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The Tatars are a cavalry-oriented civilization that focus on cavalry archers, but also have late-game potential with upgraded Trebuchets. Due to the nature of their bonuses on determinated maps, this civilization is more suitable for players with more experience at micromanaging ranged units.


Tatars have some of the best Cavalry Archers in the entire game. Not only having full must-have technologies (free Thumb Ring and Parthian Tactics upgrades, for example), they also have a line-of-sight boost, an enhanced high ground attack bonus, and 1 extra melee and pierce armor from the Silk Armor upgrade.

Their cavalry also benefits from several bonuses, including an open Stable tree and almost all cavalry upgrades, missing only Paladin and the Battle Elephant line. Their Light Cavalry and Steppe Lancers also benefit from the Silk Armour technology, giving them one extra melee and pierce armor, and their unique unit, the Keshik, is a relatively cheap, high-HP cavalry unit that generates gold when fighting and wins cost-effectively versus almost all other cavalry in the game.

They have no Bombard Cannons and Siege Onagers, but Tatars also have a competent siege unit roster, as their Trebuchets also receive a range boost via Timurid Siegecraft, giving them the highest range in the entire game. Timurid Siegecraft also unlocks the Flaming Camel, a quickly moving Petard equivalent with significant bonus damage against cavalry (especially elephants).

Their navy and defenses are solid, with Elite Cannon Galleons and Bombard Towers available.


The Tatars have the weakest infantry of all civilizations, since they lack Champions and Chain Mail Armor. They therefore have to rely on Camel Riders and Flaming Camels to counter cavalry effectively. They also have weak Monks (due to the absence of Redemption, Sanctity, and Theocracy), and their units are very prone to Conversion, as they lack Heresy and Faith.


On standard matches, the Tatar herdable bonus results in almost 400 additional food, assuming all 8 starting herdable animals are harvested. This bonus helps for every early game strategy, and Tatars can have more Villagers gather food from herdable animals without running out as quickly. The Tatar player can delay placing Farms, freeing more wood for Feudal Age buildings or an Archer rush. The 400 extra food also helps with a scout rush, as scouts are an effective raiding unit with a high food cost. The player will also find it easier to afford Feudal Age technologies. The bonus helps for advancing to the next age quickly, as it both saves wood for Feudal Age buildings and assists in fulfilling the Castle Age food requirement. All in all, the Tatar bonuses help out by quite a bit for any Feudal Age strategy.

A challenging but effective strategy with the Tatars is the three-Stable scout rush. The extra 400 food is most evident in the early Feudal Age, where a player has exhausted their livestock. The build involves advancing with 20-21 Villagers (standard scout rush start), but saving up enough wood for three Stables instead of two and a Blacksmith while advancing. The key difference is the 400 extra food, which allows creating up to five extra Scout Cavalry from the third Stable, without requiring more Villagers. The added effect of four Scout Cavalry (the first three created from the three Stables plus the starting Scout Cavalry) as opposed to three can take down Villagers quicker, handle a Spearman without losing a Scout Cavalry, and potentially separate into two groups for harassment on multiple resources. Sustaining all three Stables and Villagers is not easy, and the third may be idle after it has produced its fifth Scout Cavalry, but by that point the scout rush would have had its effect.

In addition, the bonus helps recover from a difficult start for the Tatars. If the opponents lames the player by stealing a Boar or Sheep, the player can rely on the additional food provided from the herdables to keep up with them.

While advancing, the Tatar player should scout out the map for Relics, resources, and elevation points. the Tatar player can secure those places to both raid and defend more effectively and, in the Castle and Imperial Age, perform tactical retreats to with their mobile army.

Effective strategies for the Tatar player are combinations of Scout Cavalry into Cavalry Archers or archers into Steppe Lancers or Knights. With the effects of the herdable bonus discussed above, the Tatar player can perform both rushes relatively quickly. The opponent's response to a scout rush will most likely be Spearmen, while the optimal counter to Archers is Skirmishers and the opponent's own Archers. Once the Tatar player has raided to their full potential and clicked up to the Castle Age, they can effectively counter either of the opponent's units effectively with Cavalry Archers against Spearmen or Steppe Lancers against Skirmishers and Archers.

The Tatars have weak infantry and average archers, but strong Cavalry Archers and Stable units. They excel on open and elevation-heavy maps where their Lancers and Cavalry Archers can harass the enemy from multiple fronts and feign retreats to the top of a hill when at a disadvantage. Their lack of a defensive bonus or solid Castle/early Imperial economy bonus means they must always be on the offensive and inflict damage to the opponent whenever possible. Furthermore, most counters to Steppe Lancers and Cavalry Archers are slow-moving units, and the Tatar player can easily avoid unfavourable matchups.

In the Castle Age, the Tatar player can also make use of Keshiks. Their high attack and HP relative to their total cost for a Castle Age unit and ability to generate gold while attacking make them excellent raiding units. A powerful strategy is to attract the opponents attention with Cavalry Archers or Lancers and hit-and-run their military while a group of Keshiks raid their economy. The gold generated can be modest, but the player still earns around four gold per enemy villager killed, which is definitely favourable. Population space might be better spent on Cavalry Archers, Steppe Lancers, or siege, but Keshiks are definitely cost-effective against most other cavalry and ranged units. Raiding an opponent's trade line in the Imperial Age or sniping Town Centers to harass villagers is also a possibility with a tempting gold reward.

For a Town Center snipe in the Castle Age, a group of 14 Keshiks can easily take down an unguarded, generic, fully-garrisoned Town Center. However, the Tatar player should not destroy the Town Center completely. Once the Villagers are ejected from the Town Center, the Keshiks should target them instead. A Town Center with 15 Villagers garrisoned within means 60 gold with 14 units in a split second, as well as the damage inflicted on the opponent's economy. Keshiks can also make a great difference in the late Imperial Age, especially in 1 vs 1 games or FFA, as their gold generation may help to sustain late game gold economy and delay the "trash wars" a bit (but the player should still take Relics and support Keshiks with trash units). In the late game, Tatars should pair their Elite Keshiks with Elite Steppe Lancers and Heavy Cavalry Archers in the back.

The Imperial Age is where the Tatars shine. Their instant Parthian Tactics and increased Cavalry Archer line of sight allows them to have the strongest Cavalry Archers in the early Imperial Age. The resources a typical Cavalry Archer civilization spends on Parthian Tactics should be spent on Silk Armor, the Castle Age technology which gives their Cavalry Archers and Light Cavalry one extra pierce armour. Additionally, their Imperial Age technology Timurid Siegecraft gives their Trebuchets two extra range. Depending on the player's gold availability, the ideal Tatar army is composed of durable Heavy Cavalry Archers with 18-range Trebuchets dealing most of the damage and from a safe distance, while either arrow-resistant Hussars, Elite Steppe Lancers, or Elite Keshiks serve as the powerful meat shield, depending on gold availability. Hussars are especially effective at soaking up arrow fire and only cost food, leaving wood and gold for Heavy Cavalry Archers and Trebuchets to deal damage to most units and structures from a distance.

The Tatars should almost never make infantry (except the Pikemen line), as they lack Champions, and are the only civilization to lack the second infantry armour upgrade entirely. Monks are best used for collecting Relics, as their Monastery technologies are the weakest throughout the game.

Patch changes[]

Since update 35584, the Tatars now receive Halberdiers, giving them a better and stronger option to counter heavy cavalry, which was their biggest weakness, but still remains as the civilization with the weakest Halberdier.

Tatars were greatly buffed in update 36202; they now get Thumb Ring for free, enabling them to better perform archer and cavalry archer rushes. Their unique technology Silk Armor now benefits Steppe Lancers, enabling this unit to soak better pierce damage (which also allows better raiding against enemy towns). Timurid Siegecraft now increases Trebuchet range by +2 and gives access to Flaming Camels. Flaming Camels works in a similar way to Petards, but are faster, have more hit points, and an attack bonus vs cavalry and elephants, but are more expensive to train. Keshiks training time was also reduced, making this unit much easier to spam.

The Tatars lose the Supplies tech in update 37650, which further highlights the Tatars' already weak infantry.

In update 42848, their Town Centers spawn two Sheep starting in the Feudal Age, and any additional Town Centers built will spawn two Sheep, which synergizes well with their herdable bonus and allows them to save wood for their archer units, particulary their cavalry archers. It also allows a "safety net" of herdables should their herdables be stolen by an enemy player. A booming strategy into fast Castle Age with two Town Centers is a viable strategy for the Tatars. Silk Armor also got improved, as it now provides +1 melee armor, putting their Hussars, Heavy Cavalry Archers and Steppe Lancers at the toughest in melee fights.

Strategy changes in Lords of the West[]

However, after update 44725, the two extra Sheep only spawn at newly constructed Town Centers in the Castle Age, in order to level their booming capabilities and prevent them from saving too much wood in the early game, and also not making the drushing fast Castle into Cavalry Archers or Crossbowmen strategies so easy and fast to execute. The Keshik food cost was also increased to 60 food, making them harder to mass, but still a very strong option. Despite that, the Cavalry Archer civilizations (particularly the Tatars) were greatly benefited by the attack delay reduction of Cavalry Archers, making them much easier to micromanage and use in hit-and-run tactics.


When playing on a team, it is preferable for the Tatars to get the flank position, since they are great at raiding. In team games, Tatars play similarly to civilizations like Huns and Mongols, as their cavalry and Cavalry Archers can keep up on the move for checking different opponents at once if properly micromanaged.

The Tatar team bonus gives Cavalry Archers +2 LOS, which is very helpful for any civilizations that makes use of Cavalry Archers, as this helps them spot enemies earlier, enabling better micromanagement. The bonus is especially helpful for civilizations that have further improvements and bonuses for them, like the Huns (cheaper Cavalry Archers), Mongols (Cavalry Archers fire faster), Cumans (Cavalry Archers are created faster after Steppe Husbandry is researched), Turks (Cavalry Archers have more HP from the Sipahi technology), Magyars (more attack and range from Recurve Bow), and Vietnamese (Cavalry Archers have 20% more HP). It should be noted that this team bonus also benefits unique or regional units that are considered Cavalry Archers, like the Elephant Archers of Bengalis (plus their Rathas), Dravidians and Gurjaras, Korean War Wagon, Spanish Conquistador, Burmese Arambai, Mongol Mangudai, Berber Camel Archer and Genitour (also, as Genitours are shared because of the Berber team bonus, the Tatar version benefits from the Silk Armor technology), and Cuman Kipchaks (similarly to the Genitour, the Tatars can train 5 free Elite Kipchaks per Castle, after a Cuman ally researches Cuman Mercenaries, and the Tatar version benefits from Silk Armor).

Being a civilization reliant on cavalry and Cavalry Archers, team bonuses that furthers the capabilities of those units are very helpful for Tatars. This includes: the Briton team bonus (Archery Ranges work faster), Hun team bonus (Stables work faster), Mongol team Bonus (Scout Cavalry line +2 LOS), Frank team bonus (+2 LOS for Knights), Persian team bonus (Knights deal bonus damage against archers), Hindustani team bonus (Camels and Hussars deal +2 bonus damage against buildings), Berber team bonus (Genitours available at the Archery Range), and Polish team bonus (light cavalry deal +1 bonus damage against archers).

One interesting alliance is with the Gurjaras, since they can get a food trickle from herdables garrisoned in Mills. Tatars are the only civilization that can spawn Sheep by advancing age or creating Town Centers, they can give the spawned Sheep to their Gurjara ally, instead of taking the Sheep for themselves. The Gurjara team bonus also favors Tatars, as it enables faster creation of Camel units, including Camel Riders and the Tatar Flaming Camels.

Probably the best team synergy that can be done with Tatars is on teams that includes Huns, Mongols and Berbers as allies, since a team like this have strong win-win synergies regarding their team bonuses and army composition, as all of these civilizations have a highly mobile army due to their cavalry quirks. In a team that includes all four civilizations, the team will have: faster working stables, better sight for Scouts and Cavalry Archers (as well as better sight for the Cavalry Archer unique units on the team), access to Genitours (that can keep moving with the cavalry better than Skirmishers), and faster working Castles after Berbers research Kasbah (this is very helpful for this team, and especially for Tatars and Huns, as this helps not only to spam their respective unique units, but also Trebuchets. The Tatar Trebuchet is the unit with the longest range if fully upgraded, and Hun Trebuchets are more accurate).

In maps like Ghost Lake, where there are more herdable animals than the usual 8 for each player, when playing in team games it could be a good idea to give all the additional herdables the team finds to the Tatar player, as they get much more food out of them. Incas may also tribute their initial llama to a Tatar ally, but sadly, they do not have a good synergy with Tatars, as they lack Cavalry Archers.

Compared advantages and disadvantages[]

Advantages vs other civilizations[]

  • The Keshik, being a Heavy Cavalry unit with an attack that generates gold, is a good counter against siege units, infantry (except Halberdiers, Viking Infantry with Chieftains researched, Samurai, and Kamayuks) foot archers (except Genoese Crossbowmen), and weaker cavalry. Its gold generation enables the Tatars to delay the "trash wars" a bit, so civilizations with bad trash units in the late game (like the Turks) may have trouble against them.
  • The Flaming Camel is a camel unit which is essentially a fast-moving Petard with bonus damage against cavalry and elephants, a powerful weapon against civilizations that rely heavily on cavalry units (Like Bulgarians, Magyars or Persians), but most prominently against elephant units, putting all elephant (Persians, Indians and all Southeast Asian ones) and camel civilizations (Berbers, Indians, Malians and Saracens) at a huge disadvantage against Tatars.
  • As the Steppe Lancer is the cheapest non-trash cavalry unit, it can be considered a "mounted trash buster", so civilizations that rely on masses of trash units will have trouble against Tatars.
  • As they have range-boosted Trebuchets through Timurid Siegecraft, they have a huge advantage against civilizations with poor defenses, such as Goths, Magyars,and Huns. Even prominent defensive civilizations (such as Byzantines, Teutons, and Incas) will have a harder time dealing with the Tatars' long-range Trebuchets. These are also able to outrange opponent Trebuchets, so even the Trebuchets of civilizations like Japanese, Britons, or Huns may be defeated by Tatar Trebuchets.
  • As they have most upgrades for cavalry, they fare well against civilizations that may rely on siege engines and archers (such as Celts, Ethiopians, and Koreans for the former, and Mayans, Vietnamese, and Britons for the latter).
  • Being a prominent Cavalry Archer civilization, they are at an advantage against civilizations that may rely on slow-moving non-ranged units (like elephants and infantry), so players that like to pick civilizations like Aztecs, Bulgarians, Vikings, Japanese, Khmer, Persians, and Teutons should take this in consideration.
  • As they can improve the melee and pierce armor of Cavalry Archers, the Light Cavalry line and Steppe Lancers with Silk Armor, they can very effectively counter archers and survive longer in melee fights. Even the archery of civilizations like Britons, Vietnamese and Mayans may have trouble against Tatar Cavalry Archers and Light Cavalry. Also, their Cavalry Archers perform better against Genitours and Skirmishers than generic ones, thanks to their extra pierce armor.
  • They have all upgrades for Cavalry Archers , which also have more LOS, free Thumb Ring and Parthian Tactics, and better melee and pierce armor thanks to Silk Armor. They are comparable with Mongols (faster-firing), Huns (cheaper), Turks and Vietnamese (more HP), and Magyars (more attack and range).
  • Their herdables contain 50% more food and they receive two Sheep for free in the Castle Age and for additional Town Centers, so the Tatars can save significant amounts of wood which can be used for military buildings and archer units, making them an exceptionally strong civilization on open maps like Arabia. They are powerful in the early game, especially against civilizations with weaker early game, while also having strong booming capabilities comparable to the Britons, Khmer, Slavs or Teutons on closed maps like Arena or Black Forest.

Disadvantages vs other civilizations[]

  • Apart from their economic quirk, Keshiks are basically just normal Heavy Cavalry, similar to a Cavalier if fully upgraded, so it can be easily countered with Camel Riders, Halberdiers, Genoese Crossbowmen, Kamayuks, or just cavalry with better raw stats (like Elephants, Boyars, or Paladins). The Samurai, the Teutonic Knight and the Berserk after chieftains are also very effective against them. Tatars also lack Heresy and Faith, making civilizations with good Monks (Such as Aztecs, Burmese, Lithuanians and Spanish) very effective against Keshiks.
  • Despite the devastating damage done by Flaming Camels against cavalry and elephants, they can only be unlocked by researching Timurid Siegecraft, and thus the unit comes very late in the game. Also, Flaming Camels deal very poor damage against infantry and archers, making civilizations with strong archers (like Britons, Mayans and Vietnamese) or infantry (like Bulgarians, Burmese and Japanese) or even siege weapons (like Celts or Slavs) able to stop Flaming Camel hordes. Being classified as a unique unit and a camel means that Samurai, Genoese crossbowmen and Kamayuks are especially strong against them.
  • Malians can be a very unpleasant rival for the Tatars' archery, as their infantry bonus can at least partly negate the Cavalry Archer attacks against them, making the Malian Pikemen more threatening to their core units (Hussars, Cavaliers, Heavy Camel Riders, Cavalry Archers, Keshiks and Steppe Lancers). Also, the Malian cavalry can outclass the Tatar one with the Farimba technology, granting all Malian Stable units +5 attack. Similarly, Goths can counter the contingents of Tatar Cavalry Archers by swarming Huskarls, as they have an attack bonus vs archers and high pierce armor. This, combined with disposable and fast created Halberdiers, will make the Tatars have a hard time.
  • As Tatars rely mostly on cavalry, Viking infantry with Chieftains researched, Italian Genoese Crossbowmen, and the Saracen Mameluke are very devastating. In addition, civilizations with stronger bonuses to their cavalry (like Franks, whose Knights get 20% more HP, or Lithuanians, whose Knights and Leitis get +1 attack by each garrisoned Relic, granting them up to +4 attack, and Leitis ignore melee armor) can dominate them without problem.
  • Mayans, Incas and Aztecs have Eagle Warriors that can effectively counter both siege units (especially Trebuchets) and to some extent Cavalry Archers (Eagle Warriors deal bonus damage to siege units and cavalry at the same time and have reasonable pierce armor). Regarding the Trebuchets, similar logic can apply to Light Cavalry civilizations (such as Magyars, Huns and Turks), as Light Cavalry can catch them with ease and destroy them.
  • Among the Native American civilizations, the Incas are probably the best counterpick against Tatars, since they have the Kamayuk as their unique unit, which is basically a Halberdier with range, so this unit negates the range advantage the Steppe Lancers have.
  • Despite having the Trebuchets with the longest range through Timurid Siegecfraft, they lack Siege Onagers and Bombard Cannons, so civilizations with powerful siege weapons (like the Celts, Ethiopians or Koreans) can destroy the Tatar Siege. Also, Tatar Trebuchets only depend on their range and not attack force or accuracy, putting them at a disadvantage against the Britons' Trebuchets (with the Warwolf technology), Celtic Trebuchets (which fire faster), Hunnic Trebuchets (with better accuracy) and Japanese Trebuchets (with the Kataparuto technology).
  • Despite the Tatars' Silk Armor technology and free Parthian Tactics, Vietnamese Rattan Archers and Imperial Skirmishers can still counter a Tatar Cavalry Archer army, so they must still avoid them. Other prominent civilizations with good skirmishers that can also do this are the Aztecs (with the Atlatl technology), Lithuanians (faster Skirmishers with +2 pierce armor out of the Tower Shields technology) and the Britons (whose Skirmishers are created faster and get +1 range out of the Yeomen technology). In addition, Indian Elephant Archers, Korean War Wagons and Khmer Ballista Elephants have higher pierce armor and hit points, making them very threatening against the Cavalry Archers.
  • The Berbers have several tricks that can be unpleasant for a civilization like the Tatars: both of their unique units (Genitours and Camel Archers) can counter their Cavalry Archers; they get cheaper Camel Riders that can counter their Light Cavalry, Steppe Lancers and Keshiks; and cheaper Light cavalry that can counter their Trebuchets. Other prominent camel civilizations (such as Saracens, Malians and Indians) can also effectively counter the Tatar cavalry.
  • Magyars can outnumber them with their cheaper Hussars and Magyar Huszars (which have an attack bonus vs siege). Cumans can also outnumber them with their fast-creating Hussars and Cavalry Archers after Steppe Husbandry.
  • Tatars have the worst infantry in the game, as they lack Chain Mail Armor, Plate Mail Armor, and the Champion upgrade, so even civilizations with mediocre infantry outclass Tatars infantry. Their lack of good infantry make them tend to have poor matchups against Mesoamerican civilizations with Eagle Warriors. Malian Pikemen could easily outclass the Tatar Halberdiers.

Situational advantages[]

  • As their herdables hold + 50% more food, they can get a huge economic advantage on maps that have more than the usual 8 herdable animals, such as Ghost Lake, Yucatán or Oasis.
  • In Budapest, as every player has double start-up (2 Town Centers, double Villagers, and 2 scouts) they also get an advantage, as of course they get 2 Scout Cavalry that can be improved with Silk Armor.
  • In the Capture the Relic game mode, as they can turn the extra food out of their herdables into more Light Cavalry and can improve them with Silk Armor, they can prevent enemy Monks from getting the Relic.
  • It is much better to pick Tatars in maps that depict tons of elevations than on flat maps, as they can naturally turn their elevation damage bonus into a crushing weapon if their armies are properly micromanaged.