Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition – How to Counter a Hand Cannoneer Rush

Hand Cannoneer Rush Tips

Hand Cannoneers are treated to be archers (even though they use firearms) for purposes of attack bonuses, so Skirmishers, Ghulams, and Huskarls have attack bonuses against them, and Huskarls also have a high defensive bonus against their piercing damage.

They are of course also gunpowder units, giving Condottieri and Winged Hussars attack bonuses against them as well. Being foot units with low hit points, they are also vulnerable to Mangonels and Scorpions, and they perform poorly against towers and Castles.

Hand Cannoneers have a powerful attack but have a slow firing rate, and their shots fly off in random directions (within radial proximity to the vector leading to their target), so their accuracy at long range is poor.

They do +10 bonus damage against infantry (except the Condottiero) and another +1 against Spearmen, and their accuracy is less of a problem against the larger cavalry, making them deadly at close range. If maneuvered properly, Hand Cannoneers may also take down siege weapons with great efficiency but Onagers can still pose a threat to them due to their range.

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 494 Articles
Being a big gaming fan, I believe that I have a lot to share with other gamers. I got my first official job in the game industry in 2005 and continue to develop there. It's a true blessing when your passion, hobby, and job combine into something one. My favorite console is the Nintendo Switch. I think you can all guess why. Because I just bought a Steam Deck. I love playing on PC, but my main love for me will always be Xbox. Anyway, it's complicated and simple at the same time. After all, I'm back in the days of the ZX Spectrum (1994)…

1 Comment

  1. Skirmishers do work, actually, you just want to add Light Cav/Hussar rushing the front or hitting from another side. LC/Hussar will help bust the siege that typically accompanies the HCs.

    Even if you’re losing 3-5 skirmishers per hand cannon, you’re actually winning the attrition cost. Crossbows and Arbalests, especially if you have Thumb Ring, outrange HCs and inflict serious damage. More accurate, better rate of fire. Remember, each HC costs 50 gold, so if you drop 5 of them with 20 skirmishers that’s more than the cost of a Bombard Cannon.

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