Redundant Unique Units

There are a lot of great unique units in this game, often covering a civ’s weakness (Frank Axemen vs Spears or Goth Huskarls vs Archers). In other cases the UU seems to be a powerful and versatile version of a generic one, (Kamayuks are spearmen that can survive archers and fight swordsmen, Mangudai are cav archers that can shred trebuchets and rams, Plumes are arbalests with speed). However, some civs don’t seem to have this synergy, and their unique units can be redundant . Would like to hear other people’s thoughts on the following.

Berbers: Camel Archers are such a fun unit, and hard counter one of the most difficult units to fight against: cavalry archers. They’re fast, and despite being cavalry are not threatened by spears. The strange thing is that Berbers also get Genitours, another mounted archer unit that has speed to counter cav archers and evade spears. It seems like there is a lot of overlap between these 2 units. Sure, Genitours can be used against foot archers better than camel archers, but that’s not really needed with Elite Skirmishers (which struggle against cav archers). Camel archers do better against a broad range of units (camels and knights in particular), but in this area they’re similar to cav archers. Historically, I believe Genitours would make more sense as a Spanish or Portuguese unit, so I’m not sure why they belong to the Berbers (who benefit from them the least).

Vietnamese: We have to love the Rattan Archer. A ranged unit with high attack and Pierce armor destroys any other archer civ. Then there is the Imperial Skirmisher, a ranged unit with high Pierce armor and decent attack for a trash unit, it also destroys any other archer civ. Either one can be used to shred spears and protect your elephants. My question is why both of these units belong to the same civ. They seem to fill a very similar role. In team games where gold is plentiful, I don’t see the Vietnamese player going for Imp Skirms. Is the intent to be for it to just help allies? I do enjoy meso or Lithuanian Imperial Skirmishers very much. In 1v1 the Imperial Skirmisher is definitely useful when gold runs low, but I can’t help feeling like this upgrade is wasted on the civ that needs it least.

Turks: This one is probably the most debatable, and could just be me not understanding when to use Janissaries. They just don’t seem like anything special for a civ that gets bonuses to hand cannoneers (25% health and instant free chemistry). The Elite Janissary has slightly more attack, but lower accuracy and no bonus damage vs infantry. Hand cannon has no upgrade cost, while Elite Janissary requires 850 food + 750 gold, and halts production while researching, and is not instant at the start of Imperial Age. The only advantage I see for Janissary is being available in Castle Age, but it’s a poor unit before Elite upgrade with 50% accuracy. It’s also hard to mass from Castles, and building multiple castles to produce them is a similar investment to going Imp (for instant HC spam from archery ranges, and access to ring archer armor). Interestingly, Turks are the civilization that would benefit most from any of the four unique units discussed above, as their Skirmishers are the worst in the game, but I don’t believe there is any historical justification for a swap (and I’m not recommending a change, just here to discuss).

Edit: On the topic of Janissaries, I think Slingers make a good comparison. Slingers are a UU unit done right IMO, they cover a civ’s weakness since Incas don’t have gunpowder (defeating infantry that threatens eagles), are available in castle age, have no unlock or upgrade cost, and can be produced from archery ranges. They also benefit from both unique techs and blacksmith upgrades, which is very nice.


“+1” . Spanish and Portuguese actually could use the genitour quite well in their comps. Berbers don’t really need that unit. It also could be buffed a bit.

I think it’s fine. Still vietnamese are pushed maybe a bit too much into the “archer counter” role, but I think they aren’t even outperforming the top archer civs andare also less specialised in this role than eg koreans, who have a bonus to basically everything you want to make against archers.

Janissaries are really strong, they actually outperform hc. Opposed to HC jannisaries can hold their own to be a core unit of the army whilst hc usually are made as counter or support unit. ofc they have similarities but I think jannissarries aren’t redundant. They play quite different.

I think we would need to talk more about various cav and infantry UUs, they are often redundant. And the only way they are made viable is by just reducing their cost that far they outperform the lines they compete with - if you manage to have enough castles up to sustain production.

Key is, the game doesn’t allows that much unit variety, but it’s interesting you actually picked examples which are somehat unique compared to a lot of melee units that basically just don’t add anything to the game currently.


Janissaries are substantially better than HC against pretty much everything but infantry, with extra range and way better attack


Thanks for the reply. I’d be interested to discuss infantry and cavalry examples. There certainly are some, but I find that most of them are unique and situational, or in some cases just a better version of a generic unit.

Keshik is an easy example, since it’s very similar to other cavalry, but it’s high Pierce Armor and low cost make it useful in many situations. It doesn’t really feel redundant, even with high Pierce armor Hussars available. Similar story for Leitis, they are similar to generic knights/paladins but have the unique armor piercing mechanic that makes them excel against some enemies. Tarkans have the anti-building bonus. Boyars are great against melee units.

I guess there’s an argument to be made for Teuton high-armor champions vs Teutonic knights, but they do feel different. You could also say Woad Raiders are similar to Celt fast champions, but the WR is significantly faster. Samurai have the anti-UU damage over champions. Jaguars counter infantry, Obuchs remove armor, etc. Berserk is probably too similar to champions, and Serjeant is dangerously close just with high armor and ability to build.

Also all of these examples are unique vs generic unit (admittedly so was my Janissary example), these seem more sensible than 2 unique units filling the same role within a civ.

Maybe I could clarify my point by using a hypothetical example. Imagine if Indians were given Mamelukes instead of Elephant Archers, it wouldn’t make sense because they already have the unique Imperial Camel. Just two options competing for the same role. Or what if Burmese had Conquistador as a 2nd UU, completely unnecessary when they have Arambai.

One more example would be a hypothetical Magyars being given Mangudai. There’s just no need, they already have good cav archers and an anti-siege cavalry unit in the Huszar. It would just be a matter of using the trash or gold unit (basically the same choice Berbers and Vietnamese have currently). It’s much more fitting for the Mongols to have the Mangudai, as it fits so well with the rest of their tech tree.

I agree, especially about Genitours/Camel Archers and Imp Skirms/Rattan Archers
Having 2 units that fit the same role but one is just trash has always struck me as boring and as you said, redundant
Janissaries I don’t agree that much since they are “replacing” generic units and you could make a case for units like Longbowmen, Berserks and Kipchaks (none of them have very different roles from the generic unit they resemble the most)
Edit: hadn’t read your latest post before writing this, but after reading it I still don’t understand what makes Janissaries that different from the examples you and I gave

1 Like

Janissary may not be the best example. If there are situations where it outperforms HC then I could see it having a role. I’ve been sticking with HC as Turks because it has higher attack vs infantry (27-28), easier to produce from ranges, has no upgrade cost, and has higher accuracy.

The Turks do get a unique upgrade to HC HP (similar to the Vietnamese bonus to Skirm HP), and free instant chemistry which seems like a good incentive to make them. But the existence of Janissary just seems redundant in that sense. I guess it’s no different than Viking Champions being incentivized with more HP and attack vs cavalry, only to have a very similar unique unit in the berserk. Maybe it’s just a matter of letting unique units be a more specialized form of a generic unit, where Janissary is strangely a more general form, while HC is specialized in anti-infantry.

I do think Berbers and Vietnamese are better examples. And both Genitours and Imp Skirm could be better suited on almost any other civ.

1 Like

I believe genitours and imp skirmishers were added to mantain the civ unique strength even if the player lacked gold or castles.

If you have a lot of gold and castles you can make rattan and crush archers or camel archer and crush cav archers.
But if you don’t have them, you can fall back on genitours and imp skirmishers and still dominate archers/cav archers.
This is more to keep the civ theme, imho.

The main problem with genitours is that they were used by the christian kingdoms specifically to catch the lighter and faster moorish cavalry. Giving them to the Berbers instead of making them a regional unit for the Spanish and Portuguese is historically absurd, it would be like giving the Saracens a “crusader knight” unit


Afrocan civs used mounted javelins way more than those two

But they weren’t called genitours.

I mean, considering Berbers were the ones that introduced the military tactics that would lead to Genitours it makes some sense

As long as units fulfill clearly different roles I’m totally okay with some stuff overlapping. So rattans and imp skirms are different in that one is universal gold unit while the other is trash unit on steroids. Or Turks: Jannis are mostly seen in castle age and great overall especially vs knights and siege while hc is an imp infantry counter.

The most redudant unit is longbows imo. They have do everything a bit better than reg archers but have even more range than what is already the case for briton archers. Also samurai feels a bit redundant bc if you see them to begin with it’s as a stronger champ and usually not as uu counter. Lastly ballista elephant feels like a weird and worse version of scorps.

1 Like

I enjoy longbows enough to forgive their similarities :laughing:. Objectively I can see how it’s a similar situation. Briton Crossobows/Arbalesters get extra range, and Longbows are the UU with extra extra range.

I don’t agree with Samurai. Maybe before supplies, but these days it’s not cost effective to make Samurai if all you need is swordsmen, there is a 10 gold and 15 food difference between the two, with similar combat performance. Samurai are unique because they can destroy things that Champions cannot, such as Teutonic Knights, Boyars, Jaguars, Konniks, Berserks, Obuchs and Hussite Wagons. They are slightly faster than champs, and can do well against UU foot archers (except maybe Plumes, since they can hit and run like cav archers). Samurai even trade reasonably well against Leitis and Cataphracts.

Ballista Elephant is indeed a very weird unit. It’s unique enough that I don’t find it to be redundant. It can survive archer and onager fire much better than Scorpions, and I believe it is the only siege unit that can be healed by monks.

You actually agree here that Castle Age Janissaries have a role but they are useless as Elite Janissaries due to the upgrade cost and since 50 HP Hand Cannoneer option for Turks in Imperial age. Turks have weaknesses against trash infantry, hence Imperial age HC is superior with better accuracy, cheaper cost, better damage against infantry and easier to mass.

Therefore, I can say that Elite Janissaries are ultimately redundant and that needs some tweak or buff.

Yeah but what you describe isn’t redundancy but rather little usefulness. That’s a seperate issue. Also it stems from the unit design itself. Jannis work best if you push on one tc in castle age when you fight with low or medium numbers. If both players are boomed out these kinds of castle age gunpowder units (jannis, conqs, organ guns) do very little. And if you get to the full boom with Turks you mostly use heavy ca, hussar and bbc as this is their strongest imp comp no matter if you play open or closed map. Elite upgrade for jannis is simply not worth it bc you either don’t have the eco if you played jannis before or/and the unit doesn’t scale well into imp. So to buff it the only significant change would be a massive (!) cost reduction. But then you would only buff Turks for scenarios in which they already shine (low eco pushs).

Genitours are supposed to be used when your gold runs out instead of skirmishers, and they aren’t bad for what they do, skirmishers with an imp upgrade. Decent, has good synergies with many civs.

Imperial skirmishers are an amazing trash unit that deal 2 damage to hussars and most other units which are supposed to take 1 damage only. And without it vietnamese trash would be absolutely horrible without blast furnace and hussar.

And janissaries… don’t even get me started. Have you played on arena recently? Monks with sanctity are the only counter to that unit, and that’s in small numbers only. 8 range in castle age with enough damage to 3 shot a mangonel, and a decent accuracy to boot. ???

It certainly helps their trash comp. In that scenario you wouldn’t be using Rattan Archers though. That’s kinda my point, the Imperial Skirmisher is so versatile that having a similar gold unit isn’t that helpful. Even when gold is available, what can Rattan + Skirmisher do that Arbalest + Imperial Skirmisher couldn’t?

Edit: As an interesting side note. Imagine if Lithuanians and Vietnamese swapped the Imperial Skirm and Winged Hussar upgrades. Both civs would be in a much better spot for covering their weaknesses. Vietnamese would have trash cavalry with good attack to protect Rattans from mass skirmishers, and Lith would have fast Imp Skirms with tower shields to protect Leitis from archers. I’m not saying this change should happen, it would be nonsense from a historical perspective, just an example at how UU could help cover a weakness and complement other units.

A mass of castle age Janissaries can be strong on arena, but I’d still be more concerned about a mass of Bohemian Hand Cannoneers. They are cheaper, faster, more accurate, easier to produce, have the same 17 attack (and +10 bonus to infantry), and backed up by a better economy. Janissary does have +1 range, and Turks get more HP, but I’d still favor the HC. They are very similar though, that’s my main point here.

1 Like

Imperial skirms + new viets elephants would be a good combo. I think it doesn’t overlaps with Rattan archers

1 Like

I partially agree. You’ll want some halberdiers on the front line to protect the Skirmishers from cavalry (elephants are too slow to do this role well). The elephants are useful for absorbing enemy archer fire and protect the Halbs. If they have a lot of Skirms or Arbs your superiorranged units with a meat shield will still win. Enemy spears are killed by your Skirmishers to keep the elephants safe. Throw a few bombard Cannons in to deal with Scorpions/Onagers /Castles and you’ll be very hard to stop.

However, that entire paragraph could be rewritten with Rattan Archer instead of Skirmisher and every point still holds true. I guess enemy champions would die quicker to Rattans than Skirms, to justify the gold cost, but they’re functionally extremely similar.

I think Bohemian HC are less accurate than Turks Janissaries. The most important part of Janissaries, tho, is the +1 range, which makes them outranges mangonels (thus extremely countering them as oppose to being countered) and xbows.