Pavise Arbalests

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"[W]hen he had shot his bolt and had smitten one in the throng, then would that man fall where he was and give up his life..."

The Iliad, trans Murray

In game

Pavisiers icon.png
Pavise Arbalests — Vital statistics
Pavise Arbalests

Heavier variant of Arbalest Infantry which sacrifices hitpoints for added armour and damage, being the best "crossbow" in the game.

Prereq: Build time HP LOS Attack Attack speed Movement
Upgrade of
  • Late Mediaeval Era [3];
  • Level 6: Linear Tactics Military
100 11 20 2.7s

Pavisier icon.png I Orsini merc.png

Cost Created from Armour Weapon range Specialty
Base Ramp Pop
Wealth.jpg: 70
Timber: 60;
Wealth.jpg: 2;
Timber: 3
1 Barracks.jpg 2 1–15
  • Strong versus heavy infantry.
  • Armour-piercing
Magyarok.jpg Papal States.jpg Venice.jpg Portugal.jpg Spain.jpg Moors.jpg

Overall strategy

The most famous of all crossbow marksmen, the Pavise Arbalest is a heavier version of the Arbalestier. Sacrificing hitpoints for added armour and damage, Pavise Arbalests are highly lethal, especially if entrenched on the field.

This makes Pavise Arbalests highly useful in defensive situations, where you want to command the battlefield or deny ground to an opponent. In a mountainous and hilly area filled with many passes, a dozen Pavise Arbalests can keep an enemy out of a city, as long as they bring no artillery. If you have Patriots or chivalric orders capable of healing units, or the ability to heal units like the German supply wagons, this is an even greater boost, as the Pavise Arbalests can hold off almost anything. Group them with Arquebusiers and towers, and nothing can get through. Yet, like archers, they can be easily cut down on the move, so always screen your Pavise Arbalests before they are fully deployed. Additionally, note that you need the use of Linear Tactics from your Library in order to field them.

Unit summary

  • The Shield Wall — Pavise Arbalests are highly useful in defensive situations with other defences — entrench them where possible.
  • Rush Crush — Like all archers, Pavise Arbalests can be easily cut down if on the move, so always screen your Pavise Arbalests before they are fully deployed.
  • A Man For The Masses — A Liberal government is the best bet for those planning to use Pavise Arbalests because the healing bonuses of the Legislator means that you can heal entrenched Pavise Arbalests, making them even more lethal to enemy units.



Although being useful in being relatively simple weapons to use, and exceeding normal bows in strength and range, crossbows and arbalests had one fatal flaw — they were cumbersome to reload. One of the solutions involved was to introduce the use of a pavise, or a very large shield. While the pavise itself was heavy and cumbersome, it could serve to protect crossbowmen reloading in the face of enemy missiles. This method was used frequently, especially by societies which relied heavily on use of the crossbow, such as the Italians. Contrary to popular belief in Anglocentric circles, the Genoese crossbowmen of the Hundred Years' War were ineffective not because of their inferior weapons — a crossbow was a far more lethal weapon than the longbow — but because the impetuous French nobility would not wait for the mercenaries to first deploy. In the end, however, crossbow and pavise alike were rendered obsolete with the development of armour-piercing firearms, which although not being very accurate and possibly taking more time to reload, required even less skill to operate.


This unit shares its stats with the Chu unique unit, Tiong'n'lo-Sekpeng‎.