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Thread: How to use scythed chariots?

  1. #1

    Default How to use scythed chariots?

    Hey, first time Pontus player here. Enjoying the campaign so far. I know chariots are kind of a gimmicky and obsolete unit by this stage in history and I had never used them but decided to throw one in stacks to try them out. Well, they are awkward and take up a massive amount of space . I find it hard to maneuver them to charge anything and by the time they are in position the battle is decided. They seem to cause some casualties if engaged and are not too expensive so I guess they are ok even though I know I am not using them well.

    Anyone have experience using them and have some tips on getting more out of them? Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: How to use scythed chariots?

    LOL you just dont. You also do not use elephants. Sadly this game engine just cant handle them well. in RTW the engine made it actually good / usable units. Just like pike infantry. Sadly due to the Medieval 2 engine and animations, These 3 units are nowhere near as good as they use to be. And i personally just dont use them at all. MAX 2 pike infantry to hold center or city entrances.

  3. #3

    Default Re: How to use scythed chariots?

    The answer is "with difficulty". For me the issue is that scythed chariots are too slow, too spread-out, and too prone to panicking to be of any use whatsoever. I always mod my edu to tighten up their formation ,boost their speed slightly, reduce to their numbers a little, and slightly up their morale. I find this moves them from "completely unusable trash" to " very sub-par shock unit", which I can live with.

    Elephants are amazing though. If you time & position their charge right you can chain-rout entire armies, but they are very vulnerable, especially to javelins.

  4. #4

    Default Re: How to use scythed chariots?

    Quote Originally Posted by moisesjns View Post
    LOL you just dont. You also do not use elephants. Sadly this game engine just cant handle them well. in RTW the engine made it actually good / usable units. Just like pike infantry. Sadly due to the Medieval 2 engine and animations, These 3 units are nowhere near as good as they use to be. And i personally just dont use them at all. MAX 2 pike infantry to hold center or city entrances.
    Yeah, that was kind of my suspicion. Shame because they look really cool. Re pikes and elephants, I never use those either . In EB1 I didn't use pikes either, not because they weren't effective but because they were too effective, while at the same time being annoying and inflexible to use.

    Quote Originally Posted by Baharr View Post
    Elephants are amazing though. If you time & position their charge right you can chain-rout entire armies, but they are very vulnerable, especially to javelins.
    I always mean to use them but I never play factions that have them near the start.

    Thanks for comments.

  5. #5

    Default Re: How to use scythed chariots?

    Quote Originally Posted by Baharr View Post
    The answer is "with difficulty". For me the issue is that scythed chariots are too slow, too spread-out, and too prone to panicking to be of any use whatsoever. I always mod my edu to tighten up their formation ,boost their speed slightly, reduce to their numbers a little, and slightly up their morale. I find this moves them from "completely unusable trash" to " very sub-par shock unit", which I can live with.

    Elephants are amazing though. If you time & position their charge right you can chain-rout entire armies, but they are very vulnerable, especially to javelins.
    How do you use elephants? I never use them either because they are so expensive yet mostly do little to nothing in most fights, if not actually harm you. Like, using them historically as an opener forming a line in front of your infantry is simply disastrous. Even when using them on the flanks and catching some unawary cavalry (which realistically would take that cavalry unit out of the fight) means a drawn out fight in which they end been routed too.

    You can potentially get a lucky charge on infantry and route them quickly, but I feel like it tends to be very rare if the enemy has any amount of missile units. And even in those cases you are gonna lose the elephants.

    We will either find a way, or make one.


  6. #6
    Lusitanio's Avatar Senator
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    Default Re: How to use scythed chariots?

    Barely ever used chariots but elephants and pikes are great, if used correctly.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How to use scythed chariots?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jervaj View Post
    Like, using them historically as an opener forming a line in front of your infantry is simply disastrous. Even when using them on the flanks and catching some unawary cavalry (which realistically would take that cavalry unit out of the fight) means a drawn out fight in which they end been routed too.
    There's your problem - both these deployments waste the potential of elephants. The historical "deploy in front of infantry and mash the enemy line into paste" is still viable for armoured elephants, but regular ones should imo be deployed on the flanks, behind your cavalry. Have your cav engage or draw away the enemy cav, ideally leaving the enemy's infantry flank exposed. Angle your elephants carefully and charge them into the side of the enemy's main line - their sheer mass means they will easily penetrate three or four units if they hit them side-on at full tilt. The huge casualty shock and terror aura is often enough to launch a colossal chain rout of the entire enemy force, assuming they're all (or mostly) committed and therefore bunched up.

    I think of them as exaggerated shock cavalry - terrifying, but vulnerable.

  8. #8

    Default Re: How to use scythed chariots?

    What can elephants do that cataphracts can't cheaper and more conveniently? Not trying to be a smartass, just thinking about it in this way and curious. Especially if your cataphracts are borderline overpowered like the Pahlavi version with frighten both foot and mounted. It is one of the reasons I am not really anxious to get elephants as Pahlava. I could see how they might be valuable to factions lacking serious heavy cavalry but even something like Thessalian does the routing job well enough. How much is the elephant upkeep anyway?

  9. #9

    Default Re: How to use scythed chariots?

    Quote Originally Posted by Camcolit View Post
    What can elephants do that cataphracts can't cheaper and more conveniently? Not trying to be a smartass, just thinking about it in this way and curious. Especially if your cataphracts are borderline overpowered like the Pahlavi version with frighten both foot and mounted. It is one of the reasons I am not really anxious to get elephants as Pahlava. I could see how they might be valuable to factions lacking serious heavy cavalry but even something like Thessalian does the routing job well enough. How much is the elephant upkeep anyway?
    Elephant are really really good at breaking enemy morales, flank enemy line with elephant and they will take more casualties and morale than with cavalry in addition elephant are also very good against cavalry which make for a somewhat weird general assassin.

    But you're correct they are very much not worth the price. A simple mass light cavalry or some heavy cavalry is sufficient to win decisive battle in addition elephant are rubbish once units are routing while normal cavalry are very good at clearing routing unit and being much cheaper.

  10. #10

    Default Re: How to use scythed chariots?

    Yeah, elephants are a pretty gimmicky unit but deployed right they are absolute lawnmowers. Problem is they're easy to deploy wrong, they're expensive, and javelins & getting bogged down will completely wreck them. I still like to keep a unit around in my elite, royal, led-by-the-faction-heir stack though.

  11. #11

    Default Re: How to use scythed chariots?

    in my Pontic royal host a unit of chariots is a must. historically they were used to a devastating effect against the Bithynians. its a matter of timing their charge, i find. the best is to target disorganised/moving formations of infantry, as was historically the case. ordering frontal assault on a formed line infantry is the least effective way to employ them imho. also they do quite well against enemy cavalry. but i agree, unfortunately their potential is hampered by the current speed and they would be more effective if moved slightly faster.

  12. #12

    Default Re: How to use scythed chariots?

    Quote Originally Posted by Baharr View Post
    There's your problem - both these deployments waste the potential of elephants. The historical "deploy in front of infantry and mash the enemy line into paste" is still viable for armoured elephants, but regular ones should imo be deployed on the flanks, behind your cavalry. Have your cav engage or draw away the enemy cav, ideally leaving the enemy's infantry flank exposed. Angle your elephants carefully and charge them into the side of the enemy's main line - their sheer mass means they will easily penetrate three or four units if they hit them side-on at full tilt. The huge casualty shock and terror aura is often enough to launch a colossal chain rout of the entire enemy force, assuming they're all (or mostly) committed and therefore bunched up.

    I think of them as exaggerated shock cavalry - terrifying, but vulnerable.

    Heh, so the way to use them its actually one that I think hardly was employed historically.

    That aside, it doesn't really sell them very well either. Almost any troop can be effective that way if you have enough numbers, been kept in reserve and then used to flank. If I actually wanted to actively use that tactic and I had the troops available to execute that maneuver I could replace the costly elephants by 1-2 units of shock cavalry which would allow a similar effect while remaining much more effective on the chase and more versatile/durable overall and cheaper. Of course that first hit wouldn't be so dramatic, but to be honest I never had any problem in a battle where I could hit like that the enemy's main line with shock cavalry. Thats barelly a differentiation compared to what the elephants brought to the table in terms of threats historically.

    Still, thanks. I will certainly try them this way when I get the chance. But it sadly doesn't look that they will ever be a unit I explictily look for to be in my armies.

    We will either find a way, or make one.


  13. #13

    Default Re: How to use scythed chariots?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jervaj View Post
    Still, thanks. I will certainly try them this way when I get the chance. But it sadly doesn't look that they will ever be a unit I explictily look for to be in my armies.
    Yeah, they are pretty overspecialised. You are trading a significant amount of versatility - and paying a lot of money - for an absolutely magnificent charge. I do think it's a shame that they're not very useful in their historical role as frontal linebreakers, but they're just too fragile and too vulnerable to missiles and getting panicked to serve on the very front. But then a lot of the historical anti-elephant tactics (like letting them pass through your lines) are not really possible in the Med2 engine, so if they weren't vulnerable to ranged fire they'd be kind of invincible.

    I do agree that they're in kind of an awkward spot just now (from a historical perspective) but I'm also not sure how to fix their problems without making them way overpowered.

  14. #14
    Domaje's Avatar Libertus
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    Default Re: How to use scythed chariots?

    Quote Originally Posted by Camcolit View Post
    What can elephants do that cataphracts can't cheaper and more conveniently?
    Elephants become cheaper when they suffer casualties. IIRC they have 30 models (10 elephants and 20 soldiers) on huge unit scale, but say you lose two of them in a battle, instead of having 8 elephants with 16 soldiers in the next one, you'll have 10 elephants and 14 soldiers. So basically you don't have to retrain them unless they have less than 10 model left. Also, it means a unit of elephants starts to be cheaper than cataphracts when they are at half strenght, while remaining as powerful as at full strenght.

  15. #15

    Default Re: How to use scythed chariots?

    Simply put, I don't field elephants or chariots. Cheaper units can fulfill their function and are easier to replace.

    The only real use for elephants in my campaigns is game-y recruitment for burning the excess money.
    Last edited by Satapatiš; February 17, 2021 at 02:14 PM.
    Furthermore, I believe that Rome must be destroyed.


  16. #16

    Default Re: How to use scythed chariots?

    Quote Originally Posted by Satapatiš View Post
    Simply put, I don't field elephants or chariots. Cheaper units can fulfill their function and are easier to replace.

    The only real use for elephants in my campaigns is game-y recruitment for burning excess money.
    Your Royal Army should consist entirely of armored elephants, and edit in a unit of bodyguard siege elephants for your general, with shoulder-mounted torsion catapults.

  17. #17

    Default Re: How to use scythed chariots?

    Quote Originally Posted by Baharr View Post
    Yeah, they are pretty overspecialised. You are trading a significant amount of versatility - and paying a lot of money - for an absolutely magnificent charge. I do think it's a shame that they're not very useful in their historical role as frontal linebreakers, but they're just too fragile and too vulnerable to missiles and getting panicked to serve on the very front. But then a lot of the historical anti-elephant tactics (like letting them pass through your lines) are not really possible in the Med2 engine, so if they weren't vulnerable to ranged fire they'd be kind of invincible.

    I do agree that they're in kind of an awkward spot just now (from a historical perspective) but I'm also not sure how to fix their problems without making them way overpowered.
    Not only that. Not even in their other role to be played in the flanks to shut down cavalry like in Ipsos or as Pyrrhus did sometime. In here even when you manage to catch cavalry witha chare it tends to end in a melee that drags down forever and ends on them routing even vs crap cavalry. I assume because of numbers. Historically in those situations they took the cavalry out of the fray for good.

    We will either find a way, or make one.


  18. #18

    Default Re: How to use scythed chariots?

    Elephants fleeing in terror from vicious steppe ponies, that's kind of an amusing image.

  19. #19

    Default Re: How to use scythed chariots?

    Scythed chariots need lots of micromanagement. They're good as reserves to bring when all the units are already engaged, not to initiate combat. A single unit of chariots can destroy much more expensive heavy cavalry or make a whole section of the battleline flee.

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