Best Land Malay Tactics?

While the Malay’s skills shine on water…

they are absolutely USELESS on land map! Absolutely poor cavalry, very frail UU that will fall like flies, and no Champion. Sure, we have trash two-handed swordsmen, they still cannot do against archers, Aztecs, or Byzantines. Cheaper elephants to compensate for the lack of key cavalry upgrades, but they are still slow, use up gold, and may still struggle with infantry, or better cavalry civs like Franks.

I had a Malay ally in a match (he didn’t choose to be Malay, our host wanted everyone to pick random) in Nomad map. Although he managed to reach Imperial Age because of the faster age-up, the infantry and elephant army were smashed by Goths, Vietnamese and Bohemians. Eventually, the poor Malay player was beaten to a pulp. I cannot imagine what would happen if I face Teutons, Aztecs, Byzantines, or Franks head on.

How can I survive well on land as Malay? Even the Vikings and Dravidians can do better on land due to their bonuses that improves gives the units more durability and strength. Malay has no melee bonuses so I find it difficult to go on the offensive.

The elephant rush is good, but it relies on timing, or hitting them with a sudden stampede when they don’t expect it. Other than that, I might go archers with them.


Malay are designed around their faster Uptimes.
This in theory synergizes well with their Arb line. But usually you don’t have enough res to make everything you want with malay right away. With the other civs we figured out good eco setups so we can immmediately click what we need after arriving to the next age.
With malay we often should wait 1 or even 2 more vills before actually clicking up to get all the ressources we need.

So… Great bonus in theory, hard to execute practically.

And btw Gurjaras have a better castle timing with better eco than malay, so even in that regard they are now surpassed.

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Faster Castle aging up into Ballistic Crossbows is your “default” strat.

You can also do 16 min Castle Age into Elephants although you need to buy food and do damage fast and not take a lot of damage back, overall mass Feudal spears still beats it so I advise having some form of ranged backup. It’s a more niche strat but can work when you did some damage in Feudal.

You also gain 3 vills until Castle age so full boom with defensive Skirms/Mangonels is an option also.

Late game you have Arbalest, 2h Swordsmen for only food, Elite Battle Elephant is actually not bad especially with Malay discount (you need like 70+ farms to spam numbers tho) and if you have enough Castles, Karambit Warrior spam is a thing too.

Last but not least, you have Bombard Cannons, excellent unit in 1v1 Arabia also and you get Siege Engineers too.

With Malay, it’s important to have excellent eco management and know your timings (mostly related to Archery Range but not only). I am guessing you struggle with those hence you think Malay are bad, they are actually a fairly strong civ. It’s more of an expert civ but can be annoying to play vs a good Malay player, in Crossbow wars you will nearly always be behind vs a competent Malay player.


Simple answer: Malay are poorly designed.

Almost on every single dimension this civ proves to be horribly made.

  1. Battle Elephants are just inherently bad regardless of the civ, both due to how bad the perform on this morbidly open Arabia, and how awful they’re in terms of food per value. (Just like Steppe Lancers, though at least Elephants have a solid identity)

  2. Karambit and THS basically sit on the same slot of a gold efficient infantry, they share the same counters and serve the same purpose roughly. Besides that Karambits (unlike Shotels) have a bad concept, basically relying solely on their half-pop gimmick with nothing else to offer. Considering the melee pathing I’d take Woad/Shotels any day.

  3. “Naval Civilization”, developers went hardcore with this single dimensional theme, quite shocking. Civ bonus, an unique tech and a team bonus. Seriously?

  4. Too much cheap units (Skirms, Halbs, cheap BE, Karambit, THS, and Arbs), and no real source of raw strength like Knights/ CA/ Gunpowder unit / fancy UU. They’re left with no meaningful militaristic win condition, just like Vikings, which is okay, however, unlike Vikings, their eco is so much worse on open maps. (You pay for those “free vills” unlike Bengalis, and it’s less vills we’re talking about)

Overall, the civ needs a redesign, just like about 20% of the civs in this game.

No. No it doesn’t. If you were put in charge of game balance, I would stop playing the base game altogether, it would be absolutely trash. Like, honestly, the reviews would probably plummet, and I’d hope desperately you would be fired. You don’t speak for the majority, and you don’t have the right to ruin the game for everyone else just because you liked Voobly more. You’re just super toxic and unpleasant. Please stop, or even better, leave the forums. I would really love that to be honest.


They are harder to execute but they are far from useless. Btw even when you want to argue that they aren’t the best civ for open maps they are on of the best civs for closed maps so “land maps” certainly isn’t the right term here.

They are great in trash wars but indeed pretty useless before that point.

Pretty situational unit but if you switch into elephants from archer skirm in the mid game that can be pretty good sometimes.

Usually the best approach is open drush to get some walls behind and then go feudal archers. This way you can use their powerspikes and probably have better eco than opponent (5 more vils after reaching castle age). In a lot of matchups you want to pressure with arb bbc early imp.

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Normally I wouldn’t like your post, but for anyone willing to call out AllergicTable I’m happy to give a like. Within reason, and it does depend on the circumstances, but still, I’m so frustrated with them.


Malay also gets Bombard Towers. Also, on Nomad, you almost always do have water, where Harbors (somewhat) can defend your fishing ships. With proper fishing eco behind, you should have pretty smooth Elephant or THS spam ongoing. Trash THS still beat everything once gold runs out, but what you want to do just depends on enemy civs. I’d say Goths and Bohemians can counter Malay pretty hard late game, unless your BBC micro is better than the opponent’s.

Your best bet might be Castle Age Elephant spam then instead, as Goths and Bohemians are pretty meh early, and if you go for an all-in push (more common in 1v1s), you can have pretty devastating Elephant rushes.

I believe you got already a fair share of good answers, on the particular game you had it was bad luck with matchups on land.
Malay’s most powerful gold units on land are elephants and arbalesters. They are both hard countered easily by Goths, Bohemians and Vietnamese, all those civs have strong anti-archer options and 2 out of 3 even powerful halberdiers (cost or effectiveness). Unless you do damage in feudal, with each age they grow stronger against Malay.
Against Teutons, Franks and Byzantines you have to push with either crossbows or elephants in castle age, against Aztecs I really struggle to see a viable strategy honestly, they seem to be much better than Malay on both economy and military side early on.
Your best bet on nomad is trying to rule the sea and abuse it as much as you can.

What about Karambit spam against those civs? O know that it will be difficult to get there but I think it could be a decent tactic

Yeah pretty sure goths die hard if malay get to karambit spam. Against teutons and byzantines that won’t work too well I guess 11

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you were on Nomad you said, so Malay would be a good candidate to control water and put up harbours to control the shore, while the teammates go on land with safe fish.

on a pure Land map Malay probably want to play arbs, possibly with two-handed swordsmen if it goes late


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According to you anyway. Lets just say after seeing youf feedvack and changes im glad goure not in charge of balance. Bht hey, plenty of games out there with what you like

Instead of ruining aoe2 for those who like aoe2, why not go play those games


So, pretty much the 20% of the civs are poorly designed but at the same time you don’t want to turn every civ in another Frank/Mayan->generic civ? WTH?
You are the one who ask for diversity

Well malay is indeed weirdly designed. Imo it would be better if they would collect more ressources while going up but not going up as fast as currently
this way they could use their faster uptimes better.

They can do that by going up later with more villagers.

Exactly, that’s the tough part of Malay
It is nice on paper but hard to do perform