Question about the Archer Rush

Hello everyone,

A few months back I asked for some help with open maps and I rudely did not respond. I’m sorry about that, there were some personal problems that forced me away from playing but everything is alright now, so here I am at it again.

I actually practiced a lot with the Scout Rush and I find it really works for me. The mobility is a huge factor. I have the Scouts in a Ctrl group and everytime I want to do something in my base, I just click them away from the enemy. I’m now at a point where I can beat the Hard AI pretty much always on Arabia with a Scout Rush, which seemed impossible not too long ago.

With that as a stepping stone, I am trying to master the Archer Rush, which seems a classic strategy. I have the build order down and I reach Feudal Age in a reasonable time with resources to make 2 Ranges and make Archers. However I do have some questions after that:

  1. How do you cope with the lack of mobility? With Scouts, you can simply run away from Spearmen and hit somewhere else. With Archers, Skirms chase you all around the map… I know the fact that the opponent made plenty of Skirms delays his Castle time, but it makes it hard for me to preserve my numbers…

  2. I usually mass 6-8 Archers and move to my opponent, while researching Fletching on the go. Problem is I find myself unable to do damage most of the time. Unless the Vills are in a choke point, it’s hard to kill them without Ballistics and if I try to much, Skirms catch up to me and I have to leave taking losses in the retreat.

  3. On the instances I make to Castle Age and have actually done some damage, it’s tough to micro around siege. With Knights you can look to your base for a moment without worrying you lose everything. With Crossbows, one second with one Mangonel shot is all it takes… Any tips here, or just speed?

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that I find myself easily hard countered most of the time either by Skirms or Scouts… I suppose I can retreat to my base, but then what was the point? I am doing something wrong, or is the Archer Rush simply much higher level than the Scout Rush?

Thank you in advance!

You’re asking some good questions here.

  1. There might be a time window to do damage with archers before the enemy has counters (skirms) ready. If you manage to get 1 or 2 vills there, that’s already great! No need to try to trade further or fight the skirms he’s starting to make. At that point, if you wall your base and camp it out there until castle age, you’re in a good spot. He won’t get past your walls with skirms unless he commits more to feudal age a lot. You’re faster up as is, since you’re not spending food on skirms (as you say).

  2. I would move out much sooner. Best is if you scout what the enemy is doing. If he’s doing a rax opening, you can move out pretty much immediately. Leave 1 archer to defend his units possibly, then walk over to him once you have 2 or 3. If you scout that he’s going scouts, add a spear to your first 2 or 3 archers. He can’t attack that, and that army can already do a lot of damage. Or at least force him to add a range of his own much earlier than he wants. You say it’s hard to kill vills, but you don’t neccessarily have to! If his entire woodline has to run to his tc, the idle time is already a big win!

  3. It depends. If he went big on skirms in feudal, you can add siege or knights of your own. Then you have an army that will be really hard for him to counter. If he goes all in on cavalry, you can just add some pikes. No mobility then, so you should be walled, but again you have an army that’s quite hard to counter. But it’s definitely true that with archers you have a higher chance to just lose all in one bad fight.

By the way, it might be good to just go 1 range + blacksmith instead of 2 ranges right away. That lets you seed more farms and go to castle much faster. He still has to do skirms to defend, but you’re further ahead economically.

Keeping your initial Scout alive is important so you can Scout your opponent and know where their army is. And walling your base is important: walling an area means you have one less spot where you need your army to be to defend yourself.

This often isn’t true. If someone is making Skirms in Feudal then they need to add in more Farms, which means they have a stronger Food economy and often can click Castle faster.

It takes a while to mass Archers. That’s why you don’t see pure Archer openings in 1v1s very often, there is usually a drush or men-at-arms push in front of them. You can start moving forward with even just 1-2 Archer as long as you scout and know it’s safe to do so.

You don’t always need to kill Villagers. Forcing idle time and controlling parts of the map end up dealing lots of damage.

Not really speed (although that helps) so much as an awareness of when you can and cannot look away from your army. As you get more comfortable with managing your economy, you’ll be able to spend more time looking at your army and less time looking at your base. That’s not speed as far as apm is concerned, just being able to make quicker decisions.

Thank you both for the reply!

Considering both of you said that idle time instead of kills is a success and I don’t really kill Vills anyway most of the time, I will try to go 1 Range instead of 2 and move out with 3-4 Archers instead of 6-8, then use the saved wood to make a few farms for more food production and hopefully reach Castle Age faster.

After that I don’t know yet if I should drop a 2nd Range immediately or just go for 2 more TCs and then perhaps a Stable… Though in that case, the Knights may be a bit weak without upgrades. I doubt I’ll have enough for Bodkin-Crossbow and Knight armor…

You can move out even with just 3 archers, the important thing is that you have fletching. That way you are faster.

You need a bit of a meatshield, like your initial scout, or M@A. Or you build a stable and add some scouts.

So perhaps instead of 2 Ranges as I’m doing now, it might be better to build 1 Range and 1 Stable. I’ll make 3-4 Archers and 1 Scout for any Skirms I encounter and see how that works.

You can open with two ranges.
Important is at first to know if the enemy is making scouts. If he does you need to add a few pikes.
If he answers with skirms you can add a stable and make scouts to deal with them.
You can safely retreat with your archers into your base against skirms, as they won’t hit your retreating army. By this manouver you may learn the concept of baiting.

I tried to give specific answers which can help at low elos, be aware that at higher elos decision making and gameplay is way more complex.

It depends on what civ you are using. With some it may be worth to add a stable, even after 2 ranges, with other it may be better to just keep on with archers.

Move out from your base with 3 archers and fletching, and keep adding archers and the second range, then if the opponent is going for full skirms, add scouts.

Or open archers and then go for scouts, just to trow your opponent in the wrong direction…

The popular meta for two ranges seems to be archers to start with then transition into skirms once the enemy has some skirms as well. Going for a stable switch is possible but it is more taxing on your economy. You need extra wood for the stable, for farms and extra food for different blacksmith upgrades. You’ll just end up delaying your castle time unnecessarily.

Great question I might use the advice against you :yum:

Thank you all for the advice!

I’ll start by mixing it up a little with 1 Range - 1 Stable based on the scouting info. Otherwise there’s probably a reason most people go for MaA first instead of straight Archers, so maybe I’ll end up trying to learn that build.

1 Like

Yeah, going m@a is something you should learn. Going straight for Archers can still be useful as a TG flank, but it’s a big risk in 1v1s. The build is a bit tighter and more difficult to pull off than is the build for Scouts; it just takes a bit more practice/experience.

Should you create militia first when going for MAA or should you just research it the second you reach Feudal before any militia are made?

Click Feudal, make 3 Militia while advancing, then research Men-at-Arms once you get up. If you see your opponent going for Scouts, then you could make 1 Spearman to walk across the map before researching the Men-at-Arms upgrade.

1 Like

usually you make the militia before and also walk forward to put pressure on your opponent. It is also a good opportunity to get more intel about your opponent.