Don’t get me wrong, overall Spanish are a weak civ. The fact that they are precluded Archer line offensively means that, if they don’t go to Stone, you can expect only Knights from them in Castle Age, and this is a big limitation. On closed maps, where early eco bonuses aren’t as incisive, Spanish are better, because their late Castle/early Imp are stellar.
We all know this basic flaw of Spanish though, and here I want to talk about something else. The premise I wrote is mostly to point out that I am assuming somehow the Spanish player got ahead, be it on a closed map by pre-spawned Stone Walls, or lucky map gen on Arabia. Let’s assume the Spanish player managed to get a Castle at around minute 20 on Arabia or Arena, or Nomad or whatever. It is possible to prevent this from happening, but in some cases, it WILL happen, even in high elo games between e.g. TheViper and Hera.
Does anyone else feel that, once Conquistadors numbers get going, they are too strong in current patch? It is OK to have power spikes, every civ has that. Franks have their early CA uptime with 2-3 stable Knights flood, Burgundians have something similar with early Cavalier, and Ethiopians get free resources, free Pikeman and better Crossbows. Every civ has nice things and Spanish deserve some too.
However, after the recent gunpowder buff (+5 HP on Handcannoneer and faster projectiles), I feel Handcannons have become usable/balanced (they can hit moving targets from 4 tiles away now), but Conquistadors have become too strong. Keep in mind that Conquistadors are MOUNTED Handcannoneers, who have mobility. Compare Crossbow & Cav Archer, and Handcannoneer and Conquistador:
5 pierce attack
2.0 rate of fire
50 HP (70 with Bloodlines)
6 pierce attack
2.0 rate of fire
(requires lots of upgrades to be considered “usable”, Bloodlines, Husbandry, Ballistics and Thumb Ring which together amount to around 1200 resources).
17 pierce (+10 vs infantry)
3.45 rate of fire
55 HP (75 with Bloodlines)
2.9 rate of fire
The increase in resources is similar to the Archer → Cav Archer increase. However, compared to that increase, you get:
- 2/2 armor (Knight-tier of armor). This makes the unit resilient to melee chasers such as Knights and partially resilient to counters like Skirmishers. Having this much armor as base level is quite significant, and you can count the units that have such high armor levels on… the palm of 1 hand. Most units, even gold units, in this game, have 1/0, or 0/1, those are GOOD armor levels. 2/2 is insane and extremely rare.
- increased RoF (2.9 down from 3.45 for some reason).
You get more than your money’s worth from this unit. Also remember that Handcannoneer is an IMPERIAL AGE unit, you are essentially getting an Imp unit in Castle Age and mounted too!.
The biggest problem with Conquistador, is that strong Unique Units generally can be still countered, for example, Mangudai is 1 of the strongest units in the game, but a proportion of 0.5-0.7 Skirmishers with most upgrades still scares Mangudai away. THIS IS NOT THE CASE FOR CONQUISTADORS where you get 1 chance to mass Skirmishers, and if you have a ratio of let’s say, 1.3 Skirms for each Conq, then you can fend them off. Anything lower, generally crumbles under the pressure of the Conq numbers because Skirm armor doesn’t protect you at all and Conqus 4 or 5 shot you anyway. Basically, you need to:
a) Scout out that the Spanish player is doing Conqs (not always possible as high elo players hide their strats through walls and an “entry level” army that is there to bait you into some bad composition (e.g. Spanish player might open with 5 Knights in early CA).
b) constantly check how many Conqus he has (you don’t wanna have too many Skirms, either, as they are bad vs nearly everything else the Spanish player can do) to make sure you have adequate numbers
c) chase Conquistadors with Skirmishers around the map (old dilemma of how to counter mobility when you don’t have mobility).
Countering old Conqs was possible, mostly because they would never hit from 4+ tiles away, due to slow projectiles. As such, them running into your TC wasn’t a great threat (albeit still a threat). Now, however, the new Conqs are capable of running next to a TC and securing far more villager kills than before. Vs fleeing armies, e.g. Knights, Skirms etc. they are also capable of outputting far more damage than before and with greater accuracy.
It is also very possible, that at some point the Spanish player just decides to get off Conqs and do something else, like Knights or Mangonels, and at that point, it’s very hard to tech transition off of Skirmishers into something else (4-5 Knights beat basically any number of Skirms).
tl;dr: Conqs are too much of a win-more unit, good vs every unit type, including their counter unit, Skirmishers, and force awkward tech transitions by the opponent. Any time a Spanish player has a good Conq mass, the game is basically over as for the Spanish player it’s enough to mix 5-10 units that counter your Skirmishers and Conqs can kill anything else. Their latest buff turned an already strong unit to an over the top one. The best way to kill a Spanish player is prevent him from EVER getting Conq numbers up, if he manages to get to 15-20 Conqs, the game is over and this is a design problem.