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View Full Version : Katana Dilemma: The Katana Cavalry Gamble. Paper Tiger or Destroyer of Men?



AzureCuzYeah
06-09-2011, 05:52 PM
I find the use of Katana units a dilemma lately. Watching a lot of high caliber player games you almost see them completely phased out. The Superfecta of protection: Guns protected by Arrows Protected by Spears Protected by Cavalry (Or Trifecta, removing cavalry from the mix) ruled the Tosa Cup, for the most part. This combo completely crushed most rush armies composed of Cavalry and Katana units.

The Dilemma comes into place when you look at the Katana units as a whole: Devastating Melee Warriors. In one on one battle Sword units will destroy mostly every unit (with very few exceptions). Unfortunately Shogun 2 Rewards defensive game play. When you look at the "Superfecta" I described, Relatively cheap units can do outrageous amounts of damage (Ashigaru Guns and Archers). The one saving grace is the underwhelming melee ability of these ranged units. This is where spear units come into play: completely negating Cavalry flanking while being effective meat-shields for the ranged units (especially guns). There are no moral bonuses for charging sword units, so we find non-mobile superfecta armies who use their cavalry only as clean up or as highly mobile spear units.

Why would expert players use swords if they are to die before they get a chance to fight?

This is not always the case as we all have different play styles. Many people use sword units still, including myself. Different tactics still make them viable, but I use them because I am comfortable with the style of play the represent: fast, swarming, calculated charges. Although I know the Superfecta game play is completely superior to my play style, it is only good for those players with patience who do not like to rush.

Although completely superior in melee to all units, it is a chore to get Katana infantry engaged in battle without the majority of them fleeing from volleys of bullets and arrows. Now for the dilemma:

ENTER THE KATANA CAVALRY

The final phase out of Katana Infantry, the Katana Cavalry. In match maker people are slowly catching on to the Katana Cavalry unit. Match Maker players have come to realize how outrageously strong they are vs Katana Infantry. I foresee this leading to the end of Katana units being useful in any sort of battle when paired against two equally skilled players.

Here is a video where I was unprepared for the masses of Katana Cavalry my enemy brought. I brought only 1 spear unit and only had 5 Infantry units, all Lone Swords. After this game I now no longer think sword units have a place in my army. I do not offer any suggestions to fix the usefulness of Katana units. I do wonder if the TWC Community sees this same pattern.

Game play Video (http://youtu.be/ua8FCDmpHt0)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ua8FCDmpHt0

AnjinSan
06-09-2011, 06:24 PM
If you had had even 1 yari ashigaru on your front lines and within your generals radius he probably would of wrecked some of those katana cav. I still feel that swords are completely valid, esp when they have mutually supporting units such as spears and matchlocks.

Nagels
06-09-2011, 06:25 PM
A fair and valid number of points Azure, I've noticed the futility of swords versus heavy spear mixed with katana cav/muskets.
Most builds are very spear and musket heavy atm, I still bring primarily a sword army but with two GG and some yari cav to counter katana cav. It's one way of using sword builds without the fear factor of having katana cav hit you hard en masse.

Nighthawk00
06-09-2011, 06:42 PM
I still use kat sam but honestly, it seems like vetted loan swords are almost as good but are cheaper!

Tolgon Dsfargeg
06-09-2011, 06:59 PM
I still use kat sam but honestly, it seems like vetted loan swords are almost as good but are cheaper!

My thoughts exactly... Veteran Loan Swords seem to beat my No-Dachi's easily (sometimes veteran also)

Anyway as for OP, I completely agree. I'm not rank 10 myself yet but everytime I fight a rank 10 he usually brings the full out ashigaru spear/matchlock and loan sword spam with yari cav/great guards backing them up. This is extremely frustrating as I only bring 1 Matchlock units to my fights around 4 no dachi's and my cavalry cant do anything either so I either have to rush straight in or adapt to a more skirmish/spear heavy army like most the armies I face.

If you cant beat them, join them i guess?????

blenta
06-09-2011, 07:09 PM
If you cant beat them, join them i guess?????

and that is exactly how the matchlocks exploit(no morale damage on your own units) is ruining this game faster and faster...

icamefromouterspace
06-09-2011, 07:34 PM
1 katana cav vs 1 katana samurai will result in both units taking equal losses, eventually the katana samurai will win because they have more numbers in the unit.

They'll wreck loan swords pretty good though. But the reason you can't ignore katana sams and use katana cav is because if the other person brings... any yari infantry.. the katana cav will be wasted.. Just bringing 2 yari ashigaru (which costs the same as 1 katana cav) could have protected your swords from ALL of the enemy katana cav.

Thax
06-09-2011, 07:43 PM
You can dismount Katana Cav and win vs. the spear units...not sure about all of them but Im sure about yari ashigaru and monk warrior.

blazin961
06-09-2011, 07:53 PM
I also have to agree that a properly done noob box is among the most difficult armies to defeat.

As I use a highly mobile force of cav, swords and a token amount of matchlocks, I find it crucial to surround their formation and then exploit gaps and any army movements they might make. If you are able to engage their matchlocks with your cav long enough to engage with swords you will end up winning.

However I have not faced the top users of noob box users (ie the top 1v1 ladder people who use this strategy). I also concede that if this strategy is combined with red lining or corner camping that it would be basically impossible to defeat without an army specifically made to beat it.

As for the katana cav, I think they are both underused and used improperly most of the time. To really be effective you must be able to counter the enemies cav. Otherwise they are fantastic against swords.

If any people who use noob box's highly effectively want to battle sometime I'd love to see if my army could win.
I've also been looking to battle someone who uses 2-4 bow cav.

The_Journey
06-09-2011, 07:55 PM
1 katana cav vs 1 katana samurai will result in both units taking equal losses, eventually the katana samurai will win because they have more numbers in the unit.

They'll wreck loan swords pretty good though. But the reason you can't ignore katana sams and use katana cav is because if the other person brings... any yari infantry.. the katana cav will be wasted.. Just bringing 2 yari ashigaru (which costs the same as 1 katana cav) could have protected your swords from ALL of the enemy katana cav.

icamefromouterspace: I don't know where you got that, but vanilla katana cav will rout a vanilla katana sam without taking too much damage, I know that because I regularly use 4 katana cav in most of my battles.

Even going against a yari ashigaru, katana cav has much more staying power than a yari cav.

Katana cav is fine right now in my opinion, they take on spear infantry much better than a yari cav. I use them a lot to screen my infantry from matchlocks, flanking, or just to chew up sword infantry and have found good success with them in my build.

icamefromouterspace
06-09-2011, 08:00 PM
icamefromouterspace: I don't know where you got that, but vanilla katana cav will rout a vanilla katana sam without taking too much damage, I know that because I regularly use 4 katana cav in most of my battles.

I'd have to see a replay of it, I set my katana sams to face katana cav charges all the time and win. Though I don't use green katana samurai.


Katana cav is fine right now in my opinion, they take on spear infantry much better than a yari cav. I use them a lot to screen my infantry from matchlocks, flanking, or just to chew up sword infantry and have found good success with them in my build.

Katana cav are supposed to be better than yari cav against all infantry. Conversely yari cav are supposed to be better than katana cav against all cav. Though I don't see katana cav lasting long against yari ashigaru unless theyre doing a rear charge on them.

I'm not saying they aren't good units to bring. I also bring cavalary to tie down matchlocks so my infantry can advance. But the OP was suggesting that it might be a good idea to get rid of your sword infantry and replace it with katana cav. Which is not a good idea.

Cinnamon
06-09-2011, 08:03 PM
Swords are still a very powerful unit since they get all the best retainers. Katana Cav and Naginata Sam are a unit mix that I'm fond of but they very often suck in practice due to those retainers and the vast number of commonly used units that counter them so I often fall back on a more Katana Sam and Yari Cav heavy build since it's easier. That's my opinion.

Want to counter that build, play slightly more defensively and use your cav somewhat better to screen his cav attack or bring some dirt cheap yari ashigaru to lead your marching formation. Loan Swords have one real weakness in a head on fight and that is Katana Cav, it's not too hard to negate that with a balanced army.

The_Journey
06-09-2011, 08:04 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyw8kVtXFWc

AzureCuzYeah
06-09-2011, 08:11 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyw8kVtXFWc

You realize the video i posted is of you and me. I am scared to death of your Katana Cav because of all the swords I have. So I panic and run them away while charging my Cav.

The_Journey
06-09-2011, 08:18 PM
Lol, that is pretty funny to see me on video.

Hidden Gunman
06-09-2011, 08:43 PM
Again, the concept of the meatshield is the basis for a lot of what we see. And again the issue of 'loan swords are better because they are cheaper' comes into play.

One is a mechanical problem with the game, and the second is due to the the (now) lack of a high funding level negating the mass army advantage with ashi based builds. At 22k battles, you simply didn't see successfull ashi armies, which proved the point that a level 9 kat sam was better than a level 9 loan sword. Which highlights the myth perpetuated by the loan sword supporters: My loan sword is better because it is cheaper. NO...your loan sword isn't better...your 12 loan swords are better than my 5 or 6 kat sams....and with your 4 or 5 matchlocks, it's difficult to beat.

Katana cavalry are very good for their price, for their role, which is infantry killing, or general killing, but again, they have to carve through a wall of spears two ranks deep while being shot down in the process. If someone did the actual mass vs mass equation they would work out that 4 ranks of 3/4's of a tonne horses crashing into two ranks of 100 kilo men equals a lot of squishy trampled pools of gore on the ground, and at least 3 ranks of horses rapidly disappearing into the rear areas still fighting. It's not rocket science.

I made the offer regarding matchlocks which no one wanted to take up, and I'll make the offer again for anyone in South Australia who thinks I'm wrong...bring along a pointy stick, and I'll ride you down with a horse, then we'll see what everyone thinks afterwards.

AnjinSan
06-09-2011, 09:13 PM
Well yea lol even if the pointy stick hits the horse, its still becomes a projectile of weighty flesh guaranteed to crush a few people.

icamefromouterspace
06-09-2011, 09:19 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyw8kVtXFWc

while I was kind of surprised of that outcome, I remember seeing a similiar test when the game first came out showing katana cav vs katana sam and the samurai winning.

I think the reason that 1v1 like this the cav wins is because

1- the katana sam route, they don't get destroyed. If the katana sam had the backup morale of an army standing behind them and their general it would be quite different. Instead they had no backup morale in the 1v1 and the morale debuff of being charge by cav + facing heavy losses all at once just destroys them..

2- katana sam were alone, I'd be caught dead leaving my katana sam alone without 1 or 2 spear units in a real battle. those 1 or 2 spear units can still beat several cav units. If your 4 katana cav costing 800 koku each can be beaten by 2 yari ashigaru costing 350 koku each then youre not in a good position.. So even if you charge my sword units and inflict high casualties on the charge, you still wont be able to stand and fight to finish them off.

Zverina
06-09-2011, 10:10 PM
1 katana cav vs 1 katana samurai will result in both units taking equal losses, eventually the katana samurai will win

My level 8 katana samurai have enough trouble dealing with katana Calvary. Regular katana Calvary have 18 attack, my katana vets have full attack, defense, and charge. They usually waver at the least or go down to 50 less men when against katana Calvary if it's a 1 on 1.

Maeda Keiji
06-10-2011, 01:01 AM
i think what it all comes down to is fixing the muskets OR lets all play with the same armies yay!!!!

Hidden Gunman
06-10-2011, 01:14 AM
Killing non-spear foot sloggers is bread and butter for kat cav. Counter charging yari cav with kat sam or noddies is very effective, but the heavy boys are a different story.

Ideally, kat cav is effective loitering close by your melee infantry, to get protection from your spears, and to support your kat sams and noddies in the melee fight...they are really the equivalent of the WW1 or 2 'infantry tank'. Problem is that 14k doesn't give us the opportunity to field a good sized all-arms high vet army, which really sucks for those of us who really like our high end melee vets.

I've got 4 kat cav, hovering around the level 5/6 mark, and they are really quite beefy...I'm intending to get them up to the 8 or 9 mark, but their lack of utility is the drawback. I would strongly suggest giving them the 'scare enemy' upgrade to give them some added beef against their traditional enemies of yari cav and spears, as well as an added buff against the large numbers of monk cav out there now. Plus, it would offset some of the current disadvantage that cav clans suffer from (lack of upgrades).

They are a good unit, but one of the most specialised in the game, and consequently suffer from lack of use. You don't see many high level kat cav around, which is a shame, because they really are a force multiplier if used well and given a decent chance to shine.

If you still have kats at the end of a battle, then you will probably win.

TakedaShingen
06-10-2011, 01:52 AM
Good points Gunny.
Maybe we need an extra fund level back, not as extreme as the old ultra, but between that and large...

Marshal Suchet
06-10-2011, 02:23 AM
Keep in mind that one of the big reasons why sword units, when fielded en-masse, struggle against a defensive army is because the cause fear perks for sword clan units do not function as they should. An army with three units that cause fear, dropping morale by -3 points, backed up by a fear causing general, who could drop morale (assuming that upgrade worked too, but it doesn't) by another two points would most likely wreak havoc on a defensive army. Perhaps what we should be asking for is not an increase in the effectiveness of sword units, but a simple fixing of the fear upgrades.

I have an 85% win ratio in 1v1s and I have routinely fielded 2-3 units of No Dachis in my lineup and at other times 2-3 loan sword units (never exceeding a total of 5 swords however). My No Dachis are indispensible in my tactics - I can use them to smash the flank of an enemy spear wall, I can have them frontally charge a gun line (not recommended in most instances, but it can be done by putting them into loose formation and hitting Banzai), I can use them to cut through enemy melee troops and I can even send them charging after cavalry with the Banzai enabled. I frequently have them on my flanks, mixed with spear troops, acting in support of my cavalry (this tactic usually gives me total control of the enemy flanks). They really are a one-size-fits-all unit that can perform just about any task that I want them to on the battlefield.

Loan swords by contrast are great defensive troops and can be fielded in numbers to hold back a melee spam, especially of other loan swords. They do need to be mixed with other troops if you want to use them efficiently however.

The people who come unstuck as a result of using sword units are the ones who use them in large numbers. I see them as support units and specialists, not as front-line troops that can be fielded en-masse. It is so easy for cavalry to rout sword units with flank or rear charges - it is similarly straightforward for a musket line protected by spears to cut down sword units that try to frontally charge it. The key is to mix your units up and have swords as part of your army, rather than as the core. You need to have cavalry (ideally backed up by spears) to counter their horsemen and to harass their skirmishers, you need archers to destroy their muskets and ranged troops, you need muskets to be firing into their flanks and rear. You cannot rush a good player from the front with sword troops and expect to win.

Hidden Gunman
06-10-2011, 02:48 AM
Agreed Such, but again all those 'shouldn't does' would be mitigated by mechanic fixes...working scare enemy, no more meatshield, higher maximum fund games.

With the addition of scare enemy on kat cav as a specialisation upgrade.

blenta
06-10-2011, 10:15 AM
putting them into loose formation
Have you noticed that it doesn't help vs matchlocks? That works against bow but matchlocks fire at specific men in a unit not at a unit as a whole like archers do.

hewhoraidsthewind
06-10-2011, 11:08 AM
I can easily bring 2-3 katana cav in a 14k battle. They just replace my costs with infantry sword units. And i still have enough cash left to bring 2 no-dachi units. All this in a well balanced army, with 4 missile units, 4 spear units, 2 gg's, 1 yari cav + what i mentioned above. Same people complaining about 22k, always offtopic, is becoming redundant and boring.

Linus
06-10-2011, 11:15 AM
Have you noticed that it doesn't help vs matchlocks? That works against bow but matchlocks fire at specific men in a unit not at a unit as a whole like archers do.

Do you realise that sometimes people do miss? Our poor old ashigarus and monks are human after all and they stand a chance missing their intended targets. Being spread out reduces unintended deaths to a certain extent.

Yannos
06-10-2011, 11:57 AM
Some valid poitns by all of you here.

I wanted to stand on something relevant that was mentioned a few posts back but wasn't given the proper attention.

As far as samurai katanas are concerned I recently tried a dual core army which was proposed to me in these forums. I replaced my 5-6 katana samurais with about 11 half veted loanswrds. The rest 6-7 units cavalry. Build was ok, but I gave it a personal touch and I kept just 7 loanswords, added a naginata monk and a katana hero and kept my 7 cav units as they were.

I am sad to say it but right now I have no reason to go back to my previous katana samurais. Feels strange as I tend to create emotional bonds with thosse pixelated bad@ss warriors but now I realize that those loanswords can do the same job in more numbers if I am decent enough to keep my general alive of course.

My point is that it is not the noob box that was the final nail on katanas coffin. It was the very balance of the game that made them useles for a leadership general.

Kensai
06-10-2011, 12:17 PM
My point is that it is not the noob box that was the final nail on katanas coffin. It was the very balance of the game that made them useles for a leadership general.

Yes, but a Katana Samurai unit under the guidance of a Famous/Legendary Leader will have such an extremely high morale that he will fight to the last few men, just like a Katana Hero unit. If you manage NOT to get flanked (perhaps siding your sword units with YA/YS) these Katana Samurais can literally eat a way through the enemy's army.

Guys, please... understand that in this game (and this since the original Shogun!) morale is the most important aspect. In the end, everyone throws a mix of vet/vanilla units and hopes to win, but the best General is the one that uses the tactics to effectively rout the enemy the sooner the better. This is also how you make personal bests of most enemy units killed while keeping your units lost at the lowest possible level.

Hidden Gunman
06-10-2011, 12:34 PM
And again, when you can achieve a large numerical superiority in units, then quality loses out....in the real world, in campaigns the ability to field a large force is/was based on the ability to feed and supply them...again an issue that lack of 'strategic context' in this game impacts on. As I said earlier, in 22k games, there weren't many ashi based armies...who would take ashies when they can take an equal number of the same level kat sams.

Yannos
06-10-2011, 01:07 PM
Yes, but a Katana Samurai unit under the guidance of a Famous/Legendary Leader will have such an extremely high morale that he will fight to the last few men, just like a Katana Hero unit. If you manage NOT to get flanked (perhaps siding your sword units with YA/YS) these Katana Samurais can literally eat a way through the enemy's army.

Guys, please... understand that in this game (and this since the original Shogun!) morale is the most important aspect. In the end, everyone throws a mix of vet/vanilla units and hopes to win, but the best General is the one that uses the tactics to effectively rout the enemy the sooner the better. This is also how you make personal bests of most enemy units killed while keeping your units lost at the lowest possible level.

Well I agree. The mass ls army has drawbacks which can be overcomed by micro. You get better veterenated cav becasue of the extra money. If you loosse it on the first fight then its your fault. If you don't, then after decimating enemy cav you must use the extra force to bring down the extra morale of samurais. If you loose your general, well your fault again, i never said its a perfect build, it's highly dependable on microing.