|“||Stronger than Elite Skirmisher. Ranged unit equipped with armor vs. archer attacks.||”|
|—Age of Empires II description|
The Imperial Skirmisher is the second unique unit of the Vietnamese in Age of Empires II HD: Rise of the Rajas. It can be trained at the Archery Range once the Imperial Age is reached. As an upgrade of the Elite Skirmisher, it is an anti-archer ranged unit.
The Imperial Skirmisher is a shared unique unit, i.e. it is available to any player allied with the Vietnamese (except for the Turks) as their team bonus. Unlike most unique units, Imperial Skirmishers do not have an Elite version, as they are already a final unique upgrade.
Skirmishers are very weak to everything except archers, some gunpowder units like Hand Cannoneers and Conquistadors, and Pikemen (to a degree). With a weak and slow attack, as well as a minimum range, they deal almost no damage to infantry and cavalry. Nevertheless, their attack bonus against archers can make them valuable against any archer-using opponent, especially if the player's civilization bonuses benefit Skirmishers.
Unlike its predecessor, Imperial Skirmishers are better suited for range support with better stats (1 more attack, 1 more pierce armor, slightly better accuracy and 1 more bonus damage for archers and cavalry archers) especially in the late Imperial Age. As the Imperial Skirmishers cost no gold, they are considered trash units and as such they become especially important in the late game when gold becomes scarce and players have to rely on wood and food economy. The Imperial Skirmisher also have a +3 attack bonus against Pikemen, allowing groups of them to quickly take out approaching Pikemen, but their minimum range and low melee armor still makes them vulnerable.
As the team bonus for the Vietnamese, Imperial Skirmishers can only be trained if the player has a Vietnamese ally or are playing with the Vietnamese in the same fashion Condottieri and Genitours are trained, but unlike the other shared units it must be researched for each allied player at the Archery Range. As some other civilizations have bonuses for Skirmishers and Elite Skirmishers those buffs will also apply to the Imperial Skirmisher and this will give to the team an edge in late Imperial Age at "Trash Wars". It should also be noted that as Elite Skirmishers count as a generic unit, it is unaffected by the Samurai's attack bonus.
Unfortunately, the Turks cannot use the Imperial Skirmisher because it is an upgrade of the Elite Skirmisher, which the Turks have no access to. In contrast, other civilizations can put these units to great use, especially the Aztecs, Britons, Byzantines, Incas and Lithuanians; the first in particular, having somewhat lackluster Arbalesters, whereas Atlatl-boosted Imperial Skirmishers are superior to most domains, including cost efficiency, training time, and bonuses.
|Unit strengths and weaknesses|
|Strong vs.||Archers, Pikemen|
|Weak vs.||Melee units, siege units|
|Attack|| Fletching (+1)|
Bodkin Arrow (+1)
Atlatl (+1, Aztecs only)
Hul'che Javelineers (Extra spear, Mayans only)
|Range|| Fletching (+1)|
Bodkin Arrow (+1)
Atlatl (+1, Aztecs only)
Yeomen (+1, Britons only)
Andean Sling (eliminates the minimum range, Incas only)
|Accuracy|| Thumb Ring (increases accuracy to 100%)|
Ballistics (hit moving targets)
|Armor|| Padded Archer Armor (+1/+1)|
Leather Archer Armor (+1/+1)
Ring Archer Armor (+1/+2)
Tower Shields (+2 pierce armor, Lithuanians only)
|Conversion defense|| Faith|
Heresy (allies only)
First Crusade (Sicilians only)
|Creation speed||Conscription (+33%)|
- Aztecs: Imperial Skirmishers are created 11% faster.
- Bulgarians: Blacksmith upgrades that benefit Archers cost 50% less food.
- Burmese: Researching Faith is 50% cheaper.
- Byzantines: Imperial Skirmishers are 25% cheaper.
- Celts: Imperial Skirmishers can convert herdables even if enemy units are next to them.
- Chinese: Technologies that benefit Imperial Skirmishers are 20% cheaper.
- Italians: Researching Ballistics and Chemistry is 33% cheaper.
- Koreans: Imperial Skirmishers costs less wood. Armor upgrades are free.
- Lithuanians: Imperial Skirmishers move 10% faster.
- Portuguese: Elite Skirmishers are upgraded to Imperial Skirmishers 30% faster. All relevant upgrades are researched 30% faster.
- Sicilians: Imperial Skirmishers absorb 50% of all incoming bonus damage.
- Spanish: Blacksmith upgrades that benefit Imperial Skirmishers cost no gold.
- Tatars: Imperial Skirmishers deal +25% bonus damage from cliffs and elevations. Thumb Ring is free.
- Vietnamese: Imperial Skirmishers have 20% more HP. Conscription is free.
- A team containing Berbers: With Kasbah researched, researching Conscription is 25% faster.
- A team containing Britons: Imperial Skirmishers are created 20% faster. Researching Thumb Ring is 20% faster.
- A team containing Bulgarians: Researching archer armor and attack upgrades at the Blacksmith is faster.
- A team containing Lithuanians: Researching Faith and Heresy is 20% faster.
- A team containing Malians: Researching Ballistics and Chemistry is 80% faster.
- A team containing Saracens: Imperial Skirmishers have attack against standard buildings.
- A team containing Teutons: Imperial Skirmishers are more resistant to conversion.
- Bulgarians: Initially, the Team Bonus gave the Blacksmith a 50% work rate boost. With update 42848, this was changed to a 80% work rate boost and all Blacksmith upgrades now cost 50% less food.
- Koreans: Imperial Skirmishers cost -15% wood. With update 39284, they cost -20% wood.
- Koreans: With update 42848, Archer armor upgrades are free.
- Lithuanians: With update 36906, Tower Shields grants +2 pierce armor instead of +1.
- Portuguese: With update 42848, all technologies are researched 30% faster.
Lords of the West
- Mayans: With update 44725, Hul'che Javelineers is introduced to replace Obsidian Arrows; Hul'che Javelineers improves Imperial Skirmishers by making them throw a second projectile.
- In games where the Post-Imperial Age is set as the starting Age, the Turks have access to Imperial Skirmishers, despite the fact that they are technically unable to get them. This is due to an oversight from the Turks still getting the Imperial Skirmisher upgrade (the lack of the Elite Skirmisher upgrade is what prevents it from being researched in normal gameplay) and regular Skirmishers being able to directly upgrade to Imperial Skirmishers.
- The Imperial Skirmisher is one of only three unique units not to take bonus damage from the Samurai, the other being the Imperial Camel Rider and the Houfnice, due to being unique upgrades of common units.
- The Imperial Skirmisher is one of just six unique units that can only be trained in the Imperial Age and does not have an Elite version, the others being the Condottiero, Imperial Camel Rider, Flaming Camel, Flemish Militia and Houfnice.
- The Lithuanian Imperial Skirmisher has the highest pierce armor of any non-siege unit in the game, with a total of 11.