Footpad + ulf v undead, overpowered

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oesis
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Footpad + ulf v undead, overpowered

Post by oesis » February 18th, 2010, 2:21 am

There's a strategy I use as Knargon against undead that I think is overpowered.
It involves only recruiting footpads and ulf's and generally knowing that your opponent is undead beforehand.
The strategy for the most part is just killing units with your ulf's then covering with your pads.

I suppose their are a few key things that make this a powerful recruit,

It's difficult for the undead player to advance or attack at night, Since the build focuses on ulf's people have few DA, which are important for attacking. Foots are chaotic so the undead player has less advantage in first place. Foot's are extremely effective against skele's when they come off their villages, and skeles are important to protecting adepts/ghouls.

Next it has a strong attack. Skele fighters can hold villages fairly well but foots can surround, if there hp goes low enough you can finish with ulf's. Its hard to form strong lines because the only unit that can wall well is ghosts which are expensive. Skeles can wall but they take a lot of free damage from foot range.

None of their units are particularly effective. bats + WC's can be killed by foot, skele's lose to foots, adept's + ghoul are weak to ulf. Ghosts lose to strong ulfs at day and they have a low attack for their high cost. Also ghosts attack type is bad against elusive foots.

Lastly this strategy is mobile. Theirs not much to say, footpads have 7 movement and ulfs ignore bad terrain.

replays
1: nani
2: 5dPZ.
3: Wintermute.
4: f8_binds.
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Last edited by oesis on February 21st, 2010, 11:32 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Wintermute
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Re: Footpad + ulf v undead, overpowered

Post by Wintermute » February 18th, 2010, 5:41 pm

Hilarious!

However, your initial attack was equal parts lucky and not very well defended against. You also made a big point of not telling your opponent about your strategy ahead of time. Is this any good after the shock value wears off?

I'd love to have you try this against me. Will you be around tonight (9EST?) or this weekend at all?
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Des
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Re: Footpad + ulf v undead, overpowered

Post by Des » February 18th, 2010, 5:52 pm

That's the problem with strategies like these (take HODOR, for example). They might work for one game, but if you're doing a best of 3 series, it's not going to be win-win all the time.

Even in the game, once your opponent is on to what you're doing (just like with HODOR), they can adapt accordingly.

In other words, I don't believe this (or HODOR) to be overpowered, and using it repeatedly even against different opponents in a single game is questionable as a viable strategy if you're playing someone who knows what they're doing.

I do think it's interesting/creative/bold/fun, however. :D Definitely post a replay up here if you guys play.
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Re: Footpad + ulf v undead, overpowered

Post by Tonepoet » February 18th, 2010, 6:03 pm

I was supposing that those two units with thunderers could replace the combined functions of the entire faction more or less but failed more than miserably in a mirror match. Regardless there are three things I find of note here, listed in order of importance:
  • 1. To be safe getting that volume of footpads on the first turn, you'd have to assume your opponent was undead or it could fail miserably against another faction that's not as impact vulnerable or prone to killing them quickly. I believe game's supposed to be balanced vs. a random, unknown faction. I feel undead in particular, as a resistance-play oriented faction, is a bit more heavily dependent on this than most of the others.
    2. Would it have worked against more ghosts? They're better at absorbing the impact than skeletons, rather speedy and can kill the ulfserkers rather readily during most times of day.
    3. I've been experimenting with bat heavy recruiting myself. If both sides knew the other faction, theoretically the Undead could "mirror" this tactic and out-mobilize the footpads, so to speak, since bats have more M.P. and a better move-type. They'd do so with a far stronger economy too, with lesser initial costs and a lack of upkeep. How would you deal with it if they chose to do so?
So it's not quite definitive in and of itself, though I agree with Wintermute in that it looks like it was a fun game. Good job. :mrgreen:
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Re: Footpad + ulf v undead, overpowered

Post by Eskon » February 18th, 2010, 8:00 pm

A bat-heavy recruit would blow against this strategy - Have footpads pebble and ZoC them or send in the ulfs - drain or not, the ulf's offense is much too strong for the bat to resist for long. In fact, part of the mistakes your opponent made was recruiting too many bats (and then handling them poorly, see the one that died - yes, two bats is too many if you also recruited one ghost).

The natural enemy of the footpad in the undead army, at least if you ask me, is the adept. Adepts blow right past that 60%/70% defense. Now, I do realize ulfserkers can auto-kill any adept. So my approach would be to kill a footpad with adepts, then send a skeleton into the gap to kill the ulf. This is definitely one thing I would have tried if I had been your opponent in that replay.

This doesn't necessarily work well at day. Similarly, ghosts will die to ulfserkers at day, drain notwithstanding.

Another thing - you do rely a great deal on being able to completely surround your attack goal with footpads; suppose your undead opponent catches on quickly enough to recruit enough units to form a defensive line?, keeping you from surrounding?

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Re: Footpad + ulf v undead, overpowered

Post by tekelili » February 19th, 2010, 2:14 am

I have tested with oesis this tactic in 2 games. Both he was dwarves and me undeads as chosen factions on freelands. In both games I was advised from turn 1 he was going to recruit only footpads and ulfs. In my first game I was quite noob in 1v1 games and didnt know freelands map, but I learned a lot about oesis tactic. I think is really good and from that game I mostly recruit those 2 units from the moment I know my oponent plays ud. Even when I may want other unit at some especific moment, ulfs and footpads are going to be for sure my almost whole army in that mucth up. this is what I think I learned in my first game:
A quick attack is very risky for ud. the fact that ulf can kill any of your units at day (but skull fighter) and the superior movement of footpads (and often superior number as they are cheaper than your units and can quickly change of flank) makes him very easy to zoc you. Ghost can look invulnerable at night, but if 2 footpads zoc one at last turn of night and soften him with range, he is just an ulf prey next turn. You can use da to free him, but then those da become ulf preys. A skull fighter zoced is not so easy ulf prey, but he will be destroyed by footpads range impact, as much time he needs to do it, more xp he would get, and I think the xp race is very important in this mutch up.
So, if any unit zoced will die at day, or even if not zoced can just be ulfed when retreat, ud needs make front lines to avoid be zoced almost every turn. What units can do this job? Skulls, ghost and (in a lesser way) bats. Skulls can do at any moment, but further than hold your front villages, his lack of moment and the fact that can be softened by footpads without retaliation and you probably wont can mele them next turn, make them very bad attackers. Ghost hold the front very good at night, and any attemp of soften them will just give them precious xp. But they are expensive and must just retreat at day when in ulf range. Bat can be ulfed almost always, so he can cover just positions where ulf couldnt be protected by footpads after kill him. We can apply the same for ghoul, but I found ghoul quite useless vs this specific tactic, I think those 16 coins are better wasted in a da (remeber they can be ulfed, so if you are going to use him as first hitter most of times and not as holder, a da will be more usefull most of times).
I lost that game, mostly because I didnt realize until he start to outmanuever me how powerfull is footpad mp in this match up (and a map that allows use it).
A couple of months later we played the second game. My skills had improved and freelands were more familiar to me. I decided play in a very defensive way, placing skulls in front villages and a lot of da with a couple of bats and ghost behind, just in range to retaliation. My tactic was attcak the line of footpads with all my da when they advanced on my villages, be ulfed and covered with footpads, then kill a couple of footpads with remaining da and kill ulfs with ghost from the opened spot, in a hope of level early one ghost and have a total blocker during day to cover my retreat after an attack of mine. Without level a bat or a ghost, I just didnt dare to attack. That game ended with a pact of draw, and oesis recognized that at that point (he had like 14 footpads, 3 ulfs and like 70 saved money) some darves would help him. But I think the tactic (in hands of an experienced player) works ok for long time since game starts. Or well, thats what I think until an experienced player shows a way to sistematically destroy oesis using that tactic in ud vs knalgan match up :P
Last edited by tekelili on February 19th, 2010, 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
Be aware English is not my first language and I could have explained bad myself using wrong or just invented words.
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oesis
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Re: Footpad + ulf v undead, overpowered

Post by oesis » February 19th, 2010, 9:09 am

Wintermute: I can play you this weekend, or Friday if your can't wait. I am -5 time zone(eastern standard time) I think. Tell me what time your up for.
Also you say I made a big deal of not telling him my recruit beforehand, but how often do you tell your opponent what your going to recruit in a game?

Tonepoet: Ghosts are more effective on defense than I expected, though its really comes down to whether the ulf's get strong. Though really I'd say the entire game comes down to getting strong ulf's.

I think this strategy work well in early game, but if you don't win you have to eventually switch to dwarfs.

This is the game tekelili was refering to.
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Re: Footpad + ulf v undead, overpowered

Post by Tonepoet » February 19th, 2010, 1:24 pm

Wai-wai, you guys would let your bats get... attacked? Why, they're not well suited to that at all against any units. My proposal is just a strategy about out mobilizing and outnumbering the footpads so that by threatening the villages you reverse the pressure onto their territory. I suppose the ulfserkers would pose a bit of a problem if your bats actually did try to take the villages but even if the ulfserkers stay behind as a precaution, you're still better off because now you're just facing footpads. Also, just to clarify, bats would likely only be a major part of the first recruit in implementation, preferably supplemented with a level one. With the first village paying for that level one which establishes a huge upkeep advantage from the offset, making for up to some 5 additional income per turn based on upkeep. To keep on recruiting bat after bat probably would be silly though, as they're not combatants. Still, it's just a theory though, the bat might be faster than the footpad but it's not a whole lot faster and after much thought I'm not entirely sure I'd want anything more than two or three unit types at all in this fight though and there are certain units I'm sure I'd avoid. I'm going to remain tight lipped on which is which though since I can't explain the specifics*.

Oesis, consider for a moment that the Ulfserker has five traits and can only have two each at any given time. Your chances of getting a strong ulfserker is less than half each time you recruit. So if your strategy relies upon this, I'd actually assume you'd fail most of the time against the more reliably built ghost (no traits means you know what to expect, every time). Of course, you're more likely to get the strong trait with each Ulfserker although I'm curious: what's your footpad:ulf ratio, how many do you have of each on average and how many do you need to be strong? It doesn't look like you use many ulfserkers at all: just a few for each side to instant-kill the adepts.

I must say though, this second replay is rather stellar, if not only because the match is quite nicely played on both sides. Kill loss ratio is 7/7 with what I'd guess is a very even economy due to village occupation of the Footserkers and the level zero pricing effect from the undead. Please do finish the match, I wanna see how this cliffhanger ends. XD *As an eager observer I don't wanna speak about the game specifics of an unfinished match.
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Re: Footpad + ulf v undead, overpowered

Post by Wintermute » February 19th, 2010, 1:36 pm

oesis wrote:Wintermute: I can play you this weekend, or Friday if your can't wait. I am -5 time zone(eastern standard time) I think. Tell me what time your up for.
Also you say I made a big deal of not telling him my recruit beforehand, but how often do you tell your opponent what your going to recruit in a game?
I wasn't trying to imply that you should tell your opponents, I was just asking how well this works in later games - when your opponent might be expecting it. As I see it, a gamble like this (or other crazy stunts) might work really, really well if it catches your opponent off guard. I have doubts that it will work well against an opponent that is aware of the strategy. Then again, footpads have really rocked against UD after they were buffed a while back. Let's find out how well this works. :) Also, have you noticed it working better on certain maps, or as player 1, or are those non-factors?

I'm also on EST, and I'm in no rush. I'll hope to catch you Friday or Saturday, and we'll see what happens!
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Re: Footpad + ulf v undead, overpowered

Post by F8 Binds... » February 19th, 2010, 2:28 pm

I definitely made some big mistakes in my game, but I am among few that didn't know his strategy before he started. The double bat was due to a misjudge in how far the ghost was away from a certain village and so I felt like I needed to make up for it with that bat; I probably would have been fine looking back. Definitely not my most splendid performance. I do think the matchup when under surprise though, has some merit.
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Re: Footpad + ulf v undead, overpowered

Post by 5dPZ » February 19th, 2010, 7:05 pm

I can see what is happening here, in terms of combat (tactics excluded). Pad is chaotics so UD could not take advantage of time of day. And Pad is versatile, that is, both melee and ranged.

If UD player makes an offense and got bad luck, ie. failed a "should-kill", he will face heavy consequences - loss of units who usually already weakend by retaliation damage, free loss of DAs to ulfs, skeletons got pinned by pads etc etc next turn, which can be easily 40-50g loss and in tough situation to retreat due to pad's speed.
If UD attacks and got average luck or good luck, he would generally get a pad kill (14g) and he would cover his units with tough units to prevent dwarf's counter next turn. Usually it's hard for UD to go for another pad kill cuz it may be risky not killing it, or his army spread out too much to cover from ulf / pad zoc. And dwarf can choose to fight or retreat next turn cuz pad's speed and ease of forming a 60%-70% def line.
Summery: UD good luck - 14 or 28g kill. UD bad luck - 50g loss and hard to run.

If Dwarf player makes an offense and got bad luck, usually, pad's attacks are free (aka, no retaliation from UD), so it's easy to pin something - if bad luck, form a line of pad, secure ulfs and ready to counter next turn. And if UD counter attack next turn, pad can deal reasonably good retaliation damage.
Summery: Dwarf good luck - 16g+ kill (ghoul or DAs) and pad line pin next line of UD units for free; Dwarf bad luck - 0g loss, just give offense to UD, the same pad line UD faces anyway.

As we know that wesnoth is random and statistically speaking, dwarf can win with average AND good luck and UD win with only good luck. In addition, dwarf's pad/ulf setup can cope with bad luck better (retreat, retaliation damage, ulf's ignore luck on DA) and take adventage of good luck more (zoc, trap, free damage on chase).

Note: I discussed pure risk management here because I did mind-simulation aka, self vs self assuming both side have same skill level.

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Re: Footpad + ulf v undead, overpowered

Post by oesis » February 20th, 2010, 7:00 am

Well here it is the game against Wintermute. I posted the replay at the top.

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Re: Footpad + ulf v undead, overpowered

Post by Wintermute » February 20th, 2010, 7:12 am

I got kicked! It is an interesting strategy. For the first game I took a random leader and opened with a recruit that was specifically done to be "caught flat footed" (2 adepts, 2 bats, ghost, skel) but that I might play in a regular game. The result is that I got clobbered. I took a bad early risk and lost a ghost, so between that and my recruit I am interested in playing again with more focus put into stopping this opening knowing that it is coming. It is about as powerful a scout rush as I can imagine. Just one more reason to never pick your faction (to let him know that you are UD). Thoughts after a rematch tomorrow.
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Re: Footpad + ulf v undead, overpowered

Post by Tonepoet » February 20th, 2010, 9:19 am

I'd like to reiterate that it's only natural that Oesis has an advantage when he can put a disproportionate amount of his initial gold towards getting a unit known to perform well against another faction. The most pertinent question is if it's an advantage that can be realistically applied. Assuming we fight random, like most of the top tier players suggest it's not because this disproportionate number of footpads would fail to even pose a threat against any other faction faction. Therefore you'd have to split the difference into units more effective in other fights, even if they'd be less geared to this one in particular, ergo a well balanced recruit. Otherwise, you're taking a 5/6 shot of losing against whatever faction isn't undead.

For this to be really unfair, one would have to be able to utilize it after at least turn 3 when they finally get the recon as to what faction they're facing, by which point it may be too late. They'll either had to recruit other, less strategically well suited units which in turn alleviates your pressuring abilities vs. undead and less optimally utilizes your upkeep or you'd have had to sacrifice some income from village collection forcing you away from those vital Ulfs.

While I'm not a militant randomist myself, it's for reasons like this that top tier players usually insist upon everybody using a random faction: Certain units simply work better in certain match-ups. (I'd come up with a list of what and why but it'd bloat up the post, so I'll refrain unless specifically asked. I think you guys are aware though...) Therefore, I'd imagine it should be considered just as much of an assumed setting as Fog of War, 70% exp. or 2gpv.

So while I appreciate your noble intent, with all of this put in consideration, I'd really like to ask "When's the last time you've seen somebody recruit six footpads at the start of a regular game?" It's rather unrealistic I'd say. Still, it poses a fun puzzle though. I really want to try my hand with it myself and have been waiting in the lobby for 5dPZ's attempt at this to end. It's at its 29th turn turn at the moment though so I highly doubt I'll get the chance today. I'm not watching it live so I don't know how it's going but the combatants are probably both highly weary. Maybe tomorrow though, if I'm lucky.
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Re: Footpad + ulf v undead, overpowered

Post by 5dPZ » February 20th, 2010, 9:30 am

Playing a hard game (when typing this), UD has trouble offending and the pads are very versatile, hard to catch them, they stick for the win with luck, or run away with bad luck. Hard for UD to win on Freeland.

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