Top 5 Cavalry Civilizations

Hey guys! Spirit of the Law here. In this video I’m gonna give you my subjective ranking of what I think are the top 5 cavalry Civilizations in Age of Empires II. This does include the HD expansions. Meaning there are 31 Civilizations to pick from. Now, I’ve already done a similar list for archers and infantry But this one’s been the toughest yet Since there are so many civilizations, with either A Cavalry unique unit, direct bonus, or just a really solid tech tree and economy That make cavalry a really viable choice at some point in the game. To get a sense of what I’m basing this on, I’ll consider a civilization’s knight rush as the most important thing. Followed by their late-game heavy cavalry and the feudal scout rush as the third most important factor. Camels are also a plus though not required, and same thing for elephants There’s also some extra points for style as well. (Lol) On the other hand, I’m not including cavalry archers because they’re kind of their own thing and may be worth their own list So now that we know the criteria, Let’s start with number 5, the Malians. Their early game knights or scouts are both really solid choices with their excellent wood bonus But it’s in the transition to the late-game where things get really interesting Their unique tech Farimba gives all of their cavalry +3 more attack than usual. That’s enough to give them some of the best camels in the late game, roughly on the same level as Saracens, And beating discounted Byzantine camels with equal resources, their light cavalry are also improved considerably, Maybe, surprisingly allowing them to handle Hussars in equal numbers. Though they do lack the Hussars upgrade itself Now their Cavaliers aren’t quite as good as Paladin’s, but considering how much faster and cheaper It is to research Farimba than the Paladin upgrade They still end up with a nice advantage over many Paladin’s civilizations, or a good part of the late-game anyway At the end of the day, they’re an unorthodox choice But I think they’re deceptively good and in my opinion, flexible enough to make it into the top 5. Up next at number four is the Franks (why?) Now, some people might consider them top two or three They certainly check the box of having a great knight rush as their ideal strategy With basically free Bloodlines and more line-of-sight Their paladin’s are also number one in the game on account of having the most HP from a civ bonus Plus now a unique tech, for faster working stables. And don’t underestimate their Scout Rush either, Which now gets a lot of help from an Expansion’s buff giving them 25% faster foraging as well as more HP. So, what’s holding them back? Well, basically it still comes down to their lack of flexibility. They’re definitely better than they were in Age of Conquerors with lots of nice changes, But, to be frank with camels being handed out to so many of the newer civilizations (great wordplay, Spirit!) The strength of the Paladin just isn’t what it was and isn’t enough in my opinion to carry them higher than fourth. In fact, you kind of feel bad for them in the glory days of the Age of Kings there weren’t halberdiers and very few civilizations Specialized in camels, which also took extra bonus damage from defensive buildings So they definitely weren’t seen as often. Now with units like the Imperial camel, Genoese crossbow Kamayuk, and all Viking infantry getting +5 against cavalry, It’s becoming an increasingly hostile world for the once mighty Paladin (*insert sad violin) Moving on number three is the Persians There’s lots of reasons to like them especially once you’re past the Feudal age. Their Knight rush is respectable with a nice Town Center work great boost helping your economy, And their Knights even get +2 attack against archers Following that up, they eventually have Paladin, Heavy Camel, and Hussar, all of which are fully upgraded In fact, they’re the only civilization that have that in addition to that. You also get the war elephant Technically it is cavalry and easily handles its Battle Elephant counterparts from the Rise of the Rajas civilizations with equal resources. The elite version can be nearly unstoppable once they get rolling, With roughly 10 times the health of a typical infantry and Massive attack with extra trample damage to all enemies around it Now yes, it’s expensive and halberdiers do get an extra 60 damage against it. It’s easy to convert and they’re hard to mass from castles I get all that but I still think it’s just a nice option to have in a situation Where you need to throw a bit more weight even without the unique unit They’d still have the most complete cavalry tech tree making them an easy top three for me Next at number two is the Magyars They’ve had some nice buffs over the last little while like their Scout rush discount being increased from 10% to 15% And getting siege engineers They also no longer need a blacksmith for their free melee attack upgrades to automatically research In their present state that gives them a very strong discounted Scout rush, With an automatic plus-one attack on their Scouts letting them pick off villagers and eight hits with loom as opposed to the regular ten, Their Knight rush is also helped a lot by that bonus Giving you two attack upgrades that together are worth much more than bloodlines and are useful techs that are easy to neglect Later on, they also have fully upgraded Paladins of course meaning that they can handle their own in the late game as well So far those things don’t necessarily make them better than the Persians or Even the Franks but you then have to consider the Elite Magyar Huszar, once researching their unique tech, That unit drops its entire gold cost and becomes arguably the strongest non gold unit. They’ll still lose to Halberdiers of course, after they’re cavalry But against their regular hussar counterparts they do significantly better And come with a hidden quick creation time and attack bonus against siege. Plus they just look awesome (lol) If you decide you do want some regular Hussars in there, for the conversion resistance, extra line of sight, or just to keep your stables working, That’s no problem either and those are still 15% cheaper as well It’s probably showing my bias towards the late-game But overall I think they hold their own early on and are nearly unbeatable by any other cavalry civilization in late games with limited gold Still with all that they aren’t number one though But before I get to that I have a few honorable mentions of civilizations that just didn’t quite make the list for one reason or another The first one is the Huns, now they may have been at the top of an age of conquerors cavalry list But in the newest expansions They’re just not quite what they once were where a lot of civilizations have gotten stronger The Huns have stayed pretty stagnant and I’m just not sold on their new tech to make Tarkan’s and stables It was a tough call between them and Malians for number 5 and if cavalry archers counted at all for this list, Then they probably would have gotten it Indians of course also deserved some serious consideration Because of their Imperial Camel the big problem that I see is they’re missing the knight line entirely Which I don’t think their camels make up for even With their extra armor and the reduced camel bonus damage from buildings in my opinion the lack of knights alone Pretty much eliminates them from the top 5 automatically. The Mongols also deserve a mention with a great Scout rush and Hussars that do significantly better in melee fights. Thanks to 23 more HP. They also have camels which helps but wasn’t enough to make up for missing paladin and Plate Barding Armor I think there’s probably a better list for them to show up on at some point later And finally Byzantines were worth considering with the very unique Cataphract which negates a lot of anti cavalry damage from Pikes and Camels At the end of the day though without Blast Furnace or Bloodlines, They’re just not a top five cavalry civilization. The number one though without any question in my mind is the Berbers It’s true. There’s no paladin and they’re not exactly known for their Scout rush But once they reach Castle Age their discount cavalry bonus gives them an amazing cost effectiveness That’s hard for other civilizations to match For example, with two stables producing Knights constantly the discounts add up to being the equivalent of an extra four villagers worth of resources Numbers advantages also add up fast With a 15% discount leading to almost 18% more units for the same cost. Which means 38% more strength on the field Once you factor in Lanchester square law that makes their Cavaliers roughly equivalent to paladins with equal resources And gives them at least one of if not the best Knight rush on top of that their camels are also discounted and Regenerate health, of course not being considered here But also worth pointing out is their cavalry skirmisher of the Genitour and they’re very solid Camel Archer They might not improve the stable units directly, but definitely contribute to the overall mobility of the army But that’s just my list. Let me know what your top 5 are. Thanks for watching guys, and I’ll see you next time!


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