The Koreans are mainly a defensive civilization with strong naval and gunpowder capabilities.
StrengthsEditTheir ability to gather stone faster than other civilizations allows them to build up their defense quickly. Their towers upgrade automatically and gain +1 bonus range in the Castle Age, and another one in the Imperial Age, allowing them to attack units from further away and to take the enemy down before they get too close. Also, if against an aggressive team such as Celts or Goths, it is a good idea to try and establish defensive buildings around their base as early as possible to disrupt their economy. With each advancing age, the range of Korean towers increases as well as upgrading automatically, make it increasingly detrimental to the enemy. Their unique technology Shinkichon increases the range of Mangonels.
The Koreans already have an innate bonus that improves Mangonel range, so this adds even more to it, allowing them to outrange towers and castles. This lets them substitute Mangonels for Trebuchets and Bombard Cannons if the player is low on resources, as they are much more expensive. The War Wagon, the Korean unique unit, is a powerful and heavily armored but somewhat slow cavalry archer. They are effective support units and can last a long time in battle due to their durability.
The Koreans also have a strong navy and their second unique unit, the Turtle Ship, is very powerful and can take down and easily destroy enemy navies even if outnumbered. The Koreans have access to all gunpowder units, though they cannot research the Elite Cannon Galleon upgrade. They can also research most infantry and archer upgrades allowing them to wield an effective foot army.
The main weakness of the Koreans are their inability to research many Monastery technologies, most importantly Heresy and Redemption. Also they are somewhat weak at attacking. In contrast with their defensive bonuses they lack any offensive bonuses that can potentially turn the tide of a battle. As such they are a disadvantage when taking the fight to an enemy. Also their cavalry is weak, missing the Paladin and Camel in addition to the Bloodlines, Blast Furnace, and Plate Barding Armor technologies. As with the Vikings, due to their naval unique unit the Koreans are missing one of the mainline ships, in this case the Demolition Ship. However, the large attack and durability of the Turtle Ship makes up for this.
Koreans possess some of the strongest ranged unit in the form of Siege Onager and War Wagon, but those units take a lot of time and resources to be upgraded and massed effectively. Korean Bombard Towers and Castles also cost a lot of stone. This means that if a Korean player doesn't expand quickly, they will face trouble later when they must spend resources to replace the fallen units and repair the structures. Also, when the gold runs out and the game enters trash war phase, Koreans will struggle because their Hussars and Barracks units lack the final attack upgrade. In addition, Korean Hussars also lack durability because Koreans don't have access to Bloodlines and Plate Barding Armor.
The Koreans also lack the Heresy and due to the Korean's dependence on gold heavy and expensive units, this makes many of their units vulnerable to conversion.
Koreans have one of the best navies in the game, combined with one of the best defenses in the game. They received many buffs in The Forgotten, but even before that they were a very powerful civilization on water maps. It is inadvisable to ever use Koreans on maps without water, as they lose their main advantage.
In early game and specially in maps without water Koreans may try to make a Trush ( Tower feudal age rush), The stone gathering bonus and the extensive line of sight of their villagers allows for this and in " The Forgotten " expansion Koreans received a buff that allows to create fortifications faster. If the trush succeeds the player must advance to the castle age as soon as possible in order to automatically upgrade the towers attacking the enemy village
Koreans are highly wood-intensive, and extra Villagers should be tasked to lumber starting in the Feudal Age. They are weak outside the Castle Age, so it is recommended to Fast Castle. With free Tower upgrades, faster stone mining, and other such defensive capabilities, making strong defenses should be a priority.
On the sea, it is important not to fall into the trap of making only Turtle Ships. Turtle Ships are just another ship, albeit a strong one. They need support from Galleons to function properly, and generally the player should have at least some Galleons before even starting Turtle Ship production.
Land military is primarily dependent on what resources are available and what the opponent is doing. War Wagons are a valuable asset to a Korean army, but forgoing variety for quantity is a game-losing mistake. Lacking Blast Furnace, Plate Barding Armor and Paladin, Korean players may struggle to think of what other units to use. The answer is that it mostly depends on what the opponent is using. Cavaliers can deal with Skirmishers easily, which are the number one enemy of War Wagons. Champions make good all-around back-up, although they do not get Blast Furnace. Halberdiers help with enemy Cavalry which can also threaten War Wagons. Additionally, Korean Siege Onagers are among the best in the game, and should be used. The player must be careful to not to hit the War Wagons, as they are very large targets.
The Koreans fare well in water maps (such as Archipelago and Team Islands) due to their strong navy and maps with small chokepoints (Black Forest, Baltic, and Continental) that would allow the Koreans to defend easily and boom. On the other hand, they fare poorly in open maps like Arabia due to the difficulty of walling up and defending themselves and their weak early game makes them an easy target for early game rushes. The Koreans will endure a hard time against the Goths and monk civilizations (such as the Aztecs and the Spanish), as the former's anti-archer high pierce armor Huskarls can shrug off any War Wagon's attacks and the Korean infantry line is weak due to the Koreans lacking Blast Furnace; while the laters' strong monk bonuses allow them to effectively punish the Koreans due to the lack of Heresy and allowing them to convert some of the Koreans' expensive units such as War Wagons , Siege Onagers , and Bombard Cannons. Conversely, the Koreans are a powerful lategame threat to civilizations that depend on foot archers (such as the Britons, Ethiopians, and Mayans) or cavalry archers (i.e. Huns and Mongols) due to the natural tankiness of the War Wagons and far superior siege options.
Strategy changes in The ForgottenEdit
Koreans' new unique tech Panokseon improves the movement speed of Turtle Ships that without it, they are very slow. Both Korean unique units costs are reduced (Turtle Ships now cost 180 wood and 180 gold, while War Wagons now costs 110 wood and 60 gold) and the creation time of War Wagon are also reduced, allowing more of these units to be produced quickly. Their team bonus was changed, now Mangonels and Onagers have a reduced minimum range instead of a larger range. Koreans also received a building speed bonus for their fortifications (25% faster), improving their defense capabilities, as this building speed bonus plus Treadmill Crane allows to their villagers to build these buildings at a +45% speed.
Strategy Changes in The African KingdomsEdit
The Panokseon technology cost is now reduced to 300 wood and 300 food making this technology more afordable. Also their Turtle Ships now doesn't require a castle to be created at the dock. Also the new general technology Arrowslits improves the attack of the powerful Korean Towers
As a defensive civilization, Koreans make great support, with their stone mining bonus, their free tower upgrades and bonuses, and the quick construction speed for fortifications (added in the Forgotten), so they can stand at the front line, defending the team by turtling themselves and the team. Korean towers are also higly valuable when an ally intends a Wonder or relic Victory, because of their greater range.
Korean team bonus is specially useful for civs that have siege onagers, and even more if they also have a buff for this unit. Originally, the team bonus added more range to the onagers, but it was changed in the forgotten for a lower minimum range, enabling the onager to defend itself better against infantry. Celts, Teutons, Slavs, Ethiopians, Aztecs and Mongols benefit from this team bonus.
As a naval civilization, Koreans also benefit from the Viking team bonus and having Portuguese, Vikings and Koreans on the same team can make the most diverse naval army in the game, having the only 3 unique naval vessels (the Turtle Ship, the Caravel and the Longboat). Malay allies also improve the vigilance and fast-response ability of the Korean navy. Alternatively, the Vietnamese, even with mediocre navy, offer gold subsidy from Paper Money, Imperial Skirmishers and Battle Elephants with Chatras upgrade to screen War Wagons and onagers of Korean players, in exchange for competent amphibious support from their Panokseon-enhanced Turtle Ships and hand cannoneers.
Koreans benefit from team bonuses that boost the onager, like the Celt team bonus that improves the Siege Workshop workrate. Mayan team bonus is also helful, as it will give them cheaper walls that can aid in the construction of heavy fortifications, with powerful Korean towers protected by walls.