Monks in Feudal Age?

As we recently had a lot of changes on Arabia to make it more “agressive” I would like to propose a different approach to encourage and revard players for taking initiative early on.
IMO it’s not the openness of the map or the wallability or whatever that lead to reduced feudal play but instead the high powerspike of castle age.
The conclusion is if we add some tools to feudal which revards players for taking initiative instead of punishing “defensive” play we accomplish several things with it at the same time:

A) The strategic diversity stays up high. Nobody is forced to play a specific strat or can’t play a strat he just want to try in the specific match.
B) More “soft skill” concepts of the game become more revarding also for lower skilled players. Taking map control with feudal units gets revarded by the access to the relics (and inherently also better scouting)
C) Too greedy approaches/strategies without even trying to get some value in Feudal can be punished much more easy. If the opponent “reads” you are aiming for a blank FC he can easily adapt and make nothing but monks in feudal only to get the relics in.
D) Relics become more important even for lower level of play, as they are now part of the early game where you usually have some more attention “free”
E) Eary game gets one more dimension
F) Greedyness early on becomes more a “two-edged sword”. If you then play greedy you need to play around a certain powerspike you want to work with cause otherwise the additional Relics of the Opponent will give him a log-term win condition. This (hopefully) leads to a more “volatile” gameplay - “Turtling” can’t be a thing then anymore (except for a player who took more feudal initiative and got all the relics in).
G) Reduce the Castle Age powerspike slightly by adding one of the castle age tools to feudal

(Feudal Moks should have reduced range though, for obvious reasons)

I’d like just to mention that in offset we should revert the last Arabia and Wall changes. In the current state of Arabia were early agression already gives insane value the proposed addition of monks to feudal would make even worse and it be the nail in the coffin for “slower” civs, as they can’t compete with the sheer army power of their faster opponents.

Lastly I want to state that I don’t like the wording of “agression”. It implies that there is basically no other usage of military than to kill the opponent eco. In the way it is used it also poses a demand of “serious damage” to the opponent just for fielding more army. But that would lead only to full snowball games where woever fields more army at some point just slowly grinds down the opponent. I would like to replace that with “initiative”. That implies that the one with it actually has to work with that initiative and make good usage of his army. It implies that if you take the initiative you are supposed to “ask questions” of your opponent and try to force reactions. And if he reacts well you need to find different ways to get value from your units.
I think it’s important to understand this. You can get a lot of Value by just idling some of the opponent economy. You don’t need to kill Vills. You Also can get value by taking map control and so on. All this kind of more “soft” factors of gameplay need to be more present also at lower level of play. And I think by just moving Monks that revard taking map control (by taking relics) to Feudal we can achieve that already. Players who like to take initiative have one more way to get value and in way they learn also something about the strategic diversity of the game. That there is more to it than just killing vills with “agression”. To learn to appreciate the game in it’s whole, beautiful strategic depth.

(Important sidenode: this could possibly lead to some specific civs with high feudal eco to be “OP” as nobody could compete with their feudal army. These civs (Chinese, Vikings, Aztecs, Mayans for the most part) would need to be nerfed a bit then.)


Yeah feudal monks are a bad idea in general and your last remark highlights why it’s a bad idea. Would have to nerf many civs (even mongols would need nerfs), including some that don’t need to be rebalanced. Not to mention how much a civ like lithuanians, Burgundians, and other monk civs would be impacted.

And then on top of that, this is a big nerf to knights.

That need to be nerfed anyways actually.

Don’t think so. Monks need a lot of time to train and walk slowly. Getting up faster doesn’t provides as much there as just having better eco.

What would be fair. Monk bonusses atm don’t play a big role in gameplay. I think it’s only good to buff the impact of monks.

Nice Try. Maybe it’s a nerf to knights. But a buff to light cav/scout which has the same upgrades. The knight player eaily can just add some scouts to deal with the monks.
Besides that Knight is the best unit in castle age anyways, so I don’t care if they are nerfed a bit. It’s only fair. I think it would only be benefitial if players would be more encouraged to learn how to use monks against them. Cause atm even at higher elos the standard knight counter is still the spear line, which makes the game one-directional the moment knights are on the field.

Mongols? Any civ with a monk bonus? All those need nerfs? And Lithuanians would need less a nerf and more a complete rework to the entire civ. Point is this change means lots of other changes to make it work and that’s not a good thing.

Getting up faster absolutely provides advantages with these changes.

Monks are supposed to be niche anyway.

Yes because civs totally want to be going the more food heavy less resilient scout line when they should be going knights.

Meanwhile archwr civs are still dominating so yeah. You gonna propose feudal mangonels to offset archer dominance?

Yeah I see Monks used quite a bit against knights so nice try.

If feudal monks is limited to one newly introduced civs, that may be fine, like feudal rams limited to only cumans. But if for all civs, probably a chaos.


You said Mongols need a nerf. Not me.

Don’t disagree. But the civs that go up faster don’t have any further bonusses in feudal (for the most part). So if feudal is extended a bit the bonusses of the other civs have more time to kick in. I never said it isn’t an advantage, but it’s less of an advantage than currently with the restricted strategy and therefore high snowball of any early advantage.

Please stop claiming this blunt “it is supposed to be” nonsense. Things are in the game to be played. Monks have a role in the Game and are currently underused in most maps (outside arena).
Ofc the game isnt built around monks, that’s for sure. But they are an important part of the game as they are basically only 1 or 2 tools that can work to counter knight play if you are a bit behind. (Knights are the only unit that has only 2 theoretical counters and one of these counters is very rarely taken: Monks)

If YOU don’t want to go scouts to counter monks it’s your problem. Scouts can be extremely effective against monks. If you don’t chose the right strategic choices just because you don’t “like” them that’s only your personal bias that stands in your way.
Please don’t promote your personal bias to direct the game in a state of strategic disbalance. We are currently heading heavily towards more and more strategical restrictive gameplay anyways. We need to break out of this slow decline of diversity.

Can’t see that in the stats. Even here: Age of Statistics

Most civs with high winrates there are cav civs. And the Archer civs that have high winrates are the well-known eco powerhouses: Chinese, Mayans, Britons, Vikings. Portuguese with the 2nd best archer discount currently have the lowest winrate.

Pro play is a bit different, there indeed the few archer civs with the insane eco are dominating, but that could easily be solved by a small change to certain siege units so it isn’t as easy to avoid being hit for the pros.

Don’t know what you are talking about. Kotd? Again, that’s pros. Only because pros can use them that doesn’t mean they are used all the time on the ladder. It’s quite the contrary.

We could try to make a testrun in the next PUP. I don’t think it would be chaos. Don’t forget, we have already comparable situations in arena atm and it’s not chaos there. (I mean strategically comparable: There is some kind of stalemate so the next “objective” is to get the relics in. I don’t think there is any danger of arabia becoming arena… Just because of the importance of expansion on this map.)

But ofc before such a change can ever be implemented in the core game it need to be tested how it actually plays out. But that’s what we have pup for, haven’t we?

Can you elaborate why knights are the best castle age unit? By what metric? You claim a lot of stuff as if it was granted, but I see xbows, eagles, skirms, CAs made as often if not more. We even saw Franks make CAs in KOTD.


Well that’s fair.
It’s of course my personal perception there and as every unit has a counter it’s impossible to state “that’s the best unit in the game” as everything can somehow be beaten.

But I base that perception also on the stats. Knight civs dominated the ladder for ages. I agree that on Pro level it seems like archer civs seem to take over, but in general until pro level the best civs are knight civs (with a few exceptions). That’s of course no proof, but a strong indicator.

Eagles come quite close to knights (no wonder as they are basically the “replacement”). But I still think that knights have the edge here cause of the mobility advantage. You can take favoruable engagements, force engagements - and especially can retreat damaged units to heal up. I currently think knights are generally better, but ofc this can change with meta.

Well surprise tactics always can work. That’s the beauty of the game. But it should be a good indicator that we often have archers into knights that these units are indeed the “powerhouses” of these specific ages. I think the whole game is actually somewhat designed around these unit powerspikes somehow.

Maybe not intentional, but it’s how it turned out.

That is a common thing I see claimed on this forum, but the truth is, only Franks have a high pickrate, many other cav civs have below average pickrate (Teutons, Persians), so really the only thing that this shows is that Franks may be the best knight civ, but it doesn’t tell anything about knights “dominating the ladder”. Besides, Frank’s cheaper castles and TAs could be the explanation why Franks perform so well on ladder, not just the knights. Just like when you say it’s Mayans/Chinese/Aztecs eco is what makes them great. and not Eagles/Archers.

Anyway, if you sum other civs pickrates then archer civs are clearly better even on the ladder, and maybe even CA civs based on the data that you shared (the 3 cav archer civs are all in top 10: Mongols, Magyars and Huns).

When I look at your data, I see that knights, archers, cavalry archers and eagles civs are all well represented in top 10, and on top of that, I see most regular Feudal/Castle units being made often in pro games (if you name any unit, I can give you several KOTD matches where this unit played a crucial role) except maybe longswords and even those have a niche use against Meso.

I would not have picked this example if it was just a surprise tactic, it is actually becoming quite common to see Frank CAs now (to snipe monks, pikes and eco). We’ve seen it in multiple games this year.

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We’ve seen Britons go full knights and win aswell…

Yeah. Franks have the highest “state” under the knight civs. But there are a lot of civs that quite frequently play knights and have good pickrates. As we all know there are only a few civs that are picked above average. In addition to this even at higher elo Archer civs seem to be a bit “overrated” in general. And I don’t wonder about that, cause everybody wants to learn that fancy archer micro pros can pull of. And you only learn it by trying it.

We have still a lot of Civs that very often play knights (besides some of them can be played with various units):
Huns, Berbers, Lithuanians, Magyars, Bulgarians, Cumans, Khmer, Burgundians, (Malians).

These are all around “average pick” but actually above “median”.

Also don’t forget, I chose 1700 + elo. There we already have that shift to more archer play at high elo applying. If you look at the 1200 + stats you will see that cav civs dominate.

IF you look at 1200 + and the overrated/underrated graph in experimental you will see that most overrated civs are archer civs and vice versa.

And on high elo we currently have that phenomenon that the new archer micro with attack move seems to be absolutely busted. I don’t know if devs intend to let it in, but this changed the whole gameplay already. It allows archers to be so much more effective against knights than they used to. So the current state of the game isn’t really representative for general conclusions. Most likely that micro will be taken out of the game with one of the next patches, just because it’s too fancy and only the top 1% of the players can pull it off.

Still, even in KOTD we saw a lot of knight play even with that fancy thing for archers in the game, even with a prolonged feudal that actually favors most archer civs (they usually have better feudal bonusses and archers are the best units in feudal).

Thing is, I also hear a lot of “archer is the best line” but I still need a proof for that. Maybe we are in a process of change but when looking at the 1200 + stats here:

For me it looks clearly like for the majority of players knights are still the most powerful castle age unit. And this can’t be denied by just looking at high elo with all the fancy micro where this doesn’t apllies anymore. Thats like .2 % of the playerbase where you can’t say anymore “knights are clearly better”.

Yeah when you draw your examples from 1200+ of course it’s going to favor knights. You don’t even get reasonable micro until higher skill levels and you’re including data from a lot of people who just dont micro well.
What do the numbers say 1700+? Oh. Funny you don’t use those numbers which shows only 3 cav civs above average and 2 of those are barely over thr average


Maybe nice try, but can be start from a few civ without early eco bonus. Monks are hard countered by scout anyway, it should be not that strong and maybe reduce the range of Feudal monks same as archer with Fletching.
ofc, it would be problematic if civ with early uptime like Mongols, Lithuanians, and Khmers can up super fast and build forward monastery before opponent go up to Feudal age.


Not only Franks. Burgundians, Sicilians (they are actually cav civ), Lithuanians, Berbers are quite often in this tournament. Lithuanians are even ban frequently. You mentioned Teutons, but actually Viper had a huge success with Teutons in the final of most important tournament of this year (Arguagly). Just other pros don’t like Teutons because they are “slow” cav civ.

I think strength of Cav and archer is generally well-balanced in pro-level. But even then Knight have mobility advantage with limited counter (only pike line in many cases). Otherwise, archer have many counter like skirms, siege, even mass knight, Just insane micro ability of top pros make them strong.

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Feudal monks unabled to convert till CA could be the best deal.

I’m undecided on the idea in general, but I think converting in Feudal Age would be a big part of it. Imagine you are stuck in Feudal after a brutal scout or archer rush, the opponent makes it to Castle Age and 4-6 knights show up at your palisades before you’ve even clicked up. Suddenly you have the option to convert 2-3 with Feudal monks to even the playing field and flatten the power spike. Obviously you’ll never convert superior units than what your enemy makes, but it means whoever is behind can steal a couple better units.

I agree a range reduction would be a part of it, with Feudal monks getting maybe 6 range, and no redemption. Maybe no Monastery techs at all.

Even with these limitations it could be OP in Feudal wars. Often you’ll only he attacked by 3-5 units at a time, and if you can convert all of them that would be too much defense. Monks are balanced in the late game because unit numbers exceed what is possible to micro.

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That’s why I proposed reduced range. If the conversion range is reduced there is no danger of making monks OP at that age. Their main purpose is to collect the relics, but it would be nice if they could at least convert some knights theoretically - in the case of a FC of the opponent.

It would be interesting to see this and battering ram available from feudal for all civs working. Of course, it would require several balance patches, it is obvious, but just daydreaming it would be nice


I think, even if monks couldn’t converting in feudal, it would be very usefull with relics collecting and healing. Feudal wars involve few units, so convert it is OP, but healing sounds very interesting imo…


Obviously you could not defend your monks with feudal militias if a castle army comes upon you, trying to soften the effect would completely distort the game plan.

The reason for limiting the monk’s capabilities in feudal is to not use them as the main weapon and be useful just to heal and take relics, after all in feudal you still do not have enough resources to support their production so they should not be used as an alternative to counter attack.

Also a very interesting Idea.

I’m not so sure. Scouts are very common feudal unit that can easily kill monks. I think also Monks that can convert can totally be balanced there. But ofc it needs some testing, nobody has experience with it yet.