Universal Build Orders

Discussion in 'PvP Tips & Tutorials' started by Andy P XIII, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. Andy P XIII

    Andy P XIII Moderator

    Nov 14, 2017
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    I’ve seen a lot of questions lately from new players about build orders. (A build order is essentially a checklist of what units to build and things to do in the opening minutes of a game.) A build order isn’t something you should ever follow unfailingly. Games aren’t played in vacuums. Maps do weird things. Enemies do unexpected things. The most adaptable player wins. (Again, scouting saves lives.)

    A build orders is a security blanket. If you decide in advance what general things you are going to do, then you will have more time during the match to worry about other stuff.

    Long answer: Choose a build order is based on (1) your civ, (2) your opponent’s civ, (3) the map type, and (4) early scouting. Every civ has a few core build orders. Learn them.

    The short answer: Just use the Rax TC.

    1. Rax TC

    This build order is universally considered the safest and least likely to be countered. You open your game by making a Barracks (“rax”) in Age 1 and set yourself up so when you hit Age 2, you immediately make your 2nd TC.

    The theory is that the Barracks provides you flexibility in rushing, defending, and harassing while the early TC allows to both boom villagers and defend your resource gathering.

    There is more than one way to skin this cat (and different civs force you to make adjustments), but here is a decent script from Brutish (which should sync perfectly with Greek):
    • 1 vil makes storehouse on the woodline (ideally in range and behind your TC)
    • 2 vils on Berries.
    • Scout kills Hunt.
    • Send 1 Berry to build a storehouse at the hunt. When the SH is up, send the other Berry vil to the hunt.
    • Next vil on W (this is the first vil you created)
    • Next vil on F (at the hun)
    • Next vil on W
    • Next 2 vils to F (a total of 5 vils are now on food)
    • When you hit 200 w, throw down a Barracks and pump out some spearmen and send them to harass your opponent’s hunts
    • Rally new vils onto Stone from here
    • When you have 200f 200w, research Age 2.
    • Make 1 house (unless you are Celts, then you should make 3 houses earlier
    • Helpful reminder: By the time you are aging up, you should be scouting to learn if your enemy is mining stone. (If so, then he is building a 2nd TC. If not, then he is likely planning to attack very shortly).
    • While you are aging up, distribute vils between S and W so that you hit 300 stone slightly earlier than you hit 300 wood. remember to pull your villagers off stone as soon as you have 300 of it (you can check by hovering over the stone mine - you should stop gathering when the stone mine goes below 700/1000 and then get the villagers to drop off their current load)
    • Move some vils from food to wood or stone depending on which you need. Optionally you can leave these vils on hunts to get resources for a few more military units.
    • As soon as you hit Age 2, research Woodcutting
    • As soon as you have the resources for a TC, take 5 villagers to build it. If your opponent went for a TC also, you should be able to safely place it at your second berry spot. if your opponent didn't take stone and is going for units aggressively, you should put the TC within range of your starting TC for protection, either next to your berries, gold or wood
    • From here transition into whatever you want.
    Remember, the trick is to be flexible. Depending on the situation, in Age 1 you may want to be aggressive with spearmen harassing, defensive with spearmen holding your hunt, or simply conserve the resources until you can make Age 2 infantry.

    This is not the optimal build order for every civ in every match-up on every map, but it is generally safe everywhere and should be the first one you master.

    There are many, many build orders. Each civ has a few core ones. Some civs have unique build orders. Here is a taste of some other staples:

    2. Rax during Transition:

    This is almost identical to Rax TC except you don’t build the Rax until you are aging. You substitute the ability to make spearmen in Age 1 with the ability to make Age 2 units earlier.

    I know this kind of decision feels arbitrary, but it won’t if you ever get caught without spearmen during a rush or end up throwing a bunch of them away because your enemy doesn’t rush and focuses on quickly making Age 2 anti-infantry units.

    3. Archery First:

    Here you focus your early military on anti-infantry ranged units (and probably a fast 2nd TC).

    Forgoing a Barracks to make an Archery Range is most viable for Babylon and Persia, who don’t have an Age 2 anti-infantry Barracks unit (like the Greek Hypastist, Egypt Axeman, Celt Long Swordsman, or Norse Throwing Axeman.) The other Civs could probably experiment with this build order, too. (Except Norse. Norse can only make Skirmishers from an Age 2 Archery Range. Skirmishers are under powered. If you want to get creative with Norse, there are better options below.)

    However, Archery First could be a shrewd counter if your enemy makes an early Barracks (and doesn’t have the sense to scout you and adjust).

    The weakness is when you get stuck defending an Age 1 or early Age 2 spear rush and you have unsafe hunts. You will lose your hunt before you have time to go Age 2, make an Archery Range, and spam enough units. (If you are Persia, get aid tent to buy you some time.)

    Regardless, even if you are successful, your enemy should recognize your Archery and counter with a Stable (or with other anti-ranged units). Therefore, to use this build order, you should round out your army with Stable or Barracks units.

    4. Stable first:

    Because most people are making spearmen (who are anti-cavlary), this is normally not a good idea. But if your opponent’s first building a TC or Archery Range, then a Stable can be better than a Rax or Archery.

    If your enemy goes Stable first, then you have to pay attention. Greek’s Age 2 cavalry (Sarissophoroi) gets soft-countered by all other Age 2 cavalry. And Egypt’s Age 2 stable unit is anti-cavalry. So don’t drop a Stable down just to watch your expensive horses get sawed into pieces.

    The trick with these openings is obviously to use your scouting to respond optimally to your opponent’s first build.

    5. TC first:

    Turtling is fun. But success with this build order depends heavily on the map and scouting.

    Unless you are on a large map (Arabia and Coastal come to mind), if your opponent makes an Age 1 Barracks, then you should make a military building before that 2nd TC.

    But if your enemy doesn’t go Age 1 Barracks, then you should feel free to give this a try. But you will need to execute it cleanly (have your vils gathering the optimal resources at the necessary times) and have good defensive building placement and decent micro.

    Because you are giving up early military for an early villager boom, you will probably need to place your 2nd TC within range of your 1st. This limits the new resources you can protect with TC fire.

    So a good counter to this build is to sit military on the most proximate resources and contain the 2-TC town until it runs out of berries and needs to spend (waste) resources on early farms.

    In this case, you will need to counter those units, push back, and hope for the best. Brutish says, “if your opponent goes TC also, I recommend going for stables.” I am not sure what he means, but I stole this entire section from him, so it probably makes sense to keep trusting him.

    6. Age 1 Dock:

    You can use a dock to get a head start on fishing. But it is risky. Consider this only if your enemy opens defensively (TC first, etc.). And stick to only a couple of boats at first. A good rule of thumb is no more than 1 fishing boat more than your enemy.

    If your enemy takes water too, follow up with trireme spam and a timely second dock.

    But if your enemy goes land, then transition to land units to defend (just make 1 trireme to secure the water).

    Otherwise, if your enemy goes early military, then sinking wood into early fishing leaves you vulnerable to Age 2 warships and land attacks.

    7. Dock during Transition:

    This is standard on at least Coastal (the map with the lake in the middle) and Treasure Island, if not the other water maps.

    Essentially, fishing allows gives you a measurable advantage over anyone who remains landlocked. So where the map allows only limited room to fish, the match tends to favor whoever wins the early Age 2 water race.
    • 5 or 6 villagers on food and put the rest on wood
    • Age up as soon as possible.
    • While aging, build a dock and transition all but 3 vils onto wood and some gold for warships.
    • As soon as you go Age 2, make warships.
    • If your enemy fights for water, make a 2nd dock (and don’t forget that fishing ships can repair boats).
    • If your enemy gives you the water, then transition to fishing and land units. Use your warships to patrol the shore to prevent a dock and to pick off enemy units.
    Remember, if you win water, your enemy will need to respond on land. Also, a well-placed enemy Fort near the shore could open up an opportunity for a dock to spam fire/ram/warships.
    #1 Andy P XIII, Jan 9, 2018 at 5:24 PM
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
    lambdaviking and Whitefang116 like this.
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