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


The Saka Horse Archer is a Classical Era hybrid between the Horseman and the Archer. It uses the ranged units' promotion table, it benefits from Agoge instead of Maneuver, and it is vulnerable to anti-cavalry units. Compared to an Archer, it has the same Ranged Strength Ranged Strength, +5 Strength Combat Strength, -1 Range Range, and +2 Movement Movement, making it as fast as a Horseman. As a unit of the Classical Era, it can also be boosted by Great Generals.

Units with 1 Range Range have a different scope of use in combat, since they cannot focus fire as well as units with greater Range Range and need to expose themselves to the front line when attacking, where their lower Strength Combat Strength makes it easier for enemies to kill them. The Saka Horse Archers rely on their outstanding mobility and the terrain to avoid being picked off. With 4 Movement Movement, Saka Horse Archers can outrun almost every other unit from the Ancient and Classical Era and can easily pick when and where they wish to engage in a fight. Their high Movement Movement also makes them good at pillaging, though not as good as light cavalry units with Depredation. Pillaging costs 3 Movement Movement by default, so a Saka Horse Archer on flat terrain can move and pillage (or vice versa) on the same turn.

Apart from their stats, there are some additional differences that set Saka Horse Archers apart from both Archers and Horsemen. They don't require strategic resources, so the Scythians can train them even if they don't have Horses Horses (or are using them to train Horsemen). Scythia's civilization ability also gives them two Saka Horse Archers for every one they train, effectively reducing their Production Production cost to 50 each and making them more cost-effective than Archers (which cost 60 Production Production each). Timing, however, is important in the early game - while a single Archer can be trained faster than two Saka Horse Archers, two Saka Horse Archers can be trained faster than two normal Archers.

With a maintenance cost of 2 Gold Gold each, a large number of Saka Horse Archers can create a huge economic burden on an early empire. Slotting Conscription will reduce this to 1 Gold Gold and allow each Kurgan to pay the maintenance cost of three Saka Horse Archers.

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.

See also[]

Civilization VI Units [edit]
Civilian SettlerBuilderTraderArchaeologistSpyNaturalistRock Band GS-Only
Land military AT CrewArcher (Hul'che1Pítati Archer1) • ArtilleryBarbarian Horse ArcherBarbarian HorsemanBombardCatapultCavalry (CossackHuszár GS-OnlyLlanero1) • Courser GS-Only (Black Army GS-OnlyOromo Cavalry1) • Crossbowman (Voi Chiến1) • Crouching TigerCuirassier GS-Only (Rough RiderWinged Hussar1) • Field Cannon (Hwacha R&F-Only) • Giant Death Robot GS-OnlyHeavy ChariotHelicopterHorseman (Hetairoi1) • Infantry (Digger1) • Keshig R&F-OnlyKnight (Mandekalu Cavalry GS-OnlyMamlukTagma1) • Line Infantry (Garde ImpérialeRedcoat) • Machine GunMalón Raider R&F-OnlyMan-At-Arms (Khevsur R&F-OnlyBerserkerSamurai) • Maryannu Chariot ArcherMechanized InfantryModern ATModern ArmorMountie GS-OnlyMusketman (ConquistadorJanissary GS-Only) • Nihang1Pike and Shot (Carolean GS-Only) • Pikeman (Impi R&F-Only) • Questing Knight4Ranger (Highlander R&F-Only) • Rocket ArtillerySabum Kibittum1Saka Horse ArcherScout (Okihtcitaw R&F-Only) • Skirmisher GS-Only (Warak'aq GS-Only) • SlingerSpearman (Hoplite) • Spec Ops R&F-OnlySwordsman (Hypaspist1Immortal1LegionNgao MbebaToa GS-Only) • TankTrebuchet (Domrey1) • Vampire3VaruWar-CartWarrior MonkWarrior (Eagle WarriorGaesatae1) • Zombie5
Naval military Aircraft CarrierBattleship (Minas Geraes) • Caravel (Nau1) • DestroyerFrigate (De Zeven Provinciën R&F-OnlyJong1) • Galley (Bireme GS-OnlyViking Longship) • IroncladMissile CruiserNuclear SubmarinePrivateer (Barbary Corsair GS-OnlySea Dog) • Quadrireme (Dromon1) • Submarine (U-Boat)
Aircraft BiplaneBomberFighter (P-51 Mustang) • Jet BomberJet Fighter
Support Anti-Air GunBattering RamCultist3Drone R&F-OnlyMedicMilitary EngineerMobile SAMObservation BalloonSiege TowerSoothsayer2Supply Convoy R&F-Only
Religious ApostleGuruInquisitorMissionary
See also Great PeopleHeroes
1 Requires DLC2 Apocalypse mode only • 3 Secret Societies mode only • 4 Heroes & Legends mode only • 5 Zombie Defense mode only

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