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Soldier armed with a very large sword. Good against cavalry.
—In-game description

The Changdao Swordsman is a melee heavy infantry in Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties that is unique to the Chinese and are trained as part of the Territorial Army or (since the Definitive Edition) as part of the Black Flag Army.


The Changdao Swordsman is a moderately powerful hand infantry, falling somewhere between a Pikeman and a Halberdier. It has very low hit points, but a fairly strong attack. Additionally, it also has a high speed.

In battle, this unit tends to be killed very quickly, even by cavalry. However, due to it being so cheap, it trades cost effectively, and provides a meatshield for ranged units. With its strong base damage and decent siege damage, it can be used for raiding, taking down enemy Pikemen, or sieging down important buildings such as Trading Posts.

They can quickly fall behind strong cavalry units, so upgrading them should be a priority against cavalry-driven civilizations.


The Changdao Swordsman is automatically upgraded to Disciplined (+20% hit points and attack) in the Fortress Age.

Age Upgrade Cost Effect
Age IV tech tree aoe 3.png
Honored changdao swordsman.png Honored Changdao 300 wood,
300 coin
Upgrades Changdao Swordsmen to Honored (+30% hit points and attack)
Imperial Age
Exalted changdao swordsman.png Exalted Changdao 750 wood,
750 coin
Upgrades Changdao Swordsmen to Exalted (+50% hit points and attack); requires Honored Changdao

Further statistics[]

As Changdao Swordsmen are unique to the Chinese, only technologies that they have access to are shown in the following table:

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Cavalry, Shock Infantry, buildings
Weak vs. Archers, artillery
Hit points Cree Tanning.png Cree Tanning (+5%)
Maya Cotton Armor.png Maya Cotton Armor (+20%)
Navajo Weaving.png Navajo Weaving (+5%)
Attack Carib Kasiri Beer.png Carib Kasiri Beer (+10%)
Mapuche Tactics.png Mapuche Tactics (+50% siege attack)
Zapotec Cult of the Dead.png Zapotec Cult of the Dead (+20%)
Yoga.png Yoga (+5%)
Master Lessons.png Master Lessons (+10%)
Speed Inca Road-building.png Quechuan Mountaineering (+20%)
Apache Endurance.png Apache Endurance (+5%)
Train cost Mapuche Ad-mapu.png Mapuche Ad-mapu (-10% coin cost, armies)
Other Merritocracy.png Meritocracy (-20% upgrade cost)

Home City Cards[]

As Changdao Swordsmen are unique to the Chinese, only their cards and other civilizations' TEAM cards are shown in the following tables:


Definitive Edition[]


  • Chang Dao (長刀) literally translates to "long sword" in Chinese.
  • The Changdao Swordsman's attack bonus (x2.3) against cavalry is a reference to the ancient Chinese Zhanmadao (as references in the history section).
    • Chinese Zhanmadao inspired Japanese Zanbatō.


The Chinese long sword known as changdao was actually a modification of a Japanese design carried by wokou pirates of the sixteenth century. The famed Chinese pirate fighter, General Qi Jiguang, is said to have taken the existing Japanese odachi sword, lengthened it, and straightened its curve. The resulting blade was extremely long, over three feet, and ideal for repelling cavalry. Therefore, it replaced the traditional Chinese horse fighting blade, the zhanmadao. During his campaign to secure the Mongol border in 1560, Qi Jiguang’s Chinese forces used the new weapon to great effect. A proven success, the changdao was utilized throughout the remaining years of the Ming Dynasty.