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The Tatar Yoke is the third scenario of the Algirdas and Kestutis campaign in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition - Dawn of the Dukes.

Intro[]

With the crusaders licking their wounds, many expected Algirdas and Kestutis to finally clash over who should be the sole ruler of the country. Yet again, their unprecedented loyalty to one another kept the peace, allowing the brothers to focus on expanding their realm.

To the southeast of Lithuania lay the city-states of the former Rus'. The Tatar yoke weighed heavily on these once-flourishing cities; one hundred years of exorbitant tributes to the Golden Horde had bled them dry, while the Khans built golden palaces on the banks of the Volga.

With the Horde weakened by internal disputes, many of the oppressed cities welcomed the Lithuanians as liberators — but some where not so eager to simply replace one overlord with another.

The inhabitants of the newly independent city of Kiev saw the Lithuanians as the greater threat and sought an alliance with their former Tatar masters — a move that Algirdas and Kestutis would not leave unanswered.

The Lithuanian army marched south with determination, storming the principalities of Chernigov and Pereslavl in quick succession. The brothers aimed to face the Golden Horde and its allies on the steppe — a bold move, and a tremendous risk that none had dared to take before.

Despite their internal squabbles, the battle-hardened Tatar mounted archers were still considered invincible — but Algirdas and Kestutis were determined to prove otherwise.

Scenario instructions[]

Starting conditions[]

Differences between difficulty levels[]

  • On standard difficulty, the player starts with Chemistry and the Halberdier upgrade researched.

Objectives[]

  • Conquer Kiev by killing the separatist forces that oppose the Lithuanian claim to the city.
  • Defeat all three portions of the Golden Horde (Bulgars, Kipchaks, and Tatars).
  • Kestutis must not be defeated.
  • (secondary) Destroy all of the Golden Horde's Docks to end the pirates' river blockade.
  • (secondary) Kill the Golden Horde's commanders to weaken its armies:
    • Demetrius (Tatars)
    • Haci Beg (Kipchaks)
    • Qutlugh Beg (Bulgars)
  • (secondary) Kestutis will gather resources for you. You can determine which resources he gathers by using the following taunt commands:
    • Type 3 to tell him to gather more Food.
    • Type 4 to tell him to gather more Wood.
    • Type 5 to tell him to gather more Gold.
    • Type 6 to tell him to gather more Stone.

Hints[]

  1. Algirdas can support a population of 200.
  2. The brothers have agreed that Kestutis will see to economic matters so that Algirdas can concentrate fully on the campaign against the Golden Horde. You cannot train your own Villagers or build Town Centers, and Kestutis will not train many military units.
  3. Kestutis will provide you with resources and manpower as soon as you have conquered Kiev, but you must protect your defenseless ally if he is attacked by the Golden Horde.
  4. Later on, you will be able to give Kestutis instructions via chat as to which resources to gather. Use the Objectives button to keep track of your possibilities in this regard.
  5. Beware Golden Horde patrols prowling the way from Smolensk to Kiev.

Scouts[]

Your scouts report:

  • Algirdas and Kestutis have gathered in the allied city of Smolensk (4, Grey). While Kestutis (2, Cyan) will remain here to build a wartime economy. Algirdas (1, Green) will move south with his army to conquer Kiev.
  • Power has been seized in Kiev (3, Blue) by separatists that prefer collaboration with the Golden Horde over an alliance with the Lithuanians. To conquer the city, Algirdas must defeat its garrison of swordsmen, Pikemen, and Crossbowmen.
  • The Golden Horde (5, Yellow) consists of several steppe peoples:
  • The Bulgar Wing (6, Purple) consists of brave warriors and Konniks from Volga Bulgaria.
  • The kipchak division (7, Orange) comes from the steppe and relies mostly on mounted archers.
  • The Tatars (8, Red) are the most powerful faction within the Golden Horde. They will send siege weapons and their powerful Keshiks into battle.

Players[]

Player[]

  • Player (Lithuanians): The player starts with a sizeable army of Leiciai, Pikemen, and Crossbowmen, commanded by Algirdas, in the north of the map, on the way to conquer Kiev. After conquering Kiev, the player will take control of its buildings and ten Villagers will spawn.

Allies[]

  • Kestutis (Lithuanians): Kestutis has his base to the north of Kiev and is mostly focused on his economy, providing the player with the necessary resources to train military units.
  • Smolensk (Slavs): Smolensk is where the player sets off from with their army. After clearing the river from Tatar pirates the player can trade with Smolensk along the river route.

Neutral[]

  • Kiev (Slavs): Kiev is defended by Men-at-Arms, Pikemen, Crossbowmen, and one Mangonel. They resign when all their units are defeated and their buildings will pass to the player's control.

Enemies[]

  • The Golden Horde (Mongols): The Golden Horde serves as a bit of a wild card. They control patrols that roam the lands between Kiev and Smolensk, represent the Tatar pirates that occupy the river and control each of the Khans of the other Horde players with accompanying fortifications.
  • The Bulgar Horde (Bulgarians): Their base is on the western side of Kiev. They train Cavaliers, Konniks, and Cavalry Archers. They will not produce any siege units.
  • The Kipchak Horde (Cumans): They have a base on the northern side of the Tartar Hordes. They train Light Cavalry and Kipchaks. They remain in the Castle Age, but being Cumans makes them able to train Capped Rams.
  • The Tatar Horde (Tatars): Their base is on the eastern side of Kiev. They train Keshiks, Cavalry Archers, and Steppe Lancers (will upgrade to the Elite version when game proceeds) as well as siege weapons (Trebuchets and Siege Rams).

Strategy[]

This scenario's challenge lies in the fact that the player cannot create any Villagers. They will be gifted some by the Cyan allies, but care should be taken not to lose them. The player can create Fishing Ships, Trade Cogs and wagons. Consider using Fish Traps to supplement the food economy and later on Trade Cogs for gold economy.

Three Relics are present on the map to capitalize on the civilization bonus (+1 attack/Relic for Knights and Leiciai). First one in the north corner by the Grey village (the starting location). Second one if the player leaves the Cyan base due east by the northern-most ford across the river along the northern edge of the map. Last one accessible via Transport Ship beneath Purple's base.

Even on hard difficulty, this scenario is not very challenging for a couple of reasons:

  1. All enemy units are hard countered by just a single unit - the Lithuanian Paladin (avoid the Leitis due to its low pierce armor). Do not bother making anything else.
  2. There is an overabundance of stone on the map - enough to build more Castles than the player ever needs.
  3. As long as the player walls the ally's base in north-south direction on both sides, they will never be attacked and all attacks will be funneled through Kiev.
  4. The three Tatar leaders are not hidden behind any walls and can be easily sniped with 20 Paladins each. Doing so will cripple each Horde's respective army.
  5. If the player is somehow overrun in Kiev, losing that base does not result in losing the scenario. Hence, if the player feels overwhelmed by having to protect two bases at the same time, they can move all units to Kestutis' base right after conquering Kiev and mine enough stone to protect Kestutis' base with Castles and Walls.

The scenario starts as a pre-deployed format, the player being in possession of a force of Leiciai, Light Cavalry, Pikemen, and Crossbowmen. The initial objective is to clear Kiev's (Blue) garrison to take over the town. The player has multiple routes to choose from, but the shortest is obviously the more dangerous. East of the Cyan (ally) base, the player can cross the river via three fords. The middle one is a safe option as it houses a few Light Cavalry and Mangudai (kiting is possible). Avoid using the Pikemen: use the cavalry and the Crossbowmen, as they can either close-in with the kiting Mangudai (former) or straight-up engage them (latter). From there, the player should proceed due south with care as to not draw the troops guarding the southernmost ford. The player should arrive around a lone Blue Mill outside the Blue city walls. Using the Crossbowmen against Swordsmen and Pikemen, and the cavalry against enemy archers and Mangonels, should allow a clear with minimal casualties, if any. The town transfers to the player's control.

The player gets a couple of minutes to setup before the initial waves start pouring in.

The player's base has Purple to its west, Red straight east, and Orange remotely located in the northeast corner.

Send the Villagers to stone. Queue in two Monks and a Transport Ship. Have one Villager build a Monastery in the starting location to the very northwest. Once the player receives the first set of three Villagers, start walling off Kestutis' base in north-south direction on the western side. Be careful not to leave gaps, as there is quite some walling required. Take the healed-up army and take out all the Yellow troops at the shallows:

In the southwest, grab the Relic with the Transport Ship, above the player's base in Kiev and all along the east side of the river to wall off Kestutis' east side and grab the Relic to the northeast.

Once that is done, grab all three Relics, and use the transport to get the Monks to them faster. Wall of the eastern side (at the shallows) of Kestutis' side and close all gaps down until Kiev.

When the player receives the first batch of resources, get the Cavalier upgrade and the armor upgrade at the Blacksmith. The player can even get the Paladin upgrade before bing attacked. Start pumping Paladins.

Surplus wood can be invested in Fishing Ships, but it is not advisable to build too many Trade Carts. While they would represent the strongest option for extra gold income, they do not return their investment in gold until around 10min after creation. Gold is somewhat scarce and required to make Paladins in the beginning, right when the scenario is the most difficult.

Build 2-3 Castles inside Kiev's walls to the southeast to fend of the first attack waves.

The Red horde brings Trebuchets and rams. Snipe them with cavalry.

The Orange horde brings lots of rams. Snipe them with cavalry.

The Purple horde is the easiest to fend off, as they do not bring siege.

Soon after the first rounds of attacks, the player will be given the secondary objective of killing the three Tatar commanders.

In order to complete the achievement "Scattered Horde", the player must kill the three leaders with the respective colors of their associated khan prior to clearing the khanate proper. Orange's leader is just east of Relic #2. Red's leader is due east of the player's base. Purple's leader is west of Purple's base (the player needs to take the long route around the base where the naval bases stood in order to snipe the commander first). All of them are protected by a Castle.

Note: the achievement will only unlock at the end of the scenario.

Take around 20 Paladins, and head straight for the Red, Orange, and Purple commanders, bypassing all units. Be careful not to get stuck in between buildings.

If the player kills the commander in Red's base, the Tatars stop making Trebuchets and Heavy Cavalry Archers. They attack the player only with Hussars, Elite Steppe Lancers and rams.

If the player kills the commander in Orange's base, the Cumans stop making Kipchaks and Steppe Lancers, and attack the player only with Light Cavalry and rams.

If the player kills the commander in Purple's base, the Bulgars will stop making Cavalry Archers and will continue to harass the player with Cavaliers and Konniks only.

Afterwards, the scenario becomes very relaxed, and the player can finish it in whatever fashion the player wants. Mass Paladin boosted by Relics shred through Town Centers and Castles, or the player can build some Trebuchets.

One Cannon Galleon and ten War Galleys are enough to free the sea trade (mind the Keep at the first Dock).

The ally can be directed to send specific resources with in-game chat: 3 for food, 4 for wood, 5 for gold, 6 for stone.

Outro[]

We often call members of the Golden Horde 'Tatars', but in reality the Horde consists of a multitude of Turkic people. Among its ranks are flail-swinging riders from Volga Bulgaria, Cumans from the Kipchak steppe, and Mongols from Siberia.

Such a diverse crowd of people and cultures — all united in humiliating defeat at the hands of Algirdas!

When the Lithuanian army moved south, crossing the Dnieper into Podolia, the begs of the Golden Horde scrambled to stop them.

But it was to no avail. Armed with spears and swords, the Lithuanian soldiers broke the front lines of the Horde. The Tatars could not hold their formations and retreated in disarray, leaving their Khan no choice but to flee to the Crimea.

The blood of horses and warriors slain by blade and arrow colored the dry grass of the steppe red. Algirdas' decisive victory established the Grand Duchy of Lithuania as a major power, bringing him both new friends and enemies.

Trivia[]

  • This scenario represents the Battle of Blue Waters which took place in 1362 or 1363. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania defeated the Golden Horde, adding Kiev and a large part of modern day Ukraine to its territory.
  • The Bulgar Horde in this scenario represents the Volga Bulgars from the Eurasian Steppes rather than the Bulgarian Kingdom on the Balkans (that is playable in the Ivaylo campaign). Volga Bulgars was an independent khanate (later - emirate) that existed from the 7th to the 13 century and was eventually assimilated in the Golden Horde before the events represented in this scenario.
  • Similarly, the Kipchak Horde in this scenario represents the people of the former Cuman–Kipchak confederation who have been subdued by the Mongols by the end of the 13th century and were assimilated in the Golden Horde.
  • There is a female Villager named Michelle fishing on the bridge in Smolensk. This is a dedication put in there by the developers for a fan who passed away.
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