Every man who does not go to war must work for the empire, without reward, for a certain time.
— attr Genghis Khan, Yasa
The Khorchin ("quiver-bearers"), Mongolia's best horse archer unit, exemplifies this spirit well. Trained from birth as hunters, specialising in horse riding and archery, Khorchin are a terrifying force. Even long after other factions have access to units of similar strength as the Khorchin, they too fall short of besting this unit, as Khorchin are not only exact copies of the Palace Gamekeeper of other factions, but they too are also capable of traversing great swathes of land without being affected significantly by attrition, and also have a good bonus against non-gunpowder infantry.
Worse, the Mongol special bonuses mean that with sufficient population room and research, the Mongols can assemble hordes of Khorchin come the Castle Age. In fact, were it not for the existence of gunpowder units, it could be said that the Mongol civilisation is the most powerful in Rise of Kings, with the exception of the naval savvy of the Muslims and their European foes. In the Imperial Era, Mongolia's improved medium cavalry means that it can easly best many factions on the field, unless suitable countermeasures are put in place to resist them.
Unlike Mediaeval Europe where there was a perceptible correlation between social status and specialisation (ie high-born knightly swordsmen versus peasant archers and pikemen), Asian military culture of the contemporaneous period placed greater emphasis on flexibility. In the northern wastes of Asia, archer had a far more significant role and long after Mongol society had evolved from the simple hunter-gatherers and goatherds which formed the weft and woof of thier communities, archery continued to remain the preserve of both the elite and the lowly alike. Cavalry archery suited the Mongol commanders well for the sort of mobility and flexibility they provided: it was a host of hard-riding Mongol horsemen which were used by the Mongol general Jebe in routing both the armies of Hungary and Poland within the space of just two days in 1241.
- Unique ranged cavalry unit with resistance to attrition, substantially stronger than Mounted Rangers.
- Fast, Furious, Fearsome — Khorchin are fairly fast, resistant to attrition, and also highly capable of launching deadly showers of arrows upon any and all they meet in large groups
- Tartar Sauced — Free cavalry archers can be used to harass your opponents. Create several small groups off horse archers, which can be used to raid different parts of your opponents' realm simultaneously.
- Wood, Could & Should — Ensure a steady supply of timber to create extra horse harcher-spawning stables and, in later ages, your hardened light cavalry units. A Mongol—HRE alliance is always good: the Mongol player can offer excess food in exchange for the HRE's timber to create their unique units. Further, the unit specialities of both factions complement each other very well.
- The Weakest Link? — Note, however, that since these units have low constitution you must always keep them out of the range of any other units - being caught by archers must be avoided, and being surrounded by enemy melee units is a no-no.
Although classified as a Castle Age unit, Khorchin cavalry are in fact available to the Kipchaks and Khitans in the Rise of Kings campaign from the Dark Age onwards. As strong as this unit is, however, it costs a bit of timber and wealth, so it will take some time before the barbarians can make a move. If you come up against the Kipchak, supplement your army with heavy cavalry to beat them down, however, and do so quickly — the Khorchin can gather food even when just milling around.