Cost of Heavy Cav Archers vs Paladins; Can you justify the cost?

Heavy Cav Archers have 13 techs to be researched and 14 for civs with bonus techs like the Turks lets look at a generic civ with all techs available like the mongols.
The 13 techs together cost 3300 food, 2225 gold and 550 wood plus the cost for a Blacksmith, Barracks, Stables, Archery range and University. The worst part on top of the enormous price and the number of buildings required is the units cost wood and gold but the techs to upgrade them costs mostly food and gold. So not only do you need a great wood and gold eco but you need a lot on food as well. When producing other units you can mostly just focus on the resources you need to make them with Cav archers you need to basically gather all 3 resources. Since you need over 3000 food while also paying food for villagers and Imperial age upgrades.

Comparing the Cav archers cost to Paladin:

Paladins have 10 techs, 3 less than Cav archers. The cost of fully upgraded Paladin is 3295 food and 1795 gold plus the cost of a blacksmith, barracks and stables, Thats already two buildings less than Cav archers making them cheaper and easier to upgrade. So thats a total resource cost of 6075 for Heavy Cav archers vs 5090 for Paladin, a difference of 985 purely from the upgrades themselves and then on top of that you have the added cost of having to build another extra 2 buildings and researching an extra 3 more techs.

So, can you justify the cost of Heavy Cav Archers or do they need a buff?

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Look, i’m not an expert, neither I use CA that much, but I think that CA are more expensive because they’re the most durable unit ever. Usually, you should put a meat shield in front of them (hussars are the common option). Plus, they’re much more easy to micro than any other unit. They have more hp than archers, and they’re basically made for hit and run.

Paladin, in the other hand, they take all the damage. You can win a war without loosing a single CA (hypothetically). That’s not possible with paladins


@OliveCereal4714 is right on the money.

If you ever come to believe that HCA need a buff, watch any team game where players go for Paladin/HCA combo. The HCA player will always be the carry player, and the paladin player provides little more than a meatshield.

This because ranged units scale exponentially, there is no melee that can kill a mass of 60+ HCA. Combine that high dps with high mobility, armor and HP and you have an absolute killer unit. As an example, this is a game from a showmatch less than a week ago

So no, HCA don’t need a buff of any sort. They are a killer unit that combine the HP and mobility of a cavalry unit with the ranged advantage of archers.

And as the previous comment stated, they have a near 0 turnover in capable hands, constantly fighting behind a meatshield. Meanwhile, Paladins are always taking damage and have a much higher turnover.


Simultaneous buff and nerf. CA shouldn’t have access to range upgrades for about three reasons.

  1. Too many upgrades as you’ve stated.
  2. It’s laughable a horse archer would have even half the range of a crossbow.
  3. Historically their power spike was in the castle age (like conqs and arambai in game), and they were less important in imperial.

Less attack delay and or more pierce armor could compensate.

Okay so a few people said you need to mix in a meat shield so that’s a HCA and Paladin combo. That makes the unit different than HCA alone. If you need a shield for HCA than in a 1v1 case you need to also research all the upgrades for Hussars which makes my point even more valid that they are extremely expensive.In that case you might as well just have researched Paladin and skirm combo since you already upgraded the knight line wouldn’t you? Think about a 1v1 a group of Paladins can take down castles, TCs and destroy an entire base alone where HCA need siege to kill buildings especially castles.

Well, usually you do research skirmishers,otherwise your paladins melt against halbs. But just think it this way: in a log war, you gonna keep spending gold on paladins, while with HCA, you’re just spending food on hussars

Yep. Easily one of the best UUs, possibly the best UU is a cav archer (Mangudai). but it is justifiably hard to mass and upgrade.

Dude, this is how the game works. Very rarely will players [successfully] make one-unit armies. People miss the point when they try to micro-analyze how good a unit is in isolation, when it almost never plays out that way. Yes, there is a cost to tech switching/going into multiple unit lines, but it’s a cost that most players will be paying in most games anyway, it’s not unique to how the cav archer works.

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If you already have a suitable frontline unit, adding Paladin to the mix will only give you more frontline. In any given fight, there’s only so much surface area around enemy units to engage with melee units. Any amount of units you have past that amount is wasted in relocation and/or blocking.

This is especially true for chokepoints (although it’s a big deal in absolutely every case, you don’t need to be a black forest player to lose effective DPS to having units that can’t all engage) and it’s the main reason why Knights don’t engage Xbows if the archers can find small gaps in treelines, buildings, or along cliffs to wedge themselves in.

So, you go for HCA in that situation instead, so as to use that wide-open space behind your frontline to do more damage that a paladin simply cannot do at all being melee range and unable to utilize that space. Easily justifies the cost, I think.

Comparing the cost of upgrading HCA and Paladins is the definition of the idiom of comparing apples and oranges. You don’t use them for the same purpose. It’s like comparing Skirmishers and Spearmen in the most literal sense. HCA do extremely well against halbs and terribly against E. skirms. Paladins do extremely well against E. skirms and terribly against halbs. Not only do you want to utilize them against different units, but further you want to utilize them in different ways. The fact that you got as many serious answers to your query as you have speaks volumes about the character of the common forum-goer.

sorry it sounds bad, but its the simple truth… you clearly need to play more MP matches where any form of CA with microing is involved…

the number of times players have rage quit because they cant reach my micro’d CA is about 1 million times higher (roughly) then the number of times someone rage quits because paladins are fighting their army… and im not even that good, so the CA has even more potential… yes CA needs support, but once it has it, its literally the most effective unit in the game(loving my berber camel archers).

you dont even need to beat the player and they rage quit… so its really weird to see someone actually asking for CA buffs (price reductions of any form)

haha thats just a simple massive nerf, for the possibility of a minor buff, at 4 range, a mob of CA(late games) wouldnt even have the back line firing unless engaged in melee… it would destroy CA for lower tier games where the players dont/cant micro them as well anyway… nevermind the higher tiers

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lol well maybe your micro is pretty good then. I have never won a single game where I went CA. I have tried everything from hit and run knights to attacking as soon as I have a small group of them in early castle age to stalling until i had a giant mass of HCA fully upgraded and never won a single game let alone make people rage quit. Maybe I suck at using them but honestly I have almost 2000 hours and if i still havent figured out how they are better over other options i feel like they need a buff

i love CA, so would never say no to a buff for them, but i think they can already do so much more than other units, it would make it unfair on things like teutonic knights(which already suffer), or anything else slow(all infantry), since you can literally dance around them with fast micro.

i dono if it helps at all but some of the ways i use CA:

if im facing a mounted race, i lure them into my own waiting pikes/knights etc, (so we usually end up with a situation of them running at me, turning around when they see my own melee units, i shoot them some more, they run at me, turn around) if the enemy dont come for my CA, then i keep sniping them.

if the enemy isnt mounted then i usually lure patches of skirmishers out (since you’re more mobile than them) and catch them with my own melee units. you also have the speed to snipe onagers(as opposed to foot archers that are hard countered by onagers)

if they dont have skirmishers onagers, then everything just dies (thus the rage quits) albiet slowly the more armoured they are

the worst are probably eagle warriors, due to their pierce armour and speed… and most of the time i dont have units that do bonus damage to them

I get what you mean and I am very aware that comparing them isn’t as simple as comparing archer line to Cav archer because one is a melee unit and the other is ranged. The way im trying to compare them is thinking about if its better to choose them as your main army or is it better to choose something else like for example Paladin. In fact in most cases you dont even need the Paladin upgrade (spirit of the law has a video about this you need at least 50 Cavalier on the field to make the Paladin upgrade worth it) cavalier are tanky enough so you could basically consider the cost of going knight line around 3000 instead of 5000 while HCA is 6000 and you pretty much need to upgrade to HCA because CA isnt powerful enough on its own in Imperial age. For all those resources what you end up with is a unit thats harder to control, way more micro intensive, could completely die to a few good onager hit or by running into a castle so you constantly need to baby sit them and they cant even kill an entire base on their own without needing siege because they suck against buildings when on the other hand Cavalier can pretty much kill anything from onagers to Castles all you need is something to kill harbs

If you want to see the strenght of HCA:
In the Malian vs Celts game Tatoh(Celts) goes… HCA and Hussar, even though his civ is one of the worst for this strat. And he still manages to drag the game over an hour long, and came close to winning. All that with: no bloodlines, no ring archer armor, no Parthian tactics, no plate barding armor, no thumb ring(= miss half their shots), no bracer… And he still managed to hold up to Gbetos and arrow-proof Pikemen. If he had been Byzantines or even Korean (both get bad hussar, no bloodlines but at least the HCA get Thumb ring and all armor) he would have won. Also, the suprise factor of the CA can be quite strong: here is another game from Tatoh, where he wins an Italian mirror with a mono CA army


Think of military units as tools, to beat a player you need more than one and they have to make a good match. For example, some civs have a natural combo of CA + scout line. There you have a use for all their resources: food for the hussars, wood and gold for the CA.

CAs when massed are very powerful. I think paladins are easier to counter (maybe I’m a noob for saying this) and being a melee unit they stand still while watching their companions die.