More Intuitive Counter-Skirmishers and Dismounting Units

Several of the new units in the KotM expansion break the established intuition around the counter system. The vast majority of units fall into a broader unit class with common visual cues that indicate what their role is. The new counter-skirmishers completely disregard these guidelines by masquerading as other unit types.

(only 2 of the above units are counter-skirmishers)

There are currently 4 units that could be described as counter-skirmishers: Schiavoni, Pandours, Mounted Riflemen, and Mounted Infantry. The design of all of these are all around bad practice when it comes to telegraphing unit roles.


The officially designated counter-skirmishers (Schiavoni and Pandours) come with the issue of being visually indistinguishable from standard rifle infantry. They have a stance with a downwards facing rifle that is identical to other units such as Sharpshooters and Forest Prowlers. This is obviously problematic when their function is completely different. To make things even worse, they aren’t classed as light infantry themselves but actually have a hidden tag.

Mounted Riflemen and Mounted Infantry aren’t officially classed as counter-skirmishers, but they effectively function as one when mounted. These are a bad design because they go against the rule of thumb that light infantry should counter ranged cavalry. At least with other rare exceptions like Harquebusiers they don’t also hard counter Skirmishers at range. The other issue with these units is that they are exceptionally poorly named. Mounted Infantry is an oxymoron and Mounted Riflemen are very clearly supposed to be Chasseurs so it’s baffling why they are not named that.


One way to fix these misleading units would be to link together the counter-skirmisher role with the dismounting function. Both heavy cavalry and counter-skirmishers hard counter light infantry and are ineffective against heavy infantry and light cavalry. Therefore, a unit that can dismount to swap between these roles would be intuitively understandable and relatively easy to balance. This framework is also a great thematic fit for most of the existing counter-skirmisher units.


Schiavoni swords were a popular cavalry weapon so a dual role for the Shiavoni would be accurate. This reference already exists as a card that buffs cavalry and infantry attack. Schiavoni have no connection to the papacy and only got put in the Basilica for balance reasons. But as a partial cavalry unit, their cost could be high enough that they wouldn’t be unbalanced in the standard roster. They could fit in as Italy’s heavy cavalry unit and even replace Hussars. Since its dismounted version is just a 1 pop infantry, the mounted version could be a 1 pop cavalry similar to Cossacks.

Chasseurs (Mounted Riflemen)

Chasseurs are clearly what the “Mounted Rifleman” represents, and they fought both as light infantry (chasseurs à pied) and melee cavalry (chasseurs à cheval). This is the perfect fit for a unit that fights as a counter-skirmisher on foot and a melee heavy cavalry unit when mounted. It could serve as the mercenary form of the Schiavoni.


Pandurs were always a type of light infantry, and never functioned as a mounted unit, so the dismounting function would not be appropriate for them. Since it wouldn’t be able to fit the counter-skirmisher template, Pandurs could be more of a standard skirmisher with only a slight bonus against light infantry in exchange for reduced (but not eliminated) multiplier against light cavalry and heavy infantry. It could have multipliers similar to this:
(they would start out worse against heavy infantry, but also receive a bigger boost from CIR)

They are okay as mercenaries, but if a Prussia/Austria split of Germany ever happened, Pandurs would be the ideal unit to replace the Needle Gunners that would have to go to a Prussian civ.

Mounted Infantry

This unit should just be removed from the game. There is zero substance behind the unit and it clearly was only made to showcase the dismounting feature. The name “Dismounted Infantry” is atrocious, and the compendium entry confirms there is no connection to the Habsburgs whatsoever.

The strongest connection is the uniform being loosely based on some Austrian Dragoons.
Maybe the dismounted unit model could be reworked into a new Grenzer to take their place at the Habsburg royal house (though reworking Landwhers into Grenzers would probably be a better option).

Unit Stance

To further clarify their role, units with a counter-skirmisher function should have a stance that is distinct from other light infantry. The relaxed stance used by Saltedores, Hajduks, and Evzones could instead be used by counter-skirmishers to convey their distinctiveness. This probably shouldn’t be a regular rifle infantry stance anyways since it’s not too different from the stance used by musket infantry.
Screenshot (200)

Other Dismounting Units

Highwaymen and Cossack Daredevils are a somewhat different form of dismounting unit. Instead of the heavy cavalry and light infantry combo, Highwaymen are light cavalry and heavy infantry. This pairing is a lot more in sync with the roles of both unit classes and doesn’t really need any tweaking. Cossack Daredevils are a bit more of a contradiction being heavy cavalry and heavy infantry. It would be better to make their mounted version a melee light cavalry unit so that their counters are more consistent (they already have multipliers vs heavy cavalry).

There is also one more very obvious candidate for becoming a dismounting unit; the Royal Dragoon. All Dragoons were originally just mounted infantry, and while I wouldn’t go as far as changing the standard Dragoon, the royal house version could be used to portray this history. It would simply be a much better fit than the extraordinarily generic “Dismounted Infantry” unit that’s loosely based on Austrian Dragoons but doesn’t actually function like one. Now if it dismounts into a musket infantry unit it will need to be distinct from Royal Musketeers. I think this could be achieved by having them armed with a pistol so they’re visually different (the Royal Musketeer charged attack could be a piercing rapier strike instead of a pistol attack). Since the Royal Dragoons is based on the Dragonnades where they were used to terrorize civilians, the dismounted version of the unit could function similar to Oprichniki by excelling at killing villagers and buildings but performing poorly in battle. The dismounted form could be named “Missionary Dragoon”.


I would like the Navajo Rifleman to be a unit that can mount/dismount.

Another strong contender for a dismounting unit could be a Mountie available to the Canadian Revolution. The Mounties were primarily a frontier police force, but they also drew heavy influence from military units and served as soldiers in several wars such as the Northwest Rebellion and Boer War.

When mounted they could function similarly to Carbine Cavalry, but with a stronger melee attack using a lance. When dismounted they would function as musket infantry. Both stances could have a bonus versus outlaw and mercenary units to reflect their role as police.

The NWMP were used to control Canada’s frontier and garrison forts such as Fort Walsh. To reflect this, they could also have the ability to construct Forts and Trading Posts.


I suggest directly remove the Counter-Skirmisher tag from the game. The last thing this game lacks is new tags. Just let them be Light Infantry or Ranged Heavy Calvary with an extra bonus against Light Infantry, remove their negative multiplier to cavalry, and adjust their base stats to balance them.

It is unnecessary to let simple things become more complicated especially for a game which already have a lots of units. In my opinion many tags can be removed, or let them disappear from the descriptions.

The Infantry tag can be removed since there is a new Light Infantry tag, and let all existing Infantry be Light Infantry.

Some tags just for noting which units will be affected by certain upgrades like Rifle units, Archers units, Gunpowder units, Musket units, Land units, and whatever units, can be removed too. And let the descriptions of upgrades directly note which units they will affect.

Remove the Ships tag and let them have Building armor, and adjust their stats.

And so on.

Not all players are interested in history. The troublesome part of this game is that players can’t easily see the difference between units just by their silhouette like AoE2, Stracraft or CoH. Due to its backgrund, many units often differ only in their costumes. So a simple counter system is needed, or the developers need to find a way to enhancing visual differences between units.

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For the love of God, please stop doubling down on this horrible concept! You can’t just add add “counter” before the name of a regular unit and expect it to mean something. On top of that, the names suck and have no basis in reality. It’s such complete nonsense that everyone reading the patch notes is asking; “What are these unnamed mystery units?”

Once again the counter-skirmisher blends right in with many other skirm units.

Screenshot (210)Screenshot (211)

Recruiting Buddhist Kalmyks and Muslim Bashkirs from a church tech is a little strange, and making them cards instead does make more sense. But you can’t just replace them with nonsense.

Here are a few suggestions for something based on actual history:

Lifeguard JaegersPan-Slavism

Ships some Pandurs and Hajduks (both counter light infantry). The Russians were constantly seeking more influence in the Balkans and often cited protecting their fellow Orthodox Christians as a reason for intervening in the region.

St. Petersburg DragoonsHospitaller Refuge

Ships some Hospitallers and possibly other Maltese units (maybe even a Fixed Gun?). The Tsar took in the remnants of the order after Napoleon conquered Malta so protection of this religious order is a great fit for a church tech.

Other possible techs could be based on prominent units like Leib Guards, the Preobrazhensky Regiment, or the Semyonovsky Regiment. There are many “unique” units that served in the Russian army like Uhlans, Cruiassiers, etc that could be shipped by a tech like this.

Or to keep with the religious theme for a church tech, there was a multitude of weird religious movements happening in Russia during the game’s timeframe like the Khlysts, Skoptsy, and Doukhobors. The Doukhobors got exiled to Canada and were notable for their women pulling plows when draft animals weren’t available, so a tech based on them could give a farming bonus.


the jaegers seemed to have been an actual thing with that uniform atleast

how they will fit into aoe 3’s weird unit system is a game choice

the counter dragoon are just dragoon with a bonus against light cav

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On one hand they keep adding super generic names like “counter skirmishers”. On the other hand some people are complaining the unit names are too unique and incomprehensible…my mind boggles.

I have no idea why not just call them lifeguard jaegers and St. Petersburg Dragoons. The techs are called so. They were actual units. Most church tech units have the same name as the techs. It’s very counter-intuitive (pun intended) to do otherwise.


I reckon the Devs may have seen this thread in regards to the Lifeguards :wink:

I totally agree with you as for the unit stances. Every time they add new unique units/skins the game gets harder to read. There should be a standardization of the animations.

I’m currently working on a NWMP unit for my mod. This should definitely be in the game.

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Sadly No :cry:


It’s really frustrating, but both units still have their nonsense function and horrendous names. The description even says Schiavoni so it’s an incredibly poorly thought through and implemented change.

Counter Dragoons/Skirmishers aren’t a thing!

These definitely aren’t historical or based on any reality. I realize the tech names refer to real regiments, but they were not significant and don’t any reason to be given the function different from normal Dragoons or Jaegers. There are far better options for these techs that offer both more interesting gameplay implications and better represent Russian history.

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That is a real shame!

Hopefully this gets rectified subtly in a future patch/update.

Also, on a broader note we realllllllllllly need uniform unit stances - counter skims could at least hold their firearm closer to a firing position when stationary - ‘scoping’ the horizon for Skirmishers.

So I think the devs actually did look at this post and tried to make a counter-skirm that was linked with the dismounting feature. Unfortunately, I didn’t explain it properly or they didn’t read too closely because they tried to do it in a way that very obviously would not work. Hence why this guy was partially scrapped:


When it comes to dismounting units, the mounted and dismounted forms should have mostly the same set of counters and things they counter.

For example, a dismounting unit that is light cavalry / heavy infantry is a great pairing because it counters heavy cavalry in both forms and gets countered by light infantry in both forms.

A dismounting unit that is light cavalry / counter-skirm is a terrible pairing because in one form it counters heavy cavalry gets countered by light infantry, but in the other form it gets countered by heavy cavalry and counters light infantry.

What they could have done instead is choose a workable pairing like light cavalry / heavy infantry or heavy cavalry / counter-skirm. In that case, both forms counter light infantry and get countered by (or at least just stalemate) light cavalry.
It’s really obvious why what they tried to do wouldn’t work and I’m surprised they got as far as they did with this design.

Screenshot (219)

The new unit model is wearing a pretty common uniform so it could be given nearly any role.

As for fixing the crappy name, Leib Guard would be a great choice. They also served as a wide variety of units so they could fit in any role. They also had similar looking uniforms.

but isnt that the whole sellingpoint of that unittype? i would never dismount the unit if the counters stay the same, why should i give up the speed of a cavalry unit?

edit: note it takes a long time to dismount, devs clearly want to avoid cheesing during a battle

Yeah, thats how Rising Sun units work in C&C Red Alert 3, having a cooldown to switch modes.

No, that’s completely busted and why they scrapped the idea this time around. Every other example of units completely swapping roles is through one time cards. Even if swapping takes time, cavalry are speedy enough to disengage and do it safely away from battle. So if you encounter skirms with your light cav, you could just regroup and wallop them with counter-skirms. Then when your opponent makes heavy cav or artillery to take out the counter-skirms, you switch back to light cav to wallop them again. Best they could do is stalemate with heavy infantry. The counter system in this game is just too harsh for this to be anything but uncounterable cheese in the right hands.

Even without switching to completely opposite roles, there are ways to make dismounting desirable compared to their speedy cavalry form.

For the pairing of heavy cavalry / counter-skirm, you gain a ranged attack and have greater resistance to light cav and heavy infantry in the dismounted form. Conversely, in the mounted form you have better mobility and fare better against artillery.

For the pairing of light cavalry / heavy infantry, dismounting gains you better siege and a stronger melee attack that’s good against all cavalry with the drawback of being slower and more vulnerable to artillery. In this case, I’d say there aren’t as many benefits to dismounting so the dismounted version would need better stats to incentivize switching over. Highwaymen are already an example of a dismounting unit with this pairing, so that shows radically changing roles is not intended as the selling feature of dismounting units.

Idk mounted infantry is limited in numbers, so i never saw a problem with it…

But on another note: i hate speed promotions on that unit. Its just useless, when u micro them in groups anyway

Also mount and dismount should be different buttons in my opinion