HRE vs French

What do you do against a half decent french player that goes Knights + Archers? Seems impossible considering they also have a strong eco and can just boom behind their army in the meantime.

If i rush castle age I cant get an army up quick enough and get owned by rams + knights + archers. I also have to invest in either early walls or a few towers + pikes so he doesn’t pick off villagers constantly with hes ez 2 hit charge BS.

P.S.: MAA in Feudal seem useless in comparison as they get totally owned by Royal Knights and kited by Archers.


Scouting is very important in this game. If the enemy is going archers and knights, you should do Mangonels and Spearmen. I know that requires castle age but you should possibly try to make 10-20 spearmen in the second age (don’t forget to upgrade them and grab marching drills) and poke at their resources. You should probably work on reducing their overall economy to help you gain an edge in the third age. Around 20 mins you should have about 4 mangonels and roughly 40-50 spears. That should help you destroy what forces they have.

  • Scout before attacking
  • Be more aggressive
  • Build counters as needed
  • Stay in third age for a while, don’t burn resources into age 4 when you can use it to make a massive third age army
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you mean while they either kite your spears with their archers and/or eat your own eco with their vastly better raiding kts?

“just play better than your opponent, win sooner”

there i summarised it for you…

there’s a reason the top of the ladder is filled with french pickers… unfortunately until the fixes and nerfs come you’ll have to either:

  • a. hope the opponent is lower skilled than you
  • b. play Abbasids (if you dont want to play the meta civs, at least play a counter civ)
  • c. resign if you get HRE v french

Yikes this is some serious gloom-mongering. Maybe you are the one who needs advice on how to win if your answer is “you pick HRE it gg”.

I just saw Daut as HRE vs some guy playing french. The french just keep trowing Knight against the spears, and that won him the game. Daut had 3 TCs, the french player had 2, despite that the french had better eco.

Currently the game seems very out of balance.


I’ve had quite a bit of success with HRE against French. What I usually do is get to feudal, make two barracks and pump out spearmen and MAA. I get the siege engineering upgrade from the 25% discount blacksmith landmark and get the melee/ranged armor upgrades when i can. From there I make rams and go full aggression. MAA deal with archers while spearmen kill knights/protect the rams. Usually the french player has 1 stable (landmark) and maybe has 1 archery range at this point so I am able to out mass him with MAA and spearmen.

Best you can do is switch to French is abuse French as much as you can. The Genesis tournament is already pretty much a French only tournament. If everyone stops playing anything but French, then hopefully we get a quick balance patch.

French is obviously overpowered, their faster villager production is too strong, they get cheaper economic techs. Cheaper economic buildings. Knights in general seem to be too strong compared to spearmen.

The Chivalry upgrade in Age 3 is overpowered and allows French to keep killing units, even Spearmen without losing any knights. Just picking off a couple vills is enough to gain an insurmountable villager lead. There is no way this upgrade should be available in Age 2. It should be availablein Age 3 or Age 4.

Being able to build Knights in Age 2 also means you get a headstart on the best midgame unit.


Funny thing is even if you survive till later stages of the game the french player will just spam arbaletiers + a few springalds and his army is unbeatable.
The fact that you always lose vills to constant knight harras that costs the enemy nothing thanks to chivalry makes it even more ironic that french build vills even faster with each age and even get their eco upgrades cheaper. I can’t fathom who thought that this civ seems fine and balanced.

Oh and we haven’t even talked about the Age 3 Landmark the GUILD HALL. Absolute 0 risk in getting it, choose the resource you need, no worry with this system the market costs won’t bother you ever.
Meanwhile HRE has to invest in 2-3 Prelates to quickly gather the relics and if the enemy is half decent he will deny most of them. Just put 3 scouts outside HREs base and whenever a prelate wants to catch a relic you just kill him with a knight.
“Just send spears with him”, yea if i send enough spears to defend him my base gets rekked by his knights that take 0 damage from arrowfire making my towncenter and towers pretty useless. Even if i don’t lose any vills they still have to idle meanwhile french’s eco gets totally out of control.

Besides all the bugs and inbalances HRE has, spearmen in general should be much stronger vs knights. The abbasid phalanx tech should simply be available to everybody in feudal age.


Spears are too slow and weak for the Knights, even with the blacksmith unique upgrade for the HRE. The MAA, however, are the answer: upgrade them with the MACE (important, it’s the Mace, not the Two-Handed Sword) and pump them out of the Burgrave Palace (if you’re under heavy pressure at under 13-15 min it makes sense to forego the Chapel). One on one and upgraded, they defeat any Knights in the game. From any civ!

Mix Landsknechts with them only if you have a significant mass (upwards of 20 infantry). That’s Castle Age, of course, but there is hope to counter the French (granted the enemy has to make a few mistakes and you absolutely need chokepoints).

(oh and also don’t forget to bring your prelates over to the battlefield. Healing and Inspiring (bonus armor) is underrated)

It’s very very unfortunate, however, how one-dimensional playing against the French can get. I’ve played a dozen matches that felt 99% the same, despite being on different maps.

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We need war wagons for HRE to del vs cav…

I played this matchup, did an early spear+ram push and was denied via archers. I then added MAA into the mix, and this extra beefiness was good enough to force the engagement with numbers on his side of the map. I had max efficiency prelates at all times (effectively outpacing the french in eco) and once it was safe swapped to fish/deer to get more units en masse. French still need nerfed even though I can potentially win the matchup without safe water.

As has been mentioned, I played a game against a french as HRE on mongolian heights. I got a fairly good number of sheep, around 20 (Mongolian Heights has a ton), and It went fairly standard, he went school+archery, royal knights + archers, I went pure barracks, up to 4 if I remember correctly. I tried an admittedly too early 16 spear push with a ram, using the ram to jump in and out with the spears to force aggression up close. I killed some vills and cav, but ultimately it got shut down. I had already gotten my +1 range defense.

After, I realized on 1 TC I had to keep aggression to force engagements to prevent him out eco-ing me. So I started building about 20 MAA and spears each, and building more rams.
Once I added MAA into the mix, I could rely on them enough to not take damage to the archers, and the spears en-masse were significant enough to win against the 10-12 knights he had.

On the topic of early economy in for HRE, I typically go P, V, V (up to 8 vills since you start with 6), Vx4-5, prelate, Vx3, repeat vx4-5, prelate, v3 over and over. Once my initial 3 sheep are done or I’m running low on stock, I will swap the 8+prelate onto gold while my scout collects or brings back more. This gives me a bank so I don’t idle for food, and gives me a fair amount of prelates to use for healing/gathering via the increased gold gen early on. Remember, prelates are super vills - When they don’t bug out, they give 40% of a vill, 8 times. That’s 3.2vills for the time it takes to get one, which is effectively a 20% production rate increase for the cost of 100 gold and needing 8 other vills with him to get him to work properly.
This is multiplicative for other food sources. If you have safe fish, you can send 8 vills+prelate to get 1.125 food per second compared to a french sheep farmer giving .625. That’s essentially double your opponent’s vills! Boars are similar (18%faster compared to sheep), and so in safe matchups (delhi, china) or 4v4 you can get a boar and do a similar shenanigan of fast food. You can then place prelates on mills to give a 40% perpetual food increase, as this works beautifully.

This all being said though, french needs nerfed.


I was trying to pick up another civ but French… nothing my game win vs french.

Absolutely royal knight in feudal is too OP, and their eco is amazing… hope the patch coming soon to balance this.

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Yeah I think France will be nerfed - although whether its the feudal age knights or the econ remains to be seen. Not really convinced its strictly an HRE thing.
Right now its stupid that France can go “Its the feudal era, I’m gonna mass knights”.
“Okay I mass spears.”
And yet the French player isn’t in any obvious trouble. Mainly because knights have so many soft advantages - i.e. they are fast with decent health pools, that can heal up, so easy to micro and they kill villagers or isolated reinforcements immediately. By contrast spears lose to everything else in the game, melt in seconds to an occupied TC that isn’t shooting say a ram, and are fairly terrible at killing villagers unless your opponent just leaves them there.

And if you are playing one of the more easier to defend maps that can sort of turn into 10-15 minute no rush, they just keep a few knights out to keep you honest and then out boom you.

Daut can not have constantly been producing vils, because the actual numbers with the bonus is 2,4 TC for french, 3 for HRE.
Also the biggest game deciding fight was when the french got the enourmous imperial upgrade to knights. Also Daut didnt have 3x the spears of french knights, even though he can have considering the cost.