Poles late game

So it’s no mystery Poles are pretty strong in Feudal/early Castle age and get a moderate power spike with Slachzta Privileges in late Castle age. While many think this bonus is OP, it kicks in relatively late and you generally can’t afford to tech switch in late Castle to knights, generally knights is something you mass right away, which means that a good 60%+ of your knights pay the full gold as Poles, until you get the tech to make them cheaper in late Castle age (at around minute 28-30 let’s say). If you are doing knights play, you can’t afford to have 0 knights at minute 28, and if you went Crossbows, switching to Knights is not easy in Castle age and generally happens only in Imp.

Playing Crossbow/Arbalest is also OK until early Imp, but then, you gotta wonder why you are playing Poles to begin with if your plan was to do full Crossbow play, there are FAR better civilizations, including Ethiopians, Britons and even Japanese (faster attacking Halb are FAR better complement than Pikeman which is a very bad unit in Imperial age).

Remember also that the Poles don’t have any map-specific eco bonus, and as such, they don’t have a map where they can cheese a matchup particularly (for example, Mongols can cheese their hunt bonus on Valley, Britons are good on Glacial Lake, Tatars are good on maps with a lot of hills, and so on).

The true focus of this thread is however what should Poles play in Imp/late Imp in 1v1. As we said:

  • Arbalest play is average at best and lacks a complement unit such as Halberdier, which means that you can’t play this long term, 200 vs 200 pop.
  • Cavalry is generally unplayable if you go vs an Archer civ, and even vs a civ with FU Skirmishers (many cavalry civs have decent enough Skirmishers to complement cavalry play, for example, Burgundians or Tatars), something like FU Poles Cavalier takes 3 (!) damage per shot from an Imp Skirmisher as opposed to 1 for generic Cavalier. You could argue that Cavalier is the Poles’s Champion, i.e. a “trash-slaying unit with moderate stats” but even then, a generic FU Champion has 5 pierce armor as opposed to 4 of the Poles Cavalier so it’s more durable vs Skirmishers.
  • Obuch/Skirm might be the best play but is vulnerable, again, to full ranged and especially to fortifications (Castles). Also, takes quite a lot to mass since they produce from Castles only.
  • Halb Siege is also not a possibility as Poles lack Halbs.
  • Winged Hussar (which imo in the Poles case is below average) + full Skirm still sees Skirms miss the last armor upgrade, and vs archer civs it’s very important to have the last armor in Imperial age.

To me, it seems that this civilization dies automatically to many civs that specialize in Archers/have a wide tech tree. All you need to do vs the Poles is survive the Castle age by out-microing the Poles player or spamming Castles and walls. Civs that in particular wreck the Poles imo are:

  1. Vikings (their eco bonus is still better than what the Poles mill gives + they have the desired composition of higher HP pikeman with more bonus damage + FU arbalest)
  2. Britons (self explanatory, a bit worse eco than Vikings but better army composition)
  3. Franks (quality > quantity when you are 200 pop and I don’t see what Poles have to stop full cav play when it’s Paladin with a civ bonus on top too)
  4. Tatars (while Poles have Husbandry, so can somewhat chase cav archers around, Poles still lack the last armor upgrade which makes cav archers trade FAR better in Imp, I don’t see what Poles can do vs a cav archer blob with full upgrades. Keshik play is also good as regular beats Knights cost-effectively and elite beats FU cavalier, by extension it beats also the cheap Poles cavalier).

In my opinion, this civ needs some buff, perhaps in return for a nerf to something (I don’t see what is OP in their tech tree though, perhaps the gold mining bonus from stone mining could be lowered). I think something like last armor upgrade (so that they can play Skirmishers late game) or a bonus of +1 pierce armor that works ONLY in Imp on their cav (perhaps with exception of Winged Hussar) could work. 4/4 armor Cavalier, even for 60f/30g, just doesn’t seem like an attractive option. Sure it has 140 HP compared to the Champion’s 70, but also 1 less Pierce armor, less bonus dmg vs buildings, 1 less attack overall, 10 more gold.

Also note please that I don’t mind a civ having a below average late-Imp composition, but when I think of a strong late-Imp civ, I think about for example Mongols or Britons, and when I think of a civ that is weak in late Imp, I think about Aztecs, Burgundians or Malay. In many cases, these civs have very good trash units, such as the FU Skirmisher from Malay and in some cases above average even (trash 2h swordsmen from Malay and Atlatl Skirmisher from Aztecs). Poles, in contrast, assuming gold runs out, are stuck with the following 3 trash units:

  1. FU Imperial Pikeman without particular bonuses (no extra HP, attack like Vikings for example). Pikeman trades very badly into Imperial cavalry play and generally it’s not worth massing in Imp according to many players to counter Imp cav play.
  2. Winged Hussar (sounds good on paper and looks good but in truth it’s really just a normal Hussar with same melee armor, 2 less Pierce armor, 2 more attack and 5 more HP). It is almost universally agreed that the single attribute you want from Hussars is a high Pierce armor and it’s why Hussars from Turks/Indians/Tatars are considered S tier generally. The high attack is nice but it turns out it doesn’t make a difference vs Villagers and vs enemy army the lack of last armor is a big downside that will see Winged Hussars melt MUCH faster than a generic FU Hussar and trade less cost-effectively as a result.
  3. Skirmishers without last armor (takes 4 damage from FU Arbalest as opposed to 2, i.e. 50% as survivable as a generic FU Skirmisher - in other words you need nearly double the amount to achieve the same effect of countering Arbalest play).

tl;dr: cavalry civ lacking last armor upgrade is just not a good option, now perhaps some consider the Poles OP because they DLC just released, but once everyone gets used to them, I think they will be considered a mid-tier civ, maybe even lower. Remember that Burmese, for example, also have a VERY good eco bonus (one of the best you can have in fact, probably even better than the Franks farm one), but due to poor tech tree were considered a bottom 3 civ until recently. In short, yes the Folwark bonus is good on paper but alone it might not be enough to carry the civ through an underwhelming tech tree.

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I think poles are OP.
And because their goto units don’t cost much gold plus they get extra gold from stone plus they have the 2nd best boom after cumans, they don’t have a real problem in the lategame.

They can spam their gold units way longer with a better eco behind it. Poles only lose it if they are forced in a full trash war, but that means that the opponent would need to hold against the polish flood with way less gold units for a very long time.

I think your post doesn’t reflect realistic gameplay with poles.


how so? Poles play with a regular tech tree, paying the full 60f 75g for Knight play. Castle building is something that generally doesn’t come for free in high elo games. You can’t just afford to go to stone early (say around minute 16-18) and hope to get away with it. This might work in lower elos but in high elo it means you will have a slower Castle age uptime, you will have slower upgrades (because you gather less resources), so for example if the enemy is pushing you with 10 Crossbowmen in super early Castle, you don’t have resources to research Bodkin Arrow or Crossbowman upgrade.

What elo are you if I might ask? The myth that Poles get discounts on their cav is a false one, the bonus kicks in at minute 28 at the earliest.

[citation/proof needed]

I think the following civs are better than Poles in a hypothetical game where everyone races only economy and doesn’t do any combat units: Vikings, Burgundians, Britons, Chinese. I see all as FAR better booming civs than poles. Cumans too I suppose.

This game has a concept of “gold unit”, but generally gold units are not units that necessarily cost gold, rather units that can fight against their counters to a degree. They are also generally more pop-efficient. In actual fact, “gold units” end up nearly always costing gold (with exceptions, e.g. Malay trash 2h swordsman, Kamandaran Crossbows etc.), but the 1 defining attribute of gold units is that if 2 players fight with army mixes of, say, 70 men on each side, one side brings a gold + trash composition while the other goes full trash comp, the hybrid/gold-based comp generally wins, if not resource-wise, pop wise it’s more efficient.

My argument is exactly that the Imperial cavalier from Poles is not worth the 30g because their pierce armor is so bad that it’s not worth massing them as they won’t trade pop-efficiently and allow you to do a big push (e.g., Poles cavalier can’t fight a Viking player camping their Arbalest under a Castle while for example early Imp Burgundian Paladin can - resources spent to get FU Burgundian Paladin and FU Poles Cavalier are about the same as the Paladin upgrade with 50% discount is offset more or less by the Slachzta Privileges UT + the resources for the Castle).

So while they can spam “gold units” way longer than other civs, I don’t see too much difference between using the bad Poles Cavalier instead of say the Turk Hussar as a frontline unit. In fact, I might prefer the Turk Hussar overall in a generic army composition.

the flood dies to full Crossbow/Arbalest play, Poles can’t counter mass Crossbows at all.

I think you should climb a bit before assuming everything is OP and L2P.


:joy: No. In what world can the Poles spam “their gold units longer with a way better eco behind it”? You literally need at least two gold costing units such as Arbalesters and Obuch (not mentioning Siege) to have some chance against opposing Heavy Cavalry civs which otherwise just overpower you - while not getting a single bonus affecting your gold income.

I don’t think you are taking actual competitive games on a higher elo into consideration when talking about them because unless it is against the AI or beginners, you will rarely have this much gold banked while going for all the multiple upgrades of various unit types that the Poles desperately need.

Regarding to what OP said, their Castle Age really does seem superb with the cheap knights once you built a Castle and researched Szlachta.
This could get nerfed down a little in exchange for a more viable Imperial Age, i.e. giving them either Halberdiers or even better at least Plate Barding Armor or the Paladin upgrade.

The lack of both Siege Engineers and Siege Onagers doesn’t help the Poles to deal well with Archers either, while your own Archers miss out on the last Armor Upgrade and Thumb Ring to be able to compete with those of other civs which even get bonusses for them.

Another questionable decision is that after the discount but lacking Imperial Age upgrades, Polish Cavaliers basically fulfill the same trash-cavalry role as Hussars in their late game.

Consequently I don’t see anyone using their Cavaliers over Winged Hussars -
disappointing to me because the civ rather resembles their Early Modern Period than medieval Poland, which mainly relied on Heavy Cavalry.


I think the vulnerability to Skirms is exagerated. Yes, both Winged Hussars and Cavaliers take 3 damages per shot from skirms but we’re talking about an unit who have half of Arbs attack rate. Cavalry is fast and tanky enough to close the gap, and the minimum range is going to play in your favor too. Basically you can scratch them with skirms, contrary to FU cavaliers, but that’s about that.

I would be worried about poles countering archer civs in general, but Skims are not a major concern. And you have Obuch as top tier trash killers anyway.


They have a potential for a strong power spike in Feudal. Imho the civ falls of hard the later the game goes on. Especially in Imp, Obuch + Arb looks good on paper, but in practice it’s too expensive to actually pull off due to the need for castles and all the ranged upgrades.


I don’t like this comp actually. I like xbow + obuch, but the polish player should slowly transition out of arbs when gold becomes scarce.
Double Gold in imp is usually a nogo, especially with arbs.

And the other option is the knight line which btw shreds other knight lines completely. They even trade cost efficient against camels in castle age…

ANd btw Poles only have weaknesses against other arb civs in imp, maybe their only weakness is against strong arb civs in the lategame. Against cav civs they shouldn’t have any problems, aswell against inf civs - they just shred those.

nobody has a problem with Castle age Poles. They are about as strong as, say, Slavs in Castle age. Trading cost-efficiently vs Camels is generally false because as per OP, you will mass some Knights in early Castle age paying the full Gold price, and even later on when you get the discount, you still need to recover the cost of the tech itself. So no, they don’t trade efficiently vs Camels. The fact that they “shred” other cavalry is also dubious, not sure what you mean here because Poles cavalier is inferior to a generic FU Cavalier, and in Imp, generally the game is a lot about holding & capturing positions, yes you might trade cost-efficiently (assuming no archers) but if you lose a 70 vs 70 fight, your reinforces run in 1 by 1 and you must surrender a position (e.g. Castle), so cost-efficiency here matters little.

many games go to Imp, in fact in high elo the majority of games last until at least early Imp. The thread is also about Imperial Poles gameplay, so I thought it was obvious that we assume somehow both sides made it through Castle age (e.g. 1 player failed the Castle age push, or the map is Arena, etc.)

there is no “infantry civ” per se, all the civs described as “infantry civs” really are hybrids which use 2-3 non-infantry units to complement infantry play. E.g. Celts → Siege, Viking → Crossbow, Japanese → Crossbow, Malay → Crossbow, infantry alone in this game sucks.

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There is nothing else you can transition to in imp. Your Cavalry line sucks. Infantry is kinda a waste if you can make obuch. You can try HCA, but imho its not really worth it in most cases with this civ.

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What do you mean with problem? They are just OP, that’s all.

xD nice joke.

I don’t think that’s the way to go for poles. I think you should play either trush or defensive because you can with your great eco behind it and make a castle drop. Then transit into discounted knights.
That’s one way to use that bonus. Ofc poles can also just go for archers into obuch or whatever else.

You should always try to play into the strengths of a civ, not copy paste your other buildorders if a civ has unique bonusses which lead to completely different builds.

Depending what high elo is. At pro play yes. A bit down the elo… forget it. I mean often games get to imp, but are decided way earlier.

You can’t devide imp from everything that happened before. If a civ can just outboom everything else while defending, that civ doesn’t need top imp roster. All it needs is something spammable and siege to roll over the opponent.
And Poles should get to imp with a huge eco advantage.

Just either continue spamming your cavalier or transition to obuch and add siege. It’s all you need to close the game.
Goths also don’t have anything to transition to in imp, they just spam their supercheap units. And yes, this goth spam is strong even in the highest elo. The key is to don’t allow goths to get to that spam.
And guess which other civ can make a spam pretty much like goths (maybe with different units, but still)…
How you stop poles from making that spam in the midgame? Cause their midgame is the strongest in the game currently.

That’s why I conclude Poles are actually OP atm. Maybe it needs time for the right builds, but man that civ is broken.

Those Cavalier are super weak. Missing the last armor upgrade means that if your opponent upgrades to Arb, your cavalry is going to melt. Doesn’t matter how cheap they are, if they simply melt. Goth spam at least has an obvious counter to everything: Huskarl → Archer, Halb → Cavalry, Numbers → Infantry. But Poles Cavalier? You know how weak that is for Arbs to shoot down? So I think Poles Imp is really not very scary.

As for mid-game, I think Poles will be a feudal aggression civ, so I don’t expect much of a power spike in mid-game, because the civ is so bad at late game, you’ll want to close out games very early.

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Did you really just write this after suggesting a trush into castle drop? :clown_face:

False. Such a civ would need proper rebalancing and not be treated as a gimmick tower rushing choice.

We don’t need civs that are completely unviable at some stage of the game but least so in Imperial Age where many games end on a higher elo.

I made the math. They can tank 33% less arb shots, but they are also 33% cheaper in raw res. It balances it out. Because of the higher numbers Poles cavalier even outperforms generic cavalier against arbs, actually.
And this even doesn’t takes the folwark bonus plus the saved gold into account…


That sounds like a losing fight to me. You’ll simply lose units too fast to be able to actually do any meaningful damage to an arb ball. If your opponent gets even just a meager amount of pikes in front, there’s just no way for you to come out on top.


usually you don’t want to fight a huge arb ball (usually with some halbs around, too) with your cavaliers directly, you know?
What’s that comparison? I mean, you can’t complain if a bad strat doesn’t works for a specific civ. A bad strat doesn’t works for any civ, so complaining that it doesn’t work for one special civ is just… What are we even talking about?

Against big arb balls you use defences and onagers. Sometimes even bbc. Skirms rarely, but sometimes you have no choice but to.

Why you throw your gold units into arb balls to die? That makes no sense.

That’s why I’m saying that investing into these Cavalier just isn’t worth it, it’s easy to counter.

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NO it isn’t. You can spam the whole enemy base with them. There is no counter against that kind of flood.

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I don’t think that’s going to be the meta way to play the civ, but we will see. I’d think any generic hussar civ would do a better job at spamming raids into the eco. (missing the last +2 PA means defensive structures will eat through the cavalier really quick, and also, arbs as said earlier)

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I think you are mistaking them with Goths.

Exactly. They should just give them Plate Barding Armor and nerf Szlachta Privileges by 10 or 15% in return.

It’s goths on steroids.

To make them OP on every stage of the game… Good idea.

We will see it in the stats, hopefully the builds will be there in time to showcase the full potential of poles after the first few days of wondering “how to play” them.

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