This strategy is for use against civs who mostly like to rush with infantry in the beginning of the game. This includes (But is not limited to) Ottoman and Spanish. Whenever you are playing an Ottoman or a Spaniard, you are likely to see a lot of Jans/Rodeleros early on. In the case of Spanish, you will probably see some Calvary backing them up. In the case of Ottoman, rather than Calvary you will likely see Abus.
The idea here is that you are going to be rushed by infantry early, as most ottoman/spanish age up to 30 seconds, or maybe even a minute faster than you. This makes it absolutely necessary that you respond with a massed amount of the counters required to stop them. Rodeleros and Jans are both countered (supposidly) by Xbows, so this strat focuses mostly on those. When facing a Spanish player be sure to mix in a few pikes as well, Rodeleros and Pikes are not as strong as Jans, and the Spanish player is more likely to mix in calvary (where as the ottoman is almost never going to send calvary first).
Since you need a rax, a lot of xbows, and houses to support your xbow army, you need a lot of wood.. so.. back to our build order:
-Use 400 Wood politician to age.
-As soon as you click age button, double click your SW's and put them to the wood immediately surrounding your TC. This should be 10 population total on Wood. The rest of your villies, stay on food (7). None on gold.
-Alternatively, if you have collected a treasure or started with 100 coin, you may also wish to put 1 SW on gold ONLY until you collect 150 total, then move him back to wood. This will allow you to call MinuteMen at the moment they rush you, which will improve your chances of fending them off.
-Place your TC gather point on Food (you have 2 villies queued up)
-Any time you see you have 300 Wood while aging, lay a house down with one of your SW's (should happen once, possibly twice if you got a wood treasure or two).
-As soon as you hit age2 you have a LOT of things you need to do.. In order of priority, they are:
1. Begin building a rax with SW
2. Click HC button and select your shipment (5 uhlans)
3. Queue up a SW to collect the 400 wood shipment
4. Build another house with a seperate SW (or 2 villies)
5. As soon as Barracks is built, begin producing Xbows. Set waypoint BEHIND your base/Racks/TC.
-Now, you have approximately 10 Xbows queued up with your Racks, 5 Uhlans coming from your HC shipment, 10 villagers on wood, and 9 on food, 3-4 houses, 1 Rax, No stable, and more villagers coming..
-A good rule of thumb: BEFORE producing a total of 5 of any unit (Xbows/Pikes), build 1 house and train 1 villager. This way, you never hit your pop limit and you never leave your TC idle.
-Alternate your villagers between food/wood.
-Keep pumping Xbows/Pikes
-While that is happening, your shipment should be arriving around the time you have 10 xbows.. Leave your 10 xbows IN YOUR BASE and run your Uhlans towards your enemies villager pile. Hit and run the villagers as much as possible. Try to keep them off of food. Use 2 uhlans to block their retreat while 3 uhlans whack away at them. Micro your uhlans so that you get max effeciency out of them. Do not wait to SEE military coming. Just kill as many as you can before they get too far away from you and then run away off into some obscure corner. Every 20-40 seconds, check back and start hitting villies again. If you see Minutemen, run away.
-Against Spanish, check and see if they have ALL of their villies on Food/Gold and check and see what shipments they got (if possible).. Using your explorer isn't a bad idea for this. What you're trying to determine is whether they are using a Fast Fortress strategy or not. If you see food/gold shipments and all their villies are on food/gold, you will be facing a FF most likely. I will get back to that shortly.
Against Ottoman, keep your Xbows at your base and keep pumping them along with villagers. Sometime soon you should get your 3rd shipment, make sure you ship 9 Xbows and 2 uhlans. Add your 2 uhlans to your raiding party, as they are useless with the Xbows (they make horrible meatshield for jans, jans eat them up). They are much more valuable scouting out the area and killing villagers.
-Whatever you do, AVOID their forward base! Do not go near it! Attack villagers, attack houses, attack their ECO..
-About the time you start raiding your Ottoman opponent, he should come waltzing into your base. If you're lucky, you have between 15-25 Xbows massed up behind your TC, and you have a 9xbow shipment which is about to hit. DO NOT hit your TOWN BELL unless it's absolutely necessary. Instead, set your gather point to the TC so that your villagers immediately spawn there and KEEP spawning villies. This will give your Xbows cover fire. Use your Xbows to do circles around your TC while firing through it at the Jan. It takes approximately 16 xbows to kill 1 Jan. Keep this information in mind and focus fire on Jans with full HP.
If you have managed to hold off the initial rush, your job now is to switch production over to Pikes, and move your xbow army to their forward base. Kill any Jans which are en-route to your base as reinforcements, and kill any which spawn from the barracks. While doing this repeatedly have your newly produced Pikes run in and start knocking down the Barracks and FB..
While that is being accomplsihed, use your Uhlans (if they're still alive, which they should be), to run into the enemies base.. look for any new Barracks he's building, and kill villies.. IF all goes well, he should resign around 10-12 minutes after being pushed back into his base with pikes charging in. Focus on houses, villies, and barracks/Siege foundries. Do not bother with TC until last..
Also, in the case that he comes with a mix of jans/abus: Kill jans with scoot/shoot, and then run in with your uhlans to kill the abus.
The above is a "best case scenerio" for facing Ottoman. There are many things that can go wrong with that, but it is a "general" guide to how you should handle it. The only way you really learn how to beat them consistantly is by playing them enough to learn their strengths and weaknesses.. Everything said above pretty much goes for spanish as well, except Spanish are more dynamic.. they have the ability to FF on you as well, which can have bad results if you are not prepared for it and you're sitting there with a 90% Xbow army. IF they do not Fast Fortress, then the strategy pretty much remains the same except you are facing much weaker infantry than Jans. What Rodeleros lack in strength they make up for in speed.. this is why against Spanish you want to mix more pikes in with your Xbows from the beginning so you give your xbows a meatshield whcih allows them to tear the rodeleros apart. Fortunately you do not need to micro your xbows quite as much as you did against the ottoman.
Now, let's assume when you were doing your raiding against the spanish (watch out for pikes!), you noticed that they were mostly food/gold, and that they had sent shipments of food and/or gold and were collecting them vigorously... well, this can be potentially good for you, if you know what you're doing.. If however you are unprepared and you do not start putting pressure on them immediately then you may find yourself on the receiving end of Lancer Torture and cannon fire..
So, what do you do about it?
1. Do not panic.
2. DO NOT try to keep up with them and age yourself.
3. DO switch military production over to PIKES
4. Begin moving your Xbow army DIRECTLY towards their base.
5. Continue raiding and keep their villagers in the TC as long as possible. Even if it means losing your 5 uhlans.. Buy your Xbows and pikes time to cross the map and get to their TC.
Now, from here.. what you need to understand is how fragile a Fast Fortress eco is. They likely do not have a lot of houses. They are LIKELY relying on some super units (Cannons, Mercs, a strong military shipment) to pull them through the early game until they can get their eco back on line. If you sit back and let them bring these things to you, your chances of coming through victorious are 10x worse.
Instead, move your xbow army and your uhlans directly to their base and focus on killing villagers and HOUSES.. As soon as you have 5-10 pikes you should be focusing on houses. Use your uhlans to circle their TC and look for villagers trying to build more buildings. Their ECO is not strong enough to handle losing any villagers and they likely do not have enough military. Use Xbows to kill their Minutemen. They will use minutemen.. they have the gold/food for it and they will not have military to defend until after their first shipment arrives. Any military shipment that arrives, use your Xbows to scoot and shoot.
Xbows = Counter any military they ship (Unless it's Calvary or Cannons!)
Uhlans = Keep focusing on villagers and scouting. If you find their Explorer, kill him and leave a unit standing ontop of him
Pikes = Demolition crew. Keep dropping houses.
If they spawn calvary or cannons, focus all your military might on them as soon as possible and take them down. The best shipment available is (I believe) 1 cannon, MAYBE 2... Whatever you have in their base at the time should be able to handle 1 and even maybe 2 cannons if you get on top of them fast.
Back at home, keep pumping villagers, try to get another Rax down, and keep pumping pikes. Have your pikes constantly streaming into their base and flood them with pikes. Sometime during this period you should get a shipment or two.. what you send depends on how you wish to play it, but here are some suggestions:
Palatine settlements - you no longer have to worry about houses/pop, which means you can keep pumping xbows/pikes endlessly
3 Settler wagons - Better eco
Raw Resources (700 gold/food/wood)
At the very least, you should have severely disrupted their strategy. Make sure you keep the pressure on and keep pumping units. As long as you still have Line of Site in their base and units still standing, you should keep your reinforcements coming.
The important thing is to recognize a FF when it's happening and nip it off at the bud before it becomes a problem. If you let them hit fortress, get a shipment or two, and start laying down houses/barracks/etc, then you're pretty much in for a battle of attrition, and you're on the short end of the stick.
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