Let's assume you're under seige. The enemy plans on sendin' 100k archers or so to clean layers, followed by a heavy 'phract attack.
To all the believers of the "If it's not a million archers, it's not worth it" philosophy who think that the simple solution is an abati, a 1/1/1/1/1 layer and 700k archers, I've been workin' on smaller numbers.
See, I'm a sword lover. I much prefer my disposable layers.
I've also got little time to feed 10m+ upkeeps on 2m archers.
I'm also far beyond sick of this t/a/d spam; I don't like thinkin' that as soon as they break down my t/a/d that I'm dead. I can't always be online.
So I've done a few tests on close quarters fightin' to try and create a solid, cheap, close range defence that is actually effective.
Well, 700k archers would be in serious danger from the first attack.
Advanced mechanics tells us that archer cleaner waves are best utilised before removin' the t/a/d, because it keeps the archers out of AT/defensive archer range and allows the cleaners to freely shoot apart layers, while also triggerin' your t/a/d in the process.
This will allow your follow up 'phractsmack to walk up and tear your archer army to shreds.
What if you had...less than 400k troops?
And let's say only about 130k of them were archers?
And there were no t/a/d in sight?
Hell, only 7k ATs, too?
And jus' for good measure; let's put in logs!!
That works out at about...3m upkeep. Not too shabby.
The quick, rash and ignorant will run to scream "omgfail", firmly believin' that the 'phracts will decimate that kind of low number defence.
The rational and experienced will either know what's comin', have a good idea or in the very least be curious.
Let's look at the first attack. Layered archers, to clean.
Pretty tragic effects. The ATs get knocked down a bit, but a decent number get repaired. The ponies get some damage from the layers, but nothin' notable.
Before they get any real damage off, the logs and layers trample them. The defence is almost untouched.
Few moe attacks like that will have reduced the AT numbers, maybe even started to hit the archers, but at far too high an expense. Scout bombs hurt; send 1m scouts to kill 100k archers. How do you feel about sendin' 1m archers to kill my 100k archers?
Not too fun, really.
So, the second attack; the 'phractsmack.
Severe damage to the layers...well, what did you expect from a 99k HB wave?
But what's the damage proportionally?
90k warriors and 18k pikes is a five minute job. 5k phracts and 20k ponies against....80k phracts and 20k ponies? I think I came out better off, there.
Archers? Not even touched.
The logs didn't help here, ignorin' the HBs so pilin' up ATs would have led to more use, but they helped nomnom the first wave...their effectiveness is arguable at this stage.
I'm sayin' here that 130k archers killed 80k ponies w/o bein' touched.
For anyone who's ready to jump and scream and say "400k archers can kill 125k phracts w/o all those layers" jus' think about the first part of this post. Thin layered archers can be easily torn down once the layers are wiped off the map, and that's not even lookin' at the total upkeep involved.
Consider that for any and all damage done in these attacks, it's relative to the damage dealt by the attacker and works out at far less. Also consider that damage is bein' done, which does a lot to stem the honour gain. All I have to do is send out some scoutbombs or warriorbombs to hit him while he attacks and I can completely negate the honour gains I'm pullin' in.
Both layered waves and spearhead waves do some damage, but ultimately not enough to fully break. They'd need several more similar attacks to break through that defence. We're talkin' 300k+ archers and 300k+ 'phracts to take out a defence that consists of 130k archers here...jus' think about that.