- Common abilities:
- Formation I promotion
- Can Move After Attacking
- Penalty Attacking Cities (33)
- No Defensive Terrain Bonuses
- Special abilities:
- Extra Sight (1)
- No Movement Cost to Pillage
- Special traits:
- Extra movement (1)
The Sipahi works much the same way as the original Lancer, with the additional benefits of greater sight, greater speed, and greater pillaging abilities, which allows Ottoman player to devastate the cities they're attacking in no time! A single Sipahi unit could invade the territory of an enemy city in 1-2 moves, then devastate 2-3 improvements with the rest of its movement in one turn only! It can then escape by pillaging a couple more improvements, healing the damage it suffered from the city attack in the meantime.
It's important to remember that you have two unique units, which should be used to complement each other on the battlefield. If you attack with your Sipahis first and then launch an assault with Janissaries, Cannons, and other units, you are not only likely to lose most of your Sipahis (since they can't fight infantry well), but your other units will not be able to heal from pillaging. It is much better to attack the cities you want to capture with Janissaries and siege units while your Sipahis pillage the resources around the cities you don't want. This way, your Janissaries can take the cities you want while your Sipahis cripple the enemy infrastructure and economy. If you want all of an enemy's cities, use the Sipahis to take care of any mounted units they are using for defense, since your Sipahis are much better at fighting these units than your Janissaries are.
If you want to make optimal use of your Sipahis, it's also important to remember that their promotions transfer when they upgrade. It's advisable to upgrade them after you get Computers and unlock Helicopter Gunships, since upgrading them to Anti-Tank Guns will reduce their mobility and make it much harder to use their improved pillaging effectively. Helicopter Gunships are a whole different story, however, as they can move 6 tiles (since they ignore all terrain) and still have the benefit of pillaging without using movement.
The sipahi were the lancers of the Ottoman Empire. Founded during the reign of Murad I (ruled 1362 – 1389), the sipahi were drawn from the ethnic Turk landed gentry. They were extremely highly motivated and loyal fighters and were the sultan's personal bodyguard. The sipahi were great rivals of the Janissaries (another special Ottoman unit), who were drawn from both Turkish and non-Turkish soldiers. In fact the sipahi enthusiastically assisted in the violent disbandment of the Janissaries in 1826, following an unsuccessful revolt by the latter group.