Sphendonetai are best used to harass enemy troops from a distance, where their sling bullets can cause considerable damage. They are not equipped for a melee, but their speed is an adequate defence from other infantry.
Sphendonetai are the second branch of the Psiloi, and are only marginally more useful than their compatriots with javelins. Their sphendonai (slings) can prove deadly weapons, being able to crush bones and armor, and shatter shields from a distance, but they are mainly used to harass and annoy enemy soldiers to force a premature or rash action. Since a sphendone is an easily constructed weapon, and ammunition is readily available in Hellas’ rocky terrain, Sphendonetai are mostly poor peasants and shepherds that use this weapon to provide a meagre amount of protein in their already poor diet or use their weapons to keep predators away from their flocks.
Historically, sphendonetai had their uses, they were often used to harass and provoke the enemy forces by causing some casualties and some damage to the enemy’s armament, particularly the shields, which were easily dented or cracked by a well slung glande (sling projectile). Alexandros employed his Sphendonetai at the battle of Gaugamela to harass the Persian heavy cavalry until they decided to give fight, and then promptly cut them off from the rest of the Persian army, allowing the Hetairoi to cut them to shreds.
Sphendonetai are a frequent sight in Hellenic armies. They are cheap, and their AP (Armour Piercing) projectiles can deliver a nasty surprise. They are mostly used to counter enemy missile and cavalry units, but can also be used in liaison with Akontistai and Toxotai to weaken approaching enemies. Players should avoid placing Sphendonetai behind their main lines, as the trajectories of projectiles fired by the slings are not as curved as those fired by bows, which may result in your own units getting accidentally hit in the process.
Sphendonetai are very cost-efficient ranged troops. Not only can they kite enemy heavy cavalry (prompt them into attacking by inflicting losses), they can even destroy these troops, given enough time. If possible, the enemy general should be targeted - especially if his unit is very experienced and therefore hard to beat in melee.
Like all psiloi troops, Spendonetai should avoid melee engagement.
The AoR (Area of Recruitment) of Sphendonetai can be seen in the picture below: