Hulavuta's Drake Strategy Guide

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Hulavuta's Drake Strategy Guide

Postby Hulavuta » March 26th, 2010, 1:31 am

This is a Strategy guide for the Drakes, since I'm kind of tired of the "Drakes are tooooo strong" and the "Drakes are sooooo weeaaaakk" topics. I'm not a pro in any way, so don't take this as the ultimate guide to being awesome at Drakes. This might also include strategies for other factions if I decide to. (Probably Orcs, as they are my second best faction in terms of skill)

General Drake Info

Young players that are new to Wesnoth would often pick Drakes or Undead to play, as they always seem the most "out of this world." Drakes being strong, radiating with power, and, all kids like Dragons. Undead for more obvious reasons, Ghosts, Zombies, that kind of stuff. Generally, Drakes are very "un-human" and therefore are drawn into interest because they are new, different. Many RPG's and Strategy games have you fighting against a dragon, rather than playing as them. Personally, I was interested by the awesome badass Saurian units, because, as a kid, like all kids, I was immensely interested in Dinosaurs.

Since Drakes would be one of the starting factions of a young player new to Wesnoth, it is somewhat of a problem that the drakes are somewhat more complicated to learn. Drakes have a lot of obvious weaknesses, but they also have many subtle strengths.

The most important things you need to know about Drakes are: They cost a lot and they have very low defense.

Along with these flaws, they also have some advantages:

Good movement, most can fly over terrain that is unwalkable.
High attack power
If I'm not mistaken, along with Elves, they are the only faction with which you can recruit healers from level 1.
If I'm not mistaken, along with Elves, they are the only faction with leadership. (Loyalists have leadership, but only if you pick a Lieutenant as your leader. And in multiplayer, people usually aren't going to send of their leader into the fray.)
Saurian Skirmishers have the Skirmisher ability, allowing them to sneak past enemies who use their ZOC to protect an important or wounded unit.
Saurian Augurs cost less, and are only slightly weaker than mages. They level up much faster, and are valuable healers.
Have lawful AND chaotic units, allowing them to fight well in all times of day.
Have fire.


As you can see, the Drakes have many advantages that are often unnoticed.

General Strategies

A normal recruit of six hexes, I would recommend 1 Burner, 1 Clasher, one burner or clasher (depending on who you will fight) and one Augur. From there you should improvise, Gliders are good to grab villages, but so are Skirmishers, who also have a decent attack power. A Drake Fighter is somewhat ideal, but a Clasher can usually hold up the Fighter's need in a battle.

Like I mentioned before, a Drake's biggest weakness is his crappy defense. You should always try to avoid road, because they only get thirty. Try anything from mountains to hills to forest, where they will get a good 40. But remember, with Wesnoth's luck system, anything is possible, so a low defense shouldn't keep you from winning.

Saurians luckily have a high defense in most places, ironically however, they only have 50 on villages, but village healing will make up for the 10 defense lost. However, it is a smart idea to leave the Saurians on higher defense, and leaving the Drakes with the 40% defense and the healing of the village.

Economy is a big part of the drakes, so make sure to grab a crapload of villages to keep your flow of units steady.

Unit Tactics

Drake Burner

A Very important unit for the Drakes. Use it to toast units with no ranged, and against units with fire ranged, like Mages or Orc Archers. It has a decent melee attack, but it is better used for ranged. Never use it to attack an Archer or Adept at ranged unless it's morning and you have a high chance of hitting. Like recruiting according to the situation, also level up to the situation. If you need a power unit, turn it into a Fire Drake. A Fire Drake is ideal for Woses because it has a blade melee and a fire ranged, the Woses' biggest weaknesses. A Drake Flare can also burn down a wose, but it is somewhat weaker than the Fire Drake. The Flare can use leadership, which will increase attack power. So if you are looking for a way to get your lvl1's stronger, you can use leadership. This especially comes in handy when you have Flamehearts, because you can make your lvl1's as strong as level 2's or 3's in attack power.

Drake Fighter

Use the fighter to do battles against non-specialists. The Drake fighter is somewhat strong, and is kind of an in-between of the Clasher and Burner, so it can do a little of both. Recommended for beginners, although when you level them up, they become a great asset. 11-3 and 16-3 is enough to kill a level 1 and maybe even a level 2.

Drake Clasher

If the Burner is your Cheese, the Clasher is your beef. They have all of the melee attack types except impact, so that's good. If you see the enemy charging with Cavalry or Archers, you can expect these guys to kick their buttocks'. Clashers have 0% Weakness/Resistance to the Drakes' weakness Pierce, so Clashers can be used to kill archers without taking extra damage. Clashers are best used to wound a unit heavily and move on, if all or most of the attacks hit, the unit can be killed by a simple attack from another unit. This is good to gain experience.

The Clasher has two routes: Arbiter (Previously "Slasher") and Thrasher (Previously "Gladiator") Thrashers are the best kind of unit you can use for melee, as they have three attacks, doing Impact Pierce and Blade, the three main melee attacks. They are useful in many situations.

If you want to continue down the killing Calvary path, get Arbiters. Their attack is about as strong as the Thrashers, but instead of a bunch of medium blows, they have 2-3 very strong attacks. They don't have impact like Thrashers, but they are still strong.

Drake Glider

The Glider can be used for many things. First of all, it's the only Drake that can get over 40% defense. (max 50%) It's not a fighter like the Clasher and Burner, but it can finish off guys pretty well. Its main use is to capture villages, but it gets stronger as it levels, and its marksman aim lets it hit those pesky 60-70% defense units.

Saurian Skirmisher

Although my personal favorite, you shouldn't get a whole lot of these. They are good like Gliders to get villages, and they have a lot of defense, but they don't take a lot of hits before going down. An Orcish Grunt hitting them at night could wound them badly if not kill them. They have other uses, as they have pierce, if you use the Skirmishers to grab villages, and if you encounter a cavalry unit grabbing villages, the Skirmisher has an advantage in both defense and its piercing capabilities. Use it to kill Cavalry and also units that flee from battle. The Skirmisher has high movement and it can also sneak past anyone trying to protect the unit.

Saurian Augur

The Augur is a magical unit, meaning it has a high chance to hit. Use it to kill Theives and units with high defense. At night, it slightly is stronger than a mage, but its main use comes from healing. Keep them highly protected, as they are kind of expensive, and are a necessity to the Drake Army. Again, advance according to the situation. If the Augur levels up in the middle of a big fight, make it an Oracle, which has strong attack power and has the same healing skills. If the Saurian Levels up in a near safe area, make it a soothsayer to protect units from poison and to heal them for later fights.

Closing Notes

Thanks for reading my guide, I'll admit it was a bit rushed, but I hope I did a good job, and I hope this will help you with Drakes. I'm by no means an expert, nor do I think of myself as one. If you haven't looked at it yet, or if you want more professional help, check out the "How to play" series, and look under Drakes.

Thanks.
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Re: Hulavuta's Drake Strategy Guide

Postby silent » March 26th, 2010, 6:56 am

while your guide does point out some good ideas hulavuta, I think there are a few detable issues within it.

Firstly, orc archers also have pierce as well as a fire attack, so you may wish to drop that idea, attacking it with a burner. It would also be more preferable to attack a mage with a melee unit because one trap I notice for drakes is having their HP worn down far too early, and getting their small yet powerful army wiped out without taking out enough of the opposition because the first few units they attacked inflicted too much counter damage back at them. (this is especially a problem if you have received too many quick intelligent units)

I also think you're wrong with the thrasher. Other than vs undead, the arbiter is much better because it can inflict slightly more damage than the thrasher at day (42 vs 40 from best attacks, non-strong), and has pierce resistance, which is very handy in all match-ups, as just about every army has, and will use vs drakes, pierce. It's first strike attack is pretty devastating as well.

The fighter could've had a bit more added to it. 6mp and great movetype allows several of them to converge on one area of battle and turn the tide quite quickly, and can be used to force the defender back further due to the extra speed, forcing them to travel a greater distance to reach you when you have to retreat.

there might be more, this is just my opinion, but hopefully this helps
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Re: Hulavuta's Drake Strategy Guide

Postby Velensk » March 26th, 2010, 11:41 am

I feel that the guide is a bit to general and that you over-simplify too much. I would take a look at my knalgan guide (which is linked to in the how to play sticky). Now your guide would probably need quite a bit less in the general section because drakes have fewer overall options, however the format I think would help you.

For example, you try to give the general utility of each unit but when it comes to it there are far too many potential situations for you to even make a good statement. If you cannot cover them all though, you should at least cover each enemy faction. There are a few match-ups where going heavy on saurians can be a very good idea (loyalists and archer heavy rebels come to mind but that isn't the only situation) and quite frequently fighters make the better melee meat as they are cheaper and faster than clashers. A units utility is dependant on what foes he is fighting.

I would also suggest that you avoid focusing on your style exclusively. I personally find that burners are not that critical a unit to the drakes except vs undead for example. I know this last bit is hard but try to think about games where you've played against or watched a drake player do it differently.
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Re: Hulavuta's Drake Strategy Guide

Postby Hulavuta » March 26th, 2010, 1:41 pm

I was planning to do a Drakes vs Faction guide later, but I was getting pretty tired and wanted to finish up general strategies.
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Re: Hulavuta's Drake Strategy Guide

Postby batoonike » March 26th, 2010, 2:03 pm

If the Augur levels up in the middle of a big fight, make it an Oracle, which has strong attack power and has the same healing skills. If the Saurian Levels up in a near safe area, make it a soothsayer to protect units from poison and to heal them for later fights.


I believe the soothsayers +8 heal/cure is better in most cases. You should rarely take the Oracle, even if it will be hit by 1 - 2 units.
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Re: Hulavuta's Drake Strategy Guide

Postby Velensk » March 26th, 2010, 3:14 pm

Hulavuta wrote:I was planning to do a Drakes vs Faction guide later, but I was getting pretty tired and wanted to finish up general strategies.


If that is the case, then don't talk about how/how much to use them. Talk instead about what role they fill and how they fill it in comparison the the other units in the faction. What sorts of situation make using them ideal and stuff like that. (The exception I would make to how to use them would be reckomending giving them priority for kills because that is something that is unlikely to change in any match-up).

So something on the lines of:

Drake fighter: A good generalist melee unit. Has good movement and a flying movetype which makes him highly mobile in comparison to other factions infantry. He also can harass melee only enemies with his ranged attack. Most useful for when you need something that can both do good melee damage and escape persuit. Levels at an average rate into a stronger form.

Drake Clasher: A more expensive melee unit than the fighter that trades mobility and a ranged attack for greator power and durability. Has slightly more resiliant than the drake fighter. Most useful for when you need something that can hold the line against melee units or deliver a powerful melee attack. When it levels it can either become just generally stronger (arbiter) or it can become a bit more versitile by adding an impact attack (thrasher).

Drake Burner: A powerful and mobile but expensive archer. It uses fire damage which is generally more useful than most other types. Most useful for when you need good ranged damage at day or need to exploit a fire vulnerability. If you can feed enough kills to a burner you can get an even stronger archer or a leader.

Drake Glider: A cheap and extra mobile scout. Generally more useful for its mobility than its ability to fight but it can lend support to combat. It's ranged attack has marksman making it decent for finishing off critically wounded elusives. It is fairly quick leveling but its leveled form is merely a stronger form of itself (though with true flight capability).

Saurian Skirmisher: Saurians physical resitances are close to the opposite of the drakes (resists pierce weak to blade and impact). This gives them some utility when it comes to countering standard drake counters. Saurian survivability is highly dependant on being in good terrain and in battle it is best if you can keep them there. The skirmisher in particular is good at stealing villages, harrassing, and holding terrain against piercing enemies. Levels quickly but merely into a stronger form.

Saurian auger: A strong support unit for the drakes in most match-ups. Adds a reliable ranged attack to the drakes nightime arsenal and provides healing. Augers are even more vulnerable than skirmishers and thus require protection but are rarely without a practical purpose. Levels very quickly and both of its leveled up forms are very useful. Definately a unit to give kill priority to if you can do it while keeping it alive.

This was just a quick mock up I made but the idea is to not bog down the critical facts about the unit with specific uses that only apply to certain situations.
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Re: Hulavuta's Drake Strategy Guide

Postby Hulavuta » March 26th, 2010, 3:53 pm

I kinda meant that I was going to make a general strategies and then faction strategies later.
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Re: Hulavuta's Drake Strategy Guide

Postby Velensk » March 26th, 2010, 8:32 pm

At least one of us is failing to communicate.

If you want what you have up to be about general stratagies/utility then you should avoid things like
Use it to toast units with no ranged, and against units with fire ranged, like Mages or Orc Archers. Never use it to attack an Archer or Adept at ranged unless it's morning and you have a high chance of hitting.


Use it to kill Cavalry and also units that flee from battle.


These are the sorts of things that should be mentioned during the more specific factional match-ups (and the section on burners could use some editting for other reasons).
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Re: Hulavuta's Drake Strategy Guide

Postby Gwynnedrion » March 26th, 2010, 9:45 pm

Personally I agree with Velensk but it isn't so that you didn't point out some good ideas. They're rather ideas then a strategical point of view. Take a look at the 'How to play' series just to see how you could refrase it. And one small remark, if you are doing the 'attack these guys and not these guys' thing, you should mention that Drakes are really bad against pierce. If your opponent used spearman and archers with the occasional healer, your in real trouble with Drakes (even if you use alot of saurians).
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Re: Hulavuta's Drake Strategy Guide

Postby Hulavuta » March 26th, 2010, 10:11 pm

Hmm, I'm positive I did mention that...

Okay, I'll try to add all of these things and then write the faction vs. part of the guide, until then, please hold off on criticism until then.Thanka
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Re: Hulavuta's Drake Strategy Guide

Postby Tyranium » April 12th, 2010, 11:32 am

What u can do with drakes against undead? is really impossible to win :S
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Re: Hulavuta's Drake Strategy Guide

Postby Velensk » April 12th, 2010, 11:58 am

That one is easier to explain with a replay but I'll try my best here.

Recruit mainly fighters and burners and be very careful. Even at dawn or dusk adepts can slaughter you with ease however if you use your superior mobility you should be able to engage your foe only at day and run away before things get too rough. Do not be afraid to give villages to keep units alive. At day the situation is backward with your units being able to slaughter his with ease.

At times other than night burners (especially ones with over 45 hitpoints) are decent for blocking adepts and fighters with their mobility and melee power are good for killing adepts. Everything on the faction that isn't an adept is very susceptible to burner attacks at day.

Gliders aren't bad especially if your enemy has many skeleton archers however they don't have nearly as much ability to kill adepts as fighters and are very fragile.

Clashers lack the mobility of fighters so they have a harder time running as night comes and chasing down undead as day approaches but they are a bit tougher and stronger than fighters.

Augers aren't extremely useful but they do help nullify the effects of poison.

Skirmishers can help if you're planning a nighttime counter-attack (especially as p2) however due to the fact that they are only really good against adepts and just about everything on the enemies side is good against them (including adepts) I would generally not recommend basing a strategy off of them.
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Re: Hulavuta's Drake Strategy Guide

Postby Yoyobuae » April 12th, 2010, 4:43 pm

Another nasty tactic I've seen undead pull off against drakes is ghost+adepts (with the ocasional bat).

Ghost wouldn't be a problem at day, they just burn too easily. But their added speed means you'll probably be defending vs them at nights.

The ghosts can simply rush in and attack with near impunity (arcane(drain) vs blade/fire vs cold at night works too much in their favor). And of course with the adepts ready to attack next turn, it's hard for drakes to survive the night.

Maybe in this case the odd skirmisher could help slow down the advance of ghosts (skirms resist melee/arcane attacks, together with good defense it severely limits the ghost HP draining).

The odd augur is good for smacking adepts with their staff. Assuming that skeles/ghouls can't reach him afterwards (ie. maybe they got ZoCed), then either the adept takes the 50% CTK opportunity (with the risk of failing and taking full retaliation from augur) or retreats. Keeping adepts off drakes is always good.

Of course, this are just functions to give to the few saurians your initial balanced recruit may have (ie. opponent randomed undead).
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Re: Hulavuta's Drake Strategy Guide

Postby siowy » April 16th, 2010, 6:11 am

for drakes against undead,

i recruit all fighters, group drakes with the same movement together(quick vs non-quick), fly around, threaten flanking manoeuvres, gang on units when you expect to deal more damage/get more kills than you will suffer in the counter attack.

burners are okay, but their different speed, higher cost makes it harder for them to fit in. all fighters works fine for me.
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Re: Hulavuta's Drake Strategy Guide

Postby Gidoza » May 2nd, 2017, 2:17 pm

My issue with this guide is in the first sentence, "All kids like dragons." Yes, I do like dragons - which is why I hate drakes. Drakes in any meaningful fantasy setting are NOT dragons (though are related), might account for one uniquely cool unit, and certainly cannot amount to a Lawful culture. They don't fit the slightest bit with any of the other Default Era factions (and neither does the Khalifate).
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