other day, I was certainly able to survive the early game and nearly wiped out England, but I lost in the end to a Sumerian Science victory (by scores of turns, still had all 3 final launches to complete.

    It was good fun, I will try Sumerian next with this upgrade timing technique with those powerful war carts.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2016
  12. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    You are sure to have better success with Gilgamesh. His War Carts make him the best leader for Deity level play by a big margin. The 3-4 move (4 when starting on a flat tile) War Cart with Strength 30, no maintenance, cheaper than Horseman, no strategic resource requirement and immunity to AntiCavalry, is impossible to beat in the Ancient to early Classical Era. By the Classical Era, he will have wiped out 1-2 nearby Civs, settled a few cities cities for Luxury/Strategic resources and is thus well on his way to winning the game!
     
  13. TomeTraveler

    TomeTraveler Chieftain

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    Finished my own first deity win yesterday, with Trajan. Tomyris was a threat for both science and religious victory, so when I started the final push for domination, she had to be my first target despite geographical inconvenience.

    I always seem to end up with crossbows before knights, but then I really like the ability to place a few lumber mills rather than chopping everything.
     
  14. CoccoBill

    CoccoBill Chieftain

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    I'd take my chances with Tomyris, provided that Gilgamesh is not right next door. From the start there's obviously a 20-30 turn window of opportunity for Sumeria, but after that things turn around quickly. Gil pays 55 each for his carts, Tomyris's horses at half price are 40 a pop. Horsemen are also 35 vs the cart's 30 strength, get +5 against wounded and heal on kills. That +50 heal is ma-a-hassive, and with a bit of combat tactics (always attack first with the strongest units and finish with wounded). Overkill, IMO.

    I do use the archer->crossbow path quite often, since it's a natural progression. I always have an archer in every city anyway, re-purposing some or most of them for offense makes sense. They can assist in taking down walls, but their main use is to snipe any enemy troops running about and harassing my melee/cavalry.
     
  15. Mr. Shadows

    Mr. Shadows Nomad of the time streams

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    I don't doubt that the advice in this thread works, but I feel like it's making things more complicated than they need to be. Are you "timing" your offense or is that a fancy way of saying you're delaying it for no reason? Any civ can do a reliable dom sweep using basic units starting with warriors.
    I generally declare war on my nearest neighbor once I have a few archers (not slingers!) so I can start killing the ai's warriors. You can take a number of cities with just archers and warriors, even after the ai builds walls- it's tedious but feasible if you have enough units. All you really need is a battering ram though, you're warriors will still be good if you haven't dawdled. From there I spit out a bunch of warriors right before researching IW and upgrading. Sure, horses are better but they're expensive. Warriors are cheap to build, cheap to upgrade and you only need one copy of iron (I've always been able to get one) and no encampment necessary. That allows you to field a lot of them quickly.
    That will give you most (or all) of your starting land mass on continents. Save your money, you need 100 gp to upgrade each archer- you should have several with 4 promotions, which makes them excellent units.
    Sure, you're going to add units as necessary, but your army is pretty much up and making things happen starting with warriors and archers. Horsemen are good units but you can't upgrade into them. Not only that if you only have one horse you can only build them in encampments, and who wants to waste time on them so early in the game? I DO build them (both horses and ecampments) but they're just the icing on the "cake" of my core army. Sure, it's good to build chariots and upgrade them to knights but by that time (assuming you prioritize military techs) you should be snowballing and can ride your momentum to victory.
     
  16. WuTang KillaBees

    WuTang KillaBees Chieftain

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    Agree with you wholeheartedly on the navy. I've won domination victories on island plates and continents with both Japan and Norway rushing navy techs and supplementing armies with faith purchased units. Capture capitals near the coast first and bleed civs for cash to upgrade units. Once you get battleships it's usually game-over.
     
  17. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    From your post, you are at least partially following the advice given in this thread to some degree, whether you realize it or not. You are using Warrior -> Swordsman upgrade timing attacks as described in this thread. You seem to have missed the point of building very cheap Slingers (compared to archers) to upgrade to Archers for only 30 gold each. The timing point is completing Archery and upgrading 3 or more Slingers to Archers that same turn; How is this delaying the attack? If anything, it allows the attack using Archers to start at the earliest turn possible. What exactly are you doing that contradicts the advice given in this thread?

    Surely, you aren't suggesting that Warrior spam is the right approach? Ranged units are vastly superior as you suggested using Archers. I'm sure you meant build early Warriors so they could later be upgraded to Swordsman, if and when Iron is secured. Don't forget the +4 Strength that AI units get for Deity difficulty level; that means your melee and ranged units do 0.85x damage and your melee receives 1.17x damage due simply to this difficulty strength advantage.

    I believe this thread can help you to achieve Deity Domination quicker, if you are willing to apply its advice to your games.
     
  18. Mr. Shadows

    Mr. Shadows Nomad of the time streams

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    @Sun Tzu Wu yes, I am absolutely building and upgrading slingers. I have been starting with scout-->slingerX3 although in my last couple games it's been slingerX4. Those are, of course, only for the purpose of upgrading since archery usually (but not always) finishes before I can kill something with a slinger. I do take several cities with warriors, but I pop out as many as I can before IW so I can upgrade them- that usually gives me 6 or so swordsmen as soon as I get the tech. You only need 1 iron for this, and there has always been at least one nearby- if you're lucky the ai has settled it so you can just take it without building a settler just for that ;) This way the war never stops while I wait for a tech; the warriors are adequate before becoming swordsmen and very effective after the upgrade. The point behind this is not to have to slow down while you wait for horsemen- these have to be hammered out (no upgrading into horsemen) only AFTER you secure 2 horses, or one with an encampment. I do make horses, but I don't wait on them.
    Indeed the AI gets a +4 advantage but that's negliglible compared to the tactical advantage I enjoy by virtue of being human. It doesn't make all that much of a difference.
     
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  19. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    Yes, early on Warriors can take cities with or without Slinger support, assuming one does build enough of them. This could be considered a degenerate timing attack where you need no technologies to unlock the unit, but build that melee unit to the exclusion of others (as though one even has a choice to build a different melee unit very early in the game).

    I also agree that the Horsemen Timing attack is weakened by the requirement to connect two Horse strategic tiles. One Horse tile and an Encampment is weaker, because every city that builds Horsemen will need an encampment. Horsemen are most definitely optimal, assuming one beelined Horseback Riding and got two Horse tiles improved shortly afterward. Their 4 tile movement and 35 strength will not be beat for an Era or two.
     
  20. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    Are you suggesting there are viable naval timing attacks? These haven't been discussed yet in this thread. I believe most players are using maps with continents (often Pangaea or other one continent maps like Inland Sea), so naval units don't seem that important. I have been able to move embarked units from one continent to another without significant harassment ftom the AI Civs, so I haven't built naval units beyond those needed for a few Eurekas/Inspirations.
     

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