Medieval II : Total War by SEGA – Strategy


Chapter 1: Combat
1.1…………….. How to use the various combat arms
1.2…………….. Special attacks and formations
1.3…………….. Sieges
1.4…………….. After the battle

Chapter 2: Managing your kingdom
2.2……………..Managing unrest and the economy
2.3……………..Training and recruitment

Chapter 3: Characters and agents
3.3…………….. Princesses
3.4…………….. Assassins
3.5………….. …Spies
3.6…………….. Merchants
3.7…………….. Priests
3.8…………….. Inquisitors
3.9…………….. Miscellaneous Agents

Chapter 4: Specific historical aspects of the campaign
4.1…………….. The Pope
4.2……………..Crusades and jihads
4.3…………….. The Mongols and Timurids
4.4…………….. The Plague
4.5…………….. Gunpowder units
4.6…………….. America

Chapter 5: Settings
5.4……………..Useful links

Chapter 1: Combat

Chapter Sub-headings:
1.1…………….. How to use the various combat arms
1.2…………….. Special attacks and formations
1.3…………….. Sieges
1.4…………….. After the battle

1.1…………….. How to use the various combat arms

Q: I don’t know what the heck I’m doing in regards to what units do what and what the unit stats are also. RTW is easier to understand than this era!

A: What I recommend is pick your faction and start a campaign. Go to the building browser for a settlement and right click on the troop producing buildings. They will list what troops you can get at what level. If you right click on the unit, it will pull up the unit card with a full description and the key stats. That way you can see your entire unit line up and what buildings you need to get them.

Beyond that, M2TW is not that dissimilar from other Total War games. For example, here’s a breakdown of the English roster.

Spoiler Alert

You have the following types:

Missiles – pretty much the same as in RTW; for England in M2TW, these are a key strength.

Swords – relatively more powerful than RTW, although I guess you could say armoured swordsmen are England’s cohorts. Perfect for sieges (attacking or defending). Arguably the toughest units in the game.

Polearms – AP heavy infantry without shields; higher attack, lower defence than swords. Good flankers.

Spears – best for receiving a cavalry charge, but otherwise pretty lousy for England.

Cavalry – devastating charge like RTW, but much less robust to counter-attack

Artillery – I haven’t played around much with these, but helps reduce losses in sieges: blast towers, units on walls etc before sending in the breaching parties.

Within each category, just shoot for the best in class. This makes billmen pretty redundant, for example, when you have dismounted English knights. Purchase price may be a good summary statistic, as it is supposed to be balanced for MP.

Other factions have more “exotic” (to English eyes) stuff – pikes, halberds, missile cav, skirmishing infantry etc. But most of that was in RTW.

But to be honest, I would not worry about stats. Use the units as they should be used historically. (Then come back here and start grumbling when they don’t perform as you expect… )

Q: Where can I find a list of unit stats?

A: R’as al Ghul has produced a list here:

Yas has created a nice tool here:

Brandybarrel has created the improved FAUST v1.2 (Faction And Unit Stat Tables) and
the new FUSIL v1.2 (Faction Unit Stat Illustrations) for Update 1.2, available here:

the FAUST v1.2 is in improved TABULAR form: (1 MB, 25 pages):

the FUSIL v1.2 contains all unit PICTURES !!! (5 MB, 25 pages):

You need Adobe Reader (free download) to read the PDF files.

Q: Which stats matter and how much?

A: In earlier Total War games, a good summary measure of unit combat effectiveness was their attack stat and their combined defence stat (armour+shield+defence skill). The chance to kill was driven by the difference between attack and defence stats, so each could be regarded as roughly of equal importance. In STW and MTW, a one point difference in the (attack – defence) differential led to an increase in the kill rate of about 20%. In RTW, the stats differed more and the corresponding increase was about 10%. In M2TW, we have no hard information yet but since the game uses a modified RTW engine, a 10% effect seems plausible.

However, in M2TW (and also RTW), the attack animations of the units also play a role, so the stats alone do not tell the whole story. This was seen most visibly in 1.0 and 1.1 when many two handed units could not damage cavalry much due to their animations. Due to differences in the animations, some units may hit more rapidly than others.

Beyond the attack and combined defence stats, the player should consider a range of other factors:
– Unit size: as Stalin said, quantity has a quality all of its own.
– Charge stat: this is particularly important for cavalry (it adds to their attack value if “charging” or if following through on a charge)
– Morale: on VH, militia will often prove fragile due to low morale
– The range, rate of fire and ammunition limit of any missiles
– Unit speed (this is especially important for cavalry wanting to catch routing enemy cavalry, e.g. defeated generals!)
– Armour piercing weapons: this may halve the effect of enemy armour.
– Spears vs swords? Spears are more effective against cavalry, less effective against infantry.
– Does the unit have a special formation? Phalanxes make pikes almost invulnerable to frontal melee attack on level ground. etc

General’s bodyguards have two hit points making them twice as hard to kill. They also regenerate losses between battles.

In MP, the purchase price of the unit is the cost and should represent CA’s assessment of the unit’s overall combat effectiveness. However, in SP, upkeep is likely to have a much bigger effect on the overalll cost of a unit (providing surival prospect are not too grim). Upkeep is not closely tied to combat effectiveness and so some units are clear bargains (e.g. England’s armoured swordsmen are more effective than the more expensive Dismounted Feudal Knights and cost about the same as far inferior militia).

Q: What is the difference between armour, defence skill and shield?

A: A unit’s overall defence – if attacked frontally in melee – is the sum of its armour, defence skill and shield values. However, there are some differences in the way these three factors work.

Armour and shield influence both melee and missile combat; defence skill affects only melee.

The contribution of armour is reduced (halved?) if attacked by armour piercing weapons.

The position of the attacker relative to the defender also affects the contribution of these three stats in different ways:

You get 100% of the Shield defense at the front, and 50% at each side (nothing at the back).

Defence Skill you get 100% at front and at each side, nothing at the back.

Armour defence is 100% all round.

Q: What is the “ultimate stack”?

A: You tell us:

Q: How should I deploy my troops? Archers at the front, cavalry on the flanks or what?

A: Some suggestions about how to deploy various armies are here:

Q: Can I dismount cavalry?

A: Sadly, no. You can train “dismounted” units – like dismounted Feudal Knights – but not dismount mounted cavalry.

Q: My cavalry attack without being described as “charging”. How do I get off a good cavalry charge?

A: Jason from CA has explained how charging works:
Regarding the new charge mechanic, there are two charges available to a cavalry unit: a formed charge which allows for most of the unit to charge into a target; and an unformed charge which stops the charge after 10% of the soldiers within that unit have made contact with the target. In RTW this wasn’t as much of an issue because cavalry did not have long lances and as such did not require two significantly different charge abilities. The M2TW charge system allows you to have a very powerful charge if you do everything right and a light charge if you don’t.

The triggers for a formed (powerful) charge include:

Line up the cavalry parallel to the target
Utilize a long straight run up toward the target
Prioritize stationary targets as moving targets may result in a last second turn and reform

The triggers for an unformed (weak) charge include:

The unit is spread out just before charging
The charge is issued while too close to the target
The charge is issued when the unit isn’t facing the target
The player changes direction just before the charge• The target moves and turns just before being hit

In order to get a good charge going:
(1) you need to have a decent sized gap between your cav and your target
(2) Stop your cav to let them form up if need be (i.e. if youve had them running around).
(3) Target your enemy, but WALK DONT RUN. If you run your charge will lose cohesion
(4) Leave em to it. At the correct distance your cav will break into a charge.
If youre defending against elite heavy cav or bodyguards with normal (i.e. non-spear etc) infantry then expect to get slaughtered. This is as it should be.
Use spearmen and ensure theyre in guard mode, in formation, and NOT MOVING.

For further advice on how to get off a good cavalry charge, read Hashashiyyin’s tips:…41&postcount=1

And yet more discussion here:

Q: Which cavalry units are faster?

A: According to tests by Dopp and CBR, there are three horse speeds:

Fast: 630 metres/minute. (19% faster than normal)
This covers fast ponies.
Includes Alans, jinettes, stradiots, border horse, albanian light cavalry, most horse archers, Skys, Vards

Normal: 530 metres/minute
This covers heavy horses and ponies. Basically all horses that are not “fast ponies” and don’t have any armour.
Includes mailed knights, mercenary Frankish knights, demi-lancers, Latinkons, Byzantince cavalry, lancers, hobilars, Danish scouts, French mounted archers

Slow: 420 metres/minute (21% slower than normal)
This covers mailed, barded and armoured horses.
Includes feudal and Chivalric knights, Italian men-at-arms, gendarmes, kataphracts. Sipahis?

Fast cavalry will have that mentioned in their unit description. For slow cavalry, you have to look at the picture of the horse – it will have armour or be covered by barding.

Note – there are also three infantry unit speeds: 157/215/255 metres per minute.

Q: Which infantry units are faster?

– May be incomplete; I did not test all infantry units
– Does not take into account slowdown due to straggling or fatigue
– The armour levels below refer to the base armour level, not what it can be upgraded to
– Upgraded armour has no effect on speed

Marching Speeds:

  • Very Slow
    – All spearwall polearm units
  • Slow
    – All pike units
  • Normal
    – All other infantry and missile infantry units
Running Speeds:

  • Very Slow
    – Dismounted Gothic Knights
  • Slow
    – All infantry units with partial or full plate armour except Obudshaer
    – All 2H Sword units except DGK
  • Normal
    – Most infantry units
    – Most mid to upper-tier missile infantry units
    – All spearwall polearm units
  • Fast
    – All unarmoured missile infantry
    – All missile infantry with padded armour except Norse Archers
    – All gunpowder infantry except Handgunners
    – Aventuriers and Naffatun
    – Sudanese Tribesmen and Highlanders
    – Most Aztec infantry

– It may be better to completely ignore DCK’s in favor of DFK’s. DFK’s have better availability, faster running speed and lower recruitment price at the cost of only one armour point.
– If cavalry is completely unavailable, infantry units with the “fast” running speed may be used to chase routing infantry, especially if they are “slow” or “very slow.”

Q: What bonuses do spear and pike units get against cavalry?

All spear and pike units get +8 attack against Cav, plus a further unspecified bonus from having the Spear Attribute.

they also get an unspecified defense bonus vs. charging Cav from their spear attribute and an unspecified penalty vs. infantry from the same source.

Based on the fact that (with fixed Shields or working pikes), many Cav seem to die on impact, I also suspect a reflected charge value.

More detail here:
Spoiler Alert

The formed charge is NOT a push-back type effect at all. A Cav-man that impacts somebody will inflict an attack on them (how this is calculated is unclear). If they survive it and are directly in front of the Cav-man, (he can hit those to the side as he plows into a unit), the Cav man then sometimes drops dead so the man hit must always get a kind of free attack in. I’d guess spears/pike get to reflect charge too as they seem much more successful than their performance in general melee vs. Cav suggests they should be.based on the fact that Spears will also often kill an enemy charging Cav man even if he kills them I would also say it is probable that in addition to reflect charge giving a Cav bonus, it also gives the model with it a free attack back regardless of weather the Cav man kills him or not. I’m not 100% sure of how this works, but based on the functioning of various units I believe the free attack of the spearman and the attack of the formed Cav charge are resolved simultaneously for them, rather than the Cav man going first and the impacted infantryman, (if they are not a spearman/pikeman), getting a free attack back if the survive If the Cav man survives the free attack back, then he may be stopped or he may inflict another hit on the guy he has collided with and even get it reflected back again. This is probably where momentum comes in in M2TW, and probably also mass as it would be that that determines momentum. Naturally the attack and defense of both the charging Cav and defending soldier are considered in this, but high defense is far more important for receiving a charge than high attack. If your defense isn’t above a particular value (varies with the type of attacking Cav), you haven’t got a chance full stop of stopping them.

A note on pikes: The formed charge effects seem to mostly rely on the Cav man hitting or passing extremely close to their target. Normally coming into contact with a targets weapon will also cause the model holding it to take a formed charge hit.

However, this is not the case with pikes against Cav charges. In this case the Cav man does not inflict a hit on the pikeman, but the Pikeman does inflict a hit on the Cav man. It is also clear that even if the Cav man survives this hit, he will not inflict a hit on the pikes.

On the other hand a Cav man that hits or passes very close to the pikemans actually body will inflict a hit on him. So it’s clearly related to either the Spear-Wall or Long Pike attributes. I’ll need to do more tests to confirm which attribute is responsible though.

However it’s clear that Cav that do a formed charge into braced pikes are unable to inflict any formed charge attacks on the pikemen despite being in contact with their weapons. However, it is equally clear that the pikes can hit the Cav, and with some kind of reflected attack, and that doing so, (if it doesn’t kill the Cav), doesn’t always stop him from continuing to count as charging.

Most likely, (based on observational evidence), their is a line of code in either the spear wall formation or the long pike attribute that reads something like, “can_suffer_attacks_from_formed_charges=false” , and it is set to true for all other weapons, attributes, and circumstances. This would explain how the Cav can count as charging, whilst the pikemen still don’t suffer any damage from it in a situation where for the effects of reflect charge they are in contact with the Cav.

Extra Reflect charge info: it’s quite clear from the fact that only pikes attacked head on and spears hit head on actually get to reflect the charge, (and that spears and pikes that are moving and thus holding their spears/pikes up in the air), that the reflect charge ability is localized to only affect enemy that come into contact with the units actual weapon, and not just those that come into contact with the unit whilst it has that weapon out.

The defense bonus from spears appears to be quite large as fixed Spear militia with Gold Armour (base defense of about 14), are about as charge resistant as DFK (defense 21) so it looks like the bonus is about 50% extra to the defense score.

Q: How should I use missile cavalry?

A: Some tips from Doug-Thompson:…28&postcount=1

Some key points:
(a) unlike RTW, skirmishing cavalry have the “skirmish” mode switched back on automatically after they come out of melee. This reduces micromanagement.
(b) The “Parthian shot” – shooting at a purusing unit – appears less deadly than in RTW.
(c) Javelin armed cavalry have rather long ranges, although limited ammo makes switching off “fire at will” mode recommended.

Doug is also working on a guide to missile cavalry units:…58&postcount=1

Here are the boiled-down useful points:

Spoiler Alert
1. Get to high ground.
2. Know the enemy’s weak spots. Exploit them.
3. Create cross fire.
4. Don’t get pinned.
5. Attack morale at least as much as units.
6. If enemies aren’t dying, get closer.

Now, thumbnail explanations of what those mean:

1. Get to high ground. That’s self-evident. If there’s a hill you can get to and fire from, get there first with the most men. If the enemy holds high ground, find the gentlest slope and go up it instead of riding directly at them. Missile cavalry are among the fastest units in the game. Use that.


2. Know the enemy’s weak spots. Exploit them. These spots are, in priority order:

a. From the back.
b. On the enemy’s “weapon hand,” his right flank. This matters less with units that have no shield, like peasants, but most units have shields.
c. The other side, “shield side.”
d. In front, from the “weapon” or right end. If you are in the enemy’s “2 o’clock” position, you get at least some of the raking effect.
e. In front, “shield” end.
f. Dead ahead.

(See the link to enfilade fire below)

Note that the ability of missile cavalry to get to those spots is its greatest advantage over missile infantry.


3. Create cross fire. Shields can only face one direction at a time. Even shieldless, unarmored units present a smaller target when facing you. This is particularly true of horses and camels. This level of detail is apparently present in the game. Give units more than one direction to face. You will find that horses and camels make particularly inviting targets from the side. Also, see the tactics guide or this thread for an opinion on enfilade fire.


4. Don’t get pinned. Battle map corners and sides are almost as big a threat as the enemy. Those borders are the anvil. The enemy is the hammer. Don’t get close to the anvil without a compelling reason, and keep a way of escape in mind. Also beware of getting one of your units surrounded and terrain obstacles like rivers or structures. See the main tactics thread.


5. Attack morale at least as much as units. Nothing helps win a battle like a dead enemy general. Javelin cavalry are the best general-killers available. Also, note that having your missile cavalry behind and flanking units create big morale penalties for your opposition. Use it. If your melee units can rout one unit, the rest may soon follow.


6. If enemies aren’t dying, get closer. Self-explanatory.

Q: What is the rate of fire of missile units – e.g. longbows compared to crossbows?

I tested how many volleys the different missile units could fire within a minute.

English longbowmen = 6 volleys
Genose crossbowmen(arbalest) = 3 volleys
Crossbowmen = 3(almost 4) volleys
Archer = 5(almost 6) volleys
Composite archer = 5(almost 6) volleys

This info gave me a pretty clear view of how the game mechanics work.
1)Bows fire about twice as fast as crossbows.
2) Theres almost no difference between different types of crossbow units.
3)Theres almost no difference bewteen different types of archer units.

Miracle has collected similar data:

– The following states the average time in seconds between the start of the firing animation of an individual soldier or artillery piece
– Gunpowder infantry are assumed to be in a two-rank dense line formation and in fire-by-rank mode
– Flaming, exploding or rotting ammo have no effect on artillery firing rate
– The larger the unit size, the more the firing rate may vary
– In some cases an individual may skip a volley even though there is a target in range and in clear line-of-sight


Javelin 19
Bow 11/22
Crossbow 17
Naphtha Bomb 9
Gun 32


Javelin 9
Bow 11.5
Crossbow 14
Jezail 13.5
Pistol 14
Elephant Gun 11
Elephant Artillery 13.3


Ballista 17.75
Catapult 22
Trebuchet 29
Bombard 30
Grand Bombard 30
Cannon 20
Culverin 20
Basilisk 20
Monster Bombard 26
Mortar 23
Serpentine 21.5
Ribault 25.5
Monster Ribault 30.5/88
Rocket Launcher 41.5

Here’s a related test by Zpartan’s:

Did all tests on grassy plain in clear weather against Papal Guard. Always placed missle units 3 rows deep (don’t know if that matters).

1. Retinue Longbowmen(90) – missle 8
1 minute = 5 volleys and 17 kills
1 minute = 5 volleys and 16 kills

2. Aventurier(90) – missle 14
1 minute = 3 volleys and 12 kills
1 minute = 3 volleys and 13 kills

3. Janissary Musketeers – missle 17
1 minute = 4 volleys and 38 kills
1 minute = 4 volleys and 37 kills…73&postcount=1

Dopp notes that Janissaries actually have a lower rate of fire, although this is masked by their reloading by ranks.

Q: Are missiles more accurate in thinner formations?

A: No, it makes no difference whether you spread them out in a thin line two wide, or form them up into a dense square:

Note: missiles are affected by terrain, so sometimes a very narrow (deep) formation is more accurate as fewer men may be obstructed by terrain (e.g. use a column of archers to fire through a city gate).

Q: Can crossbows fire over the heads of intervening friendly units?

A: Yes, but their accuracy is so low, they are useless deployed like that. It is better to give them a clear shot.

Q: My archers don’t do enough damage defending settlement walls – they fire high up into the air, rather than directly down to their targets. How can I fix this?

A: Lusted proposes reducing the max angle to 45 in this thread:

Q: How much ammunition do missile units have?

Javelin Cavalry – 8
Crossbow Cavalry – 30
Archer Cavalry – 25
Gun Cavalry – 20

Javelins – 8
Crossbows – 30
Archers – 30
Handguns – 20

Q: How do I get my archers to stop firing?

A: Hit “backspace” will cancel a fire order. Make sure “fire at will” is off, too.

Q: How do I get units with a missile attack to enter a melee attack?

A:Press “Alt” and right click (double right click if you want them to run to the destination).

Q: How I use firearm units effectively? A lot of times, they would just reform and reform without doing anything.

A: This may be a bug.

…deploying your gunpowder units in two ranks fixes the reforming problem for most gunners.

Q: What is the best anti-personnel artillery?

A: Some recommendations here:

Q: Is there anyway to detach artillery crews from their war machines?

A: Yes, ALT+click on an enemy will do this (it also happens automatically when they are out of ammo). This can be useful it you want to retreat the crews behind melee troops in the face on an AI attack. Selecting the crew and right clicking on their war machines will re-attach them. (This idea was originally suggested by Usurper on the forums).

Q: How do I kill elephants?

A: Missiles (esp. javelins) and artillery seem the safest bet:

Q: How do I set waypoints on the battlefield?

A: Hold down “shift” and right-click.

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