How to beat Crossbow + Camel all-in?

I’m thinking mostly of civs that also have options to transition out of this comp, like Byzantines, Gurjaras, Berbers, Hindustanis, Tatars.

I found myself recently playing vs 2 Stable Camel push, and I was forced to stay inside my base. Due to numbers, I improvised and dropped 4 Barracks to catch up in Pikeman count (he added Scorpions/Mangonel as I was doing this). Ultimately I defeated the Camel mass and my opponent didn’t transition into Crossbows properly but I wonder, how do you beat Crossbow + Camel opening? Let’s say you are a civ with an awkward-ish tech tree like Franks vs Byzantines or Gurjaras. At min 19, it’s something like 10 Crossbows + 3 Camels in your base and he can then decide if to prioritize Crossbows more (if you do Pikeman switch - a switch I don’t believe in btw as I find it loses games), or Camels more (if you try to overwhelm the few Camels with Knights mass).

Knights NEED +2 (unlike Camels) to fight Crossbows decently, they are more expensive on resources and typically harder to transition out of than Camels.


All of the camel civs struggle against knights and crossbow compositions, so that’s what you should aim for. Even Franks or Slavs can perform this pretty well because their crossbows are still decent in castle age.

Also you generally want to avoid teching into pikemen if you can, because they delay your uptime, need a lot of upgrades and if you win a fight you cant really push. Pure crossbow eats camels

Knights with even +1 take 30 shots to die. Conversely camels even with +1 are dying in 20(except byz). I don’t see how “unlike camels” is even a thing. It’s more like knights with +2 are just so much better than camels in mixed fights.

Also camels are useless aside from fighting knights. So if you can kill his xbows it removes the teeth from the comp.

You have defenders advantage as well. So I think it’s more about what you do than what you use

Your opponents camels don’t spawn directly into the fight. Meaning you can defend with mangos /xbows and then surprise his xbows with your knights before he has a chance to react. And because xbows rely on massing, it means more killing them than it means losing knights.

I also don’t understand this point. Knights are better raiders. So regardless of the opposing comp, left over knights can always be kept for later for raiding

Someone can correct me but your own double stable knights will delete this. 3 camels can’t stop your knights before they eat the xbow and then you can make a runner if you’re worried about reinforcing. Poor pathing when pursuing knights makes this even more viable


Thinking about it more… I think this only applies to fighting KT civs. The whole downside of pikes is you need to outnumber kts. You need to have a lot of them in one place or they get outflanked and beaten

But this isn’t the case with non KT civs. And especially considering gurj (again) you’ll need them for shivs. At some point you are going to push and almost nothing can defend against shivs. But you only need a couple pikes, unlike against kts where you need a load of pikes with upgrades

While generally this is correct, doesn’t it also have the caveat of “it depends”

Faster uptime is more impactful with an ARB powerspike. If there’s no ARB powerspike your better eco can out live the imperial pressure until you catch up?

Pikes are more of a game losing unit if the opponent can counter them and/or you have better alternatives

For example with gurj having bad xbows or relying on chakrams it’s a much safer bet going pikes than it would be against a hybrid civ that has good xbow/CA. And you’re more than likely going to NEED them in the late game

And on top of that (using gurj as the example) the civ is food heavy, the mill isn’t helping so much at that stage and they’re wanting to get their UT which delays their uptime as well

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This is of course very true :smiley: However if you are playing knights and add in pikes you have a double melee composition which is also not ideal.

I think opening infantry vs Gurjaras is a fair strategy (even LS are a pretty good choice)

With more Crossbows?

Mango+xbows seems reasonable to me.

More crossbows, more crossbows and skirms, or knight+xbow, or knight+pike.

Once you managed to bait him into Camels (by, for example making a single Knight), you can be sure his double gold composition delays his Imp timing by tons. It plays to your advantage, which is great.
In theory you can just go for your own Crossbows into an Early Imperial, very classic, very Lierreyy, Vikings/Japanese style. However, considering the current meta (influenced by balance changed and the current generation of the Arabia map) Fast-Imp is no longer a viable strat on Arabia (sadly) for the most part.

So the quick answer is- No, you cant counter Xbows+Camels militaristically.
Once you use Skirms you must have an economical lead of some sort, relying on trash isn’t a win condition.
So you’re left with the economical win condition, which suits this mass TCs meta perfectly.
In other words, do what all pro do these days, Elite Skirmishers and 3TC perhaps 4TC, buy time for your own glorious composition of any sort, depends on your civ.

Making the meta into something that only works for a few people isn’t a good idea in any way.

It still is, and stop complaining, you need to stop acting like you’re better than everyone else and the sole source of truth regarding what the game should be.

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The fact you let your opponent to free transition to double army composition, your dark or feudal opener isn’t slowing your opponent enough or isn’t doing the job so investigate your replays.

Against all in players, you can never go wrong mining stone for a defensive castle or castle drop.

The worst thing you can do against an all-in player is to build town centers. Just stay on one town center or Two at max because you need wood for siege, monastery or ballistics or even all of those.

Camel Xbow is less effective compared to Knight Xbow as long as you have upgrades including balistics, all engages should be in favor of Knight Xbow.

Other combos to counter Camel Xbow are:

  • Monks, Mangonels (Aztecs, Lithuanian, etc.)
  • Xbows, Mangonel (Celts,Viking, etc.)
  • Cavalry Arch (full mass) (Huns, Mongols, etc.)
  • Cavalry Arch, Knights (Huns, Mongols, etc.)

You want to favor the combo that your civ excels at.

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Was it ever viable on Arabia? Even on Arena castle age boom usually beats Fast imp with some exceptions like portugese, turks, or needing to win a castle war

On Arena sure. On Arabia? no way.

Sure, as I written, Arbs > Xbows, this way you can reach Imp faster.

Too slow to transition, too much techs, too expensive. Late Castle Age sure. The problem is the momentum they easily maintain, it’s a very snowbally situation.

Yeah, Liereyy used to play Fast Imp often. Same goes for other pro players, however when it comes to Lierrey it was iconic. Either 1TC Fast-Imp, or 2TC Fast-ish Imp. The concept was not to be overly invested in Castle Age, and aim for an early Imp powerspike.
Especially with civs like Vikings, Japanese, Malay, that have no Post-Imp luxurious options, nor reliable Cavalry to hold a prolonged Castle Age, yet a great early game eco bonus.

Arabia is too “open” (I dislike this terminology but ok) these days for Fast-ish Imp, that’s why Lierrey no longer goes for it, same applies to everyone, they all mass Town Centers. When you dont have secured woodlines you’re doomed to add TC’s for the sake of defence.

On Arena sure. On Arabia? no way.

Yes way! On Arabia you can defend with monk mangonel then transition to whatever you need.

Too slow to transition, too much techs, too expensive. Late Castle Age sure. The problem is the momentum they easily maintain, it’s a very snowbally situation.

You got it all wrong sorry. You can outmass your opponent with CA from 3 or 4 archery ranges as long as you either hit castle age earlier or have some xbow army to buy time.

Coming to the second combo, CA+Kts - Most def the best castle age all-in combo as both units are mobile and complement each other.

I have played and seen countless games where castle age army beats imperial age tech, and games that end at castle age so the whole premise of ‘slow/expensive’. is irrelevant.

just boom behind walls with some mangonels boths units cannot go under tc nor dealing with it at all