Guide Shuri2060's Timing Guide

Shuri2060

Phrourach
The guide in the posts below is something I wrote almost 2 years ago towards the end of en113, so some things may be outdated, etc. I find it a shame not many guides have been posted on this subject in recent years when I would consider it an essential part of gameplay. I think most players who know how (including myself) prefer to keep the knowledge to themselves as it isn't widely known and quite hard to explain. So a shout out to Fluv who posted guides here before.

Since making, I've posted this guide in my alliances' forums only, but I think it's time to share publicly as I (hopefully) approach my 2nd win in EN. Maybe it'll end up improving my opponents in future worlds, but that's all good for the spirit of competition.

You can actually see I wasn't very fast myself at the time of making - maybe 6-8 immediate tries per anchor, but over time I've gotten better, averaging 8-11. I also don't play FPS games, etc, so I am always looking for more optimal setups to reduce mouse distance to keep an advantage over others. There have been various UI updates which have made adjustments necessary in the past few years.

Atm my preferred way is with Command Overview as it gives me 11+ tries with no lag, but that isn't great in all situations - can be a hassle to setup. I can still reach 11 tries using Hover on dropdown, but it is quite easy to make a mistake, costing you tries. The ideal setup for you will depend on your connection and your browser speed so the best advice I can give is to keep experimenting with different setups and to keep practicing so you don't mess up under pressure. A very common habit I find hard to get rid of myself is accidentally recalling good times - you just have to keep your focus.

Recent gif demonstrations:
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Notice I could've made 11 tries if not for the small blip
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Math:
1 - (1-1/21)^6 = 25.4% 1 - (1-1/21)^11 = 41.5% 1 - (1-1/21)^22 = 65.8% 1 - (1-1/21)^33 = 80.0% 1 - (1-1/21)^44 = 88.3%

So while the average player might get perfect times with a quarter of their cities, if you can reach 11 tries, you have a very high perfect timing rate with even just 1 or 2 anchors. Also, you aren't necessarily aiming for just 1 perfect time in all situations, allowing even higher success rates.

One final thing I'll say is learning how to time is only the beginning - it expands your horizon of possibilities for strategic play within the game. Learn how to time well first, and then consider the best way to use this technique in your strategies. Just being able to time well alone doesn't make you a good player - there are further things to consider beyond that.

*Note: One thing I didn't say clearly in the guide below (it is in one of the images) is that the setup with the command dropdown requires GRCRT. Without, you'll have to resort to cancelling from the overview.
 
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Shuri2060

Phrourach
Guide to timing

Part 1: Theory

0. Understand game mechanics
A) Anti-timer
All attack/support commands vary their landing time by up to +-10 seconds randomly (indicated by ~). As far as I know, this is uniformly distributed (all 21 possible times are equally likely).
B) Same second commands
Commands arriving in the same second land in the order they were issued in*. eg if the enemy launches a CS first, your front snipe needs to be 1 second or more before, otherwise it'll land after.

*Note: for cancelled commands, it is the launch time of the command, NOT the cancel time that counts. This is important for self-sniping (section 3).

Once you understand that, everything there is to know about sniping is about overcoming these limitations/features.

1. Basic timing
A) If you want to land before a command, then you can guarantee it by aiming for the time 11 seconds before it.
B) If you want to land after a command, then you can guarantee it by aiming for the time 10 seconds after it.

Note: you need to compensate for lag, if you have much (launch earlier).

2. Advanced timing
Often we need to do much better than just landing within 20 seconds of whichever side of the command you're aiming for. Employ any of/a combination of these techniques to do so. (I highly recommend the Anchor method at the very least - something everyone can do.)

The key principle is to maximize the number of tries with the anti-timer. You're rolling a 21-sided dice each time you launch a command, and the more of these dice you roll, the more likely you'll get the number(s) you're aiming for.

A) Anchors
Take time to study the differences between unit speeds. The idea is to use other units to slow down what you would've launched. This gives you an earlier launch time to try for your time in addition to your normal time.

First you launch with the anchor, and if that fails to give you your desired time, drop the anchor and try again. If you have multiple anchors (eg. TS, LS, Bir are all anchors for Myth flyers), then try each in turn.

I always build 1 TS + 1 LS in all cities as these anchor all (relevant) units. Remember that FS and even CS can act as anchors, although they're very slow. I always build FS in defensive cities near the front lines (note they cannot be included in a non-CS attack). I recommend using tris to escort OLU instead of LS. LS then become an additional anchor for them.

Under anchors also come anti-anchors. These speed up your units instead to give more tries. I save up Improved Troop Movement tokens for this purpose (when I miss even after multiple tries). Note ITM can also let you reuse earlier anchors so you probably get more than 1 extra set of tries from using it.

Atalanta is also an anti-anchor (for attacks). In fact, levelling her up can also do the same - if you miss, just level her up and try again. For that reason, I don't level Atalanta otherwise.
B) Immediate tries
The key idea is that we want to send a command, check its time, cancel if no good, and then resend it and repeat this process as rapidly as possible. Send check recall, send check recall, ... until you get a good time.

Suppose you want to gun for a range of times between time X and time Y (inclusive). Then it's possible to get in this range of times if you gun your command for anything between ~X-10 seconds and ~Y+10 seconds (inclusive).

So you have this time range (~X-10 to ~Y+10) to send check recall repeatedly as quickly as possible.

How best to achieve this? By utilising the attack planner (need Captain) and the following layout (note it is only possible to move the command dropdown if you have GRC tools).
(Note mouse is hidden in gif)

Setup
1. Set the command(s) in the attack planner, then click on the sword to bring it up.
2. Zoom out twice (Ctrl + -)
3. Re-position the attack planner so the sword is as close to the attack/support button as possible (without it overlapping the window)
4. Reset the zoom (Ctrl + 0).
5. Drag the command dropdown so it is in a close position (you need to be ready to hover over the command as soon as you've launched it).

A lot of practice is needed to get used to this!

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On average, most players achieve ~6 immediate tries in 21 seconds. With a good technique and no lag you can get 8-11 (I recommend Firefox and switching DIO tools off for less lag).

It is also possible to achieve a setup that is still quite effective without either of these, although you'd probably get in half or less the number of tries. Feel free to experiment for something that works for you.

This setup is not possible on phone, quite obviously, and you'll have to just try to move as quickly as possible to get multiple immediate tries. 2 or 3 per 21 seconds should be possible.
C) Batch timing
This technique is particularly useful for sniping a CS with a known escort. The idea is to split your command into multiple groups (or batches) and that hopefully at least one of them will get in the time range you're aiming for.

To work out what size the batches need to be, you need the simulator. In an ideal world, all information you need is there (all the multipliers active in the city). That's not always available, and to be safe, you should always assume the worst scenario (most unfavourable luck, enemy has boosts active, etc).

Toggling the numbers up and down should then give the number of units needed for a guaranteed snipe. Then when the timing range comes up, repeatedly launch the batches as quickly as you can. It might be possible you have the time to recall and resend some of them as well.

This is most commonly done with ships to snipe CS.
Technique A and B are completely compatible to combine with each other and in fact that multiplies the total number of tries you get! Definitely do it if you can!

Say you achieve 4-6 immediate tries each time, then those tries are multiplied by the number of anchor tries you have. It suddenly becomes very plausible to reach very close times using this.

Technique C isn't used as much (due to constraints) and doesn't work brilliantly with the other techniques (need multiple anchors/by the time missed ones are recalled, you'll probably have missed their 2nd immediate tries).

However, it's good to employ after you miss all your anchor tries and you have the information necessary. In addition, if you know multiple people are available to try this technique, then it is more likely multiple batches will land in the desired time range (eg. if you're desperate to snipe a CS that has a clearing 1 second before).

3. Self-sniping (extra section)
There is one particular case where the anti-timer has no effect on attack/support commands. That's when you cancel commands that are going out. If the units have been travelling for 50 seconds and then you cancel, it'll take them precisely 50 seconds to travel back home.

This makes it very easy to snipe any CS down with units from the same city once you get the hang of it.

I highly recommend practising it until you're confident you can do it reasonably well.

I'll leave these pointers -

A. Use the Command Window* of the command you're self sniping (almost always an incoming CS) to watch the timer, and not anything else (this is the most accurate).
B. Use the Command Window* of your outgoing self-snipers to cancel from (you then won't be affected by appearing/disappearing commands, eg. spam).
C. Remember the same second rule. If you launch and then cancel so the cancelled command lands in the same second as another, the cancelled command will arrive after.
D. Pick round numbers - I recommend 1 minute, 2 minutes.

*Note Open the Command Window by clicking on the attack/support icon from the Command Overview. If clicked from the Command Dropdown, you cannot have multiple Command Windows open.

Landing 1 second before a command (before)
Launch your self-snipers to some other city WHEN the command is precisely 2:01 away (JUST after the command was 2:02 away). Cancel WHEN before the CS is precisely 1:01 away (JUST after the command was 1:02 away).

Landing in the same second as a command (after)
Do exactly the same as above, except subtract 1 second from everything. (Launch at 2:00, just after 2:01 and cancel at 1:00, just after 1:01).

The key is practice and getting used to it - I usually do drills like this before I have to snipe a CS.

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Note what was said before about same second commands. The launch time of the command rather than the cancel time determines command order. This means that you will want to launch backsnipes as early as possible so they can slip in between later launched supports and the CS. This has implications, particularly in high speed worlds - if a player launches a CS with TT under 20 minutes, you can always guarantee a backsnipe by launching immediately after.

Examples:
(watch in HD)

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Shuri2060

Phrourach
Part 2: Practice

The Attack Planner is ESSENTIAL to getting good timings on your attacks. Set it up once, learn how to use it, and never look back to the old days of 'sending 11 seconds before/10 seconds after' and that loada crap.

How to set it up + use it (if any of the images are too small, you can right click + open in new tab + zoom in)

1. Setting it up for the 1st time
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2. How to use it
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How to use the Attack Planner for timing
3. Set up
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4. How to time
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Slow motion video:

Examples of timing in action: (pay attention to the Arrival time I was aiming for in both videos)

Result examples:
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Optimizations:

I recommend Firefox over Chrome for timing. Try both and other browsers to compare.

Edit: this was my experience from ~2 years ago, things have likely changed. Atm I just use Chrome.

1. Game settings
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(animations off to reduce lag)
2. DIO settings
I recommend switching DIO off in Tampermonkey (you need to reload for this to take effect). If you don't, go with these settings to get rid of things in the way.
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Reimu Hakurei

Hipparchus
Jokes aside, I use dio tools and it's "Sent Units" feature. It keeps your units inputted in the attack window when you send them so there is no need to click the attack button in the attack planner in order to input the units back into the window. Its also better since you cant use sirens with attack planner unless you want to plan 100 possible attack. This way you can input the hero as well very easily.
 

Shuri2060

Phrourach
Jokes aside, I use dio tools and it's "Sent Units" feature. It keeps your units inputted in the attack window when you send them so there is no need to click the attack button in the attack planner in order to input the units back into the window. Its also better since you cant use sirens with attack planner unless you want to plan 100 possible attack. This way you can input the hero as well very easily.
I find the lag horrible with DIO. I edit plan to add/remove (anti-)anchors
 

Lethal-Bacon

Strategos
one would think they should update attack planner when introducing new units...
but yeah, offensive timing is much easier now with sirens, even easier than anchors, so you dont even need them anymore, only downside to having 5+ attacks lined up on same second or 2 is getting mass reported by enemy ally because of feature mods added thinking it will be fun lol
 

Shuri2060

Phrourach
then you cant time with hero, missing out on a hero early game when you have few nukes is a huge deal
I trade my 2-3 tries to time with hero. What is this feature that keeps your units inputted? It's not Sent Units - are you sure it's not Mole Holes or something else?
 

cardalu

Peltast
its bot because u cannot move the hover thing. u are using special scripts to abuse the game ive reported you and will encourage others to report also. goodbye i will no longer log into the external forums because its just cheaters here
 

Hydna

Grepolis Team
Timing is a skill. If you time with the attack planner without any add on scripts there will not be an issue. Countless players will testify to this. Others reporting you or lots of good results are not an issue.
 
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