Usac’s Civ Crafting Brainstorms Part 10 - Muscovites

The Muscovites. Russian peoples on the furthest edge of ‘Western’ Civilization. With Hordes of steppes people on all sides, there is a reason this breed of Slavic is said to be hardy, no-nonsense and tough as nails. With influences in this civ from the likes of the Pechenegs and Oghuz, the tech tree is almost a blend of Russian and Pecheneg… and it kinda is. It’s very much an “I will rise up and kill you at your own game” civ and it shows in its tech tree. You’ll see.


Muscovites - An Infantry and Cavalry Archer Civ

  • Mining gold generates food

The ability to scrounge up food from the earth, grabbing roots/tubers from rocks (in this case shiny ones) was vital to surviving the climate.

  • Squires/Husbandry free

Good horses and good sturdy footmen. Good powerspike and a useful edge. Russians were good at keeping pace and outpacing their enemies.

  • Cav Archers +1 melee armor, +2 in Imp. (3 total)

Believe it or not, there is plenty of evidence of Horse Archer usage even into the later 17th century. And said archers had armor on.

  • M@A, Long and 2h Sword available 1 age sooner. Longswords also -5 HP and -1 base attack and -1 attack vs Eagles until the correct age.

An uprising of infantry. As broken as these seem, these aren’t cheap techs.
Team Bonus - Cavalry/Elephant Archers +3 vs buildings. UU/Team Bonus mounted archers only +1.

Why aren’t you using cavalry archers yet?! If the Saracens have no use for this bonus, then the Moscow peoples will shoot down their own farms so you can’t eat them and teach you how to do so. It is reduced for Cav archer UUs because scary War Wagon/Conq/Arambai/Kipchik/Mangudai/Camel Archer with building bonus so high is worrisome and the Ratha having this in melee… well the Bangalis might actually need help but not like this.

Missing Techs

  • Barracks: Eagle Scout, Halberdier
  • Archery Range: Arbalest, Elephant Archer
  • Stable: Paladin, Hussar, Battle Elephant, Elite Steppe Lancer
  • Siege Workshop: Siege Onager, Siege Ram, Armored Elephant
  • Dock: Heavy Demo Ship, Elite Cannon Galley
  • Blacksmith: Blast Furnace
  • Economy: Crop Rotation
  • University: Heated Shot, Bombard Tower, Arrow Slits
  • Monastery: Sanctity, Herbal Medicine
  • Castle: Sappers

So this tech tree seems standardish. No Elite Lancer stands out. But otherwise there’s plenty of reason to make all the buildings. Their end game, well, you’ll see.

UU: Cossack - Cavalry whose mace spikes do extra ‘rounds’ of damage the way a Chu-ko-nu would but in melee (these spikes use the same damage formula too). It does 3 (4) of these spikes. Has bonus damage vs UUs to represent their desire to fight off invading foreigners.


The image is filler, but the concept of a maceman on a horse is here. It’s just the best image I could find short notice.

Cossack Stats Elite
Health 105 130
Attack (melee) 8 (+4 vs UUs, +1 vs Cav Archers) 9 (+6 vs UUs, +1 vs Cav Archers)
Range melee
Accuracy 100
RoF 2 2
LoS 6 6
Movespeed 1.45 1.45
Armor(Cavalry, UU) 2/1 2/2
Cost 65f/60g
Train Time 21 18
To Elite 950f/700g 50sec

Castle Age Unique Tech: Pecheneg Revolt – Melee units do +4 damage vs their own unit line. Ranged +2. Only effects living units.

Cost: 300s/400f 45sec

To explain, an Archer or Crossbow will do bonus vs Archer/Crossbow/Arbalest. It won’t have bonus vs Plumes, Genoese, or Longbows. Same way a Knight will have bonus vs Knight, Cavalier and Paladin but not vs Cataphract. The Pecheneg Revolt was against the Byzantines, so the idea of being a ‘counter unit’ civ plays out here with the idea of doing bonus damage vs the counter unit civ by matching their versatility with a little of their own.

Imperial Age Unique Tech Smuta - Infantry do 2 attacks per swing (essentially having a (1) on their damage stat) but do -1 to their main and bonus damages on both swings.

Cost: 800f/900g 70sec

In the Time of Troubles (known as Smuta) towards the start of the Renaissance 1600s, the Muscovites fell into disarray and militias started uprising. Militias… militias. They’re so angry they want to kill you twice, but this time was a struggle so power was a struggle even if it made struggle twice as hard.

Strategy: Let’s not mince words. Your early game revolves around the barracks. Early M@A access sounds busted, but you’ll never be able to afford it until Feudal anyway, so its best use is to research it on your way up to match the Bulgarian power spike. Granted after that, you run away from the Bulgars if you can afford Long Swords. a 55 HP infantry unit is fantastic to have access to. Do not underestimate the power of this as probably 30 have enough power to break a TC. I almost think it’s too much the Long Sword is just that big of a stat jump over the M@A with 10 extra HP, 1 melee armor and +2 damage. It’s still too slow to catch archers, mind you, but be wary of these guys.

As you fill your coffers and granaries from gold mines, this is the unit you revolve around. But in Castle Age, once you get Pecheneg, the doors open up. First the free 10% speed buff techs go a long way towards Knights, but Cav Archers are a legit option here! To beat this civ, use a unit that they are NOT focusing on.

If the enemy uses UUs, use Cossacks to fill you with xenophobia of the 40+ civs that aren’t you! Cossacks are also amazing Ram breakers since they have the same 0 melee damage ‘volley’ effect from their spiked mace. Unlike the ranged versions, these volleys cannot miss because they’re point blank!

In Imp Age, lots of options fall off. Xbows are not great. Cav Archers with 7/6 armor are nothing to laugh at. But if you want to start winning, Champions will do very well. 13+1 damage seems sad, but they swing twice. For Pikemen, it looks even worse, but even with only +21 vs cavalry instead of 22, keep in mind, that’s technically 21 damage done twice per swing! So your main composition is champions, Pikes and Cav Archers, but Cavaliers, Light Cav and Camels have plenty of viability!

To beat the Muscovites, try never to use the same unit line as them.

Is it balanced? Not sure. There’s definitely some unique attributes at play. Number tweaks are where I think I need the most aid to make this work.

TLDR: If they go knights, you go knights. If they go XBows, so do you. If you can’t keep up with their tech change… uhoh.


Only three things I bothered reading I care about.

This isn’t really helpful, because if you micro properly, it will never come into play. Pierce armor would be better, but might require losing Parthian Tactics, Ring Archer Armor, or another tech.

You can’t use Jan Zizka as a regular unit, you need a new unit.

Both the name and the effect aren’t great, but I don’t have any suggestions.

Team Bonus is too OP, Imagine Mongols as teammate doing another +3 vs Rams.

Saracen +2 bonus vs buildings is already too good, why +3 for Cav Archers.

Finding an image of a maceman on a horse was… not easy. It’s mostly filler, but I don’t mean to commit any copy write theft.

To a point, true, but if it discourages camel or Light cav swarming, it can mean a lot. It’s also pretty important for surviving an extra mangonel or Onager shot. In fact, it’s enough armor to survive a head on Siege Onager if at full armor but not Heavy upgrade yet which is… probably really rare. It’s not game breaking or defining. But I think it’s not useless. Just niche.

You read the part where I said it would be reduced for UUs, right? I did write that? Please tell me I’m not that hard to read! For the UUs I was thinking +1 only (which is technically +2 because buildings have more PA than most archers.)

The other name, Smuta, is a little too… well the jokes would write themselves. I’m surprised the name isn’t censored as looking inappropriate.

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I actually missed it before, +1/+2 against buildings might be acceptable. +3 is a little too much IMO.

It depends on the unit. War Wagons have bonuses vs buildings so +1 makes sense. The saracen bonus is actually +3 but it says +2 but this is because if a unit has equal or more armor than the base attack, then it won’t be 1 + the bonus damage, it will act like 0 + the bonus damage.

That or I could make the bonus only for the generic mounted archery units. So cavalry and elephant archers

I like.
I’d clearly make it more than Poles generating rate.
That’s pretty much my favorite feature about this whole Poles design, an incentive to be invested in Stone Mining which is rarely required in order to establish a strong lead in the game or even a victory.

What you suggest is obviously worse, it’s hard to compete with Stone, it’s a pseudo-resource, anything regarding Stone can barely be considered an eco bonus.
However it’s still great, being worse doesn’t mean it’s bad, in order to justify mining Gold heavily over just booming (Food/Wood economy) you’d have to make it attractive.

Poles have 0.2~ gold per second, I’d make this one 0.3 or so.
Plus unlike Poles, this is their only “eco bonus”.


Sorry :\

That’s nice, does not create any powerspike though, fyi.

I like the idea, since Infantry are trash anyways at the mid-game, it wont change that much, however you lost me when you came up with these not-so-elegant conditions, like -5 HP and -1 attack/bonus.
Excessive modifications overwhelm the intuition of the common gamer. I’m not a fan.
Why not just giving it to them with no conditions at all? the only problem would be the M@A rush, which would allow the player to go for a prolonged Dark Age into possibly a FC, while forcing the opponent to go up early and go for Archers.
Since the meta is just about that, a defensive Archery Range kind of meta, I dont see the problem.
Am I mistaken?

Fair, might be a little bit abusive in some Team Games, but who cares, we barely get to see Unique Units these days anyways.

Sapper though!

I like the fact they have only SL, no Elite. No Blast Furnace is a blow to their Infantry, especially when there’s no Halb, Militia-line will just end up losing to FU Hussars.
However, now that I see the Imperial UT. Interesting!
I like.
They basically have an Elite Halb, just like Bohemians, however, unlike Bohemians (an awful design), these guys actually have a drawback. Lower amount of HP and overall much lower base damage than a generic FU Halb.
I love it, very strategic. Also glad this tech is expensive, it’s quite strong.

Regarding the first UT, Does this civ have Paladins? seems like they do (?)
I think I like it, it’s quite unique. Obviously it’s dramatic the most when it comes to their Ranged Units, It’s hard to tell how it’d affect the Crossbow/Skirmishers meta.

If this civ has FU (kinda) Paladin and CA, why would this civ bother to make Champs? I dont understand the description of being an Infantry civ, so their Infantry is their mid-game play? despite knowing that Infantry is either good at the very latter phases of the game or the very early ones.
I’m not sure about the description, or rather about their actual style. I’d rather just play them as Magyars, their Light Cavs are semi-Farimba (not really, but still better than Militia-line, and suits better with CA), perhaps take away access from the Light Cav, similarly to Teutons, yet make Infantry more attractive somehow? (by Infantry I mean the Militia-line)

Instead of this Celts/Cumans bonus I’d perhaps let them have:
Can research Squires twice

How about that?

I see what you did there, a Chu Ko Nu mechanism with the bonus of Samurais.
Not a fan due to one reason- Samurais (poor design) are already in a problematic situation, by inheriting this bonus you basically confirm that Samurais are dead?
I’d consider this unit if you’d tell me that we assume that Samurais are reworked completely. Else you just bullying the 3rd worst Infantry in the game. (Urumi 1st, Karambit 2nd)

Overall I find this one solid! (besides 1 passive bonus, and the UU).

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Does the civ really needs this? It sounds too complicated and situational. Just give them castle age THS

I dont really like this

Im fine with this but remove the negative affect. Seems unnecesary for something you can fix in another way probably

The minimg bonus is really weird innterms of how it plays but balanced withthe right ammount

You cant complain about this beyond calling it boring maybe (which I dont think it is but whatever). Its basically a worse version of the two bonuses but combined. Like how the Mayan resource bonus is a weaker version of the Tatar sheep bonus and Malian gold bonus

Stop it. Stop it. Stop it already. Bohemians aren’t an awful design, they are a fun and fairly well balanced civ, that relies on actually reaching the lategame. Maybe they have a doomsday comp, but getting there isn’t the world’s easiest task. They are only somewhat OP on closed maps sometimes, but they are subpar on Arabia, which is what you care about. Don’t bully actually good civs, or the devs might redesign into what you want, which ruins it for everyone else.

I imagine the TG players and anyone who has to deal with it being abused.


I dont think it’s different just worse, it’s the exact bonus. I’d be different if it was: All units move 5% faster. Celts and Cumans lack access to these techs, because it’s indirectly free. An elegant way to gift a civ with a free tech, so now we’re doing the same just worse (design wise, not balance).

Same goes for any bonus that has free:
Masonry/ Architecture (Byzantines)
Bloodlines (Franks)
Treadmill Crane (Spanish)
Arson (Goths)

This game has its own elegant way to deliver a trait, it’s almost methodical, I don’t think we’re this desperate for bonuses, we’ve yet to run out of ideas to adopt this kind of recycled semantic.

I’m down for something new however, like letting some civs tech the same tech twice, or having an unique tech which isn’t a bombastic one that’s exclusively in the Castle. Such as Loom 2.0. (higher cost, like 150g)

However if we play conservatively, then play by the rules, AOE II already have these bonuses in their own aesthetic-logical language.

Thats terrible. At that point you just have a better version of the Celt and Cuman bonuses. And you complain that what we are doing rn is terruible design?

No its not, its broader and weaker so it has advantages and disadvantages. Its not like free Guilds which is just a worse version of the Saracen Market bonus

Who’s “we”? Terrubile? What?

I gave an example, all units move 5% faster is awful, it’s just a concept to compare to.

Why acting so defensively, unbelievable.
I actually complimented him about his civ design it’s great, had problem with only two features.

I got a single letter wrong :roll_eyes:

And “we” is Usac along with the people that like the idea of the bonus.

I misunderstood you but still, terrible comparison. This bonus is fine because its not just better or worse. Its a trade off. And unlike the other bonus which is basically “a better Cuman Bonus in every age along a bonus that is almost as good as the Celtic bonus” here its just a little help that can be used in most scenarios

Emblem added. I also reduced the UU bonus damage of the UU if a concern is that it is stealing the Samurai niche.

Reflection even further on old works, this looks like a civ that truly wants to be in the world of Gambesons, but doesnt yet have enough reason to consider making cav archers. 1/1 armor per age could work and while it may seem to step on the toes of Tatars, that civ also gets +1/1 armor for its FU lancers and Scouts, this unit does not have full versions of those units even if you’re ignoring the. Tatars also have free Thumb Ring which honestly is far more useful than a little bit of armor for a unit who flips a coin vs a stationary unit otherwise.

Gambesons can help thid civ really lean into the UY boosted double striking champions that you can research towards earlier in the ages and yes I feel like I should remove the negative effect on the tech.

Furthermore people have expressed loathing for the Pecheneg Revolt. If its too weak i could up its power but if something else please I welcome long and many replies worth of healthy and brilliant debate. Now lets grt the debate started. Ill post reminders if I must.

So civ design TLDR. Fight fire with fire and you should come out on top. Yea!

Ive been thinking of this design and it feels a bit lacking somehow. Its army is uniquely sword and horse archer but getting there is a slog. So lets fix that.

  • Mining gold and stone generates food

Still a cornerstone of the civ. The basic gist of this bonus is to encourage drushing and gold gathering to keep the flow of militia coming. Adding stone enables you to continue to food flow if you want to send a few towers forward with your dark age m@a. Speaking if…

  • M@A, Long and 2h Sword available 1 age sooner. If researched in or after their actual availability age cost and research time reduced by 50%. Champion tech may or may not be included in the research bonus.

While this may seem like a step on the Dravidian bonus that more importantly effects all techs so gambesons and halberdier whcih this civ doesnt get. The on age discount is a sort of apology to a player that doesnt get the tech researched in time. Also no more penalty for Feudal longswords but -5 HP might return to the table since 60 HP is pretty hefty even for a unit that archers can outrun.

  • Cav archers +1/1 armor per age. While this means your cav archers cap out at 7/8 armor, anti cav archer units just dont care. Onagers? Barely care! Siege onager direct shots? Elite Scorpions are still gonna shred them. Still kill in 2 hits vs other cav archers. Elite skirms still do 6 damage per shot meaning Turks have an edge. Tatars get this as a tech sure but this tech also effects units that use that armor far better: lancers and hussars this civ doesn’t get either unit or blast furnace either btw.

While the Squires and Husbandry bonus is unique enough shut up!!, it might be pushing things overboard with sturdier horse archers to start with extra zoomies

Team Bonus: Stone Mines in 30 range of any town center revealed still covered in fog.

This is probably more useful than the old saracen bonus.

UT1 Pecheneg Revolt: melee Units do +5 vs others in their same exact unit line. Ranged and scorpions +2. Siege +12

This is probably a bit more enticing if not over the top. No blast furnace probably hurts a lot later on.

UT2 Smuuta: infantry strike twice per swing.

The negative bonus effect is no longer present. Remember you dont get halberdier. Also NOW it censors the version with 1 U so im getting around censorship

Tech tree and UU i cant see myself changing unless i bake a little anti UU damage into the Pecheneg revolt.

This civ design really resonates with me because it really feels like the only place you could logically have a civ that you call cav archer and infantry at the same time.

More often the combo is infantry with foot archers or cavalry or cav archers with some sort of stable unitry. Beyond that and pikes and maybe some camels and Skirms thats mostly the extent of your army.

Oh and this isn’t a spav split

Okay so with the Armenians rumored to be stealing the idea I had for early infantry access, because Armenians were known for their weak cavalry after all, I need a new infantry bonus cannot figure out what.

Putting free Squires/Husbandry back isn’t enough even if put back as free and one age sooner.

Pecheneg revolt as a civ bonus could work but it just promotes, in most cases, less early game infantry play.

Im a little stumped here.

I might need to remake since a few people tell me the name Muscovite is illegal or unacceptable or something. Oh very chatty community don’t hesitate to come in and discusss. Asap

Why is it a bad word for a civi?