Unit counters are often the key to winning battles and starting skirmishes in Age of Empires 4. Most units have specific strengths and weaknesses, specializations that make them ideal counterparts to other types of units.
Those who bought the deluxe version of Zone 4 received an array of unit counters which, like the Art of War tutorials, provides a general overview of which units are best used against which.
How do you find the table of unit counters if you have this version? The table can be found in the local game files for those who have chosen this version.
If you do not have this table of unit counters – or just looking for a different way to digest the information given there – this guide presents the specializations of each regular unit.
Note that almost all units are weak against Mangonels, especially if these units are in formation or grouped together. Mangonel splash damage can be fatal. Additionally, certain technologies, such as Iron Undermesh, can impact the attack bonuses of certain units.
- Strong against scouts, horsemen, knights
- Weak against archers, crossbowmen, hand gunners, men-at-arms
Unless you are playing as an Englishman, Lancers are one of the first military units you will build in Age of Empires 4. They are available earlier and cheaper than Men-at-Arms, requiring less food and no gold to train.
They start with a +12 bonus attack against cavalry units. Hardened players get +16, Veteran +18, and Elites +22.
- Strong against spearmen, archers, horsemen
- Weak against crossbowmen, knights, hand gunners
These units are available to the English in the First Age and in the Feudal Age for all other civilizations. Men-at-Arms are versatile infantry units that can take on a variety of unit types well due to their relatively high starting armor value. They have no attack or defense bonus.
- Strong against spearmen, crossbowmen, unarmoured infantry
- Weak against cavaliers, knights, men-at-arms, hand gunners
Archers are the primary ranged unit in Age of Empires 4. They can be produced at a relatively low cost and have a +5 attack against spearmen and unarmoured infantry. Veterans increase this to +7, elites to +8. Note that some archery units receive slightly different attack values, such as the Longbowman.
Do not use them against cavalry, men-at-arms, or any siege weapon. Their arrows are weak against armor and ineffective at repelling rams, siege towers, etc.
- Strong against the men-at-arms, the knights
- Weak against horsemen, spearmen, archers
Crossbowmen are strong against armored units and should be used to specifically counter knights, men-at-arms, and other armored units. Crossbowmen have +6 attack against heavy infantry units and upgrade them to elite up to +8. Like Archers, some similar unit types receive different attack values.
- Strong against archers, crossbowmen
- Weak against lancers, men-at-arms, knights
Cavaliers are important early in the game because they are effective against archers, gaining a +9 attack bonus against ranged units. Veterans up to +11 and Elites + 13. Support them with their own squad of archers as they are weak against spearmen. They are good units for hunting down villagers and the first siege weapons.
- Strong against archers, men at arms, horsemen
- Weak against spearmen, crossbowmen, handconners
Knights are another type of unit that does not receive any specific bonuses against other units. However, they are still strong against archers in particular, with the ability to face men-at-arms and horsemen due to their armor. This armor, however, does not protect them from crossbow bolts or spears.
- Strong against buildings and massed units
- Weak against units with firebomb attack, cavalry, Springalds
Mangonels are primarily a siege weapon, proving their strength early on with a +24 attack bonus against buildings. At every stage of the game, they are also deceptively strong against massive units of almost any type, especially lightly armored ones or those attacking from a static position, such as archers.
Trebuchets & Bombardes
- Strong against dungeons, towers and walls
- Weak against everything else
With a +300 attack bonus against buildings, Trebuchets are exclusively siege weapons meant to tear down stone walls and attack dungeons and other fortresses. Likewise, bombards have the same objective with +340 attack against buildings. Both are incredibly inaccurate against military units and must be protected at all times.
- Strong against all siege weapons, knights (maybe men-at-arms if you’re lucky)
- Weak against infantry and cavalry
The Springald is an anti-siege unit intended to destroy the Mangonels, Trebuchets and Rams. It has a +20 attack bonus against siege weapons, although it can shoot military units from a distance, which makes it somewhat useful against armored infantry or cavalry in a pinch.
There are, of course, other unique units in Age of Empires 4 which have specific offensive and defensive values that make their unit counters slightly different from those found here.
There are also other general units, such as the Monk, whose unit tokens make them weak at just about anything and strong against nothing. Rams and siege towers, for example, are weak for Springalds and all units except archers, but strong against defensive ramparts like walls and towers.
It is also worth keeping others Age of Empires 4 mechanics in mind when considering unit counters. Hill Bonuses and Stealth Forests give you additional buffs and surprise attack opportunities to fight certain counters even before enemy units can attack. To know more about Zone 4, remember to click on the link above or consult our other help guides.