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Stronger than Cavalier. Fast and heavy cavalry.
Age of Empires II description

The Paladin is a heavy cavalry unit in Age of Empires II that can be trained at the Stable once the Imperial Age is reached. Like most other cavalry, Paladins are strong and agile. They are considered to be one of the strongest and most effective units in the game.

Unit availability
Available Unavailable

The * indicates that the civilization can fully upgrade their Paladins, i.e. gets Blast Furnace, Plate Barding Armor, Bloodlines, and Husbandry. Faith and Heresy are not taken into account because they only contribute to their combat strength in a very situational manner. Franks and Cumans do not have all technologies, but their bonuses cover and exceed the missing technology (i.e, Cumans only lack Husbandry, but have +15% speed that more than compensates).

The ^ indicates that the civilization has at least one civilization or team bonus or a unique technology that benefits the combat strength of the Paladin.
The ‡ indicates Paladins were previously available for this civilization.


Paladin walkanim aoe2.gif

Paladins are one of the strongest and, though not cheap, most effective units, and a full team of forty can easily destroy any ill-prepared town or army. In one-on-one combat, Paladins can slay Halberdiers, but lose in cost efficiency by a wide margin; and lose to Heavy Camel Riders in both population efficiency and cost efficiency.

Paladins are susceptible to enemy Monks because of their high gold cost and regular conversion resistance. Siege weapons are ineffective against Paladins in most situations, but if cautiously used, Onagers can deal a great amount of damage. However, if used against ordinary infantry, archers, siege units, and unsuspecting towns, Paladins dominate the field. Still, Paladins should always be used with caution as flaws in the implementation of these units can prove very costly.

Even when lacking Blast Furnace and Bloodlines, Paladins are superior to generic Cavaliers, boasting +20 hit points and +1 pierce armor (while attacking slightly slower). Byzantine Paladins, Burgundian Paladins, and Lithuanian Paladins without Relics should not be avoided if the situation demands.

Celt Paladins are a fringe case, lacking Bloodlines and Plate Barding Armor, but having Blast Furnace, making them usable mostly against melee units.

Best civilizations[]

Despite lacking Bloodlines, the Franks have some of the strongest Paladins in the game due to their civilization bonus which grants them +20% HP, making them very powerful against melee (especially Halberdiers) and ranged units and excellent at raiding. They also have the most easily massed and upgraded Paladin once Chivalry is researched, which increases the work rate of Stables by 40%.

The Huns have the second fastest training and upgrading time as a result of their team bonus which makes their Stables work 20% faster, which affects them from the start of the game, while Chivalry needs a Castle and extra resources to be effective.

Before update 51737 the Lithuanians can potentially have the strongest Paladin in melee combat as one of their civilization bonuses gives +1 attack for each Relic gathered, with a maximum of +4. Because of this, their damage output can be greatly devasting against most units and buildings, however, even with 22 attack (the maximum they reach), they still need four hits to kill generic Halberdiers. Now they have lost Blast Furnace, meaning they must collect at least two Relics to compensate for it. With four Relics collected, they still equal Teutonic Paladins in a duel with a faster speed.

Despite lacking Husbandry, the Cumans have the fastest Paladin in the game, due to their civilization bonus granting them +15% movement speed, allowing them to chase down enemies and disengage from fights easily, as well as being extremely useful to raid and disrupt the enemy economy.

The Teutons also lack Husbandry, but have the Paladin best-suited for prolonged melee, thanks to their civilization bonus that provides +2 melee armor, which enables them to survive one more hit from Halberdiers and against low-attack units like Hussars. The team bonus also makes them more resistant to conversion.

The Persians have one of the most effective Paladins at countering ranged units, as their team bonus grants +2 attack against Archers.

The Burgundians also lack Bloodlines, but since their upgrade is 50% cheaper, they have the fastest appearance for Paladin. Also, the Cavalier upgrade is available in the Castle Age, meaning less time to upgrade, since most players will upgrade it during the Castle Age. The Cavalier upgrade is also cheaper. And unlike the other civilizations with strong Paladins, the Burgundians can use them in 1v1 more easily. In team games, their Paladins are very powerful in the early Imperial Age, but become weaker when the opponents finish the upgrade.

Comparison in the Post-Imperial Age[]

Civilization CivIcon-Franks.png Franks CivIcon-Persians.png Persians CivIcon-Teutons.png Teutons CivIcon-Cumans.png Cumans CivIcon-Lithuanians.png Lithuanians
HP 192 180 180 180 180
Attack 14+4 14+4 14+4 14+4 14+2 + Number of Relics
Armor 2+3/3+4 2+3/3+4 2+5/3+4 2+3/3+4 2+3/3+4
Speed 1.485 1.485 1.35 1.563 1.485
Training Time 16.11 22.56 22.56 22.56 22.56
Extras +2 LOS +2 attack vs Archers Conversion resistance - -

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Infantry, archers, Villagers, siege weapons, Cavalry Archers, Light Cavalry
Weak vs. Boyars, Pikemen, Kamayuks, Berserks, Genoese Crossbowmen, Teutonic Knights, Mamelukes, Camel Riders, Monks, War Elephants, Elite Battle Elephants
Hit points BloodlinesDE.png Bloodlines (+20)
Attack Forging aoe2de.png Forging (+1)
IronCastingDE.png Iron Casting (+1)
BlastFurnaceDE.png Blast Furnace (+2)
Armor ScaleBardingArmorDE.png Scale Barding Armor (+1/+1)
ChainBardingDE.png Chain Barding Armor (+1/+1)
PlateBardingArmorDE.png Plate Barding Armor (+1/+2)
Speed HusbandryDE.png Husbandry (+10%)
Conversion defense FaithDE.png Faith
HeresyDE.png Heresy
Creation speed ConscriptionDE.png Conscription (+33%)
Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Chivalry (+40%, Franks only)

Civilization bonuses[]

Team bonuses[]


The Conquerors[]

The Forgotten[]

Definitive Edition[]

Dawn of the Dukes[]


  • The Paladin's upgrade cost, at 1,300 food and 750 gold, is the third most food demanding in the game (only War Elephants and Onagers need more).
  • The in-game Paladin is inspired by the fictionalized Charlemagne's Twelve Peers.
    • The original Latin title palatinus (palace official) evolved into the Medieval title Count Palatine. A more correct and encompassing name for these in-game heavy melee horsemen would be Allodial Knight / Allodial Chevalier (a knight / chevalier who holds his own land, instead of holding a fief granted by a higher-ranking noble; thus he owes neither rent nor service to anyone).
    • Allodial Knights were present in Medieval English kingdom (including Wales, conquered and annexed since 1283), so it's historically inaccurate (though understandable from balancing's perspective) that Britons lack Paladins.
  • The Paladin has a slower attacking speed (1.9) compared to its predecessors (1.8) due to a change in the The Age of Kings alpha, when Knights and Cavaliers had an attack speed 2. This was modified, but the attack speed of Paladins was not changed.
  • Before the Definitive Edition, the Knight line was one of four units in the game without any innate attack bonus (the other being the Militia, the Boyar, and the Turtle Ship).
  • At various points, the Paladin has been the most exclusive "standard" unit in the game (the Eagle Warrior, Battle Elephant, and Steppe Lancer are generally treated as Native American, Southeast Asian, and Central Asian unique units respectively rather than regular ones, otherwise they would have this distinction).
    • Before The African Kingdoms was released, that title was held by the Siege Onager. With the introduction of The African Kingdoms, the Paladin became the most exclusive unit in the game replacing the Siege Onager, being available to only eight different civilizations.
    • With update 36906, the Paladin took back the title of the most exclusive unit in the game until Lords of the West came out and restored the tie.
    • After the accession of the Siege Onager for Sicilians, it has won the third time. With Lords of the West, the Paladin was tied with the Heavy Camel Rider as the most exclusive unit in the game, being available to only eleven civilizations.
    • This changed yet again with the release of Dynasties of India, when the new Gurjaras civilization had access to the Heavy Camel Rider and not the Paladin.
  • All civilizations (except Persians) that have access to the Paladin have European connections.
    • Cumans, despite being a Central Asian civilization, also have Paladins. This is a historical nod to the fact that the Cumans settled in Europe.
    • Huns, despite having Central European architecture, belong to Asia natively, like the Cumans. They came to Europe as invaders.
  • Three civilizations that have access to Paladins (Celts, Burgundians, and Byzantines), but not Bloodlines may reflect some of their historical limitations to their heavy cavalry:
    • The Celtic Paladins may reflect how Celtic armies in Ireland and Scotland were often overwhelmed by the English cavalry, and had to rely on French knights as mercenaries to fight off against the English.
    • The Byzantine Paladins may reflect their use of heavy cavalry as part of their cavalry tactics adopted from the Roman Empire (which is reflected by their unique unit), but their heavy cavalry were often overwhelmed by steppe nomads (like Cumans and Tatars) or rival Christian kingdoms (such as the Holy Roman Empire and Georgia) without proper infantry support.
    • The Burgundian Paladins reflect the Burgundians' emphasis on training and expertise for their knights over durability, which is reflected by two of their civilization bonuses of researching Cavalier in the Castle Age, and Stable technologies costing 50% less.
  • The exclusivity of the Paladin among the civilizations is also an indicator that, historically, that civilization made extensive use of heavy cavalry as part of their armies.
    • Still, historical inaccuracy remains: e.g. Huns, Cumans, early Magyars, and Lithuanians fielded mostly Light Cavalry (although the Lithuanian access to Paladins mostly reflects their alliance with the Polish, who utilized heavy cavalry during medieval times).
    • The Poles do not have the Paladin upgrade, despite the Lithuanian access to it. This is most likely done for gameplay design purposes, as the Lithuanians were originally designed to include the Poles, and to balance their Castle Age unique technology.
  • A fully upgraded Lithuanian Paladin with four Relics gets 20 attack.
    • Before update 34055, the Lithuanian Paladin reached 23 attack with all five Relics and was able to kill all Halberdiers in three hits. Only Viking Pikemen were able to survive a fourth hit.
  • A fully upgraded Teutonic Paladin is tied with the Gurjara Heavy Camel Rider for the highest melee armor of Stable units, as well as the second highest melee armor of all cavalry, only behind the Elite Boyar (11).
  • Before update 50292, both the Frankish and Teutonic Paladin could defeat, by a small margin, the Elite Boyar. After the update, both lose consistenly against the Elite Boyar. However, they are in tie with the Lithuanian Paladin with four Relics collected. Now none of the Paladins can defeat the Elite Boyar, because Lithuanians have lost Blast Furnace.
  • In the Definitive Edition, the Cavalier's and Paladin's mounts possess bushy legs, possibly influenced by modern heavy-weight horses; however, even the strongest Medieval warhorses, the destriers, were drawn with short lower-leg-hair.
  • The Last Khans was planned to be a Paladin, or more generally a heavy cavalry, expansion.
    • With update 36906, the Bulgarians became the first and only civilization that lost access to the Paladin in the game. However, they still retained their heavy cavalry identity by getting Stirrups to affect their Knight line in exchange. All along, they still have the Konnik, which is also a heavy cavalry unit, albeit closer to the Cavalier.
    • The Tatars were the only civilization introduced in The Last Khans that lacked access to the Paladin. However, they made up for that with their unique unit, the Keshik, which had stats rivalling the Paladin, lacking 30 HP and 1 melee armor until update 34055, thus becoming the only civilization in the expansion to not have focus on heavy cavalry.
  • There's a rumour that Paladin was available to the Malians in one of the betas of The African Kingdoms. While this may not be true, there is some historical basis for that, which is reflected in their unique technology Farimba.
  • The fully upgraded Byzantine and Celtic Paladin lose against the fully upgraded Bulgarian and Malian Cavalier. Before the removal of Blast Furnace, the Burgundian fully upgraded Paladin even loses against a fully upgraded Lithuanian Cavalier with four Relics.
  • None of the civilizations using East Asian, African, South Asian and Southeast Asian building style have access to the Paladin.
  • The Western European civilizations have the highest percentage amount of Paladins, with only Britons lacking access to it. Before update 36906, the Eastern European civilizations also had this title, with only the Slavs lacking it.
  • All civilizations that have access to the Paladin also have access to the Halberdier unit.
  • The only three civilizations with all economic technologies available (the Burgundians, Byzantines, and Persians) all have access to the Paladin.
  • Neither of the new civilizations introduced in The African Kingdoms, Rise of the Rajas, Dawn of the Dukes, and Dynasties of India have access to the Paladin upgrade.


The ultimate fighting knights were paladins, the cream of the cavalier class. Paladins were champions for their lords and their orders of knighthood. These men were of the highest social class and elite warriors. They often made up the personal bodyguard of a great king and were sworn to protect his life with their own.
Age of Empires II manual




  1. Since update 36906.