Skirmishers buff/price change

In the early game you have the option to counter archers with skirmishers; the problem with this is that they cost food while archers only cost wood and gold, which means that the archer player retains the ability to age up while still possibly being able to out-micro/out-number your skirmishers and keep up the offensive while you delay your age up process due to the lost food or for that matter if you’re already aging up delaying villager and tech upgrades in the short term in castle age or choosing to delay castle age even further which can be deadly vs the archer opponent who is likely in castle age and safely starting to boom while keeping up a dandy offensive.

I suggest that the skirmisher food cost be removed and the wood cost to be increased;

this will remove that problem while placing the strain solely on the wood supply which is still going to be costly in the early game yet is much more manageable and reasonable in terms of keeping a similar ability to age up to keep up with the archer player’s current unfair advantage.

This argument does not apply to pikes,(cavalry costs food, so the issue doesn’t arise when using pikes to counter scouts/knights)


Your proposal is very logical but it is so drastic for AOE2 to instantly delete all food cost. Slow change like 20f 40w instead of old 25f 35w is good start maybe. Also skirmisher should gain more speed like 0.96 to 1.05.

Archer need more nerf like removing bonus damages to spear line for instance. Everyone complain about champion line but they skip main reason why champion is bad. Champion is bad because it can’t counter even trash properly as well as there is better counters. Archers counter spear line better than champion. Scout counter skirmishers much better than champion. Finally, champion barely counter Hussar. Knight-line counter Hussar much better than champion.


No - The game is balanced and has been for 20 years.
This proposal is bad


I rarely find anyone say the champion is bad. Why do you think champion didn’t get buffed when ls and ths did?

But if my opponent is going archers why am I making spears?

And again if they are making archer + scout why am I going skirm in the first place when pure knight would br better?

Not cost for cost it isn’t a better counter then champions.


No, it is very logical. Skirmisher is defensive unit, thus it must be cheaper than archer line. Defensive units must be cheaper than offensive units. It is general rule because with archers (offensive units generally), you can destroy enemy’s both military units (archer works against everything except skirmishers and sieges. Knight-line and Eagle warrior are only soft counter) and villagers. Skirmisher and pikes are only good against units that they counter. Skirmisher more expensive than archer due to high food cost until late game. Archer player come out ahead only by forcing you to create skirmishers. If you can’t kill archers (archer has same speed as skirmisher, thus archer player doesn’t lose archers unless he put archers at risk), you fall behind in the rest of the game. ​

Put in a nutshell, all 3 trash units aren’t enough strong in feudal and castle age. Only exception is scout in feudal age. Skirmisher need buff in feudal and castle age and light cavalry need in castle age, spearman also need buff in Feudal and Castle age. In Imperial age, halberdier and Hussar are fine,. Hussar is OP even.

We will see no light cavalry in castle age (except against monk) if light cavalry remain same. Indians is exception because it doesn’t have knight-line, thus they must create light cavalry in order to counter tc fires and archers with cavalry.


I disagree about Light Cavalry. The Hussar upgrade doesn’t do much, adding 15 HP and 5% attack rate. Light Cav perform the role just fine for the civs that lack Hussar in late game, and even for civs with access the upgrade cost can be hard to justify.

The main reason we don’t see Light Cav in Castle Age is just that knights are better, require no upgrade cost at that point, and food is easier to get than food at that point in the game.

I agree with you. I said Light Cavalry is bad in Castle Age (due to high food cost). I didn’t say they are bad in Imperial. Therefore, knight-line is far better than Light Cavalry even though they are heavily countered by Monks. Also Light Cavalry is still great in late Imperial Age without Hussar upgrade. Hussar upgrade is little strawberry on cake.


If archer is too strong as your claim, Why archer civs other than Britons and Mayans (Koreans, Italians, vietnamese etc) have low winrate? Why so many cavarly civ such as Franks, Berbers, Huns have one of the highest winrate even they aren’t strong in archer?

Skirms cost 25f 35w, which is cheaper than archer 25f 45g. Also they can counter archer in lower number.

Again, according to your claim, archer civ can get auto-win against non-archer civ. But why not? and maps with full feudal play such as land madness, scout civ such as Magyars are picked most of the time. Archers are only strong in Castle age. In Full Feudal play, scout is most strong unit. In imp, arbalester is just early-imp unit that fall behind against heavy cavalry, mass hussar, and seige.

I agree that champion should be better against hussar than current state. But, the purpose of champion is better against all trash line, Not the best to counter All three trash line.

Skirmishers might cost food but don’t require you to have tons of villager on gold, which means you have more villagers available to gather food and you don’t need to match the archer numbers, so you can get away with less archery ranges and not that many units. So it’s not hard to keep pace with an archer player.


I don’t think it’s that straightforward after berries/sheep/hunt are gone. Starting farms to collect food is a large wood investment, and in Feudal and early Castle Age 1 food is worth much more than 1 wood or 1 gold. Someone was able to quntify this recently, maybe @casusincorrabil ?

Yes I made some calculations regarding this.
My Results are depending on several assumptions. Mostly the pace of the game. Meaning especially when facing archers, investment in farms can be really bad, as you lose possible unit production.

However in this situation I kinda like skirms costing food, as it actually works against the archer player. The archer player wants to have as few farms as possible to get his numbers high, so it isn’t as easy for him to add some skirms himself. While the skirm player should already have placed some more farms as he would either try to be greedy and get up to castle or plan for other military which all cost food. So the food cost of the skirm actually plays out in favor of the defender imo.

The only thing that is a bit deceiving there is that skirms look like as they would cost “only” 60 ressources. which is wrong. They cost 35 W / 25 F while the food is worth about 1.8 w at that stage of the game. On the other hand they are also produced faster (Gold about 1.3 W).

I think skirms could use a buff, but I’m actually not convinced that a reduction of the food ratio would work there. Especially as one of the best strats to close a game early with archers is to force the opponent out of wood already. I mean it’s not easy to pull that of, but if you can the opponent is just dead. So making the counter even more depending on that ressource could actually work against the skirms.

I think it would be better to give skirms a small direct buff, like faster firing and/or more melee armor.


Because raiding. Raiding is bug of the game and Knight is second best raiding unit in Castle Age thanks to 2 PA 120 HP, 1.35 Speed and strong in low numbers (raiding doesn’t need one unified army. Managing to spread more than 12 knights in enemy’s eco in middle castle is GG in all ELO formats) is unlike archer need mass.

Food is 20-60% more valuable than gold Feudal to Late Imperial. In Feudal, it is close to 60% and as game goes on, it converge to 20%. That’s why Skirmisher is more or less equal to crossbow cost. In Feudal, skirmisher is little expensive even. Skirmisher upgrades are also expensive because it need armor upgrades as well in order to counter archer. Archers don’t need armor upgrades for instance. It is true that Skirmishers kill Archers very well but Skirmishers has 2 big weakness. It is too weak against Mangonel and Scorpion. Second weakness is mobility. Skirmisher can’t force engagement, thus Archer player can happily retreat from your base after seeing Skirmishers are approaching. Skirmisher upgrades are expensive than archers, thus archer player make a profit by forcing you to go skirmishers. I explained these in early post though. In conclusion, speed buff would be good to skirmishers. They are already easy meat to cavalry units. With more speed, they would at least escape without losing everything to scouts and knights.

Best raiding unit is a unit that it normally terrible unit but it is comparable to Knights only because its legendary raiding ability. This unit is considered OP only because they aren’t countered by Monks and they have 3 PA (they take only 2 damage from TC fire).

Another bug of the game is conversion. I mean unfairly OP by saying “bug”. Conversion is unfairly OP against knights. Against other land military units, it isn’t even good. Eagle is OP unit due to conversion and 3 PA. 3 PA isn’t end of the world but garbage counter (militia line is garbage) + conversion resistance + 3 PA + good eco (Aztecs and Mayans) is OP. If conversion is more balanced (especially against knights) in Castle Age, Knight would dominate 100% of the game (it already dominate 80% of the game). I will refer another points why trash units are bad and archers and Knights are OP but I got tired and I don’t want to write a very long post.


Very good summary.
I mean, it’s absolutely fine that knights and archers are the “power units” in the game, as they have the highes gold ratio of all the common units. So it is fine that they have way more favourable matchups and also raid way better than the trash units.

The thing is that currently trash play becomes less and less effective (also because of the skill of the players, but also because of some balance decisions devs made since de). I think the counter mechanic is just such an essential part of the game that it should be buffed. It also makes interesting situations with lots of different units /comps facing each other possible - as good counters would lead to counter counters and so on… Bad counters just lead to stale meta play of archers vs knights which let the game feel repetitive at some point.

Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly against elevating trash units to a same state as knights/archers. I just think that their current state is underwhealming and this should be adressed by the devs.

But it’s a complicated topic for sure, there are so many different factors which have influence there. Like faster moving skirms could possibly be OP easily as they could force and run away from unfavorable battles (Has a reason why lith skirms have a quite good state currently, just because they are a small bit faster).
And a key of the counter mechanic against power units is that the counters usually can’t force the farvorable fight. But I think in the exchange they should be even more devastating if they get their favorable fight.

One other way to achieve this would to just increase the bonus damage of skirms. Currently they get their most “countering” from the pierce armor they have. Maybe reversing this a bit could make it more revarding to go for the unit.

Just as an example, I made a test of 20 polish elite skirms (lacking the last armor) against 20 arbs. The arbs actually won that battle without micro. Imo that shows, that skirms are too dependent on that pierce armor mechanic and should maybe changed in the direction to make microing them more revarding - with more bonus damage but probably less pierce armor. (and faster firing would help there, too)

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Knights are OP raiding unit, and also Monk conversion is OP… seems you want the whole rebalance of generic unit line. It seems that we can discuss if you can write whole list of change you want, but I don’t think it will be possible to implemented.

As also @casusincorrabil I am not sure trash unit line in general need that much help. I alternatively suggested buffs on monks/siege to strengthen counter mechanism and increase unit variability.

A few things I can agree on trash line buff is small buff on Spearman (or also pikeman, not halbs) to lessen the scout dominance in Full Feudal game, and buff melee armor (or some other thing) to Elite skirms to increase their viability in late game.

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I actually think it’s good that skirm-defence is hard. For the same reason that it’s good that knights can dance around spears:

The game’s more interesting when offensive units dominate than it would be if defensive units dominated.

Add to that that skirm defence can already be devastating, (it’s rare but it happens) and I conclude I don’t think skirms are too weak.

The thing is with counter you still need to get your favorable fights. And I think I explained that I don’t want to change this mechanic fundamentally (Besides I think that spears are currently too slow and could use just a little speed boost). I also like that mechanic that the power units have the advantage to be more able to force favourable fights.

Also it’s important that playing counters intead of walls poses a risk of under- overextending with them. It’s also important to know how many and which units the opponents makes and all this stuff. So the counter play needs much more experience than just going agressively for the power units. And if you make too much counters the opponent can easily add counters to your counters and kill them.
So I don’t really see a risk for overbuffing counters atm. Actually right the opposite - If the counters would be much stronger against the units they are supposed to counter, we would more likely see more and more interesting unit comps.

BTW I think we forgot that better counters most likely lead to less early walling, as when you can protect your eco better with counters you don’t need as much walls as currently. Ofc it wouldn’t remove walling from the games as especially in the midgame you just want that little bit of protection against incoming raids, but it could reduce early walling quite significantly and lead to more military standoffs.

Or to booming games where no one attacks since it’s easier to get countered.

By the way I don’t understand the logic behind this skirmisher buff request. It’s already a very good unit to mix in archer wars and alongside with cavalry to counter archers.

I think the issue is not about skirms being bad but your macro/decision making being off point.

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I can’t believe I’m reading that rn.

Ok that’s a bit exaggerative. But I think currently raiding feels a bit too strong on open maps.

I mean there is a reason why Hera always says that hussar is the best unit in the game currently… And the counter to it isn’t the halb but to make big fortified walls to prevent them from coming into your eco. (and also some defences)

It’s a clear indicator how strong raiding currently is and I think in sake of the balance of strats the devs should maybe tweak it down a bit. Be it by improving the counters, making vills stronger or whatever, so the oher strategic choices have better time competing with that simple strat.

Don’t mean I want to get rid of it. By no means, it’s an important strategy, at least to have a comeback in a game. But atm it’s too strong imo. (And btw that is the main reason for walling, as walls just give some time against incoming raids to prepare a defence. So if raiding is tuned down a bit, walling becomes naturally less important.)

Well, I think there are a lot of people thinking this. Why else is Arena the second most played map? Because the people playing it just don’t like being raided to death.

And tbh of al, strategiv choices I like raiding the least, as it is so cheap. Just bypassing the enemy military to kill vills… I mean, if this wasn’t a game what tells this about your character? Are you a psycho? It’s ok if it’s one of the strategic choices but I don’t think it should be the strongest strategic choice on open maps, it just feels wrong to win or lose most of your games because of raiding. I prefer to have more military standoffs which then decide which player has the advantage in taking down the opponent. Even if this would lead to a bit longer games, but I prefer having longer games with more military interactions than fast paced raiding feasts where the direct military engagements are scarce.

If your opponent is going double range archers you go one range skirmishers.
If your opponent is going triple range crossbows you go double range skirmishers.
Simple as that when it comes to countering archers.
Always prioritize upgrades too- armor, ballistics.