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The Portuguese are a booming naval civilization. They have a quite rare duo of strengths because they excel offensively on both land and water and possess two great economic advantages that assume a critical role in the late game, where resources become scarce, and gold is more and more important.

Strengths[]

The biggest advantage the Portuguese have over any civilization is their diverse set of options, which is accompanied by full Blacksmith and University (except missing Arrowslits). Not only do the Portuguese have a strong selection of technologies, but their -20% gold discount on all their units makes fielding them much easier. Additionally, their technology research boost means they can stay ahead of the technology curve. They receive 0.33 wood per 1 food when gathering from Berry Bushes, which gives them more early-game versatility. There is also the Feitoria, which gives a trickle of resources while it stands. When depletable resources such as forests, Stone Mines, and Gold Mines are scarce, the Feitoria will compensate for the lack of resources by auto-producing them. It can also be used as an immediate boost to an economy, as they are not tied down by Town Center production time.

The Portuguese are strong at the Archery Range: they only miss out on the Heavy Cavalry Archer and Parthian Tactics upgrades. For the Barracks, they get Halberdiers and Champions, but lack Squires. As for their cavalry, they have fully upgraded Light Cavalry and Cavaliers, but lack the Hussar, Paladin, and all regional units. Their siege is also decent, with Bombard Cannons and Onagers with Siege Engineers leaving them without want. Their Monks have every available upgrade except for Illumination.

Thanks to Arquebus, gunpowder units can hit moving units much easier. The Organ Gun has a spray damage effect at range, so injuring infantry lines or rows of archers will be more effective. The Organ Gun fulfills the same role as the Scorpion, hence making lack of Heavy Scorpion only a minor setback.

The Portuguese have an incredible navy. Excluding their increased accuracy Cannon Galleons, they have ships that are more durable with +10% hit points right off the bat and, after Carrack, +1/+1 armor. The Caravel brings the raw damaging advantage of Scorpions on land to the water, making them great in tight areas.

Early-game, the civilization is modest and capable of holding on its own due to the wood generation from Berry Bushes (4 foragers = 1 lumberjack). If drushing, the gold discount is helpful since one can go for the three Militia rush without collecting extra gold. When going for an Archer rush, the Portuguese gold discount (saving 9 gold) is stronger than the Mayan archer discount in the Feudal Age (2 wood, 4 gold). The gold discount, the extra ship hit points, and the Berry Bush bonus come together to help smooth out the Portuguese early game on water maps, especially with the Fire Galley.

Weaknesses[]

The Portuguese navy lacks the Fast Fire Ship and Shipwright upgrades, the latter making it harder for them to keep up unit production, in addition to losing out on 20% wood on ships (but instead having 20% gold instead).

The Portuguese army lacks mobility. The final upgrades for the Light Cavalry, Cavalry Archer and Knight-line are missing, and Camels are absent entirely. They also lack Squires, which means their infantry have more trouble engaging in fights. Additionally, slow-moving Organ Guns and Bombard Cannons are often a part of the Portuguese army composition.

At the Siege Workshop, they lack Heavy Scorpions (but the Organ Guns replace them, to some extent and degree), Siege Onagers, and Siege Rams, making their siege tree somewhat empty.

Strategy[]

Early in the game, their gold discount on units will help them to train several Militia in the Dark Age or Archers in the Feudal Age to defend themselves. The latter is the recommended strategy in most 1vs1 or free-for-all matches for Portuguese players in open maps. The gold discount on Militia is a trifle, but okayish on Archers.

Reaching the Castle Age should be a priority when playing as the Portuguese. The Castle Age opens a wider array of opportunities to use the Portuguese discount bonus, as it will apply to important and gold-heavy units like Monks, Knights, and siege units. A Cavalry Archer rush is not recommended, as they cannot be upgraded in the Imperial Age. They will also get access to their unique unit, the Organ Gun, which is great at attacking low-pierce-armor units.

In the late game, the Portuguese should focus on creating gunpowder units as required. Normally, gunpowder units have a lot of problems with moving targets, due to their inaccuracy at long range. With Portuguese, that is not the case, as their unique technology Arquebus lets them hit these. Arbalesters, Hand Cannoneers, or Organ Guns should be used as the backbone of the Portuguese army, complemented with Bombard Cannons. Halberdiers or Light Cavalry should be used as front-line support depending on enemy units, or replaced with Champions or Cavaliers respectively when gold is not in short supply. A Portuguese player does not have to worry as much about scarcity of gold, stone, or even wood and food in the long term, as their Feitorias can produce those resources slowly but constantly, enabling them to continually produce gold units, even when the game enters the "Trash Wars". Bombard Towers can be built with all the excess stone generated from the Feitorias, either offensively or defensively.

The Portuguese are immensely powerful on the water, being strong in all stages of the game. Their +10% hit points make them better at combat, and the gold discount makes their beefy warships cheaper, creating one of the strongest combinations of civilization bonuses in the game. Beyond this, the Portuguese Castle Age unique tech Carrack adds more defense to the Portuguese navy, effectively making the Portuguese navy the most resilient in the game. It is because of this resilience that a Portuguese player should not be afraid to engage unless heavily outnumbered. They also have the Caravel as a naval unique unit. This unit is excellent against groups of ships with its projectiles' ability to attack through multiple units. Also, in maps like Islands or Archipelago, in which the wood and gold run the risk of being depleted, Feitorias will provide the Wood and Gold required for their ships in the late game (assuming the player and their opponents are close to depletion of those resources from the map).

Strategy changes in the Definitive Edition[]

The Portuguese economy received a boost, as the production rate of the Feitoria is raised and the gold discount on units increased from 15% to 20%. These changes aim at improving Portuguese superiority in the late game even further, allowing them to keep expensive unit production at a stage when the enemy is forced to use trash units.

With update 42848, Portuguese now research all technologies 30% faster (excluding advancing ages), which has both military and economic implications. The economic benefits of the new civilization bonus are greater in the early stages of the game when getting Lumber Camp and Mill upgrades that increase gathering rates is a top priority. Research time of essential Town Center technologies like Loom, Hand Cart, and Wheelbarrow is also affected; meaning that Town Centers can get back to producing Villagers faster and give the Portuguese player a slight Villager lead over their opponent.

The faster research time can also be exploited for a rush, as the Portuguese will mostly likely get important military (e.g., upgrading Militia to Man-at-Arms as soon as reaching the Feudal Age) upgrades before their opponents.

Lastly, the Portuguese can now try Monk rush, as they have the cheapest Monks in the game and can get Redemption quickly.

Strategy changes in Dynasties of India[]

Update 73855 has a general update where the Line of Sight is shared with all teammates in all multiplayer matchmaking modes (including lobbies). This caused the Portuguese to have their initial civilization bonus of technologies researching faster made into a team bonus instead, which gives the Portuguese more utility in team games where allies with access to the Paladin and Siege Onager upgrades can hit their power spikes sooner (due to the upgrades having a long research time).

In exchange, the Portuguese receive a new civilization bonus where their foragers generate a trickle of wood (up to 33% wood). This is primarily to address the Portuguese lackluster performance in one-on-one matches in land maps by giving them an early-game economic bonus. Since most maps start with 6 Berry Bushes, this generally yields up to 250 wood. This gives the Portuguese more versatility in their build orders. For example, the Portuguese can opt to build a Mill and two Houses and delay building their first Lumber Camp until the Feudal Age instead. The economic bonus also has strong synergy with their military units costing less gold, as the extra wood obtained from Berry Bushes can be used for an Archer rush or even a Feudal Age Man-at-Arms rush.

Alliances[]

As a Booming civilization whose civilization bonus kicks in more thoroughly in the late game, the Portuguese should ideally play in the pocket position. However, a Portuguese player can be powerful in any position, due to their gold reduction bonus. They focus on strong ranged units, so they work best with an ally with strong melee units. Their team bonus gives the entire team a technological lead.

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  • Aztecs AoE2 Aztecs: Considering the Feitoria bonus, Portuguese also function well with Aztecs, as this team will not have to worry about gold in the late game, thanks to the Aztec Relic gold bonus. Also, Aztecs are a good early game civilization but lose this status later in the game, and Portuguese are exactly the opposite, both can protect the other in different moments of the game.
  • Dravidians AoE2 Dravidians: The Dravidian team bonus makes Portuguese docks easier to afford. The Dravidians also specialize in infantry, which pairs well with the Portuguese's ranged units.
  • Incas AoE2 Incas: The free early Llama helps the bonified Portuguese econ and faster techs into rushing. Inca Stone discount can also help the teammate to defend their Portuguese ally into reaching late game, and/or leave more stone open for Feitorias.
  • Japanese AoE2 Japanese: Their team bonus aids the Portuguese's strong Galleons. They also focus on strong infantry and greatly appreciate the strong Bombard Cannons of the Portuguese.
  • Vikings AoE2 Vikings: Their team bonus aids the Portuguese's strong navy. They also focus on strong infantry, which pairs well with the Portuguese's ranged units.

Compared advantages and disadvantages[]

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Advantages vs other civilizations[]

  • The Organ Gun, being a Gunpowder siege unit with high damage output and a spray attack, counters almost all kinds of infantry (with some exceptions; see in disadvantages). Even the infantry of prominent infantry civilizations are vulnerable, especially if they are deployed in large numbers. Also, they fare well against foot archers (particularly skirmishers), especially if they are in packed formations, so civilizations may have to protect their archery from other units.
  • The Caravel, being a ship that deals splash damage in a straight line (like the Scorpion) and having similar characteristics to the Galleon, can counter masses of enemy ships (especially in dense formations) if deployed en masse, so naval civilizations that may rely on numeric superiority to thrive will have a hard time against them.
  • Regarding naval warfare, their ships are cheaper due to the gold discount, while at the same time have more HP and better armor (the latter due to the Carrack technology), so they have an advantage over civilizations that do not buff up the raw combat stats of their navy. As Cannon Galleons benefit from Arquebus, they also gain an edge over civilizations reliant on coastal defenses in water maps. They can create Feitorias for the late game, thus enabling a reliable and constant source of wood and gold, even when they are depleted from the map, so they also have an advantage against civilizations lacking the Shipwright upgrade.
  • Defensively speaking, they have almost all defensive upgrades (only lacking Arrowslits and Hoardings), so they have an advantage against civilizations with mediocre siege units or without proper anti-building units, especially before the Imperial Age (when everyone gets access to Trebuchet). Also, Feitorias are bulky and harder to destroy than villagers, making their economy in certain situations harder to disrupt through raiding, while the Feitorias themselves can be a slow but steady source of stone (which is necessary to make more towers, walls, and Castles). Civilizations that may have to raid their enemy to destroy or disrupt economy should have this in consideration, especially in the late Imperial Age.
  • Being a civilization with accurate Hand Cannoneers, they can effectively counter most infantry armies.
  • Having cheaper Monks and almost all Monastery technologies, they are good at countering heavy cavalry and elephants. They also have good Halberdiers, only lacking Squires, adding more power against cavalry in general.
  • Since their Bombard Cannon is cheaper and more accurate, they have an advantage against civilizations with mediocre defenses. Even civilizations with good defenses may have trouble against Portuguese Bombard Cannons. As they can counter other siege units, this also gives them an advantage against civilizations with bad siege engines, and even civilizations with good siege engines will have a hard time against Portuguese Cannons.
  • As they have an open tech tree with most relevant technologies available, they can effectively counter civilizations more limited in that regard.
  • Being able to perform early raids with the Militia and Archers, they have an advantage against civilizations with mediocre or regular early and mid-game, particularly on open maps like Arabia and if starting in the Dark Age.
  • As their Feitorias enable them to steadily produce gold until the super late game without needing trade or Relics, while also having cheaper Champions (the typical "trash Buster"), they have an advantage against Trashing civilizations in that part of the match.

Disadvantages vs other civilizations[]

  • Organ Guns, being a siege unit, can be countered by cavalry and particularly light cavalry. They are weak vs other siege units, so civilizations should consider this fact when facing Organ Guns.
  • Aside from the fact that Caravels excel en masse in naval encounters, they are individually weaker than Galleons. As they work better in large groups, Heavy Demolition Ships can be a response to Caravels, thanks to their splash damage, so civilizations can counter masses of Caravels if properly micromanaged and supported. Masses of Korean Turtle Ships may also be a problem, thanks to their high HP and armor.
  • Regarding naval warfare, they may have a disadvantage in the early game against civilizations that can perform early Galley or Fire Galley rushes, especially in the Feudal Age. Later, as they lack Shipwright and Fast Fire Ship, they can be overturned by civilizations that have those upgrades for their navy (aside considering the Caravels) especially if the Portuguese do not make use of Feitorias to overcome a late game shortage of wood and gold on water maps.
  • Although they have cheaper and more accurate Bombard Cannons, the rest of their Siege Workshop is mediocre at best, so civilizations with better siege can overturn them in several situations, especially in the Castle Age. Also, Turkish Bombard Cannons have better range and hit points and are created faster, so they can destroy a Portuguese Bombard Cannon at a greater distance.
  • Portuguese cavalry are mediocre (aside from costing less gold), so civilizations with better cavalry, good Halberdiers, Monks, Camel Riders, or other anti-cavalry units can eat through Portuguese cavalry armies.
  • Civilizations with good siege engines can counter the Portuguese fortifications, as though the Portuguese have most defensive technologies and a late game reliable source of stone (the Feitoria), they do not have any bonus for them, aside from better accuracy for Bombard Towers.
  • While they have good Monks (as they only lack Illumination, while their Monks are cheaper) and can perform a Monk rush, they still require heavy micromanagement and can fall apart against the Monks of civilizations. Eagle Warriors and Hussars are a huge threat to Monks as well, so it is better to use them only when the situation requires them.
  • Since the advantage of their Hand Cannoneers is their cheapness and accuracy, they may fall apart against the Hand Cannoneers of other prominent gunpowder civilizations. Moreover, the usual counters such as cavalry, skirmishers, anti-archer units, and Onagers still pose a threat to them.

Situational advantages[]

  • As they have a good tech tree and bonuses for gunpowder, the Portuguese are well-suited for post-Imperial matches. Also, in that setting, they can use their Feitorias to rapidly increase their economy, despite being less efficient than villagers.
  • In Deathmatch mode, as the scarcity of gold and stone is not an issue, they can much more freely spam their gunpowder, ships, Monks, infantry, and archers, without needing to create Feitorias in the late game.
  • In densely forested or closed maps, like Black Forest, they can wall up and then improve their economy and army, so they get an advantage over early game civilizations. Similar logic can apply in maps like Fortress and Arena, as they start the game walled up.
  • Having most improvements for Monks, while also being cheaper, they may take that as an advantage in the "Capture the Relic" game mode.
  • In high population matches (from 300 population cap to 500) their Feitorias are much more useful, since they can be used to increase the player's economy faster in the early Imperial Age by deploying houses and then Feitorias, as in these settings the player will not be too constricted by the 20 population cost of Feitorias.
  • Their Team bonus is much more useful in nomad maps, as in this setting all allied players will know the starting locations of the villagers of the team enabling them to perform some peculiar tactics (like coordinated villager rushes early on or reuniting all the team in the same part of the map for better defending themselves).
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