Should UU be more viable?

You know, I’m all about the diversity in this game. that why I keep proposing Balance chances, sometimes obnoxiously, sometimes accurately. In that context, I came to notice how badly balanced UU are. I mean, badly balanced not in cost or stats, but in viabilty and functionality.

I think they’re 3 types of UU that are viable, balanced, and sometimes mandatory for a civ:

There’re UU that are an straight upgrade for a vanilla unit the civ have, but does that better (Mangudai are an “upgrade” from CA. Woad Raiders are an Upgrade from Champions)
Then, there’re UU that fill specifics roles in their civ, and do things no other unit from that civ can do (Camel Archers for the Berbers, Genovese Xbow for Italians)
Then, you have some units that fill small situational niches for a civ that usually doesn’t need them, yet they have no other way to fill that niche. Shotel Warriors are a good example (we saw MBL winning a game and surprising everyone with that).

Then, there’re the Units that are either hyper good, or plain OP, that carry an otherwise lackluster civ. In particular, I think Conquistador is the former, and Arambai are the latter. I’m really no fan of these ones. I think civs should be balanced, and have other options besides their UU.

Also you have plain bad UU. Basically both Elephants that shot things

And then, and this is the main point of the post, there’re units that seems to be viable in Paper, yet are NEVER seen.
Boyars made me think about this issue, and are a really good example for this: Slavs are usually used as a cavalry civ, altough they only have vainilla FU Cavs (and a great eco bonus). The logic would indicate that they should transition to Elite Boyards in Imperial age, yet we never seen this. I don’t think I saw E. Boyars once in the WC. why is this? In my humble opinion, this could be solved with a little tweak in the creation time.
Longbows are the same situation. Mamelukes. and so on. Units that are both too expensive, but mainly too hard to mass.

why Is woad raider viable but not boyar? for me is creation time. You can afford 80G per unit in TG post imperial game. is the creation time that kills that possibility.

Also, Units that depends on UT for being FU are also lackluster. Mamelukes, War elephats (Highly situationals, a I know), Cataphracs and now even the Zerks are never seen. In some cases, because the UU do not align with the way their civs are played (Saracens are played with archers, also Vikings and Bizantines). I really dislike this. I would love to see this unit more, even if that means tweak the civ in other places (in particular I don’t like the saracen bonus, neither I do the last nerf to zerks in reponse to a quite OP Viking eco)

There’re also units that are not BAD, but the price difference doesn’t justify what the do agains other option the civ have (Karambit being a great example of this: why should I spend 15 G when I have trash 2hs?). Samurai is pretty much the same (Expect agains condos, where they do an awesome job)

Anyway, this may be a rant, and a long one, but I would like to know everyone’s opinion about the importance of the UU, and if there’s one in particular you would like to see more often.

1 Like

Also, some of the bad or niche UU have an incredible high upgrade cost. You wont ever mass them, less upgrade them with such tech prices.


I think a lot of the UUs and UTs need some balance review, as they are not really viable outside of extremely niche scenarios…but many people are against changes.

I think all units should be at least situationally good. I also really dislike the attitude of not buffing mediocre UU because they would be “broken” in team games. I think that’s just giving up on balancing the game.

1 Like

the problem is the game is just too fast for most unique units to have a situation where they are able to be seen. Even the Leitis as strong as it is doesn’t see much use.

1 Like

I don’t mind when UUs act mainly as a deterrence, but I’d like all UUs to have some impact on some games. Like when we saw Berserks, Shotels and Genoese Crossbows in the Spain vs Norway match (, that was pretty awesome.

Continuing this line of thought, I think (britain) Longbows should out-range (britain) xbows in castle age.
A lot of the UUs that get made are good in castle age, and I think +1 range would give the unit a niche in Castle age, where +1 damage does not.
This could be achieved most easily by changing the non-elite longbow stats (+1 range, -1 damage), but you could also change the interaction with the Yeoman UT.

Mamelukes should have their armour class removed from the game and their stats redesigned from scratch.

Jaguar Warriors might also qualify for this category. On the one hand they’re meant to be a champ-deterrence. On the other hand it turns out no-thumbring archers are better in that role :confused:

1 Like

I may say this a bit harshly, but your post is just a calmed down and a bit more thorough version of a large number of posts from one single guy ranting all day about UU being seen less often (copy paste his wall of text every time someone brings some form of counter arguments).

All I want to ask is: why I HAVE TO use a screwdriver that does not fit the screw I’m working on to tighten that screw instead of using the right screw in the first place? Maybe you don’t mean that, but arguing visibility and viability of UU is the same as arguing why some sizes of screwdrivers are used less often.

Hence, my argument is always this: UU being seen less often is perfectly fine. If an army of knights and skirmishers can do the job, then I don’t need to build an army of Leitis or Boyar.

I appreciate your effort though, and your post sounds more like something thought out, rather than brainless rants.


As a short range melee attacker, having archer armor class is necessary for countering them. Otherwise pikemen and knights will likely never make even a single kill.


Totally agree. 1/3 part of the UUs are overpriced, 1/3 part of the UUs are trash/too situational and 1/3 part of them are great.

Look at the Memelukes with their nonsensical Archer armor class and 85 gold Ferrari cost. They are already countered by Halberdiers, 3 range is nothing vs them. Why are Memelukes considered Archers while Throwing Axemen and Gbetos aren’t and they are not useless, like Memelukes.

Exactly. Why would you ever make Berserks in 1v1s? They are too expensive. Champions do their job. Viking eco should be nerfed, but we should see Berserks in post-Imp the same way as Woad Raiders.


Thanks for your comment. That’s what I mean. I don’t complain about people don’t using them. I’m just saying that’s a pitty that we don’t get to see them that often. And I think the main reason is what you said: why go for Boyards If I can get better results with Knights?

i just think UU it’s one of the most interesting things AoE2 have, and gives a lot of versatility and identity to civs. or at least it could do that, if most UU were useful


There is a chance the game dev did not consider that when designing the civ. We may never know. For me AOE2 is interesting because of the endless way game can go, from 200elo player all the way to 2200 elo viper.

1 Like

because Mamelukes can actually run away from stuff with their high speed, and the other two cannot.


No, they can’t run away because they are never made.


Imo, yes UU should be more viable… and they should have shorter TT from the castle to incentivate them.

But again, imo, infantry in general is not well balanced, and that would affect civs with inf UU or Anti inf UU.

Short answer, they should be more viable but it is complicated

1 Like

If pop space would be lower, then maybe you would like to have best units in your army, but since everything is played with 200 pop your argument when knights and skirmishers do the job is very valid why should you waste your time to use something else.


Mamelukes have too much of a superhero status in the game, especially with their ability to erase Paladins/Knights from the map. Many civs rely on Knights to fight at all.

If this bonus were removed, or nerfed substantially, it would be easier to talk about including them in the game. As it stands, Mamelukes needed to suffer from tremendous “issues” to be balanced. In the end, you’re never going to make a unit costing 85g if they have terrible practical issues in a competitive game.


this is false, infantry is well balanced. you just disagree with the fact that they are largely a support role unit and not a mainline unit like Knights or Archers.


Well, yes, and thats why i say it is just my opinion. But even if i am wrong, this balance system makes very difficult the idea of more viable infantry UU in general