|“||Lithuanian unique cavalry unit with attack that ignores armor.||”|
|—Age of Empires II description|
Leiciai can be upgraded to Elite Leiciai in the Imperial Age.
Aside from the extra 150 food at the beginning, Lithuanians have no real economy bonus that helps them reach the Castle Age significantly faster than other civilizations, and while an early rush into fast Castle is a viable strategy, in most cases the player would follow this up with Knights rather than Leiciai. Most of the time, the player is better of focusing on Knights until the late Castle Age.
If the player starts with a Castle (like in the Regicide game mode) or the game reaches such a point, Leiciai generally outperform Knights in a few ways: in the Castle Age, Leiciai beat generic Knights one-on-one and in the Imperial Age, they are cheaper and quicker to upgrade.
However, if player's economy is thriving, and the player manages to create at least two Castles, they may prefer the Leitis over the Knight line, as their attack ignores armor, so they are able to easily defeat well-armored units like the Teutonic Knight or the Boyar, leaving units like these two basically "naked". The special attack of the Leitis also has the advantage that it negates every armor upgrade at the Blacksmith researched by its opponents, bonuses regarding melee armor, or unique technologies that improve melee armor, so if an opponent researches all of these upgrades, it will be a waste of resources that could be better spent on more units or attack upgrades, rather than increasing armor. For the Leitis itself, the increased attack upgrade from the Blacksmith will amplify their already powerful anti-armor attack.
A common dilemma for Lithuanian players in the late game is whether to use Paladins or Leiciai, as both are affected by the Relic bonus. This depends on the situation and available resources. If it is a 1v1 match and there are not large amounts of anti-cavalry units or massed archers, or if there are some specific match-ups (e.g. durable melee-armor units), the Leitis should be preferred, since their attack deals much higher damage and can decimate the enemy army much quicker. But in team games and particularly in a pocket position as well as against large groups of archers and to destroy enemy bases, the player should prefer Paladins instead, since their hit points and pierce armor are higher, and they can still also deal a fair amount of damage, which can be high as 20 with all four Relics collected.
As a cavalry unit itself, the Leitis can be cost-effectively countered by any of the common anti-cavalry counters, such as Halberdiers but with just two Relics, the Elite Leitis can kill Halberdiers in three hits, faster than most units in the game, excluding elephant units. Camel Riders can also pose a threat to them, since they have high attack bonus against cavalry and are tankier than Halberdiers, although in some cases, Leiciai can actually survive a combat and trade cost-effectively against Camel Riders, due to the latter's lower attack speed and higher gold cost than Leiciai. Leiciai still will not fare well against Battle Elephants and Imperial Camel Riders, so it is advisable to avoid these match-ups. Also, they can be defeated by other unique units such as the Samurai, Kamayuk, Genoese Crossbowman, Mameluke and War Elephant, though they will receive a lot of damage from Leiciai. Leiciai can also suffer against large groups of foot archers, Cavalry Archers and even Hand Cannoneers due of having less hit points and pierce armor than a Paladin, even when they are faster than them. For this reason, using Leiciai in conjunction with the fast and armored Lithuanian Skirmishers is neccesary when facing archer civilizations. Due to Leiciai's attacks ignoring any melee armor, their attacks are not amplified by the negative armor of rams.
As Leiciai are unique to the Lithuanians, only technologies that are available to them are shown in the following table:
|Unit strengths and weaknesses|
|Strong vs.||Melee units (especially Serjeants, Teutonic Knights, and Boyars).|
|Weak vs.||Pikemen, Kamayuks, Genoese Crossbowmen, Mamelukes, Camel Riders, Monks, War Elephants, Samurais, large groups of archers.|
|Hit points||Bloodlines (+20)|
|Attack|| Forging (+1)|
Iron Casting (+1)
|Armor|| Scale Barding Armor (+1/+1)|
Chain Barding Armor (+1/+1)
Plate Barding Armor (+1/+2)
|Conversion defense|| Faith|
|Creation speed||Conscription (+33%)|
- Lithuanians: Leiciai gain +1 attack for each Relic garrisoned in a Monastery, up to + .
- A team containing Berbers: With Kasbah researched, Leiciai are created and upgraded 25% faster, and Conscription is researched 25% faster.
- A team containing Bulgarians: Researching cavalry armor and attack upgrades at the Blacksmith is faster.
- A team containing Huns: Researching Bloodlines and Husbandry is 20% faster.
- A team containing Lithuanians: Researching Heresy and Faith is 20% faster.
- A team containing Teutons: Leiciai are more resistant to conversion.
- Leiciai have 12 attack and Elite Leiciai have 14 attack.
- Initially, Leiciai had a maximum of +5 attack from the Relic bonus. With update 34055, it was reduced to a maximum of +4.
- Initially, Leiciai trained in 23 seconds (20 for Elite) and cost 50 food and 80 gold. With update 36906, they train in 20 seconds (18 for Elite) and cost 70 food and 50 gold.
- Initially, Leiciai had 2 pierce armor. With update 42848, they have 1 pierce armor.
- A team containing Bulgarians: Initially, the team bonus gave the Blacksmith a 50% work rate boost. With update 42848, this was changed to a 80% work rate boost.
Dawn of the Dukes
- With update 51737, Leiciai have 13 attack and Elite Leiciai have 16 attack. Lithuanians lose access to Blast Furnace.
Leitis (pl. Leičiai) is actually an exonym used by Latvians (a related Baltic people) to describe the Lithuanians. In turn, Lithuanians used this Latvian exonym to describe a social group of Lithuanian soldiers subordinate only to Lithuanian state and monarchs, not to Lithuanian nobles.
- The Leitis' armor-piercing attack appears to be based from Medieval and Renaissance soldiers who "negated" enemies' armor by bludgeoning them with maces, morning stars, war hammers, war picks, flails, etc.
- Ironically, the Bulgarian Konnik does not negate enemies' armor, despite wielding a flail.
- This helps the Leitis defeat any heavily armored foe such as Teutonic Knights and Boyars outright, which possibly mirrors the Polish-Lithuanian alliance's victory against the Teutonic Knights at Grunwald as well as some Lithuanian successes against Muscovites.
- Though the in-game Leitis' health and armor rival the Knight line's, Lithuanian cavalry at Grunwald were actually lightly armored; whereas their Polish allies fought as heavy cavalry.
- A fully upgraded Elite Leitis with all four Relics has 22 attack, which is tied with the Elite Shotel Warrior for having the second strongest attack of all units outside of the siege and gunpowder section, being only surpassed by the Elite War Elephant with 24 attack. The Elite Leitis with all four Relics also deal the second highest damage of any unit in the game outside of siege units, being capable to deal 22 damage unaffected by armor. Only the Elite Coustillier can deal higher damage with a total of 45 unaffected by armor, using the charge ability.
- Leiciai wield lances as long as those of Steppe Lancer-line units, visually; nevertheless, Leiciai's attacks do not benefit from their weapons' length.
- Despite Leiciai wielding a tower shield, they are not affected by the Tower Shields technology.
- With the buffs introduced in update 36906, the Leitis immediately became into one of the most controversial unique units, due to being easier to create in large groups and very effectively annihilate most units that they fight at low gold cost and not even being too weak against large groups of archers and defensive structures, unlike the Cataphract, which also explains why they lost 1 pierce armor in update 42848.
- The Leitis is the third cheapest of the heavy cavalry units in the game, costing only 120 resources, only behind the Coustillier with 110 resources and the Keshik with 100 resources.
Notes and references
- The Leitis' attack is not exactly melee, but rather a special "Leitis attack" which can only be negated by the special "Leitis armor". All units have 0 Leitis armor which cannot be increased in any way, including by armor upgrades at the Blacksmith. Buildings have Leitis armor equal to their melee armor, with Masonry and Architecture increasing it by +1. Rams and Siege Towers have 0 Leitis armor as well – as opposed to their negative melee armor – so Leiciai do not deal additional damage against them and their attack is unaffected by Ironclad.