"If the hawk is flying to his nest, we two will shoot down the fledgeling with our gilded arrows."
— The Lay of Prince Igor
Clad in hauberks of steel and bearing sturdy bucklers, these men are as resilient as they are as deadly with a bow: their composite bows of laminted wood are as strong as the most advanced arbalests in the world, and thanks to years of training are often just as deadly. All infantry must pay obesiance to heavy archers, although their being slow on foot makes them easier prey for more mobile and agile attackers, and while they may be able to resist light cavalry, medium and heavy cavalry can make short work of them.
Ultimately, their best use as units go by would be to break enemy ranged units.
- When the Going Gets ... — Heavy Archers are of a strong disposition at the cost of mobility, thus they often can be used for defensive frontline duty. This addition of hitpoints works especially well in the favour of Poland and Serbia which recruit slow-training but strong Slavic "meat shield" units.
- Under Heavy Fire — Added durability means that Heavy Archers are ideal as counter-archery units.
- Counter Fire — Thus, use only fast-moving units with sufficient armour such as heavy cavalry, or ranged units that can outrange normal archers such as longbowmen or even siege weapons to take them down.
The composite bow was a stronger kind of bow which was commonly associated with Middle Eastern and Asian cultures. Although Western Europe had the self bow, which was made entirely out of wood, the composite bow's advantage over the self bow was that it was stronger and thus had more draw weight, making it a more powerful weapon despite its size. The only problem was that it was more complex: composite bows were not a simple thing to make and so were used mostly by the richest and most warlike cultures. The Arabs were not great enthusiasts of archery — most warriors preferred javelins over bows — until they became masters of the Middle East and Spain, and had a sufficiently effective economy which could provide sufficient resources for mass production. Composite bows were also used by a variety of nations which had access to them, most notably the Italian city-states which traded extensively with the Muslims.