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Heavy cavalry that does hand damage from range. Good against archers, skirmishers, and artillery.
—In-game description

The Meteor Hammer 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 the Forbidden Army or (since the Definitive Edition) as part of the Black Flag Army.


Meteor Hammers are a very unique heavy cavalry available to the Chinese. They are characterized by their ranged melee attack, an attribute not shared with any other unit. Their attack is a melee attack, like any other heavy cavalry, but are able to attack a unit up to 5 range away. Thus, in crowded battles, they are able to fight much more effectively than other melee units. They are quite fragile, however, so should be properly guarded with other units.

Meteor Hammers are specialists at countering artillery, with a powerful multiplier and high melee damage. Coupled with the range on their attack, they are nearly impossible to block from reaching their target without a very large number of units, and can take out artillery in mere seconds.

This does not stop them from being effective in other situations. Meteor Hammers make very strong raiders. With the range on their attack, they are able to simultaneously attack the same Villager without bunching up or blocking each other, and can even attack through walls, Houses, or around huntables, berry bushes or trees that would obstruct any other cavalry.

The range on their attack also gives them the ability to fight behind Changdao Swordsmen, forming a powerful combination able to effectively fight almost anything that comes near.

Meteor Hammers are able to be upgraded quite substantially by stacking Double Faced Armor, Manchu Combat, and Western Reforms, and additionally, 10% hit points by allying with British at the consulate. These all combined can drastically reduce their fragility, allowing them to function as standard heavy cavalry, but with their unique ranged attack and strong attack.

Because Meteor Hammers have a range on their attack, Musketeer-type units do not engage into melee mode when attacked by them, they just shoot. Since Meteor Hammers can have 41% range resist (after Double Faced Armor), they ignore a huge portion of the damage. Sepoy, for example, do 45 melee damage to cavalry every 1.5 seconds. At range, they do 25 every 3 seconds. Factor in armor, and that is 14.75 damage every 3 seconds instead of 90. This results in less than 17% of the potential melee damage total being dealt to the Meteor Hammer. Thus, if facing Meteor Hammers with a Musketeer army, it is critical to manually set at least some of them into melee mode, otherwise the Meteor Hammers will easily win.


The Meteor Hammer 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 meteor hammer.png Honored Meteor Hammer 300 wood,
300 coin
Upgrades Meteor Hammers to Honored (+30% hit points and attack)
Imperial Age
Exalted meteor hammer.png Exalted Meteor Hammer 750 wood,
750 coin
Upgrades Meteor Hammers to Exalted (+50% hit points and attack); requires Honored Meteor Hammer

Further statistics[]

As Meteor Hammers 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, Shock Infantry, artillery
Weak vs. Heavy infantry, light cavalry, heavy 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%)
Train cost Mapuche Ad-mapu.png Mapuche Ad-mapu (-10% coin cost, Forbidden Army)
Other Merritocracy.png Meritocracy (-20% upgrade cost)

Home City Cards[]

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


Definitive Edition[]


Classified as a martial arts chain weapon, the meteor hammer evolved from ancient Chinese hunting weapons and basically consists of two weights connected by a rope or a chain. The “hammer” is a small ball of bronze about the size of a duck’s egg, and the chain can vary in length, from 6 to 15 feet. The meteor hammer offers an unparalleled level of speed when striking, and can be utilized in different attack styles depending on the conditions of the battlefield: thrown, swung, or whipped. The most skillful wielder can wrap the chain around a number of body parts before unwrapping it to release the hammer with a jolt of accumulated energy. This causes the hammer to shoot forward with such speed that it strikes a target with deadly force. It is this burst of speed that earned the weapon its name. If space did not allow for this kind of combat, the meteor hammer could be modified to ensnare the weapon of an enemy attacker, or to strangle an enemy from a distance.


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