Guide: Everything you need to know about unit counters in Age of Empires 4


Understanding the dynamics of all the units in Age of Empires 4 is imperative to win matches. If players can scout the enemy military buildings in the early game, they can effectively counter them by training units that outclass the enemy’s army. A game of AOE 4 is a dance of unit counters and you have to stay a few steps ahead to win. 


Every civilization in the game also has specialised units which don’t fall under the traditional counter rules. For example, the Longbowmen of the English have a better range than the regular Archers so they are pretty good at picking horsemen out from a distance when bunched together. This guide will not be going over these units as they are unique and each of them has different counters depending on the state of the match.

Early game unit counters

In the Dark Age, players have access to the basic military buildings: the Barracks, the Archery Range, and the Stables. These buildings can only produce units like Spearmen, Archers and Horsemen, which are very primitive and counter one other effectively. They tend to follow the famous rock-paper-scissors formula, where each of them defeats one and get countered by the other. 


Spearmen >> counter >> Horsemen

Spearmen counter early Horsemen as they have very high damage and can also hold their ground to withstand the charge bonus.


Horsemen >> counter >> Archers

Horsemen have higher movement speed compared to the archers and can easily trample then. 


Archers >> counter >> Spearmen

Spearmen are very slow in the early game and have low health. As a result, archers can micro the spearmen and safely pick them off from a distance.



Once past the early game, players will have a lot more options. Apart from the enhanced units from the Dark Age, players will have access to stronger units as they move towards the Imperial Age. Units like Men-at-Arms at Barracks; Crossbowmen and Handcannoneers at the Archery Range; and Knights/Lancers at the Stables become available. Now, with so many options, making for a balanced variety becomes that much more crucial — and complex — job.


Men-at-Arms >> counter >> Spearmen, Archers, and Horsemen

The Men-at-Arms excel in taking fights with primary units as their high base armor and damage have the ability to shred through targets.


Crossbowmen >> counter >> Men-at-Arms and Knights/Lancers

Crossbowmen have a shorter range than archers but they do exceedingly well against heavy units as they go past their high armor. 


Handcannoneers >> counter >> Men-at-Arms and Knights/Lancers

Handcannoneers are the late-game unit that counters almost everything but they are very expensive to train. They gain more damage by standing their ground thus, making them an impenetrable backline, especially against heavy units. 


Knights/Lancers >> counters >> Light Infantry/Ranged Units/Siege

The highly mobile Knights (Lancers for some civilizations) are great at tanking damage due to their high armour and their charge mechanic, which is good at shutting down the enemy front lines. Moreover, as their movement speed is higher than other units, they can also help in flanking enemy attacks and take down their siege units with ease if they get the opportunity.



Now that, we are done with all the military infantry and cavalry units. Let’s talk about Siege and how they come into the play during a late-game fight. If both the players are playing passively and reaching the late game, they should have well-equipped castles, towers and walls. 

Siege unit counters

Siege Tower, Battering Ram, Counterweight Trebuchet, Bombard >> counter >>  Walls, Towers and Castles

These siege units are very efficient and gain extra damage against Walls, Towers, and Castles. The Siege Tower and Battering Ram have huge health points so they can soak up the damage by Castles, Towers, and Town Centres. Counterweight Trebuchet and Bombard have a slower speed but deal enormous damage from a long distance.


Mangonels >> counter >> Clumped armies

Mangonels specialize in dealing area of effect (AoE) damage to the enemy and have the ability to demolish armies in seconds. So, if the player sees a light army of archers or low mobile units, they can train Mangonels to siege them down easily.


Springalds >> counter >> Siege units

Springalds effectively take down priority targets like the Siege units and Monks on the opponent. Players can also use them to take down the power of the enemy front line or simply take out enemy siege units from a distance. Moreover, they also have bonus damage against siege units.


It is imperative to note that many civilizations have access to certain units earlier than some which can cause the counter meta to shift. Some civilizations like the English and French have access to their exclusive units like Longbowmen and Cavalry which makes it fairly easier for the opponents to counter them and establish long-term goals in their early game.

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