This swift and deadly tactic involves strengthening your economy, advancing to the Feudal Age, and unleashing a barrage of arrows upon your foes.

The goal is simple: ruin your enemy’s economy by taking out their resource-gathering villagers. Focus your attacks on key resource points such as gold piles, wood lines, and berry patches.

The Archer rush is particularly effective at lower levels of play. However, it’s still a force to be reckoned with at higher levels.

Here’s our Archer Rush build order for Age of Empires 2.

Build Order

  • 6 villagers to sheep
  • 4 villagers to wood (with LC)
  • 1 villager to boar
  • 1 villager builds 2 houses, then berries
  • 3 villagers to berries and lure 2nd boar with an existing villager
  • 2 villagers to boar/sheep
  • 5 villagers to wood with 2nd lumber camp
  • Loom
  • Advance to the Feudal Age
  • As soon as you click up, send 3 villagers from food to gold and 1 to wood
  • Make a barracks with a wood villager when the Feudal Age is halfway completed
  • 4 or 5 new villagers to gold
  • Make Blacksmith and research fletching
  • Attack with 6 archers

This build order is not specifically fine-tuned to any civilization. Some civilizations can do it much better than others.

However, if you follow these instructions, you should be able to perform an archer rush with any civilization. This build order is good enough for you to start popping out archers at 23 population.

That being said, I strongly suggest you pay attention to your civilization’s strengths. Although this build order might be enough initially, you might want to change it a bit after a while.

Since civilizations have widely different bonuses, some might also have more effective ways to make the rush better.

The Best Civs for an Archer Rush

Some civilizations perform this rush better due to faster firing rate, others because their archers are cheaper, and some might produce them much faster.

Whatever the case, it doesn’t mean that you have to change civilizations just because of their archer rush strengths. You should know their strengths in case you play one, though.

Here are our top picks:

Aztecs: Though not traditionally used for Archers, Aztecs boast 11% faster military unit creation, which can give them a valuable edge in early-game aggression.

Britons: Enjoy a 20% boost to their archery ranges’ production speed, which allows them to mass-produce Archers at lightning speed. Plus, their Imperial age technology grants an extra +1 range.

Ethiopians: With an 18% faster firing rate, Ethiopian Archers deal devastating damage to enemy units.

Japanese: Though the Japanese excel at infantry units, their 50% wood cost reduction for economic buildings makes it easy to execute an Archer rush with lightning speed.

Khmer: Thanks to their ability to advance without building requirements, Khmer can complete an Archer rush with just 20 population, a whopping 2 ranges, and a considerable head start.

Mayans: The cost of foot Archers was 10% less in the Feudal Age, which means they could mass-produce an Archer army at a lower cost.

Vietnamese: Vietnamese Archers are incredibly durable thanks to a +20% HP bonus. And with no wood cost for eco upgrades, they can quickly ramp up their Archer production.

With the Archer rush strategy and the right civilization, you can unleash a devastating assault on your enemies and emerge victorious.

So get out there, hone your skills, and start dominating the battlefield!