Compared to the Stone Thrower of the previous age, it gains +1 attack and +1 defense, along with a very important +1 to range. This allows it to hit most targets across the map on the first turn.
It has an attack bonus on hills and is effective against heavy class units, such as the Legionnaire. However, the low damage means that is is only reliably effective against ranged units and other artillery units.
The Ballista can be used as fire support by staying behind the army. A full group of Ballistas can be used in combat against melee classes, but vulnerable if the opponent contains fast or light units, such as Mounted Warriors and Soldiers.
Overall, the Ballista is a good unit that can have uses in taking out enemy Archers and Ballistas.
Against Same Units
The Ballista is very weak against the Soldier. Soldiers are very resistant to the attacks of Ballistas, and can take minimal damage if sheltered in trees or bushes. The moderately high movement speed of Soldiers allows them to easily get to Ballistas. Ballista users should use other units to counter Soldiers, such as Legionnaires or Archers, to prevent them from reaching friendly Ballistas.
The Ballista is very effective against the Archer. The Archer has low defense, and therefore any attack from the Ballista is enough to heavily damage it. Generally two or three hits from a Ballista is enough to take down an Archer. The range that a Ballista has allows it to hit Archers from across the map. However, it should be noted that Archers are very effective against the Ballista, and since Archers have a ranged attack, Ballistas are particularly vulnerable.
The Mounted Warrior is a significant threat to the Ballista. Mounted Warriors can reach Ballistas on the other side of the map in 2 turns, and deal massive damage. Meanwhile, Ballistas are unable to do significant damage to Mounted Warriors. If a player has Ballistas in play, he/she should prioritize to take out any Mounted Warriors early in the match. It should be noted that the AI will almost always target artillery units, so any Mounted Warriors will attack Ballistas if it can do so.
The Ballista is somewhat effective against the Legionnaire. With an attack bonus against them, the Ballista can usually do moderate damage to any Legionnaires, especially if the Legionnaire is not standing on plains. The defense bonus that Ballistas have against Legionnaires is minimal, and only allows the Ballista to survive a few hits. Any Ballistas should focus on damaging enemy Archers or other Ballistas. However, the Ballista is not a bad choice for taking on Legionnaires.
- The attack value was reduced by one (from 5 to 4) in update 1.05.
- The attack and defense boost against Heavy Units was raised from 2 to 4 in the 1.06 update.
The Ballista was developed in ancient times by the Ancient Greeks. The Roman army put the Ballista into use, where it was a very important and powerful weapon that can launch a bolt over 500 yards away. It was primary used as an anti-personnel weapon, but it was also used as a siege engine against fixed fortifications. It was very accurate, but traded accuracy for range. However, the Ballista relied on fair weather to operate, as damp or wet weather can damage the ropes used in the artillery piece.