|“||Wheeled siege weapon used to attack a small mass of units.||”|
|—Age of Empires II description|
The Mangonel is a ranged siege unit in Age of Empires II that can be trained at the Siege Workshop. It is primarily used against large groups of enemies. Its high attack and splash damage make it a powerful unit, especially against archers and slow-moving units. Its main offsets are its low projectile speed, minimum range, and tendency to harm friendly units caught in its blast. Mangonels can attack ground.
They are an exceptionally expensive unit (the total resources are higher than for a War Elephant), and they should be used and protected accordingly.
Mangonels in most circumstances need to be paired with other units. They are often employed in the late game with Halberdiers in choke points (to which the counter is the Champion), with Monks in early Castle Age siege pushes, and with archers on open maps against Skirmishers or other archers. They are also a key defensive unit. Its powerful attack can be devastating to most groups of enemy units, but it is advisable to watch them in battle to prevent friendly fire. Using the attack ground command is useful for Mangonels if the player can predict the movement of enemy troops.
The Mangonels can be employed defensively behind Castles, Walls, or Towers in order to avoid them being attacked by rams. They are also employed under Town Centers to protect the economy from archer fire.
Mangonels are often paired with ranged units since it is less likely that those units would be affected by the Mangonels' attack. They are also capable of dealing damage to Town Centers, problems which infantry and cavalry do not have, but archers do.
When pairing them with melee units, it is important to set those units to defensive stance in order to prevent them from wandering off and leaving the Mangonel vulnerable.
A popular tactic, especially on the map Arena, is to quickly advance to the Castle Age and pair Mangonels with Monks, as they cover each other's main weaknesses. Mangonels are great against ranged units like Crossbowmen, who can otherwise quickly kill Monks, while Monks can convert Knights (in small enough numbers), who are the bane of Mangonels. This strategy however requires intense micromanagement and is somewhat vulnerable to Light Cavalry and Eagle Warriors, who resist conversion, have an attack bonus against Monks, and can quickly close the gap to the Mangonels. The Eagle Warrior is particularly effective, since it also has an attack bonus against Mangonels and is less food intensive.
Mangonels are an excellent way to deal with masses of foot archers, Skirmishers, and Cavalry Archers, and serve as an equalizer when the opponent gets ahead in archer wars. One good Mangonel shot can turn the tide of a battle in this case. In comparison, Mangonels struggle against Conquistadors, Janissaries and Arambai, as their pierce attack is considerably higher than the Mangonel's pierce armour. In these cases, it is advisable to use multiple Mangonels or employ Skirmishers instead.
Mangonels are an excellent choice of siege unit in the Castle Age for several reasons:
- Mangonels are a strong threat to ranged units and cannot be outranged by most archers (the exception being Briton archers).
- Mangonels outrange Town Centers (except Lithuanian Town Centers with Hill Forts researched) and do respectable damage to buildings.
- Mangonels can do great damage to rams while on the other side of walls.
On the other hand, they should be employed cautiously when Stable units are on the field, unless protected by a Castle, Pikemen, or Monks. On open maps like Arabia, these options might not make the investment into Mangonels pay off.
In archer wars in high level games, the primary counter to a Mangonel is another Mangonel, though they can fall to well micromanaged archers, by "splitting", with the formation keys.
Comparison to the Scorpion
- Scorpions deal pierce damage, as opposed as the Mangonel's melee.
- Scorpions do damage in a straight line, while Mangonels attack a single, small area. The amount of total damage against a group of units will largely depend on formation and enemy micro.
- The Mangonel has a much bigger base attack and its Area of Effect generally allows it to hit more enemies than the Scorpion.
- In addition to its superior damage per shot, Mangonels have bigger bonus damage against both buildings and siege.
- The fact that Mangonels deal melee damage makes them very effective against all other siege units in the game, including the Scorpion (since siege units have high pierce armor and low melee armor). At the same time, the Scorpion's pierce damage makes it very ineffective at destroying siege units.
- The Mangonel has two upgrades, which increases its power much more than the one upgrade available for the Scorpion. The upgrades significantly increase the Mangonel's attack and health, as well as increasing its range by +1. The same does not happen for the Heavy Scorpion, which only gets a slight increase in health and attack from its upgrade.
- Scorpions cannot attack ground, making them hard to micromanage against an agile unit. In contrast, a cleverly managed Mangonel may hit fast-moving units.
- Mangonels do not have frame delay; Scorpions have significant frame delay.
- Mangonels have more hit points, especially their upgraded versions.
- Scorpions do not damage friendly units, but Mangonels do.
- Mangonels need careful control throughout almost any battle or they are likely to deal heavy damage to the player's own troops. In contrast, Scorpions can be effective even with very little micro-management. As such. Scorpions can be argued to be more suitable for beginner players than Mangonels.
- In addition, the friendly fire of Mangonels make them less suitable for combining with melee units.
- Scorpions cost only about half as much as Mangonels (Scorpions cost in total 150 resources, while the Mangonel costs 295, although the latter is less gold-intensive).
- Scorpions attack nearly twice as fast as Mangonels.
- While Scorpions have a shorter range (7) than upgraded Mangonels (8), the Scorpion projectiles continue moving 3 tiles ahead of its maximum range, allowing them to hit units 10 tiles away (11 if having with Siege engineers). Combined with the fact that Scorpion shots reach their targets faster than Mangonel shots, this makes the Scorpion shots harder to dodge. This is especially true against ranged units performing hit-and-run tactics, since these units cannot retreat straight backwards from the Scorpion shots, but will dodge Mangonel shots by doing this.
- The Heavy Scorpion upgrade does not cost gold (1,000 food and 1,100 wood) and is much cheaper than the combined cost of the Onager (800 food, 500 gold) and Siege Onager (1,450 food, 1,000 gold) upgrades.
- Scorpions have one extra pierce armor (although each upgrade on the Mangonel grants 1 more pierce armor each).
- Scorpions have a minimum range of 2, while the minimum range of Mangonels is 3. This influences the unit's survivability.
|Unit strengths and weaknesses|
|Strong vs.||Buildings, Villagers, archers, Scorpions, Battering Rams, Trebuchets, units in dense formations|
|Weak vs.||Melee units especially Magyar Huszars and other melee cavalry, Mangudais, Woad Raiders, Condottieri, Eagle Warriors|
|Hit points||Furor Celtica ( , Celts only)|
|Attack|| Siege Engineers (+20% attack against buildings)|
Torsion Engines (increases blast damage radius, Ethiopians only)
|Range|| Siege Engineers (+1)|
Shinkichon ( , Koreans only)
|Armor||Ironclad (+4/+0, Teutons only)|
|Movement Speed||Drill (+50%, Mongols only)|
|Conversion defense|| Faith|
- Aztecs: Mangonels are created 11% faster.
- Bulgarians: Upgrading to Onager costs 50% less food.
- Burmese: Researching Faith is 50% cheaper.
- Celts: Mangonels fire 25% faster. Mangonels can convert herdables even if enemy units are next to them.
- Chinese: Technologies that benefit Mangonels are 20% cheaper.
- Italians: Researching Chemistry is 33% cheaper.
- Portuguese: Mangonels cost less gold. Upgrades that benefit Mangonels are researched 30% faster.
- Slavs: Mangonels are 15% cheaper.
- Tatars: Mangonels deal +25% bonus damage from cliffs and elevations.
- A team containing Celts: Mangonels are created and upgraded 20% faster.
- A team containing Koreans: Mangonels .
- A team containing Malians: Researching Chemistry and Siege Engineers is 80% faster.
- A team containing Teutons: Mangonels are more resistant to conversion.
- A team containing Lithuanians: Researching Heresy and Faith is 20% faster.
The Age of Kings
- Mangonels move at a speed of 0.5.
- Researching Chemistry reduces the projectile speed from 3.5 to 2.9.
- Mangonel now move at a speed of 0.6.
- Mangonels gain +12 bonus damage against siege weapons.
- Heresy introduced.
- Celts: Furor Celtica introduced. It gives Mangonels +50% HP.
- Mongols: Drill introduced.
- Koreans: Shinkichon initially gives Mangonels +2 range. With patch 1.0b, the effect was reduced to +1.
- A team containing Koreans: Mangonels have +1 range.
- Researching Chemistry does not affect the projectile speed anymore.
- Celts: Furor Celtica now gives +40% HP to Mangonels.
- Teutons: Ironclad introduced.
- A team containing Koreans: Mangonels minimum range reduced by 2 (instead of +1 range).
- Bulgarians: with update 42848, upgrading to Onager costs -50% food.
- Portuguese: With update 42848, technologies are researched 30% faster.
- The design for the Mangonel is inaccurate as its real life design was essentially a small Trebuchet. A more accurate name for it would be Light Onager.
|“||The mangonel was an improvement on the ancient catapult that was used to throw stones and other missiles, usually in a siege attack against a fortified position. The mangonel usually fired directly at a target, using a bar to stop the throwing arm when it was vertical. This threw the missile directly forward. Mangonels were used to fire one large stone or a basket of smaller stones. They were often assembled on the spot for use, but were also built on wheeled frames for easier movement.||”|
|—Age of Empires II manual|