Age of Empires Series Wiki

Ranged cavalry that are effective against cavalry, heavy infantry, and artillery.
—In-game description

The Rifle Rider is a gunpowder cavalry in Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs that is unique to the Lakota and can be trained at the Corral once the Fortress Age is reached.


The Rifle Rider is one of the most significant units available to the Lakota. These units are the Lakota version of a Dragoon, but unlike Dragoons, they are good against heavy infantry. They are more expensive, move slower and deal less damage than a dragoon, but their 1.5 ROF means they shoot 50% faster. This means they can easily kill large numbers of heavy infantry units in a short period of time.

Though they are very well rounded, they fare poorly against light cavalry. This is because unlike most cavalry, they are classified as both light and heavy, against whom light cavalry has a multiplier.

It is a good idea to combine a group of Rifle Riders with several Axe Riders; Rifle Riders are one of the most powerful units in the game. However, Dragoon-like units will make short work of them due to multipliers.


The Rifle Rider starts at the Elite level, giving them +25% hit points and attack.

If made available at the Commerce Age with the "TEAM Early Dragoons" Home City Card, Rifle Riders will be automatically upgraded to Elite when the player reaches the Fortress Age.

Age Upgrade Cost Effect
Age IV tech tree aoe 3.png
Champion cavalry.png Champion Rifle Riders 400 wood,
200 coin
Upgrades Rifle Riders to Champion (+25% hit points and attack)
Imperial Age
Legendary cavalry.png Legendary Rifle Riders 1,500 wood,
1,500 coin
Upgrades Rifle Riders to Legendary (+50% hit points and attack); requires Champion Rifle Riders

Further statistics[]

As Rifle Riders are unique to the Lakota, only technologies that they have access to are shown in the following table:

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Heavy cavalry, heavy infantry, artillery
Weak vs. Light cavalry, Skirmishers
Hit points Horsemanship.png Horsemanship (+10%)
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 Bonepipe Armor.png Bonepipe Armor (+1.0x multiplier vs. artillery)
Gun Trade.png Gun Trade (+25%)
Ranged Cavalry Caracole.png Ranged Cavalry Caracole (+10%)
Yoga.png Yoga (+5%)
Smokeless Powder.png Smokeless Powder (+30% siege attack)
Range Ranged Cavalry Caracole.png Ranged Cavalry Caracole (+2)
Sight Ranged Cavalry Caracole.png Ranged Cavalry Caracole (+2)
Speed Comanche Mustangs.png Comanche Mustangs (+10%)
Apache Endurance.png Apache Endurance (+5%)
Creation speed 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)

Home City Cards[]

As Rifle Riders are unique to the Lakota, only their cards and other civilizations' TEAM cards are shown in the following tables:


The WarChiefs[]

  • Rifle Riders cost 120 food, 100 coin and have a train/kill bounty of 22 XP.

Definitive Edition[]

  • Rifle Riders now cost 120 food, 90 coin and have a train/kill bounty of 21 XP.


The ultimate development of the famous Sioux art of war were their amazingly skilled horsemen armed with repeating rifles. There is an old stereotype that the American Indians were reactionary culturally, unable to adapt to modern ways. The Sioux rifle riders demonstrate the falseness of this idea – during their heyday, they were the most advanced warriors on Earth. In Europe at this time, cavalry were still fighting with sabers and lances. Even in America, the U.S. cavalry used single-shot rifles, significantly inferior to the Sioux carbines.