Looking to improve with HRE. What strategies are there? Plus some other questions

Before we get started, yes I know that HRE are on the lower end. However, they are my chosen main faction and I really want to master them.

So, the main strategy I usually use is FC and secure relics for Regnitz, so I can stop gathering gold for the most part and focus on a 1 TC economy, going second TC in castle when resources close to my base run dry. I have a big questions regarding this strategy:
What are the merits of going straight FC (around 8-9min) against delaying it until about minute 10 or 11, but having military production? I have seen games where going 9min FC and then pumping out military being enough to stop an early knight + archer push. However, I feel like this may be weak against an all-in push. Could anyone explain the resource allocation between military and fast tech when going 1TC FC? I know that it depends on the level of aggression, but I assume that there will always be a bit of a push coming, so either static defenses or some military will always be needed.

The second question I have is how to defend against Abbasid and English mass archer/LB feudal ram push with HRE. They usually manage to get a a lot more spearmen and archers than I do, so holding the rams becomes very hard. What type of defenses and units should I prioritize? Horsemen? MAA with armour upgrade? Is there any merit in going Meinwerk against factions like English or Abbasid in order to get faster marching drills and ranged armour so that the MAA can hold back the archer tide?

Regarding harassing, is it a thing for HRE? Or are stables + horsemen too expensive? I have seen plenty of castle age MAA harass, because they are arrow sponges. Is it feasible to harass before that?

Lastly, what other strategies are there, other than FC into Regnitz? Are there any situations in any match-up where HRE would go 2 TC before castle? Is FC into Burgrave timing push a thing, or is it strictly inferior to the Regnitz + 5 barracks? I know that there is the feudal MAA ram push, but it seems like a big commitment, because it requires the Meinwerk palace, which goes down before I know whether the opponent is going to boom or not. Are there any middle-ground strategies that go for an early MAA push to criple the opponent, while I can work on transitioning to castle with the Regnitz to pick myself back up?

TL;DR: How to HRE?


As with all RTS games scouting your opponent is key in deciding what you should do. If you see that the english player you are against is making a blacksmith early or the Abbasid has two early ranges it will give you a clue that he might be ram pushing you. If he has villagars on Stone then its safe to say a fast castle is safe as he is likely going for a second town centre. My advice to you is to improve your scouting and adapt your build accordingly rather than going into a game with a rigid mindset. Learn several build orders and use them based on what your opponent is doing.

If they ram rush you then using your emergency repair is very useful for buying time, also pulling villagers to burn the ram while his archers are pre occupied with your men at arms is very good at slowing their push, you can also place towers and upgrade them for a cheaper stone cost. You can also use horsemen to idle his villagers locations that you scouted earlier, like his woodline, his gold, his berries, deer etc.

You may want to get professional scouts as HRE as the prelate buffing these really gives you a lot of food for men at arms which are very food expensive and frees your villagers from chopping trees. I’ve found that the Chapel is almost always better than the Meinwerk palace, I used it a couple of times with my own Feudal push but would always recommend the Chapel.

What are the benefits of FC?

On one hand, the gold/min tooltip on Regnitz is bugged. You are actually getting 300gold/min per relic iirc. This is why FC is optimal for HRE. I might be wrong but its definitely not 100. This bonus is among the strongest gold gens in the game (rus would need 12 hunting cabins just to get on par with a single relic).

On the other hand, I’d say HRE have a weak feudal because it takes them on average 20-30 seconds more to clickup, due to prelate timings. So other civilization can harrass earlier. On top of that, being infantry centered your pushes are also slower and have to wait for castle for true punch. IMO archers + rams is the strongest feudal push.

Proper fast castle timings are between 8-11 minutes. Your fastest ones will be on hybrid or water maps. Check my build vs french on Boulder Bay.

You should be able to survive horsemen and early feudal spear/ram pushes with a single archery range, while I’d get 2 archery ranges to defend vs heavy feudal aggro. I’ll even add a stable to deal with archers and rams all ins. Get a few scouts to burn down the ram, without exposing vills.

Heavy woodlines from an enemy often means you are going to need to delay your castle and Disclosure Fan already pointed out the very important vills on stone.

How to deal with English or Abbassid all ins

Here I’ll explain why I prefer to get archeries over barracks in feudal for defense. You need to support your infantry vs cav and archers during castle. So this buildings are useful later in the game to get crossbows and archers.

That said, first let’s discuss Abassid. A good Abbasid will migrate early to your side of the map, proxy barracks and steal berries while building towers in dark/feudal. HRE is stuck going FC in the current meta so they will take a lot of economic liberties through map control (fish, berries, totally decentralized base, walls on chokes). Feudal all ins normally involve military wing and a camel might show up to get the spears armor up.

DO NOT fight abassid spears with HRE spears. They have more dps because they have more range and connect more attacks.

Spears suck at harrassing your economy. Take a prelate and 8 villagers to a far away deer or shore fish. Another eco group to a far gold too. Focus on getting to castle. Defeat the enemy with MAA. Just be careful with Abbasid villagers scouting you and building outposts.

VS English, detect the all in asap. No gold, no stone, blacksmith and an aditional mil building are symptoms. Great players will send their villagers too. Longbows + rams with a few spears, maa or horsemen is the magnus opus of ram pushes.

Your job is to delay the push by building outposts and walls at the direction of the opponent, right after chokes or forests. Just fight longbows with your archers if you have an outpost, they will kite your archers and kill them all.

By the time the push reaches your base you should have 3-4 outposts around your tc and woodline. You can migrate other vills to a far away deer or gold. You already have 5-8 scouts built from the stable, and a decent archer force. Garrison military units on outposts and try to keep vills active. Get 3-5 horsemen for a timing push on the longbows were your dps are your archers and the horsemen are distraction/force longbows off camps.

Meinwerk IMO is the only good option for feudal. I’ll rant about this later, but it helps you deal with all ins.

Regarding harrasing, is it a thing for HRE?

You can always punish a two tc player with Archers on feudal, and transition into MAA once you get castle.

Not really with Horsemen. HRE cavalry is not good as an investment and archers are better support for your infantry later in the game. You just delay your castle age.

You can go double stable into horsemen, but without an actual civ bonus on cavalry, this is just a weaker version of a viable build.

Other strategies?

Burgrave is actually viable, but its an all in vs two tc players. The mind trap is only building it. You can build 2-3 extra barracks for a timing push at 9-10 mins with 8 maa waves. You drop wood and only get pierce armor tier one and no wood upgrades. Get siege engineers and melee attack then melee armor both tiers.

Get your first prelate on game start. His blessing is not channeled, so you can micro the prelate early game to get the most out of your economy. Another prelate as soon as you place your landmark. Try and align your sheep with the woodline.

Meinwerk is actually better than chapel because the chapel drops off quickly early castle as the woodline and gold run out. Its also an economic landmark indirectly because of the heavy discounts it gives to tech. It also allows you to go poke the enemy with earlier military upgrades.

Hey! Thanks for detailed response. Let’s get started:

I am aware, which is why I usually go FC. Yes, it is 300 per relic and I am horrified of the prospect of being denied those relics. My question was specifically whether to go FC ASAP without producing military and solely relying on static defenses, then pump out units as soon as castle hits, or whether to produce units concurrently and delaying castle because of the food expenditure.

Speaking of feudal: Aachen being inferior is a very bold take. It boosts early economy very nicely and allows the transition to castle sooner. It also boosts farms later in the game. I have also seen HRE players going for deep jacking and bringing them to the Aachen for some crazy food economy in feudal.
The main reason I would personally consider the Meinwerk when not doing a rush is early and cheaper upgrades to deal with enemy all-ins.
Nevertheless, I am interested, because you can invest gold into Prelates, which you will build anyway to snag relics, so that emulates the Aachen effect somewhat. I will try it out, especially on maps where getting good Aachen coverage is hard or King of the Hill, where there is jack-all to buff.

Yep, already doing that. My usual BO is Prelate first, 5 on sheep, 1 on house then gold mine, 2 more on the gold (5-0-3), then 2 more on food, while the Prelate bounces between them. Send all the next vills on wood, while I age up using the gold vills.

So what units do I produce outside of towers? Archers or MAA? MAA with Meinwerks will last forever against the weak attacks of the Abbasid, but they cost a lot of food and it makes it almost impossible to tech up behind it. Archers then? I find that tan Abbasid usually manages to amass more archers, but that may just be my inferior macro.

Scouts? You mean just as a body block and ram torchers? Why not go for horsemen immediately?

What scenario would that be viable. Against a 2TC player? Or would that work in general when not being rushed?

It would be wrong to make such as statement without knowing map, matchup or even the typo of opponent you are facing. There’s no real benefit in blindly going FC asap. It is ideal to get FC understanding the implications of any particular game.

I mentioned some defensive measures at this segment of your question, because that’s how you evaluate how much military you will need during feudal.

I also like to defend with archers, because they cost so little food compared to other units. HRE is also not starved on wood if it keeps 3-5 villagers on the woodline, without a prelate.

True, but so do prelates, and you can pick up a prelate investment very quickly.

Chapel’s only benefit is giving you an eco boost during feudal, but needs large gold veins or double wood lines to actually pay off at the late game. Guaranteed you will get to Castle faster, but IMO it’s not a good tradeoff vs Meinwerk.

If you are going for Reignizt, your prelates should be standing on top of a relic by the time you hit castle. Going chapel your comfortably stoping prelate production. Worst case scenario you lose a prelate to random enemies, and don’t have much of a backup plan if you are relying heavily on the Chapel’s comfort zone.

Meinwerk is important later in the game too, because you can go into a very hard FC timing push as soon as you hit tier two armor upgrades (already having tier 1 complete). You can get 4-5 extra MAA with the resources you didn’t spend on regular upgrades (50f, 50w, 240g). Plan accordingly and you can optimize villagers on wood and food for these timings. Marching drills and Military Academy is also a good boost for FC all ins where you need to reinforce quickly.

This looks fair. Depending on your spawn you can go 4f, 3g, 1w, 2f, 2w looking to go into deer asap, after getting 400 food needed for clickup from sheep. HRE optimization is pretty much linked to how far your resources are and you can of course sacrifice wood for a faster feudal clickup. Feudal Food and Gold upgrades being super important.

I’d say archers. MAA are insignificant without support and they are expensive. With archers you can also take out villagers trying to build outpost chains for the Abassid spears.

Yes and because you have outposts you can garrison them there for safekeeping and aggro vs archers as you can redirect outposts.

Every villager you lose is idle time you gain and 50f you forfeit. You are going to forfeit 50f anyways so why not save the villagers and your economy. Lose the 50f on a scout that can actually be meaningful during battle without such an economic sacrifice. Most players lose to ram pushes because they lose attention on their eco and eventually get overrun.

Again horsemen are expensive, and you can get them while your TC or woodline are being attacked, if they are needed. With your archers, TC and tower support they can have more impact vs longobows than standing alone on a less defended postion outside of your base.

8 scouts are 8 arrows and less resources than 2 horsemen, which just equal 2 arrows. Your cav is going to be garrison most of the siege.

I did mention this is specially useful vs 2TC players. Sure, tho it can work vs a FC player too.

Precisely, that is my problem. While I know the general idea of FC, I am not sure where the advantage and disadvantage is and what playstyle is counters. Do you have a general example of where FC is good compared to 2 TC boom or rush? Just so that I can get the picture.