Swordsman and Crusader
|• Double attack
"Well armed and armored, swordsmen and crusaders are better all-around foot soldiers than their pikemen companions. Crusaders deliver two blows per attack." RoE manual
Heroes with a specialty
- Sorsha the Knight have swordsmen as a specialty, which increases the attack and defense skills of any swordsmen or crusaders for each level attained after 4th level and gives them a speed bonus of 1.
- Catherine the Knight and
- Roland the Knight 's specialties are bugged so they affects crusaders only. (Fixed in Horn of the Abyss )
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It's vital to promote Swordsmen to Crusaders as soon as possible, so beware of having enough crystals to build the upgraded building. Both are relatively slow troops, but especially Crusaders with their double strike have high capability of doing damage, being able to compete with level 5 and even level 6 units in terms of raw damage per unit. It's recommended to use Crusaders to cripple lower tier enemy units, being sure to kill a good part of the stack, or take advantage of certain situation to kill some of the enemy's essential troops.
10-12 Attack and Defense is high for a level 4 creature. 35 Health is about average. Swordsmen' Damage of 6-9 is average, but Crusaders' 7-10 x2 is the highest of all level 4 troops. Speed of 5-6 is their relatively weak point, as most of level 4 units have either Speed of 7 or better.
At 300-400 gold, they are very cost-effective troops, provided you can use them in melee. While their dwelling both normal and upgraded costs just 5 and 2000 , upgraded Barracks also require 5 .
Effectiveness of Bless and Curse depends greatly on whether the target stack is upgraded or not. Swordsmen' average damage of 7,5 is reduced to 6 (or 5 with Advanced Fire Magic) or increased to 9 (10 with Advanced Water Magic). Both spells have tremendous effect on Crusaders' damage output, because of their double strike special: 2x 8,5 becomes 2x 6/7 or 2x 10/11.
Haste and Slow are possibly the most important spells concerning this unit, because their great melee power is useless if they cannot reach the enemy. Haste ensures they can do so, often before the enemy can even move, and Slow makes them perfect targets for ranged troops.
Because of their low Speed, Prayer is also decent buff, also improving their formidable Attack and Defense.
If they will be unable to reach enemy ranged troops, Air Shield offers some protection from ranged fire.
Bloodlust and Weakness affect their attack power. Slayer might be useful, if you can exploit Crusaders' double attack and somehow not get them wiped out by opposing level 7 troop, as they only have 35 health. Frenzy leads to incredibly high damage output, but also makes the troops very vulnerable due to 0 Defense, and thus not recommended if an attacked stack has an opportunity to retaliate.
Because their attack usually comes in two parts, luck is slightly less random, since it has two chances to work, but will usually only boost one of the two strikes. Morale is as chancy as ever, but as it will always give additional (double) attacks (as opposed to Luck which also improves retaliations) Crusaders will benefit from it more than usual.
Like any strong melee unit, Counterstrike is decent buff for them, even if their retaliations don't benefit from double attack special ability.
Because of their relative fragility and high damage output, Clone might be useful to cast on Crusaders, as the clone isn't going to exist for long, and cloned Crusaders will certainly do heavy damage to any opposing stack.
As they have only 35 Health, no immunities and high melee damage, they are an obvious target for direct damage spells or mind spells. If Crusaders are your best troop, consider casting Protection from X on them or Anti-magic when fighting spellcasting creatures or enemy Hero. Waiting to cast Dispel or Cure might also be wise, as both spells remove negative effects and Cure also restores some health while leaving any beneficial effects untouched.
Their special ability means that in practice Crusaders deal about double damage when they attack (but not when they retaliate). Because the sequence is: Crusaders attack > target retaliates if possible > Crusaders attack again, it is very beneficial for them to attack after retaliation has been used up in the current battle turn. In Castle army Halberdiers seem obvious unit to use in this way, as they have similar speed and are quite strong and durable troops for their level. Wiping the enemy out after Angels, Archangels, Cavaliers or Champions softened them up and took the retaliation is another possibility, but Crusaders might need some speed bonus to keep up with these fast troops. Moreover, against someone really strong it's not recommended since a loss of even one Archangel or Champion is a very bad thing, as they're exceptionally strong and expensive.
When fighting Crusaders, exploit the facts that they are quite slow, have low health, and only shine when attacking. Their retaliation is a normal, single attack, even if quite damaging. Their speed is the weak point, so use ranged troops, magic, or both against them. They also cannot endure prolonged melee combat against tougher melee troops that also deal high damage, like Minotaur Kings.
In Castle army they are the mid level hard hitters, as their special ability ensures that everything coming under their attack will take heavy casualties. They cannot take damage as well as they dish it out, though, due to 35 Health. Thus it is best to send them against stacks softened up by ranged troops, those that cannot retaliate, or targets you are sure to wipe out.
The most beneficial secondary skills for Swordsmen and Crusaders are obviously Offense and Armorer. Tactics is useful because their own speed is lacking. Leadership, while possibly redundant and unreliable, is still better than Luck, because Crusaders already deal high damage with their double attack.
Might-oriented heroes are natural choice to use with Crusaders, as they usually start having one or more of these skills. Magic heroes can still be useful if they have spells increasing their speed. Sorsha and Loynis are decent starting choices, but any hero starting with Haste or Prayer or specializing in these spells will do well.