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Thread: Shock vs. Spear: Some tests

  1. #1

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    I decided to test the effectiveness of shock troops against spears. The spear unit was Chivalric Sergeants, costing 563 florins at valour 2. All units in this test have their cost reported at valour 2. All units in this test were valour level 2. The map was Agincourt.

    Round 1: vs. AUM, Cost 450
    Winner: Chiv Sergs
    Killed: 37
    Lost: 42
    Rout with: 19 left

    Round 2: vs. Ghazi Inf, Cost 394
    Winner: Chiv Sergs
    Killed: 29
    Lost: 53
    Rout with: 7

    Round 3: vs. Byz Inf, Cost 394
    Winner: Byz Inf
    Killed: 90
    Lost: 38

    Round 4: vs. CMA, Cost 619
    Winner: Chiv Sergs
    Killed: 64
    Lost: 49
    Rout: With 11

    Round 5: vs. Jan Inf Bow-Melee hybrid, Cost 787
    Winner: Chiv Sergs
    Killed: 45
    Lost: 51
    Rout: with 9

    Round 6: vs. Jan Heavy Inf, cost 2081
    Winner: Jan Heavy Inf
    Killed: 86
    Lost: 27

    Round 7: Gallows, cost 394
    Winner: Chiv Sergs
    Killed: 37
    Lost: 38
    Rout: with 23

    Round 8: vs. Chiv Foot Knights, cost 1406
    Winner: Chiv Sergs
    Killed: 42
    Lost: 31
    Rout: with 9

    Round 9: vs. Miltha Sergs, cost 337
    Winner: Chiv Sergs
    Killed: 27
    Lost: 43
    Rout: with 17

    Round 10: vs. Byz Vangaurd, cost 1125
    Winner: Chiv Sergs
    Killed: 75
    Lost: 48
    Rout: with 12

    As can be seen, Chiv sergs kill nearly everything.

    Some Observations....

    -Byz Infantry LOST when they were not in a broad, two man deep formation.

    -Jan Heavy took to many deaths considering cost difference

    -Chiv Foot Knights, a 40 man unit, are USELESS. Despite a very high cost, they were annihilated.

    -Fights were even at first. However, eventually the shock unit was worn down and began to get flanked, as the formation was destroyed. Those units killed by shocks in these tests were killed within the first half the fight.

    -Shock is basically useless as a front line unit. Byanztine Infantry is the only shock unit that holds up in front line duty. All the others are overwhelmed by the massive numbers of spear troops.

    -Shock need to become better at holding up. That could be done by increasing their armour, giving them bonus vs. spears, or by giving them higher units strength. I would suggest bonus vs. spears, as shock that was 80+ could handle cavalry no problem. Check out what Byz Inf does to cavalry, for example. Increasing armour would further reduce the effectiveness of high damage output and cavalry units.


  2. #2

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    thanks a lot. great stuff.
    stranger in strangeland

  3. #3
    Member Member NARF's Avatar
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    Great tests clock, we all appreciate it.

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  4. #4

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    I am a little surprised that the chiv foot knights would loose to the chiv sergeants. I did kind of the same thing with feudal foot knights and feudal foot knights and the feudal foot knigts cut through sergeants pretty easily.

    Hmmm...interesting.

    JoBeare

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    Senior Member Senior Member 1dread1lahll's Avatar
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    Agreed, small bonus though as spears still suffer more from flank attack (spears can expect to hold the center of your line and expect to be met by a simular force in the enemy center)....so changes should not be too aggressive....but yes.... perhaps spears could suffer a larger penalty when "disorganized"?

  6. #6

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    Awesome work, Clock. I believe in the patch something is being done to make sword/pike more effective against spear.

    Also - tell us what sort of formation you had the Sgts in - how many deep?

  7. #7
    Member Member deejayvee's Avatar
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    Did you only do one test per unit type? I think to get a true picture you'd need to do at least 5 tests per unit type and take an average.

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    Senior Member Senior Member Dionysus9's Avatar
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    Keep up the good work.

    I agree with DeeJay...to truly get a grip on the relationships you need to run multiple tests.

    Since every attack/defense of every man in every unit consists of a random number, you might think you could just ignore the random factor "in the wash" (i.e. so many random events, their effect would also be more or less even for each side). But, you cant.

    If one side gets a lucky streak early in the matchup, they will massively win what would normally be a close fight. This is made even more of a problem with 20 man units, since they have so few chances to kill (per round) compared to a 100 man unit.

    The first few rounds of combat is the most critical, and you might be suprised how much results can vary over 10 tests.

    Hunter_Bachus

  9. #9

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    Shock units SHOULDN'T be good at frontline duty. They never were. That is what spears have always been for.

    I don't know what all the uproar is about. It seems that people want to be able to throw in a bunch of swords frontally at a spear wall and just win just cuz, no tactics, no thought, nothing. It doesn't work that way. It never did.

    Legionaires were able to frontally beat Phalanxes, but this was because they would first hurl a deadly hail of pila, then rush at the enemy in 3 successive waves of superbly armed, trained and disciplined troops.

    You can't expect to come against a fresh and unsoftened spear wall with a smaller unit of less surviveable troops and have excellent results. Its called tactics, its called realism.

    Del

  10. #10
    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Del the Pilum only entered the Legions after the conquest of Greece. The Legions weren't even very proffesional at that time. Most of the soldiers were normal citizens called up for service.

    It was after the campaign in Greece that the true Legion was born. They got the excelent swords from Hispania (spain) and had learned that spears could be deadly from the Macedonians. But they wanted a flying Phalanx, so the Pilum was introduced. Finally they also realized that their empire was now so large they needed a standing army rather than calling up troops when needed.

    So you see the troops faced by the Macedonians were not those Elite troops of later times. But then again the Romans won by both luck and tactics.

    Finally, we are talking about SPEARS not pikes.

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    LunaRossa clan Member Vinsitor's Avatar
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    Spearmen won only because of they are 100 men against 60.
    Byza won because of they are 100 instead.
    Men at arms kill much more than spearmen, but they have more losses IN PERCENTAGE with their number.

    Shock troops had not to fight "front-to-front" because they cause a lot of kills, but are more vulnerable IN THE FRONT than a unit with a large shield.

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    Clan Takiyama Senior Member CBR's Avatar
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    Romans used both the pilum and gladius in the second punic war about 50 years before the battle of Pydna.

    afaik they never could beat the sarissa phalanx by frontal assault. Winning the cavalry battle on the flank(s) and exploiting holes between the Macedon units becasue of terrain was how the Romans could win.

    CBR

  13. #13

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    What if you attacked one 100-man spear unit with 2 60-man shock units of equal total cost?

  14. #14
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
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    I did some tests myself. Each test was done three times and the shock troops were put out in a single long line. These were done on the map "Campaign Milan"
    Slight advantages like hills probably distorts the results but I tried to get the levelest ground available.
    These aren't upgraded valour, armour, sword or anything like that just basic units.

    Feudal Spear vs. Feudal Man At Arms
    Round 1:
    Winner: Feudal Man At Arms
    Kills:
    FMAA: 65
    FS:6

    Round 2:
    Winner: Feudal Man At Arms
    Kills:
    FMAA: 75
    FS: 14

    Round: 3
    Winner: Feudal Man At Arms
    Kills:
    FMAA: 60
    FS: 14

    Chivalric Sergeants vs. Feudal Man At Arms
    Round: 1
    Winner: Feudal Man At Arms
    Kills:
    FMAA: 79
    CS: 35

    Round: 2
    Winner Chivalric Sergeants
    Kills:
    FMAA: 43
    CS: 37

    Round: 3
    Winner: Feudal Man At Arms
    Kills:
    FMAA: 71
    CS: 29

    Conclusion:
    The FMAA is ABLE to beat the higher level spear units in an equal valour fight. It still is a close fight and it doesn't secure victory. But because the FMAA is much cheaper than the CS that means it can be upgraded for less and is a more cost effective unit. I think the reason they won was because with one long line all of the shock troops are able to attack instead of standing waiting for the others around them to attack also. Also the long line allows the ends to a little bit of flanking which kills the enemy faster.

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    LunaRossa clan Member Vinsitor's Avatar
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    Yes I experienced the same situation putting the Man at arms in a line wide the same as the spear's one or a bit wider.
    In this case their front could kill much more keeping the same losses and could outflank without being outflanked himself.

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    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Did you do it in Normal or Hard? Normal is actually a little easier for you (enemy seems to be weaker) and Hard a little harder.

    Try and do it again with a friend instead (you can't really just play as the spears as the MAA won't spread out).

    This tactic of spreading out can actually win a head on battle of heavy cavs vs spears, but then the cav needs to be in loose at first.

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  17. #17

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    Try using the shock units in wedge. Using wedge changes the way that enemy soldiers are pushed back (away from the attacker, instead of straight back ) and this tends to disrupt the spear units, and prevent them getting rank formation bonues.

    I've increased the costs of spear units, and improved sword armed unit's performance against them in the patch.

  18. #18

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    I can't imagine whatever for, LJ. The tests in this thread seem to indicate that spears are indeed where they should be. Do I not see the FMAA beating the Spears and the CS? What is the problem?

    --

    Kraxis, the Legions most definitely did have the Pilum when the conquered the Greeks and they most definitely did have a professional army. It was not a standing army like those of later days, but it was definitely professional.

    They would line up with light Velites in front, to harrass and hurl javelins at the enemy.

    The first line of the Legion proper was the Hastati. They were organized into 120-man maniples which would line up with the space of a maniple in between each two. They were made up of the common class, and had run-of-mill armor. They would hurl their Pila and charge in on the enemy.

    After the Hastati came the Principii, organized same as the Hastati. They were made up of the higher classes, and had the best armor. They would charge in to fill the gaps left between the Hastati maniples.

    Behind all of these were the Triari, hoplite-style spear-armed troops. These were mostly old veterans who were just staying on for the ride. In case of emergency, they were there to back up the rest of the army.

    Of course all these three were used quite differently under Scipio Africanus, on one or two occasions even using each as an independent frontline contingent.. and these revolutionary methods led to the eventual development of what is know as the Marian legion, which is probably what Kraxis is thinking of-- homogenously armed, organized into larger Cohort formations, usually arrayed in 3 lines which would take turns fighting in front.

    Del

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    Swarthylicious Member Spino's Avatar
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    Quote I've increased the costs of spear units, and improved sword armed unit's performance against them in the patch.[/QUOTE]

    Yikes, I didn't want to hear that. I hope the sword unit vs. spear modifier is minor. Have you guys thought about increasing the morale penalty for spear units with no protection on either flank and/or being flanked? This would more than make up for their edge against sword units in a head on confrontation.

    Geez, am I the only one who alternates spear and sword units on the front line with spear units on the flanks? If you're low on cavalry units having spear units on the wings is one of the best ways to counter an enemy keen on wide flanking maneuvers using med-heavy cavalry. I also try to have a reserve sword unit stationed near the spear units on the wings to counter any sword infantry that tries to swarm or flank them.
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    Wolves Member FasT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by longjohn2:
    Try using the shock units in wedge. Using wedge changes the way that enemy soldiers are pushed back (away from the attacker, instead of straight back ) and this tends to disrupt the spear units, and prevent them getting rank formation bonues.

    I've increased the costs of spear units, and improved sword armed unit's performance against them in the patch.
    [/QUOTE]
    Nice now it may be getting balanced out a little

  21. #21

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    spmetla, I don't think your tests are very accurate when dealing with an actual battle. A long line is excellent in one on one. But in battle, any calvary charge, and wedge, anything with good attack is going to chew through your formation and spit it out, causing major problems for the unit.

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    Member Member Cardinal's Avatar
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    Now, that was interresting. However I though the point of shock troops was to use other units to wear down the opposition, and when they thought it could not get any worse, throw in the Heavies...?

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    The very model of a modern Moderator Xiahou's Avatar
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    Well, spear units were still under-priced when you consider how easily even the basic spear unit can slaughter calvary that is much more expensive. I feel that a slight price increase is justified. Also giving sword units a bonus will probably make for more interesting online battles since they'll now be a much more viable alternative to spear only infantry.
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    Member Member DrNo's Avatar
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    Spmelta, your tests are valid and would work in small scale battles. But imagine if you had 16 FS vs 16 FMAA, the map is only so wide and manouveing a unit spread 60 men wide is a little on the tricky side.

    AS anyone tried LJ's wedge tatic in tests yet?

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    Member Member Ligur's Avatar
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    Buh, you'd need a forum for "MTW Multiplayer: The whine-o-rama" and then just MTW.

    The SP game and campaign have horrible bugs and there is a lot to improve, even if it is enjoyable as it is (if you don't crash to desktop). I wonder how much of that is heard under the MP clamour...

    Sorry multiplayers, I know there is a big issue with the play balance, and its swarming the board with "FMAA vs Spear vs Valour 2 vs Cavalary sucks vs swrods can't beat a bigger spear unit with a frontal assault wtf omg fix"

    A lot of, say, archer issues don't show in the single player. And so on. I'm beginning to believe you'd need to have two different costs / stats for SP and MP.

  26. #26
    Member Member Ligur's Avatar
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    Oh and good post Faceless, a lot of the stuff can be used in SP too.

  27. #27

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    I checked out wedge tactics yesterday with a few shock. FMAA, Abyssian Guard, and CMAA I think. Anyway, they lost still. They did take more with them, though.

  28. #28
    Member Member Deamoclese's Avatar
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    Well here's what I tried:

    60 Chivalric men at arms (0 valor) against 100 chivalric sergeants (0 valor). Tested this 12 times... 6 times using wedge formation for shock and 6 times using line formation for shock. (Hard difficulty, flat terrain - no hill bonuses - lush terrain)

    I set the MAA to wedge formation and the sergeants into their usual deadly wall. 4 times out of the 6 the shock troops beat down the sarge's (usually around 15-22 MAA left at end of fight). The wedge was amazing as in a few seconds (not immediately) they did indeed push right through the middle of the formation of spears and broke them into 2 poorly organized groups basically - losing their bonuses. It worked like a charm.

    However, on the 6 attempts by using the MAA in a close single line, the sergeants beat the MAA 5 times out of 6 (the only time MAA won was a fluke kill of their general).

    So yes, formation makes a world of difference. I've started using purely shock in my SP campaign using wedge formation... I rush them at the enemy while 1-2 cavalry squads rush in from the sides in wedge as well... the wedge tears the spear units up very quickly into disorganized units. Still heavy casualties, but I'm winning fights I otherwise would have lost using longer wall-type formations with shock troops.

    Just be sure you are not defending using wedge.. make sure you are the one charging (you will die FAST if you just stand their in wedge while cav charges.. make sure to charge back - the cavalry will otherwise tear through each man in the front of the wedge 1 by 1 until they hit the back of the wedge - very unpleaseant since all the damage is focused on 1 unit at a time, killing them quick).

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    Senior Member Senior Member Cheetah's Avatar
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  30. #30
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
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    argh, in real big battles you don't need ot have the units right next to each other you can have them behind too.
    like this:

    //// //// ////
    //// ^^^^ ////

    /: swords
    ^: archers

    this way the first row engages an the second row starts moving to the side and then flanks. Or just through them into the rabble, when used as rabble they'll usually be able to push the enemy back and then i have one of the two units engage another unit from the newly opened rear.

    Also the two rows seem to make them better vs. archer fire when moving because the archer trajectory is already badly off but now they only have 2-3 rows to hit.

    I hope i explained my point well, im not too good at explanations so just humor me for the moment.

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