Celts are another civ cysion didn’t cover on his aocbox website. I will try to be more thorough again this time around. Celts are a weird civ. I always have trouble which direction should I go with them, since in each age they have different strengths. For some civilizations there is a direct path to take: like with franks – going knights or mayans – go archers. No such thing for celts.
- Infantry moves 15% faster
- Lumberjacks work 15% faster
- Siege weapons fire 20% faster (0.8*reload time)
- Sheep not converted if in 1 celt unit’s LOS
- Team Bonus: Siege workshops work rate 20% faster
- Unique Unite: Woad Raider, Unique Technology: Furor Celtica (siege weapons 1.5* hitpoints)
The faster infantry bonus (15%) is a great bonus initially. In combination with the faster lumber jacks, the celtic drush can hit much earlier than any other civ. Also thanks to this celts are probably one of the few civs, where man-at-arms are really strong. They have the only man-at-arms who are able to outrun archers. Archer and skirmisher line has a movement rate of 0.96; compared to the 0.9 of the swordsman line. With this bonus they move 1.035 tiles/second. So micro-ing archers away against them in feudal age gets a tad bit harder. Unfortunately, celts don’t get squires, so in later ages this bonus loses its effect. Any other civ with squires will have infantry moving only 5% slower (0.99 tiles/second).
As I mentioned earlier the faster work rate for lumberjacks bonus is really useful initially to get the barracks built sooner, when drushing. But unlike the previous bonus, this is very much useful in later ages. For every 8 lumberjacks with other civs, you only need 7 with celts. That basically frees up a villager in a usual fast-castle or drush-fast-castle build. You can do some extra walling, gather more gold to upgrade to man-at-arms while you go up to castle age, gather more food to be able to afford all upgrades. In feudal and castle age this bonus is also comes in handy when going down the archer line for the mid-game. But these are just examples, having a bonus to gather the most important resource in the game faster is a great bonus.
Now, the faster firing siege weapons in combination with Furor celtica is the bonus that makes celts absolutely OP on closed maps like black forest. Remember this post of mine describing how to micro against mangonels? Well, against celtic mangonels, microing against two is literally suicide. You don’t get enough time to move. Instead of a 6 seconds between shots a celtic mangonel reloads in 4.8 seconds. Against a single mangonel you can get one a single shot away with crossbows instead of 2 against normal mangonels before you have to move. Not only the mangonels attack faster, but also their siege rams and scorpions are exceptionally deadly.
In nomad games the sheep not converted if one celt unit sees it can be useful, I guess. Otherwise, it’s good maybe if you really want to lame somebody? Not a game-winner bonus for sure.
As if their siege wasn’t strong enough, the team bonus having faster working siege workshops is just the cherry on the top. All these bonuses make celts the ultimate siege civ. All of this makes even strategies like mass scorpions viable:
While we are on the topic of siege. Their unique tech also adds strength to their siege: Furor Celtica gives all siege workshop units 50% more HP. They become the teutonic knights of siege weapons. There are not enough superlatives for celtic siege.
The celtic unique unit is the woad raider – the second fastest infantry after elite eagle warrior with squires (1.43). Woad raiders dash through enemy camps at the speed of 1.38 tiles/second. They move even faster then most cavalry without husbandry. They come in second again in creation speed – only the japanese samurai beating them. They get no extra bonuses, only a small bonus against buildings and eagle warriors. Just look at this simple comparison of base stats:
|Elite Woad Raider||80||10||1.38||13||0/1|
Not too shabby, not too shabby. Too bad you need castles to make them. The creation speed partly makes up for that. In castle age those woad raiders are nothing special. Roughly on par with the swordsman line. The strength bump coming with the elite woad raider upgrade is huge. It is like a shortcut, where you would upgrade your man-at-arms straight into champions on red bulls.
The celtic economy is not exceptional – missing crop rotation and two-man saw. Still, I would argue that the wood gather bonus is one of the strongest economy bonuses in AoE2. Wood is the backbone of every economy.
As I mentioned earlier, in the dark age, celts have one of the strongest drushes. With faster barracks (thanks to faster wood) and faster infantry movement speed they can get to the enemy faster. There is very low probability that a celt player would have to defend with his drush. Celts have very wide range of options how to follow up a drush – flush with man-at-arms, flush with archers, fast-castle combined with man-at-arms, fast-castle with walling and boom, fast-castle with double range and crossbows then boom, etc. All this mostly thanks to the faster wood gathering bonus.
In feudal age – if a celt player really wants to – can do almost all strategies initially. With no bloodlines, after the inital 4-8 scouts, they are out. Other than that, they should be able to afford more trash and archers. While celts are relatively strong in feudal age, it is not the age celts shine.
Remember, when I said celts can’t go down a straight line of units? Well castle age really show-cases this property. Initially celts should have more crossbows faster, but as the game progresses, they don’t get thumb ring. Also, over-committing to the archer line is foul – celts miss arbalest and all the archer upgrades from the blacksmith in imperial age.
Celts can do knights, too, in castle age. But again, knights fall off pretty fast compared to other civs – no bloodlines. Over-committing into the knight line can also be foolish. Even though celts get paladins – no bloodlines and no plate barding armor makes them the weakest paladins in the game. Don’t get me wrong, those are still paladins. In some situations they might come in handy, but they are not the blood-eyed killing machines teutons, huns or franks get.
Going siege in castle is again can be quite risky. In castle age those siege machines are very fragile. Still, they are the celts’ best bet to defend in late castle age. Castle age is still not the age celts shine. Their best bet is to do damage early, then boom and go to imperial asap.
In early imperial there is still not much a celt player can do. He has to wait for the uprades, but boy, when those upgrades come…. celts suddenly are very hard to stop. With a few castles pumping woad raiders at light speed backed up by siege – good luck defending against that! This is the moment they really shine. After this in 1v1 they start to struggle. In team-games with enough gold to go around and enough wood, they still kick a**.
If needed, celts can do trash as well in post-imperial age, but against archers their only choice is the siege, really. With no bracer or ring archer armor they probably have the weakest elite skirmishers in-game. With no bloodlines and no plate barding armor, their hussars are one of the weakest, too. This is a problem when gold runs out. From two of the three trash units, celts only have demo versions. You can’t win games with only halberdiers.
On water maps, initially the wood gathering bonus helps the celts to hold their own. In imperial age however, they fall off. They don’t get bracer or elite cannon galleons. The cannon galleon is the only gunpowder unit they get. No bombard cannon, hand cannoneer or bombard towers. Bit weird, if you ask me, but they don’t need any extra stuff on land for their siege.
In the monastery they lack all the key technologies that makes a monk rush or even using monks viable. From the university they only lack the aforementioned bombard towers and architecture. Not that big of a loss, if you consider, that if a celt player needs to defend, ha has his siege. And if not that, it’s probably game over anyways.
I hope you can see the pattern with celts. The moment you have enough units of one type, you have to switch to something else. In dark age you start with militia, but after man-at-arms the swordsman line starts to get interesting again only in the post-imperial age with champions. Then you switch away from man-at-arms and go archers. Here comes late castle age and those crossbows are useless again. Okay, let’s do a few knights to counter skirms, but oh wait – no bloodlines. Right! Now the archer phase is off, let’s defend with some siege. But oh, here comes the early imperial age, those siege weapons are really fragile. They need upgrades. Let’s do infantry again real fast in the meantime. Those woad raiders are really easy to mass. Now time for siege again! This is already the 5th switch of unit lines. And I like it :].
On a differnet note In my barbie quest, I wanted to do a fast-drush strategy into fast castle. So that’s coming next.