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Only khuzait, empire, and sturgia get shields for their tier 2 infantry. Aserai tribesmen, vlandian footmen, and battanian clan warriors lack shields until tier 3. Something simple like a horseman's kite shield for vlandian footmen, southern round shield/desert oval shield for tribesmen, and a heater shield for the clan warriors can make the balance much better between factions. Archers are extremely strong currently, so having to deal with infantry that lack shields until tier 3 is a huge drawback.