Answer by Rishav Mishra:
Yes, and the most obvious and interesting example are the Mongols!
How a nation with 2-3 million nomads could conquer over half of the known world is still quite a puzzle for most historians.
It was common for charismatic leaders among Asiatic nomads to assemble short-lived confederations as large in area as the United States, only to have them disintegrate when the ruler died or lost his power. By 1206 Temuchin had done what no other tribal leader had ever done before: assemble all the Mongol tribes under a single ruler. At a ceremony in that year he was given the title Khan of Khans and the honorific name by which he is better known to history – Genghis Khan. What separates from all his predecessors is that Genghis extended his authority over a vast region and created institutions to perpetuate Mongol power. The Mongol empire became the largest empire ever assembled in the history of mankind and that remains true even to this day,stretching all the way from present-day Mongolia to the Caspian Sea.
(Photo taken from wiki media files)
Composition of army: Several empires previously made the decision to have slaves or peasants make up the majority of their army; this was a bad idea as the slave army would then take over the empire. Genghis Khan was an exception to this as he would base his promotions more on merit and contributions to the empire rather than status, which made him more popular with the slaves.
Reliance on herding: All of the major empires of the world were heavily reliant on agriculture before the Mongols, who were primarily a herding community. This wasn’t as labour-intensive as agriculture, hence they could engage a greater percentage of the population any time they wanted.
Trade: Because of the size of the Mongol empire, it was possible to trade safely over vast distances for the first time in history. In fact, it was only because of the Mongols that the silk road gained so much importance and came back into prominence again and became a defining factor in the subsequent economic progress of all the trading empires.
Religious tolerance and freedom: In general, Genghis provided tax relief to Buddhist monasteries and to a variety of other religious institutions. Religious tolerance was rare in empires before this, but contrary to popular opinion, Genghis was one of the first religiously tolerant kings which made the common man loyal to him.
Invasion of Russia: The mongols, specifically Genghis and Ogedei Khan, could do what nobody before or after them have ever done: Invade and occupy most of the Russian steppes successfully during winter. The notable failures included Napoleon and Hitler, whose biggest mistake in World War II is supposed to be his decision to attack Russia during the winter.
Tl;dr: Yes, history does make exceptions. The Mongols!
Interested people should really check out this video: