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Whats the big deal with immortal pretorians?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by DanielTorrence, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    Whether Combat or City Raider is preferable has nothing to do with a unit's base strength. Anyone who thinks so needs to learn how the combat system works (and then write angry messages to Firaxis for wanton cruelty to common sense, but it's a little late for that).

    Attackers' bonuses from Combat promotions are applied directly. Difference of summed other bonuses is applied to whatever side has more.

    Combat can give better odds than City Raider or anti-unit-type promotions when one side (usually the defender) has a very high bonus.
    Often, Combat beats City Raider or Cover against Archers... unless it's on a Quechua.
     
  2. Fippy

    Fippy Mycro Junkie Queen

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  3. Manco Capac

    Manco Capac Friday,13 June,I Collapse

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    Nothing beats harsh facts.
     
  4. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    An attacker's City Raider promotion is a subtraction from the defender's defensive bonus. How effective the City Raider promotion is compared to Combat promotion is critically dependent on the ratio of the attackers strength including combat promotions over the defenders strength including combat promotions. When that ratio is very high, Combat promotions are often better than City Raider Promotions. An example of a Praetorian versus an Archer will illustrate the very high ratio example where Combat promotions are preferred over City Raider promotions. The example provided by Fippy is an example of a moderately high ratio where City Raider promotions are preferred, but this example is a bit unfair, because the Axeman is the hard counter to the Praetorian (based on Swordsman).

    With the obvious exception of the Axeman, dankok8 is correct in promoting Praetorians along the Combat line of promotions versus much weaker defenders, especially versus Archers.

    Sun Tzu Wu
     
  5. noto2

    noto2 Emperor

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    but wouldn't you expect to be facing axemen? In any case, you don't need to worry about the archers, you'll brutalize them no matter what promotion you take, it's the axemen you need to worry about beating
     
  6. drewisfat

    drewisfat Prince

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    With swords usually you attack before they get metal or immediately choke it out. With praets it really doesn't matter, they have the biggest window of attack of any unit in the game. But regardless archers aren't a free kill even with praets if they're heavily fortified.
     
  7. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    Promote Combat or City Raider as the circumstances suggest.

    As has been pointed out, with seige unit support, City Raider is pretty much obsolete.

    As drewisfat points out, hit the enemy before they connect metal or sabotage/pillage metal.

    If one is facing significant numbers of axemen despite efforts to contain them, then promote enough Praetorians to City Raider promotions to deal with these axeman in cities and use Combat <n> Shock outside cities.

    I was only trying to clear up a common misconception regarding the relative merits of Combat and City Raider promotions.

    Sun Tzu Wu
     
  8. Doshin

    Doshin jolly yellow giant

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    0:

    Spoiler :



    1:

    Spoiler :




    2:

    Spoiler :




    3:

    Spoiler :



    A few Combat troops with Formation are good stack defense against Knights.
     
  9. Fippy

    Fippy Mycro Junkie Queen

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    What i expected, Doshy..CR bonus is so much higher than Combat, should almost always be better for attacking cities. Unless you attack so weak AIs, that no matter what you do you win anyways.
     
  10. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    If you look closely at Doshin's first two screen shots, the Praetorian Combat I versus Archer <?> Def 50 has the exact same odds as Praetorian City Raider I versus Archer <?> Def 50, so would not conclude as you do that City Raider is so much better than the Combat line. For a single promotion (typical for units trained in with a Barracks), Combat I is clearly superior when one considers a counter attack when City Raider is rendered useless. Furthermore, when goes to two promotions (need Barracks + Great Military Instructor), the odds difference is not so great and the small edge by Praetorian City Raider II can be nullified by its vulnerability to counterattack which the Pretorian Combat II has a clear +20% strength edge. Doshin what were Archer promotions <?> in your examples?

    With veteran Praetorians with three promotions, it is clear than one wants some Praetorian City Raider III units for killing top defenders, assuming one doesn't have or doesn't want to use seige units. It will still be nice to have Praetorian Combat III for stack defense and for killing units outside of cities.

    Sun Tzu Wu
     
  11. Doshin

    Doshin jolly yellow giant

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    They were standard Tokugawa Archers, so CGI, Drill I, in a city with 50% cultural defense.

    I agree, Combat is needed on some Praetorians. Shock is the only one I dislike (I'd rather have Xbows and low XP troops/Shock Axemen defend against Macemen).

    Incidentally:

    It is actually the reverse, in my experience. For instance:

    Spoiler :
    Pre-Siege Attack





    < 5% difference.

    Spoiler :
    Post-siege Attack





    > 20% difference.

    Of course, by the time Cannons come around you're all set. But the hump, in the games I've played, comes in the period when you're facing Longbows and Macemen with Praets, but lack Trebs.

    So yep. Combat for stack defense and killing units outside of cities. CR for everything else (most of them :hammer:).
     
  12. dankok8

    dankok8 Elected World Leader

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    I completely forgot to mention the Cover promotion. Against the AI taking CI/Cover is almost always a better promotion path than CR1/CR2 because of many Archers on defense. But I have to say I'm surprised field combat and city defense non-withstanding (where Combat line is superior) the CR line works pretty damn well on Praets for taking cities. The reason is Combat increases strength by 10% while the CR promotion reduces from the defender and after CR1 the % subtracted is bigger than 10%.
     
  13. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    So the archers did have Drill promotions that enhanced their first strike capability. I was a bit surprised that the Praetorian Combat I didn't actually do better than Praetorian City Raider I. I thought pehaps first strikes may have caused this, but the stronger unit (Combat I promoted) should have more strength left, so that may actually favor the Combat I promoted Praetorian? On the hand, fitst strikes are reducing the strength of both Praetorians, effectly reducing their strength and thus they are no longer very strong compared to the Archers when the Praetorian's Combat round actually begins.

    Using a Praetorian versus a Warrior would have better illustrated the point I was trying to make. No first strikes to put the math into question. Make them Combat V Warriors so they have the same base strength as an Archer, but no first strikes.

    In your example with the Longbowman, use a City Raider Trebuchet (CR3 if possible) to knock the defender down. Trebuchets are more effective at knocking down Longbowmen defenders than Praetorians. Combat Praetorians can clean up after the Trebuchets. Off course a few CR3 Praetorians are good to have when the Trebuchets fail to decimate all defenders.

    Sun Tzu Wu
     
  14. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    Well I tried, Warrior Combat V defender and Walls. Combat I and City Raider I still had the same odds (99.03%). City Raider II was 99.46%; Combat II was 99.35%. City Raider III was 99.92%; Combat III was 99.55%.

    Next I tried Warrior unpromoted defender + Walls + Castle. Combat I and City Raider I were 99.03%. The other odds were also unchanged from the Warrior Combat V example above. It seems that the defense the Castle added +50% had the same effect as the entire line of Combat promotions through V. I guess it is when the defenders % bonus drops below zero is when the math gets a bit more complex.

    I'm getting an uneasy feeling that the in game odds calculation is a bit off. Maybe I should read the S &T Combat article or better yet the Civ IV BtS source code for the definitive answer.

    Sun Tzu Wu
     
  15. dankok8

    dankok8 Elected World Leader

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    If I remember correctly from what I've been reading (there was a guy here who wrote an article on Combat odds) some odds especially when first strikes are involved are a bit off.
     
  16. Doshin

    Doshin jolly yellow giant

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    I would strongly advise against promoting to Cover. The promotion is wasted against Macemen, and each shock Macemen will take out 2–3x as many Cover Praetorians as they would City Raider. Sitting Bull might be an exception to this, but the AI will spam Macemen when it sees you attacking with a Sword type unit. And, regardless, you will just run into trouble attacking the next AI.

    This is true, but, if one engages in total war with Praets, there is a considerable gap between the initial declaration and reaching Trebs.

    I typically find that, although it is worth cultivating a small stack of Bombard Catapults, Catapults are otherwise best thrown en masse against AI cities, to inflict large amounts of collateral. As soon as the CR III Praets receive 95%+ odds, you should be set.

    If you run out of Catapults before that happens, use rookie Praetorians (CR II) to suicide against the top defenders.

    If your code-diving reveals anything, do let me know. My personal experience (of which I've mentioned one game) is that the CR line is always the best promotion for attacking cities.
     
  17. Seraiel

    Seraiel Deity

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    Catapult: STR 5 and more expensive than a Praet. I know, collateral, but I think that it's still not effective, unless the defenders are so weak, that the catapults survive.

    No argument about bombardement catapults, those are worth their cost in gold, as bombardement gives 8% that's not reduced by walls and castles. Against a castle, a bombardement Catapult is actually like having 5 Catapults.
     
  18. Doshin

    Doshin jolly yellow giant

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    I won't pretend that I know the full workings of the combat system. But I find that inflicting a small amount of collateral on all defenders usually proves to be the best way of prolonging the life of your stack. Much more so than slowly bombarding defenses down (in Castle cities, the AI whips more 'defenders' than the 'defenders' you bombard away. Espionage or Cannons are needed.)

    I thought this post was quite interesting, even if I am tooting my own horn. :D

    Attacking a Longbow in a city with 50% cultural defenses:

    Column 1
    Uninjured Injured
    Combat III 13.66% 36.87%
    CR III 18.01% 56.94%


    CR III is superior, and its advantage increases exponentially the weaker the opposing unit becomes: a 23% boost versus 39% to winning odds.

    It is hard to describe in abstracto the balance between attacking with Praets and attacking with Catapults. I often find that I will suicide a couple of Catapults, then attack with veterans (90% + odds versus top defenders) and then return to Catapulting once my veterans are through, and the odds drop once more. It is a similar principle to Elepulting, whereby you only need your Catapults to hurt the Spearmen enough for the Shock Elephants to win their battles. After that, regular Elephants can defeat all other defenders.
     
  19. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    When one has seige units and is willing to suicide a few to capture each city, it is better to promote Praetorians along multiple promotion lines. One also needs to keep a few Praetorian Combat n units fully healthy for stack defense. I would not promote Praetorians exclusively along the City Raider line, since as mentioned before on needs stack defenders plus many advanced promotions require Combat promotions.

    I agee that a few Praetorians should be City Raider promoted, but not more than half, unless the enemy can't even scratch an unpromoted Praetorians.

    Sun Tzu Wu
     
  20. Seraiel

    Seraiel Deity

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    @ Doshin: That's actually really funny, because it's the same thing I often do :D . I'm still not 100% sure though, if that is really the best way, because in all honest, a Praet is cheaper and he's stronger. I actually guess that it depends on the number of defenders, Catapults can damage up to 6 defenders iirc, and scratching defenders often already makes huge difference. Still, Catapults against Longbows have like x% chances, while Praets often have like 20-30%. I wish I was an S&T player, then I could find out through reloading :D .

    @ STW: 2 Combat 2, 2 Shock Praets per stack is enough. Once Maces are available, replace Shock-Praets through Shock-Maces. 2, because there's a chance AI will suicide attack when being almost beaten, before that, AI won't even have the courage to attack. Opponents like Shaka might require different play, but I've never seen any normal-courage AI suicide-attack more than a 2nd time. A single Charge-Praet btw. is also very good for a good SoD, and if we're already at it, 6 Drill IV XBows actually make a Stack almost invinceble against attacks with Collateral.
     

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