How much is flawed with the meta, when even teutons go xbow?

i dont watch many pro matches, but busy watching the match with viper(teutons) vs daut (mayans)

how sad is the state of balance, when an “infantry and cavalry civ” (actually labelled only infantry in the tech tree) with fair advantages to both, is instead encouraged into xbows and mangos against a meso civ specialising in archers and eagles?

LS are so expensive and such a poor counter vs eagles (because LS themselves are so easily countered, on top of their high cost), while xbows are so cheap and project power so much more efficiently, that its better to defend siege with xbows and eventually knights? and only go mass LS, if the opponent goes too heavily into eagles? why is the LS only a last resort option?

at what stage in the future will devs finally decide “ok we will now expand the meta beyond xbows and knights”?

for those that havent seen it, there’s a nice explanation on how to calculate the true cost of food(the earlier the higher the true cost) even using best case scenario for food (1.2 x the food cost) , the LS (which is more expensive and slower to tech into than xbows) costs 74 res, while xbows are 70 (if we use more realistic costs the LS is actually closer to 80.)

and then you begin to realise how bad the unit actually is. im not saying LS need to compete directly with xbows. i am saying LS need to give the player the utility for their very high cost. regardless of what that utility is, because as it stands, with the very high tech cost, as well as high unit cost. its simply too niche, that even an infantry civ doesnt even field them.

example 1: buff LS with +3 vs buildings, so even if the enemy isnt going pure eagles, the LS still have utility outside of being an expensive counter, they can force fights by actually forcing the defender to deal with them, as opposed to currently where a couple vils can either out repair, or out build them.

example 2: change militia cost to 45f 35g. supplies reduces cost to 30f 35g (same total resources, but food is more valuable so militia line becomes much more achievable). introduce another tech in imperial which converts the 15g to 15f (returning the cost to the original value in imperial age)

with this change, 30f/35g this rate militia are worth 75 res (true value of food ~1.35 in castle age) which corresponds better to the cost of xbow(70 res). so even though the unit itself isnt buffed directly, due to the economic hierarchy of aoe2, the unit is buffed.

make the cost of the tech and the unit justified. it makes no sense that xbows are cheaper to tech into, cheaper to train and simultaneously offers so much more utility


the reason why Crossbow is “meta” for Teutons is because it’s

a) cheap
b) massable from Feudal

You still see Teutons transition into Knights like 90% of the time in late Castle/early Imp, I love how you omit that fact.

8 Crossbow kill squad able to 1 shot a Villager is pretty much the default kill squad that ANYONE makes as they go up from Feudal to Castle. Finding this weird is like saying Ethiopians shouldn’t go MAA but should open Archers since they aren’t an infantry civ. Using Teutons Crossbows is called being smart, not meta abusing.

I mean, you see a lot of units in Castle age, you see Skirms, you see Monks, you see Mangonels, you see occasionally Scorpions, you see (rarely) Pikeman. Occasionally you see Cav Archers and a handful of UUs

The ONLY unit you basically never see is Longswords and I ask: is playing vs infantry flood really THAT interesting that we wanna buff it for buffs’s sake? Imagine how obnoxious it is to play vs infantry in Imperial Age vs say Goth, if you make infantry any stronger vs Knights, then infantry flood becomes a real thing in Castle Age, and you can’t make infantry any stronger vs Crossbows because already with 1 pierce armor and requirement to micro the Crossbows to kite the Longswords, already Longswords are in a good spot vs Crossbows considering that Crossbows are meant to be a counter unit.

And Longswords aren’t that expensive, after Supplies they are 45f 20g, roughly same cost of a Crossbow, sure any food units delay your Imp uptime but Imp uptime isn’t the be-all end-all in this game, it’s fine to have a bad Imp uptime IF you go for a strat that can create a good advantage (for example, it’s very common to see all-in late Castle Castle Age Knights vs Imperial Arbalest and the Knights players wins).

And fast Imp is not always worth it anyway, only under very specific circumstances is Imp worth it:

  1. you have a moderate amount of Crossbows ready to be turned into Arbalest, you have ~1300 resources to get the 3 upgrades for Arbalest AND you have a Castle ideally to get 1-2 Trebs

  2. you have a good Knights mass and you think getting +4 armor could end the game (e.g. vs Archer civ).

These are the only 2 cases where Imp can lead into an early GG, you can otherwise easily neutralize fast Imp Arbalest by dropping Castles/Towers if the Archer player went for a super fast Imp without building a Castle.

Anyway, meta is interesting, all units except LS are good and LS is not THAT interesting to be put into the meta, LS needs mostly a bonus vs Hussar to be viable in late Imp.

Crossbow needs a nerf but not a huge one, already Crossbow is a unit with very bad scalability and quite horrible in late Imperial age, civs like Ethiopians basically must play full trash with a few BBCs because they have nothing else in Imp if their first 2-3 Arbalest blobs get cleaned.

The main issue with Crossbow is that the timing attack with them is too strong, you get a VERY fast upgrade to Crossbow (cheap too), while Skirmisher one takes like 2-3x the time. Furthermore as the Archer player you invest less Food compared to the Skirmishers defender so you are up a bit earlier also and these 2 advantages together mean that you get like a ~2 min window to do damage or clear enemy (non elite) Skirms when you hit Castle age. Remove 1 of these 2 bonuses while keeping the other (e.g. make Skirmisher tech MUCH faster to research), and Crossbows are fine.

btw this is just a stupid proposal (no offense), would instantly make Longswords an insanely powerful unit and hard to stop and would put us into a LS + Skirm/Crossbow meta (Crossbows to clear enemy Crossbows/Mangonels). The amount of building pressure you would be able to do with +3 would be so insane that the game wouldn’t be very interesting, you could basically go for a wood denial strat and kill all enemy buildings.

so make Longswords basically Eagle Warriors? Send all to Gold and flood from 3 Barracks with minimal eco? How insane would Celts, Burmese, Goths be in Castle age after such a buff? What would the counter strat to this be?

there have been several suggestions to nerf X-bow and the most recent nerf is to put a delay on them when attack move before they can shoot. Still even if you nerf X-bow, people still wouldn’t change to milita because of how terrible Milita line is at its core, even with a buff months ago, they’re still bad.

II do like a buff to their attack vs building, making them a threat to building. LS already has +3 vs building so I think what you meant is +6? then MAA should also get a buff from +2 to +4 vs building as well.

Arson should be cheaper (75 food 50gold) to get and give +3 instead of +2.

Alternatively, instead of buffing their damage vs building, Allowing Militia line to build Ram on the field like aoe4 would also help them immensely against archers and building.

I think you guys fail a bit at math or deliberately ignore some aspects of the game. Longswords already have insanely high dps vs buildings.

A Longsword after Supplies costs 65 resources, and does 9 base +2 bonus +2 from Arson = 13 damage to building. A Knight, after comparable resources spent on upgrades does 11 dmg to building maybe 12.

Longswords have double the damage output vs buildings per resource spent compared to Knights.

yeah it’s not like already MAA is the strongest opening in the game, it’s often very hard to defend vs MAA because you are forced into early walls, often forced off of Berries and sometimes you lose 1-2 vills. The attacker also often jas better Archer follow up while you generally do Archer/Skirm mix which basically means you are the defender for at lesst until Castle age (in this game you wanna be the attacker and not the defender).

We should balance MAA around 1200 elo players suiciding them into TC and you should be able to close out the game in Feudal wirh a 2x Barracks into killing the enemy TC.

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I have calced this for several years now. In a full boom scenario in castle age (In non-boom situations it is lower) for basic civs food is worth 1.887 Wood.
One factor, the biggest one ofc is the cost of the farms, but wood is also collected way faster than food.

BUT there is also the effect that Archers need longer to train and therefore you also need more ranges to produce them. You also need to pay more for upgrades at this stage.

It is also a bit more complicated than that. But yes, the often used food = wood = gold is just wrong.

But this was always so. Nothing new about it.

I also see no problem of any civ going xbows occasionally that has it. If a civ should never go xbow we could have removed that tech from the civ like it is from a few civs.

And the militia line is perfectly fine imo.

I think any civ managing to go outside of their hard-set box of ‘Infantry, Cavalry, or Archer’ is a sign of good balancing instead. Keeps the civs being somewhat unexpected at times.

After all, we saw Hera going Celt Paladins in a Hidden Cup or some very-high-profile S-tier tournament, and won with them. I think it was even against Japanese?

But nobody cried about it being a Knight meta then, for some reason. :wink:


I would like a new tool for infantry to deal with ranged unit in certain way.
What about giving standground stance more pierce armor just like he original AoK beta?
With a general speed buff for militia-line this could be interesting and give infantry micro’s capability.
I imagine going to catch up a group of crossbows, calculating when they will fire and then stop to absorb the most damage, then go on with the pursuit.

To be viable men-at-arms and longswords need some speed buff to be slightly faster than archers. May be make Squires feudal age upgrade. MAA is a decent unit in feudal age but it’s too easily countered by archers. And if you can use (and hence mass) MAA in feudal age then LS will be much more viable option in early castle age.

I’m not so sure if you are confused the word “strongest” with “viable” because MAA opening is sure annoying but very far away from a winning move. If it were the strongest opening, then it would happen in almost every single game. Additionally, “sometimes” kill 1 villager doesn’t mean it’s good, if anything it’s the indication of being below mediocre.

Reality doesn’t care about your math when almost nobody uses LS in castle age to bust building even if your math is correct. That’s why LS needs a buff to fill a role in this game because at the moment, they have no role. Also, not every civ has supply to lower the cost. If the buff in practice turns out to be too OP, tuning it down wouldn’t be a problem.

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For me, it is not sad, it is great. It shows that civs like teutons are not skrewed when they need ranged units.

Most of the time, the civ tags refer to their strength late game, in imperial age. Teutons have a general eco bonus that Viper used (many TC boom), and their military boni (MA on infantry and cavalry) is not that strong in castle age, actually useless against xbows. It would be more sad if Viper made teutons xbows as the core of his army in imperial age.

I am happy if I can successfully use korean knights and slav xbows in castle age, if i need them. I would be very sad if the most viable strategy for japaness would be to only use infantry units all game long, no matter what my opponent throws at me…

I agree though that LS are rather weak in castle, even though Viper did use them in that game. They get strong in imperial age.

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What about give archer line -2 melee armor?

It would make more sense to fix pathing before any nerf to xbow.

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What, you mean like most infantry have 1.0 speed and archers having 0.96? Oh, wait…

I think you confuse this game with some game like WC3 where probably killing a lot of units is good.

Killing units is not a requirement for a strategy to be strong in AoE2

There are other concept such as resource control, map control and forcing reactions (hence mistakes). Denying the opponent some resource even for a few minutes might mean he can tech later to Bodkin, miss the Skirmisher upgrade for longer, etc. In an ideal world with no aggression until post-Imp, even a 1100 player can probably macro somewhat acceptably compared to say a 1800. What differentiates 1100 from 1800 is ability to macro (and micro) under pressure.

Men at arms is considered (not by me just to be clear - since you clearly don’t believe me, MAA opening is considered strongest opening by many pros, on par with full walls/FC/semi FC with some archers, those are the 3 strongest meta openings on open maps and generally on Arabia you can’t get away with full walls these days without making military.

Anyway, MAA do:

  • force idle time
  • force small walls on resources such as wood (with archer follow up generally this is quite lethal), which decreases efficiency of working and has a chance of failing even at high level.
  • denying at least 2 berries vills is quite a big deal because it slows Castle age time by like ~1 min and you can basically always deny 2 berries vills, often deny all 4 - at the cost of stating the obvious since I think you are not very aware of how the game is structured, you don’t wanna drop farms in Feudal age and denying berries forces early farms, hence later archery range, blacksmith, stable transition etc. Obviously not dropping farms and having idle TC isn’t ideal, either.
  • force repairs
  • trade well vs every other opening except straight archers (MAA trade very well vs Scouts opening not to mention mixing a spear in for even better trade is trivial), and it’s rare for people to go 20 pop archer, generally people who do 20 pop wanna do something like both eco upgrades and drop archery range at 23 pop or so, so you have a small window where your MAA have no counter - btw 1 archer is not a great counter either, it needs to be 2-3, ideally with fletching.

Getting archer mass (like 4-5 archers) generally happens at 13-14 min IF YOU ARE GOOD because you need so many buildings (archery range, gold mining camp and ideally blacksmith too). And I’m assuming here ~1500+ elo because below I’ve never seen people do defensive archers at a good level and get good mass early.

Anyway, MAA opening is good, it forces a ton of reaction, keeps opponent on “small walls” (it’s basically impossible to fully wall before MAA come unless you send literally like 5 Dark Age vills to walling, which sacrifices a ton of eco), and has a very easy transition into archers/skirms (hence why the strat is called “maa into archers” since you counter his archer opening).

This without saying that being the aggressor in this game is ALWAYS GOOD (as long as you don’t fall behind in eco too much). You get map exploration uncontested, can pick up relics, can take extra resources, can make less military to defend at home, can make forward buildings for follow up on the aggression (e.g. drop a forward Siege in Castle age as opposed to a siege at home)… it all comes back to the map control you gained with MAA strategy!

Of course MAA can also fail, you write

but that’s the definition of a dominant/broken strat. MAA are still a balanced strat, you need skill to make them work. Else everyone could open MAA and win, and the game would be very boring MAA vs MAA fest.

yes and it’s best it stays that way, Longswords aren’t interesting gameplay so it’s better if they stay niche. Already they have a niche vs civs like Goths (who can flood in Castle age sometimes), and vs meso. I think this is enough. You don’t want Longswords to be viable in Castle age to the point of seeing them every game, because then they would be uncounterable (easy to mass and with Pikemen mixed in, uncounterable with Knights comp). Archers could potentially counter them but not every civ has those and furthermore forcing opponent to micro is generally a good thing - you guys see a guy microing 20 Crossbows vs a Longswords swarm and think Longswords are weak, but I see a very easy opportunity to sneak 2x2 Knights into his base and raid his eco and he needs to choose to either micro the Crossbows or to micro the eco.

which is intended since not every civ is an infantry civ?

Anyway, I think Champions could be stronger in Imp, mostly vs Hussar (maybe a bonus here), but that’s as far as I will go in defending the Militia-line. Literally, Militias are good, MAA are good, the only one that is slightly weak is Longswords and that’s fine. Go cry about Monks being weak on Arabia next or about Rams.

Also I think a lot of folks in here underestimate how hard to use Crossbows are.

Until 1500 elo or so (which is bottom 95% of playerbase), Knight civs run rampant, both in terms of pickrates and winrates.

In reality, to win as an Archer player, you need good macro, almost pristine in Feudal because you need to both build an archer mass and have a competitive Castle age time. Furthermore, you also need to not lose that mass, since it’s generally very hard to regain Archer mass once lost while Knights can be useful in small numbers always. Third, you need to be aware Archer timings exist (e.g. Bodkin timing) and make use of them. How often do I see a 1300 player hit Castle age first with like 25 Crossbows, park them outside a Palisade wall and get scared by a Mangonel without adding his Knights/Mangonels. Lastly, with Crossbows it’s very key to both understand where to harass (which parts of the enemy base are exposed and which aren’t), as well as understanding when to move out (if your Crossbows are caught in the open, Knights slaughter them so you need to do a mix of distracting Knights and moving small but not too small groups out). Having this awareness of when to move out is like 1600-1800 level, top 1% of playerbase. Tl;dr: no, Crossbow is not the OP unit responsible for holding you in 900 elo.

Also another bad aspect of Crossbows is how badly they scale in late Imperial. Very often an archer civ (those that can’t go full Knights, basically think of something like Byzantines, Britons, Ethiopians etc.) if forced to win in early Imp and later transition into a Castle-based map control. Arbalest doing 6 damage per shot means they have no chance vs some of the better late game civs, for example Burgundians and their early Paladin, Sicilians and their Hauberk Cavalier, Saracens and their heavy CA mass - all these civs beat Crossbow civs hard in a 200 pop scenario due to their units having better scaling. So I would hope Crossbow is a bit good in Castle age and early Imp, cuz it’s a total sucker unit in late Imp…

Crossbows do need a small nerf, such as more expensive Bodkin upgrade, or longer upgrade time for Crossbowman, but some suggestions some folks have in here, such as giving them -2 melee armor (basically giving every opponent of an Archer civ the Persians Knights civ bonus) are moronic to say the least.


I dont disagree that xbows are too good, but didnt viper start xbow because of the drush, and switches to knight later?

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btw I wanted to specify this since I think this hasn’t been mentioned yet: the sole reason Teutons go Xbow is that it’s a unit that is strong in Castle age AND you can mass in Feudal. Give civs the ability to mass Knights in Feudal (like AoE4 system) and I guarantee you will never see a Crossbow in Castle age again.

The same clearly doesn’t apply to LS, which you can mass from dark age :joy:.

I mean the reason LS are bad are not even Crossbows, but the fact that you can kite Crossbows back to TC/Castles. LS are actually quite good vs Crossbows in a vacuum because they force micro time and overall it’s very awkward for the Crossbow player.

So idk, go cry that TC has too much HP I guess? Nerf TC and LS will be viable maybe idk.

I think you’ve finally come up with the real solution to make infantry viable :wink:.

infantry is already viable, Militia, MAA and Champion (who needs a slight buff) all see play. It’s only 1 unit in the whole Militia-line that is underused in one age. This doesn’t seem to me like a huge issue.