Cuman Mercenaries is a technology in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition that is unique to the Cumans and can be researched at the Castle once the Imperial Age is reached. Once researched, it allows the player and their allies to train up to free Elite Kipchaks (5 per Castle) from their Castles, including those built later. When having more than one Castle, the Elite Kipchaks can be built from any Castle (eg: If an ally has 2 Castles, they may train all 10 from one of the Castles). The allies gain access to the mercenaries no matter what Age they are in.
The Kipchak is a great raiding unit. Cuman Mercenaries allows the player and their allies to train up to ten free Elite Kipchaks, which can be very useful for quick raids. Also, the unit this technology grants benefits from technologies and bonuses from each allied player (for example, a Magyar player will have Elite Kipchaks with longer range and attack, due to their Recurve Bow unique technology). A contingent of 10 Elite Kipchaks is very useful for hit-and-run tactics.
An important note is that the technology stacks with itself, so in a team with two or more Cuman players, this naturally means that for each player that researches this technology, it increases the limit of the free Elite Kipchaks to 5 more per Castle. In a team with 4 Cuman players, each one is able to train 20 free Elite Kipchaks per Castle, after each member researches this technology, at the total cost of 2,600 food and 1,600 gold.
The technology is useful for the player reseaching it, if the number of Castles exceeds two, because 10 Elite Kipchaks have the almost same cost as the technology.
- Cuman Mercenaries enables player and allies to train up to 10 free Elite Kipchaks at the Castle. Allies need to be in the Imperial Age to train them.
- With update 50292, a new sound now plays when the enemy researches Cuman Mercenaries.
Dynasties of India
- Cuman Mercenaries now enables training of 5 free Elite Kipchaks per Castle owned, including Castles built at a later time. Allies can be in any Age to train them.
- This technology shares some similarities with a technology from the The Conquerors mod Age of Chivalry: Hegemony, where almost all civilizations can research a Market technology called Mercenaries. This technology enables the player to train unique units hailing from another civilization (for example, the Swiss Guard unique unit becomes available for the French civilization with the Eternal Peace unique technology, although it is the unique unit of the Helvetia civilization; a "Cuman Auxiliary" very similar to the Kipchak is also available to some civilizations such as Austria and Hungary). The main difference with the The Last Khans Cuman Mercenaries with the Age of Chivalry: Hegemony Mercenaries is that Cuman Mercenaries is only available for the Cumans and it requires allied players to expect the Cumans to be present in the game and wait for them to train this technology in the Imperial Age.
- On the other hand, the Kipchak unit limit of 10 has similarities with the Age of Empires III native Trading Post unique units where their unique units have a unit limit. This is given in order to balance the possible over-exploitation any archer civilization with bonuses and upgrades that could give to them, turning the tables of the game and thus creating a proper deathball of overpowered Kipchaks that could make every other player abdicate as they could not stand against a horde of fully upgraded cavalry archers with tremendous firepower.
- Cumans and Kipchaks were often recruited by nearby sedentary states, Georgian monarchs from the 12th to the 13th centuries recruited thousands of Kipchak/Cuman mercenaries against neighbouring Muslim states such as the Seljuks. Many Cumans who fled to Hungary after the Mongol invasion became mercenaries for Latin Crusaders and Byzantines. The Mongols also sold many captured Kipchaks to the Islamic world where they served as Mamluks, and eventually seized Egypt to form their own dynasty.