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This article is about the unit in Age of Empires. For the unit in Age of Empires IV, see Horse Archer (Age of Empires IV).

A fast archery unit with strong attack strength and range.
—In-game description in the Definitive Edition

The Horse Archer is a ranged cavalry/mounted archer unit in Age of Empires that can be trained at the Archery Range once the Iron Age is reached.


Aoede horse archer available Available Aoede horse archer unavailable Unavailable


The Horse Archer is a fast ranged cavalry that can be made during the Iron Age in the Archery Range. Horse Archers are one of the more expensive archer units, but their decent attack, good range and, most importantly, high speed makes them one of the best units of the Iron Age.

Although only having a tenth of an Elephant Archer's hit points, the Horse Archer has more than double its speed. Having this key ability allows them to outmaneuver most units in open terrain. Under ideal conditions in one on one combat, horse archers dominate the field. As a result, this makes them a great choice in guerilla warfare. However, due to their fragility, their attacking potential becomes less powerful the more they are bunched together on the battlefield where they can be prime targets for siege weaponry that does area of effect damage. The Horse Archer can be upgraded to the more powerful Heavy Horse Archer.

Further statistics[]

Strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Slow and non-ranged units, Priests
Weak vs. Composite Bowmen, Elephant Archers, Ballistae, Camel Riders
Hit points NobilityIcon Nobility (+15%)
Attack Alchemy Alchemy (+1 Pierce Attackpierce)
Range Woodworking Woodworking (+1)
Artisanship Artisanship (+1)
Craftsmanship Craftsmanship (+1)
Accuracy Ballistics Ballistics (hit moving targets)
Armor Leatherarmorarchersicon Leather Armor Archers (+2 Armoricon aoe2demelee/ +0 Range-armoricon aoe2depierce)
Scalearmorarchersicon Scale Armor Archers (+2 Armoricon aoe2demelee/ +0 Range-armoricon aoe2depierce)
Chainmailarchersicon Chain Mail Archers (+2 Armoricon aoe2demelee/ +0 Range-armoricon aoe2depierce)
Other Heavy Horse Archer upgrade Heavy Horse Archer (upgrade)

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Assyrians AoE Assyrians: Horse Archers fire 33% faster.
  • Hittites AoE Hittites: Horse Archers have +1 attack.
  • Lac Viet AoE Lac Viet: Horse Archers are trained 25% faster and have +2 armor.
  • Macedonians AoE Macedonians: Horse Archers are four times more resistant to conversion.
  • Yamato AoE Yamato: Horse Archers cost -15%. Upgrading Horse Archers to Heavy Horse Archers costs -30%.*

Team bonuses[]

  • Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans: Upgrading Horse Archers to Heavy Horse Archers and researching technologies that benefit Horse Archers are 30% faster.
  • Phoenicians AoE Phoenicians: Horse Archers have +2 Line of Sight.


ReturnRome-AoEIcon Age of Empires[]

  • Horse Archers have 2 pierce armor and 7 frame delay.
  • Horse Archers can be upgraded to Heavy Horse Archers only if Chain Mail Archers is researched.
  • Assyrians AoE Assyrians: Horse Archers fire 36% faster (but stated 40%).
  • Yamato AoE Yamato: Horse Archers cost -30% but move 20% slower.

RomeIcon The Rise of Rome[]

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

Age of Empires Definitive Edition icon Definitive Edition[]

  • Horse Archers have 1 pierce armor and 30 frame delay.
  • With update 9, Yamato Horse Archers cost -20%. With update 38862, the discount was further reduced to -15%.
  • Assyrians: Horse Archers fire 33% faster (but stated 25%).

AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of Rome[]

  • Team bonuses added:
    • Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans: Technologies benefiting Horse Archers are researched 30% faster.
    • Phoenicians AoE Phoenicians: Horse Archers have +2 Line of Sight.
  • Yamato AoE Yamato: Upgrading Horse Archers to Heavy Horse Archers costs -30%.
  • Researching Chain Mail Archers is no longer required to upgrade Horse Archers to Heavy Horse Archers.


There is one hero in the game with the appearance of a Horse Archer:


Horse archers started to gradually replace chariot archers on the ancient battlefields from the Iron Age on. Two ranged cavalrymen had the firepower of a single Chariot Archer and could move faster on the battlefield. Also, a loss on the battlefield was of only one horse and the archer in contrast to the loss of a chariot, of the men on the chariot and often, of the horses.  The horse archers' use was gradually limited when many cultures, such as the Greeks made increasing use of heavy cavalry (such as the Companion cavalry), and skirmishing troops. The Chinese also built the Great Wall to protect themselves against these cavalrymen and other armies from the western steppes.


Tech tree[]

Archery Range
Returnofrome greek barracks icon Barracks
Stone Age Icon (DE)
Tool Age Icon (DE)
Bronze Age Icon (DE)
Iron Age Icon (DE)
Aoede bowman available
Aoede improved bowman available
Aoe improved bow icon Improved Bow
Composite Bowman
Chariot Archer
Wheelicon Wheel
Horse Archer
Aoede heavy horse archer available
Elephant Archer

Units in Age of Empires
CivilianReturnofrome female villager icon Villager · Returnofrome trade cart icon Trade Cart
OtherAoE2 DE priest icon Priest · Slinger-0 Slinger · Returnofrome artifact icon Artifact
Civilian ship1 Fishing Boat Fishing Boat · 2 Fishing Ship Fishing Ship
3 Trade Boat Trade Boat · 4 Merchant Ship Merchant Ship
InfantryClubman Clubman · AxemanAoEDE Axeman
Short Swordsman Short Swordsman · Broad Swordsman Broad Swordsman · AoE nuRoR Long Swordsman icon Long Swordsmen · Returnofrome legionary icon Legionary
HopliteDE Hoplite · AoE nuRoR Phalangite icon Phalangite · Returnofrome centurion icon Centurion
ArcherBowman aoe1de Bowman
Improved Bowman22 Improved Bowman · Composite Bowman Composite Bowman
Chariot Archer111 Chariot Archer
Horse Archer Horse Archer · Returnofrome heavy horse archer icon Heavy Horse Archer
EAICON DE Elephant Archer
CavalryScout-0 Scout
ChariotDE Chariot · ScytheDE Scythe Chariot
Cavalry111 Cavalry · Returnofrome heavy cavalry icon Heavy Cavalry · Returnofrome cataphract icon Cataphract
War ElephantDE War Elephant · Returnofrome armored elephant icon Armored Elephant
Camel RiderDE Camel Rider
SiegeStone ThrowerDE Stone Thrower · CatapultDE Catapult · Returnofrome heavy catapult icon Heavy Catapult
BallistaDE Ballista · Returnofrome helepolis icon Helepolis
War Ship7 Scout Ship Scout Ship · 8 War Galley War Galley · 9 Trireme Trireme
Catapult Trireme Catapult Trireme · Returnofrome juggernaut icon Juggernaut
10 Fire Galley Fire Galley
5 Light Transport Light Transport · 6 Heavy Transport Heavy Transport
Scenario Editor-only units
Short Swordsman Chieftain · Donkey caravan aoe2DE Donkey · Clubman Explorer · Returnofrome heavy cavalry icon General · AoE2 DE priest icon High Priest · Returnofrome horse icon Horse · HeavyCavalryDE Mercenary (removed) · Penguin aoe2DE Penguin · AoE2 DE priest icon Pharaoh · 5 Light Transport Raft · Returnofrome artifact icon War Chest