Only the most experienced and veteran Empire Crossbowman are allowed the opportunity to join this elite rank of sharpshooters. Donning the burnished plate and mail, these elite sharpshooters are able to provide a hail of missiles that hit hard. Very hard. Despite using crossbows, they are able to fire and reload at a startling speed. They are great assets in a siege, having uncanny accuracy, and often taking down the deadly archers in the towers of the keep with ease. Even troops with powerful shields like the Huscarls are unable to absorb a few volleys of their deadly bolts. In the open field, they do not take down as many cavalry as the archers but the damage they deal out is still impressive, puncturing the life out of even the most heavy warhorses, with their slow speed, but very deadly Siege Crossbow and Steel Bolts. Should these men be forced into close combat, their board shield can absorb blow after blow, allowing them to turtle behind them, distracting the enemy and allowing the crossbowmen's allies to flank them. Still, their swordsmanship with the cross-hilt sword and the empire broadsword are decent and not to be underestimated, although it is still better to let them use their ranged weapons.
Place these men on an elevated position. If you have archers, place them in front of the crossbowmen. In some battles, archers will run out of missiles fast and they can provide a second line of resistance to protect the crossbowmen. This may vary depending on the archers, like Ravenstern Rangers, which are poorly armored and less skilled in close combat, making the player suffer more casualties compared to having the crossbow men in front when the enemy infantry/cavalry meets them. But obviously, if the player has infantry to cover these ranged troops, these are preferred.
This troop is upgraded from Empire Crossbowman for 160 d and upgrades no more.