Italian Buff on land

Hi all,
I wanted to start a balance discussion around Italians since it seems to me that there is a great attention of the community.

Currently solt has confirmed that they are one of the worst civ in the game on land.

I want to keep this discussion focused on land balance: regarding water, where they are a meta civ, we can open a specific discussion to establish if the water meta civs (Italians and Vikings) should be nerfed or the weaker water civs (even berbers) should be buffed to get to the level of the meta civs… btw, italians are a meta civ on pure water only (basically one map type). In hybrid maps they are outclassed by several other civs .

Some points on why Italians are so bad:

  • they basically miss a decent eco bonus. Cheaper age up dark->feudal is a negligible 75f that you lose if you get up a villager early…

  • their genoese crossbowman has a huge training time. This is terrible, considering that the ckn, superior in all scenarios and also cheaper is basically x2 faster. Italians are the only civ in the gsme missing all the following:
    – buffed pike
    – halab
    – heavy camel
    So I guess that they were originally designed to play their UU, but currently, even according to pros, GC is one of the worst in the game. A counter unit should have a decent TT, especially if coming from a castle and needing to be massed to be effected

  • the UT pavise is providing a similar effect of the vietmamese bonus but not affecting skirms. Typically when a UT overlaps with a civ bonus, the UT is much stronger (Aztecs UT vs Burmese, Frank UT vs Huns, Mayans UT vs Saracens). This makes pavise a mediocre UT

  • condottiero: one of the worst concepts. Dead after the nerf, it shoulf be anti gunpowder, but gunpowder is very situational especially vs a non-infantry civ like italians.

Some buff proposals around the community:

  • free archer armors and/or archers +1PA as civ bonus. This follows the idea of armored archers suggested by pavise
  • heavy reduction of GC TT. This is mandatory
  • extended effect of pavise. Some options:
    – it also reduces the TT of archers by 40% (this would fix the GC TT issue while making arbs a bit better)
    – extended to skirms (as in the past) and condos
  • improve conods: probably here a bit of rework is needed. I heard the idea of making it a gold only unit… another option is to make it the champion replacement for Italians (which should loose the champion), but this would require to tune its cost (maybe as secondary effect of the imp UT?) and a bonus vs eagles.

Which buffs are necessary for Italians? Several people think they need to be buffed, actually I can say I am more conservative:

  • I am fine with the archer armor bonus (either +1PA or free techs)
  • I would fix the GC TT as additional effect of pavise. This would fix also the paradox of the pavise tech which is otherwise a worse civ bonus
  • I do not believe in condos, they would need a huge rework, so imo they can stay sa they are

Not sure if it is enough… I realize that this civ is really underwhelming, despite having a good potential for a unique and fun playstyle…

*All these proposals have a negligible effect on water, which makes sense for Italians. *
I think that land balance should be fixed first than water balance, since to buff/nerf a pure water play just acting on water specific buff, but I do believe that we need a specific discussion for that, considering also Vikings and other water civs…


This is right. If Italians get a huge nerf on water I’m fine with increasing it to 20%

Very well analyzed and said.

This is true, but buffing that UT is very interesting and hard. Obviously increasing the effect to either +2/1 or +1/2 would be op, especially in maps which focus on the lategame, assuming they get the other buffs aswell. The idea that it should give a decreased training time to the genoese crossbowman is definitely something we can consider. My first thoughts are that it can work, but then pavise should be cheap (if I remember correctly it is a cheap technology already, so there are no problems regarding the cost), since you should be able to mass genoese crossbowman as soon as you can, since the pikemen are just a small-term solution.

This is actually huge. To be honest I never like any of the ideas that were recently proposed by the community. Making them similar to the champion wouldn’t do anything at all imo, do you think if italians had access to the champion and had a bonus which gives bonus for them versus gunpowder, anyone would use them? I don’t think so. What if we give them a bonus versus siege aswell (but no double bonus versus bombard cannons)? This would actually give them a better identity, there are no infantry units which have a bonus against siege anyways plus it also makes sence to go onagers versus a civ like italians and the enemy is also likely to use more trebuchets than avarage since assuming you make a lot of GC you should have a lot of castles. This unit would solo handely counter the halbadier+siege onager combo, and would force the enemy to put something else into the army to defend the onagers or just simply go with another strategy.

Not sure if this is needed but definitely an option.

Good idea.


I see them as infantry without gunpowder weakness as opposed to a unit you make to counter
gunpowder specifically. I’d just give them 10 base attack and -10 or -15 food as with Supplies they lost the food advantage over champions

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If Italians get nerfed on water the bonus to hit is the dock discount. To leave them decent on land, I agree that the best way is to tune the age up discount.

This is in line with the idea of armored archers that the UT suggests. +1 PA is weaker in the early stages but stronger in late game with respect to free armor techs. Both are quite modest overall

I think this would fix 2 problems. The fact that the tech is a worst civ bonus + the fact that the TT of GC is too large. 40% is a good number (for instance franks UT vs huns bonus). It would also help arbalests.

Basically, this would push the identity of archer civ.

this is another very good proposal. At least they would become a unit to use vs a pike+siege combo

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According to the stats, Italian has a low play rate in the popular maps (Arabia, arena) and a significantly lower win rate outside water maps. I agree Italians deserve a buff.

The training time of both Condos and Geno xbow is way longer than other UU. Besides pavise, GC itself seems to be too weak to show that Italians is the archer civs. Plumbed archer, Longbowman, Chu ko nu, rattan archer are all superior than GC in terms of cost, stats, TT.

TT should be reduced for both units and Pavise should be buffed a bit. TT of GC may be reduced to 16, 13 (elite). GC upgrades seems to be relatively more expensive (900 Food, 750 Gold)after DE. Either Reduction in upgrade cost or buffing elite version will make it worthwhile to upgrade. For example, +1 atk or +1 range for elite version will be good enough. If not stat buff, halving the upgrade cost is also good. Condos use Pavise in reality so it is reasonable for Pavise to affect Condos.

Players complained condos was very powerful in team games with infantry-specialized ally like goths before 5.7. Condos was utilized in a way ‘quantity over quality’ to overwhelm oppenents. Before patch 5.7, Goths could produce Condos in 6 seconds with techs and civ bonus. Condos then received TT nerf but this kills the unit.

To avoid complain like this, there should be only reduction in TT for Italians only. For example, reduce TT of Condos to 13s but nerf team bonus like +5 in TT for allies/ dont allow ally to produce Condos but Italians can tribute Condos to allies.

Buff GC and Condos should be enough. Giving them camels is not realistic at all. Buffing GC while granting halbs is too much. For eco bonus, Italians can save 345 Food and 150 Gold in total for aging. So this may be boosted a bit. -18% cost instead of -15% or -12% for Feudal/-15% for Castle/-18% for Imperial. But this may be too much.

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I’m not a fan of a tech having 2 very different effects, like pavise increasing armour and reducing TT of GC. Just reduce the base TT.

Why would an extra point of armour for pavise be OP? I’m not saying it’s not, it’s just not obvious to me.

Currently on islands Italians save 225 resources on Feudal + Castle, then 550 resources if they get all the dock technologies, and a little extra on fishing ships. Free archer amour is ‘worth’ 400 resources in Castle.
Just based on these numbers the age-up bonus would need a significant boost to compensate for a reduction in the dock bonus. More like 15->25% then 15->20%.

Most of these suggestions look good.

We’ll see what the devs do :slight_smile:
I just hope they try something soon. It can always be tweaked later.

This is super true. I guess the goal is that GC is a counter unit, not a to go strategy. The main issue is that a counter unit needs to be trained fast, since it is something that you train to answer to your opponent.

Just as example, if pavise cuts as additional effect the TT by 40%, TTs of GC and ckn become comparable (still ckn is cheaper and stronger).

Condos are less critical imo.

My feeling with condos is not a TT issue. Simply it has bad stats. I like the idea of an anti siege bonus of @Szebo210 btw.

I think that buffing GC TT (maybe as additional effect of Pavise) instead of giving them standard options (camels or halabs) is good for Italian uniqueness.

However, They do need some land buff before arriving to GCs… this is where the armor options sound very attractive:

  • you can play in feudal with above average archers if you have free archer armors
  • once you research the UT, your armor advantage becomes permanent. You also get faster training archers (both arbalest and GC) if you add to pavise the TT reduction.

A similar effect is given by +1 PA for archers

Actually free archer armors is more a military buff (similar to Magyars free attack techs). In fact, when you research the archer armor, it is because you can afford it. So free archer armor basically provides you a time window where you have the armor and your opponent does not. The effect is similar to +1 PA. Italians would restore their armor advantage after researching the UT ,(or they will boost the armor advantage if +1PA is implemented instead of free armors)

I did a similar computation in the past, getting to very close results!

They should really buff them for land but also nerf the 50% discount for Dock techs.
50% discount is just too much! Should be 30 or 35% max…

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Yeah this is a clear issue and lets hope the devs will do something about water balance. Anyways, lets focus on land buffs in this discussion.

This makes sense… however Italians are critical on land, and land balance should be addressed first.

  • top pure water civs (especially italians) are not top tier on hybrid maps, so you should also compensate a nerf
  • water nerfs should hit water specific bonuses (cheap dock techs for Italians and ship discount for Vikings)… this is another reason why we should focus on land firt
  • nerfing italians only would worsen the water meta, since we will get just one meta civ, the Vikings instead of 2. So we should focus on how to nerf both italians and Vikings

So yeah, let us focus on land balancing first

I agree that italians should be as good on hybrid maps as on pure water maps don’t misunderstand, but I think the idea that all pure water civs should be top tier on hybrid maps shouldn’t be generalized. Like how persians are top tier on hybrid but above avarage on pure water maps, I don’t think that the portuguese should be top tier on hybrid maps only on pure water maps.

Yes exactly. If a civ has an extreme water bonus but is terrible on land, it is just decent on hybrid maps, since it will win just the water part which is often minor. For instance, if you hit the ship discount of Vikings, maybe you should give them free guilnets. Similarly if you nerf the dock tech discount for Italians you should buff the age up discount.

This way the civs will remain as they are in hybrid maps (not top tier but surely decent) while they will be much weaker on islands.

I was curious on the armor bonus:

  • Is this what they need?
  • which is the best option? +1PA as civ bonus or free armor techs?
  • is there another, better way to buff them? Like discounted eco techs or similar

It seems to me that +1PA less elegant than, and approximately equivalent to, pavisse 1/1 -> 1/2 combined with free archer armour.
Someone was saying that +1/2 armour on archers would be OP in post-imp, which would count against either of these proposals. I don’t really buy it, seeing Rattan archers get 6 base pierce armour.

You need really a lot armor (especially if it is the melee one) to make archers op. Most ranged units have 0/0 base armor and very small HP, so they don’t get that much tankier. Plus, this doesn’t really help against onagers.

I agree with @Exradicator that +1 PA is not OP, even combined with pavise. However free archer armors sounds like a cleaner option.

+1 PA affects the late game, free archer armors does not. However free archer armors affects more unit during the intermediate stages

I’m up for italians as an armored archer civ, but I think just free armor upgrades and pavise alone are not going to be enough.
Perhaps addig one pierce armor to the archer line as a bonus would do the trick. Or maybe a buff to pavise.

I don’t think genoese should get too much extra pierce armor though. It would be much more interesting if they had high melee armor, that’s an idea that hasn’t been explored yet. Very strong against all melee units except a few exceptions (like huskarls, cataphracts and so on) but weak against skirms and siege like the usual archer line.

This can be implemented with: “archers have +1 PA” instead of “free archer armors”.

GCs are really bad vs ranged units, considering also the low range. Still, vs other ranged units like arbalests, the Italian arbalest would be way superior.

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GCs are really bad vs ranged units, considering also the low range. Still, vs other ranged units like arbalests, the Italian arbalest would be way superior.

Yeah, they are very against almost everything right now, except cavalry. Personally, I would find it interesting if they were very strong against all melee units (except special ones like huskarls or cataphracts) but not too strong against other ranged units, so they can be countered effectively even by normal skirms.

That sounds close to the role of HC, but I think they partially are. Still the priority would be to fix their terrible TT…