The Complete Total War Unit Guide. #by Frogbeastegg
I regret to say that I will no longer be updating this guide with corrections or suggestions; I just don't have the time any more. This is the final version.
This document is entirely the work of frogbeastegg unless otherwise indicated. You may do what you wish with this document as long as you do not make money from it, alter it in any way, or claim it as your own work. I did this for free and I worked hard. Don't steal my stuff. I prefer it if people ask my permission before doing anything with this that may go public, if you are doing something for just yourself then fine, but if you plan to distribute it please ASK me. Leave a note in this topic or something, and I will get back to you. The same applies if you want to use this on your website, I get a lot of mail on this guide and I like to know what is happening, being asked questions based on versions I don't know exist is not fun. I almost always grant permission if asked.
Confused by cavalry? Annoyed by archers? Pounded by Polearms? Then this is the guide for you This guide contains an in-depth analysis of every single unit and unit class to appear in the Total War series. It tells you what the units do, what they don't do and explains the differences between units of the same class. You will also find the most important unit stats in here. This guide is written for single player but it should hold up well in multiplayer, just remember that Total War changes to a whole new game when your up against another human. This guide also assumes a basic knowledge of the principles of battle, you should know how to manoeuvre behind your opponent, ensure your troops have the best position etc. If you are a complete beginner or don't know the basics of the battlefield take a look at The Beginner's Guide to Total War.
NB: All the screenshots in this guide have been enhanced with PaintShop Pro in an effort to make them clearer. Please don't think my games look this good Also note that the pictures in the chapter headings are not intended to demonstrate good deployment of units, they are intended to break up the 80 page long text and look good Screenshots labelled S(number) are from Shogun and the Mongol Invasion add-on and therefore feature units not in plain Shogun. Pictures labelled M(number) are from Medieval and feature no units etc from the Viking Invasion add-on. Pictures labelled V(number) are from Medieval with the Viking expansion installed, they feature units not in plain Medieval.
I should probably add that I chose the factions for the screenshots based on colour contrasts to make the two sides as clear as possible. No bias is intended.
A PDF version of this guide is now available, as compiled by Tricky Lady. You can download a copy here. This is a beautiful conversion, and much better than my own Word version - also up to date to 29th March 2004.
A printable version of this guide is now available in MS Word format. If you do not have Word then you can download this free Word reader to view the document. The guide is 105 pages long and has all the pictures etc present in this web guide, although some picture quality has been lost in the transition. Please note that the guide is correct and up to date as of 12th January 2004 and will not be updated at any point. This on line guide will remain the most current version. To get a copy follow this link and look for 'printable unit guide.doc' by frogbeastegg. Make sure you disable any download accelerators you may have before following the link or the link may not work correctly.
A HTML version of this guide is now available with links to each unit to make looking up a specific entry easy. This is all thanks to TosaInu - he made the whole thing himself so point all your praise in his direction HTML guide Again this is a static guide and will not alter unless something very drastic is wrong. Correct to 1st February 2004.
1. Shogun: Total War and the Mongol Invasion (also called Shogun: Warlords Edition).
1.1 The Japanese
1.2 Yari Ashigaru
1.5 Yari Samurai
1.6 Samurai Archers
1.8 Warrior Monks
1.10 Yari Cavalry
1.11 Cavalry Archers
1.12 Heavy Cavalry
1.13 Naginata Cavalry
1.15 Battlefield Ninja
1.16 Ashigaru Crossbowmen
1.17 The Mongols
1.18 Mongol Light Cavalry
1.19 Mongol Heavy Cavalry
1.20 Korean Skirmishers
1.21 Korean Spearmen
1.22 Korean Guardsmen
1.23 Thunder Bombers
2. Medieval: Total War
# # *Feudal sergeants
# # *Chivalric sergeants
# # *Gothic sergeants
# # *Italian light infantry
# # *Muwahid foot soldiers
# # *Nubian spearmen
# # *Order foot soldiers
# # *Saracen infantry
# # *Spearmen
2.2 Archers and ranged units
# # *Archers
# # *Bulgarian brigands
# # *Desert archers
# # *Genoese sailors
# # *Golden horde warriors
# # *Hashishin
# # *Janissary archers
# # *Janissary infantry
# # *Ottoman infantry
# # *Trebizond archers
# # *Turcoman foot soldiers
# # *Crossbowmen
# # *Pavise crossbowmen
# # *Arbalesters
# # *Pavise arbalesters
# # *Longbowmen
# # *Handgunner
# # *Mamluk handgunner
# # *Arquebusier
# # *Byzantine infantry
# # *Feudal men at arms
# # *Chivalric men at arms
# # *Feudal foot knights
# # *Gothic foot knights
# # *Hospitaller foot knights
# # *Abyssinian guards
# # *Ghazi infantry
# # *Varangian guard
# # *Vikings
# # *Woodsmen
# # *Pikemen
# # *Swiss Pikemen
# # *Swiss armoured Pikemen
# # *Billmen
# # *Chivalric foot knights
# # *Halberdiers
# # *Janissary heavy infantry
# # *Swiss halberdiers # #
2.7 Barbarians and Religious Fanatics
# # *Fanatics
# # *Futuwwas
# # *Gallowglasses
# # *Highland clansmen
# # *Nizaris
# # *Almohad urban militia
# # *Militia sergeants
# # *Muslim Peasants
# # *Peasants
# # *Urban militia
# # *Feudal knights
# # *Chivalric knights
# # *Gothic knights
# # *Knights Hospitaller
# # *Knights of Santiago
# # *Knights Templar
# # *Early royal knights
# # *High royal knights
# # *Late royal knights
# # *Teutonic knights
2.10 Heavy Cavalry
# # *Armenian heavy cavalry
# # *Gendarmes
# # *Early Ghulam bodyguards
# # *High Ghulam bodyguards
# # *Late Ghulam bodyguards
# # *Ghulam cavalry
# # *Golden horde heavy cavalry
# # *Kataphraktoi
# # *Khwarazmian cavalry
# # *Lancers
# # *Mamluk cavalry
# # *Ottoman Sipahi
# # *Pronoiai Allagion
# # *Teutonic sergeants
2.11 Missile Cavalry
# # *Boyars
# # *Byzantine cavalry
# # *Sipahi of the Porte
# # *Golden horde horse archers
# # *Horse archers
# # *Mamluk horse archers
# # *Mounted crossbowmen
# # *Spanish Jinetes
# # *Turcoman horsemen
# # *Turcopole
2.12 Light Cavalry
# # *Alan mercenary cavalry
# # *Hobilars
# # *Lithuanian cavalry
# # *Mounted sergeants
# # *Polish retainers
# # *Saharan cavalry
# # *Steppe cavalry
# # *Bedouin camel warriors
# # *Berber camels
2.14 Naptha and Javelin
# # *Almughavars
# # *Kerns
# # *Murabitin infantry
# # *Naptha throwers
# # *Ballista
# # *Bombard
# # *Catapult
# # *Culverin
# # *Demi cannon
# # *Demi culverin
# # *Mangonel
# # *Mortar
# # *Serpentine
# # *Siege cannon
# # *Trebuchet
3. The Viking Invasion
3.1 New Spearmen
# # *Armoured spearmen
# # *Dismounted nobles
# # *Fyrdmen
# # *Royal bodyguard (infantry version)
# # *Round shield spearmen
# # *Rus spearmen
3.2 New Swordsmen
# # *Arab infantry
# # *Berserkers
# # *Celtic warriors
# # *Dismounted faris
# # *Jobbagy
# # *Swabian swordsmen
# # *Slav warriors
# # *Viking Carls
3.3 New Heavy Cavalry
# # *Avar nobles
# # *Byzantine lancers
# # *Khazar royal cavalry
# # *Mounted nobles
# # *Royal bodyguards (mounted version)
3.4 New Light Cavalry
# # *Druzhina cavalry
# # *Horsemen
# # *Pictish cavalry
# # *Viking raider cavalry
3.5 New Missile Cavalry
# # *Faris
# # *Steppe heavy cavalry # #
# # *Szekely
# # *Pictish mounted crossbows
3.6 New Axemen
# # *Saxon huscarles
# # *Viking landsmenn
# # *Viking huscarles
# # *Joms Vikings
3.7 New Peasants
# # *Viking thralls
3.8 New javelin units
# # *Jobbagy
# # *Slav javelin men
# # *Spanish javelin men
# # *Bonnachts
3.9 New missile units
# # *Irish dartmen
# # *Pictish crossbows
# # *Sherwood foresters
# # *Welsh bandits
3.10 New Artillery
# # *Organ gun
Appendix 1: Cheat codes and command lines for Shogun, Medieval and Vikings.
Appendix 2: Unit size comparison chart for MTW's different settings.
Appendix 3: Shield bonuses.
Appendix 4: Armour piercing bonus formulae and explanation.
Appendix 5: Spears and the charging thereof.
1. Shogun: Total War and The Mongol Invasion (also called Shogun: Warlords Edition)
Shogun and its add-on are the first in the Total War series. It has fewer units than Medieval but each unit serves a distinct purpose and all of them have a use. For this guide all stats come from my UK English copy, which has been patched to 1.02. If you are using a different version these stats will not apply. All unit sizes are from the troop stats file and are based on the default size. Speed is shown as marching, running, charging e.g. Yari Ashigaru = Speed 5 (marching), 10 (running), 12 (charging). #All units are assumed to be at honour 0. All unit costs are taken from the custom battle section, the actual campaign costs are different depending on your selected unit size.
1.1 The Japanese.
The Japanese are the main culture in Shogun, they have more units and those units are more varied. Once you learn to use each unit in the best way you will be able to do or counter anything.
1.2 Yari Ashigaru.
Charge 0 Attack -1 Defence -1 Armour 0 Speed 5, 10, 12 Morale -4 Cost 100
Yari ashigaru are the cheapest and simplest troops in your army. They are slightly more than conscripted peasants; they have been given equipment and a little training but nothing else. Because they wear light armour they are reasonably speedy for foot soldiers. This makes them good for flanking manoeuvres and chasing routers before you can build cavalry. Their speed also makes them reasonable reserves as they can quickly move to plug the gaps in your line, but don't count on them to fight for long if the situation is really bad. Ashigaru are not samurai so they are upset by any routing troops, samurai scare the ashigaru even more than other peasants running because the Samurai are the professionals. This makes using them as reserves risky because when your army breaks your reserves will often flee with everyone else, sometimes before they even get near the enemy. Because the ashigaru are armed with spears they are effective against the weaker cavalry, namely yari cavalry and cavalry archers (if they can catch them). Sending ashigaru against warrior monks or heavy cavalry is asking them to die. To use ashigaru most effectively you should place them in hold formation, this will force them to keep their spear wall and increase their defence substantially.
Best deployed: In three or more ranks in hold formation.
Ashigaru main uses are: Chasing routers before cavalry appears, bulking out an early army, providing reserves in the early game, drawing enemy fire to waste their arrows and flanking in the early game before cavalry becomes available.
Charge 0 Attack -6 Defence -3 Armour 1 Speed 5, 7.5, 9 Morale -4 Cost 100
Arquebusiers are the first gunpowder troops you get. #They are peasants, just like the yari ashigaru, and suffer the same morale problems. Arquebusiers melee stats suck; you should never use them in melee if you can avoid it. The real appeal of this unit is the combination of gunpowder and cheapness. Cheapness speaks for itself - you can afford to have lots of these units, and to be honest you should never use guns in anything less than pairs to cover for each others reload times. The gunpowder requires more explanation. In Shogun guns have a very short range, they require a long time to reload, won't fire in heavy rain or blizzards, fire at a reduced rate in light rain or light snow, have poor accuracy and fire on a flat trajectory - you can't arc your shots over obstacles like you can with a bow. With all these drawbacks why should you bother? Guns do much more damage than arrows when they hit armour; Samurai armour is not made to be bullet proof during this period. This means that gunners are more deadly than archers. The short range required by the weapon often allows the gunner to take good aim compensating slightly for the accuracy. When deployed three or more ranks deep the gunners use a revolving fire system where the front rank shoots before retiring to the rear to reload. This increases the rate of fire three fold. The final advantage is that gunpowder causes fear, any unit under fire from guns is much more likely to break and run. Guns are also highly effective against cavalry; the horse is a nice big target When defending deploy several units of guns in the front line of your army, set them to hold their position and allow them to shoot freely at anything that comes into range. When the enemy is almost at your line of guns, charge with your other units to prevent the enemy engaging your guns. The main problem with arquebusiers is that musketeers are much, much better and they are only a short hop (and a few koku) away once you can build arquebusiers. When musketeers are available you should use them instead, they are better in every respect and only a tiny bit more expensive.
Best deployed: In three ranks on hold position and hold formation.
Arquebusiers main uses are: Forming the front defensive line, scaring units, shooting down cavalry, providing cheap bangs in your army, killing heavily armoured troops.
Charge 0 Attack -6 Defence -3 Armour 1 Speed 5, 8.4, 10 Morale -4 Cost 250
Musketeers are basically improved arquebusiers, they can do everything better. They have a longer range, higher accuracy and slightly faster rate of fire. Everything I said about the uses of Arquebusiers applies to musketeers - use them in ranks of three, use several units at once, keep them out of the wet, make sure they have a clear line of sight and order them to hold their position. Guns are especially good when defending a bridge, just set two units up within range of the bridge and let them fire away. Gunners have more ammo than archers and fire at a slower rate; this means that they will rarely use up all their ammo making them invaluable in long, defensive battles. Guns are less use when attacking because they cannot fire without a clear line of sight (the AI loves to park behind obstacles preventing a clear line of sight for your guns) and they have a short range, which leaves them incredibly vulnerable to dug in troops and defensive archers. With practise however you can get some use out of guns on the attack, use careful positioning and try to get them on good ground to the enemies flanks. With practise you can use musketeers to kill archers, just put them on loose formation, three ranks deep and make them run up close to the archers. Then stick them on close and order them to fire. Running up to another unit before firing can work very well on the attack as long as the unit doesn't charge and kill your guns.
Best deployed: In ranks of three, on hold position and hold formation.
Musketeer's main uses are: Everything the arquebusiers do, but better
1.5 Yari Samurai.
Charge 0 Attack 0 Defence 2 Armour 2 Speed 5, 8, 9.5 Morale 2 Cost 200
Yari samurai are the backbone of your army. They are the first decent melee troops you get, the best cavalry killers and good all-round troops who can both attack and defend. Yari samurai have good armour that will protect them well against missiles and melee attacks. However yari Samurai are vulnerable to ranged units because they are so slow, it takes them too long to close with the ranged units and they take casualties along the way. Cavalry archers in particular will cause yari Samurai trouble as they can skirmish quickly away from the spears. As their name suggests yari Samurai use long yari spears. This makes them effective against cavalry, especially when they are in hold formation. As long as the cavalry is caught on the front of the formation (rather than the flanks or rear) yari Samurai should win without problems, if the yari are flanked then they will have a more difficult time winning. Because of their armour and the bonus provided when they are on hold formation yari Samurai are the second best defensive troops. Use them to hold a front line protecting your archers or to hold a vital point on the battlefield like a bridgehead. When using the yari Samurai for defensive purposes it is sometimes better to put them on hold formation and hold position and let the enemy charge into them - don't charge them yourself. This will cause the enemy to become entangled in a long fight allowing you to flank easily with other units. The yari Samurai's combination of good armour and good attack makes them a candidate for leading bridge assaults and castle attacks until the naginata appear later in the game. Yari Samurai are Samurai (wow ), this means that they aren't bothered by routing peasants and they generally have good morale.
Best deployed: In hold formation with ranks three or more deep.
Yari samurai's main uses are: Holding your line, sheltering archers and other important troops, pinning the enemy in place to allow for easy flanking, killing cavalry, bulking up the army with useful troops, guarding an important spot and leading assaults early in the game.
1.6 Samurai Archers.
Charge 2 Attack 0 Defence 0 Armour 1 Speed 5, 9.2, 11 Morale 0 Cost 300
Samurai archers are one of the most versatile troops in Shogun. You will be using them throughout the game; the gunpowder units cannot replace them. Every army should have some samurai archers, especially early in the game. Samurai archers are mostly used for the ranged attack they provide. They can shoot with reasonable accuracy, have a long range and are quite deadly. Because they fire in an arc the archers can shoot over the heads of men in front (with reduced accuracy if you are firing over three or more ranks, the archers can't see their targets with a lot of men blocking the view) and over hills, which would obstruct guns. This means that you can deploy your archers behind a protective screen of infantry or behind a unit of guns to add to the missile barrage. Archers can shoot up or down slopes with reasonable success so they are useful when attacking, especially if you can find a hill to place them on thereby reducing the defenders height advantage. Archers should always be placed on high ground regardless of whether you are attacking or not, the height gives them a longer range and increases their damage. As their honour increases Samurai archers get more accurate, high honour archers are something to fear. The attack upgrades you can purchase don't affect the archer's arrows; instead they affect the archers' melee ability. Archers are not outstanding fighters but they are capable of beating same honour ashigaru without difficulty and they can beat Yari samurai if they have a slight advantage (numbers, position, fatigue etc.). Archers should only be sent into the melee when things are desperate, where possible you should flank with them to improve their damage and impact. Because they are Samurai the archers have good morale and will not be bothered by routing peasants. Archers are very useful against most units but they really shine when you meet warrior monks and no-dachi. These two units are very powerful in melee combat; they will tear your army apart if you cannot counter them with monks, no-dachi or heavy cavalry of your own. The best way to kill these units is to take advantage of their weakness to missiles and shoot them with archers or guns. Samurai archers loose accuracy and range when it is raining or snowing. Windy weather also lowers their accuracy. Shooting into or out of a forest is unwise because many of the arrows will hit the trees and be wasted.
Best deployed: In ranks two deep (three deep on loose formation) on either skirmish or hold formation and hold position.
Samurai archer's main uses are: Providing ranged support, acting as a reserve, killing warrior monks and no-dachi with their arrows.
Charge 8 Attack 5 Defence -2 Armour 1 Speed 5, 10, 12 Morale 8 Cost 300
No-dachi are specialist troops, they have one use and one use only - charging the enemy and hacking their way through. No-dachi have a high attack and charge value that allows them to carve their way through most troops with ease. Their Achilles Heel is their poor defence; it doesn't take much to kill these swordsmen. So basically the no-dachi will do but they will die in the process. To maximise their effectiveness and aid their survival you need to use them carefully. No-dachi have sky-high morale, this enables them to fight a long way from the general without problems. Add this to their deadly charge and you have the makings of the perfect flanker and ambusher. Instead of sending your no-dachi in a brave but costly charge straight at the enemy you should instead try to hide them at the edges of your lines and send them around the enemy to hit from the rear. If you can hide them in forests so much the better, this will give them an ambush bonus and enable them to hit the rear more effectively. As mentioned in the archer section no-dachi are vulnerable to missiles, so always endeavour to keep them sheltered either behind other units or in tree cover.
Best deployed: Always use engage at will to maximise killing power. The wedge formation is very good for the initial seconds of the charge before ordering the no-dachi into a close line to bring the unit together for support. no-dachi can also be used in the close line formation from the get go, place them in ranks two to three deep.
No-dachi's main uses are: Flanking, ambushing, leading death or victory charges against powerful enemies
1.8 Warrior Monks.
Charge 4 Attack 5 Defence 2 Armour 1 Speed 5, 10, 12 Morale 8 Cost 550
To many players this unit is the cream of the crop; it is certainly the best infantry in Shogun. Warrior monks are deadly, in hand to hand combat they can beat any other unit; although naginata cavalry and heavy cavalry can pose a slight problem the monks should win as long as you use them intelligently. Because the monks carry a portable shrine into battle (you can't see it but the morale effects are there) other Buddhist units are afraid of them, Christian and Pagan units don't have this fear. No unit is perfect however and the monks are no exception. They are highly vulnerable to missiles, the cheap peasant gunners are the most effective monk killers but Samurai archers and cavalry archers acquit themselves well. The basic rule is when all things are equal the monks win if they get close to the unit, if they don't reach it they loose, if you significantly reduce their number before they reach you things are more even and you should be able to win with good tactics. Therefore try to do plenty of damage before the monks reach you or keep them well protected as they advance. Monks have the same high morale as no-dachi so it takes a lot to make them flee, in normal combat they generally need to be down to 10% of the original unit and surrounded before they will break. Remember that these monks think dying in battle takes them to nirvana; don't underestimate their staying power So how should you use you monks? It's quite simple; keep them screened to protect them from missile fire and then when you are close to the enemy charge Monks can attack the front of a line with admirable success and fervour while other units (no-dachi, cavalry, and more monks) flank the enemy to hit them where it hurts. To kill monks you should shoot them as much as possible, if it comes down to melee combat send your own monks to meet them. If you have no monks you should hold the enemy monks in place with some yari samurai, naginata or ashigaru and flank with no-dachi or cavalry.
Best deployed: Always use engage at will, it sets your monks free to hack through the enemy individually. The wedge isn't bad for when your monks are charging but they work very well in the close line, two or three ranks are especially effective.
Warrior monks main uses are: Doing most of the killing, supplying reliable power, killing other powerful units, hitting the enemy with a psychological blow (remember the enemy Buddhists hate fighting monks ).
Charge 2 Attack -1 Defence 8 Armour 6 Speed 5, 8, 8 Morale 4 Cost 425
Naginata are the polar opposite of no-dachi, they are slow, heavily armoured and none to good at melee fighting. Just like no-dachi they are a specialist unit made for certain situations and less useful when away from those specialties. As the stats suggest naginata are not made for killing, they are made for surviving. The heavy armour and high defence allows naginata to walk into a hail of arrows (bullets are still somewhat effective against them) with only one or two casualties. This makes them ideal for leading assault parties on bridges and in sieges, as they will reach the target in good shape and will be able to hang on long enough for other units to join them and take over the fight. Naginata are also perfect for holding an enemy unit in position for a long time while you flank with other units or destroy another part of the enemy army. If you are about to be charged by heavy or naginata cavalry then naginata can receive that charge with fewer casualties than yari Samurai, but the ensuing melee will not go as well. They can also take a monk or no-dachi charge quite well. Some people like to use naginata when defending a bridge, when the enemy makes it to their end of the bridge they send in the naginata to hold them in place while they continue shooting. Naginata are expensive and their lack of effective melee power means that they cannot replace yari samurai as the main backbone of your army; instead you should have a unit or two for use in assaults. Naginata need a special note on weather - cold weather and rain tire them out very quickly because of all their armour.
Best deployed: Hold formation increases the already high defensive values of the naginata and keeps them grouped together. Naginata should try to keep in ranks of three to four as this enables them to absorb charges without being scattered.
Naginatas main uses are: Leading assault parties, holding a certain position for a long time, receiving cavalry, no-dachi and monk charges.
1.10 Yari Cavalry.
Charge 15 Attack 1 Defence 2 Armour 3 Speed 8, 24, 28 Morale 4 Cost 475
Yari cavalry are the fastest unit the Japanese get. They are armed with spears which gives them an advantage (+4 attack versus any cavalry) over other cavalry types, but generally not enough of one to beat heavy cavalry, naginata cavalry can be beaten on most occasions. They also have a reasonable attack against archers. Yari cavalry are not made to go toe to toe with most infantry, you should use them to charge from the rear, kill archers or chase routers only, unless you want them to die en-mass. The speed is the main advantage and weapon these troops have, use it to chase cavalry archers, threaten the enemy from the rear and to get your yari cavalry away from trouble. Never use yari cavalry to charge missile units from the front, always move to the side or rear before charging, otherwise your cavalry will be killed before they reach the enemy. Because they are so fast and reasonably expendable (read cheap) yari cavalry are excellent scouts. If you can't find the enemy because they are hiding in trees use yari to scout OUTSIDE the woods, never send them into forested areas because all cavalry gets massive penalties for fighting in forests.
A tip that works for all types of cavalry: When your cavalry are engaged in a melee and you want them to stop fighting and move somewhere else try putting them on hold position and then immediately double clicking where you want them to go. Because hold position applies to the destination rather than where they are now they will disengage and move quickly to your chosen spot. When they arrive take them off hold position and continue your battle plan. This is much more reliable than double clicking a destination and hoping they will follow your order and it is safer than ordering them to withdraw (crlt+w) before ordering a halt when they are safe. Be aware that you will take casualties as the unit pulls back, but not as many as the other two methods.
Best deployed: Use engage at will. A long line of cavalry in close formation makes for a devastating charge; try to use them in two ranks.
Yari cavalry's main uses are: Chasing routers, running down cavalry archers, killing infantry missile units, scouting.
1.11 Cavalry Archers.
Charge 10 Attack 0 Defence 1 Armour 3 Speed 8, 23, 27 Morale 2 Cost 450
Cavalry archers are something of an acquired taste. On paper they seem fantastic, in reality they require hours of practise to use effectively. Firstly the good news, cavalry archers are the second fastest Japanese unit, they can melee with some effectiveness, they have the same number of arrows as their infantry counterparts and they are versatile. The bad news is that they have a shorter range and lower accuracy than infantry archers, they are very vulnerable to infantry missile units (the horse is a nice, big target), they are the least effective cavalry in a melee, they aren't all that effective when left on the default AI controlled skirmish so you have to control them yourself, and they are expensive - at 500 koku they cost the same as a unit of warrior monks So what can you do? Firstly keep them away from any infantry based missiles; even guns outrange them when they are at the same height. Secondly you need to keep them away from trees, cavalry die fast in trees and any arrows the archers fire are likely to hit the trees and be wasted. Thirdly you need to manage them yourself, don't let the AI decide when they should pull back, give the order yourself. Don't let them skirmish themselves into a corner or the waiting arms of an enemy unit. Fourthly you need to practise targeting unprotected enemy units and drawing them away from the main army by irritating them with your arrows. When you can do all that then cavalry archers will be quite useful, to get maximum efficiency out of them you need to learn how to use them in melee without losing large numbers of men. Basically you must always flank, preferably attack from the rear. Only attack units that are already engaged or they will turn around and destroy you. If you don't smash the enemy of the first charge you should consider withdrawing (by double clicking some distance away from the fight) your unit and charging again and again until they do win. You can also use them to chase down routers.
Best deployed: This one's tricky, ideally they need to be in two ranks to maximise accuracy but this is too unwieldy for skirmishing. Three ranks works well if the unit size is 60-80 men, anything above that and you will need to go to four, maybe five ranks. Always try to keep close formation as it makes the unit easier to skirmish.
Cavalry archer's main uses are: Harassing the enemy, shooting missile vulnerable units to damage/distract them, acting as a spare melee cavalry.
1.12 Heavy cavalry.
Charge 9 Attack 2 Defence 7 Armour 6 Speed 8, 20, 24 Morale 6 Cost 600
And so we reach the pinnacle of cavalry, the heavy cavalry unit. Before the Mongol Invasion add-on this was the best of the best, now they are somewhat less useful but still valuable when compared to naginata cavalry. Why are heavy cavalry so fantastic? Just take a look at their stats, some of the best in the game. Heavy cavalry are powerful, well armoured, fast and versatile. This is the unit your Daimyo has as a personal bodyguard and they cost 600 koku for 60 men So what can they do? Almost everything, that's what. They are well protected so they can lead an assault on a defended position, they have high morale so they can operate independently and will keep fighting after taking many losses, they can kill most units when out in the open: even warrior monks fall beneath their hooves when the cavalry has a slight advantage (morale, fatigue, honour, positioning, numbers etc), they have a good attack and charge so they will do plenty of damage on impact and can keep fighting for some time because they are hard to kill, And they can chase routers. Of course just because they can do something doesn't mean that they should, yari cavalry are better for chasing routers, naginata are more disposable when leading an assault, naginata cavalry are better for sheer charge power and missiles are cheaper when killing monks. What you should do is keep a unit or two of heavy cavalry and send them where they are needed i.e. to strengthen the line, intercept the enemy flanking attempt, run down the enemy missiles or what ever else is needed at that moment in time. When you buy heavy cavalry you are buying flexibility and the abilities of several units in one. When using heavy cavalry there are several things you need to keep in mind. Firstly KEEP THEM OUT OF THE TREES I have said this with the other cavalry but it is most important here. Heavy cavalry die incredibly quickly when in trees, even simple ashigaru have no problem in killing your expensive investment. If you send heavy cavalry into trees you will only get bloody chunks of horsemeat back and you will have wasted 600 koku and one awesome unit. Comprende? #Secondly you should never charge missiles head on, even with their heavy armour the unit will take significant damage. That horse is just a big target. Thirdly don't get over confidant, simple yari samurai will kill your fancy cavalry and yari ashigaru will do a lot of damage if they meet head on, try to charge from the rear if you really must take on spears. Fourthly try not to use this unit in the snow, the heavy armour tires the rider out quickly in the cold air and the horse doesn't like snow much either. #
Best deployed: Use engage at will to increase the number of men in the melee. Close formation is a good all rounder; try to use ranks of two to three to enable most men to engage on the first charge. On some occasions (e.g. charging at warrior monks) the wedge formation is good, just remember to change back into the close formation a few seconds after impact.
Heavy cavalry's main uses are: What ever you need, although they are best for packing a tide turning punch in a fierce melee or killing other 'power' units like monks. Heavy cavalry are the perfect reserves, use them like that and you'll grow to love them.
1.13 Naginata Cavalry.
Charge 11 Attack 4 Defence 1 Armour 4 Speed 8, 22, 26 Morale 8 Cost 425
Naginata cavalry are assault cavalry; they are made to kill quickly and efficiently. They are not made to fight in a long melee, their low defence means they begin to die quite quickly. Naginata cavalry are also slow for a cavalry unit, the slowest in the game to be exact, this lack of speed can make it harder to manoeuvre them to hot spots and flanking requires more organisation (compared to other cavalry, Naginata cavalry is still faster than infantry when galloping) to prevent the enemy intercepting your units. This unit seems to have a bonus against infantry so it is very good at killing them, just don't expect them to kill monks without loses. Naginata cavalry are best used like no-dachi - flank and rear attacks in support of your army. They are wasted on chasing routers and killing missile troops, although they can do both of these tasks well if you have no more suitable men left. As with all cavalry keep them out of the woods and don't charge missiles head on.
Best deployed: Use engage at will and the wedge to kill many men on impact, before switching to close formation after a few seconds.
Naginata cavalry's main uses are: flank attacks, leading death or victory charges, killing infantry.
Charge 8 Attack 18 Defence 7 Armour 3 Speed 5, 10.9, 13 Morale 8 Cost 600
The Kensai (sword saint) is unique, no other unit can compare to this sword-wielding maniac. For starters there is only one (1) man in each unit. This one man can kill hundreds of other samurai with no problems. He has such high morale it is nearly impossible to rout him, and he is so tough it is very hard to kill him in melee combat. The kensai's only weakness is missiles, so if you see one headed towards you make him the top priority for your missile units. It will take many shots to fell this behemoth so don't give up after a few volleys. If the kensai is close to your lines you may want to hold him in place with a sacrificial unit while your archers get busy. If you are using a kensai you should point him at the most important part of your battle and let him kill everything. Sending a kensai after the general is a good idea most of the time. Never send your kensai after missiles; they are too expensive to throw away. The kensai should be placed in woods if possible; this protects him from missiles and makes it easier to kill any cavalry that may attack him. #
Best deployed: Just stick him on engage at will.
Kensai's main uses are: Killing generals, holding strategic points (e.g. bridges, castle gates # etc), defending an important unit, leading the second wave in an assault (after the naginata/yari samurai/heavy cavalry), and fighting strong units.
1.15 Battlefield Ninja.
Charge 8 Attack 8 Defence 4 Armour 2 Speed 8, 10.9, 13 Morale 10 Cost 600
Battlefield ninja only have 12 men per unit; these twelve men can hide at any point on the battle map, rather than just in trees like everybody else. They use a unique missile weapon - ninja throwing stars (aka shuriken). They have a short range but they are quite dangerous, if you place the ninja on the top of a hill then the foot of the hill will just be in range. If you can train a unit of ninja to about 4 or 5 honour they become rather deadly. To train the ninja you should use them as a rear guard so they can make opportunistic attacks on weak or routing troops (chase the routers, don't put them in front). Eventually they will get enough kills to boost their honour, it doesn't take many because of the small unit size. To be sure of getting at least one unit of good ninja you can train several units at once and combine the units to replace losses without introducing green troops to the unit. If battlefield ninja are in the way of routing troops they will be mown over, so keep them out of the way. Ninja are vulnerable to missiles, so keep them protected. Ninja are not to strong in melee combat (even simple ashigaru can kill ninja with ease if both units honour is equal) because they are often vastly outnumbered, instead you should use their throwing stars to do most damage. If you must use them in a melee try to make sure they are high honour and flank with them. They can beat a kensai in single unit combat. #Shinano suggests this 'Usually if I see that my opponent has battlefield ninja I send a unit of Naginata cavalry after them, because their running speed is faster than any other infantry unit except kensai.'
Best deployed: There are only 12 men so the formation doesn't matter that much, try putting them on engage at will.
Battlefield ninja's main uses are: Assassinating generals on the battlefield, being sneaky, damaging important troops.
1.16 Ashigaru crossbowmen.
Charge 0 Attack -6 Defence -3 Armour 1 Speed 5, 9.2, 11 Morale -5 Cost 100
Ashigaru crossbowmen replace the gun units in the Mongol campaign. They are pretty similar, they have a slow rate of fire, work best in ranks of three or more, they need a clear line of sight to fire, they have poor morale and they can be deadly when used correctly. The only major differences between the crossbows and the guns is that the crossbows can fire in the rain and falling snow, with reduced range and accuracy, and that they don't cause the gunpowder morale penalty. Otherwise everything I said about guns applies to crossbows.
Best deployed: In ranks of three or more on hold position.
Ashigaru crossbowmen's main uses are: Forming the front defensive line, shooting down cavalry, providing cheap bangs in your army, killing heavily armoured troops.
1.17 The Mongols.
The Mongols are the second civilisation in Shogun and they play differently to the Japanese. The Mongols get most of their power from their cavalry; their infantry is for support only. The Mongols need to use their speed and mobility to out manoeuvre the Japanese and weaken their position ready for a cavalry charge. They have a couple of unique unit types, namely javelins and thunder bombers. Both of these units are hard to use well, but they are incredibly deadly in practised hands. You really need to practise with the Mongols before you master their new tactics.
1.18 Mongol Light Cavalry.
Charge 11 Attack 2 Defence 2 Armour 4 Speed 8, 24, 28.8 Morale 4 Cost 625
Mongol light cavalry have 48 men per unit with sizes set to default. This is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that it makes this unit of ranged cavalry much easier to control; the downside is that it reduces their potency when compared to larger units. Mongol light cavalry is more versatile than the Japanese cavalry archer, as it possesses a better melee ability. This allows them to defeat weak troops (samurai archers etc, but definitely not spear troops) head on and significantly damage and occasionally defeat tougher troops when they can flank. Mongol light cavalry is also slightly faster than the Japanese cavalry archers; this makes them even better for skirmishing, chasing, flanking, and killing routing enemy.
Best deployed: In ranks of two or three in close formation.
Mongol Light Cavalry's main uses are: Harassing the enemy, shooting missile vulnerable units to damage/distract them, acting as a spare melee cavalry and scouting, running down routers.
1.19 Mongol Heavy Cavalry.
Charge 10 Attack 3 Defence 3 Armour 5 Speed 8, 22, 26.4 Morale 8 Cost 800
Mongol heavy cavalry also only have 48 men per unit. They are quite similar to Naginata cavalry and should be used in a similar manner.
Best deployed: In two to three ranks set to close formation and engage at will.
Mongol Heavy cavalry's main uses are: flank attacks, leading death or victory charges, killing infantry.
1.20 Korean Skirmishers.
Charge 0 Attack -1 Defence -1 Armour 5 Speed 5, 8, 10 Morale 0 Cost 450
This is the first of the Mongol 'oddball' units. On the surface these guys are just bad swordsmen, the real beauty of this unit lies in their javelins. There are 4 javelins per man and they must be thrown at a very short range but they are deadly. Javelins go straight through armour, they are accurate and they inflict heavy casualties on the target unit. The first time I successfully used javelins I killed a quarter of a unit with just one volley To use javelins successfully you must take them off skirmish, or they will withdraw before throwing. Due to their short range you shouldn't expect them to stand in front of a charging enemy and expect them to do much before the enemy engages them in melee combat. The key is to use the skirmishers to flank an engaged unit and throw from behind, killing the pinned enemy with minimal casualties to your pinning force. A variation on this is to pin an enemy unit with one of your own before moving your skirmishes up behind your unit and ordering them to throw over the heads of the pinning unit. The skirmishers are more likely to receive accuracy penalties when used like this, so you shouldn't be surprised if you lose a few of your men with javelins in their backs. Skirmishers aren't particularly good in melee combat but if you charge them into the rear of an enemy after all their javelins are gone you should get some mileage out of them. Because of their heavy armour and expendability skirmishers can be useful for drawing missile fire, just set them to loose and keep them at the edge of the enemies range.
Best deployed: In ranks three deep set on hold formation. Don't set them to skirmish or they will pull back before throwing. If they are entering melee combat order them to engage at will.
Korean Skirmishers main uses are: Ducking around the enemy lines to cause massive damage with their javelins, drawing missile fire, killing heavily armoured and dangerous units while they are pinned by another unit.
1.21 Korean Spearmen.
Charge 0 Attack 0 Defence 1 Armour 2 Speed 5, 9.2, 11 Morale 1 Cost 200
Korean spearmen are quite similar to the Japanese Yari samurai and they play a similar role on the battlefield, go and read the yari samurai section. #
Best deployed: In hold formation with ranks three or more deep.
Korean Spearmen's main uses are: Holding your line, sheltering archers and other important troops, pinning the enemy in place to allow for easy flanking, killing cavalry, bulking up the army with useful troops, guarding an important spot and leading assaults.
1.22 Korean Guardsmen.
Charge 4 Attack 2 Defence 4 Armour 4 Speed 5, 7.5, 9 Morale 4 Cost 450
Korean guardsmen are the main 'tough' infantry for the Mongols. They are able to lead a charge and defend an area, but they do neither task as well as the more specialised Japanese. They can fight well in melee but they are not outstanding, they can hold on when under attack for a while but not forever, they can kill cavalry but not spectacularly. Use them as a jack-of-all-trades but keep them well supported by other units.
Best deployed: In ranks of two or more on engage at will. They can charge with the wedge for extra damage before switching to the close line after a few seconds. If they are being used to hold a position then you should use three or more ranks on hold formation and hold position. #
Korean Guardsmen's main uses are: Acting as shock troops, leading an infantry charge, defending an important area.
Charge 0 Attack -6 Defence -3 Armour 2 Speed 5, 9.2, 11 Morale 4 Cost 400
This is the second Mongol 'oddball' unit. There are only 30 men per unit and each man has 3 grenades. Their range is even shorter than the Korean skirmishers and the AI tends to blow your own troops up, so you must carefully micromanage them. Without sufficient practise you will not do very well with Thunderbombers, at best you will achieve nothing because they run away, at worst you will blow up half your army The key is to keep in mind these simple rules and to practise extensively. Firstly never leave your bombers on skirmish; they will be gone before the enemy arrive in range. Secondly don't let them fire at an enemy pinned by a unit you want to keep, the bombs are very indiscriminate and you will kill a lot of your own men. Always use junk troops to pin when working with grenades. Thirdly accuracy increases dramatically with honour, so place them with a good general and guard them well. To really get the most out of the grenades you need to understand how they work, unlike other missiles they don't target a person. Instead they explode on the ground creating an explosion, any man caught up in this explosion will die. Therefore to maximise the carnage you need to force as many people into the explosions as possible. That's where bridges, castles and choke points come in, just order your bombers to target a unit in this cramped space and everyone in that space will die. This is amazingly effective on bridges; you can destroy whole units with just one shot. Sometimes when you are attacking a castle you can move a unit of Thunderbombers up to the gate and blow everyone in it to kingdom come, other times the defenders will charge you and you will do no damage. If you want your thunderbombers to save their ammo or act with restraint set them up in wedge formation and only the front few men will open fire. When using this formation you can expect the men at the front of the formation to get bombed by their comrades so be careful when you use this tactic, only use it when you don't mind casualties.
Best deployed: In ranks of two in close formation. Turn skirmish off or they will run away before throwing.
Thunderbombers main uses are: holding tight spaces, assaulting tight spaces, destroying expensive/dangerous units with the aid of a junk unit.