— Ferdowsi, Shahnameh
Stronger than normal Horse Archers, Mounted Rangers are considered one rank higher — both socially and tactically. For although they are as despicably weak as normal Dark Age Horse Archers, Mounted Rangers deal more damage per shot, and are also faster and slightly stronger, making them a better unit to use. This does not preclude them from being immune from melee attacks, but it definitely helps especially if the foe has a large number of missile units and is intent on using them.
Like all cavalry archer units, Mounted Rangers are best used in large groups to flank enemy formations, making them a highly flexible unit for those who can afford them, although they may be trained only by a few factions. Other factions may instead choose to use either javelin cavalry or mounted cranequiniers whenever they come available. The Saracens and Mongols however have their own units instead, those being Dromedaries which are archers mounted on camels, and Khorchin which are toughened cavalry archers recruited by the Mongols.
- Swift of Speed, Sure of Sight — Because they have the best range, rate of fire and speed for any ranged cavalry unit, Mounted Rangers are fairly lethal if used in sufficient numbers.
- 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.
- Khorchin — Mongolia fields the Khorchin, which not only is vastly superior to Horse Archers but is also capable of resisting attrition.
- Dromedaries —Saracen armies recruit Dromedaries, archers mounted on (relatively) fast camels. Although these units are somewhat slow, they have more hitpoints and armour than normal Mounted Rangers, making them somewhat more useful as raiders, although Mounted Rangers can still outrun them.
Although Mounted Rangers are recruitable only in the Castle Age, the Persians can recruit them right off the bat from the Dark Ages. This makes the Persian army highly dangerous to attack unless fortifications and heavy cavalry are available, as Mounted Rangers have better stats than most Dark Age units. Further, Mounted Rangers also generate food due to Persia's cultural bonuses. Thus any faction which wants to take over in Southern Asia must be prepared to fight hard and fast, since the Persians, if left alone for too long, can generate lots of food which can then go over to creating more infantry, making it even harder to destroy them. Fortunately, the Muslims and Asians tend to specialise in rush tactics, so it should not be too difficult to quell them.
There were many reasons why horse archers were often the best warriors for centuries until the emergence of rifles. For one, they were relatively inexpensive to raise compared to more elite melee cavalry units. Equally, the use of composite bows meant that they could shoot farther than any man armed with javelins, and could also out-shoot any soldier armed with a pistol or carbine. Horses weren't the only animals used as cavalry platforms for archers — camels were also used in Central Asia wherever the climate was too harsh for the use of horses.
Understandably, many a king and prince in the Middle Ages appreciated the skills of the Turkic tribes in horse archery enough to purchase their services and even assimilate them into mainstream society — for instance, the emergence of Turcopole units amongst the armies of the Crusader States, and the establishment of Cuman colonies in Hungary following the destruction of their homeland by the Mongols.