Reaver Cavalry

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"For as, in times of war, they are readily reduced to extreme poverty by the almost daily inroads of the enemy, so, on the restoration of peace, they entirely neglect to cultivate their lands…(and)…seek their subsistence by robberies...."

— John Lesley, Bishop of Ross

In game[edit]

Reaver Cavalry — Vital statistics
Light Cavalry

Light melee cavalry, lightly armoured but cheap to create and capable of good speed and flexibility.

Prereq: Build time HP LOS Attack Attack speed Movement
Upgrade of Upgrades to
Level 3: Heraldry and Code of Honour Military
91 7 13 1.6s
Cost Created from Armour Weapon range Specialty
Base Ramp Pop
Food.jpg: 60;
Timber: 40
Food.jpg: 1;
Timber: 1


2 Melee
  • Bonus damage versus light infantry.
  • Defensive bonus versus Archers.
  • Attack penalty versus camel cavalry and elephants.

England Scotland.jpg

Overall strategy[edit]

The propensity for border raiding in England and Wales is continued further into the Imperial Era by the Reaver Cavalry. While Reaver Cavalry don't receive the armour or attack bonuses of continental medium cavalry, their added speed and their ability to spot an enemy from far means that Reaver Cavalry are thus a menace for those facing the Scots and the English. Yet, like most light cavalry units, it shouldn't be deployed in frontline shock assaults — use your heavy infantry and knights to do that instead.

Because of the different abilities of each others' armies, the way Reaver Cavalry are used by England and Scotland will be vastly different, with Scotland having a more aggressive approach due to its ability to obtain "insurance" from the deaths of Scots units. Thus, a force of Reavers can be assembled fairly quickly, and then sent in to do serious damage against enemy caravans, supply wagons, farms, and timber posts. Don't be afraid of losing a few of them — they have high hitpoints, and you can recoup your losses and replenish easily especially if you've forward-built a stable near your opponent. Additionally, dependence on fairly fragile Sciltron infantry also means that scouting and screening are of utmost importance — missile infantry must be kept away from Sciltrons and the Scots Reaver Cavalry can do that well.

England, however, does not enjoy the "insurance coverage" which Scottish units all have, and so an English player will need to learn to conserve their cavalry for better use, given that it draws resources — timber and food for infantry — away from England's best units. In this case the Reaver Cavalry would be best used as a defensive force for harassing enemy crossbowmen so that they can't fire back.

The near-lawlessness which characterised the "Border" region between northern England and Scotland soon gave rise to armed men known as "Reavers" or "Reivers", named so for their predatory way of life which often involved livestock rustling, banditry and even abducting people for ransom. As a fighting unit, however, their performance was highly questionable. On one hand, Elizabeth I was said to have been impressed with their effectiveness, yet on the other, other historical sources have scathingly excoriated them for their unpredictability, unruliness and obvious lack of discipline. Still, the many tall towers and bastions that still stand along the Scottish border to this day were a testament to just how fearsomely effective and notorious these horsemen were in their heyday, and they were also recruited as mercenaries with contacts in the British Isles, most notably serving with the Dutch against Habsburg rule in the later 16th century.

Unit summary[edit]

  • Better Something Than Nothing At All — While not as good as a Knight in single combat, Light Cavalry have some added armour and attack so they can be used to knock down enemy units in combat, particularly archers and siege weapons.
  • He Who Liveth By The Sword ... — As always, Light Cavalry have sufficient armour and punching power to plow through hails of arrows, but not a wall of determined pointy objects. Thus while they are most effective against enemy archers and infantry, their worst enemy will forever be pikemen.
  • Vsadniky —  the Russian Vsadniky is a weaker but cheaper version of Light Cavalry that can be massed for impact, which with the Russian bonus for added damage against support units can be highly versatile.
  • Baatur — In contrast, Mongol Baatur are better considered as medium cavalry, meant to serve in multiple roles, including frontline assaults on enemy cavalry.
  • Border Raiders — The Scottish Border Raider is better suited for defence and skirmishing as opposed to the Mongol cavalry which with its added stats can be used to harass heavy infantry.


Although heavy cavalry tactics would well dominate Europe for three hundred years after the First Crusade, light cavalry continued to be important, especially in areas that were impoverished, highly open, or filled with broken terrain, such as the mountainous south of Spain or the open wastes of Central Asia. The Turks and the Mongols often had the best light cavalry, because of their access to horses and the necessity of light cavalry for operations in the open grassy plains of Asia.