|“|| Light cavalry unit with increased attack range.|
—Age of Empires II description
The Elite Steppe Lancer is a cavalry unit in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition that can be trained at the Stable once the Imperial Age is reached. It is a light cavalry unit that carries a long spear.
Elite Steppe Lancers are most effective in large groups, as their range enables them to attack from behind another in a similar fashion to the Incan Kamayuk. Their range also allows them to attack through Walls, making them good at defending or attacking in walled areas. This also means they can be a great defense against enemy Rams. They can be considered medium cavalry, as their other base stats and cost sits on the middle-ground between the Knight line and the Light Cavalry line. Masses of Elite Steppe Lancers work specially well in choke points, and in these circumstances they may be preferred over Paladins, since they can hit from behind another.
On an individual level, an Elite Steppe Lancer will lose against a Cavalier or a Paladin, but if reaching a critical mass, they may overturn them on equally spent resources, as they are cheaper and can attack from behind another. Popular pairings involving Elite Steppe Lancers are with Heavy Cavalry Archers, Hussars (which may serve as "cannon fodder" for the front line), and in the Cumans' case, Kipchaks. Micromanagement is important when the player decides to go for masses of Elite Steppe Lancers.
Elite Steppe Lancers should be used for quick raids and hit-and-runs on masses of cluttered units. Steppe Lancers are also useful in home defense scenarios in which the opponent sends siege weapons en masse. Steppe Lancers should therefore be utilized as raiders both offensively and defensively due to their penchant for hit-and-run attacks.
Their relatively low gold cost compared to other cavalry may make them very effective against "trash" units (except Halberdiers) in the late game, so they can be considered a mounted "trash buster".
Probably the best ways to counter an army of Steppe Lancers are with Camels, (especially Mamelukes and Imperial Camel Riders), Genoese Crossbowmen and Kamayuks (as this last is basically a Halberdier with range and nulliifes the range advantage Elite Steppe Lancers have). Being a cavalry also means that masses of Halberdiers and Viking infantry with Chieftains researched can be a threat to Elite Steppe Lancers.
Both civilizations that have access to the Elite Steppe Lancer have a bonus that may make their use slightly different:
- Cuman Elite Steppe Lancers move 15% faster, but don't have access to Husbandry. Regardless, this enhances their raiding capabilities.
- Tatar Elite Steppe Lancers do 50% more damage when attacking from higher ground than its target (instead of 25%, which other civilizations have), which may make them more useful than the Knight line in maps that feature a lot of elevations, as their range may give them an edge in pitched battles in such circumstances.
Further statistics Edit
|Unit strengths and weaknesses|
|Strong vs.||Light Cavalry, Skirmishers, Villagers, siege weapons, archers, masses of cluttered units (if massed), buildings ( if massed)|
|Weak vs.||Stronger cavalry in equal numbers (not in equal resources), Halberdiers, Monks, Camels|
|Hit points||Bloodlines (+20)|
|Attack|| Forging (+1)|
Iron Casting (+1)
Blast Furnace (+2)
|Armor|| Scale Barding Armor (+1/+1)|
Chain Barding Armor (+1/+1)
Plate Barding Armor (+1/+2)
|Conversion defense|| Faith|
|Creation speed|| Conscription (+33%)|
Steppe Husbandry (+80%, Cumans only)
Civilization bonuses Edit
- Cumans: Elite Steppe Lancers move 15% faster.
- Tatars: Elite Steppe Lancers deal 50% bonus damage from elevations.
Team bonuses Edit
- A team containing Berbers: With Kasbah researched, researching Conscription is 25% faster.
- A team containing Bulgarians: Researching cavalry armor and attack upgrades at the Blacksmith is 50% faster.
- A team containing Huns: Elite Steppe Lancers are created 20% faster. Researching Bloodlines and Husbandry is 20% faster.
- A team containing Lithuanians: Researching Heresy and Faith is 20% faster.
- A team containing Teutons: Elite Steppe Lancers are more resistant to conversion.
Definitive Edition Edit
- Initially, Elite Steppe Lancers cost 70 food and 30 gold, have 12 attack, 1.9 ROF, and move at a speed of 1.5. With Update 34055, they now costs 70 food and 45 gold, have 10 attack, 2.3 ROF, and moves at a speed of 1.45.
- Initially, Elite Steppe Lancers has a small collision size, allowing multiple of them to be stacked tightly. With Update 34055, their collision size is doubled.
- Prior to Update 34055, (Elite) Steppe Lancers had much better attack, a small collision size, and moved at the same speed as the Light Cavalry, allowing Cuman and Tatar players to stack masses of (Elite) Steppe Lancers in very small spaces (which in consequence allowed the stacked (Elite) Steppe Lancers to deal high amounts of damage to an opponent but receiving low damage themselves), leading to the community viewing the (Elite) Steppe Lancer as overpowered. This issue leads to many players dropping out from ranked games when they encountered an opponent Cuman player (since in the release version, they were 10% faster and had Husbandry, making regular cavalry counters ineffective), as well as leading to hosts kicking players who picked Cumans or even Tatars in non-ranked games.
- Stacking (Elite) Steppe Lancers in a small space can still be done, but it now requires heavy micromanagement and specific commands like patrolling a compact area in a compact formation.