This topic was discussed a bit in another thread, and deserves a clean start. I have made some more tests together with Loupi primarily, but also WickD helped out and I'll try to summarize the results below and hope we can have a grown up discussion about these things. Also credit to Lotus_moon, Xiphos and Hanen for discussing these tests and game play in general. Over all I will keep it short and let the results speak for themselves in the OP so we can keep the discussions and opinions to the replies.
I'll actually start backwards with the conclusions to hopefully not lose your attention in a wall of screenshots.
1. In all the tests we performed, shock cav performed better if left in sustained combat
than if we cycle charged, and it did that for two reasons - (a) denying the infantry its charge bonus (shock cav often trade down on the charge!) and (b) not getting models stuck and killed every time you pull out.
2. If your infantry does not have CDvL, then you're actually better off not bracing
because if you brace you're helping the enemy cav models to not penetrate deep and get stuck.
3. Unsupported infantry decisively beat unsupported cavalry for the cost, and chaos warriors with great weapons win more decisively than chaos warriors with halberds
against cycle charging questing knights in a 5v4 free-for-all (4150 vs 4400 gold).
All in all, we find it extremely unintuitive that cycle charging unsupported infantry on the open field with shock cavalry is way less efficient than just leaving them in sustained melee. The quicker you pull out, the harder you lose against counter-charging infantry. Only vs braced infantry does cycle-charging become efficient, which is again counter-intuitive.
We tried to keep it simple, our unit vs unit tests were performed 4 units vs 4, played out one by one.
Test 1. Infantry and Cav mutually charging each other, the cav stays in melee for 5 seconds before pulling out to cycle again.
Test 2. Same as 1. but staying only for 1 second in melee.
Test 3. Mutual charge and then both units stay in sustained melee until a unit breaks.
Test 4. Infantry braced vs cycles charging cav who stays for 1s in melee.
We tried to pick matchups that seemed "fair" in terms of damage type so that both units deal a damage type that the opponent does not mitigate, i.e. ap vs high armour and non-ap vs low armour.
CWGW vs QK
CWGW vs DP
CWGW vs Demi lances
Marauder GW vs QK
Marauder GW vs KotBS
Orc boys vs WR
Not the same format, but it's a single mutual charge between savage orcs (550 gold) and wild riders (1100 gold)
...and the end result after 3-4 cycles.
End screen QK vs CWGW
End screen QK vs CW halberds.
You can have the replays of each test if you wish, just PM me.
So what does all this mean? This is what I hope we can have a mature discussion about here. How is this affecting, and how will this affect, the meta as it gets fully established?
The observations we make here is that infantry, especially with AP against heavy cav, that has a good CB will deal huge amount of gold value damage to elite cav on the counter-charge. This has always been the case, most clearly with black orcs, but it is now more pronounced. You can even use cheap gw infantry like marauder gw to trade extremely well upwards vs charging elite heavy cav. The same is observed for unarmoured elite shock cav like wild riders, even basic sword infantry like orc boys trade really well on a mutual charge. Elite shock cav trading down on the charge makes it actually beneficial to deny the infantry their charge bonus, which is highly counter-intuitive for how shock cav is supposed to play.
The second part of this is the problem of cav models penetrating deep into infantry and getting stuck, making each withdrawal result in lost cav models, further giving you incentive to stay in sustained melee with your shock cav. This also has the even more unintuitive effect that the worst thing you can do with your infantry is to brace, because then you will catch fewer enemy cav models and kill them....
Questions that I would like to discuss would be in the lines of:
- How can we help shock cav function like shock cav without dialing back some of the positive effects of infantry cohesion? Do we need changes to cav units or do we need to change cohesion for certain unit types.
- How can we make bracing more intuitive?
- How can transfer back the anti-cav role to spears/halberds while keeping both units balanced over all?
Etc etc. The aim here would be to promote intuitive good game play and a healthy meta, not to upset the balance.