The Teutons are characterized by their slow but powerful army, as they have access to the final upgrades of units but lack speed upgrades. They are well-rounded with potent offensive and defensive capabilities on land.
The Teutons can produce all siege weapons other than the Siege Ram, and all naval units except the Elite Cannon Galleon. They also have a potent defense, as they can garrison extra units in towers and obtain Murder Holes for free.
Defensively, the Teutons also have some of the strongest castles in game thanks to their unique Crenellations technology, boosting their range to a max of 13 and adding arrows with garrisoned infantry (which protect castles against rams). This allows Teuton castles to match all non-Turkish Bombard Cannons and Cannon Galleons, leaving them vulnerable to only the Trebuchet and Elite Cannon Galleon. The Teutons lack Bracer, but even with this drawback Teuton towers can support castles as they can garrison 10 units and if they are full they can fire as many arrows as a regular castle giving them devastating firepower. Teutonic Bombard Towers, when fully garrisoned with 10 Hand Cannoneers, fire two cannonballs simultaneously, making them the second deadliest in the game (behind Turkish Bombard Towers fully garrisoned with Elite Janissaries).
Their economy is also strong; they can research all economic technologies except for Gold Shaft Mining. Furthermore, their economy is boosted by a decent cost reduction for farms. The Teutonic unique unit, the Teutonic Knight, is the strongest infantry unit in the game in terms of raw statistics. It has a high attack and is almost invulnerable in melee combat due to its huge armor rating.
The Teutons do however have weaknesses. In contrast to their powerful infantry, their archers and cavalry have shortcomings. They cannot research Bracer or Thumb Ring or train the Arbalester or Heavy Cavalry Archer, and have to rely solely on the Paladin for their cavalry in the late game. The lack of Bracer will hurt the Teutons' defensive capacity in the late game, but some of their other bonuses (such as double the garrison for their towers, free Murder Holes, and Crenellations) help compensate for it. Their Paladins are slower than the cavalry of most other civilizations since they do not have Husbandry, and their Teutonic Knights are so slow that ranged units can pick them off at a distance before they can even enter combat, relegating them to a primarily defensive role if they cannot be garrisoned in Rams
Teutons also tend to struggle badly when gold runs out because their trash unit lines are among the weakest. They are the only Old World civilization that is unable to train Light Cavalry. This, combined with the lack of Husbandry, make raiding in the late game difficult to execute. In addition, their Elite Skirmishers also lack Thumb Ring and final attack upgrade, making them weaker in battle against other trash ranged units.
In The Conquerors and The Age of Kings, Teutons have a different start up from other civilizations. This is because their Town Center's +5 line of sight allows them to find herdables faster. This bonus was removed in The Forgotten for a more defensive bonus that allows the Town Center to garrison more units inside.
Teutons are capable of turtling, rushing, and booming. Their infantry rush is mediocre with no Dark/Feudal Age bonuses, but infantry upgrades will scale well into the late game. Their Trush (Feudal Age Tower Rush) however is one of the best due to free Murder Holes and more garrison capacity, especially when supported by Skirmishers as these can join the forward villagers in towers for even more arrows. They also have a powerful Castle Age Knight Rush, despite the lack of Husbandry, due to their civilization's team bonus of conversion resistance (as monks are the ideal counter to knight rushes).
Although lacking early game economy bonuses, the Teutons have an excellent mid-game boom due to their cheap farms. This is especially important during the late Feudal or early Castle Age when natural food sources run out but wood remains a premium. Combined with their civilization's defensive advantages, this makes the Teutons a very good candidate for the Fast Castle or Fast Imperial strategies.
Just at the start of the game, Teutons have already good defense (in Age of Kings and The Conquerors, Town Centers have more attack; in The Forgotten they have more garrison space) so the other way a player normally uses the Teutons is turtling. For this, they must create several buildings in the Dark and Feudal Ages, like houses for walling and then a few towers. Once they reach the Castle Age, they must create 1-3 castles, build stone walls and research all the necessary technologies at the university and blacksmith (Fletching and Bodkin Arrow; the Teutons do not have Bracer in the Imperial Age) for improving their buildings, and it will be necessary to create infantry, especially Teutonic Knights, monks, and ranged siege units. Once in the Imperial Age the player must research Crenellations in order to allow their infantry to shoot arrows when garrisoned in buildings. Also, the Imperial Age is good for turtling strategies, as the Teutons can create several bombard towers.
Offensively in the Castle and Imperial Age, the Teutons can use their unique unit, the Teutonic Knight, as the base of their army. Despite the fact that they have no access to siege rams, it is useful to create rams since Teutonic Knights have very low movement speed and garrisoning them in rams can improve their mobility significantly. Teutons have access to all gunpowder units except the Elite Cannon Galleon, so they normally use the Bombard Cannon as their main siege weapon. They must also use a lot their villagers to create forward towers and castles in order to provide support for the troops, which in the siege of an enemy town allows units to retreat to the buildings and shoot arrows once inside. Teutons have also good monks that have a large healing range. This means that their monks can support the front lines of infantry and cavalry at a safe distance. In terms of cavalry, Teutons must use their paladins to raid enemy towns.
In maps with water, Teutons do not have many advantages over other civilizations, but their tower bonus gives them a little edge on defending the shoreline, so they must try to keep dry.
In team games, Teutons should take the frontline position as they can defend their allies in the pocket position.
Their new unique technology Ironclad improves the melee armor for siege units, making them more resistant to cavalry and infantry attacks (siege units normally are very weak vs. melee units due to their minimum range); this is especially helpful in mid and late game. The Town Center LOS bonus was changed in favor of a garrison bonus (+10 units) and can fire +5 arrows; this new bonus synergizes better with the other Teutonic bonuses and their unique tech Crenellations. Their Monks' healing range bonus is now fixed so that they can now effectively heal units from a greater distance, giving a supporting bonus that is useful in battles.
Ironclad now costs 100 less wood than previously and is still a good improvement for their siege units when considering that African Kingdoms introduced a new type of siege unit: the Siege Tower. Siege towers also have more room for foot troops and are faster than the rams so the Teutons should use them to improve the mobility of the Teutonic Knight.
As all civilizations (except the Goths) receive the new infantry technology Supplies, and considering that the Teutons are an infantry-oriented civilization, they can now amass their militia -line infantry a bit more easily. The units still increase the arrow-fire of buildings after Crenellations is researched. They now also have Herbal Medicine and for free, allowing units garrisoned in a building to heal faster; which combines usefully with their other garrison bonuses (extra space in the Town Center and Towers, and the Crenellations technology).
Watch Tower base HP is reduced to 700 in the Dark Age (in the Castle Age, they still have 1200 base hp HP). Despite this, Teutons can still perform a Tower rush, but is a bit harder to make it and succeed.
Since update 35584, their farms are 40% cheaper instead of 33% as previously, and the Militia and Spearman lines gain +1 melee armor since the Castle Age. This lets Teutons now to boom their economy much better while also allowing a Fast Castle followed by Infantry rushes. This new infantry bonus also helps to decentralize the paper of their Teutonic Knights in melee fights.
With update 36906, the melee armor bonus now grants +1 in the Imperial Age and includes Stable units. This makes their melee units much more resistant in pitched battles. Their Halberdiers can survive one more hit from Paladins, their Champions can now better fight off other infantry units and even match with Bulgarian Two-Handed Swordsmen with Bagains, and their Paladins get the same resistance as Frankish Paladins against Halberdiers, taking one more hit before they die. The Teutonic Knight's speed also gets improved to 0.8, allowing them to be better raiders and reach their targets more easily.
The Teutons' conversion resistance team bonus is valuable whenever the enemy team is making heavy use of monks. The Persian War Elephant is especially susceptible to conversion (as the Persians do not get access to Heresy), so a team of Teutons and Persians is a good match.
There are a number of team bonuses that are especially useful for the Teutons.
The Persians help their slower knights pick off enemy archers better.
The Byzantines add a healing speed bonus to the Teutonic monks' larger healing range.
The Koreans reduce Mangonel minimum range, so that they're even better protected against melee assaults.
ItalianCondottieri are an effective counter against gunpowder units, to which the Teutonic infantry and buildings are susceptible. Since update 35584 in the Definitive Edition, they get +1 melee armor.
The Aztecs' and Spanish' gold bonuses are invaluable since the Teutonic army will consist mostly of units that cost a lot of gold (Knights, Teutonic Knights, hand Cannoneers and monks). The Burmese reveal and share locations of the relics at the beginning, so any that are close to their Teutonic allies will be theirs for the taking, which will also help them to secure a gold supply for a staunch economy and effective army-building.
The Inca and Chinese farm bonuses makes the cheaper Teutonic farms even more productive.
By granting Berber units extra resistance from conversion before they commit suicide by Heresy, Teutonic players receive Genitours as a saving grace for their feeble missile contingents, plus advanced castles to amass Teutonic Knights and Trebuchets quicker with the Kasbah upgrade.
The Ethiopian team bonus will improve the Line of Sight of the already powerful Teutonic towers, and this can be helpful as the player can notice an incoming enemy force earlier, giving them time to garrison units in the towers.
University-related efficiency boost from Malian allies help Teutonic players to improve fortifications and obtaining gunpowder units quicker.
The Khmer grant a range boost for Teutonic Heavy Scorpions, which already have more armor due to Ironclad.
The Vietnamese grant the Teuton players the Imperial Skirmisher upgrade as a competent anti-archer or anti-halberdier measure, plus a vital component to increase their late-game survivability.
The Burgundians provide a trickle of food from Relics and, in exchange, the conversion resistance Teutons provide is particularly helpful for their cavalry contingents.
The Lithuanians grant efficiency boost for Teutonic Monasteries, making them produce long-range-healing Monks in shorter time.
The Bulgarians, grants better work rate for the Blacksmith, allowing the Teuton infantry (especially their Teutonic Knight) to become fully armored faster.
Since update 35584, as their Barracks infantry units receive +1 melee armor in the Castle and Imperial Age, they can make a much better synergy with the Goth team bonus (better work rate for Barracks).
The Teutonic Knight, being a well-rounded infantry unit, can defeat almost every other non-ranged infantry in the game (except perhaps Aztec Jaguar Warriors and Japanese Samurais, both of which are arguably in tie against Teutonic Knights, due to their attack bonuses against the Teutonic Knight). Even the infantry of prominent infantry civilizations (such as Celts, Burmese, Goths, Malay, and Malians) have trouble against Teutonic Knights. Their melee armor also enables them to effectively counter cavalry (with some exceptions, like the Elephants, the Leitis and the Cataphract), so civilizations like Franks, Malians, Berbers, Huns, and Magyars may have trouble against them. They are also useful against buildings, as they have high HP and bonus vs buildings, so civilizations with mediocre or poor defense (such as Goths and Magyars) are threatened by Teutonic Knights. Even civilizations with good defenses (like Incas and Byzantines) will have a harder time against Teutonic Knights. Teutonic Knights are also very effective against both versions of the Bulgarian Konnik (mounted and dismounted), but the dismounted version is more vulnerable, as the mounted one can still escape from Teutonic Knights.
Teutons have all upgrades for their Champions and Halberdiers, and +1/+2 melee armor in the Castle/Imperial Age in the Definitive Edition, putting the Teutonic Barracks units at an advantage over civilizations with weak infantry, like the Persians or Tatars. Teutonic Champions can defeat generic Champions, Viking Champions and Bulgarian Two-Handed Swordsmen with Bagains in one-to-one combat. Teutonic Halberdiers can survive longer against cavalry attacks which puts them at a advantage against cavalry civilizations like Franks, Huns or Magyars.
Despite being the only civilization that lacks both the Light Cavalry and Hussar upgrades, Teutonic cavalry get +1/+2 melee armor in the Castle/Imperial Age, which improves their performance against civilizations with weaker cavalry (such as Malay or Vikings) or strong infantry (such as Aztecs or Burmese). Teutonic Paladins can also survive longer against Halberdiers.
As they are able to perform a Tower Rush (supported by infantry) or a Town center Rush (which could be risky), and being able to perform a Knight rush in the Castle Age as well, they have an advantage against civilizations with bad early game in open maps like Arabia, such as Portuguese, Spanish and Turks.
Thanks to their many defensive bonuses (more garrison space for Towers and Town Centers, better healing range for Monks, Free Murder Holes, the Crenellations technology, and, since the Definitive Edition, free Herbal Medicine), they are defensively at an advantage against civilizations with a mediocre Siege Workshop or anti-building units (such as Britons, Berbers, Japanese and Magyars). Of course, once they get to Imperial, this is no longer a problem.
As their units have more conversion resistance, enemy Monks will have a hard time against Teutons - even the Monks of prominent Monk civilizations, such as Aztecs, Burmese, Saracens, Slavs, Lithuanians, and Spanish.
Thanks to the Ironclad technology, the Teutons siege also have an edge against the siege of other civilizations (having an edge particularly against Onager volleys, as this technology improves Melee armor), so civilizations with bad Onagers will suffer against the Teutonic siege engines. This also gives them an edge against infantry and cavalry, as they have a better chance of surviving against them, so Ironclad also makes the Teutonic Scorpions and Onagers a good response against masses of ranged melee units such as Frankish Throwing Axemen, Malian Gbeto and Saracen Mamelukes.
As they have access to almost all Gunpowder upgrades (only lacking Elite Cannon Galleon), Teutons fare well against civilizations that don't (such as Magyars, Aztecs, Incas, and Celts). This also makes them effective against civilizations with good defenses, such as Byzantines and Chinese, as their Bombard Towers can shoot two cannonballs at once if filled with only Hand Cannoneers, enabling them to make a breach in enemy Walls (if placed for offensive purposes), while their standard Bombard Cannons are always threatening to any opponent settlement.
As they have all Monastery technologies (since the Definitive Edition), and their Monks have better healing range, they can be used for offense and defense. Civilizations with units with low conversion resistance (such as Persians, Burmese, Khmer, Indians, Vietnamese, Slavs, and Goths) will suffer against Teutonic Monks.
Despite being a well rounded infantry unit in terms of melee combat, the Teutonic Knight has several drawbacks. They move too slow, so fast moving ranged units (such as Malian Gbetos, Plumed Archers (who also haves an anti-infantry bonus) Cavalry Archers, Mongol Mangudais, Cuman Kipchaks, Saracen Mamelukes, Genitours and Berber Camel archers) can hit-and-run them. Archers can also counter them, especially if they catch them from far distances, so Britons, Vietnamese, Ethiopians and Italians are also a threat. As scorpions deal pierce damage instead of melee like Onagers, they can also be used to counter the Teutonic Knights if deployed en masse, so Khmer and Chinese have ways to deal with them. Byzantine Cataphracts are still a threat to Teutonic Knights, despite their melee armor. The same goes for Incan Slingers and Hand Cannoneers (which most gunpowder civilizations have access to). War Elephants and Battle Elephants also have better stats, so they can defeat Teutonic knights.
Despite having increased melee armor for their Barracks units, they only perform marginally better in combat, so civilizations with much stronger bonuses or technologies for their Barracks units, such as the Aztecs (with Garland Wars), Burmese (with +3 attack in the Imperial Age) or Japanese (with +33% faster attacks) can overcome them. They also will be at a disadvantage against the Goths (which can outnumber them) and Slavs (with Druzhina) in massed battles. Aztec Jaguar Warriors and Byzantine Cataphracts still pose a threat to them.
The Lithuanian Leitis is also a great counter against Teutonic Knights, since its attack ignores armor completely, eliminating the main quirk Teutonic Knights have, and leaving them basically "naked". The Leitis is also a great counter against Teutonic siege units with Ironclad, since this technology is useless when facing Lithuanian Leitis. The Leitis also leaves the Teutonic Barracks and Stable units helpless.
Despite Ironclad giving Teutonic Siege engines more melee armor, their siege line are still comparatively inferior to the siege of other prominent siege civilizations, such as Koreans (whose Onagers have better range), Celts (whose siege is produced faster, fires faster and have better HP), or Ethiopians (who have complete Siege upgrades and better splash radius due to Torsion Engines). This also means that civilizations that favor more the use of Scorpions than Onagers (such as Khmer and Chinese) have an edge facing Teutons in siege vs siege encounters, as they still have the same pierce armor. Since they don't get Siege Rams, this forces Teutons to use more the attack-less siege Towers for transporting their slow Teutonic Knights at late game.
Despite having several defensive bonuses, most of them require garrisoning units inside buildings to get effective and exploit the benefits. Some civilizations (like Goths, Malay, Magyars (with their light Cavalry), Ethiopians (with Shotel Warriors), Franks and Huns (with their fast working stables)) may exploit that fact and break the Teutonic defenses by swarming an army, forcing out the infantry or archers inside Teutonic Towers, Town centers and Castles, in order to counter that army. Also, they lack Architecture, which means their towers are frail against siege.
Despite Crenellations making Teutonic Castles able to outrange Bombard Cannons and Cannon Galleons, the Turks are an exception to this due to Artillery, and they still can be out-ranged by Elite Cannon Galleons and Trebuchets, no matter which civilization we are talking about.
Mayans, Incas and Aztecs have access to the Eagle Warriors that can counter siege units as well as Monks (both part of the support Teutons need to thrive on the battlefield) very effectively. Similarly, civilizations with access to good Light Cavalry (such as Magyars (that also their unique unit deal bonus damage against siege units), Mongols (that not only have good Hussars, but the Mangudai deals bonus damage against siege units) and Huns) can be a huge threat to Teutonic Siege units and monks.
Being the only non Native-American civilization that lacks Light Cavalry puts Teutons at disadvantage in trash wars, especially against civilizations with good Skirmishers (as they can't counter them very effectively) such as Vietnamese, Britons, and Aztecs, and good Halberdiers (since these would eat the Scout Cavalry) such as most infantry civilizations. This also puts Teutons' cavalry at a disadvantage in general, even with the increased melee armor, due to them becoming highly reliant on Paladins in that regard, while also lacking a good counter to enemy siege engines.
Japanese players have an advantage over Teutons, due to their unique tech (Trebuchets pack/unpack faster), the Samurais, and the fact that their bonus (+33% attack speed for infantry) makes Halberdiers very dangerous against the slow Paladins Teutons have.
Aside from hand Cannoneers, Teutons have mediocre archers, so this also limits the responses they may have against infantry-based civilizations.
Their Town Centers have more garrison space, which could be an advantage in nomad maps if they luckily enough placed their initial Town Center near the Town Center of an opponent, as they can garrison more villagers and destroy the opponent very early in the match. This advantage is also useful in "Sudden Death" mode, as players are limited to only 1 Town Center and the objective is to destroy that, so the Teuton Town Center is better defended; the same applies for the Budapest map, as every player starts with 2 Town Centers.
Their many defensive bonuses are very helpful in "Defend the Wonder" and "King of the Hill" game modes.
Their conversion resistance bonus, as well as having an almost complete Monastery tech tree, gives Teutons an advantage in Capture the Relic game Mode, despite the fact they lack the Light Cavalry Upgrade to defend the relic in the center of the map (in Teutons' case, they may instead defend the center relic with other troops, though the scout cavalry still has better conversion resistance, so still is a good counter in this mode).
In regicide mode, they get an advantage, as they manage to research Crenellations early to defend their initial location better, as well as having Murder Holes for free, since in this mode all players start with a Castle.
In Fortress map, as there are pre-deployed Towers, they get an edge early on the game, as well as starting with a Barracks.
Having access to gunpowder, good defense and a strong unique unit, Teutons are well suited for Post-imperial matches.
In Death Match mode, as scarcity of gold and stone is not an issue there, Teutons may get an edge if survive until Castle and Imperial Age and then release masses of Teutonic Knights + Castles + Bombard Towers + Hand Cannoneers + Bombard Cannons.