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The Celts are an offensive civilization that focuses primarily on infantry and siege weapons, but they also have decent cavalry and navy as well. While the Celts fare better than most civilizations in early games, they are the most powerful from Castle Age and onward. Thanks to a number of non-situational bonuses and units, the Celts are ideal for new players and experts alike.

Strengths[]

Their infantry move faster than those of other civilizations and their unique unit, the Woad Raider, is the fastest infantry unit in the game. They also have access to all siege weapons (Siege Rams, Siege Onagers and Heavy Scorpions) which offers a faster attack speed. However, they lack the ability to develop gunpowder units such as the Bombard Cannons. In addition, their unique technology, Furor Celtica, greatly increases the hit points of their siege weapons, making them quite difficult to destroy. They also fare better economically since their lumberjacks can gather wood faster than those of other civilizations. This frees up some population space since fewer villagers have to be tasked to gather it. In addition, their herdables cannot be stolen as long as it is within the line of sight of any Celtic unit, while they can steal herdables of other players with their units.

Weaknesses[]

Defensively they are average, lacking many defensive upgrades, especially Architecture, and Bombard Towers. Their cavalry is decent but is nothing special since they lack Bloodlines and Plate Barding Armor; still, they are able to upgrade to Hussar and Paladin. The lack of Camel Riders is somewhat compensated by the faster speed of their Spearmen. They also have some of the weakest Monks in the game, missing many technologies at the Monastery. Their archers are also incredibly weak, lacking the Arbalester upgrade, Bracer, and Thumb Ring; the lack of Bracer hurts their ships as well.

Strategy[]

Celts have a strong early-game economy due to their Lumberjack bonus. They have a powerful Feudal Age rush (flush) because their Militia move faster than opposing Militia and Villagers, allowing them to perform hit-and-run tactics, and raid more effectively. This bonus lasts into the Castle Age and beyond, as it essentially gives them free Squires plus a little bit more, giving them an advantage running from or pursuing other infantry.

In the Feudal Age, Celts can do more or less whatever they want, although Infantry are the go-to option since they keep their value even in the later ages. Lingering in the Feudal Age is generally a bad idea, since Celts really shine in the Castle and Imperial Age. Celtic Siege is among the best in the game, with extra health and faster firing rate. Woad Raiders make great raiding units due to their speed and attack bonus against buildings, and Halberdiers are good for protecting Siege, since they are better equipped to keep up with Cavalry than other civilizations because of the speed bonus. The Lumberjack bonus is fabulous for getting extra wood to make Siege Engines as well. A Celt player must be sure to keep multiple Siege Workshops up (preferably at least four) since Siege is slow to create.

The Celtic Lumberjack bonus also helps with naval conflict, allowing them to make more ships with fewer Villagers. Celts have a relatively good navy, only missing Fast Fire Ship and Elite Cannon Galleon, neither of which are vital to succeed; they also lack Bracer for their ships, but can research Shipwright for long water battles.

Being the official tutorial civilization, the Celts are recommended for newer players due to the Celts being a straightforward civilization with strong synergy with their civilization bonuses (faster woodcutting rate, faster firing and producing siege), their unique tech, and an infantry bonus with an infantry unique unit. Their tech tree is also well-rounded with strong siege and infantry and a decent cavalry and navy, with archers, Monks, and defense being their only clear weaknesses.

Strategy changes in The Forgotten[]

Celtic defenses in The Forgotten are greatly improved with their new Castle Age unique technology, Stronghold, that increases the firing rate of Towers and Castles. Despite so, they still lack Architecture, Bracer, and Bombard Towers, though this new improvement make their defense better. Although Furor Celtica now gives only 40% HP to siege weapons, the amount is still significant enough in the battlefield. If playing alongside with the Koreans, the minimum range for Celtic Mangonels are eliminated. This combining with the faster fire speed makes Celtic Mangonels among the most feared siege unit in the game.

Strategy changes in The African Kingdoms[]

All civilizations received the new Siege Tower at their siege Workshop, and as the Celts are one of the civilizations that favors the use of siege units, this makes a great difference. In the Celts' case, they are spammed quicker, and with Furor Celtica, they will have more hit points, making this unit more resilient against enemy attacks, especially from towers behind a wall. Since the purpose of the Siege Tower is to drop foot troops on the other side of a wall, the ability of this unit synergizes nicely with the infantry bonuses the Celts have.

Strategy changes in the Definitive Edition[]

As with most civilizations (except the Goths and a few others), the Celts received the new Supplies technology, which makes their Militia-line infantry a bit cheaper and consequently a bit easier to mass, making their Men-at-Arms rush in the Feudal Age a bit more viable. Of course, their faster Champions will be easier to mass in the later stages of the game because of this. The speed bonus for infantry has been disabled in the Dark Age, making their Dark Age rush (drush) much less threatening than before. The bonus now kicks in from the Feudal Age onwards.

Alliances[]

Celts should be paired with civilizations that rely heavily upon their siege workshop units, such as the Slavs, Koreans, Mongols, and, particularly Ethiopians (with their own Torsion Engines upgrade), Khmer (with their own Double Crossbow upgrade), all four civilizations from Dynasties of India (all of them have access to Siege Elephants), and gunpowder civilizations with access to Bombard Cannons such as Turks or Bohemians (with their own Houfnice upgrade). The Celtic team bonus helps them keep up a faster and more steady supply of siege units. A great early game synergy Celts have is also with Cumans, as the Cumans can create Siege Workshops and train Battering Rams in the Feudal Age, giving the Cuman Feudal Battering Ram Rush decisive seconds to win the battle.

Celts benefit from allies such as the Goths, who enable them to train their infantry faster, and from Koreans, because of the reduced minimum range for Mangonel units. The Italian Condottiero is also very useful for the Celts, because it can reach and counter dangerous gunpowder units very quickly. Alternatively, Genitours from Berber allies will also be the saving grace for feeble Celtic missile contingents against archer-oriented civilizations, together with Kasbah upgrade to make mass-producing Woad Raiders and Trebuchets in quicker speed possible.

Slavs team Bonus will also enable Celt to save some wood in houses, and invest that wood on more siege units. Khmer allies also proved to have good synergy with the Celts, not only contribute Hand Cannoneers for gunpowder support, they also grant Celtic Scorpions adequate range boost, in exchange for quick production speed of their own counterparts and Ballista Elephants, both enhanced by Siege Engineers and Double Crossbow technologies, as "friendly-fire-free" counter-measures against archers, ships and massed units.

In circumstances were the Celts are able to steal herdables from an opponent (which for them is a bit easier, due to their herdable-stealing bonus), they can instead give the stolen herdables to Britons, Mayans, Gurjaras or Tatars (Age of Empires II) allies, as they can get more out of the herdables (Britons gather them faster, Mayans and Tatars get more food out of them, Gurjaras can perpetually have a trickle of food by garrisoning herdables in a Mill).

Compared advantages and disadvantages[]

Advantages vs other civilizations[]

  • The Woad Raider, having fast movement speed, can effectively raid enemy towns and catch and destroy enemy siege units, so civilizations with poor defenses (such as Goths and Magyars) and civilizations reliant on siege Weapons may have trouble against them. They are also useful against archers, so civilizations like Britons and Vietnamese will have trouble against them.
  • As their Halberdiers move faster, they are better suited to counter cavalry, so cavalry-based civilizations (like Franks, Magyars, Huns, and Persians) will also have trouble against Celt Halberdiers. This also gives the Celts an advantage in trash wars, especially against any civilization that doesn't have fully upgraded Skirmishers (like the Turks) or Champions (like the Persians).
  • As their Militia-line moves faster and they have good economy, they have an advantage in open maps against civilizations with bad early game (like Turks, Spanish, Portuguese and Khmer) as they can raid since the Dark Age. This also gives the Celts a second advantage in Trash Wars, as the Champion is considered a counter to almost all trash units, as well as being better suited to counter siege units like their castle counterpart, the Woad Raider.
  • Since all their Siege Workshop units are bulkier, spam faster, and fire faster, they have a huge advantage against civilizations with poor defenses (like Goths and Magyars). Even civilizations with good defenses (like the Incas, Teutons, and Byzantines) will have a harder time against the Celtic Siege line. Also, as Onagers are a counter to masses of archers and densely packed slow moving units, civilizations that either rely on archers (like Mayans, Vietnamese, and Britons) or civilizations that rely on masses of units (like Malay and Goths) will have trouble against Celtic Onagers. Similar logic can apply to their bulkier Rams when facing archers and with Scorpions when facing masses of infantry. As Onagers can cut trees, these advantages also can apply in maps with dense Forests, auch as Arena and Black Forest.
  • Defensively, they are at an advantage against civilizations with a mediocre Siege Workshop or proper anti-building units (like Britons, Berbers, Japanese and Magyars), thanks to the Stronghold technology (without considering the Trebuchets, which every civilization has access to).
  • Regarding naval warfare, they are at an advantage against civilizations with a poor early game navy, as their lumberjack bonus enables the Celts to acquire wood fast enough to make a sizable navy early in the game. Even civilizations like Byzantines, Koreans, Persians, and Portuguese may have trouble in the early game against Celts in naval encounters, as most of their naval bonuses start later.
  • Their herdable-stealing bonus may enable them in some circumstances to troll out a Tatar, Mayan, Incan, or Briton opponent, denying them a highly valuable source of food that in these cases they get more out of their herdables.

Disadvantages vs other civilizations[]

  • Though the Woad Raider is a fast enough unit to close the distance to archers, if the player forgets to micro them they can be overcome by archers that have reached a critical mass, so Britons, Vietnamese and Chinese players should take this into consideration. They also struggle against Heavy cavalry (prominent cavalry civilizations like Franks, Persians, Spanish, Lithuanians, Bulgarians, and Malians can easily counter an army composed of Woad Raiders) so any Celt player must not forget to pair their Woad Raiders with Halberdiers.
  • Since they don't get access to any kind of gunpowder unit (aside from Petards, the Cannon Galleon, and Demolition Ship), they fare poorly in the late game against gunpowder civilizations like Turks, Portuguese and Spanish, especially if the game starts at Castle Age onwards. This is especially true for civilizations that have access to the Hand Cannoneer (as they can counter infantry) and Bombard Cannons (as they can Counter Onagers and Scorpions from a safe distance). Sometimes this disadvantage can also be exploited in closed maps like Black Forest against Celts, as late game civilizations can build up their way to Imperial Age if they manage to wall up in the early game and survive.
  • As their infantry relies on movement speed to get an advantage, and not on brute force, numeric superiority, or resilience, they may fell apart against other prominent infantry civilizations like the Aztecs (whose infantry have more attack and they also have the Jaguar Warrior as a counter for infantry), Vikings (who have bulkier infantry), Malays (whose gold-free Two-Handed Swordsmen and Karambit Warriors can outnumber the Celtic infantry), Japanese (whose infantry attacks faster, and the Samurai can easily counter the Woad Raiders), and Slavs (whose infantry can deal trample damage after researching Druzhina)
  • Byzantine Cataphracts counter the Celts almost perfectly, as they are too dependent on infantry and Siege and are limited in the ways they can counter them (aside from their Halberdier, which still has problems countering Cataphracts, and the Heavy Scorpions, if the Celts massed them), because of their bonus damage against infantry and the fact that they can catch siege engines.
  • Large contingents of Mayan Plumed Archers or Incan Slingers can be a problem for the Celts if they don't make use of skirmishers.
  • Mayans, Incas and Aztecs have access to Eagle Warriors that can effectively counter siege units. Similarly civilizations with access to good Light Cavalry (like Magyars, whose unique unit also deals bonus damage against siege units; Mongols, who not only have good Hussars, but their unique unit also deals bonus damage against siege units; and Huns) can be a huge threat to Celtic Siege units.
  • Despite the fact that their lumberjack bonus indirectly helps in naval encounters, this advantage may be short-lived as this also means they deplete the wood on the islands they control faster. Also, they lack Fast Fire Ships, Elite Cannon Galleons, and Bracer. Civilizations with either late-game sustainable economy (like Malay and Portuguese, both of which have infinite resource bonuses) or civilizations that furthers improve the statistics of their navy or have access to unique ships (like Byzantines, Chinese, Berbers, Portuguese and Saracens for the former and Koreans, Vikings and Portuguese for the latter) can overturn them in the late game.
  • The Stronghold technology helps the Celts to defend in the Castle Age, but civilizations with good siege engines (especially good Bombard Cannons and Trebuchets, like Ethiopians, Turks, Portuguese, Huns, Britons and Japanese) can overturn that advantage in the Imperial Age, as Celts lack several defensive upgrades.
  • Celts have mediocre archers, so this also limits the responses they may have against infantry-based civilizations.

Situational advantages[]

  • Celts have a clear advantage in any densely forested map (like Arena, Hideout, Black Forest, and Oasis), as their lumberjacks work faster while at the same time having Onagers that fire faster, enabling them to make paths faster through the forest. This enables them to take their enemies by surprise. Considering their Onagers, there is a very rarely seen strategy in open maps like Arabia that consist in using the Onagers to clear out any patch of forest an opponent may take for themselves, denying them access to wood while the Celt player himself can get their wood fast. This particular strategy is more effective for the Celts if starting in the Castle Age onwards.
  • Their sheep-stealing bonus is more useful if playing on maps in which players can find more sheep than usual, like Ghost Lake, Oasis, Yucatán, and Nomad. This is even more advantageous if playing with revealed map, as they can quickly find the initial locations of their rivals to steal their sheep.
  • In Regicide mode, they can research Stronghold early to better defend their initial location. They also get an advantage in the Fortress map, as Stronghold also benefits towers, and in that map there are several towers pre-deployed. Also, in Fortress each player starts with a Barracks, enabling Celts to mass their infantry since the beginning of the match.
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