Strategy rush prev.png

Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense.
Sun TzuThe Art of War

Rush refers to a military strategy emphasizing rapid build-up as early as possible.

If a treaty is in place, early rushes will be negated.

Overview[edit | edit source]

To implement this strategy, the player should focus almost exclusively on building troops to harass the enemy economy in the shortest possible amount of time. However, in order to build these troops some basic economic build up is required. It is commonly used to counter the boom strategy or the turtle strategy if the enemy is unable to get their towers and walls up in time although it should be noted that a successful turtle can easily repel rushes. Another variation of the rush strategy is Blitzkrieg, which is a far deadlier version and is more effective than other rushing techniques but is more costly.

A rushing player will typically have a weak economy in favor of a strong military, ideally most rushes are executed within the first seven minutes of gameplay (even less versus human opponents). The longer a match draws on without the rush inflicting significant damage, the more likely it is that a rushing player will not be able to seize victory due to their slower economy.

Age of Empires[edit | edit source]

Some civilizations boast certain bonuses that allow them to perform better as early Rushers, at land or water. They typically include discounts on individual unit lines and/or economic or military bonuses that kick in from the Stone or Tool Age:

Of course, other civilizations can also execute rushes, in various stages of the game, depending on their individual strengths; the Choson and Egyptians, for example, can try a tactic not unlike the Age of Empires II smush (Saracen Monk Rush), by abusing their Priests' strengths, namely the 30% discount and the extra 3 range.

Age of Empires II[edit | edit source]

An effective rush requires rapid economic growth in the beginning of the game then focusing on the military. Gathering resources quickly allows for military units to be created early on.

As noted in Rushing the Enemy, scouting before a rush is important as it allows the player to adjust their rushing tactics based on the enemy's situations (e.g. the enemy is walling up their town or forgot to close off a chokepoint), as is the constant training of Villagers to keep the economy stable in case the rush fails. 

Depending on when each civilization's economical bonuses start to shine, there are different types of rushing that allow individual civilizations to use their advantages:

Dark Age[edit | edit source]

In the Dark Age, Militia are the only military units available but should be created in order to create the basis for an army in later Ages. A Militia raid in the Dark Age is known as a drush (Dark Age rush). Civilizations that can perform this kind of rush better than others include:

  • Aztecs - Start with 50 more Gold, which allows for more Militia to be created without mining additional gold. Also benefits from Villagers carrying more resources and military units being trained 18% faster.
  • Celts - Lumberjacks work 15% faster, a helpful economic bonus. The ability to steal herdable animals is another raiding bonus.
  • Goths - Infantry are 20% cheaper in the Dark Age. Villagers also get an early bonus when attacking boars and carrying more Food when hunting.
  • Huns - Despite starting with 100 less Wood, the freedom from building houses frees Villager time and resources.
  • Lithuanians - Start with 150 extra Food, giving them potentially the fastest Drush.
  • Incas - Benefit from having doubly effective houses and an extra Llama for Food in the early game.

The Persians (with their double hit point Town Centers) can perform an unusual rush called the "douche" by deleting their Town Center and placing it next to the enemy Town Center. In the original The Age of Kings, the Teutons often performed the Teutonic Town Center rush (with their increased range), but this gave them such an unfair advantage that it was nerfed in The Conquerors.

Feudal Age[edit | edit source]

In the Feudal Age, (flush) more units are available and can begin harassing or killing enemy Villagers to disrupt their economy. For rushing, the focus should be on cheaper units so greater numbers can be created to overwhelm the enemy. Variations of the rush in the Feudal Age, largely depending on each faction's focus, include: Tower rush (attack with Villagers and Watch Towers), Scout rush, infantry rush, Archer rush. An example, the Ethiopians, a civilization highly vulnerable to drushes, can put their free Pikeman upgrade, Age-up resource bonus and extra rate-of-fire for Archers into good use and launch early flushes of said units. Likewise, the Burmese can abuse their boosted infantrymen and their free Lumber Camp upgrades to flush enemies with Militia or even Archers (who fall flat late game for them). Starting in 2019, a Tower rush (trush) with the Incas, whose Villagers benefit from the Blacksmith's infantry upgrades, is often referred to as Noboru rush.

  • Tower Rush Candidates
    • Incas - Have a Stone discount to make Towers cheaper. Villagers also benefit from Blacksmith upgrades, making them less vulnerable to enemies. This is on top of their earlier free Llama and better houses.
    • Koreans - Stone Miners work 20% faster. Villagers have +3 Line of Sight, valuable for placing towers in strategic locations and avoiding danger. Later, Tower upgrades are free, and Towers also get a Range bonus starting in the Castle Age.
    • Sicilians - A variation of a tower rush involves their unique building, the Donjon (also known as the "Donjon rush"), which can be built in the Feudal Age like a tower, but it is stronger. In addition, the player can train Serjeants from the Donjon to further apply pressure to the opponent. This is considered a "high risk, high reward" strategy, as the Donjon is a very expensive tower, costing 200 stone (which is the entire starting stone bank for the player) unless the player mined additional stone to build additional Donjons.
  • Scout Rush Candidates
    • Franks - Though they lack Bloodlines, their 20% HP increase for cavalry makes up for it in the meantime. Meanwhile, faster Foragers and free Farm upgrades give more Food for building Scout Cavalry.
    • Huns - Stables work 20% faster. Do not need to build houses.
    • Khmer - Can skip building a Barracks and immediately build a Stable instead.
    • Magyars - Scouts are 15% cheaper and get offensive Blacksmith upgrades like Forging for free.
    • Sicilians - Their Scout Cavalry take 50% less bonus damage from enemy Spearmen, allowing their Scout Cavalry to win effective trades against enemy Spearmen.
  • Infantry Rush Candidates
    • Goths - Can create 25% cheaper Infantry.
    • Japanese - Infantry have a faster attack rate starting in the Feudal Age. Economic buildings are cheaper, saving some Wood.
    • Slavs - Supplies is Free. Farmers work 10% faster and military buildings like the Barracks provide 5 population space.
    • Vikings - Infantry have 10% more HP in the Feudal Age. Wheelbarrow is free, giving an early economic boost in the Feudal Age.
  • Archer Rush Candidates
    • Britons - Archery Ranges work 20% faster. Shepards also work quicker, giving more Food quickly and allowing for a faster Feudal Age.
    • Ethiopians - Archers have an 18% faster firing rate. Receive 100 Food and 100 Gold upon entering a new age, enough resources for a few units or an upgrade.
    • Koreans (Definitive Edition only) - Their archers cost 20% less wood and archer armor upgrades are free.
    • Mayans - Have economic bonuses from the extra initial villager and longer lasting resources. Archers are 10% cheaper in the Feudal Age.
    • Sicilians - Their archers and Skirmishers take 50% less bonus damage from Skirmisher bonus damage, allowing them win archer trades with the opponent.

Castle Age[edit | edit source]

In the Castle Age, siege weapons become available as well as powerful upgrades and new units. This allows for the siege of enemy towns and the building of Castles, which if built near an enemy town can disrupt them even more by preventing Villagers from moving out to gather resources as well as allowing for the creation of a constant flow of units to attack the enemy (this tactic is known as a Castle drop). A Saracen rush version is a Castle Age rush of Monks due to their refund after death. This is known as a smush (Saracen Monk rush). Another popular Castle Age rush tactic is a Knight rush. Being able to slaughter most units and having little effective counters, they can dominate in the early Castle Age, until of course their counter units, unique units, and siege units come into play. Two examples of civilizations that can utilize a Knight rush are the Berbers (thanks to their cheaper Stable units) and the Franks (especially with Chivalry-boosted Stables).

  • Knight Rush Candidates
    • Burgundians - A variation of this strategy is the Castle Age Cavalier rush, where they can research the Cavalier upgrade in the Castle Age. Plus, their Stable technologies are 50% cheaper, allowing them to hit their power spike in the early Castle Age.
    • Berbers - Knights are 15% cheaper in the Castle Age.
    • Franks - Though Bloodlines is missing, the 20% HP bonus for Cavalry makes up for this, growing more effective as Knights are upgraded in the Imperial Age. Frank Knights have +2 Line of Sight, reducing a major weakness of the Knight line. Franks also benefit from faster Foragers and free farming upgrades.
    • Huns - Stables work 20% faster. Houses are not required, saving Wood and Villager work time.
    • Lithuanians - Benefit from +150 starting Food. Knights gain +1 attack per Relic held in a Monastery.
    • Persians - Town Centers have an increased work rate starting in the Dark Age, which only gets faster over time. Knights deal +2 damage to Archers.
    • Sicilians - Their Knights take 50% less bonus damage from Camel Riders and Pikemen, making their durability against anti-cavalry damage comparable to a Cataphract.
  • Monk Rush Candidates
    • Aztecs - Have all Monastery technologies, each of which also add +5 HP to Monks. Start with more Gold, and Villagers carry more resources.
    • Burmese - Monastery technologies are 50% cheaper, with only Heresy missing.
    • Saracens - Madrasah indirectly reduces the amount of Gold spent on Monks.
    • Slavs - Their unique technology gives Monks extra armor and have almost all the Monk upgrades.

Naval maps[edit | edit source]

On maps like Archipelago and Islands, players can perform a pure Galley and Galleon rush (known as the grush), while the counter to a gush is a Fire Ship rush, a fire rush. If a player decides to grush or fire rush, it is recommended to target all Docks before moving to attack inland. When gushing or fire rushing, the players should bring some Archers in Transports to land after softening defenses. Civilizations that excel in such tactics are mainly the ones with great naval bonuses and preferably a strong economy to back up their navy.

  • Naval Rushing Candidates
    • Berbers - All ships move 10% faster.
    • Byzantines - Fire Galleys attack 25% faster. In the Castle Age, Greek Fire increases their range.
    • Malay - Can save Wood spent on Farms by instead building Fish Traps with infinite Food. Docks also have 100% longer Line of Sight, making them more initially useful.
    • Portuguese - All ships have 10% more HP, and warships cost 15% less Gold. This gives Galleys 12 more HP while costing 5 less Gold, while Fire Galleys gain 10 HP and cost 7 less Gold.
    • Saracens - Galleys attack 25% faster. Markets cost less Wood and give better rates.
    • Vikings - Docks are 15% cheaper (saving 22 Wood each), as are warships in the Feudal Age. Wheelbarrow is free.

The following civilizations have great rush capability:

Age of Mythology[edit | edit source]

Major gods[edit | edit source]

The following major gods are well suited for a rushing strategy:





Minor gods[edit | edit source]

The following minor gods are well suited for a rushing strategy:






Age of Empires III[edit | edit source]

A good rush deck typically consists of the basic villager cards and Discovery Age resource cards while possessing a heavy number of troop shipments and troop upgrade cards in the Colonial Age with little focus on economic cards. The Spanish are considered a strong Rush civilization due to their fast Home City shipments. The Russians are also good, as the Oprichnik is good at destroying buildings and crippling the enemy’s economy by killing enemy settlers. The Germans are also quite good at rushing, because they receive Uhlans with most Home City shipments, which have a high attack, but low hit points.

One of the best rushing civilizations in Age of Empires III are the Sioux. Not requiring houses, they can divert time and resources to build and upgrade their cavalry-dominated army, consisting at the early game from Bow and Axe Riders, and later, cavalry such as the Rifle Rider, among the best in the game.

Healing[edit | edit source]

All rushes concentrate solely on military and all abandon the economy to some degree. This makes it a severe annoyance when the first wave of rush troops fails and the player has to produce another (often weaker) wave. One way to prevent this is to send in the Colonial Age shipment of two Surgeons. Have them build a Field Hospital about halfway between the player and their enemies. The player can then bring their enemies down using a series of tiny, powerful thrusts employing the same set of troops. This can be achieved by pulling the player's troops back to the Field Hospital after each small attack, bringing them back to full health and making them ready for the next attack.

This strategy can be difficult to pull off, seeing as each attack must be very short to keep the player from losing to many troops that are then unhealable.

Galleon rush[edit | edit source]

This type of rush focuses on crossing water quickly to establish a foothold on the enemy beaches. It is available to any civilization capable of aging up to the Colonial Age with The Governor and sending a galleon soon afterward. Essentially the player uses the galleon to transport the Outpost Wagon to enemy shores, have it begin building while the galleon starts training units. The outpost can then serve as the home city drop off point for troop shipments and reinforce the galleon if the enemy pushes the rush force back to the beaches.

The Spanish perform the strategy very well due to their faster home city shipments. With practice the strategy will easily overwhelm AI opponents in the game.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

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