Arbalest without Thumb Ring. How to use them?

Tired of all those new civs buff- nerf thread? take a break on this campfire adventurer and help me on this one!

So pretty much as the title said. Some civs have access to arbalester but not thumb ring, for example Sicilians, and i kinda tend to sleep on that disregarding it as a long-term option, since it seems like a so necessary upgrade for them, but maybe i’m wrong and i’m looking to improve my understanding of the game

So is an Archer-line without thumb ring actually loosing that much? is it still usable long term? and when and how?

thanks to all who will help me in advance!

I feel than thumb ring does not make a huge difference as long as you micro your archers and kite.
In late game I think having thumb ring make a big difference, but not so big that a civ without thumb ring is skrewed, especially id you have a long ladting eco lead like Vikings. It is probably like having +20% archers.

In 1v1 I usually only research Thumb ring in Imperial (or after clicking imperial) age, unless I am training cavalry archers.
In imperial age I first research alchemy/arbalests/bracers, and later thumb rings when I can spare the resources.

In multiplayer, I usually research thumb ring in castle age, after I have 20+ crossbows with bodkin. Reason is I feel that there will be bigger battles and I will not kite that much to maximize dps.


Arbalest without Thumb Ring = viable for fast Imp that is the “classic play” for Archer civs, you do 1 push, and when your Arbalest gets cleared (if it gets cleared) you transition into another unit type.

Arbalest with Thumb Ring = long-term option, if 1st group that you upgraded as you went Imp gets cleared, you can make more without feeling bad.

So in case of Sicilians, you will do fast Imp Arbalest → Halb + Siege or Cavalier, while if you are say Ethiopians you do fast Imp Arbalest into… Arbalest and Trebs and Halberdiers maybe.

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If you can use early imp momentum with arbs it doesn’t matter too much if you have thumb ring or not. So if you have a civ with strong eco like vikings or bengalis you van end the game right there.

With sicilians you usually wanna go for castle age mega boom so I guess arb is rather niche for them.

Thanks for the detailed response! Seems pretty on point to me

Now i really do not know in the specific case of sicilians how worthy It would be but in general seems that a arbalest without TR is not a death sentence, but its nonetheless not a Power unit for late game

Yeah only thing i can think of is that your archers tank 2 more javelin from skirms and Castle Age and forth donjons can shoot many more arrows while garrisoned with xbows/arbs having 10 garrison space

no worries, I think the big underlying assumption that I failed to mention is that you and the opponent are roughly on even terms, so going for the fast Imp into Arbalest strat is worth it to begin with.

This could be not true in a lot of cases, such as:

  1. you fell behind and are forced into a counter unit (if you are doing Crossbows, since Sicilians are not an Archer civ, likely you are going vs Knights so probably the counter unit is Pikeman). Going for gold unit with the inferior economy is generally bad.

  2. it’s not worth to go for Crossbow in Castle age to begin with (e.g. Sicilians vs Mayans, Sicilians is a versatile civ but still with cavalry focus so your opening should be Knights or Skirms as that counters most Castle age Mayans openings). In general, you don’t wanna be stuck in Archer-line wars vs any Archer civ as Sicilians past EARLY Castle age.

  3. adaptation in mid-Castle age needed (this is almost always the case if there is heavy aggression in Castle age, in high elo you often do a mix of units, notably Mangonels, Knights and Crossbows. Going for fast Imp Arbalest is generally worth if you have managed to mass some 30+ Crossbows, are fully walled and have a decent boom going. Opponent is either failing to push you or thinks his boom is comparable to yours.

Also when you hit the Imperial Age with Arbalest, don’t forget that the 3 upgrades Arbalest needs is like nearly 1500 resources combined which you should all have at start of Imperial age and furthermore Arbalest can’t run under TCs or Castles even if opponent is stuck in Castle age so don’t forget to have at least 1 Castle for Treb production (Sicilians don’t get Bombard Cannon so Castle is a must). On the bright side, Thumb Ring or not, Imperial Arbalest shreds any Castle age Knights.