This is yet another Skirms thread, but many games I win, I win by exploiting an enemy civ’s weakness to Archers or, especially, Cav Archers. I am starting to develop an idea in my head that started as a joke but is now being reinforced by evidence, that the first player who goes Skirms in Castle Age generally loses the game.
There are a few problems with Skirms:
hard to tech into, normally require A LOT of upgrades. I think it’s the hardest unit to tech into by far in fact! If you face something like CA, Skirms are threatening only if they have ALL upgrades (bodkin, +2 armor, Ballistics, elite). Combined this costs 1885 resources to have your Skirms fully upgraded! (no Thumb Ring, I counted also the university wood cost but not the archery ranges cost).
you are on a food unit so your Imp time is delayed. Not quite as bad as spamming Light Cav in Castle age, but we are nearly there.
If pikeman can threaten the enemy at least moderately when you add Siege, Skirms are so defensive that you never really need to fear them as the defender.
In Imp this unit is extremely bad and pop inefficient, dies to about everything from Hussar to Onager to Cavalier to better Skirms and the opponent will always do one of those in Imp. There are only I think like 5 civs in the game that die to full Skirm, Vikings, Dravidians, Malay come to mind. Basically all the trashy infantry civs with weak siege AND unplayable Stable.
it takes a lot of skill to use in Imp because you need to BOTH mass the right amount of Skirms (generally 20 is a good benchmark - more and you won’t have space left for actual army that can control the map - less and the Arbalest/CA can just brute force your Skirm mass), AND you have to control them to make them fire at the right target. Overall this means that 20-30% of your attention in Imp is focused on constantly microing Skirms and I would say this is too much for Imp.
Thoughts? I find that at least at my elo, the player who can force Skirms first with an aggressive unit (Ethiopian Xbow, CA) often wins the game through better Imp timing + something like switch into Hussar.
Forcing enemy into Pikeman or Monks in contrast isn’t nearly as bad because Monks will always get some value, even in Imp every civ will make some horses or something like a Bombard Cannon, while Pikeman sucks vs non-Cavalry yes but they also need no micro, you patrol them in and they generally do their job.
Faster would be nice yes and I’m very sure faster is a must.
Cheaper idk, it is a further nerf to Xbow which is already a struggling unit but 230w that you MUST spend in early Castle age to not die generally means no extra TC, no extra Siege shop, no Monastery. Clicking this tech nearly always sets you massively behind in terms of boom.
I am not sure I want a buff to Skirms, maybe a good buff that could affect both Skirms and the struggling Xbow would be reduce the price of Ballistics.
Knights are good right out of the gate with +1 armor they trade not bad even vs Archers already, meanwhile Archers cannot shoot straight if you don’t commit 500w 175g.
Problem is, that the perfect substitution for skirms would be a unit like the ghulam. A fast moving infantry, that does not die to spearline but to cav. This would spare the complete archer upgrade investment line just for a single counter and would help the bad state of infantry and infantry civs. Anyway, we have that concept now on a unique unit, so i doubt we see a change.
A Eagle Warrior/Gulam/Huskarl Shock Infantry for Infantry civs could help them be more viable.
A unit that has Eagle Warrior armour type, attack bonus only against Archers and decent pierce armour and speed.
Bad against cavalry because of low base attack and no melee armour and even worse against Infantry because of the Eagle Warrior armour type.
Maybe give them negative Eagle Warrior armour type and give the Scout Line 0 attack against Eagle Warriors making them another hard counter against this unit as well as making every Infantry even better at dealing with them.
This unit should not be available to every civ because Archer civs already underperform.
Eh, I wouldn’t say they die to full Skirm. What? They have Onagers (Siege if Dravidians!) to deal with Skirms, and Berserks obliterate Skirms. Malay can just spam Infantry on top. I wouldn’t really call them weak siege, since Malay also get bombards. Elephants are also fine against Skirms as their damage is so low the lack of PA hardly matters as much.
I don’t think there’s a civ in the game that dies to full Skirmishers, or like… Skirmishers being the main unit in your composition. That being said, I do think Skirmishers could do with a buff of some sorts. If nothing else, lose the minimum range - they do so low damage and have low HP that anything that reaches them is going to kill them anyway. Meanwhile, Incas could get an actually good Castle UT instead. Win-win.