The Mayan Flush
With the release of the Age of Empires 2: The Conquerors Expansion, Feudal rushing in rated zone has become even more popular than before. The new American civilizations were each given definite dark and feudal age bonuses, ranging from economic, military and of course the Eagle Warrior. When playing 1vs1 it has been proven time and time again, that taking the conflict to your enemy as early as possible is definitely the best solution, and the “Flush” or “Frush” is the most common way of doing so. Here is a bit of a guide to help you get the upper hand over your enemy.
Lets analyse the Mayan bonuses and see how it affects their feudal age, both on an economic and military scale.
1. Start with 4 villagers but -50 food.
2. Resources last 20% longer.
3. Archers cost -10% Feudal, -20% Castle and -30% Imperial Age.
4. Starts with eagle warrior!
5. Walls cost half-price – Team Bonus
1.Many people believe this bonus to be ineffective, since starting out housed it means changing the normal start-up procedure of HCCCC to H (move mouse and click loom) CCC. However, getting a free 20 – 25 seconds (depending on how quick you can click that loom compared to somebody pressing HC) is definitely a big bonus when feudal attacking, allowing you either an extra villager before you reach feudal age, or a 20 – 25 second quicker feudal time.
2. Longer lasting resources benefit the Mayan in several ways, all of which contribute to a faster Feudal Age time. For example, combining the “free loom” time with the longer lasting sheep, it makes sense to lure your boar after only the first 4 sheep and store your spare sheep by your berry pickers (that way they are far enough from the TC not to cause any sleep walking butchers). Keeping in mind that resources last longer, you now get about 50 more FAST food out of every boar than other civilizations, meaning that IF you have to farm you can do so much later, or in this case, your dark age build-up is much less intensive compared to that of china since you don’t have to lure 2 boars simultaneously.
3. Cheap Archers! In Feudal age, a Mayan flusher only pays 22 wood and 40 gold for every archer, compared to the 25 wood and 45 gold that “normal” civilizations pay. The real saving here is GOLD, because you now need 1 less villager on gold to keep up a steady production of archers. This almost means that Mayan’s get 2 villagers free. 🙂
4. You may wonder why I list the Eagle warrior as a “civilization bonus”, but that is because it most definitely is one, especially for feudal rushing. The Eagle warrior’s increased LOS makes scouting your home base for natural resources easier and quicker, leaving you enough time to scout the enemy base and surrounding area so you can strike at the most important resources first up.
5. Why would anybody want, and more importantly, USE cheaper walls? Well in AoKTC, walling will soon be highly popular once more, mainly because of the new raiding units introduced to the game (Cavalry Archer, Eagle Warrior and Hussar). The best protection you can have is, and always will be, preventing the enemy access to your economy. Thus walling yourself in dark and feudal age is a much higher priority than it was in AoK. This is also partly due to the new random map types that are becoming popular, like Yucatan, Mongolia and Scandinavia where walling is “mostly” easier than on Arabia.
Walls can also be quite effectively used to protect the base of an offensive (or defensive) tower. Providing defense from villagers, men at arms and later on in castle age from siege weapons. Usually the cost of a strong wall system made a Castle look like a much better defense option, but with the Mayan team bonus this has changed. Consider paying only 150 stone for total base defense, compared to paying 300 stone as you normally would or 650 stone for only a partial spot. Overall this team bonus has been overlooked and underused, and I hope this article changes that. 🙂
Principles of Feudal Rushing
Feudal Rushing, hated by many, implemented by even more, and mastered by but a few. Why is flushing so popular? As explained earlier, the one who initiates conflict usually has an advantage over the victim. The flush counts on finding your enemy with his pants down, and then hitting him as hard as you can. An obvious requirement for a feudal rush would be getting to feudal age quickly, and effectively scouting the enemy surroundings, identifying key resources and choke points. Another requirement is an economy that is able to support your attack, and also an attack that effectively denies those scouted resources. These are in order of priority: stone, wood, gold and food.
When defending a flush your 2 most important assets would be stone, and the ability to build defensive towers. As a flusher you want to prevent your enemy making use of these abilities as early as possible. Thus your very first target would be to eliminate both his stone mines very quickly, ensuring your enemy only has access to one tower when he hits feudal age. Your secondary object will be to deny your enemy of wood, which he will use to build farms, a barracks, archery ranges, blacksmith and market, produce skirmishers to counter your archers, and also sell for gold to make men at arms or archers and stone so he can build more towers. As you can see wood is a very important resource, so you need to scout out all of the nearby forests for an enemy lumber camp. Sending groups of 4+ archers to guard all these forests is a good idea, but only feasible much later in your attack when you can afford that many units.
Usually your enemy will by now have advanced to feudal age, and proceeded to tower up his goldpit. You still need to deny him of gold, so scout all 3 of his gold patches aggressively, making sure you know exactly where he is mining and what defenses he has. Remember that even 2 defensive towers are not enough to completely protect any resource, so you should be able to find an angle where an offensive tower of your own will cover his gold patch. Always bring archers with your tower builders, because if your enemy has any experience he will do his utmost to prevent that tower going up, even storm it with villagers.
Once you covered all of his key resources (stone, then wood, then gold) you can tower his Town Center by building a tower (so that 2 farms can fit between the TC and your tower) 7 tiles away from his Town Center. This will cover at least 3 of his farms and also provide you with an idea of where he is sending new villagers. Create a perimeter wall around the enemy base with houses, archery ranges, towers and any other building you make, so that you will notice the vector of any escaping villagers. Follow these up immediately with a scout and some archers and prevent him from setting up a fortified outpost.
By cutting of your opponent’s resources you prevent him from setting up a defence, and also, if/when he advances to castle age he will not have the wood to make siege weapons, or the gold to make knights/eagle warriors to mount a counter attack. So even if your opponent reaches castle age several minutes before you, he will still be unable to do anything about the siege on his town.
Feudal rushing is actually a strategy developed to counter fast castle rushes. It’s actually quite a specialist strategy and only successful because so many people try to go to castle age without setting up any defense. Several flush counter strategies have been developed, and among the most effective are specially designed to counter a flush, and have no other real purpose. These strategies are rare however, mainly because they are weak when faced with a quick castle, which is still a common enough strategy today.
There are many civilisations in AoKTC that have bonuses making them excellent flush civilisations, but Mayans rise above with each and every one of their bonuses strengthening their feudal age attack. Britons, Chinese, Aztecs, Mongols, Huns, Koreans, Japanese, Vikings and even Celts can be effective flush civilisations depending on the specific flush you use. For fast flushes use Britons, Chinese, Mongols and Mayans, or for a stronger economy that equates into a stronger but slower attack, civilisations like Aztecs, Huns, Koreans, Japanese and Vikings do a better job. It is possible to launch a feudal offensive with any civilisation, but the easiest flushers would definitely be a pick among fast and simple economic civilisations such as Britons, Mongols and Mayans. Thus, the combination of Mayan’s ease of use and powerful dark and feudal age bonuses makes them the king of the flush.
So how do I flush with Mayans?
Here is my economic buildup for a Mayan flush. Keep in mind that there are other possibilities, but I’ve found this combination gives me the most villagers for the quickest feudal age time. I build a total of 20 villagers in dark age, that is 16 new villagers plus loom, which gives me (17 x 25s) + 130s [time to reach feudal age] = 555s = 09:15. Because Mayans require you to loom first up you lose about a total of 10 seconds due to game startup lag compared to 5 – 7 for other civilisations but this balances out later. When playing on fast (as I did for the example game) you will lose more time than usual. Once you regularly feudal between 09:35 and 09:50 your doing well. Take note that my opponent knew what was coming, and that he was trying out this very same guide for the first time (don’t use fast for your first try). He is doing much better now though. 😉
6. HCCC and click loom ASAP. (WHAT? You can’t do that your HOUSED! Actually you can, because by the time your instructions fought through the lag and the TC is actually creating a villager, you’ve already clicked the loom button. Loom takes priority over any other current build instruction and suddenly starts right after you get the little “you need more houses” message. Take note that on low latency connections like DSL and higher this might not be such a good idea, as the villager creation might start before you can drag your mouse over to the loom button.)
7. Assign 2 villagers to build a house, and explore in different directions with the remaining 2. Explore with the eagle warrior in a growing spiral around your TC. Never let your eagle go idle, when flushing it needs to spend every breathing moment on scouting. Once you found sheep, send all exploring and idle villagers back to the TC and start on the sheep. When your house builders are done have them join the other butchers.
8. So Villager 1 – 6 goes onto sheep, and now Villager #7 build a house near berries. Villager 8 builds a mill next to the berries and the house builder joins him to complete the mill. Villagers 9 and 10 also go onto berries.
9. By now you should have found your boars and you can also see if they are within one screen distance from your TC or whether they are further. With Mayans you must send out a villager to lure the boar a little later than you would with normal civilisations, so Villager 11 goes onto straggler trees. (Note that if the boar is very far from your TC it will be a better idea to send Villager 11 as the lurer and put Villager 12 on wood).
10. Villager 12 lures your first boar. Since you already researched loom don’t pause your villager creation here.
11. Villager 13 – 15 also cuts straggler trees around your TC. You should now have 7 hunters, 4 berry gatherers and 4 woodcutters totaling 15 villagers including loom.
12. Villager 16 lures the 2nd boar. Once again experience will teach you exactly when to lure to get the perfect result.
13. Villager 17 builds a house and Villager 18 builds a lumber camp. (Send all your wood villagers to complete the lumber camp, since it is your 2nd Dark age building required to upgrade to Feudal Age. Needless to say, it is imperative that you complete it before you complete your 20th villager, otherwise you will waste unnecessary time before you can click the Feudal upgrade)
14. Villager 20 builds a mining camp by stone. (Even though you won’t have enough wood for it now, you will by the time it arrives at your stone mine).
15. Have your boar and berry villagers drop all their food at the TC and Mill and Click the Feudal Upgrade! Now some intensive micro management is required.
Do the following from top to bottom
- Take 5 hunters from your boar (make sure they are all on 100% health) . Send 4 of them as forward builders towards enemy stone patch, and send the remaining one to join your other stone miner.
- Have all 4 berry gatherers join your woodcutting team. (Note that if your berries are closer to the enemy stone mines than your TC you should send your 4 berry villagers as forwards and have the boar villagers fill their place in the woodcutting team).
- Make sure you found BOTH enemy stone mines! and if you already found them scout his lumber camp and all of his gold patches (usually 3).
- When your forward villagers arrive at the enemy stone mine, build a barracks next to it (you should just have enough wood to build one as you arrive).
16. The moment you hit feudal age start building a tower covering your enemy’s other stone patch. If your barracks is completed you can make a spearmen to help defend the builders. This is a critical moment, since you need to get this tower up no matter what. Use your eagle warrior to scout the surrounding area and defend your builders if necessary.
17. Queue new villagers at your TC, and allocate them so that you end up with 4 on stone, 6 on gold and 8 on sheep/berries. The rest goes onto wood or new farms depending on what resources you have. Do not spend any wood until you have 2 towers and an archery range started.
18. Once you’ve completed the first tower, start a 2nd one covering the stone patch, but if at all possible covering some other resource as well (preferably the 1st stone patch. Although a barracks will scare off 90% of players, some will be smart enough to palisade wall it, put a tower up and mine the stone anyway).
19. As soon as you can afford it, build an archery range under the cover of your 2 towers. Once the archery is started, move 4 villagers from your lumber camp to a nearby gold mine and build a mining camp. Go up to 6 villagers on gold ASAP since you will be massing archers very soon. (Check that you have enough housing space left and make additional houses as you have the wood. The only reason you need to get 2 towers up so quickly is that they can cover each other’s bases. This way you can garrison units inside them and probably kill about 5+ villagers before he can take a tower down, which is more than a fair trade for you).
20. Your third tower should cover his current wood pit, and you will now be able to build towers in more daring locations since your backup archer force will be continually growing. Build a 2nd archery range as soon as you have the wood, and continue building archers non-stop. If he counters with skirmishers, move to skirmisher production yourself and save your archers by garrisoning them inside towers or retreating them slightly from the action.
21. Keep on massing archers, and building new towers. Set up a perimeter of buildings around his base, consisting of houses, towers, archery ranges, smith, barracks and anything else you build. Keep scouting the surrounding area for a hidden stone/gold patch and make sure that he isn’t using one of your own patches. Also keep a constant lookout for a new lumber camp.
22. As soon as you have a steady supply of stone and gold coming in, get the farming upgrade and start farming. Your berries will run out very shortly and you will need extra wood to support a large farming economy.
23. From here onwards you should play it as it comes, denying the enemy stone at all times, and eventually upgrading to Castle Age. Once you hit Castle Age, use 2 – 3 Mangonels to destroy the enemy Town Center, and use rams garrisoned with eagles or swordsmen to take out towers. Beware of knights if your enemy is anything but Mayans or Aztecs and post 3 spearmen by each of your towers when he hits Castle Age.
The finer points of feudal attacking are explained in more general terms in the previous paragraph, and should be applied to the game wherever possible.
Ok, so now you are ready to go out there and start some early combat! Feudal rushing is a whole lot of fun and can be a nice change of pace in your game. Keep in mind though that practicing a build order is one thing, but pulling of a succesful frush is something totally different. Practice makes perfect, and even then you will have bad games. Remember, surprise is your greatest advantage, so don’t lose it by forcing your opponent to play the Arabia map. Mongolia, Ghost Lake and other maps offer equally good frushing opportunities and this same build order will work for them.
Have fun, and remember, due to the highly specialised nature of this build order, losing a villager to a boar, not finding both boars, or a forest a long way from your TC will all have a severely negative impact on the result. This is basically how it “should” go, but we all know that there is always something wrong with a random map.