|“||Italian mercenary unit. Quick infantry.||”|
|—Age of Empires II description|
The Condottiero (plural Condottieri) is the second unique unit of the Italians in Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten. A quick anti-gunpowder infantry unit, it can be trained at the Barracks upon reaching the Imperial Age. In The Forgotten, a Castle was also required in order to train Condottieri. This requirement was removed in The African Kingdoms.
The Condottiero has a large attack bonus against gunpowder units, and bonus armor which negates their anti-infantry damage. Thus, Condottieri are an effective counter for armies of Janissaries, Conquistadors, or Hand Cannoneers. In addition, Condottieri trade effectively against Halberdiers and Camel Riders, which are common auxiliary forces to protect gunpowder units and take down cavalry.
Condottieri move fast and have high hit points. They are also created quite quickly and do not need to be upgraded. Their comparatively high gold cost, however, makes them an expensive unit to field and sustain in the long run. Skirmishers are much more efficient at dealing with gunpowder units on a cost basis; also, siege units excel in general combat, which limits the Condottiero's use to an emergency counter to gunpowder.
Condottieri can be used as an expensive substitute for Champions. This can occur in situations where the player does not have the Champion upgrade at the ready or if the player's civilization does not have access to them (Tatars, Bulgarians, Ethiopians, Huns, Khmer, Malay, Mayans, and Persians). On the other hand, Condottieri can be a huge power spike during early Imperial Age, though as already mentioned, they are less and less cost efficient as time goes on.
For the specific case of the Malay and Bulgarians, Two-Handed Swordsmen should not be substituted, but rather supplemented with Condottieri, forming a solid composition in late Imperial Age, with Condottieri chasing down archers and gunpowder units, using their superior speed. Halberdiers and Karambit Warriors can also be very good complements or alternatives, depending on the situation.
Even for civilizations that have access to great Champions, substituting them when enemies use many anti-infantry units should be considered. For example, an interesting play would be to couple Malian Condottieri with Gbetos, both possessing great mobility to raid enemy positions and supplement each other's weaknesses; Gbetos add firepower, whereas Malian Condottieri are tasked with shielding Gbetos against enemy ranged units. Although in more general situations, Skirmishers would be more cost-effective, since they effectively counters all gunpowder units (except siege) as well as the Arbalester, to which the Condottiero has little defense with no base pierce armor.
A practical, general example would be a scenario where the player has previously built several Barracks to train Pikemen or Halberdiers against a cavalry civilization, and in this case, the opponent has chosen Hand Cannoneer as counter versus Pikes. In this instance, if the player can afford the gold cost but is unable to train Skirmishers right away, training some Condottieri in order to diversify and gain a slight edge in battle is recommended, taking advantage of the Condottiero's beefier stats. But as the player's gold starts draining out, Condottieri might be a dangerous choice for the player's economy, especially when the opponent can easily switch to other ranged units.
Finally, their ability to be trained without upgrades upon reaching the Imperial Age makes them a suitable counter to gunpowder in Fast Imperial games, especially in closed maps like Arena, where it is common that battles initially happen in groups of small but powerful units. Here, training just a few Condottieri to take down enemy Bombard Cannons can inflict a tremendous damage on the opponent. In other cases, the mere presence of an Italian player can be a strong deterrent against the creation of gunpowder units, in order to prevent a disastrous scenario.
|Unit strengths and weaknesses|
|Strong vs.||Skirmishers, Hand Cannoneers, Conquistadors, Janissaries, siege weapons, Bombard Towers, Bombard Cannons, Light Cavalry, Camel Riders, Hussite Wagons|
|Weak vs.||Archers, Scorpions, Knights, Boyars, Teutonic Knights, Samurai, Cataphracts, Jaguar Warriors, Slingers, War Elephants, Battle Elephants|
|Attack|| Forging (+1)|
Iron Casting (+1)
Blast Furnace (+2)
Arson (+2 attack against standard buildings)
Garland Wars (+4, Aztecs only)
Wootz Steel (attack ignore armor, Dravidians only)
Druzhina (gives trample damage, Slavs only)
Chieftains (+5 attack against cavalry and against camels, Vikings only)
|Armor|| Scale Mail Armor (+1/+1)|
Chain Mail Armor (+1/+1)
Plate Mail Armor (+1/+2)
Pavise (+1/+1, Italians only)
|Conversion defense|| Faith|
Heresy (allies only)
First Crusade (Sicilians only)
|Cost||Kshatriyas (-25% food, Gurjaras only)|
|Creation speed|| Conscription (+33%)|
Perfusion (+100%, Goths only)
- Aztecs: Condottieri are created 11% faster.
- Bulgarians: Blacksmith upgrades that benefit Condottieri cost -50% food.
- Burmese: Condottieri have +3 attack. Faith is 50% cheaper.
- Celts: Condottieri move 15% faster. Condottieri can convert herdables even if enemy units are next to them.
- Chinese: Technologies that benefit Condottieri are 20% cheaper.
- Dravidians: Researching Squires and Arson is 50% cheaper.
- Goths: Condottieri are 35% cheaper and have attack against standard buildings.
- Japanese: Condottieri attack 33% faster.
- Magyars: Forging, Iron Casting, and Blast Furnace are free.
- Malians: Condottieri have .
- Portuguese: Condottieri cost gold. Technologies that benefit Condottieri are researched 30% faster.
- Sicilians: Condottieri absorb 50% of all incoming bonus damage.
- Spanish: Blacksmith upgrades that benefit Condottieri cost no gold.
- Tatars: Condottieri deal +25% bonus damage from cliffs and elevations.
- Teutons: Condottieri have .
- Vietnamese: Conscription is free.
- Vikings: Condottieri have +20% hit points.
- A team containing Bulgarians: Researching Infantry armor and attack upgrades at the Blacksmith is faster.
- A team containing Goths: Condottieri are created 20% faster. Researching Squires and Arson is 20% faster.
- A team containing Lithuanians: Researching Heresy and Faith is 20% faster.
- A team containing Teutons: Condottieri are more resistant to conversion.
- Condottieri require a Castle in order to be trained.
- Condottieri have 9 attack and 1.0 speed.
- Condottieri have 1 pierce armor.
- Condottieri train in 11 seconds.
- Aztecs: Condottieri are created faster.
- Goths: Condottieri have +1 attack bonus against standard buildings.
The African Kingdoms
- Condottieri no longer require a Castle.
- Condottieri reskinned.
- Condottieri have 10 attack and 1.2 speed.
- With patch 4.8, Condottieri train in 13 seconds.
- Arson introduced.
- Malians: On release, Condottieri incorrectly do not benefit from the civilization bonus and do not get any bonus pierce armor due to a bug. With patch 4.8, this was corrected, with Condottieri benefiting from the civilization bonus and obtaining +3 pierce armor.
- Portuguese: Condottieri cost -15% gold.
- Vikings: With patch 4.8, Chieftains affects Condottieri. It gives Condottieri a +5 attack bonus against cavalry.
- Vikings: With patch 4.8, Chieftains gives Condottieri an additional +2 attack bonus against camel units.
Rise of the Rajas
- With patch 5.7, Condottieri have 9 attack and 0 pierce armor.
- With patch 5.7, Condottieri have a unique armor class that essentially causes the Condottiero to resist bonus damage from gunpowder units (+10 armor), but not from other anti-infantry attacks.
- With patch 5.7, Condottieri train in 18 seconds.
- Vikings: With patch 5.7, Chieftains makes Condottieri do +4 damage to camels instead of +2.
- With update 39284, Condottieri have 10 attack.
- Tracking removed; all infantry instantly receive +2 Line of Sight upon reaching the Feudal Age.
- Aztecs: With update 37650, Condottieri are created 11% faster.
- Goths: With update 36202, Condottieri have +3 attack bonus against standard buildings. Goths lose access to Arson.
- Italians: With update 39284, Pavise also affects Condottieri.
- Portuguese: With update 39284, Condottieri cost -20% gold.
- Portuguese: With update 42848, all technologies are researched 30% faster.
- Teutons: With update 35584, Condottieri have +1 melee armor. With update 36906, they have +2 melee armor.
- Condottieri are one of only four infantry units that do not get an attack bonus against Eagle Warriors, the other being the Kamayuk, the Militia, the Dismounted Konnik, and other Eagles.
- The Japanese Condottiero is tied with the Samurai and the Bulgarian Hussar with Stirrups as the melee unit with the second fastest attacking rate, attacking once every 1.45 seconds, being only beaten by the Bulgarian Cavalier with Stirrups, that attacks once every 1.35 seconds.
- The Celtic Condottiero is tied with the Woad Raider as the second fastest infantry unit the game, only behind an Elite Eagle Warrior with Squires.
- With 96 HP, the Viking Condottiero is the foot soldier with the third highest hitpoints, only behind the Elite Teutonic Knight and the Mayan Elite Eagle Warrior with El Dorado.
- Before patch 5.7, the Gothic Condottiero was the third fastest training unit in Age of Empires II, after the Shotel Warrior and the Karambit Warrior.
- The Condottiero is the only unique unit that is initially trained at the Barracks. It is joined by the Huskarl when Anarchy is researched.
- Unlike the Imperial Camel Rider, Imperial Skirmisher, the Houfnice and the Camel Scout, but similar to the Genitour, the Condottiero is not part of a generic unit line and thus, is vulnerable to Samurai.
- The Condottiero is one of only seven unique units that are only available in the Imperial Age, the others being the Imperial Camel Rider, the Imperial Skirmisher, the Flaming Camel, the Flemish Militia, the Houfnice and the Thirisadai.
- The Condottiero is one of only nine unique units without an Elite version, the others being the Slinger, the Missionary, the Imperial Skirmisher, the Imperial Camel Rider, the Flaming Camel, the Flemish Militia, the Houfnice and the Thirisadai. However, the Elite Condottiero appears in the Sforza campaign, in the scenario O Fortuna. There, Francesco Sforza leads an army of them to meet Duke Visconti in Milan before meeting Brigata Malatesta, who gives Sforza an army of Paladins.
- The Condottiero is one of just three unique units that are a team bonus (the others being the Genitour and the Imperial Skirmisher). All three civilizations that provide these units are supposed to be great support civilizations.
- Before patch 5.7, the Condottiero was an unbalanced unit, since it moves faster, is more durable, and most importantly, it can not only resist the additional gunpowder attack, but also from other infantry counters. In the early Imperial Age, few units can deal with them, especially when allied with Malians (which have high pierce armor) and Vikings (whose are beefier). However, since that update, Condottieri were underused by most civilizations, because they are more vulnerable to ranged attack and have 1 less attack, also training longer. Also, it was seldom used by Italians, causing attack to be reverted to 10 and Pavise affecting it as well, to give Italians a viable military choice.
The term Condottiero meant "contractor" in Renaissance Italian and was synonymous with the modern English title of Mercenary Captain.
Historically, the Italian Condottieri were the leaders (or warlords) of the professional, military free companies (or mercenaries) contracted by the Italian city-states and the Papacy, from the late Middle Ages and throughout the Renaissance. Although in-game Condottieri fight on foot, historical Condottieri fought mainly on horseback, as the troops they commanded consisted mainly of heavily-armored, mounted men-at-arms.