Dromons, the fast Onagers of the sea

Spirit of the law and MikeEmpires have released videos about the Dromons (for all the people screaming about how unrealistic MikeEmpire videos are, that’s not the point here).

Notice how good they are against ships. In the MikeEmpires video, they win against fire ships without micro. Of course, this is without balancing the resources. They also destroy bombard ships, and are cheaper, and does not require chemistry. Meaning, you’ll be able to mass 4-5 of them before your opponent can even begin to mass their bombard ships. Dromons are a ship that’s also available to huns, goths and byzantines, so you will encounter them regardless of Romans.

So, let’s take a usual water fight. The Romans (Or byzantines, or other civs) have a mass of galleons up front, and 5-6 dromons at the back. Additionally, they have a few fire ships/demo ships for support. Note that Romans don’t get demos, but the rest of the civs with dromons do.

What is a cost-efficient counter here? Especially for civs without heavy demo ship or fast fire ships?

If you make galleons, their dromons will snipe them. Dromons have an insane 12 range. If you try to get close to snipe them, they can back away, and your opponent’s fire ships and galleys will destory you.

You could make fire ships, but they will get blocked or destroyed by the galley mass, with dromons piling their damage on top. A small mass of demos will suffer the same fate, especially if you don’t get heavy demo ships.

The only counter I can think of is mass heavy demo ships. And that sucks.

The way I see it, these things are onagers of the sea. That in of itself is not an issue. But, think of how onagers are countered on land. You either use cavalry to rush them, or use bombard cannons to snipe them. Onagers have a huge weakness in how slow they are. However, Dromons aren’t weak to cannon galleons, and it is difficult to rush units in the sea. Additionally, Dromons aren’t that slow to be easily rushed.

I have a strong suspicion that they will need some tuning. Making them vulnerable to bombard cannons and cannon galleons, and reducing their ship damage might be a good start. But hey, this is just an inference from first previews.


Yes, Dromons seem to be very strong on water. But I still have to disagree.
I think they are fine! Neither Goths nor Huns are considered a strong naval civ. Never saw them on a water map. Not sure about hybrid? Yes until imp they have all necessary techs but still. Having all the techs doesn’t make a good naval civ. Huns have a really small wood bonus but still lackluster compared to other strong naval civ bonuses. So there are many other Civs that come to mind before I think about picking Goths or Huns for hybrid and especially water maps. Featuring a strong imp unit might make them viable to play - time will tell.
So there are 2 Civs remaining that already have a strong early water game. Byz have their strong fires and romans will have a decent galley line. So both civs can have a decent buildup with a strong imperial unique unit. You talk about fighting a balanced water composition with a single type of unit? that will never work. A balanced composition can only be countered with another strong composition. As we saw in MikeEmires video, Caravels and Turtleships are fine against them. In small numbers they will easily be countered with some micro - similar how mangonels are countered by archers or knights (fires).
How they actually hold up in post imp water fights? I’d love to see it. But they won’t turn water meta around.

Goths are absolutely considered a strong water civ in team games. They just don’t fight on water. You pick them to land and quickly mass units. Granted, you don’t usually make ships with them, but you can add in a few Dromons in imperial as goths.

This is hugely downplaying it. Romans, at the moment, have the strongest galley line by a mile. They get something stronger than the portugese UT for free, their UT is stronger than the saracen bonus, and on top of that, they get additional damage. Even Spirit of the Law said it was broken. Byzantines have stronger fire ships, but their castle age UT makes it even stronger. It’s not just early game, byzantine fire ships are insanely good even in late game.

Sure. Give me the general composition that can counter the composition I mentioned. With a lot of micro, Galley-fire ship-demo could work, but I am highly skeptical. Dromons have too high of a blast radius, and do too much damage against ships.

I am not talking about small numbers here. As explained in the post, the comparison is with onagers in the imperial age situation.

That’s 2 civs out of 42, sure.

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Cannon galleon have more range which is critical and are better against buildings, so they are not better then cannon galleon in that regard.

They are dealt with by Fire ships, due to minimum range, and cost a lot, so fire ships deal with them efficiently

I really don’t see a problem with the unit as it seem that for every possible use, there is another ship that does the job better, aside from attacking Land unit from water, which happens like never

In Spirit of the Law’s video, you could actually see that in terms of resources invested, they were still losing to full Galleons, or Fire Ship + Galleon.

The unit is also weaker against buildings (especially if you have Teutons with Crenellations, where they get basically countered). I don’t think the unit being good in water fights is a bad thing necessarily.


They don’t benefit from ballistics, right?
So they should perform worse then Spanish and Portuguese Elite Cannon Galleons.
The AoE is sure helpful but ships are not that small. Also the damage falls off unlike Cannon Galleon where the whole radius gets full damage.

We’ll have to see how easy it is to micro against them.
You also have to remember then you can build 2 Galleons for each Dromon of your enemy because they are not cheap.

So I think they are overall maybe a little worse then fully upgraded Elite Cannon Galleons.

I don’t doubt that they can be very strong in combination with the Roman and Byzantine navy.


To be fair even the regular cannon galleon is in big trouble against teutonic castles, both having 13 range. Only the elite cannon galleon (or turkish regular cannon galleon + artillery, but why wouldn’t you pick the elite upgrade too ?) are safe.

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The Portuguese UT affects all ships, they also get a +10% extra HP for free. Roman bonus only affects Dromons and Wargalleys and up
The Saracen also get their bonus from the start, meaning even the basic galleys get it, while Romans only get it at Castle age.
And while they get a damage bonus from the start, they end worse than civilizations with brace due to equal damage but losing range (Which both Saracens and Portuguese have)

I would rather way and see how actually strong they are before going about OP claims

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I would add that the armour will have a smaller effect than expected, as ships have a strong attack bonus vs other ships.

Or, get Siege Engineers. Dromons will still be in reach with 13 range, Cannon Galleons will be at 14 range.

Oh right, the CG gets affected by that now.

Won’t matter for the Byzantines who don’t have SE

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Actually they don’t as Dromon has 1MA compared to 0MA of CG.

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That’s minus 4 damage per second but it won’t change much considering the bonus damages. The dromon also has a minimal range so it probably will try to flee.

How 4 damage per second = 240 damage per minute won’t change much? This is literally difference between a villager and knight dps.

It will flee to a safe place protected by other ship and defensive buildings and will survive with more HP compared to CG or will actually survive when CG is dead. Not to mention it is faster than CG.

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Romans don’t have Demo Ships so I think Dromons are supposed to be better against Fire Ships.

The problem is rest of the 3 civs do have demo ship. If Dromon was an UU (Which probably they were in the early build as they take bonus damage from Samurai), there would be a bit less problem.


Its the typical marketing of introduce something broken, make people go for it and then balance it out later. Maybe during release or even before that, we might see some changes for that unit. Anyways, the 0.1% of water based games which reach imperial age usually have typical water civs, all of which usually have either fast fire or heavy demos. So this isn’t as big of a concern as OG Cumans or OG Gurjaras.


I don’t even know what point you are trying to make here. Who disagreed with this? I already addressed this in the post.

With absolutely no micro. The galleys will lose to fire ships without micro, and win with micro. You should micro here as well.

This is the biggest problem here.

Does any of this contradict the claim that their galley will be strongest? I guess they lose 1 range, but they have 2 more armour to tank all that damage. If you want to wait, you can. But I can read the numbers, and I’m willing to bet that they will be.

Pure water games do often go to imperial age in my experience, because people start out separated and can age up quickly due to fish. You just can’t afford enough to fight on water while also landing, making a siege workshop and pushing on ground.

It’s that, or an early galley fight and gg.

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My point is 0.2% of the total games played are on water maps. Even if all of them go to late imperial age, its still a very tiny fraction of the number of games played. Majority of the community don’t even play water.

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Oh, I completely agree with that. But I see it as a problem that needs to be fixed. People don’t play water because 1. It isn’t as interesting, 2. It snowballs a lot more, and feels unbalanced and 3. There isn’t as much incentive to play water because the only thing you get from water is food

All these needs to be corrected for water play to become good.

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