How to Play: Khalifate

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How to Play: Khalifate

Post by Computer_Player »

How to Play Khalifate


The purpose of this "how to play guide" would be first, to inform players on how to play Khalifate, a faction that plays very differently from the ones currently existing (part of why I really like them); second to further the project of mainlining through illuminating the current state of the faction with regards to balance; thirdly to get more people familiarized with them and to play them so that we can get more data / discussion. Ofcourse if we can do this by balancing the other mainline factions as well (which I believe is truly the best way), then that would be quite swell indeed.

There is a previous How to Play by Gyra_Solune, which you may want to look into as well, however of course this guide dissents on some points.

But I haven’t introduced myself. I’m Computer_player (used to go with Computer player, but spaces were banned... wonder why). I’ve been playing since 2008, and haunt the mp server. Probably (and sadly) the best player in my country, the Philippines, (which says more about my country than me) and managed to get to Top 10 ranking in ladder (mostly due to inactivity by others, but hey). Since getting wind that khalif is the closest new era for mainlining, I tried them out and was charmed by their very different play style. Of course, what follows is based on my own experience and research on this era, and indeed if you have input on the matter, please feel free to post here or the official Khalifate development thread.

Finally this guide will not cover general or basic Wesnoth play, as there are other better guides covering those. Instead this will be limited to Khalifate era, particularly using the 1.12.5 ver (which haven't been changed until the most recent development version 1.13.7).

Without further ado.

Khalifate Overview

The Khalifate has been in development for awhile, with many threads viewable in the forums over the years. What sets Khalifate apart from most other factions are the lack of magic, unusual resists, a lawful + liminal alignment, combined with a sand + hill alignment , high mobility and high average price. However the Khalif army has a lower average hp and an extremely time-limited fire power.

Let’s go over what sets Khalifate apart from most other main line factions.
Lack of magic – This not only means lacking a dedicated weak yet high precision ranged unit, but rather thematically, the faction lacks magical themes whatsoever. Khalifate have elemental dmg (fire), a way to deal higher precision damage (melee marksman), and healing (+8 healing), so in terms of gameplay you have to consider units depending on what you need. Further, you don’t have access to high powered range, so you have to deal with whittling down opponents or taking advantage of ToD opportunities instead of blasting them with arcane fury if you want to kill them through range.
Unusual resistsKhalifate have a general blanket weakness to impact damage, but resistance to blade. Further, their horse units are not as susceptible to pierce (only -10%). This throws off some unit’s normal damage output, and the unwary opponents might find themselves short in calculation.
Unique movesetKhalifate has a very generous moveset, combining near drake like mobility with near dwarf like terrain defence. Their cheapest level 1, Jundi, has 6 mp, most units enjoy 60% on hills (even cavalry), and they only spend 1 mp on sand which gives 50% def. However forests don’t give them additional cover (same def as flat), and they have no water control whatsoever.
High price – The cheapest level 1 unit is the Jundi at 15 g, higher than most faction’s similar units. The price only goes up from there.
Low staying power of cheapest level 1 units – The most ubiquitous Khalif units, the Jundi and Rami have low HP without high resists or remarkable terrain defence. Thus an army made up of these units can’t hold a line against sustained assault.
Lawful + Liminal alignment – Liminal alignment gives a malus on non-twilight times of day (i.e. dusk / dawn). Jundi / Rami majority army thus concentrate their attacks on these times, usually moving onto day when the lawful units can continue the assault.

These elements combine to make a guerrilla like faction, with a recruit profile that is almost as resist-determined as undead, and flexible like drakes. Time-space control, the combination of positional and time-of-day play, will be the key if you want to make the most out of them.

Per Unit Breakdown

Keeping in mind that it is factions that battle and not units, here are the Khalifate units and some notes on them.
Jundi (15 g) – The cheapest level 1 of the Khalifate faction is already 1 g ahead of most other faction’s unit with a similar position. It has rather weak melee and range (4-3 / 5-3 on non-Liminal), but its good moveset, especially on hills and sand gives the Khalifate much of its flexibility and mobility. It should never be treated like a “footsoldier” similar to Grunt, Fighter, or Spearman- its use should be closer to an opportunistic unit like a resilient quick Poacher.
Rami (16 g) – The other ubiquitous Khalif unit and the best unit in the faction. At 7 mp, it lags behind other faction’s cavalry (you have to depend on quick if you want to use it to get far flung vils), however it has a neat 5-2 base impact dmg and respectable 7-3 pierce base damage. This unit is the strongest liminal damage dealer, and its 60% terrain def on hills / 40% on forests combined with only a -10% pierce vulnerability means you will be comfortable sticking this where you need it.
Hakim (17 g) – +8 hp level 1 healing (!). Similar hp levels to a mage, so they are vulnerable, but they have decent 60% def on hills. Having a Hakim increases Khalif Time-space control capabilities, maximizing exploitation of attack-of-opportunities. Its 7-2 impact is nothing to sneeze at and has been known to be a reliable skeleton obliterator at liminal time. This unit is hampered by three things: The cost, since given the low Khalif fire power, you want to balance getting a healer vs an attacker; the fact that you can’t heal dead units (the low HP makes this problematic for Khalif); and Khalif play style means that you shouldn’t even be standing ground on enemy’s favorable time, limiting healer use
Falcon (12 g) – The only water capable Khalif unit which sadly does not mean it can exert water control. Similar in qualities to the bat, but it does not have the drain special, reducing its staying ability. It has a 2-3 blade that is rarely used and a gimmicky 5-1 charge which given its low HP is borderline suicidal even at the best of times (except vs adept). Maybe has some use vs drake, but it is a very unreliable unit who loses against its ud counterpart in a 1 v 1. Use this unit as a fog of war clearer and village grabber exclusively.
Arif (18g) – Unique marksman 9 -2 blade melee, a relatively tanky combination of hp and 20% blade + pierce resist and reasonable cost makes for a reliable unit. This is the staple melee unit of the Khalif (the Jundi is really more of a range unit), and as the cheapest lawful, one of the key Time-of-day extenders. Marksman means it is the go to unit for taking out entrenched enemies such as knalgan units. However don’t over estimate its tankiness as with just 2 hits on melee, it is vulnerable when missing and failing the kill, also be wary that paradoxically, it has 40% def on mountains.
Naffat (19 g) – Lawful 8-2 melee fire / 6 – 3 ranged fire means it is a unit for specialized situations, mostly that means Undead / Woses. It counters the entire undead line up, deals elemental damage vs dwarves and burns up woses (the key Rebel unit vs Khalif). So when you encounter these factions, getting Naffat is imperative. Its decent HP and 60% hill defence means that it is eminently more spammable than mages. However be wary of recruiting too many due to its cost. This is the other Time-of-day extender by Khalif. Together with the Arif, Khalif can be comfortable attacking through day towards dusk (depending on battlefield situation ofcourse).
Khaiyal (21 g) – Saving the worst for last, the Khaiyal is an overpriced unit whose main virtues are its high hp, Arif like resists, and its 6-3 impact dmg. The 20-1 melee is as unreliable as a thunderers range, but since it’s melee, there is always retal, its -20% cold means it is vulnerable to adepts and saurian augurs, and 6 mp is criminally slow for a man on a horse. Finally, its main defect is that it just costs so much. If you’re vs drake, you’re better off getting a Rami; vs Undead or HI, get a Naffat instead- both you can field for cheaper and are more effective units to boot. The only match up where this unit can be useful would be as an anti-Arif unit in a mirror match and even then I’d preferably get a cheaper unit.

General Playstyle

The regular Khalifate recruit vs Random would be one Arif and the rest mostly liminal Jundi + Rami (with an odd Falcon) for village grabbing and to threaten rush during the first twilight. Khalifate usually spread out around the map and quickly converge on particular targets upon the right time of day. The player must thus keep space and time-of-day in mind, making sure that the Khalifate are at the right place and poised to strike at the right time.

The common range allows for easy potshots ala elf vs non-ranged units, with the Arifs defending vils and mostly directing the sustained push. Khalifate win by consolidating advantages through getting a Hakim or depending on the enemy, adjusting units accordingly. However, they don't have very high gold units like Horsemen or Gryphon to invest in and Khalifate are not advised to go banking (as you lose out on opportunities for raids, further the Khalif isn't a "holding army").
Last edited by Computer_Player on May 8th, 2017, 10:29 am, edited 5 times in total.
Posts: 120
Joined: March 16th, 2008, 6:39 am

Re: How to Play: Khalifate

Post by Computer_Player »

Match-Up Treatment

Khalifate vs Drake

Key Units: Jundi, Rami, Arif (for saurians) / drake glider, drake clasher, drake fighter

This is the most advantageous match up or Khalif by far (bordering on broken perhaps?). Drake vulnerability to pierce means you will be fielding mostly a combination of Jundi + Rami. Time-space control will be key for both factions, with Khalif looking to maximize damage by attacking at twilight times (preferably kill drakes at dawn, kill saurians at dusk, ofcourse modified by battlefield situation). There will be pressure for Drakes to get Clashers, which is not a bad decision, however too many and they will effective forfeit the mobility battle.

Now if Drake moves to a more saurian heavy recruit, merely adjust by getting more Jundi and some Arifs (Drake fire resist means that getting Naffat is not advisable). These should handily destroy saurians at dawn or dusk; take note of any strong Jundi that you have and take advantage of their 7-3 melee dmg vs saurians at twilight.

Burners are surprisingly good here, as even at twilight they do good retal damage and the drake payer may attempt to use them for defence. The trouble is Arif can effectively damage them with Rami’s twilight 8-3 doing the take down. Drake gliders do 9 – 2 impact at day and at their price cost, should not be ignored. There is a possibility of a mass glider strategy, the primary advantage of which is mobility and cost. However they are even more easily killed at liminal time than other units.

Should you get the chance (at around midpoint, sometime after your first skirmish) get a Hakim to further cement Time-space control. This is also one of the matches where unit expense isn’t a problem since Drakes cost even more than your units.

Khalifate vs Knalgan

Key units: Arif, Jundi, Naffat / Drake fighter, Footpad

The number of impact damage options that the knalgans will be bringing to the battlefield seems to spell trouble for the Khalifate. There are two ways to go about this: The easy way or the hard way.

The Hard way is by following your instinct of getting elemental damage. You’re going to have to defeat the hardy dwarves through attrition damage by your Jundis and Ramis, with the main push being the Naffat fire damage / Arif against entrenched dwarves. Hakims will be essential in order to buff your HP to keep up with the hardy dwarves. Try to get the hills and mountain terrain, while flushing out Outlaws using Arif.

The Easy way is to just spam Arifs after your initial recruit, with a Hakim should the opportunity present itself. Be sure to attack only at day. Outlaws are not a problem as their evasion is annuled, whereas dwarves are hit with 9-2 daylight Arif even in mountain hexes. However dwarves do a cool 10-2 on most khalif units, and footpad does 7-2 at night. The trick here is that this is another match up where price isn’t a problem as dwarves are expensive while the cheaper outlaws are easily killable.

Should the enemy go HODOR (i.e. recruit with emphasis on outlaws and rush), don't be perturbed and use normal anti-HODOR tactics (don't let thiefs backstab, protect vils). Indeed Khalif can more easily break them due to marksman Arif which can make quick work of outlaws (especially the thief) even at night; and liminal alignment means they can do the counterattack even earlier than lawful factions. Once you have enough Arif you can keep pumping out Jundi to counter their numbers.

Khalifate vs Undead

Key units: 1) jundi, Arif, Naffat 2) Arif, Naffat, Hakim / 1) Walking Corpse, adept 2) Ghoul, adept, WC.

My favorite match up from either perspective.
Recruiting from Random, you might be able to hold off the first UD night rush (it depends) by capitalizing on the the first dusk liminal. Don’t count on it though.

Once you see UD, it is best to start pumping Naffats and arifs, which would be your best units to counter their units. Undead would mostly likely be trying to rush you with a Skeleton archer + adept combo (with zombies). Whereas you could start your counter attack at dawn with liminal units, ideally you should be getting more and more lawful units as the match goes on, creating a more ToD dependent offensive. If the enemy is heavily reliant on adepts, you can even go cheaper and get jundi to counter them.

Should the enemy start getting ghouls, merely get a Hakim (one is usually enough) to counter their poison (be wary of over extending though), as you get more day units, the ghouls get easier to deal with. If you recruited right, you shouldn't need to get more Rami, although if you lose your initial recruit units, getting them isn't bad for the line-of-sight and to neutralize ghosts/ bats, after all their impact melee is still useful vs skeleton archers and adepts.

Be very cautious of walking corpses! They are fearless, and at night even gets a bonus up to 8-2 dmg

Outdated. Disregard:

Khalifate vs Northerners

Key units: Arif, Jundi / Grunt, Troll

Right from the get go let me get this out of the way, this is one of the more broken match ups. If Northerners get many trolls at the start, you are screwed vs good player. You can have a decent go at it, but the odds are against you plus it will take some time to boot. See the thing is, once Northerners see you are Khalif, the wise Northerner will abort the 1st night rush (crazy? Well see..) and start spamming trolls... forever. Once he hits critical troll number you are screwed, because it takes Khalif two lucky Arif or naffat at day to deal with 1 13g troll on good terrain, with the Arif getting devent retal to boot (more if the troll is fearless). Meanwhile trolls deal solid dmg vs all khalif units at night (and even at day vs the liminals). You will get attritioned to death 100%.

Fortunately there are two things that make this not as hopeless as the Loyalist match up (which I will detail later). First is that the “critical troll” point goes higher the larger the map is, and it might not be feasible on the larger maps, in which case Khalif mobility would allow you to run circles around Northerners, even trolls. Second is that even on the average sized maps, not many people go full hog troll during initial recruit so you still have a chance before things hit that aforementioned situation.

Time is not on your side however but if Northerners forgo 1st Night rush, you should be able to position your units better to attack at dawn (or even 2nd watch). Push hard at day with Arifs (which would be your staple day unit as naffat is more expensive, and allows you to deal with assassins effectively) and exploit northerner vulnerability to ranged with your more numerous liminal units (depending on grunt ratio, you should get more jundi the more grunts there are). If enemy hires too many assassins, take it as a signal to get a Hakim if you already have the Arif to deal with it. However if he doesn’t, then get a Hakim when the opportunity presents itself, so as to allow you to keep up with enemy regen.

Ideally your aggressiveness will bear fruit and allow you a lead to work with and push the critical troll point away.
If the Northerners don’t cancel their 1st Night rush, things work even better since you can attack them at dawn / 2nd watch with your liminal units, pushing up your time table.

Khalifate vs Rebels

Key units: Arif, naffat, hakim / wose, shaman

Khalifate has an advantage against elf units, in that Arif can deal with the elf units and Khalif has even better healing than elf. Liminal units work at any time of day and have range, so elf can’t just attack them with impunity. You can deny them forest hexes but since you don't get a bonus and due to possible heavy hitters, it might be better to prioritize hills / mountains and just steer clear of forests if strategically possible.

There are two things to be wary of in this match up. Let’s start with the most obvious

1. Woses – This is the primary weapon by the rebel player against khalif. Even at night it poses a problem vs liminal and Arif units, and at day it does an obscene 18 – 2 damage, enough to kill most Khalif units. There is only one answer to this = Naffat. This firey unit makes short work of woses, with 13-3 range damage at day. However, it takes 2 units with 5 hits to down a full health wose, and should the wose survive, with regen it can still two hit your precious Naffat or some other unit. This is why preferably you should only attack woses when they are on bad terrain / you are on good terrain (Naffat get 60% on hills and mountains). Indeed, given how strongly lawful woses are, it could even be more advantageous to attack at dusk or even at night (7 – 3 fire at night) to reduce woses. Check how many woses there are in the enemy army and act accordingly. Woses have been known to try and kill Naffats at day despite the 15-2 retal (especially if they can soften them up with elf units first), so don’t get complacent.
Remember, a Khalif army without a naffat could all die vs a single wose, but an elf army without a wose is not as easily killed... and they still might have a hidden wose. Don’t get your Naffats killed without taking down at least one wose.

2. Shaman – Shaman is an insidious threat for the Khalif. A Strong Shaman deals 5-2 impact melee dmg, which adds up and is similar to a non-strong footpad, but similar to a footpad they are no threat if you have Arifs. The real danger though is the slow it can impose, especially on your Arif units. Slowed Arifs are very inefficient even at day, and if your naffats get slowed, that’s free reign for their wose units who can even melee you with impunity at day.

In closing, this is a unique match up in that advantageous ToD becomes very flexible, and the discerning commander listens to Sun Tzu and reacts according to the advantages presented by “Heaven” and “Earth”.

Khalifate vs Loyalists

Key units: Rami, Arif, hakim / Separman, Horsemen

As a Khalifate player let me just say you are screwed. It would be best to face the reality that you will most likely be losing this game... but that doesn’t mean you have to give up!

For one thing, you would revolutionize Khalifate balance if you could find a more viable way to increase win chance for Loyalists. For another, this isn’t a totally lost game, only likely lost. Besides, this is Wesnoth and anything can happen. I will now present my thoughts on how best to increase that marginal chance of victory.

First we must know our enemy and why this match up is the primary balancing problem for Khalif.

We will put aside Lieutenant leader which is a whole ‘nother topic. Let me just say that the strategy for this is to attack where the Lieutenant is not.

The main problem is the spearman’s, first strike, lawful aligned high melee and single shot ranged pierce, village sitting ass.
Cavalry could be shot to bits with Khalif ranged, Heavy Infantry could be ruined by Naffat (btw only reruit Naffat when HI comes into the field as it is ineffecient vs any other Loyal unit), the Fencer could easily be dealt with by Arifs, and the merman ... well we’re never going to get water control, so just have a falcon to keep an eye on the water, if water control isn’t essential then we should be fine.

But the most ubiquitous, cheap spearman is the problem, and that throws the entire match up to hell. It is very hard for Khalif to take a vil from a camping spearman from the usual 3 hexes, no matter the time of day. This is because aside from the retal damage (both vs Arif and Rami, the village grabing units), the loyalists can mount a powerful counterattack vs the damaged units even at liminal times.

There is a very narrow window of time where you could hope to have a chance vs decent loyalist player. Consider the map and where a village could be grabbed during the first dusk (not dawn) and have ready at least one Arif (two is better) and enough Rami. When it is dusk try, your damndest to get that vil (the enemy will likely have a spearman stationed there and not retreat). Get a Hakim to heal your units in the retreat (quite hard to have an opening, but it is an essential unit in this match up due to high enemy hp – you will be getting one to cement an advantage). Let it be a consolation that if this attack fails and enemy mounts a strong counter attack at dusk / night then at least the game is over quickly.

If they don’t leave a spearman and do the usual night retreat, then just take the vil, attacking other targets of opportunity instead.

Ideally this should be enough to give you some breathing space and start on a more even footing.Given this, continue getting jundi and Arifs to punish spearmen at dusk times, healing with Hakim.

P.S. always have a few Rami, especially to counter Horsemen who can charge most of your units with impunity, even on high def terrain.

Khalifate vs Khalifate

Key units: Arif

A mirror match like Loyalist mirror. Arifs counter the majority of the Khalif line up aside from the cavalry (don’t try to melee Rami on liminal time). So get those to counter Arif. Khaiyal does decent damage with its impact weapon and is not easily killed except by anoher Khaiyal, however its cost might make you want to get a Rami instead, which is speedier and hits Khaiyal decently.

Otherwise this is a mirror match so there is nothing special or additional to note as you have the same strengths and weaknesses.
Last edited by Computer_Player on May 14th, 2017, 2:08 am, edited 11 times in total.
Posts: 120
Joined: March 16th, 2008, 6:39 am

Re: How to Play: Khalifate

Post by Computer_Player »

Balance Suggestions

As you can see, Khalifate still have some balance issues, in particular with the Drake, Northerner and especially the Loyalist match-up. I would like changes to not affect the flavor and themes of the faction, especially the way it is played as a “guerilla faction”.

The following will be outside the scope of a guide since it will be regarding Khalifate balance and suggestions.
With that said, here are some suggestions/ ideas for balance.

1. Change Arif. This is my top suggestion since this will have a tangible effect on loyalist and northerner without unduly affecting drake match up too much. Now as for the particulars we can:
a. Increase Arif pierce resis to 25-30%. This might tip elf match up tho.. but elf have access to mage for powerful ranged and it would also force some variety in that match up aside from the typical wose spam. However this would also not affect the Northerner match, necessitating some other change to balance that. It would also mess up Knlagan thunder / poacher use.
b. Increase Arif damage (by 1-2 pts). This would allow a reliable 8-2 dmg even at night, which coupled with liminal attack gives Khalif a reliable village taking possibility vs loyalists. It would also give Arifs near grunt like level of damage at day, allowing for the possibility of dealing with trolls better.
c. These buffs could be offset by reducing Khalif Hp by 4 hp as needed in light of the other match ups.
2. Change Khaiyal. I find this unit incoherent and useless in nature as it has no unique role better served by other units, not only in terms of price but in terms of stats. Replace it with some other unit instead or rework it heavily to serve some other purpose.
a. Reduce gold. This is imperative as even right now it is too overpriced. Final price will depend on the other changes to be made, although something around 17g by PYRa might be feasible.
b. Make it impact resistant like other horse units, even perhaps not as much. 20% is enough to have a great effect and with reduced cost, make it a useful anti-Northerner unit.
3. Change Falcon Right now it is a very weak unit which, like I mentioned, is only useful for fog of war cleaning and village grabbing. Indeed, compared to the bat (its counterpart unit), it is very weak and loses out vs it on a 1 v 1 battle, let alone other units. Hence it surely needs some buff.
a. Marksman on Charge - Right now it Charge attack is rarely used (even for kill) since to use it is near suicide without any good guarantee of it actually succeeding, worse if it survives and takes up the hex, leaving out other units to try for the kill. By adding marksman on the charge, it would increase its utility (allowing targeting of high terrain units) and actually give it an ability that might get it to win vs a damaged bat. It is even appropriate thematically since its a falcon, a bird of prey who hunt by sight.
b. Increase Talon damage to 3-3 Its 2-3 attack is borderline useless as well because it is hard to get units down to 2 hp (hence its not used often as a finisher, compared to the bat). With a 3-3 attack it will then catch up a little on the bat's utlity in this regard.
4. Water unit. I find the lack of water control disturbing, and any map where water control is an advantage (i.e. Weldyn Channel) is an automatic malus for Khalif. My suggestion would be some sort of Leviathan unit, an intelligent gryphon-like (stat wise) water unit (we don’t have a water equivalent yet). Perhaps a particular tribe allied to Khalif (their trade partners near the ports perhaps) has come to an understanding with these creatures. They will be expensive ofcourse.

5. Chaotic unit? An outside suggestion (though not without merit) is to add some sort of chaotic unit (for the loyalist match up). Thematically it is not a problem since as desert dwellers, Khalif probably travel at dusk / dark hours of the morning. However, as for the stat of this unit, I do not know yet. There has even been suggestion of making Khalif instead of a lawful-liminal, into a chaotic-liminal faction. I think this is taking it too far though.

6. Poison unit? Given Khalif proficiency in medicine, it is not far fetched for them to have skill in the use of poison. Perhaps this will allow for a more balanced match up with loyalists and northerns.

7. Suicide / Kamikaze unit? Similar to Era of Magic's Goblin Kamikaze unit, the Khalif could employ a suicide unit to help in the offense. It will require balancing, and further the meta-implications could be enough to just not go through with this IMO. We already had enough drama with the name as it is.
Last edited by Computer_Player on May 14th, 2017, 2:18 am, edited 7 times in total.
Posts: 120
Joined: March 16th, 2008, 6:39 am

Re: How to Play: Khalifate

Post by Computer_Player »


In this section, I will be attaching some of the replays that I used for this guide. I've culled them from all the Khalif games that I could get a hold of, mostly played by me. Most of them has picked Khalifate, although most also had me asking the enemy to recruit vs Random (I recruited vs Random too).

I selected from what I felt were worthwhile replays, exemplifying a match-up or a particular asepct of it. Some of these were during when I was still forming my thoughts on the topic, and indeed during the course of the replays you can find some additional thoughts / discussion on Khalifate match up in the chatlog.

Perhaps an analysis of these replays will be forthcoming in the future (in which case they will be posted here), however for now I make them available for the perusal of others.

Khalifate vs Drakes Replays
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Re: How to Play: Khalifate

Post by Computer_Player »

Khalifate vs Knalgan (with one Hodor replay)
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Re: How to Play: Khalifate

Post by Computer_Player »

Khalifate vs Undead
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Last edited by Computer_Player on May 7th, 2017, 6:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 120
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Re: How to Play: Khalifate

Post by Computer_Player »

Khalifate vs Undead Part 2 & 3

Mass Ghoul vs Khalifate replays:
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Last edited by Computer_Player on May 14th, 2017, 2:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: How to Play: Khalifate

Post by Computer_Player »

Khalifate vs Rebels
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Re: How to Play: Khalifate

Post by Computer_Player »

Khalifate vs Loyalists
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Last edited by Computer_Player on May 7th, 2017, 6:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to Play: Khalifate

Post by Computer_Player »

Khalifate vs Northerners
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Re: How to Play: Khalifate

Post by Computer_Player »

Khalifate vs Khalifate
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Re: How to Play: Khalifate

Post by Computer_Player »

Miscellaneous Replays

Replays that didn't fit the 5 replays per post limit. Of equal quality than the others, their content are will be noted in the description.

Khalifate vs Loyalists
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Khalifate vs Northerners
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Khalifate vs Rebels
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Khalifate vs Drakes
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Re: How to Play: Khalifate

Post by Elder2 »

Amazing guide CP, you have managed to cover all aspects of Khalifate gameplay and the strategies you should use or may encounter while fighting other default factions, in this aspect you exhausted the topic. And maybe even more importantly you provided a lot of replays to show how these khalifate ideas work in reality, a theory can be verified only through experiments. All that combined makes this a better guide than that of Gyra_Solune.

Despite all that I have noticed a problem with one of the strategies you suggested for undead against khalifate, as an experienced UD player I will share a few thoughts about the mass ghoul strategy.

Mass ghould vs Khalifate as a viable strategy? Interesting, you know how much I love the mass ghoul vs orc but that doesn't mean I think it would work vs any other faction and in fact, it doesn't. Mass ghoul is sometimes ridiculed as a noob strategy, and not without a reason, it loses vs any faction except orc, and I am the only one I know who has used mass ghoul vs orc, orc is a very special case and I will talk about it later.
I don't remember seeing any non-orc 1v1 replay where mass ghoul would have worked, but I have seen some where it was used, and every time a player using it got completely crushed. Sometimes mass ghould can work on very small and specific maps like isar, I remember seeing a few games where it was used, but even there it is not very effective, isar favors defender quite a lot and that is why it may work here, but still not vs good players and it is far from being an optimal strategy. Having said all this I do not think that ghoul is a bad unit, i think in limited quantities it can be very useful but it is a support unit and you can't build your army effectively around it, well, that is except orc xD Ghoul should be used with caution since it is fairly expensive compared to eg skeleton archer which is a more effective and expendable meatshield for your adepts, and it deals low damage despite its poison. What usually goes through the minds of people trying mass ghoul is that they think they would be able to poison your whole army and wait until it dies, and then maybe they would be able to zombify it, while the superficial very good tankiness of a ghoul (which is in fact not as tanky as it looks, though vs certain units it can be tanky) would let them hold the line. But anybody who has tried it got completely crushed way before the enemy units got worn down by poison, you will not succeed before all your units are dead.

So why exactly this is such a bad strategy?
First, the counter to ghoul are high damage units which can kill it before it poisons too many units, every faction has such units except orc. The loyalist has mages and horsemen (which actually are very good vs ghouls despite their 30% pierce resistance, especially if ghouls are on flat), the elf has woses and mages, the drake can kill it with pretty much everything (better spam archers and adepts) and the knalga has ulfs.
Second, the next limiting factor of ghouls is that despite their resistances they don't have a lot of hp, not only because of the low 33 hp base but also because they do not get an traits which makes eg the elf fighter at least as tanky as ghoul.
Third, it is fairly costly, and for the cost it doesn't provide a lot of damage, it has poison but actually undead does rather poorly in the attrition warfare which poison excells for, you have high damage dealing potential of adepts, and even skeletons do good damage, while you low hp and relatively costly units don't make up for the good line holders, and you can't just spam one unit like some factions can. Now, you may try to use ghouls in the attack as support for adepts, while not the worst idea it doesn't really synergize that well with adepts, ghouls cost as much as adepts and they do not deal as much burst damage as skeletons but rather utilize poison, and your aim as ud during attack is to break the enemy line, not try to worn him down by poison since you are usually going to lose that game, this means you should rather invest in more adepts than ghouls and preferably use cheaper units to cover them liek skeleton archers.
Fourth, to use its poison you need to mele the units, it doesn't have the luxury of the highly accurate and very safe ranged poison attack of the assasin, if you are going to defend with ghouls eg vs loyalist, the ghouls will take a lot of damage even from the retal of spears despite their 30% resistance, since they do not have a lot of hp, and if they are sitting on flat it is a death sentence for the ghoul. This greatly limits the use of poison on defense as UD.
And as the fifth small reason I would name is its limited tankiness, it is tanky in certain situations, eg it car survive 4 mage hits or 2 wose hits, but it is not something a unit like a resilient spearman wouldn't be able to do. The thing with ghoul resistances is that despite it is resistant vs any kind of damage except impact, its resistances aren't particularly high vs anything like the skeletons', the skeleton archer is an amazing tanking unit not only because of its cost but also because it is very tanky against blade and pierce - a damage type of the most staple infantry units of the otehr factions, its fire weakness doesn't matter that much if you have a lot of archers, and mages take some retal from atatcking them. While ghoul on the other hand can die to spears, horsemen, elf fighters, grunts, its resistances just aren't enough to make it particularly tanky against any type of unit considering its hp.
About the mass ghoul vs khalifate, none of the replays if khalifate vs ud you posted here shows that such a strategy works, rather I saw one replay which I would classify as mass ghoul, it was on Caves of the Basilisk and ud got completely crushed with some crazy k/d ratio. Velensk was right when he said that mass ghoul wouldn't work vs khalifate but I think its not only because of the healer (which is also another reason why mass ghould would be extra terrible vs elves, the shamans nullify any poison) but also because khalifate has a high damage unit able to reliably kill ghouls during day and that is arif, on the replay I mentioned before your 2 arifs easily killed a ghoul in the village, 2 strong arifs need 3/4 to kill a ghoul from full hp during day, non strong arifs need 4/6 so 3 would be enough to kill the ghoul in the village, and the poison did almost nothing to your units because you destroyed ud before it had any significant effect.

Rather what your replays show is that the archers+adepts are a good strategy vs khalifate, adepts deal a lot of dmg and archers provide a good cover, I was thinking about such a strategy, it is similiar to the strategy vs loyalist and it seems to work, the only unit able to counter archers effectively is the Naffat, and while it deals a lot of dmg it doesn't have marksman nor magical so it isn't as good as taking down high defense skeleton archers, during day the 12-2 mele isnt that high of the damage like the mages of other factions can do, the 9-3 ranged is more close to the mages' damage but still inferior and without magical, I think it would be possible to mass skeleton archers and tank khalifate during day, in mele 3 naffats would need to hit 3/6 to kill the 60% defense archer which is a bit chancy to get, in ranged they would need to hit 4/9, this is more probably. There are also Arifs, which if strong need to hit 4/6 to kill a skeleton archer, good odds but they all need to be strong. Overall while naffats and arifs may seem like a good counter to skeleton archers, they are however way more expensive and I think the strenght of mass archer ud vs khalifate would be that it would be able to fill the front line with archers and then maybe poison the naffats, range arifs with archers and so on, what I have seen on the replays makes the mass archer strategy look promising.

I have said that I would talk about the orc matchup, and it is indeed a very special case, i have played like at least 5 games mass ghoul vs orc and I don't remember losing any of them, if done properly the mass ghoul with adepts and wcs completely crushes orc. Virtually everything what I have said why ghouls suck vs any other faction does not hamper them too much vs orc, its like all stars have aligned for the mass ghoul.
The orc has only one unit able to somewhat counter ghoul - the troll, and even that is not enough as long as the ud is camping and forms a ghoul wall. During night trolls would need to hit 4/6 vs a village ghouls to kill it, something that requires crazy luck, and even if they succeed so what? You just zap the troll out of the village with adepts and your leader if need be, and you continue to hold, you retreat injured ghouls to villages and zap the exposed trolls with adepts, preferably zombifying them as the spreading plague spells doom for orc. If done properly the orc won't be able to break your line and since you deal much more damage during the night, that is the time when you will be able to kill the trolls with adepts, doesn't sound too good for orc, right? Well I have thought that maybe orc would be able to attack during day and I remember 1 or 2 games when it happened, but even then you would be able to hold, trolls won't deal enough dmg and as soon as night comes - you have the advantage because you can start killing trolls.
The often overlooked effect of ghouls vs trolls is that when poisoned they aren't able to regenerate back their health, so it is possible to attrition down trolls with poison, especially dyring day, and during night you finish them off with adepts.
Also if orc goes too troll-heavy you add in a couple of ghosts, ghosts while not very effective vs most of the other units excell vs trolls, they probably counter them the hardest of all the units in the game, even ulfs since a strong ulf can reliably kill a ghost during day, while a non strong one struggles but still if ghost is worn down is able to do it.
The counter to ghosts would be orc archers (still they are a bit wanting when it comes to their performance vs ghosts), but orc archers get countered hard by ghouls which can insolently poison them.
Also you shouldn't try to mele units like grunts or trolls during night with ghouls, however during dawn and day you can and it can be very effective.

I hope you enjoyed my little rant about mass ghoul strategy xD I will add a replay which is one of my most crushing victories with mass ghoul vs orc, and not vs a bad player either
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Re: How to Play: Khalifate

Post by Gyra_Solune »

I somewhat wonder if the solution to the faction could be to add in a default unit. I think the Giant Scorpion, as-is, might solve a lot of problems - especially with trolls. It's absurdly resistant to impact damage and deals a bit out itself, but can also poison a little on retaliation. It might help out with Loyalist problems too: since the Scorpion is super fast it can rush in and hold ground and unlike the other fast units, the Rami and Falcon, it won't just die instantly to encroaching Spearmen if it really runs in there and forward-bases, since it has the advantage of poisoning them too unless they just plink away with javelins. Wouldn't be as big of a problem with drakes (since it has a staggering, almost baffling -100% weakness to fire, meaning a Burner jumps up to base 12-4 damage, 14-4 during the day, competitive with the Inferno Drake on normal units and exceedingly likely to outright destroy the Scorpion in one hit), wouldn't be a big problem against the Undead (since it also has a -20% weakness to Cold so Adepts and poison-immune Ghosts tear it apart), might not be a big deal for Rebels (since they're super dodgy and the 9-1 stinger is easy to evade and they have shamans to ward off poison...BUT scorpions will shrug off Woses and that's a major part of the matchup - they won't do much damage to each other though), but could pose a major impediment to the Knalgan matchup and radically shift its nature

I think it should have some trial runs with the Scorpion as a recruit to see if it's good for the problematic matchups. I think the cost won't change it too much - damn thing's 22 gold after all, and doesn't really do much damage at all, and its poison is hard to use offensively. But it seems a useful enough tool against the worst matchups to balance the odds a bit...
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Re: How to Play: Khalifate

Post by Elder2 »

I would like to propose a solution to the Khalifate imbalance problem.

Add lvl 0 "martyr" suicide bomber unit. It would have marksman 20-1 impact suicide attack which upon use would kill the unit. It would be chaotic. The unit would be very costly to make it unusable in other matchups unless strictly necessary, I am thinking about 15 g cost. Such a unit would fit in the faction thematicaly as well as solve the problem of unkillable trolls and spears. Khalifate would thus be able to break the troll wall or kill the spearmen sitting in the villages during nighttime.
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