Openeye’s HC/Cat Strategy
A few things you will need to understand to follow me.
1) First of all this strategy doesn't make the most mathematical sense. I'm sorry but what works on paper rarely works in real life. For those who think that it does, you really need more exposure in RL and TW. I don’t know of anybody who makes use of 20k axe armies and yet using the math it would seem to be the most effective strat.
2) This strategy doesn't work for people on the fence. It's largely an all or nothing deal simply because of teching limits. If your villages don’t have HC teched to 3 then you can’t send HC there to defend. You lose too many to remain effective and with LC in your offense you loose your ability to tech HC to 3. Also uniformity is simpler.
3) This strategy is originally Thar's(at least on .net) though I did modify it a bit mainly the catapults, as everybody does along the way.
4) If you can’t identify fakes and can’t effectively time/stack defenses you will fail at TW, but especially fail at this strategy.
5) This also works best when all your villages are named the same, simply compounds the confusion this strategy can put your enemy in.
6) Also considers what I remember of speeds of W4. Though it may change based on your world the ratios remain the same.
7) Obviously this is old units.
My HC strat:
Grouped villages in 10 village tactical groups based on proximity(Largely just for organization and to maintain ratios). 6:3:1 Offense:Defense:Scouts
First, thing I would like to point out now is that I employed this strategy even though my 100+ villages were all touching. This isn't just for spread players in fact it works even better for players who are condensed. The way this strategy beats others is not in power. Obviously, your average army is comparatively weaker to sp/sw & axe/lc players. What you win with is versatility, speed, agility, outsmarting, and disheartening your enemies.
Why is 1250 HC the magic number? Simply it’s a balance issue. It's easy to get carried away with the HC and since they are (statwise) weaker than their opposites(LC/Sw). You don’t want to swing too far one way simply because of a need to maintain balance. And though 10k/1250 HC isn't a balanced defense but by the time you figure in the villages with 1250 HC you can pull in from further out and from offensive villages you will find that your defense will be HC heavy as it is. Further given that axes compared to HC are much better on offence its better to give them the benefit and keep the balance swayed their way (more so than you would with LC).
Since it’s easier for everybody to see the advantage on defense before offense I will start there. Sp/HC build nearly 3x faster, this alone is huge. In wartime you’re looking a rebuild in less than 2 weeks rather than over a month. Further since spears move nearly 2x as fast as swords(not really but in times of need it feels like it) and your support moves at the speed of the slowest unit you can move a lot more of your armies a lot further when needed to counter.
This becomes even more special when you log in and only find an hour or two before the first strike hits. In times when you can’t see the slowest unit because you logged in late this strategy really shines.
You log in to find attacks on one your villages, or on a newly nobled village that were incoming before you nobled. In both cases no way to identify the troops and only 2 hours until they hit.
With a sp/sw defense set you can only draw in full defense from villages within 2 fields of the target and spears from 3 fields away. Chances are you only have 1-2 D villages nearby(if you’re lucky and it’s near your cluster). So you can decide to call them in and expect heavy loses(especially in that newly nobled walless village) or wait it out and prepare a counter offensive. Not a lot of options and your right where you opponent wants you: losing a village, or losing a large number of troops.
Now with the HC strat you have a lot more options. In 2 hours you can have sp/HC from up to 3 fields away(nearly doubling the number of fields support can originate from) and draw HC from 7 or 8 fields away. This gives you 2-3defensive villages to draw full defenses from and, considering your offensive village HC are also fully capable of defending, likely 4-5 villages you can draw HC from. (Maybe more if you built in a compact cluster like I did.)
In two hours you talking about the difference of 20k/20k and 30k/10k HC Please do the math for me and tell me what defense will hold up better... You will suffer less loses, less wall damage, and further you will lose troops over 8 villages allowing you to rebuild your armies in 1/4 (or less) the time verses loosing in only 2 villages. Now you have 8 villages pumping new recruits from barracks and stable rather than rebuilding from 2 village barracks. Spread the loses; Spread the rebuild
This strategy really shines when your villages are close because of this situation that I illustrated. The closer you villages are the further the enemy armies have to march and the shorter your support takes. The defense works because it allows you to stack defense to minimize you loses while maximizing your enemy loses. You aren't looking to match kills with the enemy; rather you’re looking to kill 4 or 5 or more enemy troops for every casualty you take. In this aspect your troops will last through a lot more battles on defense than with the sp/sw strat.
Sometimes though you are just getting whooped. 1k+ incoming everywhere and all at once. Your sp/HC aren’t as powerful as sw/sp so how do you survive?
Worst fear is realized: Massive incoming, many enemies, and lots of nobles. Sure you have time to react, 24+ hours to impact, but what’s the use?
First don’t panic. Just get to marking the incoming. Over half of that crap is ram fakes, scouts, or armies without nobles. Pick out the nobles and likely nukes. (As any good player would do, right?) Most large operations of this nature have bad timing, maybe not on individual villages but between villages. The noble train on village "A" hits 5 hours after village "B", Village "C" & "D" 2 hours later ect ect. Guess what each of these is? A repetition of example 1. Sure it’s on the massive scale but it’s not undefendable.
Sometimes though you can't get enough defenses there in time, the walls are down, there timing is across several villages at once. Then what do you have? You have the best dodge defense available. Every village has a defense waiting to block a noble somewhere. And while you are playing kill the noble in sector A, sector B can be stacked up in 2 hours to kill a nuke or two and 2 hours later be moved to block a nuke elsewhere(Not only does support get there twice as fast it gets home to be redeployed 2x as fast).
I'm sorry but sp/sw can’t do this nearly as well. Your offenses in a sp/sw & axe/lc get launched off to either noble back lost villages(not that villages without troops are what you need in this situation) or go on suicide runs to piss off your aggressors(who if they are smart just dodge). HC on the other hand though it may not be able to hold on paper, with a dedicated player at the controls and sitters to remain vigilant you stand a real shot at holding out. Though admittedly there are some situations where you are going to die no matter what(In which case saving packages and running to the rim is always an option).
Eventually they slow down. After a week or two of intense fighting like that where you opponent gets no real headway they are bound to get a little discouraged. Further after a week or two you can likely have most if not all of your losses paid for and in the queues ready for deployment over the next week. (Provided you held strong)
And if you’re shattered, beaten, and destroyed then well you can still enjoy a lengthy game of "kill the noble." Ask Thar(Best timer ever, bar none), he held off MCD and w00t for 3 months dodging nobles. He could literally kill the nobles on a one second train(but I'm getting off topic). And no better troop can be found for such a situation as HC. They are faster and by having some in every village you give yourself multiple options in case you miss you timing window the first few attempts.
Obviously your offensive nukes are weakened not having LC. The comparison of HC to LC is comparable to the comparison of LC to Axes. Mathematically it would make the most sense to have all axe nukes. But because of time restraints we use LC, which in turn allows us more nukes because we can use and rebuild the nuke in less time than just to build a single axe nuke. Similarly HC give us the same option. By using HC instead of LC it allows us to get away with more offensive villages vs. defensive villages thus allowing us to put more nukes out to our disposal without sacrificing defense. Even with my 3:2 Offense:Defense villages I still have the defense better than a 1:1(by the numbers) closer to a 2:3(considering the stacking advantage) at my disposal. Further the added HC from the defensive villages and the cats(if used properly) more than make up for the disadvantage my nukes have.
This strategy allows for several different strategies to be employed so it can make the enemies life of timing your attacks much more difficult.
Straight forward clearing/nobles attacks as are 99% or real attacks.
Admittedly, this is where only disadvantage(I have found) rears its ugly head. You nukes aren't as strong as they could be. Solution: Send more nukes. You have more offensive villages now, so employ them. No need to hold anything back you've got the defense still in reserve (the defensive HC shouldn't be employed except as fakes, same with the cats).
The nobles can come from anywhere, defensive or offensive, and provided you don’t leave yourself completely undefended(which is a no-no no matter what strat, HC or Sw/LC, you employ) you shouldn't have any problems. In fact these situations allow you to use your offensive HC to quick support a newly nobled or newly to-be nobled village. Provided they have already identified your village "A" to be offensive they may pass it off as a fake support and discredit the entire train as fake(which has happened for me). Further, it gives your defensive villages nobling a little bite to there bark when 1k HC escort the noble making the dodge strategy a little more costly for your enemies(also happened).
Now on to some of a bit unorthodox strategies. What about the catapults? Many(99.999%) people stop using catapults after initial farming stages(if they use them at all) for anything except fakes. I believe this to be a mistake. If catapults were useful then they can be useful now. First you have a near inexhaustible supply of flak fakes(those annoying 100+ fakes with random times of landing just to confuse and overwhelm).
Second: Do you know what 4 waves of 200 cats can do to a cleared village? Bye bye HQ; Bye bye Farm. Do you know how long it takes to rebuild a maxed village when the farm and HQ are reduced to rumble? Over 3 months. When the farm is reduced to below the population level of the village they cant even start rebuild the wall or HQ until the farm is back to the positive. Not to mention troops. In less than 5 seconds you can turn a thriving troop producing village into a desolate wasteland good for only noble packages, killing your own troops, and farming/sending resources(unless you hit the markets and acads too).
Your going to take out player X, s/he's a pretty good fight equal points and village count. You want to make it as quick as possible but don’t really have any outside help. Outside of a bit of support you’re on your own.
You launch the initial attack, to him/her it looks like a pretty straight forward attack. Good timing, less than 5 second "noble trains" etc etc. The defense is moved to counter and everything goes as planned, right until the attacks hit. The "ram, ram, noble, noble, noble, noble" attacks turned out to be nothing but 2 rams and 4 nobles(costing you a whooping 4 packages). But the 6 ram attacks in a row that just looked like a train fake ended up being 2 nukes followed by 4 attacks of 50 HC and 200 cats. Or if you got real sneaky, you split those cats up even more into strikes of 50 cats; it looks even less realistically threatening. When was the last time the village with 10 incomings at ram speed was defended when you had others with noble speed incoming?
Likely there was nothing there to defend, sometime they even get lazy and left an offense in thinking it would have nothing to fear from fakes. In the initial wave, those losing several nobles and the packages and time associated with their rebuild, you walk away with no villages but managed to effectively destroy 5-20% of the villages fighting abilities(depending on how you used your cats). Remember the more waves you send the cats in the less you need in each wave. 200 in a wave does a decent job, but I prefer 50 cat waves. Now that even fight just became a lot more lopsided in your favor.
This offers a lot of advantages for you if executed properly. On the next wave of attacks s/he's going to be a lot more cautious of those ram fakes. You can use this to your advantage when you do come in with the real nobles as you can expect a lot less in terms of stacking. Not only that, but lucky you, you've got 30/30/30 farms(good use of those HC on defense) that can't spend resources to keep them away from you(supposing you were a bit short on packages, as I found myself often, this really helped speed the nobling process). Maybe you'll even get so lucky that they try to support the village to prevent you from farming it. No walls and no ability to make walls make it a great support trap, nice quick and easy way to kill off those pesky troops. It doesn't work real well on good players, but noobs hate to lose villages, and tribal support(especially noob tribes) is always likely. Further, its really disheartening to see your villages destroyed to the point of uselessness and can even in itself get them to give up the defense right then and there(happened several times).
Lastly and most importantly you have an effective means to combat morale because of point loss. Allow me to explain. They can’t get rid of those villages, unless somebody else was stupid enough to noble them. As such they are left stuck with the 8-9k points each of them adds to somebody’s score without any of the troops building benefits those points normally mean. Hence they stay inflated with false points, keeping them up higher in the morale ranges and preventing them from using the "turtle till you're too small to hurt" strategy. Used effectively, by saving those villages to be nobled last you have a real easy way to keep this guy in your range to continue to pick off his good villages at your leisure, which is another very disheartening realization when you are on the defense.
This is also a great means to stop pesky support or otherwise discourage others from assisting your soon to be annexed villages. You don’t support too much after getting hit in one or two villages this way, and in itself can really throw a question mark up for people to consider when they send out support or attacks against you.You can really slow down a semi coordinated tribe by simply adding the fact that your ram speed attacks have the potential for lethality.
Further it’s great because it’s a fire and forget weapon. Once a village is cleared and razed by the cats it’s really not a threat for a couple months. As such you can move on to other villages and continue to equalize the field or assert your dominance as needed. Lastly if you have a front that you really don’t want to expand by nobling but need a little security, just destroy all the villages on the border. No troop production no worries. Really good to create a no-man's land or force players around you to quit.
Although HC cost more than swords or LC, it’s almost all in iron, which is the easiest and cheapest resource to get on the markets. Clay gets eaten by the builders as does wood. And wood is always in short supply but iron, if you have a surplus its in iron. And it’s real easy to obtain additional iron on the market. Further the high iron cost does well to balance the high clay cost of buildings and the high wood cost of axes and spears, and when you’re storing packages its iron that always ends up in surplus so it’s nice to be able to have a stockpile in your maxed villages to help rebuild the armies on your border and newly acquired villages.
There you have it, my entire strategy. 4th ranked in W4 at one time(though it wasn't 100% committed too at the time) and took 100 villages and 1 million points in less than 5 months from scratch after being essentially rimmed following the 4th place. Sorry it’s so much a book, but it’s pretty involved and I wanted to lay it out explained well enough that both newbs and vets could understand. I don’t care about the n00bs, because they won’t read it anyhow. Thanks for taking the time to read and I hope I have enlighted a few of you into the world of HC. Also, many thanks for the many who credited me with the strategy. Though not all of its due to me, Thar deserves much more than me.
The most important reason to learn the HC strategy is that sooner or later you will be targeted in a war. Once that happens, you won't care about ratios and strategies. At that point the only thing that matters is how much defense per hour you can accumulate to replace your losses.
The absolute fastest you can build defense points is by building spears, HCs and cats all at once. As the war progresses, you are going to find yourself with lots of spears, HCs and cats, even if that wasn't your initial plan. This strategy teaches you how to use them effectively.