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This article is about the unit in Age of Empires II. For the unit in Age of Empires III, see Janissary (Age of Empires III).

Turkish unique unit. Hand Cannoneer with longer range and no minimum range. Powerful close attack, but inaccurate at range.
Age of Empires II description

The Janissary is the unique unit of the Turks in Age of Empires II. It is a gunpowder unit with high attack and melee armor.

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

A related unit, the Royal Janissary, is only available in the Scenario Editor. It has exactly the same stats as the Elite Janissary, apart from the HP.


Janissary anim aoe2.gif

Janissaries play similarly to Hand Cannoneers, but with superior statistics. They are fragile but have a devastating attack. In groups they can send out a volley that will kill or severely injure enemy units that are too close. They are especially strong against infantry, but against them, the Hand Cannoneer is actually better. They are not quite as effective against archers and cavalry due to the former's ranged attack and the latter's speed. In great numbers, however, Janissaries can kill them before they do too much damage.


Up close, Janissaries can be killed easily due to their low hit points, but any unit attacking a dense formation of Janissaries up close is vulnerable. Janissaries can kill much more easily at close range due to their low accuracy at range. Therefore, siege weapons are a threat to them, as a single shot from an Onager can devastate a formation. Bombard Cannons also work very well against Janissaries. Archers are also an issue, because they can take advantage of the Janissary's low accuracy, low pierce armor, and low Rate of Fire.

In addition, Huskarls can easily overwhelm Janissaries in numbers due to their attack bonus against archers (armor-wise, Janissaries are considered archers). Condottieri and Samurai also are a threat due to their attack bonuses.

Further statistics[]

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

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Infantry, buildings
Weak vs. Skirmishers, Samurai, Scorpions, Mangonels, Huskarls, Condottieri, Bombard Cannons
Armor PaddedArcherArmorDE.png Padded Archer Armor (+1/+1)
LeatherArcherArmorDE.png Leather Archer Armor (+1/+1)
RingArcherArmorDE.png Ring Archer Armor (+1/+2)
Conversion defense FaithDE.png Faith
HeresyDE.png Heresy
Creation speed ConscriptionDE.png Conscription (+33%)
Upgrades Elite-unique-research.jpg Elite Janissary

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Turks: Janissaries have +25% HP.

Team bonuses[]


The Age of Kings[]

  • Janissaries have 15 (18 for Elite) attack. Non-Elite Janissaries have an attack bonus of +4 against infantry, and Elite Janissaries have +8 attack against infantry as well as +3 attack against buildings.
  • Janissaries have an accuracy of 55%.
  • Janissaries have +50% HP.
  • Elite Janissaries are not affected by the Turks' team bonus.
  • (Elite) Janissaries have a projectile speed of 5.5.

The Conquerors[]

  • Janissaries have 17 attack (22 for Elite), but lose their attack bonuses against infantry and buildings.
  • Janissaries have an accuracy of 50%.
  • Janissaries have +25% HP.
  • Heresy introduced.

The Forgotten[]

  • Elite Janissaries are affected by the team bonus.

Definitive Edition[]

  • With update 42848, Elite Janissaries have an accuracy of 65%.

Dawn of the Dukes[]

  • With update 51737, (Elite) Janissaries have a projectile speed of 7.5.


  • Janissaries originally were meant to be heavy foot archers (see gallery) rather than unique Hand Cannoneers. This would have been more in line with the historical Turks in the Age of Empires II medieval time period. Janissaries also could be upgraded into unique Hand Cannoneers; this was later changed due to a unique archer unit already existing.
  • Janissaries were historically exclusive to the Ottoman Turks.
  • The Janissary was originally planned to have the design used by the Royal variant with a hat. However, this was changed; the reason for the change was because "testers and Ensemble employees would comment that the Janissary looked like a 'Ku Klux Klan' member".
  • Before patch 4.8, the Elite Janissary was one of three unique units with zero frame delay, the others being the Elite Mangudai and Elite Mameluke. With patch 4.8, only the Elite Janissary retains this zero frame delay.
  • If ten Elite Janissaries enter the Teutonic Bombard Tower, it will fire three cannonballs instead of one.
  • The Janissary Corps is believed to be the first modern standing army in Europe.
  • Janissaries formed the core of Ottoman military music bands (the Mehters), which are the oldest in the world. Their practice inspired Western military marching bands, as well as composers of the Classical period of music, like Mozart and Beethoven.
  • The in-game Janissary is bearded. This is historically accurate, though anachronistic. Not until the late 16th century, beyond the Age of Empires II timeline and into Age of Empires III timeline, were Janissaries allowed to grow beards; early Janissaries during the late Middle Ages were forbidden to grow beards.
  • Janissaries were (in)famous for their rivalry against the Sipahis.


Some of the best units in the Turkish armies were the janissaries. These men were slaves captured as children and raised under Islam to be fanatical warriors. They wore distinctive white headgear and marched into battle accompanied by music. They fought on foot with a variety of weapons, including early firearms when these weapons reached the Middle East. The military was their entire life and they took great pride in their ability. They led the successful assault into Constantinople and the unsuccessful Turkish attacks against Malta and Vienna.
Age of Empires II manual