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A disciplined army is the key to success in any skirmish. In this challenge, you will learn how to reduce your losses by arraying your soldiers in the formations appropriate for each respective battle situation.

Battle Formations is one of two possible fifth scenarios of The Art of War in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. This scenario tests the player in properly using different unit formations in different battles and also teaches the player how to use control groups.


The most important thing for an army is discipline. A disciplined army can be vastly outnumbered but still seize victory. A disciplined army can hold their ground, move around the battlefield quickly, and, if necessary, retreat in an orderly fashion.

When fielding your army, Sun Tzu says: 'Whether to concentrate or to divide your troops, must be decided by circumstances.'

Use fast forces against slow ones, use feigned retreats to lure your enemies into ambushes, and split your army to flank your enemy. This is what Sun Tzu teaches us. Do you understand this lesson? If so, take command of your army and show me that you do.

Video Instruction[]

Groups of soldiers have four different battle formations: Line, Box, Staggered, and Flank Formation.

Line Formation is the standard battle formation.

It densely packs your units, making them fight well against other units.

Flank Formation divides your army, sending one half to one side and the other half to other side.

This is useful for avoiding projectiles like those from the Mangonels and Bombard Cannons.

With Staggered Formation, your units spread out.

This makes them less vulnerable to area damage or to Scorpion missiles, which pass through units.

Box Formation is designed to protect vulnerable units in the center by surrounding them with stronger units.

However, this is not used as much in online games, as it spreads out the group and makes the units on the outside easier targets.

To manage large groups of different unit types, it is always a good idea to use control groups.

This helps you to quickly select and move them around on the battlefield.

To create a control group, select a group of units and simultaneously press the 'Ctrl' and one of the number keys (1-9).

Then, to select a control group, press the same number.

You can have up to 10 groups at the same time.

With this knowledge, you should be able to maneuver your army around more easily.

Go ahead and practice it in the next challenge.

Scenario instructions[]

Main objectives[]

  • Defeat all enemy units while minimizing your losses.


  1. To destroy a Mangonel with ranged units, wait for it to fire and then use Flank Formation to open a gap and have your units fire on the Mangonel. After that, use Line Formation to avoid the next Mangonel shot. Repeat this until the Mangonel is destroyed.
  2. Scorpions are great against slow-moving, densely packed units like infantry. To minimize the damage that they inflict, use Staggered Formation.
  3. Use control groups to manage your units. To create a control group, select a group of units and simultaneously press Ctrl and one of the number keys (1-9). Then, to select the control group, press the number key that you assigned to it. You can have up to 9 groups at the same time.
  4. Use the terrain to your advantage. If you fight from higher ground, your units will deal more damage to the enemy units.


Your scouts report:

  • You begin in an allied encampment (3, Yellow) to the north and must travel down to the end point of the path south. The path is blocked by groups of enemy units (2, Red). You must destroy all of the enemy units to make it through. The enemy forces consist of Long Swordsmen, Pikemen, Elite Skirmishers, Mangonels, and Scorpions.


Gold: 0 units lost.
Silver: Less than 3 units lost.
Bronze: Less than 10 units lost.