Best Civilizations for Beginners in Age of Empires 2

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Even after years of release, the hype around Age of Empires 2 is nowhere near dead. Loyal fans of Age of Empires still consider the 2nd installation to be the best even after the release of the 4th one in late 2021. So, it ain’t a surprise at all to see players still getting started with this legendary game. If you’re setting foot for the first time as well and wondering what are the best civilizations for beginners, look no further cause we got your back!

About Age Of Empires 2

Age of Empires 2 is a real-time strategy game first released by Microsoft Studios in 1999. The game is set during the Middle Ages, and you have to build a powerful civilization, train an army, and conquer your enemies.

You’ll start with a small group of villagers and some basic resources such as food, wood, and gold. As you progress through the game, you can acquire additional resources, set up structures, and train soldiers to protect your base while attacking others.

Age of Empires 2 offers several game modes such as single-player campaigns, custom scenarios, and multiplayer modes . The high amount of strategy involved combined with its deepness makes it popular among gamers with professional players and tournaments .

The Age of Empires 2 saga has had various expansions released over time like The Conquerors and Rise of the Rajas that bring new civilizations, campaigns, and gameplay features . Additionally, it’s been remastered with updated graphics and improved mechanics in the Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition!

Best Civilizations for Beginners


The Eastern half of the Roman empire, the Byzantines are one of the most well-balanced civilizations in the entire game even though it is considered as a defensive civilization. The reason why Byzantines are a good civilization to start with is because of the wide range of units available that are superb for both attacking and defensive strategies.

Unique Unit

Cataphract: The unique unit of the Byzantines is known as the Cataphract. It is a heavy cavalry units that packs some serious punch against Infantry. Available at the Castle Age, these can later be upgrade into Elite Cataphracts in the Imperial Age.

How to bring back old Cataphracts skin? - II - Discussion - Age of Empires Forum

Unique Technologies

  • Greek Fire: Your Fire Ships will have +1 range.
  • Logistica: Cataphracts come with trample damage and have additional +6 damage against Infantry.

Civilization Bonuses

  • Buildings have +10%/+20%/+30%/+40% HP respectively in the Dark/Feudal/Castle/Imperial Ages.
  • Camel Riders, Skirmishers, and the Spearmen cost 25% less.
  • Fire Ships will fire 25% faster at enemy units.
  • Advancing to the Imperial Age is 33% cheaper than usual.
  • Town Watch and Town Patrol are free of cost.

Team Bonus

  • Monks heal your units 100% faster

To sum it all up, Byzantines are among the best picks among civilizations for beginners because:

  1. Their unique unit, Cataphracts are among the strongest unique units in the game.
  2. Saves you a ton of money in multiple ways (Cheaper units, free Town Watch and Town Patrol and more).
  3. Provides a resilient defense since buildings have more HP throughout the ages.


Hailing from the Middle East, the Persians make a strong contender as a suitable civilization for amateurs on AOE2. Just like the Byzantines, the Persians also have a pretty versatile tech tree. The Persians are well-renowned for their own unique unit as well, the War Elephant.

Unique Unit

War Elephant: As mentioned previously, the War Elephant is the unique unit of Persian being only exclusive to the civilization available in the Castle Age. While they do move very slow, War Elephants are extremely tough and resilient. They are particularly strong against melee units and can take down buildings with the blink of an eye. Just like Cataphracts, they cause trample damage as well and can be upgraded to Elite War Elephants in the Imperial Age.

How do you counter War Elephants? - Forgotten Empires

Unique Technologies

  • Boiling Oil: Gives Castles +9 attack against Rams ( available before the Definitive Edition).
  • Kamandaran: Archer-line gold cost is replaced by additional wood cost (only in the Definitive Edition).
  • Mahouts: Increases the speed of War Elephants by +30%.

Civilization Bonuses

  • Players will start the game with +50 food and +50 wood.
  • Town Centers and Docks have double HP and will work 10%/15%/20% faster respectively in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Ages.

Team Bonus

  • Knights cause an additional +2 attack against Archers

In short, the Persians are an amazing pick for new players on Age of Empires 2, because:

  1. Starting the game with more food and wood gives you an upper hand in early game or during the Dark Age.
  2. Faster Town Center means you can produce villagers faster.
  3. Due to an almost-full Dock technology, they shine in naval combats.

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The only Central European civilization on this late, the Teutons are not to be messed with. With a deep focus on infantry units, the Teutons also feature a respectable economy and noteworthy defensive capabilities. Their unique unit, the Teutonic Knight is without a doubt unrivaled when it comes to melee combat.

Unique Unit

Teutonic Knight: The Teutons feature the Teutonic Knight as their own unique unit of choice. While it may be a little slow for one’s liking, it’s heavy armor and a powerful attack definitely makes up for it. Even a few Teutonic Knights can wreak havoc against whatever comes in its path. They can be further upgraded to Elite Teutonic Knights when the player reaches the Imperial Age.

Teutonic Knight | Age of empires, Knight, Empire

Unique Technologies

Ironclad: Grants all siege weapons +4 melee armor.
Crenellations: Gives Castles +3 range and all garrisoned infantry will shoot arrows.

Civilization Bonuses

  • Monks have double healing range.
  • Towers garrison twice as many units.
  • Murder Holes and Herbal Medicine are free of cost.
  • Farms cost 40% less.
  • Town Centers can garrison +10 units.
  • All Barracks and Stable units are granted +1/+2 melee armor during the Castle/Imperial Age.

Team Bonus

  • All units resist conversion by Priests and Monks (half as effective as Faith, but can be stacked).

Considering all of the above, Teutons are a great pick because of the following reasons:

  1. Teutonic Knights are a serious problem to deal with, so spamming them will definitely give you an edge.
  2. Farms costing 40% less significantly boosts your economy.
  3. Thanks to garrisoning extra units and free Murder Holes, the defense is pretty solid.


The last civilization we are featuring on this list are the Mongols. Coming from Eastern Asia, the Mongols emphasize a lot on cavalry archers. Their unique unit, the Mangudai is a specialized cavalry archer itself.

Unique Unit

Mangudai: The Mangudais are highly effective against slow moving units, such as Monks or the aforementioned Teutonic Knights. They are also good at taking down hoards of other Archers. They are best used when paired with Hussars and Siege weapons.

Unique Unit Discussion: Mangudai : r/aoe2

Unique Technologies

Nomads: Makes Houses which keep their population space if they are destroyed by enemy units.
Drill: Increases the movement speed of all Siege Workshop units by 50%.

Civilization Bonuses

  • Cavalry archers fire 25% faster at enemy units.
  • Light Cavalry, Hussars, and Steppe Lancers have an additional 30% HP.
  • Hunters hunt +40% faster.

Team Bonus

  • The Scout Cavalry line has +2 Line of Sight.

The Mongols are among the better civilizations for beginners for the following reasons:

  1. The Nomads technology is highly forgiving for new players who are prone to attacks.
  2. Having speed-boosted Siege units means you have an unfair advantage over civilizations with weak defenses.
  3. If Scout Cavalry and Cavalry Archers are used properly, you can have a really good early and mid-game.

A personal suggestion would be to not just stick to these civilizations for beginners and try out other ones as well. You should definitely move onto other civilizations and try your hand at them. Each of these (and other) civilizations will suit you solely based on your playing style and in-game strategies.

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