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Game Info[]

Unique melee unit of the Zulu civilization. Replaces the Pikeman.

  • Common abilities:
    • Bonus vs Mounted (50)
  • Special abilities:
    • Spear Throw: Before engaging in melee, this unit has an extra attack.
    • 25% Strength bonus against Gunpowder units


The Impi is the legendary warrior of the Zulus, and one of the most powerful units of its time. When attacking other units, Impis first throw spears in the manner of a ranged attack (dealing some damage without receiving any), then follow up with a regular melee attack.

This acts as two attacks for experience purposes (allowing Impis to gain experience at up to double the speed of normal Pikemen), but one for Movement Movement costs. Note that when defending, the Impis don't perform the extra attack, meaning that their defensive strength is "normal" compared to other units. The end result is a significant increase in their offensive strength, as well as quick promotions.

The best use of the Impi is in swarming attacks. Large numbers of Impis are often too powerful for opponents to adequately counter. Thanks to the Zulus' unique ability regarding -50% maintenance costs for melee units, the Zulus are well designed to take advantage of an Impi swarm. Large numbers of Impis become more important the closer you get to the unit's obsolescence, as Musketmen and Riflemen cannot gain access to the Ikanda promotions that contribute to the strength of the Impis.

When defending, Impis become increasingly susceptible to damage, especially from gunpowder units. However, when attacking, they remain competitive thanks to their 25% bonus against gunpowder units. Their relatively low Production Production costs will also aid in the quick construction of a sizable military by the early Renaissance Era.

Impis upgrade to Riflemen rather than Lancers. As such, they become obsolete with Rifling rather than Metallurgy, and remain on the battlefield until the early Industrial Era; furthermore, the anti-cavalry and anti-gunpowder combat bonuses, along with the spear throw, are not retained after upgrading to the Riflemen, so the Zulus will have to either refrain from upgrading some Impis, or research Metallurgy and train Lancers instead. However, the newly upgraded Riflemen still maintain the Ikanda promotions, making them faster and stronger than other Riflemen, whether trained later by the Zulus or those trained by other civilizations.

Civilopedia entry[]

"Impi" is the Zulu word for an armed body of men, although in common usage during the 1800s it referred to one of the Zulu empire's regiments. While impi had long been a feature of Zulu culture, their great chieftain Shaka instituted broad innovations upon his ascension to the throne in 1816 AD. In addition to their traditional club and throwing spear, Shaka armed his troops with the assegai, a short-shaft stabbing spear with a broad, 30 cm (1 foot) long blade. He introduced a larger, heavier cowhide shield (isihlangu) and trained his forces to quickly close with the enemy for devastating hand-to-hand combat. Strategically, the impi relied on speed and surprise to suddenly outnumber and overwhelm their enemy. Using such methods the Zulu won impressive victories, even against rifle-armed Europeans, although their own casualties were high.


Related achievements[]

Run 50 Miles and Fight a Battle
Run 50 Miles and Fight a Battle
As Zulu, have an Impi earn all of the special promotions.
A quote from the 1964 film

See also[]

Civilization V Units [edit]
Civilian Archaeologist BNW-onlyCaravan BNW-onlyCargo Ship BNW-onlySettlerWork BoatWorker
Land military Anti-Aircraft GunAnti-Tank GunArcher (Atlatlist GodsKings5 clearBowman1Slinger1) • ArtilleryBazooka BNW-onlyCannonCatapult (BallistaSiege Tower BNW-only) • Cavalry (Berber Cavalry BNW-onlyComanche Riders BNW-onlyCossackHussar GodsKings5 clear) • Chariot Archer (Hand-Axe BNW-onlyHorse Archer GodsKings5 clearWar ChariotWar Elephant) • Composite Bowman GodsKings5 clearCrossbowman (Chu-Ko-NuLongbowman) • Gatling Gun GodsKings5 clearGiant Death RobotGreat War Infantry GodsKings5 clear (Foreign Legion) • Helicopter GunshipHorseman (African Forest Elephant GodsKings5 clearCataphract GodsKings5 clearCompanion Cavalry) • Infantry (Pracinha) • Knight (Camel ArcherConquistador1Keshik1Mandekalu CavalryNaresuan's Elephant) • Lancer (Hakkapeliitta GodsKings5 clearSipahiWinged Hussar BNW-only) • Landship GodsKings5 clearLongswordsman (Berserker1Samurai) • Machine Gun GodsKings5 clearMarine GodsKings5 clearMechanized InfantryModern ArmorMobile SAMMusketman (JanissaryMinutemanMusketeerTercio1) • ParatrooperPikeman (Impi BNW-onlyLandsknecht) • Rifleman (Carolean GodsKings5 clearMehal Sefari GodsKings5 clearNorwegian Ski Infantry1) • Rocket ArtilleryScout (Pathfinder BNW-only) • Spearman (Battering Ram GodsKings5 clearHopliteImmortalPictish Warrior GodsKings5 clear) • Swordsman (Kris Swordsman BNW-onlyLegionMohawk Warrior) • Tank (Panzer) • Trebuchet (Hwach'a1) • Warrior (BruteJaguarMaori Warrior1) • XCOM Squad BNW-only
Naval military BattleshipCaravel (Nau BNW-onlyTurtle Ship1) • CarrierDestroyerFrigate (Ship of the Line) • Galleass (Great Galleass BNW-only) • GalleyIroncladMissile CruiserNuclear SubmarinePrivateer GodsKings5 clear (Sea Beggar GodsKings5 clear) • SubmarineTrireme (Quinquereme GodsKings5 clearDromon GodsKings5 clear)
Aircraft Atomic BombBomber (B17) • Fighter (Zero) • Great War Bomber GodsKings5 clearGuided MissileJet FighterNuclear MissileStealth BomberTriplane GodsKings5 clear
Religious Inquisitor GodsKings5 clearMissionary GodsKings5 clear
See also Great PeopleSpaceship Parts
1 Requires a DLC

GodsKings5 clear Added in the Gods & Kings expansion pack.
BNW-only Added in the Brave New World expansion pack.