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This article is about the unit in Age of Empires II. For the unit in Age of Empires IV, see Man-at-Arms (Age of Empires IV).

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 paired 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[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Skirmishers, Scout Cavalry, Eagle Scouts, Spearmen, Villagers
Weak vs. Archers, Scorpions
Attack Forging aoe2de.png Forging (+1)
IronCastingDE.png Iron Casting (+1)
BlastFurnaceDE.png Blast Furnace (+2)
ArsonDE.png Arson (+2 attack against standard buildings)
Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Garland Wars (+4, Aztecs only)
Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Druzhina (Slavs only, gives trample damage)
CastleAgeUnique.png Chieftains (Vikings only, gives +5 attack against cavalry and +4 against camels)
Armor ScaleMailArmorDE.png Scale Mail Armor (+1/+1)
ChainMailArmorDE.png Chain Mail Armor (+1/+1)
PlateMailArmorDE.png Plate Mail Armor (+1/+2)
Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Bagains (+5 melee armor, Bulgarians only)
Speed SquiresDE.png Squires (+10%)
Sight TrackingDE.png Tracking (+2)
Conversion defense FaithDE.png Faith
HeresyDE.png Heresy
Creation speed ConscriptionDE.png Conscription (+33%)
Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Perfusion (+100%, Goths only)
Train cost Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Forced Levy (Malay only, changes gold cost to extra food cost)
Suplliesicon.png Supplies (-15 food)
Upgrades Long-swordsman-research.jpg Long Swordsman

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Aztecs: Men-at-Arms are created 11% faster.
  • Bulgarians: Militia-line upgrades (except Champion) are free. Blacksmith upgrades that benefit Men-At-Arms cost -50% food.
  • 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.
  • Dravidians: Researching Supplies, Squires, Arson, and upgrading to Long Swordsman is 50% cheaper.
  • Goths: Men-at-Arms are 25%/30%/35% cheaper in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age, and have +1/+2/+3 attack against standard buildings in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
  • 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 -20% gold. Technologies that benefit Men-at-Arms are researched 30% faster.
  • Sicilians: Men-at-Arms absorb 50% of all incoming bonus damage.
  • Slavs: Supplies is free.
  • Spanish: Blacksmith upgrades that benefit Men-at-Arms cost no gold.
  • Tatars: Men-at-Arms deal +25% bonus damage from a cliff or an elevation.
  • Teutons: Men-at-Arms have +1 armor in the Castle Age and +2 in the Imperial Age.
  • Vietnamese: Conscription is free.
  • Vikings: Men-at-Arms have +20% HP.

Team bonuses[]


The Age of Kings[]

  • Men-at-Arms have +1 attack against standard buildings.
  • Men-at-Arms have 0 pierce armor.
  • Upgrade cost of Long Swordsmen is 200 food, 65 gold.
  • Goths: Men-at-Arms are 10%/15%/25% cheaper in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age and have an extra +1 attack against standard buildings.
  • Vikings: Men-at-Arms have +10%/+15%/+20% HP in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.

The Conquerors[]

The Forgotten[]

The African Kingdoms[]

Rise of the Rajas[]

Definitive Edition[]

Dawn of the Dukes[]


  • 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 non-noble, heavily armored, mounted Elmeti in Age of Empires III more accurately portrays the historical men-at-arms.
  • The Malay is the only civilization to have the Militia line (except the Champion) as trash units (once the Forced Levy is researched).
  • In the alpha version they are trash units, costing only food.


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.