Why We Hate Japan as a Civ

No balance is considered for team game in DE, never, even treaty can be considered.


A nice change to Japan Monks would be to make it so that they can’t teleport if they have been attack in the last 10 seconds. Japanese Monks can put up shrines in obscure places without repercussions and no vills or military escort are need. It would be nice if you could out play the Japanese monk and be rewarded with a downed monk unable to put up shrines.

@BazzZ94 No U.

The answer lies within your own answer. The fact that everyone thinks they have to rush and kill Japan within the first 10 minutes or else they are screwed means the civ is still horribly and unbelievably unbalanced. Why have people been complaining about Japan for over a decade and why have they been nerfed so many times? Think about it…

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Well the same thing applies to the warchiefs civs and other eco civs - u dont let iro hit age 4 and get arilery on top of the good units. some civs are good at rushing - otto, hausa, while other are more of an eco civs like brits and japan - and u rush an eco civ so u dont allow them to boom. if u allow japan to boom, get obliterated and come here on the forums and complain how japan is OP is just plain stupid. the thing that i am trying to say is that they have flaws - compared to the african civs that have EVERYTHING. u want cannons - here, u want some brits helping u - here - etc.

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Iro in age 4 only has an S tier cannon and a A tier skrim. Don’t forget their bad eco the longer you play.

African civs while broken right now can’t mass cannons.

Japan is a crutch civ, they get so many gimmes and freebies its ridiculous. They cover up mistakes and poor play much better then other civs do, things like herding, protecting villagers, all that stuff? Nope, Japan doesn’t have to worry about that.

They are ‘balanced’ in 1vs1 due to their weakness against timing pushes but the major issue is that they force the opponent to play a certain way to beat them, otherwise they get overwhelmed by superior units. No other civ does this. I think this is extremely unhealthy for the game.

Honestly though at a very starting point, I’d like to see Ashi reduced to 4 speed and Samurai given a compensating buff, though honestly I’d like to see non spear melee infantry (Rods, Doppel, Samurai etc.) be reworked entirely and not be classed as anti cavalry.

In any case if Ashi want to keep their 4.5 speed, they need a significant penalty to offset that such as weaker against skirmishers. Having weaker melee (but higher bonuses vs. cav) barely matters when most melee units such as Halbs can’t catch them anyway.


Actually sweden does the same thing. Sweden is about as hated as Japan. When you watch an ESOC match, people pick Sweden or Japan as much as possible when there is a lot of money on the line, and everyone, including the commentators know they are both way OP. It gets commented on frequently. Stats don’t lie, I would be surprised if they are not the most used in tournaments where money is involved.

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we could just make their units even more expensive, especially food heavy. They gather food more slowly then other civs so more of their eco needs to go into gathering food. Ashi cost only 5 more food then a musk and yumi 15 more food. since you don’t want to put shrines on food, that will ruin the japan game more then any nerf to the units.

Their cav for example is actually less food heavy then other civs and since they can put shrines on coin, its much more efficient. Increase the food cost and japan will struggle.

This used to be true. Sweden got nerfed though and doesn’t auto win late game with Caroleans anymore since the age 4 card nerf. I mean i guess there hasn’t been any tournaments post Sweden nerf aside the one which bans all new de civs which means no data on Sweden. Though honestly the design on both is very similar and both would be discarded and changed entirely if I had my way.

In terms of 1v1 Japan though, it’s widely hated sure but not considered OP even by commentators, or even by me for that matter, yet I’m one of the strongest ‘supporters’ pushing for it to be reworked. I have a reputation on Esoc as ‘the guy who always complains about Japan’ but the honest truth is, many high level players have no issue in playing the game in an incredibly static way.

This means Japans problems get overlooked simply because they are beatable in the static game of 1vs1, especially when counterpicks are involved and most games are played on trade route maps. It took them relative ages to figure out how busted the African civs were… and sure they are banned now but some of the ‘strategies’ and ideas were… let’s just say didn’t take advantage of their strengthens.


I say just increase the food cost of their unit, their eco is incredibly food constraint since they gather from berries and shrines on food isn’t worth much.

If their unit cost pushes harder on their food constraint then atleast that also puts the japanese player on a timer before their food eco collapses and they have to make paddies. This is even accounting for things like the double cherry orchards shipment

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Man, I might be being a jerk, but I can’t stop laughing here. :rofl:

I didn’t came to the forum for a couple a months because the DLC was a turnoff, and them I come to back to the forum, and there is almost nothing about the African civs, but a ton of topics on Japan. I feel like I am in a total different matrix.
It’s like watching the flatearthers. I can’t believe on 2021, with African civs wondering about QSs people are talking about Japan with their slow-arse age up and eco.

I honestly feel I am in a total different matrix.

I don’t know how tournaments are being played in you dimension, but on mine there is a legacy tournament without the DE civs organized by Kaiserklein being played right now, and Japan is not picked super often how you make look like.

Swedes was indeed picked a lot on the Global Championship. But I honestly think that the fact that Fraser River was the first map had a lot of influence on it.
Just imagine if Texas was on the map pool. How many players that don’t play Russians will pick Russians too have the two blockhouses?

And to go further on that, you say that stats “don’t lie”, but if solely you look at the stats without the context, Swedes and Japan don’t have spectacular win rates like Russia and Haudenausanee, and Japan is not picked that often (Although Swedes was the second most picked behind Portugal)

I will link two topics with the numbers for you:

But again, just looking at stats whiteout context is silly, since they disregard variants like the fact that there was a lot of water maps (Which influenced Portugal being picked so often), the first map of the map pool being a dream map for Swedes, the presence of a lot of rusty old school players bringing down the stats of old school civilizations like France, etc, etc.

We can’t just say that the stats give a full truth without understanding actually understanding the context of which they are inserted on.

Because “high level” is somewhat static independent of the civilization.
Are playing against Japan more robotic than playing against a Russian player with forward blockhouse with 5 cossacks + 5 musketeers? Or a German player raiding with Uhlans to cover up a semi-ff? Or a Portuguese player water booming? Or a British player triple barracking double carded musketeers? Or a Dutch player doing a 4 banks semi-ff into skirmishers-ruyters?

I mean, if you dislike to play against this civilization in particular, that’s understandable. I also have civilizations that I don’t like playing against it.
But implying that just Japan is static and a crutch, it’s just not true. A lot of civilizations are somewhat static on the high level.

Wow the better post!! Im totally agree in all with u

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I didn’t mean only Japan was static, most pros play the game in a very static way with all civs because it rewards mastery through repetition so greatly rather then overall knowledge.

I even said it took them a while to figure out Africa because initially they tried to apply similar strats to them to what works for their preferred style. The amount some pros know outside the meta is… quite poor and there’s a massive resistance in a lot of them to better balance the stuff that does not get used.

Though not true for pros, Japan is definitely a crutch for lower to average players due to all the mechanics they can ignore like herding, much easier time vs. raiding, resource management and having an almost guaranteed victory condition if the game isnt ended by a certain point.

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When I watch tournaments, it is quite rare to see a Japan player lose. The last match I watched, the opponent was trying to constantly go around and burn down Japans shrines which were all over the map, and Japan would just easily build them again with one of their two scouts. Japan was expending fewer resources and APM just telling a scout to rebuild a shrine versus the opponent building troops to deal with them. Often times he would take losses when his troops were attacked trying to burn down a shrine. Meanwhile his villagers were exposed and getting raided while Japans villagers were all safe in the base on cherry orchards. He really had his hands full trying to deal with shrines, and opponent raids, and it was so easy for Japan smugly sitting in his base while dominating the map with his shrines all over it, sometimes hidden in corners of the map. Sweden torps are similar. As far as those ‘stats’, more useful stats would be japans overall win rate across all elos from ranked play.

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I’m not a pro player by any definition of the word. (I am about 1500 on the ladder, PR 28 and is not my full time job to play AoE3) And I still think Japan is fine.
And even looking back on my memories when I was a teenager trying to learn how the game works, Japan was never problematic. And that’s saying something, since Japan was actually stronger on the TAD version of the game than they are now.

And honestly, every time time someone throws me one of those arguments implying that I am too good to understand how broken Japan is, just feel like a “mad cuz bad” to me.

Dude, you are straight up spreading misinformation for the sake of getting your point across.
I can easily show you a dozen of tournament games where Japan loses quite badly.

Is even funnier, because literally today, a match of the EPL league was casted and Japan lost quite badly (And Swedes as well, for that matter):

Japan game: Twitch
Bonus Swedes game: Twitch

There is a lot of games being played. Japan wins some and loses some. But saying stuff that they “are super strong”, “are picked super often in tournaments” and “very rarely loses” is straight up spreading misinformation. Don’t do that.

And just for clarifying: I don’t think Japan is weak and need buffs. But they are definitively are nowhere as near as broken as you guys makes they look like.

My argument is not a balance one. In terms of pure balance sure they are fine. But Rock Paper Scissors is also balanced and that’s how I view Japan. I know how to beat them but I take little pleasure in doing the same repetitive build order that focus on a timing window and it makes me not want to play the game.

There’s only a tiny amount of strategies and windows that work against Japan because of all the crutches. So no, it’s not mad cus bad, it’s mad cus I want to play a diverse game not something where 95% of the content can be just be ignored.

I’m also acutely aware of the games history. TAD Japan was a nightmare but the design of the civ has always been garbage.


This is the best explanation of ‘why we hate Japan as a civ’ I have ever heard. Nice! Personally I have never understood the ‘mad cus bad’ thing. The game skill matches you with opponents of your same skill level. Being significantly worse than your opponent is a mathematical impossibility if the matchmaking is functioning properly. It doesn’t take a genius to realize you have to try to kill Japan fast or burn down their shrines. Personally my win rate vs Japan is about 10% but even when I win its not fun. I imagine that the Japan player is also matched against people who have counter civs and love to rush immediately, thats why I get matched with them at the same skill level. I’d rather just resign immediately when I see its Japan. Bad sportsmanship me all you want, but I don’t want to waste my time playing and not having fun.


You can beat Japan with various different styles of strategies. I don’t where this myth that “you can only beat Japan with via rushing”, came from. That’s just not true.

For example, if I am playing Portuguese, I can beat Japan both with a 10/10 with crossbowmans harassing to cover up a semi ff, and with 3 Town Center, Portuguese just outbooms Japan very convincingly. (In this matchup, Japan actually needs to play aggressively. Contrary to what a lot of people think, you don’t just play one way every game with this civ)

I can also win games against Japan on a full rush on age 2, depending on how many TPs I have on the map.

Hell, I can even win some games against them with a water boom, and my water boom is quite mediocre.

Another example example is China. You can win by using the classical semi-ff and using the melee death ball units to take advantage of weak melee attacks of Ashigarus and Naginatas, or win via Old Han rush, or even via a fast industrial build.

You can also play Russia, and go slowing suffocating Japan by placing blockhouses/town centers all over the map.

Dutch is another civilization that have a better eco than Japan, and forces Japan to play more aggressively.

British can beat Japan via their better pool of units. (You always outmass Ashigarus with your musketeers, longbowman beats Yumi archers, and Naginatas loses to Hussars, and British have super strong Hussars).
Or you can just straight up 7 falcs his ■■■. That also works.

Etc. Etc.

Japan’s pool of strategy that can they can potentially lose to is not smaller then the majority of the other civilizations in the game.

First up this is not about win lose. I’m happy to lose a game where I got to do something different and just got outplayed or whatever. However winning a game against Japan that I had no choice but to do the same cookie cutter garbage bores me to damn tears but there’s no choice against them because of their crappy design.

Playing in those what I feel static ways is worse then not playing at all, which is why I don’t at the moment. I get that many don’t feel that way, fair enough, but I do and I’m not alone in this. There’s a reason even when Sweden was in their prime that Japan still won that poll. They have a massive list of stupid crutch gimmicks and fun killing play style.

Granted the chances of any of this conversation resulting in anything meaningful regarding the games direction is slim to none, but I’m not even proposing outright nerfs here, merely helping them in some of their weak spots and lessening their strengths so they feel less alienating to play against and in turn the civ is more flexible and has more options.

I never said anything about rushing being the only way, others did sure, but not me. Whether that’s rush, semi ff or ff it still comes down to a timing push while Japan has a weakness, rather then adapting and counter playing and using strategy beyond the basics.

Whenever Japan comes up against any civ, the way victory is achieved ‘might’ be different, but the match up for each civ will almost always play exactly the same way and it usually boils down to ‘If Japan doesn’t die to this timing they almost certainly win’. Every other civ has far more uncertainty in its match ups. Simply put doing anything else other then what is ‘expected’ is like presenting scissors to their rock.

The economy advantage isn’t a big of a deal as it otherwise would be because the quality of Japans units is better which means they trade better and the economy its also harder to punish. Portugal I’ll admit has better chances because Cass are 4.5 speed and better range resist so fair better against Ashi/Yumi then anyone else but even they can run into problems late once the buffs really stack up.