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The Bulgarians are an infantry and cavalry oriented civilization.


They are great at rushing, since their Militia-line infantry automatically upgrades upon advancing to the next age, while their team bonus enables their Blacksmith to rapidly upgrade their units. Also, these units retain their value as their unique technology Bagains gives their Militia-line Infantry +5 melee armor. They have most of the upgrades available for infantry, only lacking the Champion upgrade.

Their unique unit, the Konnik, is a cavalry unit that becomes an infantry unit when killed (with all of its implications). The strength of this unit relies on their durability, as they have to be killed twice, while they can also mess with the possible opponents' response to cavalry. They can be created at Kreposts, which are a fortification similar to a Castle, but weaker and cheaper (about half the price of a Castle). The attack speed of their cavalry can be improved with their Castle Age unique technology Stirrups. Regarding the Stable, they have all upgrades for the Hussar, but lack Paladin for the Knight line.

They have good siege units, as they have almost all the relevant technologies, only lacking Bombard Cannons.

Defensively, they fare well thanks to the Kreposts and the fact that their Town Center costs 50 less stone, letting them save some stone for more fortifications.


Despite the fact that their Militia upgrades automatically and they have a unique technology that adds more armor to them, they still lack the Champion upgrade, which may make them vulnerable in the long run against well-rounded units or ranged units.

Their Archery Range is mediocre, as they lack the Crossbowman and Arbalester upgrades and the Ring Archer Armor upgrade at the Blacksmith.

They can create Kreposts that can help defend their position, but lack several defensive technologies like Hoardings, Bombard Tower, Fortified Wall and Arrowslits, making them rely almost only on the Krepost for that purpose (which despite being cheaper than a Castle is still more expensive and takes longer to build than towers).

They have lackluster naval technologies (no Shipwright, Dry Dock, Elite Cannon Galleons, Heavy Demolition Ships, or Fast Fire Ships) so they should avoid using ships unless it is necessary.


The Bulgarians are an infantry-oriented civilization, and as such, they may try an infantry Feudal Age rush in the early game, which is particularly potent in their case. At the very beginning of the game, the Bulgarians do not have any bonuses (apart from their automatic improvement of their Militia line). As such, their build order for an infantry rush is very similar to most other civilizations, and they should try to advance to the Feudal Age as soon as possible. In this sense, the Bulgarian player must start to produce their Militia in the Dark Age, so when advancing to the Feudal Age, they will be ready to raid an opponent, who will hardly have the right counter-units for Men-at-Arms. Once in the Feudal Age, Bulgarians should create a Blacksmith (which for them works faster), research the infantry improvements there, and create additional Barracks to spam more Men-at-Arms. Bulgarians are not very flexible in terms of strategy in the early stage of the game, so they are predictable. When playing against Bulgarians, the player must hurry up to Feudal Age as well and prepare Archers, Towers, or turtle themselves in order to avoid their Men-at-Arms rush.

Bulgarians are probably at their peak in the Castle Age, when their bonuses start to really kick in. Once in the Castle Age, they will get access to the Krepost, cheaper Town Centers, their unique unit the Konnik, and, of course, their Men-at-Arms will be upgraded to Long Swordsmen. Some effective strategies a Bulgarian player should take into consideration is a Krepost Drop, Konnik rush or a Knight rush. In any case, a Fast Castle must be made first. In the first two cases, the player must gather stone beforehand.

For a Castle Age Krepost Drop, the player should in theory research Masonry, Murder Holes, and Ballistics at the University, as well as researching Fletching and Bodkin Arrow at the Blacksmith, but players rarely have so much resources in the Castle Age. Kreposts are very similar to a Castle, but weaker and cheaper. They also are created faster and cannot research technologies or train Trebuchets or Petards (so one castle will still be required to upgrade their Konniks to Elite, research their Castle technologies, and train Trebuchets in the Imperial Age). Since Kreposts are cheaper (about half the price of a Castle), the Bulgarian player may place two of them near each other to provide cover fire and start spamming Konniks. Krepost are also useful for turtling and defending locations, but the player must have in mind that they have less range, hit points, and attack than Castles, but the convenience that they can make almost two of them for the same price. Krepost are also useful when performing the Konnik rush, since having two of them instead of one Castle naturally means they can create Konniks faster. The Krepost also count as a "Castle" regarding the requirements for aging up to the Imperial Age, and this may also enable the Bulgarians to perform a Fast Imperial Age strategy, since they require much less stone and less time to built than Castles. In addition, a Krepost near the main base of the enemy will often mean a good psychological advantage, even though it does not have to absolutely win the game by itself.

Regarding the Konnik rush, this unit has the advantage that it has to be killed twice, since they become dismounted Konniks when die. Not only are they durable, but in many circumstances, it is hard to respond to a Konnik raid, since the armor class of the unit changes to infantry, so the typical counters for cavalry does not affect the dismounted version of this unit. Also, if the Konniks are caught by the opponent's arrow-fire and killed, the Dismounted Konniks will automatically go and harass the nearest opponent unit or building. Because of this quirk, a Konnik rush should be preferred over a Knight rush, unless the player doesn't have enough stone for making enough Castles or Kreposts. The Stirrups technology also makes the Konniks more appealing, since it increases the attack speed of the mounted version of the unit, and also the attack speed of the Light Cavalry.

In the Imperial Age, they must keep using their infantry and Konniks and support them with Hussars, especially when entering the "trash wars". Their Imperial Age unique technology Bagains grants +5 melee armor to the Militia line, so their Two-Handed Swordsmen become more effective against melee units. Sadly, they lack the Champion upgrade, but Bagains is a good replacement for that.

Patch changes[]

In update 36906, the Bulgarians lose the Paladin upgrade, but Stirrups affects all cavalry units. This in turn shifts the Bulgarian power spike from the Imperial Age to the Castle Age, as the Bulgarian Knight rush is much stronger. Conversely, the loss of Paladins means that the Bulgarians will lose much of their late-game cavalry power, forcing the Bulgarians to mostly rely on Konniks and Hussars as their main late-game cavalry units.

In update 42848, the Bulgarians' team bonus towards Blacksmith work rates is changed from 50% to 80%. In addition, a new unique bonus discounts the food costs of Blacksmith and Siege Workshop technologies by 50%, allowing the Bulgarians to easily afford Imperial Age siege upgrades, and providing a food boost in late Feudal and early Castle Age, while also making it much easier to fully upgrade their Konniks.


The Bulgarians are valuable allies not only for their team bonus, but also because they are great at raiding in the early and mid game and can help defend the team by placing Kreposts in strategic spots and aid defending players.

The effect of Bulgarians' team bonus is that allied Blacksmiths research faster, which comes very handy for most civilizations, but among all of them the most favored are the eight civilizations with full Blacksmith upgrades (Berbers, Britons, Chinese, Italians, Portuguese, Saracens, Spanish, and Turks), the Incas, as they get extra armor and attack for their Villagers out of Blacksmith technologies, and the Bohemians, whose Blacksmiths only costs 50 wood and only lack Plate Barding Armor. Probably the best three civilization synergies that can be done with the Bulgarian team bonus are with Spanish, Incas, and Chinese. An alliance with Incas will enable the Incan player to better perform their Tower rush and Villager rush. An alliance with Spanish, considering their Blacksmith upgrades does not cost any gold, enables the Spanish to outperform many other civilizations, especially when performing their signature tactics (like the Knight rush or raiding with Conquistadors). Similar logic can be applied to the Chinese, as they get overall cheaper technologies. Having a Bulgarian ally may aid the Bengalis to upgrade their Rathas, as that unique unit needs both melee and pierce attack improvements at the Blacksmith.

As a civilization specialized in cavalry, Bulgarian players also benefit from other team bonuses, such as efficiency-enhanced stables from Hunnic allies, vision bonus for Knight-line units from Frankish allies, anti-archer bonus for Knight-line units from Persian allies, and extra conversion resistance from Teuton allies. Considering that their scout line are enhanced with the Stirrups technology, they can be also boosted with the Mongolian team bonus that gives them +2 LOS, or anti-archer bonus(+1 attack) from Polish teammates. Anti-building bonus (+2 attack) from a Hindustani team-mate also helps.

The Bulgarian team bonus can be combined on a team with the Malian and Lithuanian team bonuses, making teams like these outclass their opponents by rapidly research their technology trees. Also, a Berber ally may add the Kasbah technology to this formula.

Since the Bulgarian Militia line upgrades for free and also get Bagains as an upgrade for them, Infantry team bonuses may also be considered. Among them, the Goth team bonus is probably the most useful, since it makes the Barracks work faster.

Since Bulgarians might have a problem dealing with heavy mass ranged units in the late-game, it is a good idea to have an ally who produces strong ranged units and fully upgraded skirmishers. The only good answer to mass archers or cavalry archers in the late game is Siege Onager + ram, since the Bulgarians do not have the last archer armor technology. Of course, it is a problem to keep making Konniks while researching the Siege Onager technology, which is very expensive. Also, some players massing archers and keeping them alive since the Feudal Age might quickly snowball a Konnik/infantry composition easily.

The Slavs can also be considered a great offensive partner for a Bulgarian player, as both rely on infantry, with their Slav-Bulgarian Barracks providing +5 population and their Blacksmith working 50% faster, combined with the Konniks and Boyars, and their infantry benefit from Druzhina and Bagains respectively.

Compared advantages and disadvantages[]

Advantages vs other civilizations[]

  • The Konnik, being a heavy cavalry unit that turns into an infantry if killed, can defeat the most typical counters against cavalry (like Camel Riders and Halberdiers), so camel-specialized civilizations (like Indians, Saracens, Berbers or Malians) must be wary of them. The same goes for civilizations that may rely on Halberdiers for dealing with cavalry. As Bulgarians have Heresy, their Konniks can also overturn conversions, so Monk-based civilizations should be cautious when dealing against Konniks. In large groups, Konniks can take down buildings, thanks to the attack boost of Stirrups, and the Dismounted Konnik has a bonus attack vs buildings, so civilizations with poor defenses (like Cumans or Huns) or even with decent ones (like Teutons or Byzantines) will have problems with Konnik contingents if they are poorly prepared.
  • Defensively speaking, their Kreposts give them an edge, especially against civilizations with poor siege units or without a proper anti-building unit, such as Japanese, Britons and Magyars. This advantage, if used offensively for a Krepost drop with Konniks, may also be problematic for civilizations with mediocre defenses.
  • As their Militia line upgrades for free and their Blacksmith upgrades research faster, they are at an advantage against civilizations with poor early game, such as Turks, Italians and Portuguese. Since they can also upgrade their Two-Handed Swordsmen with Bagains, they are also at an advantage against trash-unit-reliant civilizations (such as Byzantines, Vietnamese or Magyars) in the late Imperial Age. Bagains also enables Bulgarian Two-Handed Swordmen to defeat regular Champions with no bonuses, even with full Blacksmith upgrades.
  • They have all upgrades for the Hussar, and its attack is also boosted by Stirrups, so they can get an advantage at trash wars, especially against civilizations that lack the Halberdier upgrade or more improvements for the Pikemen. This is also advantageous against Siege-reliant civilizations such as Celts, Malians or Slavs.
  • Despite lacking the Paladin upgrade, they have the strongest Cavaliers in the game, thanks to the attack boost by Stirrups, so they can devastate civilizations with good archers (like Ethiopians, Mayans and Vietnamese), good infantry excluding Halberdiers (like Aztecs, Burmese, Malians and Vikings), and even other cavalry civilizations (like Berbers or Huns). Bulgarian Cavaliers can also deal more damage that Lithuanian Paladins with all four Relics, which grants +4 attack, and Malian cavaliers with Farimba, which grants +5 attack.
  • They have overall good siege engines, so civilizations with a mediocre defense (like Goths, Cumans, Magyars or Huns) may have trouble against them.

Disadvantages vs other civilizations[]

  • Despite the quirk the Konnik have, there are several units in the game that are a threat to both the Mounted and Dismounted versions of the Konnik: Samurai (bonus attack vs unique units), Persian War Elephants and Battle Elephants (high hit points, attack and trample damage), Byzantine Cataphracts (trample damage, overall good statistics and bonus damage against the Dismounted Konnik), Boyars and Teutonic Knights (high melee armor), Kamayuks (bonus damage vs the mounted version and +1 range that can decimate masses of infantry if they are deployed in large contingents), Viking Berserks (regeneration ability, bonus damage vs cavalry out of Chieftains and better stats than the dismounted version of the Konnik), Lithuanian Leitis (high damage output that ignores armor, so it also negates the Bulgarian team bonus regarding the armor upgrades), Genoese Crossbowmen and Mamelukes (bonus damage vs the mounted Konnik and can hit-and-run the dismounted one). Well-microed Longbowmen also are a great problem, especially in Castle Age fights. Large groups of Cavalry Archers can also be problematic, as they can maintain a secure distance and hit-and-run them, which is especially notorious with unique cavalry archers like Berber Camel Archers, Burmese Arambai, Cuman Kipchaks, Korean War Wagons, Mongol Mangudai and Spanish Conquistadors.
  • Among the Native American civilizations, the Incas are the best one to fight them off because of Kamayuks and Slingers. The player can put the Kamayuks to deal with the mounted Konniks, and the Slingers behind to kill the dismounted ones. They can also deal with the Bulgarian infantry and the Kamayuks with the other Stable units.
  • Their reliance on infantry in the early game may put them at a disadvantage against "Jack-of-all-trades" civilizations such as Byzantines and Chinese, and also being at a disadvantage against archer based civilizations such as Ethiopians, Britons and Mayans.
  • Despite Bagains enabling Bulgarian Two-Handed Swordsmen to defeat normal Champions, a Bulgarian Two-Handed Swordsman will still lose against Aztec, Burmese, Japanese, Slavic (in mass battles) and Teutonic Champions due to their better attack and armor. They will barely win against Viking Champions and will lose against masses of Gothic Champions in equally spent resources. Aztec Jaguar Warriors (especially with Garland Wars) and Byzantine Cataphracts (especially with Logistica) still defeat them, as their high damage output against infantry surpass their armor. Teutonic Knights and Slavic Boyars have much better stats and still pose a threat. In addition, the Lithuanian Leitis ignores melee armor, making the Bagains technology useless against them.
  • They have poor archery, so civilizations with good Skirmishers (like Aztecs or Vietnamese), good anti archer units (like the Goth Huskarl or the Korean War Wagon), good Onagers (like Ethiopians or Celts) or just plainly better archers can decimate them.
  • Aside from the Krepost, their defensive buildings are regular at best, lacking Fortified Walls, Arrowslits, Hoardings, Bombard Towers, and Treadmill Crane. Also, Kreposts are very weak against siege engines, so civilizations like Celts, Turks, Koreans, and Ethiopians can turn a Bulgarian fortification to ashes.
  • Their navy is very mediocre, so any civilization with superior vessels (especially naval based civilizations like Vikings, Italians, Portuguese, and Berbers) can destroy Bulgarian navies easily. To some degree, even the Aztecs will have a chance to defeat them on water.

Situational advantages[]

  • Since their infantry upgrades for free, it is more advantageous to play as Bulgarians in Dark and Feudal Age starts.
  • In regicide, as every player starts with a Castle, a Bulgarian player may focus more on placing Kreposts, as they will not need to create a Castle for researching the technologies and improvements there, and leave it at Imperial Age only for making Trebuchets.
  • Their Town Center stone discount is a nice advantage on nomad maps, as they can save those 50 Stone for towers or a Krepost later on.
  • They are a strong civilization in open maps such as Arabia, but their Kreposts bonus and good siege engines also make them strong on maps like Black Forest and Arena.
  • Their faster-attacking Light Cavalry with Stirrups may help them in "Capture the Relic" game mode, as they can prevent rival Monks from getting the relic. Konniks with Heresy and their particular dismounting quirk are also a good option in Capture the Relic mode.
  • In maps with a pre-deployed Barracks, such as Fortress, they may get a slight edge, as they are a strong infantry civilization.
  • Their Kreposts may give them an advantage in the "King of the Hill" game mode, as they may help to secure the Monument, as well as being helpful in the "Defend the Wonder" game mode.
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Strategies in Age of Empires II
AoE2-DLCicon-0.png The Age of KingsBritons · Byzantines · Celts · Chinese · Franks · Goths · Japanese · Mongols · Persians · Saracens · Teutons · Turks · Vikings
AoE2-DLCicon-1.png The ConquerorsAztecs · Huns · Koreans · Mayans · Spanish
AoE2-DLCicon-2.png The ForgottenIncas · Hindustanis · Italians · Magyars · Slavs
AoE2-DLCicon-3.png The African KingdomsBerbers · Ethiopians · Malians · Portuguese
AoE2-DLCicon-4.png Rise of the RajasBurmese · Khmer · Malay · Vietnamese
AoE2-DLCicon-5.png The Last KhansBulgarians · Cumans · Lithuanians · Tatars
AoE2Icon-LordsWest.png Lords of the WestBurgundians · Sicilians
Dawn of the Dukes icon.png Dawn of the DukesBohemians · Poles
AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia.png Dynasties of IndiaBengalis · Dravidians · Gurjaras