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This article is about the unit type of mounted soldiers. For the unit in Age of Empires, see Cavalry (Age of Empires).
Knight sprite aoe2de

A Knight, a standard cavalry unit in Age of Empires II.

Cavalry is a basic unit type consisting of a soldier riding on an animal, usually a horse. In some cases, these units are also referred to as mounted unit. Cavalry in general are faster and have more hit points than foot soldiers, but have much greater costs and take up more population space (the latter in Age of Mythology and Age of Empires III only).

In Age of Empires and Age of Empires II, cavalry (like infantry) refers only to the melee soldiers, whereas the ranged counterparts are called (mounted or foot) archers. In this article, we follow their nomenclature. To study the list of all mounted soldiers, whether melee or ranged, see mounted unit (Age of Empires) and mounted unit (Age of Empires II) pages respectively.

Age of Empires[]

Main article: Cavalry unit (Age of Empires)

In Age of Empires, the Stable can produce five lines of cavalry units, for a total of nine units. These units all cost food, and usually also cost gold or wood. As such, they are expensive units, requiring anywhere from 80 to 210 resources apiece.

With the exception of Nobility, a Government Center technology that increases the HP of mounted units (except Elephants) by +15%, all technologies that benefit cavalry are found at the Storage Pit. These include the melee attack upgrades that start with Toolworking and the dedicated cavalry armor upgrades starting with Leather Armor Cavalry.

Eight of the seventeen civilizations as of Return of Rome have bonuses that improve cavalry. Note, however, that these upgrades all benefit certain units rather than the entire cavalry class of units. Elephant units in particular are heavily favored, with three civilizations having bonuses that favor elephant units. In contrast, no civilization has bonuses for the generic Scout, and only the Shang and Yamato provide any bonus for the main Cavalry line of units.

Age of Empires II[]

Main article: Cavalry unit (Age of Empires II)

The various cavalry units that can be trained from a Stable, which includes oddities such as the unique Tarkan unit and the Xolotl Warrior.

Cavalry in Age of Empires II are distinct from those in the original game in a few respects. Most notably, units with significant anti-cavalry bonuses are widespread in this game, including the Spearman and Camel Rider lines. With that being said, cavalry, despite these major weaknesses and high price, are often the dominant force in games due to their high stats and mobility.

40 of the 43 civilizations in Age of Empires II have access to some form of cavalry, including at least the Scout Cavalry. The only exceptions are civilizations from the Americas, who historically lacked access to horses, although if they do get access to Stables (such as through conversions by Monks after researching Redemption), they can train Xolotl Warriors. The heavily armed and armored Knight is nearly as ubiquitous as the basic Scout Cavalry (along with their two direct upgrades, the Light Cavalry and the Cavalier), meaning most civilizations have access to reasonably useful cavalry units.

In addition to the various unique units available at the Castle, there are a few other cavalry units available. The final upgrades of the Scout Cavalry and Knight are the Hussar and Paladin, which are only available to 23 and 11 civilizations respectively. Additionally, some cavalry units are based on the geography of the civilizations in question. Civilization found in arid and steppe regions of the world typically have the Camel Rider, which deals extra damage to other cavalry units. The civilizations in southeast Asia have access to the Battle Elephant, a slow and lumbering yet powerful unit. Three civilizations of the Eurasian Steppe have access to the Steppe Lancer, a sort of "medium cavalry" notable for having a small amount of range. Additionally, 13 civilizations have access to unique cavalry units, not counting the unique Imperial Camel Rider upgrade.

Cavalry units are mostly upgraded using the Stable and the Blacksmith. However, many civilizations have one or two unique technologies that will benefit at least one type of cavalry unit. Additionally, 24 civilizations have standard bonuses that benefit cavalry in some way, and 11 have team bonuses that provide benefits to cavalry.

As may be expected from the sheer variety of units, technologies, and bonuses, many civilizations in Age of Empires II are considered particularly strong cavalry civilizations. However, many civilizations provide much better support for certain units than others. One excellent example is the Franks: despite having arguably the best Knight line in the game, their Scout Cavalry line is below average due to missing the critical Bloodlines technology and Hussar upgrade. Similarly, the Gurjaras and Hindustanis have among the best Camel Riders in the game, but are two of the few civilizations to lack access to Knights.

Age of Mythology[]

Main article: Cavalry unit (Age of Mythology)

In Age of Mythology, all civilizations have unique cavalry units. They are generally strong against archers and siege weapons but weak against infantry.

Although each of the five civilizations in Age of Mythology have access to cavalry, they do not all represent cavalry evenly. On one end, the Atlanteans only have access to the single Contarius unit, whereas the Chinese have access to five units: the Scout Cavalry, Mounted Archer, Cataphract, General, and War Chariot.

The major gods that benefit cavalry include Poseidon and Ra. Additionally, twelve minor gods provide technologies that benefit cavalry.

Note that there are several mounted units in Age of Mythology that are not considered cavalry units. These are the Kataskopos, Chariot Archer, and Turma.

Age of Empires III[]

Aoe3 unit type cavalry

The cavalry branch in Age of Empires III is divided in heavy cavalry and light cavalry.

Heavy cavalry[]

Aoe3 unit type heavy cavalry

Hussars, European cavalry from Age of Empires III

Main article: Heavy cavalry (Age of Empires III)

Heavy cavalry are groups of generic cavalry that can counter enemy light infantry and counter-skirmishers. They usually have high hit points and ranged resistance, but are weak against heavy infantry due to their anti-cavalry multipliers.

Heavy cavalry have 3 subcategories:

  • Hand cavalry: Generic melee cavalry that are strong against light infantry and counter-skirmishers.
    • Lance cavalry: Cavalry with lances that are particularly strong against any infantry.
  • Ranged heavy cavalry: Ranged cavalry that can counter light infantry from a distance.

Light cavalry[]

Aoe3 unit type light cavalry
Main article: Light ranged cavalry (Age of Empires III)

Light ranged cavalry (previously just "light cavalry") are cavalry specialized in countering enemy heavy cavalry. Generally, they are ranged units like a Dragoon, but there are some exceptions (like Berber Camel Rider). They are more vulnerable to light infantry compared to heavy cavalry.


There are also mercenary cavalry units, such as the Black Rider, although these act as improved versions of the above cavalry types.

Age of Empires IV[]

Main article: Cavalry unit (Age of Empires IV)

In Age of Empires IV, all civilizations except the Malians (which have two) have access to at least three types of cavalry units, each performing a different role - the Scout, the Horseman (light cavalry), and the Knight/Lancer (heavy cavalry). All ranged cavalry units are unique units, that is, there is no generic ranged cavalry unit. Moreover, about half of the civilizations do not have a ranged cavalry unit.