Saethwyr are upgrades of Helwyr, the Welsh unique unit. Like its predecessor, the Saethwr has a potential speed/range combination and, additionally, better attack and armour.
Available to: Wales
Trained at: Assembly Hall
Cost: 40 Wood, 45 Florins
Armor/Pierce Armor: 0/1
Range: 6 (MR 1)
Special: +2 vs. spearmen.
Upgrade of: Helwr
Attack, Range: Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Bracer, Bow Practice
Range: Longbow (Welsh unique technology), Independence (Welsh Policy Decision)
Armour: Padded Archer Armour, Leather Archer Armour, Ring Archer Armour
The upgrade of the Helwr is the Saethwr (plural: Saethwyr). It doesn't fire farther, but it is more durable and stronger. And these boys can fight.
When Saethwyr are finally fully upgraded, they have a range of 13 tiles with good accuracy and a powerful attack, as well as speed nearly equal to that of a trooper or knight (1.2 tiles/second; cavalry on average have 1.35 t/sec).
The Saethwr can thus be used in many ways: they have the ability to either stand back and pierce the enemy from a safe distance, or conduct quick raids and hit'n'run tactics slaughtering groups of slow-moving infantry - and even cavalry - to strike without being seen and quickly withdraw afterwards. The result is an incredibly versatile unit, which can simply outrun most of the units that have bonuses against it. Though they cannot stand up at close range, a mixture of these and the fast Welsh pikemen and skirmishers can slaughter even the finest silver-heavy armies.
The Welsh Saethwr (Welsh = Archer; pl.: Saethwyr) used the longbow, but not in the way it has become famous. Luring their opponents into ambushes and attacking from safe positions, the Saethwyr would often deal damage from close range before withdrawing. The effect of these Welshmen was often considerable, and Giraldus Cambrensis, a medieval author, recorded that an arrow could easily pierce a knight's leg armour, his leg, his saddle, and then even penetrate to the horse.