Written on 10th of August, 2003.
"Many People always ask me how to get good at AoK/TC. The main tip have to offer is play a lot. Its really all about repetition, setting goals and being determined like anything else in life. The rest of this post is to help those that read it to make changes that will hopefully bring abut better games and advance their skill levels.
Thinking and Plans
To start with, every time You play a game you need to be 100% focused. Any background noises and other distractions should not even phase you. Do you best to eliminate them completely, but also learn to just zone them out.
Also, always play with the determination that you aren't going to lose, when things start to go wrong people have a tendency to sort of let off and stop playing as hard. That's the loser attitude I guess. Just the opposite is true with a winners attitude, when things go wrong you have to start trying even harder. You should play harder and think harder in the face of adversity. Your attitude should always be "I'm not going to lose this game". Anyone can do this and you will be surprised how well it works.
Lots of people ask me:
- "What do you think is best, 22/23/24/25 pop, before going feudal?"
"Is 2 ranges or stable/range better?"
"Which upgrades should I get, and when?"
"If I go with 2 ranges when should I add a stable?"
Personally, when I have a good map, or even a decent map, I like to scout rush. Even vs a kmkm or a strong forward I am confident using a stable/range combination first. I have played with _DauT_ a fair number of times and watched his games, he usually beats kmkm with ease going stable first.
He told me this once and this is probably one of the best pieces of advice I've ever gotten when I asked him how he's so good at countering a forward with even just a stable.
He simply said, "Don't panic", that was it.
EUREKA, that has done wonders for my game!
I used to think that if I got forwarded (kmkm), I had to put a stop to it right away. Something like walling his ranges or make a tower with vils or kill his army. And that's what I used to do, basically I would panic and let villagers die. If you can do it, go for it, but if you put your vils on the frontline you're taking a big risk. So if you do this, be sure you are going to come out on top when sending vils into the fight.
When I watch daut play I see he is very smart. I have discovered that pretty much all you need to do is keep your economy going no matter what and don't let your vils die. I once played a game vs daut where I had a good forward against him. I kept getting his wood spots towered and I even killed a couple vils. What he did was to just kept relocating his villagers, make a tower of his own and some walls.
Once his scouts hit my base it went downhill from there as he had my economy in such disarray I didn't know which way was up. I had already sent like 4 spears home seeing his stable, but his micro is mad, and that's the key to the scout rush, your micro on the scouts. He would hit multiple spots, get my spears chasing different scouts while he hit other spots. Later on after he had secured his economy he snuck about 10 skirms forward, killed off my spears, and at that point it was gg time.
Scout Rushing (The Scrush)
I never used to scout rush (scrush) but I like it now. The hit and run capability of scouts early on is ideal. The primary goal in feudal is really to disrupt your opponents economy. There are so many variations to scout rushing as well. Using just 4 scouts for raiding and then focus on spear and skirm 2 catch up with his.
The best build I can think of for a large scrush is to make about 7+ farms in dark age. Go to 25 pop, and surprise your opponent by making about 8+ scouts and keeping them inside your stable until ready to send them. If u have a really nice map you can go maybe 10 and get bloodlines before send them or at least while they are in route.
He will probably have only 1 spear by each resource and if he's not expecting it can do some serious damage. Again, the key 2 scout rushing is micro. You can't let them die while harassing his economy. Also you have to remember he will have more skirms than you early on, so if he makes enough to spears accompany them and comes at you aggressively you can be in serious trouble.
Again, Don't Panic! It just requires some preparation like walling/tower. The good thing about scout rush is that many times they wont make enough spears.
Also, if he's so busy making spearmen at his base 2 protect vs ur scout raiding it will take him a while to get enough spears to accompany his skirms headed to your base. I have seen a lot of times when they will send maybe 5 or less spear with his skirm. With good micro you can win easy with enough scouts. just send your scouts back and lure his spears into your skirms, or if he's really aggressive use your vils to attack his spears.
Of course, if he only has maybe 2 spears, you can kill his spears first with your scouts and then the skirms will die easily. This is probably really jumbled and poorly written, hope you guys can make some sense out of it, lol.
Back to Thinking and Plans
I think a lot of people underestimate the advantage of playing smart. Many people think it's all about how quick you are, but each game I play I try and analyze it as much as possible. If feel that if I can out think my opponent I can beat him no matter how much quicker he is.
Important things I consider each game:
Studying His Map ~
I. Scouting his base is so important. I try to think what will he do.
- A. Is he on gold?
- 1. Fast Castle
- 1. 2 farms means definite early feudal age (22, 23 pop) and most likely a forward base.
2. 3 farms means either a forward or an earlier feudal age (23/24 pop).
3. If he has 4/5 farms it usually means 24/25 pop with 2 ranges.
4. 5+ farms usually means stable first and scrush.
Studying Your Map ~
The next thing I do is look at my map. What are my weak spots? Do I have 3 forward gold? Where will he most likely attack me first. Thinking ahead is the best thing anyone can do. About 90% of the time I can guess where my opponent will attack first. And whether it be a group of skirm/spear, or scouts I can wall his access to that spot or even put an outpost so you can see when he's coming. You can let your army sit there waiting, or even use a tower.
If you can prepare for his attack your economy will not be touched or at least is less likely to be damaged seriously. Then you must counter, hit him in spots where he is either most vulnerable or a spot where he wont expect it. Or maybe more importantly, a spot where you have a good safe retreat route.
Always take advantage of a hill and eliminate you enemies opportunities to exploit any near you. I remember one game I played vs delita, we were fairly close but I had a big hill that was just in range of my primary gold. My other 2 pits were not accessible. He sent his first army there and he just sat there the whole game. Opps, I didn't think ahead, I should have placed a building or some army there first.
Well, he eventually got control of my gold, upgraded to bloodlines and I couldn't hold out without gold and eventually lost. Every time I sent my army to his base he would come down off the hill and harass my base. So would have to run back and get the hill but he would get back there first. This was very smart on his part.
Using your knowledge
You also got to have a game plan for every part of the game, but you also have to be able to change it as circumstances demand. So you have a game plan, you say to yourself: "I'm going to make 2 ranges for feudal and try to harass his economy good enough before I go castle age."
Then you have a plan for castle age: "I'm going to drop 2 TCs right away and boom, or I'm going to make extra barracks and try to kill him right away."
So you have set your plans, but you have to be willing and capable of adjusting your plans according to the way the game unfolds. Being able to adapt is a huge benefit so learn to do it.
When we are talking about skill levels, I'd have to say that there is one big difference between a 17xx and 18xx+, I see many of the 17xx's and even 16xx's not knowing what to do when their plan goes wrong. Many of them are so set on killing their opponents army, even some 19xx's are this way too. What you have to realize is that the key to the game is that the economy it is a players backbone. YOU MUST SYSTEMATICALLY DESTROY THEIR ECONOMY. That must be your primary focus to advance in skill levels.
WH_Lyrics/Rob said it very well, "It's all about guerilla warfare." Hit and run, hit and run. Attack with multiple groups of army simultaneously at different spots. Number them so you can access them quickly to move spots or to run away, etc.
You know that feeling you get when you know you are being outplayed? Like when you are being hit in so many damn spots you don't know which way is up. And then there is that feeling when the roles are reversed, that's the way it has to be.
Use every thing you can to gain the advantage. Scouts, knights, CA the units of choice by top experts. Because of their mobility and their ability to raid, it's smart to use them as well as being extremely effective. Of course there are always ways around it. So again, be willing and able to make those adjustments when the time comes, but stick to what has been proven to work by the experts.
Walls in Imperial
I've seen good players wall the whole map, which if u can do, it's smart. It takes away opponents ability to raid you. While you can use your gates to send your hussars or whatever you want at him.
Anyways I think I'm starting to repeat myself.
If anyone has questions just respond to this post and I'll address them as time allows.
Modified slightly by: WH_SSRider/Ken"