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Jaguar vs. Gallic Warrior vs. Praetorian -> How to fix the Jaguar?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by VirusMonster, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. VirusMonster

    VirusMonster Quechua General

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    I find the Jaguar rather an underused UU and wanted to give it a try in my last few Immortal games. Now, I am convinced that it really is a horrible UU. :) So I am proposing a way to fix it. Once we have consensus, I want to send Firaxis an e-mail with hopes of them making Jaguar better. Here is the poll:

    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?p=6380966

    The conclusion I reach at the end of the article is the following, read the article for a detailed analysis:

    Improve the woodsman II and/or III skill by improving the city attack odds of Jaguars; ie. give attack bonus when attacking cities. Right now, Woodsman III is not a warmonger trait. It has to be something like Guerilla III with %50 withdrawal chance and +%25 hill city attack. Something like %30-50 CityRaider in addition to the already good combat skills + 2 Free Strikes and +%50 Jungle Attack.


    Look at Brennus or Brennus and Boudica. Their UU is very similar to the Jaguar of the Aztecs, so let's compare the two swordsman-based racial units. Praetorian of the Romans is also a swordman based UU. I will also add the basic swordsman unit to the comparison to get a better idea what is won and what is lost with the special UU skills.

    Lastly, comparison of the 4 units must take into account under which circumstances they come to play, the map type, and the actual usage of the swordsman unit in human vs. AI battles.

    How important is being resourceless for an UU?

    Jaguars production does not require Iron to be hooked up, but at what cost? Iron is plently on most maps types, especially in most commonly used climate types. In most of my Immortal games on Pangea Temperate climate maps, almost all AIs had Iron in their proximity. I opened many maps with the world editor and almost all have Iron somewhere not further than 8-10 squares of the starting location.

    Furthermore, the AI rarely searches for IronWorking first and does not know the location of the Iron before you do. Hence, the probability of him settling the Iron is rather low. Even if it settled the Iron by chance, you still could do an immense archer or chariot rush to capture the Iron city and switch to swordman-based unit production.

    Therefore, the only good things about not requiring Iron are:

    1) No need to research the wheel to hook up the Iron. A minimal plus considering you will need Wheel technology anyway to hook up other resources and to grow your city.
    2) No turns wasted in hooking up the Iron with workers. Hooking up Iron would mean:

    a) settling your city near the Iron (you would have settled near the Iron anyway to take advantage of the +3 hammer bonus, so it makes little sense not wanting to settle near the Iron)
    b) Time required to build the mine=12 turns in Marathon (again negligible, you would have mined the Iron anway to take advantage of the hammer production bonus)
    c) hooking up with roads, approximately 6-12-18 turns with a single worker. I am only counting the time lost connecting the Iron to one city, because you would have connected the 2 cities with roads anyway to create a trade route.

    In conclusion, while on theory being resourceless might sound historically correct, cool, and good looking, in CivIV practice, being resourceless is an extremely poor bonus, definitely not worth in explaining why some UU gets a strength reduction.

    P.S. The Gallic warrior unit can be built with both Bronze and Iron, thanks to MadScientist for pointing this out. I believe same reasoning on being resourceless can be applied to Gallic warrior as well. Being built with Bronze as well as Iron is not a particularly important skill for an UU.

    When do humans use Swordsman units against the AI? Combat comparison during the siege of the AI capital.

    To make a solid comparison between the different swordsman units, we must consider the uses of the swordsman.

    Well, obviously to beat the AI you need to capture their cities, in particular their highly populated capital. Sitting in forest and jungles nearby the enemy city will not lure the defenders out. Now that the AI has gotten smarter with the 3.13 patch and its slavery usage, to capture highly defended cities, City Raider promotion has become ever important. While it might sound cool to block the enemy forest production tiles, the reality is if you have upgraded Woodsman II for the speed bonus on your jaguars and parked your large stack of Jaguars near enemy capital quickly, with only 5 strength and no upgrades on CityRadier I&II due to your promotion choice of Woodsman II, you will suffer much larger casualities than the CityRadier I&II promotion path.

    Furthermore, it makes little sense to use Jaguars on a desert/foodplain filled surrounding. Their usability is limited to forest&jungle rich environments. It is very common for the AI to chop the forests around its capital, thus you won't have much advantage in attacking.

    Well, if the city raider promotion path is so much better at city raiding compared to the Woodsman promotion path, then what that is the point of choosing the 5 strengh Jaguar instead of the regular Swordsman unit? Crippling their economy might some of you say, but fact is when you try to cripple the economy of 1 AI with a huge stack outside of your cultural boundries, you end up crippling your economy more than theirs. Besides, the AI you are attacking probably is not the only AI out there. You want to finish off the war as soon as possible and start building on the new land you acquired.

    Take for example a basic fortified archer at enemy capital. I will also add the city cultural defense or walls bonus, because bringing catapults would make the Woodman II quick sneak through forests useless. More important is that you will need expensive techs to start building the catapults. Bringing spies could work, but again has the disadvantage of Alphabet requirement. In most of my Immortal games, I delay Alphabet and get IW first in order to locate the iron and produce a sizeable army.

    (+40% Cultural Bonus(or +50% Walls bonus) +50% Unit City Defense+25% Fortification defense- (+10% Jaguar City attack))=%105 I am not even counting the first strike on the archer. If the Jaguar has an extra promotion, say CityRaider I, then the %105 would go down to 85.

    3strength on Archer*(1+1.05)=6.15 vs 5.5 strengh Jaguar through Combat I
    3strength on Archer*(1+0.85)=5.55 vs 5.5 strengh Jaguar through Combat I

    Approximately %40-50 winning chances not counting the first strike, similar odds if the Jaguar has CityRadier I promotion as well. To win at such odds against a capital city of 5-7 defenders, you will need to bring at least 15 Woodsman II Jaguars and expect to lose more than half of them, significantly crippling your conquest advance.

    Adding Woodsman III to the mix would not change the odds much either, because as discussed earlier, Woodsman III is not a great skill at city capturing.

    Now let's compare the Gallic Warrior. Take Brennus for example, because both Montezuma and Brennus are spiritual. Celtic leaders are also charismatic, a multitask trait, highly superiour to the warmonger only aggressive. To simplify things and make this discussion easier, I would argue that there is no difference between the regular Swordsman unit and the Gallic Warrior when capturing cities assuming if both of them are CityRaider I&II upgraded.

    A Gallic Warrior with City Raider I&II reduces the AI city defenses by %50. %105-50=%55.
    3*(1+0.55)=4.65 effective archer strengh vs. 6 of the Gallic Warrior.

    5.55 effective archer strength vs 5.5 Jaguar or
    4.65 effective archer strength vs 6 of the Gallic Warrior. The odds of winning are much higher with the Gallic Warrior, not only that, once a few battles are won, due to the Charismatic trait, some Gallic warriors will gain lvl 3 city raider quicker than the Jaguar counterparts, making further conquest much easier through -100% city defenses.

    Now, lets have a final look at the praetorian, because some might argue Jaguars are not to be used at city capturing, some might say they are good a forest ambush and pillaging. Praetorians have an effective combat 3 promotion when they are produced. 6+2(%33 strengh increase=combat lvl III). They don't have the +10% city attack bonus, but it is really negligible assuming you will upgrade your praetorians to CityRaider II&III anyway. Their base strength makes them a much more versatile unit than the Jaguar, because core strength gives good fighting odds at all battle situations.

    Vs an archer during city siege, Praetorians get approximately 4.65 vs 8, a ridicilously good odd compared to the poor jaguar. Since your win/loss ratio will be very high with Praetorians, you will get a quick General and begin to have a large CityRaider II&III upgraded army very early on. Then, you can capture any commerce rich capital you like and force the AI to capitulation. You also don't have to search the techs necessary to build Spies or Catapults.

    Here is further data for the comparison:

    Production cost:

    Hammers required (normal speed):
    Jaguar-> 35,
    Gallic Warrior->40
    Praetorian->45
    Swordsman->40

    Hammers required (marathon speed):
    Jaguar-> 70,
    Gallic Warrior->80
    Praetorian->90
    Swordsman->80

    Conclusion on cost discussion:

    With the same hammer production of 5040, you can produce 72 Jaguars, 63 Gallic Warriors and Swordsman, or 56 Praetorians. To make more sense out of these numbers, I will scale them to my average army size near 2000-1000 BC. I can produce 14 Jaguars, 12 Swordsman, or 11 Praetorians with the same hammer production.

    The fact jaguars are slightly cheaper than Praetorians or regular Swordsman is not enough to compansate for the fact that less of them will be able to win during a city siege; therefore leading to less number of CityRaider II&III promoted troops. Once you have a limited number of good city attackers, your advances will be severely crippled. Your economy will not be able to recover as quickly, because you will be forced to support your huge number of losing Jaguars. Oh, I forgot to add that each extra Jaguar costs 1 more gold to the treasury.

    Basically, while it might be cheap and you can mass them rather quickly, once you start losing your huge hammer investment during AI capital siege, you will realize Jaguars are one of the worst UUs in the game.

    Strength:

    Jaguar-> 5, with Montezuma's aggressive trait and free Combat I promotion 5.5
    Gallic Warrior->6, Celtic leaders are Charismatic leading to easier promotions. Boudica is even Aggressive making Gallic Warrior a 6.6 strength unit
    Praetorian->8, +2 strength for a total of 8 (basically a %33 strenth bonus, effectively a Combat lvl I, II, and III bonus) If perceived as 3 seperate promotions, this 33% increase in strength makes understanding why Praetorions are much stronger. The %10 city attack bonus is lost, but Praetorians are teched for City Raider II&III anway, making the loss of bonus unimportant.
    Swordsman->6

    Special promotions:

    Jaguar-> Woodsman I, +10% CityAttack,
    Gallic Warrior->Guerilla I, +10% CityAttack,
    Praetorian-> Roman leaders are Imperialistic, thus with an early Great General and Barracks, you can start producing CityRaider I&II troops right from the start. However, Praetorians don't get the +10% CityAttack bonus other swordsman based units get.
    Swordsman-> +10%CityAttack.

    According to this following strength and usability comparison, praetorians are overpowered with an effective %33 strength bonus at 8 strength. They should have Combat I&II bonus instead and keep the +10% City Attack bonus other Swordsman get. Consequently, they would lose some of their versatile strength and be more balanced. But such change would create the problem of extending the intended high strength to all eras of the game, since the combat I&II bonus will carry after upgrades. Praetorians should probably be 7 strength(%15 strengh increase) and regain their +10% CityAttack bonus.

    Furthermore, the synergy of City Raider promotion with the already high strength of Praetorian is what makes it so powerful. In order for other UUs become as successful, the synergies of the alternative promotions to the CityRaider Promotion must be as strong as the synergy of the Preatorian CityRaider II&III synergy.

    Since in most games the turning point revolves around capturing critical cities, it makes sense to include city attack enhancing promotions to lvl III Guerilla and Woodman promotions. For example, %50 withdrawal is a great promotion for lvl III Guerilla. A similar approach should be taken with the Jaguar Woodsman II&III promotions. Right now, Jaguar promotions are not aimed for city conquest.

    Jaguar potential promotions:

    Woodsman lvl II, +30% on Jungle&Forest Defense, double movement on Jungle&Forests.
    Woodsman lvl III, +2FirstStrikes,%15healing of units in same tile, and %50 Jungle&Forest attack (basically nullifying the terrain defense bonus so you can attack enemy SOD stacks in the jungle&forests as well. Unfortunately, when you attack cities, this bonus is useless since when a city is settled jungle or forest are automatically chopped. Even if jungle or forests were not automatically chopped, it would have little sense, because the AI could chop the city main square and make the lvl III forest&jungle bonus useless when attacking. Compare this attack bonus to the bonus Celtic Warrior gets at Guerilla III.

    +2First Strikes are cool skill, but definitely not as strong as %50 withdrawal change the Gallic Warrior gets. Healing is great as well, but they won't increase your odds of winning battles. Compared to the Gallic Warrior, the Praetorian or even the standard Swordsman, the reduction in strength to 5 cannot be compansated by the +15% healing rate. They will only make the regeneration 2-3 turns quickler, you will lose actually more amount of units when attacking the city due to the strength reduction.

    Gallic Warrior potential promotions:

    Guerilla lvl II, +30 on Hills defense, double movement on hills
    Guerilla lvl III, +50 Withdrawal chance (great offensive skill that will cut your loses by %50), and +25% Hills attack( basically when you attack a unit on the hill, his terrain defense bonus is nullified) Some cities are settled on hills or some maps have more hills than others, thus Guerilla lvlIII is a great offensive skill, an alternative to perhaps even City Raider I and II. Still, unless specifically aiming to target a city on hills, I would rather go with the regular CityRadier I,II&III upgrades, since it makes a more versalite unit for later on.


    SUGGESTIONS TO FIX THE JAGUAR:

    Well, if the goal is to fix the Jaguar by bring it to a similar level at least to that of Gallic Warrior, his strengh in attacking cities must be increased.

    The simplest solution I can think of would be to increase the basic +10% City Attack bonus by %20 to atleast %30. Or maybe even give a free City Raider I promotion, but it could be abused quite easily, by massing huge numbers of CR III promoted Jaguars and upgrading later to a strong CRIII maceman army.

    Alternatively, all Jaguars should start with Combat lvl I&II. Having both combat lvl I & II would make them effectively a 6 strength unit. This fix does not make much sense, because it makes no reason to reduce UU strength to 5 only to increase it later with combat I&II. It also has the risk of extending the combat II advantage to other eras through units upgrading. Thus, making the Jaguar a 6 strengh unit just like the Gallic warrior sounds like a better idea than giving a Combat II promotion.

    The usage of swordsmen in human vs. AI battles in mainly in capturing cities, thus I am more symphatetic for solutions that will make the Jaguar a better City Raider. Having a low strength also definitely limits Jaguar life span and usability. Compared to Praetorians which have a life span of about 2000 years minimum, Jaguars become pretty useless after Feudalism due to Longbowman. If somehow their skills at city raiding were improved, even despite their low 5 strengh, they still would be a preferred choice at higher levels of CivIV play.

    Thus, my final suggesting is the following:

    Improve the woodsman II and/or III skill by improving the city attack odds of Jaguars; ie. give attack bonus when attacking cities. Right now, Woodsman III is not a warmonger trait. It has to be something like Guerilla III with 50% withdrawal chance and +25% hill city attack. Something like +25% CityRaider in addition to the already good combat skills + 2 Free Strikes and +50% Jungle Attack.

    Let me know what you think of, and I hope Firaxis can finally fix this Jaguar issue.

    Edit: CityRaider I gives +20% attack bonus, while CityRaider II gives +25%. Some math in the article was pointed out to be slightly inaccurate.
     
  2. Sjaramei

    Sjaramei Prince

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    Woodsman III gives 2 first strikes, thats actually quite good for fighting. I don't think this promotion needs a buff, Jaguars just need to be 6 strength instead. (I have no idea why they are 5 in the first place...) When i attach generals to units, woodsman III promo is very efficient in keeping them alive to get a huge amount of other promos.
     
  3. VirusMonster

    VirusMonster Quechua General

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  4. InvisibleStalke

    InvisibleStalke Emperor

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    I agree with strength six - there are plenty of resourceless units that aren't weaker than the base unit.

    The jaguar does have one special feature. With three promotions - 10xp - you can produce a woodsmen3medic1 unit which is a superb healer. Making a couple of these is enough justification for me for the UU - thats a benefit that lasts the whole game and is as good as a medic 3 which requires a great general.

    I use jaguars down one of two lines -

    - Woodsmen 2 - can move fast through the forest/jungle to pillage horses/metals. Good for capturing workers/settlers and general harrasment.

    - City Raiders - where they are just as good as axes. More vulnerable to melee, less to chariots and less vulnerable on forests. Usually I will mix the stack with axes, but I can whip jaguars in cities that aren't connected yet which is a small plus.
     
  5. Guardian_PL

    Guardian_PL Emperor

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    Agreed as well, I think that previously Gallic Warrior had 5:strength: and was crappy. Not any longer now :goodjob:

    So simply RAISE. JAGUAR. STRENGTH. TO SIX. Higher base strength gives better use of first strikes, and in the same time nullifies possible abusing of free promotions with upgrades.
    With 6str and double movement in forest Aztec empire finally would be a true warmonger's love. And altars of course, let's not forget the altars :D

    Only gripe with that is that poor Monty would become a public enemy no.1 then. With his unit-spam abilities he'd be REAALLY dangerous :trouble:
     
  6. VirusMonster

    VirusMonster Quechua General

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  7. King of Town

    King of Town Adventuring

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    Well I have a question. I will admit I didn't read that essay all the way so you may have brought it up. Monty is crazy and builds tons of these guys and attacks you all the time and non stop. Don't you think a beefed up jag that would be fun for you to play with, might make monty invincible as an ai? At least against other ai's? With his psycho war mongering, maybe that is the reason he was toned down a bit?
     
  8. UncleJJ

    UncleJJ Deity

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    I think that simply increasing strength to 6 would make the jaguar too good unless its hammer cost was increased as well. Being resourceless is a huge advantage early in the game saving a lot of time and trouble with researching and building roads and cities. Being able to attack early with a highly mobile strength 6 unit will be overpowered as the AI will not have anything other than an archer or two defending even well established cities. Simply isolate those cities by breaking the roads and then send enough jaguars and maybe supporting axemen to take the defenders out.

    If jaguars are good at attacking cities (which simply increasing the cost to 6 would make them), resourceless and highly mobile then their cost needs to be increased considerably, 40 hammers is probably not enough as they would then be much better than normal swordsmen let alone agressive swordsmen. The cost would probably have to be 45 hammers to stop them being as overpowered as praetorions. Monty is Agressive and that has to taken into account.
     
  9. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    Right now jaguar warriors are significantly better at fast conquests of weak cities but are no better than swordsmen at sacking tough cities. The problem is the slow stack of cr2 jaguars rarely benefit from woodsman 1.

    They are subpar pillagers compared to chariots.

    At higher difficulties, you have no chance once they reach longbows, and you'll probably need catapults vs 40%-50% cities.

    I say give them woodsmen 2 for free, then even upgraded to macemen they become useful. This is basically in line of what I hear about the civ 3 jaguars, broken fast moving terrors.
     
  10. Unconquered Sun

    Unconquered Sun Emperor

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    Woodsman 2 will make Jags too powerful in MP.
     
  11. troytheface

    troytheface Deity

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    Jaguars are fine. If anything i would get rid of the woodsman and go back to the jungle only traverse of vanilla.
     
  12. VirusMonster

    VirusMonster Quechua General

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    Jaguars could be abusive with 6 strength and the woodsman skill. Back in the day when I used to play MP, all sorts of massing early caused huge problems. I can understand why the strength is left at 5. It could cripple the enemy to a great extent if he has not chopped the forests around the few cities it has.

    The problem is not so much that the Jaguar has less strength. It just suxs at city raiding if you choose the Woodsman promotion path. Upgrading for woodsman 2 leaves you without CR II for a long time.

    That is why I suggest a boost to his city raiding skills, but I am not sure how. Increase the +10% city attack bonus to %30 maybe? Or make woodsman III include a city raiding skill as well. Gallic warriors with Guerilla III have +25% hills attack and %50 retreat chance.
     
  13. futurehermit

    futurehermit Deity

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    If they were just 6 strength they would be fine imo. They are decent now and I wouldn't call them "horrible". At 6 strength they certainly wouldn't be better than the praetorian and they are in the game :mischief:
     
  14. oyzar

    oyzar Have quit civ/forums

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    The UU is only a small part of a civ. The civs aren't completely balanced of course but you have to look at the whole picture not just the UU...
     
  15. futurehermit

    futurehermit Deity

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    True, but Monty is nothing great imo. The UB is good his traits are average and his starting techs leave a lot to be desired imo.
     
  16. Unconquered Sun

    Unconquered Sun Emperor

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    What I don't understand is why hill 3 will give you 50% retreat, but wood 3 won't.
     
  17. Indiansmoke

    Indiansmoke Deity

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    The jaguar is one of the best units in the game....as every non resource requiring unit is...

    Anyone who played against other humans would know.....

    1. They do not require a resource....huge
    2. They can get woodsman 2 promo straight away and race through these forests & jungles where no other unit of their era can touch them....(only the dogs maybe)

    ....imagine having 6 wodsman 2 jags (in pairs of 2), camped in 3 forests around your capital.....how would you counter that? ....basicaly your game is ruined.

    To kill 2 fortified forest jags you need 6-8 shock promoted axes.....
     
  18. futurehermit

    futurehermit Deity

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    Yes, fine for multiplayer, which changes a number of things of course (e.g., quechuas aren't so hot in multiplayer). But even then if someone fortified a couple jags on a forest near my capital (I would've chopped the ones RIGHT beside my capital asap) I would just leave them there until they decided to move. I don't see how it ends my game right away. If they move to pillage, I take them out. If they don't, they sit there until I can deal with them. I don't see how that ability makes them extremely powerful.

    And frankly, woodsman 2 units might be able to race through wood/jungle to get to my capital, but they'll have a helluva time taking that capital relative to many other units.

    Same goes with single player. Your only shot is being able to overwhelm the AI by racing your jags to the destination (which assumes a large amount of jungle/wood between you and them which is not always the case). However, you can overwhelm the AI with pretty much any unit.

    The jag is better than I once thought, but nothing outstanding imo, and giving it strength 6 wouldn't make it an overpowered unit, especially not relative to some of the other UUs that are available.
     
  19. Bleys

    Bleys Deity

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    I dont think its exactly fair to balance the game for both SP and MP in the exact same way. I wonder if there is an easy way to have separate traits (slightly, like in this case) for each.

    Of course, such a thing would be a bit of a programming nightmare, I suppose, but if its possible, I think it would help both forms a lot.

    That being said, I used Jags recently in vanilla to rush MM, and while decent, I had way more losses than I expected.
     
  20. Unconquered Sun

    Unconquered Sun Emperor

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    You can't kill them. You could try counterchoke, but wood III jags are actually decent in removing chokes.
     

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