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This article is about the unit of Knights of St. John. For the unit of the Maltese, see Fire Thrower.

Knights of Malta that throw flaming hoops at Janissaries.
—In-game description

The Hoop Thrower is a heavy infantry unit in Age of Empires III that is unique to the Knights of St. John and can be trained at the Artillery Foundry. It is only available in the Act I: Blood campaign.


The Hoop Thrower throws burning rings (hoops) at the enemy. It is classified as a heavy infantry/siege trooper unit and, before the Definitive Edition, it was effective against the Ottoman Janissary.

Due to their extremely slow fire rate Hoop Throwers are not that impressive unless massed, which takes up sizable chunks of population. Lancers are ultimately better, though they lack an area of effect outside of Trample Mode, they kill Janissaries very quickly and can respond to threats much faster or avoid total annihilation due to their speed. With Corselet, Hoop Throwers will have 290 hit points.

Further statistics[]

As the Hoop Thrower can only be trained by the Knights of St. John in Act I: Blood, only improvements available to them (including native improvements) are listed here.

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Janissaries, infantry in groups (when massed)
Weak vs. Cavalry, artillery
Hit points Corselet Corselet (+25%)
High Crusade High Crusade (+25%)
Attack High Crusade High Crusade (+20%)
Sight Town Watch Town Watch (+3)
Other High Crusade High Crusade (ships 8 Hoop Throwers)
Penalties Corselet Corselet (-15% speed)

In-game dialogue[]

The Hoop Thrower speaks a variant of Middle English using the British Culverin's dialogue files.


During the Siege of Malta in 1565, the defenders of Malta (the Knights of St. John) relied heavily on incendiary weapons, including ones called the "firework hoop." These weapons, made of gunpowder and wood, were used against advancing Janissaries as they attempted to storm Fort St. Elmo. The incendiary weapons were highly effective, forcing the Janissaries to fall back from their attack. Approximately 2,000 elite Janissaries were killed during the assault on Fort St. Elmo, while only about eighty of their enemy died. After the siege the Knights of St. John, also known as the Knights Hospitaller, controlled Malta until 1798.


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