It is true: the son of a lion roars as a lion!

Bukko, mediaeval Japanese zen master

Foot Saburai: Vital statistics

Unit type

Super heavy infantry

Built/trained at


Damage and weapon type

  • Brutal, pike
  • Bonus damage versus cavalry



Production cost

  • Pop cost: 1
  • Resource cost: 70Ore; 60Food
  • Ramp cost: 2Ore; 1Food


  • Melee
  • Low LOS

Unit move and creation speed

  • Unit movement speed: rather slow
  • Creation speed: fast

Unit HP


Technological requirements

Darkage [2]

Factions available


Foot Saburai form the elite of Japanese armies, and are armed with the yari, a long barbed spear that grants them first strike capability. As infantry units go, these units are fairly capable and their speed, although nothing to shout about in comparison to Arab jundi infantry, will allow them to function better on the field when it comes to emergency situations.

Yet do not fully rely on them all the time — Foot Saburai can only be mustered from a Nobles' Court, and they are still vulnerable to crossbow fire, so masters of Saburai are always advised to take a page from traditional Sengoku Jidai tactics: use missile attacks to soften and disorganise the enemy, and then attack with your Saburai and cavalry. Being better than the Shȫen Retainers, they also cost a fair bit more in metal, as well, although their better cross-country performance will always allow them to perform a banzai charge that is guaranteed to sweep aside any Saracen formations in their way.

Unlike Mediaeval Europe where there was a perceptible correlation between social status and specialisation (ie high-born knightly swordsmen versus peasant archers and pikemen), Asian military culture of the contemporaneous period placed greater emphasis on flexibility. The variegated terrain of Asia, classified by many mountains and near-lack of room for manoeuvre created a requirement for warriors proficient in various combat styles and not merely confined to either use of a fixed number of weapons. Japanese Bushi (and their later descendents, the Saburai) were thus skilled in the use of various weapons, notably with the yari (long spear) and in archery.

Unit summaryEdit

  • Heavy infantry with better cross-country performance than normal Spear Sergeants and with a ranged attack, but costlier and trainable only from the Nobles' Court.
  • Speed Kills — The added speed of the Saburai means that the Japanese infantry army is one of the most flexible.
  • Formidable, Not Invincible — Foot Saburai are difficult to amass, since building a Nobles' Court is rather hard to do, and you still need to research them.
  • Rank and File — Foot Saburai are best used in tandem with other units, especially cheaper Ashigaru and Shȫen Retainers.

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