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The Goths are an offensive civilization with the ability to rapidly produce infantry at reduced prices in the late game. Their other options are limited however, especially their absolutely terrible defenses.

Goth game plan

Memetic explanation of the most common Goth strategy


They are great at rushing since their infantry units are cheaper and created faster than those of other civilizations. In addition, their Pikemen or Halberdiers are also cheap and very useful against enemy mounted units, Huskarls are useful against enemy archers, and both Huskarls and Champions are good for destroying buildings due to the attack bonus. Also, they gain additional population space in the Imperial Age.

Their unique unit, the Huskarl, is an infantry unit that is almost immune to archer fire and deals a lot of anti-archer damage. They are also fast and can be created from Barracks with Anarchy. The Goths already have a 20% bonus in Barracks production speed, and they get another 100% boost with Perfusion, one of their unique technologies. This allows the Goths to rapidly produce an army of infantry and can overwhelm an opponent with sheer numbers. The fact that they can produce an infantry army much faster than others also means opponents can be unprepared to fight off a massive attack. If an attack fails, they can rebound very quickly (especially with the help of Conscription and Perfusion) and have a massive army again before the opponent can recover, assuming they have enough resources. Because of their ability to rapidly train a large number of soldiers, the Goths are quite powerful on Deathmatches, where the large amount of resources gives them a distinct offensive edge.

The Goths also have a strong economy thanks to their +20% longer lasting hunt bonus. This gives them more food to work with to produce their infantry. They also get Loom instantly, which can be used to give them a Villager lead over an opponent.

The Goths have a fairly versatile tech tree, allowing them to counter many enemy strategies with mediocre counter units (Knights, e.g. for Mangonels; Hussars, Hand Cannoneers, Bombard Cannons etc.) at worst. This can help deal with otherwise troublesome enemy units or exploit a weakness of an unbalanced enemy composition.


The Goths have arguably the weakest defenses of any civilization in the game as they cannot build Stone Walls or upgrade their towers beyond Watch Towers. They can only rely on Palisade Walls and Watch Towers for defense. As such, Gothic players must constantly be on the offensive since they won't last long if forced to go on the defensive. This is problematic, though, as both Crossbowmen and Knights counter Long Swordsmen, both of which are the main units used in the Castle Age for the majority of civilizations. This is compounded by the Goths having less than stellar Crossbowmen and Knights.

Their archers are somewhat lacking, as they cannot research Thumb Ring or Parthian Tactics and lack the Arbalester upgrade. Their cavalry is a mixed bag. They have Hussars, Bloodlines, and Husbandry, but not much else. Their siege line is also lackluster, lacking the Siege Onager and Siege Ram upgrades, in addition to not having Siege Engineers. Enemy Siege Onagers are a major threat to the Goths, as they heavily rely on massed infantry.


The Goths are arguably at their strongest in the early game, as this is when they can take full advantage of their cheap infantry. The flush itself is a standard infantry flush, although they can field far more troops for a comparable price, and they have an attack bonus against buildings. Their hunt bonus furthers this, giving the Goths more food that can be used either on infantry or technologies. One must remain careful not to over-commit, as the opponent can respond with Archers which, while slow to get rolling, can force the Goths on the back foot.

Upon reaching the Castle Age, Goths must upgrade their Men-at-Arms to Long Swordsmen, get any relevant Blacksmith technologies, and start mixing in Elite Skirmishers. Huskarls are a great alternative in theory. However, building a Castle early on is a dangerous play if the opponent is prepared. The Goths have solid Knights and decent Crossbowmen, but infantry are preferable, as they can continue early game pressure. Their economy also starts to drop off, as both of their economic bonuses only affect the early game.

Most of the Goths' late game power comes from their ability to spam a large number of infantry units thanks to their cheap cost and reduced creation time. Huskarls are notoriously great against archers, though they need backup against melee units due to their poor melee durability. Halberdiers should be mixed in against cavalry, and Hand Cannoneers as an anti-infantry back-line unit. The Goths should make Bombard Cannons to help against enemy Siege Onagers, as otherwise, they could kill Gothic infantry faster than they can be pumped out. Heavy Scorpions are also strong, but cost more than Hand Cannoneers. Elite Skirmishers are great against enemy Hand Cannoneers. Lastly, Champions are good in a vacuum, but they have poor synergy with the Goths' ideal army composition.

Goths have a reasonably good navy, only missing Dry Dock and Elite Cannon Galleons. However, they should keep their feet dry unless there is a good reason to take over the water, since their resources are usually better spent on troops.

The Goths are very map dependent. They are better on maps with a lot of hunt and/or where the players start very close together so they can lame enemy hunt (kill it with Villagers to make it decay) and have a powerful drush.

Strategy changes in The Forgotten[]

Goths lose the Treadmill Crane, hampering their ability to quickly create forward bases, and also slowing their start in deathmatches. The addition of Palisade Gate gives them the ability to create makeshift defenses and allows them to fully wall.

Strategy changes in The African Kingdoms[]

Goths along with all other civilizations receive the new Arson technology that gives infantry units attack bonus vs buildings, and this also furthers up the infantry's attack bonus against buildings making them even more effective.

Strategy changes in the Definitive Edition[]

The Goths do not get the Supplies technology. This is meant to balance out their already cheap infantry and their ability to mass produce their infantry. Other civilizations having the Supplies technology means other civilizations can approximate the Goths' mass production of Champions in the late-game, especially civilizations with already strong infantry bonuses and unique technologies, such as the Japanese, Aztecs, and Slavs.

With update 35584, they are now able to perform a very potent Militia Dark Age rush, as their discount bonus now applies since the Dark Age.

Update 36202 significantly nerfs the Goths by having their discount bonus scale in age. However, their new civilization bonus boosting infantry attack against buildings. Although Arson technology is removed, their bonus scale in age now starting in the Feudal Age and their infantry have +3 bonus in the Imperial Age. This is favorable for them because Arson is available starting in the Castle Age, grants +2 bonus, and should be researched at cost.

They receive free Loom in update 36906, allowing the Goths to produce more Villagers in the Dark Age and save more gold for their Militia Dark Age rush. However, in update 42848, Goths lost free Loom, but they can now research Loom instantly, because the Goths motivated "laming" (stealing enemy Boars) thanks to the extra protection for Villagers. It also allowed them to make up to 6 Militia for rushing in the Dark Age without mining gold, which was widely considered unfair. The Goths can still get one extra Villager before advancing to the Feudal Age.


In team games, the Goths are best when played from the flank, where they can utilize their aggressive options. Their team bonus is highly valuable for civilizations that utilize infantry often. They appreciate ranged support the most, particularly from siege.

  • Armenians AoE2 Armenians: The team bonuses complement each other. The Armenians provide all infantry on the team +2 Line of Sight, while the Gothic team bonus of better work-rate for the Barracks will help the Armenians train and research their earlier Champions and Halberdiers. The Armenians also have good archers and defenses and are valuable on naval maps, which are departments in which the Goths struggle.
  • Aztecs AoE2 Aztecs: The Aztecs benefit from the Gothic team bonus and will produce their Barracks units 33% faster in total. The Aztec team bonus of more Relic gold can help the Goths keep up a steady stream of infantry in the mid and late game, if the player takes the additional care of collecting the Relics. Aztec Monks and Siege Onagers can help eliminate the threats of siege and Hand Cannoneers that the Goths face.
  • Bulgarians AoE2 Bulgarians: Their Militia line upgrades automatically and gains +5 melee armor after researching Bagains. the Gothic team bonus fits perfectly with them. In return, the Goths will be able to research Blacksmith technologies faster.
  • Burmese AoE2 Burmese: They reveal and share the exact locations of Relics at the beginning, so any near the Gothic bases will be theirs for the taking. In return, the Burmese get a boost to the production of attack-enhanced infantry hordes.
  • Cumans AoE2 Cumans: The Goths lack Stone Walls, but do have Palisade Walls. The Cuman team bonus provides Palisade Walls more hit points.
  • Celts AoE2 Celts: The faster Celtic infantry can be spammed faster with the Gothic Team bonus. The Celt Siege units may also support the Gothic army with ranged attack.
  • Dravidians AoE2 Dravidians: Dravidian Barracks technologies' cost is halved, making the Gothic team bonus highly valuable. Also, their infantry can ignore armor after Wootz Steel is researched. If playing on naval maps, the Dravidians will help their teammates save some wood from Houses, as Docks provide +5 population thanks to their team bonus. The Dravidian siege units and Elephant Archers can support their Gothic teammate with ranged attack.
  • Ethiopians AoE2 Ethiopians: The Pikeman upgrade is free for them. The Gothic team bonus will help them to create Pikemen faster. Being an archer and siege civilization, they may also help Gothic infantry from a distance.
  • Incas AoE2 Incas: The Incan extra food from the starting Llama can boost a Gothic rush, and the Inca have a multitude of good infantry options (that also cost less food) to utilize the Gothic team bonus.
  • Japanese AoE2 Japanese: The Japanese are a valuable ally on naval maps, as their team bonus provides more Line of Sight to the Galley line. They can make great use of the Gothic team bonus, as their infantry attack faster.
  • Italians AoE2 Italians: The Italian Condottiero is a great counter to gunpowder units such as the Hand Cannoneer, which can be very dangerous for Gothic Huskarls and other infantry. The Italians also have great ranged units, including the Hand Cannoneer and Bombard Cannon, which can help against enemy infantry and siege, respectably. The combination of these civilizations is very powerful and has been banned in official tournaments, as the Italians can sling the Gothic player, which will make a spam of Condottieri.
  • Malay AoE2 Malay: A Malay ally grants Gothic Docks a Line of Sight boost that allow them to build solid coastal defenses and fast-response garrison fleets to counter naval invasions effectively, in exchange for abilities to swarm their opponents with their mass-producible infantry hordes, particularly after Forced Levy has been researched. The Malay also have a decent selection of ranged units, notably Arbalesters and Bombard Cannons.
  • Malians AoE2 Malians: Their infantry gain more pierce armor with each age. Also, all their buildings, including Barracks, cost less wood, so the Gothic team bonus synergizes well with them.
  • Romans AoE2 Romans: Their better-armored infantry, particularly their Legionaries, benefit from the Gothic Team Bonus. The Romans can also support Goths with top-tier Scorpions.
  • Slavs AoE2 Slavs: As an infantry civilization, the Slavs also benefit from the faster Barracks. Their +5 population for military buildings can help with the Gothic infantry rush and save some wood. Later on, the Slavs have great Siege Onagers.
  • Teutons AoE2 Teutons: Their Barracks units have more armor, so the Gothic team bonus is valuable. In return, Gothic units will resist conversions better. Their unique units also somewhat complement each other, as Teutonic Knights have a high melee armor, but low pierce armor, and the Huskarl is the opposite.
  • Vikings AoE2 Vikings: Their infantry have more hit points, making the Gothic team bonus useful. In naval maps, the Vikings are a great ally, as all players on the team get cheaper Docks.

Compared advantages and disadvantages[]

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Advantages vs other civilizations[]

  • The Huskarl, being an infantry with high pierce armor, the ability to be created at barracks (with fast working rate), and attack bonuses against archers and buildings, can effectively eliminate enemy archers, so civilizations reliant on archers may have trouble against them. They can also counter Scorpions and Cavalry Archers. This makes them very versatile for an infantry civilization.
  • As their Halberdiers are cheaper and are created extremely fast (after Perfusion is researched), they are better suited to counter cavalry, as they can outnumber cavalry contingents, so cavalry-based civilizations will have trouble against Goths. This also gives the Goths an advantage at trash wars against civilizations that have weak Skirmishers.
  • As their Militia line are created faster, have more bonus vs buildings, and are cheaper, while also having a nice early economic bonus, they have an advantage in open maps against civilizations with bad early games, as they can raid starting in the Dark Age.

Disadvantages vs other civilizations[]

  • Though the Huskarl is strong against arrow-fire, it lacks melee armor and can be countered by other infantry and cavalry, so civilizations with good infantry can counter a Huskarl horde. The same logic applies for cavalry civilizations when encountering Huskarls, though the latter tend to struggle against Gothic Halberdiers. Additionally, the Hand Cannoneer still deals a lot of damage to the Huskarl, especially if protected.
  • Aside from the drawbacks the Huskarls have, as the Goths rely heavily on spamming masses of cheap infantry and not on strength or resilience, other infantry civilizations may be a problem for Goths, especially before the Imperial Age (as in the previous ages, they don't have Perfusion or Hand Cannoneers). Masses of Hand Cannoneers, Siege Onagers, or strong melee infantry are a huge threat to their infantry.
  • Their defenses are very weak, with no Guard Towers or Stone Walls, so they struggle to repel an attack against themselves, or resist raiding.
  • Their mid-game is fairly weak due to a lack of options, so civilizations that have strong mid-game options can overwhelm the Goths before they can get to their strong late-game.
  • As the team-game meta traditionally consists of a combination of good archer civilizations and good cavalry civilizations, the Goths can struggle to find a niche, especially when playing ranked with a random teammate.

Situational advantages[]

  • As their hunters carry more meat and they have a bonus vs boars, the Goths have a distinct advantage on maps where they can found more huntable animals than normal, particularly maps where they can find more than 2 Boars (or their equivalent) near their Town center, including Yucatan, Valley, Scandinavia and Black Forest.
  • As Goths have +10 population cap in the Imperial Age, they can exploit more of this advantage in matches where the population limit is low, with the 25-population capacity being the most ridiculous case (as Goths in that setting in the Imperial Age will get 35 population space). In general, the lower the population cap, the greater the advantage they get from this bonus.
  • In maps like Arena and Fortress, as there are predeployed Stone Walls, Goths technically overcome one of their weaknesses as they cannot create Stone Walls. Also, in Fortress all players start with a Barracks so Goths can start spamming infantry from the beginning of the match.
  • As Goths can rapidly spam their troops, they are surprisingly good at King of the Hill matches in land maps, especially if the player decides to protect the Monument with Barracks.
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