The Axer Rush

Heaven’s Reference Pages

The Axer Rush: Tool Age Catapults

By AoW_Augustus, AKA Lord_ Boats

I consider the axer rush a very powerful tool for getting into an enemy civ and totally leveling it in the Late Tool Age/Early Bronze. It can be done using any civ with the same results. There is trick to doing the rush fast enough to make it effective, and giving it a smooth transition between Tool Age and Bronze Age fighting, and I’ll clue you into it.
The Axer Rush can be used in AoE and RoR, and can replace the Tool Archer rush that used to terrorize AoE, but came to an end with the advent of slingers and huge RoR boat ramps. Whereas the AoE Tool Archer shut down wood, and thus food, production, most people in RoR will have a superabundance of wood cutters in tool (and thus of wood) and lots of fishing boats. Wood plus food is a formula for the enemy’s normal bronze with a strong chariot/cav response that will negate any advantage you may have created by archer rushing. The RoR Tool Archer Rush can no longer put a huge crimp in the food supply like it used to in AoE, which severely limits its usefulness in RoR, and may actually leave you at a disadvantage, since you will still be Tool while the enemy is Bronze and economically strong. 
Never fear! The Axer Rush is here. The principals behind the Axer Rush are the same as the Archer Rush. Since most people will be playing on a gigantic map, you will still need to get the sixth peon out and about, looking for a second and possibly third food supply, and sending him out to look for the enemy. 7 peons will need to be on food early, so you have a steady supply of peons. After you put the next 6 peons on wood, the following 7 peons go on food, NOT WOOD. You do NOT want to dock and make fishing boats, as this will slow down your tool time and not give you enough wood to make a second granary/storage pit and two barracks. You can dock after the rush is done. When you have 21 peons, stop making them. It doesn’t matter if your target civ has 35 peons (10-15 boats); you will do fine with 21.
Once the sixth peon finds the enemy civ, he needs to back out and find a spot at a nice distance from the enemy. You don’t want to be too close, else a wise player will make some axers/slingers of his own and it will be a tool war, with you losing out to the enemy’s fishing food supply. You want to be far enough away that you can make a barracks and not be scouted for a while. If you can complete one barracks you are in the good. Have the scout peon make houses, market, stables, and whatever else you need to get to bronze as you progress along. 
By the time you have 500 food and push the tool button, you should already have a barracks in place and be building another (or close to achieving these objectives). The remaining food you create will go into making clubmen. When your other barracks is complete, check your TC’s finishing time to see if you have enough time to make a clubman at the new barracks too, if not, just make them out of the one barracks. You should have about 4-6 clubmen by the time you go Tool. DONT use up all your food making clubmen. Keep a nice 100 food reserve right before you go tool to do the axer upgrade. As you are doing the axer upgrade, you should have gathered another 100 food, and you want to do the attack upgrade at your storage pit. This is important later, as it helps them destroy things faster. Then while your axers are on the move, upgrade armor with 75 food. As soon as your enemy sees the axers, he will make slingers or archers to counter you, and you want to chop them up with minimal losses so you can get back to work.
This is a good time to put your food gatherers in your main civ to work on the next food supply. This should be the third supply you have found. It may also be a good idea to wall in if possible.
As soon as you change to axer, send them into the civ looking for peons. Find the woodcutters, the gold miners, builders, farmers, or whoever else you can find. Have two axers chase a group of peon woodcutters around. If the peons turn around to attack your axers, be prepared to laugh. I doubt any of the would be assassins will survive. If the peons are running train your axers on the lead peon, so you aren’t thrown off trail by the last peon lagging behind.
While this is going on, you should have a steady stream of axers coming out of your two barracks and headed for the enemy TC. If you can afford it, make another barracks and keep pumping axers out until you have 10-15 of them. You want to slam the TC, since it is probably being upgraded to bronze while you are attacking. If not, so what? That is 200 wood your enemy has to come up with. Next, attack the market if you have found it. If not, go for the houses. Go for the docks. Don’t worry about the granaries or military buildings yet. When you kill the houses, your enemy won’t be able to make military units to harass you, since he wont have any housing space to accommodate them. After you finish the house, get the military buildings.
10-15 axers act like a tool age catapult, destroying everything in their paths in a matter of seconds. The real beauty of the axer is that, unlike a catapult, he doesn’t get beaten to death by peons. He can be used to kill peons and buildings alike. Even if your opponent bronzes and gets one or two bronze units on you, your axers will kill them and continue destroying the civ. The axers will keep putting a strain on his wood supply, while you root out and destroy his means of production and improve your own.
After you have crushed the enemy civ to your satisfaction, send the remaining axers to where you think the next enemy civ will be (probably a suicide run) and focus on getting your civ to bronze. 
I like to use a civ that can take advantage of the attack/armor upgrades with other units besides axers. Roman is my favorite, since I can use the same two or three barracks I built for the rush to make short/long swordsmen who get an attack advantage. Another tactic for following a rush is to Bronze, dock, upgrade to wargalley, upgrade woodcutting, put all the peons on wood and start going after the enemy fishing boats with galleys. When you rush, your civ typically has a weak economy following the attacks, and you wont have much of a ground force attack for a while, so doing a naval assault isn’t such a bad idea. It assists your allies by crimping the enemy food supply and giving the enemy two fronts to deal with-one at land as well as one at sea. You can also use the docks to gather food to help you to Iron. Good civs for this are Minoa, Yamato, Phoenicia, and Hittite for various reasons you can figure out.
I like this rush even more than the Tool Archer rush, since it gets into the enemy civ much earlier and commences the attack much sooner with more devastating results. It has been used against me a couple times, and the only advice I can give to someone being attacked is: RUN! Get your peons out of there and set up shop somewhere else, maybe in the center. When you do find a spot to settle down, put everyone on wood.
Beware, you big rampers! This rush will leave you softly sobbing in the corner if you don’t know what you are doing! Good luck!