Good civs for a semi-beginner?

So I’m coming back to aoe2 after about 6 months and have been wondering what civs I should use now. I have 7 wins and 18 losses in 1v1 and 21 wins 40 losses in team random map. I used to like the Mongols and the Hindustanis (before they got nerfed). I’m interested in the Malay but I don’t love their bonuses very much. Also just looking for any tips like hotkeys and whatever else everyone knows about.

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I am going to assume the players you are facing against won’t be very experienced if you have not played in awhile.

Franks for 1v1. Pretty straight forward civilization nothing too complicated.

In team games: Khmer. Fully upgraded scout line, semi-descent Halbs. Scorpions and ballista elephants in low rated games tend to be murdermachines. Able to age up without needing key buildings. As long as you have a good trade (about 30 trade carts) line and many farmers your elephants unit should stomp over most foes.

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I’m 750 elo for 1v1. Even then I can’t really last long enough to get enough ballista elephants for them to overwhelm my opponent. I’ve never really tried Franks before but Khmer used to be my main civ. I really fall behind early on compared to my opponents and can’t really last long enough to use any bonuses of any civ to their full strength unless I’m in pocket for team games.

As a Khmer primary, I must disagree. They’re not a good beginner civ at all, as they are very unconventional and unorthodox. They’re better for experienced players.

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If you want to win a lot, become a Franks picker or remain a Mongol picker. If you want to keep trying more civs that got buffed in the past 6 months, try Malians, Vietnamese, Ethiopians.


My favorite civilization is the Japanese.

Quite balanced. Although they are not specialists in any area, besides infantry, they are competent against any civ on any map.

Your upgraded towers are the best in the game.

Best Feudal infantry.

Complete archery.

Complete monastery.

The best halberdiers in the game.

Complete mounted archers.

Semi-complete university

Has hand cannoneer.

Samurai is produced quickly. They are versatile, and with the best value for money in the Castle Age, they attack very quickly and move relatively quickly, their only weakness is archers, especially the Bretons or Ethiopians. Even in small quantities, they are great for killing villagers or helping in a siege.

Economic bonuses help a lot to consolidate the economy, especially in water maps.

Its greatest weakness is cavalry. Usable in Castle Age, has bloodlines.

Siege weapons not so much, their upgraded trebuchets are the best in the game.

Solid defense, attacks and economy, even on maps without fishing.

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Byzantines is generally suggested as a good beginner civ. You don’t really have an eco bonus so you don’t learn any bad habits.

Magyars could also be great in that sense.

If you’re looking for powerful civs though, Malians and Incas are a good bet. Incas are probably the more beginner friendly Meso-civ right now (though I’d argue they were the best Meso civ to learn Meso civs with before too).

Both Incas and Byzantines are also counter civs that sort of encourage you to learn the counter systems in AoE2, which is great as a learning civ for beginners.


Vietnamese got buffed? That’s interesting as they seemed decent to me. I liked them before so maybe I will like them even more now.

Most people actually thought they were at the bottom, which was reflected by their winrate.

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Byzantines are interesting since they do have the discounted skirm/spear/camels and they have more wall and building health. The discount on imperial also allows you to get an advantage against other civs and I’ve overlooked them as a civ entirely in the past. The free town watch and patrol also helps as I often forget those entirely. I’ll make sure to try them eventually. I used to play Malians right after that March buff and they seemed decent but not quite fitting how I play. The Incas were the first civ that I actually did good with on an online game and did better than all the other players even before the massive discount bonus. They seem quite flexible to me as a civ but of those Byzantines seem the best to me.

Lithuanians are quite good with the 100 food start, faster spears and skirms, the relic bonus to give motivation to go for relics and monks that are created faster, + a good UU.

Yeah, I know that they were at the bottom before, but they seemed decent in my few games I played with them.

I liked them myself, but they felt like they lacked punch or any sort of interesting thing that motivated me to play them a lot. The recent buffs were something they really needed.

Are these the buffs you are referring to?

  • With [update 87863] economic technologies are researched 100% faster.
  • With update 87863, Imperial Skirmisher upgrade cost reduced from 300 [wood] 450 gold to 300 [wood] 300 [gold]

if so they don’t seem too major but I’m no pro.

That eco technology is actually huge. I don’t think you realize how huge 100% is. Wheelbarrow especially becomes super easy to research as the Vietnamese, when normally it’s impractical to research early on because it takes the same amount of time as three villagers.


Now that I think about it it seems good. I haven’t played ranked in a long time so I kinda forgot everything about wheelbarrow and hand cart and how long they take. It might just be something I need to experience to see how useful it really is.

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Once you experience Vietnamese Wheelbarrow, you can never really go back. The contrast is jarring.

Completely unrelated but are the Romans viable? Looking at they have the highest win rate averaged throughout all elos and 56% win rate 850 elo and below.

Not only are the Romans viable, they dominate everyone else. Typical DLC privilege.

Looking at my elo it says Sicilians are 53% which is right after Romans. How did that even happen?