Start by learning the basic counters in Age of Empires 2 and you’ll begin making smarter decisions in-game. It’s worth noting that with proper micromanagement an unfavourable fight can still be turned around. However, the counters shown here are accurate for beginners and each unit description will cover any exceptions.  

There are 6 units available in the Feudal Age, each with unique strengths and weaknesses. The + and – icons are used to symbolise how hard it counters or is countered in each unit match-up.

Archers

Spearmen ++ | Militia ++ | Man at Arms + | Scouts – | Skirmishers – –

One of the strongest Feudal Age units, but also one of the slowest to rush with. Archers are one of the most gold heavy units you can train, so be careful to look after them and avoid fighting skirmishers at all costs. Scouts can be a threat in the early Feudal Age if you have a small number of archers out in the open. Make sure to keep your archers inside of the ranges until you have 6-8 before pushing out if your opponent is making scouts. You can also add a spearman or two to escort your archers while they are more vulnerable in small numbers. However, be careful not to add spearmen if your opponent is making archers or skirmishers of their own, since they are countered by both.

Against Militia and Man at Arms the archer can easily win if you hit and run. Since the archer moves faster it’s possible to kill both units without taking much damage at all. Still, it’s safer and better to wait until you have 4 or 5 archers trained before taking a fight against Men at Arms. If you’re fully walled and the M@A are attacking your wall then a single archer from behind would be enough to defend. Typically, the strength of archers comes with numbers, this holds true in AoE2 throughout the game.

Scouts

Skirmishers ++ | Archers + | Militia + | Man at Arms | Spearmen – – –

Fast and deadly, scouts can get across the map and into your woodline in next to no time, picking off lone villagers with ease. They are extremely weak against spearmen; a single spear can comfortably take down 2 scouts. Also be careful engaging Men at Arms with small numbers. If your opponent makes an early 3 M@A push then be sure to have 4 or 5 scouts before you engage. 

 Scouts should have no trouble picking off groups of archers, especially before fletching is upgraded. A group of 5 scouts can easily take down 8 archers out in the open, even if they are microed well. 

Once fletching is researched the balance of power shifts significantly, with the archers being able to comfortably win the fight with micro.  However, with no micro the scouts still win so it’s important to try and engage with your scouts if your opponent isn’t paying close attention to their army, otherwise keep raiding and poking at them with your extra manoeuvrability.

Bloodlines gives your scouts a lot of extra longevity and can turn an early victory into absolute early-game dominance. If you have 5 or more scouts on full HP and can afford bloodlines then you can continue to keep taking good fights against smaller groups of archers. Be careful though, groups of archers larger than 12 will still be able to kill your bloodlined scouts.

Militia

Spearmen + | Skirmishers | Scouts | Man at Arms – | Archers – –

Generally very weak in the Feudal Age, the militia is mostly used to harass villagers as the first military unit you can train. Still, you may have 3-5 militia alive by the time you reach Feudal. At this point it’s certainly worth upgrading them, but until they are upgraded they can still annoy villagers and lame resources. If you’re attacked by any Feudal units then it’s best to try and take the fight and do as much damage as possible, try go out with a bang if there’s no hope of getting the man at arms upgrade in time.

Man at Arms

Spearmen ++ | Militia + | Scouts | Skirmishers | Archers – –

M@A are great at killing villagers and applying early game pressure. The best way to deal with them is to make archers, but you’ll be under pressure from M@A long before you have a few archers out to handle them. Interestingly, one of the best early game counters to melee units are walls. If you can wall your villagers in and buy time to train a few archers then cleaning up some M@A will be no problem at all. It’s possible to kill them with a small number of archers or skirmishers if you micro your army carefully, hitting and running the slower moving M@A until they die. Another way to deal with Man at Arms if you’re walled up is to ignore them completely and send your army forward immediately. Later when adding archers the M@A are no issue and perhaps you’ve managed to kill a villager or two in your opponents’ undefended base in the mean time.

Spearmen

Scouts +++ | Militia | Skirmishers – | Man at Arms – – |Archers – –

Used defensively or offensively, spearmen absolutely nail scouts. Unfortunately that’s about all they’re good at. However, against a player opening with scouts they can be great protection if stationed near to your exposed woodlines or gold piles. Be sure to put spearmen on defensive stance so that they don’t run off too far chasing scouts that they will never be able to catch. Sending a spearman forward with your scout rush can also be extremely effective if you can catch your opponent’s scouts out of position. One or two jabs make it worthwhile.

Skirmishers

Archers ++ | Spearmen + | Militia | Man at Arms – | Scouts – –

Rarely is it a good idea to open with skirmishers, mostly due to their poor villager killing potential and weakness to scouts. However, if you see your opponent making a lot of archers then adding skirmishers into your own mix of archers or transitioning into skirmishers after scouts can be viable. It’s generally better to only make enough skirmishers to tip the scales in your favour before switching back into archer production.

Generally it’s best to use Skirmishers defensively, keeping them at home to head off any archer raids. This helps to buy you time and begin your transition to the Castle Age. 

Eagle Scouts

The 7th unit in the list (But sensei ZeroEmpires you said there were only 6 Feudal Age units!). Although it’s possible to make Eagle Scouts as your Feudal army it’s extremely rare to see this as a serious strategy. Since the Eagle scout takes 60 seconds to train and costs 50 gold, it’s hard to make enough of them. However, since the goal of this site is to cover all angles, here’s the counter list:

Spearmen ++ | Skirmishers ++ | Archers + | Militia | Scouts | Man at Arms – –