Biggest issue: Too slow in Age I
After a lot of talk with high elo players everyone agrees that China earlygame is too slow. They take too long to age up, and that is with eating your own goat at 100 food already.
Add a 100 food crate.
Next issue: China is one-dimensional, because China Age 2 is weak.
We already talked about it here and in the other thread: China age 2 is weak. Flamethrowers are bad, yet China doesn’t have a 2 Flamethrower shipment to put on preassure. Steppe Riders are terrible at direct engagements and both Iron Flails and Steppe Riders have too low base attack. They are ok vs Skirms but terrible vs everything else. Playing a prolonged Age 2 as China is a death sentence because they cannot boom at all, they have 1 less villager from Age 1 shipment, they are slower and they have no villager shipment in Age 2. Because of this their economy just cannot keep up with that of other civs. And having units you don’t want to make with banner armies means that they have much fewer unit types of the unit they need.
To improve this, we suggested to buff Steppe Rider base damage and reduce multiplier vs skirmishers, to make them not suck vs everything but skirms. Another suggestion (of mine) was to unlock the wood trickle tech of the german consulate in Age II. Someone else suggested a small buff to the russian consulate to offer cheaper villagers ontop of faster villager train time for a small buff in booming. These two suggestions could help the economy of China in Age 2. Another suggestion was to make it so the “Northern Refugees” Card delivers 2 Villagers per Town Center instead of 1. That means by building 1 village in Age I, China would get 3 villagers instead of 2.
The problem of being unable to mass Skirmishers and weakness of Iron Flail in Age III:
Iron Flails in general are just not worth their cost and you never want to make them, according to the best players. Everyone I have talked about has agreed that Iron flails are terrible and you never want to build them. Because of this you are going to have to make Skirm + Changdao army vs mass Skirms.
Now we get to the issue about banner armies. Apart from their unit shipments, China is always going to have a big amount of units that you don’t want. China cannot mass Skirms. Even though their Skirms are a little cheaper than other Skirms, Changdaos are going to trade terribly vs Skirms.
Since Iron Flails are bad, you can’t make the Arkebusier+ Iron Flail army. You need a combination of Changdao + Skirm and Meteor Hammer + Iron Flail armies.
Increase the base damage of Iron Flail. Decrease their multipliers so that they still deal the same damage vs Skirmishers, but deal more damage vs everything else.
And as a sad ending to this post: China can’t even deal with Caroleans properly because of Svea Lifeguard in Age IV. Not saying their skirm is too weak, but just more proof that Svea Lifeguard needs a huge nerf or should just get removed/reworked in general.