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Thread: Why use heavy infantry when I got elite pikemen?

  1. #1

    Default Why use heavy infantry when I got elite pikemen?

    I found out that whenever I use any faction that has elite pikemen - Makedonia, Ptolemaioi, Epiros, Kardasthim, Seleukeia and Pontos, I find no use of it's elite heavy infantry it offers. These elite pikemen can easily double as elite heavy infantry when I disable the pike formation. Their melee ability is just as great as the hypaspists, or Galatian heavy infantry, or Sacred Band hoplites, or Galatian wild men, or the Ptolemaic Royal Guards, Armored Hellenic Spearmen, whatever. Even if they do have weaker melee, the elite pikemen more than compensates for it with their vastly superior numbers (in huge setting they number a whooping 240 men per unit!).

    And besides, hypaspists are insanely expensive. Doesn't seem like a cost-effective unit for me. I just recruit them for the sake of roleplaying (I.e royal guards garrisoning the capital or surrounding the King in each battle), or if I am too lazy micromanaging pikemen.

    Is there a tactical advantage of using them that I may have not noticed? Can any experienced EB player shed some light in this?
    Last edited by Slim_Ghost; 04-28-2008 at 13:26.

  2. #2
    EBII Hod Carrier Member QuintusSertorius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why use heavy infantry when I got elite pikemen?

    Don't a lot of the heavy infantry have javelins (which pikemen don't)?
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  3. #3
    Whatever Member konny's Avatar
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    Default AW: Why use heavy infantry when I got elite pikemen?

    Using EB phalangites constantly as swordmen would be an exploit IMHO. They have some very high stats (mass and shield value) that are needed to work properly under phalanx and guard mode but do weired things when used "free for all". Phalangites without pikes would be best displayed by the EB Peltastai.

    Disclaimer: my posts are to be considered my private opinion and not offical statements by the EB Team

  4. #4
    Now sporting a classic avatar! Member fallen851's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why use heavy infantry when I got elite pikemen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slim_Ghost
    I found out that whenever I use any faction that has elite pikemen - Makedonia, Ptolemaioi, Epiros, Kardasthim, Seleukeia and Pontos, I find no use of it's elite heavy infantry it offers. These elite pikemen can easily double as elite heavy infantry when I disable the pike formation. Their melee ability is just as great as the hypaspists, or Galatian heavy infantry, or Sacred Band hoplites, or Galatian wild men, or the Ptolemaic Royal Guards, Armored Hellenic Spearmen, whatever. Even if they do have weaker melee, the elite pikemen more than compensates for it with their vastly superior numbers (in huge setting they number a whooping 240 men per unit!).

    And besides, hypaspists are insanely expensive. Doesn't seem like a cost-effective unit for me. I just recruit them for the sake of roleplaying (I.e royal guards garrisoning the capital or surrounding the King in each battle), or if I am too lazy micromanaging pikemen.

    Is there a tactical advantage of using them that I may have not noticed? Can any experienced EB player shed some light in this?
    Why not reduce the price or bump the stats of heavy infantry to balance it out?
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    Wannabe Member The General's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why use heavy infantry when I got elite pikemen?

    Units tired by the fighting against phalanxes, taking a few volleys of javelins and then receiving a flank/rear charge are very likely to break. While elite phalanxes can execute the charges, they don't possess javelins, and, well, I'd find it a bit odd, roleplay-wise, not to use the units intended for those aforementioned roles, and instead use phalangites as heavy infantry.

    And, well, what konny said.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Why use heavy infantry when I got elite pikemen?

    Well against the battle AI in RTW, pikes in phalanx mode are mostly rubbish compared to sword infantry in single or multiplayer. Or in RTW for that matter where you have god-like visibility of the battlefield and can immediately issue orders to units which immediately obey at all times, the pike in phalanx mode is pretty much junk.

    Having said that, have you dug deep into the stats given that the numbers don't always tell the whole story in EB? If they are indeed better at melee, even sans javelin that doesn't make sense, unlesse their cost is appropriate.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Why use heavy infantry when I got elite pikemen?

    You would want to use heavy infantry on the walls; or to do the flanking manoeuvres. Or to stop a unit of Hetairoi crahsing in your rear.

    If you would use Argyraspides for that job you would take more casualties; as well as waste valuable front-line width.

    Basically put: you use the elite infantry precisely because they can operate in small; dangerous and highly mobile units. That leaves more men to do the grunt work.
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  8. #8
    theweak-themighty-the CRAZIII Member craziii's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why use heavy infantry when I got elite pikemen?

    I actually position my elite pikes on the sides of the lines, so I can use them on the back of enemy infantry. by using move instead of attacking, I can mow down 1 infantry unit any caliber around 15 secs or so(attacking will make your pike unit almost stationary doing zero dmg, moving it in phalanx formation and from the back of the infantry unit to the front stopping as necessary will kill them very very fast.) heavy infantry with jevs are use as unbreakable line holding in defense mode(in this mode it stays in formation, dying very very rarely to the assaulting enemy while the pikes kill them from behind.).

  9. #9

    Default Re: Why use heavy infantry when I got elite pikemen?

    I prefer heavy infantry to any kind of pikemen because of their relative mobility.
    "I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams." -Hamlet, II, ii

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  10. #10
    EBII Hod Carrier Member QuintusSertorius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why use heavy infantry when I got elite pikemen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dhampir
    I prefer heavy infantry to any kind of pikemen because of their relative mobility.
    Precisely why I won't play most of the "civilised" factions in the game. Can't stand pike blocks.
    It began on seven hills - an EB 1.1 Romani AAR with historical house-rules (now ceased)
    Heirs to Lysimachos - an EB 1.1 Epeiros-as-Pergamon AAR with semi-historical houserules (now ceased)
    Philetairos' Gift - a second EB 1.1 Epeiros-as-Pergamon AAR


  11. #11
    Stranger in a strange land Moderator Hooahguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why use heavy infantry when I got elite pikemen?

    same. i can whip almost any mainly pike army with my highly mobile getic units. mobility is the name of the game my friend. pikes are not....
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  12. #12
    Descendant of great Herakles Member Torvus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why use heavy infantry when I got elite pikemen?

    See, now, I'm exactly the opposite. I love pike blocks, and i couldn't care less that they can't move very fast. however, i always make sure to include heavy cav, skirmishers and heavy infantry in my pike armies. most of the time, even if I'm the one attacking, the enemy will rush towards my line. so mobility is not an issue.

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  13. #13

    Default Re: Why use heavy infantry when I got elite pikemen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Torvus
    See, now, I'm exactly the opposite. I love pike blocks, and i couldn't care less that they can't move very fast. however, i always make sure to include heavy cav, skirmishers and heavy infantry in my pike armies. most of the time, even if I'm the one attacking, the enemy will rush towards my line. so mobility is not an issue.
    Hm, maybe it's because I'm using the Darth/Sinhunet AI mods, but whenever I build pike blocks at best the AI throws 2-3 units on the flanks of either side of the block then flanks with half of their army while the other half sits back in reserve. Effectively meaning 80% of your pike block is doing nothing. It's pretty rare the enemy charges full on against the breadth of the block.

    In real life of course no enemy can afford not to engage the entire length of the line, but in simulations where we can see all and never have communications break downs we need not bother doing that.

    Same concepts make pikes a joke in multiplayer vs competent opponents in a 1v1 or 2v2. They basically become crappy close combat infantry that can't hold the line because humans are rarely dumb enough to play to the pikes strength. You can use them in a 3v3 or 4v4 if you're in the middle of a cohesive front though, but that's about it.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Why use heavy infantry when I got elite pikemen?

    In real life of course no enemy can afford not to engage the entire length of the line, but in simulations where we can see all and never have communications break downs we need not bother doing that.
    Unless you play with General Camera on huge unit sizes.

  15. #15
    Member Member Nachtmeister's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why use heavy infantry when I got elite pikemen?

    Quote Originally Posted by craziii
    I actually position my elite pikes on the sides of the lines, so I can use them on the back of enemy infantry. by using move instead of attacking, I can mow down 1 infantry unit any caliber around 15 secs or so(attacking will make your pike unit almost stationary doing zero dmg, moving it in phalanx formation and from the back of the infantry unit to the front stopping as necessary will kill them very very fast.) heavy infantry with jevs are use as unbreakable line holding in defense mode(in this mode it stays in formation, dying very very rarely to the assaulting enemy while the pikes kill them from behind.).
    Good (and historically realistic) tactic if you are up against a smaller, all(-heavy)-infantry-army that simply walks into your center - preferably even not equipped with pikes of their own. That way you'd have zero casualties.
    Actually I do the same with just two pantodapoi phalangitai units in my (pontic) full-stack armies if opportunity arises. However, blocking with heavy infantry doesn't work so well when attacked by a pike or heavy cav unit and your flanking pikes behind enemy lines are very vulnerable to charges from behind; in my experience even the AI rarely throws everything at the center of my frontline without holding back some (heavy inf and cav) reserve units.
    Heavy infantry has the advantage of staying power even when completely surrounded (i.e. a unit of hoplites attacking an enemy phalanx from behind and then being in turn rear-charged by enemy heavy cav will simply about-face its rear line of men and fight back at the cavalry right after initial charge with few casualties as compared to the same happening to any pike unit, even the elite ones).
    They are also faster to deploy than phalanxes because you don't have to enter strict row formation before becoming effective. Using "run" instead of "attack" until completely "mixed" with a lighter unit pinned by a phalanx on the other side and then giving the "attack" command (otherwise in the way you use your elite phalanx) will yield similar fast results, maybe not instantly killing, but usually causing the enemy to rout.
    If you find yourself on the defensive side facing superior numbers, heavy infantry is better/faster at guarding flanks as they can block charges without first having to "rotate" into the right direction.
    Finally, javelins (i. e. as used by Thorakitai) come in VERY handy when a hard-hitting enemy unit routs but still could return to the battle at a later time and you don't have any cav ready to cut them down; throw javelins at their backs as they run (far higher kill rate than against intact units facing you) and watch them fall in scores. If they do return, it will at least be in fewer numbers. While pikemen in that position effectively prevent the enemy from running, I think that the open-rear-disadvantage outweighs a potential 100%-kill-ratio.

    My basic army build (against AI in campaignVH/battleDEFAULT settings) consists of
    -auxiliaries:
    4 long-range-psiloi units (archers if available because better vs enemy missile units and can also shoot routing enemys from behind my frontline or any enemy unit not in a melee, in case of opportunity fire one volley of flaming arrows into enemy "crowds" to speed up breaking enemy morale, otherwise slingers)
    2-4 short-range-psiloi or light inf w/jav units (screening or covering archers' retreat/dampening enemy charges, holding attackers in place to be surrounded by my melee units)
    -core:
    2 pike-units (first deployed at center, then moved to pin down heavy enemy units from the front or tip off general-vs-general fights to my advantage)
    2-4 (heavy if available) sword/spear inf units (guarding flanks/surrounding units pinned by pikes)
    -mobile aux:
    1-4 cav units (at least 1 general, otherwise preferrably light/skirmisher cav for better stamina/speed; obvious cav duties, i. e. intercepting enemy cav for the phalanxes to cut down, killing archers, then charging remaining enemy melee units from the rear, finally killing any routing enemy units)
    This way I usually have relatively low upkeep and also rather low casualties although this doesn't work as well against nomad armies, but then, neither would a phalangite-flanked army.

    So, while I agree that pikemen are of some importance, a pike army without (heavy) sword/spear inf flanks IMHO is quickly out-maneuvered, consequently prone to high casualties and therefore difficult to sustain in enemy territory (unless you have gapless supply lines) and it will drain your high-mic cities of population, halting civic advancements due to constant retraining/fielding of reinforcements. Difficult to do when creating a bridge-head overseas as it will take some time to build high-level mics in new territories and sea-superiority is very expensive.

    BTW, if you're fighting an AI in a wood walled city you can use the psiloi to effectively kill half of the garrison (which never fails to stupidly run up and down the front wall until all your ammo is spent) even before you force the gates and then heavy inf or general cav are best to secure the entrance area or lure the enemy away from it while your phalangites move in, take up formation and then "move" into the gate-melee or just advance on the town square, depending on whether the general has the defenders chasing him/wearing down their stamina or your heavy inf is meeting resistance at the entrance area. For this, sometimes even one pike unit is quite sufficient.

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  16. #16
    Member Member Havok.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Why use heavy infantry when I got elite pikemen?

    Bah, its simple a matter of ego, if you like pikes go pikes, if you like swords go swords, what matter after and above all 'statistic equasions' the guys up there said, is: FUN

    i belive that resumes all
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    Member Member Nachtmeister's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why use heavy infantry when I got elite pikemen?

    Good point, Havok.

    I am honoured to have been presented with my first baloons - - by Ibrahim for tactical observations
    and with my second balloon by Christopher Burgoyne for physical elaboration on the advantages conferred by the Kontos over the Xyston.

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