#2 Dominant and Provincial Combinations
Each large icon pictured above is strong against the two small icons on top of it. In the same vein, the two small icons have a shared weakness. This shared weakness can give us an edge when doing battles in Provinces and allow us to prepare for that province. In the case of a Tournament, that shared weakness can help us to get prepared.
Labeling the 3-Unit Combinations
Each of the nine provinces pull from a three-unit-type combination when putting enemy squads together. There are ten different three-unit combinations possible in Elvenar, and there are two types of those combinations. There are what I call the Dominant Combinations, and the Provincial Combinations.
The Dominant Combination is made up of a unit type and the two types that it is favored against. Light Melee/Light Ranged/Mage is Light Melee’s Dominant Combination. Dominant Combinations follow along the outside of the battle pentagon (shown below).
Provincial Combinations consist of a unit type and the two types that it is not adjacent to on the battle pentagon. Light Melee’s Provincial Combination then is Light Melee, Mage, Heavy Melee. These are the combinations that will be found in provinces when battling. The reason they are used in provinces instead of the dominant type of combination is that we would be too heavily favored against dominant combinations. For example, if we fought against Light Melee’s Dominant combination, we would choose Light Melee as our troops and be favored against two of the types (Light Ranged, Mage) and be even against the other (Light Melee). Where in a Provincial Combination, there is no one dominating troop type.
Provinces use Provincial Combinations to create the spread of enemy units that we face on the World Map and in Tournaments. They draw from the 15 enemy units and sometimes from units that the two player-races can train. One of the types of units in the Provincial Combination used will get, at least, two variations. For example, in a Marble Province, the Light Ranged Provincial Combination is used (Light Ranged, Heavy Melee, Heavy Ranged) and the specific units found are Mist Walker (LR), Knight (HM), Orc General (HM) and Cannoneer (Heavy Ranged). Heavy Melee gets two different units in a Marble Province. Comparing this to the Gems province, which also uses the Light Ranged Provincial Combination, we see that the Gems Province gets 3 different Heavy Ranged Units: Cannoneer, Orc Strategist, and Steinling.
(Notice that the Light Melee Provincial Combination is only used in one province. There is, in my opinion, a sneaky reason for this: the Needles of the Tempest. Light Ranged Units have the most favored types in this Provincial Combination. My guess is that the developers thought the Needles would be too strong too early otherwise.)
The specific units found in each province, and the names of the enemy-specific units can be found here.
We know that each unit-type is strong against two other unit-types. This means that if we break the Provincial Combination down into its two-unit combinations, we can find which types of units are strong, weak, or even against those combinations.
There are 10 two-unit combinations possible in Elvenar. Each Provincial Combination will break down to 3 two-unit combinations.
The shared weakness is the troop type that both of the units in the two-unit combo are weak against. When determining which types to use yourself, the units in the shared weakness category are the best to choose if that two-unit combo is present. Heavy Ranged are best to choose if going against Light Melee and Light Ranged units, etc…
The shared strength is the troop type that both of the units in the two-unit combo are strong against. These are the types you will want to avoid when going up against that two-unit combination.
The weakness/even category are units that have one type in the combo that they are favored against and one type in the combo that they are even against. In the combination of Light Melee/Light Ranged, Light Melee is strong against Light Ranged, and even against its own type (the game tells you “about even” to not get your hopes up). These are a consideration when going up against a two-unit combo that does not have a shared weakness.
Each province shows up three times on the table above; once with a combo that you can have one type stronger than the two-unit combo, and twice in a weakness/even category. To make matters even more complicated, one of the unit types in a province will have multiple variations. This doubling (tripling in the case of the Gems province) means that that type has more probability of showing up in the enemy troop spreads of an encounter. So there are a few things that can inform your choices when it comes to usable units:
- Which Provincial Combination is used in the Province your battling.
- Which type of unit has multiple variations in that Province.
- Which two-unit combinations are present in each encounter, and knowing the strengths, weaknesses, and “weak/even units” of those combos.
- Knowing how each specific unit stacks up against your units; movement range, attack range, special abilities, initiative, strike back, etc…
Here is a table from the perspective of the Provinces with which units are considered Main units and which units are considered Support units.
Keep in mind that this table can only tell us which units are best theoretically. It can really only inform your unit choices based on the nature of the Battle Pentagon. With experimentation, you may find that certain units are better than others.