I’m actually not opposed to giving mangudai a minor nerf. You could fight tooth and nail against mongols post imp and even if you were extremely successful leading up to it, mangudai kill all once you get there. And it’s honestly not difficult to get there once you get 1 castle up in castle age.
Yes, mangudai have counters
- Skirmishers can snipe them. Arbs are better
- Heavy siege like siege onagers or heavy scorpion can give them issues, but neither of these things are really realistic in most 1v1s
- Chasing after them with a greater number of camels is one way to hedge your bets
Big problem, though is that any remotely experienced player is going to know when to not take a losing fight, and mongol post imp options let them get buy with less grease than other civs need. This is especially true on open maps where raiding is endlessly viable. Losing a position? fortify back, raid sides, force opponent to send pop to deal with it, snipe siege. When mangudai see skirmishers, light cav/hussar follows. When mangudai, in decent numbers and in the hands of decent players, see camels and knights, they laugh and dance around them or fall back to their castle if they cant take the fight.
Given certain aspects about de like villager command queueing and server based functionality, it’s meta shifted into heavily favoring defensive play - makes it easier to quickwall - and to have your base full walled in minutes. As someone who’s played for very aggressive all-ins in the past before de, i could open with military and interrupt walling or if not, force engagements via tower but since towers have been nerfed it’s heavily affected the meta to discourage committment to feudal aggression.
Even with that out of mind, once you actually have a castle up and are making mangudai, it’s so easy to get by with them. Once 2 castles go up it’s basically game over because you can’t push 2 castles in castle age and fighting mongols in post imp is almost impossible.
The only real exceptions to this are when the players aren’t an equal skill level, which make for bad examples. Two players making the most out of their play, the mongol player is rare to lose if they camp which is mongols forte in castle age.
I had a game not too long ago, magyars vs mongols
I opened with a pretty aggressive scout rush, almost all-in. I was very behind to castle age and he was in my base with a bunch of xbows - but of course since I was all in feudal I knew I had to stay to clear the army, and I made an obscene amount of scouts, wiped out the xbows, clicked up. This turned into a castle age all in with knights, light cav, rams EVERYWHERE. I was killing so much of this guys eco consistently that it’s a shock i didn’t have a bigger lead; he gets one castle up which doesnt bother me, but it makes fighting his mangudai impossible (since any time my cav charged hed go back to his castle, just like the real mongols) so i had to go in to skirms. But yeah, no he gets 2 or 3 castles up and gets imp. I’m not far behind him, but I call it after my army cancels his army of mangudai out (it was fought under a castle so i lost most of mine) and he told me at the end “I don’t really know how I won that”. In good faith, I’m not exaggerating about my success in castle age. I rammed one of his 3 tcs down, was constantly killing villagers on wood and gold, but once he got castle up I couldn’t push into the deepest part of his eco so it stopped mattering. All in ram pushing a mongol castle isn’t realistic even if you have a lot of army because of how easy it is for modest numbers of mangudai to snipe them and hop back in.
To talk of counter civs though; very good archer civs with above average siege options can give mongols problems. The most viable in 1v1s is vietnamese rattans with bombard cannons to snipe onagers. Ethiopians are a follow-up with their arbalests and their own onagers. The problem with that though, is that teching siege onager in a 1v1 is very expensive, and past a certain point in a 1v1 all mongols have to do is keep their mangudai alive and spam hussar (one of the most cost-effective hussars in the game, probably second to magyar/bulgarians) to win.
For this reason, mangudai aren’t as strong in closed map team games. The only time I’ve seen mangudai struggle were in an oasis 3v3 i was in. My ally was fighting against ethiopian arbalest and siege onager behind bulgarian halberdiers.
So in short, yeah. I understand the necessity for civs to be strong in post imp, but mongols are probably the best post imp civ in the game because of how easy and streamlined their options are. Mangudai feel too strong. They DESERVE to be strong, but past a certain point it’s over gratuitous.
If I were to nerf them, I’d make them SLIGHTLY slower, and maybe take ONE bonus damage away from their bonus vs siege