The Slinger Rush

Heaven’s Reference Pages

The Slinger Rush

By NoSoup4U

For those of you familiar with my style I tool rush about 90% of the time. To many opponents’ frustration I seek to play as ugly a game as possible and I certainly can’t boom with the best of them. This guide is based on extensive ROR practical tool rush experience. 5 months ago I stated in the Age of Empires Heaven forum that I would send my copy of ROR back to ensemble if I ever lost to a slinger rush, I haven’t had to send it back yet but my analysis of the merits of this rush was completely off base. Dependent somewhat on map, I have reached the conclusion that the slinger rush is superior to the scout and axer rush, reasons will be stated in the text. 
CIVS: I tool rush with everybody, especially the worse the civ. Give me a bad civ in a random civ game and I’m rushing. Poorer civs without economic bonuses should rush whenever possible. Getting your brains beat in Bronze when you are Greek is not honorable, its stupid. While the best tool rush civ is Shang, Roman is the second best and my personal favorite.

Blow by blow

Start your 1st 6 peons on berries. While I love to pit 1st, by going berries you don’t have to worry about the pre-requisite for the market. Feel free to pit 1st but its important you don’t have a great interruption in peon production, you need to tool before 10 mins. Chop wood with peons 7-10, make houses only as needed and send peon 10 or 11 into enemy territory, scouting a bit on the way. Be sure to use a later peon to scout locally, especially looking for a stone/wood or a stone/food pit combo. Finding the enemy is elementary on continental and med. maps, you’ll have to work a bit more on the other maps. Use gold piles and stone piles as an indicator of enemy TC’s. Park this peon in an unobtrusive space. Experience will dictate how much scouting you do in enemy territory but survival is more important than knowing exact positioning. Peon usage in tool is then somewhat standard. I usually tool with 20 although I will go with 18 if food is somewhat scarce. With roman 6 woodies is sufficient. Count on producing one granary, and 2 pits (MAX) and houses. 
To execute the following rush you must pit stone. Please pit stone with wood or food! In the worst case scenario you can pit stone alone but this is a BAD start. When you hit the 400 food mark begin production of your 1st barracks in enemy territory and send a second peon into enemy territory. Getting detected at this point happens roughly 20% of the time and your 1st peon in enemy territory may be killed. (IF this is the case produce a second barracks (can’t finish the 1st you’ll be toast) with your second peon in another spot). If undetected (the more you rush the better you’ll get) finish the 1st barracks and complete the 2nd close by (with help of peon #2). Tool as soon as you have 500 food. Its ok if you finish your second barracks due to lack of wood during the tool cycle. While tooling switch a woodcutter to stone (if a wood/stone pit) or a food gatherer to stone. When you hit tool, produce a market with at least 4 of your woodcutters so its finished fast and research stone mining. At the same time queue 4 slingers in each of your barracks. Research the wall and proceed to wall in (if a river divided continental, feel free to send peon #2 in enemy territory back to wall stream. Against good players also wall in woodies in close as you may be tool rushed due to enemy buildings in your territory. Protect yourself! Its no fun having slingers rushing with all your villagers dead. Research sentry tower after completion of walls.
After completion of the second batch of slingers (you have 4) start looking for villagers. If you have done your homework you should find houses and a TC quickly. Find woodies, this is your 1st priority. Successive slingers should be follow the initial group of 4, they will come fast so your initial four won’t be hanging for long. When you find the enemies woodies attack! The best part about this rush, your opponent sees 4 slingers and tries to bone them to death with his villagers. This doesn’t work, you may lose one or two but with the arrival of slingers 4-8 villagers are toast, especially with upgraded slingers. When the woodies run tower the wood storage pit and go find the TC. Many rushers quit building units at this point thinking that they want to bronze etc. Mistake! Make at least 4 to 6 more slingers, odds are you have lost one or two and you need to tear down the TC. A good bronze player will still be fishing and collecting food and can still bronze. If you miss taking down the TC before bronze its not great but your opponent has to build a new TC, and chop wood for chariots (chariot civ) or mine gold for cav. At this point depending on the civ, look for the gold pit near by or look for the new wood pit. If you can’t find either quick, start tearing down houses.

Economy back home

our in tool for a while so don’t sweat the investment of food for slingers. If you were able to pit once for stone and wood you should definitely have been able to produce a dock before tool with roman. Pump out ships while your slingers are attacking. Using this technique my average bronze time is approx. 18 1/2 minutes with a best of 17 mins.

Two enemy territory villagers

So you have towered the enemies 1st wood pit. If a gold civ, tower the gold next, your enemy will hate you for it because he is hard pressed for wood and will have to start looking again. Next, and always a great tactic, tower his dock. While your slingers are tearing down buildings, micromanage the towers fire to take care of any fishing boats that your enemy doesn’t send to safety. After towering build a stable for your second bronze building. You can do this in enemy territory or at home depending on the level of competition and perceived threats. After building the stable immediately producing a scout to help your slingers find the new wood area can work very well, give it a try depending on your situation. If you think you have a real runner then use the 100 food to make bronze, especially if things are sparse at home.

When this doesn’t work

If you can’t build barracks in enemy territory your in trouble. Fortunately, many of the techniques (dock blocking/villager patrols) set back your enemies’ bronze time also. If your roman your gonna have to play well because you don’t have a great bronze, good luck. Civs that chop wood well like phonie, assy and yam are also more difficult because they recover faster from wood deprivation and can run farther. Remember, while a pack of slingers kills individual cav, camels and chariots, if you get attacked by three or more, forget it.

How to fight back

I shouldn’t include this section but I will. MAKE A CHOICE! Fight or run and go for bronze. IF you fight, NO BOWMAN, NO SCOUTS! They are ineffective and too expensive respectively. Fight back with axers but it will never work from a single barracks. Use your wood to make a second barracks, research the axer as well as toolworking, leather armor is a waste!. Only attack when the odds are 1.5 slingers to 1 axer. Also divide your axers into 2 groups using hot keys and attack 2 different slingers at once, this works the best. Use your remaining axers to either attack the enemies home base or take down the local barracks.

Civs this works best against

I laugh when I have Roman against Minoan. The Minoan player thinks he has me dead to rights. With bronze shield slingers kill compies with 8 shots and take 12, a bad matchup. So many Minoan players won’t make cav which they should. Close your slingers to ranges (which he has typically built at the 12 min mark when your slingers arrive) and destroy them and any units that pop out. Gold civs fare very poorly against this rush especially when deprived of gold which is typically not difficult.

Bad civ matchups

Of course Shang, but Yam is also a problem because they will be faster, can most likely bronze and make cav, and Phonie because of their ability to recover from wood deprivation.
Comments please
Further commentary to follow but by comparison:
Axer Rush: More expensive, less range, no effect vrs. any bronze units
Scout Rush: Too expensive, easily countered by tool units (any) and won’t attack without direction
Bowman Rush: Even with Hittite, slingers win hands down.