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RTW Favourites: Elite Ranged Units

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As I wrote about in the last article on here (about RTW's Wardogs units), I have some curious (and sometimes practical) pet peeves when it comes to playing Rome: Total War. Most of them has to do with humiliating the enemy on the battlefield - which can translate to "take as few casualties as possible while inflicting as many as possible (in the most condescending manner)".

Therefore, along with the Wardogs, I do of course have a liking for ranged units. And especially so for ranged units that can bring some severe punishment to the enemy - the elite ranged units!

Now, most civilizations have access to okay ranged units (Roman Archers/Archer Auxilia or Archers) and others to some lesser ones (Slingers spring to mind) - and while I do of course like the elites that are nation-specific (Forester Warband, Chosen Archer, Pharaoh's Bowmen), most of them belong to barbarian civilizations, and I like my stone walls thank you!
Also, I find the game to be more fun when playing a Roman civilization. So the answer, of course, is mercenaries!

I am thinking of two types of ranged mercenaries in particular; The awe-inspiring Cretan Archers with their devastating range and lethal accuracy. They can also, like other archers, employ fire when you deem it necessary. I can't recount how many times I've held a small, palisaded town due to the 75 cretans with bows (and hats!) standing behind the lines and drowning the enemies in hundreds and hundreds of arrows!

The other awesome mercenary ranged unit actually comes from a class of unit that normally keep a pretty low (and cheap) standard; slingers. But the Balearic Slingers are the exception to the rule. They outrange most normal Archer divisions, and while they cannot use fire like archers, their projectiles are much more lethal against shielded and mounted enemies. Their projectiles also have a flatter curve that makes them superior to archers when you are not fighting in a city. I guess most of us who've played Carthage recall how awesome it is to defend that spanish river crossing with your starting army including one unit of these babies; how the spanish peasants crumble in dozens every single wave of projectiles until they are all but elliminated.

Perhaps one of the reasons that I enjoy these elite ranged units is that they're luxury units; they have high cost and upkeep, are rare to find and never available in larger quantities, and they're impossible to retrain. They're expensive, but they're almost always worth it - if you haven't learnt to fully appreciate these units yet, I suggest you get goign with your imperial campaign. Playing Brutii or Greek City States allow pretty easy access to some Cretans, while Scipii, Carthage or Spain can obtain the Balearics with ease (indeed, Carthage even starts with a unit, if I recall correctly). You can thank me later

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  1. Thermal's Avatar
    Alternatively, you could up the stats of roman archers to 50 on the missile bit, that might have the effect you like.
  2. Beefy187's Avatar
    IIRC Rome Total Realism mod makes your ranged unit more powerful.

    EB, not so much. But slinger on their flanks is pretty devastating.
    Or three archers and three slinger on the top of the steep hill...
  3. Centurion1's Avatar
    slingers annoy me because of friendly fire.
  4. Ibn-Khaldun's Avatar
    When playing with Carthage then I sometimes send some generals to Halicarnassus or to Greece in order to get Cretans and Merc Hoplites. Very useful units for Carthage in the early stages of campaign.
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