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This article is about the unit class in Age of Empires III. For other uses of the term, see Heavy cavalry.
Aoe3 unit type heavy cavalry

Heavy cavalry is a tag in Age of Empires III, referred to as AbstractHeavyCavalry in the game files. Almost all heavy cavalry-types are hand cavalry except Rifle Riders, Jagunços and Mounted Granaderos.

There are three types of heavy cavalry:

  • Hand cavalry: All cavalry that use swords, lances and blunt weapons (labeled as AbstractHandCavalry in the game files)
  • Ranged heavy cavalry: Cavalry that can perform a ranged attack but it's also good in melee combat (labeled as AbstractRangedHeavyCavalry in the game files)
  • Lance cavalry: Cavalry that use lances and usually have a bonus against infantry. (labeled as AbstractLancer in the game files)

Some heavy cavalry have also the siege unit tag, which are specialized in besieging buildings (labeled as AbstractSiegeTrooper in the game files).


Heavy cavalry usually have high hit points and a large melee attack. However, they are also expensive and normally take two or more population slots (with some exceptions, such as Cossacks and Steppe Riders). With update 43871, the icons for heavy cavalry and hand cavalry were added.

Most heavy cavalry are vulnerable to heavy infantry, such as Pikemen, light ranged cavalry, such as Dragoons, and ranged shock infantry, such as Eagle Runner Knights. Exceptions are Lancers, Jat Lancers, Mahout Lancers, Elmetti, Rifle Riders, and Tokala Soldiers, thanks to their bonus against infantry/heavy infantry, and Sipahi and Cuirassiers because of their large hit points.

Heavy cavalry are considered the hard counter to light infantry (rifle infantry and foot archers; except Rifle Riders, Jagunços and Mounted Granaderos, since they have a light cavalry tag) and counter-skirmishers. They are highly effective at destroying artillery such as Falconets, because of their high hit points, speed, and attack. A small group of heavy cavalry can usually take out a cannon in seconds.

The Aztecs and the Inca use hand shock infantry instead of heavy cavalry.

Hand cavalry[]

Aoe3 unit type melee cavalry

The following units are tagged as hand cavalry, but not heavy cavalry:

Ranged heavy cavalry[]

The following units are hand cavalry that also have the ranged heavy cavalry tag:

The following unit is tagged as heavy cavalry and ranged heavy cavalry, but not hand cavalry:

Some of ranged heavy cavalry units have penalties against AbstractPikeman tag (shown has hand infantry in-game)

Lance cavalry[]


The following units are hand cavalry that also have the siege unit tag:

Rifle Riders, Jagunços and Mounted Granaderos are tagged as light and heavy cavalry


  • Rifle Riders, Jagunços, and Mounted Granaderos are the only heavy cavalry units that are not tagged as hand cavalry.
  • Berber Camel Riders are the only hand cavalry units that are not tagged as heavy cavalry.
  • Despite Meteor Hammers and Chinacos having a small range, they do not have a ranged cavalry tag. They perform a hand attack at range.
  • The Lakota War Chief had no heavy cavalry tag before the Definitive Edition.


Tags in Age of Empires III
Aoe3 unit type infantry Infantry
Aoe3 unit type heavy infantry Heavy infantryHand infantry · Aoe3 unit type hand infantry Pikeman · Musket infantry
Aoe 3 unit type skirmisher Light infantryFoot archer · Rifle infantry · Hand skirmisher
OtherCounter skirmisher · Grenade trooper
Aoe3 unit type cavalry Cavalry / Aoe3 unit type light infantry Shock infantry
Aoe3 unit type heavy cavalry Heavy cavalryAoe3 unit type melee cavalry Hand cavalry · Ranged heavy cavalry · Lance cavalry
Aoe3 unit type light cavalry Light ranged cavalryGunpowder cavalry
Aoe3 unit type light infantry Shock infantryAoe3 unit type hand shock infantry Hand shock infantry · Aoe3 unit type ranged shock infantry Ranged shock infantry
OtherCamel · Elephant
Siege units
Aoe3 unit type siege infantry Siege unit · Aoe3 unit type artillery Artillery · Stat icon siege elephant Siege Elephant · Gatling Camel· Fixed Gun· Arrow Knight*
Aoe3 unit type ship Ship
Fishing boat · Warship · Stat icon training ship Recruiting ship
Aoe3 unit type building Building
Stat icon resource enclosure Resource enclosure · Stat icon wall Wall · Frontier fortification · Barracks
Aoe3 unit type hero Hero · Aoe3 unit type mercenary Mercenary · Monk · Stat icon outlaw Outlaw · Aoe3 unit type pet Pet · Aoe3 unit type villager Villager
Mother nature
Aoe3 unit type huntable Huntable · Aoe3 unit type treasure guardian Treasure guardian
Support tags
Gunpowder unit · Archer · Healing unit · Native warrior · Elephant · Camel · Archaic infantry · Ranged infantry · Ranged cavalry · Consulate unit
All tags with icons are related to the bonus and penalties counter system, except *hidden tags that aren't in the UI