How many UU's are actually used in competitive games?

People often talk about nerfs or buffs but I think most UU’s could actually use a buff because my impression is that most of them are never used in competitive games. Generic units can often be mass-produced much more easily since they don’t need Castles and are often cheaper to upgrade as well. I watched some high level games and I’m not just talking Viper, Hera etc. but like just good players (1500+ elo for instance) and most UU’s just never see the light of day in such games.

Which UU’s would you actually use in a competitive game, either 1 v 1 or teamer?

I think I’d definitely use some like Magnudai, Longbows, Chu-ko-nu’s, Berserks and Huskarls off the top of my head and that’s about it. In team games more gold-heavy UU’s become viable for the pocket player but even then I feel the list is not long.

there is a few reasons UU don’t see much use.

the first is that yeah they require a castle to be built.
the second is that most don’t start to outshine generic counterparts until imperial age.
the third is that the game is just getting faster and earlier with aggression. earlier aggression means that games are ending faster and don’t necessarily allow the ease of a transition into unique units. if you’ve already got 30 or so crossbows do you want to transition to longbows or would you rather just get the arb upgrade?

as for commonly used unique units - basically most the archer and cavalry archer unique units are the most commonly used ones.

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This actually kind of gets boring fast. I mean, games start feeling like all the same, and every civ blends into one mush, because the best way to play is to do the exact same thing regardless of civ (at least this is what I’m experiencing around my elo) :s


maybe, but if were trying to attract more people to the game, speed is essential. why do you think so many people like games like CoD, LoL, and Fortnite? because you can get right into the action.

and that is why Lithuanians should be left alone. they encourage a different approach to the early castle age.

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I’m not sure if an RTS based on strategic choices should really be about speed… I mean, if you really want to jump into it and want fast games, play regicide…

making knights just like most other civ? sounds exactly the same, they just get free attack upgrades with relics lol

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SC2 says hi. most popular RTS of the past decade?

um no, because you have to get that monastery down and go grab relics. or contest relics. that makes it different.

Isn’t it already pretty much dead?

You should not let your opponent collect all 5 relics either way, even if the enemy isn’t Lith, letting someone get all relics will still put you at a disadvantage

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most of the good ones (i.e. the ones that don’t die vs xbow) get used

not every map is arabia
not every game is 1v1

by sc2 standards? yes. but it still has about as many viewers as aoe2 does.

true but in non Lithuanian games its not a “grab relics the moment you get to castle age” type of thing. you still want to throw down a monastery eventually, but its not a priority.

That’s pretty weak for Blizzard standards. (As a former Blizzard fan) AoE2 is pretty much only coming back to life since recently, I hope that Microsoft will handle it well :slight_smile: I don’t want the game to become an anti-social overly competitive game with pure rock paper scissors and rote memorization, especially with this many civs in the game, it’d be a shame.

True, that is true. Also very map dependent I suppose. On some maps like Arena, it’s fairly normal to snatch the relics relatively early.

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true. but only on a map like arena. on other maps like arabia and what not, that isn’t the standard at all.

Actually my impresion is UUs are quite commonly used on high levwl and competatively. Some are more situational than others ( jaguar warrior, leitis, tarkan f.e.) But they all have use in competative matches. Perhaps the only true exception is the meme that is the flaming camel.

Is it true tho? After all people are snobbing faster and all around better games such as Quake despite those games being waaaaaay faster.

Anyway regarding the OP, people making “UUs bad” posts should just sit down, open the tech tree, and make a list of the UUs that are rarely seen/just plain bad. I expect they would be surprised how much shorter this list is compared to what they expect.


I believe most people that complain about UU usage, do not want to see them viable per se, but more as THE MAIN unit that a civ will ALWAYS go for.
This would be incredibly unhealthy for the game, and we can already see what happens when a civ is designed around using their UU as the main strategy, in Mongols and Goths.

It is just better that all civs just go for the base units, whith UUs showing up rarely, mostly as specialized alternatives, and not as main units or strategies.
Overly good UUs are annoying to fight against, because they are civ-specific, and some civs will not have the best counter in their rosters.


Longbows, longboats, Tarkan, Mang, Jans, Huzar, Kipch, Chus, Sergant, WarWagon, Woads, Caravel, Plums, Slingers, Conqs, Arambi, Husckals, gbeto, Imp Camel, are seen somewhat but obviously if the games over by early Castle then there’s no point in making the investment outside of standard unit since you need momentum. Some are specifically good in team games like mamluks and some are underutilised like Boyars & Turtles.


Uus are rarely seen and its a good thing. I would even go as far as nerfing the “go to” uus like mangudai. Would be a lot more interesting if instead of just spamming mangudai, ca were overall superior but mangudai had a place to kill siege and heavy cav, making a mix of the two viable or at least forcing players to choose between them.
As long as mang (and this can be extended to every uu) is just a all around better ca, there is no choice and therefor no strategy.

Okay, let’s have a look at this. I watched a lot of the recent tournaments and I am also playing on a fairly high level (18xx) myself, so I think I should be able to judge this somewhat well. Let’s use 5 categories:

5 - UU is basically part of every gameplan and absolutely crucial for that civ
4 - UU is a very good option and seen very regularly
3 - UU is a decent situational option
2 - UU is a niche unit, which is rarely seen, but still appears sometimes
1 - UU is basically useless and never seen, except for a few extraordinary games

Note: This is about games where players are actually trying to win, not about Viper having fun in ranked games.

I also wrote in brackets in which direction this unit is going: 4 - Camel Archer (3) means Camel Archers are put in 4, but are closer to 3 than they are to 5. If there is no bracket, I think the unit is right where it should be :smiley:

5 - Arambai, Huskarl, Mangudai, Conquistador, Longboat (4)

4 - Camel Archer (3), Konnik, Woad Raider (3), Cho Ko Nu, Kipchak, War Wagon, Magyar Huszar, Plumed Archer, Caravel, Sergeant (3), Rattan Archer, Berserk

3 - Jaguar Warrior (2), Cataphract, Throwing Axeman, Tarkan (2), Kamayuk, Slinger, Genoese Crossbowman, Condottiero, Samurai (2), Organ Gun, Keshik (4), Janissary

2 - Genitor (1), Longbowman (3), Coustillier (never saw this in a tournament, but small sample size and I think it has potential → 3), Shotel Warrior, Leitis, Karambit Warrior (will get buffed though and then probably be 3), Gbeto (1), Teutonic Knight (1)

1 - Elephant Archer, Ballista Elephant (that one’s a bit tricky. It is used for wood cutting in Castle Age, but not as an actual fighting unit), War Elephant (decent for ultra lategame in teamgames, but it basically never gets there), Mameluke, Boyar (2, the rating is probably more because Slavs have very good other options, because the unit itself is actually quite decent)

I left out Imperial Camel and Imperial Skirmisher, as they’re unique upgrades to existing units, not unique units themselfes (they’d both be ranked pretty high though).

Overall I’d say only categories 5 and 1 are problematic - then again I think even 5 is good, as long as it’s only a few civs which are that reliant on their UU - so I think that’s actually a good thing. So only the units in 1 are a problem, because they’re basically non existent (note though, that most of them have a comment in brackets behind them…).
So we have in numbers:

5 - 5 units
4 - 12 units
3 - 13 units
2 - 8 units
1 - 5 units

Looks pretty good to me. I might be off a bit with some of them, but I don’t think more than 1 position and the overall picture shouldn’t change.


The easiest for me to see how underwhelming the UU’s is is just asking the simple question “If this civ just lost their UU with no compensation how much weaker would it get?”. There are a lot of civs where the answer to this question would be “not much”.

here is the thing - most unique units are situational - and that is completely fine, after all they require a castle for construction.

to make them stronger would lead to further increasing the power of the game - lets look at a couple of good examples.
the Tarkan and the Jaguar Warrior - both are situational units that are very good at what they do. but if you made them something stronger that you could see them more often - both Huns and Aztecs would absolutely need nerfs elsewhere to compensate.

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