Tired of falconets and cannons! I love old AOK infantry flood... Dollar for dollar halberdiers are toughest infantry units: That's why I pick the Netherlands! Besides beating cavalries they raze buildings pretty fast, and they gain a decent backup from skirmishers.
Ruyters are good -- but look redundant togehter with halberdiers or otherwise they are eaten by anything as unprotected.
Hiring mercenaries is my "habit"... sort of. Super units, no special upgrades, comes in a patch, ... and actually cheap if player can pay a lump sum. Church muskets and stradiots are good deals, too.
I used the exchange tech in advanced church to build 2 more banks. In this way I give up unit speed (regain infantry at advanced arsenal) but I don't need to wait and waste 2 shipments -- this is not Spanish, shipments don't come easy.