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This article is about the Spanish and Knights of St. John unique unit. For other units called Lancer, see Lancer.

Heavy cavalry armed with a lance for killing infantry.
—In-game description

The Lancer is a melee heavy cavalry in Age of Empires III that is unique to the Spanish and can be trained at Stable, Fort, and Galleon once the Fortress Age is reached.

Lancers are also available to Knights of St. John in the Act I: Blood campaign.


Unlike most cavalry which are weak against melee infantry units, the Lancer has a large bonus against infantry (double the damage of a Hussar). It is somewhat at a disadvantage when fighting other cavalry or enemy Settlers/Villagers due to its reduced base attack and speed. In rare cases, it can pick off Settlers who stray too far off from the Town Center, as well as quickly kill most explorers due to their classification as infantry. The main advantage of the Lancer appears to be its higher durability and the possibility of getting a Royal Guard upgrade in the late game, unlike the Spanish Hussar.

The "Unction" card, ten Missionaries, the "Caballeros" Home City Card, Stable upgrades and all Spanish cavalry cards (+30% attack and hit points) stack to allow the Lancer to quickly kill infantry units. The numbers do not take into account minor civilization bonuses. Lancers are capable of using trample mode when all upgrades and shipments have been sent and when backed by Missionaries using Unction. It's better to only activate the mode on a handful of units rather than en masse. The Unction Lancer, however, can be beaten by ranged cavalry such as the Keshik or Dragoon. Though Lancers beat the Ashigaru Musketeer in combat, it is not cost effective to get into an extended confrontation with them due to the inability of the unit to ultimately come out ahead (due to cost and population effectiveness). Hit and run raids on masses of Ashigaru or other anti-cavalry infantry are best.

When fully upgraded, and accompanied by ten Missionaries with Unction, the Lancer will possess 71 attack and 4x multipliers against infantry. The Tokala Soldier, when fully upgraded, with an aura from the Lakota War Chief and full Community Plaza doing a War Ceremony, will possess 96 attack and 2.5x multiplier against infantry. This means the Lancer is stronger than the Tokala Soldier against infantry units, but the Tokala Soldier has 2x multipliers against Artillery, which means the Tokala Soldier is more versatile than the Lancer. Also, Tokala Soldier gain a speed advantage from cards or the War Chief, so they can flee from battle effectively.


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

Age Upgrade Cost Effect
Age IV tech tree aoe 3.png
Guard cavalry.png Garrochistas 1,000 wood,
1,000 coin
Upgrades Lancers to Garrochista Lancers (+40% hit points and attack)
Imperial Age
Imperial cavalry.png Imperial Garrochistas 1,500 wood,
1,500 coin
Upgrades Garrochista Lancers to Imperial Garrochistas (+50% hit points and attack); requires Garrochistas

Civilization differences[]

Further statistics[]

As Lancers are unique to Spanish and Knights of St. John, only technologies that they have access to are shown in the following table:

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Infantry
Weak vs. Cavalry, artillery
Hit points Cavalry Cuirass.png Cavalry Cuirass (+10%)
Comanche Horse Breeding.png Comanche Horse Breeding (+10%)
Cree Tanning.png Cree Tanning (+5%)
Navajo Weaving.png Navajo Weaving (+5%)
Attack Pillage.png Pillage (+25% siege attack)
Yoga.png Yoga (+5%)
Sight Town Watch.png Town Watch (+2)
Speed Comanche Mustangs.png Comanche Mustangs (+10%)
Apache Endurance.png Apache Endurance (+5%)
Creation speed Mass Cavalry.png Mass Cavalry (-35%)
Cheyenne Horse Trading.png Cheyenne Horse Trading (-25%)
Inca Chaquis Messengers.png Quechuan Diet (-25%)
Train cost Mapuche Ad-mapu.png Mapuche Ad-mapu (-10% coin cost)
Other Merritocracy.png Meritocracy (-20% upgrade cost)
Penalties High Crusade.png High Crusade (-5% hit points, Knights of St. John only)

Home City Cards[]

As Lancers are unique to Spanish and Knights of St. John, only their cards and other civilizations' TEAM cards are shown on the following tables:


  • Due to a bug, upgrading the Lancer to Garrochista Lancers and Imperial Garrochistas did not change their model, while the Consulate Garrochistas change their model as they get auto-upgraded. This has been fixed in the Definitive Edition.
  • Royal Guard and Consulate Lancers are named after a type of lance used by Spanish knights in the 15th century, the garrocha, with the user being called a garrochista.
    • The most famous garrochistas in Spanish history were the Lancers of Jerez who fought at the Battle of Bailén (1808) and were made of volunteer bull herders. This is a possible reason for the name being used in the Imperial Age, which roughly corresponds with the 19th century. The unit's model resembles a cavalryman from the Italian Wars (1494-1559), however.
  • The in-game Lancer carries an Adarga, an apple-shaped leather shield originally from Fes, Morocco that was used by light cavalry in Muslim Spain before it was adopted by the Christians. The same shield is used by the Berber Genitour in Age of Empires II HD: The African Kingdoms and by the Zenata Rider in Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition - The African Royals. The Adarga's unusual shape was designed to deflect arrows and javelins more than stop them.
  • In contrast to the unit's name and model, the icon shows the Lancer armed with a cavalry sword like the Hussar, not a lance.


Lancers were about the only cavalry that ranks of musketeers with bayonets couldn't drop. Their lances gave them better range than bayonets though they were already an archaic weapon. Though it never vanished entirely from battlefields, the Polish were responsible for the lance's rise to prominence in the nineteenth century.

Lances were wooden shafts that varied from nine feet to over 15 feet long. They carried swallow-tailed banners just under the metal tips. Some Cossacks carried lances, and many dragoon regiments were armed with both lances and carbines.