Poles are one of the new patch losers, with some of the worst win rates at higher elos. However, they remain quite decent at lower elos, I suspect due in large part to their weakness to archers, but that might be wrong. In any case, they need a bonus that makes them better with more skillful use, without making them too OP lower down.
What if Poles lost Guilds, and instead, Folwarks gave a 5% reduction in the Market penalty each? This would encourage market abuse, which would synergize nicely with their better stone mining; then, later on, they could buy it back at even better rates once they have more Folwarks and the trade rate is even better.
It would also be moderately historically accurate, as Folwarks were designed in large part for exports, not for local use.
I’d cap the bonus at 10%; not as good as Saracens, but better than most other civs with Guilds.
This would especially help them in their lategame, where they currently tend to fall off a bit.
Sorry what, Poles late game is already one of the most cost effective and annoying to play against, go and play vs a decent Poles player and see how obscene is to play vs 30g cavalier spam, insane UU, good arbalests, good siege, decent monks, and also you have the insane Winged Hussar spam with trample damage. Even in castle age, playing vs a late castle age Knight spam from Poles is absurd, I even remember to completely hold on Imperial age cavaliers with just 30g Knight spam.
I still keep, Poles need to lose arbalest, a civ with 2 eco bonuses that get stronger in the late game doesn’t deserve a wide tech tree.
They have over 52% win rate on closed maps: AoE Pulse, and the 3rd highest pick rate of 4.43%
In fairness, their win rate on open maps is pretty low at around 45% AoE Pulse. However, they have a decent win rate of 48.5% on team games, and a decent pick rate of 2.22%, with the 17th position. So, above average.
So, all things considered, they are fine. Would I mind a small buff on open maps? No, not really. However, it has to be something that helps them slightly in early feudal/castle age. Nothing more. So, no market bonuses.
I also completely agree with @FurtherLime7936. Poles have good infantry (only missing halbs), cavalry, archers, decent cav archers and even bombard cannons. That is a ridiculously open tech tree for a civ like this. The only disagreement I have is about what they should lose. Imo, they should lose thumb ring.
Their winrates are decent over all players, they only really fall off for the upper half, hence the suggestion of a market buff. Market use is more beneficial for the upper half of players.
Referencing aoestats, considering only 1000+ elo, their win rates for arabia are actually slightly higher than their overall win rates. And while their knight spam is decent in the middle-term, the lack of the final armor upgrade, makes them relatively weak in the long term, with generally falling winrates after the 45 minute point.
I’m of the opinion that their current curve of win rates is acceptable, it just doesn’t climb high enough positive during their strong period. I wouldn’t want to make them much stronger during the earlygame, since that’s their intentional weakness. Rather, I’d like to moderately increase their strength later on.
Even with a bit of extra gold from the market, they would still have generally weak knights, so I don’t think the bonus should be too overpowered in the lategame.