Samurai (Civ5)

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Samurai (Civ5)
Melee unit of the Medieval era
The Japanese unique unit.
Game speed
Quick - Regular - Epic - Marathon
20xProduction5 120
20xStrength5 21
20xMovement5 2
20xRangedStrength5 None
Technology Steel (Civ5) Steel
Resource Iron (Civ5) Iron
Upgrades to Rifleman (Civ5) Rifleman

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Game InfoEdit

Unique unit of the Japanese civilization. Replaces the Longswordsman. Requires Iron.

  • Special traits:
    • Shock I promotion
    • Great Generals II promotion
    • May build Fishing Boats while Embarked


The legendary Japanese Samurai are one of the most deadly units prior to the Industrial Era. They not only fight better than anyone else on open terrain, but also can go toe to toe with Musketmen on open terrain, and help produce Great Generals a lot faster than other units. Use them to gain an advantage in combat during the Medieval and Renaissance Eras.

Upgrading the Swordsmen to Samurai provides the Shock I promotions if the unit doesn't possess them already, so it may be a good idea to go towards Drill promotions instead.

As if that weren't enough, as of the Fall 2013 Patch, they can also build Fishing Boats on appropriate resources when embarked! Unfortunately, this ability doesn't transfer at upgrade. 

The Samurai upgrades to the Rifleman, not the Musketman like the Longswordsman it replaces. That means you will still need a source of iron for each unit until you research Rifling in the Industrial Era.

Historical InfoEdit

The Japanese samurai were arguably the best pre-gunpowder warriors since the Roman legions. Emerging in the 12th century, the samurai were a warrior caste sworn to follow the code of Bushido, which held bravery, honor, and loyalty above life itself. Samurai typically carried two swords, the single-edged katana and the shorter wakizashi, the latter used in the "seppuku" (suicide) ritual. Despite their lack of access to mineral resources of decent quality, Japanese swordsmiths produced weapons that were often as good as the very best elsewhere. Some also carried bow or spear, and later, firearms. Depending upon the era (and the samurai's wealth and status) a samurai might wear padded cloth, lacquered, or metal armor.


The Samurai were completely dominant for a few hundred years over Japan's military, before the influence of the Portuguese and gunpowder allowed arquebus-equipped Ashigaru (peasant) infantry to be developed and completely changed the face of war in Japan. However, at the beginning of the Edo Period in which Japan entered a period of isolation, all firearms and instructions to build them were destroyed, leading to the reinstitution of the samurai. Still, as Japan was unified and completely at peace, the samurai did little other than write poetry before Japan was brought into the Industrial age by the Meiji restoration, which abolished the Samurai class and the feudal system completely. Even today, the Samurai are still some of the most well known soldiers in the world, comparable only to the Roman Legions, the American Minutemen, and the British Longbowmen.

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