The Chariot Archer is a Mounted unit available in the Ancient Era.


Before the invention of the stirrup, it was virtually impossible to fight from horseback. There was no way to brace oneself, and the slightest push could unhorse the warrior, with disastrous results. Horses first appeared on the battlefield pulling chariots. A chariot team usually consisted of one or two horses, a driver, and an archer. The chariots' mobility made them especially dangerous to infantry: they could rush within range, fire off a volley, then escape before the foot-bound soldiers could close with them. The greatest weakness of a chariot archer team was its inability to deal with difficult terrain. On open plains they were the kings of the ancient battlefield; in hills or woods they were at a significant disadvantage.


Chariot Archers are fast ranged units, deadly on open terrain, and the first unit to require a strategic resource - Horses. They are more powerful than the Archer and can move twice the distance on open terrain (4 MPs), allowing them to reach elements of the enemy army other units can't. However, Chariot Archers suffer a horrible movement penalty when entering forest, jungle, or hill tiles (unless roads have been constructed in them). Moreover, they're too bulky to use natural terrain defense, and unlike other mounted units, cannot move after attacking.

Use the Chariot Archers to explore the world and deal with Barbarians. Against other civilizations, they're excellent at getting into privileged positions and raining fire on the enemy from afar, but defend them with melee units against the enemy's melee fighters - they are weak in close combat! Be especially careful for enemy Spearmen - as a mounted unit, the Chariot Archer is very vulnerable to them.

There is one more important detail to remember: Chariot Archers and all of their unique alternatives are ranged units, and receive upgrades as such. However, come the Medieval Era, they will all upgrade to Knights, which are mounted units with melee attacks. This means that all attack-oriented upgrades the unit gained will suddenly become useless, since it now attacks in melee, not from a distance! To circumvent this annoying fault, try to choose non-attacking upgrades, such as Cover, which will remain useful after the unit changes its attack mode.

Unique Unit Replacements


Art by Firaxis

Heavy Chariot - The Hittites (Suppiluliumas I)
Unitflag heavychariot

  • Is a Melee unit
  • +30% Strength Combat Bonus vs. Melee Units
  • Enemy units beginning a turn adjacent to this unit have -1 Moves Movement
  • Does not require Horses Horses
  • -1 Moves Movement
  • +11% Production Production Cost

Art by Janboruta

Heqa-Khasut - The Hyksos (Apophis)
Unitflag heqakhasut

  • Does not require Horses Horses
  • +10% Strength Ranged Strength (11 vs 10)
  • May build Forts while near a conquered city; doing so repairs and improves nearby tiles

Art by Firaxis

Horse Archer - The Huns (Attila)

  • Doesn't require Horses Horses
  • +16% Strength Strength (7 vs 6)
  • Starts with the Accuracy I promotion

Art by LastSword

Javelin Cavalry - Numidia (Massinissa)

  • Can move after attacking
  • No Rough Terrain Penalty

Art by Sukritact

Moran - The Maasai (Mbatian)
Unitflag moran

  • -2 Moves Movement (total 2)
  • -1 Range (total 1)
  • Does not require Horses Horses
  • May construct Pastures instantly
  • May enter rival territory

Art by Janboruta

Onager Wagon - Akkad (Sargon)
Unitflag onagerwagon

  • Movement does not halt in rough terrain
  • Ignores enemy zones of control
  • No movement cost for pillaging
  • Does not require Horses Horses

Art by DarthStarkiller

Reindeer Archer - The Evenks (Bombogor)
  • Does not require Horses Horses
  • Does not lose all Movement points upon entering Rough Terrain
  • Begins with the Woodsman promotion
  • Grants the Woodsman promotion to stacked civilians
  • -33% Strength Defensive Strength in Open Terrain

Art by LastSword

Royal Skula - Scythia (Ateas)

  • Unlocked at Animal Husbandry
  • -28.5% Production Production Cost
  • If all moves are used without attacking, attacks a valid target automatically

Art by Klisz

Sakrumash - The Kassites (Burnaburiash I)

  • Available at Animal Husbandry
  • Starts with Volley

Art by TarcisioCM

Shivatir - Parthia (Mithridates I)
Unitflag shivatir

  • +50% Strength Combat Strength (9 vs 6)
  • +10% Strength Ranged Strength (11 vs 10)
  • Ignores enemy zones of control
  • May move after attacking and retreat before combat if outnumbered
  • Unlocked at Horseback Riding
  • -1 Range (total 1)

Art by LastSword

Three-man Chariot - The Hittites (Mursili II)

  • +4 Strength Combat Strength
  • Ignores enemy zones of control
  • Can attack enemies while moving

Art by Tomatekh

Tuo Ma - Xia (Yu)
Unitflag tuoma

  • Nearby units earn Experience 25% faster
  • +33% Strength Defense (8 vs 6)
  • Does not require Horses Horses
  • -1 Moves Movement (total 3)

Art by Firaxis

War Chariot - Egypt (Ramesses II)

  • +1 Moves Movement
  • Does not require Horses Horses

Art by Firaxis

War Elephant - India (Gandhi) (without the India Pack installed)

  • Does not require Horses Horses
  • +50% Strength Defense (9 vs 6)
  • +10% Ranged Strength (11 vs 10)
  • No terrain movement penalties 
  • -1 Moves Movement (total 3)
  • +24% Production Production Cost (70 vs 56)

Art by Firaxis

War Elephant - Maurya (Ashoka)

  • Does not require Horses Horses
  • +50% Strength Defense (9 vs 6)
  • +10% Ranged Strength (11 vs 10)
  • No terrain movement penalties
  • -1 Moves Movement (total 3)
  • +20% Production Production Cost (67 vs 56)

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