The late game hussar spam is probably my favorite strat., at least in late game. (It works with eagles as well, as long as there’s plenty of gold, which is not the standard in late game). The hussar is clearly the game’s best trash unit, as he doesn’t cost wood. Wood on late game Arabia becomes a serious problem. Woodcutters are much more exposed than farmers, lumbercamps have to be refreshed soon, woodlines that used to be part of walls are now gone, etc. If it goes really late, there will even be no wood left and the hussar player will win, considering he needs much less wood. If he has crop rotation, he could arguably even sell food to buy wood while maintaining a surplus of food…
From my experience, there are three tips that counter hussar raids/spam quite effectively.
I) Castles with architecture take one damage per hit
Castles with architecture are crazy good against hussars. It’s actually the hussar spam strat that really made me like the „architecture” tech. With that tech, a fully upgraded hussar just does one damage per hit to a castle (or krepost).
A tower (keep, BBT or Yasama tower) has only 3 base melee armor. With masonry and thus architecture, it climbs to 3+1+1. A hussar having 7+4 attack, he can deal with towers. He has pierce armour and HP against keeps and Yasama towers. BBTs do one-shot any hussar in the game, but those towers are simply prohibitevily expensive. Totally worth it to lose up to twenty hussars to bring a BBT down. Not to mention BBTs fire so slowly they aren’t that effective against hussars. (By the way, I’ve noticed several times the same bug as Viper, husbandry light cav./hussars move despite ballistics often too fast for castle fire).
At last, many more vills can be protected inside a castle than in a tower.
–> Castles with architecture are near invincible for hussars and thus can stop a hussar spam.
This also leads to my conclusion that even though the Bulgarian hussar is the strongest one in melee, eg against halbs, and the Burmese hussar the best against buildings, eg castles, the Malian Farimba light cav. has actually the most « spam » potential, as he can effectively deal with defensive castles, while being particularly strong against halbs. Malians even have crop rotation. The Malian « hussar » spam is therefore in my opinion the Malian’s power spike in the late game, once paladin/druzhina/garland wars have been researched, meaning Malians are very strong at every stage of the game.
II) Wall with production buildings
In the late game, one has to spam production buildings. When I play AoE III, because of the five-at-once queue, I usually want five to ten production buildings for my main unit. In AoE II, as there is just a one-unit queue, I easily have twenty production buildings (or more) for my main unit. I seldomly sell wood throughout the game, I need it for spamming buildings.
With that amount of buildings, one can really wall. These are no palissades. They don’t go down like paper. Viper likes to have “space” in his base, meaning he always leaves narrow passages when spamming production buildings. I think he could do it better. He shouldn’t let gaps exist. Those gaps will be and are used by his ennemy to raid. Viper losses are usually down to raids in his eco…
With a wall of production buildings, one can deal with attacking ennemies, especially siege. If the ennemy sends a ram to open the wall, one just trains some units from the wall and in no time the ram is surrounded and destroyed. Just as with rams, one can fast outnumber hussars that decide to attack forever a certain production building to finally get in.
Hussars easily destroy palissade walls. Stone walls do stop them, but it costs precious stone.
–> Production buildings stop hussars, and it costs zero stone.
This tactic works especially well with stables, as one can continue to use the « select all » hotkey for all production buildings, the cavalry units will get to the front very fast. But it also works with any building, provided one uses then control groups for separate groups of production buildings, to avoid training some infantry, skirms or siege units from the back of the base.
III) Six more TCs instead of one castle to be able to reboom in no time
Through walling and good defences, there shouldn’t be any raids in the first place. But through bad luck (gate open, overchop, lost building…) they can still always happen. In such a case, one has to be able to replenish vill losses very fast. (In parallel to closing the gaps to stop any further raids).
Hera suffered a while ago a horrific raid against Liereyy in a rated game. Despite an insane 60 vills loss in a few minutes, he still was top score and maintained the front quite nicely with fully upgraded war wagons. He had to resign because he wouldn’t get the chance from Liereyy to get a rolling eco back in time. If he would have had eight or preferrably even more TCs, he could have reboomed in no time. Hussars cost much more food than vills, so a tradeoff between a hussar against a vill must become a bad tradeoff. If one manages to reboom very fast, the invested food of the opponent into hussars will hinder him to get a big eco lead while he had more vills.
At last, if one has a lot TCs, many vills can be protected inside when the hussars arrive in the eco.
–> A lot of TCs permit a fast reboom and btw a lot of protection against hussars.
Spamming TCs obviously works especially well with Bulgarians (Hera’s 40 TCs…), Malians (T90’s Tigui troll…) or to some extent Britons, but having 8+ TCs should in my opinion be done with every civ. if one has to fear hussar raids/spam.
Those were my tips. If other people have tips, I’m interested in reading them.