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How i defeat Romans with Seleucids

samojasamoja Posts: 49Registered Users
Recently i finally decided to play RTW as non roman faction, i was drawn to Seleucids because of their wide unit roster, i always wished as Rome to try and use more of a mixed unit tactic, where as Romans i usually just focused on spamming infantry. Anyway i had little trouble defeating local powers, since phalanx pretty much wrecks most other units, i even curbstomped Egypt, one faction that always gave me headache as Rome. But Romans were not sleeping all this time, among them the three roman factions hold maybe as much as 2/4 of the map, with me holding 1/4 and the rest being in the hands of other, smaller factions. Anyhow the first time i fought Brutii i darn nearly got wrecked, despite having significant advantage, phalanx can not stand up to the legion, i only won by overwhelming the enemy with sheer numbers.

The problem was that cohorts were resilient enough to resist my spears, and either go around and start chipping at my flank (if i set my phalanx to deep formation) or drive trough the first rank of spears and simply start fighting my guys head on (if i spread my ranks thin to avoid envelopment).

For a moment i was at a loss, i could not even beat simple Principes, and i knew that was just pre Marian first wave, soon enough roman factions would start sending Pretorians and Urbans after me, and i would be wrecked.

So i turned to historical sources for inspiration, what i do is pretty much straight copy of Macedonian tactic, not really complicated, simple hammer and anvil, but there are a few things i take care to do properly. Most of this battles are sieges since i took two Roman cities and am holding out until reinforcements can arrive.

First of you don't want to fight Romans on the walls, that is what they excel at, i always sally out immediately to face them in the open. My army consists of 2 to 3 units of Cavalry (mainly Cataphracts if i can get them but any cavalry that can melee will do) 1 unit of chariots to deal with any cavalry enemy may bring, 1 or 2 units of archers but this is not necesarry and i almost never use them, sometimes elephants if i can get them and the rest Levy pikemen and phalanxes.

I position all my pikemen away from the enemy, on one of the side gates, because they are extremely vulnerable when they are coming out, a single charge at that moment can wreck your day. I put them all in a big clump and all my cav behind them, also in a clump. A soon as the battle starts i order everyone out of formation and out of the city, when the troops are about 2/3rds of a way out i order everyone in one big line with some 4 to 5 ranks deep phalanxes. I put my cav behind them,

i advance towards the enemy. When the enemy is close i click behind them and position my cav at one flank, just when they are ready to throw the pila i pause, take every unit and send them towards the nearest unit, i often have longer line so my troops already start enveloping the enemy. My goal is to get the enemy commander to commit all his reserves, as soon as i see the coast is clear i send one unit of cavalry around and hit the enemy from behind, the second unit of cav i usually send after archers, if there is any enemy cav i send my chariots after them. At this point it is just a slaughterhouse, first unit breaks almost immediately, and i do the same with the next unit in line. At this point my cav that i sent after archers is often in the position to start doing the same on the other flank. Not long after this enemy units start breaking all on their own, even without hammer and anvil. And then it is all over, enemy army starts routing on mass.

I realize this tactic is not really that revolutionary but i just thought i would share for anyone else who is wondering how to beat romans, i am playing Seleucid but i guess the same can be applied to any helenistic faction, even Egypt, any faction that gets phalanxes should be able to use this . Thanks for reading.

Comments

  • Aj3gamerAj3gamer Posts: 8Registered Users
    You should use archers on the walls even if you want to sally forth, they can do a significant amount of damage to Roman infantry depending on what angle the arrows hit.
  • samojasamoja Posts: 49Registered Users
    Aj3gamer said:

    You should use archers on the walls even if you want to sally forth, they can do a significant amount of damage to Roman infantry depending on what angle the arrows hit.

    Well if i have archers i put them up on the walls, Roman general is not always stupid enough to get in range but if he is i can get some nice damage in, that is assuming i have a wall, in some of my first battles i only had a palisade so i elected to keep my archers out of harm's way, and of course in field battle archers never do much, Roman infantry is way too tough to be felled from the front in any significant number and i am too busy micromanaging my battle line to micro the archers too.
  • Aj3gamerAj3gamer Posts: 8Registered Users
    I've done a campaign with the Seleucid Empire and when I used archers I just kept them behind the infantry and whenever anyone tries to attack them they move out of the way by themselves. Also if the Romans bring archers then you would want your archers to try to attack them. Or you would have to move all of your infantry forward just to try and take out the archers because they are doing a lot of damage to your front line.
  • samojasamoja Posts: 49Registered Users
    Aj3gamer said:

    I've done a campaign with the Seleucid Empire and when I used archers I just kept them behind the infantry and whenever anyone tries to attack them they move out of the way by themselves. Also if the Romans bring archers then you would want your archers to try to attack them. Or you would have to move all of your infantry forward just to try and take out the archers because they are doing a lot of damage to your front line.

    That's what Cataphracts are for, the enemy usually leaves his archers vulnerable, added bonus the Cataphracts will be in the position to charge the roman rear when they are done with the archers. Any Enemy unit that goes after the Cataphracts is one less charging my front lines, in a field battle i would rather have an extra unit of Cataphracts then archers of dubious use.
  • Aj3gamerAj3gamer Posts: 8Registered Users
    When I faced the Romans they put their archers behind their front line and the archers were also protected on the flanks by heavy cavalry, so I did need my archers to stop them from destroying my front line.
  • samojasamoja Posts: 49Registered Users
    Aj3gamer said:

    When I faced the Romans they put their archers behind their front line and the archers were also protected on the flanks by heavy cavalry, so I did need my archers to stop them from destroying my front line.

    What i tend to do (if my enemy has Cav, he does not always) is send chariots to clear them out, i just position my Cav and Chariots on my flanks (Chariots and elephants have a nasty tendency to disrupt phalanx formation they go trough which can be fatal, so i always try to swing them around my line unless the situation is dire) Chariots absolutely shred cavalry, even heavy cav, especially if you can get the enemy cav to counter charge, you probably won't even take casualties. I have no problem with the fact that the archers are behind enemy lines, most of my phalanxes are 50% larger then legions, and the legion tends to advance in deeper blocks, so my line will tend to be longer on the onset, but the key point is that Cav is faster, i can swing around the enemy line and completely avoid the infantry. Even if i get intercepted by infantry at some point (which rarely happens, since i tend to quick charge one unit of archers, then immediately break off and go after something else, either another unit of archers or skirmishers, or just break off and charge the same unit again, cataphracts do massive damage on initial charge), even then, Cataphracts are tough enough to break off and not get slaughtered in any great numbers, or indeed take any casualties at all. Cataphracts are there to cause maximum havoc in the enemy rear, i usually use two units, one on the left and one on the right, with sometimes third unit i keep in reserve. I send one unit against archers and another just swings around and charges the enemy infantry as soon as they are engaged. Sure enough i get a few arrows in the process but nothing comparatively, since i advance fast enough to get the enemy to fully commit, again, i want his entire force charging my front, and he generally does just that.

  • Aj3gamerAj3gamer Posts: 8Registered Users
    Many of the times the Romans had heavy cavalry on either side so even if I send Cataphracts on either side the heavy cavalry will hold them for long enough. By the end the archers will have gave the Romans a significant advantage and my Cataphracts will break. I would recommend that you watch Many A True Nerd as he has done a series on Rome Total War, he did do it with the Bruti but it shows the significance that the archers have in battle.
  • Aj3gamerAj3gamer Posts: 8Registered Users
    I have nothing else to say about this.
  • samojasamoja Posts: 49Registered Users
    Aj3gamer said:

    Many of the times the Romans had heavy cavalry on either side so even if I send Cataphracts on either side the heavy cavalry will hold them for long enough. By the end the archers will have gave the Romans a significant advantage and my Cataphracts will break. I would recommend that you watch Many A True Nerd as he has done a series on Rome Total War, he did do it with the Bruti but it shows the significance that the archers have in battle.

    I actually did a custom battle to test this, i gave Roman commander 2 units of Pretorian Cav, 2 units of archers, 2 units of auxilia, a general and the rest was Praetorians, i had 2 units of Cataphracts, 1 unit of chariots, a general and the rest was Pikemen. now to be fair the Archers never did die, because the Enemy commander charged me with everything he had and i had to scramble my Cataphracts to defend on both sides, but my Chariots did wreck one of his Cavalry units as well as his general and swing back to the other side of my line to destroy his other unit of heavy Cav before running amok, and i did loose one unit of Cataphracts because i was engaged elsewhere, but other then that it worked out perfectly and i won with 25% casualty rate, i doubt i would be able to do any better with 2 units of archers, but a second unit of Chariots and third unit of Cataphracts would have swung the battle so much in my favor i thought it would have been unfair, it's just about being economical with your slots. Note that this is by far the strongest roman army i ever fought, especially since, in this verso\ion of the game units can't seem to be shattered, only broken (and will return if left alone for a couple of minutes), i am sure archers are worthwhile most of the times, i am just saying that Seleucids have better options at their disposal especially considering their archers are both outranged and outgunned by archer auxilia.
  • Raphael4722Raphael4722 Posts: 8Registered Users
    Are you kidding me? 2-3 units of archers and 2 units of onagers is staple in a seleucid army. Chariots and elephants are not necessary against the Romans because they don't use much cavalry. Missile units let you win easily in offensive battles. Sure, in a defensive battle you can just wait for the legions to come onto your pikemen, but if you're in an offensive battle and you take only pikemen and cavalry you are unnecessarily making things difficult for yourself.

    Giving pikemen an order to attack a unit risks messing up their formation (where they switch to swords, if that happens it can be disastrous), and also if you have them walk up to a legion that has fire-at-will enabled, they're going to take heavy losses from the pila. Pikemen can't run (and therefore can't charge) which means they'll take more losses from pila this way than a running unit would. Therefore, having a few missile units as the seleucids forces the enemy to attack first, and if they don't they will take so much losses that the battle will practically be won.

    Also, what difficulty are you playing on? On Hard and Very Hard the AI gets bonuses to attack and defense skill which makes them tougher in hand-to-hand combat. The AI however gets no bonuses to armour or shield stats so there's no extra protection against missile units. This makes missile units even more important on higher battle difficulties.
  • Aj3gamerAj3gamer Posts: 8Registered Users
    I completely agree with everything Raphael4722 said
  • samojasamoja Posts: 49Registered Users
    edited June 2

    Are you kidding me? 2-3 units of archers and 2 units of onagers is staple in a seleucid army. Chariots and elephants are not necessary against the Romans because they don't use much cavalry. Missile units let you win easily in offensive battles. Sure, in a defensive battle you can just wait for the legions to come onto your pikemen, but if you're in an offensive battle and you take only pikemen and cavalry you are unnecessarily making things difficult for yourself.

    Giving pikemen an order to attack a unit risks messing up their formation (where they switch to swords, if that happens it can be disastrous), and also if you have them walk up to a legion that has fire-at-will enabled, they're going to take heavy losses from the pila. Pikemen can't run (and therefore can't charge) which means they'll take more losses from pila this way than a running unit would. Therefore, having a few missile units as the seleucids forces the enemy to attack first, and if they don't they will take so much losses that the battle will practically be won.

    Also, what difficulty are you playing on? On Hard and Very Hard the AI gets bonuses to attack and defense skill which makes them tougher in hand-to-hand combat. The AI however gets no bonuses to armour or shield stats so there's no extra protection against missile units. This makes missile units even more important on higher battle difficulties.

    Sometimes i wonder if i am playing the same game as the other guys, because in my game the AI always charges.
  • Aj3gamerAj3gamer Posts: 8Registered Users
    edited June 3
    All of us are wondering if ur playing the same game as us
    Post edited by Aj3gamer on
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