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Siege is the Ethiopians' strong suit, as they are the first and only civilization to have access to every available Siege Workshop units and upgrades and their unique technology, Torsion Engines strongly benefits most of their siege devices.

The basic Ethiopian rank-and-file are not bad, either. Their Spearmen receive the Pikeman upgrade for free upon reaching the Castle Age, so cavalry will not be a major concern in most Castle Age engagements for Ethiopian players; Ethiopian Archers fire faster than those of other civilizations and their Blacksmith has much, if not all, of the necessary upgrades towards a strong Archer-based frontline. The Ethiopians' unique Shotel Warriors are blessed with a very short deployment rate (which can be made more rapid with the Royal Heirs technology) for a very cheap price, allowing tactful players to overwhelm their enemies with sheer number if they build their Castles close to the battlefield. Players on a team with Ethiopians will receive a +3 boost to their Outposts' and Towers' line of sights that can provide a security advantage in the early game.


While Ethiopians have access to nearly every available cavalry types in the game, they do lack Bloodlines and Plate Barding Armor for conventional Stable units and Parthian Tactics for Cavalry Archers, meaning that their mounted troops will not last very long in a scuffle unless backed up by Archers and/or Monks. Their Militia line is also not very effective in the late game due to the lack of the Champion upgrade. Because of this, their only reliable frontline units are Arbalesters, Halberdiers, and Shotel Warriors, all of which can be countered fairly easily even by Huskarls.

In addition, their navy is also lackluster as they lack Fast Fire Ships, Elite Cannon Galleons, and Heavy Demolition Ships.


The Ethiopians have a very weak Dark Age as they do not have any significant economic bonuses across from the free 100 food and gold when aging up. As such, the player should focus on booming their economy and play defensively against civilizations with early aggression such as the Aztecs, Huns, Mongols, or Malians. Upon reaching the Feudal Age, Ethiopians players should consider training masses of Spearmen to discourage early game Scout Cavalry aggression and Archers to counter Men-at-Arms rushes (although the Ethiopians are still vulnerable to Archer and Skirmisher rush aggression civilizations like the Mayans or the Britons, the Spearmen and Archers will have a lot of value due to the Ethiopians' free upgrade on their Spearman line and the Archer faster firing rate). Defensive Watch Towers should be considered to discourage any early game aggression from the enemy thanks to the line of sight bonus. Offensively in the early game, making an Archer rush during Feudal Age is a viable tactic for Ethiopians, and Tower rushing is also effective due to the expanded LoS. Monk or Pikemen rushing is also effective if the player can exploit the bonus resources per age or has a strong Feudal economy and manages to reach the Castle Age before their opponents (see below).

Making a mad dash towards Castle Age as an Ethiopian player is very possible, though it may require one to temporarily ignore Loom during the earlier ages to amass enough gold to upgrade (just the 100 initial gold plus the 100 more received at the start of Feudal Age is enough to research Castle), which may leave their Villagers vulnerable towards wild animals or if an opponent decides to commence an early raid. The recommended focus during Feudal Age should be on gathering food for the upgrade and wood for the requisite Market and Blacksmith. This rushing tactic allows the player to advance in age very rapidly if workers are properly micromanaged, but will leave their economy lopsided and vulnerable if they are not quick enough to adapt. If properly performed, this fast-Castle technique will allow the Ethiopian player to pull off an early Monk or Pikemen rush, the latter of which is recommended since their Spearman line is upgraded automatically upon aging up for no additional cost, and is very effective against very much anything an opponent can muster up during the early game if deployed in mobs.

During Castle Age, the player should consider rushing a Castle in their town and research Royal Heirs and Arson. Once the castle is built, Ethiopian players not only have a Castle to defend their town, but they can now create mobs of Shotel Warriors almost instantly to help quickly defend their town against raiders. At this point they can begin to consider raiding nearby enemy colonies with their upgraded Shotel Warriors, Archers, and Pikemen. Thanks to the Shotel Warriors and Royal Heirs Ethiopians can also perform a Castle drop tactic against an enemy town more effectively than many other civilizations.

Much of the Ethiopians' late game is not from their instant spawning Shotel Warrior; rather, their late game power comes from their wide variety of siege weapons. With the Ethiopians being the only civilization having access to every upgrade for their siege weapons, combined with the larger blast radius from Torsion Engines, their siege weaponry, combined with their cannon fodder of Halberdiers and faster-firing Arbalesters as their backup support, makes the Ethiopians have the most threatening and deadliest army compositions late game without the need of cavalry (since their cavalry is incredibly weak due to lacking Bloodlines, Plate Barding Armor, and the Paladin upgrade). Any left over Shotel Warriors from Castle Age raiding (as well as any Shotel Warriors created) should be garrisoned in Siege Rams to help the Rams get close to enemy buildings (as well as helping the Shotel Warrior's weakness against arrow fire due to the Siege Ram's high pierce armor). Siege Onagers and Elite Skirmishers should be mixed in with Arbalesters to counter enemy Archers and cavalry archers, and the Halberdiers should be the Ethiopians' main frontline to protect any cavalry charges from the enemy that would destroy their siege weapons and Arbalesters. Bombard Cannons will be very threatening to enemy defenses and siege weapons thanks to the larger blast radius from Torsion Engines. Players should consider building forward Barracks, Siege Workshops, and Archery Ranges and overwhelm the enemy with cheap cannon fodder with Shotel Warriors and Halberdiers as their main frontline with siege weapons and faster firing Arbalesters as their backline support.


Ethiopians synergize well with many other civilizations. Allying with the Koreans is considered to be the best bet, as they will benefit from the Korean team bonus of reduced minimum range for their Siege Onagers in addition to Torsion Engines (and vice versa for the Koreans with the Ethiopians line of sight bonus for their towers). Teutons are also good allies to the Ethiopians since they can garrison additional units in the latter's towers and the Teutonic team bonus makes Shotel Warriors difficult to convert. The Slavs are recommended for aggressive players as their population room bonus can be exploited by building many forward military facilities, while Slavs will make good use of the extra line of sight for their cheaper Detinets towers. Allying with the Italians will supplement the their already weak frontline with Condottieri, which is a good alternative to the Champions that the Ethiopians sorely lack while also providing strong anti-gunpowder unit support. Allying with any archer-based civilizations with archer team bonuses such as the Britons, Magyars, and Saracens makes their Arbalesters more devastating. Allying with the Goths is very beneficial as it allows the Ethiopians to build Halberdiers faster and supplement each others' weaknesses (Goths have a very strong frontline, but a weaker siege line and Ethiopians fare the other way around). Allying with Celtic players can benefit an Ethiopian player's siege industry with a handy creation speed boost. Allying with the Berbers is also a no-brainer considering the team-benefiting Kasbah technology, which will increase the training speed of Castle units and, when stacked with Royal Heirs, can make Shotel Warriors extremely effective with the Castle Drop tactic. Another great ally are the Sicilians, for their Donjons count as towers and benefit from the extra line of sight Ethiopians provide to towers. If allied with the Gurjaras, the Ethiopian player can amass their Camel Riders quicker as well.

The versatility of the Ethiopians in team games allows to them to play supportively, defensively or more aggressively than in free-for-all games. They also are great at Springboard tactics if playing with them as the Springs since most of their bonuses shine in the Castle Age and early Imperial Age.

Southeast Asian allies offer Battle Elephants as meatshields to screen Ethiopian foot units and siege weapons. Amongst them, Khmer allies deliver range boost to the Ethiopian Scorpions with Siege Engineers and Torsion Engines upgrades, plus supporting hand cannoneers; while Vietnamese allies offer Imperial Skirmishers. Malay and Burmese allies are also competent teammates for Ethiopian players, for the former grant them far-sighted Docks as a vital component of a fast-response fleet needs, while the latter reveal and share locations of the relics at the beginning, allowing them to amass Spearmen and foot archers to secure nearby relics early-game for future gold supplies.

Compared advantages and disadvantages[]

Advantages vs other civilizations[]

  • The Ethiopians have some of the strongest archers in the game, thanks to their faster-firing archers, which allows the Ethiopians to have a significant advantage against infantry based civilizations (like the Teutons, Burmese, Malay, Vikings, Japanese, Aztecs and Celts), with the exception of the Goths' Huskarl, the Eagle Warriors, and all Malian Barracks infantry (as they have a large amount of pierce armor).
  • Being a civilization with good early economy and capable of performing early archer rushes, they have an advantage against civilizations with bad early game (like the Turks, Portuguese, Vietnamese, and Khmer), especially in open maps like Arabia if starting in the Dark Age.
  • The Ethiopians get the free Pikeman upgrade once they advance into the Castle Age, and their Outposts and towers have extra line of sight. This makes the Ethiopians less vulnerable to early-game rushes and civilizations with strong Knight rushes, such as the Huns, Berbers, Persians, and Franks. The free Pikeman upgrade makes the Ethiopians a big threat against cavalry civilizations in the late-game, as it allows them to easily upgrade their Pikemen into Halberdiers in the Imperial Age.
  • The Ethiopians are the only civilization in the game that has access to all technologies at the Siege Workshop. Combined with their Torsion Engines technology, this puts the Ethiopians a significant advantage against civilizations with weak defenses, such as the Goths, Aztecs, Huns, and Vietnamese. Even civilizations with strong defensive structures, such as the Byzantines and the Koreans, may struggle against the Ethiopian siege weapons. Onagers with larger blast radius can also be unpleasant against civilizations with good archers, such as Britons, Mayans, and the Vietnamese. Their siege weapons {Siege Rams, Siege Onagers, Heavy Scorpions, Siege Towers, Bombard Cannons} can overrun the ordinary 4S' of Cuman siege units (Siege Rams, Siege Onagers, Scorpions, Siege Towers) and Magyar siege units (Capped Rams, Onagers, Heavy Scorpions, Siege Towers).
  • Their unique unit, the Shotel Warrior, is an amazing raiding unit, as the unit's high attack and mobility allows them to easily pick off enemy Villagers. Combined with the Arson technology and their fast training time (which can be improved with Royal Heirs), the Shotel Warrior is a very devastating unit, and large number of Shotel Warriors can easily destroy an enemy Town Center in seconds, making them incredibly devastating against civilizations with bad early-game or lackluster defenses, Shotel Warriors are also able to catch up foot archers due to their speed and high attack, meaning that civilizations that heavily use foot archers (like the Mayans, Vietnamese, and Britons) should be cautious with them, especially when they come in large groups. This also applies against siege weapons; even civilizations with good siege weapons (such as the Mongols, Koreans, and Celts) will have serious problems if they forget to protect their siege weapons.

Disadvantages vs. other civilizations[]

  • Despite the Ethiopians having some of the strongest siege weapons in the game and some of the best archers, the Ethiopian frontline army is incredibly frail, as the Ethiopians lack key upgrades for their cavalry units (lacking Bloodlines and Plate Barding Armor) and the Champion upgrade, making the Ethiopians essentially a "glass cannon" civilization (which is also reflected on their unique unit as well). As such, civilizations with strong cavalry and infantry units can easily overwhelm the Ethiopian frontline.
  • While the Ethiopians have a solid Archery Range and have strong Bombard Cannons, they lack Hand Cannoneers in their tech tree, so civilizations with strong gunpowder units (such as the Turks, Portuguese, Italians, and Spanish) will have an advantage of over the Ethiopians (especially in regards to their unique unit, the Shotel Warrior).
  • While the Shotel Warrior is an incredibly strong raiding unit, it is incredibly frail, with a durability similar to a Man-at-Arms. As such, civilizations with strong defenses (such as the Koreans, Byzantines, and the Chinese) can make it harder for the Ethiopian Shotel Warriors to raid easily. Likewise, civilizations with strong infantry units (such as the Japanese Samurai, and the Aztec Jaguar Warrior), strong Knights (such as Franks, Huns, Magyars, and Berbers), or strong Hand Cannoneers (such as the Turks, Portuguese, and Italians) can easily take out hordes of Shotel Warriors. Of course Byzantine Cataphracts, Mayan Plumed Archers and Incan Slingers also beat Shotel Warriors. Elephant units (like the Persian War Elephant and the Battle Elephant) can easily defeat Shotels due to their high hit points and strong attack with Area Damage. Due to their heavy melee armor, Slavic Boyars and Teutonic Knights are also good counters against Shotel Warriors. They are also a easy target to the Bulgarian Konnik, the Tatar Keshik, and the Lithuanian Leitis.
  • Mayans, Incas and Aztecs have Eagle Warriors that can effectively counter both siege units and archers (Eagle Warriors deal bonus damage to siege units and have high pierce armor). Regarding the siege, similar logic can apply to light cavalry civilizations (such as Magyars, Huns and Turks), as light cavalry can catch them with ease and destroy them. Magyar Huszars and Mongol Mangudai are also strong against the Ethiopian siege units, as they deal bonus damage to siege weapons as well.
  • Vietnamese Rattan Archers and Imperial Skirmishers can counter the Ethiopians' faster firing archers army perfectly. Other prominent civilizations with good skirmishers that can also do this are the Aztecs (with the Atlatl technology), Lithuanians (with faster Skirmishers with +2 pierce armor out of the Tower Shields technology) and the Britons (whose Skirmishers are created faster and get +1 range out of Yeomen technology).
  • The Malian infantry can be very unpleasant for the Ethiopians, as their civilization bonus can partially negate the overall effectiveness of their archers vs infantry. Likewise, the Goths as a civilization is the perfect counter to the Ethiopians, as the Ethiopians do not have any cost effective ways to deal with the Goths' Huskarls (since the Ethiopians do not have access to Champions and Hand Cannoneers). Celts' infantry can also be unpleasant for the Ethiopian archers, as their high mobility makes it easier to avoid arrow-fire (especially their Woad Raiders).
  • On water maps, the Ethiopian navy is very lackluster, as they lack key important techs such as Fast Fire Ships, Elite Cannon Galleons, and Heavy Demolition Ships. As such, civilizations with inherently strong naval bonuses (such as the Malay, Vikings, Koreans, Saracens, Berbers, and Portuguese) will have a significant advantage over the Ethiopians on water maps.
  • Persian Paladins have an attack bonus against archers. This of course puts the Ethiopian archers and their siege weapons at disadvantage. Overall, civilizations with good cavalry (especially with good Paladins) are a threat to the Ethiopians, like the Franks and Huns.
  • Despite having a good early-game economy and being able to raid with their archers in the Feudal Age, they have a disadvantage against civilizations with early aggression (such as the Huns, Aztecs, Mayans, Magyars, and Mongols), since most of the Ethiopian bonuses come into play from the Castle Age onwards.

Situational advantages[]

  • The Ethiopians are arguably one of the strongest civilizations in King of the Hill maps, as they are able to secure the Monument thanks to their fast-producing Shotel Warriors, their strong siege line, and their free Pikeman upgrade.
  • In closed maps like Black Forest, the Ethiopians have a distinct advantage, thanks to their strong siege weapons with Torsion Engines and their fast-firing archers that will allow them to secure narrow checkpoints and destroy enemy defenses. They are also able to make wider paths through the forest with their Siege Onagers (for other civilizations those paths are narrower, since the blast radius of the Ethiopian Onagers is improved by Torsion Engines).
  • In enclosed maps like Fortress, Arena, and Hill Fort, their faster firing archers give Ethiopians an advantage, as the already placed Walls allow their archers to easily defend their town (and in the case with Fortress, the extra Line of Sight for their Towers is more helpful, since the Towers are already placed in Fortress).
  • The Ethiopians are also incredibly strong in Deathmatch maps, as starting with large amount of resources means the Ethiopians can easily pump out their Shotel Warriors and siege weapons.
  • As in Regicide game mode, each player starts with a Castle, the Ethiopians may gain an edge defending their initial location in the Castle and Imperial Age, thanks to the creation speed of the Shotel Warrior.