(This also includes church techs that send a bunch of basic units not mercs, and native ally cards)
These cards/techs typically give you a one-time shipment of veteran or guard level regular units. Many of them are what the civ really lacks.
They were introduced before consulate units so they do not shadow-tech.
Compare them to the legion cards US/Mexico has: these are consulate units so they shadow tech, and they can also be trained from forts.
Now let’s compare the legion cards with the “true” consulate units:
- Consulate is one building, but you can have many forts.
- Consulate units are trained in huge batches (except Japanese isolation, but that removes the eco bonus) so you do not use them very often. Legion units are more accessible.
- Consulate units are limited to certain types at one time. Legion units are always available as long as you send them.
- Consulate units cost export which is usually scarce. Legion units cost regular resource.
So legion card is basically a better version of renegade cards (one-time without any further upgrade) + consulate (shadow-tech but in limited number) combined. Also too many shadow-techs on regularly accessible units also saves a huge amount of resources.
Consulate may be fine as it is, but renegade cards (also including native allies and church techs) should be improved accordingly:
- Change them to the consulate version so they also shadow-tech
- Enable the training of the unit somewhere (fort for Europeans, native embassy for native Americans, etc.)
More importantly, what is even the point of most legion cards?
Haud may need that cuirassier shipment. China is in desperate need of musketeers especially in the early game. Japan may not need musketeers but they still need artillery (same with India). Russia needs dragoons. Britain needs skirmishers.
US may really need some good cavalry units. Maybe not so much with the cheap hussar card and carbine cavalry buff.
Does Mexico really need skirmisher, musketeer, lancer or cuirassier? I do not think so. They have decent versions of all these units. And there are so many civs out there who live happily without lancer or cuirassier.
Or maybe these are just for fun, so why not add the fun to all civs?