Out of every civilisation in AoC, they probably left the fewest traces behind on this earth, but they’re the most popular folks to play with. You’re all barbarians!

Quick Card

  • Do not need houses, but start with -100 wood
  • Cavalry Archers cost -25% Castle, -30% Imperial Age
  • Trebuchets +30% accuracy
  • Unique Unit: Tarkan
  • Unique Technology: Atheism
  • Team Bonus: Stables work 20% faster

Analysis of bonuses

Do not need houses, but start with -100 wood

A daring assertion to kick off this article, but this might be the best economical bonus in the game. Not only do Huns save 30 wood per house, they don’t have to spend time on building the house either during which they can gather resources. So maybe you can say Huns save about 40 wood per house. Which is 1600 wood for a 200 pop game! Even though this number vanishes in long games the strength lays in the earliness of the bonus. When the game starts, everyone has to build houses, except the Hun, who can go straight to eating lamb chops.

However, this bonus comes with a downside too: -100 wood is a big punishment in nomad style games and you can’t use houses for defensive building either. Forcing Huns to rely on palisades or stone walls.

Cavalry Archers cost -25% Castle, -30% Imperial Age

This is the very bonus that makes Huns overpowered on Arabia nowadays, massed cavalry archers beat most castle age units and thanks to their low cost and fast massing, not a single unit can keep up on open, fast paced maps.

On the other hand, it makes Huns the only civ (alongside Mongols) to use cavalry archers, which is quite a shame really. A normal cavalry archer costs 40 wood and a whopping 70 gold. Huns get a huge discount and roll out a horseback riding archer for only 30 wood and 53 gold. To give you an idea: that means almost 2 extra trips saved for gold miners. That is 47 seconds of gold gathering saved per cavalry archer! Which only gets bigger in the imperial age with 28 wood and 49 gold. Making cavalry archers nearly as pricey as normal archers.

Or in other words: for an extra 3 wood and 4 gold you get a horse with your archer!

It’s hard to find interesting games with cavalry archers, unless you find the traditional hunswar the best piece of television since the dawn of day. So let’s take a stroll down the archives of Aocbox and dust off this little gem of a game between _DauT_ and JorDan_23: Fast Ca(stle/valry archers)

Let’s end this paragraph with a little fun fact: did you know there isn’t a single unit with more upgrades than the cavalry archer? Champions get 14 upgrades if you start to count from militia but cavalry archers do slightly better with 15 available upgrades! (although Huns only have access to 14 of them). This actually leads us to a thrilling recorded game between L_Clan_Chris and _WraTh_, in this 3 hour lasting epic showdown Chris forgets one of the very crucial upgrades to cavalry archers, giving him a really tough time.

Recorded Game


Trebuchets +30% accuracy

Just like the housing bonus, this bonus is a bit double sided too: in treb wars, Huns win. End of story, no competition. But, trebs are often used to kill units too. When 2 big armies collide, and one has trebuchets opened up, he might use them to target enemy units too. Any normal unit dies by just 1 trebuchet bolt. But if you have 5 stones raining down at one spot, only 1 unit dies, whereas other civs might hit 5 units.

5 normal trebuchets always hit at least 4 different targets.

5 Hunnic trebuchets rarely hit 4 different targets.

Team Bonus: Stables work 20% faster

The compulsory bonus in the expansion pack after faster barracks (Goths), ranges (Britons), siege shops (Celts) and guns (Turks). It aids their scout rush and their knight pumping abilities (which are tOp already). And it’s a team bonus! Yummy.

On a more formal note: this greatly benefits team mates that rely a lot on cavalry, a nearly compulsory bonus in teamgames even.


  • Cost: 60 food, 60 gold
  • Attack: 7 (Elite: 11 )
  • Armor: 1/2 (Elite: 1/3)
  • HP: 90 (Elite: 150)
  • Elite Upgrade: 1000 food, 500 gold

The prize for the least used unit in whole of AoC goes to…. the tarkan! Quite amazing that the most used civ delivers the least used unit, but it’s a sad truth. Tarkans are a bit like paladins, the only difference is that they are weaker and have a bonus attack against buildings. They’re a bit cheaper but must be massed from a castle. Even though the elite upgrade is researched very quick, it still doesn’t outweigh the bad sides. But every unit has its use, even tarkans!

Even though it must be said that it’s incredibly hard to find good recorded games involving tarkans. I managed to lay my hands on a recorded game between two high 19xx players. Enjoy this pure Tarkan based attack from Sblity against Mefisto_cz.

Recorded Game


Good thing aocbox is currently improving because there is now a Tarkan Rush record up and running!


The least used unique unit and above that the least used unique tech. Atheism makes relic and wonder victories last 100 years longer and makes spies/treason 50% cheaper. If the latter were a team bonus, it might be relatively useful in deadlocked team games, but alas it’s not. It doesn’t make your own wonder victories shorter either!

I haven’t stumbled upon recorded games where the scales were tilted with this nice little technology but feel free to share!

Dominance through the Ages

An oversight about dominance through the ages can be found in this article.

Dark Age

Their economical bonus kicks in once other civs have to make houses, so on most maps that’s the dark age.

Feudal Age

Rulers of the feudal age: no houses, faster stables and all the upgrades available. Byzantines make a tough opponent if they manage to overcome their economical disadvantage.

Castle Age

Enjoy your time in the castle age! Now you can pump out your might cavalry archers or switch to knights. Or obviously make a deadly combination of both! Cavalry archers need a little note though: they beat nearly every unit massed and in early castle age they have no competition, but some civs must be handled with care. If you allow a Briton to get a better economy than you, his archers might kick your cavalry archers around the house. If you allow a Mayan to get along, he’ll be a tough competitor with cheap crossbowmen, and heaven forbid he doesn’t get a castle up for plumed archers. Same stories for Goths: but if you deprive them from stone, you shouldn’t have a problem.

Also wary for a few well aimed mangonel shots!

Time for another recorded game, in my opinion one of the best hunswars out there, starring DreaIVIS and _DauT_, where one of the players did one of the most amazing comebacks I have ever seen on expert level.

Recorded Game


Early Imperial Age

If you managed to get an advantage during the previous ages, you can now obtain the final upgrades for your cavalry archers and cavalry for the final push. If you couldn’t force an advantage, things don’t look so bright anymore. Elite eagles give cavalry archers a hard time and Huns suffer a bit against a good ram + halberdier combination. Even though they can field this combination themselves.

Allow me to share a little trick for rams and halberdiers though: if you garrison your halberdiers, they can get close to Hunnic cavalry archers without harm. Ungarrison and let the slaughter begin!

Imperial Age

Time to struggle now: Huns technically have everything but they’ll suffer badly against some civs: an imperial Saracen, Goth or Mayan will leave you speechless. Siege heavy civs might surround their equipment with halberdiers and give you a hard time. Your bet lays with paladins, cavalry archers and halberdiers. And this is a very narrow tactical window. And because it’s so predictable, a smart enemy can take precautions.

Post Imperial Age (no trade)

Huns don’t die easily: their lack of housing gives them an easy time to spread around the map and rebuild destroyed parts of their economy. So Huns have a good chance to survive till gold runs out. And once this happens, they’re back in the game. Fully upgraded hussars and just one upgrade missing for halberdiers and skirmishers.

Post Imperial age (with trade)

Time to suffer again: Huns have their narrow set of of choices: paladins, cavalry archers and halberdiers. Some minimal siege to back up too but that’s it. Paladins are a strong unit and the combination with cavalry archers is strong and fast, but once you engage in a pushing warfare where you need to hold ground, Huns fall short. Do not hesitate, Huns are still strong, but don’t have anything other civs don’t have anymore. The contrary on the other hand, is a harsh reality.


Some good wood saving practices (cavalry archers and houses) so they’re downright good. Lacking crop rotation and stone shaft mining makes clear once more that Huns were designed as a nomadic civ. In the long run, the crop rotation also numbs out their early wood saving practice, making once more clear that Huns are meant to be an early powerhouse, rather than an imperial one.



Huns can be partially played as an infantry civ: halberdiers with siege rams is a nightmare to a lot of civs but they’re also one of the few civs lacking champions. Besides that, they never figured how to forge plate armor.

That doesn’t mean they can’t be used on high levels though, in this game between _Ra_ and wAkKo, _Ra_ needs to find a solution to wAkKo’s halberdier+onager combo and decides to toss in the Hunnic wannabe champions. With success!

Recorded Game



Rock’n Roll! Huns have limited options, but the options they have are good. No guns, no arbalests but simply the best cavalry archers in the game. You don’t even bother that they miss the last armor upgrade, do you?


Huns are one of the ultimate cavalry civs. Stiff competition from Spanish and Persians but the latter have a slightly weaker economy. In short: they have faster stables and all upgrades for both heavy and light cavalry.


This is a total no-go for Huns. The obligatory siege ram is still the most used siege unit but an attack based on siege is very unlikely. Especially the lack of onagers hurts them against massed archers.


Their unique technology is atheism, so their monks are just a bunch of hypocrites! Joking of course, Huns have most technologies except redemption and block printing so even though they can’t go for an all out monkrush, they definitely have their uses. You might even remember this game where Hunnic monks turned the tide? The Art of Atheism!


Because of their good start and lack of housing, Huns are actually a good bet on water maps. Above that they have access to Hussars (raiding), siege rams (diversion and steam rolling an island) and an archery line that uses the same upgrades as your boats. Surprisingly, they have cannon galleons too. Late game, their navy is nothing special, but early on they’re once more a force to reckon.


Huns were nomads, they wandered the earth and plundered everything in their path. Their wonder is even just a destroyed Roman arch! Needless to say this shows of in their structures: they only have the masonry upgrade and that’s it. Not that they really need more: Huns are a civ for the early ages and this set is more than enough for them.

In fact, towers are a crucial part of the so called “China style” which means towering up heavily in the feudal age to protect your economy and thus render any attempt for raiding chanceless. Which brings us automatically to [JAH]Goodboy, a Chinese player who rose to fame with his skills in hunswars. _DauT_ took up the glove against him in the Masters of the Huns tournament and turned the whole game into “China style”. Tower galore!

Recorded Game



Huns are simply the best civ on open maps, they have dominated the Arabia scene for years and this is most likely the same for the years to come. Unless a genius comes up with a killer tactic for another civ. I dare you!


There is no hunslaughter without laughter!


Written by Cysion

  • ak8978

    I think I found a (small) mistake : Champions get 15, not 14 upgrades. If you count conscription, which doesn’t actually make them stronger / better.

    1,2,3,4 : Unit Upgrades (Barracks)
    5,6,7 : Attack Upgrades (Blacksmith)
    8,9,10 : Armor Upgrades (Blacksmith)
    11,12 : Heresy, Faith (Monastery)
    13,14 : Tracking, Squires (Barracks)

  • andy

    Hey Cysion, you might want to check out this game to see some non-traditional use of Tarkans against classical Hun style. IMO it’s a better game to illustrate the power of Tarkans, than the one that’s in the article now :).

    • Cysion

      Aah, thank you very much. The one I have now is indeed a bit doubtful. I’ll replace them later!

  • Qiyamat

    Wouldn’t agree with only Hun and Mongol Cav archers being used out there, actually one of my strongest games is with Vikings where I raid in castle and take VERY good care of them. With the wheelbarrow / handcart and using cav archers is soft on the food, I manage to imp really quickly and get a nice imp infantry army together to roll over the player of my choice :D

    • _MariaN_

      No that’s incorrect. Cavalry Archer in general are under powered if you consider the costs. 40 wood and 70 gold (ca) compared with 65 food 75 gold (knights) is just too expensive. You will not able to mass them enough to win against a army of knights.

      • Qiyamat

        Oh but I never fight any knights when I do this… I stone wall off at home and pick off vils where I can, usually against flank players. I’m talking about team games obviously :) I find it easier on econ, especially with keeping villagers pumping to spend, 40 wood than 60 food… which is how much a knight costs by the way :p

  • CarlosFerdinand

    Well, ofcourse its your opinion that matters here, but the Hun army is not only very strong, but also much more mobile than most civs, therefore id rate them as among the best in post-imp trade. Hun HCA is an extremely cost-effective unit when you have no problems with gold. They already have fast pumping full upgraded paladins, and having such a powerful unit like its hca along with, id say they have no problems pushing either.

    • MaximuS

      lets play black forest celt vs hun 11 i do not believe in hun post imperial power!! 11

      • Jaraldo

        AMEN! 11

    • Cysion

      Not my opinion matters here, and neither does anyone else’s more. I’m trying to form an objective view of the strength of a civ. A civ with SO has a very cost effective solution to those HCA, you can’t outmicro them endlessly/easily. Then you have Paladins: a lot of civs have good answers to them too. And pushing: in any game that has pushing warfare: the decision lays with good fortifications, BBT or good castles. All of which Huns lack.

      I listed about 11-13 civs in my previous post that should be able to field stronger combinations than the Hunnic one. Strength isn’t absolute, it’s relative, that’s why I don’t estimate Huns so high in later ages.

      • CarlosFerdinand

        For pushing, hca + siegerams/trebs + paladin is awesome combo where the siege is meant to push the enemy if situation becomes locked. Ofcourse im talking relative here. Besides the decent ability to push huns have awesome mobility for both paladin and hca both of which are amazingly brutal and reliable on their own. Post imp games with trade isnt just about pushing and thats what makes huns among the best in post imp with trade. Anyway good job with this site and its articles, have fun!

  • CarlosFerdinand

    Just want to say, Hun Paladin + HCA is a killer as long as there is trade and huns are very powerful, not weak at that stage.

    • Cysion

      I didn’t claim that either. I said that Huns are not weak at that stage, but they don’t have anything other civs don’t. In post imp+trade, Turks, Celts, Mayans, Mongols, Goths, Franks, Persians, Koreans, Saracens, Spanish, Teutons and maybe even Chinese and Byzantines should be able to field a more powerful combination. Especially if you have to hold ground (BBT and strong structures).

      All civs except maybe Vikings can field a strong combination in the imperial age+trade but there are also undeniable differences between civs.

  • raegan

    About Atheism:
    Well i know its not the best example, since they didnt win with Atheism, either, but it was a 2nd chance for them for sure

  • MaximuS

    goddamn so ugly rec!! 11

    • Cysion

      But you’re famous ;)

  • Richard

    Nice article again. :) But I found a mistake: “Fully upgraded hussars, halberdiers and just one upgrade missing for skirmishers.” In Post Imperial Age (no trade) section. Hun halberdiers are not fully upgraded, they miss the Imperial Age infantry armor.

    And I am sorry, but I cannot keep in myself that I do really hate huns.

  • DMZ Regicide

    Re-reading these bonuses (and considering all my defeats:) ) I realize that a drush is the best strat vs huns (or eventually trush). Goal is to strike before the hun reach feudal.

    • MrDanish177

      Depends on the map though ;)

  • Hugo

    Do persians next! :D

    • Cysion

      I’ll need some top records featuring elephants then ;)

      Someone got dumborushes? =)

      • Hugo

        There is probably some great BF elephant recs, but that’s how I always play Persians in BF. :P

      • Richard

        There is one rec in which L_Clan_Bender figths with Elephants on a Yucatan map. It was a great game. Do you know that? I will try to find it, if you dont have it, but I have no internet connection at home right now.

  • MrDanish177

    Top notch article once again!

  • Landsknetch

    Good article, i like the parts where u give out tips like using rams to protect against archers, huns are just the best rushing civ, those 1600 wood can build like 9 barracks/archery range and keep pumping out cav archers, combined with knights and a few rams, they are unstoppable in castle, your enemy might not even reach castle age when his town is blasted into oblivion

    Still, Huns WILL suck late game if they dont atk soon, always remember to keep up ur economy up and research imp asap, and send some vills to the enemy town when the meter reaches like 90%, drop a castle right infront of their tc (if its not destroyed) and field in trebuchets to wrap things up

  • EternaL_RisH

    Nice article as always…

    TARKAN 1st line:-The prize* ….. u mean?

    • suhas

      60 60 instead of 60 75

  • Barbarossa89

    You mention that Huns get competition from Spanish and Persians, “but the latter have problems with their economy.” I assume you meant this to be the other way around, as Persians have one of the best, if not THE best, economies late game.

    Great article otherwise. When I get Huns, I like to go with knights to counter all the skirmishers the enemy is preparing for my “inevitable” castle age unit.

    • Cysion

      I meant the early economy actually, since cavalry can be trained right from the feudal age. And their economic advantage lasts till the imperial age. Obviously, the Persian bonus would’ve caught up by then if both players remain untouched. Which is rarely to never the case.