Does Archer play have too many advantages?

I’m willing to admit I may not the best player in town, but every time there’s a face-off against a player who’s going archers, it all feels a little overwhelming, like the odds are stacked against you. I’ve tried all the counters at my disposal and it seems like unless you are playing a civilization geared for having high pierce-armor units you’re going to be in one ■■■■ of a hard game. On paper, I believe they’re fine, but in practice the only real counter I’ve found is diverting opponents attention and forcing micro mistakes. Especially against Britons - it’s a nightmare, if you don’t have good cavalry, it’s almost a guaranteed loss with skill amongst both players being equal. However, I do not believe archers need a huge nerf, just some little tweaks here and there may go a long way. Maybe play with their accuracy a bit, make it so they don’t hit 100% all the time even with ballistics and thumb ring, or remove thumb ring entirely and move on from there. Let me know if there are any sympathetic ears out there or if this is just all in my own head :).


a big problem with archers has been due to melee pathing being subpar, which was recently greatly improved. i expect archer play to fall off a bit in the coming weeks/months.
if anything does need to be done to archers i’d just make it so they can’t stack as much/increase the collision radius.

britons archers can be easily negated with just throwing in some rams, and britons lack thumb ring as well.


Archer play is very safe at killing Vills, but gets shut down hard by Skirms or a single Tower.

Mass Knights also demolishes Mass Crossbows, and kills Vills even faster.

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I’ve tried rams, if you’re building rams, so is your opponent, and archers, especially Britons archers blow through them like a hot knife through butter, it’s of no consequence to them compared to skirms, so they have an advantage in that scenario as well. Also, I’ve noticed from an economic standpoint, going archers doesn’t take away anything from your eco-building capacity, since you don’t need food for them, transitioning to castle is much easier for them aswell. All these little things compound and make them too strong in my opinion, not that there’s something wrong with them from as a unit but how they’re built into the eco and how other units work, it leaves you feeling swindled. Even when I win, It feels like I had to put way more effort into winning than if I was playing Archers myself.

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yeah no, its very commonly cited that rams are one of the best counters to Britons.,your%20onagers%20from%20a%20distance.


Well, this post wasn’t about if it’s possible to win against Archers, rather if they have an advantage when 2 players of EQUAL skill are playing the game. And from my standpoint, they most certainly do have that advantage. Feel free to disagree. Cheers.

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They have an advantage in Feudal and castle, because you spend no Food. In Imp, they fall behind to Onagers and Elite Skirmishers with Bracer, and amount to a huge expenditure on Gold, so you will be nervous if you lose a large amount of them.

Archers do provide an Age Up advantage, that much is true.
By the end of Castle Age, however, Mangos slaughter them, so you may want to refrain from training a lot of Crossbows if you scout a Siege Workshop.

Which is why I stated at the beginning, that the only real counter I found to solid Archer play is to distract your opponent with raids and stuff, force him to make micro error, so mangonels/onagers can have a shot off, but if your opponent doesn’t make those errors, in practice the shots are easily dodgable, so skirms while in theory should be a counter to archers end up having an almost even playing field, because they don’t destroy mangonels as easy and fast as archers do. Couple this with how good are archers at harassing eco and such, ends to an incremental change in odds in the favor of the archer player. While rams are a good counter to archer play, looking at how awkward it is to load up all the rams with units aswell, there still ends up being an advantage to Mr.Archer player.

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knights can deal with them in the castle age pretty easily.

you don’t need to load units into them. you put the rams in front of your units so they soak up arrow fire while your units move to engage. it takes a standard castle age deathball of 20-30ish crossbows anywhere between 6-9 volleys of concentrated fire to kill even a basic ram. imagine if those shots aren’t focus fired


Agreed, in a perfect engagement, rams do help a lot, but what about in all the other 99% scenarios when the opponent can just easily back away from your dangerous skirms and stand in a position to focus down your rams with ease, and no danger of other types of volleys, because rams are so slow with no units inside, it leaves you having to do much more microing than your Archer-playing counterpart, to come out ahead.

if they are moving from the skirms they also aren’t firing at your skirms or rams. and if they are stutter stepping they are actually allowing your skirms to get closer because each stop means the skirms are getting closer.

except it doesn’t matter, your rams are just a diversion to allow you to get closer. they don’t need to be in front the entire way, they just need to be in front long enough for your units to get closer, thereby reducing the damage those units take.

How exactly are skirms supposed to get closer with mangonels and pikemen in the way? Everything you just wrote can be translated as ‘‘git gud’’ :D. Which I will take under advisement, sir, but it has nothing to do with how strong archers are. Let’s get something straight, do you truly believe that archers aren’t in a very strong spot right now? More so than the other lines, taking into account your civ doesn’t have proper counters to pierce attack?

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let me ask you this -
if britons archers and archers in general are so strong.

why is it that the highest rated civs overall play that actually use foot archers often, doesn’t even have a broken winrate?
the best right now are Melee civs and a civ that relies on a mix of melee and cav archers.

which clearly aren’t broken per the winrates?

archers are strong, but not broken, and fall off in overall power due to the recent pathing improvements.

literally every civ in the game has some way to counter archers cost effectively. whether it be skirms, or a unique unit, or knights, every civ has options.

the only change i might make to archers, given the option, and this is a might change, given the recent pathing improvements, is a small nerf to their stacking.

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Well, if win rate is the only metric that’s plausible for determining game balance then, fair enough. But there’s also the fun factor that people seem to too easily dismiss. And for me personally, losing games when playing against archers feels like I just got cheated out of a good deal, can’t quite put my finger on the exact reasons, maybe I just suck when I play against them, it’s possible. But other than that, it seems like at the moment playing against them is much harder than playing as them. If this is a ‘‘come to the dark side’’ type deal, I say no thank you :D.

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fun is clearly important but the fact that the community is as large as it is, after 20 years, is very telling about what most people think of the game.
also what about those who do enjoy archer play? clearly the winrates are balanced, are we supposed to just nerf what they find fun because you don’t find it fun?

why? there is literally a bunch of options to counter them. name a civ, they all have cost effective counters to archers. skirmishers and knights being the two most obvious and direct answers.

that doesn’t mean we have to nerf what other people find fun. should we nerf micro because daut doesn’t micro well when viper is considered a “micro nerd” to make the gamer more fun for daut?

i mean you could say that about anything. unlike archers, who can cost and population efficiently be killed by skirms, knights require you to have 2 pikes for every knight. cost effective? yeah. but population effective? not really.

The fact that the community is large, isn’t a reflection of the game itself, rather than what succeeds it. Do you still use the phone you used 20 years ago, maybe you would if it was better than what we had today. As for your points about people’s preference, I have no qualms about keeping the game as is, just putting in some input on how it could be better.

i’m sorry, but it absolutely does. people wouldn’t have bought a remaster of aoe2 if they didn’t enjoy aoe2.

except better in games is subjective.

but better for you. and nerfing it for those who like archer play.

Before DE, you did not see britons as much (given you saw mayans + vikings a fair bit since they’re overall amazing civ) - you still saw a focus on xbows but they were not as strong as they currently are because of pathing. I don’t think the pathing is 100% there yet but the units don’t randomly stand around as much so that’s an improvement. If the pathing were basically identical to hd/voobly I would say that archer play is only better than knight play because it’s easier on the economy (among other reasons).

That said, it was always the case that if you got past a certain threshold of archers, knights just didnt counter them anymore (paladin is an exception but usually if you tech paladin in a 1v1 you don’t have many of them). I would say with de’s pathing that threshold has been greatly reduced. Sometimes when I play it feels like I don’t even have chain barding (when I do) fighting like 5 knights vs 10~ crossbows, and take heavier losses than would on pre-de honestly. The melee collision just isn’t the same.

Skirms are a decent response but archer civs have answers to them, and most knight civs have bad skirmishers. Towers, however, become much less effective the more archers you have. A single guard tower isnt stopping 25-30 castle age crossbows, which aren’t difficult to get to mid-castle age

Overall though, I agree with OP’s sentiment that archers feel a bit too strong in current meta just because of the mechanical issues.

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I’m willing to bet most people wouldn’t have bought the remastered edition of aoe 2 if AoE 4 was already out and wasn’t a total flop. Also, nostalgia is a powerful thing.

Everything in this world is subjective, hence the discussion.

I don’t mind if there are other changes for other units as well. To reiterate, the current state of the foot archer is a bit unpleasing, but not unmanageable.

I hope you wouldn’t bet a lot of money on that idea because before DE came out the aoe2 competitive scene was raking in tens of thousands of dollars in tournaments and viciously active on voobly, and even hd which was considered to be the worse of the two