Cavalry Archer and Thumb Ring

So we all know that Crossbows/Arbalesters while not optimal are at least viable without Thumb Ring, mainly because their accuracy is already high (85-90%), on the other hand Cavalry Archers are terrible, and almost NEVER worth training without Thumb Ring, because their accuracy is a paltry 50%, on top of a higher training cost and required upgrades.
Cavalry Archer is one of the most available unit in the game, only meso civs and Bohemians lack it, but only a fraction of the civs can really use it.
Meanwhile we have civs with the Heavy Cavalry Archer upgrade that miss Thumb Ring, and quite frankly this seems really absurd, even more since most of those civs wouldn’t have very strong HCAs since they’re missing other key upgrades as well.

Civs that have HCA upgrade, without Thumb Ring:
Britons (lacks bloodlines, Parthian Tactics)
Burmese (lacks last 2 archer armors)
Celts (lacks Bracer, Bloodlines, Parthian Tactics, last archer armor)
Franks (+12 HP compared to +20 bloodlines, lacks Bracer, Parthian Tactics)
Goths (lacks Parthian Tactics)
Khmer (the only one that lacks only TR)
Slavs (lacks Bracer, Parthian Tactics)
The most “ruined” by the absence of TR here is the Khmer one.
Note also how unique each one of them is, they all lack something, but never the exact same thing.

EDIT after discussions:
What if only the Heavy Cavalry Archer’s accuracy was buffed to 70-75%, to make it at least viable even without TR? Now this would probably impact only team games since outside some specific civs, Cavalry Archers are quite expensive for 1v1, even more the Heavy upgrade. Would it be so bad to give some civs that already have bad archers, at least another ranged alternative?


Cav Archers are pretty well balanced at the moment, I don’t see why they should be changed again.

What do you mean with this?
Cavalry archers at the moment are viable with Thumb Ring, useless without it. This is not “balance” at all. Civs without Thumb Ring might just lose Cavalry Archers altogether and they wouldn’t even notice it.

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I think if they would increase their accuracy Cav Archers would be seen in almost every game and I would fear them being OP (at least with 70 or 75% accuracy). Sure, Thumb Ring is a huge upgrade for Cav Archers, but I’m fine with it being very important and having to be researched to make them viable.

Why would they be OP :face_with_raised_eyebrow:? And why suddenly would we see them in every game? You can’t mass them since feudal, and even in castle age they’re quite expensive to field.

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I think it’s mainly because they don’t cost food and are a mobile ranged unit.
If there wasn’t the delay for you needing thumb ring + bloodlines also to “enable” them it would be quite possible they would be instantly OP, as the only units in castle to force favourable engagements against cav archers are knights and camels which both need food and therefore a lot of time to build up the economy.
I think there would be a very high risk in cav archers if they were viable before thumb ring.

BTW I also think that parthian tactics is too much. Maybe, but only a little maybe, there could be a world where cav archers had a bit higher accuracy without thumb ring but parthian tactics only giving +1 PA. That would make the transition to cav archers easier but make them less “unstoppable” in the lategame.

So you think that raising the base accuracy would make them OP in castle age, this basically means that Tatars should destroy everyone in Castle age (with free TR, more LoS, hill bonus, sheep bonus). Is it the case?


Well I think we can at least say that they have the easiest transition into Cav Archers and next to the Huns/Mongols the best Cav Archer play in Castle Age, yes.

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Nobody calls for nerfs though, so I guess they’re not OP at all not even with free TR which means 100% accuracy (not 70-75%).
And funnily enough, I saw a thread on this very forum claiming that Tatars had DIFFICULT transition into cav archer, and was a difficult civ to master. It was a thread about Tatars low win rate.
Now think how much stronger would be Burmese cavalry archers, or franks cavalry archers in Castle Age. :joy:
Or Goths one. Does it seem they could be overpowered? :thinking:

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The Cav Archer transition is always quite tricky, because you can’t just upgrade your Feudal Age units like you could with Archers. Also Cav Archers don’t work well in very low numbers and need a number of upgrades to be effective. But to have Thumb Ring for free definately makes it easier than for a lot of other Civs. Plus if you played Archers in Feudal Age with Tatars you can always get Crossbow and hold your position with them or even push (thanks to Thumb Ring) while massing up the Cav Archers in your base.

I don’t really get what you want to imply here… no they would not be overpowreed I guess. Plus they all miss more upgrades down the road, so why ever invest into Cav Archers as those civs?

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In the imperial age, once fully upgraded, they could provide a viable alternative to some civ weaknesses, or simply offer new strategic approaches.
This thread is all about this: strategic alternatives.
You might be in a situation where cavalry archers, even missing some upgrades, are preferable to some other units due to some map/specific civ matchup, but without Thumb Ring this strategic choice is taken away from you, because 50% miss rate is way too much, expecially if you also lack other upgrades.
This changes nothing for top cavalry archer civs, but offers an alternative to those civs that can just use subpar arbs/crossbowmen as ranged units.

It’s not only Thumb Ring, but also bloodlines.
So it’s 2 addtional techs already in castle age. One of them for free is of course nice, but not yet enough to allow for an “easy” transition.

I also don’t think cav archers are that bad in castle age either. You can make a reasonable raiding party with like 5-10 of them and just be annoying with them.
But the whole danger of cav archers is that in high numbers they are basically uncounterable, so there need to be a tradeoff that ensures that you can’t get to that high numbers that fast.

(BTW One idea to make the “transition” smoother would also to give a “light cav archer” unit to some cav archer civs in feudal. I think that could be interesting.)

Yes definitely, because even Civs that theoretically have good Cav Archer play in Castle Age sans Tatars (Turks, Cumans, Mongols, Magyars, etc) tend to prefer Knights or Archers over them pre-Thumb Ring, due to how crippling a 50% chance on every shot to either completely miss or inflict half damage is. Results in a situation were Cav Archers are often not seen until Mid-Imperial (or not at all if a Civ possesses a UU alternative like Mongols or Cumans), due to the inherent ineffiencies that result from transitioning unit comps and the ridiculously hefty upfront cost required to make them useful in the first place.

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Well, it wouldn’t really increase the viability of HCA without TR. Instead, it would be massive buff for civ with strong CA like Huns/Turks/Magyars that they can delay TR and easily mass CA from Castle age. And they surely don’t need that kind of buff.

At least Tatars have smoothest transition to CA in the game. That is the reason why Pros often pick Tatars over Magyars/Huns when they prepare CA strategy.
Well, even buff to Cav archer without TR, Magyars/Turks CA transition might be not easy in castle age with weak eco bonus. But how about Huns? They already saving massive amount of wood with not needing house and discount to Cav archer. Now research TR is huge investment in Castle age and it makes Huns cav archer not that oppressive, but Buff CA without TR can easily make them oppressively strong. Cavarly archer is basically uncountable when massed with all upgrade and transition to them shouldn’t be that easy.


Well, if the real problem would be just Huns, because of the discount coupled with good wood saving, then apply the discount only in the imperial age (because less than 10% would be laughable) maybe?

Often I’ve witnessed rarely used units justified by a very specified niche. Like Teutonic Knights, you almost never see them, but in the right circumstances they’re beasts. But what niche are HCAs without Thumb Ring supposed to fill then?
Remove them, then, they’re useless, Khmer ones are the most disturbing ones, FU HCAs that are useless, not to mention Parthian Tactics for Burmese. :frowning_face:

I do think it is a little silly for civs to have HCA with no Thumb Ring. It seems like a noob trap.

I don’t know if buffing their accuracy is the solution though. 75% for example could be enough that CA civs can justify skipping TR for a while and that would be a big buff because that’s a lot of resources they can push elsewhere.

I think you would probably have to nerf some other part of CA simultaneously with this change.

Hmmm, then, to keep some imperial age viability, the regular cavalry archer could be untouched, but the Heavy Cavalry Archer upgrade could get 70-75% accuracy.
When you can afford 900F 500G surely Thumb Ring is not a big expense, right?
I don’t know, there has to be a way to make them (HCAs) viable without TR, I really don’t like a unit that it’s not even niche, but simply useless.
Ok Flaming Camel is another useless unit, but at least it’s a secondary unit, of just ONE civ.

Ca without thumb ring are very usable on castle age and even on some situations on imperial. That is not the problem, that is the combinaison of upgrades missing or simply bracer which are enough to make hca play not viable in most cases, khmer hca is decent, do you see a lot of japanese hca ? saracens hca ? they get absolutely all upgrades and still are situationnal.
Arbalest get a better powerspike in early game while ca upgrades and simply creating them is very expensive and require economy to profit from all these upgrades so, it make this unit a unit which have different use than crossbows.
In your list the only one which have useless ca but good arbalest is britons, because they get direct important bonuses on crossbows and not on ca and they are lacking 2 important upgrades (bloodlines,parthians tactics) which are very important while the arba don’t miss.
No one make arbalest without bracer in late game (don’t mention malians one which can be seen because of recycling crossbows from the castle age especially with the fast chemistry).

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This seems like the answer. Wouldn’t affect TR civs much since they’ll likely have the tech before going imp, and certainly before the heavy upgrade. Just would make HCA a semi-usable unit for non-TR civs.

Good, it seems it wouldn’t break the game touching only the heavy cav archer version.
I hope devs listen to this, I like to have options, and I’m not asking to add anything extraordinary here.

But if you ever need them, they’re there.
50% miss rate is too huge malus to be even considered, Arambai at least has better attack (almost 50% more) and does 100% damage with missed shots.

I don’t think my last (and definitive) proposal would break anything, at worst it wouldn’t do anything at all, at best it would open some new strategic choices in some games. I’m editing the OP.

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