Byzantines need to lose Bombard Cannons

Chemistry in a fascinating tech, in its research time. It takes 100 seconds to research, making it the tech that needs the longest time to research, by far. Why is that? Reseach time is just a value after all, why not make it shorter?

That value hides the true purpose it serves, and how important it is, for the balance of the game. As we all know, bombards sort of hard counter trebs. Imperial age is the age where you become capable of taking down castles easily. Now, if you are being pressured by a castle drop, the best step is to get to imperial age quickly. However, your opponent is also likely to get there a little while after you. This provides a window where you can make trebs, and your opponent can’t counter you. This is beyond important if you are playing as a civ without BBCs.

See, making a treb takes 50 seconds. Chemistry is 100 seconds, and bombard cannons are 56 seconds. This means, even if you both get to imperial age at the exact same time, you have 150 seconds, or time to make 3 trebs before the first bombard cannon comes out. Add in the time and resources you save by not castle dropping, and you might have another 50-100 seconds. This is the time you can use to take down your opponent’s castle, unbothered by bombards.

Byzantines, however, are a huge problem to this idea. They have 2 things going for them. Their buildings have more HP for one, and their imperial age is cheaper. Additionally, they also get cheaper trash units.

Cheaper imperial age means they’ll get to imperial age almost always before you do. On top of that, your trebs will need far longer to take down a Byzantine castle, especially if they are repairing it. This gives them ample amount of time to research chemistry and get bombard cannons. They’ll also have cheaper trash units guarding said bombards.

This is not necessarily OP, mind you. It is just extremely annoying and frustrating, at least in my experience.

This also goes against a push-pull system that AoE2 generally likes to follow. Let’s look at a few techs. Gambersons increase pierce armour of militia line units, but none of the main archer civs (britons, ethiopians, vietnamese) get them. Similarly, if you have strong archers, you don’t get hand cannoneers. If you are excellent at one thing, the game likes to give you clear weaknesses you can use. That is just the general trend, and byzantines is one of the more egregious exceptions.

This is not just an early-imperial issue, either. Byzantines not only get extra strong buildings, AND cheaper trash to protect them, they also get bombard cannons which makes defending those castles super easy. All I’m saying is, make them work for it a little bit, you know? Make them defend their castles with counter trebs. Or make a hussars to take down those opposing trebs.

The viper’s opinion on byzantines is “don’t want to play as them, don’t want to play against them”. I think this is the issue. It’s just not fun playing against them. Once they hold a position, you need to spend way more resources, and do a lot of grinding, to take them down. It’s just not fun.

This is not mentioning the historical inaccuracies. But nobody really cares about that, so I won’t preach about that here.

Lastly, I’m fine with buffing them in another aspect to maintain the win rate. This isn’t a “nerf byzantines” thread. This is a “make them a bit more fun to play against” thread.

So devs, if you see this, please remove BBCs from Byzantines. At least, consider it. At least at least, take feedback about this issue.

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No BBC ot them=They will just die to mass Onagers on closed maps.


Half the civs don’t get bombards. How do they all deal with it, then? Byzantines have decent cav, with husbandry. They’ll be fine.

Also, feel free to propose a buff to deal with onagers. Cav units +1 damage against siege? I’m fine with that.

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Yes and they also get one of the best monk


Yes, but “dont want to play as them” either.

I think it is more a question of playstyle. Viper and Hera want specific “tools” to play Arabia (probably good eco, strong gold units,…) and Byzantines dont have them. But Byzantines have good tools to counter the meta plays.

Which makes them an atypical civ who want to stale and outlast you. I think it is a good thing that some atypical civs find success without being OP.

And as much as Hera and Viper dont like to play them, I expect players like Mbl and DauT to enjoy playing with them and against them.

But this is their strengh, the reason some players pick them (2.5% in arabia 1v1 ranked) It is easy for them to hold castles, but winning the whole game isnt easy. Hence they are A tier and not S tier.

We can also say the same stuff about many civ, like how easy Franks/Huns/Magyars/Khmer/ scout into knights is too easy for them, or how eagles spam makes it too easy to play.

Yes exactly. But I dont think this necessarily a bad thing. Turtling and counter armies are not seen as “lame” by the community, contrary to resource stealing and walling, and maybe tower rushing.

I dont see a problem with a civ not being fun to play against if they are not OP and not fun to play as.

It would be interesting for sure to make a pool “what is the top 3 civs you have the least fun to play against”. I would probably put Khmer first. Then maybe Poles and Gurjaras.


I absolutely agree that Byzantines in general need a nerf. They are so strong and hard to play against. The cheap counter units discount and cheap imp make their play so smooth and easy and hard to stop them. The free town patrol and town watch make sneak attack impossible also. They were banned many times in both KOTD5 and also MOA.

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Byzantines are the “counter” civ. Losing their tool to counter siege (even when they lack siege engineers and have no bonus towards its) would be hurtful for their identity. I don’t like it.

If you want to nerf them, you can tweak numbers from their UTs, UUs or their imperial age discount.

Besides, I find them far more fun to play with and to play against than franks


But OP isnt exactly asking for a nerf, but rather a sidegrade.

If they are deemed too strong by pros (talking about pros because you refer to kotd), there should be no problem nerfing the bonus numbers without removing a key tech or unit.

I would be ok with this change if they give them Bloodlines to compensate.


I think “I don’t want to play as them” and “I don’t want to play against them” are two very different things. I’m okay with the first, but not okay with the second. The first can be due to a lot of different reasons. You might not find the civ suitable to personal tastes, it might be tough for you to play, it might unrewarding, or you just might not be familiar with the civ.

The second means one of two things. One, you think they are OP, or two, you find it frustrating/annoying to play against them. Neither of those are good. If even a sizable minority of the community things this, a possible change should be considered.

Also, consider the fact that you always get to pick your civ. You don’t get to pick your opponent’s civ. That means you won’t face an issue if you don’t want to play as a civ, but you will face those annoying civs sometimes.

Byzantines have good tools to counter all plays. I can’t think of a single viable non-meta play which would hit their weakness. There might be some weird ones like teutonic tower rush, goth infinite militia rush, or something else. But byzantines won’t be worse against those than most other civs.

Already done :D.
Didn’t get a lot of replys though.

I am not talking about lame strategies, or easy strategies here. I have my bone to pick with franks, because they are frustrating, too. The point here is how annoying byzantines are to play against.

They will still be the counter civ. They’ll just have a slightly harder time countering. I’ll be honest, identity means nothing if it doesn’t work. Identity is always secondary to balance, and at a distant third to fun.

Also, Byzantines have block printing redemption monks. Tell me, what counter will they lack if this goes through?

Bloodlines might be too much, especially on catas. We are trying to solve a specific problem here, not give them a general buff. So, the question is, how will this nerf affect them, and what should be done to compensate them in those specific areas. There is no reason to make them even stronger in areas they are already strong in.


I agree. Actually bloodline is fine. Just remove Forging, Iron Casting and Hussar so that their cav can only serve as their civ identity which is counter and tank

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yeah, no, They must keep their bombard canon. Their stable units are weak (no blast furnace, no bloodline), Their militia line is weak (no blast furnace). Their siege option is almost garbage with no siege engineer, no siege ornager or heavy scrop. All they have are cheap counter units and they ain’t even fully upgraded aside from skirm. In short, they have a very hard time trying to attack anyone with a weak army like this. Then you try to remove the only option that help them attack anyone and defend themselves against siege ornager, and again, there bombard cannon doesn’t even have siege engineer. So when they have to fight against civs with BBC + siege engineer, they’re gonna be in huge disadvantage.


In terms of offensive power, Byzantines is the only civ that have both Siege Ram and civ bonus Halberdier, which is a very OP combo that all other civ including strong Infantry civ like Goth Burmese Japanese Teutons dont have.


I agree.

I am okay with the second when it is about civs that also fulfill the first.

This isnt a problem specific to Byzantines, and I think they are very far from being the most controversial civ. Civs like Goths at low elo and franks at mid elo are probably far more problematic than byzantines will ever be at any elo.

For me it is hard to play as byzantines against eagle civs. Xbows + mangonels should also be fine against them. But yeah, as a counter unit civ, they counter standard plays.

If we compare Byzantines with Chinese, it feels the only advantage of Byzantines is their bbc and redemption. All other Byzantines advantage is more than compensated with the 2 villagers lead, the tech discount and bloodlines.

When someone says it is hard to play against Byzantine s on arabia, I would expect them to have similar problems against Chinese. But since Chinese have a good eco and BL, Viper will probably say “Chinese are amazing, they can play anything and can counter anything”. But for Byzantines it is only “they can counter anything”.

Bloodlines would make their tech tree the most broken is the game. This is the only real tech tree weakness they got, making them avoid to go scouts and knights, balancing their top tier trash units with subpaar hussars, and mitigating how strong their cheap camels and paladins are. And yeah, 170hp cata would be imbalanced.

So please no bloodlines for Byzantines.

Oh yeah, i guess I forgot about it because it wasnt a pool.

You probably forgot a condition, because otherwise Slavs and Celts (I think you exclude Ethiopians due to free pikes not being a late game bonus) work as well. Maybe Arbalesters ?


But thet are balanced, and can be fun for some people.

Not all civs must play the same. True, they have a huge discount for imperial age but until then they have no eco and their only military bonus are discount for trash units and camels. They are forced to play defensively if they want tonise their bonuses. If you cant beat them before late castle I think they deserve that power spike.

That is balanced, and adds an element of “revengeful” playstyle that can be fun for people that d9nt like aggression.

Thats a good point, but not valid for lower elos where byzantines are popular due to their defensive skills.
Take away BBC from them and most low elo players will lose in treb wars. You will be killing the fun for some players because youndont like byzantines holdinf their position until BBC is available.

Besides lower elos, in highwr elos monks with redemptions and block ñrinting work worde than BBC against massed siege. Due to the deffensive style of byzantines, it will be easy for the enemy to mass siege in close maps.
Other civs that lack BBC but have redemption printing monks have better eco or militar options…
Or look at magyars. They have a mediocre siege, no BBC, no redemption monks and no eco bonus. But their militar discount is better than byzantines’ one and magiar huzar can counter siege better than redemption monks. Byzantines without BBC would become far worse than magyars in most settings because of their lack of initiative. Why would they hold the enemy until imperial? To transition into blodlines-less paladins? They lack a poweful unit comp… They need BBC.

They dont need an overhaul. Attack them sooner or hold them in imperial age before you pick siege engineers. If the match up is bad… Well, this is age of empires, some match ups are bad.


A lot of these are weird complaints. Tell me, how many people actually make siege onagers in 1v1s? Or heavy scorpions? Who are these people I’ve never heard of?

You have to remember that byzantines are a counter civ. It’s fine that they lack blast furnace, the civ relies on bonus damage to get things done. What is important is the armour.

This is not true. I won’t even explain why, I have written it above in bold fonts. You can certainly scroll up a bit.

You are saying nothing here. Half the civs lack BBCs. Many of those civs don’t have cheap trash, or extremely strong cavalry. The counter to onagers will also work against bombard cannons.

I agree with you, but this is just whataboutism. I am illustrating a problem I have with a specific civ, and why I think a change would be good. Other civs could be changed too, sure, but that’s not the topic at hand here.
That being said, @#$^ franks. I hate that civ so much.

Never said they weren’t. In fact, I explicitly said this:

My dude, I said this, and even made it bold:

I did that to avoid any “but they aren’t OP” arguments, and then you do exactly that. I’m just disappointed.

Literally* nobody believes this. Ask any pros, or look at the ten thousand reddit posts about catas. Byzantines have one of the strongest unit comps in the entire game. Cheap trash+catas+camels+redemption-block-printing monks+onagers. Add paladins, albeit subpar ones, to that list, and FU arbalests.

Tell me, unit/unit comp are they not powerful against, with a subset of these?

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Byzantines specifically having HC and Bombards combined with the cheaper Imp is one of the main interesting draws of a civ that is pretty dry overall. It’s also a reallly nice way to just round out their defensive theming


Byz late game is hard to deal with. But they are slow to get to that point.

I think if Byz get Cata, you are probably doing something wrong.

Byz have strong counter to almost all kind of units. But I think double gold composition works pretty well against Byz.


I don’t really know how else to say this, but cataphracts are just super duper niche and if somebody is complaining about them they’re probably new/low elo. They suck against Archers and are slightly less cost efficient against knights, whilst also being more expensive and slower to train and upgrade. You also have other more versatile pretty good options against Infantry


I am going to list a few games from the recent past where Pros won as byzantines in castle age, or got to imperial and then got catas.

  1. ACCM vs JORDAN King of the Desert 5 Winners Match Group A w/ MR.Yo legendary cast - YouTube
  2. Dogao vs ViVi King of the Desert 5 DECIDERS #ageofempires2 - YouTube (45+ catas)
  3. FreakinAndy vs Margougou King of the Desert 5 Group B Elimination Match - YouTube
  4. TheViper vs Hearttt King of the Desert 5 Opening Match Group B #ageofempires2 - YouTube
  5. NAC 4 - QUARTERFINAL - VILLESE vs THE VIPER - DAVE and NILI casting! - YouTube (went till imperial, but was practically decided in castle)
  6. NAC 4 - NICOV vs VINCHESTER - T90 and DAVE casting! - YouTube (another all castle)

I want you to watch the castle age ending games. This is to show how good they can be in castle age. In games going past mid-imperial, it is common to tech into catas as byzantines. Cheap camels and trash, on top of a cheaper imperial age gives byzantines an excellent power spike.

So now, you can either claim that all these pros are doing something wrong, and you know better, or accept that you are wrong.

For the record, I can link a LOT more games showing that catas do come into play if the game goes past imperial. You could now make a silly argument like “don’t let byzantines get into imperial”. Not only is that silly, but byzantines have somewhere around 55% win rate at that stage. So it’s not even like catas will immediately end the game.

  1. Catas aren’t niche. I have listed some tournaments examples above. You think that because most games don’t go to imperial. Once you get to imperial, byzantines are pretty likely to tech into catas.
  2. Why exactly did you focus on this? The entire point of that paragraph is that byzantines have powerful unit compositions. This is just a side tangent.

The both of you are making arguments on the level of “don’t let them get paladins” against franks or teutons, or “don’t let them get elite battle elephants” against vietnamese/khmer/bengalis.

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