The Loki Rush
God Power and Tech:
Reveals an LOS of about 15 meters around the unit that is cast on. Spy remains on that unit indefinitely until that unit is killed. Your opponent does not know when you cast Spy and does not know which unit it has been casted on; furthermore, he does not know when the spied unit is killed.
Eyes in the Forest
All infantry receive a +3 LOS bonus. This is one of the worst unique major god techs because it has no use whatsoever. Get it only when youíre popped with extra gold and feel like adding an extra tech to your infantry to make them look nice. If itís a very close game, donít even consider this tech.
The Archaic Age, although the simplest age in the game, does require some micro. Start out by sending your starting two villagers to hunting and research hunting dogs. If there is no hunting, resort to chickens or berries to provide food and research husbandry if you think the map will have suitable goats (Alfheim, Tundra, and Ghost Lake are all goat heavy maps). Send your next three villagers to hunting, or 4 villagers if you didnít have hunting, so you end up with five or six villagers on food.
Next, send either two dwarves and an ox-cart, one dwarf, one villager, and an ox-cart, or two villagers and an ox-cart to gold, depending on what techs you got (no hunting dogs, husbandry, and hunting dogs, respectively). After this, send one villager an ox-cart to wood. Build another dwarf if you find yourself with the gold (sometimes I like to cut it close and just smash my dwarf hotkey 10 times a second, not suggested though), or build another villager to gold.
At this point, improvise. I never stick to the same build in Archaic, I just use this core build because I find it to be most efficient. However, at the end of Archaic I like to have seven on food, five on wood, and five on gold (all five gold villagers being dwarves) for a hersir rush. If Iím aiming more for a TA rush (for a map with not as much hunting like Oasis), I like to go 6 food, 6 wood, 6 gold (again, all 6 gold villagers are dwarves). If youíre feeling daring, do 4/8/6 with a huge TA rush and almost no concentration on RC, Hersir, or Ulfsarks Ė this produces a fast and deadly TA rush. This is a risky strategy, however, because the TA rush has a lot of power behind it (barracks never idle, so you keep flooding and pop faster than other rushes) but is easily beaten. I occasionally do power TA rushes vs. eggy because eggy tends to FH, so I hit them hard and fast when theyíre weak and use my remaining food on RC to gold strangle. I donít suggest power TA rushing often, but it is an option.
You should try to drop your temple between 2:50 and 3:20. The temple takes precisely 39 seconds to build and if you want to have a successful rush, you will want to hit the classical age button at 5:05 or less. There are some exceptions in which going up later is okay (power water strat, for example), but as a ground rule, go up before 4:00 to get a fast rush (just as a note: go up means hit the button, reach means when you get to the age). Build your temple so itís near the enemy base, but not so close that they can see it. A key tactic of a Loki player is to look opposite his base on the mini-map. Typically, thatís where the opponent will be. Using this tactic to place your temple, you wonít place it right next to the enemy, nor in the opposite corner of the map. Start training hersir at this point. You can put them on repeat if you want, sometimes I do so I can more easily manage my army, but sometimes you donít want to keep ďwastingĒ resources on hersir (if he has pure toxotes, for example).
If you think you have time, use your hersir to grab relics which may help you. Steal them from the opponent and stop him from getting an uber advantage from a god-like relic! Relics can easily make a Loki rush 10x better (5% more attack on TAís? 5% better wood/gold collection rates?), so donít ignore them.
Thatís it for the Archaic Age! Not that much to think about here, letís get to the interesting part: The Classical Age!
The Classical Age is the bread and butter of the Loki rush. Here is where Loki is at his strongest. IMO, Loki really starts to decline in power in the later ages, so itís here in Classical Age where you should decide the fight. Let the game go too long, and you will most likely lose Ė let the game end here, and you will most likely be victorious.
The first thing to do in Classical is lay down your rax. Split up your infantry and donít let them pile up on one building, itís been tested before and 3 hersir on 3 different rax will setup all 3 much faster than if they all piled on each rax one at a time. At this point, consider what tactic you were trying to accomplish (TA or Hersir rush) and then build units accordingly. Hey, if you put 7 on food for hersir, donít build TAís from all of those rax! You picked your strat (hopefully with some insight to your opponentís civilization and the map), now to follow through with it.
Once your three rax are up, an important thing to do is to destroy the tower nearest to your forward base (if itís open). This will stop the enemy from maximizing this towerís placement in later battles. Also hit his economy at the same time. The Loki rush is all about killing the economy, specifically gold-strangling, so hit his economy hard. Also use your spy god power at this time. I know itís tempting to use it in archaic, but unless youíre up against another forward building Loki, always try to use Spy on an enemy villager (ox-carts are optimal, and few players switch wood/gold ox-carts in fear of spy) so that you can continue hitting his economy when the villagers leave the city.
Aggression is key. If youíre not attacking, then you must be raiding. And if youíre doing neither, then you are not rushing, you are letting your opponent gain an advantage over you. Keep hitting and hitting until thereís nothing left of your opponent. A common mistake I see is going for the TC too fast; not a good idea! The opponent can simply rebuild his storehouses and elsewhere and capitalize on all the units you lost killing the TC. The result of this is usually a loss for the Loki player. So, focus on killing the enemyís economy and also military production facilities; the TC should be killed when the enemy is literally scrambling for their life, has no army, and you are popped with several einherjars in your army.
However, when being aggressive, donít be incredibly aggressive in TC fire. Donít be shy of entering TC arrow-fire, but make sure that you donít spend too much time in it because a TC is about 16 attack per second against your army, and combined with towers that can really hurt. Personally, I like to avoid the TC as much as possible until I defeat the enemy economy or at least cripple him so much that his army wonít be able to stop me even in TC fire; then, I undermine and hit the TC. Note: Atlantean TCís are weak and if you get a choice destroy them quickly so you can devastate him because of the slow building Citizen.
Getting housed (meaning you hit your pop cap because you forgot to or didnít have enough resources to build all 10 houses) is the bane of all Loki rushes. If you canít produce, then you will never win. I often assign one TA or ulfsark to just building the rest of my houses; that way, I never get popped.
Thatís the military aspect of the rush. However, thereís an economic side. A couple paragraphs to talk about it, nothing to do though. The Loki rush sacrifices economy for military. Sometimes at the end of 15:00 games, my opponent has 40 more villagers and he still lost to my rush. Why? I wasnít producing half as many villagers than him. Comparing my Loki rush to my Odin, I average at least three times more villagers in Classical with Odin than I do with Loki. As Loki, try not to focus on a perfect, no idle TC. Not only will you miss out on military micro, but you will be wasting resources. IMO, 70 gold is far better spent on two ulfsarks than a dwarf while rushing.
When rushing, try to get at least 13 on gold in Classical (all dwarves), not with no idle TC, but over the course of the rush. After this, build villagers to wood and/or food, depending on what units you need. Donít hesitate to put dwarves on wood or food if you have lots of gold, the Loki rush is NOT about a perfect economy, having economic units working is good enough! The pop wonít come back to haunt you unless the game goes deep mythic, so donít fret about it.
Well, thatís the Classical Rush on land! However, on water, Lokiís build and style is totally altered, so letís see how Lokiís water game looks like.
At the start, you have to consider what your goals are. Are you going to fight for the water, or are you going to rush? The build order is very different for each strategy. If you are going to rush, focus more on food/gold in archaic so that you get fishing, but your classical time is 5:00 with a good balance. If fighting for water, focus heavily on wood in archaic and transfer all foodies to wood when you hit the classical button. Aim for 9-15 fishing boats.
A more specific build for a water-fighting strategy is as follows. First, use your starting 2 villagers and the next 2 villagers to gather wood. Meanwhile, send your ulfsark to build a dock (on Anatolia, place it in the middle of whatever side you choose Ė you to steal the opponentís fishing this way). Send your next three villagers to goats, and then build 2 dwarves and an ox-cart to gold. At this point, I improvise with the core principle of getting to classical on time, but also having plenty on wood to build up a stockpile for Classical water fighting. Donít get housed; build a 2nd house 3 pop in advance.
When rushing, the build is very different. Send your starting two villagers to wood and send the next villager built to wood (build a dock of course). Then, send 3 villagers and an ox-cart to hunting. Use berries if there is no hunting. Send 2 dwarves and an ox-cart to gold and then improvise, but focus on food/gold Ė you donít want more than 5-6 on wood in Archaic when rushing on water. Housing is a big issue, just like if youíre fighting for water, build a 2nd house well in advance.
When fighting for the sea, when you hit the classical button, build 2 more docks with separate infantry (one hersir on one dock, one ulf on one dock, etc). Then, when you hit classical, set longboats on repeat, set villagers on repeat, set hersir on repeat, and continuously build houses Ė this is a good start for beginners. Send the villagers to wood and hit the enemyís dock when you get 5-7 hersir built up. Micro longboats very well, this will save you many resources. Whether he microes or not, longboats will tend to focus on enemy longboats, so when you see which longboat is being hit bad, draw it back. The enemyís ships will follow while you get 2-3 volleys of free hits Ė this can win you many battles. Eventually, win the sea and fish all of it. Go heroic, claim your TCís, and try to get Mythic fast while you press with hersir on both sides. Donít forget the fishing ups!
If you rush, itís a different story. Set hersir on repeat and build 3 rax near the opponent. I would build hersir in this situation, with all of the extra food you have from fishing, and you will summon quickly, so it makes your rush very powerful. Build a combo of hersir/ta/rc in the beginning, but as the rush goes on, focus on RC/TA and then spam ulfs when you need units quick. If you find yourself with many resources and popped, drop 3 more rax, an armory, and go for a TC. These three things can make a rush uber, but should only be used when your economy allows for it.
Donít worry if your opponent tries to kill your fishing. Just garrison your fishing boats and continue to hammer his land. Typically opponents will send one longboats, realize itís futile, lose it to dock fire, and let your fishing live. Sometimes they will fight for the sea hard, but then they lose the land battle badly. If they go for both, they will also lose. Basically, if youíre in this situation as a Loki rusher, youíre in a very good position no matter what your opponent is doing.
Thatís it for the Classical Age and the Loki Rush! The Loki Rush doesnít extend into the Heroic Age. If the game goes Heroic, just play it like Odin except go Bragi and Hel/Tyr (Tyr if you need to hit his trade hard, Hel if you need to beat a titan).
Not to get your hopes down or anything, but when your rush fails youíve usually...lost. Why? Because one of the key disadvantages of infantry building is that you canít peel off 10 villagers and setup a military base in no time. So, in preparation for this, if you see your rush failing, fight back hard, and donít be afraid to retreat.
Go home and rebuild rax. Building nearby again is risky because if you setup 50% of your base and he finds it, that base is done and you just wasted more resources. If you go home, you are still very weak but have a TC to back you up. The main problem is your lack of eco, so build it hard, donít let your TC idle at this point, you MUST break even in eco with your opponent.
Try to get Heroic but focus on building an army of mainly RC, hersir, and myth. This is a very strong combo. Although it trains slow, it can fight large armies with small numbers, which is why you keep building it. It is also very pop-efficient because even if your population drops, you will summon units.
These tips wonít make or break a game, but they surely will help your gameplay and, when combined, they can make you far better and more unpredictable than the average Loki rusher.
Know how undermine works Ė Undermine is more complicated then an "aim and place god power." The two circles are like lanes, the power of undermine extends for about 20 meters and can kill two to three towers with one use! Use undermine well to hit two towers or to hit a tower and the TC at the same time. To get a better picture, letís say the colon is the two undermine dots and the equal signs are the lanes in which undermine travels. ========= : ========== Now letís say the xís are two towers. ==:=x=======x== A well-used undermine can save you a lot of resources and troop production time, so donít ignore it.
Get armory ups in late classical Ė In late classical age, you may find yourself at pop with one or two TCís, fighting hard on your enemyís front, trying to wipe him out. You may have a pretty good economy, so why not drop an armory and grab the attack/hack armor/pierce upgrades? They help a ton if you get them at the right time, so donít ignore the armory in later classical because youíre focusing on quantity, not quality in the early rush; later on, medium ups/armory ups are great additions to a popped army.
Tower spamming Ė One of the lamer tactics in the game, IMO. Nevertheless, this is something you should have up your sleeve when rushing. If youíre at pop and having trouble breaking someone, one of the most effective (douche, basically) methods of gold-strangling someone or just adding more firepower is tower spamming. Grab the tower up at home and then put a couple towers on his gold Ė hurts him bad and gives you an extra 22 attack per second on his army. Crenellations helps too.
Making walls during ceasefire Ė Ceasefire is a very dangerous GP for Loki. When an opponent casts it, he has a full minute to build up! Often times youíre already popped, so ceasefire doesnít help you at all. In this situation, wall in enemy military buildings. They may be able to produce in ceasefire, but you can stop them from using those units by walling in stables/archery ranges/military academies.
Recorded games are the best way to learn a civilization. These show how I perform the strategies present in this guide and how effectively they work. Also, if I forgot to mention anything in this guide, you can see me doing it in-game and you can safely assume that itís a strategy I employ (unless common sense tells you itís not a good thing, like getting housed in Anatolia because of fishing boats).
Loki is a very fun god to play. His rush is a great strategy to have under your belt and is fairly easy to learn. Admittedly, it is not easy to master, but it is always fun when rushing because you get to fight quickly, own your opponent hard, and win games faster. If you are a looking for an aggressive, enjoyable god to play, Loki is definitely your best choice. Enjoy!