Saturday, August 26, 2017

Vanguard Leather

Good afternoon, cannon fodders.

I get asked about Vanguard Leather a lot. Rather than keep repeating my opinions on that item, I decided it was time to enshrine it in an article for all future cannon fodders.

The Big Bang

Why does vanguard leather fascinate people so? Well, since the 5x equipment update, it adds +100% attack for a -10% move penalty. In other words, it can instantly double the attack power of an army.

Vanguard Leather even holds a green rating in Jagblade's Guide to Equipment. So why don't I recommend it strongly to everyone? Well, like any specialized tool, the Vanguard Leather armor has a narrow range of circumstances where it is truly useful.

The Drawbacks

If you recall the three central tenets of Jagblade's Guide to Equipment, a crafted item is useful if it:
  1. Is used for city defense.
  2. Amplifies the proper defenders against expected attack types.
  3. Can be manufactured in bulk quantities, to equip entire armies.
Vanguard leather is an attack item. So when we use it, we expect to have 80-90% of the equipment get destroyed. It's a single-shot weapon. The remaining 10-20% will drop onto the attacked tile, where it might be impossible to recover. Or worse, when used on city attack duty, the surviving Vanguard Leather will be dropped into the enemy city's inventory, where it can be used against you.

Does Vanguard Leather amplify the proper attackers? Well, not necessarily. Looking at the One Chart, we can see that the primary attackers are t2 infantry, t2 cavalry, and orc fangs. None of those units can equip Vanguard Leather. When deployed in the field, this particular armor is equipped to t1 cavalry or t2 bow armies. That doesn't mean it's useless. Far from it. Those are medium power attackers, and they can do a lot of damage to an enemy formation like a siege camp.

Can Vanguard Leather be manufactured in bulk? An unequivocal yes. Hides and Iceheart are both extremely common materials. You can manufacture vanguard leather for about 5000 gold. If you mine your own Iceheart and do your own hunting, it can be nearly free, even in quantities of several thousand.

Is it cost effective? Not really. You're paying 5000 gold to double the attack power of a 1500 gold medium attack unit. I would never recommend that as a routine strategy. So if Vanguard Leather is a specialized tool, in what situation do you need it?

Break Glass in Case of Emergency

So why would a military PvP player maintain an inventory of Vangard Leather?  One answer: emergencies. There are times when one of your allies gets sieged at a significant distance away from you. Even clusters can span 200-300 squares. Sometimes you just need t1 cavalry speed with that double kick to get it up to t2 cavalry striking power.

One great example came at the end of the vCrow-fCrow war (300 fought on the fCrow side). Tinkinator launched a teleport war wagon deep into enemy territory to drop sieges on Ryklaw, dittobite, and other enemy cities. Ryklaw responded by sieging her battle city on multiple tiles and blockading on the rest. While our t2 cavalry was dispatched at the main sieges on plains, Tink needed to prestige build to keep the city above raze population. It was imperative that we quickly break the smaller blockade forces.

That's the situation where you use Vanguard Leather in bulk. You want to guarantee a powerful strike, so you double up the attack power on your t1 cavalry army. Elves can use their thoroughbred horses to cancel the speed penalty; other races can use a light spear instead. Battles like these can be risky affairs where the outcome is uncertain. Having one last ace up your sleeve can be the difference between victory and defeat.

Be in the Vanguard

So there you have it, cannon fodders. Vanguard Leather armor is a one-shot tool for doubling the striking power of t1 cavalry in speed-critical emergencies. When you are in a do-or-die PvP situation, cost efficiency becomes irrelevant. Vanguard Leather is a great final weapon to use, but its other constraints (casualties destroy the gear, it doesn't equip to heavy attackers) will limit its usefulness for typical PvP fighting.

Misbehave, kill lots of stuff.

<^^^^^^^^||==O    Skint Jagblade

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