When are Javelineers useful?

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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by otzenpunk »

patience_reloaded wrote: May 11th, 2020, 1:29 pm Not-so-fancy skills like steadfast with low blade and impact resistances or an additional move shouldn't break a campaign too much though.
Maybe, maybe not. But why? In your last contribution you were concerned, that the lvl3 javelineer would be too much better than the ranger, and now you want to make the lvl3 javelineer even better, by giving him an additional skill and some more resistances? I just don't see any reason for this. It's pretty normal for units to not get additional special abilities while progressing, except more hitpoints, more damage, etc.

See for example the Saurian Skirmisher->Saurian Flanker. It's just more damage, more hitpoints and an additional movement point. The same with the Elvish Hero line, or the Orcish Archer, the Ghost/Wraith line, Skeletons, Skeleton Archers, Mermen Spearmen, Loyalist Bowmen,…

In fact, even an additonal movement point probably wouldn't really be necessary, although I like the idea. Steadfast on the other side doesn't really match the javelineer's appearance in my opinion, as he's a pretty fragile unit with even less hitpoints than the lvl2 longbowman.
About the attack damages: It turns out that we have quite a big window for discussions here, depending on the targeted role of the lv3 Javelineer. Once the role has been figured out precisely, we can compare him to other balanced units with similar or same role(s).
Actually, the window is quite small. The lvl2 javelineer has got 8x3 melee. It doesn't make sense to leave this the same when leveling up, and even the lvl3 Master Bowman, in comparison, has got 8x3 as well, (although no first-strike). So the lvl3 javelineer must deal significantly more damage than this, to justify choosing this path, or it's just not worth it and it's better to develop Master Bowmen instead, and keep leveling spearmen into pikemen or swordsmen.

On the other hand, halberdiers have just got 15x3 pierce damage (and an additional, but even weaker blade attack). So the javelineer has to stay significantly lower than that with his melee attack, or Pikemen would completely lose their legitimation, because why would you sacrifice your ranged attack, when you could get both? In the end I don't see any possibility here except 10x3 or 11x3.

The same considerations apply to the ranged attack. If it's too strong, it devalues the pikemen/halberdiers, if it's too weak, it discourages from developing javelineers at all, because the combination of halberdiers/master bowmen is so much better. So I think the ranged damage must become about the same magnitude as with the melee attack, with slightly more flexibility regarding if you stay with 2 strikes, but considerately stronger, or if you add another strike and then leave every single one pretty much as they are, because you don't want to get too close to the master bowman ranged attack of 11x4.

I also don't understand, why there has to be a special role now. The role is simply "do what spearmen do, but better, with a slightly more concentration on ranged capabilities". It's the player's duty to find out what to do with them, but I already made some suggestions before:
Tactically they would be able to better reach important defensive positions, either to fill gaps created by unexpected losses somewhere else in the frontline, or to advance in front of the army to occupy villages or important mountain or forest tiles, and defend them until the arrival of the main force.
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by revolting_peasant »

patience_reloaded wrote: May 11th, 2020, 1:29 pm - Orcish Nightblade
Nitpick: That's rarely/never available as an advancement from Orcish Slayer.

More significantly, though, I think you're putting too much emphasis on _only_ the damage stats in choosing Javelineers; remember HP, resistance and movement are also significant.

Now, the Javelineer is/should be better armored than a Bowman of the same level, and that should be true for L3 as well. Not sure about how their HP should compare though. Probably, the L3 Javelineer should have similar-or-a bit more HP than the Bowman and much less than the Halbardier.
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by shevegen »

I think they are ok. They are not as good as the other advancements I think,
but from what I remember playing with them, they are quick to level up
and fairly cheap then. I view them as a bit cheap and expendable level
2 units. Don't even care much when they die.

Elvish Rangers is my favourite unit from the standard ones, often due
to ambush in forests, but also because it has more hitpoints than the
sniper. The elvish fighter is also ok.
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by Ktonian »

I didn't read everything, so I may repeat what some of you say.
I think that javelineers are basically a defensive anti-cavalry unit that is interesting to have against loyalist and is mostly for multiplayer games, not campaign. They are also quite good against archer, but it's not it's main role.

Against cavalry, they will strike hard enough to retaliate when they are attacked and will attack at range, dealing a lot of damage against them while taking little to no damage.
Against archer, their melee attack is superior to most Lvl2 archer while their resistance reduce the archer's range damage outpout (there is some exceptions, I know) and they will retaliate with a strong enough attack to be threatening.
They are especially effective against early game loyalist since they are resistant to archer fire, spearman attacks and horsemen charge.

Something that surprise me is that most people didn't talk about javeleneer synergy with some strategies and loyalist units... I mean, it's a strategy game, right?
At early game when there is little to no other tier 2 unit, they are strong enough to weaken most ennemy for your other units to kill them, no matter if it's at range or in melee, making it a good unit for helping other to level up.
In the middle of a fight, their ranged attack is strong enough to soften a fragile and/or already damaged unit to a point where it can be trampled in one shot by a horseman or knight charge, and that permit you to save a bowemen's action from time to time.
Finally, hiding them just behind pikemen and/or swordsmen make them a nightmare for piercing-weak units with little to no ranged retaliation possible (so, mostly for loyalist cavalry).

It's true that in the long run they are underwhelming compared to the two other options as they dont have an evolution and have lower HP, but they are a multiplayer unit first, just like the lancer.
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by revolting_peasant »

Ktonian wrote: June 7th, 2020, 2:56 pmI think that javelineers are basically a defensive anti-cavalry unit that is interesting to have against loyalist and is mostly for multiplayer games, not campaign.
In my opinion, that would not make sense as a justification for Javelineers:

1. Mainline faction units are for use both in campaigns and multiplayer.
2. A unit's raison-d'etre can't be the defense against 3-4 other kind units in the whole damn game.
3. Thematically/narratively, Javelineers don't fight cavalry. For cavalry it's either the bow, or a nice, long, stirdy, fixed blade weapon. Javelins are for attacking slow units from a (not so much of a) distance.
Ktonian wrote: June 7th, 2020, 2:56 pm It's true that in the long run they are underwhelming compared to the two other options as they dont have an evolution and have lower HP
Well, let's let them level-up then.
Ktonian wrote: June 7th, 2020, 2:56 pmbut they are a multiplayer unit first, just like the lancer.
The Lancer is a fine campaign unit. A nice Glass Canon...
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by firefox »

in other games Javelineers are usually anti-archer units, so i guess that's how they work here too.
seeing the Pikeman having the same resistance and more hp seems to debunk that argument, but the lack of ranged attacks still makes them easy targets, especially after rushing forward to attack.

then again, balance is supposed to be faction based, not unit based, so the Javelineer might just be that one niche unit that doesn't have much use outside of specific matchups.
the same goes for the Necromancer. it's weaker and less durable than a Lich and only exists to keep the Dark Sorcerer's human traits.

regarding the Javelineer, i think they can be used as early defenders against drakes and elves.
elves specialize in archery and have low hp as well, so the Javelineer can better retaliate. Longbowman are stronger but still bested by elven archers.
drakes can burn the Pikeman if he doesn't kill them first, the Javelineer's ranged attack usually prevents them from attacking with fire.
saurians are used as counters to loyalists, and while they do excel at mobility, the Javelineer has more hp and stronger attacks than skirmishers.
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by patience_reloaded »

firefox wrote: June 24th, 2020, 9:39 am in other games Javelineers are usually anti-archer units, so i guess that's how they work here too.
In other games, there are true ranged attacks. A ranged anti-archer unit isn't equally important in Wesnoth since any unit (melee and ranged) that can survive the archer's attack can take the anti-archer role next turn (units with strong melee are better at this, so I might even prefer pikeman for that). The archer doesn't have the advantage of true range, to attack, he needs to be in melee range of his enemies.

Also, the "archer class" in wesnoth doesn't always deal pierce damage imho, so the pierce resistance doesn't work well always. The attacks aren't necessarily great either. I'll list what I might consider "archer class" units, as well as how good the Javelineer works against it in my not always accurate estimations:
- human archer: good
- elvish archer: good
- drake burner: medium (bad defense, but good damage)
- orcish archer: medium-bad (bad defense due to fire arrow, generic damage)
- dwarvish thunderer: medium (good defense, but reduced damage)
- poacher: good
- skeleton archer: bad (good defense, but horrible damage)

I conclude that in my opinion, the Javelineer is a good counter only to the archer type units of half of the factions.

The mage-type units might be another discussion:
- human mage: medium (bad defense, generic damage vs low-hp-unit)
- saurian augur: bad (bad defense, reduced damage)
- orcish assassin (the closest thing to a mage I could find for the northeners): medium (bad defense, generic damage when factoring in Chance to hit)
- elvish shaman: ... no idea. Depends largely on whether or not the entangle hits, and usually, a shaman shouldn't be alone.
- dark adept: medium (bad defense, generic damage)

not a very good counter-unit in these cases either.

TBH, for me, much speaks against the use of Javelineers as an anti-archer unit, except in certain specific situations.
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by darkfireslide »

I think the argument is a little hyperbolic that the javelineer is useless or doesn't have a purpose. This thread I think is clearly looking at things from a campaign perspective. In something like HttT, sure, you wouldn't want to use a javelineer because a Halberdier or Royal Guard or better yet Grand Knight is a much better choice. But let's talk about MP scenarios where such a thing might be more relevant. Getting a unit to level 3 in MP is a rarity except in FFA and even then it's still very odd.
In terms of stats the Jav is similar to a Elf Hero or Dune Explorer. The Elf Hero does more melee damage at 8-4 but deals less range at 6-3 while the Explorer is only actually better at twilight in 1.14. with 8-4 on both of his attacks but those are usually at -25% damage meaning really it's usually 6-4. Javs by comparison do 8-3 with first strike and 11-2 with 40% pierce resist and 20% arcane resist while also having more frontloaded damage which can help avoid retaliations similar to a Thunderer. Moreover, during the day the Jav does more damage than the Elf Hero and certainly more than the Dune Explorer most of the time. The drawback of course is that he cannot advance to level 3, but in MP/skirmish this isn't an issue since most games end before level 3 units.

A Javelineer is a better choice than Swordsman or Pikeman in many matchups:
Drakes- most drakes have a ranged attack, and Javelineer can retaliate where Swordsman and Pike cannot, and that retaliation is 11-2, better than pretty much all level 1 ranged units, plus this unit comes with first strike and 8-3 pierce melee. This unit is terrifying for a drake player.
Loyalists- Loys have a lot of units that can't retaliate to ranged attacks, and the Jav has a nasty ranged attack against Cav/Horse, who will lose most of their health from one attack from a Jav. Unlike archers, Javs can't be safely run down by Cav and especially Horsemen thanks to first strike with pierce damage, which is enough to kill a charging horseman in retaliation (20-3 during day if my math is right, and I might be lowballing here) if the horseman misses even once.
Northerners- Northerners also have many units that have no ranged attack and here the Jav can be used to weaken enemy units to level other level 1's, while still being able to use melee against Archers and Assassins. They also better resist being run down by Wolf Riders thanks to their higher HP compared to the Longbow.
Knalgans- similar to Northerners, many Knalgans have poor or no ranged attack, meaning the Jav can soften them up or get free damage, including fighters, thieves, gryphons, and arguably guardsman as well.
Dunefolk- most Dunefolk have a ranged attack and while they generally resist pierce, having that retaliation option again deters a lot of attacks or makes attacking a Jav very costly.

So all in all the Jav is a good well-rounded unit that is great at exploiting an opponent's weakness without being too specialized. It is a unit that is a great promo to take, except that the greed for a level 3 is too much most of the time. Their best place imo is against Drakes where they are easily the best promo, but Loy and North are both great options too, especially if you need to transition into more ranged quickly after your initial deployment.
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