Siege is the Ethiopians' strong suit, as they are the first and only civilization to have access to every available Siege Workshop units and upgrades and their unique technology, Torsion Engines strongly benefits most of their siege devices.
The basic Ethiopian rank-and-file are not bad, either. Their Spearmen receive the Pikeman upgrade for free upon reaching the Castle Age, so cavalry will not be a major concern in most Castle Age engagements for Ethiopian players; Ethiopian Archers fire faster than those of other civilizations and their Blacksmith has much, if not all, of the necessary upgrades towards a strong Archer-based frontline. The Ethiopians' unique Shotel Warriors are blessed with a very short deployment rate (which can be made more rapid with the Royal Heirs technology) for a very cheap price, allowing tactful players to overwhelm their enemies with sheer number if they build their Castles close to the battlefield. Players on a team with Ethiopians will receive a +3 boost to their Outposts' and Towers' line of sights that can provide a security advantage in the early game.
While Ethiopians have access to nearly every available cavalry types in the game, they do lack Bloodlines and Plate Barding Armor for conventional Stable units and Parthian Tactics for Cavalry Archers, meaning that their mounted troops will not last very long in a scuffle unless backed up by Archers and/or Monks. Their Militia line is also not very effective in the late game due to the lack of the Champion upgrade. Because of this, their only reliable frontline units are Arbalesters, Halberdiers, and Shotel Warriors, all of which can be countered fairly easily even by Huskarls.
The Ethiopians have a very weak Dark Age as they do not have any significant economic bonuses across from the free 100 food and gold when aging up. As such, the player should focus on booming their economy and play defensively against civilizations with early aggression such as the Aztecs, Huns, Mongols, or Malians. Upon reaching the Feudal Age, Ethiopians players should consider training masses of Spearmen to discourage early game Scout Cavalry aggression and Archers to counter Men-at-Arms rushes (although the Ethiopians are still vulnerable to Archer and Skirmisher rush aggression civilizations like the Mayans or the Britons, the Spearmen and Archers will have a lot of value due to the Ethiopians' free upgrade on their Spearman line and the Archer faster firing rate). Defensive Watch Towers should be considered to discourage any early game aggression from the enemy thanks to the line of sight bonus. Offensively in the early game, making an Archer rush during Feudal Age is a viable tactic for Ethiopians, and Tower rushing is also effective due to the expanded LoS. Monk or Pikemen rushing is also effective if the player can exploit the bonus resources per age or has a strong Feudal economy and manages to reach the Castle Age before their opponents (see below).
Making a mad dash towards Castle Age as an Ethiopian player is very possible, though it may require one to temporarily ignore Loom during the earlier ages to amass enough gold to upgrade (just the 100 initial gold plus the 100 more received at the start of Feudal Age is enough to research Castle), which may leave their Villagers vulnerable towards wild animals or if an opponent decides to commence an early raid. The recommended focus during Feudal Age should be on gathering food for the upgrade and wood for the requisite Market and Blacksmith. This rushing tactic allows the player to advance in age very rapidly if workers are properly micromanaged, but will leave their economy lopsided and vulnerable if they are not quick enough to adapt. If properly performed, this fast-Castle technique will allow the Ethiopian player to pull off an early Monk or Pikemen rush, the latter of which is recommended since their Spearman line is upgraded automatically upon aging up for no additional cost, and is very effective against very much anything an opponent can muster up during the early game if deployed in mobs.
During Castle Age, the player should consider rushing a Castle in their town and research Royal Heirs and Arson. Once the castle is built, Ethiopian players not only have a Castle to defend their town, but they can now create mobs of Shotel Warriors almost instantly to help quickly defend their town against raiders. At this point they can begin to consider raiding nearby enemy colonies with their upgraded Shotel Warriors, Archers, and Pikemen. Thanks to the Shotel Warriors and Royal Heirs Ethiopians can also perform a Castle drop tactic against an enemy town more effectively than many other civilizations.
Much of the Ethiopians' late game is not from their instant spawning Shotel Warrior; rather, their late game power comes from their wide variety of siege weapons. With the Ethiopians being the only civilization having access to every upgrade for their siege weapons, combined with the larger blast radius from Torsion Engines, their siege weaponry, combined with their cannon fodder of Halberdiers and faster-firing Arbalesters as their backup support, makes the Ethiopians have the most threatening and deadliest army compositions late game without the need of cavalry (since their cavalry is incredibly weak due to lacking Bloodlines, Plate Barding Armor, and the Paladin upgrade). Any left over Shotel Warriors from Castle Age raiding (as well as any Shotel Warriors created) should be garrisoned in Siege Rams to help the Rams get close to enemy buildings (as well as helping the Shotel Warrior's weakness against arrow fire due to the Siege Ram's high pierce armor). Siege Onagers and Elite Skirmishers should be mixed in with Arbalesters to counter enemy Archers and cavalry archers, and the Halberdiers should be the Ethiopians' main frontline to protect any cavalry charges from the enemy that would destroy their siege weapons and Arbalesters. Bombard Cannons will be very threatening to enemy defenses and siege weapons thanks to the larger blast radius from Torsion Engines. Players should consider building forward Barracks, Siege Workshops, and Archery Ranges and overwhelm the enemy with cheap cannon fodder with Shotel Warriors and Halberdiers as their main frontline with siege weapons and faster firing Arbalesters as their backline support.
Ethiopians synergize well with many other civilizations. Allying with the Koreans is considered to be the best bet, as they will benefit from the Korean team bonus of reduced minimum range for their Siege Onagers in addition to Torsion Engines (and vice versa for the Koreans with the Ethiopians line of sight bonus for their towers). Teutons are also good allies to the Ethiopians since they can garrison additional units in the latter's towers and the Teutonic team bonus makes Shotel Warriors difficult to convert. The Slavs are recommended for aggressive players as their population room bonus can be exploited by building many forward military facilities, while Slavs will make good use of the extra line of sight for their cheaper Detinets towers. Allying with the Italians will supplement the their already weak frontline with Condottieri, which is a good alternative to the Champions that the Ethiopians sorely lack while also providing strong anti-gunpowder unit support. Allying with any archer-based civilizations with archer team bonuses such as the Britons, Magyars, and Saracens makes their Arbalesters more devastating. Allying with the Goths is very beneficial as it allows the Ethiopians to build Halberdiers faster and supplement each others' weaknesses (Goths have a very strong frontline, but a weaker siege line and Ethiopians fare the other way around). Allying with Celtic players can benefit an Ethiopian player's siege industry with a handy creation speed boost. Allying with the Berbers is also a no-brainer considering the team-benefiting Kasbah technology, which will increase the training speed of Castle units and, when stacked with Royal Heirs, can make Shotel Warriors extremely effective with the Castle Drop tactic. Another great ally are the Sicilians, for their Donjons count as towers and benefit from the extra line of sight Ethiopians provide to towers. If allied with the Gurjaras, the Ethiopian player can amass their Camel Riders quicker as well.
The versatility of the Ethiopians in team games allows to them to play supportively, defensively or more aggressively than in free-for-all games. They also are great at Springboard tactics if playing with them as the Springs since most of their bonuses shine in the Castle Age and early Imperial Age.
Southeast Asian allies offer Battle Elephants as meatshields to screen Ethiopian foot units and siege weapons. Amongst them, Khmer allies deliver range boost to the Ethiopian Scorpions with Siege Engineers and Torsion Engines upgrades, plus supporting hand cannoneers; while Vietnamese allies offer Imperial Skirmishers. Malay and Burmese allies are also competent teammates for Ethiopian players, for the former grant them far-sighted Docks as a vital component of a fast-response fleet needs, while the latter reveal and share locations of the relics at the beginning, allowing them to amass Spearmen and foot archers to secure nearby relics early-game for future gold supplies.
Compared advantages and disadvantages
Advantages vs other civilizations
Disadvantages vs. other civilizations
The Quarry - The Loop
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