How to Play as the English in Age of Empires 4

Image credit: Relic Entertainment, World's Edge

Real-Time Strategy Games usually have different factions that change how players experience the game. 

Age of Empires 4 developers wanted to ensure that each civilization was fun while being different from the others.

The English AoE4 civilization is most likely the most defensive one in the game. They count with special units that gain significant bonuses when they’re near English towers and castles, allowing players to effectively protect the civilization’s structures and turtle their way to victory.

If you want to know how to use the full potential of this civilization, stick around to learn how to play as the English in Age of Empires 4.

Advantages of the English Civilization

The English have obvious advantages that are easy to take advantage of, such as their unique archers and the bonuses provided to those units near castles and walls.

The English construct farms for half of the wood cost, and farm mills can gather wood 15% faster. Their farms also have a 15% faster gather rate as long as they are adjacent to a mill. This is a significant help to the English civilization during the early game, but it’s not the only one.

They also have access to the Vanguard Man-at-Arm units during the Dark Age, while other civilizations have to wait until the Castle Age.

The English Military Ships have a +1 bonus to their range, and Town Centers fire twice as many arrows as a standard Town Center would.

When it comes to the early game military power, the English Villagers wield bows, making them far scarier than most Villagers in the game.

On top of all that, they have an ability called The Network of Castles that Units affected by the AoE4 Network of Castles that grant a 25% increase in their Attack Speed to units that are near Town Centers, Outposts, Towers, and Keeps.

Although all those bonuses allow the English to be a defensive powerhouse, they can be played aggressively thanks to their powerful archers.

The longbowmen, a unique unit that is slightly slower than your average archer, has far superior range than other units in Age of Empires 4. They have certain technologies that allow them to heal and gain a temporary boost to their attack speed.

This unit is already powerful on its own. Still, it becomes significantly better when the range is combined with the bonus attack speed provided by the English’s Network of Castle passive ability.

With the Longbowman inside your territory, chances are you will have the unit that has the best range of the game with fantastic attack speed when defending your territory.

Advancing Through the Ages

Players start at the Dark Ages.

First, you will need 400 food and 200 gold to transition to the Feudal Age. Once you have accumulated enough resources, you can start building your first Landmark.

There are two landmarks that players can choose from during each Age, making you advance to the next. They both take the same amount of time to be built, 3 minutes and 10 seconds.

These are the options you have during the Dark Age:

  • Council Hall – Produce Longbowmen at +100% speed from the Landmark. Contains Longbowmen upgrades.
  • Abbey of Kings – Heals all nearby friendly units out of combat by +4 every 1.5 seconds.

The Council Hall is the recommended build for more powerful Longbowmen, even when you are far from your structures.

The Abbey of Kings seems better in case you’re under constant attack or under siege. The healing from the Landmark will be effective with any turtling AoE4 English strategy.

The Abbey of Kings might be somewhat helpful to deal with other early harassment tactics from Mongols or Chinese rush builds.

To advance to Castle Age, you need to make some economic preparations since 1200 food and 600 gold are required in order to build your next Landmark, which will take 3 minutes and 40 seconds to be constructed during this Age.

  • King’s Palace – It acts as a Town Center with all the behaviors, technology, units, and bonuses.
  • The White Tower – It acts as a Keep with all the behaviors, technology, units, and bonuses.

This decision will ultimately depend on the context of each match you’re in and the tactics you will use to deal with the rest of it.

Transitioning to the Imperial Age requires 2400 food and 1200. Your third Landmark will take 4 minutes and 10 seconds to be made.

  • Berkshire Palace  – Acts as a Keep, but it has a +50% greater weapon range and doubles the number of arrowslits.
  • Wynguard Palace – Produces the Wynguard Army from the Landmark. The army includes one each of Man-at-Arms, Spearman, Longbowman, Knight, and Trebuchet.

This choice will directly affect your endgame tactic.

If you want to win the game by building Wonder, not destroying your opponent, you should move forward with Berkshire Palace.

However, if you’re want to produce military units quicker, Wynguard Palace is most likely the better choice.

The last Landmark you can build with the English is the Cathedral of St. Thomas. As the game warns, “build and defend a Wonder to secure victory. Rival civilizations will be aware of its construction and seek to destroy it.”

The English Tactics

There are two basic and effective ways to play the English civilization. You can rush down the adversary by using their early game power, or you can turtle your way to victory, taking advantage of the civilization’s defensive power.

Longbow Rush

If you play the English, you should learn how to do an English longbow rush in Age of Empires 4 as soon as possible.

This is a build that lets you get your first longbowmen in five minutes, allowing you to harass enemies from really early in the game, often disturbing the pace of their economy completely.

This might catch any adversaries by surprise. The English are turtling specialists that grow strong with a slow-paced progression. However, if they manage to pull this rush out, the game will be decided in the first seven minutes or so.

Turtling Up

The English have a lot of defensive power with their Network of Castle ability and their Villagers with bows.

Note that even the Villagers benefit from the Attack Speed bonus from the Network of Castles, which makes them very useful to help defend the town center or discourage Scouts.

When you play as the English, being attacked early might mean you will come up on top. The English only become to be slightly more vulnerable once the adversary has made siege weapons. Until then, there is a chance you can bully the adversary with the superior range of your Longbowmen when defending your structures.

The idea here is to take advantage of the 25% attack speed bonus from the Network of Castles and eventually from the Longbowmen’s Camp ability that allows them to regenerate so you can build all resources and technologies you need to deal with the invaders and then build your Wonder.

Final Thoughts

Although the English are great when turtling, they are somewhat vulnerable to sieges. Although they have a really strong five minutes rush, their economy will be disturbed if it fails.

The English civilization has many strengths, but they also have situational gaps in their evolution, demanding you know when to attack and how to make up for their weaknesses.

Scout your enemies, bully them with your superior archers, and have a route to hide behind stone walls, and you should be able to control the map enough to combine the two greatest strengths of the English civilization.

With time, you will know when to go for a rush with a Council Hall and when to turtle up and counter an early advance using an Abbey of Kings.

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