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Guide

Ultimate Guide to Loki

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Intro

This guide is divided into two parts. In part 1, I give some basic strategies and model build orders that may be useful to those who are unfamiliar with Loki. I selected some of my favorite strategies that I used when working my way from 1700-1800. There are many other strategies you can use as Loki, but if I listed them all, this would be a book instead of a guide!
Despair wrote the second half of the guide, which focuses on tactics and techniques to help you win close games and hard match ups. It should be useful to anyone, but probably most helpfull to 1750 players trying to go 1800+.

Part One 

by Salient 

The first part of the guide gives you a sense of how to play Loki in the various matchups you'll find on ESO.

Loki on Mediterranean

O.K be happy, you just got a water map! Loki is one of the best civs on water. You also have lots of options here. You need to watch lots of recs and learn all the crazy strategies that Loki can do here. But for now I'll list a fairly defensive build that works best vs Greeks, but can work in most matchups.

Ulf makes dock and house
Cart + 4 vills wood
Vill sheep
cart + 2 dwarves gold
2 vills sheep
dwarf gold
vill sheep
dwarf gold
vill sheep
etc . . .
You get the pattern. Make dwarves to save food and advance faster. Click advance when you can. You can make your temple at home. Switch all food vills to wood. You should have about 5 dwarves gold. turn off autoque on your dock. Build a second dock and a house. Get hand-axe and pick-axe. Once you are classic you autoque longboats and raid his fishing. You can also autoque vils to wood. With this strategy, I make a hersir or two for defense and to help make houses and docks, but I put almost all resources into winning sea. That usually means a big sea fight with a 10-12 min Njord heroic. Example game: http://rts-sanctuary.com/index.php?portal=A...29

Loki vs Greeks and Egypt on land maps

This can be a hard match up on land maps because Greek troops are uber, and yours are not. Egypt has the axemen unit + ranged heroes, which will maul you. O.K the easiest way to start is to tell you what not to do. Don't rush unless he has a map screw that makes his gold (or other necessary recouces) very exposed. If he has back gold, you will usually (unless you are very good) get your ass handed back to you on a plate. Generally, Greek god powers and strong units are good against a rush. Egypt is actually easier to rush than Greece, but free towers (and if he's Isis you can't undermine them) plus walls (which give you no favor when you destroy them) can make a rush difficult. Then there's the axemen unit that trains fast and tends to eat Loki's army up pretty well. Rushing can work, and a semi rush with map control is probably the most sound Loki strategy of all. However, for now I'll give you the easiest strategy that works well vs most 1800 and lower Greek and Egyptian players:

Hersir Raiding

Aim for a 4:30-5 min classical build up: Which is something like

Hunting Dogs
5 food 
Cart + 2 vills gold
Cart + vill wood
Dwarf gold
vill wood
dwarf gold
vill food
dwarf gold
MAKE TEMPLE AT HOME
vill food
dwarf gold

Click Advance with Foresti and move one of your gold vills to wood so you have 7 food, 4 gold, 3 wood. Build a house and a second Temple while advancing. Autoque hersirs from both temples. Now your raid with groups of hersir. Have your ulf stay home and make houses + 1 barracks. Research Hall Of Thanes in barracks when you can. After that, you make RC from the 1 barracks. The key is to keep your enemy on the defensive and reacting to your raids, so he leaves you alone and you get favor. Try not to lose any hersirs. Bring wounded men home and heal them at your Healing Spring. Turn off autoque when you're ready to go heroic. You'll know it's time to go heroic when he's about to move to an outside mine and you know there will be a huge fight where you will want flaming weapons. Also, once he walls up pretty well, the raiding doesn't work as well. 

The econ side of this is as easy as the military. Put a vill or two on wood, and then autoque dwarfs on gold until you get about 14-15. Then put lots of vills on food (probably sheep). Control your econ so you can go heroic when you want to, not before or after. You can grab a tc while upping to get 130 pop, and then plop down a hill fort to give you some Jarl/ram support if you want it. The example game is pretty basic. You'll notice I didn't make RC which is a mistake, and I probably went heroic too early with too little pop and econ, but hey, that was back when I first started using this strategy.
Example game: http://rts-sanctuary.com/index.php?portal=A...32

Loki vs Greeks/Egypt on Semi-Water

These are your best maps because you get lots of defendable fishing to feed your 80 food hersirs, or fast age advancing. Highland can be annoying due to ulf-harass, but you can cope with it usually. O.K. on these maps I prefer the Loki FM -- perfected by Vagabond_Tom. Look up his games if you want a nice example of FMing. It is important that you spy him so you can tell what he is doing. You FM because hersirs get a free upgrade with every age advance and Fire Giants are OP. This strategy is allot of fun, but it works best as a surprise tactic so you shouldn't do it every game. Basic build up:

Make Second ulf ASAP -- make two docks
Starting vills collect 50 food then go to wood
total of 4 vills wood
Next 2 vills food
dwarf gold (hopefully you can double cart with wood, if not make a cart).
vill food
dwarf gold
food wood
dwarf gold
vill wood
dwarf gold
vill wood
etc.

Temple Home. Aim for a 6 min Foresti Classic. You can make more docks to secure your fishing if you feel it is threatened. Once your are classic make your armory right away. Have a hersir or two run by his base and whack at a tower for a min or something so he won't suspect FM. Create Dwarves and send them to gold. Advance as soon as you can which is probably 7:xx Njord. You should start making a few hersirs from your temple. In heroic harass the enemy with your kraken. Make Market right away. Trade if necessary to go mythic asap. make a hill fort and a few longhouses while going mythic. 10:30 Mythic is ok. You should have about 10 Hall of Thanes hersirs, a hill fort making jarls, and your free MU. go attack and cast both god powers together Walking woods + army + Nidhogg! Example game: http://rts-sanctuary.com/index.php?portal=A...68

Loki vs Norse on land

Other Norse players hate playing against good Loki players because of the rush. You must advance 4:30 or earlier (food permitting). Otherwise, you may lose your forward base to an ulf flood. Basic build up for Heimdal Rush:

Hunting Dogs
Make 2nd ulf ASAP to help scout the entire map.
4 food 
Cart + 2 vills gold
Cart + 1 vill wood
Dwarf gold
vill wood
2 vill food
MAKE TEMPLE Forward
1 or 2 dwarves gold and another vill food.
Move one vill to wood. So you have something like 7 food, 4 gold, 3 wood and sub 4:30 time. You can go faster if you want with only 6 gold, 2 wood, and 3 gold (4:10 advance!). You'd have a weak econ but it might be worth it if all of his resources are forward and you could end the game early.

Ok a few tips here. your temple should be forward but not too far forward. Odin and Thor can go to classic before you because their hunting is faster. So build a little more than half-way across the map, near a tc or hunting. You have two ulfs so you should know where all the resources are and you should have no problem making temple. If they do advance before you, make some ulfs from your longhouses asap before switching to other troops, they build very fast and will help you if he trys to flood your FB. It is best to have spied a hunter vs Norse because if you can cut him from hunting, he is buggered. Start out with 1 temple + 2 longhouses. Hersir from temple and one longhouse, throwing axemen from the other longhouse. Start out by putting a few villagers on wood and then autoqueing dwarves to gold. You need the first few wood guys so you can afford axemen. Knock him off resources and snipe at buildings with your army, then retreat. Don't fight in building fire more than you have too. Once you have the favor and gold reserve, autoque full throwing axemen + Einherjars. Micro axemen to kill hersirs. This combo can't be countered properly in classical age. Example game: http://rts-sanctuary.com/index.php?portal=A...54

Loki vs Norse on Semi-Water

You aim for a 5 min or faster time with a nice dock boom. Then you go rip him apart with mass hersir + throwing axemen. Temple halfway aross map normally. Build up:

4 vills + cart to wood
vill food
2 dwarfs gold (hopefully you can double cart with wood, if not make a cart).
2 vills food
dwarf gold
vill wood
dwarf gold
vill food
dwarf gold
vill food
etc.

Loki vs Atlantians on land

Loki can be very good vs. Atlantians if they let you mass Myth units. But they don't have to just sit back and let you do that. They have an advantage on low food maps, and you might have one on high food maps. You can try a rush, hersir raiding, or Mellkor style defensive booming, which is what I'm giving you here.
This build aims for a 4:30 Foresti advance. You'll want a 2 temple advance vs Kronos. It's rather important that you harrass oracles if you see them. Use your rush build up I gave you but build home. Wall up if you can. Get tower up, and make hersirs. don't fight any losing battles, raid with hersir. Try to avoid big battles until you have your heroic god power to help. get hall of thanes asap, and make towers around your economy. By the way, this is very, very important. On low food especially you need to not waste troops fighting him much. If he tricks you into fighting his mostly wood units with your mostly food units, you will be stuck in classic too long, and that's not a good thing. Also, Don't go too crazy with the trolls. Get a few for defense and to kill his damn birds later, but it is probably better to save some favor for boars. 
Example game: http://rts-sanctuary.com/index.php?portal=A...29

Loki vs Atlantians on semi-water

These maps are good for you. You can either rush like you do vs Norse on semi-water, or you can play defensive and boom until heroic. It's your choice, but the build up is the same as vs other norse on these maps.

Other Strategies

Rushing Egypt works ok as long as you can get at their gold. It's hard to do but very fun when it works smile.gif Example games: 

http://rts-sanctuary.com/index.php?portal=A...21
http://rts-sanctuary.com/index.php?portal=A...98

Another Crazy strat I like to do is 2-tc turtle FM vs hades and Poseidon. One of these games is a Loki Titan Victory!
Example games:

http://rts-sanctuary.com/index.php?portal=A...32
http://rts-sanctuary.com/index.php?portal=A...72

Finally, Heimdal rushing vs Atlantians is quite fun when it works:

http://rts-sanctuary.com/index.php?portal=A...17
http://rts-sanctuary.com/index.php?portal=A...92

Conclusion

Have fun playing Loki. Make lots of Myth units, and I hope your Nidhogg isn't bolted. smile.gif


Part Two 

by Despair 

This second part of the guide explains some advanced tactics that can help you make and break 1800.

Loki vs. Isis

Isis has always been my hardest matchup with Loki, however recently with some work, i have become alot better at it (I'm currently playing on a smurf nick that I don't want to reveal) Anyways I'm not sure this will be a help to anyone, but just in case I want to post it.

The most important thing you must remember vs. Isis is to never attempt the same strat more than once before switching to another. Why? Isis has a hard-counter strat for every strat you have, so you must keep the isis off balance (in boe3) , there is no simple "counterstrat" for isis, imo their are a few basic strats that I will list:

Land:

1. Heimdall rush - good old classic heimdall rush, you must go up 4:20 and take out their gold tower, very risky, but if you are playing vs. an isis and you just did a late, slow strat the previous game it can be worth it, because if the isis advances @ 6:00 you can take their gold. When playing this strat heimdall towers are key to victory, build rc/hersir, no ta. You will need to be able to micro very well to pull this strat off. if rush looks it is going to fail, pull back and switch to make control...and get safeguard.

2. Jelani's Hersir semi-fh, there are two basic versions of this, the first is the 100% hersir fh, this works very well if you are playing against 100% chariot fh players, however most are not that way (at least nowadays) so you have the second hersir semi-fh build. This is bassically the same as first, except you put several people more on wood in classical, so you can afford a hill fort as soon as you up heroic.

3. Thor-Style rc 2tc fh. If you are having trouble with more "lokyish" strats then you can play it very similar to the way you do with thor, except you will have far less space for error.

4. Fast Mythic - This is very, very risky, but I have beaten good isis players with it soley because they were not expecting it. The idea is you manipulate your econ, so you up mythic around 10-13, and go in with HoT Hersir + Husks + WW + Nidhogg, and then mop him up with FG's. If he has an enormous concentration of archer units, drop niddy on top of them, and they all will auto target him, but he has 2000 hp, so they will have to run, or lose. Sometimes ballista are used in this strat, though I find them to be rather expensive to make on a rather tight FM economy.

Water:

The Strats on water are very similar except for the fact that some strats are far more effective, I will go over each water map, as you play very different on each.

Midgard:

This is imo by far the best map for hard rush, many isis will advance 6:00, while your enormous food econ will allow you to flood rc, so you should easily have him in a bind by the time he ups classical, then put down a few heimdall towers and its over, whatever you do, do not go for the TC until it is obvious he has lost. I think you should always foward, no matter what strat you are doing, becuae you usually have only 1 gold mine most of the time. TBH you can do any strat on this map other than FM, because it usually involves you sitting in your base, which is very risky with only 1 gold.

Anatolia:

Nasty map, do not rush (duhhh) I like a slower hersir fh, with 2-3 tc's pumping villies, because despite you best efforts you will always lose water. You must foward build, and stop him from reaching foward gold. I mix in non hersir units (HF) much more often and early on this map, because their enormous food econ results in many, many axemen.

MEDIT:

The hardest map for loki Vs. Isis. I sometimes rush on this map, because Isis never expect it, while going classical wall up the side oppossite your rush, so he cannot hop to a farther goldmine and make your rush useless, if he has some idea of this, than it won't work.
The best strat on medit involves walling up one (or preferably both) sides of his base, so you can see which expansion gold he is going to, you should build a few boats to slow his fh down slightly, but still go fh fast yourself, you should advance through njord or bragi, I like njord better because of kraken, then you have to duke it out on water. On medit always build some hersir for home before he hits heroic, because it is very likely you will be nuked with a/e as soon as he ups.

Highland:

another hell of a map, you must go 2-3 ulf start to even get a dock up, you will always up earlier than him, and use that to secure one pond for you, just give him the other, commity heavy the the one you want to win, which should be the one with least docks, or in some cases with the most hunt by it (there is alot of hunt on this map, take advantage of it. You best chance is once again hersir strat, but I have had some very succsessful FM's where I am able to hold of the isis with crafty garrisoing. + fake rushes.

You can do pretty much the same stuff vs. RA and set, but classical fight is slightly more likely, and always be ready for hathor vs. ra.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Usefull tips:

A key tactic in Loki vs. isis is to abuse the powerful norse bonus of infantry building. Spam walls everywhere, they help you an amazing amount, put a wall section by each gold, by tc's, wall up the paths out of his base, wall off villagers that are hunting or mining and go kill them, I have won many games because of that tactic.

Before you fight him in heroic, always get pierce up (preferably on way to heroic) as Isis will always have many chariots.

If you see him go hathor, immediattly build 2 ox carts, and split your gold into 3 groups, you will not be able to withstand him locusting your gold.

If you are hersir raiding, abuse rax blocking -- use partially built barracks to trap villagers you are raiding!

BUILD WALLS EVERYWHERE!! Having walls can be they key to seeing his sphinx when it goes to a/e your home, or not.

Do not be afraid to modify your strat, for example if you plan to hesir semi fh, but he freaks out and goes classical fight, follow his example, after all its the age you are best vs. him in anyways.

I can not underestimate how OP eggy Axemen are, to counter them with pure hersir fh, have your BB's run in front of them into the axemen.

Always go 2 ulf start on land (unless hard rushing) this will allow you to get more sheep, scout the entire map fast, and do fun things like building bits of walls by his towers, so he can't house them up.

Whatever you do, resist the temptation to autobuild dwarves from tc, your eco + army will be much more powerful if you manage tc by hand, alternating between dwarvf + villager.

You can fake rush him, sometimes vs. exceptionaly nervous players, this is enough to get them to commit to classical fight.

Whatever you do, do not attack a heavily fortified positon, if you run up against this, go around and attack from another side, or another spot, because otherwise you will lose your army.

If it is low food, you are generally much better off playing thor style, unless you manage to capture a legendary amound of herdables.

make sure to trap his army between 2 parts of your army before you fw.

abuse BB tc raiding -- a group of them can steamroll a tc in no time!

DO not hesitate to abuse heimdall towers for map control

place a wall section next to every hunt + gold etc.

for 2 3 ulf start on highland, have 3 vills (including starting vills) gather food, not wood first (Same on anatolia) You will need this vs. good eggy on these maps.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Loki vs. Greeks

High hunt Land:

Hersir Raid Jelani style, build at home, whatever you do , you cannot fight his army until heroic, keep his army spread over the map chasing your hersir, don't let it go rip your base apart. You cannot commit to fight until heroic and you have many bb or tc advantage
Strat 2: Njord fh: go 7:00 fh, put lots on food and gold, with only a few on wood (enough for armory), on way to heroic switch some to wood for building hillfort. Build husk/jarl/hersir/ein. Try not to cast WW until you have many eins, because WW boosts them. take the 2 hersir you have and attack a house or tower, hopefully he will think rush... (While your ulf builds armory)

Low hunt: 

2 ulf start, grab all sheep and abuse hersir, keep his army spread out around the map, and finish it in heroic, similar to high hunt really, just need more on food earlier
Njord fh can work also, you go for mass husks/jarls, with a few hersir

Medit: 

7:00 njord fh, or 4:50 rush of his docks with hersir + boats, build your own dock next to his, so he cant make boats to attack your hersir.

Midgard:

I like going up @ 5:40 with an enormous econemy and outmassing him with many military buildings, again, dont be tempted to finish in classical, build your builds apart so he can't pest them. You need to break a house or 2 early. if he restores, run, your econ is so uber that you will be ready to fight again by time restore ends, but you can't let him fight at your base, make him restore to save his base (hence early aggrressiveness)

Anatolia

2 ulf vs. zeus, all others 1 ulf, wall your ulfs in so he cant stop your dock. take one side of water, and then grab tc's and outmass him.

Build temple foward, but build all houses at home.
You can go either heimdall or forseti, depending on whether you want faster tc grabs, or heimdall towers. If he crushes your rax + temple while you are going heroic, just build hilffort + temple rax at home, and nail him with fw a minute or two later.

Highland:

This map is so variable, but vs. zeus you need to ulf start, best be is forseti tc grab + relatively early heroic, you need to win at least one pond.

Useful Tips:

For 2 3 ulf start on highland, have 3 vills (including starting vills) gather food, not wood first (Same on anatolia)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Loki vs. Kronos:

counter rush: 4:00 up, 4 vill to food + OX + HD, 2 + ox to gold, 1 vill to wood/ i dwarf to gold, i vill to food, i vill to wood, build temple, ox cart to wood, up with 6/3/3 go up with which god you are most comfortable with (rush follow depends on which)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Loki vs. Norse

4:10 rush vs. other norse ( a good thor or odin will 4:10 with you), if the loki goes later he will lose

4:40 rush vs. other norse on water, abuse garrison

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Loki vs. Oranos: 

4:10 rush, 4:10 defense, or 4:30 hersir raid,
semi water you should be able to heimdall and just outproduce him.