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Attacking is one of the major keys to victory. It may even be the most important, because without attacking it is impossible to win (unless you camp very well and your enemy suicides into your base in despair, which will rarely, if ever, happen).
I already wrote a lot of what I have to offer on attacking in the Pressure Point strategy, so I will try to add something extra here and sum things up, rather than writing it all for the second time.
The first thing I have to say is that attacking and defending belong to eachother like Yin and Yang, they fit perfectly, each can´t exist without the other. If you have no Defence, Attacking is useless, and vice versa, if you have no Attack, Defence is useless. At some point these two aspects meet in the middle, where it is hard to tell if it is really a way of defending, or a way of attacking. One thing to state here that comes directly from the PP strategy, is the downward spiral you need to push your enemy into. Attacking is not the goal, it is the tool for this higher game concept, or result maybe, thats called ‘downward spiral´, or ‘vicious circle´, which leads to winning the game.
Your enemy has a limited amount of resources to use, such as mana, wood and followers. They can use these resources to do different things. They can build huts, train followers, create land (or damage it). Attacking is the ultimate tool to control what your enemy is doing with his mana and other resources. You want the enemy to use his resources on things other than attacking you and destroying your huts, killing your followers and possibly even winning the game.
It is essential that you manage your enemy´s use of resources (mana is the most important of these) soon as possible. Once you control its use, your base is secure because its resources can´t be used to attack you.
This all begins with pressure. Pressure is the starting point of this spiral. As soon as you put on pressure, you start controlling your enemy´s resource use, as soon as pressure is let up, you lose control of their resources. To achieve this goal, several tools are available. I tend to think that attacking is any action that increases pressure on your enemy, whereas defence is any action that reduces pressure on you.
There are three resources for attacking, namely: Shaman - by far the most powerful and dangerous of all, Troops - only dangerous if used well, Braves - cute
There are five kinds of targets to attack: Shaman, Troops, Land, Buildings and Braves
Each of the combinations of resources and targets have their advantages and disadvantages. Some will rarely occur, some will be essential. I started describing all possible combinations, and found out that it leads to 15 different chapters each with their own useful tricks and amazing stories. But in a dazzling game of populous they are hard to tell apart anyway. That is why I describe a only few techniques. In order to keep it practical I´ll describe a case.
A Common Situation
Lets say that you face a well built defence, with enough towers and a shaman on guard in a secure place, as often seen on a level like PP or Craters. The area between the towers and in front is well covered with small mixed troops, and on the higher ground some more fws are patrolling. This is maybe the toughest defence to break, especially when the enemy is watching but remember that you dont need to undo that all at once. A great power lies in keeping the shaman alive and repeatedly hitting the defence (hit and run tactics). Keep the bitch alive at all times. Of course, this will sometimes be impossible because the enemy is set to kill her.
Positioning the Shaman
Make sure you have charged the spells you want to use. Keep your shaman moving out of range of towers and lightning. Should there be any unmanaged troops, take your time removing them. A good idea is to have some backup patrols of your own, they will shoot any swarmed troops that come near, and help protect your shaman this way. Never move your shaman in a position that you think she might die. Always keep a safe side, because if troops attack you from several sides, you die. Move the shaman to where you want her to be and where you can keep the enemy troops at a distance. Also keep her at least one push away from water.
An important part of this is the confusion you should create. Send warriors to a weak point somewhere else to draw the enemy´s attention there. Send your prepared ghost shamans in advance to all directions and to spots the enemy expects you to be in your base.
Then the attack begins. Move your shaman within range of hostile lightning. Most likely, the enemy will try to hit you with it. Unless you suspect that you go unnoticed, keep changing directions, keep an eye on the enemy bitch and her troops. Once you hear SHOKA move back or left, or right, trying to predict this moment is even better. Try to dodge the lightnings until you have reached your goal, the outside of the defence. If you think you need to be in range of towers, cast some ghost braves and keep changing direction. A rough estimate is a ghost spell per one or two towers.
If you face 10 towers, cast at least 5 ghosts (use ctrl to repeat the spell), or as many more as you can spare, between you and the towers to buy some time. Once you can, remove the closest by towers with tornado. This is better than lighting, because it completely removes the tower. The downside is that you need to get within range of the tower to cast it. Therefore, cast it as quickly as possible and withdraw. Search for another tower to take out, try take out as many as possible. With full spells and 199 braves you virtually have unlimited tornado anyway. If you keep moving and stay alive somehow, you will notice that 99% of the players will be unable to attack your base right now. Thats one achievement! This is why they say attack is the best defence’.
Some extra points can be added here. When your shaman is moving in a dangerous area, such as when you are attacking or penetrating, a few important rules should be kept in mind. An experienced opponent will hunt your shaman with shift-clicked troops. Therefore, it is useful to disorient the troops before she can give that command. Swarmed troops dont forget their assignement, so once they cool down they come for the shaman again, and from multiple directions too! Many gullible shamans die because of this, every day. Estimate the troops orders carefully, because if they come for you, swarm is dangerous for yourself to use. They must die in that case instead. Once you have shift-clicked troops on your back, kill them, or if you cant kill them or keep them swarmed, withdraw and have your troops and towers kill them. Then go again.
At some point you need to decide to go for a ‘penetration´ of the defence. When you have figured out the lightning skills of the defending shaman, or when she wasted them all, move your shaman suddenly straight into the defence, casting swarm at troops first and plenty. Then cast ghosts for the remainder of the towers, that you can´t hit with light. Bear in mind that ghosts dont combine well with FS and that FS barely harms towers. 4 blasts from a tower and you are a gonner. FS is barely a spell to use on towered defence.
Once you are inside the defence, cast eq and use whatever spell you have to LOWER the land. Never volc a defence, use flatten, eq and erode instead. Once you have casted all this, it would be extremely hilarious to get out alive and wander back to your base. Then have a laugh and go again. The enemy is probably repairing his defences anyway. Come from a different direction for the element of surprise.
After a series of such destructive attacks, the defence is in such a condition that breaking it is possible. Breaking is when you can find a way through the defence alive and reach the core of the base. There are many ways of doing this. Some players just walk in and cast a volcano in the back of the base, accompanied by a few eqs. Personally, I suck with shaman and I use troops. An attack that I frequently use is this: Send 2 or 3 warriors to attack each tower. Make sure you time their arrival, because occasionally arriving groups get blasted easily, they should charge all at once (hint: use the ‘n´ trick, if u have time to set it up). Also send them to the damaged and empty towers, they confuse and divert the attention at least.
Then, send a few hitsquads for the shaman (hint: use the ‘shift-click´ trick, always). They will go with the rest of the troops, with the single aim to take out the shaman. She is vulnerable because she will be fending off loads of troops. Imagine the control you gain when they kill her. Then send more groups of 2 or 3 warriors to attack the manned towers again. The first groups may die, so this is backup. Once you have done that (unless you are fighting a godly player) the enemy is in trouble. Penetrate the defence and destroy the base. Then send more troops to finish off and decapitate the resisting unbelievers. Also do some fws patrols around the enemy CoR, for special effects.
Well, frankly this is just a selection of ideas, tools and techniques, mixed with my personal playing style. There is always more to find out and to experiment with, there are always better players than me. I hope you will find it helpful though.
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Last updated: 17 October 2011