|“|| Stronger than Two-Handed Swordsman. Cheap and quick to create.|
—Age of Empires II description
The * indicates that the civilization can fully upgrade their Champions, i.e. gets Blast Furnace, Plate Mail Armor, and Squires. Faith and Heresy are not taken into account because they only contribute to their combat strength in a very situational manner.
Overview and tactics
The Champion is the first and only Barracks unit that provides its own melee protection: 1/1 armor. They have an attack bonus against buildings and the Eagle line, and are even more powerful when used in conjunction with Rams.
With additional armor for melee combat coupled with an attack rarely superseded by other infantry, the Champion is a good unit when complemented with other units (such as cavalry for tracking down ranged units, or siege units for faster razing) or in waves of units if the player has a massive replenishing stockpile of food and gold. The typical infantry shortcomings do exist, however, as they are still slow and are modest in terms of health, making them vulnerable to archers, heavy cavalry, and splash-damage siege weaponry.
Champions excel in two particular situations: early Imperial Age when their counters aren't as prominent and late Imperial Age when gold is scarce. Champions are informally called 'trash busters' since they can easily defeat all the trash units (Halberdiers, Elite Skirmishers, and Hussars). The unique trash units, the Genitours and the Magyar Huszar, can stand up to most civilizations' Champions, but do not defeat them distinctly.
For some civilizations, Champions are a go-to late game deathball choice. This includes Malians with their +3 pierce armor bonus and the Aztecs and Burmese with their additional attack damage. An Imperial Age Champion rush requires a huge Farm-based economy.
On lush maps with plenty of resources (e. g. Yucatán), it is recommended to opt for another type of army (as long as the additional cost can be shouldered by the economy), as they generally tend to fare better in general combat.
|Unit strengths and weaknesses|
|Strong vs.||Skirmishers, Halberdiers, Camels, Eagle Warriors, buildings, Light Cavalry, Huskarls, Rams|
|Weak vs.||Archers, Scorpions, Cataphracts, Jaguar Warriors, Boyars, Hand Cannoneers, Conquistadors, Janissaries, Slingers, Teutonic Knights|
|Attack|| Forging (+1)|
Iron Casting (+1)
Blast Furnace (+2)
Arson (+2 attack against standard buildings)
Garland Wars (+4, Aztecs only)
Druzhina (Slavs only, gives trample damage)
Chieftains (Vikings only, gives +5 attack against cavalry and +4 against camels)
|Armor|| Scale Mail Armor (+1/+1)|
Chain Mail Armor (+1/+1)
Plate Mail Armor (+1/+2)
|Conversion defense|| Faith|
|Creation speed|| Conscription (+33%)|
Perfusion (+100%, Goths only)
- Aztecs: Champions are created 18% faster.
- Burmese: Champions have +3 attack. Researching Faith is 50% cheaper.
- Celts: Champions move 15% faster. Champions can convert herdables even if enemy units are next to them.
- Chinese: Technologies that benefit Champions are 20% cheaper.
- Goths: Champions are 35% cheaper and have +1 attack against standard buildings. With Perfusion researched, researching Tracking, Squires, and Arson is 100% faster.
- Japanese: Champions attack 33% faster.
- Magyars: Forging, Iron Casting, and Blast Furnace are free.
- Malians: Champions have +3 pierce armor.
- Portuguese: Champions cost 15% less gold.
- Slavs: Tracking is free.
- Spanish: Blacksmith upgrades that benefit Champions don't cost gold.
- Vietnamese: Conscription is free.
- Vikings: Champions have 20% more hit points.
- A team containing Berbers: With Kasbah researched, researching Conscription is 25% faster.
- A team containing Goths: Champions are created 20% faster. Researching Tracking, Squires, and Arson is 20% faster.
- A team containing Teutons: Champions are more resistant to conversion.
The Age of Kings
- Champions have +3 attack against standard buildings.
- Champions have 0 pierce armor.
- Goths: Champions are 25% cheaper.
- Champions have +6 attack against Eagle Warriors.
- Champions have now 1 pierce armor.
- Heresy introduced.
- Goths: With patch 1.0c, Champions are 35% cheaper. Perfusion introduced.
- Champions now have +4 attack against standard buildings.
- Champions now have +8 attack against Eagle Warriors.
The African Kingdoms
- Arson introduced.
- Vikings: With patch 4.8, Chieftains now affects Champions. It gives Champions +2 attack against camels.
Rise of the Rajas
- Vikings: With patch 5.7, Chieftains now gives Champions +4 attack against camels.
- The Militia line is the only unit line in the game with more than three stages.
- The Champion is the only non-unique infantry that has base melee armor.
- Due to a minor graphical bug, the Champion may appear to be wielding two swords at once depending on the angle of unit rotation.
|“||Among the best swordsmen there were a few who, through their renown on the battlefield and in tournaments, achieved the status of champion. Such men became war leaders and rose in social standing thanks to abilities so highly regarded at the time. Lords kept champions on retainer for status and because staged fights between elite warriors were used on occasion to resolve disputes. Having a great champion in your pay or as a vassal was the Middle Age equivalent to having a good lawyer. Champions were professional warriors who might also be members of the nobility. A successful champion might gain a noble title through tournament victory, battle honors, or marriage. A minor knight in England named John Marshal was so successful in tournaments that he rose to become a high-ranking noble of great wealth thanks to prizes and successive marriages to admiring women of means.||”|