Malians - one of the most multidimensional civs

This post isn’t about tweaks. I aim to talk about exploring the civ. The civ in general has had quite a lot of nerfs like the Arambai which adds to its reputation.

Looking at the tech tree, Malians have complete tech tree till Castle age, except for regional unique unit. Malians also have 2 economy bonuses, which maybe weak in late game but are enough to make them strong in early game.

Ideally in dark age, you don’t place farms. So the 15%savings on buildings is like 17.6% faster food gathering. This is true for everything except hyprid/water maps where you would also make fishing ships. This also makes Malians strong on water because it is basically the Viking team bonus.

The free Gold Mining bonus isn’t game breaking since Turks and Portuguese have better versions of the bonus. The Malian bonus is also temperory.

They are among a limited pool of civs which can use Long Swordsmen. Their wood bonus + gold bonus makes it ideal to go archers or good on water. Problems arise in Imperial Age.

They have Arbalesters but not Bracer. Usually prefer latter. Maybe because of archery range work time or because bracer also gives +1 range.

They have Siege Onagers but not Siege Engineers. Also rest of the siege is trash. Usually they use infantry for anti-buiding and anti-archer roles since their Champions have the same pierce armor as Siege Onagers. What are your opinions on the single good option - the Malian Siege Onager (Malians and Cumans have the same Siege Onager)? Is it worth it in team games?

The Malians in late game also have surprisingly low reliance on gold except for their Fast Fire Ships. Champions are gold inexpensive always and combine that with Farimba Light Cavalry to snipe siege or raid.

Farimba is also quite weird. I don’t mind missing Paladin simply because a strong cav civ may not need a Paladin. Their camels are also quite strong having +3 attack over usual. They fill in the anti-cavalry role as usual, but I don’t think their +3 attack is being used much. The effect of the attack boost is against other camels, Cataphracts , Trade carts and Halberdiers/Pikemen. The highest effect of this bonus against camels is against units which the camel isn’t supposed to fight like villagers, monks, infantry and foot archers.

They lack Hussar and have +3 attack over normal light Cavalry. This is not ideal. Survival is also important. However, unlike the camel, thr +3 attack also has some ripple effects. However they still need 4 hits to kill a villager. After 3 hits, a standard villager is left at 1 HP. This bonus is huge against trade carts since Light Cavalry can actually chase trade carts and Malian ones can take them in 5 hits. Another effect of the bonus is that in absence of castles and anti-cavalry units, Malian LC can takr down town centres with ease. In large numbers they can also take down castles. Making them super cost effective in late games where one is not able to focus everywhere.

Going into the game, the player has to think whether he can end the game in castle age or not. If game can end in castle age, any or all military options are valid. Otherwise, be ready for tech switches. The option for going LS is slightly complicated by Cavalry units, not because the Knights are stronger 1vs1 but because of the mobility.

So I would like to ask you all: how do you play Malians? Yes, I have seen Hera’s video but a 2500 and a 1250 have completely different approaches.

Also I haven’t talked about Gbeto which in small groups are decent and fast raiding units but when massed are problematic against everything except massed Arbalesters, Mangudai and Onagers (Scorpions - maybe). They are great at taking down buildings especially buildings like Barracks and Houses because they are infantry, not archers.

What about Tweaks like giving Bracer but taking away Arbalesters simply to make their defences and Skirmishers stronger?

Also I finf Tigui quite a useful Technology, especially when players are unable to pay attention to raids.

their light cavalry literally beats generic hussar in fights.

Malians are actually in a great spot as a civ, i don’t know why you think they need to be changed. even the pros consider them one of the better civs in the game.


Have you read it or have again come to keep commenting? Literally the first line says this is not a tweak post.

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Yes, I use light Cavalry to fight other light Cavalry! Happy now?

and yet your second post says this.

your second post conflicts with your first post.

considering hussar is literally considered the best trash unit, having a light cav that can beat hussar 1v1 certainly is a huge bonus.


How do I play Malian? It won’t sound very original, I just try to make whatever unit counter the opponent’s civ best.

I would say the opposite. They are forced to spend gold to counter enemy cav, as their pikeman is the worst cav killer after Turks spearment.

No, because we already have a bunch of civs that have FU xbow (Turks, Lith, Tatars ect…) while Malian arbs are unique and fit the Malian theme of being good up until early imp and then fall off.


It is considered best because it costs only food, which in late game is great. It also has high pierce armor, great speed, great LoS, decent dps (skirms and pikes attack every 3 sec, but LC attack every 2 sec) making it a great raiding unit. It is also anti-monk and anti-siege and anti-skirmisher and sometimes even anti-archer. The fact that it plays so many roles makes it one of the best trash unit.

Despite all its strength, it is still a trash unit. And just because a Japanese Halberdiers can absolutely thrash all Light Cavalry and Hussars, we cannot say that Japanese Halberdiers is the best raiding unit. Just like that, we cannot say the Malian light Cavalry is the best. It is great. Some people would like the extra survival of Hussars.

The answer lies in your question. This wad not part of the post. That’s why this is separate.

Well now I think of it, this makes sense. 1st of all, the Tatar, Indian and Turk ones are to push players to use completely generic Cavalry Archers.

Lithuanians simply because they are not an archer civ.

Now back to the Malians. They don’t need to have good Skirmishers. Their infantry on their own is archer resistant to a point where Briton players fear them.


Even Celtic Hussars.

we were talking generic, when you’re talking about hussars obviously you’re referring to ones who get bloodlines and the like. Obviously Celtic Hussars are terrible, but people don’t go Celts thinking “geee i can mix in the light cavalry line”.

It Depends, but you can go whatever you want. This applies to all flexible civs, like Chinese and Saracens. Just play something you feel comfortable to.

I mostly go for fast castle and at feudal make some man at arms to raid while i’m aging up. And then i start spamming long swordsmen when i reach into castle age. The combination of adding Gbeto makes for nice raiders and backing up the longswordsmen. With Gbeto you don’t really need archers or the eco focus on wood.
I usually continue spamming longswordsmen until my eco is well enough to go age up. When i reach imperial age the first thing i do is farimba cavalry. During age up i switch to knights (and camels based on if the enemy makes cav or cav archers) and do tech switches.
When i go from feudal to castle age i usually do the mail armor upgrade as first priority so the longswordsmen can bash towers and TC’s. As an old goth player i love the grouped infantry attacks that can actually do damage. Especially on a feudal age player without murder holes. Just like the huskarls this is a momentum that nothing can really counter your longswords+gbetos.
When i arrive in imp and i start popping cavalry, the enemy usually has a small army. And these high attack cavalry are a huge momentum of the game. And with this momentum to pop out cavalry you want to make sure the game ends by mixing some rams and mangonels (in castle age) or go for trebs and mangonels when you go imp.
If you can’t make the game end, then you usually find out that you lack blast furnace and bracer.
Yesterday i figured out my biggest fear is goth in late game imperial age. Because i have no way to properly counter those huskarls. Especially when they sneak on my stables and you start running out of gold. A light cav with some cavalier doesn’t do the job when there is a lot of halbs mixed in. The twohandedswordsmen and/or champions in that sense really miss blastfurnace to hold off huskarls.
So in that situation i should be able to go full cavalier with archers or cav archers to micro halbs maybe. But i haven’t fought much goths yet, so this was a new experience.
I love tigui and the fast university upgrades because it gives for a good early defence. And as an old AoM player i really see the ‘forward settlement’ as a thing here (in AoM you have fixed settlements so you make sure to forward guard a settlement so you can claim it). Because you can well defend a forward goldmine with a tigui town center. And the castle university upgrades add to that. But also TC and Castle drop is way more interesting that way. So Malians are really enjoyable in castle age.

It’s the perfect technology for people like me.

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