From Ex illis wiki
- Offensive unit with heavy attacks
- Vulnerable to enemy shooting
- Perfect against cavalry or monsters
Billmen are rough-and-tough mercenaries, capable of dealing a fearsome amount of damage with their large poleaxes. The bill is particularly useful against their natural enemy: (French) knights! While they can deal devastating damage on the charge, Billmen are not well-suited for long fights, and are particularly vulnerable to enemy fire.
The bill is an old but effective weapon derived from an agricultural tool. First introduced by Vikings and Anglo-Saxons, it has since been adopted as a national weapon by English troops. Its heavy weight and long reach are ideal for cutting through knights’ armour while the hook allows the billmen to drag horsemen off of their mounts should all else fail.
In Ex illis, numerous companies of billmen were formed in England over the years from the commoners who had more to gain in becoming mercenaries, instead of staying at the farm. But on extended campaigns, everyday life can be quite harsh for lowly warriors, and the prospect of dying for someone you do not care very much for is not for everyone. Free companies tend to attract men fleeing their past or others more interested in the opportunities of rapine and pillage than the idea of defending widows and orphans. These bands of paid soldiers often fall into banditry when unemployed, which can cause serious mayhem when a full company decides to remain on the land of this or that lord, ravaging the country it lives off.
Billmen are extremely offensive warriors by nature. Having a poor defences but fearsome weapon, this unit is much more efficient to attack enemies than to receive hits.
Simplistic at first sight, the bill actually offers one of the best damage output in the game through a combination of armour-piercing capabilities and raw damage. Billmen are perfectly fit to take on a unit of knights which inadvertently gets stuck in combat, or even to bring down large monsters like the Soffrances. They are wasted, however, when used to fight a cheap unit of peasants or sent to slay archers, and they are in trouble if they are sent to fight skilful enemies who can avoid their clumsy attacks and retaliate with precision.
Some Billmen can also train to use their weapons as spears and act as decent charge receivers. This can work particularly well when combined with Longbowmen: the archers shoot at the enemy from a distance while the Billmen protect them (to some extent) from cavalry charges. Should an enemy get too close, the Billmen can then switch to the offensive mode and charge at the imprudent foes.
Unable to carry a shield, Billmen are especially vulnerable to enemy missile fire. Also, the heavy bill takes time to swing, which in turn makes them tire quite quickly when fighting and does not allow much retaliation. Having a below-average Accuracy for a melee-oriented unit, the Billmen are much more efficient when flanking than in prolonged fights.
Main Article: Stats
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