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[GS] OMG, Anti-Cav are still (really) Broken!

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by acluewithout, Sep 18, 2019.

  1. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    Jesus, I know this has been discussed before, but Anti-Cav really are just awful.

    First, AC just don’t really do anything better than anyone else. Melee are great at attacking and taking Cities - with promotions, they’re fast and defend v ranged, and they can use Rams. Cav are great at pillaging, harassing, and (Heavy Cav) good at clearing units. Ranged are good at Defence and support; and Seige, for all their problems, can actually smash Walls and Naval units okay. But Anti-Cav aren’t particularly good at anything - yes, they’re good v Cavalry, but so are Melee and other Cav; they’re no better at Defence than anyone else; and they’re otherwise terrible at attacking, raiding, whatever because they are slow and vulnerable v ranged.

    Second, I know @Sostratus has discussed this at length, but the Combat Strength of AC v other units is just Wacky. Spears, which come later than Warriors, get smashed by Warriors (CS 25 v 20+10). Pikemen, that come an era after Swordsmen, get completely smashed by Swords (CS 41 v 36+10). That’s nuts. I mean, it gets slightly better after you get the Thrust promotion, but then it’s still pretty bad because Melee can get +7CS for all attacks on their first promotion too [0] (eg Pike v Swords becomes 41+10 v 36+10 +7, still +2 worse than Swords).

    Third, AC also have to deal with no defence v Ranged! And it’s on top of Spears etc being a units your more likely to be hard building, given you start the game able to build Melee and Ranged units but not Anti-Cav.

    After the last Patch, I honestly think Anti-Cav units are about the only major gameplay mechanic in the game that’s really still “broken” or “doesn’t work”. And AC really, really don’t work.

    I mean, I guess you can build a couple for Eurekas or to help with Cavalry or to boost City Defence or because you’re just desperate (but seriously, if you don’t have resources, just build Warriors, Chariots and Cross Bows). But that’s not hugely attractive. It's a pity too, because building Spearmen Phalanx and Pikemen Armies could be a really big fun part of the game, and having a good go-to No Resource unit might make people feel better about not having Iron or Niter or whatever.

    I don’t think AC is something Firaxis can fix just by tweaking a few numbers or making them cheaper (they've tried and it hasn't worked). AC really are quite broken - fundamentally broken - and they really need a complete rethink, either to find them a new “niche” (like being actually better at defence) or to completely rebalance them v Melee. If we get a 3XP, maybe Firaxis could really overhaul the whole unit triangle thingy ... although maybe that's too big of an ask...

    Sorry. Anti-Cav just came up in a Reddit Thread, and I just got looking at the numbers again, and just couldn’t believe it was still so bad. If you feel like you’ve read enough Spearmen threads then I totally understand - just click the back button!


    [0] Pretty sure Battlecry applies v Anti-Cav, but shout out if I’m wrong.

    Moderator Action: Fixed your title. leif
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 18, 2019
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  2. criZp

    criZp Warlord

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    Just reduce the vs anticav bonus from 10 to 5
     
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  3. Deggial

    Deggial Warlord

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    1st: One of the main benefits of cavalry units is their ability to ignore ZoC. I was advocating this before and I still believe in this suggestion: Let anti-cav exert a ZoC on all units - including cavalry!
    2nd: Add a positive modifier for anti-cav units when defending. This could work only against cavalry units, but also against cavalry and infantry units alike, with cavalry getting a higher bonus.

    Both changes would make anti-cav units a strong defensive melee unit with a dedicated role on the battlefield. The bonus on defense quite realistically represents the threatening menace of pointy walls against charging enemies. (At least for those early units; how well this would translate to modern era units I don't know. But I guess I can live with the suspension of disbelieve here.)
     
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  4. criZp

    criZp Warlord

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    Especially the latter suggestion makes good sense.
     
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  5. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    Well, I'm not going to really get into "how do you fix" anti-cav. My thesis here is more that Anti-Cav are just fundamentally broken. I don't think just tweaking their bonuses or stats can save them.

    Fundamentally, I think a huge problem is this: AC seem designed to be similar but overall relatively weaker than Melee, but for this to be offset by Melee etc. requiring resources and being more expensive overall. Melee therefore should be more powerful but harder to build in great numbers. However, because you start with the ability to build Melee (Warriors), and the starting Melee units don't require any Resource, overall it actually ends up easier to build Melee! You just never really need to build a cheap "Anti-Cav" unit!

    You then throw in some wonky numbers, and lack of ranged defence, and no other real niche to fill other than basically the same niche as Melee (albeit a bit better at dealing with Cav), and Anti-Cav end up being basically useless until you maybe get to Pike & Shot!

    I don't think just tweaking numbers helps. There is a real problem with the entire design of this unit class, including how it fits into the Science Tree (frankly, AC might do better being in the Civics Tree) and what Anti-Cav actually do.

    I also don't think having AC cancel out Cav no-ZOC is a solution. First, it destroys the tactical fun of Cav and makes the game purely R-S-P in a very reductive way. Second, AC don't need that ability to counter Cav anyway (Pikes are great v Knigjts, particularly if you stack the Oligarchy Legacy Card). Third, it doesn't really address the core problem - they are currently a default unit you have no need to default to.

    I mean, here's a thought. Why the shirtballs do Melee and Anti-Cav both get bonuses for Oligarchy and both get to use Rams? I guess so both units can attack Cities and be offensive?

    But compared to Melee units, AC are just straight up worse at it! Harder to rush than say Swords, no Ranged Defence, no extra movement until way up the promotion tree. They are just straight up worse!
     
  6. Deggial

    Deggial Warlord

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    acluewithout, I can't really follow your argumentation, here.

    On the one hand, you claim that AC is outright worse than "standard" infantry and therefore has no use in the game - and tweaking numbers won't solve this issue.
    On the other hand, you reject the idea of granting them a completely new mechanic (and thus change their design) - an ability which would help them to find their place on the battlefield.

    Yes, them throwing a ZoC on cavalry does limit the movement ability of horse/tank units! But this is the entire point of the proposal! Anti-cav would still be worse at fighting standard infantry units and they would still be slower and less mobile(after upgrades). Therefore, players would be well advised to mix them into their armies carefully and only position them where needed on the battlefield - where protection against cavalry is needed (the flanks, the back of the army) and leave the actual fighting for the infantry units that are best at it.
     
  7. Disgustipated

    Disgustipated Warlord

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    I would say +1, maybe +2, no higher.
     
  8. oSiyeza

    oSiyeza Chieftain

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    You hit the nail in the head. Im all for this change!
     
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  9. KayAU

    KayAU Chieftain

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    Yeah, this bothers me to...I hardly ever build anti-cavalry units, as there is really never any need for or significant benefit from it. I just don't see what kind of role these units should play on the battlefield. I generally use ranged to safely deal damage and melee to absorb it. Cavalry is useful for its mobility, siege units for breaking defenses. I also don't like the notion that pole arms could not function as main battlefield weapons.

    I also agree with @Deggial about the general direction which you could change them: make them hard to kill and make them more of a hindrance to the mobility of other units. Making the zone of control apply to all units is one option. Another would be to make it harder to disengage from AC units, either by taking away a movement point from any unit starting next to an enemy AC unit, or by making them do parting damage to disengaging units.

    I would also like to mention that you can find examples of more direct "combined arms" bonuses in other games. This would work similarly to flanking bonuses, but give an additional bonus for having different unit classes adjacent to the target unit.
     
  10. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    Sorry, I know lots of people like this idea, but I really don't think giving AC ZOC over Cav is a good idea. AC don't need it - they are already good against Cav (for the same reason Melee are good v AC, really). And giving AC ZOC over Cav would just make it way, way too easy to counter cavalry generally. Too much Rock Scissor Paper, and combat is boring.

    Making Anti-Cav better at Defence isn't a bad idea. It's maybe a bit ... flat. But it would maybe work. Might work better if you also tweaked their Promotions accordingly, although there's a risk they'd end up quite one dimensional - Melee to attack, AC to defend.

    But really, I wonder if Anti-Cav need a more significant re-think. Like, maybe Anti-Cav should unlock through the Civics tree or interact with the Civics Tree more? Or maybe you should be able to "conscript" AC cheaply with gold? Or maybe you should be able to upgrade Melee units to AC or visa versa, so they were both more interchangeable (I got that idea from @Archon_Wing )?
     
  11. Vincent_lacruz

    Vincent_lacruz Chieftain

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    I agrre with you, AC unit should get a slight buff, especially in defence. Several possibilities:
    - Double the 'flanking' and 'support' modifier, going from +2/adjacent unit to +4 (they already double the support buff with square promotion but far too late!!). That way 3 AC units next each other would get +8 CS, against the usual +4, and it would go up to +16 with the correct promotion.
    - Double the fortification modifier, going from +3 CS to +6

    That way we would have clear roles for each units:
    - cavalry: fast movement, pillage, ignore ZOC. Strong againstrange, medium strong against close combat units, weak against AC and cities
    - AC: defence oriented units. Weak to average against cities (with ram/tower), weak agains close combat and range, strong against AC
    - Close combat: polyvalent units, strong against range (with promotion) and AC, average against cities, weak against cavalry and range (without promotion).
     
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  12. Disgustipated

    Disgustipated Warlord

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    lindybeige had a YouTube video comparing swords to spears (and spear and shield), not overly scientific, but kind of interesting. I think swords came out on top on the simulations.
     
  13. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    AC have good promotions ye are forgetting and can end up chopping foot on defence. They can be +27 vs swords at lvl 3... and the AI does not seem to realise this as they beeline my pike. A 68 strength pike fortified on a wooded hill ... oh my.
    A spear early is +5 on the defence of the city it is in and you need to kill a unit with a spear for a key eureka.
    I have come across pike/xbow combos that are not nice but they are at different parts of the tech tree.
    And IDC if people think hoplites are crap, I 100% disagree.
     
  14. SammyKhalifa

    SammyKhalifa Warlord

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    What if you just heavily nerf melee vs. calvary? You'd need pointy sticks to keep your melee guys around.
     
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  15. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    The +7 promo on melee is fast to get and narrows the gap on cav and OP’s them against AC. Perhaps this is some of the issue.
     
  16. criZp

    criZp Warlord

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    Promotions are nice and all, but they will never help out fresh units that get wiped in 1 turn
     
  17. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    Yes please.

    I think making AC more about the flanking than other units would be tactically very fun and quite flavourful. There's already a suggestion of that in their Promotions and with Hoplites, but I think it needs to be part of the ACs base ability.

    Phew! I was worried you were going to tell me off when I started this thread...

    Yes, I like the promotions a lot. I particularly like the idea that you get one promotion and cancel out Melee's advantage ... tactically interesting and feels right, like you green recruits suddenly got some experience.

    But the way the game is currently set up, I feel like AC are an occasional or niche unit - it makes more sense to spam Melee - and that makes me sad...

    I agree. I like that promotion, and how it only applies on attack, and how you have a tough choice between that or ranged defence. But it's definitely one of the reasons Melee end up better than AC.
     
  18. Rosty K

    Rosty K Chieftain

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    Just don't forget to put something else into barbarian camps when AC are fixed :D

    Otherwise, if a warrior can't deal with a spearman, barbs will win every game...
     
  19. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Warrior + slinger, they still have not fixed the lure.
     
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  20. SammyKhalifa

    SammyKhalifa Warlord

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    I'm hoping melee still ruins spears. I'd rather not make the classes more balanced but more asymmetrical. You should want to start spamming spears if you run into a few horse camp spawns.
     

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