Detailed Men-At-Arms Guide

CK3’s men-at-work system is straightforward. There are numerous choices regarding what to construct and where in the realm. 

The best buildings are typically used to enhance men-at-arms. However, you can only construct some buildings in particular types of terrain.

There are also cultural and regional troops. Is there a particular build that performs better than others? If my culture begins with Sahel Horsemen, will it be more worthwhile to conduct a Light Cavalry build? Should I create a diversified army to combat CK3’s AI, or should I create only one type of unit to maximise bonuses? 

This post responds to these queries and provides all the necessary information you need. Read on to learn more. 



The four base stats for all troops are toughness, damage, screen, and pursuit. Damage is the most significant stat and is self-explanatory. 

A unit’s damage before dying depends on its toughness, making it one of the most crucial stats because men-at-arms refills are pricey. Pursuit shows how well a particular unit rides down the opposition during retreat phases. 

Although pursuit could be advantageous in certain circumstances, you will usually just crush your opposition and then crush them again in future encounters 5 out of 10 times. Since you won’t be losing any more battles, I’ll stop talking about the screen, which is how well-protected your units are from the enemy’s pursuit damage.

We are aware that other units can neutralise some units. Archers counter light infantry, who in turn counter heavy troops. 

This mechanic is essential in the game’s early stages. The type of men-at-arms the software chooses to construct is typically a total guess.

Another issue is that, in general, AIs do a terrible job of administering their domains to make the men-at-arms efficient and effective, making the question of whether or not to reduce the troop’s damage output moot. 

As a result, unless you are engaged in a large-scale holy war, when you have 3,000 men-at-arms of the same kind, the most severe injury you will endure is roughly 80%. Accordingly, you should constantly concentrate on creating one or two unique men-at-arms troops and attempting to maximise their stats.

You typically begin as a count or a duke with few resources and raise your entire army to battle. To give your levies more punch, you should develop a lot of inexpensive, high-damage troops. Archers are also ideal for this purpose. 

Again, because there aren’t many men-at-arms, you should consider your probable targets and work to neutralise their men-at-arms. Do this while simultaneously minimising overall expenses. Since they frequently have fighting benefits in local terrains, cultural units are excellent at this time.



You should own two duchies and have established a strong domain of five or six tiles. To move on to the heavy cavalry section of this guide, you must quickly acquire a dutchy that comes with at least two farmlands baronies if you are a min-max player. If you enjoy role-playing and want to make your starting duchy among the most superior in CK3, regardless of early development and topographical disadvantages, continue reading.

Some terrains are inherently harsher than others because buildings are locked according to terrain type. Since barracks cannot be constructed in the desert, a heavy army build is not conceivable. Farmland is the only place where manor houses—these are the ideal structures for making money—can be constructed. 

As a result, I’ll describe the following designs according to the domain terrain and unit types they are best suited for. In 5 baronies, two duchies, and a few cultural units, some creators have created notepad documents showing calculated values where specified buildings for every unit type max out (it’d be great if someone made excel documents to key in the values).

Regardless of your ethnic unit, skirmisher builds are always not worth it because of their low base stats, except for the one instance of Horse archers (OP). The horse archer construction is the same as the archer builds.

Construction of Light Cavalry, Knights, and Camelry



While I think this is the game’s weakest build, it is likely still feasible. Only do this when you play in a desert or roleplay using the cultural light cavalry troop. Since light cavalry is somewhat expensive, suffers a terrain debuff in hills/mountains and marshes, and has poor starting stats, the build is pretty weak. 

The fundamental idea behind the build is that the Knights will triumph in combat, and the light cav will assassinate the opposition as they flee. My 3200 light cav has destroyed 9000 retreating units. For this purpose, the Chasseurs and Konni are the ideal units, making the build feasible in other locations.

Every barony should develop camel farming and desert agriculture if it is in the desert. Your two duchy structures should be military academies, and you should think about purchasing an extra military legacy at an additional 15% in knight effectiveness. Because the light cav’s initial stats are modest and maximum camelries provide an additional four knights per camel; increasing your knights’ efficacy is more valuable than increasing your damage output from jousting fields. Build the jousting fields if you are not in a desert.

Build for heavy infantry

Drylands, Forests, Wetlands, Hills

Drylands, Forests, Wetlands, Hills

Heavy infantry builds are incredible, but they are also very pricey. They have an excellent balance of toughness and damage, so this is the appropriate build to use when you want to demolish an army despite being outnumbered twice. The best-balanced build is heavy infantry because it receives no terrain debuffs. 

They don’t cause the same damage as the subsequent builds, though, and are incredibly pricey. Undertake this build unless you are in farmland, Indian jungle, desert, floodplain, or do not want to use the money.

Every barony should have a barracks, and your two duchy buildings should be blacksmiths. If you’re among the mountains, ensure to construct stone quarries for added sturdiness. 

Armoured footmen are inferior to several cultural pikemen like the Landsknecht and Shiltron. Thus, they should be constructed instead.

Building Up Crossbowmen From Archers

Building Up Crossbowmen From Archers

Building up the crossbowmen is the closest we will get to a universal God-tier build. I won’t mince things. The military camp is one of the least expensive constructions in this game, and archers are also cheap. Crossbowmen are 25% less expensive than armoured foot soldiers, and archers cost 50% less. 

Although the Archer’s low toughness makes this build initially relatively vulnerable, the massive damage makes up for it. Armoured footmen deal 32 damage while base archers deal 25.

Before you Crossbowmen, you are already dealing extreme damage to the enemy, causing destruction. Additionally, you deal damage before the relatively low toughness of the units causes you to lose many men. 

A fully improved Archery ground increases an archer’s damage by a whopping 45 per cent. You’re set if you combine it with the Unyielding defender perks on the commander. This build is automatically selected when you are in an area with cultural archers.

Every barony should have a military camp built, and your two duchy structures should be archery fields. Building forest forts is optional if you are in a forest and want to maximise your stats, but it might be a good idea. The construction of watchtowers is another option if you live in a desert, dry area, jungle, or steppe, albeit it is unnecessary.

Building Armoured Cavalry

Building Armoured Cavalry



There are two reasons why this design is restricted to these two types of terrain rather than being suggested everywhere. First off, heavy cav is costly. Manor houses can pay for them if you live on farmland, but you may find it challenging to do so without a sizable empire with total crown power if you live in a floodplain.

Second, the terrain malus provided for heavy cav denotes that crossbowmen and heavy infantry will have more incredible stats in hills, mountains, and marshes if at least two regimental grounds cannot be built. 

When you have the proper domain terrain, the bonuses will not only balance out the disadvantages, but any damage caused in the plains will be appalling. Consider incorporating heavy infantry into the army if you are short on funds.

You should construct barracks, jousting fields, and regimental grounds for your two duchy buildings in every barony that permits them.

Building Indian War Elephants

Jungle in India

Jungle in India

Building the Indian War Elephants was the guiltiest I’ve ever felt over mistreating the AI. The game’s war elephants come with the most absurd stats. I could hear you saying, “How good can they be with only 25 members per regiment?” 

If you look at my notepad, you’ll see that the elephants’ damage is increased by 305%, even with just five jungle baronies and two dutch buildings.

It is normal to have upwards of 10 baronies due to the genius characteristic, a holy place, and stewardship education. The damage boost increases to a remarkable 510 per cent when all of them have the Elephantry building and are in the jungle. 

The elephant unit’s ludicrous base damage of 250 is increased by 5.1 to get 1275 damage. The 25 elephants are then multiplied by this number to get 31,875 damage.

The ludicrous number implies that 3187 levies are equivalent to one regiment of fully equipped war elephants. An important tip is that the jungle tiles are what you want in India. You can defeat any foe on the battlefield if you find a means to finance them. Because they are so good, it is worthwhile to base the entire construct around them.

For your two duchy structures, you might want to construct jousting fields, forestry for income, and elephantries in each barony. You might choose to construct military camps or barracks to bolster your army with armoured foot soldiers or archers and crossbowmen, respectively.

Bottom Line

Using this advice, you shouldn’t have to raise levies again during major holy conflicts. However, remember that I am not an absolute authority. If I have left out any ideas or different approaches that you might have, please share.