The Leitis when released (if you remember) costed 50 food 80 gold (same as Boyars), and had 2 pierce armor in both forms. Since we already are on Boyars, Leitis are now what Boyars used to be melee combat specialist but worse.
The Leitis is the most changed unique unit in AoE2 and surely the devs are trying to bring it in use without making it OP. Compare that to Konniks which were OP when released but now are doing fine. Just a single nerf to the attack rate made the difference. The Bulgarians grew weaker but they were given a new bonus compensation (quite late though).
History of changes:
Released - 50F 80G - 2 pierce armor: usually difficult to mass in Castle Age due to demands of stone and limitations of Castle. Inferior to Paladin due to -1p armor, +5G cost and -30 HP. The Elite Boyar was a very similar unit to the Elite Leitis back then.
Cost change to 70F 50G - the higher food cost made slightly difficult to sustain in Castle Age, but unique unitd are themselves rare at that stage if they have nothing special (like Chu Ko Nus and Huskarls). Broken in 1vs1 Imperial Age since their slightly weaker stats were more than compensated by -33% cost on essential resource (gold) over the Paladin.
-1p armor: the same argument still goes in Castle Age. But now they seem like a variation of Cataphract (2/1 armor) rather than a Boyar (which received +1p armor across the board making it an all round unit). In Imperial Age, the subpar pierce armor is actually hurting. They are still OP in melee combat especially against ETK. The standard pierce armor is 2 (Scout line).
The Leitis are famously known for their ability to ignore armor while attacking units. And their is nothing to take it away. It is great.
So let us discuss the changes necessary to make them balanced. What I mean by balanced is that in 35 to 65% cases, the Player selects Elite Leitis over Paladins.
In my opinion, it has to be an all round unit, with slightly better performance in melee combat. So the defensive stats of the units shall be:
Standard - 100 HP - 1 melee armor - 2 pierce armor
Elite - 130 or 140 HP - 2 melee armor - 2 pierce armor
That is an easy part because I have just reverted it to the previous non-underpowered stats.
The cost is going to be subjective. The devs changed the cost to make it more viable so I am gonna tweak the cost. The tweak is going to be in the same line by increasing the food and decreasing the gold cost, but as compared to the DE release day cost.
Cost as F/G-
- 60/70 - same as Konnik
- 65/65 - unique cost as of now. +5/+5 over Tarkans
- 70/60 - same as in now but +10G cost.
I am vouching for the 2nd option. If you compare 2nd and cost of Tarkans, you might think Leitis are doing more than Tarkans over same price. But is more about Lithuanians vs Huns which I shall not get into.
[[Another slight change which the devs might look into is -1 attack across the board. This actually doesn’t sound much but it actually changes the whole 2 relic formula. Most units in AoE2 have HP in multiples of 20, which means that an Elite Elitis with 2 relics is one of the best options to kill them. Yeah, so that now goes to 3 relics.
With this very optional change, Paladins and Elite Leitis both need 3 relics to 2 shot villagers. Of course the biggest winners are Siege weapons which usually have 0 melee armor, and Paladins + 2 relics > Elite Leitis +2 relics.
Another completely different idea is to do a major redesign this unit (which isn’t necessary) but looks appealing with the long weapon of the unit like the Steppe Lancer by giving it +1 range but taking away the armor ignoring effect. The armor be modified to 2/1 in Standard and 2/2 in Elite with -1 attack across the board.]]