How to play Xbows VS Kts?

Hi everyone,

I don’t know how to play with xbows against someone who’s playing kts. I feel like kts are so strong that they can just crush me in mid castle age. And at the imperial age, if my opponent manage to mass as much unit as me, i always have the feeling that 50 cavaliers are way stronger and threatening than 50 arbalesters.

I know what you’ll say : just mix pikemen with your xbows. When i do this, my opponent just go full skirmishers, which counter both my xbows and my pikes. And later in imp, he can just push me with treb/skirms and run into my economy with some cavalry.

I know i am wrong, i know kts and xbows are balanced the way they are, but i wanted to know if you guys can give me some advices.

Oh and i’m around 1280 - 1320 elo (I may be a bit to high elo considering my skills, but this is an other problem 11).

Thanks all.


Just make a lot of them and focus fire them down. Or get a lot of Halberdiers and wreck them knights.

And If you’re playing a closed map put a stone wall down the chokepoint and shoot them down.

Archers do much better on closed maps. The terror of British Longbows are a force to be feared there. Knights overall are much more costly than archers. So, they get what they pay for. Unlike archers, knights cost food, so masses of farms are needed. Knights can be very costly to make without trade if it’s a 1v1 game.

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Just add a few spear/pike/halbs to your comp. As you already have a barracks, it’s an easy addition.
You don’t need to upgrade them in the blacksmith, they work great even without upgrades against knights.
Try to hold them close to your archers and the opponent can’t really engage with his knights.

The problems for you come if the enemy makes siege, then you need to add scouts.

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Arch only will be good till mid castle age then you will need to add in halb usually unless you take a lot of good fights. Paladin is very population efficient and arch is not you need to whittle down his mass of knights so he’s less of a threat early and then utilise your arch to range his woodlines. If your Brits you can typically go only arch in castle age to click imp fast and either castle drop with the early imp tech advantage or transition to halb after click up

Focus on early game, archer is only strong in early and mid game so you should take the advantage.
if you wantna fight 50 cavaliers , you should have 75 to 90 archers due to the cost.

Try to get as much damage in as possible in feudal age and try to lose as few archers as possible in feudal. Leave one archer to annoy his woodline, mining camps, don’t fight skirms if you don’t have anything to gain from it. You will get crossbow quite a bit sooner than he has enough knights out so its important to use that time to deal as much damage once you reach castle age. Once you get crossbow bow immediately go snipe some vills from his wood lines. DON’T go in his base unless he has like 10 vills exposed or something thats one mistake i often did myself when playing archers. And add a couple of monks when you have resources, converting 2 knights in a fight makes a HUGE difference, and you can also heal your archers if they get hit by a mangonel. Overall try to use your faster upgrades to get as much of an advantage as possible and keep that advantage by not taking huge risks by blindly going in his base and keeping your army together and adding monks

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Well yeah. 50 arbs costs way less then 50 cavalier. You should have more arbs then he does cavalier


Yeah, forgot about this one. Most important to note, archers are supposed to deal a lot of eco damage.

But never forget to add a amount of spears, it’s an easy addition, but helps so much against all kind of cavalry. And you have the baracks already, just use it.

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Hard to say what to do. Depends on what civs you’re playing with. Knights are expensive and therefore take a while to mass. If the enemy consistently manages to mass up so many knights as to crush everything you have, it means you’re either too passive (not attacking early enough), or just not massing your own army in time/not massing enough army.

You’ll sometimes also just have to adapt your strategy, if your civ has some other advantages, (good camels, good monks) then make use of it.

Also, yes, 50 cavaliers will feel very strong vs 50 Arbs, but that is just also because the Cavalier is quite a bit more expensive. When you’re in Imperial Age, the dynamic of the game will change from Castle Age. As you and the enemy both are getting pop-capped, population efficiency also matters.

When you go for crossbows, you should already have some archers to upgrade since the feudal age, whether you fast castled or not. This and because of the ability to focus fire units, a crossbow player versus a knight player should be even if both are equal in skill.

If you’re having that many problems perhaps you aren’t executing your build order properly or there’s something you’r doing wrong towards the mid-game. If that’s the case, watching your own recs usually help a lot, plus studying a build order of course.

If after all of that you’re still having problems against knight civs, depending on the matchup that could be very normal. Pikes are the obvious choice. But monks are generally much more powerful both as a counter and as a deterrent if you’re having trouble in your bas, and you’ll also use them to get relics as well.

Going for monks could instigate a countermeasure from your opponent, such as mangonels or elite skirmishers or scorpions, but in that case you use your own mangonels. Picking monks will be usually the difference between low and mid elo, it might surprise you how underused yet game defining they can be.

In mid castle, once you see he is getting enough knights, retire you archers under castle or TC protection. The worst think that can happen to you is losing all your archers when you are not paying attention.

Also, try to improve your quick walling skills. This helps against cav civs a lot

Finally, if you are in very low elo, a lot of cav civ players cant hold early pressure. Try to learn m@a into archers apertures. They usually only know to do fast castle or scout rush build orders and panick if attacked earlier.

Apart from the fact that when you play arb vs cav in same numbers your opponent did a way better job at creating military and/or booming behind there is no general recepy put usually there are a couple of ways these games play out:

Early castle age should be quite similar in all scenarios. You’ll have the military advantage when you upgrade your archers at a point when your oponnent just created very few knights. Pressure a bit and retreat after there is several knights on the field. At that point it’s usually good to a add some monks (unless there is many leftover scouts from feudal) and put down tcs since you can produce from 2 buildings and boom while your opponent won’t be able to do that. If your opponent adds siege workshop they might be all-in if not they probably try to add tcs as well. After you have your 3 tcs boom set up and 20+ farms you can add pikes if you didn’t manage to kill a decent amount of knights. Alternatively you can add more ranges but pikes are easier to play most of the time. If your opponent makes skirms you can get a defensive castle up and go imp because vs knights and skirms you’ll always have the timing advantage to imp and arbs in good numbers kills this composition. If you have a diificult to defend base layout you can also add light cav (or even knights yourself can sometimes work depending on your civ and opponents knight numbers) to kill skirms or raid their base to buy time and get map control back.

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With xbows you want to stay close to tree lines and things like that. As result you can fight with everyone, while the knights have just some units who can attack, but most are useless. Also you can much more easily mass xbows, so you will have the number advantage. Against 2 stable knights you can have easily 3 ranges (and you can mass them from feudal age already). Xbows are also much more micro intensive. You really want to hit and run and you wont be catched in the open where all knights can attack. Other option would be adding monks to convert the knights. Just some converts can make a huge difference in fights.

In the end you want to add trash units, since gold is running out. Which trash unit pretty much depends on your civ and your opponents choice. Raiding with the hussar line is always a great option.

Full knights also probably means 1 TC play, so you might even be ahead in eco and win in the long run because of that. 2 stable knights and 3 TCs is pretty hard to kept running compared to 3 ranges and 3 TCs.

After reading your post, I’m never gonna go knights again and always go crossbow.

Skirm + knights would be a good counter to xbows play.

It pretty much depends on your civ and the match up. Even pros goes knights, just look at the following game for example:

But knights seem so weak compared to crossbows.

I know your feel bro. :sob: :sob: :sob:


Thanks everyone for all your messages.

Obvisouly, I already won games with xbows VS kts. I do know both units are balanced, didn’t wanted to say kts are overpowered.

I read everything, and I think I might be too passive early Castle Age. I guess I don’t use enought the “xbow + bodkin” powerspike when I hit Castle Age : I’m always scared loosing all my xbows, so I guess I stay home too long, so my opponent can mass too many knights.

I need to use the fact that xbows are cheaper and easier to produce to get an edge on my opponent before he has as many units as me. And back-up my xbows/arbalesters with something else depending on what my opponent is doing. I’ve never used monks (lots of micro + the feelings that conversions don’t impact much), but I will give them a try.

I’ll do my best to apply all of your advices during my games !

Thanks a lot everyone


I use halbs and mix hot keyed monks in the middle of the arbs, but your a way higher elo then me. So i don’t know if its actually effective.