"We'll retreat over the bodies of our enemies." — Kurt Cristoph von Schwerin, 18th century Prussian general
Unlike mediaeval Europe, which graduated towards the creation of a professional class of troops, East Asian nations relied heavily on peasant soldiers in times of war, especially throughout China, the Central Asian khanates and Southeast Asia, and only elite military forces would be sufficiently equipped with armour and weapons — or even training. Often, the individuals used for cannon fodder duty would often be among those sorts of people — the dispossessed, prisoners of war, convicts and other undesirables — seen as wholly expendable. Thus, unlike normal Militia, Suicide Soldiers are just that. With far more mediocre statistics, the Suicide Soldier distinguishes itself solely in one area: its creation speed and cost, and thus they can be created rather cheaply, given their low maintenance. These units may gravitate towards being little more than peasant rabble, but only insofar as their cost, armour, hitpoints and attack are concerned. Worst of all, they don't have the same offensive power against structures and spearmen as their peers do overseas.
Thus, Suicide Soldiers are not generally meant for tactics with great finesse — the main philosophy in using Suicide Soldiers is not to counter an enemy's archers, but to simply swarm the enemy from all sides, using your strength of numbers and psychological impact to break all resistance against you. Be wary however as since these units are rather weak, they are easily picked off by heavier units: heavy cavalry is potentially devastating against these units.
As the backbone of Asian armies, the three Asian factions with access to the suicide soldier thus have a variety of tactics to consider. The Chinese can simply train these units faster, given their mastery of Herbal Lore from the beginning, and given the Chinese penchant for instantaneous villager production, a powerful economy can be created with which these units can be created almost instantaneously. Coupled with some of China's more exotic mercenaries and weaponry to eliminate heavy infantry, such an army would be terrifying if not invincible. The Japanese, armed with good melee infantry, specialise more in mobbing with an armoured spearhead, or vanguard duty. In the later eras, this becomes more deadly as the Japanese faction gains a new light infantry unit — Naginata Ashigaru. Naginata Ashigaru are not that cheap, but as upgrades of the suicide soldier line, they do not cost a great deal.
Suicide Soldiers are not at all recommended for the Mongols, given that they are rather weak, and also utilise the resources that the Mongol player's other units. A Mongol player would be more well advised to create a horde of cavalry for pinpoint accuracy strikes. Suicide Soldiers are better used for taking towns battered into submission as opposed to fighting against heavily armoured foes — train too many of them, and your army may be irreplaceable if it is destroyed. Moreover, an army heavy with suicide soldiers is easy prey for a Mongol player with the best horse archers and Baatur — Baatur, being medium cavalry can easily mingle around with Suicide Soldiers, while the Steppe Nomads and Khorchin can easily pick them off from afar.
- A light melee infantry unit with lower hitpoints, armour, and speed...but cheaper and more easily created.
- Cheaper By The Dozen — unlike normal shield bearers, suicide soldiers are far more mediocre but are created rather quicker and cheaper, and thus meant solely for aggressive rush tactics.
- Mongoloid Syndrome — Mongolia has superior cavalry abilities, and so Suicide Soldiers are not cost-effective.
- Suicide Guys — China is adept at suicide soldier rushes, and China has several units to support them. Repeating crossbow archers can be employed to take out enemy heavy infantry, while fire lancers and Jiao's matchlocks can take out enemy cavalry, which are exceedingly powerful against suicide soldiers.
- BANZAI!!! — A powerful rush strategy can be achieved using good samurai and very cheap suicide soldiers. Utilise the speed and offensive power of your samurai to complement a light infantry banzai charge.
- Easy Meat — An army heavy with suicide soldiers is easy prey for a Mongol player with the best horse archers and keshiks. The only unit far worse than a suicide soldier is the peasant levy.