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{{Infobox unit
{{Infobox unit
|Name = Huskarl
|Name = Huskarl
|Image = <tabber> Definitive= [[File:050_50730.png|thumb|left|45px]]|-|Original= [[File:HuskarlIcon.jpg|thumb|left]]
|Image = <tabber> Definitive= [[File:HuskarlIcon-DE.png|thumb|left|45px]]|-|Original= [[File:HuskarlIcon.jpg|thumb|left]]
|Intro = [[File:KingsIcon.png]] ''[[Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings|The Age of Kings]]''
|Intro = [[File:KingsIcon.png]] ''[[Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings|The Age of Kings]]''

Revision as of 14:58, 30 December 2019

Info icon.png
This article is about the unit in Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. For the unit in Age of Mythology, see Huskarl (Age of Mythology).

Gothic unique unit. Infantry with substantial pierce armor, virtually immune to archer fire.
Age of Empires II description

The Huskarl is the unique unit of the Goths in Age of Empires II. It is an infantry unit that is almost immune to archer fire.

Huskarls can be upgraded to Elite Huskarls in the Imperial Age.


Huskarls are infantry units that have a good attack and speed, but their biggest asset is their high base pierce armor, especially when the +2 Blacksmith bonus is added to it, which makes them almost immune to archer fire, making them great anti-archer units and one of the best raiding unit in the game. A large army of Huskarls can destroy a Castle with minimal effort since the attack of the Castle is a volley of arrows. Huskarls are best used against foot archers but they are fairly well-rounded units that can deal with most threats as they are almost immune to archer fire. Their weaknesses include Knights, who outclass them in terms of raw strength, and archers that move faster than them (Cavalry Archers, Mangudai, War Wagons, and Plumed Archers) as they can either run away or wear the Huskarls out through sheer attrition, although it would take a long time doing so.

In addition, due to their small amount of melee armor, they are not recommended for any melee combats beside Camel Riders, Light Cavalry, and Halberdiers, but they are able to beat Eagle Warriors  (they lose one-on-one even against Mongol Hussars). However, the Goths are able to field Huskarls very cheaply and rapidly, so they may still be able to overwhelm standard melee units (such as Paladins or Champions) by sheer numbers. Melee units with higher armor (Boyar, Teutonic Knight) or an attack bonus against them (Jaguar Warrior, Cataphract, Samurai) should generally be avoided, as they are deadly to Huskarls. War Elephants and Battle Elephants can also decimate Huskarls thanks to their high HP, powerful attacks, and splash damage, but must be wary of Halberdiers. Ranged melee units such as Throwing Axemen, Gbetos, or Mamelukes are also effective against Huskarls, though the latter take bonus damage from them.

Onagers can also be a threat since they deal melee-type damage, and large area damage. Scorpions, however, are not effective since they deal pierce damage, and can be easily handled if not protected well. Hand Cannoneers can be effective against Huskarls due to their attack bonus, but as the Cannoneers take huge bonus damage themselves (an Elite Huskarl kills a Hand Cannoneer in two strikes), they must be massed or protected by melee units in order to be effective.

Further statistics

As Huskarls are unique to the Goths, only technologies that are available to them are shown in the following table:

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Archers, buildings, Eagle WarriorsScorpions, gunpowder units
Weak vs. Mangonels, most melee units
Attack Forging.jpg Forging (+1)
Ironcasting.jpg Iron Casting (+1)
Blastfurnace.jpg Blast Furnace (+2)
ArsonDE.png Arson (+2 attack against standard buildings)
Armor Scalemailarmor.jpg Scale Mail Armor (+1/+1)
Chainmailarmor.jpg Chain Mail Armor (+1/+1)
Speed SquiresDE.png Squires (+10%)
Sight Tracking.jpg Tracking (+2)
Conversion defense Faith.jpg Faith
Creation speed ConscriptionDE.png Conscription (+33%)
Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Perfusion (+100%, only for Barracks-trained Huskarls)
Other CastleAgeUnique.png Anarchy (allows creation at Barracks)
Upgrades Elite-unique-research.jpg Elite Huskarl

Civilization bonuses

Team bonuses


The Age of Kings

  • Non-Elite Huskarls train in 26 seconds, Elite Huskarls in 16 seconds.
  • Huskarls have 4 pierce armor, Elite Huskarls 6.
  • Huskarls have a +3 attack bonus against archers, Elite Huskarls +4.
  • Huskarls move at a speed of 0.9.
  • Goths: Huskarls are 15%/25% cheaper in the Castle/Imperial Age.

The Conquerors

  • Both Elite and non-Elite Huskarls now train in 16 seconds.
  • Huskarls now have 6 pierce armor, Elite Huskarls 8.
  • Huskarls now have a +6 attack bonus against archers, Elite Huskarls +10.
  • Huskarls now move at a speed of 1.05.
  • Goths: Perfusion and Anarchy introduced. With patch 1.0c, Huskarls are now 35% cheaper.

The African Kingdoms

Definitive Edition


  • In the fifth Design Document of Ensemble Studios (dated 17 July 1998), the planned unique unit of the Goths is the Berserk, while the Vikings are only planned to receive the Longboat. No characteristics were specified, but it is likely that the first concept of the Berserk was later split into the Berserk and the Huskarl.
  • The Huskarl's speed represents both the mobility of the Goths and the fast but disorganized charges of the Germanic 'Barbarians' when compared to Roman infantry in formation.
    • The high pierce armor is likely a stand in for the Shield Wall, which was planned to be an alternative stance of the Militia line during development. This would actually reduce the speed of infantry but make it more resistant to arrows.
  • The Huskarl is the only melee infantry unit that has an attack bonus against archers. Given that Huskarls also resist archer attacks and archers are the main weakness of infantry units, that arguably makes Huskarls the most versatile infantry units.
  • Technically, Huskarls trained at the Castle and Barracks are different units (although absolutely identical in design and stats), i.e. double-clicking either will not select the units trained at the other building.
  • The word huskarl is not a Gothic word, it is in fact Old Norse and translates literally to "house-man". Old Norse karl and Old English ceorl (> churl) both descend from Proto-Germanic *karilaz, which, however, had no Gothic reflex.
    • Still, Goths indeed originated from Iron Age Scandinavia; however, Goths spoke East Germanic dialects like their Vandal cousins, while Goths' Norse cousins spoke North Germanic dialects.
    • The Old Norse word huskarl was also borrowed into Old English. Housecarls were commonly found among the retinues of Saxon and Norse warlords well into the 11th century. The housecarls of Harold Godwinson, last Saxon king of England, fought at Hastings in 1066.
    • In the Visigothic kingdom of Toledo, the equivalent of the Huskarl was the Gardingo, which is believed to share an etymology with "Guard" and "Warden" - and would be, in fact, the only rank of Germanic origin that survived in the heavily Romanized late Visigothic army. Originally, the Gardingos were the bodyguards of kings who lived in their palace and had no property of their own, but as time passed they slowly gained the right to own and inherit lands, raise their own troops (called Buccellarii, a late Roman rank), and become part of the high nobility (Maiores). They were still renowned for their loyalty, and legend has it that they managed to carry away the body of the last king Roderic after he fell in The Battle of Guadalete.
  • The in-game Huskarl unit is armed with a sword and a shield, which were indeed the Goths' principal arms. The historical Norse-speaking huskarls more likely armed themselves with axes.


Within the Germanic tribes that overran the Western Roman Empire and brought in the Dark Ages, including the Goths, tribal leaders kept a personal retinue of warriors known as huskarls. These men served their chiefs fanatically in return for a large share in any plunder the tribe could grab. Huskarls trained for battle continuously and had few other duties. A chief had to be successful in acquiring plunder, however, or risk being removed or abandoned. As the Dark Ages progressed, huskarls were absorbed into the feudal system as vassals of lords. They remained a lord's or king's personal fighting force but often became responsible for their own support on lands given to them by their chief. This system replaced much of the sharing of plunder.


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