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The Poles are a civilization that focuses on cavalry. Despite their cavalry focus, the Poles are a "jack of all trades" civilization with access to a large variety of units with a strong economic building, the Folwark. Due to the high strategic planning of the utilization of the Folwark, the civilization is designed for more experienced players than for beginners.

Strengths[]

The Poles are a versatile civilization with a wide variety of units. Their Archery Range is solid, having nearly all the necessary upgrades for the Arbalester, Heavy Cavalry Archer, and Elite Skirmisher, only lacking the Hand Cannoneer and Parthian Tactics. Their cavalry is solid with the Winged Hussar and Cavalier. Their cavalry can be further boosted with their unique technologies, Szlachta Privileges and Lechitic Legacy. The former makes their Knight-line units cost less gold, while the latter allows their Light Cavalry to deal trample damage. Their infantry is near complete, only lacking the Halberdier; and their unique unit, the Obuch, is an infantry unit that can shred through enemy armor.

Their economy is also solid, with the Folwark immediately gathering 10% of the Farm's total food into the player's stockpile and their Stone Miners slowly generating gold. Their Villagers also slowly regenerate health, making them less vulnerable to enemy raids.

Weakness[]

While the Poles have a broad and diverse tech tree, they are not without weaknesses. Their cavalry and archers are essentially glass cannon units, as they lack Plate Barding Armor and Ring Archer Armor. The loss of Ring Archer Armor isn't much of a huge loss, as Blacksmith upgrades that boost attack and range are prioritized over armor. However, the lack of Plate Barding Armor makes their cavalry more vulnerable to arrow-fire. For gameplay design purposes, the Poles also lack the Paladin, meaning their heavy cavalry puts emphasis on quantity over quality with Szlachta Privileges and their heavy cavalry will lose out in toe to toe fights with civilizations with stronger cavalry. They also lack the Halberdier upgrade, which forces the Poles to rely on the Obuch to shred a bit of armor on heavily armored cavalry units such as Paladin and Boyar in order for their Pikemen to deal significant anti-cavalry damage. To make matters worse, the combination of Obuchs and Pikemen will not be enough to deal with cavalry units with high amounts of hit points (such as War Elephants and Battle Elephants).

Their siege is average at best, as they have access to Bombard Cannon, Siege Ram, and Siege Engineers, but they lack Siege Onager and Heavy Scorpion. Their navy is below-average, since they are missing several key technologies such as Shipwright and Dry Dock. Their Monastery is average at best, as they lack Heresy, Atonement, and Illumination.

The Folwark is an economic building that is seen as a high risk, high reward economic bonus. In order for the Poles to maximize food production, farm placement should be prioritized around the Folwark over the Town Center, leaving their Villagers more vulnerable to enemy raids. Placed properly, however, the Poles will not only have constant supply of food with their Folwark, but their Villagers can safely retreat from enemy raids thanks to their health regeneration. As such, the maximizing the food production effect of the Folwark requires long term strategic planning and placement.

Much like the Malians and Chinese, the Poles can attack and defend equally well without any significant advantages.

Strategy[]

The Poles are a very peculiar civilization to play. All of their three main bonuses are geared towards economy and Villagers, which allows them to have a very solid economy since the Dark Age. They have a slightly unusual start, due to the Folwark, as this building allows 5 population space. The first Folwark should be placed near the Berry Bushes as soon as they find them, and the next ones should be placed three tiles away from the Town Center in order to allow farmers working around those Folwarks to get Town Center shelter in case of a raid. Also, unlike any other civilization, they should start gathering stone instead of gold early because, their stone miners generate a trickle of gold when working; approximately 2 stone miners equal 1 Villager collecting gold. The gold trickle also increases with each stone mining technology researched. Polish Villagers are also better equipped for Boar hunting, since they can slowly regenerate hit points (5 HP per minute), so the hunter may recover its HP after luring Boars. This regeneration ability also comes handy when recovering from an enemy raid.

The Poles are a natural fit for cavalry rushes, like Scout Cavalry in the Feudal Age. Since Poles are able to gather food quickly due to the Folwark, they can use the food surplus for performing a Scout rush in the Feudal Age, and their team bonus gives +1 attack vs archers. In case the player does not want a scout rush, they are also able to perform archer rushes, Men-at-Arm rushes or Tower rushes, since they can gather gold while mining stone. In the case of a Tower rush, their Villagers are able to regenerate if they get caught while performing this strategy.

The solid economy of the Poles also allows for a Fast Castle strategy followed by a Castle Drop or by Cavalry rushes, particularly Light Cavalry rushes. However, Knight rushes are also viable. For a Castle drop, they usually get enough stone in the early Castle Age for placing two Town centers and a Castle; they can then use part of the gold generated by the stone miners for researching Slachta Privileges, which can help for a Knight rush, or for creating Obuchs.

As the game progresses, the typical Pole army will be spearheaded by cheap Cavaliers and powerful Winged Hussars. The Poles have some unfortunate holes in their technology tree, but can still back these units with reasonably strong Champions and Obuchs, along with not fully upgraded (but still useful) Pikemen, Arbalesters, Elite Skirmishers, and Bombard Cannons. Fortunately for the Poles, the combined effects of Szlachta Privileges and their mining bonus will mean that they will have a healthy supply of gold for longer than many opponents, allowing them to use their stronger unit options for longer.

The Obuch is a very peculiar unit; is an infantry similar in functionality to the Militia line that is highly resilient, as it has beefy hit points (80 non elite, 95 the elite) 2/2 armor, but with lower attack than a Two-Handed Swordsmen even in its Elite Version (8 non elite, 10 elite). However, what makes this unit really special is its unique ability of damaging the armor (both pierce and melee) of any unit they fight. This ability only applies to units and not buildings, and it allows the Obuch to weaken armies of highly armored units before the next wave of Polish attackers comes to the battlefield. Since this unit can tear down Pierce armor, it can also be used as a counter for anti-archer units to a degree, or a counter against rams or Huskarls which can tear down Castles.

In the Imperial Age, the Poles can continue to raid with cavalry. In this regard, they get two very important improvements: the Winged Hussar and the Lechitic Legacy technology. Winged Hussars are basically a better Hussar upgrade that gives more attack, hit points and a useful bonus against gunpowder units. With this in mind, Polish players can defeat armies of gunpowder units, especially Hand Cannoneers. Lechitic Legacy, on the other hand, allows trample damage for the Winged Hussar, which is a great advantage in mass battles. Winged Hussars make the Poles a good civilization in trash wars, despite their lack of Halberdiers.

They have a mediocre navy, so unless control of the seas is necessary, they should avoid the use of ships.

Patch changes[]

In update 56005, the Obuch training time was increased to 12 seconds, making it harder to mass produce. To compensate, the Poles gain access to Siege Engineers, adding more versatility to their already diverse tech tree.

Alliances[]

The Poles can work well with other civilizations that use the Scout Cavalry line, since their team bonus improves their performance against archer units. These include the Berbers, Bulgarians, Burmese (with Manipur Cavalry upgrade), Huns, Lithuanians, Magyars, Mongols, Tatars, and Turks. Likewise, the Poles can benefit from other civilizations' team bonuses that support their use of the Scout Cavalry line, including the Huns (Stable workrate is better), Hindustani (+2 attack against buildings) and Mongols (+2 LOS for the Scout line). Team bonuses that increase the stats of heavy cavalry, like the Frank (Knight line +2 LOS) and Persian (Knight line +2 attack vs archers) team bonuses are also welcome to Polish players, since Polish Cavaliers become the cheapest ones in the game after Szlachta Privileges is researched.

Considering the Folwark, having a Chinese ally will further improve farm gathering rates, since the 10% gathering ability of the Folwark takes into account the +10% food for farm from the Chinese team bonus.

Since their unique unit (the Obuch) is a unit with fast creation speed (third place after Shotel Warrior and Karambit Warrior, and on par with the Samurai), having a Berber ally can be very helpful, as Kasbah can reduce the training time of Obuchs further.

A few civilizations do a good job at compensating for the holes in the Poles' technology tree. For example, the Byzantines can compensate for the Poles' weak Spearman line and lackluster archers with their own cheap Halberdiers and fully upgraded Arbalesters and Hand Cannoneers. Likewise, the Japanese have fully upgraded archery range units combined with powerful infantry, and can benefit from the Poles' powerful cavalry.

Compared Advantages and disadvantages[]

Advantages vs other civilizations[]

  • The Folwark is a unique building for the Poles that replaces the Mill, which functions both as a House and Mill together. When Farms are built around Folwark, the player is given an instant stockpile of food that is gathered from the Farm built. Combined with their stone miners generating gold, this allows the Poles to go for a booming strategy that would allow them to have an economic advantage over their opponent in terms of advancing in the next age and Villager production.
  • Their Villagers slowly regenerate hit points, and the effect gets stronger when they advance through the ages. This makes the Poles less vulnerable to enemy raids and offers a layer of protection for their Villagers against civilizations that excel at early game rushes, such as Aztecs, Huns, and Goths.
  • The Poles have a very strong cavalry. Despite lacking the Paladin and Plate Barding Armor, they have access to strong Winged Hussars with trample damage and cheaper Cavaliers thanks to their unique technologies. Combined with the extra attack against archers for their light cavalry, this gives Poles a significant advantage against archer civilizations with weak cavalry (i.e. Britons and Ethiopians).
  • Their archery range is solid, having nearly all the important upgrades except for Ring Archer Armor and Parthian Tactics. This gives the Poles a significant advantage against infantry civilizations such as Aztecs, Vikings, and Celts.
  • The Obuch is a unique unit with versatile application with their armor shred ability. Against Goths, the Obuch can shred pierce armor from Huskarls, allowing their Arbalesters and Heavy Cavalry Archers to deal significant damage to the Huskarls. The Obuch can also shred armor against units with high melee armor such as Teutonic Knights and Boyars, as it allows their other melee units such as Champions (or Pikemen in the case of the Boyar) and Cavalier to deal with high melee armor units easily. Even a combination of Obuchs and Pikemen in the army composition is enough to deal with civilizations with access to Paladins (such as Teutons, Franks, Huns, and Lithuanians).
  • Defensively speaking, the Poles have access to nearly all the defensive upgrades such as Bombard Towers, Keeps, and Hoardings; and only miss out in Architecture. Combined with their stone miners gathering gold, the Poles can play defensively against early game rushes and have an edge against civilizations with below average siege such as Lithuanians (that is until Bombard Cannons and Trebuchets come into play in the Imperial Age).
  • Having an open and diverse tech tree, the Poles can effectively counter civilizations limited in tactical options such as Goths, Huns, Britons and other "specialist" civilizations.
  • As they can collect extra gold from Stone Mines, while also having most essential technologies except Atonement and Illumination, the Poles can try a good Monk rush, which gives them an advantage facing expensive units without Heresy.

Disadvantages vs other civilizations[]

  • Despite the Poles having strong cavalry, they lack the Paladin upgrade and Plate Barding Armor, making their cavalry frailer despite their unique technologies. Civilizations with strong Halberdiers (e.g. Japanese, Burmese, Teutons, Goths, Bohemians) or strong Camels (e.g. Indians, Saracens, Malians, Berbers, Byzantines) can make quick work of their cavalry. Berber and Byzantine Camels have a significant advantage because their camels can cost-effectively trade with the Poles' cheaper Cavaliers (especially the former with Maghrebi Camels to regenerate health in order to mitigate Obuch armor shred). Italian Genoese Crossbowmen and Incas Kamayuks can make quick work of the Polish cavalry, since they lack the last armor upgrade for their cavalry.
  • While the Poles have very strong Archery Range options, they do not have any significant bonuses for their archer units. Civilizations with archer bonuses (e.g. Vietnamese, Britons, Mayans, Ethiopians) or cavalry archers (e.g. Tatars, Mongols, Magyars, Turks) can trade effectively against the Polish Arbalesters and Heavy Cavalry Archers as well as shredding their Obuchs.
  • The Polish navy is somewhat below average, as they lack several key technologies for their navy. As such, the Poles will struggle against civilizations with significant naval bonuses (e.g. Malay, Vikings, Portuguese, Italians).
  • While the Polish have relatively decent siege with Siege Rams and Bombard Cannons and can defend equally well thanks to their stone mining bonus, they do not have significant bonuses for their siege and defenses. Civilizations with strong siege weapons (such as Mongols, Ethiopians, Khmer, and Celts) can easily destroy Polish defenses and siege.
  • While the Obuch is a versatile unique unit with various applications, it is vulnerable to units with anti-infantry damage (e.g. Hand Cannoneers, Inca Slingers, Byzantine Cataphracts, Aztec Jaguar Warriors), and Japanese Samurai (due to their bonus damage against unique units). Throwing Axemen and Gbetos can make quick work of Obuchs due to their superior range. Obuchs will also struggle against units with high hit points such as the Persian War Elephants and Battle Elephants from Southeast Asian civilizations, since the Poles lack the Halberdier upgrade.
    • While the Obuch armor shred is permanent, the effect can be removed when the unit is healed up to full. Civilizations with access to self-regenerating units such as Viking Berserks and Berber Camels with Maghrebi Camels can mitigate the Obuch armor shred effect. In a similar sense, civilizations with strong Monks (e.g. Burmese, Byzantines, Teutons, Lithuanians, Spanish, Bohemians, and Aztecs) can heal up their armies and convert Polish units since the Poles lack Heresy. To make matters worse, if the Poles try to go for a Monk rush, lacking both Atonement and Heresy, the enemy can convert all of their Monks if the enemy has access to Atonement.
  • While having access to most important technologies for their Monks, they have nothing special. In addition, lacking access to Gold Shaft Mining will hinder the gold collection speed. Also, they do not have access to Halberdiers, making them rely on Monks to counter Elephant units.
  • The Polish do not have any gunpowder units except for Bombard Cannons and Bombard Towers, so civilizations with strong gunpowder (e.g. Bohemians, Turks, and Portuguese) will have a significant advantage over the Polish in the late-game.

Situational advantages[]

  • The Poles' strong cavalry and their Folwark make them an ideal pick in open maps such as Arabia, or maps with high abundance of food such as Yucatan and Steppe to maximize the Folwark effect.
  • Thanks to their diverse and open tech tree, the Poles are suitable in the Battle Royale game mode, as they can take advantage with any military building they gain control of.
  • Their stone miners slowly generating gold makes the Poles an ideal civilization with large abundance of mines in an area such as Golden Pit and Gold Rush since it will give the Poles a significant amount of gold in the late-game.
  • Due to the Obuch fast training time and cheaper Cavaliers with Szlachta Privileges, Poles are a great civilization in King of the Hill game mode since they can secure the Monument relatively easily. In a similar sense, the Obuch fast training time gives Poles an advantage in the Regicide game mode.
  • Thanks to their Winged Hussars dealing trample damage, the Poles are a good candidate for the Capture the Relic game mode, as their Winged Hussars can deny the opponent from capturing the Relic.
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