Heavy Melee Infantry rework

When thinking about many minor natives quite a few of them fall into this category and even outside of that, seeing these units outside of age 2 pikeman or a handful of Doppelsoldners is quite rare, come age 3 and it’s dragoons and muskets almost always, Halberdiers do get occasional use in some match ups but they are still rare.

Heavy Melee Infantry are lumped into the same unit type as musketeers and are largely obsoleted by them. The reason is largely that they get kited all day so the obvious solution would be to increase their speed. The problem is though, that merely boosting their speed will cause problems, there’s a reason why the Dutch halberdier card has an infantry penalty. They honestly need another role entirely.

It doesn’t really make much sense that they counter cavalry anyway so I propose that sword based infantry are changed in class to be infantry. This would basically mean they function similar to Urumi or Skirmishers. They lose to cavalry, beat heavy infantry in melee (but lose at range), lose to artillery, beat skirmishers if they get close but lose at range and of course beat any ranged cavalry that don’t get away but otherwise lose.

If you look at many civs, there is an overload of anti cavalry options. Every civ in the game has at least easy access to 3 and civs like Aztec and India have 4. Aztec in particular is noteworthy in lacking good variety in it’s units and it’s Jaguar and Skull Knights are virtually never used and with good reason.

This would not change units such as the Pikeman or Halberdier who I’d class as spearmen and thus them countering cavalry makes more sense though the Halberd is a fringe case but I’d worry about whether this idea has a remote chance of being accepted first.


You’re using them wrong.

They’re like glaciers doom that destroy everything they touch. They utterly destroy buildings and and heavy infantry and cavalry. (I’m talking about halberdiers and their equivalents like dopps, not pikemen)
you need to micro your Musks really close anyway but they don’t have high siege damage

If they’re kited your using them wrong send them against the enemy base, and target things that either won’t run away or can’t run away.

Or you use them in cluttered environments on chokepoints which is common on maps such as Himalayas (both of them), or use advanced formations to make them hold ground and defend your artillery.


They don’t get used at all beyond age 2 in high levels of gameplay. You basically never see veteran or other age 3 upgraded versions of these things. I’ve watched and played with high level players plenty these units basically never get used.

If you can send a meaningful number of these slow lumbering things to the enemy base and not get picked off to death by skirmishers or Dragoons or punished by your opponents you’ve already won and could have done with anything else. Even if you miraculously get the drop on them, militiamen can again kite or kill your units and do significant damage while their army comes and cleans you up because you can’t escape.

Muskets are far better at defending artillery because sword infantry won’t do anything against ranged cavalry that tries to pick off artillery because they’ll run the second you get anywhere near them. Much more difficult to do against units with 12 range.

The only time you can ever use them in a cluttered environment is if your opponent is reckless enough to get close to a point where they can spawn which either by shipment or by training them. Otherwise they get kited.


This would completely break China, leaving only Keshiks as anticav and believe me when I tell you that they suck a lot.

Pikemen would be unaffected. Anything holding a spear is still anti cav and functions as of now.

Though true enough, it would significantly change the age 3 arque/changdao to having two units of the same function and weaknesses, but then this is already true with the double cavalry. Still it’s not ideal true.

And yes there may be unintended consequences. I’d have to compile a huge list of units and see how it’d play out but honestly I don’t see any other alternative to making these units have a use because otherwise they get outclassed by muskets and ranged cavalry.

Rods also present a potential issue because their speed might make them too strong, and being a fast anti melee cav unit is kinda unique, though they would still counter ranged cavalry.

1 Like

There is a sort of sword class units, which I would group as units that has 5 or more speed with more base attack then pikeman ( this group kinda also includes 2 spear units, but that is another matter) (tbh this is basically the we are not pike club) (dutch halbs can do this as well with the speed boost)(urumis kinda fill this role purely by their speed)

Their speed and high base attack allows them to close the distance against skirms and do well, that is if they make contact. This is why their true role is to act as cav support, allowing them to keep up with cav, chase away goon units and provide dps against cav & skrim, while the cav keeps skirms in check in since if skirm tries to attack the sword units the cav can threaten a snare.

Spain is most famous for this comp (lancer rod + skrim) and china basically do this as well and its a pretty potent composition. There is also the bonus of cover mode if they need to tank. It is however micro-intensive.

The only thing I would sort of make a change for is aztec, where jpk kinda lack dps once they get close in order to clear out groups of infantry once they make contact, especially against units like skirms. I think like making them have just an bonus against infantry instead of just heavy infantry, since then they can provide the dps against skirms that would make an opponent have to target them ,leaving them vulnerable to being snared by coyotes, pumas and fired by slingers.

I think increasing its speed would solve part of the problem. The reason they are so useless is because they are so vulnerable to the ‘hit and run’ tactic. They could be given an ability similar to the Charge of the Carolines or the Nizam with some kind of improvement in third age.

The idea is that they are not completely useless (I guess). Native units should have more speed because it was their nature on the battlefield. It is not an invention just to make them competitive. They should even have the ability to stealth because they were adept at making ambushes.


Trust me, if you give them speed you’ll break them. The units do beat everything at point blank, this much is true.

I suppose a charge ability is different but they’d have to get a general ranged infantry (not heavy infantry though) penalty so they don’t slaughter their counters as badly. The problem with this though is that you’d likely have to share the ability across all sword infantry which might be clunky. Sigh maybe I just have to accept there’s no helping these things.

Speed with skirmisher penalties may be the only way but I still see them in that position where they are either useless or too strong because of the fact they are anti cavalry and are slaughtered by counter infantry rifling.

Stealth alone won’t save native unit types either though. Jaguar knights have this and still never get used.

This is an excellent suggestion. We’ve already seen similar additions to Landsknechts and Skull Knights that have made them indeed more viable. A charge ability could have a similarly positive effect, without making them super OP.

the solution imo would be to have them do ranged damage in melee, similar to urumi. then they dont crush skirms, and aren’t shrugged off by melee resist units like muskets

1 Like

The truth is that even in real history these melee units served a limited purpose early on and were later phased out of armies in favor of musks and skirms. I think the game has done a great job with them in that respect. In fact, the game even extends their use by giving them a residual niche as high siege units. If anything, I would favor their niche attack as siegers to be improved to make them more worthwhile.

The reason Urumi work is that they aren’t classed as heavy infantry. If they were they would be terrible. Which is my idea. Basically I want to turn all sword infantry into Urumis. I’d try stick to melee damage at first. Also they SHOULD crush skirms in melee but get annihilated at range if they lose heavy infantry.

In real history Muskets didn’t have bayonets until later, they should have no bayonets in age 2, crappy ones in age 3 and as current in age 4 but gl getting that through. This has ALWAYS bothered me because it obsoletes melee units before their time. Pikes got used up until the 1740s. The only reason melee infantry get used in age 2 where they should be stronger is if the civ in question don’t have muskets or dragoons available or they are doing crossbow/pike things.


There you do have a really good point I had not reflected on. Early musketeers were not equipped with bayonets, and the first bayonets, the plug bayonets, usually impeded them from going back to ranged attack eaasily as they often got stuck on the barrel. I would greatly favor that as well. Perhaps instead of buffing the attack of melée units the devs could nerf the attack of Age 2 musks and force them to stay in melée for a while with a counter if they choose that mode. Age 3 musks and Age 4 musks should largely stay as they are or they would disappear from the meta altogether.

1 Like

Yeah sorry if I sounded hostile but there’s basically zero chance of them changing muskets to not be super units. It’d change the game so drastically it’s under the same heading of changing skirms and goons. It’s a pet peeve of mine that they took one of the most tactically diverse periods in history where gunpowder and its uses kept getting improved upon and tactics, unit compositions and everything got changed constantly and… dumbed it down to men firing in lines because that’s what most people know about the era.

Honestly I doubt this thread get mileage either but I kinda wanted to know how many people thought about this and it was relevant to the native thread because many native units are useless because they fall into this category. Granted that’s not the only reason but I’ve posted the other reasons in that thread.


I think the only melee hand infantry that really needs a rework is the JPK, its supposed to be a what Aussie Drongo calls the “Big Boy” unit that clears out once you get into melee and it lacks the DPS to do so. Other units of this type gets around this by dealing splash damage, effectively giving them a x2 multi against all units when fighting a mass of units.

Since JPK can’t really take the Skull knight’s role, it needs someway to increase its DPS compared to it now. Either give it a multi against all infantry so that they effectively have multi against all non-canon units or I just thought of this, give them a lower ROF so that they can just kill tonnes of units much more quickly

I suggest they just be a little quicker except for swordsmen (Doppelsoldner) and lanseros (Pikemen), which are good ‘anti-cavalry’ or ‘antiagainst light infantry’ units. The rest of the melee units could be faster.

i only would increaseto 4.5 the speed of russian musketers since it sucks

I think heavy melee infantry with speed 4.5 or less doesn’t have much sense. Musketeer units are just more flexible and take better trades because they can attack the enemy at range.

I see only one situation when slow heavy melee infantry could be needed and it is defensive pop under Town Center. In this case units like Doppelsoldner, Samurai or Skull Knight are really useful. But in any other case musketeer units are better.

That’s why I think that every civ should have possibility to increase speed of their slow heavy melee infantry to at least 4.75 - 5.0 during the game (with technology or cards). For example Japan can increase speed of Samurai to slightly above 5.0 and then they are starting to be more useful.

Sprint ability would also solve slow heavy melee infantry problem.

1 Like

It makes historical sense that the melee attack was replaced by firearms. But this was in effect until World War 1. So it should have more participation, because it was used a lot in situations where the armies were not strategically positioned because firearms took minutes to reload.

I hear several voices talking about buffing speed for heavy infantry. Here is the problem I see with that. Any buff to heavy infantry speed is a direct nerf to cavalry. So basically, you would be transposing a unit’s problem unto another without solving the underlying issue.

What is the issue? Hand infantries are overshadowed by the versatility of musks. I insist, the real adjustment, if any, should center around Age 2 musks, since they hit into the game too strong.