|Appears in||Total War: Shogun 2|
|Belongs to||Most factions|
|Soldiers in each unit||40/80/120/160|
|Tech requirement||Gunpowder Mastery (non-Otomo Clan requirement only)|
|Produced from||Fort, Powder Maker (Otomo Clan only)|
|Cost||300 SP/400 MP|
|Turns to Train||1|
Matchlock Ashigaru are a type of matchlock infantry in Total War: Shogun 2.
These ashigaru troops are armed with matchlock arquebuses and pepper the enemy with long range, mass volleys.
The role of matchlock ashigaru is to unleash massed gun volleys upon the enemy, keeping them confused and, in the process, weakening them enough for a frontline charge. Once fired, the matchlock guns take a long time to reload, but their range, noise, and effect on enemy morale more than compensates for this lack of speed. The smoke and fire they produce can be very disorientating to enemies, particularly when targets are dropping all around. When the main fighting starts matchlock gunners should retreat behind melee troops. They do not have the training to fight in close combat and have no defence against a cavalry charge.
Historically, it was considered a great honour for any samurai to fire the first shot of a battle. The honour traditionally fell to the samurai archers, who opened most battles with an archery duel. However, the Sengoku Jidai introduced the European arquebus, guns which required much less skill to use than the bow. The archery duel became an exchange of gunfire and, as the guns were largely carried by ashigaru, the first shots were now fired by simple foot soldiers. The ashigaru gunners were led by a teppo ko gashira, a man chosen for his skill and courage, who ordered when to load, when to fire and signalled his superiors when the enemy had been weakened enough for a charge to be attempted.
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Good range but shorter than bow units.
- Devastating damage.
- Low accuracy, reload rate and morale.
- Very vulnerable to cavalry and in melee.
Matchlock Ashigaru are mid-late game infantry. Unlike bow units, matchlock units fire in a straight line, meaning that they have to take land inclines and friendly fire into account more carefully. While they have more men per regiment than Matchlock Samurai or Matchlock Warrior Monks, their poorer accuracy and reloading skills mean that they have a lower kill rate than their counterparts. Nevertheless, they can be useful for fighting armored units, as matchlocks ignore armor values. In addition, matchlock units inflict a heavy morale penalty on their targets.
As ashigaru units, they have a numerous number of men per regiment and are relatively cheap, but have poor stats. Unlike other ashigaru units, however, matchlock ashigaru are only available in the mid-late game, as they require a late game art, Gunpowder Mastery, to be researched. Regardless of which clan is played, matchlock ashigaru are quickly eclipsed by Matchlock Samurai (or Portuguese Tercos for the Otomo Clan), which have barely higher requirements for recruitment and have far better statistics. Another disadvantage matchlock ashigaru have is their lack of the Rapid Volley ability, relegating their reload speeds to very low rates.
- Date Clan Matchlock Ashigaru have +2 charge bonus.
- Oda Matchlock Ashigaru have +1 melee attack, +1 melee defense, +1 charge bonus, +5 reload skill, +5 accuracy, and are cheaper to train and maintain, at 250/75 instead of 300/100.
- Otomo Matchlock Ashigaru are cheaper to train (but not to maintain) at 250 koku instead of 300, and have +5 reload skill and +5 accuracy. The Otomo Clan can recruit Matchlock Ashigaru with more lenient requirements, needing only the mid-game Powder Maker building.
- Ikko Ikki Matchlock Ashigaru have 20% more men, +1 morale, -1 melee attack, -1 charge bonus, -5 reload skill, and -20 accuracy. They are inferior to standard Matchlock Ashigaru, and they remain inferior even when experienced (in contrast to other Ikko Ikki ashigaru units, such as Yari Ashigaru, who become superior to their standard counterparts when experienced). Ikko Ikki matchlock ashigaru have more ragged and varied clothing than ashigaru of other clans, though these differences are purely cosmetic.
- Hattori Matchlock Ashigaru have kisho training, allowing them to be placed anywhere on the battlefield except the opponent's deployment zone during the deployment phase of a battle. They can also hide in light scrub and long grass.