Common names or variations:
- Jaq Attack
- Jack Attack
- Phract smack
For the sake of the post I will refer to it as a Jack Attack as it is most often spelled that way. This attack is one of the simplest exploits but can also be a difficult task to pull off with an online defender who knows what to avoid. This attack was a favorite some time ago but with “help” and knowledge of the game many have said the jack attack rarely works against online and offline players. The most common variations you will see are between cavalry and cataphrax though pike can work as well. So let’s break this down.
Why attempt a Jack Attack or Catasmack?
- Cavalry and Cataphrax do increased damage to archers
- Both units have very fast speeds
- You can exploit the attack with battle mechanics knowledge
- Attack can be difficult to defend against when spamming
- Both units do considerable damage
- Considerable life on both can make a difference against smaller defenses
What this attack does is uses the players defensive battle mechanics against them. The attack must be against compact defense meaning no traps, abatis or rockfall/trebuchets. Some obvious points to make is you are sending faster units at a compact base which has a shorter battlefield. Battle mechanics dictate that a defender will first attack ranged units and then melee units from fastest to slowest that are within range. The fastest melee unit in the game is a scout. Since the battle field is shorter the defenders ranged units and archers towers are in range of the scout! So by simply adding “1″ scout to your attack the defenders will waste an entire round targeting that “1″ scout allowing your cav or phrax to move up completely untouched. Adding more then “1″ scout adds no value to the attack. You will want to attempt this attack against a player with large amount of ranged units and low to no melee.
Setting up a jack attack or Phract Smack
Chances are you wont scout someone ready for it though you could get lucky and find it. If you find someone in ranged defense you will have to convert them down to compact by using breaker waves. It is advised you first kill their melee units using ranged attacks before converting them as this make make it easier for you later. The article on breaking down abatis can tell you how many waves would be needed so make sure to read it. Abatis is mentioned because this unit has a set breakdown rate whereas traps can vary but are usually gone before abatis. If someone is offline and has no help it’s just a matter of wearing them down. If you are fighting an online defender it is common to attempt to lull the defender and jack attack as you see an opening and they have no range. Some attackers will take multiple bases to send breaker waves from as this is harder for a defender to keep their range building unless they have a strong politics hero.
As an attacker
- Keep them in compact
- Killer large melee units with less expensive units by using pike bombs
- Lead jack/phract attacks with breaker waves
- Avoid large camp times so the defender cant see attack coming
- More you spam the better
- Being aggressive is key
- Timing is everything
As a defender
- Use your best politics mayor to queue up defenses in small groups
- Watch for larger waves and camp times, that will tell you when they are coming
- Use multiple barracks to queue “1″ layers of melee troops
- Be aware of how much melee layering you have. If you are in CD and you are getting pike bombed they are setting you up.
- When in doubt close gates until you have range or melee
If you paid close attention to the rules in the mechanics section you may have noticed that the jack attack only uses the rule about melee units from fastest to slowest. The jack attack is more about getting the defender to slip up and make a mistake through spamming since this attack can be done very quickly. This attack can get you epic reports if you attempt it and time it right. Don’t forget to include this in your arsenal of tricks. I’ll go over the Viof attacks in another post.