When should I recruit bowmen instead of spearmen?

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When should I recruit bowmen instead of spearmen?

Post by Sanae_Kotiya »

There doesn't seem to be a lot of effective difference between the bowman and spearman - a spearman has a slight edge on raw offense, but a bowman's alternate attack is better so it might have an edge in attrition. They both have the same move, cost, and damage type. I suppose a bowman is better at finishing off injured melee units, and a spearman at injured ranged ones...

How do you prioritize bowmen and spearmen? Do you prefer one over the other, to mix the two in some ratio, does it depend a lot on what enemy you're fighting?
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Re: When should I recruit bowmen instead of spearmen?

Post by Velensk »

Spearmen have two critical advantages over bowmen. The 7-3 spear turns to 9-3 at day and can be affected by strong. That's a kind of breaking power that bowmen can't reach. The other is more hp for the same cost.

This makes spearmen the naturally preferred frontline for a generic enemy. This is pretty typical for the average wesnoth faction, that the melee units are generally more efficient and will thus make up the bulk of your forces. The combined arms mechanic comes in the fact that if you attack melee units with melee units you will generally suffer at least as much damage as you take and at the same time, if you attack a ranged unit with a ranged unit it's the same thing. When looking to attack without suffering damage you can most effectively do so by having available the unit who specializes in a type opposite the one that your enemies front line is composed of. And then, you contrive to arrange it so that on your counter attack your enemy cannot as easily do the same thing to you.

The usual result, is that generally the advantage of ranged units is in that melee units are more common and more likely to be in the front line. Occasionally you'll find yourself in a position where your enemy is attacking you with ranged units and you may wish to make a front line of bowmen (like if you're facing undead and don't want to put a fragile mage on your frontline). As such, a lot of it comes down to what style your enemy is playing.

That said, you'll almost always want to have more spearmen than bowmen because bowmen just don't give you as much power or toughness and your frontline units usually need to be more numerous than your offensive arm.
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Re: When should I recruit bowmen instead of spearmen?

Post by iceiceice »

My 2 cents: I almost never get bowmen, and definitely not when I don't know opponent faction. I think you would pretty much always rather have a spearman vs orcs or undead, I would also not want a bowman vs rebels, I don't think they are cost effective vs. elf fighters or archers... I guess a bowman or two might be fine vs Knalgan? If there's an ulf you might regret though.

Pretty much the only reason I would get bowman is vs drakes, to help whittle down clashers. Even then I think I would still want at least 2/3 spears 1/3 bows.

You should maybe get a few of them in a mirror vs. loyalist to help fight enemy cavs probably. But cavs are so bad vs spearmen that even this might be questionable.

The problem with them is, their hp and melee is bad, so they are a liability against enemy line units, and while being ranged is an advantage, their ranged attack is not that good. In cases where I want ranged firepower I usually prefer mages.

Edit: I guess there is some case to be made for some bowmen vs grunts, but it is not my style I guess.
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Re: When should I recruit bowmen instead of spearmen?

Post by Chief_Chasso »

Speaking strictly SP here- bowman can have their uses, especially as they level up. The longbowman's range damage equals that of the pikeman's melee, but the longbowman also has their own melee. Same as the Master Bowman compared to the Royal Guard.
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Re: When should I recruit bowmen instead of spearmen?

Post by Sanae_Kotiya »

I'm not saying that bowmen are a bad unit, I just wish they had some more difference from the spearmen so they'd have more of a unique role of their own.
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Re: When should I recruit bowmen instead of spearmen?

Post by Crow_T »

I generally do about a 2-1 ratio of spearmen to bowmen, then recruit accordingly to what the enemy has brought out. Bowmen serve as great bait, it seems the AI prefers to take them out first.
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Re: When should I recruit bowmen instead of spearmen?

Post by Ank »

And the answer would be almost never ... bowmen are decent but there lies the problem : lots of units aren't pierce vulnerable on the contrary they tend to have pierce armor.... if u were talking ork bow then yeah its a must have because of an alternate fire atack...
But being a loyal bow u would only want him when:
a)u can't afford a mage but still need some ranged support
b)u are attempting a spam strategy and wish to numerically dominate the opponent (like a drake player thats about to be raped by a steady stream of spear and bow averaging at a 14gold a unit vs his average of 'round 20 a piece')
Its (ab)use is mostly limited to campaigns when its worth having a ton of leveled up bowman and a few haleibard/hvy infantry/royal guards as shields for them since the ai usually trows a ton of melee only units and the supports it has can often be killed by just 1 or 2 haleibard or hvy infantry ... excepting an undead scenario the bowman spam will decimate just about anything with ease...
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Re: When should I recruit bowmen instead of spearmen?

Post by Crendgrim »

Ank, please take your time to write actual words instead of using textspeak (PG #1a).
The way you write makes it really hard to understand what you are saying, especially for people whose mother tongue is not English.

Thanks :)
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Re: When should I recruit bowmen instead of spearmen?

Post by The Great Rings »

Use bowmen if you're fighting melee units that aren't resistant to them like skeletons are and you can't afford mages.
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Re: When should I recruit bowmen instead of spearmen?

Post by sedmi_patuljak »

I like bowmen. I like spearman too. I also like that little goblin of the northerners. The point is that if we only recruit the most efficient unit and stop there we would end up playing with less than half units from the roster. I am more prone to use all units, and have greater mix, both efficient and less efficient units. Even if I know what faction I am playing against I would recruit units that I know are less efficient against that faction among other units I recruit.
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Re: When should I recruit bowmen instead of spearmen?

Post by firefox »

Bowman are the Loyalists ranged combat force along with mages. I remember that some players said that the mage is superior to the Bowman, because of his magical attack. But I do not think so:

:eng: First thing is: the Bowman has more Hp than the Mage, so it is not only a cheap alternative.
If the Mage is unguarded he can easily be killed, while the Bowman might survive the attack.

:eng: Second: The magical properties of the Mage's attack are very effective aggainst units with high terrain defense.
But it does not really matter if the enemy is on terrain where it has low defense, e.g. flat, sand, swamp, water. (I know some units are good in theese terrains, but most are not.)
If the 'magical' weapon special is not the needed, the Bowman is superior to the Mage, not only because of his prize but also because of his Hp. The same goes for their advanced versions. And btw the Bowman needs only half the Xp to advance.

Of course you will mostly have more melee units than ranged units, but you will alwayshave a mix of Bowman and Mages. (Except vs. the Undead)

Now for the difference between Bowman and Spearman:

Of course it is possible to smash grunts and trolls with your strong spearman, but they will take a lot of damage in retaliation.
Bowman can attack without retaliation and only recieve damage while defending. They have less Hp than the Spearman but they also recieve only half of the damage.
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Re: When should I recruit bowmen instead of spearmen?

Post by roidanton »

Well, I don't have much experience playing MP with Loyalists, but I do have some playing against them. I mostly play survival maps, but have some decent experience with Isar's Cross - Rebels are my favorite faction.

When playing Rebels, Spearmen are a lot more difficult to deal with than Bowmen - mostly because they have firststrike. Firststrike makes a huge difference at day, because even if this unit is badly wounded, it still deals a significant amount of retaliation damage thus making it almost impossible to be killed by melee units during daytime.

However, if you recruit (almost) exclusively Spearmen against me, you're as good as dead. Even with daytime bonus and the 'strong' trait, you still can't easily kill an Elvish Archer on Forest - in addition to that, your units will be weak during the day and can't level into anything that has any decent ranged counter-attack. They'd be an easy target for my Marksmen at night.

Having some Bowmen in your arsenal changes the picture - their melee counter-attack is stronger than the Spearman's ranged ones and they could also level into something more that can't be killed so easily.

You can't really say this unit is better than that one - they all have their individual advantages and disadvantages.
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