K, so I'm a bit late to the party, but I just started play BtS. Been a vanilla player since it came out and loved it. I played Emperor/Standard with anyone, Washington being my favorite (Fin/Org). So, obviously I gravitated towards Darius in BtS (yup, Fin/Org). I looked into the forums to see how to best take advantage of the Immortal rush on Emperor/Epic. It seems the old strategies of stealing workers to help the rush no longer work after the final patch, so I found it to be exceedingly difficult to rush even one AI on emperor and above (I play large maps, no barbs, i think it's even harder with barbs as they only serve to beef up the archers). I could whip/chop up 8 immortals, and by the time I got there, either: 1) they already had iron working and had bronze/iron hooked up, or 2) I could beeline straight for the capital, and if it took more than two turns from DoW to reaching the capitol, 8 immortals faced about a 50/50 chance of getting totally slaughtered by fortified archers. Tech: mining -> BW -> AH -> wheel -> whatever, prob beeline to CoL, with mysticism/fishing somewhere in there. Production: 1) Worker -> settler -> worker -> rax -> immortals, , and second city rax -> immortals or 2) boats -> worker -> settler -> rax -> immortals What made emperor a world apart from monarch was that the AI was able to crank out one archer per turn during war in any city size 3 and above it saw me targeting. If there was a crop of forests in the way (very often), then the capitol had 4-5 archers defending it when I got there, even if my scouting revealed only two right before DoW. Or, worse, they got bronze or iron hooked up, and got out a spear before I could unhook it. One spear = 3-4 archers in effectiveness in defending a city. I could get lucky and lure him out, but every turn spent on tactics even on epic speed meant one extra turn of crippling my economy, and one more turn of the AI cranking out more archers. I could wait for another 4-5 immortals to support the original 8, but that meant facing 6+ archers in the capitol. Usually by this time I am out of forests to chop and my cities are deep red in revolt. I've only succeeded once with the immortal rush on emperor - I was on a medium sized island with hattie and suleiman. Sul had bronze hooked up and iron in one of the city tiles - he got out one swordsman (whew) before I razed it. I was able to unhook the bronze on the same turn I DoW, and before he got anything out (which was the only way I found out he had iron below one of his cities). Hattie had a hill capitol that was defended by war chariots. Basically, I got real lucky. Every other time, it was a mixture of protective leaders, a hill capitol with archers, or two spears. Two spears completely shuts down an immortal rush - best case is that you delay your research by several turns (maybe 10-20 turns) as you maneuver your forces to compensate - it makes the war uneconomical even if you win. You will be lucky to take out just this one civ. All of this assumes that horses are either in my BFC or in my 2nd city. If not, all this is moot. Anyone else experiencing this with Darius?