Cycle of Factions in Default Era

Discussion of all aspects of multiplayer development: unit balancing, map development, server development, and so forth.

Moderators: Forum Moderators, Developers

5dPZ
Posts: 198
Joined: July 11th, 2006, 7:20 pm
Location: Vancouver, Canada

Cycle of Factions in Default Era

Post by 5dPZ »

Through multiplayer games with Default era, I found an interesting faction cycle that IMO have the easiest match-ups. I understand that with the right play, any faction could beat another one; but I think these match-up can give one faction an edge to start with.

The cycle goes: Northerners -> Knalgan -> Undead -> Loyalist -> Drakes -> Rebels -> Northeners ...

Here's the rational:

Northeners -> Knalgan:
*Poison is bane to dwarves due to their slow speed and lack of heal.
*Trolls are cheap and Knalgan have no effective way of remove them on mountain/hills.
*Grunts are cheap and effective vs outlaws.
*Grunts and Trolls are cheap and counter ulfserker easily.

Knalgan -> Undead
*Fighter is a good counter to skeletons.
*Footpad is quite effective to all undead units, maybe except adept.
*Ulfserker is the best unit to counter adepts.
*Ulfserker can kill all undead units at day except skeleton.
*Thunderer can kill WC and most bats in 1 shot.

Undead -> Loyalist
*Skeleton/Archer are effective to most units except mage/HI.
*Adepts can kill anything at night, HI the easiest due to their slow movement (which is expensive counter to skeletons).
*Ghoul/Skeleton/WC are good counter to mages.
*Archer is cheap way to counter mounted units and spearmen without worrying counter attack too much.

Loyalist -> Drakes
*Spearmen/Archers are cheap pierce damage dealer.
*Horsemen are fast and deadly to drakes.
*Spearmen/Archers are not very weak vs. Saurians, due to their low cost and high HP and decent defence.
*Mage is good counter to saurian, which drake must rely on vs the spear/archer army.

Drakes -> Rebels
*High attacks vs low hp, elves die easily at day even on high defence.
*Augurs can kill elves hiding in forest.
*Most drakes have 4 attacks, which are effective vs elves high defence in forest.
*Elves super cannons, wose and mages, are almost useless vs drakes.

Rebels -> Northerners
*Northerns have mostly 2-hitters, which are unrelyable vs elves in forest.
*Elves can range attack orcs for cheap damage without losing hp.
*Shaman can prevent poision damage, and fighters can kill assassin with their 4-hit blade attacks.
*Mage is a good counter to trolls on mountain.
*Wose is powerful at day time and hardly countered by any orcish archers.

donkey_noob_trash1
Posts: 147
Joined: March 1st, 2009, 6:16 am

Re: Cycle of Factions in Default Era

Post by donkey_noob_trash1 »

5dPZ- this perhaps the most interesting topic I have seen on the Wesnoth forums for some time. You bring up some very good and controversial points. I would argue with you about the orcs vs elves matchup, though.

1) If you protect your assassins well, they are in very little danger from elf fighters.
2) Elf units have low HP just in general.
3) Orc units have high HP, and in the case of trolls, regeneration + resistance to blade and pierce.
4) Grunts do about as much damage as elf fighters do, in terms of melee.
5) Wose are not resistant to blade, and are almost twice as expensive as a grunt.
6) Mages have low HP, so they'd better hope they kill their grunt or troll.
7) The orcs have gobblins, which means they can keep building up their army in the case of a stand-off but have no penalty to upkeep.

So yah, it just depends. And as I always point out, you can never over-generalize about factions vs other factions, because each map has its own strategies that will optimize a certain type of play. It is not very common, for example, to see many wose on Silverhead or Sullas Ruins.
"Oh noes, I'm trapped by corporeal beings!" -Caphriel (in a discussion about ghosts and ZoC)

User avatar
Sorrow
Posts: 230
Joined: July 25th, 2006, 12:07 am
Contact:

Re: Cycle of Factions in Default Era

Post by Sorrow »

One of my fav matchups is Northies vs Rebels! Assassin/Grunt is so fun vs them.
Let us all measure in milliyards, that way we can all get along.

Replay Archive: http://www.wesnoth.org/wiki/Replays

Eskon
Posts: 184
Joined: August 12th, 2008, 2:21 pm
Location: Esslingen, Germany

Re: Cycle of Factions in Default Era

Post by Eskon »

Knalgans -> Northerners:
* Dwarvish units on mountains are unbeatable for Northerner units, and will always retaliate with stunning power. Even on open terrain (supposedly equal footing) only at night a grunt can expect a decent result.
* Any assassin who tries to poison a dwarf can be expected to feel the full consequences of their bladed weakness.
* Thunderers can blow through grunts or wolves with no retaliation or resistance.
* Outlaws are cheap and will take all the good terrain. Northerners do not have magic to counter.

Undead -> Knalgan:
* Ulfserkers are rubbish against skeletons. One skeleton nearby = 19 gold ulf for 16 gold adept - if the undead player is dumb enough to not protect his adepts.
* Skeletons also own thunderers. Skeletons will run from dwarven fighters at day (and retaliate okay for that matter - you're looking at 10-2 vs 4-3 - skeleton on 50%, dwarf on 30% that is pretty much equal). If skeletons don't run, ghouls will be sent to the front. Dwarves do not like poison.
* Outlaws get obliterated by adept magic. Footpads can whittle down skeletons, but not kill them faster than undead can kill them.
* Dwarves cannot run from adepts, nor defend properly.
* Ulfserkers can run from skeletons, but not ghosts. Ulfserkers are far from guaranteed to take out ghouls on villages.

Loyalist -> Undead:
* Mages and heavy infantry dismember skeletons. Cavalry outruns skeleton warriors and are quite effective soft counters at day. One heavy infantry is easily good for two dead skeletons, or three skeleton archers. Fearless heavy infantry sends undead crying to their mommies. Recruit lots of skeletons, and you have a slight edge in offense until the loyalist player reacts... and sends you home packing your sarcophagi.
* Adepts will not get through cavalry with efficiency. Loyalists know a hundred ways to kill something in melee. Without protection they will not survive. Spearman adept trade ratio: 14 gold vs 16 gold. Spearmen have more HP, higher total damage at the preferred time of day, and a ranged attack.
* Undead are slooow. Loyalists will catch them at day, and run in the night.

Drake -> Loyalist:
* Drakes can choose the time of the attack against anyone, including loyalists. Get saurians, attack at night.
* Saurians resist pierce. Skirmishers reach 60% terrain easily.
* Clashers send mounted units crying to their horse mummies. Including cavalry, which would otherwise be dangerous against augurs. Clashers also retain much of their power at night, remaining at 5-4 (Spearmen get reduced to 5-3), and can fight alongside saurians to soak damage for them. Units who protect the augur will also get a 4 HP heal on top.
* Free high ranged damage with burners, who also deal hefty retaliation.
* Defense is canceled by augur, which is equally effective against anything loyalist at night. Including fencers.
* Loyalists need mages to counter saurians - every drake player snickers with glee for every mage recruited (one mage = one more clasher for the drake for even slightly less money). Only heavy infantry resists skirmisher retaliation, and will get dismembered by burners and augurs.

Rebels -> Drakes:
* Archers kill drakes and are nigh unkillable in forests. Augurs will feel the pain if they try to dislodge them. Plus, they are pretty much the drakes' equals in mobility.
* Fighters are cheap and retaliate well against drakes deluding themselves to be cost-effective at brute melee force. They can be killed if you're willing to accept that it will be painful. (Afterwards the archers are swapped in and kill your drakes from the forests.)
* Shamans transform supposedly daytime killer clashers (or fighters, for that matter) into mewling kittens and prevent them from retreating, and funnel HP to the forest defenders.
* Rebels are much more sturdy than saurians. Get too many and they will win for cheap, with the elvish fighter being effective both in combat and in cost against both saurian units.

Northerners -> Rebels:
* Grunts can be gotten in greater numbers than elvish units, and trading one for an elvish fighter results in a comfortable overall gain.
* Assassins will poison or take down high defence elves using marksmanship.
* Trolls are hard to kill for rebels, and cheap as hell. Mages will get killed by grunts, wolves, or the trolls themselves.
* Mage + shaman = 35 gold. Three grunts = 36 gold. Support units are necessary for rebels, but their expense is felt.
* Rebels rely on groups to be strong - shamans need to distribute their healing, archers and woses need fighter protection, fighters aren't very sturdy to begin with and need support of more fighters... Northerners can bind rebel forces with cheap high HP, high killing power grunts at one place, and outnumber them at others.
* Low killing power of grunt not a problem - get a cheap goblin to accompany them.
* Kills against fighters using grunts are dealt either on the first or second strike - a dead fighter will have hardly retaliated against them at all.



All this said, I am glad for this topic, as this gives us the impulse to discuss strategy until it comes out of our ears. And your post gives a good reflection of the thoughts that should govern players in the said matchups. I think you forces this "cycle" a bit though, and engaged in a bit selective reasoning. For instance, mages are said to be good counters to saurians in the loyalist - drake matchup, but in the drake - rebel matchup the same mages are supposed to be unreasonable recruits because of the weakness against drakes.

User avatar
Gambit
Loose Screw
Posts: 3266
Joined: August 13th, 2008, 3:00 pm
Location: Dynamica
Contact:

Re: Cycle of Factions in Default Era

Post by Gambit »

My Rebels vs Drakes strategy is to get a mage and a merman hunter. Then just spam archers. Unless they shift their recruiting to rely a bit more on burners, then I mix up archers and fighters.

Also I focus on leveling the merman hunter at all costs. At lvl 2 it is the ultimate drake killer. The mage is obviously just for saurians. It doesn't really see any other combat. This might be one reason I never win on dry maps :lol2:

5dPZ
Posts: 198
Joined: July 11th, 2006, 7:20 pm
Location: Vancouver, Canada

Re: Cycle of Factions in Default Era

Post by 5dPZ »

Eskon wrote: All this said, I am glad for this topic, as this gives us the impulse to discuss strategy until it comes out of our ears. And your post gives a good reflection of the thoughts that should govern players in the said matchups. I think you forces this "cycle" a bit though, and engaged in a bit selective reasoning. For instance, mages are said to be good counters to saurians in the loyalist - drake matchup, but in the drake - rebel matchup the same mages are supposed to be unreasonable recruits because of the weakness against drakes.
Nice counter-cycle, Eskon, all those are valid points as well. As I mentioned, any faction can beat another, it's just that I think those counters are harder to pull out than the clock-wise cycle.

And for the mage vs drake issue, mage is much more valuale to loyalist, because they will encounter more saurians in the matchup, whereas rebels will more likely fight a drake army instead (since drakes are resist to fighter's blade damage, and elf archer costs 3g more than loyalist, thus less in number).

User avatar
alpha1
Posts: 198
Joined: February 29th, 2008, 12:57 am

Re: Cycle of Factions in Default Era

Post by alpha1 »

i believe the correct "cycle" would be loys -> everything else :P at least on freelands/weldyn, with UD being one of the easiest opponent for them
If you have any wishes or suggestions concerning the TGT or just want to drop me a message, pls pm me at: alpha1_pm
I won't be able to see any messages that are sent to alpha1.

Eskon
Posts: 184
Joined: August 12th, 2008, 2:21 pm
Location: Esslingen, Germany

Re: Cycle of Factions in Default Era

Post by Eskon »

The "Drakes -> Rebels" thing is overall the one I disagree with the most I guess.

Having four attacks doesn't make one more damaging against high defense, it makes one more effective in killing low HP units in high defense. It's the full HP elves on high defense you have to worry about, and it's not anywhere near easy to break through that. Strong clashers at day are your best bet, but not with all that favorable odds, especially if you're facing a resilient elvish fighter on a village, or a resilient archer in the forest. Elves are capable of striking back at all times of day to boot, and can chase down your clashers with archers easily.

User avatar
Mystery
Posts: 55
Joined: June 17th, 2009, 3:16 pm

Re: Cycle of Factions in Default Era

Post by Mystery »

Drakes > Rebels is something I've always found to be a tough match-up for Rebels. Quite frankly, I believe Rebels are weak in general but that's for another time...

I'll start with a simple comparison: Drake Fighter to Elvish Archer, since they share the same cost. Same MP, yet the Drake has higher mobility with its flight. The Fighter has 10 more HP. (~35% more.) The Fighter deals better damage in a fight between the two at neutral ToD, 7-3 at melee countered with by the Archer's 4-2 melee or 3-3 return fire against the Archer's 5-4. (30 total damage compared to 28 for the Archer.) The Archer can't even take advantage of the Drake's 10% Pierce weakness without the Dextrous trait.

Well, what about the cheaper Elvish Fighter? He's cheaper and has more health than an Archer, some of you have said it should be their bread-and-butter unit against Drakes instead. Great! They still have 6 less health than the Drake Fighter and deal even less damage than the Archer. They're ~21% (3g) cheaper than Drake Fighters but have ~18% less health and deal ~31% less melee damage, so they don't cost-efficiently match Drakes either! Of course, Woses get obliterated, Mages are ineffectual, Merman Hunters are extremely terrain-restricted, and Shaman/Scouts are specialized units with limited combat potential. In other words, Rebels don't have a unit that efficiently beats Drake Fighters, unless you get lucky and have Dextrous on all your Archers, and only Scouts can even match their mobility.

Yeah, Drake Fighter. Not Clasher. Clashers are more expensive, have no ranged counterattack to deter the Rebel army from poking at him (even Elvish Fighters), and their extra resistances largely go to waste -- Elvish Archers don't take advantage of the other drakes' Pierce weaknesses (without Dextrous) and their 20% Blade resistance doesn't mitigate any extra damage over the other drakes' 10% Blade. A Drake player shouldn't buy many Clashers here. But I digress.

You'll notice I neglected the major advantage of most Rebel units, their major Defense boost in Forest terrain. Indeed, Elvish units do beat Drake units if they are stationed in Forests. However, Drakes are well-known at being able to force a fight on their terms with their mobility. This is especially so against the relatively immobile Rebels, who are immobile not due to their actual mobility but due to their dependence on Forest tiles. (Though, Drakes have better actual mobility too. :P Flying, etc.) Enemy Elves in Forest terrain giving you trouble? Go around them. Then, force them out by threatening their villages (offensively) and setting up a ZoC wall away from or directly on their precious Forest hexes (defensively).
For the record, this is the primary reason I find Rebels to be weak. Simply ignoring Elves in Forests and forcing them to leave to engage combat works for every faction. Drakes are merely the best at implementing this strategy, due to their game-best mobility and indifference to terrain since they have ~30-40% Defense everywhere anyway.)

And hey, I only mentioned Drake Fighters. Drake Burners, despite their cost, are also a major player in the match-up. They are fantastic at holding a defensive line, as their powerful ranged attack deters the Rebels player from using their stronger Archers to break it. Burners even go virtually even (~95% efficiency) with Elvish Fighters as well, so they're not a liability unless the opponent just plain spams Fighters. Saurians, despite what 5dPZ said, are worth little beyond their abilities in this match-up but that's usually the case for them anyway.

Eskon
Posts: 184
Joined: August 12th, 2008, 2:21 pm
Location: Esslingen, Germany

Re: Cycle of Factions in Default Era

Post by Eskon »

Elves aren't only better on forests; they get defense benefits from mountains and villages too. Dextrous elvish archers deal 7-4 against fighters on all times of day. The mainline maps I know provide elves with ample opportunity to form a terrain-supported line and protect their assets.

To me rebels have always felt like a defensive faction; good unit placement is crucial for them. Played properly the rebels can adequately resist drake assaults, and have the reliable offensive power - in form of their archers - to kill the drakes that weakened themselves in the attack, punishing them for their audacity. Shamans provide effective battlefield healing - 4 HP is significant on units that don't have much HP to begin with - and slowing is extremely nice against expensive melee guys like the fighters and clashers. The augur's healing, by comparison, does not make a huge difference, and augurs are rubbish in combat at day.

I don't claim to be the most effective rebel player under the sun, but I will say that I've never felt like fighting an uphill battle when playing them against drakes.

User avatar
Pentarctagon
Forum Administrator
Posts: 4245
Joined: March 22nd, 2009, 10:50 pm
Location: Earth (occasionally)

Re: Cycle of Factions in Default Era

Post by Pentarctagon »

in the defense on rebels, while they have less hp and base attack, the elf fighter does cost less than the drake fighter, so the elves can have slightly more units than the drakes. also, on flat terrain at dusk/dawn, the elf fighter should deal 14 damage. the drake fighter should deal 13 damage. also, terrain bonuses from hills/forests/villages will shift the damage even more in favor of the elves. this is the drake's major weakness, their lack of any 'good' terrain, their best is only 40%, while elves can get up to 60% or 70%. as for simply going around forests, elves can put units on mountains/hills for 60%/50% defense. only on a really large map can you simply go around an enemy line, and this will almost never work on a 1v1 or 2v2 map. also, drakes are lawful, elves are nuetral, so drakes will get destroyed at night easily. saurians do represent a bit of a problem, but they are weak to blade and fire, so making one mage is not always a bad idea.
99 little bugs in the code, 99 little bugs
take one down, patch it around
-2,147,483,648 little bugs in the code

User avatar
ParadiseCity
Posts: 119
Joined: May 24th, 2009, 3:51 pm
Location: I'm not sure yet...

Re: Cycle of Factions in Default Era

Post by ParadiseCity »

I think that we have to accept that most fights are pretty balanced. Most factions have counters to others, while those have counters against them. Example: 5dPZ making one solid faction cycle with legitimate tactics, then Eskon reversing it and also using legitimate tactics.

What is true is that some factions are tougher to use against others, but it can still be a fair fight if both sides know what they are doing.

Now, in response to some posts before mine:
Mystery wrote:Drake Fighter to Elvish Archer, since they share the same cost. Same MP, yet the Drake has higher mobility with its flight. The Fighter has 10 more HP. (~35% more.) The Fighter deals better damage in a fight between the two at neutral ToD, 7-3 at melee countered with by the Archer's 4-2 melee or 3-3 return fire against the Archer's 5-4. (30 total damage compared to 28 for the Archer.) The Archer can't even take advantage of the Drake's 10% Pierce weakness without the Dextrous trait.
Mystery wrote:In other words, Rebels don't have a unit that efficiently beats Drake Fighters
This is a comparison assuming that every single attack hits, which will not be the case in most cases. If you factor in defense of units you find a whole different result.

Majority of the time a smart player will have archers on 50%, 60% or 70% defense, i will take the median, 60%. Drake Fighters, on the other hand, will have either 30% or 40% dodge, to be nice i will give the drake the 40% dodge. The drake's total damage will be 12, if we go statistically speaking. The archers damage will be roughly 17, again with pure statistics. This is 31% (rounded) more than the drake's damage compared with the drake having 35% more hp. So this match up is actually pretty balanced, and this was with the drakes maximum dodge. Using 30% dodge, the archer would inflict 39% more than the drake. The average of 39% and 31% is.....35%, the same as the drake having 35% more hp! So there ya have it, balanced. :D
Mystery wrote:You'll notice I neglected the major advantage of most Rebel units, their major Defense boost in Forest terrain. Indeed, Elvish units do beat Drake units if they are stationed in Forests. However, Drakes are well-known at being able to force a fight on their terms with their mobility. This is especially so against the relatively immobile Rebels, who are immobile not due to their actual mobility but due to their dependence on Forest tiles. (Though, Drakes have better actual mobility too. Flying, etc.) Enemy Elves in Forest terrain giving you trouble? Go around them. Then, force them out by threatening their villages (offensively) and setting up a ZoC wall away from or directly on their precious Forest hexes (defensively).

For the record, this is the primary reason I find Rebels to be weak. Simply ignoring Elves in Forests and forcing them to leave to engage combat works for every faction. Drakes are merely the best at implementing this strategy, due to their game-best mobility and indifference to terrain since they have ~30-40% Defense everywhere anyway.)
Just because drakes have consistantly bad defense everywhere and rebels dont, doesnt mean that this is a good thing. Drakes are easily hit on every terrain, elves only on some. A drakes best defense (40%) it is equal to most other units' defense on flat.
You also made it sound like elves are "forest only" faction, when in reality fighters get the same dodge on forest and villages, mermen are good on water and elves get ok dodge on hills, and good dodge on mountains. This means that they are not "dependent" on forest tiles but accented by them. An intelligent opponent would either have a Zoc wall on good/ok terrain blocking the villages or an actual unit on the village because they have good defense there too.

Basically:
Elves are weaker and have less hp than drakes, but take less damage due to their generally good dodge.

Drakes deal more damage than elves and have more hp, but also take more damage in return.

So, in the end, it all works out.
"The harder I work, the more luck I seem to have." -Thomas Jefferson

Noy
Inactive Developer
Posts: 1321
Joined: March 13th, 2005, 3:59 pm

Re: Cycle of Factions in Default Era

Post by Noy »

Eskon wrote:. Shamans provide effective battlefield healing - 4 HP is significant on units that don't have much HP to begin with - and slowing is extremely nice against expensive melee guys like the fighters and clashers.

It took almost a full page of verbiage to come to this essential point. Basically the most useful unit in the Elvish army is the one the negates all the heavy hitters in the drake army. Given the numerical inferiority of any drake army, one or two shamans have the opportunity erode a significant portion of an drake offensive. It allows archers and fighter to kill other units quickly and further deplete an drake attack.
I suspect having one foot in the past is the best way to understand the present.

Don Hewitt.

Fosprey
Posts: 254
Joined: January 25th, 2008, 8:13 am

Re: Cycle of Factions in Default Era

Post by Fosprey »

I don't know now with new leutenitent. I didn't play since then. But imo, without leutenient, drakes had the advantage over loyalist. That changed very fast when loyals had leutenient as a ladder.

Drake rush is very powerfull, and hard to stop by loyals imo. unless they have leutenient, then it's very possible to stop. Drakes can't fight loyals in lategame imo.

But basically i was of the phylosophy that Loyals owned them all with leutenient. Imo they have the more powerfull lategame, and the means to survive the early with leutenient.

User avatar
alpha1
Posts: 198
Joined: February 29th, 2008, 12:57 am

Re: Cycle of Factions in Default Era

Post by alpha1 »

You need to be more specific: what do you mean with drake rush? the only "drake rush" i know about was used on old isar (and it failed miserably against loys).

Lieu-nerfing didnt change much since there are usually enough units around to protect it. But my point was, that they are superior to other races even without lieutenant as leader.

I agree with you on the lategame though, the longer the game takes the strongers loys become.

Disclaimer: in before "all factions are balanced etc.", all i said was merely an imho and is valid only for freelands/weldyn
If you have any wishes or suggestions concerning the TGT or just want to drop me a message, pls pm me at: alpha1_pm
I won't be able to see any messages that are sent to alpha1.

Post Reply