I actually did take a look at the replay again after I'd cooled down from my "wtf happened ..........???" and realized that the game was still winnable when I'd left. My opponent was all-in at that point. I'd kicked every single one of his burrows, we had close hero levels (he used FS, not BM), he only had grunts and no T2 buildings (not that I had much DPS, but I could definitely have stalled for units), and I hadn't pulled all my lumberjacks even, hadn't been continuing training shit and rallying them into my base for a big push out, didn't upgrade the two towers just sitting there ... brain just wasn't working. :(
In general, how do you recommend prioritizing unit control? I usually a-move my melee and then try to focus with my ranged while not letting my heroes die, but I've noticed it's really ineffective with weak melee like footmen.
Yeah footman are pretty weak, and their biggest problem is that they are small. They are easy to swarm arround against and do the "pincer movement" like in that military tactics page. Same goes to knights vs bears. Knights pathing is smaller. But you see, same thing gives them a mobility advantage too. They can squeeze through easier, meaning they can either rush through front lines or fall back better. So if you got priests etc. they can run away a little bit back whenever they get hit, heal up and go in once again.
But look it really all depends on your army. Lets say you got mass rifles and some footmen in front. Opps army is strong and you think that it will suck for you if your frontline dies too fast and in any case having a frontline for as long as possible is good? They stall opps meele and take alot of damage for you. Its all cool right, but with footies thats nearly impossible, like you said yourself. But FIGHTING isnt all that front line meele can do. They are in fucking front, to pass and reach your dmg dealers and support/heroes whatever they first must take them out. What if you dont let them ? Like you are in the front line, you dont pull units back or anything out of the fight, but you just let them engage then pull back half or so of footies which are getting most damage a little back, then opps change his focus on the other half of footies naturaly ( cuz A move works that way and it takes too long for him to personaly assing every unit to new units ) then the old half of footies go right back in and the half which was left on the front goes back. They basicaly dont even fight, they just run arround like retards drawing fire, same time if you have priests and sorcs with slow it makes footies survive alot longer lol. This wont work for shit ofc if you dont have any damage without footies, its only if footies are the unimportant part of your army and will soon be disposable anyway. ( aka vs strong orc army with spiritlink, bears dryads and panda or similar ).
Best way to prioritize would be making some kind of "doctrine" you would follow with particular army vs particular army (hope you understood what i mean lol). Once again if you run imagination tests and stop in fights you can see what your opponent can DO so you plan out what YOU can do what he wont be able to STOP, easily atleast. Heres some examples:
BLM pala(lvl 3) mass rifles vs Undead DK lich mass ghoul/abo/stat
He got mass meele which is super quick and he got nova to slow me down too. If I get positioning advantage and can focus his hero, sure, but thats like super rare. I got banish/holylight, I can draw him in by banish holylighting his ghouls and picking him off, he will have to swarm me, no other way. He cant pick off and similar undead stuff cuz I got holylight and siphon mana. So yeah, it all leads that I will get swarmed. Vs Swarm with aoe spells ( impale/nova whatever ) if I cuddle up with all my rifles, I WILL DIE. Splitting is a must, If I dont kill his statue I cant kill his abominations too, If DK hides well from bloodmage or focuses him once in a while he will just regen lots of mana and keep the coil running non stop. I'll draw a pic to make it more pleasant to your eyes, on how will these kind of battles go.
Orange 1, 2 = My rifles
Purple = Bloodmage
Red = PaladinBlack arrows = moving. Shooting is not indicated as its pretty obvious where who shoots.
Teal arrows = Spells castedBlack circle = DK
Brown = CL
Gray = Lich
Green = mass ghouls
Blue = AboPink = Statues
Rifles get into position vs swarm and aoe. Bloodmage leads the front to weaken positioning of DK and drain some of his mana, same time banishing Lich once he comes close enough to orb stuff up. Paladin gets into neutral position to reach everyone with holylight and be able to hit something with his hammer in safety from surprise nuke. Ghouls swarm up left flank, lich goes for nova on the rifles which are about to get swarmed, CL goes to weaken right flank by impaling it, same time trying to stun bloodmage if possible.
Now the ghouls which 2nd group coulda reached are probably all dead now, only some of the top ghouls are left, but that is not a hazard anymore. Coast is pretty clear, I can do ofc a safe approach and finish off the ghouls etc., but this is way more effective. Opening is obvious and easy. Just banish the abo, and go in. Banish holylight does nice damage and is quick to cast, some damage from rifles and then banish HL and lich is either down or really low requiring a coil immediatly. Battle won. He had mass ghouls, all he coulda done was swarm you good. If he does a by the book swarm, aka just like I just drew, he will lose if you do this kind of movements. If ghoul mass wasnt defeated yet, you just apply the same kind of movement and move the rifles back bit by bit while blasting them good and abusing mass bloodmage magic. If you want some more examples with other compositions just ask away.