Following on from Nick’s article’s revealing what goes on behind the curtain, and linking to the article in the upcoming Clash of Kings book on unit design, I thought I would delve deep into the heavy hitters focusing on Stampede’s, and the question are they broken?
(you can scroll down to the Overall TLDR at the bottom if you want to skip the in depth analysis)
First up let’s look at where the unit came from, all units originally stem from Kingdoms of Men, they are our baseline units. Then after that we have the core armies, every army that is in main book. Now Stampedes being in Uncharted Empires we’re balanced vs both the baseline units and through ours and public playtesting.
Stampede’s were based around Ogre Warrior Chariots, combined with Berserker Brock riders. They hit hard, have a great nerve but also low defence, and unlike Berserker Brocks they have a large waver value. (representing animals panicking) Being a Herd unit of large animals they also have Strider and Pathfinder. (nothing is getting in their way!)
Damage under normal conditions
Ok now let’s delve into some damage comparisons. Initially assuming each unit keeps its TC (where it has it)
Stampedes hit like a truck, but so do all the similarly designed units, Stampedes are very consistent however and with the TC do the same across the board. Ogre Warrior chariots do more against everything bar Def 6, and have Brutal so are more likely to rout units. (bar Def 6 as mentioned)
Fight Wagons are amazing vs Def 3 or 4, and still solid vs Def 5, Def 6 being their weaker point. Direfangs excel against Def 3 or 4 matching a Stampede but tail off slightly against Def 5, and more against Def 6. Soul Reavers are a good all rounder, they will mince anything pretty well, even vs Def 6 is reasonable.
Damage while Hindered
Next up Hindered (due to Difficult terrain/Obstacles)
Here clearly the Stampede/Direfangs have the advantage, Fihgt Wagons however are still excellent very Def 3 and 4, and the others still put out some reasonable damage, Def 6 is the main difference here Stampede really excel at killing Def 6 enemies in difficult terrain!
Damage while Disordered
Ok now let’s see what happens when they lose TC due to being disordered.
Interestingly now Stampedes become one of the worst damaging units, Only Soul Reavers drop more. Fight Wagons and Direriders don’t care at all, being all CS, they remain very high damaging. The chariots drop in damage but are still higher than Stampedes. (and have Brutal)
Direfang Riders are the most consistent they will always do the same damage, they are excellent against Def 3,4,5 and still do a decent amount vs Def 6. Fight Wagons are also one of the most consistent, and will chop Def 3 or 4 up in basically any condition. Soul Reavers are high damage dealers but really feel the loss of their TC, (like many Cav) Macc wars potion is popular choice on this unit! Ogre Warrior chariots do immense damage and with Brutal are very likely to rout enemies. Stampede do amazing damage unless Disordered so unfortunately they tend to spend a lot of the time this way! (pesky opposing chaff…)
Course damage isn’t the only factor. Stampedes have a low Defense of 4 this means they will consistently take a lot of damage, 18/22 however means your opponent needs to focus on them, if they do, they will rout, even basic arrows and similar are a danger. Soul Reavers on the other hand have an amazing Defence 6, if you are unable to get a flank or very high CS/Piercing they are a menace, and then they have Lifeleech 2 as well! Played well they will not die.
The other 3 are Def 5 which is significantly better at stopping incidental damage, of course they also have lower nerves, the Fight Wagons especially being the lowest(it was a tad too low, Fury helps balance this)
The differing Nerves/Defense are a good counterplay, and means they can effectively take similar amounts of damage before routing. Lets take a little look at some numbers to confirm this.
Elf Bowmen do the Stampede takes 3 times as much damage as Soul Reavers and 50% more than even the Defence 5 units take.
So what does this mean? Well lets look at mass fire and see how close we are to routing. The table shows the average damage if 3 of each unit shot. (without cover etc)
The Stampede would be routing on a 6 or 7, but wavering on a double 1.
The Fight wagons will rout on a 4 or 5, wavering on a anything bar a double 1.
The Direfangs would be routing on a 6 or 7, Waver on a 4 or 5
Ogre Warrior chariots, rout on a 5 or 6, waver on a 3 or 4.
Soul Reavers rout on 11 or 12, and waver on 9 or 10.
So Soul Reavers can laugh off basic shooting all day long, espcially with Lifeleech, Direfangs are next best off they may be ok or only waver. (not forgetting they could have Headstrong and Fury from Guise of the Deceiver)
Ogre Warrior Chariots are middle of the road, Stampedes are 2nd to last, they may not rout but they are almost certain to waver. Fight Wagons have it worst, however with the recent addition of Fury in the CoK tweaks they are now much more likely to keep on going once they get stuck in.
The more piercing the closer it gets but short of Piercing 3 or 4 the Stampede will always take more.
Here Soul Reavers are the clear winners speed 8, Direfang being the worst at a solid speed 6. Speed is of course huge and increasing the chance of getting the first strike, something Soul Reavers want to do to keep TC. Direfang riders don’t care as much being CS(2) with no TC.
Ok so which is better? Well every unit is in different ways!
Stampede excel in difficult terrain but Disorder them and the damage drops down, suddenly high defence units become a huge problem for them. This is why I will give mine Elite/Vicious and follow them with a Shaman, they need the extra damage, and BC/Heal to keep them running and ensure they rout enemies in one go. (Kill/disorder the Shaman) Note this unit is Irregular which makes builds featuring too many of them tricky.
Soul Reavers are the fastest of this style of unit and can take the most damage and heal it back, they are amazing all rounders, difficult terrain hurts them so expect Maccwars potion. They are the only Height 2 unit of the lot, this is both good and bad in different ways. This unit cost the most, balancing them out.
Ogre Warrior Chariots do the most overall damage and with Brutal will rout units far easier than any of the others, the large foot print makes avoiding terrain difficult so Maccwars potion is a perfect match.
Fight Wagons, ah these beauties are a joy to behold, they will chop up Def 3/4 better than anything else, and remain consistent when Disordered. Back these with a Wardrum and Godspeaker and they will work wonders. Again the large foot print makes avoiding terrain difficult so Maccwars potion is a ideal.
Direfang Riders, ah the Swiss army knife, hard to damage/rout, you can’t Hinder them, Disordering does nothing to them! And on top of that they have the Gift of Korgaan making them very versatile. Brew of Haste is my pick for these, but honestly something like Brew of Sharpness has to be a popular choice too.
I’m very happy with the balancing of all of these, I think the Fight Wagons needed a slight nudge but with Fury balance really well. :)