Is the Huskarl a badly designed unit?

I want to start by saying that I don’t think goths are OP in fact as a man of cloth stats I fully accept they are UP if anything. That being said for along time I’ve thought that the huskarl is a badly designed unit.

Its obviously an anti archer unit, FU it has 10 PA, 16 attack, ~1.1 speed and +10 Archer bonus damage. The main issue as I see it is that it is has a very high base attack on top of its bonus damage and pierce armour meaning unless you have FU champions or HC you can’t counter it (and even then you are playing into goths strenght as they get discounted champions).

My problem is that this just leads to matches that are quite simply a race to see if you can criple goths enough before they get the flood online. In particular Mayans and Vietnames are hard countered by imperial age goths. Unfortunately even Cav aren’t a decent counter because its too easy to mix Huskarl’s with halbs. Alongside that with their anti-building bonus they are almost the perfect raiding unit for taking down vils + tcs.

Again goths themselves are not OP but I just feel this unit is just badly designed and matches end up being based purely around it, ideally it needs a reduction in base attack but then give goths some major form of compensation to ensure they don’t become further UP.


You’re right. The biggest problem about Huskarls is exactly his high damage, which makes him generically a Champion on steroids, decent even against Hussars/Cavaliers.

That’s where you’re mistaken my friend, in my opinion though.
When addressing an issue regarding an Unique Unit we have to approach it in a wholistic point of view, just like you did which I appreciate, yet you didnt go far enough, Goths and Huskarls are one, there is no Goths without Huskarls, the unit is so deeply rooted in the civ identity to a point of inseparability, which makes balancing Goths so hard.

Huskarls are the most viable infantry unit in the game (excluding the pre-balance new civs), nerfing them is tricky, it’d further make Goths into a Post-Imp civ where all you can do is just boom into a dooms-day win condition. Maximum viability that’s what we want when it comes to UU, less depandant on fantasy boom scenario, which what makes Goths so wonderful to play when you got a Castle on.

Goths are a horrible design, that’s what makes Huskarls so cancerous. Having the best late-game army composition in the game, while also having the best (top 3) late-game eco bonus in the game (10 pop), it’s an absurd harmony, while fully abandoning their early game, since it’s quite hard balancing Goths early game considering the potential of their late game.

To conclude, Spanish are a good example of a design that have a broken UU that’s well implemented, Spanish rely on the Conq, without them they’re dead in terms of identity, diversity, playability… Nerfing Conqs (aka turning them into a gun powedered CA like many suggest here) will lead to Portuguesezation, making Spanish an empty civ. So before we address Huskarl we cant ignore how poor Goths design is, and therefore fix it first.


I guess this can also be said about Koreans, Burmese, Turks* and Portos*. Civs who rely heavily on their UU.
How to fix this “problem” (I wonder)

Lower base attack than the much cheaper champion, and no base melee armor. Countered well enough by most decent generic/UU infantry and generic/UU cavalry. If you’re impressed with the “high base attack” plus bonus damage, wait til you see the Jag.

Not unique to Goths at all. There are plenty of deathball, spam, or power-unit type civs that you want to damage early so that they can’t get to their later strengths. That said, the Goth powerspike in early-mid Imp (when they get Perfusion) is neither remarkably strong nor very long lasting. I would rather be Japanese, Aztecs, Slavs, Burmese, or most other decent infantry civs at just about any point in the game than Goths. Plenty of civs can wreck Goths with better infantry, to say nothing of the other ways.

Because it’s literally the only thing that’s strong about the Goths that isn’t clearly outshone by tons of other civs, and in a meta where you rarely see infantry for fear of archers (among other things), the civ that gets an anti-archer infantry will be incentivized to make it. There are already few situations where it’s a good idea to pick Goths. Nerf the huskarl, and you’ll take that number much lower than it needs to be.

This thread seems like it should be from 2007. Pretty big disconnect between how the civ/UU is being assessed, and how has played out above 1.4K for the last decade and change.

…Yes, that’s countered by one unit, or by massed siege. It’s not necessarily a terrible comp, but IMO isn’t even within striking distance of top 5, probably not top 10.

Does anyone else think this? I’ve run into maybe 2 people over the years that somehow think that +10 pop gives Goths some kind of mind-blowingly powerful economy.


Well look at bengalis that have insane late game eco due to the extra 15 pop or so you get. Tbf bengali have a very strong eco bonus to set their boom up. But even goths one would be very strong as late game eco if it wasn’t for the fact that their military is so cheap that you basically never use it for extra vils but rather for extra military. So while it could be used as late game eco bonus it’s usually used as military bonus (which makes sense considering you wanna overwhelm with numbers).

Off-topic, but this seems like a good opportunity to ask you, and gamers in general, to stop describing features of computer games as ‘cancerous’. Comparing a mild annoyance while playing a game to one of the worst diseases a human can suffer from is, at best, totally ridiculous and makes you look like you lack any sense of proportion. I get that you want to convey the strength of your opinions, and I get that this is the tip of the iceberg of an over-the-top writing style that you presumably think gives your opinions some extra weight (although in practice it tends to make them somewhat incoherent). But no feature of any computer game can reasonably be compared to cancer, and it’s hard to take someone seriously if they think otherwise.


No, that’s wrong. Huskarl damage is just average for an infantry unit. Also it does not decent even against Hussar and Cavaliers. Against Hussar is okay’ish, but still not preferable, because they don’t cost gold. Against Cavalier Huskarl sucks. Keep in mind that Huskarls are not very cheap. In fact they’d be quite overpriced if it wasn’t for the Goth bonus.
They fill their role and they have enough stats to overrun the opponent if you’re ahead in eco, but there are a lot of options to beat them if both players are even. I think they’re fine and actually in a good spot.

Not sure about that one. They’re definately in the discussion for that. I’d see Halbs above them though. Berserks could have an argument for them as well. Eagle Warriors I’d see as superior. Obuch is a pretty good unit.
Not that I want to open that discussion here, but Huskarls are for sure not as “above everything else” as you try to make it look like.

Uhm, no?

That seems like a far better evaluation.
There are way too many good counters against Goths to be one of the best lategame civs. Only exception is low elo where people struggle to get to more than 10 oif those counter units.
Goth lategame is an average upper mid tier or lower high tier I’d say. It has some nice potential and some civs struggle quite a lot, but it’s not an absolute powerhouse.

Again very questionable. But even if we grant that, their army comp is just not good enough to be a contender for the very best lategame.


I think you are confusing “I don’t like playing vs it” and “badly designed unit”.

Huskarl is actually fairly reasonable, it has 1 less attack than a Champion and less pierce armor, it also costs more gold than a Champion. You really don’t wanna trade them vs enemy Champions. In theory, every Goth “flood” is counterable. Champion beats Huskarl, Arbalest beats Champion + Halberdier. Given enough micro, Goth is beatable by every civ.

Without micro… Goths are still beatable by most civ, by mixing Handcannoneers or killing them in Feudal/Castle age. Hell, even on Arena, where in theory they are allowed to free boom behind walls, Goths aren’t a great civ.

Anyway, their design is reasonable. Infantry-focused civ with an emphasis on cheapness. There are similar civs like for example Berbers who are cavalry-focused with emphasis on cheapness also. There are civs that in contrast focus more on raw power, for example Franks/Lithuanians (cavalry), Burmese (infantry). Their design is reasonable and they have a place in the game.

As for “late Imp Goth flood is unbeatable”, there are other civs that are unbeatable at certain stages of the game, or very hard to beat. Britons/Mayans in Feudal/Castle age, Bengalis/Mongols in Imperial age, and so on. These are called power spikes.

Goths aren’t even close to “the best late-game army”. Any civ with Handcannons beats them, for example Hindustanis have no problem beating Goths late game OR early game. If Goths late game truly was unbeatable, you could literally stone wall on Arabia, 5 TC boom and win. In truth even late game Goths are far from autowin.

it costs 13 more gold or to put it in perspective vs a Goths Champion, +100% gold.

the reason Goths get +10 pop is because they are so infantry-focused, and infantry isn’t very pop efficient, particularly infantry without last armor. With 200 pop, Goths would suck in Imperial age also.

Anyway there are tons of civs that are better late game than goths, for example Bohemians, Slavs, Hindustanis, Turks.

1 Like

No.It really isn’t. You need to factor cost.

If you think huskarls are bad, wait until you face someone who can use mangudai properly


Actually no. Against a good Goth player this isn’t a viable strat. Cause the Goth flood is a macro game.
It’s actually impossible to stop that goth flood with anything but certain units that can deal with low numbers of swarming infantry in low numbers. And without micro.
Things like TK but also slingers to some extend, if positioned right. HCs can’t, its just that easy, cause they need too much micro/attention.

The reason why that Goth flood works is cause you can’t defend at all angles at once. It’s just impossible cause defending takes more attention than macroing masses of units attack move in someons base from different angles.

Goths maybe, in the midgame, but not the Goth flood.

That’s how you should approach them. You now they will try to go for that flood play late. So you need to think about your win conditions. Beating them with better timings, don’t let them place their castles easily. Try to don’t let get them the stone in too easily.

In the current meta goths are actually not so strong as they used to be, as the current meta people get better and better with their timings. And Goths die to good timings cause their eco is so bad.

They aren’t OP. That’s the cool thing about them.
Yes basically everybody hates playing against them cause of the way you have to play against them and what they do is so annoying.
But as speaking for myself and being honest. I think I only love this game cause there are these super annoying civs/strats, cause it makes the more standard and sometimes repetitive games so much more enjoyable.

And therefore I wouldn’t change anything with goths unless they become either trash or OP on the ladder. I love to hate them.

1 Like

if Goths is fully boomed, you should also be fully boomed, and have few defensive Castles and maybe even Stone walls around. Clearly vs swarm/mobility civs, the goal of the game is prevent raids and funnel the fight into 1 choke/area, like vs Hussar civs.

You say Handcannons don’t counter Goths but Slingers do, but rly it’s the same unit.

You are assuming some theoretical scenario where Goths has full boom, all Gold control and can constantly flood. You know which civ is also good when you have gold control and you are fully boomed? Every other civ basically. You are confusing map control and momentum with Goths and their strength, losing to Goth flood is not different than losing to Berbers pop capped and flooding Cavalier + Hussar.

I don’t and I think it’s possible to beat them in early Imp also. If you are letting Goths boom on 5 TC without pressuring, this is rly not different from letting Persians or Berbers boom on 5 TC. It’s called not punishing greed, that always leaves you with a disadvantage.

Slingers you can make in castle age and they don’t need chemistry. You can tech into then super early before opponent masses units which doesn’t really work with hc. Also slingers are just the better unit because they fire faster which is better than high base atk when you do that much bonus dmg.

You can’t make halbs vs goths and be fine. Goths counter different units all with infantry. That’s what makes the flood really hard to defend from in post imp. If you don’t have good infantry counters you’re doomed.

Sure goths is probably as bad in early imp as they are in castle age. It’s less about the age but about the eco goths have. Once they have 50 farmers it can get rough even in castle age the spam can work. That’s why you usually pressure them constantly unless you play burmese teutons byzantines or so then you can lean back and go for your champs or UU and be fine.


I don’t think 50 farmers is enough to do goths flood, you are looking at 70-80 normally. Regardless,

your argument is that you don’t need different production buildings? How is dying to Goths 1-production building spam different than, say, dying to Mayans Plumes + Eagles? Just because Goths specifically use 1 production building doesn’t mean their comp is better.

Handcannons are a good counter, and you do have enough time to tech into them. Chemistry takes long to research but there is enough time and in early Imp you can stall with Castles + Cavalier or some secondary unit you should have been making. Idk why you say Handcannons are a bad Goth counter, they are literally a fine counter and very strong, tbh I don’t know what Goths can do vs full Handcannons, maybe their own Skirms but it seems you are playing out of the civ’s natural water.

Idk, I think a lot of people understand Goth flood wrong, it’s their “signature” strat, sure, it’s hard to stop, sure, but this is not unlike Berbers who somehow got ahead and have 40 Elite Camel Archers + Hussar flood, that one is also hard to stop. Every civ has power spikes and I don’t see Goth late game as inherently far stronger than other late-game civs or signature strats (e.g. early Burgundian Cavalier).

It’s just people have this idea that late game 200 pop vs 200 pop the game is supposed to be fair, when it’s not, there are civs that are good at different things, Goth is toward the top in late game but this isn’t unlike other civs, just when you die to Camel Archer or Mangudai, people think it’s fair “because the opponent got Castles to make them and getting Castles is hard”.

Basically, you explain a posteriori why some strats are hard to get to and some strats (like Goths one) are easy and no skill, but really Goths flood is about as hard to get as Mangudai + Hussar flood, both require you to reach 200 pop with minimal eco bonus.

Like, why are people not complaining about dying to late game Mongols, or getting raided to death by 100 HP Eagles, or dying to Longbowmen camping Castles, I see no difference between these strats.

In general I would say on Arabia, any FU Hussar civ > Goths even late game because you can in principle outmicro and raid better than the Goths, even if you have generic Champion, that’s more than enough to stall for a long time, Champion on front + Hussar raids on the side should win if you have the better micro.

1 Like

The gothic castle unit (and barracks) is a perfectly designed unit. It’s clear role is to melt archers. It is one of the units that stop the feared longbow spam.

Goths have clear weaknesses against someone like the Japanese or the Teutons. Japanese faster attacking infantry. Teutons are considered a bad civ, due to the lack of mobility and bad archers. But the the lumbering at sluggish nature of their castle unit with insane melle armour can actually stop the goth flood dead. Not to mention, the barracks units with more melle armour.

Those are just two examples.

I don’t think anyone considers Teutons a bad civ

1 Like

For most of their history they were considered awful. Due to how sluggish they are. Someone like the Mayans and Huns was a nightmare for them. Which they are still bad against.

HC is a fine counter to Goths. But its anti-infantry role is not as strong as slingers, which is affected by ballistics, 2X RoF and less overkill against infantry.

1 Like

Slinger is stronger sure, but also less generic. Only 1 civ gets Slingers. It’s also worth noting that on the flipside, Slingers don’t do as well vs cavalry/archers, they require more upgrades (Ballistics, Fletching, Bodkin, Bracer at least and probably some armor and Thumb Ring also)

I mean, there are lopsided matchups is what you are saying? Like Mongols vs Celts, or Ethiopians vs Vietnamese. Sure. But this has nothing to do with Teutons.

Teutons are fine. People like TheViper have been claiming for a long time already that Teutons are/were not as bad as people thought. And recently, people grew more into their playstyle, and understand better how Teutons work. Yes, they are incapable of raiding, but they can slowly grind the map with fortifications, infantry and siege and that’s hard to stop for… any civ really.

And their Cavalier/Paladin is still usable, no matter how much people like to overstate the lack of Husbandry. Is lacking Husbandry bad? Sure if you go vs specifically a cav archer civ (vs which you have Heavy Scorpions). But other than that, it’s not like you get nothing in return, +2 melee armor in Imperial matters quite a lot and makes Teutons cavalry trade much better than their generic counterparts.

Goths have no stone walls. They are designed as a horde civ, although the 5TC boom is good to prepare the horde…

1 Like

Yes you’ll need more in the long run but that’s where the flood usually starts.

Because the units aren’t seperated. Say they spam huskarls and halbs in your base you cant micro each single unit while it’s way easier to micro vs eagles and plums. Don’t get me wrong goths are pretty crappy but if you can spam in post imp with full pop it’s very difficult to play against.

No hc usually dont work on open maps. Huskarls still have their atk bonus so you need to keep hc in spot. Huskarls then just split to raid eco and group together if defender and jumps on low number if defender splits up. Hc work well on closed maps or if you are able to stonewall half of the map but that’s usually not the case.

No for sure not. Goths composition is actually super weak when you can force fights. That’s why goths are one of the worst arena civs for instance. Their army is weak but it is cheap and fast to get to in post imp so you can spam opponents to death.

Well I don’t think there’s any reason to complain about goths. The civ is pretty bad in basically any setting. You just have to adapt a bit with a lot of civs to kill them early. But you also need to adapt to aztects yolo eagles (which is waaay stronger) so it’s totally fine.