A Rant on Grenadiers and Suggestions on How to Buff Them (and How the Devs Already Got It Right Once Before)

Currently, Grenadier is still a very niche unit. I don’t see anyone using them. And I rarely use them myself outside of sealing a victory in an all-out Age 2 attack (more as a joke unit). This is due to a few reasons:

  1. They get countered by a lot of units.
  • Light infantry can outrange them, meaning Grenadiers cannot do any damage in return. Once light infantry get CI Rifling, their 50% resistance does not matter that much either.
  • Grenadiers have melee penalties against cavalry and shock infantry, so their impressive melee damage is useless here.
  • Most artillery (i.e. falconet) can one-shot them.
    This unit has counters in the barrack, stable, and foundry. If the enemy has any military production, grenadiers are pretty much unviable. The only other unit class with this many counters is melee heavy infantry (which is also seldom used past Age 2).
  1. Their siege attack is mediocre pop-efficiency-wise and resource-efficiency-wise.
  • Two Pikeman/Halberdier can inflict higher siege attacks and ward off cavalry. In fact, two musketeers inflict about the same amount of siege attack (2*20) as a single grenadier (41).
  • Artillery can attack buildings outside of light infantry range. Grenadiers cannot do that with their 12-range siege.
  1. Grenadier improvement cards/techs have questionable value in most games.
  • Grenade Launcher Card: This card is necessary to make Grenadiers viable by removing the delay animation and adding a range buff. However, many other more useful cards in Age 3 should be prioritized, such as the 2 Falconet, Fort, 1000 resources, X units shipment, etc. (By the way, did they ever fix the bug where Ransack Card (Russia) does not work properly with Grenade Launcher?)
  • Improved Grenades Card (British): This is only useful if you have made plenty of grenadiers. But why would you?
  • Incendiary Grenade Tech: The most expensive tech ## ### ####### (400 wood, 300 gold) only provides +15% siege and +1 area-of-effect only for the grenadier unit? This tech is very overpriced. For comparison, check the CI Rifling tech (200 wood, 200 gold), which makes light infantry 50% better against heavy infantry.

So how to buff Grenadiers (without making them the new Soldado)?

  1. Grenadiers need a buff to their siege. At the minimum, a single grenadier needs to deal inflict a significantly higher siege than two musketeers. Otherwise, there is no point in creating them. (However, their siege can be lower than two halberdiers.)
  2. From Age III and onwards, Grenadiers need to be able to barely survive a direct falconet (maybe even horse artillery) shot of the equivalent level. This can be done by giving them an appropriate siege resistance.
  3. Grenadiers need to have 4.5 speed. They need to be able to disengage from 4-speed infantry (musketeer, skirmisher) and not get decisively hunted down by 4.5-speed infantry (cassador, ashigaru).
  4. Grenadiers should deal 2x damage vs artillery. Grenadiers need a purpose in combat (aside from fighting against musketeers crowds, which falconets can do better anyways). I think they should fulfill a short-ranged “foot culverin” role. Under perfect play, falconet should still beat Grenadiers. However, it forces the Falconets to behave more defensively, which slightly reduces the oppressiveness of some Fast Fortress strategies.
  5. Incendiary Grenade Tech and Grenade Launcher Card need to be reworked. The former need to be far cheaper and add more siege damage. The latter could simply remove the delay animation without increasing the Grenadier range (given that the previous changes are made).

This way, we have a unit that is still weak to heavy cavalry, light infantry, and artillery but can opportunistically counter enemy artillery and do good siege against buildings. This makes musk+grenade potentially viable in situations where musk+skirm (enemy has artillery) or musk+hussar (enemy has good anti cav) fails.

The devs actually got the balancing right once before. If you are wondering, I just described the Humbaraci.


I don’t think all civs has counter to grenadier. Your discussion has very limited scope of only European civs. Many civs dont have artillery foundry. Some civs don’t get proper artillery, they have to use cav to snipe grenadiers, so some anti cav can easily stop that. Some civs don’t get CIR or equivalent. Aztecs has a weak bow that is short ranged, has bad animation and difficult to micro and has only 2x vs grenadiers which is bad. I can see aztecs or Incas struggling vs grenadiers if grenadiers are buffed and in a big mass. Hausa also has some weak archer with low multiplier, which could die to grenadiers. Btw melee heavy infantry is not rarely used above age3. Civs like Chinese, Incas, lakota, Maltese uses melee heavy infantry extensively.


Actuellement je trouve les grenadiers inutiles dans la majorité des civilisations pouvant en faire, celles qui ont des grenadiers viables se compte sur les doigts d’une main (comme par exemple les Ottomans).

I’m just laughing that the filter removed ar-sen-al.

I do agree that grens need to be more viable for unit comp. However, I do not agree that they should be made into Humbaraci (a unit I personally argue is OP). I think artillery countering them is still ok. Increased siege against buildings and dmg against artillery is ok, but not such that it breaches the tipping point and transforms the game into a grens meta.

To ensure that Grenadiers do not become overpowered, the devs can implement the following buffs:

  • Receives 35% siege resist along with their original 50% range resist
  • Speed increased to 4.5 from 4
  • Range attack gains a bonus of 1.5x vs Artillery (this can be adjusted, but it should kill a Falconet in 6 shots)
  • Increase building siege attack to 50

The key point is that Veteran Grenadiers need to survive against a direct falconet hit, otherwise their siege attack and bonus against artillery does not really matter, as they will be sniped down by artillery.

Regarding the Humbaraci, I would argue the unit by itself is not too OP (after nerfing their artillery bonus to 2x). Rather their OPness is due to:

  1. Due to the Abus Guns, Ottomans often prioritize on shipping light artillery attack cards ( Topçular, Kuleli School). This has the side affect of buffing Humbaraci attack, allowing them to kill Falconets in 3 shots.
  2. The Ottoman gunpowder infantry (Janissary, Abus Gun, and Humbaraci) synergizes really well with each other. Janissary can already deal with cavalry, and Abus Gun kills infantry. Having Humbaraci kill artillery means that the Ottoman is the only civ (aside from the Aztecs) that can get away with have an all-ranged-infantry composition.
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Can we stop buffing europeans?? They are strong enough

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Honestly, I think all that should be done here is make “Genade Launchers” a default arsenal tech (maybe 200c and 200w, and not available until age3) and give all the euro civs “Incendiary Grenades” at the arsenal by default (I know I saw someone suggest something similar in another thread on Grens, so credit to whoever’s idea that was.). I could also see giving them a 1.25x against Heavy Infantry at range.

Grens have some uses, but it’s fine for them to be a niche unit

You could probably make Incendiary Grenades a little cheaper too. Maybe 250c, 250w.

I wouldn’t increase the speed of Grenadiers. Otherwise they could catch up to things and that’s a massive buff to a tanky unit that does siege damage


Thank you for emphasizing context beyond European civs, not only here but in your other posts as well. People always say things like “just make culvs” or “mass canons” or “make X unit better” without considering the same unit’s counterpart for non-european civs (like flamethrowers).


Thanks. I posted before the game is very european focused. It is because many aoe3 players only has european civs in mind. However there are units that Euro civs can counter but non euro civs struggle against because of lack of (or having bad) artillery

Well grenadier is a european unit. If you play among Europe civs grens are bad because european civs have good counter vs grenadier. As you mentioned barrack stable and foundry all have counter to grenadier. I am assuming you are considering only euro civs because only european civs have these buildings. But non european civs do not have a very good counter and grens are not that bad vs non european civs. So pls consider all civs in order to achieve balance

I think it would be better to buff the legacy Native American and Asian civs. While I get that there is a fear of power creep, at this point, it is much easier to buff these legacy civs to the level of new civs (African, US, Mexico, Mediterranean).

The problem is not that Grenadiers are niche, but that they are not used. For comparison, culverin and mortar are niche, where they are not part of the common unit composition, but really useful when you have to snipe that artillery/fort; Cavalry Archer is niche, as musketeer is typically more cost effective, but is very useful when dealing with strong cavalry civs (Lakota, French, Ottoman, etc.). I cannot think of a situation where grenadier fills some irreplaceable niche role that cannot be done by heavy infantry or artillery.

I do agree that some of the non-European civs need to be buffed in general. However, for civs without cannons, Grenadiers can be countered by Melee Cavalry/Shock Infantry, Light Infantry, and even somewhat by Ranged Cavalry (using hit-and-run to pick off grenadiers). Additionally, I don’t see how unit compositions such as:

  • gren+musk (weak to light inf+some melee cav/shock inf)
  • gren+hussar (weak to ranged cav+melee cav/shock inf, pure melee cavalry, or musk)
  • gren+skirm (weak to melee cav/shock inf or pure light inf)
  • gren+goon (weak to light inf or pure ranged cav)
  • gren+cannon (weak to melee cav/shock inf)

are stronger than if the Grenadiers are replaced with falconets or horse artillery. In any case, you should not use flamethrower here (or ever, the unit need to be replaced or redesigned).

In my recommended grenadier buff, the two key improvements are:

  1. grenadiers can survive a direct artillery hit
  2. grenadiers gain bonus against artillery units

If a civ has bad or no artillery, then nothing really changes, as their main killing power probably comes from some other unit (light infantry, ranged cavalry). For example, Aztecs can use Otonitn, Coyote, or Jaguar depending on the situation. With Lakota, once Rifle Rider comes out, grenadiers become useless. With Chinese, you can use Arquebusier and Meteor Hammer, albeit we will see if the upcoming Chinese nerf make this unviable.

And other civs also have barrack, stable, foundry equivalents. Sure, Japanese Naginata Rider have an attack penalty against grenadier, but they will still kill Grenadier just fine. Indian Sowar may be bad against heavy infantry, but they have Gurkha in Age 2. The only civ that might agree with this argument is China, but they still have the Consulate and Chu Ko Nu (granted I do think that China needs an major overhaul in general).

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I’m going to have to disagree; Even with countter-infantry rifling riflemen don’t do well against grenadiers, because of the high range resistance.

on paper they seem a little lacking but they quite convenient they have a larger AOE than falconets,

There’s advantage to their infantry status too, they mix better with other infantry as they march at the same speed. And yes they are vulnerable to hand cavalry so are artillery but often you don’t lose everything ;you might lose some grenadiers but in the same circumstances you might lose all your cannon.

They don’t die that easily to falconets, falconets also easy kill falconets

Generally they’re like cannon that can’t be sniped by culverin. So they’re like artillery that don’t; to borrow an idiom putting all your pomgranetes in same basket.

The problem is when you have to use cav to kill grenadier it is not feasible. Most of players will have anti cav protection. So you cant use sowar, nagi to kill musk+grens. Japan has flaming arrow maybe that’s the answer. Gurkha and chinese arquebusier can get +1 multiplier yes but it needs a card specifically for that. Normally your skirm cant really do well vs grens. So civs that lack artillery doesn’t do that well. Obviously for aztecs it is the most troublesome

Yeah. Area damage can effectively kill skirm because they are bunched up and fragile. Like giant grenadier area damage. Skirms has x3 with CIR but with 50% RR it is actually just 1.5x

A Grenadier (2 pop) has 200 HP and 50% ranged resistance, meaning that their “Ranged HP” is 300 HP. Two musketeers (also 2 pop) also have 300 HP (150HP * 2). So if your skirmisher group can comfortably kill two musketeers, they can kill a grenadier.

Both Falconet and Grenadiers have an area-of-effect of 3. However, Falconet guarantees 1 infantry kill per shot (aside from mercenary infantry) from a range of 26. Unless you have Culverin/Arrow Knight/Yabusame/Hand Mortar/etc., you are either forced to commit to an engagement or withdraw. Veteran Grenadier (19.2) needs 8 shots to kill a Veteran Skirmisher (144 HP) from a range of 12, where almost every ranged unit in the game can shoot back.

But they do get one-shotted by Falconets regardless. In fact, replacing a grenadier with two musketeers (same pop count) means that the Falconet needs to shoot twice. So 2 musketeers are better than a grenadier against cannons.

No, but they can get sniped by Falconets, intercepted by Hussars, and Harrassed by Skirmishers. (Even for non-Euro civs, at least two out of these three option are available.)

But they key buffs I proposed to makes grenadier more threatening to European artillery, with little impact to other civs. Specifically:

  • Grenadiers should survive a direct Falconet hit (35% siege resistance).
  • Grenadiers deal bonus ranged damage against artillery (1.5x ranged attack vs artillery).

This does not affect civs with poor artillery. Japanese Fire Arrow and Haudenosaunee Light Cannon needs two shots to kill Grenadiers in the current game. After the proposed buff, they still need two shots. Chinese, Indian, Aztecs, and Lakota relies more on skirms and melee-cav in the current game. This does not change after the proposed buff.

I will admit that I am not as familiar with Aztecs as with some of the other civs. And I will admit that they need a buff in general. But what is stopping them from using Otontin Slinger (in staggered mode), Jaguar Prowl Knight (bonus vs Heavy Infantry), Coyote Runner, or some combination of these unit?

But you can fight with skirmishers in staggered formation (or just micro to spread them out). Furthermore, skirmishers can hit and run.

no. that means they have 400 ranged hp


J’allais dire que c’était faux, mais en réfléchissant un peu je ne peux que dire que c’est juste, en effet ne recevoir que la moitié des dégâts fait comme si l’unité avait deux fois plus de vie, comment alors ? c’est simple je vais vous donner un exemple il suffit de faire -50% pour diviser par deux, mais pour multiplier par deux vous devez faire +100%, c’est ce que veux démontrer dansil92

autre exemple vous avez dix hp et 50% de réduction d’entrée, vous avez 10 de dégâts de tir, mais vous n’infligez que 5 en dégâts avec la réduction, il reste 5 hp, donc c’est comme si vous aviez 20 hp face à 10 de dégâts de tir

the link I posted has an in depth mathematical breakdown. I’m not sure how well the translator will handle it for you, unfortunately.

j’ai édit mon précédent message :wink:

Noted. That was my mistake. The Grenadier “Ranged HP” should be 400=200/(1-0.5). That would make more sense.

However, the rest of the point still stands. Grenadiers being overly weak against (one-shotted by) artillery should be addressed to make them viable. In fact, with the calculation error corrected, it further reinforces my point. Specifically:

Veteran Humbaraci

  • “Ranged HP”: 385.7=225*1.2/(1-0.3)
  • “Siege HP”: 337.5=225*1.2/(1-0.2)

Veteran Grenadier

  • “Ranged HP”: 480=200*1.2/(1-0.5)
  • “Siege HP”: 240=200*1.2/(1-0.0)

So Veteran Grenadier has more “Ranged HP” than Veteran Humbaraci. However, the former is seldom used, while the latter is considered near OP. The key lies in the fact that the latter can survive a falconet shot (and threaten artillery), while the former dies. In light of this, we can buff the grenadier with:

  • A 0.25 siege resistance against artillery. Can compensate by decreasing the ranged resist to 0.4 (from 0.5)
  • A 1.5 ranged bonus vs artillery. (Kill a falconet in 6-7 shots. Note that a Vetaran Humbaraci can kill a Falconet in 4-5 shots.)
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