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So I just received this game after purchasing several games during winter sales and I'm loving it so far. But unlike other General series where I can determine easily which unit is good against which unit this game on the other hand can be a bit vague. When I played this game I'm surprised that the peasant unit is actually pretty competent and the dragon unit is kinda weak. Are there good tips for me (and the rest of the newbies) to play this game?
This question / problem has been solved by hugorune2image
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RedRagan: So I just received this game after purchasing several games during winter sales and I'm loving it so far. But unlike other General series where I can determine easily which unit is good against which unit this game on the other hand can be a bit vague. When I played this game I'm surprised that the peasant unit is actually pretty competent and the dragon unit is kinda weak. Are there good tips for me (and the rest of the newbies) to play this game?
Terrain's quite important, and manoueverability as well.

Heavy infantry are the strongest units in game, in terms of raw strength, but light infantry get a relative advantage in rough terrain and attacking into (from?) rivers. And skirmishers will damage both types of infantry without being attacked back, which can be used to whittle down stronger units. Light infantry and skirmishers are really cheap too, and you can use that to offset other parts of your army that might be very costly e.g. sky hunters.

Units which skirmish (skirmishers and light cavalry) only take half damage if they're defending against melee units. This makes skirmishers good against almost every type of unit other than cavalry - which are faster and will do full damage.

(Heavy) cavalry are strong enough to pack a punch, and great if you can charge them into archers, skirmishers, siege, or casters. They're not going to do that much against light cavalry though, bad against light infantry in rough terrain, and a lot of heavy infantry will defeat them in open ground as they negate cavalry 'charge' bonus. Good unit to have though.

I like light cavalry, they're fast and survive well against most enemy units, but they don't do a lot of damage against stronger units, and are expensivish. They have search range bonus which is great for spotting the enemy forces early on a map (and I usually give them items to enhance search further).

Sky hunters (wyvern>dragons) are weak, but important, because they are so manoeuverable. You want to protect them and I like giving them magic items to help. Against siege and bombardiers, they're very strong, and they also are great for finishing off weakened enemy units. They are considered essential to have - you don't want the enemy to dominate the air.

Bombardiers and siege are useful if you want to break down strong and entrenched heavy infantry in fortifications. Siege let you hit a unit multple times, but are really slow and vulnerable, lots of players recommend not using them. Bombardiers are safer and faster but you can only bomb from the hex directly above (not usually an issue except for REALLY entrenched and heavy units).

Casters are slow, weak, and the abilities might be situationally good. I don't use them much.

Don't specialise too much in one or two types of heavily upgraded unit - the game knows to detect that, and it punishes you by throwing heavily upgraded units. I don't know what the formula is really... at the most I usually have a quarter of my army being one type, and I've never noticed this problem myself.
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A major thing to consider in unit vs unit comparisons is the sequence of an attack.

- First, what is the attacking unit's main strength? Missile, Skirmish, or Melee? This determines where the attack ends.
- The attack begins. Both units are "moved" to Missile range. Both units get a chance to do damage if they have a Missile stat, with Armor mitigating any hits. If the Attacker's main strength is Missile, the attack stops after this.
- The attack continues if it hasn't stopped. Both units are "moved" to Skirmish range. Again, both units get a chance to fire with their Skirmish stat. If the Attacker's strength is Skirmish, the attack stops after this.
- Then everybody is moved into melee and do more damage if the attack still hasn't finished.

This means that an archer attacking a skirmisher will get shots in, but take nothing in return as they pull back before the skirmisher can get into range. But a heavy infantry attacking an archer will press the attack all the way to melee, while taking some damage during the missile portion (since heavy infantry usually has high armor, they'll probably be okay).

An interesting quirk happens when you give a magic weapon to someone that doesn't have their main strength in the related stat. You'd think "give a magic bow to an archer" right? Which does work, sure. But if you give that magic bow to a skirmisher, well, their main strength does not change (they're still skirmishers), but they get to attack twice, both during the missile and skirmish portions of the attack. This can magnify their impact significantly (as well as letting them do damge three times when they're defending against a melee unit). However, giving a magic sling to an archer unit will only help them on defense, they won't go into skirmish range when attaccking and thus won't get much benefit from the sling.

Another important factor comes from two unit types specifically. Archers give Defensive Fire to every friendly unit next to them. If someone attacks a unit that the archer is covering, the archer gets to make their attack during the Missile portion (you'll see the unit animate if this triggers, and this does apply to fliers as well). So be cautious if you see an enemy archer standing near your intended target. And keep your own archers nearby.

Siege Engines do a similar thing as archers, but they only step in during offensive attacks, and only if the target is in a fortified position (a town or castle, shrines and caves do Not count). So if you order an infantry to attack a town and your siege engine is in the hex right next to your infantry (they don't have to be next to the town), they'll get a shot in before the rest of the attack plays out. Siege engines also get to fire up to two hexes away on their own turn, so they're handy to have around even in the open field.

Also, Mech units take more damage from Magic attacks, and vice-versa. Units can inherently do magic attacks, but magic weapons also do magic damage.

As to the over-specialization, I remember from reading the hintbook that this is a comparison between your Average Research Level (from all classes/types you can access), and your Average Army Level (meaning their upgrades, not their experience). Just having a ton of Heavy Infantry isn't a problem. But a ton of high-grade Heavy Infantry while the rest of your army is weak junk will trigger this, and make your fights much harder.
I am at the end of the 4th continent and i still don't undestand how damage works, for example:

I have a five rank experience eagle with (grade 2 skyhunter, 25 Atk 23 armor, 9 attack because 6 are wounded), i attack a 1 rank experience Dragon Knight (grade 5 skyhunter, 21 attack 20 armor, 1 attack because he only has a single unit left) still the eagle suffer a lot casualties.

Edit: Dragon Knight has the Heroic trait, allowing him to make full attack no matter the losses but still...
Post edited May 23, 2019 by drk84x
Thanks a lot for the tips guys. Sorry that I just reply now I had to leave town for a long time.
Just a small note to say thanks to Zorlond, for that truly excellent informative post...very useful info to know without spending countless hours learning it through trial and error!

(Same to hugorune2, although that reply was noted as the thread "solution", so the quality was already acknowledged. :) )