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This article is about the unit in Age of Empires II. For other uses, see Janissary.

Turkish unique hand cannoneer with longer range and no minimum 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 great range and good 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 hit points.


Janissary anim aoe2

Elite Janissaries play similarly to Hand Cannoneers, but with superior statistics, and the Castle Age Janissaries are a good precursor to that concept. 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 Hand Cannoneers are superior against infantry, as they have a +10 attack bonus against infantry in addition to what the Janissaries possess. They have some weaknesses 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.

Janissaries in the Castle Age can be potent with their high attack. They can destroy a Tower Center in sufficient numbers if given enough time. That said, they cannot outrange Castles or towers, and using them aggressively can leave them vulnerable to overextending and getting caught out of position by Elite Skirmishers or Knights. Also a Mangonel shot from one will deal devastating damage to Janissaries if it connects. As gunpowder units, they are good vs buildings, because their pierce attack is enough to offset buildings' pierce armor.

On Arena, Castle drop into Janissaries is a very popular strategy. Even without the support of a Castle, Janissaries can be very painful to stop because they counter Castle Age siege weapons very easily, while opposing foot archers can be countered by the support of two or three Mangonels, which is one of the strongest composition in the Castle Age.

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 also vulnerable. Imperial Age siege weapons like Onagers and Heavy Scorpions (the latter only with Siege Engineers) are a threat to them with their splash damage. However, care needs to be taken, since the Turks can counter siege weapons with their Bombard Cannons, which are unlocked immediately upon reaching the Imperial Age. Archers are also an issue, because they can take advantage of the Janissary's low accuracy, low pierce armor, and low Rate of Fire. Since Janissaries have low hit points and take bonus damage like archers, Elite Skirmishers perform cost-effectively. Huskarls can easily overwhelm Janissaries in numbers and utilize their attack bonus. Ghulams, Condottieri, and Winged Hussars are also threats due to their attack bonus and fast movement speed, and in some cases also utilizing their splash damage.

Comparison table[]

Units JanissaryIcon-DE Janissary Hand cannoneer aoe2DE Hand Cannoneer JanissaryIcon-DE Elite Janissary
Cost 60 food, 55 gold 45 food, 50 gold 60 food, 55 gold
HP 44 50 50
Attack 17 17 22
Attack bonus +2 vs Ram +10 vs Infantry
+2 vs Ram
+1 vs Spearman
+3 vs Ram
Attack Delay 0.4 0.35 0
Range 7 7 8
Accuracy 50% 75% 65%
Armor 1/0 1/0 2/0
Line of Sight 10 9 10
Training Time 16.8 seconds 27.2 seconds 16.8 seconds
  • Rate of Fire - 3.45 seconds
  • Speed - 0.96 tiles/s

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. Elite Skirmishers, Scorpions, Mangonels, Huskarls, Bombard Cannons, Condottieri, Winged Hussars
Armor PaddedArcherArmorDE Padded Archer Armor (+1/+1)
LeatherArcherArmorDE Leather Archer Armor (+1/+1)
RingArcherArmorDE Ring Archer Armor (+1/+2)
Conversion resistance Devotion icon AoE2DE Devotion (+1 min, +1 max)
FaithDE Faith (+4 min, +4 max)
HeresyDE Heresy (die upon getting converted)
Creation speed ConscriptionDE Conscription (+33%)
UniqueTechCastle-DE Kasbah (+25%, with a Berber ally only)
Upgrade EliteUniqueUnitDE Elite Janissary

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Turks AoE2 Turks: Janissaries have +25% HP.

Team bonuses[]


AoE2-DLCicon-0 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%.
  • Civilization bonus: Gunpowder units have +50% HP.
  • As a bug, Elite Janissaries are not affected by the Turks' team bonus.
  • (Elite) Janissaries have a projectile speed of 5.5.

AoE2-DLCicon-1 The Conquerors[]

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

AoE2-DLCicon-2 The Forgotten[]

  • Elite Janissaries are affected by the team bonus.

AoEIIDE icon Definitive Edition[]

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

Dawn of the Dukes icon Dawn of the Dukes[]

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

AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of Rome[]

  • With update 87863, Janissary attack range reduced from 8 to 7 (Elite Janissary unchanged).


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


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


  • 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, whereas the in-game Turks represent the Seljuk Turks as well.
  • 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 Studios employees would comment that the Janissary looked like a 'Ku Klux Klan' member".
    • The remnants of this can be seen in its description which mentions a "distinctive white headgear", as well as its icon in the The Age of Kings manual and the tutorial cinematic which was played at the start of William Wallace campaign before the Definitive Edition, which shows the unit with a hat.
  • 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, which is 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.
  • While the description correctly states that Janissaries are Hand Cannoneers with no minimum range, no Hand Cannoneer unit (foot or mounted) has a minimum range. Hand Cannoneers in the alpha versions of the Age of Kings had minimum range. The description is odd because all descriptions were rewritten for the Definitive Edition, and this part was not in the original description.



Units in Age of Empires II
CivilianMaleVillDE Villager · Tradecart aoe2DE Trade Cart · FishingShipDE Fishing Ship · Trade cog aoe2DE Trade Cog · King eu aoe2DE King
ReligiousMonk aoe2DE Monk
InfantryMilitiaDE Militia · Manatarms aoe2DE Man-at-Arms · Longswordsman aoe2DE Long Swordsman · Twohanded aoe2DE Two-Handed Swordsman · Champion aoe2DE Champion
Spearman aoe2DE Spearman · Aoe2-infantry-2-pikeman Pikeman · Halberdier aoe2DE Halberdier
Eaglescout aoe2DE Eagle Scout · Eaglewarrior aoe2DE Eagle Warrior · EliteEaglewarrior aoe2DE Elite Eagle Warrior
ArcherArcher aoe2DE Archer · Crossbowman aoe2DE Crossbowman · Arbalester aoe2DE Arbalester
Skirmisher aoe2DE Skirmisher · Elite skirmisher aoe2DE Elite Skirmisher
Hand cannoneer aoe2DE Hand Cannoneer
Cavalryarcher aoe2DE Cavalry Archer · Heavycavalryarcher aoe2de Heavy Cavalry Archer
Aoe2de DOI elephant archer icon Elephant Archer · ElephantArcherIcon-DE Elite Elephant Archer
CavalryScoutcavalry aoe2DE Scout Cavalry · Lightcavalry aoe2DE Light Cavalry · Hussar aoe2DE Hussar
Knight aoe2DE Knight · Cavalier aoe2DE Cavalier · Paladin aoe2DE Paladin
Camelrider aoe2DE Camel Rider · Aoe2 heavycamelriderDE Heavy Camel Rider
Battle elephant aoe2DE Battle Elephant · Elite battle elephant aoe2DE Elite Battle Elephant
Steppelancericon Steppe Lancer · Elitesteppelancericon Elite Steppe Lancer
Xolotlicon Xolotl Warrior
AoE2DE Armored Elephant icon Armored Elephant · AoE2DE Siege Elephant icon Siege Elephant
SiegeBattering ram aoe2DE Battering Ram · Capped ram aoe2DE Capped Ram · Siege ram aoe2DE Siege Ram
Mangonel aoe2DE Mangonel · Onager aoe2DE Onager · Siege onager aoe2DE Siege Onager
Scorpion aoe2DE Scorpion · Heavyscorpion aoe2DE Heavy Scorpion
Bombard cannon aoe2DE Bombard Cannon
Trebuchet aoe2DE Trebuchet
Petard aoe2DE Petard
Siegetower aoe2DE Siege Tower
War shipTransportship aoe2DE Transport Ship
Galley aoe2DE Galley · War galley aoe2DE War Galley · Galleon aoe2DE Galleon
Fire galley aoe2DE Fire Galley · Fireship aoe2DE Fire Ship · Fastfireship aoe2DE Fast Fire Ship
Demoraft aoe2DE Demolition Raft · Demoship aoe2DE Demolition Ship · Heavydemoship aoe2de Heavy Demolition Ship
Cannon galleon aoe2DE Cannon Galleon · Elite cannon galleon aoe2de Elite Cannon Galleon
AoE2 Dromon Dromon
ReligiousMissionaryIcon-DE Missionary · AoE2 WarriorPriest Warrior Priest
InfantryBerserkIcon-DE Berserk · Aoe2de Chakram Chakram Thrower · CondottieroIcon-DE Condottiero · Aoe2-icon-flemish-militia Flemish Militia · GbetoIcon-DE Gbeto · Aoe2de Ghulam Ghulam · HuskarlIcon-DE Huskarl · JaguarWarriorIcon-DE Jaguar Warrior · KamayukIcon-DE Kamayuk · Karambitwarrioricon-DE Karambit Warrior · AoE2 DE Legionary new icon Legionary · Aoe2-icon--obuch Obuch · SamuraiIcon-DE Samurai · Aoe2-icon-serjeant Serjeant · Shotelwarrioricon-DE Shotel Warrior · TeutonicKnightIcon-DE Teutonic Knight · ThrowingAxemanIcon-DE Throwing Axeman · Aoe2de Urumi Urumi Swordsman · AoE2 WarriorPriest Warrior Priest · WoadRaiderIcon-DE Woad Raider
ArcherArambaiicon-DE Arambai · CamelArcherIcon-DE Camel Archer · ChukoNuIcon-DE Chu Ko Nu · AoE2 CompositeBowman Composite Bowman · ConquistadorIcon-DE Conquistador · GenitourIcon-DE Genitour · GenoeseCrossbowmanIcon-DE Genoese Crossbowman · Imperialskirmishericon-DE Imperial Skirmisher · JanissaryIcon-DE Janissary · Kipchakicon Kipchak · LongbowmanIcon-DE Longbowman · MangudaiIcon-DE Mangudai · PlumedArcherIcon-DE Plumed Archer · Aoe2de ratha ranged Ranged Ratha · Rattanarchericon-DE Rattan Archer · SlingerIcon-DE Slinger · WarWagonIcon-DE War Wagon
CavalryBallistaelephanticon-DE Ballista Elephant · BoyarIcon-DE Boyar · Aoe2de camel scout Camel Scout · CataphractIcon-DE Cataphract · Aoe2de roman unique centurion icon Centurion · Aoe2-icon-coustillier Coustillier · Flaming camel icon Flaming Camel · ImperialCamelRiderIcon-DE Imperial Camel Rider · Keshikicon Keshik · Konnikicon Konnik · Leitisicon Leitis · MagyarHuszarIcon-DE Magyar Huszar · MamelukeIcon-DE Mameluke · AoE2 Monaspa Monaspa · Aoe2de ratha melee Melee Ratha · AoE2 Savar Savar · Aoe2de shrivamsha rider Shrivamsha Rider · TarkanIcon-DE Tarkan · WarElephantIcon-DE War Elephant · Aoe2-icon-winged-hussar Winged Hussar
SiegeAoe2-icon--houfnice Houfnice · Aoe2-icon-hussite-wagon Hussite Wagon · OrganGunIcon-DE Organ Gun
War shipCaravelIcon-DE Caravel · LongboatIcon-DE Longboat · Aoe2de Thirisadai Thirisadai · TurtleShipIcon-DE Turtle Ship