The Malón Raider excels at raids and defending Mapuche border cities or attacking a nearby neighbor. It is as strong as a Musketman at only 10 more Production, and becomes even stronger in or near friendly territory; however, it is a standalone unique unit (it does not replace another regular unit, thus cannot be upgraded into). A huge benefit of the Malón Raider is that it does not require any strategic resources, regardless of game versions. Two or three Malón Raiders can lay waste to the District and tile improvements around an enemy city and then lay siege to it, preventing it from healing while other units chip away at its defenses or deal with enemy reinforcements.
To clarify the Combat Strength bonus, if the Malón Raider attacks into or defends on tiles that are within a 4-tile radius of any tile that is considered "friendly territory," it will receive +5 Combat Strength. The term "friendly territory" can be understood as anywhere you can upgrade your units or heal them at an accelerated rate: your own territory, your tributary city-states' territory or your Allies' territory. The radius of this ability is relatively large, allowing the Malón Raider to benefit from the territory of newly conquered cities and have an easier time pushing further into the heart of the opponent's empire.
The 16th Century brought a Spanish invasion to what is now southern Chile. It also brought horses, which the Mapuche had never seen before encountering the conquistadors. Their presence on the battlefield forced the Mapuche to adjust their tactics. They quickly learned how to use horses, turning one of the greatest Spanish advantages against them. The mounted malón raiders—so named for their retributive attacks on invaders—would launch quick raids to harass an enemy, before leading a responding enemy into an ambush.