“Stronger than Militia. Cheap and quick to create.”—Age of Empires II description
The Man-at-Arms is an infantry unit in Age of Empires II that can be trained at the Barracks once the Feudal Age is reached. They hold a strong advantage against most units in the Feudal Age, making them an effective unit at disrupting an opponent's economy.
As a military unit, the Man-at-Arms fills a similar niche to the Militia, being well-rounded enough to serve both as scouts and occasional raiders. Statistics-wise, they are better than the Militia when it comes to worker line harassment and base razing, though in practice whether or not they are efficient depends largely on the development status of one's enemy. As they are slow, they are particularly weak against Archers. Also, while somewhat effective against Scout Cavalry, they are susceptible to mobbing and will die very easily if outnumbered.
Men-at-Arms work best when complimented with additional support troops. A good raiding party composition should be of around a dozen Men-at-Arms, some Skirmishers to counter enemy Archers, and optionally some Spearmen if the enemy employs a large number of Scout Cavalry (e.g., when playing against a Frankish AI). As Murder Holes is not available in the Feudal Age, their weakness towards Towers can be circumvented by zig-zagging towards the structures' bases where they cannot target one's units. If possible, having several of the player's own Archers mixed in can yield much greater raiding results.
Men-at-Arms should be upgraded as quickly as possible when transitioning towards the Castle Age due to the enemy's greatly expanded tech tree providing them with many effective counters.
Further statistics Edit
|Unit strengths and weaknesses|
|Strong vs.||Skirmishers, Scout Cavalry, Eagle Scouts, Spearmen, Villagers|
|Weak vs.||Archers, Scorpions|
|Attack|| Forging (+1)|
Iron Casting (+1)
Blast Furnace (+2)
Arson (+2 attack against standard buildings)
Garland Wars (+4, Aztecs only)
Druzhina (Slavs only, gives trample damage)
Chieftains (Vikings only, gives +5 attack against cavalry and +4 against camels)
|Armor|| Scale Mail Armor (+1/+1)|
Chain Mail Armor (+1/+1)
Plate Mail Armor (+1/+2)
|Conversion defense|| Faith|
|Creation speed|| Conscription (+33%)|
Perfusion (+100%, Goths only)
|Train cost||Forced Levy (Malay only, eliminates the gold cost)|
Civilization bonuses Edit
- Aztecs: Men-at-Arms are created 18% faster.
- Burmese: Men-at-Arms have +1/+2/+3 attack in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age. Researching Faith is 50% cheaper.
- Celts: Men-at-Arms move 15% faster. Men-at-Arms can convert herdables even if enemy units are next to them.
- Chinese: Technologies that benefit Men-at-Arms are 10%/15%/20% cheaper in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
- Goths: Men-at-Arms are 35% cheaper and have +1 attack against standard buildings. With Perfusion researched, researching Tracking, Squires, and Arson and upgrading to Long Swordsman is 100% faster.
- Japanese: Men-at-Arms attack 33% faster.
- Magyars: Forging, Iron Casting, and Blast Furnace are free.
- Malians: Men-at-Arms have +1/+2/+3 pierce armor in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
- Portuguese: Men-at-Arms cost 15% less gold.
- Slavs: Tracking is free.
- Spanish: Blacksmith upgrades that benefit Men-at-Arms don't cost gold.
- Vietnamese: Conscription is free.
- Vikings: Men-at-Arms have 10%/15%/20% more hit points in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
Team bonuses Edit
- A team containing Berbers: With Kasbah researched, researching Conscription is 25% faster.
- A team containing Goths: Men-at-Arms are created and upgraded 20% faster. Researching Tracking, Squires, and Arson is 20% faster.
- A team containing Teutons: Men-at-Arms are more resistant to conversion.
The Age of Kings Edit
- Men-at-Arms have +1 attack against standard buildings.
- Men-at-Arms have 0 pierce armor.
- Goths: Men-at-Arms are 10%/15%/25% cheaper in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
The Conquerors Edit
- Men-at-Arms now have 1 pierce armor.
- Heresy introduced.
- Goths: With patch 1.0c, Men-at-Arms are 35% cheaper. Perfusion introduced.
The Forgotten Edit
- Men-at-Arms now have +2 attack against standard buildings.
The African Kingdoms Edit
- Arson introduced.
- Vikings: With patch 4.8, Chieftains now affects Men-at-Arms. It gives Men-at-Arms +2 attack against camels.
Rise of the Rajas Edit
- Vikings: With patch 5.7, Chieftains now gives Men-at-Arms +4 attack against camels.
- The Man-at-Arms is one of only four upgraded forms of military units (the other three being the Long Swordsman, the War Galley, and the Capped Ram) to be available to all civilizations.
- The Militia line is the only unit line in the game with more than three stages.
- The name "Man-at-Arms" is incorrect: in history, a man-at-arms was a soldier (either noble or non-noble) from the High Medieval to Renaissance periods who was typically well-versed in the use of arms and served as a fully armored heavy cavalryman. A more correct term would be Swordsman.
- The Malay is the only civilization to have the Militia line (except the Champion) as trash unit (once the Forced Levy is researched).
“Men who had received weapons training and wore armor of some sort in battle were referred to as men-at-arms. By definition, all knights were men-at-arms, but not all men-at-arms were knights. The class of men-at-arms also included professional fighting men of no nobility called sergeants and knights in training called squires. The armies of feudal lords were divided into two distinct groups, the men-at-arms of all classes and the peasant militia. The training fighting men provided the principal fighting power of the army. Men-at-arms on foot fought with swords. This was an effective weapon and helped distinguish the men-at-arms from soldiers of lower social standing like Spearmen, Skirmishers, and missile troops. Men-at-arms wore armor, usually from head to toe, and were highly trained. They were especially effective against Spearmen if they could close under the spear points. They fought beside dismounted knights under certain conditions, such as castle assaults. During the Hundred Years War, the English often fought dismounted because the French knights usually outnumbered them by a large margin. On the open battlefield, a man-at-arms was at a great disadvantage against a mounted knight. Knights kept a body of men-at-arms on retainer to help maintain local order within the local fief and to accompany the knight when called up for military service.”