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Chinese heavy cavalry. Good against archers, skirmishers, and artillery.
—In-game description

The Iron Flail is a melee heavy cavalry in Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties that is unique to the Chinese and are trained as part of Forbidden Army and Imperial Army.


The Iron Flail is a powerful heavy cavalry available to the Chinese. It behaves similarly to the Naginata Rider, in that it possesses a multiplier against ranged infantry such as Skirmishers (please note that this does not include true light infantry such as Coyote Runners). The thing that sets the Iron Flail apart is that it has a splash damage attack, making it especially effective vs massed infantry and an exceptional raider as well. If Double Faced Armor is shipped, it boosts the range resist up to an impressive 41%, allowing it to tank an incredible amount of ranged fire, even allowing it to stand up to ranged cavalry for a short time.

The Iron Flail can be trained in the Imperial Army alongside Arquebusiers, or in the Forbidden Army alongside Meteor Hammers.

Due to the Iron Flail's fairly low base damage, it is quite poor against other cavalry and not especially quick at killing artillery. Fortunately, to compensate, it has a high amount of hit points, making it still a valuable unit to round out the Chinese army.


The Iron Flail 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 iron flail.png Honored Iron Flail 300 wood,
300 coin
Upgrades Iron Flails to Honored (+30% hit points and attack)
Imperial Age
Exalted iron flail.png Exalted Iron Flail 750 wood,
750 coin
Upgrades Iron Flails to Exalted (+50% hit points and attack); requires Honored Iron Flail

Further statistics[]

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

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Ranged infantry, light infantry, artillery
Weak vs. Heavy 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 Yoga.png Yoga (+5%)
Speed Comanche Mustangs.png Comanche Mustangs (+10%)
Apache Endurance.png Apache Endurance (+5%)
Creation speed Cheyenne Horse Trading.png Cheyenne Horse Trading (-12%, Imperial Army)
Train cost Mapuche Ad-mapu.png Mapuche Ad-mapu (-10% coin cost, Forbidden Army and Imperial Army)
Other Merritocracy.png Meritocracy (-20% upgrade cost)

Home City Cards[]

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


The flail is a medieval weapon used primarily in Europe during the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries. Its construction consists of a weighted head, often spiked, that is attached to a wooden handle with a whip or length of chain. While not as commonly used in Asia, the flail was quite similar to other flail weapons, such as the Chinese nunchaku, or two-section staff, and Sanjiegun, or three-section staff.


  • Before the Definitive Edition, Iron Flails, together with Meteor Hammers, were the only units in Age of Empires III which could receive an upgrade to their resistance: the Double-Faced Armor card.