How I would change Skirms and Spears for more diverse gameplay

We currently have an extremely stale knight/archer meta. As defensive tools most people actually prefer the defences over the counter units. I would like to change this a bit, so that openers with counter units become more viable and playing with the counter units more revarding. This way, turtling becomes less attractive for defensively minded players and we would (hopefully) have games with more military interaction in the early to midgame. And in general more diverse gameplay with the different unit compositions.

My Ideas:

A) Skirmishers

(all) Skirmishers lose the Archer Armor Class. (Unit that counters itself just makes no sense, just leads to a dead end in the counter chain in feudal - without skirms countering themselves a good choice against an opponent skirm addition would to add scouts, leading to spears from the opponent and so on.)
(all) Skirmishers aren’t affected by archer attack upgrades. (Counters should have less tech investment to compensate for the timing disadvantage. Also skirms don’t shoot arrows. Chemistry still applies.)


25 F / 35 F / 22 sec training time
30 HP
2 pierce attack + 6 vs archer, +4 vs spearmen
2.6 ROF
4 range (1 minimum)
1 melee 2 pierce armor

Elite Skirmisher:

25 F / 35 F / 22 sec training time
35 HP
4 pierce attack + 8 vs archer, + 4 vs spearmen, +3 vs cavalry archer
2.6 ROF
6 range (1 minimum)
2 melee 3 pierce armor

Imperial Skirmisher (for all civs, vietnamese get a bonus instead):

25 F / 35 F / 22 sec training time
40 HP
6 pierce attack + 11 vs archer, + 6 vs spearmen, + 5 vs cavalry archer
2.6 ROF
7 range (1 minimum)
3 melee, 3 pierce armor

Skirms get a bit extra melee armor to improve them a bit in trash fights were they are currently the worst of the 3 units (countering halbs not as heavy as halbs counter hussar and hussar skirms - just to balance the trash fights out a bit- it’s the easiest solution imo).

B) Spears. Spears are actually quite simple. Players have bevome better and better in avoiding them. Generally their low mobility is their biggest issue nad that can be adressed quite easily:

Spear line now moves at 1.1 speed (+10 % increase). That’s all it needs imo.

That’s all they need to get more hits in and make it a bit more demanding to outmanouver them. Also it can become more revarding to micro them then, as with the higher speed you can possibly evade more siege and archery shots, currently a huge danger for the spear line.

One other thing I would propose is to reduce the bonus damage of archers and cav archers against spears. I think this is just unnecessary and leads to a too strong double gold comp (look at team games). Not that it would change much in general, but imo this bonus damage is just not necessary as archers are already such a strong counter to the badly armored spear line even without the bonus damage.


so feudal skirms would go from 2+1+3 attack vs archers and killing archers in 5 hits (which takes about 12 seconds) to 2+6 and killing them in 4 hits that take about 7.8 seconds. THAT is not a “small buff” as you put it earlier. that is BIG.

and spears move so fast that you don’t have a chance to do damage.

tell me - why should i ever invest in offensive military now? why play offense at all when i know my units are just going to get wrecked? why not just wall up and sit at home and boom? your change would shutdown archer openers hard. simple 1 range skirms already shuts down a 2 range archers opener as is.
On the other hand you’ve just made elite skirms laughable. not only do they have less pierce armor but they have 2 less range then crossbows. archers might not kill them fast but they can range them for days.


@MatCauthon3 whats the Normal stats on archers in feudal also i think skirms dont benefit from the atk upgrade in causionrolls change

Also i think if it would be plus 4 wouldnt make it that bad or and maybe +6 for eskirms

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one less range than the archers, taking also double damage from the archer arrows. So the skirms themselves have a range disadvantage and are also possibly killed twice as fast by the archers.

Don’t pick cherries, look at the whole picture please. Yes the skirms do more damage to the archers, but they also take a lot more and have less range, making it more micro demanding (and revarding) to go for them.

Why never anybody said this about lithuanian spears? :open_mouth:

You still can answer skirms with scouts or militia then. I don’t see any problem there. And opposed to skirms, archers can actually effectively raid and if you get enough vill picks it is totally worth then.

Masbe you are on the wrong page? Yes I gave them less pierce armor, intentionally. That is offset by their higher damage output. IMO counters should thrive by their bonus damages mostly, to make the counterplay more revarding. Couters that have low dps against the units they are supposed to counter are underwhealming as they don’t pose that much danger. You can just retreat and add your own knights against skirms currently, as they kill your archers so slowly and die so fast to knights.

It would shut it down, if there would be a direct standoff. But usually the archer player just looks if he can damage the eco and if he can’t he just goes back and waits for castle age to deal with the skirms. Just today I saw an example how strong skirms are with hera vs mbl. Hera went for skirms against mbls archers. But mbl didn’t upgraded them but went for knights + siege instead. Hera lost because he tried exactly what you are talking about.
I mean it was a briliant bait from mbl to go archers there, but it showcases how weak that strat you propose as the holy grail actually is.
And exactly this is also the reason why i rarely play skirms atm. It’s too easy to counter and a huge investment. Waiting for mangos is just the way more flexible and imo also more revarding move against a full archer play. And don’t forget, my most played civ is koreans, I already get several nice bonusses to skirms and still prefer not using them. And I have a lot of experience with koreans. (Ofc as koreans player i know exactly how devastating mangos are against skirms, so no wonder…)

Imo skirms are currently the by far worst of the trash units because of all the reasons mentioned above. Only in pure archer civ matchups skirms become a thing because they counter themselves and are therefore a dead end in the feudal counter chain.
But this changes rapidly once the palyers are in castle.

I don’t say that skirm play can’t work in castle, but you need a lot of additional tools for that to work and have to babysit them all the time. One mangonel shot can completely destroy your skirm play and then good knight against the incoming crossbows that raid you to death.

BTW it’s also intenional that the skirms end with -1 range in each age. As skirms behind walls are such a “cheap” stalling strat I wanted to nerf this play a bit. With the proposed skirm changes you would be responsible to force advantageous engagements against the archers rather than just hiding in your base waiting for the opponent to make a mistake. Just wanted to mention this.

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they don’t but they still kill faster.

and yet that “Twice as fast” is still 15 hits, which lets be real, ain’t happening unless one side is outplaying the other.

they also kill MUCH MUCH FASTER. you said SMALL buff. this is anything but small. you can’t be serious. small buff. literally increases the time to kill over 4 seconds.

Both of which are insanely expensive.

of course you don’t. you actively want to get away from gold units period. congrats. this works. i’d never open anything other then wall and boom again. no sense opening aggressive when skirms and spears will shut down almost anything and i can outrepair men at arms.

yeah but why would i try raiding with archers when skirms will just utterly obliterate them with your changes?

yes they do. we literally see skirms and pikes rip apart archers and knights all the time.

gee i wonder why that is? because the skirms can shew them away nice and easy and there is no sense wasting units. which means skirms are already doing their job.

hera lost because he stuck with one composition while his opponent transitioned. working as intended.

except in my strategy you actually monitor what your opponent is doing and don’t get blindsided by a transition. so no. that doesn’t show crap about what i said for strategy.

except it would still stall them out. the archers to get close enough to shoot anything behind walls they would HAVE to get in range of the skirms.

But they can offer protection for the maa while staying out of range of the skirms. It’s a not to underestimate advantage.

I think it’s right the opposite. You seem to overly like the gold units atm and their domination. I just want to make the game a bit more diverse, that’s all.

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how? i would just house wall behind where the men at arms are attacking and for your archers to deny the villager they have to get in range of my skirms. GG.

and that’s going to make the game boring with slow attacking, low dps counter units ripping everything to shreds. can’t raid very well with your new improved spears. skirms keep the archers in check and the game becomes SLOW and BORING. do you know why they made arabia more open and nerfed walls? because people are enjoying faster paced action packed games.
that won’t happen with counter units utterly dominating.

4 attack 4 range 30 hp and 0/0 armor.
and i didn’t factor in attack upgrades.

What does it mean for skirms to counter skirms? I understand that they deal bonus damage, but they’re still equally matched with the enemy just like scouts vs scouts, archers vs archers, or swords vs swords. I don’t see how making skirms vs skirms would even be cost effective, unless you are playing a civ like Byzantines, Mayans, or Vietnamese.

these changes are dumb. If you are low rated or a casual player, I get that writing essays is fun, but don’t bother arguing on balancing. your Feudal Age Skirms are too weak (2 armor AND require food to make), but the Castle Age upgrade just makes them ultra broken. There are other issues as well but I won’t go into them.


Well the effect is more on the negative end. If you don’t match the opponent skirms because of the bonus damage you have y quite high risk to lose a lot of your skirms while making the transition to eg scouts (because of lanchersters law). Is this more understandable?

Same food as usual. And the lower armor is ofset by a higher bonus damage and better rof.

Have you considered that they don’t get the archer atrack upgrades?

They have a lot of PA that it would take to long to kill each other, that’s why they have a bonus against them
Similar to Camels

it doesn’t matter, currently the gold units vs trash units dilemma feels balanced, because Skirms are a semi-counter to archers without armor, and once you get the age-appropriate armor upgrade, they become a hard counter. It’s fine that it is that way and it doesn’t need changes. If Skirms start taking 2 damage per shot from archer-line, then archer flood wins… basically every time. Weird strats like early Feudal 2 archery ranges all in start becoming meta. You want to make Skirms a more aggressive unit but really it’s fine for them to be defensive as they are now. Archers vs Skirms currently is balanced because you are rewarded for making the aggressive unit (archers) until armor kicks in, it makes sense that the defender must slightly overinvest to counter your aggression because promoting aggression in itself is a positive thing, you don’t want snoozer turtling games where armies are made only in early Imperial Age.

yes and still the damage would be too high. Also, Skirms don’t need rebalancing or to do better damage, if anything, it’s almost universally agreed by pros that this game is VERY well-balanced and if there must be further steps to balance it, they should address following areas:

  1. mangonel shots are too easy to dodge with current god-tier micro of some pros. Maybe Mangonel shots could be +15% faster.
  2. Skirmisher upgrade takes too long to kick in, if you hit Castle Age and do the Crossbow timing aggression, and the opponent responds with Skirmishers, it takes nearly 3x the time to research Elite Skirmisher as it does researching Crossbowman + Bodkin (this not to mention that E.Skirm is MUCH more expensive compared to Crossbowman upgrade). Many pros have repeatedly said that E.Skirm upgrade should kick in much sooner and I believe efforts should be put in this direction, not to rebalance an already well-working and finely-tuned unit. Also notice how FU Skirm takes 1 damage from FU archer in any age, except Imperial Age where it takes 2 (this is, again, positive, because in Imp the game should be more about macro and capturing positions and not about spamming counter units, and Skirms taking 2 damage from Arbalest here encourages you to actually make gold units and not go full trash while still maintaining Skirms as a soft counter)
  3. walls are a bit too strong (in different ways depending on the age), especially houses have too much HP/pierce armor.
  4. adequate micro counters ballistics and makes it a semi-irrelevant upgrade
  5. in a vacuum, playing full archer is slightly stronger than going full knights because of how economy works (although this is still civ-dependent, a knight civ like Burgundians still wins on average vs an “archer civ” like Turks who have no eco bonus) and because it allows you to hit an important early Imp Arbalest timing while opponent is stuck with 20-30 Castle Age knights.

These are the main concerns at top level, balancing-wise… meanwhile you are unhappy because E.Skirm. “counters itself” and you fail to realize that this bonus that E.Skirms. do to each other is really so that they can do a reasonable amount of damage to each other and kill in reasonable time and not in 40+ hits. Might as well say that Knights counter themselves too because they do 10 - 2 = 8 damage to each other and that’s a lot also.

You noticed that elite skirms take 2 damage from arbs in imp? Where is your archer flood winning there?

That would be the other option, but I actually think it would just be fine if skirm micro would be more “positively” revarding instead of babysit demanding. Especially if we talk about a “trash unit”. Gold units (or good raiding units) are fine if they need babysitting because you get indirectly a great revard for keeping them alive. But units that aren’t good in raiding, pose almost no direct threat to the opponent, are quite a bad idea to make baby sit demanding.
Like the other counters, skirms should get the most value for good targeting instead of being targeted by the right units. And currently the meta is totally weird as many playerss continue to make archery against skirms intead of adding counter units (scouts) in feudal. In all sake of game balance this indicates a major flaw in the skirm design concept. As they are too slow in killing the archers they don’t pose that big of a threat to the archer ball, so the archer player can just get up his numbers to upgrade in castle while forcing the skirm player to increase his numbers accordingly. Thent the archer player can add mangos or knights in castle against the skirms. I think it’s a very bad sign for a counter unit if the meta play against it is just to continue massing the “countered” units.

I think the devs should encourage the players to play more with army comps instead of massing power units ftw. It’s a strategy game. That means you should thrive from making the best decision in the game not by chosing one simple strat at the beginning and sticking with it all the time.

If the opponent makes skirms your best military strategic move should be to add scouts, not to continue making archers. It’s that easy. And if that’s not the case, there is appearently a disbalance in the game if this basic counter mechanics don’t apply anymore.

And it is concerning for me when people start defending that disbalance. Why do we even have counter mechanics if this is the goal to have superior power units that can be continued making while the opponent makes the right decisions against them? Are we little kids that need one superior unit type to thrive with that choice all the game thinking we are the best players because we chose the strongest units in the begiining and never adapted during the game?
IMO the player who adapts best should have the edge, not the player who made the best “offensive choice” in the beginning and sticked with it for the most part.

If that’s what we want, the game only needs knights and archers really. Why do we even have this high unit diversity if we almost never use it?

And ofc it’s no wonder that people prefer turtling and making defences against the power units if the counters are just not working as intended anymore. And then “agressive” players complain about hitting walls… Yeah if you leave the people no other choice that’s the result, they will do every little thing that still somehow works even if it makes gameplay boring. It’s that easy.

Turtling is the direct consequence of bad working counters, that can’t do their job to the extend intended. When you are better of with killing vills under skirm fire then the skirm player wants to add walls to not give you any opportunity for this favourable “trade”. It’s that easy.

So the whole argument it would reduce the pace of the game if the counters would be buffed a bit is total nonsense. Currently the game is often so stale because the counters are just effectively bad at their job. Especially the skirm. More revarding counters would increase the pace and strategic diversity of the game.

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You noticed that elite skirms take 2 damage from arbs in imp? Where is your archer flood winning there?

Imp arbalesters actually win against skirms; it is just that gold is not an expanable resources, unlike wood

If the opponent makes skirms your best military strategic move should be to add scouts, not to continue making archers

Do you really make archers when opppnent flood skirms (Consider that it is FEDUAL age) Honestly, do you even play at 1300 elo level?

You literally see skirms in every decent level games, please use evidence from pro games or at least decent players before making such weird arguments

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Skirmishers require baby sitting like all other ranged units, I see no problem there.

1 scout = 80% of padded armour/fletching’s food cost. For someone who think making the skirmisher player invest in archer upgrades is unfair, the conclusion should be pretty obvious.

But the skirm player doesn’t need to match their numbers anyway. He also gets a different economic setup with its own advantages.

Did the skirm player’s keyboard break in the meantime? Can’t they make other units too?

Trying to attack yourself and not just go straight for the counter is a pretty good decision that isn’t being discussed very much rn.

Seriously, don’t you realise most archer civs just don’t want to invest in a unit that is going to be obsolete for them really soon?

I mean your whole argumentation is “skirms vs the world”, without any attempt to think of what the skirm player could add to fight xbow+mangos or xbow+knights, so that’s somewhat rich to read.

Turtling is the direct consequence of villagers being able to outrepair even massive amounts of damage, mere foundations being heavy roadblocks for ranged units (and sometimes even melee), and houses being super tanky for their cost.

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If this was true, why do “agressive” civs have the highest winrates in 1v1 arabia?

As I explained, as they are terrible for raiding you don’t get much revard for babysitting them. Opposed to the other ranged options. But yeah ignore important parts of the argument.

Preemptively? yeah ofc. If he is all-knowing he can make the counters. Sure. And if you stick with your xbows and he doesn’t make the elite skirm upgrade he is doomed… so… The agressive player basically always gets the first shot in these standoffs. Only exception is skirm into knight were you get a small timing advantage from the skirm play for your knights over the standard scout opening.

I discussed it. And I stated that it is weird that you get more value from archers attacked by skirms if you kill vills with your archers than the skirm player gets by killing your archers.
All things considered this should be a trade benefitting the skirm player, but currently heavily favorises the archer player.

Is it? scouts/light cav work quite well in picking of siege. And you can reduce the gold ratio of your comp with that. (not to mention potentially picking of monks that go for relics…)

I just stated that the current design of skirms is very disfavourable for them and makes them the worst of all the counter units. And tried to give Ideas how to improve them so they are more revarding to play. And especially more positively revarding to micro. That’s all. Don’t try to flip reality. It’s actually you that tries to argue in favor of an actually already “power unit” against the unit that is supposed to counter it but appearently not very well. As the state of “power unit” for archers correctly suggests.
Appearently it’s you that tries to argue for “archers against the world”. With very weird and made up arguments.

The meta shifted because of the absence of lag : it has become easier to micro archers against skirmishers.
What about increasing the projectile speed of the skirmishers javelins to negate this effect ?

Because arabia is played as offensive map. How about arena?

And in the end you just refuse to respond to my points, I dont think it is worth talking your arguments anymore.

Too many changes at once. The game is too old and established and also too good to need so major revamps.

Can’t we start smaller please?

Like skimirsher don’t to bonus damage against themselves, done. Why have to changing basically everything about them in one go. It makes it way to hard and risky to forsee how the change will affect the game.