|“||Powerful siege weapon used to destroy buildings, walls from long distance.||”|
|—Age of Empires II description|
The Trebuchet is a long-range siege unit in Age of Empires II that can be trained at the Castle once the Imperial Age is reached. It is the most powerful siege weapon with the longest base range and attack of all the units in the game. Its ability to take out buildings from a distance is unparalleled.
Trebuchets with Siege Engineers get 17 range, a value that is only matched by Turkish Elite Cannon Galleons with Artillery. Tatar Trebuchets with Timurid Siegecraft have even longer range (19). It has the highest attack of any unit in the game, on top a heavy attack bonus against buildings, and is mainly used to take out defensive structures such as Castles or Bombard Towers from a safe distance. It can also be used to take out enemy siege units, such as Mangonels and Trebuchets. However, due to the Trebuchet's low accuracy at range, Trebuchet duels can literally be a hit-and-miss affair.
The Trebuchet is constructed at the Castle in its packed form. It must spend about 7.5 ± .2 seconds setting up in order to attack, during which it is unable to either attack or move. However, the unpacking process can be canceled instantly if necessary to move to a safer location. When playing as the Japanese, Kataparuto gives Trebuchets a shorter pack/unpack time of only around 2 seconds, which saves the player roughly 5.5 seconds should the Japanese Trebuchets encounter hefty melee resistance. However, the technology does not affect God's Own Sling or Bad Neighbor. This is likely to balance out the stats for the hero units, which have the ability to heal and are likely to be more durable.
The Trebuchet is slow and defenseless against most units but excels at destroying any building within its path. It can also be used to counter enemy Trebuchets to good effect. However, due to its high cost, losing too many can have a serious effect on the turnout of a battle. Utilizing walls and natural barriers allow Trebuchets to attack with greater ease and destroy incoming and unpacking Trebuchets without facing much counterattack. It is imperative to guard Trebuchets with a standing army if they are used offensively. Like all siege units, they may be repaired and the presence of some Villagers may greatly prolong its combat ability. Using the "Attack Ground" option is an important skill to master when using the Trebuchet as commanding them to directly attack a unit causes any AI target to automatically flee.
When facing enemy Trebuchets, cavalry work best due to their high speed and good damage. A small group of Knights makes short work of them. Vigilance is appropriate when rushing Trebuchets with cavalry, though, because they are often guarded with Halberdiers or large groups of archers. Archer units themselves are ineffective against Trebuchets, due to the latter's high pierce armor and HP. Mangudai can also be used effectively to counter Trebuchets due to their attack bonus. Infantry and foot archers can be useful if no other units are at the player's disposal but are less desirable due to their lack of speed (except for Eagle Warriors, Woad Raiders, Condottieri, and Gbetos). This allows the enemy to respond to the situation more effectively by simply unpacking the Trebuchets and/or retaliating with an army of their own. When facing a group of archers, it is better to unpack the Trebuchet and wait for reinforcements rather than pack and retreat due to its much higher pierce armor compared to their packed version. Although immobile, it is more likely to sustain that attack. However, supplementing the player forces with archers can help, as they can whittle down the opponent's defensive army leaving the Trebuchets unguarded.
Trebuchets can also be effectively destroyed with Onagers and Bombard Cannons, the latter being slightly more effective due to having the longer range and hence possessing the ability to snipe moving packed Trebuchets. Rams also deal high damage against Trebuchets, and a Siege Ram with its splash damage can dismantle a dozen of them in a matter of seconds if they are standing close.
|Unit strengths and weaknesses|
|Strong vs.||Buildings, units at range in dense formations|
|Weak vs.||Melee units especially Magyar Huszars and Eagle Warriors, Bombard Cannons, Onagers|
|Attack|| Siege Engineers (+20% attack against buildings)|
Warwolf (gives blast damage, Britons only)
|Firing rate||Kataparuto (+33%, Japanese only)|
|Accuracy||Warwolf (increases accuracy against units to 100%, Britons only)|
|Armor||Ironclad (+4/+0, Teutons only)|
|Conversion defense|| Faith|
First Crusade (Sicilians only)
|Creation speed|| Conscription (+33%)|
Kasbah (+25%, Berbers only)
|Other||Kataparuto (pack/unpack 4x faster, Japanese only)|
- Aztecs: Trebuchets are created 11% faster.
- Burmese: Researching Faith is 50% cheaper.
- Chinese: Technologies that benefit Trebuchets are 20% cheaper.
- Celts: Trebuchets fire 25% faster. Trebuchets can convert herdables even if enemy units are next to them.
- Huns: Trebuchets have +30% accuracy against units.
- Italians: Researching Chemistry is 33% cheaper.
- Portuguese: Trebuchets cost less gold. Upgrades that benefit Trebuchets are researched 30% faster.
- Tatars: Trebuchets deal +25% bonus damage from cliffs and elevations.
- Turks: Chemistry is free.
- Vietnamese: Conscription is free.
- A team containing Berbers: With Kasbah researched, Trebuchets are created 25% faster; Conscription, Warwolf, Timurid Siegecraft, Kataparuto, and Ironclad are researched 25% faster.
- A team containing Malians: Researching Chemistry and Siege Engineers is 80% faster.
- A team containing Teutons: Trebuchets are more resistant to conversion.
- A team containing Lithuanians: Researching Heresy and Faith is 20% faster.
The Age of Kings
- If a Trebuchet is destroyed or finishes packing before its projectile lands, the projectile does no damage.
- Trebuchets can attack trees a lot better.
- Britons: Warwolf introduced, costs 500 wood, 250 gold.
- Teutons: Ironclad introduced, costs 500 wood, 350 gold.
The African Kingdoms
- Trebuchets now deal damage after packing or getting destroyed.
- Aztecs: With update 37650, Trebuchets are created 11% faster.
- Britons: Warwolf costs 800 wood, 400 gold.
- Portuguese: With update 39284, Trebuchets cost -20% gold.
- Portuguese: With update 42848, all technologies are researched 30% faster.
- Tatars: Timurid Siegecraft introduced. Timurid Siegecraft gives +1 range to Trebuchets.
- Tatars: With update 36202, Timurid Siegecraft gives +2 range to Trebuchets.
Lords of the West
- Sicilians: First Crusade introduced. With update 36202, First Crusade makes Trebuchets more resistant to conversion.
- The Trebuchet is the only unit that, like buildings, catches fire when damaged.
- Although Trebuchet heroes in their packed version feature an attack as shown in the infobox, giving an attack order against an enemy unit or structure will immediately cause them to unpack.
- With 16, Trebuchets have the longest base range of all units or buildings in the game. With Siege Engineers, they get 17 range, a value that is only matched by Turkish Elite Cannon Galleons. Tatar Trebuchets with both Siege Engineers and Timurid Siegecraft have 19 range, the longest of all non-campaign units and buildings. Also, since Line of Sight is capped at a value of 20, Tatar Trebuchets have the highest range reasonably possible, as having any more would require external Line of Sight on targets to attack.
- Before Definitive Edition, the Trebuchet's projectile only deals 1 damage (the damage stated in the packed state) if it hits its target and the Trebuchet itself is already destroyed or in its packed form. This last instance is very common with Japanese Trebuchets with Kataparuto researched, or if the cheat code "aegis" has been used which makes them instantly pack even while their projectiles are still in transit.
- The Trebuchet has become a meme within the Age of Empires II community, most likely due to its known long range, and damage (firing a 90 kg payload over 300 meters).
- Trebuchets are one of two military land units that do not make the usual military sound when created, the others being the Camel Rider line.
|“||The most powerful of the Middle Age nongunpowder siege engines was the trebuchet. This was a large catapult-like weapon with a long throwing arm and missile bag suspended by ropes. When released the arm swung up and the bag was brought up and forward. Centrifugal force acting on the suspended bag increased the range and height achieved by the released missile. Stones fired by the Trebuchet plunged down on their target and did great damage to the tops and roofs of walls, towers, and other structures. Trebuchets were expensive and complicated machines, requiring specialists to build and operate. They could only be moved in parts and required assembly before use. Edward I of England refused the surrender of Stirling Castle in Scotland on one occasion so that he could watch his most recently acquired Trebuchet in action.||”|