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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, Lithuanians and Mayans; 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.

The Spanish and Bulgarians appreciate the Imperial Skirmisher, due to lacking the Crossbowman.

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Archers, Pikemen
Weak vs. Melee units, siege units
Attack FletchingDE.png Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE.png Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE.png Bracer (+1)
ChemistryDE.png Chemistry (+1)
CastleAgeUnique.png Atlatl (+1, Aztecs only)
CastleAgeUnique.png Hul'che Javelineers (Extra spear, Mayans only)
Range FletchingDE.png Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE.png Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE.png Bracer (+1)
CastleAgeUnique.png Atlatl (+1, Aztecs only)
CastleAgeUnique.png Yeomen (+1, Britons only)
CastleAgeUnique.png Andean Sling (eliminates the minimum range, Incas only)
Accuracy ThumbRingDE.png Thumb Ring (increases accuracy to 100%)
BallisticsDE.png Ballistics (hit moving targets)
Armor PaddedArcherArmorDE.png Padded Archer Armor (+1/+1)
LeatherArcherArmorDE.png Leather Archer Armor (+1/+1)
RingArcherArmorDE.png Ring Archer Armor (+1/+2)
Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Tower Shields (+2 pierce armor, Lithuanians only)
Conversion defense FaithDE.png Faith
HeresyDE.png Heresy (allies only)
UniqueTechCastle-DE.png First Crusade (Sicilians only)
Creation speed ConscriptionDE.png Conscription (+33%)

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Aztecs: Imperial Skirmishers are created 11% faster.
  • Bulgarians: Blacksmith upgrades that benefit Archers cost -50% 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.
  • Dravidians: Skirmishers attack 25% faster.
  • Italians: Researching Ballistics and Chemistry is 33% cheaper.
  • Koreans: Imperial Skirmishers costs -20% 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 do not cost 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.

Team bonuses[]


Definitive Edition[]

Lords of the West[]


  • 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.


Video overview[]