Even rotten tai still has its worth.
— Japanese saying
Equally appealing is the fact that unlike other archer mercenaries, Rōnin Archers cost purely food, not wealth. Since food is a very easy resource to obtain, a Japanese player can easily overwhelm other factions in the early game by using just suicide soldiers and Rōnin, so long as their opponents do not train any cavalry. Much later, you can upgrade your Rōnin Archers to improve their stats.
In ancient times, the term rōnin (Japanese, "wave-man") referred to social drifters who had no allegiance. First referring to runaway serfs and fugitives who had fled their bondage to their master, it soon was held also to refer to those of the Bushi (or martial nobility) caste who served no lord. Although considered as social undesirables in hiearchical Japanese society because they were often broke and resorted to brigandage, local landowners and magnates had one single overriding use for them — unlike Bushi or Samurai, a rōnin’s loyaly could be purchased, making them in some cases ideal cannon fodder. In modern parlance, however, the term is now used to refer to workers switching between employers, or secondary school students who have not made it into a university.
- Fast-training but inferior bow mercenary unique to Japan; costing entirely of food albeit in large amounts.
- Will Work For Food — Since food is a very easy resource to obtain, a Japanese player can easily overwhelm other factions in the early game by using just suicide soldiers and Rōnin Archers.
- Tech Slack — Given that Rōnin Archers only require two Military levels as opposed to three for other factions, Japan can start off a very quickly and aggressively.
- Partners in Time — Rōnin Archers complement the Shōen Retainers very well: make use of the fact that the latter can be spawned for free, and that like all mercenaries Rōnin Archers can be trained very quickly.