Just because recruit is bad in captain mod it doesnt matter. From a skirmish point of view it is fine. You get spatha on recruit on captain mode? Not long sword? if you would get long sword on recruit in skirmish it would be a better unit than legionary cost wise probably.I dunno about that.
-Woodsplitter Axe and Battanian Shortsword have the benefit of being attached to an extra 9 points of armor (I think it's 23 for Sturgian Warrior, 24 for Clan Warrior)
-The Targe is admittedly not all that great, though a Mace/Axe Clan Warrior can be one of the better duelists relative to other peasants thanks to having a faster axe than what the Tribal has, along with one of the best maces in the game, esp. considering that it's one of the few maces to dodge the universal blunt weapon nerf
-The Sturgian Warrior's basic shield admittedly has worse coverage than the Recruit's shield, but has greater durability and is still acceptable vs. arrows in a pinch, picking a weapon perk means you'll still have a bit more armor than the Recruit, as well as a much better melee weapon than the wimpy gladius
-Rabble costs less, and the Khuzait Sickle's probably one of the best peasant axes in the game. I'd argue that it's at least strong enough that you might feel ballsy enough to forego a basic shield or pike just to get a bit of extra gold in Skirmish. There's a reason why Captain players fear the Rabble Rush.
-I'm not too sure where the Vlandian Peasant Levy stands rn. I know people are annoyed about the fact that he costs 80 gold, though the points in favour of him include the one-handed sickle still being decently strong for a base weapon, and the Western Hammer being the fastest blunt weapon in the game. Doesn't help that the universal blunt weapon nerf barely scratched that thing at all, either so it might end up being the best blunt weapon in the game, too. Only downside of the Peasant Levy would be that the only perk that's ever worth taking would be Village Militia, and that's just for the 100HP shield.
-In cases where people are spawning as cavalry, the Recruit actually has the worst anti-cav weapon in the game out of all the peasants, not counting the Peasant Levy's complete lack thereof
--Peasant Levy: N/A
--Recruit: 154 one-handed (Also replaces the recruit's main source of damage with what'd better be a one-hit kill on throw)
--Warrior: 174 one-handed
--Tribal Warrior: 195 one-handed
--Rabble: 256 two-handed
--Clan Warrior: 274 two-handed
The only time I could make Recruit REMOTELY workable was by picking the Stronger Javelins/Spatha perk and even then, I felt like the Recruit's killing power is still noticably worse than what the peasants of other factions have. It takes 5 recruits to kill one voulgier from my experience with Bannerlord, but other peasants don't seem to have this problem.