Militia-line is perpetually roasted

Every now and then I see someone claim that the militia-line is useless and never implemented, at least in high ELOs. So, what is it good for? Where lies its beauty?

I have always thought that the upside of the Militia-line is that it’s as powerful as heavy cavalry, but it doesn’t have the offset of having a weakness. You may be about to say: archers! What I mean is that there’s no unit with an attack bonus against Militia-line until Imperial, or unless you’re dealing with Byzantines or Aztecs of course. Counter of archers? Skirmishers. Counter for cavalry? Pikes. There’s no hard counter against Militia-line so early on.

Another strength is that they’re like a siege weapon that can fight back. Granted, it’s bonus against buildings isn’t THAT great. That’s why Arson was added.

What does everyone else think?

They’re slow, so they can never force fights against archers. They’re slow, so they get out-microed and whittled down by archers. And for the resources invested, they simply don’t have the power that either cav or archers do. They might not be countered by anything directly early on, but they also aren’t really that good at anything early on. Lategame, they’re decent at killing things like spears and skirms, but in general, they tend to just be a boring option with low capacity for micro, unable to choose fights, properly threaten enemies, and they just die to the stronger power units.

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I think that the meta still hasn’t fully adapted to the addition of Gambesons. It’s like the new Sicilians meta; totally possible for ages, but only realized just recently, and now their winrate jumped up 4% in a single patch with one tiny price change.

One of the biggest things people haven’t properly realized yet is how hard they counter skirmishers now, taking 60 instead of 30 shots. Before, skirm/knight could reasonably counter longswords, but now, longswords fairly consistently beats skirm/knight, even with near-perfect micro.

People try to use gambesons in places it’s not good at all, and this gives them a bad opinion of it. For example, today I saw a game where someone was trying to tear down castles with longswords. Longswords can effectively tear down town centers or towers, but not castles, because castles have such high base damage.

But it’s not about how they do against skirms. They still melt to archers. They do survive 5 more hits, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still lose that matchup badly.

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I mean, they can’t be good against everything. As-is, they trade well against skirms, knights, pikes, scouts, eagles…if not for archers, they’d be pretty well unstoppable.

Their biggest issue is that they don’t do enough damage to really protect anything. Spears can kill knights before they kill your skirms/siege, but militia will let them die. But I think that’s why so many infantry civs have defensive building bonuses, like kreposts, donjons, or tower bonuses. Those can repel the archers while having enough HP to survive long enough for the infantry to fight off attackers.

That you’re scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel in order to say something good about Militia, saying Archers doesn’t hard counter Militia is delusional and not at all reflected in actual gameplay. Reality is that post-Dark Age the problems that only the Militia are able to truly solve by itself are extremely niche situations that rarely appear in actual gameplay.

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Archers are a soft counter.

Militia can almost do anything, that is why they are good. But only Infantry players can use them properly. Average players have no plan.

Archers have range and can snipe units from a distance.
Cavarly is fast and can force fights.
Infantry have neither.

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To me the annoyance is that Longswords aren’t actually as powerful as knights. They’re less resource efficient, and have a whole lot of other downsides besides.

In Imperial, things come together to make Champions more usable. Gold becomes scarce, micro becomes less common, fights can happen everywhere at once, and food becomes plentiful.

I do find it rather sad that there is a unit line that is made in Dark Age (drush or m@a rush) and in Imperial, but has a whole gap inbetween.

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I think longswords +scorpions (or +monks) comp is good on 1v1 arabia.

It’s too slow, you’ll just get raided. It’s also going to do badly against Mangonels and cavalry.

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When vs cavalry, add monks instead of scorpion. When vs mangonel, some longswords go counter. Longswords are used with staggerd. When be raided, attack enemy buildings.

Archers are faster, cheaper to upgrade, Gold is quicker to amass with Mining than Food is with Farming enabling you to sustain constant production with less villagers, Gold is also less valuable than Food is pre Late-Imp. When actually fighting since Archers are faster and have range so you can just endlessly micro away and shoot.

Atleast Cavalry can reasonably out move Spears or Monks

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After reading for months that the Milita-line isn’t good for anything, I figured out they woud suit me. I’m terrible at this game, they are terrible at the game. I played against the Hard AI yesterday and I couldn’t win. I started creating Men-at-arms in feudal and had a strategy of tearing down buildings. No; it didn’t work. I uninstalled the game again and this time it’s definitive. It’s over. I can’t describe the pit in my stomach that this situation creates.

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A tip I can give against the AI, is that infantry is actually very effective vs unprepared villagers because they tend to overreact and to run away to defensive buildings, just make sure to go around in circles and make two groups of infantry, one to draw the attention of the enemy army, and other to attack vulnerable spots elsewhere. This should work pretty well against even Extreme AI (I usually play vs Extreme AI with 125% handicap). And because the AI is kind of dumb, there’s a point at which you can reach a critical mass of longswordsmen and overrun a smaller group of archers and skirmishers. Don’t attack buildings, its fairly ineffective use of your infantry unless you want to bait the enemy or there’s no other available target. It’s better to harass villagers or if you have a large group of post castle militia line (20 at least) to dive and destroy TCs if no army is close by. Obviously this doesn’t work vs real people that can adapt, but the AI can be exploited easily with the militia line.

It takes less longswords to beat a TC than you might think. About 11 can kill a castle age TC with all archer upgrades and fully garrisoned.

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Yes, but you want to keep some army to keep army presence and to kill villagers, you need an army excess to prevent overly inefficient losses.

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Agh… you have no idea how this kind of statements feel like a dart to my chest. I try to follow these advices until it turns out they come from a semi-pro.

To be fair, I played two matches against the AI. I made the AI had random civs. For the first one, I chose the civ that currently has a topic here in which title they are described as “terrible”: the Dravidians. When I hit Feudal and I had +200 of wood, I was able to build two barracks in a row and start producing Men-at-arms. THIS is what allowed me to carry out a feudal aggression and win. For the next match I chose Celts. I had to save and reload quite a few times because of the mistakes I made. In the end I had a ton of mangonels to confront the ton of archers that the IA had. It wasn’t enough, and slowly but surely I was overwhelmed. Then I uninstalled the game.


All through the years, the devs really wanted people to use the Militia-line. There have been improvements that pointed to this kind of units being something valuable. To wit:

  • Automatic Tracking.
  • Supplies.
  • Arson.
  • A Unique tech than replaces the gold cost.
  • A civ that has the upgrades for the whole line for free. This is huge; this doesn’t happen with any other unit. Yes, I know, the upgrades of Light cavalry are free for the Turks, and the Spearman ugrade are free for the Ethiopians, but what I mean is it doesn’t happen with any other power units.
  • A unique tech (belonging to the previous civ) which adds +5 melee armor, which is also huge.
  • Gambesons.

I wanted to be the one who drew out the hidden power of this infantry type, but it will be no more than a broken dream.

I mean, I never said that the militia line is good. I’m advocate to massively buff/rework the milita line because it is indeed kind of useless. I only wanted to provide some ideas in case you want to use the militia line. It wasn’t intended to attack your impressions about the unit.

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Well, if infantry is useless then Goths shouldn’t be as good as they are.
I know Goths use other units aside from infantry but we all know that weaker units have their strength in the numbers.