Age of Empires Series Wiki

The Heavy Horse Archer is a mounted archer unit in Age of Empires that can be trained at the Archery Range once the Iron Age is reached. It is an upgrade of the Horse Archer and is highly effective given its cost. The upgrade increases the attack by 1, provides an additional 30 hit points, and slightly increases speed to make the unit the fastest in the game.

Unit availability
Available Unavailable

The * indicates that the civilization can fully upgrade their Heavy Horse Archers, i.e. gets Craftsmanship, Nobility, Ballistics and Alchemy.

The ^ indicates that the civilization has at least one civilization bonus that benefits the combat strength of the Heavy Horse Archer.

Heavy Horse Archer attacking an enemy Cataphract.


All cavalry archers are designed for guerilla warfare due to their supreme agility and can outrun most attacks dealt by enemy units. As a result, they excel at hit and run attacks and can repeat the process until the enemy is eliminated. Heavy Horse Archers also have the strongest human-based ranged attack in the game and are the fastest land units other than cheat units.

They have few counters, but among them is the Camel Rider. The Camel Rider, which counters most cavalry in general, also gets a 25% increase in speed from the Palmyrans which makes them able to catch up and properly deal with Heavy Horse Archers.

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Slow and non-ranged units, Priests
Weak vs. Elephant Archers, Ballistas, Camel Riders
Hit points NobilityIcon.png Nobility (+15%)
Attack Alchemy.png Alchemy (+1)
Range Woodworking.png Woodworking (+1)
Artisanship.png Artisanship (+1)
Craftsmanship.png Craftsmanship (+1)
Accuracy Ballistics.png Ballistics (hit moving targets)
Melee armor Leatherarmorarchersicon.png Leather Armor Archers (+2)
Scalearmorarchersicon.png Scale Armor Archers (+2)
Chainmailarchersicon.png Chain Mail Archers (+2)

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Hittites: Heavy Horse Archers deal +1 damage.
  • Macedonians: Heavy Horse Archers are four times more resistant against enemy conversion.
  • Yamato: Heavy Horse Archers are 15% cheaper.


Age of Empires

  • Heavy Horse Archers have 2 pierce armor.
  • Yamato Heavy Horse Archers cost -30% but move 20% slower.

The Rise of Rome

  • Yamato Heavy Horse Archers now cost -25% and move at normal speed.

Definitive Edition

  • Heavy Horse Archers now have 1 pierce armor (down from 2).
  • With content update 9, Yamato Heavy Horse Archers cost -20%. With update 38862, the discount was further reduced to -15%.


In a few armies of the late ancient period the Horse Archer was equipped with helmet and limited body armor.  This made the archer less vulnerable to arrows himself.  The Heavy Horse Archer could get closer to the enemy and do more damage with bow fire with less risk to himself.  Heavy Horse Archers were not a common unit, however.  They were difficult to train, except for those cultures who were horse archers by common practice.  Body armor for archers was a luxury that most armies could not afford.
Age of Empires manual