Light cavalry unit with increased attack range.
Age of Empires II description

The Steppe Lancer is a cavalry unit in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition that can be trained at the Stable once the Castle Age is reached. It is a light cavalry unit which carries a long spear and can attack at range, albeit it is very short. It is only available to the Cumans, Mongols, and Tatars. All three civilizations can upgrade Steppe Lancers to Elite Steppe Lancers.

Tactics[edit | edit source]

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 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 and Light Cavalry lines. Masses of Steppe Lancers work especially well in choke points, and in these circumstances they may be preferred over Knights, since they can hit from behind another.

On an individual level, a Steppe Lancer will lose against a Knight, but if reaching a critical mass they may overturn them on equally spent resources, as they are cheaper in terms of gold and have a bigger damage output as they can attack from behind another. All the civilizations able to train Steppe Lancers (Mongols, Tatars and Cumans) are also strong Cavalry Archer civilizations, and are a great company for the Steppe Lancer. The same applies for both Mangudai and Kipchaks. Against masses of archers, like Crossbowmen, the low pierce armor of the Steppe Lancer might be a problem, with the adding of Light Cavalry or Hussar to the mix of Lancers as a possible solution.

Against both ranged and melee units, micromanagement is critically important when the player decides to go for masses of Steppe Lancers. A combination of quick Patrol and Stand Ground moves into full aggression (i.e. switching to Aggressive Mode) helps take advantage of their range and engage with as many units as possible on the first strikes.

Steppe Lancers are useful for quick raids on Villager groups 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 as they have a short creation time. Steppe Lancers should therefore be utilized as raiders both offensively and defensively due to their penchant for hit-and-run attacks.

Probably the best ways to counter an army of Steppe Lancers are with camel units (especially Mamelukes and Imperial Camel Riders), Genoese Crossbowmen, and Kamayuks. Being a cavalry unit also means that masses of Halberdiers and Viking infantry (with Chieftains) can be a threat to Steppe Lancers. Their low pierce armor also makes them much more vulnerable to ranged units and static defenses than other cavalry units.

All civilizations that have access to the Steppe Lancer have a bonus that may make their use slightly different:

  • Cuman Steppe Lancers move 10%/15% faster in the Castle/Imperial Age, but since they have no access to Husbandry, this effectively only results in a speed +5% bonus in the Imperial Age. Regardless, this enhances their raiding capabilities. Since Update 36202, they also benefit from the Steppe Husbandry technology, which increases their creation speed by 100%, making them much more easy to mass.
  • Mongol Steppe Lancers have +30% hit points, which makes them better at soaking damage and somewhat compensates for their low (pierce) armor.
  • Tatar Steppe Lancers do +25% extra damage when attacking from higher ground, which may make them more useful than the Knight line on maps that feature a lot of elevation, as their range may give them an edge in pitched battles in these circumstances. However, since their range is very short, this is rather situational. Since Update 36202 they also benefit from Silk Armor, making them more resilient against arrow-fire, and update 42848 added extra melee armor to the technology, making them more effective in melee combat as well.

Further statistics[edit | edit source]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Light Cavalry, Skirmishers, Villagers, siege weapons, archers, masses of cluttered units (if massed)
Weak vs. Stronger cavalry, infantry, camel units
Hit points BloodlinesDE.png Bloodlines (+20)
Attack Forging.jpg Forging (+1)
Ironcasting.jpg Iron Casting (+1)
Blastfurnace.jpg Blast Furnace (+2)
Armor Scalebardingarmor.jpg Scale Barding Armor (+1/+1)
Chainbardingarmor.jpg Chain Barding Armor (+1/+1)
Platebardingarmor.jpg Plate Barding Armor (+1/+2)
CastleAgeUnique.png Silk Armor (+1/+1, Tatars only)
Speed HusbandryDE.png Husbandry (+10%)
Conversion defense Faith.jpg Faith
Heresy.png Heresy
Creation speed ConscriptionDE.png Conscription (+33%)
CastleAgeUnique.png Steppe Husbandry (+100%, Cumans only)
Upgrades EliteSteppeLancerUpgDE.pngElite Steppe Lancer

Civilization bonuses[edit | edit source]

  • Cumans: Steppe Lancers move 10%/15% faster in the Castle/Imperial Age.
  • Mongols: Steppe Lancers have +30% hit points.
  • Tatars: Steppe Lancers deal +25% damage when attacking from higher elevation.

Team bonuses[edit | edit source]

Changelog[edit | edit source]

Definitive Edition[edit | edit source]

  • Initially, Steppe Lancers cost 70F/30G, have 10 attack, a Rate of Fire of 1.9, and move at a speed of 1.5. With update 34055, they now cost 70F/45G, have 8 attack, 2.3 ROF, and move at a speed of 1.45.
  • Initially, Steppe Lancers have a small collision size, allowing multiple of them to be stacked tightly. With update 34055, their collision size is doubled.
  • Mongols: Initially cannot train Steppe Lancers. With update 35584, Steppe Lancers are added to their technology tree.
  • Since update 36202, Steppe Lancer attack increased to 9.
  • Since update 36202, Cuman Steppe Lancers now benefit from Steppe Husbandry.
  • Since update 36202, Tatar Steppe Lancers now benefit from Silk Armor.

Lords of the West[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Before update 34055, 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 Steppe Lancers in very small spaces (which in consequence allowed the stacked Steppe Lancers to deal high amounts of damage to an opponent but receiving low damage themselves), leading to the community viewing the Steppe Lancer as overpowered. This issue led 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 led to hosts kicking players who picked Cumans or even Tatars in non-ranked games.
    • Stacking 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.
  • Visually, Steppe-Lancer-line units wield lances just as long as those of lancer-wielding Leitis and Magyar Huszar; yet those two units' melee attacks ironically do not gain the longer range advantage.
  • The Steppe Lancer line was originally exclusive to the new Central Asian civilizations introduced in the Definitive Edition (Cumans and Tatars). However, in update 35584, Mongols received Steppe Lancers and the extra HP of Light Cavalry affected them.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

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