I'd like to see the Northerners vs Drake installment of the series soon. Is it just me or is that the hardest match-up for Northerners?
I find that playing versus Drakes against a good player who knows how and where to concentrate his attack and when to retreat units, more often than not I cannot concentrate enough damage to kill his units while he can. Mobility sure is on the Drakes' side in this one.
A good drake player will recruit nearly 50% Skirmishers, lots of Burners and an odd Fighter or Augur (or in some cases a Glider for the last one). The Burners weaken anything without ranged weapons (and also the Orcish Archers attacking them), and the Skirmishers can - especially when they rotate in and out and concentrate on those units weakened through attacking Drakes - finish up pretty much anything. The two pierce units I have at my disposal - the Orcish Archer and the Goblin Spearman - both are inferior to the Skirmisher, never mind that the latter's low movement is unlikely to get them into a good position (or out of a bad one).
The Orcish Assassin surely comes in handy when facing Drakes - but poisoning Skirmishers in high defense terrain is an uncertain affair and poisoning Burners might leave the Assassin severely weakened. When the Drake player fields lots of Skirmishers the unit pales in comparison. It doesn't really help deal the damage to finish off the enemy, but merely delays him. Still a very good unit, especially defensively.
The odd Wolfrider can really help with the mobility disadvantage, covering flanks and such but against such a ranged-heavy faction it's a cheap target and its fire-wielding advancement is less useful against Drakes than any other faction.
The Naga, too, cannot really deal enough damage to anything but Augurs to justify a recruit unless you plan to defend water-only areas. Trolls don't need mentioning (maybe they rule against saurians in the mountains
One unit that I feel I don't quite recruit enough is the Orcish Grunt. They compare quite favourably in terms of hp with the enemy and at night can deal a lot of damage, often having much higher CTK against those Skirmishers than the other fighters. They last a turn or two on the front even against a determined assault, although they get a lot of ranged damage for nothing from burners and skirmishers - but that also means they can return the favour when it's their turn (hopefully not during the daytime).
The Orcish Grunt is the one capable damage-dealer, but only at night. That's the time the saurians are also more powerful. Together with leadership, the Drakes can almost even out the odds again... Still I recommend an unusually high number of Grunts (along with the spearmen).
All in all I would say these effects are relatively subtle, but over the course of a game I continuously find myself losing a war of attrition. The Drake player can get a kill in any turn, or he can decide to do a lot of damage for little or no cost. The Northerner player will always get return damage for the kills he makes (except against augurs), and on anything but small/bottleneck maps cannot withdraw or guard his troops from being taken out afterwards. The Drakes take what they want, the Northerners what they can. That little difference does make the game a lot harsher for the Northerners.
It's ironic because the Skirmishers used to be on the Northerners faction. Traitors!