The Cumans are an aggressive, rush-oriented civilization that focuses on their mobile cavalry, but also have a potential in team games, due to their unique technologies. Due to their unconventional way to set up their economy in the early game with the secondary Town Center and their offensive options with rams, this civilization is better suited for expert players than beginners or less experienced ones.
One of the biggest strengths of the Cumans is their cavalry. The Cumans have access to every single unit upgrade and tech for their Stable units and cavalry, such as Hussar, Steppe Lancer, and Paladin (except Heavy Camel Rider, despite having access to the Camel Rider unit). In particular, their cavalry have increased movement speed by 5% per age, making Cumans' cavalry the most mobile cavalry in the game.
In addition, the Cumans are the most unique civilization when it comes to their Feudal Age, as they are allowed to build an extra Town Center. This can give Cumans a significant early-game economic bonus, as one Town Center can advance to the next age while the other still creates Villagers. The Cumans can build Siege Workshop and Battering Ram in the Feudal Age. This allow the Cumans to threaten enemy towns in the early game by having access to siege an age earlier than other players. This combination allows the Cumans to perform a "douche" strategy similar to the Persian Douche strategy where an extra Town Center is built forward near the enemy's Town Center, but can support the forward rush strategy with a Siege Workshop to threaten the enemy Town Center.
Finally, their biggest appeal is their cavalry archers and light cavalry. Their unique unit, Kipchak, is a multi-shot, cavalry archer that can shred through multiple units due to low frame delay if microed properly. Combined with the increased movement speed of their cavalry archers and access to Parthian Tactics, this makes the Kipchak a cheap and cost-effective cavalry archer in most late-game situations. In addition, their cavalry archers and light cavalry are trained faster with their Castle Age unique technology, Steppe Husbandry, allowing the Cumans to spam their light cavalry and cavalry archers en masse. The Cumans offer some team utility as well, as their Imperial Age unique technology, Cuman Mercenaries, allows allied players to train 10 Elite Kipchaks for free.
The Cumans also have access to fully upgraded infantry, which helps supplement their ability to build Battering Rams in the Feudal Age.
One of their greatest weaknesses is their defense. To begin with, they lack Stone Walls, Gates, and Guard Towers. Even with their team bonus, their Palisade Walls and Palisade Gates are not as durable as the stone counterparts. They have Hussars, Paladins and Elite Steppe Lancers, but their Camel Riders are mediocre, as they lack the Heavy Camel Rider upgrades, making their Camel Rider utility very limited in the Imperial Age.
While their cavalry archers are very mobile due to their civilization bonus, they lack Bracer. They also lack the Arbalester and Hand Cannoneer, meaning Cavalry Archers are their only viable ranged option. The latter are also slightly complicated with the option of Kipchaks.
While the Cumans have access to the Siege Onager and Siege Ram, their siege is average at best, since they lack the Heavy Scorpion, Bombard Cannon and Siege Engineers, making the Siege Workshop unit line which started with the initial letter "S" instead (Siege Onager, Siege Ram, Scorpion, Siege Tower).
Their Monks are also reasonable in the Castle Age, having access to several important Castle Age Monastery tech. But they lack Block Printing, Illumination, and Theocracy, meaning their Monk utility is very limited in the Imperial Age.
When playing Cumans, probably "Rush" is the name of the game and for various reasons. They have a very solid early game, especially in the Feudal Age, but they must end the game fast, since their late-game may be rather weak.
First and foremost, as cited in the Strengths section previously, they are able to perform a Town Center "douche" strategy, as they can make a secondary Town Center. Cumans can perform several variants of this tactic because of that bonus and the fact they can train Battering Rams in the Feudal Age: Double Town center Douche, Single Town center Douche with economic support, Town Center-Ram Douche, Town Center Douche supported with Scout Cavalry, and combinations of these tactics. In any case the player must age up in 22 population as normal (considering they do not have any real Dark Age bonuses aside from their team bonus), then giving enough focus on the wood in order to create the second Town Center (and if wanting to support their rush with Battering Rams, give even more focus on wood and a little focus on gold), find its opponent and send at least half of the villagers (all or almost all of them if they want to Double Douche their opponent) to the opponents' location in order to create their Second Town center at a certain distance of key resources of their opponent, then start spamming villagers in that location and gather them inside when needed for firing arrows.
If the player wants to double douche an enemy, the player must also delete their initial Town Center and place it near the opponent, ideally at a certain distance to the secondary Town Center, in order to make the two buildings providing cover-fire for each other; additional wood would be needed to make this (they do not really need to gather stone, as the initial 200 is enough for placing two Town Centers). If they want to support their douche with either Scout Cavalry or Rams, they must first have enough wood for the required buildings (Barracks and Stable for scouts, Blacksmith and Siege Workshop for their Battering Rams) and then have enough food if going for Scout Cavalry, or wood and gold for Battering Rams.
Even if the player does not make a Town Center Rush, Cumans are also able to perform well if the player instead decides to go for a regular Feudal Age Scout Rush, since their cavalry moves faster. This tactic can be followed in the Castle Age by a Knight, Steppe Lancer, Kipchak, or Cavalry Archer rush, which for them works better at the middle stage of the game, as they can produce faster Cavalry Archers and Light Cavalry, thanks to the Steppe Husbandry technology. These can also be supplemented by Rams in the Feudal Age, which can also force an opponent to resign early if they do not have a chance to rebuild their Town Center elsewhere.
If the Cuman player is forced in the early game to defend, they are also well equipped for that. Their stronger palisades can make a steady and quick defense to their settlement, and in this case they can also use their second Town Center for defense by placing them within the range of their first Town Center to provide cover-fire in the case of an opponent raid.
Another interesting option the Cumans have in the early game is an early economic boom, and for that they must advance to Feudal Age as soon as possible, then place their second Town Center near a spot rich on resources and start spamming villagers as fast as they can. Also, as they can research the Town Center technologies and the age advancement in just one of the buildings, their villager production since that point becomes continuous. This economic boom then can be followed by cavalry raids.
Sadly for Cuman players, as the game progresses into the Imperial Age, they get fewer and fewer advantages, since their defenses, aside from their palisade walls, are lacking, and as long as their opponents reach the Castle Age, having a second Town Center and access to siege units is no longer an advantage. A way any opponent have to defeat Cumans is trying to turtle early in the game, in order to defend against a douche or a raid, and perform a fast Castle; that way, any civilization can also create more Town Centers and Rams. Still, Cumans in the Imperial Age can keep raiding with cavalry, as they have almost all upgrades for them (except Heavy Camel Riders) and supplement them with fully upgraded infantry and Siege Rams (the latter of which lacks Siege Engineers, but are handy as a transport for infantry, and still a good option for taking down buildings). Cumans can also research Cuman Mercenaries, and the technology not only gives their allies the ability to train 10 free Elite Kipchaks, Cumans themselves can also do that; but maybe they must leave this technology alone in several situations in 1 vs 1 games or free for all games, as its gold cost is superior than the gold cost of 10 straightforward trained Elite Kipchaks (Cuman Mercenaries costs is 650 food 400 gold, and 10 regular trained Kipchaks cost 600 wood 350 gold), unless they really need their Elite Kipchaks at the ready (not the regular ones) and have not already researched the Elite upgrade. On the other hand, they also have weak Camel Riders (an anti-cavalry unit), and their units are very prone to the other camel civilizations with access to Heavy Camel Riders, thus encouraging the player to rely on Hussars, Paladins, and Elite Steppe Lancers.
Regarding naval warfare, they do not have any bonuses for their navy. Performing a Cuman early economic boom on island maps may help them gather wood and gold faster and perform early galley rushes, but their late game navy is pretty lacking.
In update 36202, the Cumans' middle and late game game was improved. Now, they can improve the Battering Rams to Capped Rams in the Castle Age, which significantly improves their sieging potential at that stage of the game. Their Steppe Lancers now benefit from Steppe Husbandry, making this unit more easy to mass, but the technology effect was reduced to 50%. And Kipchaks now fire 3 (4 elite) arrows like at release, increasing their raiding potential.
Strategy changes in Dawn of the Dukes
The Cumans gain a civilization bonus where their Archery Ranges and Stables cost wood. This synergizes well with their ability to build Siege Workshop and Battering Rams in the Feudal Age, as it allows the Cumans to save more wood for their Battering Rams instead for their rushes. Alternatively, the cheaper Stables and Archery Ranges can also help with their second Town Center boom in the Feudal Age and fulfilling the two building requirements to advance to the Castle Age. The cheaper Stables and Archery Ranges can also be utilized to initiate their Scout and Archer rushes sooner than their opponents if the player chooses to do so. Finally, their Steppe Lancers gain a small buff where they attack faster, thus making their Steppe Lancers a more appealing unit.
Cumans are a very special civilization when playing on a team game, and it falls in the same category as the Vietnamese and Berbers, since Cumans technically have more than one team bonus. Indeed, having Vietnamese, Cumans, and Berbers on the same team is an interesting case. In a team like this, Berbers provide Genitours, which move and are created faster (the latter due to Steppe Husbandry) for Cumans and are bulkier for Vietnamese. Berbers can also research Kasbah, which makes all unique technologies (Including Paper Money and Cuman Mercenaries) be researched faster, while also enabling their unique units (and the 10 free Elite Kipchaks Cumans grant to allies after researching Cuman Mercenaries) to be trained faster. Vietnamese can show both Cumans and Berbers where to attack and perform raids. In the early game, bulkier Palisade Walls provided by the Cuman official team bonus improves their defense. In addition, every player has access to the Imperial Skirmisher.
Their extra Town Center in the Feudal Age is also helpful in team games, since this quirk may enable the Cuman player to send few Villagers near a weak ally, then create their additional Town Center and make this settlement a support for their ally, as they don't need to move more Villagers around the allied town in order to make military structures and aid them in an emergency.
Cumans can synergize well if playing in a team entirely composed by Cumans. Their unique technology, Cuman Mercenaries, stacks up for every player that researches it (in a team with 4 Cuman players, each one is able to train 40 free Elite Kipchaks after each member researches this technology, for a total of 160 Elite Kipchaks to the entire team, at the total cost of 2,600 food and 1,600 gold instead of 9,600 wood and 5,600 gold). Their additional Town Centers may enable a team like that to perform really out-of-the-box combined strategies like a Feudal Age Triple or Quadruple Town Center Douche.
Their team bonus gives palisade walls 33% more HP, which is a pretty useful bonus for most civilizations and can make a significant difference in the early game, especially for civilizations like the Goths, who entirely lack Stone Walls, so they may use Palisade Walls as a replacement; or for civilizations that have other bonuses for this building, like the Chinese (the unique technology Great Wall improvess HP for walls, including the Palisade), Spanish (builders work faster), Byzantines (buildings have +10%/+20%/+30%/+40% HP in the Dark/Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age), and Malians (Buildings cost 15% less wood). This bonus can be combined with the Mayan team bonus (walls, including palisades, cost 50% less) in order to make early defense more accessible for the whole team.
Their shared unique technology Cuman Mercenaries is very useful, especially for civilizations that have buffs for the Kipchak, as it counts as a Cavalry Archer. Kipchaks are also great raiding units. Some of the other civilizations will have even better Kipchacks than the Cumans themselves, since most of them have access to Bracer. Unfortunately, the Hunnic version doesn't have a further specialty, because the Elite Kipchaks are enabled at the Castle, not the Archery Range, and are free so discounts do not apply. Here is a list of civilizations that can further improve their 10 free Elite Kipchaks.
As Cumans are a cavalry oriented civilization, they can capitalize on team bonuses that increase their cavalry abilities, like the Hun team bonus (Stables work faster; this stacks with Steppe Husbandry), Frank and Persian team bonuses (as those adds +2 LOS and bonus damage against archers, respectively), Mongol and Polish team bonus (Light Cavalry +2 LOS and +1 attack vs archers respectively). They have Camels, but lack the Heavy Camel upgrade, so the Indian team bonus is not as relevant as other cavalry bonuses.
Cumans have also good Cavalry Archers, so the Briton team bonus (better work-rate for Archery Ranges) is very helpful and stacks with Steppe Husbandry. The same goes for the Tatar team bonus (+2 LOS for Cavalry Archers) and Berber team bonus (Genitours available) as mentioned previously. Since they can create Siege Workshops and train Rams in the Feudal Age and can upgrade to Capped Rams in the Castle Age (the latter since update 36202), the Celt team bonus (Siege Workshops work faster) and Slav team bonus (military buildings have population space) can help the Cumans perform much better at their Ram rushes by winning decisive seconds for spamming the rams and saving some wood.
Compared advantages and disadvantages
Advantages vs other civilizations
Disadvantages vs other civilizations
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