"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.
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 can attack from behind another. Popular pairings involving Steppe Lancers are with Cavalry Archers, Light Cavalry (which may serve as "cannon fodder" for the front line), Mangudai, or Kipchaks, because the three civilizations also have specific bonuses or technologies for their Scout Cavalry line and Cavalry Archers. Micromanagement is important when the player decides to go for masses of Steppe Lancers.
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 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 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 more vulnerable to ranged units and static defenses than most 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 50%, 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.
Further statistics Edit
|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||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)
Silk Armor (+1 pierce armor, Tatars only)
|Conversion defense|| Faith|
|Creation speed|| Conscription (+33%)|
Steppe Husbandry (+50%, Cumans only)
|Upgrades||Elite Steppe Lancer|
Civilization bonuses Edit
- 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
- A team containing Berbers: With Kasbah researched, researching Conscription is 25% faster.
- A team containing Bulgarians: Blacksmith technologies that benefit Steppe Lancers are researched 50% faster.
- A team containing Huns: Steppe Lancers are created and upgraded 20% faster. Researching Bloodlines and Husbandry is 20% faster.
- A team containing Lithuanians: Researching Faith and Heresy is 20% faster.
- A team containing Teutons: Steppe Lancers are more resistant to conversion.
Definitive Edition Edit
- 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.
- Prior to 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.