Personal Thought on Improving Steppe Lancers

Steppe lancers need a clearer role. Their low armor and low rate of fire right now make them too weak compared to knight line and useless in late game. We won’t want to spend gold for just killing villagers, the unit itself need to be stronger in some ways.

I think extra pierce armor may be a viable start. If steppe lancers have 0/3 base armor with 60hp, they can take almost same amount of arrows from crossbowman as knights [1], and be terrible in melee fight. It may give them a more specific role to raid and counter range units.

In post imp, the fully upgraded elite steppe lancers with 3+4 pierce armor can absorb arrows like cavaliers [2]. Yet gold become a bigger issue when deciding units composition, the elite version will need more stats improvement to encourage players to choose them over hussars. The unique tech can also give them some help. For example, Mongols can change their nomad tech to something like increasing attack for steppe lancers, to balance the lack of last armor upgrade.

Other ways to address them may be faster speed [3], shorter training time [4], or bonus damage on villager like lots of people have suggested. I think the first two are fine right now, and the bonus attack on villager and trade unit will be really interesting. (Standard and elite) +4/+6 on villager and +5/+9 on trade unit should be fine in my opinion [5]. But in the end, we don’t want to spend 40 gold for just raiding, which hussar can do it cheaper and better. Not to mention that steppe lancers now are way too weak against arrows, even the TC fire can kill them faster then hussar [6]. So I believe the extra armor will be a viable start for improving steppe lancers.
How many shot can be taken from crossbowman with bodkin?
+2 knight without bloodline: 34
+2 knight with bloodline: 40
+2 light cav without bloodline: 20
+2 light cav with bloodline: 27

60hp lancers with 3+2 pierce armor: 30
60+20hp lancers with 3+2 pierce armor: 40
60hp lancers with 1+2 pierce armor (current): 15

How many shot can be taken from arbalest (post imp)
Cavalier: 35
Paladin: 54
Hussar: 24
100hp Elite steppe lancer with 3+4 pierce armor: 34
100hp Elite steppe lancer with 1+4 pierce armor (current): 20

Speed of knight line: 1.35
Speed of light cavalry and hussar: 1.50
Speed of (elite) steppe lancer: 1.45

Training time for knight line: 30s
Cost: 60f 75g
→ Total resources used per minute per stable: 270

Training time for steppe lancer: 24s
Cost: 70f 40g (update 47820)
→ Total resources used per minute per stable: 275

How many melee attacks are needed to kill a villager?
9~10 melee attack: 5 hit (non-upgraded knight)
11~13 melee attack: 4 hit (forging knight)
14~20 melee attack: 3 hit (cavalier and paladin)
21+ melee attack: 2 hit
If steppe lancer has 9 base attack and +4 bonus on villager, they will kill them with 4 hit before forging, and 3 hit after. If elite steppe lancer has 11 base attack and +6 bonus on villagers, they will kill them with 2 hit when fully upgraded.

How many melee attacks are needed to kill a trade cart?
12~13 melee attack: 6 hit
14~17 melee attack: 5 hit
18~23 melee attack: 4 hit (fully upgraded paladin)
24+ melee attack: 3 hit
If elite steppe lancer has 11 base attack and +9 bonus on trade cart, they will kill them with 3 hit when fully upgraded.

How many arrows can be taken from TC fire (post imp)
Cavalier: 47
Paladin: 80
Hussar: 32
100hp Elite steppe lancer with 3+4 pierce armor: 50
100hp Elite steppe lancer with 1+4 pierce armor (current): 25

  • TL;DR
    Steppe lancer need to be better in either melee fight or absorbing arrows.
    I prefer the latter, which can also benefit their raiding ability.
    Therefore, I hope they can gain more pierce armor.


but they have a range advantage over melee that makes them great as a meat shield, especially when coupled with cavalry archers, its quite possible to kill stuff before its even POSSIBLE to deal damage steppe lancers with their 1 range. that is why they have the archer weakness. you want to remove that? and all of a sudden steppe lancers + cavalry archers becomes very hard to kill.

no one is making cavaliers as a meat shield. they are horrible at it due to price alone.

yes because mongols totally need a buff.

they already train insanely fast as is and Cuman ones train even faster.

people raid with cavalry archers, archers, and knights all the bloody time.

As I see, everything in Steppe Lancers aim to be a anti-infantry cavalry unit. Imo, I would remove the PA and give +1 melee armor or a little bonus against infantry or like leitis but just 2 or 3 armor points ignored.

1 Like

The reality is the low pierce armor make them terrible against range unit, and the low rate of fire make them terrible in melee fight. We need to make them good at something.

So let’s make steppe lancer a cheaper replacement, at least in 1v1 game.

They are not that smooth in mid game.

Agree, that’s why I think the training time is fine right now.

They can fight with other military units, while steppe lancers will just die in current situation.

The reality is you can’t give a unit who already has an advantage against melee units, an advantage ranged units.

steppe lancers clearly weren’t designed to be a knight replacement. literally tells you so in the tech tree.

in early mid game - not anything steppe lancers can do for them there. furthermore a castle unique tech requires a castle. something you aren’t going to have in early castle age. and if you do have a castle you have mangudai.

and steppe lancers should be made viable in some role, but not as something that is good against both melee and ranged units. they have range and stacking advantage as is over melee units. they are purposely designed to be weak to archers.

Range units can be more effect in this case though. With the cost of steppe lancers, we need to expect them more.

not with as fast as they are to mass up, and their stacking and range advantage. they should easily be made cheaper. but something thats good against everything? no thanks.

What melee units are they good against with? The stacking advantage right now can never meet their gold cost.

the stacking and range gives them advantages over melee units. they are literally designed to be weak to archers. the tech tree even tells you this - so should they be buffed? absolutely.
should they be buffed against archers? not even close.
you can reduce their price for all i care to 60 food and 30 gold, which will make them much more effective against melee units, but you pair their range and stacking advantage with cavalry archers behind them, and you can’t feasibly buff them against ranged units or how do you fight steppe lancer + cav archer?

that’s what happens when you’re a fast melee unit htat can stack and attack with a 1 range advantage.

so let’s take your hypothetical change and give them insane pierce armor. pair them with cavalry archers or mangudai. how do you cost effectively kill such a comp?

We should noted that the ROF of steppe lancer are so slow and not even good at melee fight. Besides, I think the original design that make them weak to archers are bad idea.
What are cavalry archer good against with? Infantry and small amount of knight.
What are cavalry archer’s weakness? Range unit.
So why make steppe lancer if you can make cavalry archer?

If the opponents go full castle age push with +0/+3 steppe lancers as well as cav archers, we should realize they have no eco behind. Knight skirm or pike crossbow both can be good with good management.

pretty much everything with kiting. they can run away from what they can’t kill. why do you think mangudai speed was reduced?

only if those ranged units can actually engage them.

because it still needs a meat shield to keep them safe?

i’m talking in imperial age. no ones going to go cav archers steppe lancers right out of the gate. too expensive.
mangudai or heavy cavalry archer + Elite Steppe Lancer with 3 Base PA. how do you beat it?

Everything, provided you have the numbers and micromanagement skills.
The only thing they are bad at, breaking Rams and Defenses.

Only Skirmishers.

To counter Rams and not get countered by Skirmishers.

1 Like

Trying to buff SL by giving them more pierce armour is the wrong approach imo just because every SL civ already has many answers to archers. Besides elite skirms, Cumans have paladins, halbs+siege rams or SO, Mongols have drill siege ram and SO, and Tatars have siege rams and keshiks which are among the best non-siege arrow sponges around.


And mass steppe lancers destroy archers actually, at least the tatar ones.

This opinion might be unpopular, but I think mongols and tatars SL are fine. I believe cumans should get an SL bonus

Cumans already have it… Steppe husbandry


Was about to say - its hard to make it too much better when they can pump those out as fast as they can.

1 Like

Actually topic starter’s suggestion makes sense. But one attack range should be removed then. And we’ll get something like “light tarkans”.

I think attack range is the reason why it’s hard to balance SL. Remove attack range and give SL some other bonus. For instance, bonus against infantry. Or pierce armor for raiding. Or something else. This way SL will become situationally useful.

I think the worst ones are mongols actually.