How to nerf Knights?

The important statement first. This isn’t a discussion thread weather we need to nerf Knights. It’s about HOW to nerf them in a healthy way for the game.

For me it lately looked like the Devs tried to implement more/better camel civs to reduce the Knight powerspile. Whilst this certainly works in the stats, also due to civ picking, it doesn’t change anything about the other interactions. If anything it blands and convolutes the Analysis of the core interactions, as Camels basically only function as a Knight counter. We could also give 10 civs Ghulam and it would push down the winning records of Archers - wouldn’t change anything about the interaction of the power units.

The big advantage of Knights/Cavalry is their mobility. Even if you can’t fight the opponent at one spot, you can just look for another spot to make damage. Especcially lately we see more and more splitting of Cavalry, having 3 or more groups of them, jsut looking for opportunities to raid. Whilst this is very high demanding on macro, it’s even harder to react to that. Activity is always easier to execute than reactivity. Best example for that is the Goth flood, where you just have too many spots to react and can’t track them all. At one point you just miss the action at one spot and then everything collapses.

So first thing I would do is to adjust Camels. Camels need to be tweaked so they aren’t a pure Knight counter anymore. They still should counter Knights in a direct battle (at least res effectively). But several things have to change:

  • Weakness to archers => camels need to be a bit more resilient to archer fire
  • Speed => Camels need to be slower than Knights so whilst having the advantage in an Battle, the Knight player has a slight advantage in determining the conditions for that
  • Gold Rario => Camels need to have a higher Gold ratio than Knights so Knight civs have at least that option to drain out the Camel civs from Gold

Then we are more free to tackle the Knight Powerspike itself. And I want to propose a solution, that may not look entirely as a nerf, but will reduce the midgame dominance of Knights by a fair margin. In the exchange heavy Cavalry will become more sustainable in the lategame.

  • Change 1: Knights cost changed from 75 G, 60 F to 60 G, 75 F
  • Change 2: Chain Barding Armor cost increase to 300 F, 200 G. Research time increase to 75 s
  • Change 3: Plate Barding Armor cost increase to 500 F, 200 G. Research time increase to 90 s

Here my Idea for the Camel Change:

Name Camel Rider Heavy Camel Rider Imperial Camel Rider
Armor Class Camel Camel Camel
Produced at Stable Stable Stable
Production Time 29 s 29 s 29 s
Production Cost 50 F, 70 G 50 F, 70 G 50 F, 70 G
HP 100 120 140
Speed 1.3 1.3 1.3
ROF 2 2 2
Attack 7 Melee 9 Melee 10 Melee
Atk Bonus 8 vs Cavalry 12 vs Cavalry 18 vs Cavalry
Atk Bonus 4 vs Camel 6 vs Camel 9 vs Camel
Atk Bonus 4 vs Ship 6 vs Ship 6 vs Ship
Atk Bonus 4 vs Fishing Ship 6 vs Fishing Ship 6 vs Fishing Ship
Atk Bonus 4 vs Mameluke 6 vs Mameluke
Atk Bonus ? vs War Elephant ? vs War Elephant ? vs War Elephant
Range - - -
Accuracy - - -
Melee Armor 0 0 0
Pierce Armor 1 1 1
Benefits from Camel Upgrades Camel Upgrades Camel Upgrades
Upgrade Cost 105 s, 400 F, 500 G

These are only proposals. I am very intrigued to hear about your ideas.


Knights already have 3 clear weaknesses. Pikes (Inb4 I get replies that pikes don’t counter knights), monks and camels. The things about these counter units is that they should be mixed in with your own main unit, like knights or crossbow. Barring the indian civ DLC, Knight+ any counter does well to counter knights, and you don’t need a lot to stop a push.

Weakness to archers: So you want camels to be more resiliant to archer fire, then what counters camels? They any outrun pikes, and if they’re more resilient to archer fire it makes them a raiding unit.

Speed and cost: The reason why camels are great against knights is because they counter them cost effectively, and they outrun them too.

I think knights are in a fine place, and they kinda have their own downsides and upsides. Making camels more insufferable isn’t going to change anything about strong knight civs


No, but atm the reason for camels to work is the strength of knights. So cif Knights are nerfed, camels will lose attraction and all the camel civs their identity.
That’s why I said in order to reduce the Knights powerspike in early castle age everything that is built up on top of that (which is mainly the camels) artificially to push that down needs to be adjusted to the new balance after that nerf. And needs to be done before or at least at the same time as the Knight powerspike nerf.

Looking at the stats it might be a bit too fine tbh. And I think we need to discuss options now how to handle that. As it seems the “downsides” aren’t really working as well on (semi-) open maps.

I also want to mention, that my proposal isn’t a pure nerf. Heavy Cav will become less gold intensive which means it’s more sustainable in the lategame. The nerf is mainly targeting the early to mid castle age powerspike.

make Bloodlines/CBA more expensive is an easy fix that gives Archers a bigger window to do damage before +2 Knights come.


I don’t want to nerf bloodlines as bloodlines can be researched in feudal to make scouts more viable in extended feudal battles.
Scouts already have a slight disadvantage there against archers + spears.

Also nerfing bloodlines indirectly buffs franks there which I think just isn’t a good idea. Franks still are the best scouts into knights civ.

The problem with pikes isn’t that they don’t counter knights, it’s that you can’t get them to counter knights. You need the upgrade, but you also need way more pikes than knights to do the job. This also means that you can’t split your pikes easily to guard different areas, since knights can take care of that.

You should always be mixing scouts with knights. Not just for countering monks, but for higher LOS. This leaves camels as the actual best counter in early castle age.

I personally don’t like the cost change for the knight line at all. That cost change will buff them in the late game, where gold cost and population efficiency are huge issues.

imo, increase the cost of bloodlines and cav armour, and add bonus damage from mangonels to the heavy cav line. Archers and infantry are easily wiped by mangonels, at least make the knights run away and have to micro heavily.

yeah fair point, then either nerf CBA or raise Knight price to like 65f 80g or something (this might be very controversial though as some people are happy that we aren’t in an Archer meta).

Or we can take the long route and buff Pikeman by reducing upgrade cost and maybe even giving +1 MA

That’s intentional. Atm Heavy Cav falls of very heavily in the lategame, as they are so gold heavy and need to be in melee to deal damage. The change is intended to compensate for that disadvantage to the archery unist that can stay more safe in the backline.
If you look up the stats you will see that almost all heavy cav civs fall of heavily in the lategame. Even civs like Lithuanians or Spanish which have great trash and other bonusses.

Well I didn’t wanted to change too much. I think people are just used to Knghts cost 60/75, so they would potentially be ok with keeping that but just switching into 75/60. It’s an attempt to Change interactions without changing the view too much.

Sure, but this won’t affect Knights only. Also imo it’s intentional that the trash units cost more to upgrade in the midgame. This makes it more revarding to get to the higher age first.
Maybe it’s too high cost to upgrade, but it’s really hard to make that claim, as there are so many other factors involved in a real game.
It’s ofc also one option.
I can definetely see it having an impact as it would allow to split up your pikes more against the knights, so it’s not that easy to pick up stray pikes with the knights anymore.

Yeah, and that is exactly what I prefer. Firstly, that is historically accurate. Cavalry lost its dominance by the time of gunpowder.
Secondly, mid-late imperial is supposed to be time of infantry, as people claim. Militia line is supposed to viable in mid-late imperial. That’s not the case even right now, and something like this will only make it worse.
If you want to reduce the gold cost, you have to nerf cavalier and paladin to the ground. The last thing I want to see is franks spamming paladins like poles spamming cavalier.


Imo one of the reasons for that is that at that time there is almost no heavy cav left to deal with.

In my opinion heavy Cav falls of a bit too early in comparison to the other power units. But ofc you can say it’s like intended to be so… I would prefer if the heavy cav would be a bit more sustainable.

Don’t think Cavalier would need to be nerfed.
Paladin maybe… but that can be done via upgrade cost and time.

Nobody wants that 11, But I think were not close to that atm tbh 11

does it though? Arbalest falls off even sooner than Cavalier, I guess if you take the game past 1 hour mark, then sure, Halberdier is the apex predator of the Imperial age but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. 200 pop of Cavalier beats probably any other 200 pop mix in Imperial, making it the strongest unit if you exclude Camels, Paladin, EA etc.


this is a fair point, however Knights beat Pikemen harder than Crossbowmen beat Skirmishers, and also have mobility to avoid bad engagements altogether. So a small Pikeman buff is warranted imo. Perfect one would be +1 MA.


I honestly don’t think they do. Let’s think about the other power units. What do we have? Battle elephants, Heavy Cav archers, Elephant archers, Heavy Camels and Maybe Steppe lancers are pretty much all of them (ignoring unique units, but including regional ones). Which of those fall off later than the knight line? Only battle elephants do, imo. And maybe cav archers in open maps, since they can run away from their counters. Elephant archers are highly vulnerable to both skirms AND halbs, and the others are equally vulnerable to halbs, if not more so.
It’s not the units that’s holding them back, it’s the eco. And I like it that way.

Don’t nerf knights, buff pikes instead. The upgrade cost and time is a definite place to start in my opinion.


I have to say that I have a bit “cheated” here, cause in my research about trash wars I watched like 200 or so high elo lategames (ofc in fast forward otherwise it wouldn’t be possible), mostly on arabia.

I’ve seen a lot of Cav archers. Also (UU) archers. rarely anything else that costs gold (except siege). Even the militia line was kinda rare tbh.

Sl, and Eles… yeah I think there are just too few civs that get them. for both units you need a big mass to be effective. So I don’t see them like a viable lategame transition if you haven’t built up to this earlier. SL civs usually prefer going to CA at one point, Ele civs just can’t justify the eco needed on a map like arabia.

EA can be viable thoug. I made that research before DOI. EA still have quite a low damage output for a backline, but if you have like 20 EA + 2 monks, I think this can make a great backline in the lategame, as the biggest issue of the CA or Archers is that they usually get picked of at some point and then you can’t really replace them. But I haven’t seen any civ losing the groung whilst they had a backline of them. Heavy cav on the other hand get’s very often just viped out by a halb flood and then it’s game over.

In the thread where we discussed that I then stated that the best trash unit is actually the CA. As long as you can keep them alive, they give you an insane value in these lategame settings.

As I said the disadvantage of heavy cav is that you need to put it in melee to get value out of it. And then it is vulnerable. And for that is this 56 % Gold ratio just a bit too high. It’s actually almost as high as the CA whilst having the disadvantage of being a melee unit.

Why not nerfing Knoghts? It’s imo the biggest powerspike in the game. I don’t see why of all things the biggest powerspike has to be excluded from nerfs.

I think that maybe if you upped the knight train time a bit, that could be reasonable. It’s not that I’m totally opposed to nerfing knights, it’s that I’d rather see pikeman easier to tech into, so counterplay is easier. That’s how I’d start.

1 Like

I also heared one idea that would add a feudal tech that increases spearmen bonus damage vs cav a bit. This tech could allow to make better use of spearmen vs knights.
It’s jsut a question of how expensive and how much effect this tech should be.

But I currently see Knights also in comparison to the other power units and for me it currently looks like knights, when they are able to raid just outshine both xbows and ca. And by quite a big margin.

change 1 is good
change 2 is acceptable due to castle age balance
change 3 does not make any sense, archers are not supposed to fight paladin anyway

Make infantry train much faster. Knights train at a rate of 4.5 resources per second while e.g. pikes train at a rate of 2.7 res per second. This difference in fixed costs becomes extremely noticeable in the first half of castle age which is often where you see knights overruning pikes.

Way too many changes are focused on changing the equilibrium dynamics when many problems are caused by the transition dynamics when you e.g. transition from the feudal equilibrium to the castle age equilibrium. Tons of the game’s problems are only visible in these transition stages and in general the equilibrium is balanced pretty well.


I don’t think we want an equilibrium. Neither do we have one. The game intentionally favors the power units. as an incentive to make military.

And I think these transition phases are intenionally flawed.

It makes sense in the way that plate armor gives more value than chain armor and comes later, therefore it also has to cost more and take longer.
Also with the knigths costing less gold they become more sustainable and the higher upgrade cost partially compensates for that.