Balance Idea Saracens (Mamelukes and Madrasah)

I don’t think Saracens are necessarily a bad civ that requires a buff, however two things about them are just bad:
Mamelukes and Madrasah.

Mamelukes have a very narrow use case. Please educate me if I am wrong, but it feels that they are not really better than your own Heavy Camels against cavalry. They are hard countered by camels(mamelukes dont deal anti camel damage) and archers, and have Skirmishers as a trash counter.
The only use case is against Pikes and Cavalry archers.
Cavalry archers being seen very little, and the time in which Pikes are used not overlapping with the time Mamelukes are used. So basically they only are a good option against cavalry archers (not sure about mangudai and kipchak). Or am I missing something?
They have the potential to be good really against cavalry, but Camels are just so much easier to produce and much cheaper.
So I would suggest to simply reduce their cost to the same as the knight (60f 75g) to make them more cost efficient (5f cost increase 10g discount). That way they could be used well against knights and can be used up until later into the game.

The other problem with saracens is their abysmal castle age unique tech madrasah. Sure, it is not the worst tech right now (looking at the Huns…) but it is pretty pointless.
However, it is quite cheap, and Saracens have all monk upgrades. So maybe just change it to “Monks cost 33 gold less” instead of “monks refund 33% of gold” would be enough for people to find ocassional use cases for this technology.

Do you think these changes would make sense/are necessary?
I think Mamelukes are a really cool unit, but their cost is just so prohibitive, given they are countered by one of the most common units in the game. I would really like them to be a viable option more often.


Agreed, as you said, it’s not that Saracens are under powered. I actually really like playing them, the archer bonus, and the market bonus are fun but the UU and Unique Castle Tech are underpowered.

As for Madrasah the very least it could do is make monks 30% cheaper up front. Still honestly not a great tech, but at least a little better. I wonder if maybe it would be better if it made monasteries, monks, and Monetary techs 30% cheaper? To an extent this would step on Burmese, but that’s a civ bonus not a tech, and that’s a full 50% so 30% for Saracens wouldn’t be OP.

As far as Mamalukes, I’m not sure the best way to fix them, but a cost reduction would certainly be a good start.

Saracen camels even with 170 HP are still just bulky counter units, whereas mameluke is much all round of a unit and doesn’t suck vs halbs and do ok vs archers

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i honestly think that madrasha should reduce the cost of monks by 33% and zealoty should just give more movementspeed

I think you’re missing the point about Mamelukes. They are an anti-cavalry unit and excel at fighting cavalry in large groups. Because of their range, they can attack multiple units at once, much better than “normal” camels. Also it’s possible to combine them with a “meatshield” (e.g. light cavalry). Of course that doesn’t mean they are the right choice in every game, but they serve their purpose.

Your suggestion about Madrasah would make the Smush overpowered. Saracens don’t need that kind of buff.

Overall, I think Saracens are fine as they are.

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Smush doesn’t favour building a castle and researching another tech anyway, you sell your starting stone away


I mean Saracen monks in general, not the original Smush from the AoK days.

All smush builds involve selling stone, Madrasah never comes in play. Even with monk discount as OP suggested, it’s never going to be useful

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Yes they are good against Cavalry, no question about that. But they are so extremely expensive.
Same food cost, same production speed and 25 gold more expensive as a Camel rider.
They deal 3 damage less to cavalry than camels, are terrible against other camels and have 40 HP less.
The Elite Mameluke has 1 melee armor, which is quite nice, but getting such an expensive unit in mass onto the field is very difficult to begin with. With them being so expensive putting a meatshield in front of them also is not an option, but an absolute requirement.

But yeah I do not consider Mamelukes to be a bad unit, otherwise my suggestion wouldnt have been to decrease their overall ressource cost by 5(!). They are just not affordable in almost all situations, and Camels are usually the better alternative.

Do you understand stacking and ranged attack? Mamelukes in group can clean up cavalry far more efficiently than normal camels. Zealotry is pretty much only researched when going mamelukes

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Sure, but you absolutelt need them to be massed, which is extremely expensive, difficult due to castle production and leaves you vulnerable to attacks in the mean time. Honestly how often do you see mamelukes being used? I think their lack of presence does show they are not a very viable unit right now

Yes, they are expensive and require a very solid eco to mass, so they are not for every game. But they have the potential to be very powerful in groups, so their cost is not without a reason.

They beat cavalry, they beat infantry because of their range and speed, they kill rams and trebs because of their melee attack. They outrun most other units, so they can be used for hit-and-run attacks as well. In the very late game, in team games or on closed maps, a combination of Mamelukes and (Siege) Onagers can be deadly.

I think their cost is justified. They are situational, but that’s fine. It’s the same reason why you don’t see War Elephants in most games.


I guess mamelukes are so difficult to find a proper balance for because it’s such a weird unit - not only are they one of the few ranged melee units, contrary to axemen or gbetos they have an attack bonus and are in a lot of armor classes. That’s why they get bonus dmg from a lot of units but at the same time most units are only soft counters to them (they have range vs halbs, skirms’ pierce armor is useless vs melee atk). So if you are able to mass them they are extremely deadly. Combined with their high mobility and rather cheap elite upgrade that kind of justifies their high cost imo.

However, I still think zealotry could get another cost reduction on the gold side which would be a buff to mamelukes and also might make it worthwhile to get it for camels.


I wouldn’t be opposed to a small unit discount and reduced zealotry price but I just disagree with your opinion that they’re outclassed/worse than heavy camels

Mamelukes should cost -10G and Zealotry -300R each.

Madrasah tech deserves a rework

ofc 50 Memelukes are better than 50 Heavy Camels, but you never have 50 Memelukes, simply because the unit+UT are incredibly expensive.

I would not say that the unit itself is worse. But personally I feel like it is easier to counter enemy cavalry with your own camels, because of the cost and them being produced from stables at the same speed as Mamelukes. The unit itself is better, I won’t argue with that. I just think that camels still often are the easier option to go for.
Mamelukes also have the problem that they are hard countered by enemy camels (camels are a bit faster, deal 16 bonus damage, and do not receive any bonus damage). So you can only use them against Cavalry civs that do not have camels themselves.
If I thought Mamelukes would be a terrible unit in general I would have suggested a different buff. I think a small reduction in cost would be enough and right now they are quite situational, and too expensive to be worth it, for a unit that needs to be massed.

The real buff for these UTs would be to leave them exactly as they are and giving Saracens a new bonus: UTs can be researched in a different building…

Both madrasah and orthodoxy are similar—monk techs that while useful are impossible to research when you need them most. Yes you could double the benefit of both techs 66% gold back and +6/+6 armor and they still wouldn’t be used very often because there is such a narrow window when using monk micro Is effective. It’s all about beating your opponent to castle age with a bad economy and pressuring them early. You’ll never have the resources to get a castle and a tech in addition to all the resources you need for the smush.

Will you need these techs if you build a defensive castle at home? No because you are behind walls or next to buildings you can jump into with your monks. The focus is first on making enough units to defend then upgrading techs.

That’s why you might buff the techs (instead of making them easier to get)- Aztecs could do a good smush, and Saracens/Slavs would have useful monks in late castle. It would make the civs more unique :slight_smile:

That’s why I’m proposing to rework it into “monk cost 33 gold less”
Monks with block printing and redemption are still a decent counter against siege, especially for an archer civilisation (especially one that doesnt get cavalier).
The tech is super cheap, only costing 100 gold and 200 food. Yeah, you would still need to create 10 monks to get your ressources worth. But considering the worth of gold it should be worth it after 5 monks. Still not the best tech, I agree, as you usually dont use that many monks anyways. But this way round it could at least sometimes be researched. If that still doesnt make it useful
i like the idea of BoughtRelic to also reduce the cost of monasteries by 30%. That would be pretty strong and already worth it after just researching redemption. Could maybe be reduced to 20% in that case.