Hand Cannoneers bad state confirmed

Going to place this right here, and it’ll be the one post I make on this revived HC thread.

The Vast majority of civs do not get access to Hand Cannon and Arbalest. Usually, civs that get the Hand cannon get it as the alternative to an Arbalest. All but six of the civs either get Arbalest, Hand Cannon, or neither of them, which makes comparing them against each other moot.

In that regard, I think a lot of the discussion on the HC has been misguided. Comparing it to an Arbalest isn’t reasonable, because certain civs don’t get an arbalest for a reason, or at least one would hope we have a reason for it. Trying to compare it to an Arbalest, a unit that requires more than twice as many upgrades through the game to be maximally effective, is a bad look; The Hand Cannon functions completely different as both a unit and a concept to the Arbalest.

Arbalests need to be invested into early, built up over the span of the game, invested into constantly, and they’re a core unit for the army in any game where Arbalest is made. Hand Cannons are a splash-in unit, they (like all ranged units) benefit from massing but they require not nearly as much commitment to get going initially. They’re invested into as a late switch and practically always as a complement unit to answer a problem. They don’t do the same thing.

17 attack may have some practicality against high pierce targets, but the accuracy makes that questionable, generally speaking. It’s there to be a relatively accessible, easily upgraded backline unit to complement another unit. At that, it does what you’d expect. I don’t expect it to compete with units you have to upgrade 11 times. If it did, we’d have to really consider why it’s okay for the Teutons to have an Imperial-Age arbalest equivalent in any form.

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Maybe we need a imperial age university tech to increase gunpowder unit accuracy (and maybe even HP but that would be questionable with a uni tech) by some number like 10%. I am against to 100% accuracy though. With that tech, supposedly gunpowder civs can get that tech but others like Persians and Lithuanians would lack it so the gunpowder civs would have an edge over other civs which have access to those units.

P.S. Turks are terrible and they will keep being terrible whatever is done to buff gunpowder 11. So please do not treat janissaries like a beast of a unit. There is a small time window they can work and even that is avoidable with few skirmishers.

Like Paladin, Hussar, Halberdier, Siege Onager and Siege Ram civs have an advantage over civs that lack those?

It is no undurmountable advantage, and the more upgrades, the easier elements are to balance.

Janissaries murder Skirms, Skirms cannot counter them in the Castle Age, because Jans outrange them greatly. In the Castle Age, Jan + Mango are the strongest composition in teh game.

Of course they have. Should I start counting what advantage frank paladins have over magyar paladins? or Celt/Slav siege onagers have over i.e. Aztec or Sicilian siege onagers and your argument that janissaries owning skirms make no sense due their infamous 50% accuracy (compared to 90% of skirms) and needing a castle to produce. I do not even count that they are more expensive and takes more than double amount of food which is precious for building your economy.

Jans are faster and have more Range than ESkirms, they can literally micro ESkirms to death, it is not even hard, and you do not need to be the Vyper to do it.

I thought I drop this here again

I still thin the fire rateis what makes the unit ultimately really bad. Over kill, slow new zaregt acquisition. If you match 40 arbs vs 40 hc the arbs will shoot fast and kill kill kill, the HC have high damage but it doesn’t matter in high number engagement anyway so they just kill too slow.

The proposed matchlock tech is a weaker version of the Spanish attackspeed bonus.

Alternately I would not mind if all hand cannons just got baseline faster attackspeed. Like everyone gets almost Spanish Hand cannons and Spanish ones bet even a bit faster. Spanish weren’t op so buffing them slightly more won’t break them either, and baseline ones closer to Spanish ones would not be broken op neither.

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To add to @WoeIsToWho post:

There are 6 civs which have FU arbs and hand cannons:

  • Byzantines
  • Italians (HC cost discount)
  • Japanese
  • Koreans
  • Portuguese (HC ballistics)
  • Saracens

That’s it. Of these 6, Italians and Portuguese have a very strong buff for Hand Cannons. Meaning you will only ever choose between generic FU arbs to generic FU hand cannons with 4 civs, all of which are strong archer civs. Other than informing these 4 civs’ trade off the comparison is only useful to leverage the “feel” of arbs to get a head start on the “feel” of HC.

The remaining 2 civs who even have arbalest and HC are:

  • Malians (missing Bracer)
  • Khmer (missing Thumb ring)

There are only 5 HC civs with FU xbow but no arbs:

  • Berbers
  • Indians (HC range)
  • Lithuanians
  • Tatars
  • Turks (extra HC HP, lots of other indirect buffs)

All other HC civs have missing xbow techs.

  • Burgundians (Thumb ring) (Higher attack HC)
  • Franks (Thumb ring, bracer)
  • Goths (Thumb ring)
  • Persians (Bracer)
  • Teutons (Thumb ring, bracer)
  • Spanish (FU archers only) (Faster firing HC)

Most people will notice almost all the HC civs without FU arbs are cavalry (archer)-heavy civs.

The HC is now good at things arbs are good at on a per unit basis. It costs a little more but it’s gold cost is basically the same after factoring in not needing the abalest upgrade.

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That’s why I said, basically the only reason why u want the HC switch is bec your’e facing a lot of halbs as cavalry.
And atm they mostly suck at that task actually.

Do they? By my math the mean number of shots required to kill a halb is 4 (mean of negative binomial distribution plus r with r=3 and p=0.25). I.e. hand cannons are expected to miss once before hitting 3 times.

In expectation then HC takes 13.8 seconds to kill a halb.

FU crossbows takes 13.6 seconds to kill a halb.

Similarly for camels the times are 50.6 (expected) and 47.6.

Obviously this ignores ballistics and lacking thumb ring interactions


I just quote you there… Means in that “main” task HC are actually WORSE than xbows?
Worse bec. xbows fire faster with less damage which is always benefitial and are affected from ballistics.

So no wonder HC have that bad state if they are out-teched by a unit from an age before in thier supposed main role. And they also cost more than that unit…

I think we are approaching the problem with them now. I think HC should be potentially better vs halbs than arbs. Maybe with an extra upgrade lake matchlock, but if they are currently worse than xbows… I understand what’s their problem.


They aren’t out teched an age before. This is an FU Crossbow. That means Thumb ring, bracer, chemistry.

Hand cannons obviously skip thumb ring and bracer and don’t benefit from ballistics. In particular if you don’t have thumb ring the number for xbow changes to needing 9.4 shots (expected) with a reload of 2 seconds, so 18.8 seconds.

That’s 36% longer and you need to have bought fetching, bodkin, and bracer. Saving up to 2000 resources buys a lot of extra hand cannons.

Still niche, but not one sided.

They absolutely are. Another irony, is that the tech you HAVE to research to even get HCs, is not only the longest to research in the game, but also boosts Crossbows and Arbalests, making the HC not only completely redundant, but also a bit of a joke in itself.

You can say that Crossbows and Arbs have a greater Tech cost to them, but seeing as you almost always get them anyway, since they benefit other crucial units (Castles, Galleys, Cav Archers, Skirmishers…) and they are already one of the 2 Meta units of the whole game, alongside Knights; the value of HCs just keeps coming out shorter.

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When I said it was my one post on the subject, I meant it.

Stop doing this to me.

As above. We don’t want the Hand Cannon matching up to the Arbalest. It wouldn’t make any sense if it did. The fact that the Hand cannon is roughly equivalent, but slightly worse to the Arbalest in a few specific scenarios is a good thing. HC doesn’t require 11 techs to access maximally, and it’s efficient at what it’s made to do - countering infantry. It need not be better than an Arbalest because an Arbalest is a better, more expensive unit.

I’m going to get out in front of this and posit to you: If Heavy Camel was upgraded for free upon reaching Imperial Age, it should not win 1v1 against Paladin. Paladin should be more efficient against other Paladins than Heavy Camels, because it’s more expensive to access. Let’s walk it back.

You aren’t paying for a HC upgrade. You are paying for a prerequisite tech, sure, but it’s also a tech you’d need to make the Arbalest fully upgraded. That’s before considering Bracer, Thumb Ring, Ballistics as extras, all the main archer line upgrades, etc. The Arbalest is a vastly more expensive unit to field. Chemistry is a pitifully cheap expense, all things considered, to access HC in the imperial age, and it’s immediately as damaging as it’ll ever be. Remember my earlier example. If Heavy Camel was a free upgrade, do you want it to be able to kill Paladin in a 1v1?

That’s the Hand Cannon. That’s why comparing these two units is foolish, and why you should stop. The Arbalest doesn’t do the same job as the Hand Cannon. The Hand cannon is a discount tech option, a late switch that you can tech into with minimal commitment after Chemistry. The Arbalest’s value is both cashed out on, and invested into, through the entire game. The Arbalest should outshine the Hand Cannon. End of story.

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Sorry Who, but your comparison to not compare them are a bit lackluster.
First we don’t want to compare HC to Arbs in all tasks. We just compare HC vs (X-BOWS) in the MAIN task of HC. If HC can’t even outperform xbows in their MAIN task, it actually shows their biggest issue, it shows why they are in their current state. It basically makes no sense to make HC if you can make xbows which perform just better in the task you need HC to perform. I will come to this later.

This is not a good thig if arbs are basically better in almost EVERY real scenario you want to switch to HC. And in most cases these scenarios arent as clear as we project them here. HC are very vulnerable to ranged fire, especially arbs but also skirms. Usually the scenario isnt going against “only halbs” but more halbs + ranged support. In this scenario the more HP/value, more micro-revarding arb has great benefits over the HC. But we figured out that HC even in the clear scenarios which should suit them, are actually worse than their counterpart ONE AGE EARLIER. This leads to the current state of HC were you almost never make them, cause there is basically no reason for most civs. I know there are special scenarios were they make sense, sometimes. I made them when testing the FImp full Feitoria strat with Portuguese, cause of the low tech-in costs and arquebus, I wanted a food-consuming ranged support to my siege which could deal with low numbers of enemy cavalry aswell. But this only works with HC as long as you have higher numbers. It’s exactly the opposite than the sits you want them usually. You want them as ranged support to the cav. You want them as possible counter to a halb spam. And we usually see anything but HC in that situation. We see champs, skirms, various UUs. But almost never HC, which are supposed to be the “easy to tech in hard counter”. So why people prefer the other options in the exact scenario HC should excel in?
This is the problem. And the reasoning behind it is shown by the comparison to x-bows in THAT SPECIFIC task. If they can’t outperform a more common, more versatile unit in their main task, there is basically no reason to ever make them. And I think almost all civs have access to castle age x-bows comparable to Trashbows. And Trashbows actually outperform HC vs halbs with equal res.

That’s also not what we do, we just compare them to arbs in their main task, to show that they are quite bad in doing what they should compared to a more common well-rounded unit. And we also don’t compare them to Arbs, we compare them to x-bows, even xbows lacking the last attack upgrade perform better in that task HC are supposed to excel in.
We just show that HC are heavily outperformed in their main task by a NOT FU more common unit. It currently makes basically no sense to ever make HC over xbows lacking the last attack upgrade. Even FRANKS would do better making x-bows to counter halbs than HC. (OFC franks do much better with TA anyways, but it just shows how terrible the current HC state is)
That’s why we compare them to x-bows. Because it illustrates their problem quite nicely.
We don’t compare them to full extend vs arbs, they can’t be as good and versatile as arbs anyways. We compare them vs x-bows in the single task they are supposed to excel in. And they suck in comparison to xbows.
So please don’t bend our argumentation process with your false claims. MAybe you just dont like HC. That’s ok. But that’s no reason to make false claims about our argumentation. That’s bad habit. We also respect your argumentation process in other threads. At least me.

That’s also misleading and was also defied already in this post. The archer attack upgrades you usually make anyways, even if you never make archers. The archer armor upgrades are for both the same and chemistry is actually mendatory to make HC. So the only “difference maker” are ballistics (which you sometimes also want for your castles), bracer and the xbow and arb upgrade. That’s 4 small to medium upgrades for Arbs which aren’t so hard to come by at this stage of the game. And in most real cases you have to chose HC vs xbows or/and without bracer. This reduces the tech-in costs even further.
This comparison is just misleading in that form. Yes HC need less tech investment, but it’s not like you have to chose wether to go paladin or not. The difference is way less than it may look at first glance.
Also you completely ignore that we don’t want to buff the HC per se, but instead add a tech to make them more viabel IF you want to tech into them. You just completely ignore that we already discussed that HC may be a bit too easy to tech in (not even considering the comparison to arbs, but in general) for a late-game counter unit. And you completely ignored it with your false claims.

I think I shown that your claims are just misleading and our discussion was already above that shallow tech-in comparison.
We never claimed to make HC comparable to arbs, we just figured out that they are out-teched by trashbows in their main task. Here a video from agearena without micro, which should actually favor HC over trashbows as trashbows are more micro-revarding than HC:

As you can see, HC are even out-teched by trashbows IN THEIR MAIN TASK.
That illustrates what the problem with the current HC implementation is.


Watch the fights there from the starting point in the video. This is a high level game. Saracens camels and pikemen vs Turk camels and HC. How the HCs are annihilated by camels and pikemen. Lan played a great game until he tried to counter pikemen. Dead.

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Aren’t these janissaries?
I thought they were when I watched it yesterday.

No if they have not changed how Janissaries look in the newest patch. There is a time window where you can see pikemen are right in front of the HCs are they just walk away self and secure. Then camels dance in front of HCs and no camels die. However, HCs disappear quite quick without killing really almost anything once camels and pikemen attack. Note that those are Turkish HCs with higher HP 11. I understand that HCs are supposed to be support unit for the main army and we should not expect them to be as strong as arbalesters, sure. However they are not even able to support. 11

Also the same video 32.14 => 15 HCs fire twice at 1 light cav which runs right at the HCs. Not even taking half of its HP :smiley:

OK. I don’t know why a turks player would ever chose HC over elite jans, but ok.
It’s a bit complicated bec camels do quite well against HC. Ofc you could argue that camels are trash against arbs, but this is actually one of the things were I say: That’s completely fine in it’s current state. In comparable numbers or value camels should be quite good vs HC. It’s not their main task to kill camels. You usually have halbs to do this or at least protect your HC (ofc not turks, but usually).

So that camel engagement is fine for me. But you are right, the HC don’t kill much of the pikes either. And that’s the concerning one.

He does not have eco or production to proceed with it. EJ is an expensive upgrade. Turks are also very hard to play with 0 meaningful eco bonus combined with mandatory expensive unit compositions but this is a different story. Problem is that HC is a borderline meme unit when they cannot even be more efficient than trashbows. I am just wondering how would Turks skirmisher with bracer would be placed in this list.