|This article is about the unit in Age of Empires II. For the unit class, see Light cavalry.|
|“||Stronger than Scout Cavalry. Fast with extensive line of sight.||”|
|—Age of Empires II description|
The Light Cavalry is a light cavalry unit in Age of Empires II that can be trained at the Stable once the Castle Age is reached. It is a fast unit with resistance to conversion that excels at taking down enemy archers, Monks, and siege weapons. Its combat abilities against other melee units such as other cavalry units or infantry is severely limited, though.
Light Cavalry cost only food to create, making them a viable alternative if the player is low on other resources. Despite their in-game description, they do not actually possess a greater Line of Sight than the Scout Cavalry. In fact the entire Scout Cavalry line have the same LOS. They all receive a +2 bonus to their Line of Sight upon every Age advance, for a total of 10 LOS in the Imperial Age.
The Light Cavalry have an exceptionally high Line of Sight and moderately better combat skills in comparison to Scout Cavalry. Against groups of siege weapons or archers, they have the speed and attack needed to run down and kill groups, though combat with other more armored melee units should be avoided. As stated in the manual, a group of Light Cavalry will make an ample replacement in any cavalry division, but the Knight and Camel Rider far exceed their attacking abilities.
It is better used in conjunction with other cavalry units and Cavalry Archers, but also useful to protect friendly archer units, as a meat shield against enemy Knights or as a direct counter against enemy Elite Skirmishers. As Light Cavalry have an innate conversion resistance and attack bonus against Monks, they can be used for countering enemy Monks, which are much more expensive to produce. Light Cavalry may often kill two Monks before being converted, even more with Faith researched. Because of this, even a player going full Knights or full Elephants should consider adding Light Cavalry to the mix if enemy Monks are predicted or seen as a reaction, using them solely and directly as Monk killers (even if they perish after the kill it's still good value).
|Unit strengths and weaknesses|
|Strong vs.||Skirmishers, Villagers, siege weapons, archers, Monks|
|Weak vs.||Most melee units, Genoese Crossbowmen|
|Hit points||Bloodlines (+20)|
|Attack|| Forging (+1)|
Iron Casting (+1)
Blast Furnace (+2)
Farimba (+5, Malians only)
Manipur Cavalry ( , Burmese only)
Lechitic Legacy (33% blast damage in 0.5 tile radius, Poles only)
|Armor|| Scale Barding Armor (+1/+1)|
Chain Barding Armor (+1/+1)
Plate Barding Armor (+1/+2)
Silk Armor ( , Tatars only)
|Firing Rate||Stirrups (+33% attack speed, Bulgarians only)|
|Conversion defense|| Faith|
First Crusade (Sicilians only)
|Creation speed|| Conscription (+33%)|
Chivalry (+40%, Franks only)
Steppe Husbandry (+100%, Cumans only)
Winged Hussar (Lithuanians and Poles only)
- Berbers: Light Cavalry are cheaper in the Castle/Imperial Age.
- Bulgarians: Blacksmith upgrades that benefit Light Cavalry cost 50% less food.
- Burmese: Researching Faith is 50% cheaper.
- Burgundians: Researching Husbandry and upgrading to Hussar is 50% cheaper.
- Celts: Light Cavalry can convert herdables even if enemy units are next to them.
- Chinese: Technologies that benefit Light Cavalry are 15%/20% cheaper in the Castle/Imperial Age.
- Cumans: Light Cavalry move 10%/15% faster in the Castle/Imperial Age.
- Franks: Light Cavalry .
- Indians: Light Cavalry have +1/+2 pierce armor in the Castle/Imperial Age.
- Magyars: Forging, Iron Casting, and Blast Furnace are free. Light Cavalry are cheaper.
- Mongols: Light Cavalry have +30% HP.
- Portuguese: Upgrades that benefit Light Cavalry are researched 30% faster.
- Sicilians: Light Cavalry take 50% less bonus damage.
- Spanish: Blacksmith upgrades that benefit Light Cavalry don't cost gold.
- Tatars: Light Cavalry deal +25% bonus damage from elevations.
- Turks: The Hussar upgrade is free. Light Cavalry units gain +1 pierce armor.
- Vietnamese: Conscription is free.
- A team containing Berbers: With Kasbah researched, researching Conscription is 25% faster.
- A team containing Huns: Light Cavalry are created and upgraded 20% faster. Researching Bloodlines and Husbandry is 20% faster.
- A team containing Mongols: Light Cavalry have +2 LOS.
- A team containing Poles: Light Cavalry +1 attack vs. archers.
- A team containing Teutons: Light Cavalry are more resistant to conversion.
- A team containing Lithuanians: Researching Heresy and Faith is 20% faster.
- A team containing Bulgarians: Researching cavalry armor and attack upgrades at the Blacksmith is faster.
The Age of Kings
- Initially, Light Cavalry are affected twice by Husbandry (1.1 × 1.1 = 1.21 movement speed multiplier) – directly as a unit and indirectly as a part of the Cavalry unit class. Scout Cavalry are a part of the Scout unit class and thus are only affected once by Husbandry (directly as a unit).
- Light Cavalry receive an attack bonus of +10 against Monks.
- Husbandry affects Light Cavalry only once (1.1 movement speed multiplier).
- Bloodlines introduced.
- Heresy introduced.
The African Kingdoms
- Berbers: Initially, Light Cavalry were 20% cheaper from the Castle Age on. With patch 4.8, that bonus was staggered to 15%/20% in the Castle/Imperial Age.
- Franks: Light Cavalry now benefit from the civilization bonus and have +20% HP.
Rise of the Rajas
- Burmese: Initially, Manipur Cavalry gives +6 attack against buildings. With patch 5.3, the bonus is spread over the two building classes (building and standard building) equally.
- Magyars: With patch 5.5, Light Cavalry are now 15% cheaper.
- Bulgarians: With update 42848, Blacksmith upgrades that benefit Light Cavalry cost 50% less food. As team bonus, Blacksmiths now work 80% faster (up from 50% faster).
- Indians: With update 42848, Light Cavalry have +1 pierce armor in the Castle Age and +1 in the Imperial Age (for a total of +2)
- Lithuanians: Initially, Light Cavalry gained +1 attack for each garrisoned Relic, up to +5. With update 34055, this bonus no longer affects Light Cavalry.
- Portuguese: With update 42848, technologies are researched 30% faster.
- Turks: With update 42848, Light Cavalry units gain +1 pierce armor.
|“||As Middle Age armies grew larger and campaigned farther afield, the importance of scouting grew. Many civilizations developed light cavalry, an improvement on scout cavalry, for this role. Light cavalry were better trained and better equipped for fighting. In battle they could be used to harass or charge enemy infantry or support their own knights in a charge. Light cavalry wore only partial armor and a shield and fought most commonly with a spear. Civilizations that could not afford extensive armor for warriors, such as barbarian groups from the East, put large contingents of light cavalry into the field.||”|