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Scythia Horseman Rush - And You Thought Companion Cavalry Rush Was Ridiculous In Civ V Vanilla

Discussion in 'Civ6 - Strategy & Tips' started by Martin Alvito, Oct 23, 2016.

  1. Martin Alvito

    Martin Alvito Real men play SMAC

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    So by now we all know that Scythia is broken six ways from Sunday right now. Since early rush strategies get better the earlier you pull them off (it expands the window where you have a tech lead, and therefore overwhelming force in the field), I decided I'd figure out just how fast I could get the engine up and running.

    In order to pull off the rush efficiently we have the following to-do list:

    Science

    Animal Husbandry (25 Science)
    Horseback Riding (120 Science) - Eureka: Build a Pasture
    * Mining * (25 Science)
    * Bronze Working * (80 Science) - Eureka: Kill three Barbarians

    * Mining and Bronze Working are necessary if you only get one unit of Horses, in which case you're going to need an Encampment to train Horsemen.

    Depending on how things go, you could need as little as 85 Science or as much as 190 (since you're making a Pasture for the Horses), so this is generally the limiting factor if you fail to find two Horses. You can get the full Eureka on Horseback Riding at any point until you complete research halfway, so you have some time to get a Builder down.

    General Science ordering should be: AH -> Horseback Riding if you find two sources of Horses early, and AH -> Mining -> Bronze -> Horseback Riding if not (so you have time to get the Encampment down before you finish Horseback Riding). If you started a Mine/Quarry start without Horses, you may want to go Mining first. Do take advantage of Eurekas and only research halfway if possible on Bronze/Horseback Riding, but be sure to leave enough time to get that Encampment built if necessary.

    Civics Tree (Culture)

    Code of Laws (20 Culture)
    Craftsmanship (40 Culture) - Eureka: Improve 3 tiles
    Military Tradition (50 Culture) - Eureka: Clear a Barbarian Outpost

    Getting to Military Tradition unlocks the 100% boost policy (Maneuver) for building Horsemen, and trust me when I tell you that you want that. Badly. It's more or less better than anything you can possibly do to accelerate Science in terms of getting the ball rolling, though not dramatically so.

    The tricky bit here isn't clearing the Outpost - I'll get to that. The problem is getting three tiles improved fast enough that you don't waste Culture on the Craftsmanship Eureka, because you're on a straight beeline. If you get a Culture bonus by finding a Cultural city-state first or through tile yields then keeping Culture from falling behind Science isn't as large of a problem and you can worry less about the Eurekas.

    From a production standpoint that implies that we need the following:

    Production

    Scout: Yes, you can get a Scout from a hut and it's amazing. But huts are scarce and you can't depend on them, so you're kind of stuck at least starting a Scout build unless you want to save scum.

    Builder: As noted, you need this fairly early in order to pop the Craftsmanship Eureka in order to avoid wasting Culture. As you add Culture bonuses this becomes more of a problem to pull off but it also becomes less pressing because you clear the Culture you need naturally even without Eurekas.

    Slinger: The Archery Eureka isn't strictly necessary, but these are useful to lure a Spearman out of its camp to its doom for the Military Tradition Eureka. Your starting Warrior and a Slinger can clear an outpost easily enough. If you put the Slinger two tiles out, the Spearman will come out to hit it. Ideally, you lure the Spearman onto rough terrain, then pound it with the Warrior and Slinger. The Spearman runs, you hunt it down with the Warrior while popping the camp with the Slinger, problem solved. You can still get the job done with the Warrior and Slinger even if the Slinger has to absorb a hit, it's just a bit messier.

    Generally speaking, this is the third build. As you add AIs that are all up in your face on Deity and barb encampments that you haven't cleared, you'll want more of these (possibly as the second build to clear a nearby encampment) and you'll want to upgrade them in order to deal with all the Warriors that will be coming your way.

    *Settler*: You don't strictly speaking need to found a second city, but it's one way to get the second Horse tile and dodge the need for an Encampment. Or the first, if you aren't rerolling for Horses. It is possible to steal these , but it's not all that common to have your Scout/Warrior get into a good steal spot early (basic units come online slower than CiV and they move slower), so you can't bank on it.

    *Encampment*: If you didn't get the second set of Horses on the map, you're stuck building this guy. Unless you get a weird Science start like I had one time starting four tiles from the Galapagos Islands (where I was able to see the tile yields after the Warrior went west), needing this slows things down a lot.

    *Monument*: If you can get any kind of a Science bonus going from tiles or city-states and lack a Culture bonus, you're going to want to push Culture a little faster to keep up. In general Culture isn't the limiting factor and I don't build this.

    Stables would be really nice to have, especially as map size expands, but aren't strictly speaking necessary. If you want them enough to slow down given your settings, your best bet is probably to disband one or both of the first pair of Horses you build and buy it. You're eventually going to be forced to disband some Horses just to stay in front of the gold degen from unit maintenance, so be aware of that.

    Other Stuff

    Luxuries: If you get Camp/Mine luxuries, sell them to your first victim then kill them dead to get them back. The AI isn't as stupid about this as it used to be in CiV; it'll give you some money to fund early development, but a lot less than it used to.

    Civics: I haven't settled on whether Survey is better than Discipline. Scouts suck until you get them their first promotion, at which point they become quite good. However, healing is slow so unless you kill the target (say, you find a mostly dead Barb Scout and off it) you're stuck healing for a while which sort of negates the movement advantages. As with Stables, Survey probably gets better as the map size grows larger.

    I will say that God King isn't worth it for this approach unless you pop a Faith hut, in which case it becomes quite good for pushing extra Culture from Pastures. You're looking to get this machine up and running between turns 30 and 40 and you don't really need Faith, so the only real utility of a Pantheon is some Culture acceleration or a mild production boost on units that you already spit out like crazy anyway.

    City-states: Scientific is usually amazing if you can find them first or quest them to a single Envoy, and Cultural is highly useful. Trade and Militaristic are OK. Industrial and Religious are pretty useless.

    Special tiles: Similarly, Science tiles from Natural Wonders are fantastic and Cultural tiles are pretty good. Whether or not you want to run a Science/Cultural yield luxury usually depends on how good the underlying tile is.

    What tiles to work: In general, it's still the case that you want to push size 2 hard. After that it gets a little more complicated. I find that if you have some crazy 4/5 Food tile then you generally want to work it, then focus on better tiles like 2 Food/2 Production tiles. If you have a bunch of 3/1s then that's a somewhat less efficient way to get growth, but it still gets you there. Gold is completely useless due to the disband ratios, so you never want to produce it unless it's a byproduct of working an otherwise good tile.

    It's worth slowing growth down to get Science or Culture if (but only if) they're going to limit you. Once you trip Horseback Riding/Military Tradition, you'll want to push production as hard as you can without starving. Growth is fairly unnecessary; either Amenities or Housing is going to wreck your day on that front anyway, so once you get to around size 4-5 (depending on your situation) you may as well just eliminate growth and push hammers to spam Horses. Eventually you may want to switch back to growing, but during the spam period you're probably just making life harder for yourself.

    Execution:

    Once the engine is online, spam Horsemen and kill as many civs as you can until you can't. At the end of this sequence, you should have a winning position. Use unit kills to keep your own units healthy. Disband a Horse unit if your treasury is running out. In general, it's about as braindead as Companion Cavalry rush was in the release version of CiV.

    Keep in mind that (at least in the initial release) the disband formula means that you should never build anything other than Horsemen in any city that can build them. You get 320 gold for disbanding both units, which is equivalent to the 80 production invested. What breaks this is that Maneuver doubles your hammers when you're producing light cavalry, so you're effectively doubling your production AND permitting yourself to export it to any other city while you're at it. Which is clearly unfair, so don't be surprised when this gets patched out in the near future.

    Enjoy the laughably easy win(s). It's not as blatantly unfair as cooking the settings such that you beat Kongo via religion...but it's still a ludicrously easy win right now even on Deity and it's the strongest evidence that the balance situation is not currently in a good place. (The AI is a separate problem.)
     
  2. rtfischbeck

    rtfischbeck Chieftain

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    Nice work as always Martin! I'd like to add that I think Sumeria is equally absurd. War carts are available from the get go and are 30 strength, no maintenance, and immune to anti-cav bonuses. They basically cheaper horsemen available without teching anything. I've been beelining maneuver as well, though I don't know that it's necessary (takes the build time from ~3 turn to 1). By T25 you can have 4-5 carts which is enough to crush your nearest neighbor and then you can just push enough to clear the continent or equivalent land on a pangaea. Another huge advantage of early carts is you are easily in position to steal settlers from the AI. In fact, I've yet to not be able to snag one in my first few games. Even better, they upgrade to knights in the medieval era, if you want to just push for early domination on pangaea.

    Build order is fairly straightforward: scout, builder, war carts until you're comfortable in your forces (I'd write a guide but you really can't mess this up). I find that 8-10 carts are usually enough unless you are facing Monty. Feel free to go overboard, however, since the zero maintainance on the carts means you can't wreck your economy.

    I've attached a save of my current game. Wiped Greece at T35. Spain surprise declared on me a few turns early so I'm in the process of clearing his units and taking him out as well. Currently decided on whether I should pump more carts (I have around 8 right now) and fight a two front war with Norway or just taking them out one-by-one. Probably the former but we'll see.
     

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  3. Infiltrator

    Infiltrator Warlord

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    The biggest culprit here is the selling exploit. Once that gets fixed, Sumeria is clearly better like mentioned above - cheaper, stronger, available from the get-go, and their carts transition far better later than horsemen who take ages to get to cavalry.
     
  4. RedRover57

    RedRover57 Emperor

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    I played as Scythia in my first Deity game; however, I spammed out 4 slingers early to upgrade cheaply to archers and used those plus my starting warrior and 2 unique horse archers to start my first war. Did not settle a second city since my capital was really decent (and China gave me nowhere to expand). Eventually spammed out a bunch more horse archers and horsemen. My map was strange though. It had a long line of mountains separating the pangaea into 2 halves and was almost impassable. China and England were the only other civs on my "side". I took 4 cities from China and 1 from England before my horses became obsolete. England's cities were in very defensible spots in rough terrain so I had to put a halt to my initial push at that point. Glad I had archers to upgrade to crossbows at that time. On a more favorable map I'm sure it would be easy to wipe out a few more civs before the units become obsolete (around turn 100 or so). I refuse to use that disband exploit though - seems a bit cheesy.

    Edit: Also one thing to note in my game - China had walls in all their cities before I could start my attack. Made it a lot slower.
     
  5. CaiusDrewart

    CaiusDrewart King

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    OP, what promotion path have you found most effective for horsemen?
     
  6. Hans Tork

    Hans Tork Chieftain

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    So after a long time I am back to the forum and what better tale to tell than steamrolling the deity AI in Civ 6 with Tomyris.

    First of all a great thanks to Martin for the write up even though I completed my very first game on Civ 6 before reading it.(which happened to be in Deity difficulty)

    I started on a continents map and ended up killing all the 4 neighbours on my continent within T140ish. Scythian HA+normal archers combo is beastly. I personally believe that throwing in a few archers into the mix is a good idea due to their 2 range. The cavalry can scout while the archers can take out the haphazardly placed AI units. I tried to feel the game and decided to go for both early conquest and a space win. However the space race seems to require a lot of production so ended up my nuking my way to deity domination victory.

    Except for this I have to say that Civ 6 deity AI is a joke compared to the Civ V Deity AI.(I have played a lot of Civ V DCL to tell you this.)
    Even after getting the techs they do not build the spaceship modules. Also the Civ 6 Deity AI no longer wonder spams or priorities science. :confused:
    I was able to get nearly all the wonders despite the warmongering. 200 science seems to be very good to get a domination victory. Anything above that like 250 or 300 is currently overkill for the present deity AI in Civ 6.:lol:


    Also the AI military unit placement and choice seems to be poor. They tend to overbuild warriors in the early game. Also unguarded settlers and workers seem way to common.(I am currently playing a China deity game where I am seeing the same thing being done by the AI.)

    Currently I believe a non civ specific slinger army(about 6-7) with a warrior and scout is enough to take out the closest deity AI neighbour if he has no strong or well placed third or second city. Also archers are too OP. I used them till T110 and they managed to take out a 10 pop city of Japan(with heavy losses though). Anyway being aggressive seems to be the way to go in Deity for now. More the cities you conquer more stronger you will become and vice versa. Amenities never seems to be an issue in Civ 6 strangely.

    Also do not know if it is a bug or not but Scythian HA ability of getting two for one applied to my Missile cruisers and nuclear subs.:eek::confused:

    P.S. On a side-note production seems to be quite difficult to get in Civ 6.(Maybe as it was my first game I could not prioritize production but it seems hammers are difficult to come by than science. The greatest woe of low production is felt in the endgame or while building the parts.)
     

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    Last edited: Oct 24, 2016
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  7. rpgalon

    rpgalon Warlord

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    Maybe you got that wonder that doubles the navy production.
     
  8. Hans Tork

    Hans Tork Chieftain

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    Hmm I think I might have got it or conquered it and then forgot about the wonder`s effect. I had 15+ cities and I could hardly micromanage anything.
     
  9. LDiCesare

    LDiCesare Deity

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    Isn't building a builder before military units a bit risky?
    I've met barbs on turn 4, and been DOWed by Harald by turn 12. So it looks like an unreliable gamble to me (on Deity).
     
  10. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

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    You can pull back your warrior if needed
     
  11. Glevi

    Glevi Chieftain

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    Whenever I start warmongering I get -6 war weariness amenity pretty quickly. How do you deal with that? Luxes ot entertainment?
     
  12. genyl

    genyl Chieftain

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    nice guide

    I played my 2nd game in emperor and had no problem conquering 2 full empires

    what are you thoughts about building settlers? before or after the army is up?
     
  13. Hans Tork

    Hans Tork Chieftain

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    I started an early war in my Scythia game. This was when I saw an unprotected builder. After finishing India I waited for 6 turns before double DOWing Teddy and Liz. I am not sure but I did not have any problems with amenities despite taking so many cities(nearly all cities I had got) and being at war for roughly 70 turns. I have to say as Scythia you hardly lose troops due to their unique heal ability on killing wounded units. So maybe that played a factor. Keep in note I still do not understand war weariness mechanics completely.

    Anyway my capital had the most pop at about 7 and had two luxes. Gandhis pop also had another had 2. I traded one extra copy of lux for another lux to Japan. With those luxes I possessed about 12 cities by turn 110.
     
  14. Hans Tork

    Hans Tork Chieftain

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    I would say skip the builder and instead DOW a civ if you see an unprotected builder.(Kind of like DOWing city states for worker in Civ 5). Building builders and settlers is wasting production and pop on things you can easily steal by instead building an army of slingers. I think building a scout and then 5-6 slingers is a better option. You can delay the monument and granary till you build an army. Eliminating your neighbour is a pretty good idea in Civ 6 deity it seems. The only problem of not building builders/settlers is if you suddenly find out you are all alone on an island without neighbour civs.

    P.S. In some maps it may be necessary to get a builder ASAP. However in my limited deity playtime I have mostly ended up stealing builders and settlers from AIs.
     
  15. Bhelue

    Bhelue Chieftain

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    I tried this idea last night and it worked great. I only tried it on Warlord because my first attempt at a domination victory on Prince didn't go to well. With Scythia, I started with Gilgamesh and Gandhi as my immediate neighbors, I took out Gilgamesh right away and having had a bad experience with Gandhi in my last game (He sneak attacked me with a horde of elephants), I took him out next. I then continued up the map and took down Monty who despite being turn ~100ish only had one city. By this time I had 1 horse archer at level 4 getting two attacks and a ton of level 3s.

    I built the Terracotta army wonder (because it only took 6 turns) which gives EVERY unit on the map a free upgrade. I then started to gather near Spain's border when I was attacked by China and Norway. So I had to take a few turns to move my Horde down to China (which now includes about 6 level 4 Horse archers) and I wiped out his capitol in about 3 rounds.

    When I get home from work I will finish off the last 3 Civs (I'm playing with 7 Civs, quick speed, Pangea, standard size). It is currently 1160AD. Oddly enough because everyone has either been wiped out quickly or has been preparing for me, I managed to get the 4th religion without trying at all. (Monty & Gilgamesh had built a holy site before I took their capitals).

    When I'm done, I will try a replay at a higher level.

    Thanks to the OP for this suggestion.

    P.S. I put in a science district in every city I took over to help keep up with science. I got the +1 culture from pastures which gave me a ton of culture, which helped push me through the civics tree (I'm currently 13 civics ahead of the number 2 guy).
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2016
  16. Martin Alvito

    Martin Alvito Real men play SMAC

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    I've tried to take a representative sampling of responses - if you don't see your post here, it isn't because I dislike it. I'm just quoting the succinct stuff.

    Possibly settings-dependent, possibly not. Sumeria doesn't get heal-on-kill and that ability is INSANE. Very easy for six horses to eat an army, eat a city and heal on the next army without losing steam.

    It's all kind of meh, honestly. You want some fast Pillage units, but not too many. You should already be curbstomping Ranged when you attack it, so that promotion isn't that handy but it leads to the only actual direct combat bonus across the board (Flanking multiplier) that you're going to get. The third tier promotions are pretty blah, with the movement speed seemingly being the obvious choice.

    I still haven't been DOWed that early. If you see early barbs or are concerned about a DOW then it's reasonable to shift the Slinger up, though it may slow down your rush. If you get some kind of Culture buff then Slinger second isn't going to hold things up.

    I seem to be having considerably worse luck than the rest of you finding loose Settlers/Builders in the very early game, though this may be because I'm not spamming Slingers and therefore see less of the map. It's not uncommon to find an unescorted Settler around turn 20. It seems far rarer to find an unescorted Builder in the early game. You might have better luck with this on settings such as dry/old, but I've been forcing combinations of wet/standard and new/standard to figure out what the best settings for cogs are.

    Not going to lie - I've got a grand total of ten hours in due to the giant time sink that is my wife's new medical practice, so it's entirely possible that I'm missing subtleties. What time I've had has been spent on testing early game stuff, most of which was within this framework. My general approach is to really nail down the first fifty turns or so, then work on the general strategy of the long game, then try to fill in the complex mess that bridges the two. As in chess, the midgame is always the ugly bit where skill really makes a difference; we can more or less solve the opening and the endgame. But all the skill in the world doesn't get you anywhere if you screw up the comparatively straightforward mechanics of the opening or the endgame.
     
  17. Waywocket

    Waywocket Warlord

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    Sure, but even with the AI's tactical weaknesses, 5 against 1 isn't going to go your way. Scout followed by builder just doesn't seem viable - next try I think my first two builds will be slingers, or slinger/warrior.
     
  18. i_imperator

    i_imperator Imperator

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    Im playing an emperor game, small standard, with 5 AI's on a Pangaea. The biggest problem im having is with ghandi and his elephants, any suggestions on how to deal with that? Im using 2 horsemen (for capturing cities) and saka HA. Tried it with all horsemen and i was struggling with that too.
     
  19. Bhelue

    Bhelue Chieftain

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    I found having a few crossbowman shielded by your horses is the only way I was able to defeat the elephants.
     
  20. i_imperator

    i_imperator Imperator

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    On emperor I was able to use the flanking bonus and overwhelming force to counter it but i did build a spearman to help. Having kongo against India helped too.
     

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