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Posts : 40
Points : 128
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Join date : 2011-03-18
Age : 26
Location : Illinois

PostSubject: HISTORIC CITY WISDOM   Sat 10 Sep - 21:37:09

One problem that many players face against an historic city is the want a step-by-step, wave-by-wave list of what to send. While you can certainly find those on the forums, these openly admit their inefficiency, and moreover, the most effective layering is often ignored entirely. What I want to offer in this section is a "mindset", e.g. how to conceptualize the entire attack. Essentially all historical cities are the same. You don't find completely different groups in each historic city. Instead, you find the same groups in large numbers.

Every Historic city will have

Calvary or Cataphracts
Pike or Sword
Ballista, Ram, or Catapults

Warriors and Archers, plus the usual traps, logs, defensive trebuchet, abatis, etc.

This means that once you know the concept of how to attack a level 12, you also know the concept of how to attack Atlantis. The primary difference is in the total number of troops that you need to send to achieve your objective. There is a secondary difference in that the level 16s and Atlantis have now switched to be purely phracts and pults, with pikes and swords switching out by day.

You conceptualize the capture of an historic city into several distinct phases:

1. Clear the Calvary or Cataphracts

Then, depending upon whether you it Pike-cav-Ram, or Sword-Cav-Ram, you get two alternative phases:

2a. Clear the Pike
3a. Clear the Archers

2b. Clear the Archers
3b. Clear the Sword

Once you are through the Pike/Sword and Archers, both types proceed in exactly the same fashion

4. Clear the Warriors
5. Clear the Mechs
6. Loyalty Waves

Rather than thinking about what waves to send, you need to think about the order of the battle. Each of the above represents a different phase of battle, and each phase requires a different combination of layers to make the best use of your troops.

I want to start by emphasizing that against a level 12 historic city, where we have many useful guides on this forum, many of these phases get rolled together. For example, the general wisdom at the time of this posting against a level 12 is to fight a Sword-Cav-Ram formation, in which you break the Cav, Arch, and most of the Sword in the first battle, and then break the remaining troops in the second battle. While this is useful information for a beginner to have, I find that it tends to confuse players as to what to do against the larger cities.

Here, I'll be using a concept called a "damage modifier". Basically, this modifier represents the total damage that an archer or ballista stack will do. It is calculated by adding together the 50% shots (.5) and the 100% shots (1). So if the archers get 3-50% shots, and 2-100% shots, this is represented as x3.5. (.5+.5+.5+1+1). Since these stacks also do 25% damage on their final attack before being destroyed, I've added that to the totals as well.

Cavalry, Cataphracts and Traps: Against a level 12, you generally won't bother with traps, and you'll simply use archers, since they have the potential to clear all of the Cavalry, then damage the Pikes or Archers. Oftentimes, you'll clear the cav so easily that the layering won't matter. Since not much information above level 12 HC is published, the ideal layering is not well known.

Against a level 14 or higher, you'll need multiple waves to clear the Cav or Cataphracts. At this point, we need not only to consider the ideal layering for any archers, but also whether archers are more effective than pikes or warriors. Generally speaking, you can get enough warriors through drafts or building them that you could conceivably remove all of the Cav through this low cost option. Plenty of players advocate for this approach and there is nothing inherently wrong with it, or technically more costly.

The relationship between Pike and Archer is poorly understood. On the whole, 100k Archers will kill more than 100k pikes, but that is only natural. The archer is a tier 4 unit, the Pike is a tier 2. Resource costs are comparable, but should also be basically irrelevant at this stage in the game. The real cost is the time cost. You can build 2.34 pikes for every archer. Put another way, your 100k archer wave doesn't merely have to kill more than 100k pikes, it has to kill more than 234k Pikes! That is a big difference!

Ideal layering for your archers (Against CAV) is: Ram+worker/warrior/pike/sword. (Modifier x4.5) This maximizes your number of shots against the Cavarly. Even with this layering, the archers will only do the same amount of damage as 2.11 Pikes. In other words, the archers are close, but still less time efficient than Pikes. Moreover, for each layer that you remove, the damage ratio decreases considerably. (-1 to the modifier to a minimum of 1.75)

Against Cataphracts, the difference between Archers and Pikes is even more stark. Ram no longer make a difference, although you can still use worker/warrior/pike/sword. You can also add Cav/Cataphracts as layers, in fact you absolutely need to add a phract layer. If you send Archers with pike/sword/worker/warrior layers, your archers will actually do less damage than the equivalent sized Pike army. They simply don't get near as many shots against the Phracts. With the best and most ideal layering, the Archers still only damage at a ratio of 1.22 Pike. (Archer modifier: x2.75)

In other words, if you're fighting Phracts, your Pikes are almost twice as time-effective as your archers.

~ Against a 14, you've got more flexibility since you can fight cavalry and you can probably draft enough warriors to remove them without sacrificing barracks time.
~ Against a 16 or Atlantis, you'll need a large number of Pikes.

Clearing Pikes

Send full layers+ Archers: Workers, warriors, Pike, Sword. Even a ram can help against a level 14, since the defending archers might not be able to clear your own archers in a single shot. Your damage modifier with your archers is x3.25.

Clearing Sword

Send full layers+ Archers: workers, warriors, Pike, Sword. It helps if your pike and sword layer are 2-3k, since they'll march into AT range and you want them to block. Your damage modifier with your archers is x3.75

**I do not recommend using Ballista against either Pikes or Swords. The primary reasoning is that your damage modifier at this stage is still pretty low (x3.25 vs Pike, x 4.75 vs Sword). You can get a much better modifier against the warriors (x6.25). Ballista are simply too expensive to use at this stage of the battle.

Notice that for all the work that you've done to clear the Archers ahead of clearing the sword, you don't get more than an additional 50% shot against the Sword. Pike are essentially just as easy as sword. Technically, they are a smidgen easier, but this is not going to be noticeable in most battles.

Clearing Archers

The layering here is well known. Naked archers will clear the Archers in a Sword-Cav-Ram, and Sword-Warrior will clear the Archers in the Pike-Cav-Ram.

I want to emphasize that the bigger you can make this wave, the more effective it is going to be in the end. I've seen plenty of battles run several rounds on the archer exchange fire. While I don't know the precise figures on the attack values of the enemy hero in the HC, it does not appear to be very high.

In short, using 100k waves to clear the archers can sometimes double your losses compared to using the largest possible wave that you can send. I've seen 2-250k waves clear all the archers in an HC 16, but it took 5-187k waves with roughly the same attack value to do the same job.

If the reasoning is unclear, allow me to elaborate:

Let's say you've got 250k archers left, and they can kill 100k of your own archers in one shot. If you send 100k archers, you get exactly one shot out of them. If you send 150k archers, then 50k of your own archers will live to get a second shot. If you send 250k archers, then you lose 100k archers the first round, and 150k live to fire a second shot. Now, in the second round, you've killed some of the initial 250k archers, so the remaining archers might only kill 70k of your remaining archers, leaving you with 80k who now fire in a third round, and some small change that will then fire in the fourth round.

You always attack archers the most efficiently with the largest wave possible.

On your first attempt against a 14, it is good to budget 2-156k waves to clear the archers. On your first attempt against a 16, it is good to budget 5-187k waves to clear the archers. Yes, I've seen 1-156k wave clear the archers on the 14, and I've seen some pretty impressive results from level 16s launching on 16s. On each of these large waves, I assume you’ve got enough leadership to make them as efficient as possible.

Layering Against the Warriors

You have two ideal formations that yield x5.25



The second formation is useful if you're combining ballista into the wave and plan on using enough ram to block the warriors for multiple rounds, otherwise, the first formation is simpler. Almost all other layering combination will yield a x4.75 result. Naked Archers will give you a x4.25 result.

Size of layers: Your layers only need to be large enough to survive traps. Since you are sending fairly late in the battle, you likely don't need very large layers at all. I normally don't go below 2k at anytime, but I suspect you can go as low as 500.

Ballista waves can also be layered with worker/warrior/ram/archer, and will yield a x6.25 result. This is the primary and only place where you want to use Ballista.

Ballista Final Hit

Due to the change to level 16s, this is no longer going to be a viable option against them, but it can still be useful against 14s. I'd recommend calculating what your ballista can kill with x4 modifier, and then making sure you've killed enough warriors for this.

Ballista Waves vs Archer Waves

The ratio of archer damage to ballista damage is 1:3.75. In other words, one ballista does the same amount of damage as 3.75 archers. But you can only build 1 ballista in the same time as 8.7 archers, so over the long run, you can build over twice as many archers in the same time it takes to build one ballista. On the whole, ballista are horribly inefficient on time, but they do have their uses as a final hit against 14s.

But this is not the whole story. The careful reader will note above that ballista frequently receive a higher damage modifer than Archers, and so we have to take this into account. Unfortunately, it only modifies the damage ratio from 1:3.75 to 1:4.5. This is a big improvement, but they are still nearly 50% less time efficient for the damage.

Having coordinated one of the two alliances to have successfully taken Atlantis, I can safely say you'll often deal with large differences in the attack scores of players. Our best player is in the 800s, but you'll find a lot of good players in the 500s, for a 300 point difference. And that is before you count people who spend more moderately.

Major point: If you're at the point where you need multiple people to hit a major historic city, such as a 16 or Atlantis, you are better off having your top players build Ballista and your lower attack players build archers. The break-even point is at approximately 300 attack points. Your best player can build ballista faster that will do more damage than the lower attack player's archers.

I am CorVinus
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