Why I think Franks are the most frustrating civ to play against in 1v1 Open Maps

DISCLAIMER: I don’t hate Franks and I think they are fun to play, but I do think they are over tuned atm, I don’t think the civ should be nerfed to the ground or removed from existence but a few tweaks here and there wouldn’t hurt.

I wanted to start this topic to present a few arguments as to why I think the Franks deserve a considerable nerf, maybe a redesign (nerf 1 thing, buff another) for 1v1 Open Maps. It boils down to Power , Timing and Ease of Play.


We all know the Franks are focused on arguably the strongest generic unit-line in the game: The Knight-line. With multiple bonuses (+20% HP, +2 LOS, +40% Training Speed & 2 Eco Bonuses) working together to enable this unit, it is insane how strong they are in the cavalry department. That wouldn’t be a problem in and of itself, Magyars, Bulgarians and Teutons all have very strong Knights and are nowhere near as frustrating, bringing up my second argument:


With 2 good eco bonuses, Franks timings are ridiculous to match, making them very frustrating to deal with in most situations and on top of that they have arguably the strongest Scout opening because of said timings (until you get Bloodlines, but then again timing is key here, you can argue that Magyars are stronger but they have no eco bonuses in Dark Age and will eventually need to pay for Horse Collar/Bloodlines). And on top of that you will eventually have to deal with a Castle drop on your face thanks to that cheaper Castle bonuses which allow Franks to start mining stone much later than you, stacking up to the other 2 eco bonuses mentioned earlier. Even if you are the one pressuring, they can use said Castle defensively and secure their base until they have enough Knights to move out.
But hey, it all comes up to the better Player right? Well, here comes my third point:

Ease of Play

My last argument against Franks is simple: They are waaay too easy to play and too effective in what they do. Assuming 2 similarly skilled Players, Franks have all their bonuses geared towards what they want to do anyway, meaning mistakes can be forgiven by how smooth they are, requiring the other player to play perfectly in order to level the playing field. Sure, Franks have counters, particularly Camel civs or civs with much earlier timings such as Aztecs or Mayans, but having counters does not automatically mean the civ is balanced.

Counter Arguments

- Predictability:
Yes, it is true that Franks are ridiculously predictable since all of their bonuses are geared towards Knights, but even then, their timings are usually so perfect that predictability is a non-issue.
And I should say, they are much more versatile than people give them credit for. I’ve won multiple games as Franks by rushing Archers against Camel civs and even by going Axe-Throwing Thingies once.

- Pros think they are fine
True, most pros don’t seem to see Franks as a problem, which is a completely valid argument. But I’m a math nerd guy and Franks have been performing statistically very well in both Tournaments and Ladder Games. You don’t have to take my word for it tho, check it for yourself: aoestats - Civs

- They have been nerfed already
Again, true and its another valid argument, but stats don’t lie. Even after the nerfs, they are still top 1 civ in ladder simply because they are smooth, forgiving and focus on a very strong unit, games usually don’t even get to Imperial Age.

I hope this doesn’t post doesn’t come off as butthurt, babyrage or trolling, I win and lose against Franks as much as I win or lose against any other civ, but of all 42 Civilizations they are the only that sometimes can feel very unfair and unfun to play against, which to me is a problem since the game is supposed to be fun, even when losing.

Thanks for reading guys, can’t wait to read your counter-arguments, I’m not the best player but I think my arguments are valid.


hey man, we all go through a phase of hating the franks and most of us still roll our eyes when we see people who one-trick the franks. The more experienced you get the more used to playing against the franks you’ll get. My general tip and not at what I would call a counter-arguement is ;

Try to scout our what they are going into; are they just massing a billion knights? if so go into pikes/halbs. Are they mixing in throwing axemen? If so mix in some counter like hand cannons. Do they have like 8 on stone when you check out their base in feudal? If so prepare for a castle drop.


It’s not just you. They were an honorable mention in Hera’s video on civs to be nerfed (not that that makes it gospel per se, but they’ve been widely seen as a little too dominant for a while.) Even on this forum the consensus seems to be that they could use a small nerf. Will they get it? Who knows.


Yeah it’s arguable because it’s false. The archer line is the strongest generic unit line. What happens though is Franks open on Maa Archers and transition into two stable knights after a crossbow timing and it’s absolutely devastating to have to deal with three different unit types against a civ that outecoes you.

@RadiatingBlade edit: Please stay on topic.


Franks civ indeed needs a nerf

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Franks are not even close as frustrating to play vs as Mayans, Hindustanis or Gurjaras. I am guessing most people who die to Crossbow/Knight timing are people horrible at defending Feudal and macroing and also people who don’t know the existence of the Monastery. Seriously wall those early 5 Knights off and build Monastery and then transition to either Pikeman or Camel or 2nd Monastery depending on what you see and you are fine.

After increase the Cost of Xbow/Arbalest Upgrade, we need more expensive Cavalier Upgrade Kappa

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Franks are not hard to counter if they just go monocomposition knights

Crossbow masses with mango and knights are way harder to stop from civs like ports, britons and Ethiopians

Not that im advocating nerfing crossbows. Just need to get better

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bruh they just released a dlc with new shiny camel civs to dunk on franks with

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[citation needed]

20 characters.

Franks OP
B-b-but Archer-line OP
looks at you on Franks missing Bracer AND Ring Archer Armor

You guys just don’t make a lot of sense.

Gurjaras at 65% winrate also have an extremely bad Archery Range with no Cav Archer, no Arbalest upgrade and no Ring Archer Armor.

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Archers, crossbows, and arbalesters are good.

Knights, cavaliers and hussars are good.

Statistically a lot more civs have access to archers and crossbows, hence being an archer civilization isn’t a requirement for going archers. On the other hand, being a cavalry civilization is required to go knights and hussars.

Franks are OP not because they open on scouts. They are OP because they have the eco to open on both archers and scouts if they so desire, meanwhile most other civilizations have to choose one or the other- Mayans, Britons. Similar to Franks are Gurjaras, Hindustanis, which have the economy and the tools to open on archers, and then transition to knights.

How exactly does missing arbalest and ring archer armor stop me from going archers?

On the other hand, missing bloodlines, or the final armor, does stop me from going knights and hussars, in 99% of the situations.

It’s not about the global tech tree, it’s about the options available to the civilizations.

Currently the absolute meta way to play the game is drush/maa into archers/crossbows into either fast imp, or boom + transition to cavalry. In both of those you want hussars at the end of the game.

Franks can do that. Gurjaras can. Hindustanis can. Poles can. Most civilizations can. Some can do both, some can do neither. Whichever they choose, depends solely on their eco bonus. Which Franks have two of. In addition to a very smooth transition out of the archer line.

I don’t know what your elo is, but you should be able to see the connections between the fact it’s cavalry civs that get the good eco bonuses- the reason being, cavalry is usually weak, because farms are so expensive. The only thing is, those cavalry civilizations use their eco bonuses to play on archers, and then play cavalry like they are supposed to. And who can blame them, when that’s the meta?

If you open on scouts you don’t have anything in late feudal and early castle, which is the biggest powerspike in the game. In 90% of cases you have to do a skirm transition. But then you are too slow to castle. Because of the food because of the farms. So the ideal unit transition is infantry into archers into cavalry.

And to add insult to injury with the good eco, for the aforementioned absolute meta strategy, you don’t need arbalest or ring archer armor. Or thumb ring. Or even bracer. It does tie your hands a bit, yes, but you don’t want to be making archers in imp because of their gold cost anyway, you want hussars, or cavalier.

And which civs have FU hussar or cavalier? The cavalry civs.

It’s that easy.


If you are for 1v1 then you should should check this.

Now if we talk about team games then Franks are truly OP and frustrating to play against.

I think the state that original post tried convey about Frank’s is overtuned and not over-powered. Small difference there.
But i think food bonuses to eco are one of the best. They are highly flexible and allow the civ to power whatever they chose to do later in game.

So that maybe a good way to tune these civs. Small nerfs to food eco. So in case of Franks it’s berry bush bonus and for Gurjaras it’s their garrisoned mill bonus. That needs to be lowered till tuned.


Interesting take. If so, then the following balance changes may be worth to consider:

  • Civs with paladins or more than FU knights all lose thumb rings (HUN, LIT, MAG, BUL, SPA, POR, BYZ, PER, BER, MAL)
  • Huns cav archers get +25% accuracy, Magyars recursive bow also gives +15% accuracy
  • The archer line has 70% accuracy and 3s cooldown (from 80/85/90% and 2s). With thumb rings we stay at to 100% and 1.7s
  • Thumb rings costs 150f/100w (from 300f/250w)

Then we would be closer to have “real” archer civs and “real” cavalry civs


I can see thumb ring being tweaked in ways to be as important to archer civs as bloodlines is to cavalry civs. It would be a positive meta change for sure.


A lot of civs can do that and a lot of civs have better eco to open archers than franks. Franks eco is only strong if you go the cav route otherwise it’s solid but quite far away from the actual top eco civs.

It doesn’t stop you from going archers in the early game but at some point in castle age you need to transition out of them while the unit is strongest in early imp.

That’s also why Franks aren’t the greatest 1v1 civ. They lack the best early imp unit (arb) and they lack the best late game unit (hussar).

The ideal late game scenario is when you have a large ball of arb or cav archer surviving from before and then can spam hussars. Cavaliers is pretty useless at this stage, way too expensive. You rather add some arbs to maintain your gold ranged army.

So I don’t think your argument works. Having arb is one of the most crucial tools in the game. What makes cav civs so good later on is the ability to spam hussars. Ofc knights in late castle age or cavalier early imp can be good too but it’s not more important than arb. Btw the argument works even less for franks because they don’t have especially good light cav. Even a lot of the civs with archer focus have better ones.

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This is a buff to archer civs though. And also hurts magyars, huns, lithuanians and Bulgarians for no reason.

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What makes Franks soo strong is that they have 3 bonuses kicking the first 20 mins of the game:

  • 15% faster working foragers.
  • Free HP on cavalry (which means they have a supremacy early feudal with 54 HP scouts, and then resources saved for bloodlines so your knights have +20 HP free).
  • Free mill upgrades.

There isn’t other civ that get such advantages that early and all free, that is really strong in 1v1, and oppresive for team games because you can’t exploit franks weaknesses here.

Franks are already overpicked for TGs, once Hindustani and Gurjaras are nerfed again, Franks will be again the new headache here.

At least, move the cavalry HP bonus to castle age, so you create a weak point for a prolonged feudal age, and push Franks to use the two eco advantages to get castle age earlier.


Moving HP bonus could work. Or could be like in older days only applied to knights. Or remove the foraging bonus entirely. Let them get their power gradually from farming.

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I’m happy that you understood this point. I thought I made myself clear when I said I don’t hate the civ nor I think it should be nerfed beyond viability, but apparently I didn’t convey that enough.

My main issue with Franks is that they are hard to punish unless you play perfectly yourself, which lets be honest: Doesn’t happen. Frankish eco is very forgiving and give you lots of margin for error, that is NOT a problem per se, but when they also have 2 major power spikes on top of cheap castles that can be used both offensively or defensively… it adds up and becomes an issue.

My main suggestion is the same as others have mentioned already: Remove the HP Bonus from Scouts, or at least move this bonus to the Castle Age. This will remove one of their power spikes (early Feudal when they have the best Scouts).

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