Turtle Accounts Part 5 – Troops
Welcome to part 5 in a series of articles on designing a turtle account to take full T3-4 solo marches. This is the one you have probably been waiting for: training an army……
This is where we currently are up to. We have given an overview of the goals of a single march turtle in Part 1, gone into depth on what research is useful for turtles in Part 2, discussed which single buildings are valuable, and which can be considered for deconstruction at various timepoints in Part 3, and then talked briefly about the ways in which you can structure your hospitals barracks and villas in Part 4.
At right is a screenshot of a turtle that has basically done all of that. It has made its decision on whether to train regular or strategic research, picked its stronghold level (in this case sh18), completed the core combat research for academy 18, and built a preliminary set of barracks and villas to train the army it is considering. It has a level 48 hero. So, before troops and traps, it has a base power of just over 13M, with around 2M additional base power expected from leveling hero up to level 50. The owner is seriously regretting opening ANY of the empire quests. Even though it is only 1M quests power, they wished they hadn’t opened ANY empire quests.
So, basically all the preliminary work has been done, and they are moving into a phase of deciding which troops and traps to build on top of their base power of 13-15M. They have decided that 20 tier 1 swordsmen and a few Tier 1 and Tier 2 siege troops with combined troop power of 66 will not really be able to deal with a full march of T3-4. Although, they have been really useful for fake rallying their level 48 hero using their level 1 hall of war. 😉
“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”
We have previously discussed the diminishing returns for doing higher level combat researches, in that it costs relatively more for the level 9 and level 10 researches, in that whilst the payoff is high, the cost to complete them in terms of resources / silver / speedups and power gain is MUCH higher than the level 7-8 researches.
When it comes to troops, in general, the same considerations of diminishing return from higher levels is true. For more detail, see the t4 vs t3 vs t2 vs t1 – guide to troop tiers. This section will repeat some of the detail included there, but with more of a turtle focus.
Troop Power Levels
|Power||Resource Cost||Silver Cost||Training Time||KE Hospital Points||KE Kill Points||TROOP STRENGTH|
Tier 2 troops are twice as ‘strong’ as Tier 1, and cost twice as much, take twice as long to train, but require some silver to train, give more points if hospitalized or killed, and are 4 times the power gain of a T1.
Tier 3 troops are 50% stronger than Tier 2 troops, and 3 times as strong as Tier 1 troops. Tier 3 cost 50% more than T2 to train, twice as much silver, take twice as long to train, and put on 3 times the power, whilst costing alot more points when hospitalized or killed.
Tier 4 troops are 50% stronger than Tier 3 troops, but cost 6-7 times as much, and 50 times more silver, 5 times as many hospitalization points, and more than twice as many points if killed.
Compared to T1s, T4s put on 18 times more power, cost 20 times more resources, infinity times more silver (500 vs 0), take 8 times as long to train, give 100 times more points if killed in KE, but are ONLY 4.5 times as strong as T1s.
Troop stats relative to Troop STRENGTH
When thinking about designing a turtle, some people say that the strength of your army is the most important characteristic. On that basis, if we divide all of the stats of the troops by their ‘strength’ as the denominator, we should get an important comparison of troops using strength as the common comparator. So, for example, each T1 troop has a power gain of 2 points, with a strength of 1. So, 2 / 1 = 2. Each T4 has a power gain of 36 points, whilst they have a relative strength of 4.5. This means their Power / strength is 36 / 4.5 = 8.
We have colored the table below with Green being best, red being worst, and amber in-between.
So, if you want maximum bang for your buck, both in cost terms, as well as in terms of efficient use of POWER in your build, then T1 troops are by far the best bargain you will ever get, with T2 a close second. MZ finally realized that the smart players had worked this out, and MZ performed what they called a ‘NERF’ on mass armies of T1 and T2 troops, as outlined here.
Where that NERF level kicks in is not 100% known. The common consensus appears to be that the NERF kicks in around 5M to 10M tier 1 troops, after which adding more Tier 1 troops has little (or no) incremental benefit. A future article will try and answer the question of where a T1 NERF kicks in for a turtle. I’m sure quite a few of you will be surprised by the outcomes when it is tested systematically.
By the time you get to reading this guide, it is likely that you will already have unlocked Academy level 15 and T3 troops. Most people only really start looking for information on how to do stuff once it all starts getting harder and they have to start making some tough decisions. Up until Academy 15, most people just follow the well-worn path that MZ has laid out.
Many players comment that early on, they hated how ‘weak’ T1-2 troops are, and how useless traps appear. But at that point, most people’s research is pretty average, both on the troop and trap side. So, their T1-2 troops with no Troop Health research, and only individual troop defense and individual troop attack research at levels 2-5, usually get MONSTERED by players with T3 troops who have their researches up at level 6-8. It is not an apples to apples comparison, so most people discount the value of T2, and particularly T1 troops as not much better than useless.
Once you do the testing under controlled conditions, you will find that in terms of base stats, T2s are twice as ‘strong’ as T1s. And T3s ONLY 50% stronger than T2s. And T4s ONLY 50% stronger again than T3s. It is the difference in research levels and hero gear that makes the difference between tiers of troops seem bigger. Get the research sorted out first, and you will be pleasantly surprised at how effective T1-2 troops are, particularly in defending your stronghold.
UPDATE: 20th April, 2015
With the recent introduction of the ‘Enemy Power Destroyed’ Kill Event points system, the above chart is now somewhat simplified, by removing the last two columns on KE points for kills and hospitalisations. It really strips back the points equations to just Power and Strength.
Basically, from this point forward, this is all that matters. Power and Strength. What you can see from the above table is that T3 and T4 are identical when it comes to their power / strength ratio. Where previously it made absolute sense from a Kill Event Points perspective to include a T3 meat shield on attack, now if you have a T3 meat shield in front of your T4, the damage delivered to your army will basically deliver the opponent the same points / power destroyed result because the power / strength ratio is identical. If they deliver enough damage to affect 50k T4, that same damage will affect 75k T3. The POWER change is the same, the KE points are the same, the only difference now is that it still costs 6-7 times as much RSS, 50 times as much silver and 2 times as much speedups to train a T4 compared to a T3. On the other hand, T2 do save power, points and RSS when used as an attacking meat shield. Time to learn how to use T2 meat shields.
So, the question becomes, what should I train to build out my turtle so that it can be as strong as possible and as likely as possible to get big KvK KE points? Should I train more T3s, or should I start training T1-2s and stop training T3s? Only you can answer that question for your situation and your goals.
But it is a complex decision that has to take into account how many hospital beds you have, whether you use your barracks to train a single batch per day or speed train troops during events, and whether you intend to carry around lots of resources or shield between hits etc, and how good you are with religiously shielding when not online.
There are an infinite number of ways which you can use to build an army of T1, T2 or T3 troops. Below is a comparison of 5 slightly different army compositions. The first ones are pure T1 or T2 armies. Then we get a mix of T1 and T3, or T2 and T3, and finally a pure T3 army. They are all designed to be 16M troop power. Why 16M troop power? Because that is in the ballpark for a lot of turtles. Having done all of the above in articles 1-4, most turtles will have a base power of around 10-25M, depending upon stronghold level and research levels. Adding 16M troop power takes you to around 26-40M.
There is a rough rule of thumb that says that in a Kill Event, no-one should solo a player who is 30M without a favourable scout report. So that is roughly what we aim for, around 30M. With power much higher than that, you will increasingly get more and more people setting rallies on you, and less people willing to solo you. As MZ releases more and more powerful hero gear, that rule of thumb number may creep up, and people will get comfortable soloing routinely up to 40M or even 50M. A few of our turtles are 65-70M and still take solo hits in Kill Events.
If it is the case that the 30M rule of thumb creeps up with ever better hero gear, then it is fantastic for turtles. It means you can add up to 10M more troop power, making your army 50-100% stronger, whilst their hero is only an incremental 5-20% stronger.
Time to go shopping for a turtle army
OK, it is time to go shopping for an army. The currency we are using to purchase our army is power. Not gold, not time, not resources, we are using power as our currency. And I’m sorry, but I am giving you a very strict budget. You have exactly 16M power with which to purchase your army.
The table below presents 5 different potential combinations of tier 1,2 and 3 troops that add up to 16M power each. Each army is exactly 16M power. But beyond that, there are clearly differences in a variety of characteristics that will have varying levels of importance to each and every one of you. The first 4 columns present the model name, and then the composition of the model armies in terms of numbers of T1, T2 or T3 troops. The troop strength column presents a relative comparison of the strength of the armies using the strength ratings from the earlier table, being in this instance 1 for T1, 2 for T2, 3 for T3, and 4.5 for T4.
The next column shows the minimum number of hospital beds required to take 1 solo hit with current best available lead attacker permanent hero gear. The final two columns show the training time for building each model army, as well as the total resources for training the armies.
The chart above is again color coded with green / amber / red for our interpretation of the differences between the armies. Green is best, red is worst, amber is in the middle. The 247% training boost used is just used because it gives a nice round number of training days, and is similar to the training boost we have been using throughout this series, with around 70% training time reduction.
The first potential army being presented is our T1 monster, and as can be seen, it is the ‘strongest’, with double the relative strength of the closest comparator, the T2 army. But as you can see, it has by far the highest purchase cost in terms of training time and resources, and requires the most hospital beds at 600k to take a full 375k T3-4 march without losing any troops.
Model 5, the pure T3 army with 666k T3, is by far the cheapest to build/train, as has been known for a long time. If you want to add power quickly and cheaply, T3 is the way to go. But it is by far the weakest of the armies, with a relative strength of 2, being a quarter of the ‘strength’ of the T1 monster army of 8M T1s. A
In between the two extremes of highest strength with highest resource / time cost, and lowest strength with lowest resource / time cost, are a range of different models with varying levels of army strength, hospital bed usage and resources required.
Replacement cost and consequences of being ZEROED
Another way of rolling all of these purchase costs into one figure for comparison is to consider the gold equivalents of each of these armies in terms of the amount of gold represented by the resource component, as well as the gold required to speed the training in terms of the gold cost of speed-ups. It is true that almost no-one pays full 100% cost in gold terms for resources as set by MZ, but for the purposes of this analysis, it is a valid way of comparing the relative costs of the 5 armies.
The replacement cost of the army is most important to consider when pondering the possibility of being zeroed. Your shield drops, and you get rallied when offline, waking up to find your army decimated, with hospital beds full and hero behind bars. In that setting, Model 5 has by far the lowest risk. As outlined in Part 4 of this series, Model 5 is usually the preferred option for building an army in the setting where a player consistently trains a batch of around 5000 T3 each day without using speedups, and slowly increases his or her hospital bed capacity in tandem. And if they succeed in getting their hospital bed capacity up to 600k, and they have 666k T3, then their risk is limited to a loss of 66k T3 if zeroed, which would take them about 13 days to retrain at 5000 per day, once their hero is returned or resurrected, of course.
Replacement cost if zeroed and hospital beds of 600k are full is outlined in the table below.
So, as you can see, because only 66k T3 die with Model 5 over and above the 600k healed, the replacement cost is lowest. Model 4 loses 400k T3, but has a hospital full of 500k T2 and 100k T3. Model 3 has a hospital full of 600k T1, and the replacement cost of 500k T3 and 1.4M T1 is higher at 1.09M gold. Model 2 has 1.4M T2 to replace, which costs 1.02M. And the Model 1 T1 monster has a very high replacement cost of 2.62M gold, given it has 600k T1 in hospital and 7.4M T1 dead. 🙁
Having considered purchase cost and replacement cost if zeroed, we will now look at ongoing running costs, including hospital healing costs when fighting. Each of these accounts has a full wall of traps, and therefore effectively needs to be shielded 24/7 except when online and fighting. Whilst 24 hour or 3-day shields are expensive, the cost of a shield is dwarfed by the replacement cost of your army, as well as the replacement cost of rebuilding your traps (not included in the above army replacement costs). As we all know, wall traps can be very expensive to construct, so it really is best not to let them be destroyed in their entirety by letting yourself get zeroed. For more discussion on traps, see our recent guide to traps.
Hospital healing costs
This is where it gets interesting. The whole point of a turtle is to take hits, and in particular leverage Asymmetry 2, the fact that we have hospital beds and the attacker doesn’t. Their troops die, ours don’t have to. Table 1 above gave an outline of the minimum number of hospital beds to take a full T4 hit with the best currently available permanent hero gear, whether that be the Xena valentine set or a single troop focused set. In that setting, what we expect is that for armies with T1s, that up to 600k will be hospitalised, whereas the equivalent figures are 300k for T2s and 200k for T3s. This again reflects the 1,2,3 relative strengths of these troop types as outlined earlier in this article.
So let’s take a look at the relative healing costs for taking a single hit for these different armies. We are assuming that for the armies with T1s, that 600k T1 need to be healed, 300k T2, and 200k T3 require healing respectively, in line with the guidance on minimum hospital capacity. The data below is derived from using the heal tab of the Troop Training Calculator
There are two main factors that impact hospital healing speed. The first is your training time boost, and the second is the hospital healing speed research that is available to be completed in the Hero research tree, down below Hero Trap attack and Hero trap defense. Most turtles don’t complete this research, as it is a fair way down the tree, but it does offer a 70% boost on top of your training time boost.
The reason the hospital healing speed boost is important is that it is research which is not affected by resetting your hero tree.
Most turtles when they go into battle will reset their hero tree to maximise troop attack and health, and given how precious those hero tree skill points are, most people only apply the minimum of 5 points each to Troop training 1 and Troop training 2. And it is also entirely possible that once everything is set up, your army is in place, you will have deconstructed villas to replace them with hospitals. In that setting, it is entirely possible that your training time boost will be 26% (20% from the base training time research, and 6% from the 10 skill points). If you max skill points on Troop training 2, then this increases to 115% training time boost, or 142% if you max both Troop training 1 and Troop training 2. This is alot lower than the 230-250% training time boost that we have been talking out during the building phase of training your army. If you want to get a personalised view of healing time given your training boosts and hospital healing research (if you have done it), please visit the Troop Training Calculator.
Here you can see where T1s come into their own. Instant heal is just such an important characteristic in the heat of the battle, that the models with T1 and instant heal are colored green, and everything else is colored red. The resource cost of healing 600k T1, 300k T2 or 200k T3 are identical, the only thing that differs is the time it takes to heal them.
The three comparisons are at 26% training boost for 20% training research boost and 6% from setting the minimum of 5 hero skill points on each of Training Time 1 and Training Time 2. Maximising Troop Training 2 skills gets us to 95%, for a total boost of 115%. And the healing time at far right assumes that you have 20% research, 4-5 villas intact, as well as setting both troop training 1 and troop training 2. Even with that situation, the minimum healing time is still 1d, for an equivalent of 1500 gold for a 24 hour speed. So, at best, we are looking at 1500 gold to heal, and at worst 5630 gold (1x 3-day, 1x 15 hour, 1×60 minute) if you have T2 or T3 as your lowest tier troops going into hospital with each hit.
Top prize for Kill Events in the sh19-21 bracket currently nets 40K gold for 27 Million kill points. That can be 2-10 hits, depending upon what your attacker throws at you. If your army is pure T3, you have your training boosts at 26%, then healing 7-8 times will chew through the gold that you will win for hitting top prize.
But more importantly than that, the reason to heal is so that you have a chance to eat a second march sent at you very quickly, whether it is the same attacker sending a second march without hero, or a second attacker working in tandem with the first. How quickly you can heal will determine how strong you are when that second march comes in, and the instant heal option for almost all of those above T2 or T3 options will come out as 4400 gold, because even the 1d for 300k T2 is just over 24 hours. And the T3 at 26% is a 10000 gold cost for a 7-day. So if you want to pay the minimum gold to heal that, then you have to choose queue all, then heal, then apply the various speedups to get all your troops out of hospital. And in the heat of battle, that can be too slow. Some people shield as soon as the first attack hits, then heal behind an 8-hour shield, then drop it to go back out into battle. And therefore miss out on taking out a second march from the same attacker but without a hero. With your hero at home, and them not including their hero for a second attack, it is not unusual to eat the whole march. Even if that second march is only T3s rather than T4s, eating 375k T3s results in 15M Kill Event points.
This article has looked at the relative advantages and disadvantages of different troop tiers, and various ways in which a balanced army can be configured to fit into a defined power target of 16M power. There are of course many other different ways that we could have configured those armies to fit within the 16M power constraint, including having a T1-2 option, as well as a mixture of all three troop tiers. But we chose to keep this comparison to 5 models. You don’t have those constraint, just as in the game you don’t have the artificial constraint of 16M troop power. The 16M comes from the desire to keep our overall power at around 30M for the purpose of this guide to turtles. If you believe you are capable of continuing to successfully bait to get people to hit you when you are 40M, then please go ahead and add an additional 10M troop power. If you add 8M troop power, then you can simply add 50% onto the cost of the above armies. The only model that will not scale as well is Model 1, the T1 monster, as adding another 4M or 8M T1 may run into the NERF limit (watch for a future test of this limit).
This article has been mostly theoretical looking at hypothetical armies designed to fit inside the single constraint of 16M power. Having designed these 5 models, and talked about the costs of training them, and the costs of healing them, the next article will train them and test them. We will hit these 5 armies across 2 different strongholds, and try and equalise the defensive boosts so that the comparison can be valid. Each hit will be done using an attacker with the same 375k T3 army, identical gear, and identical boosts.
And the goal with that comparison is to assess how each balanced model army fares against the same attack on the attribute that some consider the most important, Kill Event points. So, stay tuned for the next article: this shits about to get real. Lots of battle reports coming your way.
- Guide to Turtle Accounts in Game of War – Introduction (Part 1)
- Guide to Turtle accounts in Game of War – Research (Part 2)
- Guide to Turtle accounts in Game of War – Buildings (Part 3)
- Guide to Turtle accounts in Game of War – Hospital Barracks Villas (Part 4)
- Guide to Turtle accounts in Game of War – Troops (Part 5) – You are Here
- Guide to Turtle accounts in Game of War – Armies (Part 6)
- Guide to Turtle accounts in Game of War – T4 follow-up (Part 7)
- Guide to Turtle accounts in Game of War – Strategy (Part 8)
- Guide to Turtle accounts in Game of War – Wall Traps (Part 9)
- Guide to Turtle accounts in Game of War – Combat Boosts (Part 10)
- Guide to Turtle accounts in Game of War – Hero Gear (Part 11)