Top 5 Cav Archer Civilizations AoE2
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Top 5 Cav Archer Civilizations AoE2

August 13, 2019


Hey guys Spirit of the Law here This video is all about which civilizations have the best Cavalry Archers Now they aren’t as common of a unit as say crossbows Given how many upgrades they take and their relatively high cost They’re also countered by every trash unit, so they’re an expensive unit countered by cheap units Never an ideal situation Oh, and they’re also weak to siege and camels, so they need a lot of micro to keep safe It’s kind of easy to see why they traditionally aren’t a super popular unit In the latest expansions though, their cost was reduced from 40 wood and 70 gold to 40 wood and 60 gold And considering all of the expansions new civilizations and extra bonuses given to Cavalry Archers It’s safe to say that they are now more viable than ever used properly, they can be fantastic for raiding And give you a lot more mobility and map control than the traditional archer line For this top 5 though, I’d say there’s really 2 different lists Those which one makes the better Cavalry Archer rushing civilizations in Castle Age And then, a separate Imperial Age list For which ones long term after all of the upgrades, give you the most value and power on the field There’s also the matter of which units are going to be called cavalry archers I’ve decided I’m not including a few different unique units Like the Conquistador, as I consider it more of a gunpowder unit The War Wagon and Elephant Archer are also not being considered As they’re too slow to do the traditional hit and run raiding tactics of the Cavalry Archer I’m also not including the Camel Archer It is very similar in a lot of ways but because of its anti-cavalry-archer bonus damage It would completely dominate the other civilizations during testing In a way that wouldn’t necessarily translate against other types of units without that bonus It’s a great unit, but just not for this list That means the only units I’m considering are the Cavalry Archer line from the Archery Range And the Mangudai. As it’s a very similar unit in enough ways to make it comparable So now that we know what’s being considered, let’s take a look at the top 5 Castle Age Cavalry Archer civilization To get a quick sense of which have these strongest individual Cavalry Archers I started by testing them all with equal numbers regardless of any discounts That’s not to say we have to assume Cavalry Archers will only ever fight other Cavalry Archers But it’s an easy measure to get an overall glance at their stats relative to each other After some testing, this is what I found when using equal numbers With the strongest at the top and the weakest at the bottom Something worth pointing out here Is that the top 2 units from a numbers efficiency standpoint require a castle Mangudai for their creation and Turks for their unique Castle Age tech which gives Cavalry Archers an extra 20 HP For Turks in particular, that’s a pretty expensive detour If your motivation is ultimately just to pick up a single technology Of course, if you want to get units out quickly, you also want to keep your cost to a minimum So, now let’s see how the various civilizations discounts affect the balance First of all, the Portuguese have a 15% gold discount on their units, saving 9 gold per Cavalry Archer That means they can make roughly 10 for every other civilizations 9 units If we redo the test to reflect that advantage They actually have a slight edge over Mongols and Vietnamese The more famous discount though, is the Huns In the expansions they have a 10% discount in Castle Age And 20% discount in Imperial Age on all Cavalry Archers That gives them roughly the same overall cost as the Portuguese Though, they managed to save both gold and a bit of wood Which is arguably a bit more important in early Castle Age Maybe surprisingly though, they still can’t beat Turks. Even with the cost balance Turk Cavalry Archers are just too resilient in Castle Age after their unique tech The question is where do the Mangudai go? They were the strongest with equal numbers, but cost 10 resources more than generic Cavalry Archers it turns out, they slide a long way down the list And end up not even being able to compete against regular Mongol And Vietnamese Cavalry Archers cost effectively It’s a big drop and really emphasizes how important numbers advantages are for ranged units They still beat the generic Castle Age Cavalry Archers though, like the Magyars and Japanese So looking at all of that together, I’m ready to put forward my top 5 for Castle age At number 5 is the Vietnamese with their extra HP bonus They held up fairly well against other strong competition So I think they definitely deserve a spot in the top 5 somewhere They also have a bonus letting them see the enemy’s Town Center location Meaning they likely have a bit better scouting information That helps them hit the enemy where it hurts Though, on the other hand there’s no early direct economy bonus helping them out I also think extra HP is less important than some of the other bonuses here Simply because if you’re using them to hit and run, you’re ideally not taking a lot of hits anyway And there’s nothing that really helps them in that role Next up at number 4 is the Portuguese They’re a bit tough to place, as their gold discount does give them a good rush on paper When the developers tried to make Cavalry Archers more viable in the expansions They did it by reducing their gold cost by 10 And Portuguese basically get that reduction again through their bonus One thing that holds them back for me though, and this is jumping ahead a bit But they have an awkward transition into Imperial Age with no Heavy Cavalry Archer or Parthian Tactics That means while they can do a quick and surprisingly effective Cavalry Archer raid in the early Castle Age It’s not a unit you’ll ideally double down or go all-out in making for the long term Purely in Castle Age though, it could be a fun quirky strategy to get out a few discount Cavalry Archers Especially considering you’re getting them around the same price as the Huns Moving on to number 3 is the Turks Yes, they completely crushed it on the individual and cost efficiency test But two things hold them back for me. First, like the Vietnamese, their strength comes from tankiness Which for me isn’t what the cavalry Archer is supposed to be good at It’s not a Battle Elephant that soaks up arrows, it’s a raiding units as its core And for Turks there’s nothing to help particularly with that the second thing is that the castle requirement to get their unique tech Means you’re not gonna have top tier Cavalry Archers immidiately Meaning the only thing helping their initial rush is going to be their gold bonus I think that’s enough to offset the Portuguese gold discount and at least make the 2 awash in that aspect By late Castle Age though, and especially after their unique tech I think it’s reasonable to expect them to be up there with the best Next at number 2, I’m gonna put the Mongols Unlike an HP boost, their faster attacking bonus actually helps them with raiding They were sort of middle-of-the-road in the testing but in practice faster firing is a big difference In Castle Age you also have the Mangudai Which was the top unit with equal numbers and carries a nice anti-siege bonus to help with Mangonels You also have to think about the Mongols decent early economy with their faster hunting bonus Along with extra scouting information from their team bonus Making them a fast civilization right out of the gate saving the best for last though, at number 1 in Castle Age has to be the Huns Their discount is less than it was in Age of conquerors, but it’s still significant Unlike the Portuguese which only discount the gold cost, I like that the Huns reduce their wood cost as well Helping with all of the additional building and farm costs, that are already happening in early Castle Age I also like that the civilization has a lot of room to grow with Cavalry Archers As they only become cheaper in Imperial Age and a staple of their late-game army Thinking about their economy as well, the housing bonus is really starting to contribute at that point Letting you keep up constant production and get a critical mass Remember, this is all for Castle Age though, where discounts and small edges in economy From taking out a few villagers can swing the game’s momentum Let’s switch the focus now to Imperial Age Where we can expect more mature economies, more complex unit compositions And more population limit and unit turnover become factors that need to be taken into account To start again with just equal numbers of units, assuming all of the upgrades possible are picked up Portuguese come in at the bottom on account of missing the heavy cavalry Archer upgrade They are out of the running entirely already Just above them with equal numbers is the Huns in Castle age they were generic with basic upgrades, but now they’re missing the last armor tech Meaning while they still might be cost-effective They’re individually weaker than a lot of other civilizations Both Mongol and Vietnamese units can deal with them handily Vietnamese do have their extra HP but are themselves missing a bit of armor from lacking Parthian Tactics And Mongols have a missing tech of their own That matters to the extent that both are actually beaten by generic fully upgraded Cavalry Archers Such as the Japanese and Saracens That was a surprising result to me considering Mongol Cavalry Archers in particular fire 25% faster And yet are losing out to generic units because again of a missing armored tech Beating both the Japanese and Saracen units, is the Magyars with an extra 1 attack and range Even ignoring their extra range, they’re a clear step above those generic units They’re not quite as good as Mangudai though, which one on one beat everything we’ve seen so far Mangudai were the number 1 performer with equal numbers in Castle Age Though this time in Imperial, that honor goes to the Turks By this point, I think it’s safe to assume that you could have the 20 extra HP tech And again, considering the Mongols lack of the final armor upgrade That’s enough to give Turks the most strength from a population space perspective I won’t go through all of them one by one But when factoring in equal resources, the Huns now with 25% more units, jump up to the 3rd spot And the Mangudai fall to roughly on the same level as the Vietnamese and Mongol Heavy Cavalry Archers Surprisingly to me, they’re not even able to defeat Japanese Heavy Cavalry Archers with equal resources The Portuguese are still underwhelming and even with their 15% gold reduction Come in at the bottom of the list With the test concluded, let’s put it all together with some context And settle on a top 5 for Imperial Age Cavalry Archers At number 5 this might seem like a weird one, but I’m going with Saracens I wouldn’t say they’re known for Cavalry Archers, but managed to tie with both Japanese and Indians in top 4 For both the equal numbers and balanced resource testing It was between those 3 for the 5th spot, But I’m gonna give it to the Saracens Simply for the reason that they’re the only one that has an actualy Cavalry Archer bonus In their chase, extra bonus damage against buildings Cavalry Archers aren’t primarily used as anti-building units by any means But it does mean breaking through walls a bit faster, which does help them with some surprise raiding Next at number 4 is the Huns I know it’s blasphemy to put them so low But the fact that matter is they don’t have this deep discount that they once did I think there’s simply better civilizations to come That get more mileage out of their Cavalry Archers in this day and age Now that being said the combination with Paladin if you’re able to afford both is powerful And the discount still overcomes missing an armor upgrade I love the unit as part of the Huns late-game army composition But there are just a few that strike me as being a bit better Like at number 3, the Mongols This is purely on the back of the Mangudai and no longer on the cavalry archer line itself In fact, I wouldn’t even invest the resources into Heavy Cavalry Archer at all What makes the Mangudai great is not just its stats, but how it works with the rest of the Mongols tech tree It fits perfectly with Hussars and Siege Onagers, while being easy to micro, fantastic at raiding And did I mention they also have an attack bonus to counter siege? That’s normally the biggest threat to Cavalry Archers and they chew them up It feels a bit unfair considering they’re a unique unit But you can’t have a top Cavalry Archer list without the Mangudai next at number 2 is a civilization that has continually impressed me through the testing And consistently beat the Mangudai, along with everybody else actually, and that’s the Turks Yes, they’re known for their gunpowder and not cavalry archers, but it’s hard to argue with their results I wasn’t as impressed in Castle Age with the extra HP and having to go out of your way to get a castle for it But by Imperial Age, it’s safe to assume you can pick it up And at that point having a lower turnover of units can be incredibly important In large numbers, micro is more cumbersome and the Cavalry Archer becomes less of a hit-and-run unit And more into a tankier version of an Arbalest with greater mobility That’s exactly what you get with the Turks But while they completely dominated the Imperial Age head-to-head matchups For me, the number 1 is really the Magyars Yes, they aren’t as tanky as the Turks They’re not as cheap as the Huns and they don’t have a bonus against siege But, like the old saying goes: “You miss all of the shots you don’t take” And Magyars take more of them than anyone else thanks to their extra range The unique tech: Recurve Bow, brings them up to the same range as Arbalest, Elite Skirmishers, Scorpions Onagers without Siege Engineers, 1 behind Monks without Block Printing And helps them stay a bit safer and further back through Halberdiers You can’t be quantified in a test, But if you’ve played them You know it makes a huge difference in terms of damage output and keeping them alive Even looking at their performance on the testing though Their +1 attack and full upgrades keep them right near the top anyway. In terms of damage per second Depending on their targets armor, 1 extra attack can have a big impact And you can expect somewhere between 15 and 25% more damage per shot Generally the higher the targets pierce armors, the more impact an extra one damage can have The unique unit and cheap Hussars also complement their Cavalry Archers as well By costing a different resource and covering the Cavalry Archers weakness to siege and skirmishers So those are my top 5 Cavalry Archers for both ages. If you disagree, let me know how you rank them instead Thanks for watching guys, and I’ll see you next time

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  1. I'd like the comparison to give me information about fulfilling the role, not fitting the theme. I want to know how all the cav archers compete against conquistadors.

  2. Why did you skip over the Arambai here btw? Aren't they classified as cav archers as well (despite their ranged melee attacks?)

  3. I wish we would see more of this unit, it has the most pleasing sound when controlling them.
    I also wish you will do an overview on Archery Range units, would be really helpful!

  4. Noone will torture spirit of the law with poorly placed farms around his house as a result for this
    Unless they are wait for it, the mongols

  5. Something has to be noted about mongol ca/mangudai effectiveness in an actual match, as opposed to the scenario match ups you make here: your archers are all scattered, each picking a different target to shoot at. That makes HP, defense and attack (or a unit's overall strength) advantages stand out. In a real game, when a bunch of cav archers (or just archers in general) start firing at each other in a big battle, there's usually a lot of arrows wasted overkilling a few targets that are being aimed at more than the others (especially when using patrol). That's when the fire rate may start being more important than raw strength.
    Try pitching, say, elite mangudais vs elite skirmishers in a 4v4, then do it in a 40v40. I bet there's a significant difference. And then – though I know this wasn't the main point of the video – there's the fact that in these battles you frequently have a constant stream of at least a few cavalry/infantry (or rams) roaming around to draw fire, then an archer's attack rate becomes even more important than just being more "tanky".

  6. Another video that talks about civilizations missing technologies. If I complain about missing technologies on the forums, people respond back with vengeance all the time. So we have many civilizations that miss ring archer armor and the worst of them all is the burmese who miss the castle age archer armor making their cav archers weaker on this list, but they have the arambai with very high attack making them tough to deal with given their good range.

  7. Lord, i disagree with the second and first best
    cav arch civ

    Early castle: Both have standart cav arch but turks mining faster gold than magyars.

    Castle age: turks 20hp upgrade + fast goldmining while magyars standart cav arch without any eco bonus

    Early imp: turks instant chemistry affects cav arch (+1). So here, the turks are shining extremely. Turks can do sipahi in castle age or while getting up to imp and got instant chemistry, in the same time magyars do have to research chemistry for the next one minute and the +1 range can be just upgraded now and takes a bit time too. that means turks have 20hp more and instantly 1 attack more. We all now how important is to catch those momentums.. aoe2 is really all about momentum.

    Imp: turks beat magyars in equal numbers and resources. The only way magyars can win is to take fights in choke points where the turk cav arch getting stucked into each other. Thats maybe the case in a BF map but choke points in landmaps are rarely seen.

    For me are the turks #1 cav civ – no doubt about it.

  8. Hey Spirit, would you please tell us the name of the track in this video?
    It is from Epidemic Sound as you pointed out but which one?
    https://youtu.be/o4Z0BTmzRgg?t=464

    Thanks in advance 😉

  9. Which Civilizations are exceptionally good at getting to the Castle Age fast, and then building a Castle within range of the opponent's Town Center, and nail it before they build a second? I would surmise Spanish or Koreans for the construction speed, or Khmer for ignoring building requirements?

  10. Hey Spirit, you have great videos. I wanted to ask if you’ve ever considered a top 5 (or top five favorite) unit combos?

    Some of my favorite parts of your civ overviews are when you explained which units synergize well in the various Civs. Unfortunately not all the overviews have this in the video.

  11. Besides the research cost of the Turks tech, I find it hard to get up a castle fast enough to make the tech effective. Also considering the gold-intensive alternatives that the Turks have, I wouldn't be inclined toward going as them for using cav archers unless it's due to the unexpectedness of it. Additionally, the lack of alternative trash in the case of the Turks makes going for gold-intensive units more valuable as they must be properly utilize. If one is successfully able to dominate before running out of gold, it's great however there is no guarantee to that. Team games trading is the only option for Turks.

  12. I love watching these vids ! Just recently got Aoe2 myself and I am planning on playing this game more competitively 🤣
    Keep on doing them man. Been watching vids about AOE2 since 2014 already xD

  13. This is a joke. Mangudai are faster, higher Dps, rape siege rams and other siege weapons (onagers, scorps, ballista ele, organ guns).

    There is no point comparing a unit in post imperial age without fighting a real army. In what situation would you be in post imp with all research for CA, where you are only allowed to make halbs and CA apparently.

  14. I love saracen cavalry archers 🙂 they should have gotten a mention in castle age, where the +4 (not 3) building bonus damage plays a much bigger role in the ability to quickly destroy early farms when the vills are garrisoned or otherwise not vulnerable.

    It also annoys me that you ignore/don't consider their powerful market bonus when you do these top 5 lists. Extremely powerful and versatile for fast castle attacks.

  15. As a magyar I totally approve this. 🙂
    Please don't use in the comments "magyarian" use instead of the "hungarian" word.

  16. No mention of the Arambai? i know it functions more like a Conq with the low accuracy but still they can destroy vills in castle age!
    Happy for the Magyars though, it´s the civ i enjoy more playing of the Forgotten, even though i know they are not top tier ^^

  17. Actually, elite mangudai can still beat turks HCA, if the numbers on each side are big enough.
    Its strange, but you will find that mangudai benefits from larger numbers more than other units.

  18. I wonder how you can pin units against each others without anyone dying in some of your recordings. Even units of the same team color.

  19. fyi if u build a diagonal wall with as many gates as possible in it. then put towers on your side of the wall in the spaces between the gates the enemy ai will only attack the towers not the gates or the section of the wall. I was wondering someone else could test this. on my game my walls never get attacked only the towers. unless its a unit that doaes area affect like onager. etc

  20. Spirit, you're still mentioning in this video how the Hun discount is not as good as it once was. It used to go up to 30%, now it goes to 20%. But you have to remember that between that "nerf", the gold cost of cav archers was reduced as well, from 70 to 60 gold. 30% off 70 gold = 49 gold; 20% off 60 = 48 gold. The only real thing the reduced Hun discount does is rebalance their cav archers so they cost the same amount they used to.

  21. Concluding from this video, Mangudai need a buff. They're overrated in AoE2 community and many people think they beat cav archers easily. They're unique units, for instance plumed archers beat arbalest by a mile, the same should happen with mangudai.

  22. Unless I missed it,was the Mangudai Faster Turn Attack animation not taken into account? Cavalry archers suffer and issue when they turn and fire they take a long time to draw the attack animation, Mangudai in comparison don't have that penalty, they are able to turn and fire almost instantly, allowing for much better micro and hit and run.

  23. Spirit, one thing you aren't considering is that Mamelukes and to some degree Camels are a really important unit to pair up with Cav Archers. You don't even need a lot of them, just enough to keep knights and light cavalry from chasing you down. This is especially important in Imperial age because with Parthian Tactics, the Cavalry Archer has pretty decent pierce armor (+6) which means Archer units aren't the obvious counter. Infantry usually aren't obviously and with Mams around Cavalry aren't either. It's not a unbeatable combination by any means but it is pretty difficult to deal with. That is why I think Saracens are higher on the list than people give them credit for. You don't need a lot of Mams or the Zealotry upgrade for this to be effective either. They are such a hard counter to Cavs that just a small investment is enough. The only obvious downside is that it's HEAVY gold investment, but so is any investment into Cavalry archers. Like I said, not investing too much into Mams is the key. Also Saracen Cav Archers kill fully upgraded towers surprisingly well, rare as that situation would be.

  24. hey hey.. love your vids… have you ever done a video on how many vils are needed to repair a castle, while it is being attacked? (e.g. 2 trebs shoot on castle, how many vlis needed for repair, assuming unlimited stone….)

  25. I think you should include berbers.
    i think they will dominate others but not only because camel archers but they have good cav archers & genutors.

  26. i feel u need to consider the pure dps of the cav archers as thats such a important role archers in general fills

  27. This test doesn't account for the biggest advantage of the Magundai: They fire instantly unlike the Cavalry archer line making them much better at Hit and Run and way easier to micro.

  28. Mangudais are still the most powerful in general. If just leaving them alone there might be more powerful units, sure, but supervised and microed they can be a lone killing squad you can beat everything with, except castles. Their attack speed is key they can shoot and move nearly on the same time, kiling stuff and live. Perfect hit and run units and are the prime example of a perfect Cavalry Archer.

    EDIT: I see in the comment that the mangudais was changed from instant fire to 5, so my point does maybe not apply anymore. Regular fire rate of cav Archer are 10. Still a smal difference, but I feel the best thing about them was the instant hit and run.

  29. i dont agree with Turks as number 1 in castle age. SotL you said it yourself that building the castle to get the unique tech would be a big detour. you should consider the castle cost in the "equal resources" matchup. otherwise this would be a full upgraded castle cav archer which is a huge difference

  30. Well, Sipahi tech makes Turks the best HA civ. So my list would be;

    Turks
    Hungarians
    Mongols
    Saracens
    Huns

    Why Saracens? Because their bonus vs buildings is something I really love.

  31. I'm suddenly getting really motivated to try and play the Turks again. They're always advertised as being such a gunpowder focused civilization that I completely forget that their cavalry is actually really good.
    And it is kinda historically accurate, oddly! Before becoming the masters of gunpowder, the Turks were an equestrian people, so it makes sense cavalry would be one of their strengths.

  32. Spanish (but SoL expected it because it's not inquisition) Mayans and Malians with their unique units

  33. You should take the fact that the mangudai fires instantly on contrary to the cavalry archer which makes them way more efficient in macro/kitting

  34. I still think Mangudai is the best, so is Mongols. Faster fire rate, high damage makes them have the highest damage output. And they can hit and run way effectively. And also they slightly run faster.

  35. I believe in Imperial Age, Indians should be number 5 or 4. Since population efficiency counts, Elephant Archers (Elite) are highly population efficienct. Moreover, they are skirmisher and onager resistant. With 4/9 armor, they are just the best. Korean War Wagons are basically as fast as Shotel Warriors, have 3/8 armor have 13 attack (highest in the list), 8 range (same as Magyars).

  36. İnteresting in reality historic Turkic bow is the best ranged weapon tested by experts. İt has the longest range and accuricity. Magyars did not have that kind of tech in reality.
    Find your work good but before it i think you should make list of best traits (mine is range)

  37. We all know mengedi r the best unit out there to raid hit and run.. 20 mengedi can do a lot of damage if used well… They fire immediately after each click… The best 4 mikro..

  38. Guys please im getting tortured here , can someone link me where to download a safe aoe ruse of rajad or african kingdoms please ?

  39. i think there is a secret damage bonus that magundai have vs armor….when i was playing age of empires 2 some 20 years ago? i remember that i was massacring thousands of paladins with just 30 mangudai put in hold position in brick formation on a hill… no other horse archer could kill paladins…also mangudai could kill the onagers really fast…while all the other horse archers or archers in general could not harm them with their arrows…i dont know if something has changed with all the latest expansions…but magundai were defently the top unit the in the whole game.

  40. The +25% fire rate is far more useful with the hit and run tactic than plus armor. You can't measure hit and run efficiency just by letting cav archers stand still and shoot at each other.

  41. Fun fact the Magyars in english are known and the Hungarians. And there was a saying back during the conquring of now modern day hungary and some of the sourounding area by the romans "A sagittis Hungarorum, libera nos Domine" (Lord, save us from the arrows of the Hungarians"). That's why they are the best cav archer's in the game.

  42. play the age of conquerors, the golden game, where mongol deserved to have the best cavalry archers, where celts deserved the best siege, and Sara the best camels etc etc. it's such a pity that they make them weaker, especially celts siege and mangudai. now it's not that special anymore, of course its harder to specialize a type of unit to only one or two civic as there are more new civic now, but it's still a pity. it will not be the same as in the conquerors. Where you still had a feeling getting randomly a good civic. It was challenging to play in FFA games against the strongest, or defend against two other players with a civic which rocks. now it's messed up, too many technologies, too many extra things, some are good but some just because people got bored of the original game. they shouldn't have changed the original units, but add to the other to make them stronger, not weaker. It's harder to accept if you get weaker units you weren't used to.

  43. Magyars have 2nd best cavalry and best cavalry archers according to spirit of the law! Thats epic because im Hungarian

  44. Your content is excellent. Creative and fun enough, however continually data focused. The AOE community is enhanced because of your work.

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