|“||Malian unique unit. Quick infantry unit with a high ranged attack.||”|
|—Age of Empires II description|
The Gbeto is the unique unit of the Malians in Age of Empires II HD: The African Kingdoms. It is a light and quick infantry unit with a high long-ranged attack. Gbetos attack by throwing knife-like weapons at the target.
Gbetos can be upgraded to Elite Gbetos in the Imperial Age.
Gbetos are ranged infantry units, dealing melee damage at range like the Mameluke and Throwing Axeman. They have the longest range of these units, the highest attack, and high movement speed. They are fragile by lack of any base armor and low HP, but are capable of dealing out considerable damage readouts. Since they move quite fast, they can employ hit-and-run tactics against all other infantry apart from Elite Eagle Warriors, Woad Raiders, and Celtic Condottieri. But by using their range and high melee attack, they can defeat Eagle Warriors quickly, so in total they are effective against the entire infantry branch bar the Teutonic Knight.
Despite their good base range, Gbetos can be outranged by foot archers and are vulnerable against most ranged units due to their low HP and pierce armor. Onagers and Heavy Scorpions can be lethal for Gbetos, but with good micromanagement, they can effectively get close to the machines and destroy them. In any case it is recommended to only use a small army for that tactic, as hits taken have devastating effect. Hand Cannoneers are also effective against Gbetos, able to take them out in two shots.
Gbetos are in certain ways a better alternative to Cavalry Archers when it comes to hit-and-run attacks. First, because Gbetos deal melee damage, they can easily dispose of units with high pierce armor such as Huskarls, Skirmishers, and Rams whereas Cavalry Archers will have some difficulty even when upgraded. Secondly, Gbetos do not share the former's weakness against Pikemen, and win even if the enemy gets close.
Gbetos are very versatile and can perform various roles effectively. For example, Gbetos upgraded with Arson can destroy unprotected bases quickly and retreat safely when the situation becomes disadvantageous. Gbetos also work well with cavalry units (including Light Cavalry) because both are fast and can cover each other's weakness. Cavalry acts as meat shield and eliminates units dangerous to Gbetos (especially siege weapons and archers), while Gbetos provide additional damage from behind and protect the cavalry from Pikemen.
As Gbetos are unique to the Malians, only technologies that are available to them are shown in the following table:
|Unit strengths and weaknesses|
|Strong vs.||Skirmishers, Pikemen, Cavalry Archers, Battering Rams, infantry, Light Cavalry|
|Weak vs.||Archers, Scorpions, Mangonels, Jaguar Warriors, Hand Cannoneers, Janissaries, heavy cavalry, Samurai, Teutonic Knights, Slingers, Plumed Archers|
|Attack|| Forging (+1)|
Iron Casting (+1)
Arson (+2 attack against standard buildings)
|Armor|| Scale Mail Armor (+1/+1)|
Chain Mail Armor (+1/+1)
Plate Mail Armor (+1/+2)
|Conversion defense|| Faith|
|Creation speed|| Conscription (+33%)|
Kasbah (+25%, with a Berber ally only)
- A team containing Bulgarians: Researching Infantry armor and attack upgrades at the Blacksmith is faster.
- A team containing Goths: Researching Squires and Arson is 20% faster.
- A team containing Lithuanians: Researching Heresy and Faith is 20% faster.
- A team containing Teutons: Gbetos are more resistant to conversion.
The African Kingdoms
- On release, Elite Gbetos had 14 attack. With patch 4.8, their attack is reduced to 13.
- Gbetos have 30 HP.
- Tracking removed; all infantry now receive +2 LOS from the Feudal Age instead.
- Initially, the Gbeto had an attack delay of 1.2. With update 42848, Gbetos have an attack delay of 1.0.
Dawn of the Dukes
- Update 56005: Gbetos have 35 HP.
- The Gbeto is the second trainable female unit, after the female Villager.
- If a Gbeto is left idle, she will start throwing her kpinga vertically with one of her hands, and then catch the knife with the same hand.
- In Fon language (a language native to Benin, a small West African nation), the word gbeto means "huntress". And according to one theory, the Dahomey Amazons (an all-female military regiment of Dahomey Kingdom located in today's Benin) were formed from elephant huntresses. It is unknown why they were picked as the Malian unique unit since historically, they were not part of the Mali Empire; though there remains the possibility that the in-game Malian civilization represents not just the Mali empire but also other West African peoples, including the Fon, to whom the Gbeto and Dahomey Amazon belong.
- The Gbeto is armed with a Kpinga throwing knife, which in real life is wielded by the Azande, not the Fon.
- However, in her unit portrait, she wields historically accurate single-bladed & one-edged throwing knives that appear to resemble (the unrelated) Kukris.
- A historically appropriate unique unit for the Malians would be the Mali Empire's elite cavalry corps, the Farari (sg. Farariya). Indeed, one type of farari is the namesake of Malians' unique technology Farimba ("great brave man").
- The Gbeto appears as the Dahomey Amazon in Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition - The African Royals, being a mercenary ranged infantry.