A few points to recognize before starting.
- Teutons are generally balanced at the moment, so we don’t want to buff them much, if at all.
- On the flipside, Teutonic Knights, even with buffs over the past few years, remain one of the worst UUs in the game.
These two things in mind, it would be neat to see the TK get a buff that doesn’t dramatically change the civ as a whole, but gives TKs a bit more of a niche.
The big problem with TKs is that they’re a reactionary unit, but which are too slow to actually react. What do I mean by this?
You mainly build infantry to counteract counter-units. IE, if you have cavalry and they build halbs, you can build infantry to counter them. If you have archers and they build skirms, you can build infantry to counter them. In very few cases do you want to build infantry first, since the point of infantry is making their counter-unit investment worthless, and forcing them into a more expensive unit. If you lead off with infantry, they just build the more expensive unit to start with, and you’ve cost them nothing.
Of course, there are a few civs where this isn’t the case, but they’re the exception, not the rule, and Teutons are not one of them.
Anyway, that being the case, Teutons have a choice between their powerful Champions, or Teutonic Knights. The biggest trouble with Teutonic Knights is that, even with their better speed, they’re still slow; too slow to engage, and too slow to run away. If they get attacked by any type of archer, while Champions can run, TKs will just die. Champions can force engagements, to a certain extent; TKs cannot. This means that TKs are a much more risky investment, and outside of a very small number of niche cases, they’re not generally worthwhile.
So, how can you make them worthwhile? Increasing their speed isn’t on the table; any faster and they’ll be just as fast as champions. Increasing their pierce armor isn’t an option; make them invulnerable to archers and nothing will be able to kill them!
To figure out what their niche should be, I turned to their Tech Tree, specifically their bonuses, and the following bonuses caught my eye:
• Towers garrison 2x units
• Murder Holes, Herbal Medicine free
• Crenellations (+3 range Castles, garrisoned infantry fire arrows)
• Town Center garrison +10
Why do they have these bonuses? You might think it’s for base defense, but they also have +10 town center garrison capacity, meaning there are no cases where you have too many villagers to all garrison. This leaves offense, but when do you see offensive towers? In feudal age, maybe, but other than that, never.
Which finally brings me to the idea!
Crenellations should let Teutonic Knights build Towers.
What gameplay would this create? Well, Teutonic Knights big weakness is being chased down and sniped by archers, right? Wrong. They build a tower, and now not only can they garrison their entire army inside, they can heal 6x faster, AND they can fire arrows at the same time. Players would have a new incentive to include even just a few TKs in an army - which is exactly what you want! A few of them mixed in to boost the diversity and durability of an attacking force.
One might say this bonus is too similar to the Serjeant, but there are many cases of a unit from one civ doing a weaker version of something another civ can do, and this bonus would have nowhere near the raw power of a Donjon.
I think this bonus would help make TKs more generally useful without making Teutons overpowered, and would be a neat way to evolve these really cool looking units.