I’ve always been a scout player. This week I started trying to play archers. With scouts, I always know what I’m trying to achieve with my rush. Usually something along these lines:
- Kill 1 or more villigers
- Force lots of idle time
- Force opponent to make >2 defensive spears
- Force opponent to invest in walls
- Invest less overall than opponent in the feudal age, advance to castle earlier and with more resources.
I know that other things, like keeping my army alive until castle age, or taking trades with the opponent’s army, are less important with most scout rushes.
I’ve learn a few different archer build orders now but I don’t know what I’m trying to achieve with my archer rush. Am I trying to do lots of damage to economy? to the millitary? or am I being defensive? Should I be trying to get to castle fast after an archer rush or is the goal more to get to castle with a large army that can be upgraded? What are some key objective that you are trying to achieve when you go for archers?
Often the goal of Archers is to keep them alive so that you have more Archers than your opponent when you hit the Castle Age, then upgrade them to Crossbowmen with Bodkin Arrow when you can easily break palisades and actually do damage.
- Kill villagers
- Force a tower and big walls
- Force a lot of idle time
- Try to kill your opponent’s archers
- Force him to make skirmishers->stay in Feudal Age longer
You build two archery ranges and go up as soon as possible without idleing your ranges.
Archers are also great at forcing Vills out of mines and wood lines.
Archers are threefold purposed. You go archers to do the damage and have an eco lead, preserve map control and all that, but you also generally go into them in Feudal for the rush when you intend to make them an important component of your long-term army. Archers get more powerful as they get massed, so it’s valuable to you to invest in them early and continue to do so through all of Feudal and all of Castle age. If you can preserve Archer numbers and supplement them in the later ages, the problems they create get even worse and even harder to deal with.
The third wing to that is that you generally save up Food in the creation of Archers, since the only thing you need the food for are one-time costs like your eco and archer upgrades. Food is the major hurdle to reach Castle age, so it’s oftentimes easier to reach an early castle age in Archer openings even though you aren’t prioritizing food. The downside to that is if you need to make skirms or spears, it hurts your economy more since you haven’t grown your food economy much and it will delay your uptime more than it would if you had gone scouts and built a serious farming eco already.
Generally, you’ll avoid going heavy into archers (or avoid them entirely) when the unit doesn’t reach full upgrades in the lategame. Civs like the Mongols or Huns are key examples of civs that don’t generally go archers because they don’t get to reap the bonuses of that second bit, in building a lategame composite from the mass. Instead, they open scouts, knowing they’ll transition immediately into a castle age option that will maintain value and is worth investing the upgrades in the long term.
So, to answer your question:
Yes, but your archer rush can be successful if you take good trades and idle your opponent’s economy since the value put into it in Feudal age will be preserved if you don’t lose them. How you approach it should be dictated by your opponent.
If they’re playing it passive and going fast castle you should find damage and then try to save your numbers just before they reach castle age so you don’t lose them to knights. If they’re playing more active and fighting the feudal war, focus on taking good positions on the map, preferably near range-able resources and try to keep the pressure off while you boom. Try to take good fights and preserve your military as best you can, but focus getting Castle age. If you get to castle age and still have an army you can push your opponent around when the upgrades hit. How you rank order the things you’ve asked should depend on which civ wins in the lategame and what your current status is. Adapt. There’s no real obvious answer to your question. If there was, the game wouldn’t still be so intriguing at the highest levels of play.