Free Double Bit Axe, Bowsaw and Two Man Saw
+1 attack per age (starting in Feudal Age) for Infantry
Half price Monastery technologies
All relics visible on the map
Arambai – high attack, low accuracy Cavalry
Howdah – +1/+1 armour for Battle Elephants
Manipur Cavalry – +3 attack to buildings for Cavalry
Full access to Infantry
No Arbalester or Hand Cannoneers
No Paladin but access to Hussar
No Siege Ram or Siege Onager but has Bombard Cannon
No Hoardings or Bombard Tower
No Fast Fire Ships, Heavy Demo Ships or Shipwright
Only missing Heresy from Monk technologies
Missing 2nd and 3rd Archer armour upgrades but access to all other Blacksmith technologies
Only missing Stone Shaft Mining in economy upgrades
Burmese have a standard start with 3 Villagers and a Scout Cavalry. They have no economy bonuses in the Dark Age so can streamline from the start of the game into their main compositions.
The Burmese gain +1 attack for their Infantry upon reaching the Feudal Age so a ‘Drush’ or Men-at-Arms opening is very effective for them to take advantage of this. It makes one of these options common openings for the Burmese.
With such a powerful Infantry opening this should be the start in most instances for the Burmese but then they are lacking any particular focus to follow this up. Their Archer-line are missing the 2nd and 3rd armour upgrades as well as missing Thumb Ring and Arbalester, so this should not be a focus.
Instead, a sensible approach could be to follow up their early aggression with a Tower rush. Men-at-Arms into Towers is a strong start as it can deny your opponent access to resources whilst your economy is staying strong behind it. For the Burmese, this is particularly beneficial as their unique unit, the Arambai, is a very effective unit to aim for and is produced from a Castle. Therefore having Villagers collecting stone in Feudal Age can prepare for building a Castle when you reach the Castle Age.
The Burmese benefit immediately upon reaching Feudal Age with the free Double Bit Axe upgrade. This allows them to have more efficient lumberjacks immediately and saves the resources it would normally cost. This can help the Burmese player to begin the game with a Scout build order. They have access to a fairly strong range of Cavalry, only missing the Paladin upgrade. Without the cost of Double Bit Axe, the Burmese have an extra 100 food spare that would normally be used for this that can instead be used to pump out Scouts easier.
On water maps, the Burmese instant wood upgrades gives them a small boost to their economy that helps with a water build. Other than this, they don’t get any water-specific bonuses but they do have a full Dock tech tree in Feudal Age and Castle Age, before missing some upgrades and technologies in Imperial Age. They can therefore compete well on water but will struggle if the game goes into a late water battle.
On reaching the Castle Age, the Burmese instantly gain the Bowsaw upgrade and another +1 attack for their Infantry. This is unlikely to have too much impact immediately as it is not common to be focusing on Infantry at this stage of the game. A possible exception would be if doing a Siege-Monk push and accompanying it with some Pikemen as you would be able to begin massing Spearmen on the way to Castle Age and upgrade immediately. This can help protect the Monks and Siege units from the enemy Scout-line.
The Burmese are missing Heresy from the list of Monastery technologies but this is not a big loss in a Siege-Monk push as the technologies prioritised are Redemption to convert Siege or buildings and Atonement to convert enemy Monks. They have half price Monk upgrades and this is therefore a massive benefit to this style of play. A Siege Workshop is a particularly important addition if going into Arambai as the counter to them is Skirmishers, which can in turn countered by Mangonels.
A common approach to playing as the Burmese is to focus on their unique unit – the Arambai. This unit has a very high attack and allows the Burmese to break through walls quickly. This is particularly effective on Arena where you generally have the opportunity for a safe Fast Castle build and can even go into a double Castle drop with both being able to produce Arambai. The risk with this is that it can be stopped by a defensive Castle at which point, the investment into two Castles will set you behind your opponent. Even without upgrades, Arambai can do substantial damage but this approach must do damage to the opponent to justify the investment. On other more open maps, it can be feasible to use a Castle and Arambai production as a follow up to a Drush Fast Castle or Men-at-Arms into Towers. Arambai cost wood and gold so it is easy to keep the Town Centres producing at the same time.
It is important to note that Arambai are affected by the Archer Armour upgrades from the Blacksmith but do not get attack upgrades. If focusing on these, you should make sure to build a Stables in order to research Bloodlines for additional HP and Husbandry for additional speed. Arambai are also affected by Ballistics which allows them to hit moving targets – however, their darts are still fairly inaccurate.
In Castle Age, Burmese have a strong stable and can follow up their Feudal Age Scouts with Knights. This can be a sensible move for the Burmese player as it can be a part of their late game composition.
In Imperial Age, the Burmese have access to Cavalier but not Paladin. In team games, this can be a problem but less so in 1v1 games where the cost of researching Paladin is often better spent on massing more Cavaliers. The Burmese Cavaliers get full upgrades and are therefore a perfectly viable late game option. In fact the Manipur Cavalry unique technology allows their Cavalry to do an additional 3 damage against buildings. This is particularly beneficial in breaking through fortifications or destroying Town Centres with the Cavalier or with Arambai.
The Burmese also have access to Battle Elephants. With their Howdah unique technology, giving them 1 additional pierce and melee armour, the Burmese Battle Elephants are incredibly strong. Their weakness though is their slow speed and their high cost. They are countered directly by Halberdiers, which makes the trades very cost-effective for the opposition since Halberdiers don’t require gold. The alternative option when they are in low numbers if to use Monks to convert them. This is particularly damaging against the Burmese as they do not have access to the Heresy technology which would cause the units to die upon conversion rather than change sides. This means that not only do the Burmese lose Elephants but the enemy will gain them with conversions.
In the late game, the Burmese Halberdiers are incredibly strong with their +3 attack, as well as full Blacksmith upgrades. Their Elephants can be added to this to give additional strength to their melee options and with Manipur Cavalry, allow them to break through walls. These combined can provide an excellent addition to Onager and can help to protect them whilst posing a potent threat to their ranged counters. This is a gold-intensive composition so it may be difficult to maintain. This could be changed to focus on Halberdier and Arambai in the late game, with Arambai providing the ranged attack. If this is the chosen option then Bombard Cannons can be a sensible option to take out the Skirmishers that would otherwise counter this composition. Combining in Hussars can be a sensible approach also to fight the Skirmishers but also can be a useful raiding unit.