Does anyone main those civs? Any nice pros about them? What are the cons?
The Italians are an extremely powerful civ, and one of my personal favorites. Unlike many other civilizations in the game, the Italians possess unique techs, units, and bonuses that synergize perfectly.
*Advancing to the next Age costs -15%
*Dock techs cost -50%
*Fishing ships cost -25 wood
*Gunpowder units cost -25%
Think about it like this: They have the Genoese crossbowman, a unit of mercenaries historically famed for its utility on the battlefield. They then get a technology, pavise, which gives their foot archers more armor. The pavise crossbowman was a crossbowman who would fire, then crouch down, turn around, and reload with a huge metal shield on its back, so there is a historical nod to the pavise crossbows of Genoa. More importantly, however, the Genoese Crossbowman is an extremely counter-intuitive unit. They are an anti-cavalry archer. Typically, archers are weak to knights and elephants, so your opponent uses knights against you if you use archers. This is where the Genoese crossbows shine. They are counter-intuitive in that they effectively counter the units typically used to counter archers. Basically, they break the conventions of archers being weak to cavalry and can double as archers for your army. All round a very useful unit. Which brings me back to the synergy of the Italians. They have an excellent anti-cav unit that doubles as an archer, access to 25% cheaper hand cannons and bombard cannons, fully upgradable light cavalry, and every naval tech. An Italian army will have OUTSTANDING composition with use of its resilient anti-cav archers, cheap anti-infantry units, cheaper bombard cannons, and Hussars. The Italians get not one, but two counter-intuitive units. What do you use to counter hordes of infantry? Hand cannons? SORRY! The Condottiero, which is accessible to all of the allies on the Italian player’s team, excels in killing gunpowder units.
So, to summarize, the Italians have an army that can destroy cavalry from range and throw off your opponent, cheap hand cannons to wreck your opponents infantry, Condottiero to destroy your opponents own gunpowder units, and hussars to run down enemy siege. If you get an army of Genoese crossbows, hand cannoniers, condottiero, hussars, and bombards, you will have an army that can destroy your opponents army in cost-efficient and terrifyingly counter-intuitive ways. “Why are his infantry destroying my hand cannons? Why are those crossbows so good against knights? How can he afford all of those hand cannons himself???”
On top of all of this, they get a unique tech called “Silk Road” which makes trade units cost half the usual cost. This means two trade carts for the price of one, which in turn means insanely profitable trade in the late game. Also, all naval techs cost half as much, meaning shpwright, dry dock, and ALL ship upgrades are half off. This bonus is insane as far as cost efficiency goes. The already inexpensive and cost efficient Italian army has huge trade behind it, which seems kind of crazy when put like this. All of their techs and bonuses go toward saving money and getting a lot of it. This in turn lets the Italians pay for there hand cannons, crossbows, bombards, and navy.
*Insane amount of resources saved throughout the game.
*Even more resources saved from cheaper Imperial Age units.
*Counter-intuitive army composition that will decimate your opponent with ease.
*Very high trade income from having affordable trade units.
*Can advance more quickly due to cheaper advance costs.
Summary- Very powerful civ with incredible cost efficiency. All of the techs resonate toward one theme- COST EFFICIENCY.
Okay, so this is where it gets ugly. I am going to give an objective answer to your question, which means I have to discuss the cons as well as the pros.
The Italians have amazing potential, and are easily a top 5 for economy. However, though they have good bonuses, they lack any actual combat bonuses.
Think about it like this: The Italians have “buy 4 get one free” hand cannons, but in a one-on-one with the Turks, their hand cannons lose. The Italians have Hussars, but Mongols have better ones. The Italians can use Condottiero, but they are expensive as ■■■■ and will be wiped up by Slavic Champions. These are very contrived and situational examples, but the point is that though the Italians get amazing units and a crazy good eco, they don’t have the “best” units in any situation. The key for the Italians is to work alongside their allies and coordinate their efforts because, in reality, all of their great potential comes from how cost effective their armies can be, but that cost effectiveness doesn’t really hit until Imperial Age. By then, all of your opponents could have boomed up and have just as much resources as you, meaning that your cheaper or counter-intuitive units just won’t stack up against Elite Janissaries or hordes of Portuguese Caravels. Sure, you researched Galleon first, but it won’t really matter if your opponent has just as big of an eco as you.
*Lack any definitive combat bonuses
*The cost-efficiency of the Italians comes in late-game, but your opponents can have just as big of an army with better combat bonuses by then.
*Very gold intensive
Summary-The Italians can be seen as a versatile and quickly advancing civ. They have an insane economy that lets you field very surprising and counter-intuitive units, but they must be used carefully. They cannot expect to win a one on one with even numbers. But who said they were going to have even numbers? You must push a technology advantage starting in Feudal Age and keep pushing while simultaneously growing your eco until you snowball the opponent. Galley rush them and get War Galley first, Use Genoese Crossbows to destroy their Castle Age knight rush, then do your own rush backed by the crossbows, research eco techs and get to Imperial age first. If you do this, your opponent just WON’T be able to compete with you. You will have so much trade and will have won so many early fights because of your tech advantage that when you hit Imperial Age and start spamming Gunpowder and Cavaliers, the opponent will not be able to react because they won’t have the gold to do so.
Final note- The Italian player should play dynamically, pushing their tech bonuses before eventually transitioning into an overwhelming Imperial Age force. You can get there faster and cheaper, so make use of your faster advances by pressuring the opponent with something such as Knights to make sure you keep the Tech lead throughout the game. In a 4v4 game, communicate with your teammates, and choose a target to pick on. If he is the Franks, Rush his coast with your superior ships and deny him the water. If he is Turks, use knights because he cannot build pikes. You must learn to turn your disadvantages into advantages by doing exactly what your opponent will do to you, but doing it sooner. This should be easy thanks to your cheaper up cost, and cheaper eco. If you can harass your opposition to ensure you will get to Imperial Age first, the game will be over. If Italians get Imperial age first, they are going to upgrade their ships for half cost, get more hand cannons and bombards than you, get a ridiculous amount of trade, and wreck you with counter-intuitive units.
I recommend “Spirit of The Law” on Youtube. He has videos covering both the Italians and the Slavs.
LOL what? Are you serious, they are one of the weakest civs in the game, they are insane in full water maps (which are rare), but in land map they don’t have anything.
Cheap age up are nice, but when you compare them with any other eco bonus, it’s a pretty weak bonus.
HC basically are never used, first because arbs are the better choice, second because most of the time the game is decided in castle age, third, infantry usually isn’t used a lot, so the discount on gunpowder is good only for BBC.
The GC (Genoese Crossbowman) is one of the worst unit in the games, not because of it’s stats or concept, but because they take forever to train (22s). A counter unit that takes more than a cataphract to train, and for in order to get them you need a castle, which is a huge investment, for Italians, most of the time it’s not worth it, all that to counter a unit which is trained at the stables (it’s easier to spam stables than castles).
Their tech tree is decent, but they have no bonus other than pavise, and again, it’s a castle for a decent, but in the end weak bonus. Other than that their military it’s generic.
Condos after the last upgrade are nice, but are good only in fast imp strategies, and again need a castle, so maybe you can pull it off only if you are able to surprise the enemy.
As for the FS disc, it’s decent in hybrid maps, but overall, when you compare with other good hybrid civs, like japs, or malay, or even Mongols, and when you look at the rest of the civ, you can see that it’s not enough…