|This article is about the unit in Age of Empires II. For the armor class, see Armor class: Monk. For the similar unit in other games of the series, see Monk.|
|“||Converts enemy units to your civilization. Heals friendly units (except ships and siege weapons). Can collect Relics and bring them to Monasteries.||”|
|—Age of Empires II description|
The Monk is a special unit in Age of Empires II that can be trained at the Monastery. Lacking any means of attack, Monks are one of only two units able to convert other units to the player's side, the other being the Spanish Missionary. They heal allied units and the player's own units, except for ships and siege weapons. Initially weak, Monks can be powered up quite a bit by researching all technologies in the Monastery.
Of all civilizations, the Aztecs have the strongest Monks, having access to all religious technologies and receiving an extra 5 HP for each one researched. If every technology is researched, Aztec Monks have 95 HP - more than twice as much as a regular Monk with Sanctity.
The Bohemians and Spanish also have unique technologies that benefit their Monks. Burmese, Byzantine, Lithuanian, and Teuton Monks are also fairly effective, benefiting from both Monastery upgrades and team bonuses.
Monks are a versatile unit that play a number of important roles from the Castle Age onward, including the collection of Relics, harassing opposing resource nodes, disrupting opponents lines, dissuading Knight aggression, and healing injured units.
The first and arguably most important role they serve is to collect Relics. When a Monk puts a Relic inside a player's Monastery, the player receives a continuous trickle of gold over time, roughly equivalent to one Dark Age miner. The more Relics the player collects, the more gold they generate. Unlike mining, Relics are inexhaustible. In a game with standard victory, collecting and holding every Relic for a brief time period is one of the many ways to win the game. Having an Aztec ally gives +33% gold generation. Researching Grand Trunk Road gives +10% gold generation.
Having a Burgundian ally on the team also enables a continuous trickle of food over time, equal to that of a generic civilization's gold trickle rate.
Relics for Lithuanians give attack boost to heavy cavalry units equal to the number of Relics (which is capped at 4).
The second purpose Monks serve is to convert enemy units. Opinions can differ widely about the use of conversion in the game. However, converting a unit minimizes the enemy's forces while simultaneously increasing the player's own army. In the Castle Age, Monks can be effective in backing up rushes without the opponent having the ability to research Faith and being able to outrange every single unit but the Briton Crossbowman and Longbowman with Yeomen.
Good Monk civilizations (such as the Aztecs, Burmese, Lithuanians, Saracens, Slavs, Spanish, and Teutons) can even perform a Monk rush. That can be dangerous, because the attacked player most likely does not have any anti-conversion technologies researched and the Monks are affordable due to the high amount of gold being freely available. The Portuguese can also rush with Monks, as their Monks are 20% cheaper, costing 80 gold, while having a faster speed for researching technologies will help them to get the benefits more quickly.
In the Imperial Age, Block Printing becomes available, helping the Monk to keep up rangewise (especially for its line of sight), but the armies of the players are getting much stronger in the Imperial Age, which relatively makes the Monk much weaker. Almost all infantry and cavalry units are able to kill them in three hits, archers normally only need five. Siege units also make short work of Monks. That is a huge problem for players relying on Monks. Also, with Faith being available, the use of conversion is significantly decreased. Another problem is that conversion requires a high amount of micromanagement due to the fact that Monks do not convert on their own and cannot be instructed to do so (there is no aggressive stance function for Monks). That means that the player always has to be present and execute the conversion manually. In later stages of the game, when the battle is larger and taking place on multiple locations, it is almost impossible to handle aggressive Monks adequately. If there is just one main battlefield, it can still work, however, if the player concentrates on converting key units such as Paladins, War Elephants, or Boyars and guards the Monks well.
Monks are able to heal friendly units. That comes in especially useful for resilient units that the player wants to keep taking hits. Monks are often paired with archers, because they are easy to control and be effective at the same time with the defensive stance mode. Siege weapons are a heavy threat to this combination. Because hero units have health regenerative abilities, combining that with the healing of a Monk will further speed up the hero's rate of healing, providing a large advantage.
The healing speed of Monks or Missionaries healing one target is given by . This means that the first Monk heals one unit at 150 hp/min, while subsequent Monks heal at half the speed. The number is double for Byzantine-allied Monks.
This means that players should ensure that there is only one Monk healing each damaged unit (unless there are more Monks than damaged units). Luckily, Monks by default seek out units to heal which are not being healed by other Monks, but this means that Monks will stand idle if there are more Monks than damaged units.
Players should have around two to ten Monks depending on the size and type of their forces, to heal wounded units free of charge during battle. Monks should be kept out of danger and the wounded units should come to the Monks, not the other way around, or else they are likely to be targeted.
Monks are not able to heal themselves, meaning that another Monk must be present to heal them. The only exception to this is if a Monk is a hero unit, in which it will inherently have the health regeneration ability that all heroes possess.
The Byzantines and Teutons have the best healers in the game, as they have a faster healing rate and a longer healing range respectively. Spanish Missionaries are also among the best, thanks to their speed, allowing them to keep up with armies.
The Monastery is no military building, and does not have any prerequisites other than being in the Castle Age. This is important for a lot of boom strategies where a Blacksmith and Market are used to get to the Castle Age. Upon reaching the Castle Age, it will be difficult to get out military to defend the player's settlement as they will need to build a Barracks and then most likely also Archery Ranges and Stables before starting to produce unupgraded (!) units. Comparatively, a Monastery can be built, Monks can be produced immediately, and they are instantly fully functional. Combined with a Siege Workshop producing Mangonels, the player will have good answers against attacking archers, Knights, and infantry with minimal investment. With additional Walls, the aggressive options left to their opponents are further limited when they can no longer get Eagle Warriors or scouts into the players base.
|Unit strengths and weaknesses|
|Strong vs.||Slow non-ranged units|
|Weak vs.||Eagle Warriors, Light Cavalry, Konniks (after Heresy), siege weapons (before Redemption), Heroes|
|Hit points|| Sanctity (+15, +20 for the Aztecs)|
Redemption (+5, only for the Aztecs)
Atonement (+5, only for the Aztecs)
Herbal Medicine (+5, only for the Aztecs)
Heresy (+5, only for the Aztecs)
Fervor (+5, only for the Aztecs)
Faith (+5, only for the Aztecs)
Illumination (+5, only for the Aztecs)
Block Printing (+5, only for the Aztecs)
Theocracy (+5, only for the Aztecs)
|Range||Block Printing (+3)|
|Conversion|| Redemption (convert siege weapons and most buildings)|
Atonement (convert Monks)
Illumination (regain faith faster)
Theocracy (only one Monk rests after conversion)
Inquisition (Monks convert faster, Spanish only)
|Conversion defense|| Faith|
First Crusade (Sicilians only)
|Other||Hussite Reforms (gold cost replaced with food, Bohemians only)|
- Aztecs: Monks gain 5 HP for every researched Monastery technology.
- Burmese: Technologies that benefit Monks are 50% cheaper.
- Celts: Monks can convert herdables even if enemy units are next to them.
- Chinese: Technologies that benefit Monks are 15%/20% cheaper in the Castle/Imperial Age.
- Portuguese: Monks are cheaper. Upgrades that benefit Monks are researched 30% faster.
- Teutons: Monks have double range for healing.
- Byzantines: Monks heal faster.
- Lithuanians: Monks train 20% faster. All monastery technologies are researched 20% faster.
- Teutons: Monks are more resistant to conversion.
The Age of Kings
- Monks carrying Relics are not affected by anti-Monk damage.
- Fervor only affects Monks carrying Relics.
- Heresy introduced.
- Theocracy introduced.
- Byzantines: Monks heal 50% faster (team bonus).
- Monks carrying Relics are susceptible to anti-Monk damage.
- All Monks are affected by Fervor, not just Monks carrying Relics.
- Saracens: Madrasah introduced.
- Slavs: Orthodoxy introduced.
- Spanish: Inquisition introduced.
Lords of the West
- Sicilians: First Crusade introduced. With update 47820, First Crusade increases conversion resistance (similar to Faith).
Dawn of the Dukes
- Bohemians: Hussite Reforms introduced.
- Byzantines: With update 56005, Monks heal 100% faster (team bonus).
Dynasties of India
- Saracens: With update 61321, Madrasah is removed from the game.
- Slavs: With update 61321, Orthodoxy is removed from the game.
- The Monk is one of only two units in the game to cost only gold, the other being the Missionary.
- The Monk is one of only four units to have two different designs, the other being the Villager, the Trade Cart, and the Flemish Militia.
- The fifth design document of Ensemble Studios (dated 17 July 1998) envisioned Monks with four different skins depending of their religion: bald in a brown robe for Christian civilizations, white hat and robe for Muslims, bald in white robe for Buddhists, and Deer mask in brown robe for Pagans. Despite several fan mods changing the Middle Eastern Monk's skin to the Imam's and the East Asian Monk's to Chand Badai's, no similar feature has ever been officially released.
- The Definitive Edition contains an unused African Monk icon.
- The Aztecs, Bohemians, Lithuanians, Saracens, Spanish, Teutons, and Byzantines, are the only civilizations with access to all technologies affecting Monks (Byzantine Monasteries only miss Herbal Medicine).
- Monks (and Missionaries) can also repair the player's own Farms and Fish Traps (but not allies'). It still costs the same amount of wood to repair the same amount of damage for each, but Monks can repair from their healing range. One Monk can repair a Farm several times faster than one Villager, but a Villager will repair a Fish Trap near the shore much faster than a Monk. Monks do not start repairing the player's Farms or Fish Traps automatically, unlike healing nearby allied units.
- Monks cannot convert Kings, Queens, Crusader Knights, and Hero units, and even with Redemption, they cannot convert certain buildings: Town Center, Castle, Krepost, Monastery, Wall, Gate, Wonder, Farm (which cannot even be targeted), Fish Trap, Palisade Wall, and Palisade Gate. Among buildings which cannot be built in regular games, they cannot convert Fortified Tower, City Wall, City Gate, Aqueduct, and various others. Even though they cannot convert Monasteries, they can still convert any Cathedral, Mosque, and Shrine in scenarios with Redemption researched.
|“||Religion was a powerful force during the Middle Ages, whether it was Roman Catholicism of the West, Islam in the Middle East, or Buddhism in Asia. The missionaries and teachers of religion were mainly monks, men who took vows of poverty and who dedicated their lives to spreading their message. Middle Age conflicts often derived from religious differences and were led or supported by contingents of monks on each side. The Crusades, for example, were multiple attempts by European Christians to wrest control of the Holy Land from the hands of Islamic Arabs. Large numbers of monks accompanied the Christian crusading armies.||”|
|—Age of Empires II manual|