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The Saka Horse Archer is a unique ranged cavalry unit of the Scythian civilization in Civilization VI.

  • Attributes:
    • Has a ranged attack with Range Range 1.
    • Ignores enemy zone of control.
    • -17 Ranged Strength Ranged Strength against District District defenses and naval units.


Compared to an Archer, the Saka Horse Archer has the exact same Ranged Strength Ranged Strength and Strength Combat Strength, but greater mobility and 1 less Range Range. Overall, ranged units with 1 Range Range have a very limited scope of use in combat, except on defense. The purpose of a ranged unit is to focus fire and whittle down enemy units from behind the front line. Ranged units with 1 Range Range cannot focus fire well and expose themselves to the front line when attacking, where their low Strength Combat Strength makes it easy for enemies to kill them quickly. Also, since Scythia is a pure domination civilization, there is just no reason for you to play on defense. Things would be slightly better if between the Saka Horse Archer and the Archer, there was only a simple trade-off of Range Range for mobility, but the Saka Horse Archer is almost twice as expensive as the Archer to train and twice as expensive to maintain. If you take into account the fact that you get two of these every time you build one, it is slightly cheaper than an Archer, but will quadruple the maintenance cost. A large number of Saka Horse Archers will create a huge economic burden on your empire without actually boasting any militaristic prowess on the battlefield, though this can be eased with liberal use of your Kurgans. This unit is not the backbone of a strong Scythian army, so you should build it only once for the Era Score, and then delete or kill both of them to save your Gold Gold, as this unit is definitely not worth the high investment. Archers will be slightly slower than your army of Horsemen, but their greater Range Range allows them to fill the same niche as Saka Horse Archers at least as well and at a much lower cost.

Since this unit upgrades to the Field Cannon, you can train a few Saka Horse Archers before researching Ballistics, then immediately slot Professional Army or Force Modernization to upgrade them. You will instantly have an army of Field Cannons for a cheap Production Production cost, thanks to the Scythian civilization ability. However, this strategy should only be attempted when you have a lot of Gold Gold from your previous conquests, as ranged units after the Crossbowman are generally underwhelming (read more here), especially when they are just fresh out of the gate without any previous Promotion Promotions. Unless your treasury is overflowing with Gold Gold, your best bet is to save it to upgrade your light cavalry units to Cavalry, also unlocked in the Industrial Era.

Civilopedia entry[]

The term “Saka” may refer to the Persian and Sanskrit word for the Scythians, or it may refer to a specific tribe among those horse-barbarians to the north of Assyria. Most of the confusion seems to be the ambiguous usage of Saka among the ancient “historians” – Herodotus, Strabo, Pliny the Elder, and that lot. Herodotus states that the Saka were horse archers, riding without saddles or stirrups, and distinguished by wearing quilted trousers, open tunics and “high caps tapering to a point and stiffly upright.” These horse archers were feared in the open, mostly for harassing a moving column or raiding the baggage trains, but not very good in a stand-up fight. As Alexander the Great had shown at the battle of Jaxartes (329 BC) the Saka had no staying power, and could be readily driven off by massed infantry in depth supported by ample numbers of foot archers, whose greater range and rate of fire gave them a distinct advantage over the mounted ones.


Related achievements[]

Scythian Horse Rush
Scythian Horse Rush
Playing as Scythia have 10 Saka Horse Archers in your army.
In the popular RTS video game StarCraft, there was a tactic called 'Zerg Rush', in which someone playing as the Zerg could quickly push out lots of units, similarly to the play style used by Scythia.
Civilization VI Units [edit]
Civilian SettlerBuilderTraderArchaeologistSpyNaturalistRock Band GS-Only.png
Land military AT CrewArcher (Hul'che1Pítati Archer1) • ArtilleryBarbarian Horse ArcherBombardCatapultCavalry (CossackHuszár GS-Only.pngLlanero1) • Courser GS-Only.png (Black Army GS-Only.pngOromo Cavalry1) • Crossbowman (Voi Chiến1) • Crouching TigerCuirassier GS-Only.png (Rough RiderWinged Hussar1) • Field Cannon (Hwacha R&F-Only.png) • Giant Death Robot GS-Only.pngHeavy ChariotHelicopterHorseman (Barbarian HorsemanHetairoi1) • Infantry (Digger1) • Keshig R&F-Only.pngKnight (Mandekalu Cavalry GS-Only.pngMamlukTagma1) • Line Infantry (Garde ImpérialeRedcoat) • Machine GunMalón Raider R&F-Only.pngMan-At-Arms (Khevsur R&F-Only.pngBerserkerSamurai) • Maryannu Chariot ArcherMechanized InfantryModern ATModern ArmorMountie GS-Only.pngMusketman (ConquistadorJanissary GS-Only.png) • Nihang1Pike and Shot (Carolean GS-Only.png) • Pikeman (Impi R&F-Only.png) • Questing Knight4Ranger (Highlander R&F-Only.png) • Rocket ArtillerySabum Kibittum1Saka Horse ArcherScout (Okihtcitaw R&F-Only.png) • Skirmisher GS-Only.png (Warak'aq GS-Only.png) • SlingerSpearman (Hoplite) • Spec Ops R&F-Only.pngSwordsman (Hypaspist1Immortal1LegionNgao MbebaToa GS-Only.png) • TankTrebuchet (Domrey1) • Vampire3VaruWar-CartWarrior MonkWarrior (Eagle WarriorGaesatae1) • Zombie5
Naval military Aircraft CarrierBattleship (Minas Geraes) • Caravel (Nau1) • DestroyerFrigate (De Zeven Provinciën R&F-Only.pngJong1) • Galley (Bireme GS-Only.pngViking Longship) • IroncladMissile CruiserNuclear SubmarinePrivateer (Barbary Corsair GS-Only.pngSea Dog) • Quadrireme (Dromon1) • Submarine (U-Boat)
Aircraft BiplaneBomberFighter (P-51 Mustang) • Jet BomberJet Fighter
Support Anti-Air GunBattering RamCultist3Drone R&F-Only.pngMedicMilitary EngineerMobile SAMObservation BalloonSiege TowerSoothsayer2Supply Convoy R&F-Only.png
Religious ApostleGuruInquisitorMissionary
See also Great PeopleHeroes
1 Requires a DLC2 Apocalypse mode only • 3 Secret Societies mode only • 4 Heroes & Legends mode only • 5 Zombie Defense mode only

R&F-Only.png Added in the Rise and Fall expansion pack.
GS-Only.png Added in the Gathering Storm expansion pack.