Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition

Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition

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By Furor_Teutonicus
Death Match (DM) in Age of Empires 2 DE results in vastly different games than the normal "Random Map" setting. It can be intimidating for a RM player to play DM and actually LOSE a game in less than 5 minutes!

If, however, you learn some basics in the DM opening, you can survive the initial rush and enjoy a longer, more interesting game. DM games offer incredible battles, frantic action, and (yes, RMers) even resource management. The DM game's first 20 minutes are dramatically different from RM games and can really bring a hell of a rush to players - learn how to survive and thrive in Death Match.
Greetings Furor_Teutonicus here, leader of the AOE 2 DE FavsT Clan, you can join our discord server to play and chat with us here; I'm back once again this time we are venturing into Death Match.

Why would an RMer want to ever play Death Match? Well rarely do RM games reach Post Imperial. DM starts in Post Imperial, it gives you a chance to work on aspects of the game right off the bat that you rarely get to practice or experience in most RM matches. It is also a change of pace, if you are getting bored with the game or just want to try something different DM fits the bill.

I am compiling this guide since we as a clan are going to be hosting a Death Match tournament soon and thought since so many players are still relatively new to Death Match it would be beneficial to have a guide for it setup. So don't forget to join the discord server so you can be notified when the Death Match tournament sign ups are open, more information will be available there in the coming days.

The Death Match (DM) setting results in a vastly different game than the more common Random Match (RM) game type. RM is the most popular AOE 2 DE game type which can make learning to play Death Match difficult. This guide is meant to assist with learning to play Death Match in multiplayer. It can be intimidating for a RM player to play DM and actually LOSE a game in less than 5 minutes.

If, however, you learn some basics in the DM opening, you can survive the initial rush and enjoy a longer, more interesting game. DM games offer incredible battles, frantic action, and (yes, RMers) even resource management. A DM game's first 20 minutes are dramatically different from RM games and can really bring a hell of a rush to players. RM players should give DM a real chance, you may enjoy the game type and it will give you a chance to use units and compositions that are harder to reach in most RM games.

This article assumes the following DM settings.
Map: Arabia
Population: 200
Age: Post-Imperial
Reveal: Explored
Speed: Fast (2.0)
Victory: Conquest
(No cheats, of course)

Generally the map sizes are one lower than what you are used to in Random Map team games. With 2vs2 being played on a 3 player map size, 3vs3 on 4 player map size, and 4vs4 being played on 6 player map size. There is no map size smaller than tiny two player map size, so 1vs1's are played on tiny.

You start with a large amount of resources at the beginning of a Death Match game. Those resources however will quickly run out and economy becomes a large factor.

Even though you start with so many, and so much gold. It is easy to quickly spend all of your starting gold and since it is such an important resource in Death Match, the guide will cover ways to acquire more gold in Death Match. The guide will also cover other topics such as the first five minutes of a Death Match, the Market, tactics, etc...

The First Five Minutes
Queue the maximum amount of Villagers in your Town Center.
The very first thing you should do in a DM game is hit the hotkeys to select your Town Center and create villagers.

The SHIFT key will queue units 5 at a time, shortening the number of presses you have to do to fill the queue. You will need lots of villagers to win a competitive DM game, over 100 potentially! So keep em coming!

Have one Villager begin constructing a House.
Have the two other Villagers build either a Stable or Barracks depending on your civilization. For example if you are Franks you would most likely build a Stable since they have excellent Paladins. If you are Slavs it may be better to build a Barracks since they have some of the best Halberdiers in the game and Halbs go better with the Siege units Slavs will be producing. What units/buildings you start the game with are often match up dependent rewarding those with a wide knowledge of tech trees.
The Villager that is building a house must continue to construct houses otherwise your Villager and military production will shut down fast. It is an eye-opener for an RM player to find out how many Houses (or Castles) you will need in just the first few minutes of a DM match.

If you are interested in the tech tree of a specific civ and are unsure whether to build a Barracks or a Stable first, check out this website; it has each civilizations tech tree.

Your first freshly produced Villager should lay the foundations of many military buildings. You could hold the SHIFT key when laying these foundations as it sometimes makes it easier.

Your new buildings should have one tile between them if possible so your Villagers efficiently and automatically move to an unbuilt foundation after one has been completed. Civilizations that don't have Paladins, Heavy Camels or a significant bonus to their Cavaliers should build Barracks instead of Stables. Your first Villager should assist with these military buildings as soon as they are done with one house, generally you want your Villagers spread out with one on each building as that is the most efficient after the first military building is up. Set the gather point from your TC (to an unbuilt Stable/Barracks to get those Villagers to work - you NEED these buildings up fast.

NOTE: It is imperative that as soon as a Stable/Barracks is completed, you should fill the queue with the unit you are creating (Paladin, Heavy Camel,Halberdier --use the hotkey with SHIFT to queue up 5 at a time!). If you have 5 Stables fully queued, that is 75 units coming fast! The name of the game is mass quantities! NOTE: as a DM player, you MUST learn the hotkeys.

After your Barracks/Stables (around 6 give or take) are done, you will need to focus on housing. You will need tons of housing because 1.) Early on nothing is worse than having Villagers and units queued but not coming out because of lack of houses 2.) Castles frequently get destroyed, having plenty of houses prevents housing shortage mid-game.

Third; What do you do with your starting Scout? If you wish to go attack look at the mini map to find the largest gold pile, your enemies Town Center will be located nearby. Go attack since assaulting your enemy's first few Villagers can actually gain very serious advantage.

Or you may elect to stay at home as defense vs enemy Scouts, or scout out your enemies w/o attacking.

Whatever you choose to do be sure to take the Scout off of Standground and put it to either Defensive/Aggressive.

If you can harass your enemy, kill a villager or two, your in great shape. Note that your Post-Imperial Scout, which is usually a Hussar or Light Cavalry in Death Match is much stronger than the initial starting Scout in RM play and can do some serious damage! As soon as your Scout locates the enemy begin killing villagers. It takes about 4 strikes to kill one villager. If there is a Camel or Paladin there just kill a villager or two, as killing one villager is much better than wounding one Paladin or Camel. Careful to not spend too much time focusing on the Scout, you must get the macro of your opening on point to lead you through the rest of the first few minutes of the game.

What's Next?
After you get some military units producing, build some defensive Castles (say 2 or 3 near your initial TC, houses, hills or pivotal resource locations), additional Town Centers (it is not unusual in Death Match to make two Town Centers on your main gold pile), and more military buildings are needed like Siege Workshops and secondary military buildings. Getting more TCs is very important so you can have multiple TCs producing Villagers - keep them coming, you need over approximately 100-120 Villagers. Build a Town Center at every gold and stone pile, also you will need Town Centers near Wood and for Farming. Sometimes Town Centers can cover multiple resources at once.

You have a choice to make. Do you want your Farms all in the same relative area so they area easier to defend or do you want your Farms spread out so that if that area is being attacked you still have food income but have a larger base that is sometimes harder to defend? The choice is yours there are pros and cons to both. Either way be sure to build your Castles in strategic locations protecting your economy, controlling hills, and or resources.

Be sure to remember to build a Mill at some point in the game and turn automatic Farm reseeding on. You will need a Mill to do this or your Farms will at some point run out.

Offense or Defense?
There are two options in the first five minutes; to defend or to take the fight to the enemy. Each start varies depending on your civilizations strengths. It helps to know not only your civilization but your enemies as well. Some civilizations are natural rushers such as the Huns, while others such as Britons and Vikings usually defend. The units most likely to rush with are Paladins or Heavy Camels. Some of the best units to defend with in response to Paladins/Camels within the first five minutes are Heavy Camels but if your civilization doesn't have Heavy Camels, Halberdiers are often second best.
The First Five Continued
The Halberdier Defense
In any DM game you should expect a rush. A quick Paladin rush is a very common opening and you better be prepared to deal with it.

If you are relying on Halberdier, then, after following the steps above, you have Halberdier producing from your barracks early--hopefully before the enemy Scout starts attacking your Villagers. If not, garrison the targeted Villager in your TC and kill that Scout with the first Halberdier that produces, quickly get the Villager back to work. You will need a 3 to 1 ratio of Halberdier to Paladins to survive a real Paladin rush.

You must have some defensive Castles/TCs/Bombard Towers. If your civ has access to Bombard Towers, they can be built much faster than Castles and they work great in a cluster as your Halberdier face off vs a Paladin rush. Bombard Towers also make good cover for your Villagers as they are building. It's better to have some Bombard Towers BEFORE your Castle since the Castle builds so slowly... Unless you are jumping ahead and thinking of Clumping, which is covered later on in this guide.

Remember, if you can hold your own with Halberdier vs Paladins/Heavy Camels, you are actually winning. Halberdiers are "free" since they cost zero gold and trade cost effectively vs Paladins. You can "wear down" your opponent with cost effective trades erasing their gold stockpile.

Tired of Defense? Rush.
The best defense is a good offense. Follow the steps above, but go Stables and produce Paladins. The key here is to hit fast and furious. Set the gather point of your Stables to your enemy's base.

A Frank Rush may resemble something like the following;
Queue up 15 Villagers
Send Scout to enemy base, right click or patrol, take Scout off of Standground
Lone Villager builds a House
Other 2 Villagers begin to build a Stable
Newly Produced Villager lays more Stable foundations
House is constructed have that Villager build more Houses
When the Stable is constructed queue up Paladins and set the rally point to the enemy base
When new Stables are constructed repeat the above process of queuing Paladins and setting the rally points to the enemy base
6 Stables producing Paladins
Begin Castling near main gold, or if there is a hill in front of your base consider Castling that too
Two Town Centers being constructed on main gold piles
Build Barracks and Siege Workshops
Continue controlling the map and producing Villagers and new Town Centers.
Have a Town Center at each gold pile, and Town Centers by Wood and Stone. You will need to begin Farming soon & Wood collection, focus on gold at the start.
What buildings and unit composition you go is somewhat dependent on the civ you are up against. The start will usually remain the same though, rushing with Paladins. Be sure to add in Siege to finish them off if the Rush is successful. Also if the Rush is going well send Villagers forward to build forward Castles on key hills and or resources such as their gold.

There is however an alternative starting Build Order to Death Match games that can be used, one that makes use of strong Unique Units, the Castle Clump.
The Castle Clump

An Alternative Starting Strategy
Approximately two decades ago a wise computer gaming veteran decided to invent himself a brilliant new strategy to counter the brutal Paladin Rush in Age of Empires 2. This man is known to many as Sam_DeathWalker.

Mr.DeathWalker dedicated hours upon hours of his online gaming time to develop an anti-rush strategy so powerful that no Paladin Rush could penetrate it. He would invent a strategy so mighty that it would take the greatest players in DM to have a chance at beating Sam with a Paladin Rush. Little did our Sam know, that he was inventing a strategy that would become one of the most famous and popular DM strategies ever to reach the DM community. Sam invented the Castle Clump.

The Castle Clump provides protection for Villagers against Melee Rushes, the ability to create a counter-unit to the Paladin or focus on Unique Units. The Clump is a defensive strategy with a relatively fast building time. It is possible to incorporate a Market into the Build Order. Houses and Castles support population space. You start by building near/around the initial Town Center.

The Town Center has a portion where units are not able to pass through, this portion of the Town Center is vital to the Clump. Sam discovered that 1/4 of the Town Center was indeed impassable by enemy units, and the remaining 3/4 could support units moving through it. Below is a diagram showing the exact layout of a Town Center;

The areas shaded in red are completely restricted to all units. Units cannot pass through this part of the Town Center, so it is similar to all the other buildings in this way. The remaining area of the TC (the blue area) is more or less transparent in the sense that anything can move through this. This means that Paladins could easily break into a Clump by entering through this section. You must be aware of this if you are to properly execute the Clump.

Sam found a way of blocking up the areas at both sides of his Town Center. How would this be possible?

The One Cell Clump
"I thought about making some Stables or Barracks there, and they seemed to work well. I tried out my Saracen Stable Clump in Ranked. I thought it was working pretty good, but I couldn't make any Heavy Camels because I didn't have a House. Back to the Drawing Board..."

This was a massive problem that Sam had foolishly overlooked. How was he to support his new units without a population space? The basis of his idea was born, but the strategy was far from completion. "CASTLES!"

Indeed! Castles support a population of 20 units! Why would he need houses when he could simply make approximately 5-6 Castles in his Clump?

Success and satisfaction were at hand. The time for glory was nigh, but not yet apparent. Sam still lost many of his games against Paladin rushers, but as he continued to practice his Saracen Castle Clump he quickly began to make it faster and faster. Soon enough, his Castle foundations protected his villagers even before the enemy Scout arrived!

"It was real good to kill off Paladin rushers at last. I would be able to make my Castle foundations really fast, and they didn't know what to do. Those Elite Mamelukes really tear up the Paladins...."
Was Sam_DeathWalker's Castle Clump perfected? Is anything ever really perfect? No! Problems with his Strategy arose from time to time, the most important of these was his ability to create the necessary amount of Mamelukes.
"Whenever people played me more and more they learned my Strategy. Franks Experts started making their cheap Castles all around my Castle-Clump and trebbing me to death. My Mamelukes killed their Paladins, but those Axemen+Pikemen ran me out of gold eventually. I needed to get more Gold at the start somehow.... then I could wipe them out quickly."
Sam decided the best way to get more Gold early on was to take advantage of the Saracen Market Bonus. Sam would need to build a Market into his Clump, so he could sell his wood and some food to get 3-4k more Gold to create more Mamelukes.
"I had to make the Market with my first villager, otherwise my enemy might get it first. It worked out pretty well, since my villagers were protected. Sometimes it slowed me down a bit though."
Sam believed his Castle Clump to be perfect now. Although he mainly used the Saracens to Castle Clump, he sometimes experimented with the Briton Castle Clump and the Teuton Castle Clump in Team games. Although the British Longbowman is countered by the Frank Paladin, Sam ingeniously garrisoned them inside his Castles until his Clump was completed. In this way they were free from enemy attack and also made the Castles deadly.

If there are any holes fill them by building Stone Wall to not let any enemy units in. The below image has no holes because the buildings are close enough to one another.

It is important where you set the rally point of your Town Center, it will take some experience to learn how to keep the Villagers inside the Clump, if things get too cramped it is not uncommon to delete a House or Market after the Clump has been completed.

Once you sell your resources at the Market, it is sometimes wise to delete the Market and then begin building another Castle foundation where the Market once stood. It is important to remember you must begin building each foundation otherwise the enemy will be able to walk right over the ghost foundation, it does not become a solid in game object until it is being worked on by a Villager.

You will usually not want to build more than 6 Castles at the start so you have sufficient Stone left to build Town Centers and Bombard Towers if your civ had access to them.

Remember you are able to garrison any units that may get "stuck" inside the Clump, set the rally point outside of the Clump and then ungarrison those units so they are no longer stuck.

As time ticked away, a new, vivid problem arose for Sam. His beloved Clump was becoming weaker and weaker as Hun rushers became stronger and faster. In 3v3 Team Games on a Medium Map, there was very little Sam could do against a downpour of hundreds of Huns Paladins within minutes. If these deadly invaders were mixed with Eagle warriors in a rush, Sam's clump could easily be penetrated and broken. His villagers would die, and soon enough his Town Center would fall also.

The Clump would have to evolve with the times or fall to the wayside tossed into the trash-bin of forgotten strategies. But then two is better than one right? The old adage two is one and one is none did Sam well.
The Two Cell Clump
Evolving to the Two Cell Clump
As time ticked away, a new, vivid problem arose for Sam. His beloved Clump was becoming weaker and weaker as Hun rushers became stronger and faster. In 3v3 Team Games on a Medium Map, there was very little Sam could do against a downpour of hundreds of Huns Paladins within minutes. If these deadly invaders were mixed with Eagle warriors in a rush, Sam's clump could easily be penetrated and broken. His villagers would die, and soon enough his Town Center would fall also.

"It was depressing when a Huns and Mayans double rush would kill me in 3 minutes, it reminded me of my Age of Kings days. Expert DMer Elfanor was the first to break it, and after his initial win he killed me another 5 or 6 times. I couldn't think what to do better...."
Sam was stuck. He was clueless about what to do next. Would he continue being beaten by talented Huns rushers? Would he change his civ choice? Or would he invent another, more powerful strategy? Sam wasn't a quitter.
"I knew something had to be done, but I wasn't sure what. I didn't know whether I should go for a new civ, like Huns for instance, or should I try and improve my Saracens. I practiced making my Clump faster and faster, but Experts still beat it. I set to work in Single Player again, racking my brains for ways to improve my Clump."
Sam recalls how it took him a long time to think up his new idea, but finally he did. He came up with the idea of a Clump with two parts to it, a Two-Cell Clump.
"Since the Huns Paladins could only really attack one building to break into my Clump, I thought it might work to have two parts to the Clump. That way, if one side fell to the enemy, the other side would remain intact. I would be able to make Mamelukes to kill off the Paladins, and then use my Villagers to finish the Clump."

The idea was brilliant, but how was Sam to form his new Clump? How should the two Cells be split up?

"I thought long and hard about what way it should look. I practiced lots of ideas in Ranked and lost about 100 points. I finally decided on a normal Castle Clump, but with 2 Houses dividing them into two different sections. This way I could support my population of villagers, and also expand my clump. I was able to include the Market and an optional additional Town Center in it." If you do elect to include a Town Center in it, be careful when it is completed so it does not cause a hole in your Clump, complete it last or close to last, also including a Town Center can help with units getting "stuck" inside the Clump when the Clump is completed.

What if I am rushed by Ranged units? For civs with access to Bombard Towers or especially strong Guard Towers like Japanese and Britons, implementing Towers into the Clump may prove advantageous if you are against a player rushing with ranged units, as that is a weakness of the Clump or you can just quickly get that first Castle up by having multiple Villagers focus on it.

Unless you are defending against a fast rush spread your Villagers evenly, not more than 2 on one castle. The castles will go up a lot faster if you the Villagers are evenly distributed among the building foundations. If the rush starts coming, then you might want to put all Villagers on one Castle just to stop the rush.

A non-exhaustive list of some popular Castle Clump Civs
  • Britons; still used occasionally in Team Games, since the Longbowmen are a great accompanying unit.
  • Byzantines; The Elite Cataphracts are a deadly opponent in Team Games against infantry civilizations.
  • Mongols; producing Manguadis in mass began to become an amazingly popular and powerful Strategy. They could wipe out armies of Paladins, Eagle Warriors, infantry and Siege when created in the large numbers.
  • Persians; A very slow but extremely powerful civ when built up. The clump allows the player to create massive War Elephant armies without fear of being rushed to death.
  • Saracens; The player could produce masses of Mamelukes to counter Paladin rushes in the safety of the Castle Clump.
The Market

It is important to build a market early in the game since it could give a huge gold advantage over an opponent who does not. Also the market is important in winning many team games. They provide an unlimited supply of gold which is needed to win most team games.

Time Frame
Generally the earlier a person builds a market, the more it will help them economically. While building a market very early is economical, it could slow a person's construction of military buildings causing the player to be susceptible to a rush. Usually, a market should be constructed so that the buy/sell resource value is optimized and the player is not as vulnerable to a rush. Building a market later could result in resource sell/buy values decreasing causing a player not to get the full value of selling supplies.

In team games, the player who is more gold reliant should be the first to sell resources at the Market. Trading between the two teams should be start around the middle of the game, 10 - 20 minutes. Teams shouldn't trade too early because military is more important, and shouldn't trade too late because trading earlier will get them gold quicker.


Guilds is a technology that reduces the cost of buying and selling resources at the market. Civilizations which have the guilds technology can get more gold from the market than those who don't. The Saracens are the only civilization with a market bonus.

Sell / Buy Profits;
Below are tables illustrating the amounts of gold that can be generated by selling a certain amount of resources. Civilizations with market technologies gain more profit from market selling/buying.

Civilizations without Guilds
(Maximum sell = 70 wood, 70 food, 91 Stone)

Civilizations with Guilds
(Maximum sell = 85 wood, 85 food, 110 Stone)

Civilizations with Market Bonus
Saracens (5% market trade cost, maximum sell = 95 wood, 95 food, 123 Stone)

Importance of Market in 1vs1
Making an early market in for example a Franks war could possibly decide the result of a 1vs1 game. These are the amount of extra paladins one could get over an opponent which doesn't make a market.

Amount of Resources a Player Should Sell?
The amount of resources that should be sold for gold depends on many factors such as the player's civilization and what resources are needed. Some civilizations do not need gold as much as others. Britons for example need wood more than gold so selling wood at the market may not be wise. Same can be applied to food needing civilizations such as Persians. Franks doesn't use as much stone as other civilizations due to its cheaper Castles, because of that some stone could be sold when using Franks. Usually a player should sell the resources that they do not have immediate need of and would be in high abundance if they were not to be sold. The knowledge of what you will need or not need comes with experience.

Trade Routes
Trading is available only in games with allies through trade carts by land and trade cogs by sea. Their primary function is to carry goods to an ally's market and bring gold back as a profit. An important thing to remember with trading is that the farther the better. In terms of trading, the longer the distance a trade cart/trade cog has to travel, the higher the gold profit. Markets should be placed in a suitable area. They should be constructed around the corner of a player's base.

Defending Trade Routes
Before discussing how to best defend trade lets discuss some common tactics used against trade routs. Trade routes are vulnerable to groups of fast units such as Paladins, but, one of the most effective ways to raid a trade route is with a group of fast ranged units such as Kipchak, put the fast ranged units on stand ground along the trade route, your units will snipe any incoming trade carts.

Trade carts can be easily destroyed due to their low hit points and their inability to fight back. While having longer trade routes can get a team more gold, it also makes the route vulnerable to raids. Most raids are done by fast units, typically cavalry. They usually raid the markets and trade units using hit and run tactics, escaping before help arrives. To prevent this from happening, defense is needed. The most effective way of preventing raids are walls. Players should wall off areas that provide access to the trade route. Castles provide a form of defense, but their attack alone isn't always enough to deter a raiding party. In case a team is being raided, the best thing to do is to send units to take out the raiders. Also in case of being raided, it is wise to send your trade carts running to nearby Castles to avoid the raiders. Closing off check points with walls can prevent access from raiders.

Another tactic, albeit one that is less common is when an enemy sends Villagers forward to wall in a players markets or wall off a corner of the map making trade less efficient.

Market Summed Up
Always try and keep the advantage. Don't expect to win just because you got the market up first and traded before him. Use it to your advantage. Using a market properly can mean the difference in winning or losing. Markets provide an advantage of gold in single games and an unlimited supply of gold in team games. Team games are usually decided by the team who can keep an undisturbed trade route to gain the most gold profit. The value of the market to an economy should not be taken lightly.
Map Control

Quick ownership of land becomes a lot more important in Death Match. There is a large swath of unoccupied land which must be claimed. In particular hills and gold piles are areas of interest you will want to control.

Aggression as a Map Control Tactic
Well the easiest way is to simply contain your enemy. Don't let him out of his town and he won't be able to touch the other resources. Do this by applying pressure from the very start.

Take the fight to the enemy, don't let him box you in. The more pressure you apply the more map and resources you will be able to take. Make the gather point of one of your initial military buildings straight to his base. Yes the unit will die, but it will perform multiple tasks at once; a) keep him on defense, b) perhaps kill a villager or two in the process and c) his units have to chase it to kill it. Therefore attracting his army to the back of his base making him weaker at the front. Keep this going until you can see that it is no longer effective.

Sit your units just outside his town and get some forward Castles up. Sending your units in one by one is suicide. Instead wait just outside and gather up forces. Start building Trebuchets straight away out of those Castles. When you feel you are strong enough start pushing him. If you are able to force the fight underneath your Castles do so.

At the same time as setting up this base just outside his, set another one up somewhere else on the map (preferably to the side of your enemy). He probably won't notice because he will be too busy fighting you off your initial frontal assault. You will then be able to flank him as well target his housing if you so desire.

Side Raiding Stables
Building forward Stables in an unoccupied area of the map to gain map control and also hit the enemy from a different direction can be an effective method in which to raid their economy.

Team Strategy
The problem with rushing is, it usually doesn't work if you're playing someone who's ready. Guess where it does work? Team games.

In order for these strategies to work, every member of the team has to know the plan, and has to be a competent rusher. Communication is key, if you are able to be in the same voice call on a discord server that is advantageous. If you need a discord server to use, join mine here Your allies don't necessarily have to specialize in rushing or choose rushing civilizations. But the strategy must be discussed, if all else fails type it out in the in game chat.

The Common
The players in the middle in a 3v3 or 4v4 are called the pockets. The players on the sides and closest to the enemy are called the flanks. The most basic strategy involves the two flanks rushing the enemy flanks. The pocket doesn't rush, but instead markets early, builds a lot of villagers, and fortifies both his base and the wingers' bases. If the teams are fair, this rush probably won't eliminate anyone or cause serious damage, but helps to gain control and disrupt economy.

The Dog-pile
A second and sometimes more powerful risky rush involves all three players rushing one enemy, an agreed upon flank, maybe targeting a slower civilization. This should eliminate the targeted player if enough pressure is applied quickly. The obvious advantage is it turns the game into a 3vs2, and it might force opponents with no confidence in themselves to resign. This does leave your flank who rushed the opposite flank vulnerable (then he would be sending units to the opposite side of the map) to a rush from their mirror image on the other team. The other two players are not so vulnerable, because the pocket is protected on both sides, and the flank who rushes the opponent opposite them, their closest opponent is being eliminated.

Fake Blitz
One of the more sneaky rushes is the "fake blitz," as I like to call it. In a fake blitz, the pocket sends about 5 units to each enemy player, giving the impression that everyone on your team is rushing, and more is to come. Meanwhile, the flanks are booming and fortifying their bases. The pocket might want to follow up with a strong, late rush directed at the enemy pocket, trying to weaken him. This rush is not designed to win the game, but rather to give your team the early advantage.

The Pocket Rush
There is, of course, the pocket rush. The flanks both rush the enemy pocket (if they can get there, otherwise they abort and rush the closest flank). They should be able to take out the pocket, and this creates a 3vs2, where the two remaining enemies are weak. Your pocket should build on the enemy pocket's land, isolating the remaining enemies and surrounding them on all sides.
Tactics & Terminology
Mirror match or War; is when both players or teams are each playing the same civs.

First Main Battle; The first 5-10 minutes when the first major battle of the game takes place the one who wins the battle gets the advantage/initiative, putting the winner of the main battle on the offensive.

Raid; Disrupting the opponents economy, for example, if the enemy has a lot of farms in one part of the map, then you can send your raiding party to kill or idle the farmers, interrupting the enemy's food supply, delaying the growth of their army. It does not have to be their farms, disrupting any aspect of their economy is good. Gold is especially important.

Rush; Typically the fast Paladin or Heavy Camel attack, when Stable rally points at the start of the game are set to an enemy base targeting Villagers to slow the enemy's construction of buildings and flood the opponent's town with your units.

Patrol Rush; Gather your military units in front of your base and when you have around 10-30 units in that gathering spot, then you select them and click to patrol pointing towards the enemy base and when the units arrive the opponent's base, they will attack automatically.

Kamikaze Way: A Patrol-Rush counter. Simple, while you build your army, you set the gather point of your Stables to behind the enemy base, so all the units who are in PATROL movement will head back to their base following the kamikaze cavalry so the patrol rush fails.

RAM Barrier; Placing a group of rams in the center of a battle between archers, and the opponents archers will fire at the rams instead of your archers.

Offensive Forward Castle Push; When the armies are in the middle of a battle, you can build a Castle to assist your attack, pushing back your opponent while your armies advance towards the enemy base.

Remember to protect your Villagers at the start of the game your opponent will likely send their Scout to your base.

What to do if your opponent controls the center of the map?
You could try making a Castle fortress (between 3-6) just in the center of your base and split your army to your sides, so you can command your attacks and penetrate the enemy by the sides, since the center is heavily defended you should take the enemy sides (including their economy). When you find your opponents weaker side, then you should concentrate your complete army there to make a full scale attack/penetration, leading you to the victory.

What to do if your opponent controls sides of the map?
Build Castles and buildings on your sides (to delay your opponent’s attack from the sides) while you concentrate your main army in the center of the map and launch a full scale attack from there.

Note; In both cases, you should keep destroying the enemy’s Trebuchets/Rams so your fortress, can't be destroyed. For example, if the enemy is using 4 Trebuchets, then send 15 Paladins or Hussars to destroy them.

In both playing offensively is often the key to victory when your under pressure, find a way to penetrate the enemy’s base if you are under pressure which should relieve your pressure. Then the enemy’s attack will stop, and they may turn to the defensive, giving you the initiative.
Tips & Tricks
Differences Between 1vs1 and Team DM;
Obviously you have no team mates in a 1vs1, therefore, the ownership of land becomes a lot more important. There is much more unoccupied land in a 1vs1.

Your sides are no longer protected by an ally be cognoscente of this fact. The enemy can come from anywhere, which is one reason why so many people feel safer in a team game.

General Tips
To succeed in DM practice your speed. Learn the hotkeys and practice your opening just as you would practice an RM opening. Own as much of the map and its resources as quickly as you can, with buildings, units or both.

Don't forget Stone. While you may not need Stone right away, Castles are important late in the game when most units being built are trash units.

Find all the Relics, or as many as you can, and put them in your monasteries to generate Gold, the more Relics the faster the Gold generation. Go for them early, but, not so early that it hampers your military or economy.

Don't give up if you are running out of resources. If you are running out of resources, chances are your opponent is also.

Every now and then, use a a fast unit as a kamikaze scout and find out exactly what your opponent is building. Then you can build the correct units to counter.

If you are fighting the enemy and you have a Castle nearby always try and lure his units into your castles, and vice versa don't let the enemy lure you to their Castles.

Game Breaking Technologies;
Treadmill Crane

Treadmill Crane is a technology in Age of Empires II. It allows the construction speed for all buildings is increased by +20%. Only some civilizations have access to Treadmill Crane in their tech tree.

Lacking treadmill crane hurts the victim of a rush right off the bat. How does a 20% difference in construction time make that much of a difference? The answer is two-fold. First off there is the concept of reaching an overwhelming mass. The first few buildings will go up at a similar rate, but as buildings are being constructed the Treadmill Crane player will quickly pull ahead. Here is some math to drive home the point. Stable build time equals 50 seconds in game. Twenty percent of that is 10 seconds and thus the crane allows you to build stables in 40 seconds. So after 200 seconds how do things stand? The player without Treadmill Crane has 4 stables for every 5 stables that the Treadmill Crane player has. More stables = more units and the Treadmill Crane player is going to reach a mass of troops that is going to overwhelm the other player by sheer numbers. Heavy Camels may generally defeat Paladins 1 to 1, but in 5 Paladins vs 4 Heavy Camels the odds favor the Paladins. This effect gets even worse when it is 10 vs 8, 11 vs 7, 12 vs 6, etc...
Secondly lacking Treadmill Crane hampers player's ability to rush. Creating a similar circumstance as the one just previously mentioned.
A final, but not non-trivial element of the Treadmill Crane tech is the ability to get a Castle up that much quicker. A 20% decrease in build time has a more significant effect on buildings that take longer to build. As Castles and battles around Castles are a crucial element to a good DM game the benefit of faster building Castles should be apparent.

Despite not having access to Treadmill Crane, the Spanish have the fastest builders in the game due to their civilization bonus that gives them +30% working speed.

Seige Engineers

Trebuchets are the ultimate in siege weapons. It was rapidly discovered that a key element to victory in AOE 2 involved maintaining a protected Trebuchet force. One of the most potent ways to knock out a protected Trebuchet force is using the Trebuchet itself and thus you begin to see the Trebuchet wars. Therefore Trebuchet upgrades are of paramount importance for any civ. The extra +1 range and 20% additional damage will really make a big difference in the effectiveness of your Trebuchet and lacking this upgrade will seriously hamper a civ's ability for success. This technology is also important for Onagers and Siege Onagers in some matchups.

Full Military Upgrades
The last military upgrades will make a significant difference in unit performance. For example lacking Husbandry makes it difficult for Teuton Paladins to catch most other civs Cavalry. In DM many civs are hindered by lacking key upgrades for their units.
I compiled this guide since we as a clan are going to be hosting a Death Match tournament soon and thought since so many players are still relatively new to Death Match it would be beneficial to have a guide for it setup. So don't forget to join the discord server, the link is below, to be notified when the Death Match tournament sign ups are open. More information will be available there in the coming days.

If you have any questions regarding this guide or are just looking for people to play and chat with join the FavsT Clan discord server;

Other Strategy Guides by Furor_Teutonicus;
Authors & References
The large majority of this Guide is an amalgamated frankenstein of the long defunct MrFixitOnline's archive of Death Match Articles to my knowledge largely only accessible thanks to the wayback machine archiving the internet. The following list of authors contributed to this guide. Below the list of authors in the references section you will find the original pieces and any other referenced materials.



How to survive and win a 1vs1 Deathmatch: Speed and Experience by DnC_Dictator;

DeathMatch: The First 5 Minutes Authors: DevilZ_Baron, lYlaster, dustin_c1, game_over, Masonry, Mr.Fixit;

Sam_DeathWalker's Castle Clump by Sam_DeathWalker and [pG]Bravo;

DM Economic Dominance: The Market by lYlasTer;

Franks: DM Powerhouse by blue_myriddn, DevilZ_Baron, Out4Blood,& Mr.Fixit

The Persians in DM by AraI3ia, Zoltron, MaJoR_Eloff

Huns Wars by _Jose_M

Team Rushing

Treadmill Crane Tech
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BoseDK Sep 24, 2020 @ 11:11pm 
Where do I get your discord channel?
The link you shared has expired.
Hjalmar May 9, 2020 @ 4:26am 
yeah good guide
Mitchpuff May 6, 2020 @ 10:04am 
Awesome guide as usual. Keep up the good work.