A guide to the nation of Piedmont covering their bonuses, unique units, and overall playstyle with a bit of history on the side!
Royal standard of the Savoyard kings from 1720 to 1848. The design was based on medieval crusader flags such as those of the Knights of Malta, and the red-and-white cross of Savoy would feature front and center on the Italian national flag until 1946.
- Availability: The Golden Age DLC
- Focus: Balanced, Priests, 18c. Dragoons
- Playstyle: European
Hailing from northern Italy and marching under the banner of the dukes and kings of Savoy, Piedmont is a balanced and flexible nation with good Dragoons in the 18th century and the only unique healer in the game. Those, combined with their strong generic units and tech tree, makes Piedmont a credible threat at every stage of the game, allowing them to change their strategy to suit the needs of the match. I’d feel comfortable taking Piedmont into just about any game, which is something I can’t say about many other nations.
If you like making decisions and reacting to whatever your opponent is doing, or just enjoy using Priests and 18c. Dragoons, Piedmont is a great nation for you.
- + Armored 17c. Pikeman
- + Padre–fastest-working healer in the game
- + 18c. Musketeer
- + Piedmontese Dragoon–trains and fires faster but has slightly worse defenses
- + Balloon to reveal the map
Piedmont boasts the standard European buildings, units, and tech tree with no discounts or penalties to speak of, meaning its only unique traits are its two exclusive units, both of which function very similarly to their normal counterparts. This makes Piedmont an easy nation to play, especially for beginners.
Padre (17th Century)
Cost: 50 food, 40 gold
Training time: 25 seconds
- + Fastest-working healer in the game
- + Outperforms other healers and can turn the tide of early engagements
- + Trained at the Cathedral–doesn’t interfere with Peasant or military production
- – High gold cost
- – Very slow training time
- – Requires gold upkeep
- – Healing becomes less relevant as battle size increases
Since Piedmont is the only nation in the game with a unique healer, it makes sense that theirs is arguably the best in the game. With a healing rate of 30 health per second (hps), the Padre is the fastest-working medic in the game. None of the other three religious leaders can tend to your troops’ wounds as quickly as these ministers.
There are some drawbacks, of course. The Padre trains slower than the other healers and has both a higher base gold cost and upkeep. For a full comparison of healing and upkeep rates:
- Padre: 30 hps, 19 units/1 gold per second
- Priest: 20 hps, 40 units/1 gold per second
- Pope: 25 hps, 40 units/1 gold per second
- Mullah: 15 hps, 53 units/1 gold per second
This isn’t a big issue in-game, and I’ve never found that it majorly impacts my gold income, but it’s just something to keep in mind.
With all that said, the question remains: How meaningful is that increased healing in battle? Does the Padre’s faster healing make up for his higher cost and slower training time compared to other ministers? Do they allow Piedmont to compete with early-game powerhouses like Poland and Spain?
Aftermath, 108 Pikemen and 10 Padres vs. 108 Pikemen and 12 Priests. Even outnumbered 5 to 6, the Padres consistently outperformed the Priests, usually winning with around half their Pikemen left.
The answer is yes. In my tests with equal groups of generic 17c. Pikemen supported by healers, I found that while the resulting battle could go either way, the Padres’ side won the vast majority of the time. It makes sense, as every second the 10 Padres were pumping an extra 60 health into their accompanying troops (300 hps vs. 240).
But that was just against generic 17c. Pikemen. The Padre’s true test comes when facing the stronger 17th century melee units. Troops like Spanish Coseletes and Polish Pikemen are rightly feared for their ability to stomp nations with normal Pikemen; can the Padre turn this matchup around for Piedmont.
108 Piedmontese Pikemen and 10 Padres vs. 120 Austrian Roundshiers and 12 Priests. Both sides were at upgrade level 4 to simulate what they would likely be at in an early engagement.
The answer is potentially yes, but it depends on which nation you’re facing. Austrian Roundhshiers consistently lose to Piedmontese Pikes and Padres, regardless of whether they have Priests of their own. Such was not the case with Spanish Coseletes: If the Coseletes lacked their own healers, the Piedmontese would actually emerge victorious. If they did have Priests, the tables turned and the matchup played out as normal, with the Coseletes regaining their superiority.
The Coselete proved to be the limit of the Padre’s effectiveness: Even stronger rushing units like Swiss and Scottish Pikemen were able to overwhelm the pike-Padre combo, even without healers of their own.
Last rites: Padres accompany a mid-game assault on a town.
These tests show pretty clearly how even a relatively small number of Padres can turn the tide of an early fight in Piedmont’s favor. And considering how they train from a Cathedral and thus don’t interfere with Peasant or military production, there’s an argument to be made that they’re a valuable addition to an early Piedmontese army. It’s enough that I think a strong case can be made for the Padre’s usefulness in games with short peacetimes.
The biggest downside is the need to micro your Padres so they don’t blindly walk forward and die. Try to keep them right behind your front lines, ideally where the fighting is thickest. I’d even recommend control-grouping them so you can direct them more easily.
Piedmontese Dragoon (18th Century)
Cost: 60 food, 65 gold, 7 iron max: 60 food, 32 gold, 4 iron min.
Training time: 20.25 seconds max: 13.5 seconds min.
Reload speed: 5 seconds max: 2.45 seconds min.
- + Very high attack
- + Cheap attack upgrades
- + Excels against high-armor targets
- + Slightly faster training and reload times than standard 18c. Dragoon
- – Slow training time
- – Costly defense upgrades
- – Slightly less HP and worse melee protection than standard 18c. Dragoon
Compared to the Padre, the Piedmontese Dragoon is a refreshingly simple unit; a slightly altered 18c. Dragoon that fulfills the same role as a mobile, high-attack musketeer, but sacrifices some survivability for slightly improved offense and spammability.
Stat-wise, Piedmontese Dragoons have -25 HP and -2 max physical protection compared to normal 18c. Dragoons. In return, they attack 0.15 seconds faster (2.45 seconds per shot vs. 2.6) and train 1.5 seconds quicker (13.5 seconds vs. 15). Aside from that they’re identical to the base unit, including their jaw-dropping 56 attack.
Their greater squishiness makes keeping your Dragoons behind your blocking troops even more important for Piedmont than other nations. Without Pikemen and/or mercenaries out front absorbing bullets, your Dragoons are at risk of being gunned down. You’ll also want to beware of melee threats, particularly fast cavalry like Hussars who can close quickly and wipe out an isolated group of Dragoons alarmingly quickly.
If you can keep them safe, however, Piedmontese Dragoons are a good addition to your army. They retain the 18c. Dragoon’s massive 56 damage which, combined with their faster reloading and greater numbers, makes them even better at mowing down heavily armored troops like Cuirassiers as well as just about anything else that gets within range.
Piedmontese Dragoons firing from behind a barrier of armored Roundshiers and Pikemen during a final mopping-up. The melee infantry absorb incoming bullets while the Dragoons provide the killing blow.
There’s really not much else to say. Piedmontese Dragoons are just slightly modified 18c. Dragoons who’ll provide a bit more firepower if you keep them safe; an unexciting unit to be sure, but an effective one nonetheless.
Note: This section assumes you’re playing without capture rules and are thus limited to Piedmontese units and buildings. While capturing can be fun, it also dilutes the factions’ unique characteristics and forces a much more turtling-centric playstyle, which is why many online matches don’t use it.
Early Game (Early 17th Century)
Rising from the Alps: An early Piedmontese base. Note the Cathedral at the bottom, which I built right after the Diplomatic Center to start producing Padres.
How strong Piedmont is in the early game depends on if you’re using Padres. If you’re not, then Piedmont is a standard European nation–not strong, not weak. If you are using Padres, then their performance improves a bit. I’d place them between Austria and Spain in the early-game power tier, which isn’t amazing but still better than their generic units would imply.
Either way, Piedmont does equally well with both Pikemen and Musketeers. They use the standard European build orders with the exception of prioritizing a Cathedral earlier. (I recommend building it after your Diplomatic Center.)
Kicking Austria out of Italy two centuries early: A Piedmontese rush with pikes, mercs, and Padres.
Mid Game (Late 17th / Early 18th Century)
Starting Dragoon production: A mid-game Piedmontese base.
Piedmont performs much the same in the mid game as it did earlier; good but not dominant. By now you should’ve laid down some Stables and added Cannons to your army.
Advancing to the 18th century sooner is a good idea since it gives you access to your unique Dragoons. You’ll want to snag the musket cost-reducing tech beforehand to save yourself a lot of gold, but once you get that and their cheap attack upgrades you’ll give your army a sizable boost in firepower. That said, don’t be afraid to make Hussars or Cuirassiers if you think the situation calls for it.
In terms of matchups, beware of mid-game powerhouses like Ukraine and Portugal. If you’re on the offensive and have a choice of targets, try to take out stronger late-game nations like Saxony and Denmark before they become a problem.
Late Game (Late 18th Century)
Risorgimento: A late-game Piedmontese base.
By now nations should have strong economies and be fielding large armies of powerful Musketeers. The same is true for Piedmont, which is capable of raising gunpowder armies slightly faster than most other factions thanks to their faster-training Dragoon.
While not quite on par with the kings of late-game combat, Piedmont can still make a strong showing in this era. An 18th century Piedmontese army with their unique Dragoons plus Musketeers, Roundshiers, artillery, and your 17th century infantry of choice will be just slightly squishier than an equivalent generic army, but makes up for it with greater firepower.
Execution by firing squad: Storming a Polish base.
With their higher number of faster-firing Dragoons, Piedmontese armies can shred through the enemy’s armored troops and expose their Musketeers sooner than most. I wouldn’t bother making Padres at this point since the scale of battles makes healing just a handful of units irrelevant and that gold can be better spent on upgrades and more production buildings.
Being a very balanced nation means Piedmont doesn’t have any real map preferences. They can do well on any map or resource setting, making them a safe option for any random map game.
The flip side is that Piedmont doesn’t particularly excel at any one map type. If you know all the map settings beforehand, you’d be better off picking a nation that’s better suited for the game in question.