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This article is about the unit type in Age of Empires III. For other uses of the term, see Mercenary.
Aoe3 unit type mercenary.png

Mercenaries are a class of special military units in Age of Empires III that can be shipped from the Home City or trained at the Tavern (for European civilizations), Monastery (for Asian civilizations), Saloon (for the United States and Mexicans) and Palace (for African civilizations).

They are defined in game files by the Mercenary tag, so Spies, Ninjas, Native Scouts (with "Advanced Scouts" card), Maigadis, and Inquisitors have a bonus against them.


A Barbary Corsair, one of the mercenaries in Age of Empires III

Mercenaries only cost coin, but are more expensive (~100 coin for each unit, 1,000 coin for Fortress Age shipments of a large squad and 2,000 coin for Industrial Age shipments of small armies of varied units) and uses up slightly more population than their regular unit counterparts. The types of mercenaries available at the Tavern, Saloon or Monastery depends on the map.

Although not technically a mercenary, the technologies provided by the "improved Church" cards function similarly to mercenaries, such as Kalmucks for the Russians and Imperial Young Guard for the French, as the player pays a high amount of resources and can only research them once, although this doesn't use up any of their Home City shipments.

Since the Definitive Edition, the British, Dutch, Ottomans, Portuguese, and Swedes can choose The Mercenary Contractor to advance into the Fortress Age, which allows the Tavern to train certain mercenaries regardless of the map.

List of mercenaries[]

Age of Empires III[]

  • Corsair de.png Barbary Corsair: Pirate mercenary from the Barbary Coast. (based on Rodelero)
  • Black rider aoe3de.png Black Rider: Heavily armed German mercenary cavalry armed with pistols. (based on Dragoon)
  • Hackapell aoe3de.png Hackapell: Heavy cavalry mercenary from Finland. (based on Uhlan)
  • Highlander de.png Highlander: Powerful Musketeer from Scotland. (based on Musketeer)
  • Jaeger portrait aoe3de updated.png Jaeger: Hessian skirmisher mercenary. Good against infantry. (based on Skirmisher)
  • Landsknecht de.png Landsknecht: Flamboyant German heavy infantry mercenary. (based on Halberdier)
  • Mameluke aoe3de.png Mameluke: Bold cavalry mercenary from Egypt.
  • Manchu de.png Manchu: Chinese cavalry archer mercenary. (based on Cavalry Archer)
  • Privateer aoe3de.png Privateer: Privateer. Mercenary warship.
  • Ronin de.png Ronin: Japanese Samurai mercenary. (based on Doppelsoldner)
  • Stradiot aoe3de.png Stradiot: Heavy cavalry mercenary from the Balkans. (based on Hussar)
  • Swiss pikeman aoe3de.png Swiss Pikeman: Elite Swiss mercenary armed with a pike. Good against cavalry. (based on Pikeman)

The WarChiefs[]

  • Elmeti aoe3de.png Elmetto: Heavy cavalry armed with a lance. Good against infantry. (based on Lancer)
  • Fusilier de.png Fusilier: Powerful ranged infantry mercenary.
  • Lil bombard aoe3de.png Li'l Bombard: Powerful heavy artillery from the foundries of Europe. (based on Great Bombard)
  • Ninja de.png Ninja: Japanese assassin. Highly effective against mercenaries, Explorers, War Chiefs, and Monks. (based on Spy)

The Asian Dynasties[]

  • Arsonist aoe3de.png Arsonist: Mercenary light artillery that throws fire bombs to destroy buildings. Also good against infantry. (based on Grenadier)
  • Iron troop aoe3de.png Iron Troop: Mercenary foot archer from China that wears heavy armor. Good against infantry.
  • Jat lancer de.png Jat Lancer: An elite Indian mercenary armed with a lance. Good against archers, skirmishers, and artillery. (based on Lancer)
  • Yojimbo aoe3de.png Yojimbo: Heavily armed mercenary cavalry good with both a bow and a sword. Good against cavalry.
  • Wokou junk aoe3de.png Wokou Junk: Wokou Junk. Mercenary warship.

Definitive Edition[]

  • Harquebusier portrait aoe3de updated.png Harquebusier: Heavy cavalry mercenary with a powerful short ranged attack. (based on Hakkapelit)
  • Napoleon gun icon aoe3de.png Napoleon Gun: Small but mighty field gun with an additional case shot attack. Moves and fires quickly. (based on Leather Cannon)
  • Zouave icon aoe3de.png Zouave: Zouave. High hitpoint ranged infantry.

The African Royals[]

  • Askari aoe3de portrait.png Askari: Powerful well-drilled African musketeer mercenary ready to restore order.
  • Cannoneer portrait aoe3de.png Cannoneer: Armored cannoneer mercenary from Portugal who fires a heavy musket inflicting siege damage. (based on Abus Gun)
  • Dahomey amazon aoe3de portrait.png Dahomey Amazon: Battle-tested woman bodyguard mercenary of the Dahomey armed with rifle to counter infantry. Attacks faster at close range by throwing knives.
  • Gatling camel aoe3de portrait.png Gatling Camel: Egyptian mercenary equipped with an automatic-fire gun mounted on a camel. Good against infantry, particularly Heavy Infantry.
  • Kanuri guard aoe3de portrait.png Kanuri Guard: Heavily armored Kanuri cavalryman mercenary skilled in the use of muskets. Good against heavy cavalry.
  • Sennar horseman aoe3de portrait.png Sennar Horseman: Heavy hand cavalry mercenary from Sudan with many hitpoints and dual armor. Good against light infantry and artillery. (based on Lifidi Knight)
  • War dhow portrait aoe3de.png War Dhow: Powerful, heavy Mercenary Warship with very high hitpoints.
  • Xebec portrait aoe3de.png Xebec: A powerful, agile mercenary warship that fires faster at close range. Inflicts high damage.
  • Zenata rider aoe3de portrait.png Zenata Rider: Mercenary Rider of the Berber Zenata armed with a shield and javelins. Good against cavalry and artillery.

Knights of the Mediterranean[]

  • Pandour: Notorious Skirmisher from the Balkans that counters Skirmishers. Can use stealth.
  • Giant Grenadier: Heavy ranged infantry mercenary that inflicts area damage with its ranged attack.
  • Bosniak: Mercenary lancer with a powerful lance attack that charges while fighting. Benefits from Promotions.
  • Armored Pistoleer: Heavy ranged infantry mercenary from Savoy who uses his thick darkened armor to deflect some of the damage inflicted to nearby allies. Pistol attack deals area damage.
  • Royal Horseman: Guard Cavalry mercenary riding a heavy war horse that damages units while moving.
  • Irish Brigadier: Affordable Muskeeter from Ireland with a high hand attack, but it does not counter Cavalry. Benefits from promotions.
  • Mounted Rifleman: Long ranged heavy cavalry mercenary. Strong against Infantry, specially Skirmishers. Countered by other cavalry.


The technologies that affect units with the mercenary tag are shown below:

Home City Cards[]


  • Mercenaries are not available in the demo version.
  • The Captured Mortar is listed in the compendium under the mercenaries tab, but it doesn't have that tag.