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This article is about the archer units in Age of Empires II. For archer units in other games of the series, see Archers.
Arch.png

Archers in Age of Empires II are one of the four combat forces on land, the other ones being infantry, cavalry, and siege weapons.

General information[]

Archer walkanim aoe2.gif

Many different archer units firing over an enemy wall.

While being comparatively frail, all archer units possess a ranged attack, giving them an edge over non-ranged units. Most archers are foot soldiers, but there are also mounted variants. Cavalry Archers set themselves apart from foot archers by having an above average speed, making them able to hit-and-run enemy foot soldiers without casualties.

Archer units are trained at the Archery Range and become available in the Feudal Age.

Unique archer units are trained at the Castle. There are three exceptions: the Genitour, the Slinger, and the Imperial Skirmisher (unique upgrade of the Elite Skirmisher, available to the Vietnamese and their allies) are trained at the Archery Range.

Most archer units cost wood and gold, but some also cost food.

The Skirmisher, the no. 1 archer counter

Archers excel at massed battles against non-ranged units, and in battles in narrow passages and densely developed areas, like forests and towns. There, they can use their range to fire over each other, while non-ranged units have to 'dig' themselves through an army of archers. In battles with few units, though, archers have trouble holding ground.

Archers in general are superior to infantry and Monks, and can very effectively eliminate Villagers. But they struggle heavily against siege units, which deal Area of Effect damage (especially the Mangonel) and can eliminate entire armies of archers quickly. Battering Rams are also a useful supportive semi-counter against large mono-archer armies, especially for players using archers themselves. While Rams deal little to no damage to archers on their own, they can be sent close to the archers, drawing automatic fire, which they resist thanks to their high pierce armor, allowing other ranged units to quickly dispatch the distracted enemy archers. This tactic forces the opponent to use intense micromanagement. Cavalry is also quite effective against archers, since they can close the gap quickly and have high pierce armor. But the easiest counter against archers is the Skirmisher, a trash unit that is cheap, easy to mass, and does both resist archer attacks and deal bonus damage against archers.

Other notable counters are Huskarls, Eagle Warriors, Ghulams, Rattan Archers, and War Wagons, the latter two being archers themselves.

List of archer units[]

Marked with yellow background are unique units.

Archer unit B A HP At Ar PA Ra ROF FD Ac LOS Sp F W G TT Ci
Archer aoe2DE.png Archer Ar. Range
Feudal Age
30 4 0 0 4 2.0 15 80 6 0.96 0 25 45 35 42
Crossbowman aoe2DE.png Crossbowman Ar. Range
Castle Age
35 5 0 0 5 2.0 15 85 7 0.96 0 25 45 27 40
Arbalester aoe2DE.png Arbalester Ar. Range
Imperial Age
40 6 0 0 5 2.0 20 90 7 0.96 0 25 45 27 24
Skirmisher aoe2DE.png Skirmisher Ar. Range
Feudal Age
30 2 0 3 4 3.0 19 90 6 0.96 25 35 0 22 42
Elite skirmisher aoe2DE.png Elite Skirmisher Ar. Range
Castle Age
35 3 0 4 5 3.0 19 90 7 0.96 25 35 0 22 41
Imperialskirmishericon-DE.png Imperial Skirmisher Ar. Range
Imperial Age
35 4 0 5 5 3.0 19 95 7 0.96 25 35 0 22 41
Cavalryarcher aoe2DE.png Cavalry Archer Ar. Range
Castle Age
50 6 0 0 4 2.0 35 50 5 1.4 0 40 60 34 35
Heavycavalryarcher aoe2de.png Heavy Cavalry Archer Ar. Range
Imperial Age
60 7 1 0 4 2.0 46 50 6 1.4 0 40 60 27 28
Hand cannoneer aoe2DE.png Hand Cannoneer Ar. Range
Imperial Age
40 17 1 0 7 3.45 15 75 9 0.96 45 0 50 34 22
Aoe2de DOI elephant archer icon.png Elephant Archer Ar. Range
Castle Age
250 6 0 2 4 2.0 24 70 7 0.9 90 0 70 34 3
ElephantArcherIcon-DE.png Elite Elephant Archer Ar. Range
Imperial Age
280 7 0 2 4 2.0 24 85 7 0.9 90 0 70 34 3
LongbowmanIcon-DE.png Longbowman Castle
Castle Age
35 6 0 0 5 2.0 10 70 7 0.96 0 35 40 18 1
LongbowmanIcon-DE.png Elite Longbowman Castle
Imperial Age
40 7 0 1 6 2.0 10 80 8 0.96 0 35 40 18 1
ChukoNuIcon-DE.png Chu Ko Nu Castle
Castle Age
45 8+3 0 0 4 3.0 19 85 6 0.96 0 40 35 16 1
ChukoNuIcon-DE.png Elite Chu Ko Nu Castle
Imperial Age
50 8+3 0 0 4 3.0 19 85 6 0.96 0 40 35 13 1
MangudaiIcon-DE.png Mangudai Castle
Castle Age
60 6 0 0 4 2.1 23 95 6 1.4 0 55 65 26 1
MangudaiIcon-DE.png Elite Mangudai Castle
Imperial Age
60 8 1 0 4 2.1 23 95 6 1.4 0 55 65 26 1
JanissaryIcon-DE.png Janissary Castle
Castle Age
35 17 1 0 8 3.45 12 50 10 0.96 60 0 55 21 1
JanissaryIcon-DE.png Elite Janissary Castle
Imperial Age
40 22 2 0 8 3.45 0 65 10 0.96 60 0 55 21 1
WarWagonIcon-DE.png War Wagon Castle
Castle Age
150 9 0 3 4 2.5 32 100 7 1.2 0 115 60 21 1
WarWagonIcon-DE.png Elite War Wagon Castle
Imperial Age
200 9 0 4 5 2.5 32 100 8 1.2 0 115 60 21 1
PlumedArcherIcon-DE.png Plumed Archer Castle
Castle Age
50 5 0 1 4 1.9 15 80 6 1.2 0 55 55 16 1
PlumedArcherIcon-DE.png Elite Plumed Archer Castle
Imperial Age
65 5 0 2 5 1.9 15 90 7 1.2 0 55 55 16 1
ConquistadorIcon-DE.png Conquistador Castle
Castle Age
55 16 2 2 6 2.9 13 65 8 1.3 60 0 70 24 1
ConquistadorIcon-DE.png Elite Conquistador Castle
Imperial Age
70 18 2 2 6 2.9 13 70 9 1.3 60 0 70 24 1
SlingerIcon-DE.png Slinger Ar. Range
Castle Age
40 5 0 0 5 2.0 14 90 7 0.96 30 0 40 25 1
GenoeseCrossbowmanIcon-DE.png Genoese Crossbowman Castle
Castle Age
45 6 1 0 4 2.0 15 100 8 0.96 0 45 40 22 1
GenoeseCrossbowmanIcon-DE.png Elite Genoese Crossbowman Castle
Imperial Age
50 6 1 0 4 2.0 15 100 8 0.96 0 45 40 19 1
CamelArcherIcon-DE.png Camel Archer Castle
Castle Age
55 7 0 1 4 2.0 15 95 5 1.4 0 50 60 25 1
CamelArcherIcon-DE.png Elite Camel Archer Castle
Imperial Age
60 8 1 1 4 2.0 15 95 5 1.4 0 50 60 25 1
GenitourIcon-DE.png Genitour Ar. Range
Castle Age
50 3 0 3 4 3.0 30 90 5 1.35 40 35 0 25 42
GenitourIcon-DE.png Elite Genitour Ar. Range
Imperial Age
55 4 0 4 4 3.0 30 90 6 1.35 40 35 0 25 42
Arambaiicon-DE.png Arambai Castle
Castle Age
60 12 0 1 5 2.0 15 20 5 1.3 0 75 60 21 1
Arambaiicon-DE.png Elite Arambai Castle
Imperial Age
65 15 0 2 5 2.0 15 30 5 1.3 0 75 60 21 1
Rattanarchericon-DE.png Rattan Archer Castle
Castle Age
40 6 0 4 4 2.0 23 80 6 1.1 0 50 45 16 1
Rattanarchericon-DE.png Elite Rattan Archer Castle
Imperial Age
45 7 0 6 5 2.0 23 90 6 1.1 0 50 45 16 1
Kipchakicon.png Kipchak Castle
Castle Age
40 4+3 0 0 4 2.2 0 90 6 1.4 0 60 35 20 1
Kipchakicon.png Elite Kipchak Castle
Imperial Age
45 5+3 0 0 4 2.2 0 90 6 1.4 0 60 35 20 42
Aoe2de ratha ranged.png Ratha Castle
Castle Age
105 5 2 1 4 2.0 14 80 6 1.3 0 60 60 18 1
Aoe2de ratha ranged.png Elite Ratha Castle
Imperial Age
115 6 2 1 4 2.0 14 90 6 1.3 0 60 60 18 1

The following archer units are only available in the Scenario Editor:

Archer unit HP At Ar PA Ra ROF FD Ac LOS Sp
Amazonarcher aoe2DE.png Amazon Archer 45 5 0 1 4 1.9 5 80 6 1.1
Royal janissary aoe2de.png Royal Janissary 40 22 2 0 8 3.45 0 65 10 0.96
Khan aoe2de.png Khan 160 12 2 2 4 2.1 23 95 6 1.45

Technologies[]

Listed below are all technologies that benefit archer units. Marked with yellow background are unique technologies. This list does not contain unit upgrades.

Technology Researched at Age Civilization Effect
ThumbRingDE.png Thumb Ring Archery Range
Castle Age
28 Increases Rate of Fire and accuracy (the latter to 100%)
ParthianTacticsDE.png Parthian Tactics Archery Range
Imperial Age
13 Increases armor by +1/+2 and attack vs Pikemen for mounted archers by +2 or +4
BloodlinesDE.png Bloodlines Stable
Feudal Age
28 Increases hit points for mounted archers by +20
HusbandryDE.png Husbandry Stable
Castle Age
35 Increases movement speed for mounted archers by +10%
FletchingDE.png Fletching Blacksmith
Feudal Age
All Increases range and attack by +1
BodkinArrowDE.png Bodkin Arrow Blacksmith
Castle Age
All Increases range and attack by +1
BracerDE.png Bracer Blacksmith
Imperial Age
35 Increases range and attack by +1
PaddedArcherArmorDE.png Padded Archer Armor Blacksmith
Feudal Age
All Increases armor by +1/+1
LeatherArcherArmorDE.png Leather Archer Armor Blacksmith
Castle Age
41 Increases armor by +1/+1
RingArcherArmorDE.png Ring Archer Armor Blacksmith
Imperial Age
31 Increases armor by +1/+2
BallisticsDE.png Ballistics University
Castle Age
All Improves accuracy of non-gunpowder archers at moving targets
ChemistryDE.png Chemistry University
Imperial Age
All Increases attack of non-gunpowder archers by +1 and enables creation of Hand Cannoneer
HerbalDE.png Herbal Medicine Monastery
Castle Age
38 Garrisoned units heal 6x faster
HeresyDE.png Heresy Monastery
Castle Age
24 Converted units die instead of changing color
FaithDE.png Faith Monastery
Imperial Age
38 Increases conversion resistance
ConscriptionDE.png Conscription Castle
Imperial Age
All Increases creation speed by +33%
CastleAgeUnique.png Atlatl Castle
Castle Age
Aztecs Skirmishers and Genitours +1 attack and range
CastleAgeUnique.png Paiks Castle
Castle Age
Bengalis Rathas and Elephant Archers attack 20% faster
CastleAgeUnique.png Kasbah Castle
Castle Age
Berbers Castle production and research speed increased by +25%
UniqueTechImperialDE.png Maghrebi Camels Castle
Imperial Age
Berbers Camel Archers regenerate 15 HP per minute
CastleAgeUnique.png Wagenburg Tactics Castle
Castle Age
Bohemians Hand Cannoneers move 15% faster
CastleAgeUnique.png Yeomen Castle
Castle Age
Britons Increases foot archer range by +1
UniqueTechImperialDE.png Rocketry Castle
Imperial Age
Chinese Increases Chu Ko Nu attack by +2
CastleAgeUnique.png Steppe Husbandry Castle
Castle Age
Cumans Cavalry Archers created 100% faster
UniqueTechImperialDE.png Cuman Mercenaries Castle
Imperial Age
Cumans Allows Cumans and their allies to train 10 Elite Kipchaks for free
CastleAgeUnique.png Medical Corps Castle
Castle Age
Dravidians Elephant Archers regenerate 20 HP per minute
CastleAgeUnique.png Kshatriyas Castle
Castle Age
Gurjaras Archery Range units cost -25% food
UniqueTechImperialDE.png Frontier Guards Castle
Imperial Age
Gurjaras Elephant Archers get +4 melee armor
CastleAgeUnique.png Andean Sling Castle
Castle Age
Incas Removes minimum range of Slingers, Skirmishers, and Genitours
UniqueTechImperialDE.png Fabric Shields Castle
Imperial Age
Incas Increases Slinger armor by +1/+2
UniqueTechImperialDE.png Shatagni Castle
Imperial Age
Hindustanis Increases Hand Cannoneer range by +2
CastleAgeUnique.png Pavise Castle
Castle Age
Italians Increases foot archer (except Skirmishers) armor by +1/+1
UniqueTechImperialDE.png Tower Shields Castle
Imperial Age
Lithuanians Skirmishers have +2 pierce armor
UniqueTechImperialDE.png Recurve Bow Castle
Imperial Age
Magyars Increases Cavalry Archer range and attack by +1
CastleAgeUnique.png Obsidian Arrows (before Lords of the West) Castle
Castle Age
Mayans Increases Archer line attack against standard buildings by +6
CastleAgeUnique.png Hul'che Javelineers (since Lords of the West) Castle
Castle Age
Mayans Skirmishers throw two javelins
CastleAgeUnique.png Kamandaran Castle
Castle Age
Persians Archer line gold cost replaced by additional wood cost
UniqueTechImperialDE.png Arquebus Castle
Imperial Age
Portuguese Hand Cannoneers gain Ballistics-like accuracy
CastleAgeUnique.png First Crusade Castle
Castle Age
Sicilians Archer units are more resistant to conversion
CastleAgeUnique.png Silk Armor Castle
Castle Age
Tatars Cavalry Archers, Kipchaks, and Genitours get +1/+1 armor
CastleAgeUnique.png Sipahi Castle
Castle Age
Turks Increases Cavalry Archer, Kipchak, and Genitour HP by +20

Civilizations[]

The Britons, Chinese, Ethiopians, Italians, Mayans, Saracens, and Vietnamese arguably are the best foot archer civilizations because of their bonuses and unique technologies. The Koreans, Persians and Portuguese also have bonuses and unique technologies that benefit their stats and production by decreasing their cost, providing more protection and being upgraded faster, making them strong foot archer civilizations, but weaker than the before-mentioned civilizations.

The Japanese and Saracens are the only civilizations with access to all archer units and technologies. This also applied to the Hindustanis until patch 5.5, when Arbalesters were removed from their technology tree.

The Burgundians, Burmese, Celts, Franks, and Slavs lack key upgrades for their archer units, making them the weakest archer civilizations. The Bulgarians and the Spanish are the only civilzations that lack the Crossbowman upgrade.

As far as mounted archers are concerned, the Berbers, Cumans, Huns, Hindustanis, Koreans, Magyars, Mongols, Saracens, Tatars, and Turks are the most prominent civilizations. Generally speaking, civilizations with access to Parthian Tactics have prominent mounted archers.

Civilization bonuses[]

The following civilizations have bonuses that benefit archer units:

  • Aztecs: Archers are created 11% faster.
  • Bengalis: Elephant Archers receive -25% bonus damage and are more resistant to conversion.
  • Bohemians: Hand Cannoneers and Chemistry are available in the Castle Age.
  • Britons: Foot archers (except Skirmishers) have +1/+2 range in the Castle/Imperial Age.
  • Bulgarians: Blacksmith technologies that benefit archers cost -50% food.
  • Burgundians: Hand Cannoneers have +25% attack. Husbandry is 50% cheaper.
  • Burmese: Faith and Herbal Medicine are 50% cheaper.
  • Byzantines: Skirmishers are 25% cheaper.
  • Chinese: Technologies that benefit archers are 10%/15%/20% cheaper in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
  • Cumans: Cavalry Archers move 10%/15% faster in the Castle/Imperial Age.
  • Dravidians: Skirmishers and Elephant Archers attack 25% faster.
  • Ethiopians: The Archer line fires 18% faster.
  • Franks: Cavalry Archers have +20% hit points.
  • Gurjaras: Elephant Archers and Genitours deal +50% bonus damage.
  • Hindustanis: Hand Cannoneers have +1/+1 armor.
  • Huns: Cavalry Archers are 10%/20% cheaper in the Castle/Imperial Age.
  • Italians: Hand Cannoneers are 20% cheaper. Ballistics and Chemistry are 33% cheaper.
  • Koreans: Archer units cost -20% wood. Archer armor upgrades are free.
  • Lithuanians: Skirmishers move 10% faster.
  • Mayans: Archers (except Skirmishers) are 10%/20%/30% cheaper in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
  • Mongols: Cavalry Archers fire 25% faster.
  • Portuguese: Archer units cost -20% gold; technologies that benefit archers are researched 30% faster.
  • Sicilians: Archers receive -50% bonus damage.
  • Spanish: Blacksmith technologies that affect archers cost no gold. Hand Cannoneers fire 18% faster.
  • Tatars: Archers deal +50% damage when attacking from higher elevation (instead of +25%). Parthian Tactics and Thumb Ring are free.
  • Turks: Hand Cannoneers and Janissaries have +25% HP and Chemistry is free.
  • Vietnamese: Archery Range units have +20% HP and Conscription is free.

Team bonuses[]

The following civilizations have team bonuses that benefit archer units:

  • Berbers: Genitour available at the Archery Range.
  • Britons: Archery Ranges work 20% faster.
  • Bulgarians: Blacksmith technologies that affect archers are researched 80% faster.
  • Gurjaras: Camel Archers and Elephant Archers are created 25% faster.
  • Huns: Bloodlines and Husbandry are researched 20% faster.
  • Hindustanis: Camel Archers have +2 attack against standard buildings.
  • Lithuanians: Faith, Herbal Medicine, and Heresy are researched 20% faster.
  • Magyars: Foot archers (except Skirmishers) have +2 Line of Sight.
  • Malians: Ballistics and Chemistry are researched 80% faster.
  • Saracens: Foot archers have +3 attack against standard buildings.
  • Tatars: Cavalry Archers have +2 Line of Sight.
  • Teutons: Archers are more resistant to conversion.
  • Turks: Hand Cannoneers, Janissaries, and Conquistadors are created 25% faster.
  • Vietnamese: Imperial Skirmisher available at the Archery Range.

Trivia[]

  • Excluding the Berbers, all civilizations with prominent Cavalry Archers originated in various parts of Asia, including all 13 with access to Parthian Tactics (though the Huns, Magyars, and Bulgarians ended establishing their empires in Europe).
  • Of 57 unique units in the game 15 are archers, including 8 cavalry archers. This makes the archer units the largest group of unique units.
  • Excluding Rattan and Plumed Archers, all foot archers (including Hand Cannoneers) move at a constant speed of 0.96. The only two foot archers that can have their speed increased are the Lithuanian Skirmisher (thanks to their civilization bonus) and the Bohemian Hand Cannoneer (if Wagenburg Tactics is researched).
  • Foot archers are unaffected by infantry speed upgrades/bonuses like Squires or the Celtic civilization bonus. However their mounted counterparts are affected by Husbandry and the Cuman civilization bonus.
  • Though superficially similar to the Korean War Wagon, the Bohemian Hussite Wagon is a siege weapon.

Gallery[]

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