In this guide I will give you hints, tips and all the information you need in order to build a successful army. First of all I'll start with some basic tips.
Whatever your reasons are from experimentation, to negating clan bonuses, to attacking that heavy cavalry army you scouted before, or simply making an army that can tackle any type of danger that it encounters the first thing you have to do is to think of how you want to build it. I personally find that make-it-up-as-you-go armies tend to be less successful then their more planned out cousins for many reasons. Here are some of the most obvious examples
-You can plan to have an agent actively oversee your army in order to make up for its weaknesses (an Oda ashigaru army with a monk can be very effective under the right player)
-You can plan to tackle certain forces with a planned army
-An army that knows its weaknesses beforehand can have pre-made formation already planned out
-Generals can only specialize, so if you have an army for their specialization they can be much more effective
-An army that is too unbalanced can be easily destroyed by a more balanced army.
-A planned out army can effectively use clan specializations (although you should never base an army solely on specialization, a.k.a. an all bow Chosokabe army will not be more effective then a half and half Chosokabe army, will talk about more in the next section)
-A planned out army can either specialize in either pitched battles or sieges and be more effective in it's "comfort zone"
I cannot say the word enough. You have by this point decided on your armies style but I decided this tip deserves a section all its own. No matter the army style you should always maintain some form of balance and no making an all bow stack and "always" having a melee stack right beside it does not count as by the time reinforcements come your bows might already be dead. Lets make a line with 10 ticks across it. Tick 0 is absolutely, perfectly, balanced with the same number of all troops types. Tick 10 is an army that has absolutely no balance (a.k.a. an all katana cavalry force.)
key: green= "sweet spot," highly recommended
yellow= not the best choice but workable to used correctly
red= You will REALLY need to know what you are doing to use thhis army well
blue= don't even think about it buddy unless you think the disband button isn't painful enough for your troops.
the reason the most balanced army isn't the best is because having a specialized tactic can give you a strong counter-attack should you find yourself losing, unlike a completely balanced army. It is also worth noting some units just aren't worth a lot of unless it is a special occasion ( a.k.a. siege engines in pitched battle, cavalry as an attacker at siege, ect.)
That would be wrong, very wrong. Value of something is not determined by its cost, it is determined by its efficiency:cost:budget. To calculate a value simply calculate how much can this destroy not by itself but with the other units in your army. Though hero can destroy little by themselves they can more then live up to their cost by simply having escorts. The reason budget is in there as well is because sometimes even though your armies value is larger then it's cost (which is a very good thing) sometimes your enemy simply has more money to spend then you. In this case you not only have to have your armies value over its cost, but have its value a certain amount over its cost. Many things can help you increase the value of your army (though you an count value in units I would recommend to count the value of armies instead as an army must work together to function properly.)
-fight in larger numbers (don't separate your forces)
-fight against smaller numbers (separate your enemies units and take them out one by one)
-focusing on one unit (mostly referring to focus fire but focus charging too)
-right unit, right situation (not charging archers into melee or doing things like that)
-unit grouping (grouping together hero's and their escorts)
-compatibility (making sure that your units can function together properly [matchlock ashigaru and matchlock samurai don't work well with bow units])
-being a defender in a siege battle
-using good formation
-using abilities for effective counters (spear wall to counter charging units, especially cavalry)
Ashigaru or Hero?
One of the important questions in army building is how much should I invest into each unit. There really is no right answer. Although balanced should be maintained in some cases players have used all samurai or all ashigaru armies and done extremely well, this just takes experience. Although in some cases it will be better to take one or the other (if for example you have a huge armor bonus in your province ashigaru should be a no-brainer) it's mostly based on you and how you play. As time goes on you'll develop your own unique style and you can use this style to know how much you invest into each unit whether it be samurai, ashigaru, hero or anything in-between.
Almost all of the things on here will also apply to navies. It is still important to pick a style, use your advantages, maintain balance and make tough decisions whether on pixelated land or pixelated water.
Questions about Specific Situations
This is a general guide and if you have specific questions on things like sieges, using a certain clan or anything else that only applies in certain situations check out Kurkistan's Guide to the Guides thread (you will find it stickied) for other guides, search your question up in Google or simply ask your fellow war-gamers.
Thank you for taking the time to read this guide
The following has also been posted by Holy.Death in the comments below and it was just too amazing to leave out. Thanks Holy.Death you're amazing!!! Read his great stuff below! (Everything above this message is mine.)
I'll describe units advantages.
and has very good charge
bonus. It's also most basic cavalry unit in Shogun 2. Until you can afford anything else I advise to have at least 2 units of light cavalry. You can hide them in the woods
to attack opponent from behind
and shatter his morale, you can use them to hunt down fleeing units
, kill archers
or bow cavalry
. They also have lowest morale of all cavalry units
in game, less armour
(avoid arrows) and melee attack/defence
than katana cavalry so I advise to get rid of them as soon as you can get anything else. Prolonged melee combat with anyone (even archers) can be deadly for them, so keep in mind to disengage and charge again.
has the biggest armour
, melee defence/attack
stats of all cavalry units in game. They also can be useful when attacking castle walls from different direction than your main army due to all their stats and the fact they are samurai on foot when dismounted. Best all-rounders, it's always useful to have unit of them or even two. Can even engage in melee for a while longer and do so better than any other cavalry unit.
: If you want your enemies to fall down like grass, these guys are right men for the job. Top speed
, good morale
, top charge bonus
, bonus vs cavalry
and some armour
make them excellent when charging down infantry at flanks or from the rear, especially non-spear infantry, because you don't need to surround them, just charge head-on and against cavalry due to their bonuses. However, prolonged melee fighting is unadvised, save for cavalry engagements. Dismounted can fill the yari samurai role.
: Good harrasment units. Somehow simillar to archers but they have horses so they can run fast to not get cought. In extreme situations can serve as equivalent of light cavalry. Do not engage them against anything heavier than archers or they'll suffer from prolongued combat.
Conclusion: Light cavalry is good as a start. Then choose yari cavalry to charge down your enemy or attack cavalry units but remember to disengage once charge is done and then do that again, avoid archers. Katana can fulfill same role but can fight in prolonging melee combat without being wiped out. Bow archers are good for harrasment but shouldn't take arrows on them or engage in melee except emergency cases.
: Common people with bow and arrows to fire at the enemy. Since bulk of your archers should be bow ashigaru should be wise to learn a few things. They're cheap
and have sufficent accuracy
to shoot down foes from afar. They also have bad morale
, melee defence/attack
. Keep the general nearby, don't let enemy melee or cavalry come close enough to get them, don't let them engage in melee yourself except in case of emergency add monk to inspire your army.
: Warriors skilled in use of bow and sword. They are overall better than bow ashigaru. They beat them having better reloading skill
, melee defence/attack
. They are fewer
and cost more upkeep
. Suggestion is to keep 1 bow samurai for each 2 bow ashigaru so peasants can take most arrows onto themselves while leaving your samurai fresh. Good in combat enough to defend themself or as flanking force when out of arrows, also better morale allow them to fight longer.
Bow warrior monks
: Masters of bows. Targets are dead when their hands let the chord go. Very expensive
and very good
. While having superior range
they also have weak armour
, so don't let them get attacked by the enemy cavalry or arrows which can be deadly. They also have some special skills that inspire fear in an enemy army.
Conclusion: Because it's hard to maintain full bow samurai army you should mix all three unit types. Make bow ashigaru at 2 to 1 ratio comparing them to bow samurai and try to recruit at least one or two bow warrior monks. Preferably use ashigaru as meatshield to protect your samurai and - more importantly - your bow warrior monks, because they have little armour and peasants are cheap to recruit and maintain.
Imported matchlock ashigaru
: Just peasants with firearms. Huge recruitment cost
and ability to shoot down katana master with a single pull of the trigger. You can treat them just like bow ashigaru, except they have lower range of fire
, less amunition
and reload slower
. Bonuses? Devastating damage and can break morale better
: Almost the same as imported matchlock ashigaru except they cost much less
in recruitment and upkeep AND are a little less accurate
and reload half as fast
. If you think who should you hire I'd say to pick up these ones.
: What can be said? Samurai with firearms. They also can defend themself
against melee opponents for a while, so they are not totally defenseless. Not sure if they should be deployed as you can get ashigaru who cost one third in upkeep and fire just as good, it's up to you.
Matchlock warrior monks
: Holy men with guns. They can shoot enemy in the eye from hundred meters
, reload faster than any other matchlock unit
, have good morale
but is vurneable against missile
troops and cavalry charges. The best matchlock unit in game.
Conclussion: As matchlock ashigaru are overall cheaper than imported matchlock ashigaru I advise you to get them rather than the latter. Bullets kill the same. Matchlock warrior monks also should be recruited - at least one unit - because of their superior skills. Remember to keep them shielded.
: are swordsmen with good armour
and melee defence
who also have nice melee attack
and charge bonus
. Use them early as counter for any spear unit and archers but avoid cavalry and arrows if you can.
: Having almost no armour
and very weak melee defence
skills these troops have the best melee attack
and charge bonus
of all sword-oriented units. Arrows are deadly for them and can decimate many men, they also can counter cavalry. Shouldn't take part in defense and during castle siege when enemy has archers.
Conclussion: It's up to you, if you have good swordsmen with some defense against arrows and melee you can pick up samurai and if you want to be entirely on offensive - no-dachi are the way to go. There aren't good solutions really. You shouldn't take them if you want to capture castles because towers and archers will kill them quickly and there is little space to charge once you're inside the outer walls.
: Commoners with pointy sticks. They are cheap
and are good against cavalry
because they get bonus against horsemen. You'll get quite a number of them because you'll want to keep your army as cheap and effective as possible but they can't match swordsmen, naginata and ninjas
. They die fast to missles due to their weak armour
and have low morale
so keep general or/and monk in the army to keep them fighting.
: Warriors with spears. uBetter in everything than yari ashigaru
and the best anti-cavalry unit
but double as costly in upkeep and even more to recruit. Try to keep 1 to 2 ratio when comparing them to yari and use them as best troops who will be victorious where ashigaru alone won't stand a chance.
Conclussion: Use yari ashigaru as main body of the army and fill the holes, if you find them, with yari samurai or just put yari samurai where you expect fighting to be the fireces. Yari samurai's special ability and superior armour combined with better melee defence/attack stats make them also better suited as charge troops if you don't have any katana or do-dachi yet.
Fire bomb throwers
: A few men with deadly packages in their hand. They can blow up structures or people and fast. Excellent when you defend against large numbers of foes on bridge or in tiny passes or during sieges if you have to destroy some buildings or defenders in particular place. Small in number and vulnerable to missiles.
Conclussion: They can be usefull sometimes and sometimes they aren't. It all depends on the situation.
: Walking armours, literally. Somewhere in-between compared to katana and yari samurai. They'll have hard times trying to withstand charge from katana samurai and even from from no-dachi and aren't nearly as good as yari samurai when it comes to taking down cavalry but their superior armour
and balanced skills
are make them good against archers (because can take more arrows due to their armour) and should suffice against cavalry and ashigaru troops. Try not to engage dedicated sword units tough.
Naginata warrior monks
: Same as in the other cases - don't let them to stand under enemy missles due to their weak armour
and let them to fight either against cavalry or any melee troops because they have good melee attack/defence
, bonus fighting cavalry
and when charging
Conclussion: Monks are good in hand-to-hand combat but suffer from arrows. Naginata samurai on the other hand are more resistant to arrows and fight well enough against non-sword oriented units. It seems good to place naginata samurai before archers because in that way you'll provide shield for your archers and naginata's armour is good enough to withstand many projectiles so they should be first to assail the walls of the enemy city.
: They are few
and cost much
, they can't survive cavalry charge
and can't compete with dedicated swordsmen like no-dachi
but in return offer many assets. They have pretty good melee attack
with very good charge bonus
and decent melee defence
. They morale is as high as those of warrior monks
. They also make use of blind grenades which make enemy infantry suffer because it lowers their stats for a few moments. They can easily climb on walls and are invisible as long as they walk the battlefield.
Conclussion: Kisho ninja can preform a variety of roles; they can hide behind an enemy army to either kill its general or strike troops in supprise attack after blinding their main line thus leaving enemy troops vulnerable to your forces. They are invisible when they walk and with their special skill can ever run while remaining hidden. They can climb on the walls to supprise defenders and attack them from the rear or try to take main flag and end siege without the need to kill all defenders. Finally they are fine swordsmen and can put a good fight against most units. Avoid missiles because kisho ninja aren't too heavily armoured.
Once again thank you very much Holy.Death for this extra section!