Balancing the mongols and state of the Mangudai

Hey guys, maybe a little controversial but I want to discuss the current balance state of mongols and especially the Mangudai. This discussion focuses on 1v1 matches since team games have a unique dynamic to them. And of course please assume a similar skill level.

At the moment the peak performance of mongols is mainly infantry (and springalds…) and rarely cavalry. The speed bonus with the Deer Stones helps cheap produced Ovoo boosted infantry to overwhelm enemies. Additionally building springalds in the field is the current meta and pretty strong.
On the other hand the cavalry civilisation mongols rarely uses any cavalry at all and even lesser their unique unit the Mangudai.

Aspects of this are mainly the bad performance or value of horseman and Mangudai especially early on and in the midgame. The mongols also have only one (1) unique upgrade for cavalry in imperial age compared to other civs which is an extension of the 20% bonus HP by 10% if you spend 1000 stones (which is a lot for mongols).

But I think the main issue here is the overwhelmingly underperformance of Mangudais. Imo they are not worth to invest any ressources in at the moment since all alternatives are just plain better.
A few things in detail:

Stats and eco

If you compare the Mangudai with other similar units it gets clear that its one of the worst units in the game at the moment: For 120 food and 40 gold you can train one Mangudai in 30sec. If you double produce via the Ovoo it will be 130 food, 30 gold and 160 stone (weird inconsistency btw.). For this price you get a unit in feudal age with: 85hp, 3,5 range, 7 damage and 1.62 movespeed.

The value you get for your money is just really bad. For almost the same amount you could train 2 Scouts and an archer or a horseman and a archer (and horseman are pretty weak as well at the moment like mentioned above). Or just 2 archers (in the same time it takes to produce 1 Mangudai btw).

If you compare the Mangudai with a regular archer with 70hp, 5 range, 5 damage and 1.25 movespeed its almost a no-brainer which unit is better stats wise. The rus cavalry archer gives you a 85hp. 1.62ms, 12 (!) damage at 4,5 range monster in 22sec for 80 food and 40 wood in castle age. Even the camel archer can shoots more far, is tanky as hell, gives a 20% debuff for cavalry and does 10 damage with with 1.62 movespeed. Tbf its quite expensive but imo used as a support unit together with other units.

Also there are no special upgrades beside one which increases the damage of Mangudai by 1 (or 2 if you research with ovoo) in castle-age. All the other tech is just the regular which other units also get. Rus cav archers get insane range upgrades and camel archers get even more tanky and get other benefits.

Usage and counters

Since a horse archer does not fit in the classic stone-paper-scissor triangle ideas for usage could be massing, raiding in small groups or just a few together with other units. In all cases the Mangudai is bad: For raiding you can only kill low armor units since there is no torch damage and low damage in general. You also have to be kinda present while raiding otherwise a few archers or just some units in a tower/TC will shred them fast if you dont keep moving due to their low hp and armor. Using lancers, horseman or MAA is just way more efficient for raiding. Oh and if the enemy has towers or even wood walls youre pretty much lost with your mangudai since they have no torch damage and get shred easily.

To “cash back” the ressources of one Mangudai you would have to kill almost 3 vills with it while it needs 8 shots to kill one. Raiding with lancers is way more viable and they only cost the difference of a Scout in ressources.

If you want to mass Mangudai you have to have an ultra strong eco to support its high cost and you get countered by low cost archers or horseman, lancers, spears, nearly everything if you just forget to move once while fighting or pathing fucks you up. Even if you double produce directly at the start of feudal age you can produce 6 (maximum 8 from my testing) before running out of stone. Just to put this into perspective: Almost the same resources could be used to go directly into castle age.

Even if you micro them all the time perfectly the low damage (especially in low numbers) just does not kill the units youre supposed to kite (especially knights/lancers or MAA) fast enough. Also movespeed bonus for infantry with deer stones and towers just makes it even more worth it to use regular archers and later crossbows instead of Mangudai. You just get way more bang for your buck.

Replays and suggestions

All in all the only unique unit for the mongols (beside the khan) is just plain bad in usage compared to other alternatives and even worse if you compare stats. I also tried to find high level gameplay to see if I maybe missed a viable strat but its just so rare. In the genesis tournament I could not even find a single game were mongols actually used them successfully. A nice example is the Viper vs. Zerton game from Genesis where a mix of Mangudai and Lancers couldnt do ■■■■ against french knights all game.

Imo there needs to be some changes to make Mangudai viable. Either lower the cost, increase damage and range or give them more HP/armor. I dont actually think making them available in Age 3 instead of Age 2 would be bad if you get some better stats instead. At least give them some viable upgrades available or let them scale better in later Ages. The rus horse archer for example fits a nice role with high damage, medium cost and good range while being squishy. Even tho it cant shoot wile moving it outperforms the Mangudai in almost every Scenario.

Maybe I missed something but the lack of high level gameplay when I was looking at this kinda confirmed that this unit is just not viable at the moment. None of the current top 200 Streamers or Youtube games of mongols actually had a good and solid Mangudai based winning game.

I really hope the Devs read this and maybe some nice adjustments make it into the coming christmas-patch to make mongols less of a infantry civ and a viable cavalry civ with a fun to play Mangudai which is actually worth it. It would be amazing if one of the devs could maybe just acknowledge that this is at least in their sight somehow.

Oh and sorry for any mistakes, English is not my native language.


Hmm … looks like my wall of text is too scary for feedback. Should I add a TL:DR?

Tl,dr: Mangudais are good, and Mongols are good this way.

Personally, I think Mongols are currently very good. I play them as my main, and I like mangudais a lot. They are quite good to give a strong pressure on the enemy economy, and to create idle time. Against french and HRE mangudais can be good if there is a huge knight or mma rush.

The most important is that you can earn some time to advance if you can harass the enemy and control the map. They have quite low dmg and yes, they are extremely weak. But they are still worth it if you don’t want to rush.

The yam network should be nerfed a little bit and the speed upgrade should be fixed and that’s all right now. Springald change is in progress.

Currently, people talk about Mongols as the strongest civ in the game, but I think they just need some time to learn to play against them. Like in the case of french, everybody cried about the knight rush, that strategy is not that strong by now, but their eco is still way too hard to deal with.

I do play Mongols a lot and I must say I have very mixed feelings about this civ. Sometimes they do feel like absolute A-tier civ but other times they feel like trash-tier civ. I did not felt such disparity when I was playing any other civ. I have thought about this for quiet some time and I have come up with my own opinion on Mongols.

Like the upper thread said Mongols are very good civ, BUT, there is one huge caveat. In order for Mongols to be powerful, you almost always have to rely on its civ bonus. I am not just talking about few of its civ bonus. I am talking about every single civ bonus it has. You have to utilize its civ bonus and power of landmarks as well to full extent otherwise Mongols perform very poorly.

Double production from Ovoo, Yam network bonus, Pillage bonus, The Silver Tree bonus, Kurultai bonus, so on and so forth. All of these bonuses are great. But in order for Mongolian units to perform well, they absolutely need every single one of these bonuses to work simultaneously. And that is why I think Mongolian cavalry feels so weak in many situations.

The biggest example would be, as you have mentioned, Mangudais. By pure stat wise, I cannot argue it is a very poor unit. So much resources for what is just a faster moving archer with lower attack range and slightly higher attack damage. The ability to move & shoot at the same time does not feel like it can justify its cost since most ranged attacks in AOE4 has perfect accuracy and Mangudai has one of the shortest attack range among all ranged attack units. The tech tree menu proudly boasts about its “high rate of fire” but in reality it doesn’t shoot that fast compare to regular archers or even other cavalry archer type units.

So why does this awful unit feels so damn good from time to time? That comes from all the buffs it could get from Mongols civ bonuses and landmarks. When decent tradeline with full silk-road bonus is working well, the high cost of Mangudai feels almost like trash unit price. When Mangudais get full buffs from Yam, Kurultai, Signal Arrow and Improved Upgrades they feel like absolute beasts. But once one or few of those bonuses start to falter, their power diminishes very quickly.

So the Mongol as a civ is great. However, its units fall short compare to other civs when Mongol cannot utilize its bonuses well. This is exceptionally true for Horsemen and Mangudais in feudal age in my opinion. I wouldn’t mind having a civ that relies really heavily on its bonuses but it would be nice to buff those units slightly so they can do better job even when all those buffs are not present.


Very well written, sir! I agree - I would rather have a nerf to one of the bonuses they get (movespeed will probably be nerfed anyway) and instead have its units and especially the Mangudai be better.
Thanks for the feedback!

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My main issue is that I cannot play the Mongols like the Mongols.
It is more like an HRE but with slightly lower armour stats with fast infantry and high damage with Kurultai Landmark. With Khan, they get a bonus +2 armour (it says +3, but only gives +2). Still makes them super infantry civ as they can build various sieges. HRE is nowhere near the Mongol infantry.

This is why I am not happy. The Mongols need infantry stat to nerf as they really didn’t have any infantry in History. It always had a 100% cavalry army. Infantry is when they dismount and become a guard on settlements.

I wanna play with cavs as the Mongols because this is what I know from my studies in history.

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Yeah mongols being not a proper cavalry civ really is a shame. I play RUS now. Early lancers with unique upgrades and horse archers that can actually be usefull and you can afford them. RUS being more mongol than the mongols is some irony tho…


If Mangudai receive stat buff, they must remove the moving shot ability.

No this is key to the character of the unit and civilisation. They already have a disadvantage against Rus cav archers as they cost gold while Rus cost only wood and food and mangudai are also weaker.


The main reason that mongols aren’t played as a cav civ is because of how busted infantry building springalds/mangos is right now. If that gets nerfed I could definately see an argument of buffing mangudai but it has to be done very carefully since that unit if ever is too strong will break the game since it’s insanely hard to deal with especially in teamgames. That said mongols do frequently go lancers in 1v1, so its not like they are always an infantry civ right now.

I also was confused why the yam network bonus for infantry ended up at the Mongols, not HRE.

HRE have another tech for infantry speed I believe?

Yes - +10% move speed upgrade for infantry in armory.

I agree. While I think they work as they are in early game, I’d really like to see them get some end-game love. Same goes for the light cav and arguably spear for some civs. Just a few more techs, maybe even mutually exclusive ones so you have to decide in which direction you take them. That would also make mirror-matchups more interesting. (Those Mangudai on Mangudai drive-by gang wars).
Just something to make them more worthwhile in numbers and in late game for their skirmishing role. Even something like the french auto-heal would make sense, so they can recover from short hit and runs and force the enemy to engage with more than a bit of arrow fire. Or make them stronger the higher their number is… you know, embracing the horde theme.

Currently they feel rather gimmicky (that annoying early-mid game vil harasser) and like the devs were too afraid of their own design decision to let them fire on the move, so they over-nerfed stats and cost.

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They are only weaker against ranged units while hard counter any melee units. Buffing them further will just make them have no counter like AoE 2. Moving shot ability is a bad idea in AoE games that make thing hard to balance

Well… if you ever try to kite 2 knights with 4 Mangudai you will notice that the knights dont give a shi* about the 3 damage each shot while they almost reduce half of the hp if they get a charge through because of pathing or being not aware for a second. And of course you can kite MAA or Spearman but at least MAA just ignore the low damage and just go for objectives while laughing their asses off. And if spearman reach you because of reasons mentioned above your Mangudai are just dead. At least thats my experience and what I have seen in replays and VODs.


True you can go lancers but on paper MAA are just better - cheaper, more tanky and fast thanks to YAM. Also the damage is mostly done by the backline (archers, crossbows, springalds, whatever) so why bother with lancers which dont even have a unique upgrade until imperial age (which is 1k stone and MAA have a similar one).