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Thread: Why are cavalry units so slow and weak?

  1. #1

    Default Why are cavalry units so slow and weak?

    I'm playing as Hayasdan, a very good cavalry faction. I'm frustrated that all my royal kinsmen heavy cavalry, along with all cavalry in all factions, look great on paper but are horrible ingame!

    • Why are all the cavalry in this game so slow? Especially these cataphracts. I think some footmen outrun them.
    • They can't kill more than 3 men per charge it seems, even if I'm charging into something weak like Arabian slingers. Usually, they half-charge slowly into battle and kill 0-1 men. How am I supposed to take advantage of their huge charge bonuses?

    I only barely won 1v1 with royal kinsmen heavy cavalry against Arabian slingers, and that was only because they had less valor and routed kinda easily. I was losing most of the battle. In regular RTW, it would have been an instant victory for me.

    I currently hire nothing but Caucasian archers plus a few spearmen. Caucasian archers in this game are amazingly powerful for the price. I've got some royal kinsmen heavy cavalry just because my family members keep having children that come with free cavalry units.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Why are cavalry units so slow and weak?

    What battle difficulty level are you playing on?

    If you're new to EB, you might have chosen VH (Very Hard) battle difficulty, if you're used to that in stock RTW. But on that setting, the enemy units get +7 to attack, defence and morale. (Not counting the extra morale bonuses from AI generals with many command stars.) VH battle setting can make even weak slingers fight like elite units, and elite units become almost invincible. Suggest you try M (Medium) battle difficulty - that way the AI gets no bonuses other than morale gained from general's command stars.

    Regarding charge bonus for cavalry, you don't get that when fighting slingers and other skirmishers, because they try to run away rather than standing still to meet your charge like normal infantry do (unless they are already bogged down in melee with another unit.) Fighting infantry in melee, you should use alt-right click on them to make your heavy cavalry switch to their secondary weapon (mace or sword). And don't leave your cavalry in melee too long - FM bodyguards especially.

    Some heavy cavalry units have great stats but only normal stamina. Once tired or exhausted, they become far less effective in melee, and also move very slowly. Fresh, fast moving light infantry can easily outrun exhausted heavy cavalry. Another factor is that most pre-CE horses were only as large as modern ponies.

    Generally, heavy cavalry work best against the flanks or rear of heavy infantry that are already pinned down in melee with friendly infantry. For chasing light skirmishers, use fast-moving light or medium cavalry that can catch them.
    Last edited by Titus Marcellus Scato; 07-13-2014 at 03:20.

  3. #3
    EBII Hod Carrier Member QuintusSertorius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why are cavalry units so slow and weak?

    No units are motorised, like they were in RTW. They have much more realistic movement speeds. Yes, heavy cavalry may struggle to catch light infantry, you need light cavalry to chase them down.

    You need to know how to use cavalry in EB; I'd recommend reading Ibrahim's guide thoroughly to make sure your charges are actually working. Distance and formation matter. Furthermore, make sure you use Alt+double click so that they switch to their secondary weapon after the charge. If you charge right into the front of formed troops, the charge won't work.

    Personally, I think only light lancers (Illyrian Hippeis, Curepos, Thraikian Prodromoi) and Epirote FMs are worth recruiting. Heavy cavalry are knackered after a couple of charges, and thus are much less effective. You shouldn't be leaving cavalry in melee anyway, which is the only reason to keep heavies around.

    Quote Originally Posted by Titus Marcellus Scato View Post
    Another factor is that most pre-CE horses were only as large as modern ponies.
    That's not true at all. The Iron Age is characterised to an extent by the rise of cavalry as a battlefield force precisely because they'd bred bigger horses that could be used for more than just pulling a chariot. You also had breeds like the Nisean which were huge compared to the already big horses used by Thessalians and others.
    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)
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  4. #4
    One of the Undutchables Member The Stranger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why are cavalry units so slow and weak?

    cavalry are really good if used well. as said before they have specific roles, and you want to keep them fresh. if a battle goes long its advisable to keep them in reserve, or pull them back to rest for a while because a charge of a fresh unit and exhausted, is a big difference.

    heavy cavalry, especially cataphracts are used for the frontal or flanking charge, because they can just smash into even heavy infantry blocks without taking much damage in the initial charge. try to run through the enemy or smash in and retreat to a far enough distance to charge again. light cavalry and light lancers should be used for flanking and chasing down routers only. generally you dont want any cav engaging in prolonged melee, except if its cav vs cav and you cant really outrun the enemy anyway.

    i personally really like how cavalry works in EB. FM cav can win you games with charge and retreat and repeat. but if you dont use them well, then their impact is limited.

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  5. #5
    Now sporting a classic avatar! Member fallen851's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why are cavalry units so slow and weak?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leonidas9028657237 View Post
    I only barely won 1v1 with royal kinsmen heavy cavalry against Arabian slingers, and that was only because they had less valor and routed kinda easily. I was losing most of the battle. In regular RTW, it would have been an instant victory for me.

    I currently hire nothing but Caucasian archers plus a few spearmen. Caucasian archers in this game are amazingly powerful for the price. I've got some royal kinsmen heavy cavalry just because my family members keep having children that come with free cavalry units.
    I really find that hard to believe that your family members bodyguards almost lost a melee fight to Arabian slingers.
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  6. #6
    Requin Member Vincent Butler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why are cavalry units so slow and weak?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Stranger View Post
    if a battle goes long its advisable to keep them in reserve, or pull them back to rest for a while because a charge of a fresh unit and exhausted, is a big difference.
    In melee, cav vs heavy infantry will get owned, unless it is something like the Baktrian Late Bodyguard Cataphracts, who simply have the defense to keep fighting. Even so, better hoplite-style units or heavy spearmen still inflict a beating on them. The strength of cav comes from their charge bonus.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Stranger View Post
    light cavalry and light lancers should be used for flanking and chasing down routers only. generally you dont want any cav engaging in prolonged melee, except if its cav vs cav and you cant really outrun the enemy anyway.

    i personally really like how cavalry works in EB. FM cav can win you games with charge and retreat and repeat. but if you dont use them well, then their impact is limited.
    That was a surprise, coming from RTW. In that game, cav owned just about anything other than spearmen, elite cav even beat elite infantry, usually. Different in EB Even skirmishers in EB can put up a good fight against cav, or even beat units such as Equites Romani or Hippeis, and more archers in EB have spears instead of swords as a backup weapon, so cav have a more limited role in EB.
    Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: Psalm 144:1

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    As modest stillness and humility:
    But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
    Then imitate the action of the tiger;
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Why are cavalry units so slow and weak?

    Quote Originally Posted by fallen851 View Post
    I really find that hard to believe that your family members bodyguards almost lost a melee fight to Arabian slingers.
    That's what happened. I'm playing on medium difficulty level for battles. Furthermore, the pre-battle scroll said that our armies were in 1:1 strength ratio. I was attacking with only the family member's unit against just one slinger unit.

    To everyone else: Thanks for the replies. I've hardly been using my cavalry against melee infantry because my Caucasian archers usually deal with them without taking any casualties. I've been charging properly, using double alt click and (I think) starting at the right distance to get them moving fast.

    Now that I think about it, I only charge skirmishers/archers. So what I said about the charge bonus not working against any unit is wrong. As Titus Marcellus Scato says, I don't get a charge bonus vs any units that are running away, even if they're much slower than my units. I mean, even when I charge some skirmishers and leave them such little time to react that they're just beginning to change directions to flee, I still get no charge bonus. It doesn't make sense.

    Also, I know that the cavalry in RTW were unrealistic, but I still think these heavy cavalry units are exaggeratedly slow and tire out too quickly to be useful or worth the insane cost. I'll see what I can do once I'm able to recruit non-mercenary light cavalry.
    Last edited by Leonidas9028657237; 07-19-2014 at 17:45.

  8. #8
    Requin Member Vincent Butler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why are cavalry units so slow and weak?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leonidas9028657237 View Post
    even when I charge some skirmishers and leave them such little time to react that they're just beginning to change directions to flee, I still get no charge bonus.
    I have noticed that too, I have to watch, and if I don't hear their horn, or if the mouse-over description over them does not say "Charging", I will cancel the attack and move back to try again.

    but I still think these heavy cavalry units are exaggeratedly slow and tire out too quickly to be useful or worth the insane cost. I'll see what I can do once I'm able to recruit non-mercenary light cavalry.
    They tire out very easily, I didn't like that either. By the third charge, even if I hit and pull out, hit and pull out, they are already winded, and that is just Equites Romani, ditto for Generals and Hippeis.
    Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: Psalm 144:1

    In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
    As modest stillness and humility:
    But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
    Then imitate the action of the tiger;
    -Henry V by William Shakespeare

  9. #9
    EBII Hod Carrier Member QuintusSertorius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why are cavalry units so slow and weak?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leonidas9028657237 View Post
    Also, I know that the cavalry in RTW were unrealistic, but I still think these heavy cavalry units are exaggeratedly slow and tire out too quickly to be useful or worth the insane cost. I'll see what I can do once I'm able to recruit non-mercenary light cavalry.
    Unless those non-mercenary light cavalry are lancers, don't bother. Just hire Curepos, who are cheap and available all over the place.
    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


  10. #10
    iudex thervingiorum Member athanaric's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why are cavalry units so slow and weak?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vincent Butler View Post
    They tire out very easily, I didn't like that either. By the third charge, even if I hit and pull out, hit and pull out, they are already winded, and that is just Equites Romani, ditto for Generals and Hippeis.
    Equites Romani and Hippeis are moderately useful for chasing routers and killing skirmishers, so I'm not saying you shouldn't recruit them (after all, they're easily available), but if you want real combat cavalry as Romans, you should use Equites Extraordinarii for charging and the other two only as a support for them. With a tier 5 regional MIC in any Gallic province, you can recruit Brihentin, which are very well balanced multi-purpose heavy cavalry and much superior to Equites Romani. There's also Numidian and Cantabrian mounted skirmishers in their respective regions, and Illyrian light lancers (both merc and levied). Then there's mercenaries.
    After the Marian reforms, Equites Gallorum are probably your best bet. They're an improved version (more armour while retaining the same amount of stamina) of the Curepos that Quintus Sertorius keeps plugging.


    Quote Originally Posted by QuintusSertorius View Post
    Unless those non-mercenary light cavalry are lancers, don't bother. Just hire Curepos, who are cheap and available all over the place.
    Actually, Armenian cavalry are quite good regardless of armament, so I'd recommend using all of them plus Scythian Riders and Lonchophoroi Hippeis. The only problem is when you expand east, beyond the recruitment range of those units. The two units you get from most of Iran aren't bad, but they can't stand up to the superior cavalry of Pahlava/Saka/Baktria in a straight fight.
    Last edited by athanaric; 07-20-2014 at 13:50.




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  11. #11
    Requin Member Vincent Butler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why are cavalry units so slow and weak?

    Quote Originally Posted by athanaric View Post
    if you want real combat cavalry as Romans, you should use Equites Extraordinarii for charging and the other two only as a support for them. With a tier 5 regional MIC in any Gallic province, you can recruit Brihentin, which are very well balanced multi-purpose heavy cavalry and much superior to Equites Romani. There's also Numidian and Cantabrian mounted skirmishers in their respective regions, and Illyrian light lancers (both merc and levied). Then there's mercenaries.
    After the Marian reforms, Equites Gallorum are probably your best bet. They're an improved version (more armour while retaining the same amount of stamina) of the Curepos that Quintus Sertorius keeps plugging.
    I never got to Marian reforms, my campaign went slowly because of the need to send troops back for retraining, even with a Gallic army, sometimes all you get are Celtic slingers, archers, and levy spearmen, so not much ability to create a powerful fighting force, at least not very quickly, I rarely got to a level 5 MIC, too much money and time. Also, I could never get a general with the right traits.
    Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: Psalm 144:1

    In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
    As modest stillness and humility:
    But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
    Then imitate the action of the tiger;
    -Henry V by William Shakespeare

  12. #12
    EBII Hod Carrier Member QuintusSertorius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why are cavalry units so slow and weak?

    Quote Originally Posted by athanaric View Post
    Actually, Armenian cavalry are quite good regardless of armament, so I'd recommend using all of them plus Scythian Riders and Lonchophoroi Hippeis. The only problem is when you expand east, beyond the recruitment range of those units. The two units you get from most of Iran aren't bad, but they can't stand up to the superior cavalry of Pahlava/Saka/Baktria in a straight fight.
    Do they have AP lances? If not, waste of money.
    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


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