Kamandaran and the 'trash unit' system

For people not familiar with the term: a trash unit is not a bad unit but a unit that does not cost gold. This type of unit are really important in the lategame when there’s no more gold on the map but still plenty of wood.

In the original game, there were 3 types of trash units:

  • pikeman line
  • skirm line
  • light cav line

Few factors make a civ good or bad in trash fight. For example, turks are bad because they lack elite skirm and cannot even get pikeman. Spanish are good because they got all of the upgrade for all of the susmentionned units. Another factor is the tech switch: for bulgarians for example, you don’t make archer. When you go for skirms, you generaly don’t have a lot of blacksmith upgrade that affect archer (probably attack one, because it affect krepost and castle) and so you have to research them. Some other already have nearly everything you need in the blacksmith (meso civ, who generally go for archer + eagle).

Anyway, in the release of the game, it was a rock/paper/scissor balance on trash. If your civ does not shine in trash war, it’s probably because it should be more powerfull when gold are still around. But since DE, things change. We now have 3 more trash units that requires a tech to become trash:

  • Magyar huzsar (available in castle age)
  • malay two hand swordman (available in imperial age)
  • persian crossbow (available in castle age)

These civ get a wonderfull bonus on trash fight. We could argue a lot of time but they are certainly the best trash units civ. The problem for me is the persian crossbow who are incredibly strong. Let’s see how these 3 units works:

Magyar Huszar:
In castle age, you need to research a technology that cost 300food and 200 gold. Withtout this tech, a Huszar costs 80f 10g. After that it cost 80f only. So in this case, it remove the gold cost. With the price of the tech, the tech is refund after 20 units (if we don’t count the food cost). So we can say that you start to earn benefit after ~25 huszar (if we count research time + food cost).

The problem of this unit rely on 2 things: the unit is created in a castle, so it’s hard to mass them. Magyar already have cheaper Hussar. So even if this unit is wonderfull, i won’t say it’s broken.

Malay THS

You need to research a technology called forced levy that costs 850f and 500 gold to change to cost of this unit from 60f 20g to 80f. So in this case, it does not remove the gold cost, it change the gold cost to a food cost. It’s the same price of a Hussard. Fortunately, supplies exist, which change the cost to 65f. If you research both tech, it cost you 1000 food and 600 gold. So you need 30 unit to refund the cost of it. With malay ‘OP’ fish trap, we can say it’s easy to deal with. THS and champion are really good against other trash unit because they take 0 bonus damage from other trash units.

The problem of this unit relies on the fact that you need to invest a lot of ressources on it and wait for imperial age. Just to remind everyone, malay got nerfed a lot of time and force levy is still considered as a good option for malay. I thin it’s in a fine spot right now

Persian crossbow

You need to research a technology called Kamandaran that cost 200 f and 200g. It’s the cheapest technology for special trash. it changes the cost of archer line units from 25 w and 45g to only 50w, So it weirdly change the 45g into 25w. In term of gold only, you only need 5 archer to refund the tech. It’s created in archery range. This tech is available in castle age, in an age were crossbow are one of the best unit you could make.

The problem of this unit is the lack of imperial upgrade. The only imperial upgrades for them is chemistry and last armore upgrade. So in imperial age you make castle unit but for no gold. And i think it’s broken for the moment. If you go for this tech quite early in castle age (you need a castle , so it’s not that early) you’re able to spam units without food or gold. Food and gold are valuable because it let you go to imperial age. You can slowly collect all the ressource you need to advance to the next age. Your oponnent need to spend food and/or gold to react to your unit, delaying his imperial age. Since you don’t spend any gold to fight and your opponent probably does, you have a gold advantage right starting in castle age.

It’s more easy to spam archer with persian than any other civ in castle age but you’re a not a archer civ. Do not forget their knight, that can support you trashbow against skirms. And persian already have a good economy with their dock/TC boost, bumping persian in a clear advantage.

What if we reach the lategame trashwar? As a persian, you get full upgrade halb, full upgrade hussard, good trashbow and meh skirms. And even if you get bad skirms, there are far worst, such as turkish one.

And add the fact that the map pool is curently good for persian: Nomad? They compete with chineese. Gold rush? if you don’t hold the mid, you have good crossbow to take it. MegaRandom? If it’s a map with low gold, you end up going to trash war very soon. Team island? Not the best, i agree but really strong one. And of course, far from trash on other maps.

In summary:
Persian became one of the best civ on many maps, game modes and trash war and it’s partially because of this tech. This tech should not be a castle age tech but an imperial tech. It does not cost enough (350f, 450 g would be more balanced). Another option would be to remove thumb ring but it would hurt their cav archer option. There’s also a possibility to increse the wood cost to something like 65w


You forget Genitours (and imp skirms), but that’s not directly important. Genitours I think are under rated, since they can function more like “trash cav archers” in late game than mounted skirms. Good units.

Persians did change super drastically with kamandarin. Nobody thought of Persians as an archer civ, but now they’re undeniably so. I would have hoped the trashbows would supplement Persian cavalry and particularly elephants, but they’re so effective and cheap. I don’t think they’re overpowered, and Persians feel strong and fun. Thus, I think it’s a step in the right direction, but I agree on its price.

350 f 450 g, or just 400 400 would be a solid way to change it, but it’s still relatively cheap for what it gives you. I think instead Xbow should be increased in wood price to make it easier to run out of wood. At 70 wood, they’d be closer to Forced Levy 2HS in price (and the technologies would be more consistent in their mechanic). Furthermore, such a huge 40% price increase would mean that its far more resource intensive.

Team islands? Persian xbow may be a suicide move, spending your little wood on a trash unit.
Black forest? Endless wood, known for big trash battles and post imp, strategy unaffected.

With the way they are, it feels like xbow is something to always go for. It’s not situational, but if it wasted more wood then potentially it could be. The way wood is turned into food means that food units use less of the finite map resources.

Alternatively, they could just swap Kamandaran and Mahouts so that Kamandaran is now an Imperial Age technology and vice versa, much like the Britons did with Yeoman and Warwolf.

Edit: I just don’t like the idea of removing techs such as Thumb Ring or Ring Archer Armour for Kamandaran. Their tech tree is fine and always has been. If the problem is with the Unique Tech, then the Unique Tech should be the only thing that gets addressed and I personally don’t think it’s that much of a problem that Kamandaran needs significant changes.


They need more than this nerf. Need to lose ring archer armor and maybe thumb ring. Even if you don’t allow the Persians this tech in castle to flood enemy with knights and crossbow, they still wreck all the other trash units right now in late game. Usually trash units have a counter but this unit is way stronger than all the other trash units as is.

I don’t think is broken. Persians lacks bracer, so basically the xbows remains a castle unit. Not so impossible to counter with hussars or elite skirmishers, altough I agree it would be good Tto put it as a imperial tech, and make ir a little bit more expensive (and make mahouts a castle tech)

It was a great buff to the persians but still I dont see it broken

To be honest, I never thought about this, never got this far, into a game to this point of no gold on a map to resort to just wood production, interesting, thanks for the tip guys. Funny been playing AoE for over a 10 yrs now original and II, funny.

Kamandaran gives you an edge in late castle age, but then the game goes to imp and if you persist in using crossbows you will get pwnd by arbalests. Sure the enemy is spending gold but he wins all his battles… You also have to remember that Persians don’t even get 2 handed swordsmen, so along with the Tatars they don’t have that universal trash killer unit all other civs get.

Thats a GREAT idea, swapping it with mahouts. The reason war elephants are never seen is because it is too slow to do anything, and cannot counter ranged units, the speed in castle age would make it an actual viable unit.

Yes, this tech is very clearly broken, and puts Persians in competition with Lithuanians and Franks for the most OP civ. Why they made it cheaper than just about every other castle age UT and made xbows 50 wood instead of 70 (less total resources than a skirmisher even) is beyond me.

Even in Imperial age, Persian Xbows are respectable, and worth making even against civs with “better” archers that cost gold. The only exceptions to this are games with near-unlimited gold (i.e. team games or gold rush), or maps with very little wood. This is especially true when mixed with the Persian knight line, which is the best in the game against enemy archers and skirms. Persian cav (including war elephants) and trashbows are great at covering each others weaknesses, and I’ve seen Persians chosen frequently in just about every map type because of this.

The clear solution, as it seems, would be to make Kamandaran an Imp tech and make trashbows cost 70 wood. A unit that costs as much res as a villager should not be as powerful as a trashbow is in Imp, much less in Castle.

70 wood is maybe too much. It would be logic but it would be rarely used after that.

[quote=“OliveCereal4714, post:5, topic:67179, full:true”]
I don’t think is broken. Persians lacks bracer, so basically the xbows remains a castle unit. Not so impossible to counter with hussars or elite skirmishers, altough I agree it would be good Tto put it as a imperial tech, and make ir a little bit more expensive (and make mahouts a castle tech)

main problem here is these unit are not fully upgrade for everyone. Most civ don’t have FU hussard or skirms. If you lack last cav upgrade, bloodline or hussard upgrade , trashbow can get ri of them because it’s more easy to mass trahsbow than hussard (wood is collected way more faster than food)

For skirms, you have the perfect response: your own hussard. And your hussard are protected from halbs by trashbow. Trashbow melt group of halb way more faster than skirms.

Do not forget that Persians lack only bracer for their trash. Before Kamadaran, they already were in the top 5 trash civ. Now they are on the n°1 spot.

You have wonderfull paladin with bonus damage against archer for the imp. Since you probably used less gold than your opponent in castle age, it give you more gold for the imp.

The main reason is the fact that their elephant cost too much and can be converted. I only use 1 time to time to defend myself. Swapping tech would be a good nerf for kamadaran but it won’t help these poor elephant.

Mass elephants and trashbows and you are quite strong. Because you can kill both monks and spear-line with the trashbows.

No, that’s quite a bad idea. They don’t have Bracer and Arblester and this does the balance

No, just no. They are quite good at trash but removing thumb ring does heavy damage to them
You guys don’t have a good balance idea. They are quite strong now with this tech, but they are not OP

I dont think they are OP in castle age. They may not cost food or gold but you have to make a castle that you probably don’t need at that stage of the game and that will greatly damage your economy.

I like the cheap upgrade so its viable to go for in castle age (dont forget that u still need a castle)
but i think the wood cost needs to be increased to 70 wood.

Have you seen last NAC3? Biggest DE tournament so far, how often were these civs picked? not much…

Franks were never picked, Lithuanians were picked twice (including by Viper) and twice despite having boosted cav they had to switch to cav archers and eventually lost

There’s no OP civ in the game currently. There are underpowered civs but no OP civ

Unless you stay ages in castle and refuse to make archers before getting Kamandaran up the gold savings won’t be huge. And paladins in 1v1? That’s so long and expensive it barely matters. If I had to compare, a Malian player would have the edge over a Persian one once reaching imperial (Farimba is both faster and cheaper than Hussar+Paladin and they get arbs. Or a Briton with mass longbows would pwn all your cav/Xbows, and there are more examples. Besides all these civ-specific matchups, gold is plentiful in castle/imp because you have so much food to spam villagers to go claim neutral mines. It means you have a lot of opportunities to kill the Persian before their no gold crossbows actually matter. You could compare that to Portuguese: after all they also have a gold discount on ALL units, and yet they are trash tier cuz this bonus alone isn’t OP enough to compensate for they lack of actual bonuses

Yep, saw it. There are a few reasons why I think Franks and Lithuanians were not seen there as commonly as in more regular ranked play:

-The map pool. NAC3 featured a lot of oddball or hybrid maps that are not as common in typical ranked play. Many of these maps encourage civs that take advantage of a very specific niche (e.g. Incas on Land Madness, Mongols on valley, Italians on Islands), or have defensive setups that minimize the impact of early game eco advantages and favor strong castle age civs (Arena, Reg Fortress, Hideout). One of the casters pointed out that Franks may not have been picked because a lot of these maps were low on berries. And, to my point, Persians were picked a lot for NAC3.

-A major balance patch was just released literally 2 weeks before NAC. There is no way that the pros have had time to get a feel for the impact of all those changes. The new meta is still very much in flux, and it makes sense for players to stay on the safe side by picking historically strong civs that were not affected by the last patch (e.g. Aztecs, Huns, Chinese), as opposed to civs that were very strong but received nerfs, however minor. With how good the Franks’ win rate was in HD, you can’t tell me that the very minor debuff of moving their cavalry HP bonus to Feudal makes them anything less than top tier on land, but it makes sense for pros to choose safer civs until they’ve had more time to get a feel for how that little change affected the Franks. As for the Lithuanians, their knight line from Castle through Imp is a class above literally everyone else, and they have what might be the best Dark Age eco bonus. I suspect that they were not chosen more because of the potential risk of not getting 3+ relics, or uncertainty as to how to best use their starting food.

tl; dr, we can learn a lot about balance from the pro scene, but it needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Viper for example, can take an obviously bottom-tier civ like Khmer and frequently pull out wins against other pros, but it wouldn’t be wise to read much into that in terms of civ strength, because most people can’t do that. Furthermore, pros’ tournament choices, while definitely reflecting civs strengths, are often hyper-specialized to squeeze out every last benefit, and rely on excellent micro and macro to gain advantages that often couldn’t be enjoyed by mid to low level players (e.g. Briton Xbow micro). We need to wait for some statistical win rates to make more conclusive statements, but it seems to me that Persians and Franks are OP, and Lithuanians are either OP or right on the edge. I could be wrong, but I really haven’t seen any compelling evidence that leads to that conclusion.

I think that Franks and Lithuanians will see a resurgence in popularity, even in tournaments, and that Persians will stay very high on the list, but time will tell.

Remains to be seen, but I think you can have pretty substantial savings even in castle. Massed xbows are very common in castle, so even with a very conservative estimate of 10 xbows made after Kamandaran in Castle age, you save a non-trivial (450-200 = ) 250 gold over a non-Mayan player. And the more drawn out the Castle Age battle becomes, the more you save. 40 crossbows? You just saved (1800 - 200 =) 1600 gold over your opponent!
There are other major advantages to having this tech, such as:
-You can still make crossbows if your gold gets denied. This is huge. Especially in pro games, denying gold is very common, and might be the single biggest focus of raiding. Being able to still make one of the 2 main meta units in Castle with no gold is a major bonus.
-Even pretending that all resources are of equal value, you save 20 res per xbow over other civs. For reference, that’s more than Goths save per swordsman over civs with supplies, and almost as much as Goths saved pre-supplies (and this is the Goths’ main bonus, and Persians aren’t even an archer civ).
-On most maps, wood is the most abundant resource. With Kamandaran, you can crank out crossbows to your heart’s content without slowing down your Imp time or siphoning gold away from your excellent cav, upgrades, or Imp research.

So yeah, it’s not an invincible tech, but it is very, very strong. Time will tell just how good it is, but I suspect it will be nerfed or moved to Imp at some point.


Then maybe food cost (even if you’re supposed to drown in food in later stages of the game)? Anyway I still thinks that the good late game of the Persians as always been a good enough reason to kill them fast, Kamandaran allows some more diversity to be seen. THe “crossbow if gold is denied” is a good point, but skirms still beat them right? As of Lithuanian, it’s not the opposite of Viper making Khmer work, it’s Lithuanian “making” him lose against a non-meta civ (Celts are good, but nowhere as meta as Mayas or Mongols). Of course they were taken only twice, unlike Persian, but it’s hard to say if it’s cuz of Kamandaran or of the Dark age boost.