Poles have arguably above average Cavalry, Infantry in Castle Age and still top tier Heavy Infantry, Light Cavalry and Arbalesters in Imperial. Except the Light Cavalry, the other two units are setting the tone of the game. This doesn’t help at all when you are at the backfoot. The Winged Hussar is below average due to lack of last armor until you get the Unique Technology.
When the civ was released, I thought it could be Knights → cheap Cavaliers → Winged Hussars or Archers → Crossbowmen → Arbalesters → Arbalesters + Elite Obuch. But the tech tree doesn’t support getting a bit off track. We saw with the Vinchester game too.
How do Poles counter cavalry?
They use their own superior Light Cavalry or cheaper Heavy Cavalry. 1 melee armor from PBA is less important than +1 melee armor, +2 attack which the WH has, and the blast damage is just another plus. I am fairly confident that this method will work against every unit except Elite Boyars. So missing Halberdier isnt an issue.
How do Poles counter foot archers?
Siege Ram + ESkirmishers? ESkirmishers + EObuch? Arbalesters + EObuch? There always seems to be some gold involved. I am used to playing Lithuanians who not only have last armor upgrade, but another +2 armor. The ball of archers can easily snipe the Polish ESkirm/Arbalester while also dealing with EObuch. I think they might need some help here. Maybe we could give Tower Shields to Poles, and give Schlatcha Priviledge to Lithuanians (while removing Paladins and giving Plate Mail ofcourse). Tower Shields could add some melee armor too this way. Moreover the Siege Ram + ESkirm method falls flat against Chu Ko Nus.
How do Poles counter mounted archers?
Exactly the same 3 options, but now you have to deal with mobility as well, basically nullifying Obuchs. Siege Rams wont work against Mangudais and Kipchaks.
The common pattern is that none of the trash units of Poles are FU, just like Malians, but hey, both of them can stretch their golden age a bit longer. The Malians however deal with stuff a bit differently. To counter cavalry, they make Camels, which have no flaws. To counter archers, they make Champions which only miss +2 attack (the least important upgrade). To counter infantry, they can make Hand Cannoneers (not above average, but FU). To counter siege, they have BBC. Mounted archers can be a bit dicey, but Siege Onagers or Champions are fairly usable. Moreover, they have better Heavy Cav and Light Cav for raiding or as a general purpose unit, because they dont miss armor upgrades.
One last note is that, the Elite Obuch upgrade doesnt provide a lot of value. The Castle Age Obuch is already pretty strong. I just suggest some tiny buffs for the unit:
- (Elite) Obuch +1 or +2 LoS. LS have 4, Champions/2HS have 5. Obuch have 3.
- Elite Obuch +1 melee attack.