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Light artillery that fires large arrowlike bolts.
Age of Empires II description

The Scorpion is a light siege unit in Age of Empires II that can be trained at the Siege Workshop. The Scorpion fires large arrow-like bolts. It is effective against groups of enemy units as the bolts cause damage to multiple units in a straight line, although only the targeted unit gets full damage; all other units hit only get half damage. Unlike Mangonels, they do not damage friendly units. This can make all the difference in a pitched close quarters battle.


Scorpion anim aoe2.gif

Scorpions are effective against slower, lower-health units, but they usually need to be used in large groups. Foot-archers are the primary exception to this, where a single Scorpion has a tactical advantage. Infantry and archers tend to be the units its slower-moving bolts have maximum efficiency against. Scorpions perform worse against Eagle Warriors, Woad Raiders, and cavalry, which can dodge its missiles and/or close the gap quickly, and Huskarls, Ghulams, and Eagle Warriors, who have higher pierce armor which can resist the Scorpion bolts. Scorpions, like most siege units, should be well protected, as their slow speed makes them vulnerable to attack. They are often paired with Pikemen to deal with enemy cavalry. This combination is often seen with the Celts and Slavs, who have bonuses for both units. They can also be paired with Genoese Crossbowmen, which help protect them against cavalry, and can also assist against other units, unlike Pikemen.

When used properly, Scorpions can be quite devastating. A medium-sized group of Scorpions can decimate whole armies of infantry and archers, and will even hold out against cavalry in sufficient numbers. Scorpions tend to be countered by Mangonels. Khmer (and their allies' Scorpions) are less vulnerable to Mangonels, as their Scorpions outrange them. Scorpions are also vulnerable to longer ranged units such as Bombard Cannons and Longbowmen. When maneuvered properly, Cavalry Archers, especially Mangudai can deal with Scorpions efficiently.

Comparison to the Mangonel[]


  • 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.

Mangonel Advantages

  • 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.

Scorpion Advantages

  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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 pierce armor each).
  • Scorpions have a minimum range of 2, while the minimum range of Mangonels is 3. This influences the unit's survivability.
  • Scorpion bolts reach their targets faster than Mangonel payloads, and are thus harder to manually dodge.

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Massed Infantry and archers, Elephants, slow-moving units
Weak vs. Cavalry, fast-moving melee units, Magyar Huszars, Mangudai, Mangonels, Bombard Cannons, Eagle Warriors, Woad Raiders, Huskarls
Hit points Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Furor Celtica (+40%, Celts only)
Attack ChemistryDE.png Chemistry (+1)
Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Rocketry (+4, Chinese only)
Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Torsion Engines (increases blast damage radius, Ethiopians only)
Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Double Crossbow (gives a second projectile with 6 pierce damage and 3 bonus damage against Elephants, Khmer only)
Range SiegeEngineersDE.png Siege Engineers (+1)
Armor CastleAgeUnique.png Ironclad (+4/+0, Teutons only)
Movement Speed Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Drill (+50%, Mongols only)
Conversion defense FaithDE.png Faith
HeresyDE.png Heresy
UniqueTechCastle-DE.png First Crusade (Sicilians only)
Upgrades HeavyScorpionDE.png Heavy Scorpion

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Aztecs: Scorpions are created 11% faster.
  • Bulgarians: Upgrading to Heavy Scorpion costs -50% food.
  • Burmese: Researching Faith is 50% cheaper.
  • Celts: Scorpions fire 25% faster. Scorpions can convert herdables even if enemy units are next to them.
  • Chinese: Technologies that benefit Scorpions are 20% cheaper.
  • Italians: Researching Chemistry is 33% cheaper.
  • Portuguese: Scorpions cost -20% gold. Upgrades that benefit Scorpions are researched 30% faster.
  • Slavs: Scorpions are 15% cheaper.
  • Tatars: Scorpions deal +25% bonus damage from cliffs and elevations.

Team bonuses[]


The Age of Kings[]

  • Scorpions have 5 range and a minimum range of 1.
  • Scorpions have 6 pierce armor.
  • Scorpions have a frame delay of 0.
  • Scorpions benefit from Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, and Bracer, gaining overall +3 attack and range of all three technologies.
  • Chemistry gives Scorpions +2 attack.

The Conquerors[]

  • Scorpions have 7 range and a minimum range of 2.
  • Scorpions have a frame delay of 7 (fire delay = 0.21 seconds).
  • Scorpions deal 0 melee damage (i.e., +3 attack vs. rams with –3 melee armor).
  • Scorpions do not benefit from Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, or Bracer.
  • Chemistry gives Scorpions +1 attack.
  • Heresy introduced.
  • Celts: Furor Celtica introduced. It gives Scorpions +50% HP.
  • Chinese: Rocketry introduced.
  • Mongols: Drill introduced.

The Forgotten[]

The African Kingdoms[]

  • Scorpion projectile size increased: 0.025 → 0.1 tile (fixes their lack of pass-through damage).

Definitive Edition[]

Dynasties of India[]

  • With update 61321 Siege units and ships are now resistant to armor-ignoring attacks similarly to buildings.


  • The Scorpion's model is actually based on the Ballista weapon.
  • The Scorpion is said to be effective against massed cavalry and fortifications in the Age of Empires II manual, though during gameplay it performs in the exact opposite way as Scorpions are too slow to deal significant damage to mounted troops and buildings take very little damage from them even when fielded in sizable groups.
  • Interestingly enough, Scorpions have a 0 melee damage value, meaning that Rams and Siege Towers take extra damage from them due to having -3 and -2 melee armor respectively. On top of that, Scorpions also have an attack bonus against Rams.
  • In some Alphas, Scorpions were manned like the Bombard Cannon, using the original Age of Empires Ballista sprite to attack.
  • The Scorpion is based on the real-world Scorpio , and as such even reflects on its logistical aspects, being a cumbersome and expensive, and being limited to more of a sniper-role than a siege weapon.
  • Incidentally, despite it acting like a Scorpio, statistically and in-name, it is more of a Ballista.
  • If the projectile hits after the Scorpion is destroyed, it may cut down trees due to a bug.
  • The Byzantines, despite being the only civilization that actually used the Scorpio during the majority of the Middle Ages (until the Crusades where it had a comeback), do not have access to the Heavy Scorpion.


The scorpion represents a light artillery weapon that fired large arrow-like bolts, small stones, or iron balls. These weapons came in a variety of sizes and looked like large crossbows. Scorpions might be mounted on tripods or more substantial wooden frames. They were used primarily in siege attacks but could also be deployed in a set position on a battlefield. They were useful against massed enemy troops, especially cavalry, and against fortifications.
Age of Empires II manual description.


Video overview[]

v  d  e
Units in Age of Empires II
AoE2-DLCicon-0.png The Age of Kings
Economic /
Monk · Villager · Trade Cart · Trade Cog · Fishing Ship · Transport Ship
InfantryMilitia · Man-at-Arms · Long Swordsman · Two-Handed Swordsman · Champion
Spearman · Pikeman
ArcherArcher · Crossbowman · Arbalester
Skirmisher · Elite Skirmisher
Hand Cannoneer
Cavalry Archer · Heavy Cavalry Archer
CavalryScout Cavalry · Light Cavalry
Knight · Cavalier · Paladin
Camel Rider · Heavy Camel Rider
SiegeBattering Ram · Capped Ram · Siege Ram
Mangonel · Onager · Siege Onager
Scorpion · Heavy Scorpion
Bombard Cannon
ShipGalley · War Galley · Galleon
Fire Ship · Fast Fire Ship
Demolition Ship · Heavy Demolition Ship
Cannon Galleon · Elite Cannon Galleon
UniqueLongbowman · Cataphract · Woad Raider · Chu Ko Nu · Throwing Axeman · Huskarl · Samurai · War Elephant · Mameluke · Teutonic Knight · Janissary · Berserk · Mangudai  · Longboat
AoE2-DLCicon-1.png The Conquerors
InfantryEagle Warrior · Elite Eagle Warrior
UniqueWar Wagon · Turtle Ship · Jaguar Warrior · Tarkan · Missionary · Conquistador · Plumed Archer
AoE2-DLCicon-2.png The Forgotten
InfantryEagle Scout
UniqueImperial Camel Rider · Slinger · Genoese Crossbowman · Condottiero · Elephant Archer · Kamayuk · Magyar Huszar · Boyar
AoE2-DLCicon-3.png The African Kingdoms
SiegeSiege Tower
ShipFire Galley
Demolition Raft
UniqueCamel Archer · Genitour · Gbeto · Shotel Warrior  · Caravel  · Organ Gun
AoE2-DLCicon-4.png Rise of the Rajas
CavalryBattle Elephant · Elite Battle Elephant
UniqueImperial Skirmisher · Arambai · Ballista Elephant · Karambit Warrior · Rattan Archer
AoE2-DLCicon-5.png The Last Khans (Definitive Edition)
CavalrySteppe Lancer · Elite Steppe Lancer
Xolotl Warrior
UniqueKonnik · Kipchak · Leitis · Keshik · Flaming Camel
AoE2Icon-LordsWest.png Lords of the West
UniqueCoustillier · Flemish Militia · Serjeant
Dawn of the Dukes icon.png Dawn of the Dukes
CavalryWinged Hussar
UniqueHussite Wagon · Houfnice · Obuch
AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia.png Dynasties of India
CavalryArmored Elephant · Siege Elephant
UniqueRatha · Urumi Swordsman · Thirisadai · Chakram Thrower · Shrivamsha Rider · Camel Scout · Ghulam