Would like some help for improving on open maps

Hello everyone,

A few months back I came here for help in trying to beat the Hard AI. At that point my booming was slow, my eco management was average and I lost every time. Your insights back then helped me a lot so now I’m back with some more questions :slight_smile:

My favorite map is Hideout and there I have improved a lot, actually I almost always beat Hard now even against random civs. This is huge for me considering I lost every single game not too far back. However I still struggle on open maps like Arabia, which brings me here.

I decided to start small like with the closed maps, so I’m trying to master a Scout Rush strategy which seems one of the staples. I think I have the build order part relatively well, as I go up to Feudal close or even before the AI depending on how fast I manage to find my sheep and the placement of my woodlines. My questions I guess are the following:

  1. This one is just to be safe. How many Scouts should I do the rush with? I usually go with 4 and research Bloodlines on the way to the enemy base. Does that sound ok?

  2. This one’s what makes things tough for me… What do I aim for once I’m at the enemy base? All the pro matches I’ve seen usually seen aim to create idle time for the opponent, rarely to pick off Vills. However if the enemy makes a couple of Spearmen, I usually die which means I’m very easily countered… I can dodge the Spears, but that requires a lot of micro and if I do that, then I have idle time at home which kinda defeats the point…

What I usually end up doing is losing the Scouts, either because Spears damaged me while I popped back home to adjust eco, or I overtry to kill a Vill… In the end I usually feel as if my Rush served no real purpose and I would have been better off saving the resources and try to fast castle which I know is rarely easy to do in open maps… Though I wonder if I’m being pessimistic and not being attacked while I do all this is a win in itself and I simply don’t know how to capitalize on this advantage and what the immediate next steps are…?

Any help and suggestions are appreciated, thank you!

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Try playing some all-in feudal scout aggression. Make 20 scouts, get all the upgrades, mix in archers or skirmishers or spears as appropriate as the game goes on. This isn’t always a good way to play (depending on what your opponent does) but if you practice it I think your limited scout rushes will also become more effective.

I should clarify: you need to attack when you have 4-6 scouts and no upgrades. Just keep making scouts and keep getting upgrades after that point.

I think pros would get at least 6 scouts before getting bloodlines, but for us weaker players it doesn’t really matter as much, the important thing is that you get bloodlines eventually.

As for what your priorities are in the enemy base, I’d have the following priorities:

  1. kill spears. You need a local 3:1 numerical advantage (or better) to engage. Bloodlines and forging really help.
  2. kill woodcutters. Just send a group of 3-7 scouts to a lumber camp on attack/defensive stance, and they should kill a bunch of vills. Here scout numbers are more important than upgrades. Especially effective if combined with…
  3. kill farmers. You need large numbers for this, and upgrades, but you can dive underneath the TC and make farming impossible. Dive in with 6 scouts, force a garrison, run away again. If they don’t react quick enough you’ll get a kill. Rinse and repeat.

An all-in assault can make it impossible for your opponent to have any real economy. He might still be able to click up to castle age, but he won’t actually be able to do anything in castle age if the attack goes well.

With a more limited attack of 4 scouts you can’t really hope to achieve very much of the above. To me the important thing is that you have the threat of going all-in scouts, and that can force your opponent to over-react. If your opponent calls your bluff by not overreacting and you don’t execute your threat, you’ll be behind.

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That doesn’t sound quite right: Bloodlines costs 100 Gold, so if you’ve spent 50 Gold on Loom, you won’t be able to afford Bloodlines. Generally whether or not to do Bloodlines is a decision you make later in the Feudal Age if you still have lots of Scouts alive. It can be worth it if you are able to force a fight with your Scouts, but it also slows down your Castle Age time.

I’d say my two most important tips are:

  1. Make Farms once you’re in the Feudal Age. Don’t spend Wood on a Mining Camp or a Blacksmith until you have 12+ Farms. Otherwise you won’t have enough Farms for Food income and will be idling your TC or Stable and won’t have as many Villagers or Scouts as you should.
  2. Keep your Scout HP high. That’s more than just keeping Scouts alive, but keeping them healthy. That means avoiding taking even single hits from Spearmen. Every Spearman your opponent makes is a hit on their economy, so even if you just run Scouts around their base, force them to make Spears, and force them to quick wall, you’re doing damage to them. If you start taking fights and lose HP, even if you kill the Spears, you’ll start losing fights to Villagers or your opponent’s Scouts.

I’d advise trying to get comfortable keeping your Scouts on a control group and learning your “Go to TC” hotkey. You want to learn to switch quickly from your army back to your base to queue Vils, add Farms, and build Houses, then go right back to microing your Scouts again.

Bloodlines might help, but forging doesn’t really help much. Scout still kill the spear in the same number of hits anyways. 3:1 or even 4:1 can guarantee not losing scouts against low number of spears.

Closed maps learn you how to boom and learn you more about late game battles. Open maps are almost all about the early game. It is all about putting on the pressure early.

There are multiple strategies possible. Scout rush is just one of them. To just name some other: Drushing, M@A rush, archers, … Just learning the basics for each kind of rush one by one is fine. It looks like you started with scout rush, which is fine.

A good scout rush is executed early. This means you need a good build order to get to feudal quickly, while also have the resources to build the stable and make scouts, while also sustaining villager production. The current meta seems to be a 21 pop scout rush, so you will be in feudal before 10 minutes. Some civs will have a good eco bonus, so they can hit feudal age even more quickly. A civ like Mongols might even go for something like a 17 pop scout rush. I do not recommended such build while learning the ropes. I would advice you to stick to the 21 pop scout rush.

You can find many build order guides on the web. I will give you an example:

Many people think picking off villagers is the many goal of a scout rush. I would advice you to make this as side goal. Your main target is to get as much idle time as possible. Hit and run tactic will lead to micro, so you need to balance the micro of your army with the macro of continuely creating vills. Hotkeys might help you to become better in microing while still being able to create vills.

Like i already said: The main goal is to force idle time for your opponent. This means i would move out pretty early. 3 scouts with no upgrades is already enough to start harrassing your opponent. You dont really need much scouts to harrass the vills.

The number of scouts you made pretty much depends on your follow up. The same is true for the upgrades. It really depends on your preferred strategy and the strategy of your enemy.

  1. If you go full scouts, you just continu make scouts and do bloodlines at some point. You can also make a blacksmith at some point and also do some blacksmith upgrades. You can even add a second stable to really gets lots of scouts. If it is scouts vs scouts, you probably want to add your own spears too.
  2. If you go full feudal, you also continu make scouts, but you also want to make an range and add probably archers. This was the meta years ago, but i havent really seen this strategy much in recent years.
  3. If you go scouts into archers or skirms, then you wont want to make many scouts. I would say that you just make 3-4 scouts at most, before making archers or skirms. You also dont want bloodlines or blacksmith upgrades at all for your scouts. Scout were only a way to get map control. You never planned to go full into cavarly. So it isnt worth it to invest in those blacksmith upgrades.
  4. If you go scouts into knights, then you also dont want to make many scouts. Your main focus is getting to castle age. You make scouts to just delay the attack of the enemy. So you might want to go for just some scouts, Maybe 5 at most. Just so you have time to get to the castle age before you enemy can move out with their archers. Since you want to go heavily into cavarly in castle age, it might be good to get bloodlines on your way up to castle age, so you can produce knights with bloodlines. Two stable knights with bloodlines and some scouts still alive make bloodlines worthwhile.

How to fight with scouts? It is mostly hit and run. Spears are deadly for your scout, but scouts are much quicker. Just use that advantage. Just run away from the spears and force some idle time. If you are lucky you might kill some villagers in the mean time. At least you will force some idle time. I have played some game in which the enemy had created 8 spears, while i just had 4 scouts running around his based, while just doing some semi FC build into archers. So the enemy wasted a lot of resources. The AI will probably do something like that as well.

If i go for a scout rush, i just go for just 3-4 scouts in most games. Then i switch to another unit. Which unit depends pretty much on the civ i play and the strategy of the enemy. I almost never go full scouts. Only if the enemy also go for mass scouts, i want more scouts. And i would add spears as well. In almost every other case i would just make some scouts.

Don’t stop making scouts if the enemy is still open.

Scout rush kinda requires a high APM to work. If your micro is not on point you wasting 80 food which can be expensive. A group of archers on stand ground should be easier to keep alive.

Rock paper scissor. For example. You making scouts, enemy is making spear you build archery you either make archer or skirmisher. Game is pretty simple in this regard. Choose a main unit, then adjust and make counters.