Total War: Rome Remastered – Mercenary Tier List

A quick and easy guide to Mercenaries in Rome Total War.

Mercenaries Guide

All credit goes to Gaius Victor!


Mercenaries are an effective, yet expensive unit type, that can make or break your army.

But not all Mercenaries are created equal. Some of them are better than your base units, while others are not worth your time.

Some Important Notes About Mercenaries

  • Mercenaries have extremely low morale. This means, if they become overwhelmed, they have a high chance of breaking, and fleeing the battle. An army of only mercenaries will almost always fail.
  • Mercenary units are most effective at garrisoning cities. Recruiting Mercenaries to help keep the peace is a viable strategy, just don’t rely on them to hold your city alone.
  • Mercenaries are the only way to get Elephant units as Rome. And it’s awesome.

Side Note: I used screenshots from the Original Rome, as the Remastered Version only gives you a tiny corner to look over your units.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the tier list.

S Tier

The Best of the Best.

Cretan Archers

Description: The absolute best Missile in the entire game. The Cretan Archer is not only stronger than your end game Archers, but they have incredible range and accuracy to back it up. Recruit these Mercs whenever you can.

  • Location: You can hire these Mercenaries anywhere you find Greek or Macedonian territories.
  • Cost: 750 Denarii

A Tier

This Tier is reserved for units that are incredibly useful, but hold some drawbacks. When used effectively, these Mercenaries can make all the difference.

Mercenary War Elephants

Description: The most elusive, yet easily the most destructive Mercenary in the game. Elephants are awesome. If your Elephants get the jump on infantry, they will knock them over like bowling pins. As if that wasn’t enough, Elephants are actually Ranged Units as well, and will fire arrows like Missile Cavalry.

What’s more, Elephants can actually knock down Wooden Walls, and bash in gates of cities. They are living Rams. Though this is not recommended for Large Walls, as the oil will run them amok.

Speaking of, all Elephants come with one major drawback. Elephants are easily scared, and will berserk if frightened. They will attack anything in their way when panicked, especially your own troops. Fire Arrows can scare Elephants before they even get close, and can wipe out your entire army if you aren’t careful. Additionally, Elephants do poorly in cities and small enclosed areas. Use them at your own risk.

  • Location: Anywhere in Africa, Selucia or Egypt. You can find Resource Nodes on the world map with Elephants on them. You can place a merchant here to increase your chances of finding these elusive Mercenaries.
  • Cost: 4000 Denarii. The most expensive unit in the game.

Scythian Mercenaries

Description: These Mounted Horse Archers are the best Missile Cavalry Unit Rome can recruit. This might be the only Mercenary Unit you could viably make an entire army out of. Horse Archers can pick off your enemy at a distance, and are not easy to catch. Keep them out of range of enemy Cavalry, and they can be an excellent addition to your army.

  • Location: You can find these Mercenaries to the far North-East. Anywhere Scythia makes their home. You can find a lot of these mercenaries very quickly.
  • Cost: 800 Denarii

Mercenary Hoplites

Description: My original impulse was to place these guys in B tier, as their effectiveness drops off by late game. However, they are the only Phalanx Spearmen Rome can recruit, and can be absolutely deadly to a Chariot charge. Hoplites work best against Egypt, Macedonia, and Scythia, as they seem to have the most Mounted Cavalry Units in the game.

Hoplites can also be very effective in cities. Place a few of them at the front line while taking a city. The computer is very likely to try and run its cavalry down the narrow streets. They are perfect for engaging an enemy, and having one of your better units flank the enemy from behind. At the very worst, they are effective meat shields.

  • Location: You can find these Mercenaries all over Rome and Greece. Chances are, you’ll find one on your first turn.
  • Cost: 850 Denarii

Sarmatian Mercenaries

Description: Sarmatian’s are the only Heavy Cavalry Mercenary Unit in the game. Their attack is decent enough, but they also come with a 10 point charge bonus. Heavy Cavalry is always good to have, and these Mercenaries make very effective additions to your own.

  • Location: These Units are found in mostly in Dacia and Scythia. You can occasionally find them in Armenia and Pontus as well.
  • Cost: 1200 Denarii

B Tier

These Mercenaries are decent enough, and can help in a pinch. These Units can be effective when used right, but can come with some pretty serious drawbacks.

Bedouin Archers

Description: Bedouin Archers are Camel Riders, and as such, have the passive ability to scare horses. Enemy Cavalry can lose morale around Camels, but these archers typically don’t get close enough for that to happen. Still, they are very effective Mounted Missile Cavalry, outclassed only by Scythian Mercenaries.

  • Location: You can find Camels anywhere in Egypt or Selucia.
  • Cost: 750 Denarii

Cilician Pirates

Description: These Pirates might be one of the stranger units in the game. They are very fast, and fire off a missile before they charge. If they charge an already engaged enemy, they will rip through them. Just don’t count on them to hold a line, especially against cavalry. They are pretty cheap compared to most mercenaries, and pack a solid punch.

  • Location: You can find Pirates around the cities of Tarsus and Salamis.
  • Cost: 620 Denarii

Rhodian Slingers

Description: I know, I was surprised too. Rhodian Slingers actually pack a solid punch, but lack any real range to use this effectively. That being said, they are excellent on Large Walls for Defensive Sieges.

Rhodian Slingers also come with a surprising amount of durability. They have their own shields, and while they are by no means melee fighters, their defense can keep them from being annihilated when engaged. Don’t sleep on the Rhodian Slingers. They can, and will, surprise you.

Warning: Slingers fire in a straight line, not in an arc. If you position your Slingers like Archers, they will kill your own Troops. Use caution.

  • Location: These Slingers can be found in Greece, Rome, Pontus, and Southern Gaul.
  • Cost: 750 Denarii

Balearic Slingers

Description: While we’re on the topic of Slingers, Balearic Slingers are every bit as good as Rhodian Slingers, with the added benefit of Armor Piercing Ammo. Balearic Slingers will absolutely wreck Chariots, if aligned properly.

Warning: Just like Rhodians, Balearic Slingers will fire in a straight line. Do not use them like Archers.

  • Location: You’ll find most of them in Spain, as well as a little further north, in Western Gaul. You can also rarely find them in Numidia, but don’t bank on it.
  • Cost: 750 Denarii

C Tier

Any Mercenary ranked at C or below is generally only fit for garrison duty. These units aren’t very special, and aren’t generally worth the money otherwise.

Thracian Mercenaries

Description: Thracian Mercenaries can do a large amount of damage very quickly. However, they break even quicker, and can’t stand up to most infantry or cavalry. They can use the ability Warcry, which boosts their attack for a short time. You cannot use this ability while already in combat, however, so timing is everything.

  • Location: This might surprise you, but you can find Thracian Mercenaries in Thrace. You can also find them in Northern Greece.
  • Cost: 800 Denarii

Bastarnae Mercenaries

Description: Bastarnae Mercenaries are almost identical to Thracian Mercenaries, with two exceptions. Bastarnae’s have double the health of their Thracian counterparts, and extra morale to boot. Bastarnae are the superior version of the Thracian Mercenary, but are about just as useful. They are quite expensive, so use them only if you really need some extra infantry.

  • Location: You can find Bastarnaes in Thrace and Dacia
  • Cost: 1700 Denarii

Barbarian Cavalry

Description: Barbarian Cavalry are honestly not good for much. They can help reinforce your cavalry charges, but that’s about it. They become obsolete very quickly, and are best used to scout out the map in advance of your army. They are very cheap however, so they are a fantastic option as a garrison unit.

  • Location: Northern Italy, Gaul, and Germania. You won’t find them in Britannia or Spain however.
  • Cost: 450 Denarii

Bedouin Warriors

Description: Bedouin Warriors are a Light Cavalry Unit made up of Camel Riders. Camels have the unique passive of scaring horses, only these units can maximize that ability. Take your Bedouin Warriors and surround them with your Cavalry. The Camel Riders will help scare off enemy horses. Outside of that, these Units don’t have much use. They’re not very strong, and while scaring horses can be useful, the Camel Riders can’t survive on their own.

  • Location: Egypt and Selucia
  • Cost: 700 Denarii

Spanish Mercenaries

Description: Spanish Mercenaries are basically discount Legionaries. They fire a missile before they charge, and can take a hit from lesser units. These Units aren’t bad, but they aren’t great. They can help bolster your Infantry if needed, or flank an engaged enemy. Otherwise, these mercenaries make decent garrison troops.

  • Cost: 750 Denarii

D Tier

This is where things start to get really bad. These units all basically serve the purpose of artificially bolstering your ranks. They’re not great.

Barbarian Mercenaries

Description: These mercenaries are terrible. Their only saving grace, is that there is a lot of them. They come in bigger numbers than most other mercenaries, but this doesn’t help them on the battlefield. They’re numbers can create an effective meat-shield in a Siege Defense, but you can also disperse them inside your cities for a small population boost. That’s probably their best use honestly.

  • Location: Northern Italy and Gaul
  • Cost: 800 Denarii

Mercenary Peltasts

Description: These units are pretty pathetic. They have a bonus against Elephants and Chariots, but their range keeps them from being effective. They can be used to defend cities, until they run out of ammunition. They’re pretty much dead after that.

  • Location: Gaul, Italy, and Greece
  • Cost: 600 Denarii

Illyrian Mercenaries

Description: A slightly upgraded version of the Mercenary Peltast. They have slightly better attack, but nothing else to offer. They also do bonus damage to Elephants and Chariots, for what it’s worth. Not a bad garrison troop if you’re expecting a siege, but not enough to turn the tide.

  • Location: Northern Greece and Gaul. Rarely in Italy.
  • Cost: 650 Denarii

Arab Cavalry

Description: One of, if not these most, useless Cavalry Unit in the game. Arab Cavalry doesn’t offer much, and can’t stand prolonged fights. They are honestly more trouble then they are worth. The only reason they don’t make E Tier, is because they are Cavalry, and can add to a larger Cavalry Charge. Not recommended overall, especially not for the price.

  • Location: Egypt, Selucia, Armenia
  • Cost: 750 Denarii

E Tier

Bottom of the barrel. These Units are barely fit to garrison a city. They are warm bodies, and nothing else.

Samnite Mercenaries

Description: Samnite Mercenaries are Spearmen in name only. They have a natural bonus against Cavalry, but you’d never know it. These units fall pretty hard, pretty quickly. Even though Spearmen are rare in Rome, these are not worth your time.

  • Location: Italy
  • Cost: 750 Denarii

Libyan Mercenaries

Description: These Missile Units are abysmal. They are weak, they can’t take a hit, they have almost no morale, and they run out of ammo fast. Their only benefit, is that they are fast. Don’t bother, unless you really need some bodies. They’re cheap for a reason.

  • Location: Africa, Egypt, Selucia
  • Cost: 350 Denarii

Numidian Mercenaries

Description: Pathetic Missile Cavalry. They have weak attack, and limited ammo. You can use them to distract a group of enemies of two, but that’s about it. They would be useful to sacrifice, but they aren’t worth the cost.

  • Location: Africa
  • Cost: 750 Denarii

Eastern Mercenaries

Description: One of the worst Units in the entire game. These Spearmen can be decimated by a full on Cavalry Charge, if that tells you anything. They have no attack, no defense, and no morale. They will disappoint you 100% of the time. You can use them to garrison cities or to increase your population. Other than that, don’t even bother. You’re better off training Peasants.

  • Location: Pontus, Armenia, Egypt, and Selucia
  • Cost: 650 Denarii

Pro Mercenary Tips

Extra Tips and Tricks regarding Mercenaries

  • Cretan Archers are the best Missile Unit in the game. I cannot stress this enough.
  • If a General hires a certain number of Mercenaries, they will receive the “Mercenary Captain” Retinue bonus. This will decrease the cost of hiring future mercenaries.
  • When you Retrain a Mercenary Unit, you cannot replenish their numbers, but they will benefit from your Blacksmith or Temples.
  • That being said, don’t worry about getting Mercenaries killed. Every unit in the game has an Upkeep cost. This cost will go down the fewer units are in the group. Don’t feel bad about getting half your Mercenaries wiped out. It’ll cost you less in the long run.
  • The above doesn’t apply to Cretan Archers. Keep them safe. They’re amazing.
  • With an Army made entire out of Missile Cavalry (Scythians preferably), you can pelt the enemy until you run out of ammo. Retreat and re-engage. The enemy won’t recover, but you’ll have fresh ammo. This is how the Huns did it.
  • Elephants are very fun to watch, but very hard to use. Be careful, because they’re also hard to find. If they Run Amok, you may have to put them down. They are also technically Missile Cavalry, and can be used as a Battering Ram.
  • Hiring mercenaries can potentially scare away enemy armies. If you see an army approaching, hire some mercenaries. Sometimes the computer will back off if you have too many people. Make yourself seem bigger to scare them off (This won’t always work, as mercenaries don’t contribute that much to your “Auto-Win” Chances. The computer is usually only intimidated by the odds. An entire army of mercenaries doesn’t compare to half an army of well trained soldiers.).
Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13966 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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