Underwhelming Mercenaries and How to Buff Them

Iron troops and Yojimbo are some of the best mercs in the game, so in reality most of the asian mercs are good, what they lack are upgrade cards/politicians.


I would say 3/6 Asian mercs are reasonably usable.

Manchu: Very useful, especially for the Chinese and Russian in Age 3 against civs with good cav (France, Ottoman, etc.)

Iron Troop: Very good against most infantry. However, the unit feels redundant sometimes, since CKN and Arqs are good enough in most cases.

Yojimbo: Powerful hybrid unit. However, its pop count feel a bit unjustified at times.

Ronin: All-or-nothing unit. If it can catch the enemy, the enemy is dead. If enemy skirm group or artillery spots them, the Ronins are dead (there are only 5 of them). The unit feels more like a gamble than is actually usable. Furthermore, since the Ottoman and Portuguese (they can hire Ronin) army are quite range-focused, the enemy will notice when some suspicious unit attempts to close-in the melee distance.

Jat Lancer: It can be used in a pinch, but it is notably worse than Elmetto, and it is not as efficient as Stradiot.

Arsonist: This unit needs to be buffed or redesigned.

But I agree that the Asians need a mercenary upgrade system. Off the top of my head, maybe the Asian civs can have an “Amnesty” tech, which buffs outlaw and mercenaries?


Yeah I agree, jat lancer and arsonist are most in need of buffs they’re the only 2 I’d never use.


I like that Irontroops are the only unit in the game with 60% range resist however they are too… soft and too inaccesible. Why we will never see a imperial stat irontroop is beyond me as in older AOE they were pretty amazing

Couldn’t have said it better.

This is true in principle, but as you implied they don’t benefit from +x1 multiplier like the rest of the archers-skirms for China and they can even get outranged by Portuguese Goons later in the game. Plus yeah, no imperial upgrades. This unit is supposed to be based on Yumi, but they don’t have the longer range card so they quickly fall off.

I think the mercs should not ever be so useful that they replace the normal units. iron troops aren’t meant to be made in mass and definitely not in imperial age. They are good as a power shipment in age3 for china, against some situations. Mercs and outlaws should be only used as an addon to army and as power shipments.

Some mercs and outlaws do need buff tho, like jat lancers mentioned above. Marathan dacoits and outlaws etc need some love. Same as other asian outlaws.

In general, I feel, mercs should not be made so useful that it becomes better to just make only them. All civs shouldnt have upgradeable mercs/outlaws. 3-4 civs are enough i think for stronger merc/outlaw strategy.

1 Like

I mean agreed, but that’s why they are limited to be produced only by one building lol otherwise they are meant to be more powerful, costing gold.

That is true. But I think it is more of a problem with Portuguese Goons range being too long (woe to Russians and their Streltsy). In general, under what I believe to be good unit design, if unit A counters unit B, then unit B should not both be faster and outrange A. Port Dragoon (B) outranging certain skirms/archers (A), and most Dragoon w/ caracole outrange musketeer, is quite problematic balancewise,

I think upgrading mercs is fine, given that they only come in shipments, or have to be trained from one building. The only problem is that some cards/politicians allows for the training of mercs in conventional buildings (see Swedes).


This is the real problem, and I think that even though I love mercs, it is a trend that devs should stop replicating. At most you could make units train faster from the tavern-monastery, but it is too much to have them too spammable and takes the balance and uniqueness away. In fact, I think that if devs give Asians imperial mercs, Yojimbo should stop being trainable from the stable

On the range thing, I agree with the problem and I think it still stands, because regular goons have as much range when upgraded, as Iron Troops, which means that they see you and with their speed, run away easily taking virtually zero loses either way. But yeah it is even more ridiculous when Port Goons kite you.


I love mercenaries, but I like that they are restricted to single shipments or can only be trained from a single building

Asian civs (and the rest of civs) should have the option to upgrade their mercs to imperial.

The problem is the auras and other effects (which should not affect them).


mercs are absolutely insane right now, and if it weren’t for the buff to agents and spies in general, german mercs would be a dominant strategy (and still is vs no-spy civs imo).

pandours break the counter system. there are so few unit types that bonus vs their same type in aoe3. pandours mean contesting the skirm war is absolutely hopeless. they HAVE to be weaker to HI and goons and other units to bring them in line.

barbary coirsairs are sooo good. they routinely get like 8 speed when I use them (advanced arsenal and german church card) and decimate anything they come into contact with. giving them a multiplier vs villagers would be hilarious as they already have tremendous run around capacity.

sure, arsonsists ##### ### there are a million ways to make and get better mercs in DE that it doesn’t really matter.

1 Like

If you want to be an even bigger pain to your opponent as Germany, ship Prince Electors and ally with Hanover for the drummers. I think I got Corsairs up to something like 8.6 speed that way, though I can’t remember if the drummers could even keep up with them anymore at that stage. It’s great for getting 6+ speed Dops together with Advanced Arsenal and Tilly’s Discipline, though. That’s a different kind of nightmare.


The straw that broke the camel’s back was dutch training mercenaries at barracks/stables as they just have to gather coin and train >100 attack highlanders.

They shouldnt have been added that way.



122 damage
Even advanced arsenal is enough to make them go crazy

1 Like

I consider myself as part of the “more trainable merc” cult. But I prefer them to be restricted to forts (and equivalent) or additional taverns (like the German card). I never liked the idea of training them from regular buildings.


Jat lancers are already the fastest lancer in the game they just need a slight pop reduction


If Jat lancers cost 3 pops, it may need a bit a of stat reduction as well. Otherwise, it would make Stradiots look comparatively worse.

different roles, one is anti-anything, jats are very specific to anti infantry. stradiots are also one of the most average mercs too, so being better than them doesnt feel that big of a deal


I don’t know about buffing them but some are just like bizarre. Like the black rider shouldn’t be 7.25 movement speed. That dude is wearing full plate, he should be at least 6.5, no more than 6.75. To compensate for a change in speed, I would give them a massive melee attack, like 30, x 2 against cavalry, times 2 against artillery. They’re too niche in my opinion. A single dragoon is more valuable, since fully leveled up black riders (European ones) are basically just damage sponges for Chinese arquebusiers lol.

I also think the Ming Iron Troop is nonsense. He has a guandao, his melee attack should be massive, I think they should have like a melee attack of 25, times 2 against melee cavalry and times 2 against heavy infantry. That would FORCE you to really be cautious in how you want to deal with them. I could easily see the bonus against cavalry being too much, but they are NOT a skirmisher, they’re wearing heavy armor, they should match that. I thought they were heavy infantry when I first used them back when the Asian Dynasties launched lol.

The ninja is also among the most overpriced dudes in the game. 4 slots for a ultra niche unit? No sir. Just make it 2 slots. Like, compare that to the Japanese hatamoto samurai (super ronin) with over 1,100HP, 250+ siege 75+ melee damage, HOW is that so good, for just 4 slots, but the ninja, who can’t do even 1/4th the work (in my opinion) is also 4 population slots. That’s just a very specific example.

Mercenaries suck overall until they are balanced, that ALL civs can use them and all civs can gain access to the HP and damage buff, but as you said, separate topic lol.

I think a [possible] solution would be to change the iron troop into a pike-archer hybrid, like the azap. He would swap his range armor to melee armor while in melee mode, although 60% would be too much in my opinion. Some stats adjustments would be necessary of course. What do you think?

1 Like