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This article is about the unit in Age of Empires II. For the unit in other games of the series, see Chu Ko Nu.

Chinese unique unit. Archer with mediocre range. Fires large number of arrows very quickly.
Age of Empires II description

The Chu Ko Nu is the unique unit of the Chinese in Age of Empires II. It is an archer that fires multiple arrows in quick succession.

Only the first arrow does full damage, though. All the other arrows fired deal 3 pierce damage and 0 melee damage (the latter is very helpful when battling rams). A regular Chu Ko Nu fires three arrows per volley, and an Elite Chu Ko Nu fires five.

Chu Ko Nu can be upgraded to Elite Chu Ko Nu in the Imperial Age.


Chu Ko Nu are usually used in a combination with Monks as healers and Scorpions behind them along with some Villagers. They are great against most close combatant units, especially when facing War Elephants or Teutonic Knights. Chu Ko Nu also do very well when mixed with infantry. Another way to utilize Chu Ko Nu is to use them to protect Castles, both garrisoned and ungarrisoned. If garrisoned, 13 fully upgraded Elite Chu Ko Nu are enough for a Castle to fire all 20 extra arrows. If ungarrisoned, groups of Chu Ko Nu are a great deterrent against Rams, due to each arrow having a 0 melee attack, thus doing 3 damage per arrow against rams. They do not have the same effectiveness against Armored Elephants, however, since they can receive armor upgrades to negate their -2 melee armor.

The Chu Ko Nu, in a similar fashion to the Kipchaks, have the distinction of still faring fairly well against most anti-archer units. This is because most anti-archer units (such as Skirmishers) can survive archer fire due to their pierce armor. But due to the high number of arrows fired the Chu Ko Nu (especially Elite) still deals a considerable amount of damage, especially to Rams. However, they should still try to avoid anti-archer units in general and they match poorly against Huskarls and Ghulams. Most other archers have one more range than Chu Ko Nu and can hit-and-run them. Meanwhile, Chu Ko Nu are not good at hit-and-run due to how their multiple shots work in terms of reloading, and due to their long frame delay.

Chu Ko Nu are best countered with longer ranged archers, Skirmishers, heavy cavalry charges (in large numbers), Huskarls, Ghulams, or siege weapons that deal splash damage.

Further statistics[]

As Chu Ko Nu are unique to the Chinese, only technologies that are available to them are shown in the following table:

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Infantry, buildings, Rams
Weak vs. Skirmishers, Scorpions, Mangonels, cavalry, Huskarls, Eagle Warriors, Genitours, Ghulams
Attack FletchingDE.png Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE.png Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE.png Bracer (+1)
ChemistryDE.png Chemistry (+1)
Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Rocketry (+2)
Range FletchingDE.png Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE.png Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE.png Bracer (+1)
Firing rate ThumbRingDE.png Thumb Ring (+25%)
Accuracy ThumbRingDE.png Thumb Ring (increases accuracy to 100%)
BallisticsDE.png Ballistics (hit moving targets)
Armor PaddedArcherArmorDE.png Padded Archer Armor (+1/+1)
LeatherArcherArmorDE.png Leather Archer Armor (+1/+1)
RingArcherArmorDE.png Ring Archer Armor (+1/+2)
Conversion defense FaithDE.png Faith
Creation speed ConscriptionDE.png Conscription (+33%)
Upgrades Elite-unique-research.jpg Elite Chu Ko Nu

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Chinese: Technologies that benefit Chu Ko Nu are 15%/20% cheaper in the Castle/Imperial Age.

Team bonuses[]


The Age of Kings[]

  • Non-Elite Chu Ko Nu train in 19 seconds.

The Conquerors[]

  • Chu Ko Nu gain a +2 attack bonus against Spearman.
  • Main and secondary projectiles deal 0 melee damage (i.e., +3 damage vs rams with –3 melee armor).
  • Thumb Ring introduced.
  • Rocketry introduced.

The Forgotten[]

  • Non-Elite Chu Ko Nu train in 16 seconds.

Lords of the West[]

  • With update 50292, Chu Ko Nu add the correct amount of extra projectiles to fortifications when garrisoned inside them.


  • Chu Ko Nu (諸葛弩) literally means "The crossbow of Zhuge." Zhuge Liang was a famous strategist-tactician who lived and died during China's Three Kingdoms era. However, the Chinese more commonly refer to it as the "Lian Nu" (連弩), literally translating to "Repeating Crossbow".
  • Despite its name, the Chu Ko Nu was not invented by Zhuge, being in use some two hundred years before his birth. However, it is likely that he improved its design to make it a more effective weapon of war.
  • The actual Chu Ko Nu had a firing rate of around two arrows per three seconds, making it the most rapid-firing weapon in existence until the invention of the Gatling gun 1800 years later.
  • Due to a quirk in the engine in regards to duplicate projectiles and the design of the arrow projectile, Chu Ko Nu's arrows do 0 melee damage along with the extras dealing 3 pierce damage. Normally this makes no difference, but because Rams have -3 melee armor, each arrow actually deals 3, not 1 damage to Rams. This makes Chu Ko Nu one of the best anti-Ram units in the game as an Elite Chu Ko Nu can deal 15 damage per volley at a distance to Rams.
  • Historically, Chinese military writers considered repeating crossbows to be too weak for battle, but rather was a weapon for home defense against wildlife. Nevertheless, there have been reports of repeating crossbows being used as late as the First Sino-Japanese War in 1894.
  • The Elite upgrade is, in terms of gold, the second most expensive of all unique units (base value), costing 950. Only the Elite War Elephant upgrade costs more gold with 1,200. The Chinese civilization bonus, however, reduces the cost to 760.
  • Even if the target stands right in front of a Chu Ko Nu, the latter can still fail to hit with every arrow in the volley.
  • With 14 attack, a fully upgraded Elite Chu Ko Nu has the highest attack of all foot archers as well as the second highest attack of all ranged units outside of the siege and gunpowder section (only behind the Elite Arambai, with 15 attack).
  • "The Zhuge Nu (literally: Zhuge Crossbow) is a handy little weapon that even the Confucian scholar or palace women can use in self-defence... It fires weakly so you have to tip the darts with poison. Once the darts are tipped with "tiger-killing poison", you can shoot it at a horse or a man and as long as you draw blood, your adversary will die immediately. The draw-back to the weapon is its very limited range." - from the Gujin Tushu Jicheng, the Imperial Encyclopedia (Qing Dinasty).
  • The earliest metal crossbow-locks and crossbow bolts are indeed found in Shandong, China and dated to around 650 BCE; however, linguistic evidence indicated that crossbows might have been invented by ancient Austroasiatic-speakers.


The crossbow was invented in China in ancient times and the chu ko nu was an improved crossbow invented there during European Middle Ages. The chu ko nu was something like a semi-automatic crossbow. It was fitted with a magazine of bolts. When the operator pulled back the bowstring, a new bolt was automatically loaded. When the bowstring reached its limit, the weapon fired automatically. The operator pulled back as quickly as he could to maintain a rapid fire. The weaknesses of the weapon were a short range and weaker power compared to larger single-shot crossbows.




ELITE CHU KO NU vs EVERY UNIQUE UNIT (Lords of the West) - AoE II- Definitive Edition