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.