How to beat people that just rush archers (1000 - 1100 MMR)

I’m a reasonably new player (been playing for a few months) and I am sticking too just the Franks while I learn the game and the basics. I normally go for my favorite strategy, the Frank Knight rush. My issue at the moment is no matter how much I scout and prepare I always lose to annoying players that just rush a clump of archers. Even if I scout them, see their two archery ranges, beat them in early economy and get my own archery ranges with skirmishers it isn’t enough to beat the group of archer/crossbowmen. My knights fail, my skirmishers fail. How do you beat these players? There are a LOT of them and it’s becoming very un-fun to play against. I need a new strategy but what else can I do to crush these players apart from go to their homes IRL and slap them? Any links or guides would be appreciated.

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how many skirms are you making? you should also try to match the archer’s blacksmith upgrades


You are doing everything right… these are archer counters, but dont expect to kill 20 xbows with 1 skirm and 1 knight. Can we see the game?


My rating is roughtly the samen (maybe just a little bit higher). I feel like i dont die to archer rushes in most games. So i wanna share some of my insights, which can be different from the approach of the pros.

  1. Archer rush is pretty slow. If you scout it, go for a drush, MAA rush, scout rush, … You can do damage to his eco first, before he get the units to deal with your rush. In the mean time you can prepare for a defense against archers. If your base is wallable, that would be great. Archers are pretty terrible against walls. Otherwise prepare skirms.

  2. How about blacksmith upgrades? If a players goes for an archer rush, he probably have fletching and maybe even Padded archer armor. It is probably the best to get these techs too. Otherwise archers still can beat skirms.

  3. It seems like you wanna fast castle into knights. This is a pretty high risk high reward strategy. It is punished by early aggression, like an archer rush. I wont advice a FC into knights for most maps. You will probably loose against every kind of early aggression.

  4. If you wanna deal with xbox in castle age: Go mangonels beside some knights. If you can wall your based, you can use mangonels to defend against the xbox and raid with knights at the same time.

  5. Try to build you town layout so that it is used as defensive layer. In Castle age you wanna build some more TCs at some moment. Just build them at vulnerable in your eco. Just protect your wood line, gold piles, … with your TCs. In dark age / feudal age build your military buildings at the front, so they become part of your wall. If needed build some towers (i usually dont build many towers, but is it possible).


I’ve seen this type of players already myself aswell, it’s annoying. Very long Feudal Age, no early aggression, and then like 20+ Archers “appear” next to your TC and start picking off vills.

You have 3 options in general:
Option 1 is to match his army with your own, so you mix archers + skirms (mixing archers + skirms is more effective than pure archers or pure skirms because archers deal more damage and are shielded by skirmishers). Very important are the blacksmith upgrades. like Woodsier said.
Option 2 is : build towers. Towers completely shut down Archer aggression and protect your economy against them.
Option 3 is : go for a very aggessive scout rush. Works well with Franks, too. Usually you’ll be able to pick off vills and Archers before they can become a death ball. Just be careful around the town centre.

But regardless - if you’re up against those typical Archer civs, I’d recommend you to start mining stone at some point earlygame, so you can afford 2 towers (250 stone total). And try to keep your eco concentrated - wood and gold next to each other, so 1 tower protects both.
Edit: If you’re new, I wouldn’t try to m@a rush, it’s too risky. Especially with Franks. TC arrows deal lots of damage to them, and archers will counter them eventually anyways. And with no armour they will die to massed villagers aswell.

Admittedly, not as many. Maybe half by the time he shows up with more being produced while the archers have begun to attack my base. I feel that by matching him I’m sort of just playing into his strategy and sinking my economy into roughly defending. All while this is happening his eco is just going up and up and I end up losing after he has time to transition to another unit. I also have my build set up for food and gold, not wood and gold so that’s another issue. I’ll post my build too so you guys can rip it to shreds and tell me I’m bad haha.

I’m not sure how to show games to be honest…I know how to view replays but how do you let others see? I have a good game to show where you see me try to defend and just end up getting my ■■■ kicked and calling the FF.

These are some solid points and I’ll reply to each with my issues. Most of my issues are my own inexperience but that’s what you guys can help me develop hopefully!

  1. I don’t actually know how to scout, Drush or MAA rush. I have FC knights learned, boom learned and I’m trying to learn the archer rush at the moment.
  2. I have been getting the upgrades with my skrims but with my eco not set up for the archer counter of skirms I tend to hold them off at the cost of my base when they transition into another unit or out eco me.
  3. I do normally go for it and I want to find a new strategy. I really just want a new build that works well so I can play different builds into different civs.
  4. I am getting better with macro play and I’ve noticed how hard it is to deal with the front line while someone attacks behind you. I’ll try this strategy of getting some manganols to take on the archers, wall up and then try the flank on their base.
  5. I’m not very good at this yet. I have a very fixed build order and I don’t know what vil to use to do the walling or even how far out to wall etc.

These are all excuses for being bad but I can’t just magically DO these things even if I know what you mean. I would be really keen to get some build orders to write down for these different strategies though! (There seems to be quite a lack of guides on this game)

This was a sick reply and I really like the idea of the defensive towers. Like my other replies I’m going to pull out the same dumb excuse: I don’t know where to slot in those stone miners. I have one FC into Knights build order learnt and deviating from it really screws me up because I don’t know what I’m up to.
The mixing archers and skirms is another really good idea which I never even considered. It would work better with my FC eco making regular archers BUT then I have to upgrade them as well potentially…
The scout rush is just something I don’t know how to do and am not sure I have the micro for at the moment. It happens earlier in the game when I’m busting brain cells trying to keep my build going smooth. Thanks so much for the reply though I’m going to try add in some early stone if I know they are going to go archers. I still obviously want to have 200 stone for two TC’s so I can boom right?

I think you’re fine if you’ve one or two less than him but half is a no go especially if he’s got fletching and you don’t

This is essentially my build I use. This video is what I used to learn it and it’s pretty much my entire arsenal. No hate. Pretty new to this hahaha.

yeah well the build doesn’t go well when you’ve feudal pressure


I seem to understand your issue. You are pretty new to the game and you cant really execute many different build orders. That is fine. There are many different strategies and you cant learn them all at once. Everyone of us has started by just doing some basic build orders.

I think FC into knights / boom is a pretty good strategy to learn for closed maps. You cant really get much early aggression on closed maps. On open maps early aggression is much more common. A strategy like FC into knights is pretty risky. You are pretty defensiveless until castle age.

Here you have a guide to lots of good Build Orders:

Also youtube have some good list about learning the game / Build orders. I will have some recommendations for you:

I watched those guide recently when i came back to AoE II after a long time (i never was really good). I liked those guides very much.


To win 1v1 games you need to be flexible. If you try to do everything the same every game you will eventually loose. it’s also a bad idea to try to “learn” pre set strategies by playing 1v1 ranked games.
You can’t expect a fast castle + boom strategy to work every game, especially not in 1v1.
(just like the guy above me wrote).

Walling your base as good as possible, mining some stone (just use a vill that would otherwise get gold to mine 50 stone instead) and building towers is the cheapest defense you can get against Archer rushes. Everything else requires you to heavily invest into feudal units. Also keep in mind that Archers will still massacre single knights. You’ll need at least 5-10 knights to fight off 20+ archers.

But anyways it’s better to have spent 250+ stone on towers and reach Castle Age with 28 vills than to get to Castle Age with a vill count < 20 because the enemy raided your eco.

Also, Franks are not exactly great at archer flushing. Just learn Scout rushing. Works just like a fast castle knights strategy but ~8 mins earlier 11.

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You start, you make 2 houses
6 vils to sheep
4 to wood
1 to lure the boar to the tc (kill the with the other)
1make house and then mill near berries
3 more to berries
1 to lure other boar (this could be before you sent the last to berris)
3 more to boar / sheep (use the 2 that are hurt from luring the boar, and make farms arroud the tc).
Last one to wood (total of 5).
Feudal age

While going up, you make the barracs, take some out from the sheep/boar (when food runs out) and make another lumber camp and/or more farms. Keep in mide you will need 175 wood for an stable when you reach feudal.

Hit feudal. Build stable. Research double bit axe immediately. Make 2/3 scouts.

Boom, you’re scout rushing.

(usually you’ll send 1 or 2 to gold when you age up, because you need bloodline, but not with franks. Also, eventually is good to make a blacksmith and get the defense for scouts)

Fc to knights is too dangerous for 1v1. Go scout rush better


On the flip side, I just want to point out, that it’s very easy for me to imagine seeing a post similar to this, saying the opposite - “It’s really un-fun to play against people who go straight fc knights. There’s a lot of them … it’s hard to counter (if they full wall)” etc.

I’m also hovering between 1000 and 1100 elo. I think just having a losing streak, or just having more losses than wins (in recent games) is really what’s annoying, and if it is one strategy over another that repeatedly comes up it’s easy to pin it on that.

Fc knight is obviously a strong strategy if you’re allowed to execute it, this is exactly why people aren’t going to let it happen. Straight archers is probably popular since people have made videos recently enough about it being a good strategy eg. (Hera’s popularity/views/subs is really picking up fast.)

The discussion and help here is really good though, and good to see.

If you do go knights vs archers, I agree with what others have said, you need blacksmith upgrades for knights vs crossbow, (second armour upgrade is really good). Trying to catch the crossbows in low numbers and not in or near choke points. Against a large group of crossbows you do need a great number of knights, especially if they’re being micro’d and the knights keep bumping into to each other instead of attacking.

That and one good mangonel shot when opponent is not paying attention is a really big momentum swing.

Firstly, it all depends on the map. From what you described it seems that your losses to feudal archer rushes happened on open maps such as arabia, right? If so you should learn the basic feudal age aggression build orders. Fc into knights is nice to learn the game but it will stop working at some elo (I guess around 1100 but I’m not sure, maybe you already reached that point).

Since you already know how to play with knights and you like Franks, I’d recommend learning a scout rush build order because that’s usually how to you build your economy up to be safe in feudal age (i.e. not dying to archer rushes) before going knights in castle age.

Although different players may use slightly different build orders for the same strategy, there is one basic build order that is widely used in mid and high range elo to distribute your dark age villagers as follows:

6 to sheep
3 to wood
1 gets first boar
3 to berries
1 gets second boar
1 more to berries
3 more to food (under tc)
2 more to wood (to have 5 on your lumbercamp)
research loom
click up to feudal age

Around the time you click up your 2nd boar will run out and you send 5 vills from under your tc to build a second lumbercamp to have a total of 10 vills on wood while going up to feudal age. When feudal age is about half way done you build a barracks. As soon as you reach feudal you research the lumbercamp and farm upgrade and build a stable. Only then you start farming and put down as much farms as you can and continue doing so with new villagers afterwards (no farms in dark age, though).

This build order will let you go up to feudal when you have a population of 21 (20 vills + 1 scout) and works with every civ. With some civs you can go even faster (Franks is one of them) but I’d recommend to stick to the above described for learning purposes. Also it might be good to alternate the civs a bit because otherwise you might get used to certain civs to much.

In feudal age your aim is to have about 13 farms before you start mining gold for going up to castle age or getting bloodlines (n/a for Franks, of course) if the game goes into a longer feudal age fight. Usually you try to add 3 or 4 scouts in early feudal age at first. If your opponent goes archers only you already have a good position because you will be the first to apply pressure. If he defends with spears and then starts to masses archers you can add skirmishers.

If you don’t succeed with the build order at first, just keep going, maybe start learning it vs the AI. This scout build is also really flexibel because it sets you up for a potential defense against whatever unit your opponents makes and it allows you to play aggressive or just to make 3 extra scouts and then go up to castle age and play with knights. Good luck!

I would say 1200 ELO. I litterally reached that by just beating knight rushers with a straight archer rush (as Berber so I had no bonus), which isn’t a very good build itself. I did have to fight a scout + knight dude, but unfortunately for him all I had to do is to place a few spearmen strategically to completely shut him done and resume my villager killing spree.

Xanthrix - If you are interested, I am at 1000 - 1100 ELO. I can send you a recorded game where my opponent rushed me with british archers in feudal and how I dealt with it despite not having army.

I am not going to write any advices as people here wrote enough usefull tips :slight_smile:

Hey! I am one of these archer players and frankly most of the cases frank all in knight is unstopable if I do not use this strat, i mean even the “knight counters” are struggling with killing frank knights, so If I do not win the game in the first 25 mins I usually end up loosing.
5 things to stop this as a frank all in knight strat player:

1: Cheap castle, unbeatable knight in lategame and throwing axeman against pikes. U can spawn trebs faster if u reach 30 mins without loosing too many vills and you can consider victory.
2: Wall early, I mean really early. If u have scouted an archer rush (check the builorder for indentifying the signs) start walling in dark age with one vill and protect your resources count the range also, do not use your main gold as part of the wall and have at leat one woodline protected.
3: Archer rushes does not hurt my eco so much, archer players can go castle early, they spend literally no food in feudal, for skirms u need a lot of food so try to delay goldmining and mass knights just a litle bit.
4: Do not atack mass of archers with knights in castle. use siege it is cheaper and more effective.
5: Constant(!) raids with some knight or light cav can really hurt, it is hard to moove those damn archers back to the base.
+1 drop those castles they are so cheap.