Infantry civs never used in Professional/Upper ladder

I’ve been casting games for quite a while, also watching a lot of other casters performing on professional games/top of the ladder (let’s say 2k+). Current meta revolves around 2 type of units: Cavalry and Archers.

This leads to:

1- Boring and predictable games: Most 1v1s are the same, feudal archers pressing and damaging for a lethal blow on xbows, or the enemy goes up to Castle Age and starts spitting out Knights and wins.
2v2s are and Archer and a Cav civ on each team, the cav civ will go scouts and then knights, while its ally would go archers into xbows. Armies will meet and knights will perform the lovers dance, on both sides, ignoring the enemy while trying to beat ballistics.

2- A ton of civs are left out, or even when they have strong infantry they are played out as a Cavalry or Archers civ (eg. Vikings and Japanese are played as an xbow civ). Only civs played as infantry today are Aztecs and Goths. Aztecs have no knights, and their xbows are ok but their eagles are just better overall. Goths have incredibly become viable on islands due to the one-barracks-invade.

Personally I love infantry. Usually armies were made mostly of infantry. I play the game, so I understand why you would pick the mobility of the cavalry, or the damage potential of xbows. It just makes me sad I can predict no infantry is going to make its way into any army in any competitive game.

Ideas would be to obviously buff the infantry completely, dealing only with the problems of current bonuses that would make some civs way to OP (I’m looking at you Goths). Maybe a new mechanic would make the infantry more viable? Anything would be better than the current state.


thats because infantry are support units in this game. and pretty much always have been.
and infantry civs are never used? that’s false.
celts, aztecs, and vikings are all commonly picked infantry civs. japanese are great on hybrid maps. Teutons are stellar on arena. Malians are a solid Arabia pick. Bulgarians are seeing more use of late and Sicilians are getting a buff to make them better. the only Infantry civ i don’t see all that often is bloody goths.

okay tell me - how do you make infantry viable against both archers and cavalry, while also balancing them around the fact that they don’t take bonus damage from any trash unit, are much cheaper then both archers and cavalry, and also train much faster?


Vikings are picked, yes, as I said, but they are mostly played as an archer civ. Celts are played in some specific scenarios, and getting to woad warriors takes a lot of effort and usually can get better results with knights.

I think the point is made: infantry should not be a support unit. It was not the way infantry worked at all. And you are saying they are most cost efficient? Because cheaper is not cost efficient.


I think I thematically agree with you, it would be cool to see infantry being the main unit line, instead of archers and knights, because that is actually pretty ridiculous in terms of immersion, but…

… this ship has sailed way, way, past the point where the game is going to be redesigned to such an extent where infantry is going to be the ‘main’ unit type. (and I use the verb redesign, because really, I do think it would take a seriously large amount of changes to make it happen)

Besides AoE is full of weird ‘AoE Logic’ anyway, but that’s exactly one of the things that gives the game its charm :slight_smile:


because infantry are a support unit, they aren’t supposed to compete with knights and archers.

but there is this wonderful thing called “balance” that has to be considered. Aztecs, Incas and Mayans didn’t really use siege weapons, nor did they have access to crossbows, arbalesters or steel. but they do in game. why? balance.
do you think siege rolled around without humans controlling it? but thats how it works in game.

no - i’m saying that they are cheaper, and trained faster.
arbs train in 27 seconds.
paladins 30 seconds.
champions 21 seconds.
also - two of those have trash units that do bonus damage to them. one does not.

so again - if you want to infantry to not be a support unit - prove how it can be done.
prove that you can make them cost effective against both archers and knights, without breaking game balance.
making them effective vs cavalry wouldn’t take much because melee.
but what about against archers and cav archers? furthermore let’s say you somehow make them effective against both cavalry, and archers of all kinds. what do you if your opponent forces you off gold against infantry civs?

by the way your title is entirely misleading.

here is the top of the ladder (top 10%).
sure there are 0 infantry civs in the top 5 played.
but there are 7 infantry civs in the top 15 in playrate.
and there is only 1 infantry civ in the bottom 10 in playrate.

the civs are left out because position-picking means you never face fair civs anymore. you only face the overpowered ones that make a single unit super-efficienty for the entire game

they should also nerf xbow/knight so that they’re used 75% of the time instead of 99.9% of the time, but the balance has been ruined because they ignore 3v3/4v4

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I’d be careful of saying that infantry is weak. They’re underused but when you see them used competitively they do exactly what you expect them to do: wreck bases without being as vulnerable or slow as seige. I remember in HC4 champions melting castles on the map ‘cup’. Mix in pikes and/or seige to deal with archers and cavalry and it’s actually interesting to watch the rare times it occurs. In fact there were a lot of good infantry strategies executed in HC4, so I wouldn’t say they aren’t competitively viable. I’d say it’s more likely players have old habits that die hard lol.

One actual reason I think archers + cavalry might be picked more is their up-front costs are lower; they’re very good out of the box so to speak. So even if on a per-unit basis infantry are good with the relevant techs you’d expect them to be less used. But this doesn’t mean they need a stat buff, only fixed cost tweaks.

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Completely agreed here. Did OP watch HC4? There was infantry everywhere. Was a core part of so many incredibly good games.

Bulgarian 2HS becoming more and more common too.



If Making them in 21 seconds, and having no weaknesses against counter units - why aren’t army comps based on Champions?

The title is not missleading: Only Viking and Goths from the top 15 are played for their infantry, whereas the rest are used because an economic bonus or Incas just for… towers.

What I see is, you get a ton more damage fron an out of the box knight than a fully uprgraded long swordsman at the same time. You need just chain barding and those +2 knights will dive in and out on your eco with ease. Xbows, the same thing, one upgrade and 2 techs to be ok, and well, a couple more if you want them to be op.

You can still try to go for a 4 blacksmith and 4 barracks techs just to have an underwhelming unit for a higher cost. Infantry should not be held to just countering knights with pikes.

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because they don’t fair well against knights or archers? plain and simple. also there are comps based on using the militia line - go take a look at bulgarians 2HS, or Malians infantry play, or goths infantry play.
are they common? no. but they certainly exist and have potential.

again - infantry is a support unit in this game and pretty much always has been. even the tech tree tells you that infantry isn’t supposed to compete with archers and knights.
Create Archer (Cost: 25W 45G)

Ranged unit. Strong vs. units at long range. Weak vs. Skirmishers and units at close range.
Create Militia (Cost: 60F 20G)

All-purpose infantry unit. Strong vs. buildings and infantry. Weak vs. archers at long range.
Create Knight (Cost: 60F 75G)

Powerful all-purpose cavalry. Strong vs. infantry and archers. Weak vs. Pikemen, Camel Riders, and Monks.

its all right there. the militia line isn’t supposed to fight knights and archers.

they aren’t. they also beat every trash unit in the game, and absolutely thrash huskarls and eagles.

again - tell me - since you continually ignore it.

I did see most of HC4, and I’ve seen some games with infantry: still, I’d say most of the games did not.

Also cup is not the same as a random map on the ladder either, so this would only work for a tournament played one in a while. You can of course come up with maps for infantry, and it wouldn’t be a bad thing to do. But on a normal map, you would mostly avoid them.

I’ve also seen Celts being picked a lot in cup, but as per my understanding, they can deal with both water aggression and archers by having a wood gathering bonus. Then we have seen some super late game champions, fueled by the speed bonus they get (murdered by demos, but just a circunstance) or some woad raiders to poke vills for some idle time. Granted, he could have just gotten the same results with light cav costing no gold or stone.

Anyone here can agree with me that Japanese Champions are really scary at taking down builidngs.

Possible improvements for infantry, independent of one another:
-Not having to upgrade the units on age advance (militia-line)
-Allow infantry unique units to be created on barracks.
-Tweak armor/pierce armor to let them have a role in the famouse triangle of adv/disadv. (eg. improve their armor, reduce pierce armor)
-Make infantry take less pop cap (hard one I guess)

steals Bulgarians bonus and also the issue with this is stuff like Malians infantry exist.
still isn’t going to make them competitive vs knights though and archers.

steals goths bonus. still isn’t going to make them compete with knights and archers (for the most part).

first of all this triangle has never existed for gold land military units.
so which way does the triangle go? does archers counter infantry counter cavalry? or does infantry counter archers who counter cavalry?

and lets pretend you do implement the triangle. x beats y beats z beats x.
what do you do if your facing an infantry civ and don’t have the counter to infantry?

The only civ that allows that are Goths, and need a castle and to invest into Anarchy to do that.
However, in other infantry UUs would be broken, imagine Shotels, Karambits, Gbetos, Teutonic Knights or Berserks being spammed at barracks.

Well you always have a counter to infantry (even for meso civs with slingers). All civs should have a way to develop their main plan and the have access to some kind of counter. The problem remains when infantry civs meet cavalry civs: if you go pikes you lack the mobility to defend properly, or the damage to press forward.
You can give both Bulgarians and Goths another bonus, Goths may benefit a lot from an economic bonus, and you can give some other bonus to Bulgarians too.

Archers can be micro’ed by using their range. Doing hit and run etc.
Cavalry can be micro’ed by using their speed, flanking, picking fights etc.
Infantry can’t really be microed. They’re cost effective, but they’re slower than everything. The thing they have going for them is being cost effective. But there’s not much you can actively do to make them more effectiv. With cav and archers you can.

With Infantry you just sit there and fight if the opponent let’s you. Not a good thing to go for in the earlier stages of a game, where you have time to micro all of your army.

There are two solutions:
Get to lategame, where player’s can’t manage to micro everything anymore and Infantry can actually get to ranged units or you just flood to opponents base, because you now have the eco to produce enough. That’s already happening in games and quite possible with various civs, so I think we’re fine here.

Or you have something your infantry can protect, so the opponent has to fight you. It can either be your base or siege weapons - and that’s happening as well, even though it’s basically online Pikemen used in that sense (which is not too bad as well).

The concept of Infantry is to be cost efficient and spamable. But you need to first develop a good economy in order to get to a stage where that’s possible. And that’s why we don’t see infantry in Early Castle Age.
I do agree, it could be easier to get to Champions and maybe the whole unit line could be a tiny bit faster. But that wouldn’t change anything about their appearance in early Castle Age. The unit concept (being spamable and flooding the enemy) only works in late Castle Age and there you usually want to use your eco first to get to Imp - and that’s then where infantry can finally shine.

The only way to make them appear early Castle Age would be to make them straight up overpowered and I’m sure that’s not something we’d like to have.

So be happy with your archers and cav (and siege and booming and monks and certain UUs) in the earlier stages of the game (which is everything until mid Castle Age) and look forward to the later stages where the strategic options become wider and wider (including infantry) :slight_smile:

It’s basically like complaining that there’s no siege in Feudal Age - that’s totally fine for this stage of the game. You can get your siege in later stages - it’s the same with infantry, only that some infantry units are already avaliable (and they do see use, just not as the core of your army - which, again, is fine).

I like the game the way it is :slight_smile:


It is fair to say you see games with Vikings having 4-5 castles and not playing bersekers, yet you see 1 castle Mangudai play.