Does the Long Swordsman need buffing?

This question has been lingering in my mind for a while now, for several reasons:

1.) Longswordsmen are rarely, if ever, trained in Ranked Matches, because once in Castle Age, most players opt for Knights, Archers, Cav Archers, whatever Unique Unit is available for thier civ. Even players who do Militia/Men-at-Arms rushing will not typically go into Longswords and will shift to something else.

2.) Players who do go with Swordsmen-armies will boom to Imperial Age to get the Two-Handed Swordsman and Champion upgrade, passing over the Swordsman upgrade entirely

3.) Longswordsmen themselves are underpowered in Castle Age warfare. Whereas the Men-at-Arms are better in Feudal Age warfare, and the Two-Handed Swordsmen/Champions are quite good in Imperial Age, the Longswordsmen are underused.

…I can go on and on, but I think these reasons should suffice. So the question of this topic is:

Are Longswordsmen underpowered and need a buff (for Castle Age)? And if you think so, what kind of buffs should they get?
Or do you think they are fine as they are?

TheViper talks about this briefly in one of his recent videos, where in his LiveChat, some players ask him if he thinks Longswordsmen should be buffed.
1v1 Atacama | Japanese Full Feudal Age YOLO | vs Yo - YouTube

So what do y’all think?


The main problem is that compared to using some combo of knights/eagles or seige, longswords aren’t great. Plus they still have to compete with a ball of archers being upgraded from feudal.

Now their advantage is that you can get MAA + spears/skirms out in feudal age and then upgrade them to LS halfway across the map. The problem is that in general feudal economies aren’t strong enough to first get supplies, then pump out MAA and pump out enough spears/skirms to cover for their inevitable castle counters and do that early enough to get them across the map before say a forward seige or knights could be built. So you end up postponing long enough that it’s castle age already and you can no longer justify buying supplies/longsword and just start pumping out knights or seige depending on what you need.

Its not like the unit is bad in a vacuum, it’s just the dynamics of the game prevent it from being the good choice except as an eagle and trash counter.

LS is actually the biggest upgrade of the militia line. But there are 2 drawbacks for the unit in general at that time:
Knights are just better and don’t need to be upgraded.
Food is extremely valueable in the midgame. We also almost never encounter light cav spams in castle age. Militia and scouts are the most food intensive unit types, both are almost never seen in the mid game for exactly that reason.
It would take a very strong buff to make them generally viable in the midgame, at the same time this could allow certain inf civs to just stack with that line from begin to the end, as it is the most “rounded” unit type and has only a few hardcounters.

Plus you usually want to use your barracks to make pointy boys against enemy knights, I think :wink:

PS: Anybody noticed that Viper actually said that LS have a place in the game?

The problem the longswoed has is they fill a niche role of being anti trash and anti eagle at a time when you’re not as concerned about trash units. I’d make supplies and longswofd upgrade cheaper and faster and maybe a small speed increase but short of a complete balance overhaul there isn’t much that can be done for it.


High food: gold cost ratio is the main reason for being underused. Unless the food: gold ratio is changed similar to knight, like cost 30 food and 40 gold for LS only after supply and revert the cost upon THS upgrade, they will be probably prevalent. But that seems unreasonable.

I think theres 2 main problems with longswords.

  1. It takes a too long time and costs too many resources to tech into them.
  2. The main units that players on most civs are gonna be going for are crossbows/cavarchers and knights, and longswords while doing okay get countered pretty hard by archers and cavarchers, so if you had to choose between going for longswords and going for knights you would always choose knights because they do okay vs both other knights and vs crossbows, while longswords only do okay vs one of those.

For a while? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:
It feels like there is a “swordsmen line buff” post every week in this forum…

The day that the swordsmen line becomes a natural go to strategy like Scouts into knights or Archers into Crossbows the game would only be about who can produce more. That would be quite boring to watch at the pro level.

For the average player the swordsmen line is already pretty powerful. I’m 1300-1400 1v1 ELO and oftentimes use them if I play a knight civ and the opponent defends with Pikes or Camels…

It could buff the Goths too much maybe? Goths for the most part make militia.

i’m sorry but this is a terrible analogy. stop trying to compare the longsword line to knights and crossbows. they serve an entirely different purpose. knights and crossbows are a generalist or power unit. they are all around good units that can also equal eachother out depending on play, with clear counters in both the skirmisher (for archer line) and the pikeman (for the knight line). whereas the militia line clearly has no trash counter and is much cheaper and faster to produce.

and is superior when trying to destroy buildings.

Yeah but for the price of the long-sword upgrade and supplies alone you can build a seige workshop and a mangonel, which then complements basically any castle age army.

I think many people can agree that the LS is a good unit. But at the same time many people also agree that the dynamics of supplies+arson+LS upgrade present a high enough up-front cost that kind of throws a wrench into getting enough of them out at the right time for a reasonable cost. That being said goths don’t have this upfront cost problem so theoretically are the test-civ for whether LS up front cost is the problem. IDK how 2000+ Elo players in general use goths tho.

you see in competetive age of empires, players like to use gold units as the core of their army, so your opponent is not gonna have an army of your unit’s counter if you go knights or crossbows, because both skirms and pikemen are trash units (thats a term for units that cost no gold), but if you go longswords, there’s like a 50% chance he has crossbows which counter your unit

But again rhe point is that both knights and crossbows have trash counters to use if needed.

Whereas longswords do not. And yeah. Longswords do halfway decent vs knights and terrible vs archers. Which just further supports my point that there isn’t a gold triangle! Because knights and crossbows are both good vs each other while longswords only good vs one.

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For one who seems knowledgeable about the game, I am surprised that you say that Longswords have no counter when they most certainly do: archers.

He refers to trash counters, Pikes, Skirms and Light cav Line. None of these do it well against militia line

read what i said, where it clearly says

trash counters. if you play knights nd push your opponent off gold he can make pikes. if you play crossbows and push your opponent off gold he can make skirmishers. if you make longswords and push your opponent off gold he can’t effectively answer that.


This is a really great explanation why an overpowered swordmen line would completely ruin the game in late feudal / early castle age!
I 100% agree.

A mix of scouts, Skirms and Lancers? 11

yes, all of this is true. on a hypothetical map where gold can run out before imperial age, longswords would be a solid option, but since theyre a castle age unit on all other maps theyre the inferior choice because of that

You completely missed my point. You’re actively comparing the militia line to the knight and archer line. This is a false equivalency as they don’t serve the same purpose as the knight or archer line at all. The militia line serves as an anti eagle and and anti trash unit. They arent supposed to complete with archers and knights.

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