Army Compositions

photo of men holding weapons

So you are in Post-Imperial Age, you have had your skirmishes throughout the game or maybe you have just had a big boom. What now? Well, knowing the best army compositions will definitely help your gameplay.

An army composition refers to the grouping of military units that you are using, designed to be effective and to cover the major weaknesses of each military class in your army. There should never be one unit composition to default to; care should always be taken in thinking about the civilization bonuses the opponent has and what their unique unit can accomplish, as otherwise, this can result in an ineffective army composition.

For example, imagine trying a halb-siege push against Mongols – Whilst a strong combination of units, this strategy does not consider that the Mongols may make Mangudai, a unit which counters siege and infantry.

Care should also be taken to cost – As a general rule, combine one gold unit with one trash unit.

Below are some examples of late game army compositions:

Paladin and Skirmisher

Knight Icon DE
Skirmisher Icon DE

Using a paladin and skirmisher army composition can be quite effective and cost-effective.

Paladin is a heavy cavalry unit and one of the strongest units in the game. Paladins can easily contend with many armies, however it may be quite cost-effectively dealt with by halberdiers, due to its bonus damage against cavalry, its cheap cost, and the fact that it is a trash unit.

Due to how well halberdiers deal with paladins, the paladin unit can be quite effectively assisted by skirmishers. Skirmishers are a trash unit that has an attack bonus against halberdiers.

Players opting for this strategy should be warned of its weakness to heavy camels, which have bonus damage against cavalry and also have enough pierce armor to clean up enemy skirmishers as well.

Arbalester and Hussar

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Scout Icon DE

The combination of melee and range is seen again in the combination of arbalesters and hussars. Arbalesters are a high damage per second (DPS) unit which, when massed and when using micro, can deal even with paladins and many other heavy units. Like paladins, arbalesters can also be efficiently and cost-effectively countered by a trash unit, this time in the skirmisher, which has a bonus against archer and cavalry archery military classes and enough pierce armor to withstand the attacks of archers and cavalry archers.

Due to relatively high pierce armor, high HP (especially when you pick up bloodlines), and the ability to close the gap on skirmishers (who have a minimum range and therefore struggle against melee combat), hussars compliment arbalesters very effectively. Hussars are also a trash unit. A benefit to this composition is that hussars act as an inexpensive meat shield.

This composition can be weak to paladin as arbalesters are never as population efficient as paladins. If there is reason to believe that a player is making paladins consider mixing in some halberdiers as well to assist in the engagements. Huskarl & halberdier or eagle warriors and halberdiers can also be troublesome for this army composition. If the enemy is a Goth or Meso civilization, try to compliment your arbalesters with some hand cannoneers or champions. Although expensive, these will deal quite effectively with huskarls or eagle warriors.

Halberdier and Siege

Spearman Icon DE
Mangonel Icon

Commonly referred to as a “halb-siege push”, this composition combines spamming cheap halberdiers with either siege rams or siege onagers.

A halb-siege push with siege rams is used to take land away from an opponent by effectively dealing with production buildings, or an opponents economy or fortifications so that the player making the push may take more map control or reduce production of the opponent.

A halb-siege push involving siege onagers is quite effective in army engagements as the siege onagers can deal with large amounts of units in one attack, and the halberdiers in front can protect these onagers from cavalry, one of the major weaknesses of any siege push, but also provides meat shield to the siege onagers. As siege onagers deal friendly fire, halberdiers, being a cheap trash unit, are expendable. If your siege onager need to take out an enemy army of champions, for instance, and your halberdiers are fighting, you should not nearly be as worried about taking that shot against the champions as you would be if you had your own champions attacking, for instance.

Note that an enemy with bombard cannons can snipe the siege onagers before the siege onagers can take a shot back at them, and using halberdiers on bombard cannons likely create too much space between the halberdier and the siege onager, allowing them to be sniped off.

Eagle Warrior and Halberdiers

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Spearman Icon DE

Eagle-halb pushes are situational. Eagle warriors are a high pierce armor, mobile unit which counters archers and cavalry archers very well. Halberdiers are a cheap trash unit that counters cavalry units. This can be a deadly composition against a paladin and skirmisher composition, or alternatively against an arbalester and hussar composition.

You need to know that hand cannoneers, champions, and scorpions counter both units extremely effectively. Halb-Siege pushes can also be deadly against this combination. All the meso civilizations have arbalesters and have skirmishers with some bonus. If champion is the opponents response, you will need arbalesters to mix in with your composition. If the opponent makes hand cannoneers, you will need skirmishers. If the opponent goes scorpions or for a halb-siege push, you will need to try siege of your own, or redemption monks.

Khmer Elephants and Scorpions

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AOE2 Scorpion

Khmer elephants are some of the strongest battle elephants in the game. Not only do they receive a civilization bonus which increases their movement speed on top of husbandry, but they receive a unique technology allowing for an extra 3 attack. These elephants can be extremely deadly in small numbers even.

There are only three ways to counter elephants: monks, halberdiers or camels. Monks deal effectively with elephants in small numbers and should always be the go to unit if possible, however adding a few hussars to snipe these monks can make short work of them. Camels are an effective unit but are not widely accessible to every civilization. Halberdiers are the usual choice. Due to the low HP of halberdiers, the high attack of scorpions, and the fact that scorpions damage deal splash damage without dealing friendly fire, massed scorpions can be a deadly combination alongside elephants. Khmer scorpions especially are extremely powerful, as they also receive a civilization team bonus of having scorpions with an extra range, and a unique technology allowing for their scorpions to fire a secondary albeit weaker bolt.

A few things to note about this composition. Firstly, it’s expensive. If you have the Khmer boom running and can opt for it, it is very powerful, however, care needs to be taken that you may run out of steam and need to transition to elephant and skirmishers or hussar and scorpion compositions. Secondly, this can be countered effectively with a halb-siege push, due to the devastating effect of siege onagers on scorpions, and the fact that halberdiers counter the elephants.

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