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

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 mercenary buildings (Tavern for European civilizations, Monastery for Asian civilizations, Saloon for Federal American civilizations and Palace for African civilizations). Native Americans cannot train mercenaries since they lack equivalent mercenary buildings, but they can ship mercenaries with Home City Cards.

The choice of mercenaries available to a player depends on multiple factors such as the played civilization, the current map, as well as random selection.

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


Barbary Corsair

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

Mercenaries only cost coin, and they are more expensive, stronger, and use up more population than their regular unit counterparts. Mercenary buildings can train mercenaries, but the availability of each mercenary changes on every random map.

Although not technically a mercenary, the technologies provided by the "improved Church" cards function similarly to mercenaries, such as St. Petersburg Dragoons for the Russians and 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. The Mercenary Contractor also improves the hitpoints and attack of Industrial and Imperial Age mercenaries if a player picks him for advancing into the Imperial Age, and this can be done with all European civilizations.

List of mercenaries[]

3Icon48px Age of Empires III[]

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

3WCIcon48px The WarChiefs[]

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

3ADIcon48px The Asian Dynasties[]

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

Age3DE Icon Definitive Edition[]

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

Age3DE Icon The African Royals[]

  • Askari aoe3de portrait Askari: Powerful well-drilled African musketeer mercenary ready to restore order. (based on Carolean)
  • Cannoneer portrait aoe3de Cannoneer: Armored cannoneer mercenary from Portugal who fires a heavy musket inflicting siege damage. (based on Abus Gunner)
  • Dahomey amazon aoe3de portrait 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 Gatling Camel: Egyptian mercenary equipped with an automatic-fire gun mounted on a camel. Good against infantry, particularly Heavy Infantry.
  • Kanuri guard aoe3de portrait Kanuri Guard: Heavily armored Kanuri cavalryman mercenary skilled in the use of muskets. Good against heavy cavalry. (based on Dragoon)
  • Sennar horseman aoe3de portrait Sennar Horseman: Heavy hand cavalry mercenary from Sudan with many hitpoints and dual armor. Good against light infantry and artillery. (based on Lifidi Knight)
  • Zenata rider aoe3de portrait Zenata Rider: Mercenary Rider of the Berber Zenata armed with a shield and javelins. Good against cavalry and artillery. (based on Javelin Rider)

Age3DE Icon Knights of the Mediterranean[]

  • Mercenary pandour portrait Pandour: Notorious Skirmisher from the Balkans that counters Skirmishers. Can use stealth. (based on Schiavone)
  • Mercenary giant grenadier portrait Giant Grenadier: Heavy ranged infantry mercenary that inflicts area damage with its ranged attack. (based on Soldado)
  • Mercenary bosniak rider portrait Bosniak: Mercenary lancer with a powerful lance attack that charges while fighting. Benefits from Promotions. (based on Chinaco)
  • Mercenary armored pistoleer portrait 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.
  • Mercenary royal horseman portrait Royal Horseman: Guard Cavalry mercenary riding a heavy war horse that damages units while moving. (based on Cuirassier)
  • Mercenary irish brigade portrait Irish Brigadier: Affordable Muskeeter from Ireland with a high hand attack. Benefits from promotions.
  • Mercenary mounted rifleman portrait Mounted Rifleman: Long ranged heavy cavalry mercenary. Strong against Infantry, specially Skirmishers. Countered by other cavalry.

Other tags[]

The game refers to several units without the Mercenary tag as mercenaries, such as mercenary warships. These units are unaffected by upgrades for and multipliers against mercenaries. They are divided into 4 tags:


The MercType1 tag is given to units granted by Home City shipments of native warriors. These have their own build limit, which is not shared with their respective native warrior that can be trained from Trading Posts, Tambos, or Native Embassies. The only other units with this tag are the Skull Knight and Tokala Soldier, both of which can be trained from the Community Plaza.


The MercType2 tag is given to units with multipliers against mercenaries, and the Shinobi. The list of units with this tag is as follows:

  • Inquisitor portrait Inquisitor: Sinister priest who spies and heals in the name of faith. Inflicts burning damage.
  • Maigadi aoe3de portrait Maigadi: Powerful heavy ranged infantry with a deadly heavy attack.
  • Spy ottoman portrait Muhbir: Sneaky assassin. Highly effective against mercenaries and heroes such as Explorers. Attacks faster with less hitpoints and benefits from promotions.
  • Ninja de Ninja (also has the Mercenary tag)
  • Spy aoe3de portrait updated Spy: Sneaky assassin. Highly effective against mercenaries, Explorers, War Chiefs, and Monks.
  • Shinobi aoe3de Shinobi: Stealthy ranged infantry. Good against infantry.


Only 2 units have the MercType3 tag, both of which are campaign-only treasure guardians:


All mercenary warships have the MercType5 tag:

  • Battleship portrait Battleship: A mighty Ship of the Line that rules the waves and everything on it.
  • Privateer aoe3de Privateer: Mercenary warship.
  • War dhow portrait aoe3de War Dhow: Powerful, heavy Mercenary Warship with very high hitpoints.
  • Wokou junk aoe3de Wokou Junk: Mercenary warship.
  • Xebec portrait aoe3de Xebec: A powerful, agile mercenary warship that fires faster at close range. Inflicts high damage.


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

Home City Cards[]

Click for a list of Home City Cards related to the Mercenary tag


Card Description Age
Spanish Home City 5 (Mercenary Loyalty). Mercenary Loyalty* Most mercenary and native warrior shipments cost -25%; +3 Uhlans, Wallenstein's Contracts cost -50%;
(Industrial Age infinite mercenary and native warrior shipments cost -10%, Hire Ronin Samurai Army shipment cost -33%, Hire Indian Jat Lancers shipment cost -50%, Recruit Wokou +10 Petards shipment cost -10%)
Age III tech tree aoe3
  • "Mercenary Loyalty" is available to Asians and Europeans.


Card Description Age
Loyal warriors Loyal Warriors Native warriors, Mercenaries, and outlaws cost -15% (also affects shipments)
Age III tech tree aoe3


Card Description Age
German Home City 5 (Improved Mercenaries) Improved Mercenaries Mercenaries get +20% hit points and attack +3 Uhlans
Age III tech tree aoe3


Card Description Age
Hausa Home City Cards 5 (Sahelian Kingdoms) Sahelian Kingdoms Native warriors get +15% hit points and attack; Mercenaries and Outlaws get +10% hit points and attack
Age III tech tree aoe3


Card Description Age
Baja California Home City (Outlaw Combat) Outlaw Combat Upgrades Filibusters to Veteran (if not already); outlaws and mercenaries get +15% hit points and attack; costs 750 coin
"Outlaw Combat" is available upon revolting to Baja California.


Card Description Age
Swedish Home City 5 (German Mercenary Contracts) German Mercenary Contracts Mercenaries get +25% hit points and attack; Jaegers and Landsknechts can be trained at Barracks and Galleons; Black Riders can be trained at Stables and Galleons
Age IV tech tree aoe 3


  • Mercenaries are not available in the demo version.
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