Updated civ. descriptions (specialities)

→ This is simply a personal opinion (reasoning is below).

→ It is exclusively for informative purposes. There especially cannot be established a correlation between a high number of specialities and a high winrate on 1v1 Arabia ! (The civ. with most specialities performs actually worse than the civ. with the least ones – on all skill levels!)

→ The official civ. descriptions are in bold.

Aztecs_________ infantry and monks

Berbers________ cavalry, cavalry archers and navy

Britons_________ infantry, archers, trebuchets and keeps

Bulgarians_____ infantry, cavalry, cavalry archers, siege and kreposts

Burgundians___ cavalry and gunpowder units

Burmese_______ infantry, elephants, arambai and monks

Byzantines_____ cavalry, monks, defenses and navy

Celts___________ infantry and siege

Chinese________ archers, towers and demolition ships

Cumans________ cavalry and cavalry archers

Ethiopians______ archers and siege

Franks_________ infantry, paladins and castles [cavalry]

Goths__________ infantry

Huns___________ cavalry, cavalry archers and trebuchets

Incas___________ infantry, slingers and defenses

Indians_________ camels, cavalry archers and hand cannoneer [gunpowder]

Italians_________ infantry, archers, gunpowder units and navy

Japanese_______ infantry, cavalry archers, trebuchets, keeps and navy

Khmer___________ elephants and scorpions [siege]

Koreans_________ war wagon, onagers, towers and navy [defensive]

Lithuanians______ cavalry and monks

Magyars_________ cavalry and cavalry archers

Malay____________ infantry, elephants and navy

Malians__________ infantry and cavalry

Mayans__________ eagles, archers and walls

Mongols_________ cavalry, cavalry archers and siege

Persians_________ cavalry and elephants

Portuguese______ infantry, gunpowder units and navy

Saracens________ camels, archers, cavalry archers, siege, monks and navy

Sicilians_________ infantry, donjons and navy

Slavs____________ infantry, cavalry, siege and monks

Spanish_________ infantry, cavalry, gunpowder units, monks and navy

Tatars___________ cavalry, cavalry archers, flaming camels and trebuchets

Teutons__________ infantry, paladins, siege, monks and castles

Turks____________ cavalry, cavalry archers, gunpowder and navy

Vietnamese______ archers and elephants

Vikings__________ infantry and navy


→ In case there’s a bonus for a certain unit type, it’s typically a civ. speciality, even if normally crucial techs are missing. Britons lack thumb ring, Mongols the last archer defence upgrade and Goths three (!) infantry techs, one of which – defence – isn’t even replaced by a bonus for this. Inverse exception : celt castles and keeps which shoot faster are still worse than normal castles and keeps with bracer and architecture, thus are excluded as specialisation.

→ If there cleary is only one unit that is fully upgraded and/or benefits from a bonus, this unit becomes the specialisation instead of all the unit type. The frank cavalry is composed of an excellent paladin and a very underwhelming light cavalry (except in early feudal) ; thus the frank speciality is mostly the paladin. In the same spirit the khmer siege workshop isn’t that impressive except for the scorpion (the ballisata elephant is a scorpion mounted on an elephant)…

-Infantry, fully upgraded champion and halberdier (« supplies » included!), are sufficiently rare that I consider it a civ. speciality.

-The presence of everything but one in the siege workshop plus « siege engineers » means a siege civ.

-Everything but the last archer defence upgrade means a cavalry archer civ.

-The simultaneous presence of « elite cannon galleon » and « shipwright » means a naval civ.

-Everything is needed in the monastery for monks. (Except herbal medicine – Byzantine monks heal faster anyway).

-Flaming camels actually hardcounter cavalry archer units like the mangudaï. They even perform decent against most archers due to their low HP, little armor and typically high stacking. Thus I include them. This means I also include the Chinese heavy demo ships.

Results :

→ The Saracens have the most specialities (six!).

→ Goths have the least, just one. (At which they absolutely excel though!)

→ Finally, I want to stress again that the number of specialities cannot be directly related to a civilization’s strength. Indeed, according to aoestats.io, Saracens seem to struggle much more on 1v1 Arabia than Goths, and this, on any skill level.

You miss the flaming camels as an specialization

1 Like

Wow, you added the flaming camels with a good explanation! Good job!

for franks you can say knights or the knight line, paladins is not their speciality… the entire line is, and you will 100% get knights but in a ton of 1v1’s there wont be paladins.

im still reading the rest, but generally the official specialities mean jack all.

i also wouldnt say spanish or any other civ with generic but FU infantry warrants a speciality rating

since infantry is so corner case as it is they need an actual bonus before you can say the civ specialises in them…

and im reluctant to say italians specialise in infantry because they lack halbs (about the same as saying someone is a CA civ and lacks HCA)

if you are using that generous logic, then aztecs and definitely vikings are archer civs.

Both are played as Archer civs, actually.
They are Archer civs with an Infantry UU or Eagles, in all but name.

Missing halberdier can’t be per se decisive. After all, Malians lack the upgrade and they are an official infantry civ. (despite Farimba only an infantry civ. actually).

  • Edit: The Italian infantry UU was decisive for my choice describing Italians as also specialising in infantry, despite lacking halberdier.

Actually, some argue missing HCA isn’t decisive to determine if a civ. is a CA civ. (see Which is the best CA civ? | AoEZone - The international Age Of Empires community)! :smiley:
I’m not one of those though. (Unless there were Goths infantry-like bonuses for CA).
Edit: Exactly because a lot of 1v1s are decided before imp., the Portuguese with insanely good Castle Age CA were proposed by the PeruvianViper as possibly the best CA civ. in the game amongst nine other options. One user indeed voted for them above Huns, Magyars, Tatars, etc.

I’m unsure if fully upgraded arbalester can suffice to qualify as an archer civ. I mean, Viking archers won’t win against Briton archers, whereas Spanish champions will defeat Malian champions.

  • Edit - redraft, because it seems needed (cf. phoenix’s post Updated civ. descriptions (specialities) - #8 by phoenix1089):
    I’m unsure if fully upgraded arbalester can suffice to qualify as an archer civ. I mean, simply-fully-upgraded Viking archers won’t win against not-fully-upgraded-but-with-bonus Briton archers, whereas simply-fully-upgraded Italian champions will defeat not-fully-upgraded-but-with-bonus Malian champions.
    Furthermore, while a civ. doesn’t specialize in something doesn’t mean they are bad at it or can’t be played that way. The current official description of Vikings doesn’t call them an archer civ., why would I have to do it?
    Again, the crucial difference for me was, that, following the official descriptions, any archer civ. has better archers than fully upgraded arbalesters, while the same isn’t true for infantry civs. with regard to the champion. Thus the bottom line for me to determine an archer civ. is a better arbalester and the bottom line for an infantry civ., amongst other things, melee-wise the Malian champion.

Anyway, the updated civ. descriptions don’t need to be perfect. If they are already better (more precise) than the official ones, then the goal is already reached imo. :slight_smile:

I don’t think having fully upgraded Infantry warrants special mention (like you have in Britons)

furthermore i wouldn’t call

a cavalry civ.
i would further just call

these civs a jack of all trade civs. (maybe not so much Malians, their archers fall off in the late game, but are a viable option in the feudal, castle, and early imp).

because they have literally one of the mofo best civ bonuses for infantry in the entire game , the hard counter for infantry is archers…

and they have a UU infantry. but as mat said they are more of a jack of all trades civ. but on top of all of that i literally said the official specialities mean jack

so what? people argue that HC are good vs cavalry, does it make it true? no. neither is there any immediate post on that thread that pops out that even supports what you just said.

so whether something beats something else determines whether that civ specialises? everyone and their brother uses vikings and aztecs for archers. i cant imagine how bad you are if you think they arent a reliable option

celt paladins (literally the worst in the game) beat byz paladins, so by your own logic byz arent a cav civ, and celts are… because something beat something…

they lose to every single infantry civ besides malians, so again by your own definition they arent an infantry civ, same goes for spanish and any others i missed

As being brief isn’t always the best idea (cf. Updated civ. descriptions (specialities) - #6 by AoE2and3fan), I’d like to elaborate on the reason of why I decided to share my own civ. descriptions.

Even though everyone should in an ideal world know the tech tree by heart, the fact of the matter is that even the world’s very best players don’t know all of it at all times. (Sooo much proof around, I’d very much like to stay brief on this point).

This is the reason why there is an official description in the first place. To help know at a glance what the civ. specializes in, ie what one should or at least could strive for. It’s well known these civ. descriptions have currently very rough edges, as Cysion even said FE was “completely rewriting those for DE” until that project was eventually cancelled (see https://www.reddit.com/r/aoe2/comments/l7ebye/hilarious_opening_to_heras_new_vid/gl9e84a/?context=3).

As it has always been the case, the fact a civ. doesn’t specialize in an area doesn’t mean it can’t do it. To be concrete, even though I have sticked with the current official opinion of the devs as far as what constitutes an archer civ., that doesn’t mean civs. without that tag can’t play as archer civs and even be very good at it (cf. Updated civ. descriptions (specialities) - #6 by AoE2and3fan).

Again, the updated civ. descriptions don’t need to be perfect. If they are already better (more precise) than the official ones, then the goal is already reached imo.


Britons just have fully upgraded infantry and they don’t have any bonuses so they aren’t an infantry civilisation.

Same reason as before.

The war wagon is UU, they are the only one who has it so they are the only one who can specialise in it.