Yes, there are smurfs. I’m not saying they don’t exist. And ok, Mayans are a bit OP etc. But what I came to realise after very gradually improving and rewatching my games is: The vast majority of my opponents were not smurfs, more than 9 times out of 10 - I was just playing badly. Idle TC / floating wood during fights, idle villagers after raids, not scouting enemies buildings or preparing counter units, not expanding my economy after initial 3x TCs, forgetting economy + blacksmith upgrades, not making any siege, forgetting to queue military, messing up build orders, not getting relics, not preparing for late game / not building enough military buildings, not spending resources (e.g. keeping 1,000s of wood), not getting map control / too late to stone, not deciding on an army composition, constantly getting housed, idle scout / scout waypoints or auto scout instead of manual scouting, being too defensive / passive, never building more than 3 TCs, not playing fast enough etc. These are all still things I’m trying to improve and it’s a constant struggle but since changing my perspective from “So many smurfs and OP strategies! ” to “Man, i suck at this game ” - This attitude shift alone has helped me improve a lot. I still suck in many ways, but i suck a lot less than I did before.
So stop complaining about smurfs if you never review your recorded games and never work on improving your own skills offline. Instead of just rage quitting and jumping straight into another game, just stop. Take some time to study the game. Copy the build orders and strategies of those “smurfs” from watching how they played on the recorded games. Most of the players you think are smurfs are just normal players who also make a lot of mistakes but they just did something which threw you off your game plan. So it’s not that the “smurfs hacked the game” or were playing at pro level, it’s just that their playing style made you play badly and forced you to make errors. If you keep losing team games consistently, the problem is probably you and your salty attitude, just as often as it’s your team mates’ fault. Perhaps it’s you refusing to help your team mates or not communicating your game plan with them effectively so you can plan to 2v1. And if you want to get good at team games, play 1v1 open maps non-stop for a few months. Your weaknesses will quickly be exposed and you won’t be able to shift the blame so easily. Unlearn what you’re doing wrong.
Also if Mayans are so OP, why don’t you pick them every game and prove the point? Show us your ELO win/loss chart before and after picking Mayans every game. Prove that they’re OP by climbing the ladder with them yourself. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
Read this guide and also watch Hera’s YouTube tutorials if you want to get better: https://diamondlobby.com/age-of-empires-2/strategy/