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This article is about the unit in Age of Empires III. For the unit in Age of Empires IV, see Streltsy.

Weak but cheap skirmisher. Good against infantry.
—In-game description

The Strelet is a ranged gunpowder infantry in Age of Empires III that is unique to the Russians and can be trained in blocks of ten at the Blockhouse or individually at Fort and Galleon.


Strelets are the Russian meat-shield and anti-infantry unit. They are weak, but cheap infantry, making them useful for rushing opponents in the Commerce Age, however, the Strelets are weaker than other infantry units (they are the weakest and cheapest infantry). The player can get the original cost if Strelets are trained from Forts or Galleons. Strelets are cost-effective, and even more after using cards that upgrade them.

Strelets maintain effectiveness through all ages in the game when properly upgraded with the "Boyars" and "Strelet Combat" Home City Cards. They can be further upgraded at the Arsenal with Counter Infantry Rifling, and even further with the use of Advanced Arsenal. They combine well with Cavalry Archers, which are effective against both cavalry and artillery, essentially covering one another's weaknesses. Massing Strelets is easy, with both large shipments and batch training, and can be used to grind down an enemy's economy by sheer cost effectiveness.

Strelets are useful to outnumber enemies and take down heavy infantry. Strelets are also easy to mass, since each queue will train a group of 10 Strelets. It is advised to add the cards that upgrade the Strelets in the player's deck, though they still remain weak when compared to other light infantry. But once they are properly upgraded with all the cards, arsenal upgrades, and barracks upgrades, the player will end up with a very cost-effective anti-infantry unit (Skirmisher). Strelets are very good in team games, as civilizations that can boost Strelets (TEAM cards) will make them even more powerful. Strelets costs 53% less resources than Musketeers, which means a Musketeer essentially equals to two Strelets. Strelets, when buffed, deal 23 damage and have 3x multipliers to heavy infantry. Strelets are a good choice against nations that rely on gunpowder heavy infantry, but they are extremely susceptible to cavalry or artillery-based strategies/civilizations.


Age Upgrade Cost Effect
Age III tech tree aoe3.png
Veteran infantry.png Veteran Strelets 200 wood,
200 coin
Upgrades Strelets to Veteran (+20% hit points and attack)
Age IV tech tree aoe 3.png
Guard infantry.png Guard Strelets 600 wood,
600 coin
Upgrades Strelets to Guard (+30% hit points and attack); requires Veteran Strelets
Imperial Age
Imperial infantry.png Imperial Strelets 1,500 wood,
1,500 coin
Upgrades Strelets to Imperial (+50% hit points and attack, +2 LOS and range); requires Guard Strelets

Further statistics[]

As Strelets are unique to the Russians, only technologies that they have access to are shown in the following table:

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Heavy infantry, light cavalry, Eagle Runner Knights
Weak vs. Heavy cavalry, Coyote Runners, artillery
Hit points Flint lock.png Flint Lock (+10%)
Cree Tanning.png Cree Tanning (+5%)
Navajo Weaving.png Navajo Weaving (+5%)
Attack Counter Infantry Rifling.png Counter Infantry Rifling (+1x multiplier vs. heavy infantry)
Paper cartridge.png Paper Cartridge (+15%)
Iroquois lacrosse.png Iroquois Lacrosse (+10%, vanilla Age of Empires III only)
Yoga.png Yoga (+5%)
Smokeless Powder.png Smokeless Powder (+30% siege attack)
Clenched Fist.png Clenched Fist (+30% melee attack)
Speed Military Drummers.png Military Drummers (+10%)
Inca Road-building.png Quechuan Mountaineering (+20%)
Apache Endurance.png Apache Endurance (+5%)
Sight Town Watch.png Town Watch (+2)
Creation speed Standing Army.png Standing Army (-25%)
Inca Chaquis Messengers.png Quechuan Diet (-25%)
Other Westernization.png Westernization (grants Veteran upgrade)
Petrine Reforms.png Petrine Reforms (grants Guard upgrade)
Merritocracy.png Meritocracy (-20% upgrade cost)

Home City Cards[]

As Strelets are unique to the Russians, only their cards and other civilizations' TEAM cards are shown in the following tables:


Definitive Edition[]


  • Even though historically Streltsy got meager payments from the cash-strapped Russian government, and therefore must farm and trade to supplement their income, Streltsy were not at all ubiquitous and on many occasions, proved themselves to be very efficient fighters, quite unlike their in-game depiction as weak, cheap, and easily massable rookies.
  • The Strelet does not have any attack voice.
  • Despite being a Skirmisher-type unit, Strelets have a movement (marching) animation that is unique to Musketeer-type units.
  • The weapon that the Strelet uses for melee attacks is the bardiche, which is the same weapon used by the Boyar. However, in his portrait and in his art in the history portrait, the Strelet is holding a conventional axe.


Strelets (technically "streltsy" in Russian, because "strelets" is singular) were a Russian light infantry formed in the mid-sixteenth century by Tsar Ivan IV, and were Russia's first permanent standing infantry. They received a salary, a plot of land, and allotments of food and drink. This pay was rather meager, and strelets often found it necessary to supplement their income. An elite group of mounted strelets were the tsar's bodyguard and passed service to the tsar to their sons. The only way a man could become a member of this elite body was by birth.

The word strelet is derived from the Russian word for arrow, strela, and while it once referred to archers, over time it came to refer to the Russian ranged infantry in general. Strelets carried heavy, unwieldy firearms, sabers, and two-handed axes. These axes had a sharp point that could be shoved into the ground to provide a rest for cumbersome strelet muskets.