Archers useless against buildings?

I’m somewhat of a noob, so forgive me if I’m overlooking something, but infantry and cavalry are both capable against buildings, while archers aren’t. When playing cavalry or infantry civs, I can just build barracks and stable, but when I play archers, I have to make a siege workshop or castle. To me, this makes archers seem worse and more expensive. Is there any way to overcome this weakness without making siege?

You have to make siege.
Simple as that.
Even as a Infantry Civilisation you want to have siege.


Realistically speaking, pretty much nearly every unit should do no damage to a wall or many other buildings. Rams would not be even be able to damage stone walls in reality, they were meant to break down gates, not walls. A champion’s sword would break long before the stone wall would break in real life. Not to mention the soldier would be exhausted banging his sword against the wall for hours.

There used to be tech for the Mayans called Obsidian arrows for breaking down buildings. Obsidian Arrows | Age of Empires Series Wiki | Fandom

I don’t agree, melee units are more than capable of taking down buildings without siege. Archers can’t, because buildings have too much armor.

Well it depends.

Very early on, only man at arms can do some damage to buildings - or villagers; they are the strongest “siege” in feudal in fact. Once you get a few more units, archers can actually break walls (because all can attack at the same time, while only 3-5 scouts can hit a wall or house).

In Castle age, archers can still break palisades but pretty much nothing else; Kts and infantry (even without arson) can take down buildings, but it takes a lot of time. Usually youre better off just breaking somewhere and running in.

In Imperial, units attack has surpased the buildings armor and you can kill buildings, even with archers if they lack the armor upgrades; however, its still just waaay to time consuming so you want siege either way.

Overall, you cant really kill buildings with archers (unless saracen), but you dont want to do it with melee units either, so the difference is really only in how fast they can break walls, where archers are slightly better imho (better vs palisades, worse vs actual buildings).


at high level, melee units attacking buildings does not come for free. The enemy shoots at them or attempts to convert with Monks. This makes siege needed even for melee civs because it either can’t be converted without expensive techs (Monks) or is resilient to arrow fire (Mangonels, Rams).

Archers furthermore can attack from range and don’t take damage in return while attacking.

They also require no food, which is a hard to get resource in the early stages of the game.

Overall, right now, we are in a cavalry meta, Knights are the strongest unit in Castle Age on Arabia, followed by Crossbows, and then comes everyone else. Playing an Archer civ is fairly hard these days and you might have to add a few Monks and Siege but that’s the beauty of AoE, you generally can’t win with a 1-unit spam (you can with Knights in lower elos but as soon as you climb opponents start countering it).

The advantage archers have over Knights is that in theory they are easier to mass (requiring no food), and also thr Imperial age powerspike of Arbalest with all upgrades is stronger than the corresponding Knight powerspike (which is basically +2 armor +2 attack).

I guess I should mention I don’t pvp, only vs AI.

AI also builds castles.
Castles kill Infantry and Cavalry very quickly.

So it’s always a good idea to have Trebuchets, Rams (because they are nearly immune to arrows) and Bombard Cannons if possible.

I don’t know what to tell you. Most of my castle/TCs destroyed were with infantry/cav. Huskarls and tarkans in particular are amazing (but knights, champions work great too).

in campaign you can win with any army, it’s hard to give a recipe because every campaign differs from the other, in some where you go vs a lot of towers/Castles, archers are useless for example, yes, in others archers are needed.

The more important part of campaign is securing your base (with castles and possibly stone walls), and producing a reasonable army (if AI is using Pikemen, for example, using pure cavalry might be ill-advised). Which in turn means developing an economy well.

Overall and this applies to 1v1 vs AI too, the AI on higher difficulties often adapts, if he sees you make only Crossbows, he will make only Skirms, if he sees only Pikemen he will go Skirms/Crossbows and so on. It is useful for this reason to make an army of 2-3 unit types, one gold unit, one “trash” unit and later add siege. It is often advisable also to make it so that one unit is a ranged unit (scorpion/skirmisher/crossbow), one is a melee unit (acts as damage dealer or meatshield) and one siege unit.

So if you are Franks, for example in Castle age you might play Knights Skirmishers and Rams. The Skirms go in 1 control group and are actively microed to kill the Pikemen so that your Knights’ job is a bit easier.

If you are Ethiopians, your army might look like this: Halberdier Arbalest Bombard Cannon if the enemy is a Cavalry-based civ, and Skirmisher Arbalest Bombard Cannon if the enemy is an archer civ (the skirms act as a meatshield of sorts here).

Deciding the right composition can be trickier than this sometimes as there are other considerations like mass, momentum, gold reserves etc. but with these basic tips you should be able to avoid the bigger blunders.

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Huskarls and Tarkans are probably some of the best Infantry/Cavalry units for that task.
But they are still a lot worse then siege units. Especially those that outrange Castles. Trebuchets are perfect for that task.

Archers are indeed weak to buildings. Its their weakness. That is why something like Obsidian Arrows combined with Mayan archers or Free bonus attack as TB combined with xbow power spike feels so cheesy

I guess this represents the reality that Infantry and Cavalry running amok in a town can quickly ransack buildings - firing a bow and arrow at a house doesn’t really achieve anything (unless the arrow’s on fire, and AOE has no fire spread mechanics, sadly).