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The Koreans are mainly a defensive civilization with strong naval and gunpowder capabilities.


Their ability to gather stone faster than other civilizations allows them to build up their defense quickly. Their towers upgrade automatically, and with the Eupseong unique technology, they gain +2 bonus range in the Castle Age, allowing them to attack units from further away and to take the enemy down before they get too close. Also, if against an aggressive team such as Celts or Goths, it is a good idea to try and establish defensive buildings around their base as early as possible to disrupt their economy. With each advancing age, the range of Korean towers increases as well as upgrading automatically, make it increasingly detrimental to the enemy. Their unique technology Shinkichon increases the range of Mangonels.

The Koreans already have an innate bonus that improves Mangonel range, so this adds even more to it, allowing them to outrange towers and castles. This lets them substitute Mangonels for Trebuchets and Bombard Cannons if the player is low on resources, as they are much more expensive. The War Wagon, the Korean unique unit, is a powerful and heavily armored but somewhat slow cavalry archer. They are effective support units and can last a long time in battle due to their durability.

The Koreans also have a strong navy and access to all gunpowder units. Their second unique unit, the Turtle Ship, is very powerful and can take down and easily destroy enemy navies even if outnumbered. They can also research most infantry and archer upgrades, allowing them to wield an effective foot army.


The main weakness of the Koreans are their inability to research many Monastery technologies, most importantly Heresy and Redemption. Also they are somewhat weak at attacking. In contrast with their defensive bonuses they lack any offensive bonuses that can potentially turn the tide of a battle. As such they are a disadvantage when taking the fight to an enemy. Also their cavalry is weak, missing the Paladin and Camel Rider in addition to the Bloodlines, Blast Furnace, and Plate Barding Armor technologies. As with the Vikings, due to their naval unique unit the Koreans are missing one of the mainline ships, in this case the Demolition Ship. However, the large attack and durability of the Turtle Ship makes up for this.

Koreans possess some of the strongest ranged unit in the form of Siege Onager and War Wagon, but those units take a lot of time and resources to be upgraded and massed effectively. Korean Bombard Towers and Castles also cost a lot of stone. This means that if a Korean player doesn't expand quickly, they will face trouble later when they must spend resources to replace the fallen units and repair the structures. Also, when the gold runs out and the game enters trash war phase, Koreans will struggle because their Hussars and Barracks units lack the final attack upgrade. In addition, Korean Hussars also lack durability because Koreans don't have access to Bloodlines and Plate Barding Armor.

The Koreans also lack Heresy and due to the Korean's dependence on gold heavy and expensive units, this makes many of their units vulnerable to conversion.


Koreans have one of the best navies in the game, combined with one of the best defenses in the game. They received many buffs in The Forgotten, but even before that they were a very powerful civilization on water maps.

In early game and especially in maps without water Koreans may try to make a Trush (Tower Feudal Age rush), The stone gathering bonus and the extensive line of sight of their villagers allows for this and in " The Forgotten " expansion Koreans received a buff that allows to create fortifications faster. If the trush succeeds the player must advance to the Castle Age as soon as possible in order to automatically upgrade the towers attacking the enemy village

Koreans are highly wood-intensive, and extra Villagers should be tasked to lumber starting in the Feudal Age. They are weak outside the Castle Age, so it is recommended to Fast Castle. With free Tower upgrades, faster stone mining, and other such defensive capabilities, making strong defenses should be a priority.

On the sea, it is important not to fall into the trap of making only Turtle Ships. Turtle Ships are just another ship, albeit a strong one. They need support from Galleons to function properly, and generally the player should have at least some Galleons before even starting Turtle Ship production.

Land military is primarily dependent on what resources are available and what the opponent is doing. War Wagons are a valuable asset to a Korean army, but forgoing variety for quantity is a game-losing mistake. Lacking Blast Furnace, Plate Barding Armor and Paladin, Korean players may struggle to think of what other units to use. The answer is that it mostly depends on what the opponent is using. Cavaliers can deal with Skirmishers easily, which are the number one enemy of War Wagons. Champions make good all-around back-up, although they do not get Blast Furnace. Halberdiers help with enemy Cavalry which can also threaten War Wagons. Additionally, Korean Siege Onagers are among the best in the game, and should be used. The player must be careful to not to hit the War Wagons, as they are very large targets.

Strategy changes in The Forgotten[]

Koreans' new unique tech Panokseon improves the movement speed of Turtle Ships that without it, they are very slow. Both Korean unique units costs are reduced (Turtle Ships now cost 180 wood and 180 gold, while War Wagons now costs 110 wood and 60 gold) and the creation time of War Wagon are also reduced, allowing more of these units to be produced quickly. Their team bonus was changed, now Mangonels and Onagers have a reduced minimum range instead of a larger range. Koreans also received a building speed bonus for their fortifications (25% faster), improving their defense capabilities, as this building speed bonus plus Treadmill Crane allows to their villagers to build these buildings at a +45% speed.

Strategy changes in The African Kingdoms[]

The Panokseon technology cost is now reduced to 300 wood and 300 food, making this technology more affordable. Also, their Turtle Ships now don't require a Castle to be created at the Dock. The new general technology Arrowslits further improves the attack of the powerful Korean towers.

Strategy changes in the Definitive Edition[]

Koreans lose their ability to build fortifications faster, and Watch Towers' HP is reduced to 700 in the Feudal Age (in the Castle Age, they still have 1,200 HP). Despite this, their Tower rush is still a viable tactic, just a bit harder to make it and succeed. This ability was replaced with a new bonus (Military units, except Siege weapons, cost -15% wood). This new bonus enables them to make an archer rush, as they are now cheaper (their archers can also better support a Tower rush), a Cavalry Archer rush in the Castle Age, better defense with the Halberdier and Skirmisher line (of course, this also makes them better in "trash wars"), enables them to spam more War Wagons for the same wood, and, probably the most important, their entire navy is cheaper (including the Turtle Ship), so they can save also much more wood in naval encounters. It is important to note that this wood discount was increased to 20% in update 39284, further improving the viability of their mentioned options while both the War Wagon and Turtle Ship got their wood costs adjusted to balance them.

In update 42848, the Koreans have a new civilization bonus where all their archer armor upgrades are free. In exchange, their civilization bonus of additional range for their towers was moved to a new unique Castle Age technology, Eupseong, which replaces Panokseon. This allows the Koreans to perform a Feudal Age archer rush due to the strong synergy with their wood discount for military units and allows a somewhat viable (if not optimal) cavalry archer rush in the Castle Age. In addition, their Turtle Ships get a small permanent movement speed boost to offset the Castle Age unique technology change.

Strategy changes in Lords of the West[]

In update 44725, they now have access to the Elite Cannon Galleon. Their options for Water maps are better, especially in mirror match-ups, where Korean Keeps can outrange Cannon Galleons.

Strategy changes in Dynasties of India[]

In update 61321, the base wood cost of the War Wagon was raised from 115 to 125. After the civilization bonus, it now cost 100 wood, which makes it harder to mass War Wagons in the Castle Age. Since the Koreans have free Archer armor upgrades, the unit could already win vs. most other units.


As a defensive civilization, Koreans make great support, with their stone mining bonus, their free tower upgrades and bonuses, and the quick construction speed for fortifications (this last only in the HD expansions, but not in the Definitive Edition), so they can stand at the front line, defending the team by turtling themselves and the team. Korean towers are also highly valuable when an ally intends a Wonder or relic Victory, because of their greater range (LOS boost for their towers from their Ethiopian allies also helps).

Korean team bonus is especially useful for civilizations that have Siege Onagers, and even more if they also have a buff for this unit. Originally, the team bonus added more range to the Onagers, but it was changed in the forgotten for a lower minimum range, enabling the Onager to defend itself better against infantry. Celts, Teutons, Slavs, Ethiopians, Aztecs, Saracens, and Mongols benefit from this team bonus.

As a naval civilization, Koreans also benefit from the Viking, Malay, and Dravidian team bonuses and having Portuguese, Vikings, Dravidians, and Koreans on the same team can make the most diverse naval army in the game, having the only 4 unique naval vessels (the Turtle Ship, the Caravel, the Thirisadai, and the Longboat). Malay allies also improve the vigilance and fast-response ability of the Korean navy, as they provide allies with far sighted docks, an alliance with Japanese is also helpful as this improves their Galleons. Sicilian allies are also valuable as they grant discounts and bonus Line of Sight to allied Transport Ships. Both will be useful for amphibious assaults. In exchange for better Siege Onagers, Dravidian allies grant extra population capacity to Korean Docks, plus using somewhat lighter, but more agile Thirisadais to screen slower Korean Turtle Ships.

Koreans benefit from team bonuses that boost the Onager, like the Celt team bonus that improves the Siege Workshop work rate. Mayan team bonus is also helpful, as it will give them cheaper walls that can aid in the construction of heavy fortifications, with powerful Korean towers protected by walls. Malian allies also grant an efficiency bonus for Korean Universities, hence making fortifications of Korean players improve quicker.

Since the Definitive Edition, the Koreans now have cheaper Archers, Halberdiers, War Wagons, and ships, due to their new bonus (military units, except siege, cost 20% less wood), the player should consider an alliance with civilizations whose team bonuses improve Archery Range units, like:

  • Berbers and Vietnamese, in order to get access to Genitours and Imperial Skirmishers, respectively;
  • Britons, with faster Archery Ranges;
  • Incas: Since Dynasties of India, the Inca team bonus gives Halberdiers and Skirmishers +2 Line of Sight;
  • Magyars and Tatars, for more Line of sight for foot archers and Cavalry Archers, respectively, including the War Wagon;
  • Saracens, who grant foot archers +3 attack to buildings.

For better Halberdier spam, allying with Goths is very helpful. Of course, because of this new bonus in the Definitive Edition, it is even more helpful to have civilizations with naval team bonuses like the ones cited before.

Compared advantages and disadvantages[]

Advantages vs other civilizations[]

  • The War Wagon, being a bulky ranged unit with high pierce armor, counters most Archer types, Scorpions, and Cavalry Archers (with some exceptions; see in disadvantages). Its high hit points allow it to act as a mobile, attacking wall. Civilizations who rely on Archers and/or Scorpions (such as the Khmer, Britons, Mayans, and Chinese) will struggle against them. Vietnamese Rattan Archers and Indian Elephant Archers are arguably tied with War Wagons, by various means.
  • The Turtle Ship, being a tanky vessel with close proximity high melee attack, counters Fire Ships, Transport ships, Viking Longboats, and onshore defensive structures, such as towers, Malay Harbors, Castles, and Cannon Galleons. Civilizations with poor navies (like the Aztecs) or civilizations with poor defense (like the Huns, Goths, and Magyars) will struggle against Turtle Ships.
  • As they have boosted Onagers with reduced minimum range, and their range amplified by Shinkichon, they have a huge advantage against civilizations with poor defenses, such as Goths, Magyars, Mongols, and Huns. Even prominent defensive civilizations (such as Byzantines, Teutons, and Incas) will have a harder time destroying Korean Onagers. Also, as Onagers counter archers, their improved range can prove unpleasant for archer based civilizations such as the Britons, Mayans, and Vietnamese. Some infantry reliant civilizations (like the Aztecs, Incas, and Goths) may also struggle against Korean Onagers, as their reduced minimum range enables them to smash armies of massed infantry more effectively than other civilizations.
  • Defensively, they have an advantage against civilizations with mediocre siege workshop or proper anti-building units, thanks to their: magnificent towers with larger range that auto-upgrade, their collection rate on stone for their villagers, and the building speed for defensive structures (without considering the Trebuchets which every civilization have access to). Such civilizations include the Britons, Japanese and Magyars (of course once they get to Imperial this advantage is no longer a problem for them).
  • As they can perform a Tower rush (and, since the Definitive Edition, an Archer Rush), they have an advantage in open maps against civilizations who struggle in the early game, but fare better in the late game (such as Turks, Khmer and Portuguese).
  • Since the Definitive Edition, as they now have cheaper Halberdiers and Skirmishers, they can effectively counter civilizations that may rely on cavalry (like Huns, Lithuanians, or Franks), archers (like Britons, Mayans, or Saracens), or Cavalry Archers (like Mongols, Cumans, and Tatars). This also puts them at an advantage in the "trash wars", especially against civilizations with poor trash line (like the Turks) or that lack a proper "trash buster" unit.

Disadvantages vs other civilizations[]

  • Despite having a high pierce armor and bulky hp, some archery units can counter the War wagon, these includes the Berber Genitour and Camel archer, the Burmese Arambai (with the high attack and performing hit-and-run tactics), the Skirmishers especially the Vietnamese unique upgrade the Imperial Skirmisher, the Spanish Conquistador that deal high damage and can hit-and-run the war wagon and the Indian Elephant Archer with higher hitpoints and pierce armor. War Wagons are also a large target and have low conversion resistance so civilizations with good Monks such as Aztecs, Spanish, Saracens and Slavs can convert them with ease.
  • Malians can be a very unpleasant rival for the Koreans as their infantry bonus can negate the attack of the War Wagon against them, while also they are more likely to reach the Korean Towers and destroy them (as they deal pierce damage with the exception of the Bombard Tower) While also became more resilient against regular archers. Similarly Goths can counter the Korean War Wagons and Towers by swarming Huskarls as they have attack bonus vs Archers and buildings and high pierce armor.
  • Mayans, Incas and Aztecs have Eagle Warriors that can effectively counter both Onagers and War Wagons, both part of the core units of the Koreans. Regarding the Onagers similar logic can apply to light cavalry civilizations such as Magyars, Huns and Mongols as light cavalry can catch them with ease and destroy them. Mongol Mangudai also counters the Onager
  • Mongol Rams with Drill filled with infantry may counter very effectively the Korean Onagers as they move considerably fast and deal bonus damage against siege, Civilizations with good siege engines can counter the Korean fortifications, such as Turks, Celts, and Ethiopians.
  • Despite being a good replacement for demolition ships, Turtle ships are slow, have poor conversion defense and are expensive, so civilizations with good galleons or ranged ships such as Vikings, Portuguese, Saracens and Berbers can hit-and-run them; and they are at risk against monks in shore combats especially against civilizations that have good monks such as Aztecs, Slavs, Spanish and Saracens.
  • If they doesn't manage to wall up in open maps they became at disadvantage against civilizations with early aggression such as Aztecs, Huns or Magyars.
  • Although the Korean Team Bonus allows Mangonels to deal with nearby threats, auto-firing Mangonels may flatten nearby allies.
  • Persian Paladins have an attack bonus against archers, which puts the Korean Archers at a disadvantage. Similarly, as Tatar Cavalry Archers and Light Cavalry get +1 pierce armor out of the Silk Armor technology, they are effective counters against archers.
  • Vietnamese Imperial Skirmishers can counter a Koreans' War Wagons, Cavalry Archers, and Archers perfectly. Other prominent civilizations with good Skirmishers that can also do this are the Aztecs (with the Atlatl technology), The Berbers (which have the Genitour, who is a mounted skirmisher), Lithuanians (with faster Skirmishers with +1 pierce armor out of Tower Shields), and the Britons (whose Skirmishers are created faster and get +1 range out of the Yeomen technology). Civilizations with good Onagers (such as Celts and Koreans) can also easily defeat their archers.

Situational advantages[]

  • As their villagers have an extensive Line of Sight Koreans have a very distinct advantage on Nomad maps as they can find better a good spot to create their first town center, while having an edge in scouting on this particular map.
  • On the Budapest map, as every player has a double start up (2 Town Centers, double Villagers, and 2 scouts), they also get an advantage, as again, their Villagers get more Line of Sight, enabling them to have a better initial spot on their resources, while also considering making a Villager an extra scout (as they will have 6 Villagers on this map).
  • On amphibious maps (especially in the maps included in the Rise of the Rajas expansion), their tanky Turtle Ship can deal severe damage to land units and buildings.
  • On closed maps like Black Forest, Koreans have an advantage thanks to their magnificent long range Towers and the fact they gather stone faster and create walls and towers faster, so they can make their way to Imperial Age and boom. Also as they have good Onagers they can exploit them on these maps to sneak out and take their opponent by surprise.
  • On Fortress, as players starts with pre-deployed walls and towers their tower bonuses also gives them a defensive edge.
  • There are some maps with high amounts of stone, such as Socotra, and Golden Pit, if a Korean player manages to reach these large stone deposits they will get a huge advantage as they will deplete them fast neglecting other players to take that stone.
  • Since the Definitive Edition, as they now have a wood discount on military units (except siege weapons), they can get a substantial advantage on maps or in situations where wood starts to become scarce.
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Strategies in Age of Empires II
AoE2-DLCicon-0.png The Age of KingsBritons · Byzantines · Celts · Chinese · Franks · Goths · Japanese · Mongols · Persians · Saracens · Teutons · Turks · Vikings
AoE2-DLCicon-1.png The ConquerorsAztecs · Huns · Koreans · Mayans · Spanish
AoE2-DLCicon-2.png The ForgottenIncas · Hindustanis · Italians · Magyars · Slavs
AoE2-DLCicon-3.png The African KingdomsBerbers · Ethiopians · Malians · Portuguese
AoE2-DLCicon-4.png Rise of the RajasBurmese · Khmer · Malay · Vietnamese
AoE2-DLCicon-5.png The Last KhansBulgarians · Cumans · Lithuanians · Tatars
AoE2Icon-LordsWest.png Lords of the WestBurgundians · Sicilians
Dawn of the Dukes icon.png Dawn of the DukesBohemians · Poles
AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia.png Dynasties of IndiaBengalis · Dravidians · Gurjaras