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Roman Heavy Swords Have no Place in the Meta

roman heavy infantry useless

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Tio_Da_Pizza #1 Posted 13 September 2017 - 10:34 PM

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I've always been a huge fan of heavy infantry, and had a lot of expectations towards them. Almost 200 battles with Germanicus and 53% win rate, I feel confident in my ability to protect my flanks and engaging the enemy where it hurts, not rarely getting 400+ kills in a battle.

 

But, as soon as I hit the tier 5-7 match range, it hit me in the face like a brick. There is no reason at all to use heavy infantry. Bellow are all the matchups you can encounter as Germanicus and their outcomes:

 

  • Other Sword Units: You either face them head-on, flanking them or them flanking you, but it's a brawl where the one with more skill wins. Light infantry has no hope if they can't rout you, and this is all right and well, no complaints here.

 

  • Ranged Units (Archer/Slinger/Javelin): Your soldiers take 1 hour to throw their pilum when out of formation, but you can harass them if they go to the bathroom. Testudo protects you from the front and sides... And that's it. You can't chase them, but they can, and will, on the slightest opening you give, kill you surprisingly fast. The only pro as playing as Germanicus against ranged units is quite exotic: you can protect your own ranged/light arty units with Testudo. And that's what you should do.

 

  • Spear Units: By the time you hit tier 5-6, you won't see Cynane wielding spears anymore, it'll be Leonidas or Miltiades. You can win against Miltiades using vengeance, even against his phalanx, but against Leonidas... Just forget it. Any player with some knowledge in playing with Leonidas will wipe you off his shields while backpedaling and keeping you away.

 

  • Falxmen: They were designed to brutalize you. Or they flank you and you vanish, or they engage you head-on and both sides vanish.

 

  • Scipio Cavalry: As cavalry, they won't engage you directly, but in the absence of unprotected ranged units, you're their favorite meal. You're slow, and you sometimes can't even turn fast enough to protect yourself against him. And one flank is most of times really all he needs. Then bam, warcry, -35 morale, you rout, you die.

 

  • Alexander Cavalry: In wedge formation, they can blob their units and charge through your heavy infantry, and well, you can't do anything to him.

 

  • Artillery: They love seeing testudos and slow, square shaped formations. You're free exp to them.

 

  • Dogs: Pls fix. I swear they grow stronger for every steel plate they eat from my heavy infantry.

 

As you all can see, the only units you will find that you can and are able to engage with these slow, heavy infantry, are other sword units, and Miltiades - which really shouldn't be engaging you anyway. And the way things are, you are very very far from being able to do your job as a frontline unit. Why? There are plenty of reasons.

 

First of them, is that attacking is extremelly disadvantageous for you, you are prime target for artillery - heavy or light - and should you encounter a Leonidas player, you can't go forward, and going back isn't an option either, as turning your back to the enemy means death to any ranged unit present. The best you can hope for is encountering another poor Germanicus player, and kill each other.

 

Second, most of the times attacking as heavy infantry means being alone. At least how things are, ~1/3 of your team stays defensive, the other ~1/3 are horses sniffing out for blood, one guy is a tier VIII AK47 canine unit... You are just begging to be flanked and wiped.

 

And then well, you may as well say: — Then stay defensive! Stay with your team!

 

Well, that would mean entering the woods with my heavy chaps, giving up 1/4 of their attributes due to terrain disadvantage, or sitting at base. Because noone wants to eat rocks to their face from the enemy artillery, and because of how team compositions are being made, as i stated above.

 

For every action you believe heavy infantry are good, you can point at Leonidas spears and they do it better. Even against dogs! At least Leonidas can shield bash the dogs after they break into the phalanx.

 

Flanking? You're too slow, the opponent has ages to react somehow, and you're exposing yourself behind enemy lines for a good 20 - 30 seconds for any wandering cavalry to come and rout you.

 

Defending? Choose the spears, they defend much better, and don't have to worry about horses charging straight through them...

 

Anyway. I hope with all I wrote that people understand how weak heavy infantry, even with the support of Germanicus, is right now, and how it is a bad choice to pick him over anyone else, because the only good thing about him probably wasn't even intended, it was to serve as an umbrella to your ranged units with testudo, and that's it.

 

TL;DR: Heavy infantry is bad in this state of the game. If you're a Germanicus player, stick to medium infantry, you'll suffer less.



wwolfvn #2 Posted 14 September 2017 - 03:47 AM

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I understand how you are feeling with your swordsmen.Except being powerless against Greek blob charge, I think Rome swordsmen is still a force to be reckoned with. I have some suggestions for you as follows:

 

- Against long-ranged missile: ask for allied cav support and not try to get close to these missile units at all cost. At high tier you see more frequently that 3 missile units are covered by their allied infantry. Higher tier players playing missiles also know how to bait your infantry into trap.

 

- Against spearmen: don't try to engage if you cannot flank them.

 

- Against pikemen: run away from them in narrow space. Bait them into positions you can flank them. High-tier pike players are also known among the highest scorers.

 

- Against Greek cav: caltrop is the only way to slow them down but not effectively holding against them. Try to go to the wood, where the cav can be slow down a little. Or take advantage of the prevalent pathfinding issue which may break unit formation at corners; top cav players won't attack around corners though.

 

- Against fellow swordsmen: I believe you are very well-informed how to deal with them.

 

Take these suggestions with a grain of salt. Btw, I have been playing Germanicus with Rome medium infantry for a while accumulating more than 300 matches. On lucky day Germanicus can ride the tide and wipes the enemy with his famed Roman infantry.


"Opportunities multiply as they are seized."


Tio_Da_Pizza #3 Posted 14 September 2017 - 01:06 PM

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View Postwwolfvn, on 14 September 2017 - 03:47 AM, said:

I understand how you are feeling with your swordsmen.Except being powerless against Greek blob charge, I think Rome swordsmen is still a force to be reckoned with. I have some suggestions for you as follows:

 

- Against long-ranged missile: ask for allied cav support and not try to get close to these missile units at all cost. At high tier you see more frequently that 3 missile units are covered by their allied infantry. Higher tier players playing missiles also know how to bait your infantry into trap.

 

- Against spearmen: don't try to engage if you cannot flank them.

 

- Against pikemen: run away from them in narrow space. Bait them into positions you can flank them. High-tier pike players are also known among the highest scorers.

 

- Against Greek cav: caltrop is the only way to slow them down but not effectively holding against them. Try to go to the wood, where the cav can be slow down a little. Or take advantage of the prevalent pathfinding issue which may break unit formation at corners; top cav players won't attack around corners though.

 

- Against fellow swordsmen: I believe you are very well-informed how to deal with them.

 

Take these suggestions with a grain of salt. Btw, I have been playing Germanicus with Rome medium infantry for a while accumulating more than 300 matches. On lucky day Germanicus can ride the tide and wipes the enemy with his famed Roman infantry.

 

"Force to be reckoned with" — "Run away" — "Don't engage" — "Run away!"

 

You see? I agree with you that at the very least they should be a force to be reckoned with, and while with medium infantry you can get some decent flanks, fight in the woods and maybe even dodge a few artillery shots, heavy infantry is doomed on all these options.

 

I've got a few suggestions to make them more usable.

 

  1. Take Armor Piercing Teeth out of the dog's arsenal
  2. Give them more resistance against charges OR make charges friendly fire again, preventing blobs of cavalry from ripping holes in their formations
  3. Increase their health. Right now they have the same health as medium infantry and close to half of a cavalry unit of their tier, making them stand between both seems like it would compensate for their lack of speed and need to be in open areas.
  4. Make testudo resistant against missile fire from the back again, or at least give them the ability to walk backwards.


SPEEROARENACANUS #4 Posted 14 September 2017 - 01:33 PM

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Agree 100%. It's an awkward unit to play - often too slow to flank easily, easily picked apart by ranged units, and utterly powerless vs. Greek cavalry. A head on charge from Alexander in wedge instant-routs Germanicus every time, and does as much damage as a rear charge. Personally, my biggest issue I've seen with heavy Roman infantry is with Germanicus and morale.

 

The best way I've been able to see consistent success with heavy infantry is with Scipio accompanied by one Roman cavalry unit. This one cavalry unit is usually where my kills rack up, while the heavy infantry are just there to hold units in place. I don't enjoy playing like this as much as triple infantry with Germanicus, but Germanicus has serious morale issues. Unless surrounded by accompanied allies, his units rout so quickly and easily it renders all of the offensive positives (Vengeance, Testudo) useless.

 

I don't think heavy Roman infantry are underpowered, they're fine. But OP is right, there's not really a solid place for them. There are simply other units that are better at fulfilling their role (Roman cavalry, for example) while simultaneously fulfilling another role.

 

Why play Germanicus heavy infantry when you can play Scipio heavy cavalry and fill the same role whilst negating morale and mobility issues that heavy infantry have?


"War Dogago Delenda Est."

And, as always, death to War Dogs.

- Cato the Elder, 2017


imrik2545 #5 Posted 14 September 2017 - 05:31 PM

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Good post. I agree that it is currently very awkward to play Roman infantry and my goodness, greek cav and onagers are incredibly annoying.

 

 

I don't think this is necessarily an issue with the balance of the Roman infantry. I am inclined to believe that, balance wise, they are in a very comfortable spot. In my opinion, the only reason that Roman infantry are so lackluster right now is because Dogs, Greek cav, Onagers, and Leonidas are all currently overpowered.


 

I don't know maybe I am looking at it wrong though.



SPEEROARENACANUS #6 Posted 14 September 2017 - 07:50 PM

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View Postimrik2545, on 14 September 2017 - 05:31 PM, said:

Good post. I agree that it is currently very awkward to play Roman infantry and my goodness, greek cav and onagers are incredibly annoying.

 

 

I don't think this is necessarily an issue with the balance of the Roman infantry. I am inclined to believe that, balance wise, they are in a very comfortable spot. In my opinion, the only reason that Roman infantry are so lackluster right now is because Dogs, Greek cav, Onagers, and Leonidas are all currently overpowered.


 

I don't know maybe I am looking at it wrong though.

 

Precisely what I was trying to get at. Roles aren't defined at all if greek cav charges roll through everything and dogs beat roman infantry in melee.

 

Keep in mind I'm talking strictly melee combat here. The only counter to a melee unit shouldn't just be "ranged units". Every melee needs a melee counter, IMO. Roman infantry aren't much of a counter to anything.


"War Dogago Delenda Est."

And, as always, death to War Dogs.

- Cato the Elder, 2017


Tio_Da_Pizza #7 Posted 14 September 2017 - 10:40 PM

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View PostSPEEROARENACANUS, on 14 September 2017 - 07:50 PM, said:

 

Precisely what I was trying to get at. Roles aren't defined at all if greek cav charges roll through everything and dogs beat roman infantry in melee.

 

Keep in mind I'm talking strictly melee combat here. The only counter to a melee unit shouldn't just be "ranged units". Every melee needs a melee counter, IMO. Roman infantry aren't much of a counter to anything.

 

Sword infantry is supposed to be the agressive kind of frontline, pushing forward and getting flanks. And that works very nice with light swords; with medium swords not so much; with heavy, not at all.

 

As you said, sword infantry aren't really a counter to anything, specially heavy ones, but I don't believe that only changing the way cavalry rolls over anyone or fixing the dogs would solve the problem with heavy swords. They need to fill in their own role, they should be slow bulldozers who slowly walk towards the objetive, and pity to the one who faces him in one-on-one combat.

 

But there are too many counters to him. Just too many. Shoot him, burn him, rout him, smash him, and the heavy infantry can do NOTHING against it, and he dies just some seconds after someone lighter would. I really believe giving him more HP would be a good try to fix his problems, and make him worthy of using.






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