The case of byzantines in teamgames

I normally do not like to refer to statistics, because most of the times, they can be quite inaccurate due to inconsistencies mainly because of small sample size. But as you can see from the link below, byzantines have had a relatively very small winrate in the previous patches (, calculated since update 39515, which had come out in July 27th of 2020. This cannot be explained by some of the most popular arguements: that there is too little sample size and that the civ is generally hard to play compared to others. Therefore, the civ itself must be weaker, so a buff could be needed. Also note that 1% winrate difference in teamgames is actually a way bigger difference in terms of “civ strength” (assuming that an objective value exists), than 1% winrate diffeerence in 1v1s, since in teamgames there are more players in each match.

So why do byzantines perform badly in teamgames? There can be several reasons:

  1. They focus on trash
    Trash units clearly have less emphasis in teamgames than in 1v1s, since in teamgames you can generate infinite gold much more efficiently than in 1v1s, given that trading is an option. Therefore their trash unit bonus doesn’t come in handy in the majority of the games, and their camels are still pretty weak despite the discount, since they lack both blast furnace and bloodlines.

  2. Useless team bonus for teammates (monks heal 50% faster)
    Healing is much more important in 1v1s than in teamgames, since in 1v1s your non-trash gold units are basicly limited at the end of the game, so it can be useful to have some monks to heal them. However in teamgames there is no such case. And people don’t use monks much anyways.

  3. Their only real powerspike in teamgames is to fast-imp into arbalests.
    Cataphracts are still a very expensive option. Other archer civs usually outperform byzantines, since they have proper eco bonus with usually military bonuses geared towards archers too. You can’t go skirmishers, because opponet’s teammate can easily kill them with knights.

  4. Their only viable far late-game unit, the cataphract has several weaknesses
    While they can’t be countered in the traditional way with halberdiers (given that the byzantine player has established a trade route), they are very weak to archers. They need too much castles to maintain proper production, because the training time is too high. They are incredibly bad in castle age, so you cannot start massing them early.

So how could they get buffed in teamgames, with a negligible effect on their 1v1 performance? (whether they are fine in 1v1s is another problem, let’s assume they are)

-New team bonus, with the original team bonus moved to the civilization bonus category
-Cataphract stats being adjusted, buffed
-Buff their imperial age powerspike
-New military/economy bonus mainly focused on the early game

Obviously all of these shouldn’t be implemented at once, this is only the “potential balance changes pool” from which we can choose a few.

My suggestions:
-training time reduced to 17 seconds from 20 (for both non-elite and elite version)
-non-elite cataphract attack increased from 9 to 10
-cost -5 food (from 70 to 65)

-Imperial Age up bonus increased to -40%
-Team bonus (+50% healing rate for monks) swapped with free town watch, and also get free town patrol as team bonus
-Get blast furnace but lose plate mail armor (to counterbalance their halberdiers in 1v1, and to make their cataphracts a stronger far late-game unit. Generic paladins and cavaliers will still require the same hits to take out a halberdier, and that remains true vice versa).

Possible results:
-More benefitial team bonus to the team, easier teamwork
-Slithly stronger fast-imp arbalest powerspike
-Their camels won’t be very bad
-Cataphract will be a better far late-game unit, and it will be easier to transition into them
-In 1v1 the only remarkable changes are the imperial age cost decrease and free town patrol, therefore they won’t change much

This would kinda destroy their defensive identity.

This could work.

I’d say maybe looking for a better Team Bonus could help. It’s a pretty bad Team Bonus for a civ that focuses on trash units, and even in cases where Byz are in a team, I don’t see players whipping out monks to make use of the TB.

All of the other changes, I mostly disagree with, except for the adjustment to the Imperial Age cost reduction bonus. I guess that 7% extra couldn’t hurt too much.

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Teamgame stats on that website don’t mean anything

the maximum shown bracket is 1650+, and someone who is 1650 in TG can be a 800/900 player in 1v1. so the results get skewed. Byzantines are a perfectly fine teamgame civ in the right hands, of higher rated players. Lower rated players get confused and play them like trying to get cataphract or mass trash units every game. The civ has enough options for team games, it can be really versatile on Arena style maps, and also, the fast imp helps on every teamgame map, be it water, arabia etc… And after they reach their fast imp, they have lots of options, arb, bbc, siege ram, onager if needed, cheap halbs, camels… It’s also really hard to push a byzantine guy’s base due to all the extra HP on buildings, and they respond well to forwards or trushes because of free town watch.

I asked the author once to please make at least a 2000+ bracket, or even bigger due to the inflation, but looks like he just doesn’t understand how big the elo inflation is.

Their 1v1 win rate isnt high either… They excel in the late game, when gold runs out, but they have issues to get to that stage of the game. This is even true for 1650+ 1v1. In the hand of noobs they arent even able to excel in the late game.

So their main issue is the early game. This seems to be true for 1v1 and TGs and is also reflected in the graphs at The possible suggestion in the first post are all related to the late game, which isnt their weak spot. So i disagree with all suggestions. If you want to buff them somehow, then you have to give them an early game buff, so they have more chance to survive the early game.

It’s fine if the Byzantine aren’t a meta team game civ, they have other occasions to shine, and not all civs can be good in TG.

They don’t excel in late game, you know what excels in late game, those bulgarians, turks, tatars hussars, or those tanky skirms from lithuanians, the imperial one from vietnamese, the double spear from mayans or the no close range limit from incas, etc, the same happens to the halbs line.

They used to excel compared to AOC balance, but not anymore, even sicilian late game no gold is better than byz.

Byzantines other than cheap and weak camels on team games, have nothing else to offer, decreasing the upgrade cost of catas was a small buff, but insignificant for the wide spectrum.

The balance issues with Byzantines are basically having the same weakness from AOC, so with more than double the civs byzantines are in a bad spot when it comes to competitiveness, everyone says they are good cause they saw survivalist killing 1900 players, but no one says anything when the civ is never seen in tournaments first civ choices, in fact they don’t really shine other than arena maps.

Several users want free town patrol, but why? increasing a defensive options is going to change something for a civ that has everything to defend? of course not, giving free town patrol would be a complete waste of balance change.

The civ needs to get an update to current game and units balance, even if they need to sacrifice few upgrades like the heavy cav archer, bloodlines seems to be the best upgrade for you know a cavalry civ, they would still be missing blast furnace but their knights, camels, hussars will now be competitive and an option, also it would change their boring nature of semi ranged fast imp civ for 1x1.

The best way to buff the Cataphract would be to bring down the upgrade cost since it’s already an incredibly powerful unit.