I do not see the point to the steppe lancer having one pierce armor still.
In my eyes, having bad pierce armor was a caveat to balance it, that it would be (with it’s lower HP compounding) very counterable by Archers and Fortification. Now the damage is nerfed, the speed is nerfed, it’s not countering melee units in a really significant way anymore, why keep the terrible pierce armor?
This is coming from the assumption that you built it to not be a raiding unit, therefore lower pierce = more damage from fortifications and TC’s. Lower attack rate already makes it a very, very poor raiding unit since it’s quite fast. I don’t believe it needs help in that category.
Secondly, and this is a relevantly important caveat, if you don’t increase it’s pierce armor it’s going to be an unworkable frontline unit in large games or games with trade. You need a unit that is durable to sustained DPS to be an effective frontline, which is why having a civ that can field good Paladins is so important in team games. Steppe lancers, at this time, are the second worst cavalry for raiding, are not a rational option as a frontline unit, which puts them… where on the field?
I obviously thought they were too strong, but now I don’t know where I’d want to use them, and rationally, I wouldn’t. I want to use Cumans instant ramen LC and Tatars Silk armor LC over the Steppe lancer anywhere I want to raid, I want both of those over the lancer against archers, I want both of those over the steppe lancer against Monks, and I want both of those as a frontline for my Cav archers in insert opponent with inserted army
Here’s the problem. You hit the wrong points with the Lancer. The gold cost and collision box nerfs were fine. You shouldn’t have done more than that. There’s a way more important thing that you should have done, and that’s nerf the pierce armor. And I don’t mean take away one armor. I mean cut the base armor of the unit by one, and then take the legs out of the lategame cavalry by taking away Plate Barding.
“But now you’re making their Cavalry all terrible, we only want to nerf the Steppe Lancer” So you’d rather nerf all the things that make the new civs unique, like Cumans getting a massive eco lead in exchange for… We’re not sure at this point? No. And this is NOT going to make the cavalry line terrible. I just want to remind you that the Cumans, through all this, still have fully upgraded Hussars as a frontline for Keshiks that are created nigh instantly. This didn’t need to be touched at all? Are you sure? Removing the last armor upgrade on the cavalry would have toned that down a bit as well, and you wouldn’t have needed to adjust it at all, IMO.
We could have done away with the TC nerf that we gave the Cumans last patch, and mostly undid the Kipchak nerf. You just need to do the right thing and acknowledge that the Cumans, like every civ with a massive earlygame bonus, should have a window for victory. Right now there’s no wall where the window should be, and you’ve taken a sledgehammer to the statue in the lobby. No armor tech on the Cavalry? Win early enough to make it irrelevant or supplement your army to mitigate that weakness. They have all the tools to do so inside their tech tree. Siege ram is a thing.
And as for the Tatars, who also get the Steppe lancer, you can hit that option in other ways if it’s really necessary, but I’m not sure it would be with the increased gold cost and the reduced base pierce.
Right now the Steppe Lancer isn’t good in any role you want a unit to be good in. That means the changes didn’t work. Making a unit that is bad, just to get it out of the way, is not a good idea for the health of the meta. More options that are viable is always going to be a good thing. Steppe lancers are not. These changes will fix that.
Steppe Lancer [Standard & Elite]: Pierce Armor decreased by one (from 1 > 0)
Steppe Lancer [Standard & Elite]: Rate of Fire readjusted (from 2.3 > 1.9)
Steppe Lancer Damage increased (from 8 > 9)
Elite Steppe Lancer Damage increased (from 10 > 12)
Cumans lose Plate Barding armor
Cumans TC build time decreased (from 270 > 225)
Elite Kipchaks now fire increased arrows (from 3 > 4)