Wall-in With One Hall
Here I will give the first of two powerful single hall strategies based on an early cat defence. The first is a strategy to get fast ogres; following that is a build for fast Sappers.
This is an excellent build I learnt from an old time Kali great by the name of Buko. The concept is to wall in with a catapult defence, but with an exit corridor to allow the easy flow of peons in and out of your base, to make buildings outside your semi-wallin. It also allows spare grunts out to scout or kill enemy cats. You have three grunts guarding the entrance to your base, placed so that enemy units face a three-on-one attack if they try to enter (as well as being hit by your catapult).
The build order is as follows:
P1 – Hall …. Farm …. Barracks …….. Mill …… Gold
………………. P2 – Farm …. Farm …. Farm …. Gold
………………… P3 – Smith …….. Gold
……………………P4 – Gold
P5 to P13 – Gold
P14 – Wood or farm
You can perform this set-up in any location, including R2 as long as you are careful with building placement. As usual, it is easier to set up on the left-hand side locations. It may take a little practice and precise knowledge of the forest formation around your base before you are comfortable with placing your buildings. You will construct the corridor to your base using both the smith and rax, or the smith and mill. On right-hand side starting locations you need the rax inside your base so the cat doesn?t appear on the outside of your wall-in, that is when to make the corridor using the smith and mill. The other factor to keep in mind is that you will need room for the three grunts inside, plus access for peons to repair buildings if you are attacked. As soon as the rax is finished, make a grunt and use that peon to make the mill. As soon as the smith is finished, upgrade shields, but hold off on the attack upgrade for now.
Make only four farms and put all your peons on gold at first. Keep making grunts until you have three, immediately placing them at the inside end of the corridor. It is critical to put the grunts on ?hold ground? (in the unit control menu) so they stay put and don?t rush out as soon as your buildings are attacked. As soon as the mill is finished, your third grunt will be out, so immediately begin making the cat. Use the peon that built the mill to start scouting for a 2-hall.
If you are attacked really early, before you have three grunts to defend with, kill off the attack and keep making a couple more grunts than usual. If it looks like you will be attacked again before you can set up the three-on-one, build a wall where one of the grunts would be, and make a two-on-one instead. You can tear down the little wall and go back to a three-on-one later. Down be too alarmed if your buildings are being attacked and your cat is only half done. Begin repairing immediately and you should have no problem holding out until your cat is done. Don?t be tempted to rush your grunts out into the attack, keep the entrance closed off! If the enemy decides to put up very early arrow towers beside your base, before your cat is halfway done, you will need to take action. Put up an arrow tower of your own, or temporarily seal your base, and use a spare grunt to go out and kill the enemy peon.
Assuming the early game goes well, you will be able to build enough peons to max out your food supply of 17 before the cat is built. Before your last peon builds, you may want put one or two peons on wood. As soon hit your supply limit, upgrade to stronghold. Put the last peon you made on wood, or build a farm. You should have 250 wood left, so only do this if you think you won?t need the wood for repairing. Take more peons off gold straight away, for a total of six peons mining wood. While the hall is upgrading, upgrade attack and finish your fifth farm. From now on you will be making farms consecutively until you have at least 37 supply (you?ll need it for the ogres!). If you feel the need for additional scouting, make a fourth grunt and send it out.
When the stronghold completes, begin construction of the ogre mound. When wood permits, build two more barracks outside your base, in range of your cat. Be careful when moving peons in and out of the base. Move one grunt aside to let the peon through, and remember to put the grunt on ?hold ground? when it is back in place. Be careful not to let your peons chop out of the wall-in. Redirect them to other areas of wood. If your initial rax is part of your wall-in, it is a good idea to build farms or walls inside in such a way that when you begin ogre production, the ogres appear on the outside of your wall-in. Keep making peons until you have at least twenty. Allocate them to wood or gold to suit your needs. If the enemy grunt rushed, you should be having no problems so far, and will soon have a powerful attacking advantage with your ogres.
If the enemy two-halled, you will have found it early with your scouting peon. Check the L3 position first, this is popular for two-hallers. Now you have to decide whether to break into their base early or wait for sappers. I recommend early harassment at least. Put up an offensive tower, or if they have no way to make outside grunts, charge out of your base with your own troops, and now your defensive cat has turned offensive! Sometimes there is the option to direct the cat to a gap in the trees or against the enemy buildings, and wall the cat in there! It is now safe from enemy grunts, and able to target gold mining peons or bombard the enemy wall-in. If this fails, watch for opportunities to break in when they chop out.
In the meantime you are ready for major ogre production. Upgrade shields again at the same time your first few ogres appear (you will need these ogres in case the opponent shows up with some grunts and cats, or grunts and very fast sappers). If the battle has been quiet, and the enemy was rushing, get busy scouting for expansions. At this stage you have the upper hand, but you will lose it if you let the enemy take a couple of expansions unchallenged. Most likely there will be a reasonable number of grunts at the enemy base. Remember to keep some troops at home to keep blocking your entrance! As soon as you have ten to fifteen ogres, make your attack and you should overpower them without too much trouble. Don?t forget to make the second attack upgrade. Around this time, put up an Alchemist to make sappers. The enemy will most likely have expanded by now, and may have defence at their main, so you will need more than pure ogres to break in.
You should expand just a little later than you would if you were rushing. The reason for this is that you need the extra gold to make a decisive ogre attack, possibly with sappers, and it should be much easier to expand after you have made this attack. Expand before your mine goes below 5000 gold.
Things will go a little differently if you are going for sappers to kill a two-haller. You will have one chance to hit them hard. If that fails they will have time to make more ogres and go quickly to bloodlust. For this reason it will generally be better to go for the main base. If you can break in here, they will have a lot of rebuilding to do at their expansion. Scout for hidden barracks. Make the alchemist much earlier, as soon as the stronghold upgrades. Build it near their base. Attack the expansion with the cat and grunts (unless they have troops there). At the same time, attack the main with ogres and sappers. You may be able to break in with just one sapper, but it is better to take two so they have less chance to reseal, and you will take out their troop production faster.
If they one halled and your ogre attack failed, you have to decide whether to make another attack with ogres and sappers, or to upgrade to fortress and possibly take a second expansion. At this stage their expansion is the important target, if you destroy it they will quickly run out of gold. If the expansion is towered and has troops there, take another expansion yourself and upgrade. Use your ogres to make sure they don?t get a second expansion.
Once you upgrade to fortress, get deathknights, bloodlust and runes as usual.