Medieval 2: Total War Unit Guide
Version 2.0Author: Forlornhope. aka Trueforlornhope, Forlornhop3
Welcome to my guide for Medieval 2: Total War. This guide covers every unit in M2TW, and how to use them, tactics for using each class of unit and how to defeat them. This is the first version of this guide and will probably have quite a few errors. This guide will eventually encompass the entire M2TW series including all expansions. Please pm me, Forlornhope. (with a period) to report errors and give suggestions. All fixes and corrections will be credited.
CA: Creative Assembly, the development team that created the Total War series.
Counter Fire: Fire directed at missile units by a missile unit, as most missile units themselves have poor armour and are easy prey for missiles.
Flank: The sides of a unit. Charging into the flank is much, much more effective than charging directly into the front. It is also a verb meaning to flank a unit i.e. going around their side.
Focus fire: Targeting all missiles at a particular unit, or group of units to weaken them
HA: Horse Archers
Line Infantry: This is a generic term for any infantry than can take and hold the enemy and fight them in melee, thus forming your battle line. It also means troops youíll use to form the bulk of your army and thus your line. Spearmen and swordsmen are line infantry. Line infantry are usually well armed and armored as they will be in the middle of the fighting. They will often take the most casualties as well.
M2TW: Medieval 2: Total War
MTW: Medieval: Total War, the second game in the series. M2TW is a remake of this game.
RTW: Rome: Total War, the previous game in the series
Skirmish: A unit firing missiles and staying out of melee. Skirmish mode, which all missile units have makes them run back to avoid melee if the enemy gets close. Units with javelins are usually called skirmishers.
TWC : Total War Centre a cool forum and TW website where I host this guide and Iím a member of.
Differences between RTW and M2TW
Despite the obvious changes in mechanics form Roman times to medieval times, RTW and M2TW share the same engine, as M2: TWís engine is a heavily modified Rome one. Thus there are some hangovers from Rome, but there are things that are noticeably different even if base mechanics are the same.
Battle speed: The most immediately noticeable thing in M2TWís battles, is that they are much slower. Units move much more slowly than RTW and tire faster. Melee is slower and because units have much higher morale it takes a while for the winner to be decided. There is allot more blocking in M2TW meaning it takes longer for a solider to kill his enemy and soldiers stagger and are realistically stunned from hits they failed to block that didnít kill them, slowing melee down. Cavalry is also a lot slower and their charge is really toned down this time around
Impetuous trait: Some units in M2TW are impetuous. This means they generally have good morale and the death of a general doesnít affect their morale as much, only elite troops have the impetuous trait with a few exceptions. You can rely on these units. The trait can make them charge without orders however. If you are moving them past a melee, say to flank, sometimes youíll see them just charge into the melee even when you didnít tell them to. This is caused by the impertutious trait and itís most common with elite units like knights.
Disciplined: Some units, usually tough elite ones are disciplined. This means they resist morale shocks; like the general dying or an attack in the rear better losing less morale when these things occur and are therefore much more stable units. Disciplined troops will take allot more to rout than normal ones and are very good units to have.
Death animations: In M2TW a unitís solider count goes down after the dying man has finished his death animation. Until then the causality doesnít affect morale. This is different to Rome where as soon as a man died before he even hit the ground he was considered dead with the effects that went with it. This means that unit may take a second or two more to rout or otherwise react to something.
Morale: In M2TW units take much longer to rout. Elite units have very high morale and the last ten or so men in a unit will still sometimes fight to the death. Even weak units like Spear Militia have good morale and wont rout until half the unit is dead, if they are just in a normal melee. Even units like Peasant Archers have quite good morale compared to say RTW. This is considered a straight fight however. Situations like being flanked and outnumbered and especially shot by gunpowder will still greatly affect a unitís morale, but causalities and losing a melee affect it much less.
More effective fodder: Because of the raised morale, kills by missiles besides fire or gunpowder have little effect on morale if the unit isnít in melee. A unit of Spear Militia being killed by arrows will stand their ground as long as the archers stay back until about 20 guys are left, meaning the enemy will have used up plenty of arrows. Using cheap units as fodder is much more effective this time around. This is rendered mostly ineffective by gunpowder however, as being hit by gunpowder applies a huge morale penalty and that along with some other small penalty like casualties will be enough to rout the unit.
Less Armor: Compared to RTW there are far more unarmoured or lightly armoured troops, especially early in the campaign. Plan accordingly.
General unit notes
A large change in m2tw is the use of proper combat animations and the fact that a solider must hit is enemy with the animation of a sword swing or whatever to actually stagger or kill him There are also new animations for units getting hit but not killed, like staggers or stumbling. While these animations are happening a unit cannot block. This leads to allot of blocking but the upshot of this is units that are seriously outnumbered will spend allot of time getting hit and staggered making it harder for them to hit back against the enemies. A unit of knights getting attacked by twice the number of peasants will have a hard time killing them quickly as they will be getting hit so often and staggered unless they block a hit. Hits that are blocked sometimes cause the blocker to counter attack with a swing that often kills the attacker. While the knights are attacking they also can not block, so while they are busy hitting somebody, they may be hit and killed themselves. This looks funny sometimes, as youíll see a solider start a death animation then get killed during it and his victim still die.
To take advantage of this you should move your melee units in huge mobs or send in weaker units along with your stronger ones. If you send in say peasants and knights the peasants will attack and stagger enemies giving the knights a chance to finish them off without risk and the enemies will attack the peasants and leave themselves open to attack from your knights. With massed melee troops like highlander axemen you can hit so often the enemy wonít be able to do much before dying if you have enough. This is an important tactic to grasp in m2tw and a big change from RTW.
Force melee : If you are using a unit with missiles, like archers or Javelinmen, holding alt and right clocking on an enemy unit will force them to charge straight into melee. This is useful for forcing archers to stop skirmishing and fight back.
Unit Ranges: Archers: 120 Horse Archers: 120 Crossbows: 120 Javelins: (foot and mounted) 55 Naffatun: 40 Bombard: 325 Grand Bombard: 375 Ribault: 150 Culverin: 425 Mortar: 300 Cannon: 380 Serpentine: 450 Basilisk: 450 Ballista: 180 Catapult: 200 Trebuchet: 280
Unit ammunition: Archers: 30 Crossbows: 30 Javelins: 8 Naffatun: 5 Bombard: 30 Serpentine: 36 Elephant cannon: 20 Basilisk: 30 Ribault: 108 Culverin: 30 Cannon: 30 Catapult: 30 Trebuchet: 30 Ballista: 50
Negative morale effects
Casualties: None, to moderate, depending on number. Less effect on morale than losing a battle. If a unit has taken a lot of casualties, but starts winning a melee they will often stay and fight. This has far less of an effect on impertutious units like knights.
Flank attack: Moderate. Getting hit in the flank will cause quite a lot of casualties, so this can rout lesser units
Rear attack: High. Getting hit in the rear will cause a truckload of casualties and, coupled with the penalty for the rear attack will insta-rout even tough units.
General/Captain death: High, to moderate depending on discipline. The general dying is how many a battle will end and become a slaughterfest, the generalís death has a huge effect on morale at first, often causing a mass rout; the effect is largest close to the general and radiates out losing intensity, at the time of his death. You could call it a shock effect and then that effect slowly decreases over time till it affects units to a much lesser degree, if they havenít routed off the field yet that is.
Routing friends: Small. If a unit can see friendly units routing, they will take a morale drop tho itís low.
Gunpowder weapons: Extreme. Gunpowder has to cause a causality in the unit for it to affect morale but it has a high effect: a few gunpowder hits will rout even the steadiest units like knights along with the penalty for causalities. Its morale crushing effect is one of gunpowderís biggest advantages.
Positive morale effects
Proximity to General: Moderate to very high. Units close to your general receive a morale bonus, depending on how good a general he is and what traits he has, you can tell because their morale state will say (Sprits lifted by the generalís encouragements). Thus it is good to keep the general close behind fighting units, especially with low morale troops.
Winning a melee: Moderate. Just the opposite to losing a melee, being on the winning side of an ongoing melee will encourage your troops to keep fighting.
Routing enemies: Moderate. If a unit can see routing enemy units they will be happy and get a morale bonus.
General's Rally: High. The generals rally special ability greatly raises nearby unit morale for about 30 seconds and can put units from wavering to steady.
Ready Status: If a unit is stationary and an enemy comes close enough, youíll see an animation where the unit will prepare, they might raise their swords/spears and shields or skirmishers will raise their javelins, ready to throw them, if they are not on fire at will. The unitís state will change from ďIdleĒ to ďReadyĒ when this happens. In this state, units resist charges better and you should always try to have your troops stationary if youíre going to receive a cavalry charge with units not suited to it, like swordsmen, if you arenít counter charging.
Spread out men! We might be able to live longer that way!
A unit in loose formation spreads out into a looser formation, with space between each solider. This helps the unit resist missiles, as the space in the formation means there is a chance missiles may harmlessly hit the ground between men instead of hitting one of your soldiers. The formation doesnít actually have any hard coded effects, like raising defence or the like it simply works on a physical level: by reducing the chance a missile will hit one of your soldiers. The formation is useless in melee however as men tend get into melee slower and the charge has less people impacting. The unit is also very vulnerable to cavalry charges as the unit seems to lack mass and allows cavalry to ride right into their ranks and rip them up and flank individual soldiers. Only use this formation when youíre under fire. Loose formation is also good for fodder - units stood around solely to absorb missiles - to allow them to survive just that little bit longer. It comes in handy also for light cavalry trying to catch horse archers, as they can cover more area and it makes it easier to catch the horse archers and force them to commit to melee.
Circle and shoot
Ashes, ashes, they all fall down!
This formation is allot like the Cantabrian Circle from RTW. Just like that formation the cavalry ride around in a small circle in front of the enemy, launching their missiles, their constant movement limiting damage of incoming missiles and enabling them to skirmish back quickly as they are already moving. While the chief users of this formation are horse archers, in M2TW javelin cavalry are very effective. In M2TWthey pierce armour and with the formationís quick skirmishing and constant fire they can decimate heavy infantry and avoid covering archer fire. This is especially effective against two handed weapon units, as their lack of a shield makes them easy to hit.
Death has never been so pretty.
Fire arrows are an ability of all shortbow and longbow archers. Crossbowmen do not have this ability, nor do Horse Archers (they have circle and shoot, crossbows have none) Fire arrows can set fire to siege equipment and lower morale of units hit by them, but the effect is low unless their morale has already been lowered by other factors. Fire arrows cannot actually be aimed at siege weapons themselves, so just shoot at the crew and your arrows should hit the siege weapons as well. A siege weapon hit by a fire arrow has a chance to be set on fire making it unusable by its crew and destroying it when its damage reaches 100% Fire arrows fire much more slowly than normal arrows. Normal arrows take about 5 seconds to fire from the time the archer starts nocking the arrow. Fire arrows take 15 seconds which is much slower. If you are trying to kill men use normal arrows as you can fire more of them in less time. If you are trying to get a unit to rout, use fire arrows.
When spearwall works it can be effectiveÖunfortunately it doesnít often.
The spearwall is a formation used by pikemen and some polearms. It causes the unit to tighten up and the first three ranks to extend their polearms forward, creating a wall of pointy death. This is meant to be effective against cavalry and work as a wall against infantry much like a phalanx. Unfortunately it is buggy and often when an enemy touches the pikewall the pikemen will often switch to their swords running your defense against cavalry and making themselves very vulnerable; as polearms/pikemen do not have shields they die quite quickly in melee. When the spearwall works though, it will stop cavalry and their charge momentum dead, killing many of them and preventing them from attacking. When using a spearwall if you use rightclick+drag to make a formation with multiple units selected, you will notice there are gaps between your units. This makes it easy for enemies to sneak in though the pikewall and attack the pikemen in melee. If you can it is more effective to drag each unitís formation out making sure they touch with no gaps. This will form a solid wall of pikes with nowhere for enemies to get in until the unit suffers bugs or enough pikemen die to weaken the wall.
Also known as artillery magnets.
A schiltrom is a tight round formation where spearmen arrange themselves in a circle, spears pointing outwards. This lets them protect themselves from all directions at once and they cannot be flanked. This is a useful formation for defensive situations where you have to hold an open area. Since the unit is facing all directions soldiers will not move to fight enemies unless they are directly near them, so the unit cannot attack as effectively as it could if it was in standard formation as only some of the unit will be in combat as the rest stay in formation. Schiltrom is a very specialist formation; it is really only good when defending an immobile position, like a cities central plaza or when you are constantly being attacked from all directions. In standard battles there is no reason to use schiltrom as it will just lessen your unitís capacity to attack, as ideally you shouldnít be getting flanked at all. While in this formation the unit can march, but not run and while moving they do not have their weapons ready, so make sure to halt them quickly, as they need a second to redress the formation after halting. Most spearmen can form schiltrom.
If you want to make your charge completely impotent, wedge is for you!
A wedge is a narrow triangle formation that can be formed by heavy cavalry. The leader of the unit is placed on the point of the triangle so he will be first into the enemy. This is not a good idea with captain let units, as the captain will be first into the enemy and at risk of being killed. A wedge formation is meant to increase a units ability to charge but it doesnít matter because with a wedge only a few men hit with their charge bonus and the men at the back are wasted, as less men get into the killing phase of the charge and so less enemy die on the charge. It also results in the men at the front being isolated from the rest of the unit and usually killed. The men at the back also take a while to get into melee because of the depth of the formation so the unit canít focus its attacks properly and fights very infectively. Given all this it is not worth using wedge at all, just stick to standard formation.
Medieval 2 Total War
After emerging from the Dark Ages, Europe is brimming with new ideas, new technology and new threats. Both old and new foes to be fought and old scores to settle. Take control of one of the great powers of this time and steamroll your enemies, taking their land and riches and rewrite history the way it should have been...
And take heart men, for we have sharper pointy things than them! Oh yes! Much sharper!
Spearmen are the backbone of almost all M2TWarmies. They are cheap and very easily trained; the early ones need almost no buildings in castles and cities, as they can be trained in both. There are a lot of different types and they are cheap. Spearmen are used to add bulk, fight the enemy, especially other spearmen, hold them in place so you can flank and protect archers as a meat shield while the archers shoot the enemy. They are especially useful for crossbowmen and gunpowder infantry as these units need to stay still to have time to shoot. Spearmen arenít the best killers: they never really cut their way through the enemy quickly unless they are facing cavalry and even then they will take a little while. They do kill but they tend to be more defensive; able to stay alive in melee and keep the enemy occupied, making them the best troops for holding units so you can flank them. They also are great for receiving charges as spearmen resist charges much, much better than other infantry and will take far fewer losses. You should make loads and loads of spearmen: early on your entire army will consist of spearmen, archers maybe some light cavalry and a general so get used to using them. Spearmen are effective against cavalry as they get a bonus and even the starting Spear Militia can wreck generalís bodyguards if there is enough, as generals are far weaker than in previous games. You always need spearmen and should have at least 4 units of them in any army. Later on you can phase some out for swordsmen when you can make them quickly, but you should always have some spears
Spearmen get +8 attack vs. Cavalry.
Spearmen are slow as they are infantry, usually lightly armoured or unarmoured and poor against infantry without help. The best way to kill off spearmen is to attack them with swordsmen or axemen. Both these troops are good against infantry and the spears low attack and poorness against infantry means you can cut them up very easily unless they are elite spears, who should still suffer against your troops. Their usual lack of armour makes massed missile fire effective against them, especially against the Moors, as they have allot of unarmoured spearmen who will die very quickly. Crossbows are also effective. Spearmen tend to have average morale so a cavalry charge into their rear will either rout them or kill allot. Spearmen are very common units so youíll be fighting allot of them.
Attack: 7 Charge: 3 Defence: 14 Armour: 5 Cost: 540 Upkeep: 155
Factions: Milan, HRE, England, Venice, Sicily, Milan, Papal States
Armoured Sergeants are simply an armoured version of Sergeant Spearmen. They are much better than basic spearmen and will serve well in the normal spearmen roles. Their morale isnít much higher than Spear Militia so keep them supported. They can form schiltrom
Attack: 5 Charge: 2 Defence: 4 Armour: 0 Cost: 190 Upkeep: 100
Azabs are weaker versions of Spear Militia. They have less defence, but otherwise the same stats. This means you must use more of them to have any hope of them defeating the enemy who will have stronger Spear Militia early on. Always use 2 or more of these units to attack most other factions basic spear units. Keep them far away from swords and archers unless youíre using them as fodder. Needless to say armour upgrades are useful.
Attack: 7 Charge: 3 Defence: 9 Armour: 0 Cost: 400 Upkeep: 155
Berber Spearmen are the Moors basic spear unit. They are quite superior to the militia spearmen with better morale and have the same stats as sergeant spearmen. Use them to form your line, fight other factions spear units and as fodder. They still have no armour so they will die quickly to missiles. They get a bonus in deserts and can form schiltrom.
Attack: 5 Charge: 2 Defence: 7 Armour: 0 Cost: 310 Upkeep: 155
Byzantine Spearmen are the same as Spear Militia so use them in the same way.
Dismounted Arab cavalry
Attack: 7 Charge: 3 Defence: 13 Armour: 4 Cost: 430 Upkeep: 150
Factions: Moors, Egypt
These dismounted cavalrymen make good spearmen; they have a good attack for spears and more defence than most. Use them to fight tough cavalry and hold your line. They are quite cheap for their usefulness.
Dismounted Heavy Lancers
Attack: 12 Charge: 4 Defence: 13 Armour: 5 Coast: 560 Upkeep: 160
Dismounted Heavy Lancers are some of the toughest spearmen in the game. They have a very high attack for spearmen and their defence lets them take quite a bit of abuse. When fighting the Mongols use flanking cavalry charges, armour piercing attacks and swordsmen against these spearmen.
Dismounted Light Lancers
Attack: 9 Charge: 4 Defence: 11 Armour: 4 Cost: 460 Upkeep: 100
While not as tough as the Heavy Lancers with quite a bit less attack, Light Lancers are still tough, dangerous spearmen with a high attack and decent defence. Deal with them in the same way as Heavy Lancers.
Dismounted Polish Nobles
Attack: 7 Charge: 3 Defence: 14 Armour: 5 Cost: 410 Upkeep: 150
Another day, another good spear unit. These men are tough and can be relied on to hold your line and cut up cavalry, tho they donít have the attack of some other spearmen they have good defence and armour making them useful meatshields. They are just like Armoured Sergeants except cheaper.
Dismounted Sipahi Lancers
Attack: 9 Charge: 4 Defence: 15 Armour: 5 Cost: 630 Upkeep: 175
The Turkís elite spearmen. They have very good defence for spearmen and are well armoured. They can dish out hurt with their good attack and take quite a while to start taking serious causalities. If you need spearmen as the Turks these men are up to the task.
Attack: 9 Charge: 4 Defence: 10 Armour: 0 Cost: 510 Upkeep: 150
The moors toughest spearmen with far better morale than Berber Spearmen. They donít have the defence of other elite spearmen, as they are still not armoured but still have a good attack. You should use these for demanding spearmen tasks but donít rely on them too far. As with all Moorish spearmen keep them away from missiles.
Attack: 7 Charge: 3 Defence: 9 Armour: 0 Cost: 370 Upkeep: 125
Factions: Milan, Venice, Papal States, Sicily, Milan, Papal States
Italian Militia are tougher than normal Spear Militia that non Italian factions have. While they are equal or bettered by many other spearmen the strength of Italian Militia and Italian Spear Militias is that they are available very early on, only needing a Town Guard to be recruited and they have the stats of Sergeant Spearmen and Armoured Sergeants respectively. This means for the first dozen turns or so the Italian Militia will be facing normal Spear Militia and other weak spearmen and can easily crush them, making it very easy for the Italian states to expand quickly. Itís better to make the superior and armoured Italian Spear Militia than this unarmoured version, but both of these units are excellent early on and stay useful later in the game. Use these units well.
Italian Spear Militia
Attack: 7 Charge: 3 Defence: 13 Armour: 4 Cost: 460 Upkeep: 125
Factions: Milan, Venice, Papal States, Sicily, Milan, Papal States
See above for how useful these units are. They are the same as Italian Militia but are armoured making them even more useful. These should be the backbone of your armies.
Attack: 9 Charge: 4 Defence: 10 Armour: 0 Cost: 580 Upkeep: 185
Lamtuna Spearmen are like dismounted Tuareg except that they are disciplined, are highly trained rather than trained and can form Schiltrom. The disciplined tag means they will take a heck of allot of misfortune before they rout as morale shocks like the general dying doesnít affect them and they will hold formation better with the highly trained tag. Use them in the same way as decent spearmen with decent stats. These are the moors best spearmen and elites, tho again they are unarmoured but youíll at least have some smith buildings by the time you can recruit these to give them some armour.
Attack: 5 Charge: 2 Defence: 7 Armour: 0 Cost: 310 Upkeep: 125
Factions: England, Mongols
Levy Spearmen are the same as Spear Militia. Use them in the same way.
Attack: 7 Charge: 3 Defence: 9 Armour: 0 Cost: 400 Upkeep: 155
Factions: Moors, Egypt
These men are just like Berber Spearmen, except they donít get a bonus in deserts and they canít form Schiltrom
Attack: 7 Charge: 3 Defence: 14 Armour: 5 Cost: 490 Upkeep: 155
Pavise Spearmen are Sergeant Spearmen with large pavise shields. This gives them good defence against missiles, though they arenít as invulnerable as youíd imagine. They will still take causalities from missiles, but it will take a long while for causalities to add up. Use these men as your line infantry for Hungry, as they have very good defence for spears and will serve well.
Attack: 7 Charge: 3 Defence: 14 Armour: 5 Cost: 490 Upkeep: 155
Factions: Turks, Egypt
Saracen Militia are much like Italian Spear Militia except with slightly more armour. These troops should be used the same way: attack your neighbours early and overwhelm them with your powerful early troops while they are stuck with their lesser troops
Attack: 7 Charge: 3 Defence: 9 Armour: 0 Cost: 420 Upkeep: 155
Factions: France, HRE, England, Venice, Sicily, Milan, Papal States
Sergeant Spearmen are superior to the standard militia spears as they have better attack and defence. They also have better morale, tho they are still not armoured. Use them like the militia spears just remember they are tougher. It is still better to use Armoured Sergeants when you can as they are just like this unit except for decent armour which helps them out greatly and they are only a tiny bit for expensive. Keep them away from missile fire unless they are fodder.
Attack: 12 Charge: 4 Defence: 16 Armour: 5 Cost: 740 Upkeep: 215
Factions: Papal States
Exclusive to the Papal States, Papal Guard are elite spearmen with a very high attack for spears, huge morale tied for highest in the game and are the best defended spearmen in the game. They are the best spears in M2TWand when fighting the Pope youíll want to kill them with AP weapons as fast as possible, as they will wipe out other spearmen and some swordsmen in melee.
Attack: 5 Charge: 2 Defence: 7 Armour: 0 Cost: 210 Upkeep: 100
Slav Levies are exactly like Spear Militia and should be used in the same way, however itís better to use Hungaryís far superior Pavise Spearmen if you have the choice
Attack: 7 Charge: 3 Defence: 13 Armour: 4 Cost: 500 Upkeep: 125
Factions: Russia, Poland
This imaginatively named unit is Russiaís spearmen of the line. They have good stats for spearmen, a lot like other factionís later spears and can easily form a line or fight cavalry.
Attack: 5 Charge: 2 Defence: 7 Armour: 0 Cost: 310 Upkeep: 125
Factions: Spain, France, England, HRE, Poland, Byzantines, Egypt, Russia, Denmark, Moors, Portugal, Hungry, Timurids, Mongols, Scotland, Turks, Portugal, Poland, Mongols
Spear Militia is by far the most common unit in the game, especially early on. Spear Militia can be created at just about anywhere and every faction has it. They are one of the weakest spearmen units in the game, but you will use loads of them early on, as will every other faction. Use them as your do everything troops early on, to fight the enemies troops, hold enemies in place so you can flank or hit them with missiles, as one big mass to rout the enemy, in a mass to kill the enemy general and just as basic soldiers. These troops, Town Militia and Peasant Archers will be most factionís early troops.
Attack: 5 Charge: 2 Defence: 7 Armour: 0 Cost: 290 Upkeep: 125 (Spain, France, HRE, England, Timurids, Scotland, Moors, Turks, Denmark, Mongols)
Attack: 5 Charge: 2 Defence: 4 Armour: 0 Cost: 160 Upkeep: 100(Poland, Hungry)
Town militia are exactly like Spear Militia except they canít form Schiltrom. You donít really need to worry about that formation too much so use them exactly like Spear Militia. Another version of these spearmen is weaker like Azabs and you should use two of them to attack enemy Spear Militia if you want to win.
Even when defending a gate pikemen are largely useless as they get pushed back fast
Pikemen are almost useless in M2TW. They are bugged to high heaven and completely lack cohesion or realism. The problem with pikemen is they switch to using their swords almost instantly after they are attacked in melee. Instead of using their pikes, maintaining the spearwall and stabbing the enemy with their pikes, they change to swords and become useless weak swordsmen with next to no defence. This makes them essentially useless, as the cant really do anything that swords or spears cant except actually stop the momentum of a cavalry charge and kill a few of them if they throw themselves on the pikes. Since they are usually very cheap they are good fodder to use to hold troops while you flank them or shoot them with gunpowder or arrows as it doesnít matter if the cheap pikemen get hit as well. They never have shields as they wield the two handed pike so they are very vulnerable to archers especially since they usually lack armour. The buggy pikemen are a real problem for Scotland as they make the most use of pikes. They also look really cool in formation so itís annoying they are useless.
All pikemen get 8+ attack vs. cavalry when using the pike. The sword gives no bonuses. This is why itís important to try and hold the spearwall as long as possible.
Pikemen are best left on spearwall as this lets them hold their pikes at least for a little while. Guard mode helps as well to prevent them from drawing their swords and turning into crap infantry.
Pikemen basically suck at everything but the best way to kill them is with missiles. They are slow in formation and they usually have little armour and no shields so shoot them with archers or crossbows or javelins if they are armoured and they will die quick. A cavalry charge into the rear should rout them easily too.
Attack: 14 Charge: 4 Defence: 10 Armour: 5 Cost: 610 Upkeep: 185
Adventuros are by far the best pikemen in the game. The Tercio Pikemen might be famous but they are no match for these pikes. They have a huge attack, great defence for pikemen, are well armoured and have massive morale, more than some knights! They will beat any other pikemen in melee and fight well in the spearwall or out of it. They are impetuous but it hardly matters as they wonít be charging anywhere in spearwall. These pikemen make a great partner for Portugalís powerful Aquebusiers or Musketeers. Also try these pikemen with upgraded armour, as they look really cool if you upgrade it, with a unique unit model.
Heavy Pike Militia
Attack: 9 Charge: 3 Defence: 11 Armour: 8 Cost: 410 Upkeep: 185
These pikemen arenít quite as good as their noble brethren but they are very tough for militia and have good morale. They have the stats to hold on for quite a while in melee and their morale makes them good for holding back enemies while dishing out their own kills.
Attack: 9 Charge: 3 Defence: 3 Armour: 0 Cost: 210 Upkeep: 125
Highland Pikemen are much like the normal non militia pikemen but exclusive to Scotland and impetuous. Use them in the same way. Being impetuous they will take a lot of misfortune before they rout. They can only be upgraded to bronze armour, so their defence against arrows will almost be nonexistent.
Attack: 11 Charge: 4 Defence: 12 Armour: 8 Cost: 570 Upkeep: 215
Noble Pikemen are tough pikes. They have a high attack for pikemen and better defence. This means they are useful as the unit has a lot of staying power with their very heavy armour and sky high morale they can fight well when the spearwall collapses and they are much more versatile than most other pikemen. This unit is not as highly trained as some other pikemen so remember it will take slightly longer to get back in position and redress the formation with these pikes.
Attack: 9 Charge: 3 Defence: 3 Armour: 0 Cost: 240 Upkeep: 155
These pikemen are not militia and thus have better stats, but they are still very weak and have almost useless defence. Use them like Pike Militia above and get them some armour! Their armour cannot be upgraded as far as Pike Militia. They have superior morale to Pike Militia and can hold for a long time.
Attack: 7 Charge: 2 Defence: 1 Armour: 0 Cost: 150 Upkeep: 125
Factions: Spain, France, HRE, Venice, Sicily, Milan, Portugal, Papal States
Pike Militia are the weakest pikemen in the game. They have a low attack and because of the bugs above they use their swords which, with their complete lack of armour and nonexistent defence get them killed very quickly. They are extremely cheap however, just a bit more than peasants so you can pump them out as fodder or garrisons and they do stop a cavalry charge. This unit can have its armour upgraded a long way and they can go from unarmoured to partial plate giving them better defence against archers, tho a lot will still die from them. Always endeavour to get them as much armour as you possibly can to offset their awful stats. Their morale is better than youíd think and they can hold for a while.
Scots Pike Militia
Attack: 7 Charge: 2 Defence: 1 Armour: 0 Cost: 150 Upkeep: 125
This unit is exactly the same as Pike Militia including its morale. Use them in the same way. They cannot have their armour upgraded as far as normal Pike Militia: only silver rather than gold.
Attack: 14 Charge: 4 Defence: 4 Armour: 0 Cost: 350 Upkeep: 155
Spainís elite pikes, Terico have much better attack than most other pikes so they can fight well with pike and sword, except that against their defence is just awful, which is odd for elite troops. Use them like Pike Militia but much more aggressively, taking them off spearwall and letting them charge with their swords if necessary. Make sure to get them some armour upgrades. They have very high morale and it will take a lot for them to rout. Very cheap too for their stats, so use them off spearwall as flankers and put their high attack to work.
Itís not the size of the sword, but how you use it.
Swordsmen combine with spearmen and archers to produce the typical M2TW army. They tend to have good attack and morale and either very good or bad defence.
They are used(with exceptions) for charging in aggressively, doing most of the killing and working as steady strong troops wearing down the foe in straight melee, flanking the enemy and protecting other units. Swordsmen tend to kill more quickly than spearmen; their weapons have greater kill chances. They are most effective against spearmen but can fight any unit. Use swordsmen as your average aggressive attacking troops: they are versatile and can do anything required besides catch archers and horse archers. If you are using swordsmen to fight other infantry put them in two or three ranks as this allows them to get the most men into the charge killing more enemy on impact so less survive to cause damage. Swordsmen do not work well against cavalry: they take time to kill them and suffer from head on charges. If you are forced to use them to face cavalry put them in five ranks. This will let them absorb charges somewhat better, their ranks adding resistance against them and halting the charge sooner so they can get the cavalry in melee and kill them. A powerful charge by heavy cavalry will kill a LOT of swordsmen though; up to half the unit with really powerful cavally. Itís much better to let spearmen take the charge, and then charge your swords in to help the spearmen kill the cavalry. A deep formation will also cause them to die slower as men gradually get into melee and die gradually, which is useful if you donít care about kills and just want them to hold their position against the enemy for as long as possible.
The best way to deal with swordsmen is a cavalry charge with a powerful cavalry unit like knights or lance wielding heavy cavalry. They canít resist charges without spears. Crossbows and javelins work as well against swordsmen as any other unit and axes, if they are heavily armoured will do a good job on them usually. Swordsmen are versatile tough units and they donít die easily to anything besides cavalry charges.
Attack: 13 Charge: 3 Defence: 22 Armour: 8 Cost: 610 Upkeep: 150
Armoured Swordsmen are not knights but they are heavily armoured and have a very good attack and have knight level stats and morale. Use these men as foot knights as they are the same as knights and will cut up most opposing infantry.
Attack: 16 Charge: 3 Defence: 16 Armour: 4 Cost: 660 Upkeep: 250
Battlefield Assassins are elite units of just 60 soldiers. They can hide anywhere. They have excellent attack and very good defence. Because units in medieval 2 start further apart than the closer armies of RTW they are actually useful this time, unlike Arcani in Rome: Total War. They have tons of morale and wont rout until more than ĺ of the unit is dead. Use them to fight tough units face to face as they have very good stats, or keep them hidden from sight and then suddenly fall upon the enemiesí artillery, or archers from behind. Keep them hidden till the enemy line has passed and battle has been joined. This can be a very useful unit when used correctly. These troops take experience to use well. They are also excellent in a straight fight: little can match them. Remember that if the unit is led by a captain they cannot hide, as the generalís/captainís unit canít hide. They are also lightly armoured and vulnerable to missiles. Remember they have swords and thus do not pierce armour. Try to send them after small units or lightly armoured foes to prevent them getting into a large melee, where their small numbers will get them outnumbered when the enemy moves in reinforcements. Or just charge in from behind where the enemies armour hardly matters and cut them to bits.
Attack: 11 Charge: 2 Defence: 18 Armour: 5 Cost: 400 Upkeep: 125
Byzantine Infantry are the rank and file for Byzantium. They wield their swords well, are well armoured and have very high defence for such a cheap unit. They serve very well as aggressive infantry, able to last a long time in melee and dish out the hurt too.
Dismounted Broken Lances
Attack: 11 Charge: 2 Defence: 22 Armour: 9 Cost: 490 Upkeep: 225
Factions: Venice, Sicily, Milan, Papal States
Broken Lances may look like knights but their morale is not up to the knightly standard. These men are men at arms and have an average attack but high defence and are covered in armour. They are like a stronger version of Swordsmen Militia and can dish out the hurt and are good at soaking up punishment. Just use these as general assault troops and they will serve well.
Dismounted Byzantine Lancers
Attack: 11 Charge: 2 Defence: 18 Armour: 5 Cost: 440 Upkeep: 150
These men are exactly like Byzantine Infantry except they have better stamina and cost a little more. Use them in the same way.
Dismounted Christian Guard
Attack: 16 Charge: 3 Defence: 22 Armour: 7 Cost: 690 Upkeep: 175
Christian Guard are the Moors elite tough swordsmen. In contrast to most Moor units, this unit is heavily armoured and has a huge defence. They are incredibly skilled attackers and they are an incredibly tough unit, disciplined and highly trained. They are cheap for their power, and as the Moors you should recruit as many of these units as possible and use them along with Camel Gunners as your late game army.
Attack: 16 Charge: 3 Defence: 22 Armour: 7 Cost: 690 Upkeep: 150
Factions: Spain, Portugal (Only trainable in the Americas)
Dismounted Conquistadores are oddly exactly like Christian Guard. They can only be recruited in the Americas from captured Aztec cities, if the city has the building required. They are absolutely devastating against the Aztecs: they have very high stats and great morale making them incredibly useful troops. You should use these and Musketeers as your forces to wipe out the Aztecs as Conquistadores will kill them incredibly easily since the Aztecs mostly lack armour they are easy prey for a sharp sword in a strong hand.
Attack: 13 Charge: 3 Defence: 21 Armour: 7 Cost: 630 Upkeep: 225
While not as powerful as some other elite swordsmen, Dismounted Latinkon are more than able troops with a very good attack and strong defence. They will slice up a lot of enemies and serve well mixed with the Byzantineís other powerful swordsmen. They have high morale.
Dismounted Men at Arms
Attack: 11 Charge: 2 Defence: 21 Armour: 8 Cost: 460 Upkeep: 225
Factions: Venice, Sicily, Milan, Papal States
Dismounted Men at Arms are powerful swordsmen much like knights. They have an average attack, the same as Sword Militia but are heavily armoured with very high defence. They will chew though enemies by attrition, even though their attack could be better and can soak up allot of punishment. Their morale however is nothing compared to knights and they will run much more easily. Use them like knights but be a bit more careful and donít throw them into obviously morale crushing situations.
Attack: 17 Charge: 6 Defence: 12 Armour: 7 Cost: 620 Upkeep: 250
No I am not named after this unit! Look up the military term Forlorn Hope up on Wikipedia to see where my name comes from. The Forlorn Hope are heavily armoured troops with 2 handed swords. 2 handed swords arenít bugged, but they lack shields so they die quickly. Despite the huge attack, this unit has just 48 men in it on huge unit sizes and that along with their lack of shields gets them killed. This unit is not worth its cost or its huge upkeep.
Attack: 16 charge: 3 Defence: 21 Armour: 6 Hit Points: 2 Cost: 840 Upkeep: 250
Factions: Moors, Turks, Egypt
Hashashirm are like an uber version of Battlefield Assassins. They can also hide anywhere and there are just 60 men in the unit. They have amazing stats and are well armoured. They are very deadly in melee because they are very skilled in fighting rather than relying on much armour for protection: this unit can chop up AP units just as well. Basically use this unit like Battlefield Assassins but remember they are a lot tougher and can really slice up any units that arenít heavily armoured. They have huge morale and often will die rather than break. They are also disciplined. This is definitely one of the best units. Just watch out for missiles and crossbows.
Attack: 14 Charge: 6 Defence: 9 Armour: 5 Cost: 490 Upkeep: 175
Highland Nobles are pretty good troops able to crush spear units and weaker infantry and cavalry easily. They have a big attack but their light armour and lack of a shield makes them highly vulnerable to missile fire and their low defence makes them rather useless vs. powerful well armoured troops like knights, as the swordsmen find it difficult to damage the armoured foes and die in droves. Use these men against pikemen and spearmen but avoid heavy swordsmen and axemen, unless you flank them since any hit to the back of a solider usually kills that man, enabling them to cut up heavy troops if they can hit them in the rear.
Attack: 13 Charge: 3 Defence: 22 Armour: 8 Cost: 610 Upkeep: 175
Noble Swordsmen are the Scots elite infantry. They are very powerful troops just like Dismounted Chivalratic Knights. Their stats are the same and they provide a very solid core of late tough infantry to the Scottish.
Attack: 11 Charge: 2 Defence: 18 Armour: 5 Cost: 400 Upkeep: 150
Norse Swordsmen are just like Swordsmen Militia below and should be used in the same way. Swordsmen arenít very useful for Denmark because they have superior AP Huscarles.
Attack: 11 Charge: 2 Defence: 18 Armour: 5 Cost: 400 Upkeep: 100
Factions: Spain, Portugal
Swordsmen Militia are useful swordsmen, as they have quite good attack and great defence for a militia unit since they start off with partial plate armour. They have good enough morale and can last a good long time in melee against most things. You should make loads of these units and use them for your main battle line and general assault troops or garrisons. They are great for their cost. As above with Highland Nobles donít try to attack heavily armed swordsmen with these swordsmen, unless youíre flanking.
Sword and Buckler Men
Attack: 13 Charge: 3 Defence: 19 Armour: 5 Cost: 540 Upkeep: 150
Factions: Spain, Sicily
Sword and Buckler Men are late Spanish swordsmen with light armour and shields. They have a great attack for swordsmen and can soak up quite a bit of punishment. They have huge morale and are powerful units with staying power for Spain. When you have access to them they come in very useful.
Attack: 11 Charge: 2 Defence: 18 Armour: 5 Cost: 400 Upkeep: 125
Urban Militia, much like the MTW version is a powerful early sword unit very effective for filling your army up with good reliable troops. This unit has good attack and excellent defence so they can fight very well despite being called militia. Use this unit as the Moors tough aggressive infantry, complementing their many lighter troops.
Attack: 14 Charge: 6 Defence: 11 Armour: 7 Cost: 680 Upkeep: 150
Zweihanders are slightly better armoured versions of Highland Nobles and should be used in the same way.
Ha! Whereís your advanced technology now, invaders?
Polearms are an almost completely useless class of unit in M2TW. The problem is that the last patch for M2TWfixed the shield bug (which caused units with shields to receive negative defence for their shields rather than positive.) that has plagued the series since Rome and this unbalanced the game towards units with shields, as the gameís balance was originally designed for units with the bugged shields. This is coupled with the fact that polearms have very slow attack animations and they can be blocked just as easily as one handed weapons so polearm troops spend a lot of time slowly attacking, getting blocked and having to start their slow attack animation over again, all the time getting attacked the by one handed weapon unitsí fast attack animations, getting stunned by the fast attacks and flinching rather than attacking back over and over and then dying. Polearms are very cheap, probably because CA realized the bugs and rather than fixing them they just made them very cheap to compensate for their crapness. Polearms are only useful for fodder and holding the enemy in place as they die. They have a huge attack and a good charge for infantry, so a flanking charge will hurt but they will still be just as useless in melee. The huge attack doesnít matter at all when they attack so slowly they can be ripped to pieces.
Polearms are complete crap and can be defeated by just about anything. Send spearmen or swordsmen against them and watch them die.
Attack: 15 Charge: 5 Defence: 3 Armour: 0 Cost: 230 Upkeep: 125
Billmen are bugged as described above and thus suck. Donít use them. Even if they were not bugged their awful defence would render them useless. The huge attack is meaningless
Attack: 13 Charge: 4 Defence: 1 Armour: 0 Cost: 170 Upkeep: 100
Bill Militia are weaker than Billmen, Not that it matters.
Attack: 5 Charge: 2 Defence: 1 Armour: 0 Cost: 300 Upkeep: 150(Hungry, HRE, Sicily, Poland, Hungry, Papal States)
Attack: 7 Charge: 3 Defence: 8 Armour: 5 Cost: 510 Upkeep: 150(Timurids, Turks, Egypt)
Halberd Militia regardless of who owns them are useless, like all polearms. The Islamic factionsí version is marginally better however.
Attack: 15 Charge: 5 Defence: 10 Armour: 7 Cost: 300 Upkeep: 150
Heavy Billmen suffer from the same bug as regular Billmen and are no use whatsoever except for fodder, as they can take a beating with their heavy armour.
Heavy Bill Militia
Attack: 15 Charge: 5 Defence: 10 Armour: 7 Cost: 300 Upkeep: 150
These are exactly the same as heavy Billmen with the same stats despite being militia. The only difference is they are trained in towns.
Janissary Heavy Infantry
Attack: 12 Charge: 4 Defence: 10 Armour: 5 Cost: 840 Upkeep: 175
JHI, a mainstay of Medieval Total War armies and one of the best units in the previous game is an embarrassment here. Due to the bugs they canít even beat Feudal Knights and they have really lousy defence. Despite their awesomeness in the last game, JHI suck this time around and make it rather pointless to play as the Turks. They are disciplined and highly trained, like it matters.
Attack: 9 Charge: 4 Defence: 12 Armour: 8 Cost: 720 Upkeep: 150
Elite Danish polearms that are of course no use. They can form spearwall.
Attack: 12 Charge: 4 Defence: 12 Armour: 7 Cost: 890 Upkeep: 175
Factions: Papal States
One of the toughest polearms and one of the Papal States unique units, youíll fight this unit if you attack the pope. They are still bugged so they will be cut down easily. They can form spearwall and are disciplined and highly trained.
Sword Staff Militia
Attack: 7 Charge: 3 Defence: 10 Armour: 7 Cost: 550 Upkeep: 150
While tougher than some Polearms, the bugs still make this unit useless for anything besides fodder. They can form spearwall.
Attack: 5 Charge: 2 Defence: 6 Armour: 5 Cost: 390 Upkeep: 150
This is another unit of useless polearms except it has more defence than halberds. They can form spearwall.
Itís raining death hallelujah itís raining death! woooowow
Skirmishers are much like skirmishers in RTW, but far more effective. Skirmishers are missile infantry armed with throwing javelins and a sword. They always lack armour. Javelins are effective against armour in M2TWand will cause causalities to even heavily armoured troops like knights. Vollies from two units of elite javelins likeAlmughavars can kill 30 Armoured Swordsmen in one volley, which is great when you think that youíre defeating some of the toughest troops in the game.
Javelins have quite a low rate of fire: the troops throw them slowly and there is a delay of a few seconds between vollies. They also have a very limited range. This means that javelins are vulnerable to enemy counter charges or missiles. Javelins need another unit to act as a pinning force to hold the unit in place so the javelins can do their work. Cheap Spear Militia is good for this as by the time the Spear Militia have been whittled down you should have slaughtered most of the unit being pinned. Make sure you take them off skirmish mode to stop them pulling back when positioned close behind the pinning unit. Their range is so short they will sometimes pull back before throwing and they take a while to fire so you donít want them wasting time running around.
Javelins only have 8 missiles per man, but the unit fires slowly and seem to fire in a staggered way with some of the unit firing them the rest and so on. This means that their missiles last longer than youíd think. They do have swords and some Javelinmen have good stats to fight as light infantry after their missiles are gone. Javelins never have armour and are very vulnerable to archers or cavalry changes. Some javelin units are expensive so try to keep them safe.
Skirmishers are only effective if they arenít engaged directly. Since their range is so short and they fire slowly they need to be left alone to throw their missiles without being pulled into melee. If you see skirmishers, focus on them first if possible or hit them with cavalry to crush the unit quickly. If you canít do that hit them with archers as their range and rate of fire disadvantage and their lack of armour will see them killed quickly. Just donít ignore skirmishers as that what the enemy hopes you will do.
Attack: 13 Missile attack: 10 Charge: 3 Defence: 14 Armour: 0 Cost: 640 Upkeep: 125
Afghan javelins are some of the best javelins in the game. They have a very good missile attack and are very capable in melee for missile units. They lack armour so they wonít last too long but they have good defence skill and large shields to help therm. They are very vunriable to missiles like all javelins. Get them some armour. When fighting them in the campaign use archers or cavalry charges and lots of them as they have great morale
Attack: 12 Missile attack: 13 Charge: 4 Defence: 8 Armour: 0 Cost: 640 Upkeep: 150
Almughavars are the best javelins in the game. They have a huge missile attack letting them cause many losses to heavily armoured units and can back it up with some very good melee skill, making them excellent for charge from the flank as they wonít be focused on and cut down if the enemy is already engaged.. If youíre Spain you should always use these troops but remember they still lack armour and are expensive, so try to keep them out of missile fire as much as you can. They can have their armour upgraded the farthest out of the javelin units in M2TW.
Attack: 9 Missile attack: 6 Charge: 1 Defence: 11 Armour: 0 Cost: 400 Upkeep: 125
Kurdish javelins are good javelins as they have good melee ability besides their average javelin skills. Donít be shy about charging from the flank.
Attack: 6 Missile attack: 6 Charge: 1 Defence: 6 Armour: 0 Cost: 270 Upkeep: 100
Javelinmen are just basic javelins. They will still cause damage to heavily armoured units and are perfect for parking behind your battle line and tossing their missiles over your mÍlťe units heads. Try to keep them out of missile fire. Their morale is low so take care of them. They are available very early on from the start of the game for Spain giving them a good advantage in attacking armour
Attack: 8 Missile attack 8 Charge: 2 Defence: 7 Armour: 0 Cost: 330 Upkeep: 100
While Portugalís unique javelins canít stand up to Spainís, they are still clearly superior to most other javelins. They have a good missile attack to cut down enemies and they can fight ok in melee, again from the flank is best. Their morale is higher than javelins but only about half the Almughavars.
Attack: 6 Missile attack: 6 Charge: 1 Defence: 9 Armour: 0 Cost: 350 Upkeep: 100
Sudanese Javelinmen arenít amazing javelins but they are still useful as all javelins are and will definitely help the mostly lightly armoured Moorish army fight armoured units. Make good use of them. Again they have low morale.
Attack: 6 Missile attack: 6 Charge: 1 Armour: 0 Cost: 300 Upkeep: 100
Turkish javelins are another unit of average javelins ready to rain sharp death on armoured units for the Turks. Same morale as Sudanese Javelinmen