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Parthian Tactics is a technology in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors available at the Archery Range upon reaching the Imperial Age. Once researched, it improves mounted archers (except Genitours) increasing their armor by +1/+2 and giving them an attack bonus of +2 against Spearmen.

Availability chart[]

Parthiantacticsavailable AvailableParthiantacticsunavailable Unavailable
means that the civilization had access to Parthian Tactics in the past, but does not currently.


The availability of Parthian Tactics is an indicator of prominent Cavalry Archers. Parthian Tactics is situationally better than Ring Archer Armor since it provides +2 attack vs Spearmen. Since both these technologies provide armor to a ranged mobile unit, they are not the priority. As always with ranged units, range, attack (both the raw damage and the Rate of Fire), and speed are the top priorities. The Imperial Age upgrades sorted by priority are:

It should be noted that, from the civilizations with Parthian Tactics:

  • The Japanese, Saracens, Magyars, Tatars and Turks are the only civilizations that can fully upgrade their Heavy Cavalry Archers, having access to Thumb Ring, Ring Archer Armor and Bracer.
    • Japanese Cavalry Archers have +2 attack against non-Skirmisher Archer.
    • The Saracens' Cavalry Archers do not benefit from any civilization bonuses or unique technologies.
    • The Magyars' Cavalry Archers are often considered to be the best in the game, due to receiving an additional +1 damage and range from Recurve Bow, and are also created 25% faster.
    • The Tatars' Cavalry Archers receive a variety of strong bonuses, including free Thumb Ring and Parthian Tactics, extra line of sight, increased damage from height advantage, and +1/+1 armor from Silk Armor.
    • The Turks' Cavalry Archers receive +20 hit points from Sipahi. They also gain a good advantage with free Chemistry.
  • The Bulgarians, Huns, and Mongols only lack Ring Archer Armor, hence are perfectly usable.
    • The Bulgarians' Cavalry Archers are their only viable non-Skirmisher Archery Range unit, since they lack Crossbowmen and Hand Cannoneers.
    • The Huns' Cavalry Archers are 10/20% cheaper in the Castle Age and Imperial Age, respectively.
    • The Mongols' Cavalry Archers attack 25% faster. However, the ideal Mongol army composition prefers their unique unit, the Mangudai, over Cavalry Archers.
  • The Cumans and Persians lack Bracer, which is a huge disadvantage, although they possess some redeeming qualities.
    • The Cumans' Cavalry Archers move 5% faster than any other civilization, and can be massed very quickly, due to the Cumans' cheaper Archery Ranges, and Steppe Husbandry, which cuts their creation time in half. Even then, Cuman strategies prefer to rely on their unique unit, the Kipchak.
    • The Persians may research Parthian Tactics in the Castle Age, giving their Cavalry Archers a decisive power-spike in the mid game. In the Imperial Age, a switch to the wood-only Kamandaran Crossbowmen ought to be considered over researching the rather expensive Heavy Cavalry Archer upgrade, as the resources can instead be put towards Savars and War Elephants.
  • The Khmer notably lack Thumb Ring, which makes their Cavalry Archers somewhat inaccurate (Heavy Cavalry Archers have a base accuracy of just 80%). While still usable, the Khmer are arguably better off using Ballista Elephants or Heavy Scorpions for ranged support.
  • The Georgians' Cavalry Archers seem subpar at first glance, lacking both Ring Archer Armor and Thumb Ring. However, they benefit from several bonuses, including hit point regeneration, increased damage protection while elevated, and reduced population usage with Aznauri Cavalry, making them a worthwhile investment for their late-game cavalry deathball.
  • The Burmese have the worst Heavy Cavalry Archers (despite having Parthian Tactics), due to lacking Thumb Ring, Leather Archer Armor, and Ring Archer Armor. As a result, it is researched mostly for the sake of the Arambai, which suffers from lacking archer armor upgrades as well.

Before update 111772, the Bengalis were able to research Parthian Tactics. As they did not have the Cavalry Archer line, it instead applied to their Elephant Archers and Rathas. To slightly compensate for the loss, the armor and anti-spear attack bonus of the Ratha was increased, resulting in the Elite Ratha having the same statistics as if they had Parthian Tactics researched.

Affected units[]

All units listed below benefit from Parthian Tactics. The units and effects are mentioned below.

Unit Armor increase Spearman attack increase
GenitourIcon-DE Genitour - GenitourIcon-DE Elite Genitour 0/0 0
All other mounted archer units +1/+2 +2
Arambaiicon-DE Arambai - Arambaiicon-DE Elite Arambai +1/+2 +2

The Conquistador and the Arambai are classified as "Conquistador" and not "Cavalry Archer". They are unaffected by Parthian Tactics by class definition. However, the Arambai receives a boost from the upgrade by specifically applying the effects. Genitours, despite being Cavalry Archers, are specifically excluded by having penalties equal to the bonuses.

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Persians AoE2 Persians: Parthian Tactics is available in the Castle Age.
  • Tatars AoE2 Tatars: Parthian Tactics is free.

Team bonuses[]

  • Britons AoE2 Britons: Researching Parthian Tactics is 10% faster.
  • Portuguese AoE2 Portuguese: Researching Parthian Tactics is 25% faster.


AoE2-DLCicon-1 The Conquerors[]

  • Parthian Tactics introduced. On release, Parthian Tactics does not give an attack bonus. With patch 1.0b, the attack bonus was added to the technology. The attack bonus was +4 for the Cavalry Archer line and +2 for unique mounted archers. In Full Tech Tree mode, War Wagons do not benefit from the attack bonus.

AoE2-DLCicon-4 Rise of the Rajas[]

  • Parthian Tactics does not benefit Arambai.

AoEIIDE icon Definitive Edition[]

AoE2Icon-LordsWest Lords of the West[]

  • With update 50292, the internal implementation of Parthian Tactics is made cleaner and simpler. As a side effect, applicable heroes benefit from it.

AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia Dynasties of India[]

AoE2Icon-MountainRoyals The Mountain Royals[]

Aoe2 hb Victors and Vanquished[]

  • With update 111772, the Bengalis can no longer research Parthian Tactics.


  • Only thirteen civilizations can research Parthian Tactics, making it the most exclusive of all technologies.
  • Most nomadic civilizations or civilizations that originated from nomadic tribes can access Parthian Tactics, with the exception of the Berbers who cannot.
  • The Parthians, the eponymous people for this technology, appear as an enemy faction in the campaign scenario Ransom at Ctesiphon in Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome, and are a recurring enemy in the Trajan campaign in Age of Empires: Return of Rome.
  • During the beta for the Defintive Edition, Lithuanians had access to Parthian Tactics, making it available to all of the The Last Khans civilizations at the time.
  • None of the eight civilizations in The African Kingdoms, Lords of the West, and Dawn of the Dukes have access to Parthian Tactics. As a result, none of the African and Western European civilizations have access to it.
    • With update 111772, none of the civilizations in Dynasties of India have access to Parthian Tactics. It also makes it so that none of the Indian civilizations have access to it.
  • In The Conquerors, the Japanese were the only civilization that could research Parthian Tactics, but not Bloodlines. Since The Forgotten, all civilizations that have access to Parthian Tactics can research Bloodlines.
  • Between updates 61321 and 73855, Parthian Tactics gave only +2 anti-Spearman attack to Elephant Archers despite them not being unique anymore. This was later changed to give all mounted archers +2 anti-Spearman attack.
  • Despite their historical reputation for mounted archery, the Berbers, Byzantines, Slavs, Armenians, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Koreans do not have access to Parthian Tactics.
    • The lack of Parthian Tactics in the tech tree does not necessarily mean the civilizations did not have a tradition of mounted archery. Some civilizations lack Parthian Tactics to balance their unique units (i.e. the Berbers' Camel Archer and the Koreans' War Wagon) or for gameplay balance reasons.
    • The Vietnamese and Koreans have direct bonuses to their Cavalry Archers, so it is not a dealbreaker.
  • Parthian Tactics benefits Rathas and Elephant Archers, but this is not visible in standard games ever since the Bengalis lost Parthian Tactics with update 111772. However, since switching the mode of converted Rathas resets them to the owning player (just like switching tasks of a converted Villager does), it can be made to benefit from Parthian Tactics if the new civilization has it, hence taking their armor to a whopping 7/9 if all armor technologies are available.


The horse archers of Parthia, now part of modern Iran, were renowned for their ability to shoot arrows at pursuers, whether the archers were in real or feigned retreat. Being able to shoot at enemies while withdrawing was very irritating to the enemy, especially when pursuers were too slow to close the gap. Although the Parthians were an ancient people, their tactics were adopted by later civilizations that employed horse archers and their name remained attached to the maneuver. The phrase "parthian shot" has come to mean any comment made while exiting a discussion.
The Conquerors manual


Technologies in Age of Empires II
Economic technologies
MaleVillDEFEMALEVILLDE VillagerWheelbarrowDE Wheelbarrow · HandcartDE Hand Cart
Aoe2de food FoodHorseCollarDE Horse Collar · HeavyPlowDE Heavy Plow · CropRotationDE Crop Rotation
GillnetsDE Gillnets
Aoe2de wood WoodDoubleBitAxe aoe2DE Double-Bit Axe · BowSawDE Bow Saw · TwoManSawDE Two-Man Saw
Aoe2de gold GoldGoldMiningDE Gold Mining · GoldShaftMiningDE Gold Shaft Mining
CaravanDE Caravan
Aoe2de stone StoneStoneMiningDE Stone Mining · StoneShaftMiningDE Stone Shaft Mining
Civilian shipsDryDockDE Dry Dock · ShipwrightDE Shipwright
Market aoe2DE MarketCoinageDE Coinage · BankingDE Banking
GuildsDE Guilds
Military technologies
GeneralConscriptionDE Conscription
HeresyDE Heresy · Devotion icon AoE2DE Devotion · FaithDE Faith
Melee unitsForging aoe2de Forging · IronCastingDE Iron Casting · BlastFurnaceDE Blast Furnace
CavalryBloodlinesDE Bloodlines · HusbandryDE Husbandry
ScaleBardingArmorDE Scale Barding Armor · ChainBardingDE Chain Barding Armor · PlateBardingArmorDE Plate Barding Armor
InfantrySuplliesicon Supplies · AoE2 Gambesons Gambesons · SquiresDE Squires · ArsonDE Arson
ScaleMailArmorDE Scale Mail Armor · ChainMailArmorDE Chain Mail Armor · PlateMailArmorDE Plate Mail Armor
Ranged unitsBallisticsDE Ballistics · ChemistryDE Chemistry
FletchingDE Fletching · BodkinArrowDE Bodkin Arrow · BracerDE Bracer
ArchersPaddedArcherArmorDE Padded Archer Armor · LeatherArcherArmorDE Leather Archer Armor · RingArcherArmorDE Ring Archer Armor
ThumbRingDE Thumb Ring · ParthianTacticsDE Parthian Tactics
SiegeSiegeEngineersDE Siege Engineers
ShipCareeningDE Careening · DryDockDE Dry Dock
ShipwrightDE Shipwright
WarGalleyDE War Galley
BuildingTownWatchDE Town Watch · TownPatrolDE Town Patrol
Masonry aoe2de Masonry · ArchitectureDE Architecture
HeatedShotDE Heated Shot · ArrowSlitsDE Arrowslits · MurderHolesDE Murder Holes · TreadmillCraneDE Treadmill Crane · HoardingsDE Hoardings · BombardTower aoe2DE Bombard Tower
HerbalDE Herbal Medicine
MonkRedemptionDE Redemption · AtonementDE Atonement · SanctityDE Sanctity · FervorDE Fervor · IlluminationDE Illumination · BlockPrintingDE Block Printing · TheocracyDE Theocracy
MaleVillDEFEMALEVILLDE VillagerLoomDE Loom · SapperDE Sappers
Miscellaneous technologies
SpiesDE Spies · SpiesDE Treason · UniqueTechCastle-DEUniqueTechImperialDE Unique technologies
Removed/cut generic technologies
Bombardcannonresearch Bombard Cannon · CannongalleonresearchDE Cannon Galleon · Cartography aoe2de Cartography · Handcannon Hand Cannon · Huntingdogs Hunting Dogs · Revetments · TrackingDE Tracking