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Stronger than Camel. Excels at killing other mounted units.
Age of Empires II description

The Heavy Camel Rider (called Heavy Camel before the Definitive Edition) is a cavalry unit in Age of Empires II that can be trained at the Stable once the Imperial Age is reached. It excels at battling other cavalry, but is rather ineffective otherwise. Every civilization that has access to Camel Riders except for the Cumans can upgrade them to Heavy Camel Riders, but the upgrade to the Imperial Camel Rider is unique to the Indians.

Unit availability
Available Unavailable

The * indicates that the civilization can fully upgrade their Heavy Camel Riders, i.e. gets Blast Furnace, Plate Barding Armor, Bloodlines, and Husbandry. Faith and Heresy are not taken into account because they only contribute to their combat strength in a very situational manner.

The ^ indicates that the civilization has at least one civilization or team bonus or a unique technology that benefits the combat strength of the Heavy Camel Rider.


Camelheavy2 prev aoe2de.png

Camel Riders are essentially mounted Pikemen, doing bonus damage to their own kind as well as other cavalry units. Camel Riders have an advantage over Pikemen since they have enough speed to prevent cavalry from escaping, at the cost of higher food and gold costs. Using Camel Riders against civilizations that revolve around cavalry units, such as Berbers, Franks, Mongols, Persians, and Saracens often leads to great results. They can go head to head with other Imperial Age cavalry and defeat them in combat.

They are powerful against most cavalry, with the exception of Cataphracts, which are almost immune to the bonus damage from Heavy Camel Riders. Heavy Camel Riders are best used against melee cavalry, or to ambush groups of Cavalry Archers. Since they have a very low armor and base attack, they are not effective against anything else than cavalry, so it is wise not send them against archers or infantry, particularly Pikemen. Camel Riders are also ineffective against buildings and actually take extra damage from defensive ones. This was because Camel Riders and ships shared the same unit class before The African Kingdoms was released, so they were annihilated by defensive structures especially with Heated Shot. Units that dealt bonus damage against ships also dealt bonus damage against Heavy Camel Riders. This made Fire Ships, Galleons, Longboats, Mangonels, and Bombard Cannons surprisingly effective against them. With the release of The African Kingdoms, however, all camel units were moved out of the ship class and no longer take bonus damage from the above-mentioned units.

Comparison in the Imperial Age[]

Civilization CivIcon-Byzantines.png Byzantines CivIcon-Saracens.png Saracens CivIcon-Indians.png Indians CivIcon-Berbers.png Berbers CivIcon-Malians.png Malians
Cost 41 food,
45 gold*
55 food,
60 gold
55 food,
60 gold
44 food,
48 gold*
55 food,
60 gold
HP 120 170 140 140 140
Attack 7+2 7+4 7+4 7+4 7+7
Armor 0+3/0+4 0+3/0+4 0+2/0+4 0+3/0+4 0+3/0+4
Extras - - +4 attack vs standard buildings
Can be upgraded to Imperial Camel Rider
Regeneration ability -

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Skirmishers, siege weapons, Cavalry Archers, cavalry
Weak vs. Infantry, archers, Cataphracts
Hit points BloodlinesDE.png Bloodlines (+20)
Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Zealotry (+20, Saracens only)
Attack Forging aoe2de.png Forging (+1)
IronCastingDE.png Iron Casting (+1)
BlastFurnaceDE.png Blast Furnace (+2)
Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Farimba (+5, Malians only)
Armor ScaleBardingArmorDE.png Scale Barding Armor (+1/+1)
ChainBardingDE.png Chain Barding Armor (+1/+1)
PlateBardingArmorDE.png Plate Barding Armor (+1/+2)
Speed HusbandryDE.png Husbandry (+10%)
Conversion defense FaithDE.png Faith
HeresyDE.png Heresy
Creation speed ConscriptionDE.png Conscription (+33%)
Other Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Maghrebi Camels (gives regeneration ability, Berbers only)
Upgrades Imperialcamel.png Imperial Camel Rider (Indians only)

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Berbers: Heavy Camel Riders are 20% cheaper.
  • Byzantines: Heavy Camel Riders are 25% cheaper.
  • Chinese: Technologies that benefit Heavy Camel Riders are 20% cheaper.
  • Indians: Heavy Camel Riders have +2 pierce armor.
  • Saracens: Heavy Camel Riders have +10 HP.
  • Tatars: Heavy Camel Riders deal +25% bonus damage from elevations.

Team bonuses[]


The Age of Kings[]

  • The unit is named Heavy Camel.
  • Heavy Camels take 29 seconds to train.
  • Heavy Camels have a movement speed of 1.4.
  • Heavy Camels are in the cavalry armor class, thus taking bonus damage from anti-cavalry attacks.

The Conquerors[]

  • Heavy Camels train in 22 seconds.
  • Heavy Camels have a movement speed of 1.45.
  • The cavalry armor class is removed from the Heavy Camels, so they do not take bonus damage from anti-cavalry attacks anymore. Instead, Heavy Camels are moved in another armor class along with ships, and take bonus damage from anti-ship/anti-camel attacks. The Heavy Camels themselves also gain an attack bonus of +9 against their own class (and as such, also against ships).
  • Bloodlines introduced.
  • Heresy introduced.
  • Saracens: Zealotry introduced. It gives Heavy Camels +30 HP.

The Forgotten[]

The African Kingdoms[]

  • The ship armor class is removed from the Heavy Camels, and they receive a new armor class, against which they also gain an attack bonus of +9. Nevertheless, the Heavy Camels keep their attack bonus of +9 against ships. Anti-cavalry attacks still do not affect Heavy Camels.

Rise of the Rajas[]

  • Indians: With patch 5.8, Heavy Camels have +1 pierce armor.

Definitive Edition[]

Lords of the West[]


  • The Camel Rider is one of the few units whose availability among civilizations corresponds very well with real-world history. Camels were used by different armies between the Mediterranean Sea and India from antiquity to modern day. While it is not known if the Mongols and Chinese used camels for combat, they certainly used camels for transporting ammunition, and for food, respectively. Cumans have no access to the Heavy Camel Riders in-game, possibly for balancing reasons.
  • The Far Eastern civilizations of the Mongols, Chinese, Cumans and Tatars (the two latter originated from East Asia) would have been as likely to domesticate the lesser known of the two species of camel, the two-humped Bactrian Camel, native to the steppes of Central Asia, as the familiar Arabian one-humped dromedary; both would have been introduced by Silk Road traders.
  • Camel Riders are one of two military units that do not make the usual military sound when created, the other being Trebuchets.
  • Even though they have "heavy" in their name, Heavy Camel Riders have no armor.
  • The Heavy Camel Rider's beta model was modified and reused for the Imperial Camel Rider in the Forgotten Empires until patch 3.5.
  • The Camel Rider line units are the only common cavalry units that do not have any base pierce armor.
  • Heavy Camel Riders deal bonus damage against the cheat unit Saboteur (since The Conquerors) because it is in the same unit class as ships.


The heavy camel was an especially experienced warrior and camel rider who wore some armor. They were used by desert civilizations of the Middle East who fought against archers from the Byzantine Empire and horse archers raiding down from the steppes of Asia.