@Mike nice stuff! Seems like you put a lot of work into that strategy. You should make some youtube videos and explain in detail!
@OP: you will see that everyone builds their archers differently as it is just preference, so here is what I run:
4 dedicated Archers for most battles. Built to overwhelm and never die. No hybrid (not dedicated anyways). The reason for this is that Enemy archers used to be insanely strong a few updates ago, they seem to be weaker now so maybe I am going overkill on the defensive perks.
Absolutely mandatory perks are
1. Bow Mastery and 2. Berserk. Berserk is pretty much the best perk in the game imo, I use it on every single trooper I have. And
3. Footworks. We don’t have enough attribute points to spec heavily into melee defense and this guy is a lifesaver especially against orcs.
the rest is pretty much optional and you can experiment with builds.
Recommended perks are
4. Pathfinder, I also use this on every trooper I have simply becasue otherwise I would be utterly screwed in swamps, forests, snow etc.
5. Anticipation: The best defensive perk against enemy archers provided you have decent base ranged def like 15-30.
6. Recover. Another perk I use on almost all my characters. It is very nice in long battles and helps restore initiative as well.
7. Bullseye doubles your accuracy against people behind cover. Very useful to snipe necromancers and enemy archers and goblin overseers/shamans. Also helps with destroying armor of ancient legionaire pikers. I tried to run without this perk in my current playthrough and ended up taking it around lv6 or 7 anyways because I had such a hard time sniping enemy archers.
The rest is very situational.
I am also using 8. Overwhelm. Very black and white perk. Amazing perk against slow enemies like Wiedergangers, Legionaires, Hedge Knights, Orcs. Maybe also against noble houses – have only had one encounter with them very early where nobody had this perk. Utterly pointless against fast enemies because It doesn’t seem possible to get initiative up high enough to be faster than brigand marksmen, goblins, direwolves.
9. Steel brow I am using because it has been recommended to me by sarissofoi. Helps with not getting literally oneshot by a lucky headshot. Maybe not necessary if you have high HP coupled with named head armor or eagle eye and head armor.
10. Dodge – very strong early game perk and also adds melee defense. Maybe not necessary if your guy will end up with 30-40 ranged defense and 10+ melee def. On my latest recruit with ranged def** I will try and give him nimble or killing frenzy instead.
Some other perks I guess should be discussed:
Killing Frenzy: Great perk for extra damage. I will probably get back to using this once I figure out which other perk to drop for it :)
Fast adaption: great perk for early trash guys, not so good if you get hunters who will end up with 90-105 ranged skill dependent on starting value and talents.
Crippling strikes I have never been a fan of. Usually enemies die fast enough so wounds are just a bonus. Warbows don’t really have enough armor penetration.
Bags and Belts seems kind of weak right now, better on hybrid builds. Quick hands also good on hybrids, not really necessary for pure archers. Gifted is good for grunts without talent but I am not using this perk anymore 3 veteran levels are not much to trade for an extra perk point imo.
Nimble – haven’t tried on archers yet but I imagine it will be better than dodge in the late-game.
Fearsome: It’s a great perk but I simply don’t have enough point left over.
Brawny: have used before and decided to drop it.
Crossbows are great in the early game because they are more accurate. I also like using Spiked Impalers against fully grown ghouls and knock them back to avoid them eating one of my brothers. Ultimately they can use heavy armor but their damage output is just so much lower than Archers so I only use them when levelling new recruits I don’t want to die so they get scale armor and a crossbow and helmet.
Anyways in my current playthrough on Expert Iron man day140 I only lost one archer on day 31 who got 2-shot by a Necrosavant.
Also: Poachers and Bowyer background have not ever yielded a good archer for me. Even a hunter without any talent or sellsword, squire with talents turn out better for me.