From The ESOC wiki for Age of Empires 3
Introduction[edit | edit source]
GS post about why VC is a great shipment (I might remove some parts because it's too long and add some elements).
Idea of the build[edit | edit source]
The aim is to get a great eco (40 villagers between 6:30 - 7:30 depending on the variation) and win thanks to your superior economy. Although the plan is easy, in practice it is a bit more complicated because the opponent is going to try to counter you. I'd say that he has 3 options to fight VC, and you need to scout very carefully to know what he is doing, because if you don't you will lose the game very quickly. If you don't know how/what to scout, you should read Mitoe's scouting guide.
- Be agressive and punish a greedy boom. Almost every civilisation can try to do that, but thanks to longbowmen who are great at defending because of their huge range, very few civilisations can win consistently with agressive play. Russia (strel/coss rush), India (sepoy rush or 300export timing), Aztecs (coyote/mace rush), Iroquois (infantry rush with 4 kanyas) and Ottomans (jan rush or jan/huss rush) are the scary civilisations. You can probably still go VC against these civs but you need to be extremely careful because it's going to be tough to hold their rush.
- Outboom you. Theorically it probably shouldn't work but in practice your army is not very mobile and very hard to control so a smart opponent might try to abuse that. At 15 min some civilisations will have a better eco than you, and most will outscale you because your units aren't great. Japan, China, Dutch, Port will often try to do that. India and France might also boom and try to win because their late fortress is much stronger.
- Agressive age 3 timings. In my opinion, it is by far the hardest playstyle to counter. Your opponent is going to ff or semi ff, sometimes even with the TP line, and will hit a timing in early fortress. If you don't contest the TP line, you might not even have a better economy than your opponent, and if you do, it will slow down your age up and you will struggle to hold the early fortress timing. Your opponent might even fake an age up and catch your army which will end the game. Even if you actually manage to deal with these two issues, you then need to finish the game which can be tough because your opponent will also have a strong eco, and one bad fight is game over for you. France, Germany and Russia often go for this. Over the last years, people have learnt to master this style, and with the manor nerf we hardly see VC anymore in these MUs.
The build[edit | edit source]
The standard VC semi ff[edit | edit source]
There are many variations of the VC build but this one is the most standard one.
Regardless of the crate start, you want to build one manor (or two if you start with 300w), and age with 13 villagers (or 14 if 300w start) with the 500f politician. Your first shipment is VC.
Note: With a 300w start, you can chop 40w and go for a TP+manor which allows you to send both 3v and VC. However, although it's perfectly viable, I'm not a big fan of this variation, because it slows down your colonial age up time (by 25sec), thus slowing your 700w shipment and your manor boom. Furthermore, your 2nd and 3rd colonial shipments will come later which will also make your semi ff slower. I don't believe that delaying your semi ff for 3 villagers is worth.
Transition to colonial
Put all your villagers but the one herding on wood. You want to make as many manors as possible. Try to build a wall with your manors. It's very helpful against raids and rushes.
A good wall should look like this :
Just before hitting colonial, build a market and put 2 vills on coin. From the 500f, train vills and get the 1st wood upgrade in the market. You want to make more manors. Ship 700w. Put 4 villagers on the 700w crates, build a rax with 2 villagers, and more manors. Get the first food upgrade with the coin your vills gathered. Now you want to train pikes or lb depending on what your opponent is going for. When the rax finishes, you want to switch some vills from wood to food and get the 2nd food upgrade. Next shipments are 5 villagers and 700 coin. You should start aging between 7:30 and 8:00 with more than 40 villagers and between 5 and 10 units depending on what you need.
Fortress Age possibilities
There are several unit compositions you can go for in age 3. The most common on the EP is lb/pike/huss, in which case you want a stable and a 2nd rax. Training pikes in age 3 sounds awkward but you will already have some pikes anyway (because you need to train them in colonial and while aging), so upgrading them won't be a big deal. Furthermore, even if pikes alone are weak, pike/cav does well against skirm/cav/goon because you can just a move and it's a pain to deal with this unit composition. You can't block the huss with your cav because you'll lose your cav to the pikemen, and the pikemen can chase the goons. If you manage to take a good fight, your opponent will often have to go back with his cav and his goons and give up his skirm mass.
On the RE, it's common to go for lb/pike/falcs. Another advantage with pikemen is that they don't cost a lot of food, and since falcs only cost wood and coin, you can turtle for one or two extra minutes when you go for this unit composition. It has some weaknesses (it's not very mobile and it sucks if you're out of position) but overall it has a good synergy. Longbowmen are great at sniping goons, and falcs kill the skirms really fast.
Finally, you can go lb/goon/huss. It's the ideal unit composition because you don't have these shitty pikes, but realistically, you can't go for this dream composition very often because you won't train anti cav before you reach the fortress age. Still, against slow civs such as Dutch or Port, it is an option. Sometimes it can even work against France and Germany but it's really hard to pull off.
Slower semi ff variation[edit | edit source]
This one isn't very different. You just want to build 2 raxes from 700w (instead of one), and then send 600w/5v/700c and go for a 30 unit semi ff. The idea is of course to contest the TP line if your opponent goes for a stagecoach semi ff. You will have a great economy and if your opponent doesn't immediately ship the 2 falc shipment you will get away with it. If he does, you will need to either ship CM and kill his falcs with the minutemen (it's risky because if you don't get the falcs you're in a very bad spot), or throw 10-15 vills in his army to kill his falc shipment.
The CM semi ff[edit | edit source]
This build was initially used by aizamk, but it happens to be viable in some MUs. The idea is to age to colonial very late (after 5 minutes) and hold any agression with colonial milicia.
Gather your crates, build one manor. Then put 4 vills on food and the others on wood. Gather wood until you have 270 (360 if you have a wood start), then put all your vills on food. Send Virginia Company and build 3 (4 if wood start) manors. Age with the tower and 200 coin at 3:30-3:40.
Transition to colonial
Put all your vills on wood, send colonial milicia, build a market and get the first wood upgrade and the first food upgrade. Build as many manors as possible and keep 200w for when you age. You should have between 100 and 120 manor pop.
Build your tower and a rax/stable depending on the MU. Send 700w. You will have enough resources to send the minutemen thanks to the 200c age up, and a unit batch+minutemen+CM should be more than enough to hold a rush. If you don't get rushed get steel traps. Most of the time, you want to continue with 5vills/700c (you will have enough wood to get to 200 pop with the 700w) and go for a "standard" semi ff.
Recorded games and VOD[edit | edit source]
VOD[edit | edit source]
Here is a tutorial for Virginia Company (commentary in French): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPHDQnVQzHU
Diarouga (British) vs snowww (Germans): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QO7KfvIsqNE
Diarouga (British) vs Kaiserklein (French): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26hGvDNuZLU
Recorded games[edit | edit source]
Diarouga's compilation of games used for his tutorial (in French): https://drive.google.com/open?id=0ByEA-yuEQ4A7NGx2WFFwRlk5Sk0
written by Diarouga