A civilization of many weapons and great combinations in Age of Empires II. The Mongols can make the lives of your enemies authentic living hells with their insanely powerful cavalry archers and their support.
The Mongols receive great bonuses in the early game, giving them an edge to grow faster, prepare for early rushes, as well as being able to rush the enemy. In this article, I detail the specifics about this great civilization and the tricks under their sleeves.
Cavalry Archer Civilization
Cavalry Archers fire 20% faster
This is the secret weapon of the Mongols. What differentiates archers from infantry when dealing damage, is that archers have the capacity to hit as a whole and keep hitting as long as the enemy is in range, while infantry need to be face-to-face with the enemy. This is what makes a good coordinated army of archers so deadly. Now, allowing the Mongol Cavalry Archer or Mangudai to fire faster, is giving him the ability to fire more arrows in the same amount of time, thus making him even more effective and lethal.
Light Cavalry and Hussar + 30% hit points
Another great upgrade for Mongol units. Hussars are great and cost-effective units for support. They are fast, they can scout, and they can annihilate groups of villagers and lonely siege. Give hussars more HP and give them the survivability to stay in combat, allowing a cheap unit to become a challenging part of an army and a great choice to raid enemy villagers, siege weapons and unguarded archers.
Hunters works 50% faster
Great archers, great scouts and great hunters, Mongols are really fearsome warriors! When starting a standard game, swiftness is key to gather those resources, develop fast, and protect your town. A hunting villager can gather much more food in one single trip than a forager, so, as long as there are animals nearby, hunting is more effective. Mongols' villagers hunt 50% faster! This makes them bring that meat home much faster! Be careful with wild boars, though! Don't hunt boars before having a nice group of vills to kill them, as they are pretty strong!
"The Mongols were united by Genghis Khan, who took them off on a campaign of conquest that reached from the Pacific to the Mediterranean to Central Europe. The Mongols were superb horsemen and each warrior kept a stable of ponies so that fresh mounts were always available. The strength of the Mongol armies was the horse archer firing a composite bow from the saddle. The best of these archers, called the mangudai, used great tactics to catch enemies at a disadvantage. They used feints and traps to wear out enemy cavalry and shoot it to pieces. Slower troops could be shot to pieces at range with little risk. Enemy armies were exhausted and shattered without ever coming to grips with the elusive mangudai. The main weakness of the Mongol army was that only great leaders could keep it together. When the great Khan or later leaders died, the army dissolved into factions bickering for primacy."
Ah, the Mangudai. The pain this unit can bring to any player playing against it. The mangudai are definitely the bulk of the Mongol army with their incredible swiftness and fire power. When in packs, Mangudai forces can even kill an equal number of paladins, as they can attack first, are faster, and can keep killing a paladin click, after click, after click.
Another interesting trait of the Mangudai is that it gets bonus damage against siege units. This will be helpful when encountering trebuchets, cannons or rams trying to wreck your town. Since Mangudai are many and quick, they can easily get rid of them. Mangudai can quickly kill onagers and scorpions as well, but these units are strong and can counter large numbers of archers, so if not coordinated well, mangudai will be cleaned out of the map when hit by incoming onager rocks.
"One of the secrets to the great success of the Mongols was their great discipline in battle. Where more civilized armies of the time had complex structures of hierarchy and traditions, the Mongols countered with endless hours of practice on the plains and hunting towns. The speed at which Mongol armies could move and strike bewildered the more ponderous and heavily equipped armies they often fought."
Drill, the tech that gives turbo to Mongol siege weapons! If there is a great support cavalry archers is onager fire. Having siege onagers will aid you to get rid of enemy skirmishers, slow infantry, scorpions and other onagers. Add speed to these siege onagers and you've got yourself a weapon that can keep up with horses, quickly catch those counter-forces off-guard and evade incoming onager and trebuchet fire.
Scout Cavalry +2 line of sight
In addition to more hit points, the Mongols' team bonus gives +2 line of sight to the scout cavalry line. This is helpful to spot enemy settlements and curious villagers more easily. With a horde of sturdy and alert hussars, you can explore the map to find enemy resources and raid their villagers, trade carts and any small protection they may have.
A civ that could team-up well with the Mongols would the the Huns. As a fast-growing civ thanks to their needlessness for houses, they are the choice for a rush strategy. Giving the Hunnish scouts more line of sight can be crucial to find out the enemy base, and raid it sooner. The team bonus of the Huns will also complement the Mongols beautifully, by providing 20% faster-working Stables to the team.
A cavalry archer civilization that can play with siege
Perfect Heavy Scorpions
The scorpion is one of the best units in the game, for its high piercing attacking power, able to hit rows of enemies and damage their surroundings. For this fact, the same number of heavy scorpions is more powerful than the same number of mangudai. Of course there are a lot of variants to take into account like mobility, fire-rate and type of enemy.
However, if you are finding yourself with trouble against a Franks, Persians, Saracens or Byzantines player, more scorpions than onagers will aid your Mongol army to fight their cavalry. In numbers, heavy scorpions are particularly good against powerful and expensive units like the Saracen Mameluke or the Byzantine Cataphract.
Perfect Siege Rams
The Mongol Siege Ram also claims all the upgrades the tech tree has to offer, in addition to the Mongol speed bonus, making it a powerful weapon to wreck your enemy's town. These units are very resistant to castles and towers, but are very fragile to infantry and cavalry, so support them with a row of scorpions behind for extra damage to incoming soldiers, as your mangudai distract and kill scattering units.
The Mongols also benefit from fully upgradable milita, giving them the liberty to create as many as they want in the early game to protect and rush, knowing that later they can be powerful foot-soldiers that can shield your mangudai from camels, or be the force needed to fight huskarls.
The Mongols aren't to be messed with, they have incredible bonuses, unique units and many tools to use. They are not without weaknesses, though! A good Mongols player will be very hard to defeat, but use diversity and the right counters and you can come out victorious.
Anti-archer civs include; the Goths, whose fast and very enduring huskarls can outnumber and slay mangudai and siege weapons, is the better choice to face the Mongols in my opinion; the Koreans have sturdy war wagons and long-ranged onagers that can face the mangudai forces and their supports- although the Koreans can suffer an early Mongol rush; and the Persians, that can go all out with paladins, camels and war elephants, making the life of the Mongol army a complicated one.
Other great counters to the Mongols are the Turks and the Celts in the right hands. The Turks can use their lethal gunpowder and cannon units from afar, heavy camels and their own cavalry archers; while the Celts have their impressive siege weapons at their disposal and woad raiders to sneak on Mongol siege. These civilizations are slow to grow, so this weakness can be exploited by the Mongols.
Know how to coordinate the Mongol forces and their various options and they can become your favorite civilization to play with in Age of Empires II. There's just something about the Mangudai unit and the ease with which it kills. It's actually pretty amusing!
If you liked reading about the Mongols, read more about other great civs in my 10 of the Best Civilizations from Age of Empires II: The Conquerors!