I consider these the core features of Steppe Lancers:
They have 1 range
They are cheaper than knights, but more costly than scouts
They have similar dps to knights, but much less durability (glass cannons)
They’re faster than knights
Their final upgrade is less powerful than Paladin
They train relatively quickly
Now the niches this should open up are:
They should be a good raiding unit
They should be very effective (more effective than knights) when your army outmatches your opponents army (eg when you have invested 2x as many resources into your army)
They are a rapid response force
Conversely the weaknesses should be:
They should trade less efficiently than knights in a pitched battle with equal resources
So, what stats would wedge open their niches, without generally making them more powerful than knights?
They should have a slow attack speed [to increase the effect of the 1st attack, so they trade better when they have a numerical advantage]
Calculating hp*attack/RoF/cost/cost, knights should have the bigger number [for pitched battle effectiveness]
They should have 2 pierce armour [to allow them to raid]
They should train very quickly [to allow them to be a better rapid response force]
They should be cheaper to upgrade than Hussar [to be a better raiding option in early Imp]
Elite Steppe Lancer should be a superior option than Cavalier [to be a better power spike in early Imp]
In addition you could consider making them faster after the Elite upgrade, up to the level of Shrivamsha Riders.
Making the Elite version train super quickly so that a single sneak stable in the back of someone’s base can wreck their eco, like you’d get from 4 stable Hussar production could be interesting. To make use of it you’d still need mountains of food and gold in addition to the sneak skills.
There’s a danger that buffing their pierce armour and stressing that they’re cav that’s countered by heavy cav could leave them too strong against Eagle civs. I don’t know what to do about that.
As we come back to the SL theme I will bring up my standard elaboration:
IMO the “easiest” way to make SL work is to just give them a specified role in theses civs army compostions. As these civs are all CA civs, they could be specialised for sniping siege. For that they could even have less HP, but one more range and a bonus vs siege. With that they also would excel against skirms aswell.
Imo the range design of SL just doesn’t allows to have 2 PA or more HP in castle age. They would shred archers/xbows to pieces. Also we have always the lance of damokles hovering with the current design and this is that massed SL become basically uncounterable at some point because of the absurdly high damage output from 1 range.
It would open one more option for mongols in the midgame.
But as you pointed out, mongols probably won’t make SL if they have acess to their mangudai.
So I won’t answer your questions cause I think they are kinda misleading. I don’t think you would make SL if you have acess to mangudai bec of various reasons. But it surely would be an option for mongols if you don’t have access to mangudai.
Interesting… But may we then not just cause the next “Shrivamsha effect”?
I mean the idea on it’s own is really cool (I like playing with these bonusses aswell), but with the experience of the shrivamsha I currently wanna stay away from pure raid designs tbh.
I think even this idea:
If elaborated well could actually work. Cause if then the elite upgrade becomes nerfed a bit the danger of the massed ESL becomes less threatening. Especially if in the process the gold ratio of the unit gets raised. Then it would be more of a midgame unit. Which would give these civs a unique option to play instead of their CA which is more a lategame powerhouse. A lot of CA civs suffer from that midgame weakness. And this early acess to SL could definetely open options there. But then it definetely needs to be made sure you can’t just make a giant mass of ESL in imp to completely overwhealm the opponent.
Yes I am considering the same thing. Before poles release some people think that Poles Winged Hussar is a full attack unit that is weak againist archer because of lacking Plate Barding Armor. And eventually it melt foot archer even better than Poles Cavalier.