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A unit of 8 Longbowmen
  • Elite archers
  • Can shoot quickly or accurately
  • Can sap enemy morale

Longbowmen are elite archers, capable of shooting quickly or accurately (but not both at the same time). Anyone looking to integrate range troops to their army can rely on the Longbowmen for solid and consistent results. The only drawback is that at such a high price, you need to make sure they are always shooting at what matters the most!


Story Notes

The English longbowmen form the kind of troops whose impact on medieval warfare is so profound that most historians see them as a landmark in military history. They helped English troops gain a series of nearly unbroken victories that gave them supremacy on the battlefield over several centuries.

While the concept of longbows is as widespread and as old as mankind itself, the origins of the famed English longbowmen can actually be traced back to the Welsh warriors. The Celtic warriors used it at a much closer range against Anglo-Norman troops in ambush-like tactics. The English, who learnt the value of these weapons the hard way, recognised their tactical importance and started to integrate them into their standard formations.

But the longbowman revolution comes from a strategic rather than a technological idea. In England, every yeoman (free, landholding farmer) was required to own a longbow and King Edward I further pushed the idea by banning the practice of any sport other than archery on Sundays to make sure he would have a large supply of readily-available troops if needed. This move was particularly bold and against the generally established ideas of the era since it literally armed and trained the peasantry when most feudal rulers tried to limit their access to weaponry to reduce the chances of revolt.

The main drawback of this type of soldier is the time it takes to train a single one of them. While an arbalestier can be ready to fight in a matter of weeks, a skilled longbowman can take years to produce. The draw weight of a longbow is roughly equivalent to doing a one-handed chin-up, and a longbowman was expected to shoot several aimed shots per minute.

In Ex illis, the longbowmen’s ascension to fame is yet to be made. While their use on the battlefield is very promising, they have still not proven their worth in a major, decisive battle. The advent of fantastical creatures like angels and ogres, and the competition brought by battlefield mages may complicate things a bit!

Gameplay Summary

The primary role of archery in the game is to weaken the enemy before the clash of the melee. A player should not expect to completely obliterate a unit with shooting alone, but a foe that has already lost some HP and maybe taken a few casualties, will be much easier to deal with in close combat. Some shots even specialize in maximizing the psychological effect of a Volley Fire and can Rout troops that had already been shaken.

Longbowmen are versatile shooters, capable of shooting quickly or accurately depending on what the situation requires. While the ability of shooting many arrows in a single turn is certainly impressive and useful, it will burn out your Longbowmen at an alarming rate as well. You may want to keep this trick for a moment when it can change the outcome of the battle. Carefully managing your Longbowmen’s Fatigue is key to playing this unit well since it affects their Accuracy directly. Consider resting them for a turn once in a while.

A unit of Longbowmen is usually best used in a defensive mode. Find a strong tactical point and use the Longbowmen to force the enemy to come and get you instead of the other way around. You can also use the unit as a good psychological factor to force the enemy troops to stay spread on the battlefield since a tightly packed zone of enemies is the perfect target for a hail of arrows!

Consider leaving a good melee unit with your Longbowmen. It can be quite frustrating to see your expensive archers decimated by a sneaky unit of fast cavalry who used a distraction to pass by the main melee line and dive into your troops.


Stats Highlights
Good Shooting skills
Resistance to Ice
Weakness to Wind

Main Article: Stats


(Shoot 125%)

Main melee weapon

Secondary melee weapon

Ranged Weapon


English 75%









Granted Skills
Aim - level 1 Swift Shot - level 1 Volley Fire - level 1
Long action +25%. Range 1-2. Shooting attack with a drastic Accuracy bonus. Range 1-2. Each miniature shoots twice, but with a drastic Accuracy penalty. Very tiring. Range 1-2. A less accurate shot inflicting a morale penalty.
Lob Shot - level 5 Far Shot - level 10
Range 2. A shot ignoring terrain features and miniatures between the unit and its target. Range 3. Long Action +25%. A shooting action targeting 3 zones away with a drastic Ranged Accuracy penalty.

Mastery Skills
Flaming Arrow - level 15 Last Shot - level 15 Weak Point - level 15
Range 1-2. Ranged attack using the Fire Element. Passive Skill. The unit's charge reaction is an inaccurate shooting attack with extreme priority. Range 1-2. A shooting attack with much less chances of being blocked by shields.

Final Skills
Wind Arrow - level 35 Hail of Arrows - level 35 Trick Shots - level 35
Range 1-2. Ranged attack causing a small wind damage to a random miniature in target zone. Range 1-2. Each miniature shoots 3 arrows with a drastic Ranged Accuracy penalty. Very tiring. Long Action +50%. Range 1-2. An aimed double shot, lowering morale and chances to be blocked.

Longbowmen's Skill Tree

Related Articles

You would like to add a unit of Longbowmen to your army? Get one from one of the following boxes:

The Ex illis Starter Kit

The English Reinforcement box

The English Reinforcement assembly instructions