State of the Italians?

Hi all! just a simple question here: what is the current competitive state of the Italians as a civ?
imho they are a bit luckluster and too reliant on water maps, which are not very meta in competitive.

also their bonuses are more for late castle-imperial age, making them struggle a lot in feudal and early castle against faster civs, and even in that imperial age they lack key tech like siege engeneers which feels odd for a civ with a university bonus that atm basically applies to ballistic and little else

their unique units seems super one-trick pony to me since they are weak compared to a generic counterpart except in specific situations and could use a little stat boost. elitè genoese crossbow upgrade in particular feels like a complete joke for its price. the castle age one is decent but elitè sucks hard imho

finally, their unique tech for imperial age is only useful in team games, again making them struggle in 1vs1

also concectually they feel lacking to me since there is no religious bonus to the country where the literal pope is, and nothing to represent their citizen militia, backbone of the army of the Comune

imo it would be beneficial to take away a little bit of power from the water to give it to land, to make them more versatile. like lowering their discount but giving it also to other buildings, like -25% for docks, universities and monastery and/or barracks tecnology, or add a little new bonus to help on land

what are your opinions? does the civ need a bit of a rework to make it more balanced/competitive or is fine as is? and their UUs?


They feel like inferior portuguese on land to me (their land tech tree is almost identical, their only difference is halb/hussar). At least portuguese has a different UU, italian UU is just a slight variation of archer line, plus their siege sucks (ports have SE at least). Unless we’re playing water or arena, I would never choose Italians as civ. They are mediocre and boring.
In team games they are also very average.

i personally think their water bonuses whould be lowered to increase their land prowess. after all, the “umbrella” problem with italians shows because they were not an all-in water civ, current italians represent also Comuni like Milan, Florence, and other cities who had strong military on land.

if they choose to forfeit that and chose the sea-republics theme, then italians should have a much stronger eco than now. they should pretty much be one of the richest civ in the game. so a eco bonus would make sense, like lower the discount but make it apply also to TC tech (wheelbarrow, town watch, and the like)

also they are classified as Archer civ, but the only bonus is a UT in castle age, nothing else for free or earlier than that, in comparison to mayans, britons, even vietnamese, who have archer bonuses. something like “+1 MA per age for foot archers” would be both cool and unique as a bonus

and again, genoese crossbow are only decent in castle age but very bad in imperial imho. complete joke of an upgrade for 1700 resources

overall, they feel a bit messy to me, and only really good on water


+1 melee armor per age starting in Feudal could be interesting, especially if they then lost the final archer armor upgrade.

I think they’re fine on land maps. It’s true that they don’t have many bonuses in the early game but late game the civ is super powerful. Arbalest and hussar are probably the two most important unit lines and actually there isn’t that many civs that have both FU. Elite genoese are expensive, yes, but in some situations they are extremely strong. Condos are niche as well but sometimes the unit comes in pretty handy. So in the end you got a civ that has somewhat of an eco bonus, cheaper uni techs (mostly relevant for ballistics), probably the most complete tech tree in the game and unique couter units.

All that doesn’t make civ a top one for open maps but it is at least decent. And besides water maps they are also very strong on closed maps where their flexibility and counter units shine more than on open ones. You got a lot of great civ matchups on arena as Italians for instance, among these some of the top civs (turks, teutons, Bohemians,…).

That point about them not having a monk bonus despite having the papacy is interesting, if I had to guess it’s probs coming from the fact that when they were making the forgotten expension they had to choose which civ would have a monk bonus and they decided it would be Slavs cuz the game already had Teutons and Spanish for christian monk civs. Which isn’t too bad in hindsight, imagine if Italians had +3/+3 monk armour instead of pavise 11

I guess melee armour on archers is decent and isn’t buffind them where they are already good but idk how useful it would be.

Well, they would maybe die slower to knights and scouts, which is why I suggested they lose the final armor upgrade, so they die harder to skirms.

I feel the italians are in a fine state now. Probably underrated on land maps, but not (at least significantly) above average. On hybrid and water maps they feel really strong.

But I am not really opposed to some minor changes either.


I mean the Persian bonus does the opposite (ie. +2 vs archers vs +2 armour for this hypothetical bonus) and people are hardly picking Persians for this reason. The Vietnamese bonus also does this against all units but it wasn’t carrying the civ before it got an eco bonus either. So like I’m not sure it’s good enough to make people happier about Italians.

1 Like

that would be a severe nerf for no real reason. they should change the castle age UT instead

Extra melee armour for their archers would be kind of odd due to Pavise. It’s already an extra Leather Archer Armour (and Scale Mail Armour for Condottieri), which brings them to +4/+5 assuming all upgrades. It affects both armour types, of course, but if Italian archers were to get extra melee armour, then Pavise would have to be not only changed but Condottieri would have to be given something from it as well so Italians continue to have a reason to train them and not from their allies (for example, Viet Imperial Skirmishers have extra health, which other civilizations don’t have).

1 Like

my though on that is that genoese crossbows is a rare case of a archer with melee armor, so this suggest to me that the civ could have the civ of tankier archer in melee. the bonus could start in castle age like the teutons one, so it would “just” be +2 Melee armor than regular arbalest, but armor is anyway much less important for archers so i would not be worried about that bonus. only problem of that is that i would “steal” a potential cool niche for genose crossbows

another options infact could be to make elitè crossbows, which objectively sucks as an upgrade, also increase tankyness of genoese by adding +1 mele armor and +5 HP, that way the geno would be the tankier options in melee while arbs would remain with bigger ranger and thus better general damage

or it could be a complete different change, but yeah i think elitè geno and general land prowess are something to look at. they could also as well have a real eco bonus outside of cheaper stuff. all of these could be balanced by a slight weaker water, lowering the discount tech to 25% to leave room for something else

1 Like

That would actually be a nerf. Melee armor is less important than pierce armor for archer units. And going xbows and monks while booming behind totally fits the civ so you can defend just fine from knights in castle age.

What I suggested couple of times already I think is giving them halbs. I feel like on open arabia versions like the current one making genoese late game can kinda backfire as you archers aren’t meant to be spread around in your base to defend from raids. On maps like runestones that might not matter too much but playing genoese on kotd ara can be a pain. With access to halbs you can use them to defend your base while pushing with genoese and bbc through the centre.

1 Like

yeah then pavise could be changed into something else, like faster working ranges, or +X HP for foot archers, or something like that. depends on the theme devs want for the archer of the civ, which seems “resilience” to me given the pavise tech

i personally think condottieri could use a look as well so that would be beneficial. they could just have +1 both armor to match the stats with pavise while saving the tech reserce. also lack of bonus vs eagles. is also strange that pavise is a castle tech that affect a unit that does not even exist in castle age, which speaks to me to how weird condottieri and italians in general are

all in all, italians could become a counterpart of vietnamese, while they have rattan with great pierce armor, genoese could have great melee armor, like +2 base and +4 elitè. they are pretty clearly not countered by melee cavalry anyway since their bonus, and their low range would keep them weak against other archers. that would already make the civ overall better on land with a better UU

rattan would end with 0/6 armor without ugrades, while geno would be 5/1 without blacksmith upgrades but pavise, which sound like a very decent trade to me

this maybe in addition to change the discount to apply to some other tech (moasteries to get the pope feels, or barracks to have the Comune Militia feels) while lowering it to 25%

another entirely different option is to make the whole civ have a theme aroung melee armor. like “foot archers (and genoese) get +1 MA starting from feudal age” then Pavise changes in “Militia of the Communes” which draw from Lithuanians to give spearmen and skirmisher +2 MA, not so great for spears not having halberds but keeping the “ranged units resilient in melee” theme in late game with buffed FU skirmisher

1 Like

For its effect, the name “Pavise” fits it almost perfectly; I would argue it applying to Condottieri twists it a bit, but it’s more than justified for the reasons I gave in my previous post. Additionally, I think it’s more than fine as a Unique Technology for the Castle Age.

What I would suggest is to, very simply, just give all archers (this means Cavalry Archers and maybe Skirmishers are included) +1 melee armour from the start. It’s a small bonus that applies to a multitude of units and helps diversify the Italians a little bit, giving them strong Cavalry Archers before they peter out in Imp.
It’s similar to the Briton range bonus: Their archers naturally gain extra range, and the UT increases it further while giving Towers more attack on the side. In the case of the Italians, this would mean that their archers naturally gain extra armour, and their UT increases it further while making their Condottieri tankier on the side.

If necessary, Pavise should be nerfed to remove one of the two armour additions.

I’ve just taken a look at their tree, and my proposal somewhat fits thematically: the Italians have a very strong set of available stuff that lets them meld into most situations.

  1. Their infantry is strong, exchanging Halberdiers for Condottieri - Condottieri counter one of infantry’s best counters.
  2. Their archery is, naturally, their focus, with cheap Hand Cannoneers, Pavise & perfect Arbalesters, but weak Cavalry Archers.
  3. The rest of their cavalry isn’t perfect, but their Hussars are good and so are their Knights in Castle.
  4. Full Blacksmith.
  5. Siege kinda sucks a fat one without Siege Ram & Siege Engineers, but cheaper Bombard Cannons are nothing to scoff at.
  6. Dock is almost full. What they miss isn’t too much of a loss because it’s more than made up for by the fact that they have cheap Dry Dock, Galleon upgrade, Cannon Galleons & Elite Cannon Galleon upgrade, Shipwright…
  7. Monastery is almost perfect, but for a civilization that’s very Christian, it’s odd that they don’t have Heresy, 11.
  8. Defences are insane with cheaper upgrades to Towers, cheaper Masonry, Architecture, Murder Holes, and even Heated Shot for water maps.
  9. Economy isn’t as talked about as other civilizations, but their Fishing Ships are good, they miss only Gold Shaft Mining (which isn’t researched too often anyway) and on team games their Trade Carts & Trade Cogs cost almost nothing, paying back their gold cost almost straight away.
  10. I completely forgot: Advancing to the next age is cheaper, as well.

I would have suggested that Italians gain yet another discount and not an armour bonus, but I don’t know what they could have that hasn’t already been taken.

Well what they could get is cheaper range techs. This bonus is not yet given to any civ and would fit with the existing bonuses. Essentially you have a bit more of a powerspike in early castle age by saving res on xbow tech and potentially thumb ring. Is it necessary? I don’t know. But at the same time I guess nobody would take issues with that bc it’s not a huge bonus.


In land maps, Italians suffer the same problem as Portuguese. They are both too generic and boring to play. Italians is designed to specialized in archers. However, their archers aren’t really that ahead of other FU arbalest. Even Portuguese and Koreans get cheaper archers. Koreans even get free armor upgrades. Saracens can break palisade walls. Early to late castle, their archers are stronger than Italians. Japanese, Malay, Byz and pre-nerf Viking archers are not much behind Italians.

33% Uni discount is pretty weak indeed. If you further reduce it to 25%, that is only 5% higher than Chinese, whose discount apply to all techs and way stronger and versatile. You may apply the tech discount to archery range. But I dont think it helps a lot in early game.

My idea was to give them cheaper monasteries to reflect the thousands of churches and monasteries across the country. However, then Bohemians came and took what wasnt on the tree fast enough (like malian gold bonus…)

Alternatively, if you are open to totally redesign Italians, they could get free Ballistics to reflect the father of Ballistics Niccolo Tartaglia or they can age-up by paying 500g, 1200g, 1800g

1 Like