The Slavs are an offensive civilization with strong infantry and cheap siege units.
The Slavs have powerful infantry as have full blacksmith upgrades for infantry, free tracking, and their unique technology Druzhina gives infantry the ability to attack nearby units in an area, similar to the Byzantine Cataphract with Logistica. This makes massing infantry formidable and in large numbers, combined with their siege, they will be a deadly force. Slavic siege weapons receive a 15% discount, making them cheaper to mass-produce. Their unique unit is the Boyar, which is a very strong mounted melee unit which can be used to annihilate lesser infantry and cavalry units. They are well rounded, having high amounts of armor and damage, though they are vulnerable to ranged units.
The Slavic team bonus causes military buildings such as the Barracks, Archery Range, Stable and Siege Workshop provide five population. This bonus is very useful for a team rush as it allows for population space to be built up quickly and synergizes well with other rushing civilizations, especially if they have other bonuses for these buildings.
The Slavs have a weak defense. They lack many technologies that benefit buildings such as Architecture and Heated Shot. Their towers are mediocre as they lack the Keep upgrade and cannot built Bombard Towers. They also do not possess any gunpowder units other than the Cannon Galleon. Their archers are also weak, as the Slavs lack the Arbalest upgrade and are unable to research Bracer and Thumb Ring. The lack of Heresy and Faith also hurts the Slavs heavily, as their siege weapons and Boyars will be vulnerable to conversion.
Slavs have various effective strategies but usually they would go for a Feudal Rush (flush), so the player must age up on 22 population (21 Villagers). Slavs have many bonuses that make up for this, Farmers work 15% faster, they have free tracking and military buildings provide 5 population so a Slav player must go for an infantry feudal rush and build one or two barracks as soon as possible. The flush itself is a relatively standard infantry flush . The idea is to keep the foe off balance so they can't build up, since Slavs defense are comparatively weak to other civilizations. As the barracks cost is 175 Slavs can build it and a house at the start of the game instead of building the mill and 4 houses and then gather some wood for the mill an 2 houses, this startup will depend on the location of the resources.
In the Castle Age, Slavs become significantly diverse due to a discount on Siege Workshop units and the Orthodoxy technology. At this point, a Slav player should consider adding rams to their army in order to protect infantry. Monks can support melee units (infantry and boyars) by increasing their durability in battle. Slavs should upgrade their Men-at-arms to Long Swordsmen and research relevant Blacksmith technologies. The Boyar can withstand great damage from enemy melee units in battle, so the player can limit production to just a few Boyars and employ infantry and siege as the main offense. Boyars can also perform well as a heavy cavalry substitute and are a viable option for a Castle-age rush. The addition of onagers and scorpions would offer ranged support while rams filled with infantry would protect weaker units from archer fire.
The Slavic navy is average, missing the Shipwright, Heavy Demolition Ship and Elite Cannon Galleon upgrades. With this in mind, the Slavs should keep their feet dry unless water control is crucial, since their resources are far better spent on troops and siege.
Slavic infantry starts to shine in early Imperial Age with the Druzhina, allowing the militia and spear line to deal trample damage, wich means that fewer infantry would be required to stop or defeat a larger enemy army. At this point, transporting infantry in siege rams allows infantry to approach without taking damage from ranged units. Upgrading rams should take high priority, followed by infantry and additional siege upgrades, plus relevant Blacksmith upgrades. The Imperial Age and Castle Age versions of this tactic are nearly identical.
Strategy Changes in The African KingdomsEdit
The brand new Siege unit the Siege Tower available for all civilizations is cheaper for the slavs due to their siege bonus. This siege unit allows garrisoned foot soldiers inside the tower to overstep walls, so this combined with the Slavic great infantry supported with other siege units makes great synergy in a siege.
Also their Farming bonus gathering rate is now fixed.
In team games, the ideal allies for the Slavs as a teammate are civilizations with rushing capabilities with the notable exception of the Huns which make no synergy whatsoever. Allied with the Incas for example makes housing for the incas a lot affordable and save lots of wood due to the Slavic military housing team bonus and the Inca bonus for their houses. Allied with the Goths the Slavic team bonus slightly boosts the Goths wood economy that allows for them to create more barracks that are essential for Goth strategy, this because barracks will provide population and in this case is better spent wood on barracks than in houses.
Slavs benefit greatly from the Celt Team bonus (Siege Workshops work 20% faster). It helps them amass their cheap siege units faster. They also benefit from the Korean team bonus (Onager range). In terms of infantry, they benefit from the Goth team bonus (Barracks works 20% faster) and the Italian team Bonus (Condottiero available in Barracks). Having Goths, Italians and Slavs in the same team can make a devastating combination, since all of their team bonuses synergize with each other. A similar combo can be executed with the Burmese in place of the Italians (see below)*.
For economic team bonuses, they can make a good combination with Chinese (+45 food for farms) in addition to their faster farming rate.
Teutons may also be considered for their anti-conversion bonus, while the military housing saves wood that can be invested in cheap farming and defences. Both sides will also support each other with their great siege, while Teutons also bring in their superior defences, somewhat making up for one the Slavs' inherent weaknesses.
Slavs must stand in the frontal position (near to an opponent) as their main strategy is rushing. They can also perform as a Springboard due to their farming economic bonus. With this in mind, they can cooperate very well, among others, with two of the Southeast Asian civilisations, the Burmese and the Khmer.
Burmese can operate as springs, to abuse free Lumber Camp and infantry attack upgrades, while saving time and wood with the military housing bonus, in order to rush with strong infantry or to boom up to Castle or Imperial Age. The revelation of Relics is also a plus, with both sides putting Monks into good use, whereas regular wood tributes can assist the Slavs at farming. *Add Goths to a team, despite the Burmese team bonus not synergising as well as the Italian one, and they can potentially execute downright terrifying infantry rushes and control completely a Feudal Age game, to the point of scoring early victories.
The Khmer can operate as both springs and springboards, thanks to their unpredictable no requirement bonus, and can really help and being helped by the Slavs: the Scorpion bonus provides Slavs with long-hitting, cheap Scorpions, whereas military housing can help the Khmer save lumber to allow more freedom at experimenting with their no-requirement bonus, or to probably send some early wood tribute from a rapidly Market, so that Slavs can farm more.
Note: this particular combo might actually be one of a kind at the entire game, as it can allow the Khmer to create forward bases, by combining Houses with military structures so that the Khmer project power to distant places on the mini map, that allow Villagers to gather resources, while also negating anti-Villager attacks (by garrisoning Villagers inside Houses), and allowing Khmer units to fight back from population-boosting military buildings, all while saving as much wood as possible(!). This maneuver could be executed close to enemy positions, to exploit the resources there, while building a military building to send units to harass enemies nearby. In the meantime, a Slav player can gang up with the Khmer at rushing enemies, in order to dissuade them from preventing Khmer Villagers of gathering their own resources. In essence, it's a form of Rush combined with elements of attrition, and if well played, one may potentially starve enemies inside their own base.
Of course, it has to be a very cautious and precise move, with a Scout exploring the area first, and it is more effective against civilisations with weaker early game, such as the Turks (e.g. by securing a gold mine close to their Town Center, one could restrict a Turk player from exploiting his/her gold bonus). Nonetheless, great synergies with such strategic opportunities might cement a Slav-Khmer alliance as one of the most unconventional and interesting combos in the entire game.