Portuguese vs Cavalry

Portuguese seem like a fun civ, and I’ve been wanting to play them more. The main issue I’m finding is that they struggle with fighting against Cavalry. They have Halberdier, but without Squires they are easily outmaneuvered, and Bombard Cannons + Hand Cannoneers + Organ Guns are extremely vulnerable if Light Cav reach them. Even Bombard Towers struggle to target moving Cavalry. In Castle Age, a few Knights can wreck your economy when your Pikes are so slow. Obviously they don’t have access to camels, and Port Cav cannot go head-to-head with any of the better Cavalry civs. Ports seem to be similar to Italians, but without the option of Genoese Crossbows.

Maybe their win rate is low because heavy cav civs are so popular. Any ideas or strats I haven’t considered? Or is this intended to be a losing matchup? Thanks.

Edit: To specify the stats. Portuguese have the lowest win rate currently, and they do worst against: Turks, Franks, Mongols, Berbers, and Magyars. There might not be an easy answer, hoping for some advice though. Interestingly, they do well against Cumans, which have the fastest Paladins, Hussars and Kipchaks, not sure what to make of that one.

Did you tried with monks? They have the cheapest monks (without counting with post bohemians’ UT)

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That’s a great point. My monk micro needs some work, but that would certainly help against Franks. I hadn’t realized how good the Portuguese monastery was, or considered their gold discount applies to monks.

Still leaves the good light cav civs as a big threat though. Hussars are faster, resist conversion and have bonus damage vs monks. Then there are the Magyar Huszars which break all of the Port’s nicest things. Mongol Hussars have extra health, and are often paired with Mangudai to take out siege.


Mongols Hussars are actually much weaker than FU Hussars because of the missing armor, which is a huge deal when facing archers. Mongols siege is a really huge deal tho.

But Portuguese have only light cav, which dies easily to mongol hussars.
So you can’t even fight fire with fire.

Not really related strictly to the topic, but are cavalry archers a viable alternative to arbalesters for portuguese? Damage should be slightly less than arbalester (thumb ring +11% rof compared to +18% of arbs), but they have 70hp and full mobility, I’m thinking this because with higher mobility they can lure cavalry to halbs maybe, plus for portuguese CAs cost “only” 48 gold each, like Huns (no wood discount though).

Why? They have discounted knights which can be quite cost effective in the long run

Ports are very bad against cav archer civs too since their halbs can’t cszhcthem, their own heavy cav is too bad to trhesten then and it leaves them with just arbs as an answer that is just wrecked by some siege

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I guess the 20% gold discount does make them slightly better than generic knights/cavalier. Still not going to be able to fight against Poles with a 60% gold discount (just missing one melee armor), or Berbers with 20% discount on food and gold. Any decent Paladin civ will wipe the floor with discounted Cavaliers, as would Malian Farimba Cavaliers or Bulgarians with Stirrups.

Could maybe beat Saracen Knights, or Turkish or Persian Cavalier (before Paladin upgrade) cost effectively, but they’d just swap to camels which are even better at evading slow Halberdiers.

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Poles need castle and UT to get the discount, same for malians and bulgarians, and berbers have better stable than portuguese but they have probably the best stable in the game so it’s not a portuguese only issue. About camels, yes they’re nice to have but they’re not a unit you want to rely to much against portuguese since they can get punished later in the game by an archer transition.

I’m not saying that portuguese have the best stable in the game, in fact their post-imp stable is fairly mediocre, but that’s not nearly as important as you think since you rarely get to fully upgrade your stable units in 1v1 since it’s extremely expensive and time consuming, expecially for paladin civs. End even assuming you can get there, you can get a lot of value from portuguese knight line in the meanwhile, since their bonus is free and instant, while most civ need to research UTs to get their advantages.

Also don’t underestimate their 30% faster research bonus, since most techs affetting knights (expecially cavalier and plate barding) take a lot of time to complete, so you can have quite some timing advantages in some scenarios.


You can have discounted fully upgraded cavaliers. But generally good paladin and hussar civs really make life hard for Ports.


I mean, what doesn’t on land maps. Considering their winrates


tthis is mainly why you have to have multi unit compositions… monks to convert kts, halbs to protect monks, and shooty stuff to kill everything else

once you are able to micro monks better you will discover they are the hard counter to kts, especially in castle age, and if you are facing a civ that you are worried about in imperial (like mongols) you need to try kill them or pressure them enough that their imperial isnt that strong…

and with both cheaper mangos and monks. its possible to give a lot of pressure in castle age, and if you are using pikes (even if they are slow) try to split them into 2 groups and stay near your monks/siege

it isnt easy, but it is possible and once you learn to do it, you’ll see there’s a lot of players that cant deal with this, because they’re so used just being able to fully engage knight on knight or run circles around pikes

they dont even need to do a full swap, just add a few camels into the mix, the main advantage of the camel isthe dps, so unless the opponent has pro level micro they wont micro down the camels and the kts will tank the dmg, while the camels swing the fight in their favour…

i think its more due to their early eco. the game is essentially dictated by eco. the best civs have the best eco bonuses (either most stream lined, or most powerful generalist) mongols are possibly the only exception due to having an OP unit, but even they have a cracking early eco

ports eco hardly affects them until castle age, food is the biggest issue, so unless you’re spamming archers in feudal port have literally zero eco bonus, while you need to contend with the likes of +2 vils -10% tech cost or +175f +50w +2 vils . theres simply no competition

edit: and the stats support this… watch their winrate with time


I’ve tried a few more games with Portuguese, still a struggle. One went to post-imp and turned into a trash war. I attempted to counter the halberdiers, Skirmishers and Hussars with a large group of champions, funded by feitoria gold. What I didn’t consider is that Port champs are about the same speed as Teutonic Knights. I couldn’t force a fight with any of the opponent’s units. The elite Skirmishers were using hit and run tactics :rofl:

No squires is no fun. I’ll probably stick with other civs from now on.


Try mixing in bombard towers to cover your pikes

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