If you’re like most people, you didn’t purchase the Age of Empires 4 Deluxe Edition and therefore don’t have access to the unit counters chart that came with it. That’s fine because we’ve got a handy guide for you that works even better.
How do you find the unit counters chart if you have the Deluxe Edition? The chart can be found in the game’s local files for those who picked up that version.
To outline the importance of unit counters, knowing how to counter is often the key to winning battles and pitching skirmishes in Age of Empires 4. Most units have specific strengths and weaknesses, specializations that make them ideal counters to other unit types.
It must be stated that almost all units are weak vs. Mangonels, especially if those units are in formation or clumped up together. Mangonels have splash damage that can be extremely deadly. Additionally, certain technologies, such as Iron Undermesh, can impact attack bonuses for some units.
Here we go…
Strong vs. Scouts, Horsemen, Knights
Weak vs. Archers, Crossbowman, Handcannoneers, Men-at-Arms
Okay, unless you’re playing as the English, Spearmen are one of the first military units you’ll build in Age of Empires 4. They’re available earlier and cheaper than the Man-at-Arms, requiring less food and no gold to train.
They begin with a +12 bonus attack vs cavalry units. Hardened get +16, Veteran +18, and Elites +22.
Strong vs. Spearmen, Archers, Horsemen
Weak vs. Crossbowmen, Knights, Handcannoners
Men-at-Arms are available for the English in the first age and the Feudal Age for all other civilizations. These units are general-purpose infantry units that can take on various unit types well because of their relatively high starting armor value. They have no attack or defensive bonuses.
Strong vs. Spearmen, Crossbowmen, unarmored infantry
Weak vs. Horsemen, Knights, Men-at-Arms, Handcannoneers
It must be stated that Archers are the primary ranged unit in Age of Empires 4. They can be produced at a relatively low cost and have +5 attack against Spearmen and unarmored infantry. Veteran increase that to +7, Elites to +8. Note that some archery units receive slightly different attack values, such as the Longbowman.
Just make sure not to use them against Cavalry, Men-at-Arms, or any siege weapon. Their arrows are weak against armor and ineffective at repelling battering rams, siege towers, etc.
Strong against Men-at-Arms, Knights
Weak against Horsemen, Spearmen, Archers
These ranged units are strong against armored units and should be used to specifically counter Knights, Men-at-Arms, and other armored units. Crossbowmen have +6 attack vs heavy infantry units and upgrading them to Elite bumps that to +8. Like Archers, some similar unit types receive different attack values.
Strong against Archers, Crossbowmen
Weak against Spearmen, Men-at-Arms, Knights
The all-important Horsemen are important in the early game because they are very effective against Archers, getting a + 9 attack bonus vs ranged units. Veterans up that to +11, and Elites + 13. Support them with their own squad of Archers since they are weak against Spearmen. These are good units for chasing down Villagers and early siege weapons.
Strong against Archers, Men-at-Arms, Horsemen
Weak against Spearmen, Crossbowmen, Handconners
The much sought-after Knights are another unit type that doesn’t receive any specific bonuses against other units. However, they are still strong against Archers specifically, with the ability to take on Men-at-Arms and Horsemen because of their armor. That armor, though, does not protect them against crossbow bolts or spears.
Strong against buildings and massed units
Weak against units with the firebomb attack, Horsemen, Springalds
A powerful unit type, Mangonels are primarily a siege weapon, proving their strength early with a +24 attack bonus against buildings. At every point in the game, they are also deceptively strong against massed units of almost all types, especially lightly armored ones or those that attack from a static position, such as Archers.
Trebuchets & Bombards
Strong against Keeps, towers, and walls
Weak against everything else
These units come with a +300 attack bonus against buildings, Trebuchets are exclusively siege weapons meant for taking down stone walls and assaulting keeps and other fortresses. Likewise, Bombards are meant for the same purpose with thier +340 attack vs. buildings. Both are incredibly inaccurate against military units and should be protected at all times.
Strong against all siege weapons, Knights (maybe Men-at-Arms if you’re lucky)
Weak against infantry and Horsemen
Springalds are anti-siege units meant to destroy Mangonels, Trebuchets, and Battering Rams. It has a +20 attack bonus against siege weapons, though it can shoot military units from a distance, making it somewhat useful against armored foot soldiers or cavalry in a pinch.
With this guide, you should be able to handle yourself whether playing against AI, or other human players. Good luck!