USA early game & cavalry rushes

I have been playing with USA again lately, and I find myself always rushed by some sort of cavalry composition. The opponent seems to be going all in on it, going on with waves after waves of cavalry, and they seem to succeed every time.

Now, I know USA has an innate weakness against cavalry, to the point where you can beat a US player just by spamming hussars/heavy cav even in the late game, but it seems to me that early on, specifically in age 2, there is little you can do against it (the 5 pikemen from spanish migrants are a joke, they get picked up by a few muskets/archers or simply overwhelmed by cavalry).

On top of this, USA early game economy is very slow (sometimes I look at scores and see enemies having 33-100% more resources than me, depending on maps), and can’t afford a hussar spam on its own.

Even if you hold the initial rush, the enemy can just contain you with cavalry and limit any greedy plays that might give you an edge.

Is there any way to deal with early cav rush, other than going cowboys? or is this the only viable way?

I would expect regular volunteer to decimate early cav, especially with the extra pikeman, the thing about pikes is you always want them in the back and only bring them up in case of a cav charge.

Otherwise regular/volunteer should straight up beat musk/bow + you have minutemen if need be + the flag


As for things that get an extra against cavalry raids or rushdowns, these are the options:

  • Slow raids and get extra shots with walls.

  • Get many more outposts to save settlers and damage the raiders (They have multiplier vs cavalry).

  • If you still get raided pretty badly and can’t keep an eye on your settlers, make sure you get the market HP upgrade or even get “Pionners” card in age I (NOTthe CDB inmigrant card, that makes them better at ranged combat as it changes melee armor to ranged).

  • Get the age II units that counter them:

    • Regulars - Even if you can’t catch them in melee, you can still get some good shots at cavalry.
    • Carbine cavalry - You can get a small batch of 5 on 2nd age if you get the church card from the age up or get 9 from the “Lee’s legion” card which enable them at age II.
    • Cowboys - Yes, pop expensive, but they save against cav spammers.
    • Gunslingers - Musketeer type unit, u know what to do.
    • Spanish pikemen - Just do your best to keep them away from their counters, you can’t really do much else (It’s best if you levy them right on top of the army right away).
    • Minuteman - They might not have the multipliers the musketeer type units do, but they do have the armor and a decent melee attack.
    • Hussars - Fight fire with fire right?
    • Natives (If available) - If you feel these 6 units aren’t good enough, you can still use the natives that you get around you, Berbers and Cheyenne are great cavalry counters as they can chase cavalry around the map.

Just remember you aren’t limited by 2 units alone at age II, you have options.

Hope it helps a bit. :grin:


I’d go with spanish immigrants for the pikes, you can also go with Pennsylvania age up and get 5 carbine cav to kite the huss with, alternatively consider shipping the springfield armory early and researching socket bayonet then just go full regulars.

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The majority of these involve quite a lot of wood investment (either gather or shipment), and can be easily nullified by the enemy not attacking you or simply containing you and doing the boom instead. Hussars won’t work, because the USA economy is worse (maybe the worst?) in the early game and the enemy can just outnumber you, Regulars might work in the beginning, but still not prevent the enemy from taking map control (and can be beaten when overwhelmed).

What works to some degree is doing the cowboy build and meta counter it (if they go cav, then fine, if not, you can pressure them instead).

Carbine cavalry is a meme unit, hussars can force engagements against them.
Spanish migrants only really work when there’s 3-4 hussars running around. I am perfectly capable of holding a cheese like that, the problem is when the enemy commits to exploring the cavalry weakness of USA in the early game.

The pensylvenia age up is worthless. The enemy can just decide not to harass you and you will be greatly behind cause you did not pick Virginia.

Worse, since your deck is only 20 cards, you don’t really have the flexibility in your deck, you either pick eco or you pick some anti cavalry.

The only thing I can find is worth doing is cowboy rush when dealing with a cav-heavy enemy, and just end the problem before it starts.

carbine cav do suck yeah, aren’t regulars enough in most games? They out range musks and do very well in melee vs cav, use spanish miggrants for a forward base with the flag and pop the pikes on top of the huss if they attack.

If the devs add the Swedish immigrants card consisting of a torp or two that could be a little boost to their early game, no?

At my level I mostly encounter cavalry raids and containment strategies, not full-blown cav attacks in age 2. I have found that in order to squash a raid with infantry I have to trap their cav somehow and kill them. This might mean chasing them with regulars and then popping Minutemen on the other side to kill them. Any raiding cav that successfully gets away just comes back later to cause more problems.

Some form of dragoon is probably the best way I have found to get rid of these annoying raids. My opponents often just give up when they see their raiding cav are getting chased down by a few cowboys - or yes, even carbine cav. The downside is that you have to invest in one of the ways to make them. 200 wood for a saloon (plus more for houses), aging up with Pennsylvania to get the church, or including Lee’s legion.

I like the Pennsylvania age up. I’ve been keeping track of my builds and it’s my highest gathering, highest scoring build and has lots of raid proof trickles, as well as the ability to pop out those carbine cav and sharpshooters if I need them. (The next best strategy I have is the typical French immigrants → Irish immigrants)

I include dance halls in my deck in case my opponent goes full cav later on. It allows me to mass cowboys or throw a few ronin in my regular mass if I have to. There might even be a decent mercenary if you’re lucky.

Aging up with Delaware can help deal with Age 2 cavalry attacks also. It gets you up sooner so you can start massing regulars sooner, and gives you another regular shipment to help mass them. I like that Delaware blues effectively turns into an Age 3 shipment in drawn out age 2 fights.


People at my rank will not bother with late game, unless they have lame cavalry, in this US match up. They just go full blown age2 cavalry attacks. Not raids. Not pass bys with 6 hussars. Think 15+. They sacrifice everything to end the game in age2. This doesn’t happen when I do not play US (everybody goes macro and some raids, but nothing spectacular happens in the first 10 mins), so this is US match specific.

If they are attacking with such mass, then an FF into the goon and/or Apache shipment should be enough since they seem to be going all in here. heck if they are going so hard into cav age 2, then even Lee’s legion might be worth it since you can just kite them to death

The goon shipment is 500/500 still. And if they bring in a few skirmishers it’s game over cause you need the fort for more.

I look forward to the usa rework…

What’s the timing on an attack like that? I suspect I could have quite a few regulars by the time my opponent makes 15+ cav

I’ve only successfully used Lee’s legion late in age 2 when I could sense the Saphi/2 falc shipment coming

7-8 minutes. You will not get that many units if you play usual boom. And if you do, the enemy is still in advantage because they will usually have better eco than yours.

The only thing working so far is cowboy rush. I guess there is a reason hardly anyone plays USA at my level.

I’m about 1250 elo in 1v1

My stats with my Pennsylvania Dutch strategy:

Bank Wagon
Church Wagon
Villagers Score Resources Military Notes
At 4:25 Pennsylvania 15.75 38 2560 First Shipment Pennsylvania Church
At 5:00 mins 24.55 47 3000 0
At 7:00 29.55 72 4900 19 @7:04, minutemen and regulars

My quicker build I was using vs Hausa

French Immigrants
8 Militia
Irish Immigrants @4:45
700 wood (or more units)
Shipments: French Immigrants Villagers Score Resources Military Notes
Age up 4:15 Delaware 15.75 34 2300 0
At 5:00 mins 16.75 39 2800 8
At 7:00 25.75 70 4600 27
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If its 7-8 mins, there was that Irish greed FF that Aussie drongo posted a while back that might be worth looking at. Click bait aside, if you get to age 3 and in this situation having the better eco then your opponent while having the cav mass can’t really do damage to you.

Vet regulars and Russian blockhouses will ward off cav and provide you with more food eco

My opponents don’t do full blows against me, but they always open with cavalry (My guess is that they are expecting state militia spam)

But I don’t understand what it’s the problem with regulars? I generally go for Regulars + State Militia or even full Regulars + Seminole bowmens shipment if I absolutely need to stay on age 2, and seems to work fine-ish. (I don’t stay on age 2 for too long thought)
If you have 10/15 regulars + 5 from the shipment and some minutemen, it should dispatch a full blown of hussars, and State Militia/Seminoles could focus down small groups of crossbow/archers.

Also, on the US changes, I will give my thoughts on US, and see if someone find useful:

  • Lee’s Legion card should bee cheaper though. Probably half of the price, but give only 5 carbine cavalry, or something along those lines. It’s just too much 500 food and 500 wood is just too resources for a age 2 shipment.

  • I don’t think that carbine cavalry needs a buff. They do indeed kite worst than Dragoons, but they do more DPS when standing still. They sort of a Cav archer (Although they are likely better then Cav archer because they have actual Dragoons speed)

  • The outlaw build is very map dependent. It takes so much cards to make work well that I think is only good on a map with a lot of trade posts where is good to send chinese immigrants, since you need at least 4 cards to make a decent build. (Chinese Immigrants + Dutch Immigrants + Advanced Saloon + Arkansas Posts), it’s sort of a slow build and it’s hardly a rush as some people say.
    Just doing some random batches of cowboys in a regular build is just no efficient.

And, since people are sharing some resources, I will share a pro2casual with Aiz on the US, hope that helps people trying to play US.

Hope that this post helped someone in some way shape or form…

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Carabine cavalry is trash. They kite worse than dragoons and are less tanky than cav archers. The reason cav archers work is because of the their HP and melee armor allow them to tank melee cavalry. Carabine cavalry has neither. Their damage needs to be buffed or their HP buffed.

Lee’s legion is way too expensive for age2 shipment. It needs a complete rework imo. And for that cost you get some worse Carabine cavalry.

Usa is in a really weird spot, they are very good in some matches but completely trash in others, there is no middle ground.

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Yep, trash tier unit. I’m expecting a rate of fire change like the bolas received allowing them to get both shots off almost instantly so they can kite effectively like a normal dragoon.