The HRE should start with a Prelate in place of a villager

A lot of players even on high levels like Viper aren’t willing to create the Prelate because it cuts into villager production in the critical dark ages. Even though the prelate offers a huge long term advantage by buffing your villagers effectively providing a free villager for every 2 you train and healing your units to give them retaining power during skirmishes in the early game people think the HRE sucks because they never use the Prelate.

But simply giving the HRE an extra prelate would be way too strong since that would be like effectively giving the HRE player 2 extra villagers from the start so I think a better solution would be to replace one of their villagers with the prelate so they will understand how strong the unit is after they develop much faster rollout times from his economic buffs.

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so from most what i have seen is that hre is going for prelat first. Wich gives you -1 villiager right from the start.
exchanging 1 vil for prelat would start you with -1 vil as well but allow you to get faster to age 2 (because you dont have to spent the gold for the prelat)
my suggestion is to reduce the training time for prelat either in general or for your first prelat e.g (10 sec for first prelat). that way the hre player is only behind .5 vils instead of 1. If you want a general fater buidling maybe go for ~12ish secounds.

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Viper build order for HRE is bad tbh. If someone skips prelate for HRE build it is clearly wrong.

The biggest problem is prelate always bugged. If HRE started with 1 prelate, age 2 time could be ~3:30. When HRE able to do it ~4:00 right now already.