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Thread: How to use chariots? or elephants?

  1. #1
    pardon my klatchian Member al Roumi's Avatar
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    Default How to use chariots? or elephants?

    Big noisy and supposedly terrifying, Elephant and Chariot units are pretty iconic but I rarely find myself using them. In history their use grabs the headlines but in RTW2 Iím yet to see them live up to that.

    I have fond memories of using Pontic chariots in R1 but I've made very little use of chariots so far in R2. Access to them is restricted by the siege building chain, which I donít much go in for until Iím established (the units aren't flexible enough) and there arenít many varieties of the unit to choose from.

    Iíve tried using elephants in a few early Carthaginian and eastern faction campaigns, even as Roman auxiliaries, but found them to be an expensive liability. Especially if I auto resolve a battle, as the Elephant units almost always get decimated.

    I wonder if Iím using the units correctly, or if the game unduly penalises these units in its RPS abstraction of reality.

    I imagine elephants are at their best when charging in to a mass of melee infantry, even head on, and when Iíve been able to do that they are quite fun and destructive. Iíve not tried, but is the same true against a phalanx of pikes? Perhaps notÖ What about cavalry? In R1, elephants were the rock to cavalry scissors, but Iíve not noticed the ďscares horsesĒ tag anywhere.

    As to chariots, should they also be used to plough into melee infantry? I imagine them to be somewhat weaker/less melee-resilient than elephants, so would only use them as an enveloping/flanking force to attack enemies already engaged with an anvil/defensive line.

    The extreme vulnerability of both elephants and chariots to skirmishers makes them very hard for me to use effectively, with any consistency anyway. This is especially true in AI battles given how Iím usually on the defensive (hello zerg rush) and outnumbered (so the enemy has more troops of its own to flank/envelop mine, or outflank my flankers), and how it brings quite a lot of skirmishers who tend to sit back once the melee units have charged Ė and would decimate either elephants or chariots sweeping round for attack exposed backs or flanks of the enemy melee line.

    Because of the ď2nd lineĒ skirmishers, I generally prefer to use cavalry to flank as they are faster and more of a threat to ranged units. Another reason why chariots and elephants donít get on to my army rosters much.

    How do you use elephants or chariots? Do you make regular use of them? Are they just a rare and expensive liability?

  2. #2
    A Livonian Rebel Member Slaists's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to use chariots? or elephants?

    Hmm, for me, when I play as Carthage or Seleucids, elephant generals save the day in the early campaign while the faction cannot afford sturdier regular troops.

    I engage the enemy with cheap infantry and then charge the elephants into the rear or flank (preferable one flank) of the engaged enemy. Do not let the elephants get bogged down in melee in one place. Charge in and then just follow through charging the next unit, then the next. Due to their huge mass, elephants will just push through resulting in a mass route in no time. This works best when elephants charge into a flank of an extended enemy line and then just continue charging through the whole front.

    In field battles you have to have some cavalry to support the elephants though (light cav is usually sufficient). To be more exact: cavalry needs to keep AI's skirmishers away from your elephants. Pachyderms are extremely susceptible to missile fire (especially fire missiles). Beware of missile cavalry: those can spell death to elephants, especially if handled by a human player.

    I am not qualified to comment on chariots: I rarely use them myself.

    p.s. In Carthage's campaigns, I use elephant generals to a great effect in walled city defense battles. I hold the area by the gate with cheap hoplites (garrison units usually) in phalanx formation. I allow the AI to engage the phalanx. Wait a bit for exhaustion to lower the morale of attackers and then charge elephants into the rear of the blob. A mass rout usually almost instantly. Again, you have to beware of the AI skirmishers on the other side of the gate: those can kill elephants or force them into a frenzy.

    Elephants are great anti-heavy cavalry units as well but only if they catch a cavalry unit in one-on-one battle without other AI's units joining in. In the latter case, elephants die easily.
    Last edited by Slaists; 05-09-2014 at 14:24.

  3. #3
    pardon my klatchian Member al Roumi's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to use chariots? or elephants?

    Thanks Slaists! After the early game where I usualy commit my generals as part of a reserve, i mostly choose high armour/shield bodyguards (e.g. Hoplites) rather than an offensive unit and don't use the general for much fighting - just to keep him alive.

    Have you ever used elephants ("native" Carthaginian, or Roman auxiliaries) against Gauls or Celts? Some of their skirmishers are a bit tougher than your average Italic/Hellene.

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    Member Member Kamakazi's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to use chariots? or elephants?

    Chariots in my experience require a lot of micromanaging to be effective. You cant let them get bogged down or they will just sit and die. Elephants have always been used in my armies as nothing more than an exotic pleasure
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    Provost Senior Member Nelson's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to use chariots? or elephants?

    In my current Pontus campaign, chariots have been awesome. As Kamakazi says, you mustnít let them stop moving in melee. However, they are devastating against light troops and the flanks of just about anything. Just drive through the enemy. Hundreds of kills for a chariot unit is common when they are managed carefully. I have charged them into small settlements and wrecked the garrison just driving to the other side of town.

    This is not good history since as a game feature chariots seem pretty over powered. Elephants can be effective also but they can go berserk. Chariots wonít.

    When undergoing attrition due to terrain, chariots suffer mightily, at least the one man models do.
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    Member Member Jarmam's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to use chariots? or elephants?

    Both units are viable with careful micromanagement. My biggest problems with them both is that they:
    Require a lot more careful babysitting than a solid unit of cavalry
    Die off waaaaay too quickly in autoresolves or if you get attrition

    So I've given up on them. The only "reliable" way to use them effectively as a staple in an army is if you fight every single battle manually, and that takes beyond forever on Legendary. This alone ruins them for me :( Also, Companions are just so bloody terrifying that I don't feel like I need them as Seleucid.

    But to the elephants' credit, at least they can un-amok in Rome 2. I hated how in Rome 1 they would never, ever un-berserk no matter how many hours you left the game open just to test. This makes the amok-mechanic a lot more functional, so if I can dig up a mod to address the resolve-problem I could definitely see Elephants as part of an army, since the effect on a melee line by Elephants is unrivalled. Also they are excellent substitutes for the disappointing Hellenic Cataphracts.

  7. #7
    A Livonian Rebel Member Slaists's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to use chariots? or elephants?

    Quote Originally Posted by al Roumi View Post
    Thanks Slaists! After the early game where I usualy commit my generals as part of a reserve, i mostly choose high armour/shield bodyguards (e.g. Hoplites) rather than an offensive unit and don't use the general for much fighting - just to keep him alive.

    Have you ever used elephants ("native" Carthaginian, or Roman auxiliaries) against Gauls or Celts? Some of their skirmishers are a bit tougher than your average Italic/Hellene.
    Yes, I have used them aplenty against Gauls and Celts while playing with Carthage. Don't use them against skirmishers though. That's what your fast moving cavalry is for.

    As to generals: Carthage has only 2 general types: elephants and cavalry (no armored infantry). The cavalry bodyguard unit is abysmal for Carthage since it is a half-sized unit of medium tier cavalry. Elephant generals though become staple of my Carthaginian armies.

    As to autoresolves: cannot do those with chariots and elephants, period... Even regular cavalry suffers disproportionately in autoresolves unless you have a 100% cavalry army. I have long stopped using autoresolves in RTW2 unless I have an army full of one type of unit...
    Last edited by Slaists; 05-12-2014 at 15:50.

  8. #8

    Default Re: How to use chariots? or elephants?

    In my opinion the chariots are the most devastating unit in the game!!! They are weak against Hoplites, but other than that they are amazing. If they are used against any infantry they absolutely destroy them. I play the game on legendary and regularly they win battles for me with some chariot units logging 200 kills. The chariots are also a very fast moving unit. I mostly use them to break enemy lines and quickly kill any unit that utilizes projectiles (bowman, archers, slingers etc). There is a reason chariots cost so much.

    If you have a really experienced general and the units have enough XP/upgraded armor you can even take a couple units of chariots and charge a Hoplite unit staright on. I think the best way to use the units it to have about three chariot units and 3 cavalry units to support them. Try this strategy and you'll be amazed!

  9. #9
    Member Member Kamakazi's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to use chariots? or elephants?

    Chariots are best used when micromanaged. Run them into a unit and then run them directly out behind... This must keep a repetitive cycle or they will bog down. Elephants are always a guilty pleasure for me honestly so im not well versed in them.
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  10. #10
    Member Member Sp4's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to use chariots? or elephants?

    From what I read in this thread so far, it seems that chariots and elephants are like cavalry that are more expensive and require more micro.

  11. #11
    Stranger in a strange land Moderator Hooahguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to use chariots? or elephants?

    Yes they are more expensive and require a lot more micro, but they are also a lot more devastating.
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