|“||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.
The Leitis is a variation on the Knight line, with more Line of Sight in the Castle Age, less hit points in Imperial Age, a cheaper gold cost but slightly more food cost, more speed, less armor, and higher attack and the ability to bypass enemy armor.
Aside from the extra 150 food at the beginning, Lithuanians have no real economy bonus that helps them in the Castle Age, 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 off 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 much 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 Serjeant, the Teutonic Knight or the Boyar, leaving units like these 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 Elite 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 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, like the Elite War Elephant. 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 slightly 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, but that is not an issue because Leiciai have a better attack than the Knight line anyway.
Leiciai are more of a 1vs1 unit because of less varied enemy army (it will be either cavalry-focused or archer-focused) and less reliance on gold. They are less preferred in team games, due to gold being more easily available and the Paladin being more well rounded. Also, Relics are easier to get, since they are more in number (Elite Leiciai usually do not offer much improvement after two Relics except against buildings).
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, Battle Elephants, Samurai, 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, the Lithuanian civilization bonus could give Leiciai 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, 80 gold. With update 36906, they train in 20 seconds (18 for Elite) and cost 70 food, 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. Since the Elite Leitis ignores armor, in practice it deals even more damage to some enemy units than the Elite War Elephant. Only the Elite Coustillier can deal higher damage with a total of 45 attack (before 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 one pierce armor in update 42848.
- After the change, the Leitis, despite being cheaper and quicker to train and upgrade, is now rarely seen in most games, possibly because getting a reasonable number of them requires having multiple Castles, while having low pierce armor limits their effectiveness for raiding. Most people prefer to use Lithuanian Knights most of the time.
- The Leitis is the third cheapest of the heavy cavalry units in the game, costing only 120 resources, rivalling medium cavalry units like the Tarkan with 120 resources, the Coustillier with 110 resources, and the Keshik with 100 resources. This title of the cheapest heavy cavalry unit now controversially stands with the Polish Knight line with Szlachta Privileges, which makes them cost only 90 resources, but they lack Paladin and Plate Barding Armor, which makes them "lighter" in the Imperial Age. The Berber Knight line is the second cheapest of heavy cavalry units, with 115/108 resources in the Castle/Imperial Age.
Notes and references
- The Leitis has a special property which it shares with other melee units with Wootz Steel