What are your strategic heuristics and when do they fail you? (Spoiler: This thread could make your Elo jump.)

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    I think this here is very key in reflecting about yourself as a player and find ways to improve.

    Intuitively we all build heuristics we base our actions on, as a result of successful and unsuccessful experience.

    Our mind is like that:

    * Something worked out: try to do it.
    * Something failed: try to avoid it.

    Do more of the other thing.

    There are more fine-tuned things going on like feeling for timings or decisional logic (like: I see Knights -> I build a Monastery) and it’s very valuable to reflect these and stabilise them if they’re inconsistent. (Like: In the past I *sometimes* moved Archers forward in anticipation to maximize the Xbow-spike.

    If I forgot, I wasted the advantage.

    Nowadays I do that more automatically.)

    But I want to ask **about your strategic playstyle** based on your intuitive behavior.

    # How do you try to win games?

    **In my case for example,** it’s quite clearly that I win through macro advantage.

    I want to get out army as quickly as possible to do damage as quickly as possible to then expand the advantage and simply win with numbers later on.

    Some implications:

    * I am impatient with using army.
    * Which is sometimes problematic with Archers and other army that’s based on scaling).
    * I tend to trade army for eco a lot which is sometimes wrong.
    * I try to force things when the opponent is playing defensively.
    * Again, sometimes wasting army because of that.
    * Sometimes not thinking ahead enough, making decisions too late, ignoring long-term aspects such as relics or hills.
    * I am somewhat uncomfortable to play on even terms for too long.

    I feel like I need to get advantages before we’re outboomed. (Which then again feeds my lack of patience.)
    * I overrate eco advantages at times.
    * In some situations I think that the opponent can basically do nothing after receiving damage for once and start to play very sloppy.
    * In other situations I overrate raiding, thinking that raiding alone will give me enough advantage to outproduce the opponent ultimately.
    * I underrate death-balls (both using them and how dangerous they can be against me).
    * I have a lot of weaknesses in late game.

    Which is weird because I like to play in these outboomed situations with many places of fighting and in the past I was always pretty good in post-Imp scenarios.
    * But I don’t think ahead enough in terms of army compositions.

    Often miss to go for a backline-dps unit.
    * I am undisciplined in using army compositions, keeping gold units alive and such.

    I often lose Siege sloppily.

    I also don’t make enough Siege, as a result.

    Onager or BBC often feels like a waste for me.

    Which is why I also don’t practice this weakness enough.
    * I underrate the long-term importance of Castles and Hills.

    I am routinely losing in post-imp because I decided to prioritize raids (and army numbers) over the Treb-war and then I am playing with +30 vils but -3 Castles which can be a winning situation but often it’s not.
    * I tend to force too much on macroing.

    Even in low-eco all-in situations, I tend to have my view often inside of my economy, trying to optimize things there, not taking care of my army enough.
    * Also sometimes not going *enough all-in.* (Which is btw something that also applies to Viper sometimes, I think.)

    **What is your style like and why and what’s bad about it?** (Also maybe, what’s good about it?

    But that should be self-explanatory by the style itself, as you usually pick it for its strengthes of course.)

    Btw: I would even think that a key for consistent performance to make correct decisions habitually instead of deliberately.

    So basically: if you’re not aware why you do something, you’ll perform better than when you’re aware of it.

    It sounds like deliberate decision making is better, **but actually it’s the difference between**: you are able to figure out what is correct and you just feel immediately what should be correct.

    Figuring things out is flexible, but it’s inconsistent and slow.


    – perfect the early game
    – gain advantage mid game or don’t bother trying
    – improv the late game


    * in the moment, I won’t transition to skirmishers, even when it’s the only answer.
    * when I’m worried, I build TCs, which can be very expensive.
    * I instinctively want to kill in early castle, so if I don’t make my castle timing, I feel lost strategically for a while.


    “if you’re not aware why you do something, you’ll perform better than when you’re aware of it.

    It sounds like deliberate decision making is better, but actually it’s the difference between:”

    Isnt it almost the other way around.

    Unless you deliberately do something enough times, it’s likely not going to become a habit.

    The one is almost always the result of the other.

    So obviously it would naturally scale.

    But at the same time it isn’t even necessarily true.

    There’s bad habit forming as well.

    And there’s habits that you do (which are good) but because you don’t know why you do them , they’ll collapse in the wrong cases, an easy common example is players collapsing under pressure.

    There’s definitely things theyre doing out of habit and they do them well, but completely fall apart under pressure because they don’t know why they do them.

    Placing farms perfectly does help your eco, but it does not help your eco enough that this habit needs to occur while under pressure.

    Yet a vast number of players will still try, and waste precious time on it even if it’s out of habit


    another banger from u/Umdeuter


    I completely rely on defending and absorbing attacks while booming.

    This works ok for me unless they fast imp and then I’m an utter mess.


    I prioritize my economy always.

    This is good in a macro sense, but when i move forward and have scouts or archers in my opponents base, i switch back to my economy as soon as i see 60 wood floating and then get distracted and start “microing” my economy.

    When i switch back to my army, half of the army is dying under the opponents TC…

    I am paraphrasing T90 on macro vs micro: “the pros are alway microing, but they micro their macro (as in microing their economy).

    The difference is, they are able to focus on their economy and army at the same time.”

    I learned, and this is generally true, that economy > military.

    I can’t focus on two things at the same time, so i am either focusing on economy or military, and i ALWAYS prioritize my eco and ONLY focus on military when everything in my base is perfect.

    But in some situations maximizing power spikes, keeping military alive or scouting is more important than having perfectly balanced eco or a few idle vils.

    I learned this playing my with and against my brother who’s eAPM is similar to mine.

    I’m more knowledgable of the game and in team games i tend to call the decisions based on the situation, but he’s a consistently better player overall.

    This comes down to hime understanding what he needs to prioritize in a given situation and will let his eco slip, if it means he can get a situational advantage (win a trade for map control, disrupt the enemy’s economy, delay the opponents archery range/stable in feudal etc.)

    When i beats me 1v1, he’ll obviously trash talk and my only lame comeback will be: “At least my economy isn’t a mess…” Live by the sword and die by the sword i guess… 11


    I have played 1k3 hours of TGs and only <60 1v1 on the ladder in my life, so Im coming with an extreme macro over micro mindset, and I noticed literally everytime I have played a 1v1 game, all my thoughts and all my strategies are based on the fact that Im gonna win any macro game against every player on my elo.

    If that wouldnt work for some reason, I would find myself befuddled, confused and irritated.


    1100 elo

    I used to be an aggressive player.

    I one-tricked mongols for the first year of playing DE and never got anywhere with it.

    I think I was 700 elo at my lowest point?

    I used the statistical analysis from AoE Insights and noticed my best civ by winrate was franks (>60%), while my mongols winrate was mediocre (51%).

    So I decided to play them more and I won more games.

    Then I discovered Chinese.

    I played almost as much Chinese as I did Mongols for awhile.

    I loved when what I did worked out, and it taught me the value of walling up behind a push in a way no other civ did.

    I also learned how powerful tech switches can be.

    Yet, I looked at my stats and saw little improvement, I hit 1k elo playing Chinese and Mongols.

    My Chinese winrate was only ever 47% at my highest.

    I wanted to try an economy civ.

    I fell in love with the new Vikings.

    It has a similar vibe to Chinese in that once you hit feudal age, due to free wheelbarrow, your food income is absurdly good, so your feudal + castle you can tech switch anything anytime.

    But the statistics were showing me something.

    My Franks, Japanese, and Byzantines were in 57%+ winrates with at least 20 games as each.

    My vikings winrate is 52%.

    I’m a well-rounded player now with a fundamental understanding of most concepts in the game.

    I can play aggressive, defensive, economy boom, tech switch, all of it.

    I like civs with more flexibility to take advantage of my jack-of-all-trades play style and prefer not to faceroll with franks paladins if I can help it, but sometimes they are just objectively my best pick.

    I think they are very strong on gold rush (>60% wr with franks on gold rush).

    Generally I’m playing something adaptive with an open tech tree like Vikings, Byzantines, and Japanese now, which have open tech trees at different stages of the game.

    I haven’t been playing much lately, less than once per week, but when I do I climb more every time, I’m inching up to 1200.


    Whenever I hear the sound of being housed, I intuitively press qq!

    Has really helped me a lot 🙂


    I came to the game quite recently after a 20ish year hiatus and I’m aware that the level of play in ranked is quite high in general, so I knew I had to practice and get good at a few specific BOs to compete.

    This allowed me to start at around 1150 Elo out of the gate and hover between that and 1250 for my first few months so far.

    The downside however is that I’ve learned a few BOs very well, at the expense of my overall game sense for things like anticipating my opponents strata, scouting, transitions to different units, balancing eco after the BO is done (or has been derailed), and focusing on multiple fronts effectively.

    So, I’m good at executing a handful of builds that I’ve worked on, and probably better than my Elo would suggest at snowballing little advantages when those builds are working out for me.

    For example, I practiced with cumans for quite a while:

    – If I see my opp going for scouts and I have a good map to wall, I know I can 2 TC greed and wall behind as needed until I get to castle most of the time.
    – however, I’m not good at continuing to scout my opponent after the initial scouting run.

    Vulnerable to missing his transition to archers, or a fast castle where he sets up forward seige + monks

    – if I see opp going scouts but can’t full wall my map, I go scouts too + get a spear or two for home defence and delay 2nd TC slightly.
    – however, my weakness at attacking while also mid-game booming/defending becomes an issue here

    – If I see opp going archers I immediately get my own 1 range skirms going.
    – however, sometimes vulnerable to opponent who goes for a delayed tower rush with archers in this situation if I’ve already built 2nd TC and am not on stone yet for my own counter tower.
    – also, if I fight off early attack and keep building skirms, scouting isn’t good enough to always tell if the opp is still on archers, or if he’s now going up to castle while I fall behind by building more skirms that won’t counter anything

    -if I see opp coming forward with vills/on stone at home early, I get a few vills on stone asap and start preparing to counter tower likely spots.
    – however, if I don’t continue to scout effectively I often miss the opp go into archers, and don’t have skirms ready to fight so I get locked into tower defence which may not be cost effective

    – if I see opp playing defensively/going FC, this is great news because my own 2 TC greed boom will inevitably give me a window where I’m way ahead in resources in early/mid castle.
    – however, if the opp FC timing is very good, and it’s a certain civ matchup that I struggle with, this can still be a big problem for me.

    I get too locked into my own pattern of “go forward as soon as I have x number of knights” and dont adjust my timing enough to what opp is doing back home

    Basically a lot of my problems stem from lack of scouting opponent after the initial loop around the base.

    I end up having to react only once his units show up on my doorstep which puts you on the back foot.

    I try to keep the scouting up and have got in the habit of outposts with one vill once I’m clicking up to castle on some maps which has been very helpful, but it’s still an area I have to improve on.

    Lot of games where Im in the lead, but squander it because I’m not reacting to the next phase from my opp


    The like 2 times I ever played online (back in the Voobly days, I only just started getting into DE last month) I discovered that not everyone turtles until they have a deathball of 60 archers, 60 champions, 12 trebs, and 30 paladins.


    I’m described in this post and I don’t like it


    I am around 900 elo.

    But my general knowledge about the game overall is top notch.

    I have detailed knowledge about the civs, units, bonuses etc.

    I could win a quiz against a pro.

    I watch aoe2 content daily, so I know all the strats.

    Coming back to my game:

    Knowing all that stuff pushes me to do stuff I simply cannot manage.

    In my head I am already preparing the feudal archer play but forget to create vils.

    I shift vils to gold/wood but cannot click up bc lack of food.

    I want to go scouts, so I know I need more food.

    Welcome to lack of wood.

    These things happen repeatedly bc I am thinking too far ahead for my current level.

    I know I have to maintain pressure to enemy.

    Bc this is the pro way.

    Which can lead to my eco stuck at 1 TC/50 vil forever.

    My army dying against a turtled enemy, which boomed up to Imp and now will crush me.

    On the other hand this implies: I must do pro like stuff because my enemy will certainly do.

    It causes some kind of panic to do flawless things.

    I smts.

    need to remember: My opp.

    is also at 900 elo… Chill and create your damn vills without 2min of idle time in dark age.

    In general I often forget the existence of siege.

    Which is obviously not derived from pro players 11


    * I win games because I deal psychological damage when my opponent sees longswords streaming into their base
    * I lose games because I lose my longsword mass for TC eating
    * I also lose games because I don’t find playing the meta fun.

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