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Poll: Most Powerful Unit Relative to Its Era?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by ArchGhost, Sep 12, 2018.

?

Strongest or best unit in its time?

  1. Axeman (excellent general purpose, cost efficient unit, hard counters other melee)

    1 vote(s)
    4.3%
  2. War Elephant (very strong for speed of aquisition, hard counters higher tier cav, staying power)

    4 vote(s)
    17.4%
  3. Catapult (earliest siege unit, effective at weakening stacks even when outdated)

    1 vote(s)
    4.3%
  4. Trebuchet (more effective anti-city siege, helps a ton with medieval defenses)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Longbow (notorious pre-gunpwder defenders, validate siege tactics)

    1 vote(s)
    4.3%
  6. Maceman (excellent City Raiders and beefy stack unit, hard counters all other melee)

    1 vote(s)
    4.3%
  7. Cuirassier (early Gunpowder shock troops, easy to access quickly)

    6 vote(s)
    26.1%
  8. Cavalry (essentially upgraded Cuirassier, deals with other Gunpowder better)

    2 vote(s)
    8.7%
  9. Rifleman (shut down the tyranny of mounted units, super efficient drafting)

    4 vote(s)
    17.4%
  10. Cannon (ridiculous seige power spike, makes higher tier units less scary)

    8 vote(s)
    34.8%
  11. Infantry (anti-gunpowder defender that stands up to most anything with entrenchment)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  12. Artillery (usually the final word in siege)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  13. Tank (2 attacks, CR or collateral promos, high power and easy to mass+smash with)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  14. other less popular unit (Musketman, Knight, etc.) Please make your case

    1 vote(s)
    4.3%
  15. Unique Unit (Quecha, etc) Please elaborate

    5 vote(s)
    21.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. ArchGhost

    ArchGhost Chieftain

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    Saw something like this in the one of the sidebars, it was Civ5 modding forum I think. Thought it could be fun here.

    Please pick what unit you feel has the most impact when you access it. You may choose to evaluate based on scenarios beyond the scope of the poll too (beeline/monopoly on the unit, fighting from behind, etc.) if you wish, after all flexibility is part of what makes some units better than others, just please make sure to express what makes it so.

    Due to the nature of some units supporting another, up to two choices if you feel so inclined.


    My votes are for War Elephants, just edging out the Cannon.

    Elephants are tied to the availability of Ivory, but few units are as effective as early or for the cost. 60 hammers gets you an 8 power unit that can counter promote Shock vs Spears and do decently in the open, stops any cav units cold up to Knights, and act as some of the best clean up units in the game after siege has done the dirty work, with that impressive amount of base power. They may even be upgraded to Cuirs directly if you wish to start with an earlier elepult attack and follow through later with a rapid deathstroke. In their own window of access, which is fairly early (Contstruction + HBR and good to go!), they are almost unmatched in impact except for maybe some UU scenarios. Maces, with their CR promos and anti-melee to ignore pikes, are more effective in the same role of supporting siege to attack cities, but come much later at CS + machinery. I'm sure there's good reason they're seen as newbie friendly :)


    Cannons can, as the adage goes. They represent a gigantic spike in power, what you can effectively accomplish goes through the roof when you snag Steel -- suddenly Rifles and Infantry are squishy enough to take on in cities and stacks in the open are easily ravaged, city defenses melt in a turn or 2 tops. Problems are solved by just bringing more cannons to throw at things. Being more than double the power the previous tier unit in the siege tree will do that. I would rate the magnitude of the power spike you get from cannons higher than anything else in the game (one exception: nukes) but as they do come along 3/5 of the way through the tech tree, I would argue their overall impact is not as much a clear cut winner when other strategies can make their plays earlier. Still extremely good, especially combined with the Rifleman (even just Musket) mass draft.
     
  2. Undefeatable

    Undefeatable Chieftain

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    Cuirs get my vote, because of their effectiveness but mainly because of their speed. You can get an army of cuirs together far faster than you can get an army of cannons + whatever, because lib MT is a convenient bulb path and only a stone’s throw away from CS, the most important medieval tech. You can reliably lib MT but not steel a lot of deity games. Also since you don’t have to build other units you can spam them without worrying about getting army comp wrong. Finally, they get to the front lines twice as fast.

    The 2-moves is the main reason why they’re better than cannons. With 2 moves the enemy has often no time to organize a resistance, and very often you can bait and crush their stack earlier, leading to quick capitulation. Between not having to bombard, moving between cities in 2 instead of 5 turns, and often not having even to heal fully to be effective, cuirs often conquer 3 times as fast as cannons.

    Finally, they ignore walls and castles and have high base strength, leading to very good odds against medieval defenders. Oftentimes in a well defended city you still get 20% odds against top defender, and up to 70% in border cities even with pikemen(shock is your friend here). They’re only really stopped by rifles but if you get cavalry and have enough momentum you can steamroll your way to a win 500 years faster than cannons. Capping 2 civs by 1200AD with some casualties is better than still grinding through one with no casualties, which is often the timeframe for cuirs vs cannons.
     
    plasmacannon likes this.
  3. Major Tom

    Major Tom Immortal Supporter

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    Cuirs for speed and nukes (less popular unit?). City defences can be blown by spies instead of countless siege bombarments as an alternative.
     
  4. Undefeatable

    Undefeatable Chieftain

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    Now that I think about it, quechas easily take the cake for being so darn broken. But they're so good that I don't count them =p.
     
  5. Fippy

    Fippy Micro Junkie Queen

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    Strongest Conquistador,
    most utility Axes (for me :))

    Why..Conqs are un-defendable until Rifles or Grens, and also unbeatable as defenders (or great for killing stacks defensively),
    Axes come with the most important early tech, are great for barb defense, usable for taking their cities, good for rushes with some leaders /situations,
    and remain useful for a long time in stacks. They also can be whipped efficient at 35h.
     
    plasmacannon and lymond like this.
  6. Undefeatable

    Undefeatable Chieftain

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    I’d have to disagree with the latter. The worker is clearly the unit with the most utility :lol:.

    ...come to think of it, what’s the highest difficulty you think we can win without using workers at all? IMO it’s prince when warrior rushing is still viable.
     
  7. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    Should be immortal, probably deity for some beasts. Seafood can be improved without workers and floodplains are decent unimproved. Go archerpult if you can't settle on phants (or use resourceless UU). You can also always get lucky and settle on horses/copper/iron.
     
  8. Quoth the Raven

    Quoth the Raven Chieftain

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    War Elephants. They have even odds vs the much later unit, the Curassier.
     
  9. Undefeatable

    Undefeatable Chieftain

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    Yeah, guess so. Still, I don't really know of a way to offset the imm AI's massive production advantage without whipping, and whipping w/out improvements is extremely inefficient unless you luck out and get a quad-seafood start with Joao. Another alternative is to research BW and then settle on the copper if it's possible. Come to think of it, should be quite possible on imm with the right start.

    At least even odds are better than losing odds, which is what you'd get against pikes in a city or fortified hilltop CGIII longbows.

    But the odds aren't quite even. With no promotions, yes, it's 50/50 on attack and defense. But as you can see from the screenies below, if both units have combat 1, the cuir gets 64% odds on attack while the elephant...also gets 64%-ish odds on attack. I'm actually not quite sure how the calculations work out with the elephant attacking, as I really don't see how the game comes up with 8.57 for the modified cuir strength (yes I've read this article but nowhere does it explain how a 10% strength bonus can be mangled so much as to give +0.57 on a 12-str unit). If anyone knows why this is the case please feel free to reply. This isn't the only way the calculator seems borked; I've seen it not really select the best defender all times and take drill promotions into disproportionate account (the classic example being a drill IV ironclad being selected over a destroyer to defend against another destroyer, with obvious results...).

    Anyways, enough ranting about the "rigged" combat. Bottom line: it's better to attack than defend w/ cuirs, especially considering this and the withdraw chance. And facing phants aren't so bad considering the myriad of other things you could be facing. And if you're using phants against cuirs then something went seriously wrong in your playthrough (unless your main attacking force is something stronger and you're just trying to cause a diversion or defend temporarily). So I'd say while phants are good their use against cuirs isn't exactly their strongest trait. Against knights, however... :D

    Edit: forgot to attach screenshots. Written description instead because I'm lazy. Assuming both units have C1:
    Cuir attacks: 13.2 vs 12.8, makes sense because 12 * 1.1 = 13.2 and 8 * 0.1 + 8 * 1.5 = 12.8
    Elephant attacks -> 8.8 vs 8.53???
     
  10. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    Cuirs/Cav by far. In fact, I do believe Cuirs exist because you could get Cavalry @ military tradition which means that they were always broken to a certain degree and the line still is. Their main advantage is they're the first units to ignore walls (we'll forget about muskets), while elephants can be halted by those.

    Rifles/Cannons aren't too far behind. It's really the whole Renaissance group that's a big power spike, especially after it coming after medieval which is probably the most underwhelming one.

    Oh right. Actually nothing really compares to nukes.
     
  11. Undefeatable

    Undefeatable Chieftain

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    Yeah, medieval wars are the absolute worst for several reasons. First of all, siege is particularly bad that era. Trebs are fine against lightly-defended cities but they have no chance against anything else. An unfortified mace with 0% cultural defenses still stands like a 50% chance of killing an unpromoted treb outright. Second, mounted blitzkriegs are useless. You'll have to bring two dozen knights to kill maybe 3 pikes and 4 longbows, which is just way too much. Castles and walls in nearly every AI city make bombarding take, I dunno, 3 turns, and further stop knight charges right in their tracks. It's almost impossible to have a tech advantage too since there are no bulb paths or easy tricks to reach medieval units before the AI on higher difficulties, unlike say bulbing to cuirs or libbing cannons, so it's all just a bloody wash. Finally medieval is where the AI really starts spamming units and building megastacks beyond the initial city garrisons, so good luck tackling that with your slow, weak-on-the-field units and production disadvantage.

    And yeah, the mounted change was needed. Remember warlords when you got freakin' 18-strength cossacks at MT + gunpowder? I kinda wish I could go back to a version of the game where we basically got 2-move infantry an era and a half earlier than we should've...those were the days.
     
  12. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    Well I guess you could bulb engineering or use spies but that's pretty much all under desperation breakouts. On a normal start, it's basically just making the game harder for no reason. But then again I guess it really speaks to how good walls are.

    But then again the meta is as is because the AI heavily prioritized guilds/econ and thus pissing contest against medival walls is pointless. I wonder what it'd be like if the prevailing direction of the AI was to go liberalism too. There's also K=mod which also changes the game dynamics very heavily.

    Wait never mind, those cases which they do with those few tech AIs (Mansa/Wilem) piss me off dearly.
     
  13. Undefeatable

    Undefeatable Chieftain

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    Walls, like PRO, seem to be one of the game mechanics mostly made for helping the AI have more of a fighting chance against the player. So they're good at what they do, in that sense.

    Engineering rush is actually a far better play than cuirs in some circumstances. If you don't start with fishing you can get 500BC trebs pretty reliably given good enough starts, at which point you absolutely slay. Keep in mind an engineering rush is also a crossbow rush of sorts, so you get something to really chew through melee units. Without castles, even a few longbows won't stop the carnage of CRIII trebs. I wouldn't call that desperation, more like "complete destruction" :crazyeye:. The advantage of an engineering rush is sometimes you have space for only 4 cities so can't get to cuirs fast enough or whip enough, but you don't have jumbos so construction rush looks weak. Situational, yes, but devastating in the right circumstances. In the deity save I upload here, I took out two guys with trebs before rushing cannons and finishing the rest of my continent with cannons. Then I went to space because I was too lazy to do a mass naval invasion, though at that point it would've been easy anyways with tanks going up against rifles. No lib needed (though I did get it, and popped economics from it, which was nice).

    Mansa's still pretty alright. He favors religious and economic techs so a lot of the time he spends dillydallying with those and if he gets education is far more likely to go for economics than lib. Plus he's basically the best trading partner so he actually helps you reach lib a lot faster. There's nothing sweeter than having an AI which will hand out philo and paper like candy. Granted, philo and theology are directly on the path to lib, but if you bulb education and get it quick then AI is far less likely to prioritize it; same with philo. That's what GS are for.

    Willem is probably the biggest lib threat. If he's nearby he's not a unitspammer so kill him quickly and it should be fine. Otherwise, aggressive bulbing is your friend.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    Well, that's what I was thinking. It's good if you can't do other things. It doesn't make it bad for those situations where you do need to breakout.
     
  15. Undefeatable

    Undefeatable Chieftain

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    Yeah, then in that case I would say that given a choice between cuirs and trebs assuming both are viable I'd take cuirs any day.
     
  16. plasmacannon

    plasmacannon Chieftain

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    NUKES are the most powerful unit in any era and India's FAST WORKER is available in ALL eras.
    So, I guess they win my vote. :)

    Seriously though, I did check Longbows. Nothing stops an early rush from continuing like when the AIs upgrade to Longbows. ;(
    I checked UU also, because there some that are Overpowered. We all know them. Suggestions have been made such as here, https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/fixing-uus.636395/
    a number of times on how they should be changed and some have been in various mods.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
  17. ArchGhost

    ArchGhost Chieftain

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    Hello, and thanks all for the replies and lively discussion even if I'm a month late to check my own thread!

    I expected Cuirs or Quechas (if you count them :p) to win this poll handily; in fact it's the reason I wanted to expand it to 2 choices. Surprisingly, not the case, and not so surprisingly, everybody seems to have their favorites.

    How about a follow up question?

    How much impact do you think leader traits have on the relative viability of these units, if at all? Fippy's pick of Axeman really got me thinking that, IMO if not for AGG to boost axes, it might be (slightly) harder to justify them as a "best" anything, even though I agree with her the Axeman as a unit is quite useful. It's just AGG makes it much easier to turn axes from "axemen" to "AXEMEN" if you know what I'm trying to get at.

    Some examples beyond that i can think of are:
    -PRO for archery units. I've choked like a SoB using Sitting Bull and Charlie before, everybody should try the Cho-ko-nu rush at least once!
    -AGG and PRO regarding drafting Muskets/Rifles
    -CHA and IMP GGs for Cavalry/Siege units.
     
  18. Undefeatable

    Undefeatable Chieftain

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    I feel like most people chose cannons because on lower difficulties they seem to be the better choice (IMM or below). At that level, you can easily lib steel 90% of the time so they aren't much later than cuirs. They're also a lot less of a detour than cuirs from the "useful" industrial techs and eventual space victory that SOME PEOPLE (hint hint) usually aim for. They're so much more cost-efficient that you can do more with 10 cannons + 10 muskets than you ever can with 20 cuirs. They die a lot less often due to collateral and CR which gives people the illusion that they're "stronger", increasing their popularity even more. Finally, they have a much longer shelf life. As shown by @Lain they're effective in sufficient numbers against most industrial units. Cuirs on the other hand...get hard-countered when the enemy reaches rifles. Like...full stop.

    All of this, however, is made up for the fact that you NEED cuirs on deity (or at least they're far better) for 2 reasons: speed you reach them, and speed of conquest. But I suspect most people here don't play that level (or not frequently) so they aren't aware of their full power. Or they're like Lain and are masochists who choose ultra-hard deity maps where cuirs aren't even viable =p
     
  19. Fippy

    Fippy Micro Junkie Queen

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    Cuirs lead to Cavs, which are great units.
    With support they still do well vs. Infs and MGs, much better than Rifles.
    Lain's Pacal video has some nice examples for that, so yup..Cuirs get stopped by Rifles, but they can become Cavs and those are useful very long.
     
  20. elmurcis

    elmurcis Chieftain

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    Guided Missiles - nothing can stop them and they don't create pollution (my games want pollution free empire forever). Nothing (except logistics nightmare to get 20+ G-Missiles to one port-city same turn to stack them so can quickly load into Subs or M-Cruisers)! Kill defenders, take city, move Subs in, reload, next turn repeat.. :crazyeye: (kind of joke, kind of true when playing game for empire management and glory not best finish date :D )
     

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