The Cuman Kipchak - An Analysis

Not exactly a fair comparison, the HCA comp is much more gold expensive (plus the HCA upgrade costs gold, and the HCA absolutely requires thumbring while it’s just a nice bonus for the kipchak).

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Lancer+Kipchak is very far from the ideal army you would want vs CA+LC, Lancers die hard to ranged units. It is a good raiding comp if you have great micro, can easily kill walls and prevent re-walling, but again, both die easily to TCs/castles/crossbow/reasonable amount of knights.

You can pick whether or not you want to fight against CA entirely with Kipchak, though, just like Mangudai. I believe they’re also very cost effective against CA, but I’d have to test that.

They’re close to beating Mangudai. They’re definitely going to be better than CA IMO.

Also, to note; Kipchaks would beat CA, Steppe Lancers would be Light Cavalry hands down. I don’t see CA+LC being better, and if it is, the Kipchak needs another buff.

I didn’t say the CA+LC would be better, just that they are far from the ideal comp. They might be better though, if we’re talking a straight patrol of the two melee units into each other with the ranged units in the back for both sides, I think the SL would go down first with their lower pierce armor, and then the kipchaks would be on their own. At worst the CA+LC lose in a close battle, not ideal for the K+SL when they are more expensive.

*I did some testing and what I said was dead on, pretty even but slight edge to the LC+CA (16+16 Cumans vs 16+16 Mongols).

And I think your conclusion that the Kipchak need another buff if they lose is battle is wrong, it’s the SL part of the equation that is weak.

Interesting thought is:

Why do Steppe Lancers have lower peirce armor? That doesn’t make any sense to me. They’re LC. LC with a Lance. It just doesn’t make sense, especially since they also cost gold…they shouldn’t be inferior to LC in any way. Other than conversion resistance ofc.


Looking at the current evidence of weakest overall civilizations ( and, the Cumans perform absolutely terrible.
I’m quite relaxed with the other civs at the bottom, considering they have excellent navy, which can just often not be used in a lot of maps. Especially the very last one, the Portuguese, is probably the strongest civ in the game in super-long naval maps, thanks to their strong navy + Feitorias. But the Cumans don’t even have a strong navy, in fact, they arguably have the worst one in the game!

The Cumans clearly need a buff. Where should it be?

  • Changing their navy to a strong one would be quite a stretch.
  • Giving them walls would entirely change how the civ. is played.
  • The stable is already top-tier, considering it enjoys all the possible upgrades and even has a civ bonus of speed.
  • The infantry and siege is quite good as it is. Siege Engineers is missing, but then, most of the strongest civs. don’t have it, so that can hardly be the reason why the Cumans are so bad right now.

In my opinion, the kipchak is the problem and the answer. He’s just too weak as he is now. He’s losing way too many battles in 15v15 (cf. and even 200 kipchaks are less impressive as they should be with that many arrows in the air (cf. Viper’s 200 kipchak game, post-4 arrows buff,

Considering the Cumans are now in fact the weakest civ in the game and need a serious change, I would argue that they should get bracer. A little HP boost to the kipchak won’t cut in my opinion.


Bracer would be a huge change.

I’m not necessarily against it, in fact I’d love to see them get it to see how it’d play out in games. It’s just drastic, as others have pointed out. However, after seeing how the new Kipchak plays out in some pro games, and contrary to my earlier statement that the Kipchak is near perfectly balanced, the Kipchak could use the extra range for sure, and damage would help.

Cumans still need an additional buff. We start playing them, they do feel close to being balanced properly. But close, not perfect. I’m hoping for some in the April update. They do better than most other Archer units against the counter, Elite skirmisher, which is a bonus, but otherwise they’re still lacking.

In levels of severity, here are ideas:

  1. Give Cumans Bracer. Very strong buff to the late game.
  2. Give all Kipchak +1 damage, and Elite Kipchak +1 range. This could work.
  3. Give all Kipchak an additional 5HP - 10HP.

Even though I still think bracer is preferable, your number two is very tempting and worth a try.

As I believe the kipchak is the main problem and the bit to be significantly improved for the Cumans as a whole, it might even be the perfect balance move to give the effect of bracer to the kipchak, but limited to him only.
Your proposition for the kipchak is even slightly better then bracer, as it gives +1 damage already in castle age. Considering the Cumans perform at the moment very bad all the time, and not just in late game (cf., this sounds quite good indeed.


Any further buff of that level will require a price increase, since its so cheap right now and even has a trash elite upgrade. Btw anyone notice how all Last Khans UUs (with now upcoming 50G Leitis) are super cheap or cost effective?

I’d consider giving the Elite Kipchak upgrade a gold cost.

Kipchaks are not cost effective against other good UUs, such as Mangudai, as seen in testing. I feel like if they aren’t effective with GREATER numbers and max upgrades, then they could get away with a buff without it being considered OP. It’s a viable option of multiple we have here to explore.

I think +1 damage to all and +1 range to Elite when adding gold cost to the Elite upgrade could be a good compromise. It would make it harder to go Kipchak+Knight line, though.

I play Cumans a lot. Not more than all other civs, but I like them. I think people don’t know how to play them very well. At the same time; they still need a buff, and I think the Kipchak is the place to do it.

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The “evidence” ( also shows that Cuman have a favourable matchup vs Mongols and Mayan at the highest level so according to your logic they are a top-tier counter pick. Or, you know, there isn’t enough data to draw conclusions.

They merely have a top tier stable, the best eco and defense in Feudal, the most powerful push tool in Feudal, + tied with Celts for the best Castle age siege workshop, and once you’re Imp you get a full barracks, pala + siege ram and siege onager. To me it just looks like either people don’t know how to use their strenghts yet or they just had to see a nerf once to believe they are unusable.

If you’re relaxed with a civ sucking except in 1% of situations it’s cool for you I guess. As to why Cuman should suck less then, no idea.

Man, it’s the series of videos where you can see LONGBOWS dying to TEUTONIC KNIGHTS. What did you expect in a series of tests where there are low numbers and no micro?

No, Cuman aren’t one of these civs that almost 100% relies on their UU.

What if the unit as designed to be a cheaper but more agile version of the normal CA (unit that you can produce if you need more raw damage btw)

Let’s forget you can’t sponge their damage with rams, shall we?

Fun fact: most Paladin civs lack Bracer (or Crossbows in the case of Spanish and Bulgarian). Only exceptions are the Huns and Magyars. Cuman happen to have a better siege workshop and a better barracks already than those two, they don’t need more.

This is something everyone who thinks the Kipchak are absolute trash and drag down the whole civ with them overlook.

Then again, why aren’t you making normal CA if you want more damage and to pay more gold?

That’s not their purpose! And anyway, whith this logic ELe archers = OP, they are cost effective even against Mangudai.


I’m entertaining discussion here. I haven’t made any concrete statements; these are all brainstorming ideas. My post above with analysis is concrete, and I’m sticking to it.

All these ideas are just that, ideas. Good to have counterpoints.

Can’t quote rn, on mobile. However, as a counter-counterpoint, look at Steppe Husbandry. Cumans CA are meant to be spammed, that’s their unique trait and why you’d use them. It doesn’t have to be damage. Kipchaks are MUCH harder to mass. 1 range with Steppe Husbandry is faster than a Castle for goodnessakes. They’re also still cheaper than HCA; if the Elite upgrade cost gold, that wouldn’t change. Yes, it’s an investment, but investments can pay off if played properly.

Cumans CA are also awful because they miss Bracer. They’re NEVER used; at least, I’ve never seen them used. You don’t invest into such an expensive unit than you can’t upgrade properly, unless it’s a UU. It’d be like going for Paladin without Bloodlines and Blast Furnace. You’re better off elsewhere.

You’ve also taken all of my statements out of context. I never stated the purpose of the Kipchak was to outperform Mangudai; I have used it as a point of reference as a similar UU that is by far favored over the Kipchak by the majority of players.

My words: “I feel like if they aren’t effective with GREATER numbers and max upgrades, then they could get away with a buff without it being considered OP. It’s a viable option of multiple we have here to explore.” “I think +1 damage to all and +1 range to Elite when adding gold cost to the Elite upgrade could be a good compromise” “I’d consider”. Ideas.


Whole point of most non-infantry UU.

That’s the point of the tech.

Sure, but you would have ruined that “low gold cost investment” gimmick, and narrowed the gold savings. Imagine that instead of tweaking the Keshik’s stats to make it weaker while making it cheaper as well, they made him stronger and increase its elite upgrade cost even tho this unit is about gold savings as well?

If people aren’t willing to experiment then too bad for them. I’ve seen Lith Cav archers used once in a while so actually the only thing that truely holds the Cuman CA imo is that people believe that if the civ has a UU counterpart then it must be better right?

It’s doable if you’re in a team game and the situation doesn’t call for catas. Unlike Byzantine palas, Cuman CA have upsides (running faster, being produced faster) while only lacking 1 technology. I concede that Bracer is important, but Parthian tactics can be just as good, as the additional armor it provides is what allows the CA to be more cost-effective in archer fights. Furthermore, HCA+PT is way cheaper than the pala upgrade anyway. Oh, and the fact the elite Kipchak upgrade costs no gold allows you to get both to allow you more flexibility in your army composition.

It’s this kind of bad reasoning that makes people cry for Genoese Xbow or Rattan archer buffs because “but Chu Ko Nu, but Longbow!” It’s not because everyone loves Mangudai because they make for an easy to build army that all civs should have a must build UU. The Kipchak already does its job just fine, which is to be an alternative to the Cuman CA.

Fun fact: the first viable option one should explore is “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”. Then again, it’s not because you looked at a “greater number” situation and forgot that situations where you need to micro, rams and gold starvation also exist that we should buff a unit in a situation it isn’t intended to be good at anyway.

And I can perfectly state why I think it isn’t needed/good for the unit’s other roles.

Synonym: stuff wide open to criticism or discussion


This was supposed to go out last night, but the forums borked right around the time that the MP servers were down.

That wasn’t the point. Again, out of context.

This was the point. But you took both statements out of the context of each other. Separately they make no sense. How they connect is again mentioned down below.

Definitely would narrow the savings - that’s self-explanatory. I do think the no-gold cost was a very conscious decision by the devs - its supposed to be part of the unit’s identity. I don’t like diluting unit identities. I didn’t particularly like this idea, so you can count me in the “not this way” camp, but I did admit it to be one route of counterbalancing a damage/range increase.

Fully agree with your statement. Experimentation is what makes good players. However, I don’t necessarily agree with the application - and I also should revise my earlier statement. Cuman CA have a strong situational use, regardless of what happens with the Kipchak, due to Steppe Husbandry. I use Cuman CA from time to time solely because of Steppe Husbandry. It’s a very strong tech, and gives Cumans a powerful edge in being able to quickly create a surprise mass of units. Very unique. What happens with the Kipchak doesn’t really affect the CA.

I understand your point, but I’d like to add that Bracer is more important than a typical technology due to the fact it affects range and damage. I’d argue Bracer is almost as important as Bloodlines and Blast Furnace put together. Kipchaks do get some unique bonuses already, though, as you mentioned, which helps make them strong.

However - being useful in late-game team games is very, very situational, wouldn’t you agree? Not something that usefulness in any other part of gameplay should be ignored for.

All civs should have a UU that is strong in its niche, I agree. I feel the Kipchak isn’t strong enough in its current niche. It is close, however. The point of all that testing was to give SOME sort of objective data to base conclusions that are obviously subjective (and based off of actual gameplay) off of.

I completely disagree. So many balance changes that we have gotten that turned out good would never have occurred with this attitude. We need to analyze for even small areas we could improve on. The Kipchak wasn’t broken pre-buff - but it definitely wasn’t used very often, because players didn’t think it was useful. I still think it needs more.

Good discussion and points. I still feel that extra damage or range (or both) wouldn’t step on the HCA simply due to Steppe Husbandry alone. That gives Cuman CA a large unique strength over Kipchak.

Yes, this was the whole point of what I was saying above. Glad you understand. Discussion is the whole goal.

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I haven’t seen anyone mention this, but Kipchak actually take down rams much faster than Mangudai. Like Chu Ko Nu, fire ships, and probably something I’m forgetting, Kipchak arrows deal 0 melee damage. Usually I don’t think this does anything (unless the 0 becomes 1 against all units) but against rams which have -3 armor it adds 3 damage per arrow.

Idea just popped in my head. What do people think about giving Cumans +1 range to Cavalry Archers (including the Kipchak) in Imperial Age? Not damage. Just range. Give CA line half the effect of Bracer.

I thought I mentioned this in my analysis, but I guess I didn’t. They’re quite strong against Rams and Trebuchets when Elite has been researched.

You did

(ok it’s not clearly stated but just knowing about the ram negative armor hints how good the kipchak is at this particular thing)
And if it weren’t enough I must have repeated it at least 3 times after 11

Not vs Trebs because in the December patch they lost the bonus damage they dealt to the ram armour class. So now they deal 4 dmg by volley which is less than the Mangudai.


just pop that up again. kipchak are way to weak, and need a serious buff. as he said already.

I also did another forum post, that they are to weak. many pple see that, why you dont buff cumans already? wtf are u guys doing?

kipchaks need 1 more dmg, or bracers, or 5 hp more with that. the unit was fine, as it came out.

at the moment. it is to weak. same as the civ.

and it really doesnt matter, if they are cheap in gold or not. the unit should be good. and the civ needs it. cause it has very bad options. they need to go cav + kipchaks. so thats the only way.


because cumans are still a decent civ despite weak kipchak, whereas other civs have been even worse then cumans, and actually need love.

also, kipchak aren’t the only civ with a weak unique unit.

furthermore, kipchaks as a unit are dirt cheap. they are one of only two unique units in the game that do not require gold to upgrade to elite. furthermore it is bar none, the cheapest cav archer in the game.


Can’t argue that - other civs definitely need more love than the Cumans. That shouldn’t stop us from finding other areas that can be balanced, though. I’m more familiar with the Cumans than the Turks, Italians, Portuguese - so that’s where my balance attention is going at the moment.

A common comparison point is the Plumed Archer, since they’re no gold upgrade as well. Plumes are cheaper, have more damage, 2 more range, more pierce (before Parthian Tactics), have a cheaper Elite Upgrade, and fire considerably faster. Kipchak do have other benefits, yes. But Plumes are universally considered a better unit. Far better, in fact.

Kipchak may be cheap, but they still need a buff. +1 damage would be ideal. More HP would help, so would returning the old firing rate, but it wouldn’t solve the core issue. Cavalry, or high HP targets. It’s not that they should counter cavalry (they don’t) - it’s that Cavalry shred them, even in huge numbers. That doesn’t make sense. Lower fire rate is okay, but it needs more damage. Just enough to be able to fight units with okay pierce armour/hp instead of getting completely decimated.

I’m very familiar with the Kipchak. 1 range would make it counter range better than it does now, and also potentially a better raider, which I’m not sure is the way to go. +1 damage would make it a better unit, and would not be broken. I almost wouldn’t be against giving them bracer, but IMO that gives them too many options. Shouldn’t hold back the Kipchak, though.Look at the Chu Ko Nu! Highest damage of any archer unit in the game, and it actually fires more arrows than the Kipchak. Obviously it costs more gold, but not enough to justify leaving the Kipchak in its current state.