Archers are being way too overcountered

Hello everyone, why is it so easy to counter archers? I mean you don’t even need to amass the follow, just a few will quite handle it:

  • Skirms line;
  • Knights line;
  • Scout line;
  • Mangonel line;
  • Scorpion line;
  • Eagle line.

There are so many options to counter archers.
On the other hand to counter knights you need to amass them to be quite effective:

  • Pike line;
  • Monks;
  • Camels.

I dunno, I think sometimes the game punish us for playing archers.

So, since many people dont agree, lets talk about facts and statistics:
Win rates: elo 1250~1650
Screenshot_2021-05-06 Age of Empires II Civilization Statistics
All of them cavalry civs. No exception, all of them full cavalry civs.

Now 1650+
Screenshot_2021-05-06 Age of Empires II Civilization Statistics(1)
1 archer; 3 cavalry. I would put chinese with some sort of hibrid because they have a awesome stable as well.

The statics are there. We cant argue with them, cavalry is performing better than archers in most relevant elos.

only hard counter, but falls of against bigger masses of archers, gets destroyed by scouts.

Only viable counter against mass archers, also gets destroyed by scouts.

The other ones can go either way, depending on mass + micro.

Many people say we have age of archers atm. I disagree with this, but the current archer opener meta shows how strong they are.

Besides that, one advice with archers: Go for the eco. They are insane raiding units in the early game. That’s where a lot of their power comes from. Not only from their fighting power.


You need 40 archers to one shot knights (both castle fu). Plus, you only have a chance if you micro the hell out of them.
Knights ARE a hard counter to archer line because they have a lot of hitpoints, high piercer armor and mobility.

How cross are insane raiding units if they lack mobility? Cross are great pushers for sure, but raiding units? I fail to see how they are effective there.

Ah no that’s wrong you don’t need that many for Knights,

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Well i’ve literally destroyed franks with mayans on 25 pop with crossbows.
You have so much time until the knight player has a strong enough mass to damage the eco.

If you wait for 40 crossbows before even thinking about going out you make something wrong.
Just try to go for the eco and you will figure out that archers are way better than they look on the paper.

I agree that knights counter archers somewhat, but only if the knight player can keep his eco undamaged. It’s the tradeoff initiative vs higher power later on.

If it was the other way around it would be terrible for the game.

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Its not that hard to keep the eco undamaged. Archers need to put so much effort meanwhile knights are “knights go phew phew”.

In one week I’ve heard complaints that both Onagers and Archers are in need of buffs.

We’re not even in April.


I’d like to disagree because archer types tend to be much more easily micro-ed compared to melee units. In practice this game doesn’t work like turn-based games.

PPL in October 2020 be like: “Knights are literally useless, if you’re using anything other than Archers you’ll lose”
PPL in May 2021 be like: “Archers are literally useless, if you’re using anything other than Knights you’ll lose”

meanwhile all FE did was improve the pathing by an insignificant amount


I mean, at least it’s slightly better if they are not created by the same people, right?

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For most of these this is kind of right on paper but you gotta consider actual game scenarios: Making skirms costs quite some food which sets you back on your eco. For example defending in feudal with a lot of skirms can lead to worse castle age times compared to the archer player. Being 1 min behind can already mean all your skirms die to xbows. Also it’s super dangerous to push out with only skirms because only 2 scouts can rekt them. Knights I wouldn’t call a counter because it depends on numbers and upgrades. In early castle age xbows are usually better than knights. You mass them in feudal upgrade in castle while the knights player needs time while also having a harder time to add tcs (xbows are so cheap that you often can instantly add 2 tcs without stopping production). If the xbows numbers are good knights need +2 defensive upgrades which also is expensive. And then the xbow player can just add monks or pikes later on while making both knights and skirms requires a lot of farms. Eagles also need quite some upgrades before being able to engage. Lastly the scout line doesnt counter archers. That only applies if you have FU scouts in feudal or you can spam Hussars at some point in imp (unless you’re Turks or Indians then indeed light cav kind of counter xbow).

They can raid without breaking walls like behind woodlines or forward resources. They can break through palisades without vils being able to repair or wall behind. Also if they manage to get in you can lose 5 vils in one instant while knights either need large numbers or block paths to tcs to snipe many vils. Both units have their pros and cons when it comes to damaging eco, largely depends on stuff like base layout.


working as intended.

depends on numbers and micro. archers can win or knights can win.

this one is highly debatable, but frankly, even in castle age for example, a light cavalry has 4 armor fully upgraded and 80 health, taking 3 damage a shot means they take 27 shots to kill.

this one can go both ways depending on numbers and micro.

again this one really comes down to numbers and micro. yeah in theory eagles should win but they have low damage output, are slower then knights, and lower health then knights too.

and yet we see it happen all the time

go watch some pro games. its frequently seen to station archers behind woodlines, or at the edge of walls and let them shoot nearby resources.

knights are far more expensive, and can’t even be built until castle age, meanwhile archers can start being massed in feudal and are dirt cheap to boot. knights are 60 food each, which means roughly 7 workers on food, 7 additional workers on food that is, that aren’t farming food for villager production.

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This must be the follow up thread on the Hussars are too good vs Onagers…

i mean in a way this thread at least makes some sense. all of those listed CAN counter archers depending on the situation and numbers involved.

the onager vs hussar thread was just bad though.

People are throwing around the word ‘counter’ a bit too freely. An engagement that can go either way =/= counter. I just don’t think there is any useful conclusion possible in this thread. I am sure that most people do not feel archers to be underpowered in the game.

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And melee units are already countered by the fact that pathfinding in this game sucks. A problem which archers don’t have.

Archers are not worse than knights, they are just incredibly difficult to play:

In feudal age skirms are only a counter when armor is researched, due to their lower attack speed and higher attack delay, archers can easily outmicro low numbers of skirmishers in the feudal age.
Meanwhile Elite skirmishers get easily countered by your own lightcav/knights or mangonels. Much more so than archers.

However, you need to get ahead in feudal age. If the knight player loses his scouts, he doesnt give a ■■■■, if you lose your archer number in feudal age you basically lose the game unless you have a much earlier castle time. Even if you keep your numbers alive, if the enemy gets castle age before you he will most likely be able to get enough knights out to counter your crossbows if you move out. You have to stay at home defensively.
You cant go out and hit his eco, because if you lose your army you lose the game.

If the knight player loses his army but lands one good mangonel shot on your archers, he can come back. If you lose your archer army you cant come back. Thats the whole problem, playing archers is so much more punishing than playing knights, but they are not worse. They are just more difficult to play.


pathfinding for military is mostly fine, pathfinding for villagers is the only real problem.


Surprised it hasn’t been mentioned yet… archers don’t cost food, so going heavy into knights in early castle means you have to get damage. Archers wood/gold allows you to continue to boom, so you are able to play more defensively and only take engagements that benefit you.

Archers are good at the moment. One of the best things in Age is that knights/archers aren’t hard counters of each other. They are situational counters, that depend on numbers and micro.


Just add spears, then he can’t engage your archers with his scouts.

Archers are easier to play in lower elos, as they need less apm and awareness to be effective. (yes knights require more attention than archers, as they take so much bonus damage from pikes and you want to stay active with them at all time)

I mentioned it. With archers you have the initiative as knights need the food eco which needs time to be set up. But you also need to make use of that powerspike.