|This article is about the unit in Age of Empires II. For other uses, see Archer.|
|“||Quick and light. Weak at close range; excels at battle from distance.||”|
|—Age of Empires II description|
The Archer is an archer unit in Age of Empires II that can be trained at the Archery Range. While mediocre in terms of attack, HP, and armor, it compensates for that by having a ranged attack, which can easily decimate enemy infantry of early Ages.
Archers are extremely proficient raiding units in the Feudal Age due to their ranged attack. With it, they can easily pick off enemy infantry such as Men-at-Arms or Spearmen and disrupt the enemy's economy by harassing their Villagers. However, they are extremely ineffective against all buildings, Scout Cavalry, and Skirmishers. Archers often are the Feudal Age rush unit of choice, because they are the most effective Feudal Age unit against Villagers (thanks to their range, allowing for quick kills, and negating small quick-Walls) and they do not cost food, allowing the player to stockpile food for advancing to the Castle Age.
The Feudal Age counters to Archers (Scouts and Skirmishers) are quite food intensive, delaying the defending player's Castle Age advance substantially, if they are not prepared for it. Mid-sized to large groups of Archers make extremely good early harassment soldiers due to the absence of Knights from both sides. It can still be effective mid-game, but its power rapidly diminishes with the introduction of not only Knights, but also Scorpions and Mangonels. Many early rush strategies like the Tower rush can become more successful if supported with Archers as they can garrison in the attacking Towers and increase the number of arrows fired.
Their ranged attack can also prove helpful when defending from an early raid. When garrisoned inside Watch Towers or placed behind a Wall, they can be very effective.
|Unit strengths and weaknesses|
|Strong vs.||Infantry, Villagers|
|Weak vs.||Skirmishers, Scout Cavalry, Eagle Scouts|
|Attack|| Fletching (+1)|
Bodkin Arrow (+1)
|Range|| Fletching (+1)|
Bodkin Arrow (+1)
Yeomen (+1, Britons only)
|Firing rate||Thumb Ring (+18%)|
|Accuracy|| Thumb Ring (increases accuracy to 100% for non-moving targets)|
Ballistics (hit moving targets)
|Armor|| Padded Archer Armor (+1/+1)|
Leather Archer Armor (+1/+1)
Ring Archer Armor (+1/+2)
Pavise (+1/+1, Italians only since The African Kingdoms)
|Conversion defense|| Faith|
First Crusade (Sicilians only)
|Creation speed||Conscription (+33%)|
|Other||Kamandaran (replaces the cost gold for wood, for total 60 wood each unit, Persians only)|
- Aztecs: Archers are created 11% faster.
- Bulgarians: Blacksmith upgrades that benefit Archers cost -50% food.
- Britons: Archers have +1/+2 range in the Castle/Imperial Age.
- Burmese: Researching Faith is 50% cheaper.
- Celts: Archers can convert herdables even if enemy units are next to them.
- Chinese: Technologies that benefit Archers are 10%/15%/20% cheaper in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
- Ethiopians: Archers fire 18% faster.
- Italians: Researching Ballistics and Chemistry is 33% cheaper.
- Koreans: Archers cost wood. Armor upgrades are free.
- Mayans: Archers are 10%/20%/30% cheaper in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
- Portuguese: Archers cost gold. Upgrades that benefit Archers are researched 30% faster.
- Sicilians: Archers absorb 50% of all incoming bonus damage.
- Spanish: Blacksmith upgrades that benefit Archers do not cost gold.
- Tatars: Archers deal +25% bonus damage from a cliff or an elevation. Thumb Ring is free.
- Turks: Chemistry is free.
- Vietnamese: Archers have hit points. Conscription is free.
- A team containing Britons: Archers are created and upgraded 20% faster. Researching Thumb Ring is 20% faster.
- A team containing Bulgarians: Researching archer armor and attack upgrades at the Blacksmith is faster.
- A team containing Lithuanians: Researching Heresy and Faith is 20% faster.
- A team containing Magyars: Archers have +2 Line of Sight.
- A team containing Malians: Researching Chemistry and Ballistics is 80% faster.
- A team containing Saracens: Archers have attack against standard buildings.
- A team containing Teutons: Archers are more resistant to conversion.
The Age of Kings
- Archers train in 35 seconds.
- Archers receive an attack bonus of +3 against Spearmen.
- Heresy introduced.
- Thumb Ring introduced.
- Britons: Yeomen introduced. It is only available in the Imperial Age.
- Britons: Yeomen moved to the Castle Age.
- Mayans: Obsidian Arrows introduced. It gives Archers +4 attack against standard buildings.
The African Kingdoms
- Italians: Pavise affects Archers.
- Mayans: Obsidian Arrows gives Archers +6 attack against standard buildings. With patch 4.8, Archers also gain +6 attack against stone defense.
Rise of the Rajas
- Vietnamese: Initially, Archers had +10%/+15%/+20% HP in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age. With patch 5.8, they have +20% HP.
- Bulgarians: Initially, the Team Bonus gave the Blacksmith a 50% work rate boost. With update 42848, this was changed to a 80% work rate boost.
- Bulgarians: With update 42848, Blacksmith updates cost -50% food.
- Persians: Kamandaran technology introduced in replacement for Boiling Oil, making Archers cost 50 wood. With update 34699, Kamandaran makes Archers cost 60 wood.
- Koreans: Initially, Archers cost -15% wood. With update 39284, they cost -20% wood.
- Koreans: With update 42848, Archer armor upgrades are free.
- Portuguese: With update 42848, technologies are researched 30% faster.
- Saracens: Initially, Archers have +3 attack bonus against standard buildings. With update 34055, Archers have +1/+2/+3 attack bonus against standard buildings in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
Lords of the West
- Mayans: Obsidian Arrows removed.
- Saracens: With update 44725, Archers no longer deal bonus damage against standard buildings as civilization bonus. Their team bonus increases from .
- In terms of wood, the units from the Archer line are the cheapest archers in the game.
- With 30, the Archer has the fewest hit points of all military units, tied with the Skirmisher and the Karambit Warrior; the Villager is the only trainable unit with less HP (25 without Loom).
- The Archer line units are the only common archer units that do not have any base melee armor nor pierce armor.
- In pre-release versions of Age of Empires II, Archers and Crossbowmen were two separate lines. Archers were trash units that were cheap, fast firing, inaccurate, and weak, and consisted of the Archer itself, and the Composite Archer. Crossbowmen were expensive, costed wood and gold, slower firing, more accurate, and gave a high damage output.
- In real life, an archer's training consumes more time and resources than a crossbowman's.
|“||The bow remained an important military weapon after the fall of Rome, although less so in areas of Europe covered by dense forests. Archers could fight from a distance, from behind walls or other cover, and from ambush. They were usually not decisive in battle on the attack because they could not physically take ground from the enemy like infantry could. They acted mainly as defensive troops and as light troops that disrupted enemy formations prior to the decisive moment when the armies clashed hand-to-hand. If barrages of arrows could cause casualties and drain the fighting spirit of the enemy prior to the clash, friendly troops had a better chance of breaking the will of the enemy and being victorious. Archers were also very useful when both defending and attacking a castle.||”|