The Slavs are an offense-oriented civilization that features strong infantry and cheap siege units.
The Slavic team bonus allows military buildings such as the Barracks, Archery Range, Stable and Siege Workshop to provide five population. This bonus is useful for rushing strategies and civilizations, because it allows population space to be built up quickly. It is especially effective with other civilizations that have bonuses for these buildings.
The Slavs excel at fielding powerful infantry, as their infantry benefits from full blacksmith upgrades, free Tracking (HD)/Supplies (DE), and the unique technology Druzhina. Druzhina gives infantry the ability to damage nearby units in an area with trample damage, similar to the Byzantine Cataphract with Logistica. This makes massed Slavic infantry formidable and deadly, especially when defending their cheap siege units.
Units from a Slav Siege Workshop receive a 15% discount, making them much easier to field en-masse.
Their unique unit, the Boyar, is a strong mounted melee unit that can be used to annihilate lesser infantry and cavalry units. They are mobile, have high amounts of armor and damage, but are vulnerable to ranged units and expensive to produce.
The Slavs have weak defensive structures. They lack many technologies that benefit buildings, such as Architecture and Heated Shot. Their towers are mediocre because of a lack of the Keep upgrade, and they cannot build Bombard Towers.
Before the Definitive Edition, expensive Slav units were highly vulnerable to conversion, because Faith was unavailable at the Monastery. As of the Definitive Edition, Slavs only lack Heresy at their Monastery.
The Slavs do not possess any gunpowder units other than the Cannon Galleon.
The Slavs perform various strategies effectively, thanks to their 10% faster farmers and wood saved from building fewer houses.
The Slavic Feudal Rush (flush) is above average, due to free Tracking (in the HD Edition)/Supplies (in the Definitive Edition) and Barracks that raise population capacity by five. Clicking up to Feudal Age on twenty-two population (typically with twenty-one villagers) and building two Barracks is recommended, and finishing an opponent quickly will help to off-set the Slavs weak late-game defenses. Depending on how starting resources are positioned, a Slav player may be able to skip building a Mill and 4 houses and build a Barracks and a house with the initial wood instead in the Dark Age.
Strategies in the Castle Age become significantly more diverse due to a discount on Siege Workshop units and the Orthodoxy technology. Monks, Mangonels, and Rams are strong additions to any infantry-heavy army, as Monks can heal wounded infantry and Mangonels/Rams are fantastic anti-archer tools. If a Slav player has invested heavily in infantry, it is recommended to research Long Swordsman and any infantry-relevant Blacksmith technologies, starting with the armor upgrades.
The Slavs perform Castle drops and Castle Age rushes with some proficiency, as their Unique Unit is incredibly strong. If the enemy player is fielding infantry or cavalry, the Boyar is an excellent choice because of its stellar melee defenses. Slav players can produce limited numbers of Boyars with effective results, and employ infantry and siege as the main army composition. Boyars perform well as a heavy cavalry substitute, and may catch opponents who are expecting infantry off-guard.
In the early-to-mid-Imperial Age, the strategy is determined by what tactic was chosen in the Castle Age. A typical strategy is to prioritize upgrading Rams to Siege Rams, followed by infantry upgrades and additional siege techs. If the player went for a cavalry-heavy strategy in the Castle Age, Light Cavalry can be upgraded into Hussars for effective economy raiding. The Slavs also have an attractive offensive Monk tech tree that can be utilized, and it is recommended to research Block Printing and Sanctity.
Slavic infantry becomes top-tier in late Imperial Age with the Druzhina unique technology, which allows the Militia and Spearman line to deal trample damage. This means that fewer infantry are required to overcome a larger enemy army, especially when the enemy is bunched up or in a choke point.
The Slavic navy is average, missing the Shipwright, Heavy Demolition Ship and Elite Cannon Galleon upgrades. With this in mind, the Slavs should keep their feet dry unless water control is crucial, since their resources are far better spent on troops and siege.
Strategy changes in The African Kingdoms
The brand new Siege Tower unit is cheaper for the Slavs due to their siege cost reduction. This siege unit allows garrisoned foot soldiers inside the tower to overstep walls, and has great synergy with the fantastic Slavic infantry.
The Slavic Farming bonus gathering rate, which was bugged until Patch 5.7, is now fixed.
Strategy changes in the Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
The Tracking technology was replaced by Supplies (the effect of Tracking is still active), but in the particular case of Slavs, Supplies is free, which greatly improves their Feudal Age Infantry Rush (as Supplies makes the Militia line a bit cheaper). Boyars are now trained faster, and they also have Faith, so their army is better defended against opponent Monks. However, their Farming bonus was nerfed to 10%, but still valuable to perform an economy boom or making early rushes.
With update 36906, the Boyar got extra +1 pierce armor for both standard and elite, negating their previous big weakness against massed archers and defensive structures. Combined with the already high melee armor, this makes them one of the strongest units in the game and able to outclass Knights in several ways. However, their speed was reduced to 1.3, much slower than Knights and thus, an easier target to Monks.
The Slavs lost Treadmill Crane in update 44725, mostly to balance them in Deathmatches.
The melee armor of Elite Boyar got improved from 6 to 8 in update 50292. At this point, Elite Boyars now consistently beat all Paladins in the game, only being tied with the Lithuanian Paladin with 4 Relics collected, and even defeating Malay and Vietnamese Elite Battle Elephants in one vs one combat (though Malay Battle Elephants can still beat them cost effectively, as they are 40% cheaper). It also becomes into the unit with the best armor overall in the game, as they have 11/7 armor, making them extremely valuable, specially in team games.
Strategy changes in Dynasties of India
Slavs lose Orthodoxy, but gain Detinets instead - a technology that allows them to replace 40% of the stone cost with wood whenever they build towers or Castles, and is available in the Castle Age. As stone is more precious (and harder to accumulate) than wood, this technology allows one to build more Castles faster than the opponents, securing precious resources or using them offensively. The (potentially) higher number of Castles indirectly makes Boyars easier to mass.
The Slavs perform quite well in any map position in team games, but are favored in the flank position. They can also perform as a springboard due to their farming economic bonus. Civilizations with rushing capabilities are ideal allies for the Slavs, with the notable exception of the Huns (who have no synergy whatsoever).
For economic team bonuses, Slavs make a good combination with the Chinese. Slav farms receive +10% food from the team bonus, and the faster Slav farming rate takes full advantage of this extra food.
In terms of infantry, they benefit from the Goth team bonus (Barracks works 20% faster) and the Italian team Bonus (Condottiero available in Barracks). A team of Goths, Italians, and Slavs can make a devastating combination, thanks to their amazing team bonus synergy. The Burmese also perform well in place of the Italians.
Other siege-oriented civilizations are good partners for the Slavs. A Celtic ally makes all Slav Siege Workshops work 20% faster. This can be devastating, and helps them amass their cheap siege units faster. Slav Siege Onagers also benefit from the Korean team bonus. Depending on the Patch version being played, it either grants the Onagers +1 range or reduces their minimum range. A Khmer ally gives the Slav Scorpion line +1 range, giving the Slavs access to cheap, long-range Heavy Scorpions.
Many civilizations make great use of the Slavs' military housing team bonus. An Incan player benefits from having a Slavic ally, as Incan Houses already hold ten population and the Slavic team bonus grants military buildings five population space. Wood saved from this bonus also benefits a Goth ally, because they are able to spend less wood on Houses and more on Barracks, which are essential for the Goth infantry spam strategy. Cuman players also benefit greatly from this bonus, as they can build Siege Workshops in the Feudal Age. In return, they provide free Elite Kipchaks for the infantry-oriented Slav armed forces after Cuman Mercenaries has been researched. Detinets makes Castles a lot more affordable, so Slavs may get more Kipchaks than other civilizations.
A Slav-Burmese alliance amplifies the best parts of both civilizations. A Burmese ally can adopt a strong rush or sling strategy, abusing free Lumber Camp upgrades and extra infantry attack bonus to quickly train strong infantry or boom up to Castle or Imperial Age. Both the Burmese and Slavs benefit from strong Monk tech trees, and from the Burmese team bonus of revealing the location of Relics at the start of the game. The Slav housing bonus saves the Burmese time and resources, and wood can be sent back to the Slavs for farms.
The Detinets technology makes towers much cheaper, so allying Slavs with Ethiopians is a good idea for granting more sight to those towers and defending better.
The Teutons may be considered as a great defensive partner for a Slav player, thanks to their anti-conversion team bonus and superior defensive structures. Both civilizations have great siege, and the bonuses somewhat make up for the Slavs' inherent weaknesses.
The Burgundians may not be an obvious choice, but having them as an ally will help Slavs to produce more infantry and cavalry with Relics which produce food. They can also support the Slavic highly food-demanding Imperial Age unique technology faster. The Slavs do not have land gunpowder units, but the Burgundians do, and the former can give the latter better siege weapons thanks to having all technologies available, while the latter even cannot fully upgrade every one.
The Bulgarians can also be considered a great offensive partner for a Slav player, as both rely on infantry, with their Slav-Bulgarian Barracks providing +5 population and their Blacksmith working 50% faster, combined with Konniks and Boyars.
Compared advantages and disadvantages
Advantages vs other civilizations
Disadvantages vs other civilizations
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