Below are different strategies against Saladin.
Saladin has an all-round army constitution that needs a good variety of troops to handle. It is suggested that ballistae/mangonels are used with crossbowmen andarchers/arabian bowmen Crossbowmen can handle swordsmen and really any troops around, but they need help from bowmen to finish off enemies due to their slow firerate. Mangonels are also useful against groups due to their inaccuracy (they can also pick off scattered assassins even if they are invisible), but ballistae perform better against siege equipment.
Saladin has a much better defense than most other AI lords. In fact, his troops get almost always a +25% morale boost. His mangonels and ballistae in conjunction can really deal damage on advancing ranks. Two strategies:
- Mass horse archers: Use Saladin's own tactic against him with 100-150 horse archers. These are enough to take out the outer defenses and any soldiers that may attempt to sally forth. Expect some casualties from extreme firepower and mangonels (ballistae will not hurt if always on the move) and consider focus firing on mangonels/ballistae. Encircle methodically the castle until you can take out most defenders, then concentrate on the keep and campfire. Always keep gatehouses closed and consider bringing slaves to light up the encampment. Saladin will have most of his troops and peasants killed so he cannot put fires off very well. Do not leave your troops in the flames and move in for the kill once the flames die.
- Standard siege: This method needs a huge number of fire ballistae, catapults and mantlets. Slowly work your way towards the castle, repelling counterattacks constantly. Soon your catapults may fire at the closest tower(s) without much trouble. Leave towers crumbled so Saladin will not rebuild them. You may bring your fire ballistae closer to kill any remaining troops. Continue pounding the walls and structures you see in the perimeter, taking out the mercenary post, marketand granary with a priority. When you reach the keep, have your fire ballistae get in range and fire at will. When little to no troops remain on the keep, rush in melee units ignoring fire from remaining units to dispose of Saladin. Use your mantlets in front of your ballistae whenever you can. Again, upgraded fire ballistae may save you troops.