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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.
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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 Edit

Archer walkanim aoe2
Archer fireanim aoe2de

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.

Skirmisher sprite aoe2de

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, Rattan Archers, and War Wagons, the latter two being archers themselves.

List of archer units Edit

Marked with yellow background are unique units.

Archer unit Building A HP At Ar PA Ra ROF FD Ac LOS Sp F W G TT Ci
ArcherIcon Archer Ar. Range
FeudalageDE
30 4 0 0 4 2.0 15 80 6 0.96 0 25 45 35 35
CrossbowmanIcon Crossbowman Ar. Range
CastleageDE
35 5 0 0 5 2.0 15 85 7 0.96 0 25 45 27 33
ArbalestIcon Arbalester Ar. Range
ImperialageDE
40 6 0 0 5 2.0 20 90 7 0.96 0 25 45 27 19
SkirmisherIcon Skirmisher Ar. Range
FeudalageDE
30 2 0 3 4 3.05 19 90 6 0.96 25 35 0 22 35
EliteSkirmisherIcon Elite Skirmisher Ar. Range
CastleageDE
35 3 0 4 5 3.05 19 90 7 0.96 25 35 0 22 34
Imperialskirmishericon Imperial Skirmisher Ar. Range
ImperialageDE
35 4 0 5 5 3.05 19 95 7 0.96 25 35 0 22 34
CavalryArcherIcon Cavalry Archer Ar. Range
CastleageDE
50 6 0 0 4 2.0 35 50 5 1.4 0 40 60 34 32
HeavyCavArcherIcon Heavy Cavalry Archer Ar. Range
ImperialageDE
60 7 1 0 4 2.0 46 50 6 1.4 0 40 60 27 27
HandCannoneerIcon Hand Cannoneer Ar. Range
ImperialageDE
35 17 1 0 7 3.49 15 65 9 0.96 45 0 50 34 18
Amazonarcher aoe2DE Amazon Archer N/A N/A 45 5 0 1 4 1.9 5 80 6 1.1 N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Royal janissary aoe2de Royal Janissary N/A N/A 40 22 2 0 8 3.49 0 50 10 0.96 N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Khan aoe2de Khan N/A N/A 160 12 2 2 2.1 23 95 6 1.45 N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
LongbowmanIcon Longbowman Castle
CastleageDE
35 6 0 0 5 2.0 10 70 7 0.96 0 35 40 18 1
LongbowmanIcon Elite Longbowman Castle
ImperialageDE
40 7 0 1 6 2.0 10 80 8 0.96 0 35 40 18 1
ChuKoNuIcon Chu Ko Nu Castle
CastleageDE
45 8+3 0 0 4 3.65 19 85 6 0.96 0 40 35 16 1
ChuKoNuIcon Elite Chu Ko Nu Castle
ImperialageDE
50 8+3 0 0 4 3.84 19 85 6 0.96 0 40 35 13 1
MangudaiIcon Mangudai Castle
CastleageDE
60 6 0 0 4 2.1 23 95 6 1.45 0 55 65 26 1
MangudaiIcon Elite Mangudai Castle
ImperialageDE
60 8 1 0 4 2.1 23 95 6 1.45 0 55 65 26 1
JanissaryIcon Janissary Castle
CastleageDE
35 17 1 0 8 3.49 12 50 10 0.96 60 0 55 21 1
JanissaryIcon Elite Janissary Castle
ImperialageDE
40 22 2 0 8 3.49 0 50 10 0.96 60 0 55 21 1
WarWagonIcon War Wagon Castle
CastleageDE
150 9 0 3 4 2.5 32 100 7 1.2 0 110 60 21 1
WarWagonIcon Elite War Wagon Castle
ImperialageDE
200 9 0 4 5 2.5 32 100 8 1.2 0 110 60 21 1
PlumedArcherIcon Plumed Archer Castle
CastleageDE
50 5 0 1 4 1.9 15 80 6 1.2 0 55 55 16 1
PlumedArcherIcon Elite Plumed Archer Castle
ImperialageDE
65 5 0 2 5 1.9 15 90 7 1.2 0 55 55 16 1
ConquistadorIcon Conquistador Castle
CastleageDE
55 16 2 2 6 2.9 13 65 8 1.3 60 0 70 24 1
ConquistadorIcon Elite Conquistador Castle
ImperialageDE
70 18 2 2 6 2.9 13 70 9 1.3 60 0 70 24 1
Slinger Icon Slinger Ar. Range
CastleageDE
40 5 0 0 5 2.0 14 90 7 0.96 30 0 40 25 1
ElephantArcherIcon Elephant Archer Castle
CastleageDE
280 6 0 3 4 2.5 24 100 7 0.8 100 0 80 25 1
ElephantArcherIcon Elite Elephant Archer Castle
ImperialageDE
330 7 0 3 4 2.5 24 100 7 0.8 100 0 80 25 1
New Genoese Crossbowman Genoese Crossbowman Castle
CastleageDE
45 6 1 0 4 3.05 15 100 8 0.96 0 45 45 22 1
New Genoese Crossbowman Elite Genoese Crossbowman Castle
ImperialageDE
50 6 1 0 4 2.0 15 100 8 0.96 0 45 45 19 1
CamelArcherIcon Camel Archer Castle
CastleageDE
55 7 0 1 4 2.0 15 95 5 1.4 0 50 60 25 1
CamelArcherIcon Elite Camel Archer Castle
ImperialageDE
60 8 1 1 4 2.0 15 95 5 1.4 0 50 60 25 1
GenitourIcon Genitour Ar. Range
CastleageDE
50 3 0 3 4 3.05 30 90 5 1.35 50 35 0 25 35
GenitourIcon Elite Genitour Ar. Range
ImperialageDE
55 4 0 4 4 3.05 30 90 6 1.35 50 35 0 25 35
Arambaiicon Arambai Castle
CastleageDE
60 17 0 1 5 2.0 15 20 5 1.3 0 75 60 21 1
Arambaiicon Elite Arambai Castle
ImperialageDE
65 19 0 2 5 2.0 15 30 5 1.3 0 75 60 21 1
Rattanarchericon Rattan Archer Castle
CastleageDE
40 6 0 4 4 2.0 23 80 6 1.1 0 50 45 16 1
Rattanarchericon Elite Rattan Archer Castle
ImperialageDE
45 7 0 6 5 2.0 23 90 6 1.1 0 50 45 16 1
Kipchakicon Kipchak Castle
CastleageDE
40 4+3 0 0 4 2.2 0 90 6 1.4 0 60 35 20 1
Kipchakicon Elite Kipchak Castle
ImperialageDE
45 5+3 0 0 4 2.2 0 90 6 1.4 0 60 35 20 35
Average N/A N/A 68.9 8.3 0.4 1.5 4.8 2.55 19.4 80 6.8 1.12 19.2 37.8 46.5 22.8 26

Technologies Edit

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
Thumb Ring Thumb Ring Archery Range III 26 Increases Rate of Fire and accuracy (the latter to 100%)
Parthian-Tactics Parthian Tactics Archery Range IV 13 Increases armor by +1/+2 and attack vs Pikemen for mounted archers by +4
Bloodlines Bloodlines Stable II 24 Increases hit points for mounted archers by +20
Husbandry Husbandry Stable III 29 Increases movement speed for mounted archers by +10%
Fletching Fletching Blacksmith II All Increases range and attack by +1
Bodkinarrow Bodkin Arrow Blacksmith III All Increases range and attack by +1
Bracer Bracer Blacksmith IV 28 Increases range and attack by +1
Paddedarcherarmor Padded Archer Armor Blacksmith II All Increases armor by +1/+1
Leatherarcherarmor Leather Archer Armor Blacksmith III 34 Increases armor by +1/+1
Ringarcherarmor Ring Archer Armor Blacksmith IV 28 Increases armor by +1/+2
Ballistics Ballistics University III All Improves accuracy of non-gunpowder archers at moving targets
Chemistry Chemistry University IV All Increases attack by +1
Herbal Medicine Herbal Medicine Monastery III 31 Garrisoned units heal 4x faster
Heresy Heresy Monastery III 22 Converted units die instead of changing color
Faith Faith Monastery IV 32 Increases conversion resistance
Conscription Conscription Castle IV All Increases creation speed by +33%
CastleAgeUnique Atlatl Castle III Aztecs Skirmishers and Genitours +1 attack and range
CastleAgeUnique Kasbah Castle III Berbers Castle production and research speed increased by +25%
Unique-tech-imperial Maghrabi Camels Castle IV Berbers Camel Archers regenerate
CastleAgeUnique Yeomen Castle III Britons Increases foot archer range by +1
CastleAgeUnique Manipur Cavalry Castle III Burmese Increases Arambai attack against buildings and standard buildings by +3
Unique-tech-imperial Rocketry Castle IV Chinese Increases Chu Ko Nu attack by +2
CastleAgeUnique Steppe Husbandry Castle III Cumans Cavalry Archers created 100% faster
Unique-tech-imperial Cuman Mercenaries Castle IV Cumans Allows Cumans and their allies to train 10 Elite Kipchaks for free
CastleAgeUnique Andean Sling Castle III Incas Removes minimum range of Slingers, Skirmishers, and Genitours
Unique-tech-imperial Fabric Shields Castle IV Incas Increases Slinger armor by +1/+2
Unique-tech-imperial Shatagni Castle IV Indians Increases Hand Cannoneer range by +1
CastleAgeUnique Pavise Castle III Italians Increases foot archer armor by +1/+1
Unique-tech-imperial Tower Shields Castle IV Lithuanians Skirmishers +2 pierce armor
Unique-tech-imperial Recurve Bow Castle IV Magyars Increases Cavalry Archer range and attack by +1
CastleAgeUnique Obsidian Arrows Castle III Mayans Increases Archer attack against standard buildings by +6
Unique-tech-imperial Arquebus Castle IV Portuguese Hand Cannoneers gain Ballistics-like accuracy
CastleAgeUnique Silk Armor Castle III Tatars Cavalry Archers, Steppe Lancers, Kipchaks, and Genitours +1 pierce armor
CastleAgeUnique Sipahi Castle III Turks Increases Cavalry Archer, Kipchak, and Genitour HP by +20

Civilizations Edit

The Britons, Chinese, Ethiopians, Italians, Mayans, Saracens, and Vietnamese arguably are the best foot archer civilizations because of their bonuses and unique technologies.

The Japanese and Saracens are the only civilizations with access to all archer units and technologies.

As far as mounted archers are concerned, the Berbers, CumansHuns, Indians, 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 Edit

The following civilizations have bonuses that benefit archer units:

Team bonuses Edit

The following civilizations have bonuses that benefit archer units:

Trivia Edit

  • Excluding the Magyars and the Berbers, all civilizations with prominent Cavalry Archers descent from various parts of Asia. This is also highlighted by the availability of Parthian Tactics, with 9 out of 10 factions that can research it being Asian cultures.
  • Among the 40 unique units in the game 13 are archers, including 5 cavalry archers. This makes the archer units the largest group as far as unique units are concerned.
  • Excluding Rattan and Plumed Archers, all foot archer, skirmisher and gunpowder units move at a constant speed of 0.96.
  • Contrary to popular belief, foot archer, skirmisher and gunpowder units are unaffected by infantry speed upgrades like Squires unless specified otherwise. However their mounted counterparts are affected by Husbandry.

Gallery Edit

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