So to start, this game has numerous different playstyles and countless build orders depending on the civilization you choose and the map. Build orders are a fantastic way to understand your civilization and how each villager is so valuable in early gameplay.
Losing one villager can ruin your build order and disrupt the amount of time it takes for you to click up to the next age.
Learning build orders is a great way to learn how to click up to the next age in time and have the resources needed for battle.
The most common build orders used in Age of Empires 2 are
- Fast Castle into Knights
- Feudal Scout Rush
- Feudal Man at Arms into Archers
Fast Castle into Knights
This build order is primarily used for Cavalry-specific civilizations such as Magyars, Franks, and Huns but can also be used with any civilization that has Knights in their tech tree, although it is not always the best option as they can lack important upgrades.
So, why is Fast Castle a useful build order?
Fast Castle build orders allow you to boom your economy and produce knights at an earlier time and gain the advantage with upgrades and numbers.
This can be super helpful when facing enemies who make Archers but remember, Knights and Cavalry are weak to most Infantry units.
Fast Castle Build order
- With your first three villagers build two houses and take a sheep under the town centre
- Then continue to produce villagers until you have six in total on sheep
- With the seventh villager build a lumber camp close to the Woodline
- Make two more villagers and send them to chop wood at the lumber camp
- Send the 10th villager to build the third house and then use this villager to lure your first boar
- Send the next two villagers to the lumber camp
- Send the 11th villager to the berries and build a mill
- Continue to produce villagers until you have three in total on berries
- Send the 16th villager to lure the second boar
- With the 17th villager, build another house and then send to berries
- The next two villagers produced also send to berries
- Your 20th villager must be sent to a new Woodline and build a second lumber camp
- Send the next four villagers to the 2nd lumber camp
- Villager 25 will build a mining camp next to your gold pile
- Continue to produce villagers until you have three in total working in the gold mine
RESEARCH FEUDAL AGE
- Take one of the villagers from the Woodline and build a Barracks.
- Once you reach Feudal Age produce two more villagers and send them to gold mine.
- Again, take one villager from your Woodline and build a stable and a blacksmith.
RESEARCH CASTLE AGE
- While waiting to advance to Castle Age, research the lumber camp and farm technologies to improve your economy
- When you reach Castle Age, immediately produce two knights and attack your enemy!
- Finally, continue to produce villagers and boom your economy while getting your blacksmith upgrades and keep making more knights
- Now you have mastered the Fast Castle into Knights build order
Feudal Scout Rush
This is a very popular build order when playing open maps because you can slow down and attack your opponent in Feudal Age. Killing just one or two villagers with your scouts can slow down your enemy and their economy preventing them from reaching Castle age.
It is also an important tactic to distract your opponent with these scouts. Every time the opponent rings the Town Centre bell, moves their villagers, or builds houses and walls to prevent you from attacking, they are losing valuable seconds that put you in the lead.
Scouts are weak to Spearman so watch out for those! Spearmen can be produced in Feudal Age so your opponent will likely make one or two spearmen to counter your scouts. Just remember to micro the scouts and don’t forget about them while looking back at your eco!
Feudal Scout Rush Build Order
- As soon as the game starts, create the maximum number of villagers from the Town Centre and send your scout around your base to find your sheep
- With your starting first three villagers build two houses and then send them to sheep under the Town Centre
- Keep producing villagers until you have six on sheep (harvest one sheep at a time to prevent decay)
- With the 7th villager, send them to build a lumber camp on the Woodline (preferably a Woodline in the back of your base for safety)
- Keep producing villagers until you have 3 in total on the Woodline
- Send the 10th villager to build a house near a boar (preferably the boar in front to prevent laming) and then lure the boar to the Town Centre
- Send villager 11 to also take food from the boar
- The next villager created, send to the berries, and build a mill
- Create two more villagers and send them to the berries
- Send the next villager to build a house close to the 2nd boar and then lure it to Town Centre
- Send Villager 15 to berries. (Total 4 villagers on berries)
- Create five more villagers to take food from the Boar and sheep
- Research Loom
- (Using your scout to push the deer towards your Town Centre is very helpful in this build to collect the maximum amount of food)
RESEARCH FEUDAL AGE AT 20 POPULATION
- Send five full heath villagers that are taking food under the Town Centre to the Woodline
- Using one of your villagers taking wood, build a barracks (Close to the Woodline)
- As soon as you advance to Feudal Age, immediately build a Stable and start to produce Scouts.
And you have mastered the Scouts Build Order!
Feudal Man At Arms into Archers
Some of the advantages of this build order are, Man at Arms is the most powerful feudal unit in melee combat and can break down walls and kill villagers faster than scouts.
Going Man at Arms means you can gain map control, delay your opponent from advancing to the next age and force a reaction.
One thing to watch out for is if your opponent is building an archery range. Archers counter Man at Arms. Do not waste your time attacking the range if it has already been built; move to a different area of the opponent’s base, and try to get some villager kills.
Primary targets for Man at Arms are berries, wood, and gold villagers.
Archers are a natural follow-up to Man at Arms because you have the correct economy setup. In this build order, you have excess wood in Feudal Age and not a lot of Food because of Man at Arm production and upgrades. You already have a mining camp so you can simply add a few more villagers to gold to keep up the production of Archers.
The common response to Man at Arms is ranged units so you’ll likely be entering into a ranged units war.
Some of the most common Civilisations used for this build order are Vikings, Celts, Aztecs and Goths.
Man at Arms into Archer Build Order
- Build two houses with your starting villagers and queue up villagers in your Town Centre
- After building the houses, send those villagers to sheep
- Send villagers from the Town Centre to the sheep until you have a total of six villagers on food
- The next villager from the Town Centre, send to the Woodline and build a lumber camp
- Send two more villagers to the Woodline
- With the 11th villager, send to the boar and lure under the Town Centre
- Send the next villager to build two new houses close to your berries and build a mill
- Send the next three villagers to berries
- Using one of the villagers under your Town Centre, lure the second boar
- Send the next villager to berries
- The next two villagers created, send them to the boar or sheep
- With the 19th villager, build a barracks, send the villager to build a farm and train 3 militia units
- With the next villager created, send to your gold pile and build a mining camp
- Send the next villager to mine gold
- Research Loom in the Town Centre
ADVANCE TO FEUDAL AGE
- Take four villagers from under your Town Centre taking food, and send them to build a second lumber camp
- Take one villager from the sheep/boar and build a farm
- After advancing to Feudal Age, research the lumber camp technology Double-Bit Axe
- Research the Men at Arms tech in the barracks
- Next, take four more villagers from the sheep and send them to the wood lines
- The next two villagers created send to build two farms
- As the villagers finish taking food from the sheep, send them to make farms also
- Send the 24th villager to mine gold
- Build two Archery Ranges, A blacksmith and make 6 archers
- Create 5 more villagers and send them to gold
- Research Fletching in the Blacksmith
And now you have mastered the Man at Arms into Archers build order!
These are just a few of the commonly used build orders for this game. However, there are multiple different orders and variations. Build orders guide you to build up your empire and achieve specific results, but they are just guides, and you can choose to play however you like!
Some build orders are more or less popular depending on the map, game mode, and elo range. Some build orders are preferred for 1v1 games, such as the Man at Arms build order.
It is uncommon to see a player choose to do the Man at Arms build order in a team game because usually, most battles open with cavalry and archers.
However, the Man at Arms build order is used so often in 1v1s after you start gaining 1v1 elo, Usually, around +1000 elo is where you’ll likely expect this build
Straight Fast Castle build orders are better suited for closed maps like Arena because open maps can be very dangerous to have no military units protecting your base until you reach castle age. Although it is not impossible, playing as a pocket (your base is behind another team member) means you can pull off a Fast Castle build. Just be cautious of enemy attacks.
One thing to remember is that Build Orders need to be adapted depending on the map and your civilization bonuses. For example, Mongols and Lithuanians can quickly complete the Scout build order at 20 population and Civilizations like Huns have faster stable bonuses that are great for scout rushes.
Hybrid maps containing water and land can change the whole dynamic of the game. Instead of simply focusing on farming and land resources, adding some fishing boats to your build is key. This changes the number of villagers you need for wood and other resources.
Overall, build orders are simply a guide to improving your empire and helping to balance your economy and military production. They are not required, and you can play however you like but if you’re hoping to gain some elo and show off your skills, learning some build orders is a great way to start!