Ideas for buffing the Elite Genoese Crossbowman

Ideas I do not support:

  • +1 range making the Arbalest irrelevant. It’s already going to have more armor than generic archers with Pavise available and that’s going to make countering it even more dependent on siege than it already is.

Everything else is on the table. I’ll list all the ideas I actually think might work right here as the thread goes on:

  • Improving the HP benefit from 5 to 10, making it a more stark contrast from the Arbalest by specifically emphasizing durability.
  • Probably reducing the cost, since it represents a bonus that doesn’t exist anymore with former changes. Safe option.
  • Upping the pierce damage by 1, but lowering it’s bonuses by 1, to make it a bit stronger against non-cavalry. Makes Genoese a more rounded unit without improving it’s best feature.

Here’s what I don’t like as of right now and the reasons why (it’s not a “no” just uncertain about it):

  • Not a fan of trying to fill other holes in the tech tree instead of doing something about the elite upgrade, as a compensation. It’s all right in my opinion to have an elite upgrade that doesn’t really matter much, I just don’t think it should have a heavy pricetag on it when it does.

Honestly i think they are fine. The training time was reduced for the elite GC, they cost less gold than arbalests now. They Shred Cavalry and most infantry and they have 5 melee armor so hussar spam is kind of useless against them as opposed to other archer units in the lategame(FU hussars need 9 hits to kill them). There only real counters are siege and skirmishers and italians have FU hussar and cheaper BC. They don’t even get wrecked that badly by other arbalests considering they are not supposed to be able to compete against other archers


The lesser range balances them in TGs so enemy flank archers have a chance


That elite upgrade looks mighty expensive for a bit of bonus damage, some HP, and some training time.

It used to represent a massive fire rate increase (the standard unit went from 3 to 2 and the elite was unchanged) and then when they made that difference the cost stayed the same.

So I’m looking for ideas to either justify the cost or an agreement that we could probably lower it a bit. Otherwise, that Elite upgrade represents a bonus to the unit that no longer exists.


i didn’t know they made it that way. I thought the elite version still fired faster. In that case yeah i wouldn’t mind the cost being reduced


Wel I guess there’s space to reduce the cost a bit more, I mean compare them to the Chu Ko Nu lol

although you have to be careful with that. Giving the civ easy access to a unit that counters infantry and completely decimates Cavalry and Elephants especially when the unit itself isn’t the easiest to counter unless you have much better archers(Italians still have above average arbalesters) can be dangerous

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Yes, but right now the value of the unique upgrade is so low, I’m not certain it’s ever really worth it. The FU, non-elite version will kill a Paladin in 23 hits. The Elite version brings that down to 18, which is a nice bit of boost, but at the cost of almost 20 additional units.

Unless you’re going against 100% cav with your army, I think it’s reasonable to assume the majority of that time you’d rather have those resources into something else entirely. And by something else entirely, I mean into hussars to counter Siege. That being said, I’m far from dead set on reducing the cost. I could easily see a different bonus compensating it.

Example: Most foot archers have a bonus against Spear-line. And by most, I mean practically every single one except the Genoese. We could give the Genoese’s elite version the bonus against Spearmen that it’s missing to better support Hussars.

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I’d go for reducing the upgrade cost of the Elite GC upgrade. In all honestly, the Elite GC unit feels like a fine unit. Does what it’s meant to do pretty well. I just think the Elite Upgrade is a tad bit too expensive. I can’t really think of any change I’d like to see on the Elite GC unit itself.


I wouldn’t mind having the elite upgrade costing a bit less, but in my opinion other changes like giving the Italians SE are more important.

The GC now at least is decent, even if the upgrade has the an old cost…

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I agree that the unit is a lot better than it was on DE’s release, but really it was all frontloaded changes. Now the back end is at the same level it was before, with the same cost, with a way lesser upside. I see no reason to ignore it.

I know we’ve been over it once and we came back with a training time reduction, but it’s still a bit much for what’s on the table.

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The problem of the training time was that it was too long for a foot archer, even in castle age, so before the elite.

Thank God now it’s fixed.

I never understood why they reduced the gold cost for the unit and not the elite upgrade.

Not that I complain about cheaper GC, but it would have made more sense…

Frankly pavise is very strong in castle age. If you go archers into xbow then defensive castle + pavise then mix in genoese xbow to amortize the castle cost that archer blob is worth microing at 1 less range. It won’t trade super well against archers obviously but because pavise buffs both xbows and genoese xbows that blob can’t be taken lightly by most units including archers without civ buffs.

Elite genoese are noticeably weaker against most imperial age archers as most other archers gain 1 attack where the genoese doesn’t and the genoese xbows armor advantage shrinks to +25% rather than +50%. What used to be a moderate loss becomes a slaughter and facing arbs feels like a night and day difference compared to xbows. This also makes it relatively weaker vs infantry than in castle age. The only thing that stays the same is the ability to kill cavalry.

So however you feel about pavise + genoese xbow in castle age will determine how you feel about the elite genoese with pavise. Also have to consider if, design wise, pavise should be a castle age power spike or not.

There’s a few options depending on how you feel:

  1. Reduce cost. Implies castle age genoese with pavise is very strong and elite shouldn’t be that strong. The chu ko nu kind of takes this route where all you get is 5hp, reduced TT, and 2 more attacks.
  2. Give (+1 attack, -1 cav and camel damage) AND (+1 pierce armor XOR +5 HP). This is the other end of the spectrum. It implies castle age genoese with pavise is balanced and that should continue into imp.
  3. Actually the castle age genoese needs a nerf. The training time was what held it back but it’s too good all around with pavise en masse.

I’m sympathetic to all 3 arguments. Number 2 seems OP but Italians are the only civ lacking halbs where their compensation is their unique unit. All the others have Camels or just need a UT. Number 3 seems counterintuitive since the buffs definitely helped.

It’s a tough call.

Castle age Genoese have the same base attack as an Arbalest, just wanted to make that clear. The Genoese doesn’t gain an extra attack with elite, but it was an attack up to begin with.

I agree that castle age Genoese are strong, but they clearly aren’t the oppressive force that would require us to limit any improvements to the Elite upgrade. The main thing that sticks out for me in terms of the problem with the Elite upgrade is that all the options used to control the Genoese become easier to access and harder to deal with, while the Genoese stays relatively the same. Archer civs might struggle with Pavise if that’s the play for Italians, but Onager (for most of these civs) is a serious problem they can field in response.

It costs 400 less resources for a player to get Onagers onto the field than it does to upgrade the Genoese to Elite, and combined with the fact that the Genoese is one of the very few rare instances of an archer unit that doesn’t have a bonus against Spear-line units it makes halb siege even more oppressive than it would be against a generic archer push, especially counting in the limited range.

It’s fair to consider that most civs that get Halb Siege as an effective push generally do not support that with a strong cavalry tree as an option, but I’m just saying that there’s designed inefficiencies in the unit that should keep it in check if we did want to go for a direct buff instead of a cost reduction.


Right I’m just providing a framework for the analysis.

If you think regular Genoese with pavise is balanced in castle age, that implies that Elite Genoese should probably get a moderate buff, to maintain that relative balance. E.g. +5hp and +1 attack. +5 hp and +1 attack keeps most of the genoese’s castle matchups more similar in imp (survive onagers with ~10% hp, hits to kill and die vs arbs more similar, hits to kill and die vs champs more similar, etc.)

If you think regular Genoese without pavise is balanced in castle age, that implies that Elite Genoese should get a different buff, something like +1 attack but no change to defense.

But how do you evaluate the balance of a generalist-unit turned counter-unit fairly and effectively? Certainly this unit is a monster against cavalry… but cavalry has the mobility and will only be in a fight you force it to take. Outside of that jurisdiction, it’s an archer unit with slightly less effectiveness against pikes, and based upon whether or not it’s got all it’s upgrades it’ll perform alright against the rest of the cast. It’s not a unit I’d think to lean on in a good number of matchups, and castle reliance could be trouble.

How I see it, the Genoese is probably balanced with or without Pavise. I don’t honestly believe Pavise changes the calculus, since if you’re getting Pavise there’s a good chance you’re against archers, and the Italians will likely want to have a supplement prepped instead of Pavise if that’s the case. If you aren’t getting Pavise, you’re likely against cavalry, and then your opponent is likely to mix in siege and/or Skirmishers, both of which are going to care less about Pavise than an archer would.

The Elite is a different story. How much of a different story is indeed the question, which is why the thread is asking for ideas.

Honestly I don’t know. I don’t think any other unit in the game has this behavior. They usually are more specialized in castle age then become more generalists in imp or after expensive UTs like chieftains.

I would probably say that the fact the Genoese crossbow does switch roles like this is bad design. I would also say that maintaining balance is relatively easy to do with +5HP, +1 attack, -1 cav and camel damage relative to what the elite Genoese is now. Since the unit isn’t OP in castle age, why not just maintain that balance in Imperial age?

Sounds like a job for condos

Let the elite version be available in archery range and hence more accessible as a counter unit. In castle age, pikes is a good option. But it is far less effective in imperial age. GC is the better choice but relying on a castle to counter cavalry is too bad.

Does the standard Genoese crossbow still have 1.5x fire speed of the Elite variant and standard xbowline because it used to be that the unit was seen as trash overall since in castle age they weren’t viable? Think the elite variant is an underrated unit mainly down to the lack of Italian gameplay on landmaps and just generally being overlooked but think changing the upgrade cost is the safest way of balancing the unit and allow for a nice transition into.