Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees

Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 41 - steamsplay.com
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 41 - steamsplay.com
This guide will show you how to choose the best and most impactful technology when playing Shogun 2 or its DLC’s. Research can provide useful advantages to shape your campaign and gameplay.

 
 

Introduction

 
Welcome to this definitive guide for Shogun 2’s main campaign. I have written this in order to provide a complete breakdown of the most important research (also referred to as arts or technology) to obtain during the campaign for each game. Each art in Shogun 2 takes a long time to complete, making prioritisation necessary. 
 
You cannot research all of the arts in every campaign — indeed, only in the longest campaigns with many bonuses to research will you be able to achieve this goal. Therefore the game forces you to choose between the two paths, Bushido (military focused) and Chi (Economic and Civic focused) and might leave you lacking in one side without balance. 
 
Since the game was released for free during a short period in April last year, many new players have picked up the 2012 classic. This guide is intended for newer players and those of intermediate level. 
 
 

The Basics

 
Research in Shogun 2 has two trees that focus on seperate aspects: Bushido for military bonuses as well as arts that unlock new military buildings, units, formations and tactics. Chi focuses on economy, public order, trade and religion. 
 
The deeper arts in the tree require pre-requisites in order to unlock them, therefore as the player you need to decide whether to specialise in one area or adopt a rounded approach, becoming medicore in all aspects, allowing a more flexible strategy at the expense of powerful but limited bonuses. You should aim for research to fit your current situation on the campaign map, with a little hindsight and ambition towards future/final goals for your faction. This means, for example as either a Christian faction or Ikko buddhist, heavily leaning on Chi’s religious arts will generally benefit your gameplay as a whole since these factions are designed to excel in these areas. 
 
In the following section’s tier list, these factors are taken into account. Considered too, is the length of time needed to reach the respective tech and the strength of the pre-requisites needed to research first. 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
The image above is from an Otomo campaign, roughly 30 turns in. As this faction you have many great trading oppurtunities by capturing the trading nodes off the coast of Kyushu, as well as nearby provinces that are located on very fertile ground, which are excellent to develop with the aid of a metsuke to increase the tax revenue. 
 
To this end, I have quickly secured the first farming upgrade on the Chi path, as well as Tea Ceremony, improving the Daimyo faction leader’s standing in the eyes of his peers (by increasing the honour stat) which is vital for public order – as a Christian faction this is a priority. 
 
Although in this campaign I wanted to focus on using Otomo unique units and gunpowder, the pre-requisite of Heaven and Earth is still beneficial since it also provides access to the military encampment building and a 5% bonus to replenishment alongisde the 50% extra arrow ammunition, normally otherwise an outstanding boon. 
 
Having secured these necessary upgrades, I now have returned to Chi to develop my religious buildings and improve conversion via missionaries and religious buildings. 
 
 

Tier List

 

  • A+

Heaven and Earth 
Way of the Bow 
Equal Fields
 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
These are the arts you normally would like to have as early as possible, and are very helpful in establishing your clan’s presence on the campaign map as a result. At the top of this tier sits H&E, a tech nearly midway through the military focused Bushido Tree, requiring a few quickly researched techs before it becomes available. It provides a few substantial bonuses, that have already been quickly covered: 5% bonus to unit replenishment, 50% extra archer ammunition, and access to the Encampment chain of buildings. The versatility is a large factor to H&E’s excellence, everything this tech provides is useful. 
 
Way of the Bow principally allows the use of fire arrows, which are the single biggest bonus you can receive for navy battles. Through clever use of fire you can turn otherwise slow and tedious battles into quick and decisive victories, by setting enemy fleets ablaze. On land fire is useful for dealing extra damage on a volley, which can help in dealing with more armoured samurai. Archers are perhaps the kings of the battlefield in feudal Japan, as no units carry shields, making all but the heaviest and most armored units vunerable to a volley. 
 
Equal Fields allows you to construct the third tier of farms, boosting food output to 3 and generating extra wealth based upon the fertility rating of the province. This is the first level that requires an art to upgrade, and is very useful for increasing passive income, province growth (bigger provinces secure more income in tax) and expanding castles, which costs food. Absolutely essential in every campaign. 
 

  • A

Calligraphy 
Chronido 
Way of the Sea 
Strategy of Defence
 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Calligraphy, perhaps undervalued by many players, nevertheless has been given a high ranking in this list. It is relatively far down the Chi research tree, meaning it will take a fair amount of pre-requisite techs in order to reach. It provides a 20% bonus to trade tariffs, which practically amounts to a few hundred extra Koku per turn with a few trade partners. In addition, it unlocks the final tier of the School province specialty, and a bonus of +20 to all diplomatic relations. Not essential by any means, but the bonuses are nice if you like to develop economically and strike from a position of strength. Building Confucian libraries from the school provinces will provide a 33% bonus each to research times, making it possible to unlock more of the late-game arts, especially in conjuction with other percentage bonuses, such as the general poet skill for Bushido arts, and religious buidings for Chi (especially factions that convert to christianity). 
 
Chronido, similar to equal fields, is a farming tech. It takes much longer to reach than EF, needing some pre-requisite Chi techs first. It provides the final tier of farms, a bonus of 2 free food, and unlocks the final Craft building province specialisation. This is a greater sum than what EF provides, and is very useful, but not a necessity, as you can have enough food from EF until late in the game by specialising provinces, which is in general a good tactic as wasting food upgrading an inefficient province is usually not a sound strategy. 
 
Way of the Sea provides a 10% bonus to navy map movement, unlocks the fire bomb ship, and enables all ships to engage in night combat (disables reinforcements). The first bonus is the most useful, additonal campaign map movement is always good, especially for ships, which already have a large range of movement. 
 
Strategy of Defence is an early art, unlocked immidiately after the inital Bushido. It doesn’t seem to help a whole lot, adding +1 defence to all units, and unlocking the Naginata Samurai. Nevertheless it provides some useful bonuses for the early game, making your Yari Ashigaru stronger. Defence is a stat that can only be gained through arts and experience, unlike armour, attack, charge etc. from building bonuses. 
 

  • B

Chi, Bushido, ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥, Tea Ceremony, Form, Essence of the Spirit, Ninjutsu Mastery, Tax Reform, Kinza Mint, Strategy of Attack, Sword Expertise, Bow Expertise, Spear Expertise. 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
There are many arts that sit in the middle of the road, offering decent bonuses but perhaps taking too long to reach, or are necessary pre-requisites to many techs (like Strategy of Attack) yet do not provide much on their own. However they still are useful for most campaigns and factions. 
 
Chiand Bushido, the first arts available in the game, provide small but relevant bonuses. They are also the fastest techs to research. Another art that provides a small bonus is Form. However, it leads to a few decent arts, and requires litte in itself to reach. The building it unlocks allows for faster recruitment of samurai, from 2 turns to 1. This is one of the most useful military boons you can get, since halving the time needed to get units on the field is never a bad thing. 
 
Ninjitsu Mastery might be seen as a strange choice. After all, Ninjas are probably the most situational unit of all. However, the benefit of NM lies in the building it unlocks, the Infamous Mizu Shobai District. Limited to one in your clan, it gives bonus levels to recuited ninja, a huge 25% bonus to tax rate in the province, access to geisha and the hero unit Hanzo’s Shadows (which extremely strong, considering as a hero unit they aren’t impeded further by ninjas small unit size compartively). 
 
Tax Reform and Kinza Mint are useful for the general moneymaking strategy of using mesukes to boost tax rate, along with the farming arts used to upgrade a fertile province. 
 
The Expertise arts help by giving you most of what you would want out of a military tree line, without leaving you undeveloped in another area, by spending too much time down one side of the tree going for the masteries. 
 
 

 

  • C

Gunpowder Mastery, Mastery of the Waves, Five Elements, Traditional Building, Zen, Sojutsu Mastery, Neo Confucianism (A for Christian, Ikko). Scholarship, Epic Architecture, Kenjutsu Mastery Kyujutsu Mastery, Horse Mastery. 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Many of the arts in this list are far down the tech tree, and provide substanial yet specialised bonuses that may not always be useful to the player. Therefore they are listed here as situational. 
A good example of this are the gunpowder techs. Devastating in the right circumstances, yet too awkward and slow to be of much use in a field battle. During a defensive siege however, guns become a true terror, the otherwise vunerable troops safely positioned behind walls, allowing them to inflict terrible casulties and morale damage. 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
(Never discount the value of overwhelming firepower). 
 
This situational factor is why many of the ‘Mastery’ arts have been placed here. They require many pre-requisite arts, and usually only unlock the final tier of unit building along with a bonus to that unit type (katana, cavalry etc.). 
 

  • D

Noh, Attack by Fire, Secret Police, Traditional Building, Shih, Sumo Tournament, Naval Expertise. 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
Total War: SHOGUN 2 Shogun 2: Research Trees 
 
These arts are the weakest in the game, providing very little respective to their cost in time taken. They should be avoided unless they give the player a specific advantage they require immediately. 
 
Noh is quite possibly the worst art in the game, giving +1 to each general’s loyalty. Since high Daimyo honour boosts all general loyalty anyway, and the cap for honour/loyalty is 6, this art provides almost nothing, unless for some reason you have a whole family full of disloyal generals. 
 
Attack by fire is here since it gives access to the mangonel, one of the game’s worst units, with abysmal accuracy, total immobility and slow movement (on the campaign map). When going for gunpowder however, it is an unfortuante necessity. 
 
Shih, for a final tech, provides a bunch of rather unnoticable effects (compared with Strategy of Defence, where in the beginning of the campaign, the impact is much larger). 
 
Sword Hunt only matters if you have expanded too quickly and cannot manage public order. 
 
 

Conclusion

 
To wrap up, generally the best arts offer the player bonuses that are universally useful, without too much time spent setting up beforehand. This is why this list tends to value the middle tier highly, since it allows you to be flexible, opening up a number of paths, without locking yourself down and specialising too much. Rushing cavalry techs when not playing Takeda tends to leave the player vunerable to threats that strong cavalry cannot answer. This being said, the arts in C tier can be moved up to B or even A depending on the faction chosen (e.g. Katana arts for Shimazu) and the strategy the player wants to employ. If heavy reliance on bows is desired, then the bow mastery art will be more highly valued than the katana one. 
 
Certain builds make more use of Chi than Bushido, and are often more research focused overall. Going deeper in Chi than Bushido can often work well. After all, the best unit with regards to effciency is the one you get at the start of the game, the yari ashigaru! 
 
Thanks for reading – I hope you have enjoyed this guide! 
 

Written by Minamoto

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