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Poland pecelot
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17 Feb 2017, 11:09

Another guide from GoodSpeed, this time for Japan — comment, share, discuss, like!



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Japan

Japan, I have to admit, are somewhat of a favourite of mine. They are a very strong civ but still relatively balanced compared to the actual overpowered civs, and so they have more fun and interesting match ups. They're an adaptive civ that gets very complex and challenging if you want to master them, and they're not map dependent. This especially is a very big deal. The fact that they work on any map makes them, as a boom civ, uniquely playable on the standard maps which explains (or is one of the reasons, at least) why they are so popular on TAD.

They have some great units. Their upgraded colonial army is one of the best in the game and their musks are so fast it makes them an effective raiding unit. The daimyo is a great shipment, the infantry upgrades are decent even after the nerf and yumi are extremely cost effective. What more do you want in your army? A colonial lancer? Sure, you have it. 4 Flaming arrows, which counter falcs? Check. The only thing missing here is an urumi shipment.

Japan's boom is also great. It takes a relatively small investment and can get them a total of about +15 vills in income plus XP from the shrines. 2 downsides though: Shrines, like banks, don't scale with market upgrades, and the fact that they need to occupy hunts makes them very vulnerable. Japan's vills are unraidable, but their economy is all over the map and can easily be harassed. The plus side (for Japan, that is) is that it takes siege to raid their economy instead of cavalry. Siege means heavy infantry which you generally don't want in fights (think pikes), especially against Japan because they like their infantry so much.

But Japan is slow. Lacking a 3v shipment and their orchards giving a slower food income than huntables do, their early game eco is, quite frankly, pathetic. They age up with 13-14 vills (including the shrine) which is very little compared to all other civs, many of which have 16+ vills and a TP. And it's not like Japan's colonial time is fast, either.
This creates a problem. It means that Japan is not going to have a lot of options when it comes to their early colonial start. They have no eco rushes and they have early harassment builds, but none of them are viable because their economy behind it is so bad that they won't have any follow up options. Therefore, Japan's only real option is to shrine boom. This makes them a predictable civ and makes it very hard for them to deal with builds that punish their boom.

Fast rushes do this, fast FFs and even eco semi-FFs can be a pain to deal with. Japan has strong semi-FF builds of their own (always use Golden Pavilion to fortress) but they're slower than other civs' and can more easily get punished by timings. Often, Japan needs to semi-FF with yumis behind a wall to remove this vulnerability, or they have to stay colonial. Of course Japan has no problem staying colonial since they scale extremely well, however they won't have map control and their shrines are vulnerable. Staying colonial against strong (semi-)FFs can be dangerous too, because early fortress pushes become tough to hold. Some civs can even choose to simply take the map and remove most of Japan's shrines, putting Japan in an awkward position since now they're stuck in colonial with a mediocre economy.

Because of Japan's slow start and early investment in economy, they need to be focusing on gathering a large mass from the moment their military buildings are up. This is why eco shipments like 4v are generally a bad idea with this civ. They already have a strong eco, your priority is not getting an even better eco but holding the timings that may kill you. Therefore triple 600 is almost always the correct choice. Like with Brit, 600 gold gives you the choice to age up but you don't have to, you can easily spend it on units as well.

With a wall and yumi behind it, you'd be surprised by the amount of situations where you can sneak in that age up with a 600w 600w 600g card order.
And Japan needs walls. In order to cut corners when it comes to economy or a potential age up in the way that Japan wants to, walls are absolutely necessary. After all you have a bad economy early on and you're focusing on booming, so your mass is logically going to be relatively poor. You can play a somewhat less eco-heavy style and in that case you won't need walls, but you're sacrificing economy and for what? It's not like you're going to be pushing out any time soon because your mass will still be worse than theirs in almost every case, and if they're ageing up then staying colonial and doing a timing isn't the right way to play. Following them up is correct, or setting up your economy for a long term colonial vs fortress fight. Either way, neglecting economy for a bigger early colonial mass is opening you up to some nasty mid fortress timings.

Japan is generally going to be late with their military buildings. To stop the fastest of rushes, you're going to want to build the rax immediately as you hit colonial, instead of waiting for the 600w which is standard. Walls are extra important here. Another option is to hide your buildings when the 600w arrives. If they're good, they'll scout for this but even then it's worth it because you've managed to refocus their army to your hidden buildings instead of your base. This means your vills can gather and you can start new buildings elsewhere. Keep him chasing your buildings rather than having all your vills garissoned. Sometimes you need CM, though (in case of Japan the card is called Enlist irregulars). CM is only worth it if it makes your TC 2 hit units where it would otherwise 3 hit them (jans/sepoy etc), or 1 hit where it would otherwise 2 hit (maces/xbows/pikes etc). If you send CM, boom fully and send military shipments or Daimyo if necessary, otherwise resource shipments and get raxes up, or rax+stable. You're often going to find yourself microing 5 yumi against large armies (walls!) while switching your shrines to food/gold to gather for large batches of minutemen and to keep up vill production (which isn't always worth it).

Japan, much like Dutch, doesn't fit into the TP meta that well. They can get a TP up from 300w starts and send 300w for the consulate and then Heavenly Kami, but this isn't something you do to improve your build. Rather this is something you'd do if you want to steal the middle TP on Great plains from your opponent because it is vital to their build. Even then it's questionable because you will likely lose it in early colonial due to Japan's early mass being too small to defend it, and it won't have paid off by then. This start may only be viable against slower civs, where your TP isn't vulnerable and your later age up won't hurt you.

Japan, being a defensive civ with excellent scaling, are possibly the most adaptive civ in the game. They are weak early, which means they constantly have to cut corners in order to somehow get through the early game and get ahead. This means taking risks, adapting flawlessly to your opponent's decisions and not overcommitting on anything. It also means your defensive abilities need to be on point.
If you do all of this flawlessly, Japan may be the best civ in the game (on standard maps, that is). However, scouting isn't always that easy and always taking the right risks without them backfiring is impossible because then they wouldn't be risks. There is also a certain luck factor in that. But anyway if you're bored of the euro civs (which with enough experience isn't surprising considering a lot of euro civs have barely changed since vanilla), try mastering Japan. You will find challenges you didn't know existed.


The Japanese build

Due to Japan being possibly the most adaptive civ in the game, writing a build for them is nearly impossible. There are a ton of variations and you may even have to transition into suboptimal builds if you scout something unexpected from your opponent. I'll take a slightly different approach in that I won't be listing the builds and saying when they are viable, but listing your reaction to each possible opponent's build. Remember to play this civ with a clock. Always have timings in mind, and know which ones you need to be scared of. Also, “Can I age up without dying?” should be a question that is always on your mind, especially when you reach that time in your build where you're sending 600g.

With 300w, consider the TP mentioned above (in that case chop 25w for shrine and send 300w first for consulate + extra shrine). In the future I will assume you did the standard build:

Start consulate and ally with Ports. Chop either 107 or 7 wood based on how much wood you started with.
 (1) Heavenly Kami

Age up with the Toshugu Shrine. During transition, leave 6 vills on food for vill production and have the rest on wood. Start spamming shrines all over the map. Their placement can be important in some match ups (build them on the edges of the map if possible against aggressive builds), but usually you're just going to want to plant every single available hunt full of shrines anyway.
Note that you want your shrines on either food or wood. Gold is less effective vill-second wise, and putting the shrines on food means your rice paddies will last longer meaning you won't have to waste a shipment on them as early.


Against a rush

Against early colonial pressure you're going to want to invest in economy a little less. Depending on the speed of the rush, you can still decide to wait for 600w before building military buildings and as mentioned, you can also go for the CM route explained above, which I will not get further into in this part. And wall! Seriously, wall.

There are several options when it comes to your shipments:
 (2) 600w. Use this against the somewhat slower but powerful colonial pressure builds. You still have the choice of building the rax immediately or waiting for 600w.
 (2) Unit shipment (against fast rushes)
 (2) Daimyo. Works against fast rushes as well, it's a decent combat unit as well as a moving military building. Don't lose it.

 (3) 600g (only if you sent 600w first) for ashi+nagi or full ashi.
 (3) 600w for yumi, or to build military buildings if you don't have those yet.
 (3) Unit shipment if you're still in trouble in your base.

 (4) 600g (age up optional). Strong if you want to leave your options open for a while longer while you scout what they're doing.
 (4) Daimyo. Strong in longer term colonial fights, and can act as a stable if you need cav but don't have a stable yet.
 (4) 600w. Obviously you can only send this if you didn't already send it twice. Use for stable, possibly replacing shrines and/or yumi


Against a long term colonial start

Most civs won't want to play a long game against Japan, but sometimes you will run into it. Their plan will usually be to keep you in your base while they kill shrines and mass up, and they will generally plan to age up at some point, even if its after 10 minutes.
Your priority is booming as hard as possible in early colonial. You will likely not run into any trouble even with late double rax (from 600w), and if you think they will try to push your base instead of simply sieging shrines, boom a little less hard. Walls are still advisable, simply because they allow you to boom harder with less units, as well as giving you the option to age up more safely. Important though, is to stop booming immediately after 600w. You're going to want to mass in order to do 1 of 2 things: push them off your shrines, or age up. Sending vills can be viable, but in the vast majority of cases it's a bad idea. This is the point where you need to take control of the game.

(2) 600w. Build either 2 raxes or rax+stable.
(3) 600w for yumi or yumi+nag, or (3) 600g for ashi or ashi+nag.
(4) 600g (age up optional)

Age up with this if he's busy sieging shrines or if his army is not that scary. Sometimes they're sieging fast though and you need to push them off shrines before they hurt your economy too much, in which case staying colonial is better. Note that if you decide to age up and have some ashi, send them to raid. It will keep him busy as well as possibly killing some vills, and the ashi should almost always get out safely due to their speed.

Try to keep scouting for semi-FFs. You don't want to find yourself in a defensive position while they age up for free, likely it'll already be too late for you to follow them up. If you do scout a semi-FF, or simply a lack of units, age up. Staying colonial is fine in most cases, but if you want to be totally safe about it you'll want a fortress army. In colonial, no matter how upgraded your units are, you will still have trouble against artillery. Of course, you won't always have time to age. If you don't have the time, max shrines and possibly even send vills.


Against a fortress build

Many civs will try an early fortress timing against Japan, because it can punish an overbooming Jap while not being vulnerable to harassment due to Japan's slow military start. Against this, Japan has to neglect their boom somewhat and age up themselves. In many cases it's also possible and even straight up winning for Japan to play it out in colonial, but ageing up after them is generally a more solid choice. That is, if you can afford to.
Against fast early fortress timings, use walls to slow them down a bit. Straight FF may be advisable in that case, which means:
(2) 600w (shrines + market)
(3) 600g (age up)
Or if you need to be really fast (in which case it may be viable to start TP even with 200w):
(2) 600g (age up)
(3) 600w (military building and shrines)

The semi-FF, also described above, is:
(2) 600w. Build 2 raxes or rax+stable, also viable is just the rax or even just the stable if you know you're ageing up
(3) 600w or (3) 600g depending on unit composition
(4) 600g (age up)
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Netherlands shotsnice
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17 Feb 2017, 13:29

these are the guides I need! thx :biggrin:
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United States of America Darwin_
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17 Feb 2017, 13:32

What about the kami-600w-4v-600g build? Or kami-600w-4v-4v-upgrade?

Also, what tips does he have for when to switch consulate allies?
Tuvalu gibson
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17 Feb 2017, 15:22

Kami first in every build :sad:........ Such an overrated card in most maps and most mus
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United States of America SirCallen
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17 Feb 2017, 15:37

I can't quite see how or why considering japans eco whole heartedly relies on shrines @gibson

Even hazza's anti Russia no cons build sent kami first, yeah?
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Tuvalu gibson
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17 Feb 2017, 15:43

sircallen wrote:I can't quite see how or why considering japans eco whole heartedly relies on shrines @gibson

Even hazza's anti Russia no cons build sent kami first, yeah?

I doubt it, he doesn't ever send kami either. It's just a mediocre card on most maps. Its basically VC for jap that's only popular cause jap doesn't have a three vil shipment. But on any map that isn't high hunt even 2 vils is better, and 3 boats is always better.
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France kami_ryu
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17 Feb 2017, 15:46

With Kami, shrines gather 0.41 r/s with 4 hunts, 0.2 r/s with 0 hunts.

So effectively you can go from 0.25 to 0.5 a vill for every shrine. Seems good to me. 20 shrines with hunts on them is 10 r/s, which is really good. I can see styles of Japan working without shrine but if you're going to play boom-style Japan then there's no reason not to send the card. Even with like 7 shrines (80 pop) it's 3.5 r/s, which is more than 2 villagers. No reason not to send Heavenly Kami.
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Great Britain britishmusketeer
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17 Feb 2017, 16:29

kami_ryu wrote:With Kami, shrines gather 0.41 r/s with 4 hunts, 0.2 r/s with 0 hunts.

So effectively you can go from 0.25 to 0.5 a vill for every shrine. Seems good to me. 20 shrines with hunts on them is 10 r/s, which is really good. I can see styles of Japan working without shrine but if you're going to play boom-style Japan then there's no reason not to send the card. Even with like 7 shrines (80 pop) it's 3.5 r/s, which is more than 2 villagers. No reason not to send Heavenly Kami.

Shrines gather wood at 0.14 base. Kami is 50% to base gather rate so it is +0.07 w/s per shrine so you need to have 15 for it to gather faster than 2v.
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Germany yemshi
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17 Feb 2017, 17:36

2v without upgrades that is. Most of the shrines are gonna get sieged anyway.
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Great Britain ListlessSalmon
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17 Feb 2017, 17:42

britishmusketeer wrote:
kami_ryu wrote:With Kami, shrines gather 0.41 r/s with 4 hunts, 0.2 r/s with 0 hunts.

So effectively you can go from 0.25 to 0.5 a vill for every shrine. Seems good to me. 20 shrines with hunts on them is 10 r/s, which is really good. I can see styles of Japan working without shrine but if you're going to play boom-style Japan then there's no reason not to send the card. Even with like 7 shrines (80 pop) it's 3.5 r/s, which is more than 2 villagers. No reason not to send Heavenly Kami.

Shrines gather wood at 0.14 base. Kami is 50% to base gather rate so it is +0.07 w/s per shrine so you need to have 15 for it to gather faster than 2v.


No, they gather food at 0.14 base. Wood at 0.1 base. Kami gives another 0.05 wood per second per shrine. So you're only ever going to get +1.1w/s trickle from Kami (with 20 shrines+toshogu). The gather rate boost is not that substantial and never going to actually increase the total gather rate more than going 3 boats and building the same number of shrines. the main benefit is cheaper shrines and so more shrines. So I think 2v (or 3 boats, or 300w maybe) is probably better if you aren't building a lot of shrines.

A trivial lower bound on the number of shrines you need to build post-Kami for it to possibly be better than 2v/3boats is 7:
Assuming that 2v/3boats is better than 50xp+2shrines gathering (2 extra shrines) then you need (at least) 3 more shrines than you would have gotten otherwise to end up with a better economy. Assuming Port consulate in both cases then Kami is saving you 32w per shrine (107-75), so (if you ignore the obviously important fact that the 2v build is outgathering the Kami build for a long time) for every shrine a 2v build gets the kami build can get ~1.43 shrines, so you need 3/0.43=~7 shrines to end up with 3 more shrines with Kami for the same wood.

But obviously the 2v/3boats gathering through all the time it takes for Kami to catch up. If you assume 3 boats, and that this gives 3 more woodcutters throughout this period (the boats displace 3 berry gatherers) and that Kami catches up in a nice linear fashion (this clearly isn't going to be the case) then the 3 boats has 1.5 woodcutters gather rate * the amount of time it takes to catch up. So if we say they gather at the 0.5 wood per second per vill list rate (I don't believe they actually do this because of bumping and lag etc.) and (rather arbitrarily) say it takes 3 minutes for Kami to catch up, then the 3 boats will have 0.5*1.5*180=135 more wood or another 1.25 shrines.

If you assume all of the assumptions made to make the calculation easier then Kami needs to make 3 more shrines to make up for the base gather rate and another 1.25 shrines to make up for the difference in gather rate during the shrine construction, so you need to make enough shrines post-Kami that you get 4.25 shrines of wood from the wood saving on the shrines you make, which is 4.25/0.43=~10

So if you never go above 130 housing space (and never rebuild any lost shrines) and your boats are at least as safe as your 4 least safe shrines then sending 3 boats was better. Lots of other factors favour the boats over Kami, i.e. does the map even have enough hunts, shrines getting marginally less safe each shrine, the 3 boats guy can spend wood on other things but Kami needs to spend the wood on shrines if the build is going to pay off, it takes longer than 3 minutes for Kami to catch up in any real situation etc.. That Kami makes rebuilding lost shrines cheaper all game is probably what makes it pay off most of the time.

(That's all obviously very very back of the envelope stuff though.)
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Serbia Atomiswave
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17 Feb 2017, 17:52

So what, 4 vills is bad card judging by this guide?
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17 Feb 2017, 18:13

You also gotta consider the fact that even though shrines are more expensive, you're gonna get up a similar number in transition if you send for example 3 boats because you have an extra 3 vils on wood. So when you hit age 2 you have maybe one less shrine but an extra 3 vils.
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Brazil lemmings121
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17 Feb 2017, 18:31

the best thing about japan is those mini factories, makes no sence skiping kami, unless you are going full aizamk

also, you cant compare directly 1 schrine with/without kami, the math should be done considering "x amount of wood woth of schrines", so you have a diferent number of schrines in each case. something arroung 1000w should give a good info.
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Great Britain ListlessSalmon
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17 Feb 2017, 19:14

lemmings121 wrote:the best thing about japan is those mini factories, makes no sence skiping kami, unless you are going full aizamk

also, you cant compare directly 1 schrine with/without kami, the math should be done considering "x amount of wood woth of schrines", so you have a diferent number of schrines in each case. something arroung 1000w should give a good info.


gibson wrote:You also gotta consider the fact that even though shrines are more expensive, you're gonna get up a similar number in transition if you send for example 3 boats because you have an extra 3 vils on wood. So when you hit age 2 you have maybe one less shrine but an extra 3 vils.


The maths in my post includes both of these points. (Concedely it isn't well communicated though). For Lemmings' point it assumed that you need 3 more shrines to make up for the 3 boats/2v shipment and worked out how many shrines you have to make that you save enough wood that you get these 3 more shrines "for free" and for Gibson's point it works out how much more wood the 3 boats build will gather as kami catches up and so works out how many more shrines "for free" you need to make up for that.

With Kami you can get 7 shrines for the price of 4 non-Kami shrines so you have to get to 7 shrines for the wood pay off.
Assuming it takes ~3 minutes for Kami to catch up, and that it does linearly (it doesn't as the rate at which it catches up increases as both economies increase and the 3 boats becomes a smaller percentage of that builds economy- but this unfairness to the 3 boats build is balanced by the fact that I haven't calculated the boost from the base gather rate from Kami here at all), so on average the 3 boats is 1.5 woodcutters ahead during these 3 minutes, which gets it a free 135 wood, or 1.27 (non-kami) shrines, which means Kami needs another 3 shrines to catch up (as 3 Kami shrines costs the same as ~1.73 non-Kami shrines). So you need ~10 shrines for the catch up. The 3 minute time period assigned comes from the fact that it takes around 3 minutes of fully booming (vills on food for age then no vills on wonder only make shrines and keep tc constant) to get 10 shrines. Obviously in a real game you're not going to be able to do that all that often, but I was only trying to find a lower bound for when Kami is good.
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Brazil lemmings121
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17 Feb 2017, 20:13

Imo a good tldr is: "kami first unless you are going heavy water or expect to be in a scenario where you wont build more schrines than the necessary for pop" (on those cases, 3boats is ok, imo never use 2v.)
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Netherlands Goodspeed
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17 Feb 2017, 23:08

Whoever is saying you shouldn't kami first may be overlooking a very simple point: Not shrine booming (to at least 12 shrines) as Japan is almost always suboptimal.
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Austria KINGofOsmane
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18 Feb 2017, 01:42

Goodspeed wrote:Whoever is saying you shouldn't kami first may be overlooking a very simple point: Not shrine booming (to at least 12 shrines) as Japan is almost always suboptimal.

not sure about that
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Canada _NiceKING_
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18 Feb 2017, 01:45

GoodSpeed's 4.0 Guide would be awesome
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Netherlands Jerom
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18 Feb 2017, 03:44

Goodspeed wrote:Whoever is saying you shouldn't kami first may be overlooking a very simple point: Not shrine booming (to at least 12 shrines) as Japan is almost always suboptimal.

Id strongly argue against that. My arguments are the following:
- aztec
- russia
- otto
- spain
- iro
- india

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