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Topic Subject: Orc Assassin vs. Halfling Rogue - A Closer Look
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posted 08-13-01 11:25 PM EDT (US)   
In a recent PBEM game, I had 2 assassins square off against 2 rogues, and the assassins got whupped!

After I sent my turn on, I went back and replayed this battle several times. In FC, the Rogues won 4 out of 7 times. In TC, the Rogues won 5 out of 7 times!

I was shocked as I've rarely gone up against Rogues, but I use Assassins all the time because I play the Orcs a lot. I was surprised to see that Rogues have better physical stats than the Assassins! This initially rubbed me wrong because I think of Orcs as inherently tougher than dinky little Halflings.

Lets take a closer look:

5 4 4 4 6 26

Abilities: Walking, Strike, Parry, Wall Climbing, Concealment, Hurl Stones, Marksmanship I (Mark II at Silver and Mark III at Gold medal).


5 3 3 3 7 28

Abilities: Walking, Strike, Wall Climbing, Concealment, Poison Strike, Poison Darts, Marksmanship I (Mark II at Silver and Mark III at Gold medal).


Both units have the Concealment and Wall Climbing ability.

Ranged Weapon:
The Rogue has Hurl Stones and the Assassin uses Poison Darts. While some may say that units are more easily poisoned, thus affecting their stats, I'll take the increased damage of Hurl Stones any day. At Mark III, Hurl Stones is deadly with 4 attacks at +2 attack and +1 damage!

Edge: Rogue

Melee Attack:
The Rogue has the Parry ability while the Assassin has a Poison Strike. Again, the fans of Poison Strike say that it's a great way to affect the stats of your opponent. This may be fine for a hero, but the Assassin is not a strong unit in either defense or hit points; you don't really want your Assassin entering melee combat.

The Rogue, on the other hand, actually has a chance in melee combat. Their Parry ability now jacks their defense up to a respectable 6 (the same as a Cavalier!). Poison Strike doesn't mean squat when you can't even hit the unit. Meanwhile, the Rogue is pounding you with 4 more stones.

Edge: Rogue

Physical Stats:
Both units have a 5 attack value. However, the Rogue as 4's in all other attributes while the Assassin has 3's. The Assassin has 1 more hit point and 2 more movement points than the Rogue.

As I stated earlier, I was initially surprised the Rogue has better stats than an Orc because of the inherent nature of the two races. However, the in-game description for the Assassin states makes this more clear, as it explains that Assassins are the weakest of all the Orcs, and that in Orc society it is an insult to be called an "Assassin." Read in this context the lower stats makes much more sense.

Moreover, the inherent size dominance of the Orc to the Halfling is reflected in the additional hit point for the Assassin. But a 28 movement is not much different than a 26 so that is no substantial advantage.

Edge: Rogue (that 6 defense in melee is tough to beat!)

The Rogue beats the Assassin hands down in every category. Pro-poison people may disagree, but even those people must recognize the incredible advantage Parry gives the unit. 2-3 Rogues runing around behind enemy lines is an awesome strike team.

Post your comments as well! I enjoy debating the pros and cons of unit balancing.

[This message has been edited by Angel Draco (edited 03-14-2008 @ 10:08 AM).]

posted 08-14-01 03:08 AM EDT (US)     1 / 44  
I’m not too fond of any of these units, they cost too much time and money to build. The rouge might have 6 in defence against the first attack (parry only works against the first attack, no?) but they will have to survive the second attack as well. He might have a chance in combat but against most opponents it’s not a very good one. There is a risk he won’t last more then 1 round if he goes up against something with a good attack. To me that risk is too big compared to the money and the time it took to build him.

They can both work as good scouts or raiders I guess but in combat I have a hard time seeing these units doing more then supporting other units. As a supporting unit I would have to say that the assassin is vastly superior to the rogue (since all units in the group can take advantage of the effects of poison).

[This message has been edited by Fisenflycht (edited 08-14-2001 @ 03:13 AM).]

posted 08-14-01 03:27 AM EDT (US)     2 / 44  
In warlock rules, halflings have a much better chance against orcs generally.
The halfling rogue increases its attack values up to 7, and if you give him enchant weapon and some medals, you have a great "line defender" protecting your vulnerable units.

With silver medal + enchant its attack 9, defense 7 at the first strike and damage 5 which will kill a lot of attacking swordsmen on the first blow. Bring that up to gold + further spells and you have a nice little killer.

In normal rules its more balanced and will depend on wether you play FC or TC. In TC you will try to take out assassins early in the fight to take advantage of their lower attack and higher ranged damage of the rogues....

posted 08-14-01 04:42 AM EDT (US)     3 / 44  
I did some calculations to see if these guys are worth their cost. Which one would you prefer, 15 slingers or 3 rogues (same prise)? Let’s put them up against 2 warlords. It’s a very simple calculation with a few assumptions but will still give a good indication of what the outcome of the fight will be.

15 Slingers
Round1: Slingers do 15x4x0,2x1=12p of damage. Not bad, almost as good as 15 archers.
Round1: Warlords kills 2 slingers (yes, they might miss but it’s not likely )
Round2: Slingers do 13x4x0,2x1=10,4p of damage. One warlord down.
Round2: Warlord kills one slinger
Round3: Slingers kills the remaining warlord

3 Rouges
Round1: Rouges do 3x4x0,3x1,5=5,4p of damage
Round1: Warlords (round attack) do 2x1x0,4x3,5=2,8 points of damage (!)
Let’s say they uses normal attack instead
Round1: Warlords do 2,8+2x1x0,8x3,5=8,4 killing one rouge before they can counter
Round1: Rouges do 2x1x0,4x2,5=2p of damage
Round2: Rouges do 2x4x0,3x1,5=3,6p of damage
Round2: Warlords kill one rouge and leaves the other with 1,2 hit points.
Round2: Rouge do 1x1x0,4x2,5=1p of damage
Round3: Rouge do 1x4x0,3x1,5=1,8p leaving one warlord with 0,2 hit points (!)
Round4: Warlords kill the remaining rouge

The rouges did much better then I thought and if the warlords would have used their round attack all the time the rouges would actually have won with one (!) casualty. Still I would prefer 15 slingers even thou I can clearly see the advantage of having three of these guys right behind a larger stack that the enemy thinks he can defeat. He might be in for a big surprise…

posted 08-14-01 09:39 AM EDT (US)     4 / 44  
I'm kind of surprised that rogues won a majority of the time just because in a fight between rogues and assassins, it would be a battle of missile skills(at least in fast combat). Once poisoned, the rogues' stats would go down and the orcs' higher hit points (granted only one) would prevail. But I guess not. I do like the rogues. In single player play, I've seen them hold off half a dozen level one units, usually swordsman. That kind of fight usually ends in rogue death, but most of the enemy was taken down as well.

As far as 15 slingers vs. 3 rogues, you're also talking about an upkeep of 60 vs. 24. Depending on your economy, that would be a deciding factor, I think. An really, who keeps 15 slingers around together?

posted 08-14-01 09:50 AM EDT (US)     5 / 44  
Yup, the disadvantage of using a lot of archers is as always the great cost.
posted 08-14-01 10:00 AM EDT (US)     6 / 44  
You don't just have the cost of producing them, you have the cost of upkeep too. Loadsamoney!

May your archers be argumentative

posted 08-14-01 10:45 AM EDT (US)     7 / 44  
While archers and slingers are expensive, the difference is exaggerated. You've got to figure in the very substantial cost of upgrading to get rogues. And you might want to factor in the fact that you may lose your city and utterly waste the upgrade money, because it is undefended during the time you're upgrading.
posted 08-14-01 12:39 PM EDT (US)     8 / 44  
Well, you were going to upgrade anyway, since you wanted Centaurs. Centaurs rock my world. I've got a gold-medal, stoneskinned, blessed, enchanted weapon Centaur in one pbem game that's just really frightening.

So when you get your Centaurs going, you might consider picking up some Rogues to perform covert activities. Depends on the game.

posted 08-14-01 01:41 PM EDT (US)     9 / 44  
You could always wait until the AI has fully upgraded and installed for you, then go and take the city. Save a fortune that way

May your Centaurs be centre of attention

posted 08-14-01 01:52 PM EDT (US)     10 / 44  
When testing rogue vs assassin you have to balance who attacks. The defender always has the advantage in fc as well as tc. It is the attacker who must move into range first.

I would test 8 vs 8 in 10 battles, with 5 battles attacking with rogues and 5 attacking with assassins.

Regarding archers, slingers, or any level one range unit compared to the level 3, you will always get more bang for the buck with the lower level unit on a production cost basis. Upkeep is the killer. This is the biggest single strategic decision you have to make. Do you upgrade and wait for better units or do you crank out archers? Generally the level 3 missle units are not going to do you in. The problem is watching 12 archers go down to a couple warlords.

posted 08-14-01 02:25 PM EDT (US)     11 / 44  
Wait, how do you get to see archers go down on warlords? Is that something that only happens after you gain access to the minotaur race?

Man, I thought nymphs and ladies of pain were a little off-color...

posted 08-14-01 02:37 PM EDT (US)     12 / 44  
Frogman makes a good point about the upkeep cost. When I first started playing, I built TONS of archers to defend my cities! I mean tons and tons!

Frogman was the first to point out to me how much gold I was wasting each turn on upkeep alone.

Centaurs rock, yes they do, but very experienced players understand and use epionage units with concelament to their fullest advantage.

In two PBEM games I'm in right now (I won't say which two!) I have several concealed units all over the place! I'm practically watching everything my enemies do, plus I'm frustraiting him to no end when I grab a city he's upgrading or fortifying, steal the gold and then take off!

I did those hit and run tactics in a recent game of Gates of Aldorra where Froggy and I teamed up. You should have read the messages I got from the Elven player who wanted to claw my eyes out after that game was over! LOL!

In melee, the Rogues--no matter who attacked first--whould usually hit the enemy with stones, dodge the melee attack, but get in a retaliatory stirke, then hit the enemy with stones again. He took a beating in just two rounds!

In FC, quite often the Assassins wouldn't poison the Rogues. And in TC, the above described melee scenario often played out.

posted 08-14-01 04:35 PM EDT (US)     13 / 44  

Well a couple warlords will not take out a dozen slingers. The best they can do is about 8. If you need a quick strike force you can't beat the level one ranged attack units.

In a quick test I found 8 archers can take out 2 Warlords (not on a date Guv) It only takes 7 elf archers, while 7 darters is not enough

On the other hand 4 Assassins or 4 Rogues could not take out two Warlords. This means if you have 2 Warlords headed your way, it is cheaper, faster and more effective to produce 8 level one units vs at least 3 level 3 units assuming you have something installed that is equal to a Warlord.

As has been said, the problem comes in having too many archers sitting around doing nothing and eating up to much in upkeep cost.

I ran 10 battles with 8 rogues attacking 8 assassins, switching attacker and defender after 5 battles. The defender wins with 3 to 5 defenders left regardless of whether it is the rogue or the assassin attacking. I could not tell any difference.

[This message has been edited by Frogman (edited 08-14-2001 @ 04:39 PM).]

posted 08-14-01 04:57 PM EDT (US)     14 / 44  
So if I understand you correctly, Rogues are not better than Assassins. It just depends who is defending and who is attacking?

May your Rogues be riotous

posted 08-14-01 05:54 PM EDT (US)     15 / 44  
Yes, the defender gets first shot with ranged units of equal range. So 8 Assassins will be knocked down to 6 before any of them get a shot off. You can do better in tactical combat where you can use some cover or attack so that not all 8 Rogues would get a shot.

With equal forces the attacker is at a real disadvantage if there are lots of ranged units involved. You have to figure what you will have left after defender gets first strike. Remember too that range counts. Ballistae will still get first shot when attacking archers. This is one of the core strategies that most people don't understand. The attacker has to have significantly better forces to attack and succeed. The best units to take against archers are the heavy hitters like titans and warlords that can take lots of arrows and still stand leaving your other troops untouched to finish them off.

The other critical area is knowing how units will perform against certain enemy. You need to know how many archers it takes to kill a red dragon. There is often a critical number. 8 archers can take out a dragon with about 5 losses, attack with 6 and you will lose. Attack with 10 archers and you only lose 1 or 2 archers. It takes 9 slingers or darters to take a dragon reliably but with heavy losses, attack with 7 and you lose them all. Luck also plays a factor and strange things can always happen but you must understand these two concepts, especially in pbem where you only get one shot.

[This message has been edited by Frogman (edited 08-14-2001 @ 05:55 PM).]

posted 08-15-01 02:13 AM EDT (US)     16 / 44  
when you test 8 vs. 8 you dont consider how medals will shift the balance. I would say silver medals are bigger advantage for rogues because of +1 damage is more beneficial to the 4 hurl attacks.

As you say, equal number will always favour the defender. So these units are not meant to be used like that.

posted 08-15-01 02:29 AM EDT (US)     17 / 44  
I find your comments really interesting Frogman, and really useful, but still I have a question in my mind

Presumably the main function of a Rogue/Assassin is not as a dragon-killer. Their concealment gives them a unique advantage as a scout or spy, you would probably not do a full 8 stack of Rogues or Assassins, you would probably send one or two into forests near your enemy

If your concealed Rogue happens to chance upon a concealed Assassin, my understanding of what has been said is that:

A) You attack him, and you will lose

B) If you ignore him and he is foolish enough to attack you without any supporting troops, he will die

But then there is the complication of medals and enchantments to consider, as Waterfly points out. So can we say a Rogue is NOT better than an Assassin? Or simply that the game is too complex for generalisations?

May your permutations be plentiful

posted 08-15-01 04:17 AM EDT (US)     18 / 44  
Roger, yup. That's what will happen unless chance decides to intervene. You could say that the rogues are better then the assassins in combat but that won't make a difference since getting first strike is an even better advantage.

Frogman, I agree that putting a heavy critter in charge of a larger group is one of the best way to get rid of archers but then again archers is one of the best ways to get rid of heavy critters. I guess it all comes down to correctly maximise the use of your available resources and not overspend. It’s true that it’s easy to overspend if you stick to level 1 units but using higher level critters also has disadvantages. Personally I have found it harder to really make some use of the money I have available if I make myself dependant on advanced units. Often my income will be higher then what the units I’m building will cost to produce so I will be left with a growing pile of gold with limited uses (which usually causes me to do stupid things like getting walls on cities that doesn’t really need any or upgrade cities that I never will produce anything in…)

waterfly, I don’t think medals will make much difference. It will only make the importance of first strike even more important (since the amount of damage during the first round will increase).

Draco, yes, raiders and concealed scouts must give you an enormous advantage but are they really cost efficient? Couldn’t you have spent the same amount of resources on regular troops and simply finished the poor elf off instead of playing with him like a cat with a mouse?

BTW, what happens to units like the rogue, with both ranged attack and melee capacity in FC if he is together with a larger party? Do the attackers target them first (as if they were merely archers) or does the attacker treat them as ordinary foot soldiers since they can counter strike? (Which usually means they will try to kill the unit that can cause them most damage, no?)

[This message has been edited by Fisenflycht (edited 08-15-2001 @ 04:23 AM).]

posted 08-15-01 04:52 AM EDT (US)     19 / 44  
Interesting point Fisenflycht.
I actually dont remember a FC with rogue versus assassin. In TC Id use the range attack on my turn, so first strike wouldnt make any difference on behalf of the assasin.
But it might be that they are stupid again in TC....
posted 08-15-01 05:02 AM EDT (US)     20 / 44  
I don't know if we understood each other. I meant 'first strike' as in 'the first side to get to use their ranged attack'.

[This message has been edited by Fisenflycht (edited 08-15-2001 @ 05:03 AM).]

posted 08-15-01 06:27 AM EDT (US)     21 / 44  
Spending money on walls is not quite so stupid if the city is of a race where your relations are borderline. Even if your finances are a bit limited, for the cost of just 20 per 1H city you improve the relationship number by 5 when you add walls. I often make them stronger as well - another 20, another +5! Can be important as relationships tend to revert back to the "norm" even if you do nothing.
posted 08-15-01 07:01 AM EDT (US)     22 / 44  
Hey Unicorn 77, have you posted your comment in the right thread? I see nothing about walls or race relations in this thread, so your comment is somewhat "out of the blue"

What's happening dude?

May your comments correlate

posted 08-15-01 07:04 AM EDT (US)     23 / 44  
I think the reply was to Fisenflycht comiserating on wasting money by walling cities taht don't need it, Roger (Post 18).

May your walls be wide?

Angel Jayhawk
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posted 08-15-01 07:06 AM EDT (US)     24 / 44  
I'm replying to Fis's penultimate post above - 2nd paragraph. Totally off subject, but there you are!
posted 08-15-01 07:07 AM EDT (US)     25 / 44  
Hey what's happening! There's peeps galore online!
posted 08-15-01 07:23 AM EDT (US)     26 / 44  
Ok Fisenflycht - i thought you meant the ability "first strike"
posted 08-15-01 07:31 AM EDT (US)     27 / 44  
Thanks for clarifying that, gents, I must have fallen asleep part way thru post 18. Being left with a growing pile of gold with limited uses is a problem I wish I had more often; I usually seem to have the opposite problem!

I am often torn at the start of the game between building walls and upgrading. Wouldn't want a passing swordsman to take my 4-hex while I was off exploring. But wall-building on small cities inhabited by other races can be a handy way of improving relations

Of course, if a Rogue or Assassin turns up they can pass walls anyway, but at least your race-relations have improved!

May your Assassins be adventurous

posted 08-15-01 12:09 PM EDT (US)     28 / 44  
Fisenflycht said:
Draco, yes, raiders and concealed scouts must give you an enormous advantage but are they really cost efficient? Couldn’t you have spent the same amount of resources on regular troops and simply finished the poor elf off instead of playing with him like a cat with a mouse?

I think so, especially if you can get them early on before you can really build-up your armies. Orcs don't have a good level 3 flyer (the bat's 26 movement blows), so enjoy harrassing the enemy by stealing nodes, gold mines, builders and level one cities.

I love nothing more than to harrass and tease my opponent. The more you piss off your opponent, the worse he/she plays.

In the Gates of Aldorra game, my elven opponent spent nearly 5 turns, fanning out almost 9 archers, trying to find an assassin that kept stealing his resources.

Meanwhile, I spent that time building archers to defend a 3 hex he was approaching and by the time he got to me not only had my assassin destroyed his ram, but I had 7 defenders waiting for him by the time he arrived.

[This message has been edited by Angel Draco (edited 08-16-2001 @ 11:59 PM).]

posted 08-16-01 03:06 AM EDT (US)     29 / 44  
Definitely sounds like something I should try sometime. If you can do all that with just one assassin it looks like it's true that they could be a really good investment after all.

Draco, do you remember roughly at which turn you built the assassin? And were you in the process of building warlords as well at the same time or was the assassin the first level three unit you produced? It would be very interesting to hear more about what ‘over-all strategies’ (what you built, whom you planed to stop and when etc.) you used durning this game.

[This message has been edited by Fisenflycht (edited 08-16-2001 @ 06:29 AM).]

posted 08-16-01 03:34 AM EDT (US)     30 / 44  
Are you sure that angels are allowed to be that wicked, Draco?

May your Titans be tremendous

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