A subtle change to Dravidians to make them play more as intended

According to Hera, Dravidians can’t do anything against Skirm/Knight/Siege and I can see where he’s coming from. Other civs have cavalry to counter Skirms, Dravidians have to rely on their own Skirms, which do get a bonus, but which isn’t that insane compared to some other civ bonuses like Koreans or Byzantines.

Dravidians do not need Skirms to counter Archers, because they have Elephant Archers for that.

Against Mangonels, Dravidians do not have any counter at all.

So, I propose this change to the Skirm/Elephant Archer civ bonus. Change it from

  • Skirmishers and Elephant Archers attack 25% faster

to

  • Skirmishers and Elephant Archers gain +1 attack starting in Castle Age

This will make Skirmishers better against other Skirmishers as well as having a few other beneficial effects. Here’s how this will affect their performance against other units:

  • Skirm vs. Skirm: 3 → 4 damage (+7% dps)
  • Skirm vs. Crossbow: 7 → 8 damage (-9% dps)
  • Skirm vs. Pikeman: 6 → 7 damage (-7% dps)
  • Skirm vs. Monk 5 → 6 damage (-4% dps)
  • Skirm vs. Scout/Knight: 1 → 2 damage (+60% dps)
  • Skirm vs. Cav Archer: 9 → 10 damage (-11% dps)
  • Skirm vs. Mangonel: 1 → 1 damage (-25% dps)

And here is how it will affect Elephant Archers:

  • Ele Archer vs. Skirm: 2 → 3 damage (+20% dps)
  • Ele Archer vs. Crossbow/Cav Archer/Pikeman: 6 → 7 damage (-7% dps)
  • Ele Archer vs. Monk 8 → 9 damage (-10% dps)
  • Ele Archer vs. Scout/Knight : 4 → 5 damage (+/-0% dps)
  • Ele Archer vs. Mangonel: 2 → 3 damage (+20% dps)

As you can see, this change would make Skirms and Elephant Archers better against those units that Hera claims are the units that Dravidians don’t have a counter to. Skirms are better at countering opposing Skirms and they’re now unique among all civs that they will perform not completely terrible against Knights, so you’re not forced into adding Pikes or Monks immediately. Elephant Archers will be less hard-countered by Skirms and will also now be decent against Mangonels, which Dravidians have a hard time dealing with.

However, the change is not an outright buff because they will now be slightly worse against a number of other units.

I added the “starting in Castle Age” restriction to the civ bonus because I believe +1 attack Skirms in Feudal Age would probably be too powerful. This will make Skirms worse in Feudal Age, but the bonus rarely mattered anyway because you mostly stutter-step with Skirms and players are used to the standard Skirm attack speed and do not account for the attack speed bonus when microing their Skirms.

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Is it truly impossible? I feel there is something we are missing. (E.g. EA+pikes+mangonel?) I think Dravidians look like Mongols; They have strong UU and so on, but it takes long time to use it.

EA and cheap mangonels can counter mangonels and knights (with EA micro), though there is a problem how to deal enemy skirms.

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Not to be strange but doesnt a cheaper mangonel squish like 29 skirms if you skillshot well enough. Maybe mangonels with a line of pikes can hanlde skirms and knights? At least hypothetically

Swap UTs and cheaper wootz steel may help against knight.

Your numbers are a bit off.

Skirms do 2 damage base, plus 2 more from upgrades in castle age, for 4 damage, but they have 5 armor with upgrades. One more damage leaves them at 5-5=1 damage(unchanged) plus bonus damage, only without with ROF boost, their DPS drops by 20%. Elite Skirms do 3 base, but that still only puts them at 6 damage, which still does 1 damage after armor.

Broadly, this change would be a nerf, rather than a buff.

Arent they too expensive in castle age ?

No, knights only have 2 base pierce armor, which makes 4 after upgrades. So elite skirms would do twice as much damage as a normal skirm.

But if we look at the pro levels, this is not enough. They always say that the knights/xbows matchup heavily favors the knights once they get +2 armor and are in decent number (and without xbows being packed in a hole). With the change, even with an hypothetocal +60% damage, skirms still only do 1/3 of the output of an xbow (2 damage vs 3 damage at twice the attack speed) while being more expensive that an xbow. So not worth it.

If I had to buff Dravidians against the skirm/knight/mangonels combo, I would go through the LS line, by doing one or several of the following:

  • give the Dravidians LS line a (free) resistance of 3 vs mounted units (like the Ethiopian UT for Shotels & camels)
  • give the Dravidians LS line a (free) speed of 10% (like Lituanians halberdiers & skirms)
  • extend the discount to infantry blacksmith upgrade (well aware that if would help the cavalry attack as well)

It is important that the bug is free and not locked behind a UT, as it otherwise has no impact on the higher level. Optionally the Dravidians could lose blast furnace or some imperial techs.

But seeing the recent discount to siege, maybe the devs would rather buff dravidian siege again by giving them anti siege resistance, so that Dravidians get a frightening pikes + mangonel combo, as their mangonels would die 1 shot to opponent mangonels. That would be interesting as well.

Huh? Skirms vs skirms.

Honestly, the thing people are failing to do is just…make longswords. Straight longswords with gambesons hard counter the knight/skirm combo.

The problems arise when you try going skirms/LS or skirms/pikes. LS don’t do enough damage to protect skirms from knights, and pikes have to stay too far back, so you only need to make one mistake to lose. But if your enemy is just making skirms, then your LS will blow them all away.

If they start adding archers, then you can just go for like 5 elephant archers, which hard counter archers and can tank long enough for your LS to kill any knights. You don’t need many; a single elephant archer can kill like 8 crossbows, and can tank plenty long to survive skirm fire, especially while they’re being chased around by LS.

At that point your primary weakness is monks. There, there is a genuine weakness. I’ve honestly had the best luck just using the longswords to tear down their monastery, which forces them to build a new one very defensively, and then I can work siege in and make their lives even more difficult.

But monks are still the elephant civ’s greatest weakness. It would be nice if urumis could oneshot them.

What if they attack faster and plus +1 attack?