What does Drakes do vs loyalist?

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Kalis
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What does Drakes do vs loyalist?

Post by Kalis »

Hey all.
I just played a game where I was drakes vs loyalist, and got completely demolished by massed spearmen with a horsemen or 2 mixed in.

I tried to think of a way to counter it, but I couldn't come up with one, so I decided to ask you guys :)

- augurs and skirmishers both have really low hit points and will generally die attacked by 2 spearmen, even in terrain with 60% block
- all drakes except clashers have -10% pierce, and spearmen are lawful (meaning during the day, their attack is 9-3, and 11-3 if they're strong spearmen).
- Horsemen are just horribly scary, during the day, the 8-2 becomes 11-2, which becomes 22-2 in charge.

So what do you do against that? I find drakes an interesting and fun faction to play, but I'm completely stumped here.

I considered clashers, but 19 gold vs 14 gold units meant I just didn't have enough units to fight them. And with their slow 5 movement and 30-40% block I got slaughtered anyways lol.

Similarly, I was considering burners. But 21 gold units... Even worse, their 5 movement means you can't disengage once you get in.

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Post by Radament »

You have to strike at night. saurians can do loads of damage if used correctly, and if you see to it that no more than 2 units can retaliate then they should survive. Maybe he'll have to finish your saurian off attacking from bad terrain, which means you can gobble that one up next turn.

At daytime I usually pull the loyalists into my territory and try to bite their head off when they are in too deep. pikemen hurt, but peppering them with fire and finishing them off with clashers works well. horsemen also hit hard but fall easily to skirmishers and clashers.

Still, masses of pikemen advancing in a flawless order may spell doom for drakes anytime.

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Post by Mythological »

Fighting a spearmen rush with drakes is one of the matchups I hate the most because it can be a big problem for the drake player - massing spearmen gives them at least 10% more strenght per gold than anything you can muster ( the spearmen are cheap and they have pierce weapons ), and the loyalist player can win the game by playing pretty straighforwardly - while the drakes can still win - but only if they play it smart, because the spearmen also have their drawbacks.
The biggest weakness of the loyalists ( and in the same time the biggest advantage of the drakes ) is their mobility. Of course, horsemen are fast too, but you have pretty good counters for the horsemen - clashers and skirmishers ( the later only when they are on good terain ) . Sure, horsemen deal 18-2 base charge on dusk/dawn but your cheaper clashers and skirmishers will strike 14-4 and 10-4 back respectfuly when charged , so your oponnent will take a big, unacceptable risk charging them unless he has spearmen or other units to soften them first. So the real problem are the spearmen, not the horsemen.
Note that the because of this mobility issue the outcome of the drakes vs loyalists duel is somewhat dependant on the size of the map - 2 loyalists v 2 drakes on isar's cross gives a significant advantage for the loyals, while on big maps like cunsuyan the drakes are the ones having an advantage.

The second thing that the drakes have over the loyalists is ther dual alighnment, while the loyals are all lawful. You can use that to your advantage as well.

To fight a bunch of spearman , you have to ( and if you play it right, you should always be capable to do so ) attack first, under favourable condtions. You can play without buying too many burners, only a few to initiate the attack without taking much retaliation and then you have a good chance to cover them with other units, because if a burner can be attacked from 3 or even 2 sides by spearmen it will likely die in a single turn. Burners are too expensive to trow that way. You can either buy mostly saurians , in which case you can skip the burners all together and buy augurs for range which is magical. In that case you should attack at night and pull back at day, preferably out of reach of the spearmen. You should be wery careful about the terain you put your saurians on - both augurs and skirmishers - and also about the placement of the units , namely the augurs attack from the middle so that they can be attacked from as few sides as possible and that they are able to heal both each other and the other units around them . Drake clashers and fighters are also necessary as meatshields althow you should think carefuly before attacking the spearmen with them, even as finishers - remember the firststrike.The choice between clashers and fighters is yours. Remember that the fighters are generally better on larger maps and maps that have water on them , cause they can fly quickly from one side to another with their 6 movement , but they have a pierce vulnerabilty and less HP ; while clashers are both more durable and also more expensive and slower - but althow they have only 5 movement, same as the spearmen, clashers have a better movetype than the spearmen or other loyalists - spearmen get slowed down in forest, hills mountains and sand while clashers get slowed only when moving thru forest. That means that in most cases - but not always - that the clasher can safely escape from the battle if the oponnent doesnt have any fast units.

The other way is to recuit mostly drakes and but a few saurians. In this case, some burners are necessary. Then the plan again is to strike first and to strike when the oportunity arises. Ignore the time of day. Dont get involved in a protracted everyone vs. everyone battles - thats what the spearmen want - that way they can easily use their advanages - good HP , good attack and cheapness in their favour and your more expensive ( and fewer ) drakes have a good chance of being overrun in several turns. Try to attack their weak spots - places where a unit is on bad tearain or , even better , far from the others - but as always think ahead of the possible enemy retaliation - attack only when the possible gain is bigger that the possible loss, and run when needed . If there arent any weak spots be creative and try to make some depending upon the current situation - put your drake figters in positions that threatens the unguarded enemy villages to strech their line thin so that you can attack and run before helps arrives or if you think its worth it , sneak a skirmisher in the enemy rear on a suicide mision to steal villages and if a lot of spearmen go back to punish the critter attack the others with superior numbers. You can make some other nasty tricks as well.

One more thing ..... If you happen to be playing a team game and face a spearmen rush with drakes a good thing is to ask your ally to send you a couple units which have good pierce ressistance like HI/Wose/Skeletons .
He/she wont mind, especially if you send a few good drakes in return. Then your oponnent will be sorry of recruiting in such a one-minded way. Sure he can get counters to those units as well but those are mostly units with fire which are on the other side weak against the drakes. So the threats of some of his spearmen being pwned by the wose or the mage being torn apart by your clasher would be stronger than the possibility of your drakes being overrun by his spearmen on the long run

Hope this helped... :)
Last edited by Mythological on February 20th, 2007, 1:14 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Sapient
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Post by Sapient »

One of the frustrating things with Drakes is that their weaknesses are so obvious that it seems the enemy barely has to think to come up with an effective strategy. So things like massing armies of only spearmen or dark adepts actually has some chance of succeeding.

But, that doesn't necessarily mean the drakes are weaker-- just harder to play correctly. I think the key to playing drake v loyalist is carefully managing the HP of your units so that you can get a lot of use out of them before retreating/rotating. This means you will need to carefully plan the formation of your offensive wedges, for example, considering the optimal location for saurian augurs.

Also, if he has horsemen around, then burners will be like big red target signs; but still, you probably need one of them, so keep it behind the main army until it can be used safely.

Mythological had some nice tips as well.
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Post by Doc Paterson »

Mythological wrote: 2 loyalists v 2 drakes on isar's cross gives a significant advantage for the loyals, while on big maps like cunsuyan the drakes are the ones having an advantage.
What is "cunsuyan?" Is that the translated name for a map I'd have heard of?

Excellent writeup on this matchup by the way.
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jb
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Post by jb »

wow, Mythological really answered this one :)

The only thing i would add would be to keep your drakes in tight cluster formation. Because of their excellent movement, when you are ready to explode into action, you can extend in any direction you want. This tight formation ususally leaves the loyals guessing as to where you might move.

And don't forget how handy augurs can be. Small healing & decent magic can help sustain your troops in longer battles.

also
Radament
You have to strike at night
I really disagree here

Radament
Still, masses of pikemen advancing in a flawless order may spell doom for drakes anytime
again, disagree
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Mythological
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Post by Mythological »

Doc Paterson wrote:
Mythological wrote: 2 loyalists v 2 drakes on isar's cross gives a significant advantage for the loyals, while on big maps like cunsuyan the drakes are the ones having an advantage.
What is "cunsuyan?" Is that the translated name for a map I'd have heard of?
I was thinking about Cynsaun Battlefield but obviously that is not what I wrote... I guess I should have checked the name of the map when I wrote my previous post
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Kalis
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Post by Kalis »

Hey Mythological,
thanks for the response. It did clarify a few things.
I'm just going to try to re-phrase your statements. Could you tell me if I read it right?

Essentially... on a small map, drake = dead.
Well, you have a chance. You have to use your units like a skirmisher force. Running away from the enemy army and stealing their villages, and harassing them whenever there's an opening, etc.
But you basically cannot meet the enemy head-on. Unfortuantely, a small map doesn't offer much manuever room, so you're generally dead.

However, on a big map, the drake mobility offers you options like changing fronts, getting allied support, etc. so that you can bring overwhelming combat power to areas where they're weak.

In both cases, you cannot "stand your ground and take it like a man" the way you would the other factions.

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Post by krotop »

No offense, but it's a bit simplistic compared to all the clues he gave ^^'. I fear that what you pulled from the advice is right, but not enough to succeed with drakes vs loyalists.

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Post by Kalis »

Well those were the points on general strategy. :D If I missed one could you bring it up please?

He did also give tips on unit choice, which I didn't mention (but absorbed) :) :
- consider 3-4 saurians in terrain + some drakes, and use nighttime fighting to take them out.
- Or almost all drakes (with some burners) and 1-2 saurians.
- drake fighter vs clasher is personal choice.

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Post by Mythological »

Hi Kalis
Essentially... on a small map, drake = dead.
I wrote that loyalists have an advantage, not that it is certain that you'll lose. If you play better than your oponnent or if you simply get a bit lucky you will still win. That is because the drakes have a hard time defending staticaly ( without an option to bail out if needed ) against some factions , like loylalists or undead. But that is a small price to pay for the drakes good attack and mobility. Plus this is an issue only in the case of few of the smallest maps in which you have allies who can take most of the burden in defending while your guys do the attack , for example. In my opinion all the 1v1 maps that come with the game, as well as most of the user made 1v1 maps that are played online are large enough so that this is not a problem and the drake - loyalist duel is well balanced.

Well, you have a chance. You have to use your units like a skirmisher force. Running away from the enemy army and stealing their villages, and harassing them whenever there's an opening, etc.
But you basically cannot meet the enemy head-on.
However, on a big map, the drake mobility offers you options like changing fronts, getting allied support, etc. so that you can bring overwhelming combat power to areas where they're weak.
You've got that right, with the note that this is if your oponnent masses spearmen.
In both cases, you cannot "stand your ground and take it like a man" the way you would the other factions.
Well....both yes and no. I mean, if you are fighting undead and you see the adepts comming at dusk will you let your drakes stand your groud and fight it like a man or if you play dwarves and you see a bunch of elves in that forest patch, would you send your dwarves into the forest to "fight it like a man" This is just another flavour of the same thing - if you want to be good in this game you need to know how to fight under favourable circumstances. As Sapient noted, drakes are a faction that is diffcult to play with, because their weaknesses are so obvious and can be easily exploited, while their strainghts are more difficult to use properly and that's why the developers had requests for the option to choose "random except drakes" for example. The weaknesses of the drakes are : cold, pierce and defense in wesnothian way ( with the exeption of the saurians that have good defense and are a bit resistant to pierce, but since saurians have too low hitpoints, that doesnt help much ). The low dodge is a weakness which can be exploited by any unit, and loyalists dont have cold weapons, so pierce weapons, like spearmen, bowmen or horsemen are the obvious choice. On the other hand, the drakes streinghts are : strong attack, mobility and good hitpoints ( with the excption of the saurians for the first and third ). By playing the game you learn that the 5 movement spearman is most of the time actually slower than the 5 movement clasher and that the burner that also has 5 movement is even quicker than the previous two - the point is to use your advantages to the full extend.
In this case your oponnent is exploiting your weaknesses by recruiting spearmen - and since spearmen have not many real weaknesses - except the loyalist's bad movetype which makes them slow in moving over every rough terain - that is a thing that has to be exploited and it goes well with the drakes mobility and strong attack - by giving you the posibility to strike first , strike hard and pull out when needed.This way you are using your units' full potential. If you do it right , the damage done might be so great that you wont have to run back after all but keep advancing. We are talking general hints here. In every game you need to think about the situation at hand and act acordingly.

Well those were the points on general strategy. Very Happy If I missed one could you bring it up please?

He did also give tips on unit choice, which I didn't mention (but absorbed) Smile :
- consider 3-4 saurians in terrain + some drakes, and use nighttime fighting to take them out.
- Or almost all drakes (with some burners) and 1-2 saurians.
- drake fighter vs clasher is personal choice.
Yes, with the note that if you choose to play with many saurians you will as jb said need more augurs than skirmishers, since you also have clashers and fighters for melee.
Last edited by Mythological on February 21st, 2007, 10:07 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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Post by krotop »

That's it Kalis, except maybe that clasher-or-fighter choice is rather due to map configuration than personnal choice. Clasher is way better to defend you against horsemen and spearmen but the fighter's mobility increase the ease to be the agressor (though, if your opponent has no more -or never had- archers, it's nearly useless IMHO).

This replay can illustrate Mythological advices. This is the saurian strategy (push at night, pull at day).

Take care of :
- the order of the attack (augrs, then melee on good terrain, finsih with endangered units).
- what units are exposed to what.
- positions taken to forbid the opponent to get access to the slot he wants.
- timing of both attack and recruit (retreat with saurian at day, then replace with clashers+burner to defend).

I hope this help. If anyone disagree, feel free to say it of course.

Version 1.2

EDIT : damn, I'm so slow at typing...
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Post by Airk »

On a small map, it would seem the Drakes' quickest bet is to lure the enemy out of position and then slam his leader with a couple of high move units. This can end the game in a hurry if your opponent hasn't been keeping his leader covered. Fighters are probably the best for this, especially if you can get a couple of Quick ones, and maps like Blitz in particular can be friendly to this strategy because the opponent may be lured into forgetting that you can zoom across all that water in a hurry.

This certainly won't work all the time, but it's a definite option to keep in mind, particularly against loyalists, who aren't famous for their mobility.

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krotop
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Post by krotop »

The case you describe Airk is exception. Better not think about it unless situation is desperate or you have a 3/4 chance to kill enemy leader. Because when a desperate assassination fails, you lose a lot of your army in vain.

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Post by Kalis »

Krotop: thanks for the film. Very interesting strategy. I never thought of an army based on augurs and skirmishers rather than drakes. Seeing what you did, it actually makes a lot of sense.
Howver, it seems part of the reason you succeeded so well was because your enemy's troops were scattered everywhere, which let your concentrated thrust kill off a horseman (23 gold!) from the start.

Mythology:
I'm a bit too lazy to write a full response, so I apologize for that :)
But yea, I see what you mean.

Just one thing. When I said the "take it like a man" thing, I meant that in terrain, drakes still only have 40% defense.
When you compare that to other factions who generally have 60 or even 70%, it basically requires you to play a completely different style. You have to be the one to strike first, and eliminate a few enemy troops, or else you're going to lose several units and a large portion of your combat power.
I didn't phrase it very well :)
However, Krotop's film of the saurian strategy you mentioned shows that you can push aggressive and have good defense if you use a higher number of saurians. :D

A big thank you to both of you :) Between the hints and the film. I'm getting a much better grasp of how drakes should be played :) Now to try to apply this new theory :D

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