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This article is about the unit in Age of Empires III. For the similar unit in other games of the series, see Halberdier.

Slow, heavy infantry with a large attack.
—In-game description

The Halberdier is a melee heavy infantry in Age of Empires III that can be trained at Barracks, Fort, and Galleon/Fluyt once the Fortress Age is reached.

Halberdiers are available to Dutch, French, John Black's Mercenaries (Act II: Ice campaign), Portuguese, and Russians.


The Halberdier is a powerful hand infantry unit, good against cavalry, but vulnerable to Skirmishers. It is similar to the Pikeman in terms of its purpose and function. However, it is more versatile, dealing more damage to non-cavalry units, has more health and damage, and can be upgraded to Guard and Imperial level, but has less speed and siege damage when accounted for cost. Halberdiers have extremely high attack and hit points for an infantry unit, but are slow, and thus unable to catch up to almost anything to get into melee. This makes them much better at defensive purposes than as a primary offensive unit. The Dutch are somewhat able to overcome this weakness by combining the "Military Reforms" Home City Card and Military Drummers for a total of 5.2 speed. Training 5-10 Halberdiers and placing them behind artillery to guard from cavalry flanks is an extremely cost-effective way to defend cannons. Unlike Musketeers, they will automatically block and melee down cavalry, and can go into cover mode, which greatly increases their durability.

Additionally, Halberdiers are able to beat almost any melee infantry that gets into combat with them (with the notable exception of the Jaguar Prowl Knight), making them more versatile than Pikemen.

In the Definitive Edition, the Dutch can train Halberdiers as early as the Commerce Age if they Age up with The Logistician.


The Halberdier starts at the Veteran level, but without the increased hit points and attack.

If made available in the Commerce Age by Aging up with The Logistician for the Dutch, Halberdiers will be automatically upgraded to Veteran when the player reaches the Fortress Age.

Age Upgrade Cost Effect Civ.
Ages industrial.jpg
Guard spear infantry.png Guard Halberdiers 600 wood,
600 coin
Upgrades Halberdiers to Guard (+30% hit points and attack) French
Guard spear infantry.png Stadswachts 1,000 wood,
1,000 coin
Upgrades Halberdiers to Stadswachts (Guard Halberdiers with +10% hit points and attack, on top of +30% hit points and attack from the Guard Upgrade) Dutch
Imperial Age
Imperial spear infantry.png Imperial Halberdiers 1,500 wood,
1,500 coin
Upgrades Halberdiers to Imperial (+50% hit points and attack); requires Guard Halberdiers French
Imperial spear infantry.png Imperial Stadswachts Upgrades Stadswachts to Imperial (+50% hit points and attack); requires Stadswachts Dutch

Civilization differences[]

  • As seen above, the Dutch can upgrade Halberdiers to Royal Guard and Imperial Guard levels.
  • The Russians train Halberdiers in groups of four at the Blockhouse for 75% of the price but with 20% less hit points and attack.
  • While the Spanish cannot train Halberdiers, they can ship 13 Guard Halberdiers through Royal Alabarderos. Similarly, the Swedes can ship 16 Veteran Halberdiers through Gustavian Guards, and can turn all Pikemen into Halberdiers through the "Dalcarlian Rebellion" card.
  • John Black's Mercenaries can only upgrade Halberdiers to the Guard level.
  • The Haudenosaunee can ship up to 31 Halberdiers through the "Renegade Dutch" cards.

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Cavalry, shock infantry, buildings
Weak vs. Archers, artillery
Hit points Infantry Breastplate.png Infantry Breastplate (+10%)
Corselet.png Corselet (+25%, Spanish only)
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 Military Drummers.png Military Drummers (+10%)
Inca Road-building.png Incan Road-building (+20%)
Apache Endurance.png Apache Endurance (+5%)
Sight Town Watch.png Town Watch (+2)
Creation speed Standing Army.png Standing Army (-25%)
Inca Chaquis Messengers.png Incan Chasquis Messengers (-25%)
Train cost Mapuche Ad-mapu.png Mapuche Ad-mapu (-10% coin cost)
Other Petrine Reforms.png Petrine Reforms (grants Guard upgrade, Russians only)
Quatrefage.png Quatrefage (ships 13 Guard Halberdiers, Spanish only)
Merritocracy.png Meritocracy (-20% upgrade cost)
Gustavian Guards.png Gustavian Guards (ships 16 Veteran Halberdiers, Swedes only)
Penalties Coffee Trade.png Coffee Trade (-10% speed, Dutch only)
Corselet.png Corselet (-15% speed, Spanish only)

Home City Cards[]


Age of Empires III[]

  • Halberdiers have 25 hand attack and 10% melee resistance.

Definitive Edition[]

  • Halberdiers now have 28 hand attack and 20% melee resistance.
  • The Logistician introduced for the Dutch.
  • Halberdiers shipped by Quatrefage now use the Spanish Pikeman dialogue instead of the Dutch Halberdier's.


  • The Halberdier's function and its availability in the third age is similar to the Hoplite and Phalanx from the original Age of Empires.
  • Despite being a weapon of German origin that was also used by the British and Spanish, none of them use it for balancing reasons.
  • Dutch Royal Guard Halberdiers' name, Stadswacht, translates to "City Guard".
    • Before the Definitive Edition, they are named Nassauer, which refers to Maurice of Nassau who was the first to utilize linear infantry tactics on a large scale in Europe (confirmed by the Royal Guard upgrade, which is named Nassau's Linear Tactics). Contrary to the in-game upgrade, however, the tactic was introduced to Dutch musketeers rather than melee troops.


Riders with lances had better range than halberdiers, so halberdiers often fought alongside Pikemen. The axe blade of a halberd was more than capable of cleaving plate armor, flesh and bone alike, but because the halberdier had to swing the long weapon with both hands, he was virtually defenseless when attacking. This required tight coordination and unwavering resolve within a regiment of halberdiers.

The halberd is essentially a very long-handled axe. It was a six foot staff of stout oak or ash topped by a long, stabbing spear point and a heavy axe blade balanced by a spike. The spear point was used to thrust and stab, the axe blade to cut through a mounted warrior's heavy armor, and the spike opposite the axe blade to push, or pull, riders off balance.