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This article is about the Age of Empires III mercenary unit. For the cheat unit in Age of Empires, see Black Rider (Age of Empires).

Heavily armed German mercenary cavalry armed with pistols.
—In-game description

The Black Rider is a mercenary light cavalry in Age of Empires III. The Black Rider fights on horseback, wearing black armor, and wields powerful handguns.


The Black Rider is a swift unit with a reasonable long range attack which can also take a lot of hits due to their substantial armor. Like its basic version, the Dragoon, the Black Rider is a type of ranged counter-cavalry unit. It is also good for killing enemy Artillery. With 12 Missionaries (Japanese ally), Unction, all attack improvement upgrades and cards (German and Indian allies), the Spanish German Black Rider is the ranged cavalry with the highest ranged attack, 100.32.

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Heavy cavalry, Shock Infantry, artillery
Weak vs. Heavy infantry, ranged infantry, light cavalry
Hit points Comanche Horse Breeding.png Comanche Horse Breeding (+10%)
Cree Tanning.png Cree Tanning (+5%)
Navajo Weaving.png Navajo Weaving (+5%)
Attack Counter Infantry Rifling.png Customized Merc Weapons (+30%, John Black's Mercenaries only)
Ranged Cavalry Caracole.png Ranged Cavalry Caracole (+10%)
Yoga.png Yoga (+5%)
Smokeless Powder.png Smokeless Powder (+30% siege attack)
Range Ranged Cavalry Caracole.png Ranged Cavalry Caracole (+2)
Sight Town Watch.png Town Watch (+2)
Ranged Cavalry Caracole.png Ranged Cavalry Caracole (+2)
Speed Comanche Mustangs.png Comanche Mustangs (+10%)
Apache Endurance.png Apache Endurance (+5%)
Creation speed Mass Cavalry.png Mass Cavalry (-50%)
Cheyenne Horse Trading.png Cheyenne Horse Trading (-25%)
Inca Chaquis Messengers.png Quechuan Diet (-25%)
Train cost Mapuche Ad-mapu.png Mapuche Ad-mapu (-10% coin cost)
Other Order of the Tower and Sword.png Order of the Tower and the Sword (ships 11 Black Riders, Portuguese only)
Penalties Coffee Trade.png Coffee Trade (-10% speed, Dutch only)

Home City Cards[]

In-game dialogue[]

The Black Rider, similar to the units of the Germans, speaks modern Standard German with a standard theater pronunciation ("Bühnendeutsch"), although this does not represent the form of German spoken in the Age of Empires III timeframe.

  • Select 1 Ja? - Yes?
  • Select 2 Bereit - Ready
  • Select 3 Auftrag? - Order?
  • Move 1 Jawohl - Yes
  • Move 2 Verstanden - Understood
  • Move 3 Wird erledigt - It will be done
  • Attack 1 Angriff! - Attack!
  • Attack 2 In den Kampf! - Into the fight!
  • Attack 3 Jawohl! - Yes!


Black Riders were also known as "devil riders" because of the blackened armor they wore. They first appeared in Germany in the sixteenth century. The Riders developed a special tactic known as "caracole," which allowed them to effectively bombard infantry units with constant weapons fire. In caracole, cavalry units created a tight formation. The units in front fired their weapons, and then quickly charged to the back to reload. The units that were just behind them fired immediately after the first row charged backwards to reload.