The rush - controversial, hated, loved - but commonly used. If not mastered, then you will never be more than average. Many, many people hate the rush completely. There is usually one common fact amongst these people, they are the ones at the receiving end of a rush. It is indeed possible to stop the rush - and many people make it their "mission" to stop rushers. I am a rusher - and not ashamed of it at all. Many people moan about how "any idiot can rush and win". That is so, so wrong. It's no secret that the outstanding majority of the top players on the WOL ladder are rushers - especially the Soviet ones.
In my experience the "average rush" should occur within eight minutes. At after roughly eight minutes, a good Allied player will have built a battle lab hence enabling them to build mirage tanks. Rushing is an art, learning how to execute the perfect rush takes time, for it is a matter of using your resources extremely precisely and knowing what your enemy has waiting for you in his base. One of the most exciting types of games, in my opinion at least, is where two skilled rushers come head to head - for this is when the better player is proved by seeing what tactics they use apart from the basic tank rush.
Many players think that rushing spoils the game, and they prefer to play in long games. Playing in long games may be enjoyable, but it isn't going to get you to the top of the ladder; or anywhere near it for that matter. To get a high position on the ladder, let's say 1000, you need to play at least 25 games in a month. Playing 25 games simply isn't possible for many players as they don't have enough time. Well the way to get around that problem is to rush. Many of you currently reading this section may feel angry at the fact that I am suggesting that rushing is the only way to attain a high position in the ladder. It isn't. Yes, you can attain a high position in the ladder playing long games, but its going to take you a hell of a long time. If you are defeating opponents in an average time of four to six minutes, then 25 games will take a few hours of play. My average victory using the classic Soviet tank rush takes 3-8 minutes, depending on the skill of the opponent. If you are playing as Soviets and are intending on using the rush, then it simply must be done within 8 minutes, for after then the Allies gain much better units. Rushing is all or nothing - you throw everything you have at the opponent in order to destroy them quickly and mercilessly. Rushing, contrary to popular opinion, is skilled - and the best way to achieve a high rank.
The rush is best done with the Soviets. There is absolutely no doubt about this. It is possible to rush with grizzly tanks, but the rhino tank is much more powerful and has a considerably larger health bar. The idea of rushing is a very, very simple one - but the execution of it is much more difficult. The maps most suited to the Soviet rush are the smaller ones - as these allow for getting your tanks to the opponent quickly. Rushing is still possible on large maps (e.g. Hammer & Sickle) - it's just a lot harder.
Rushing is about balancing your economy and tank production. There are various routes to getting a group of tanks ready for attack, but one thing is vital when executing the rush; you must capture any oil derricks. If you secure them then you have an immediate advantage over your opponent which could tip the scales in your favour. There are various options at the start when executing the rush - for example choosing whether to build harvesters before starting to pour out tanks. In my opinion the perfect rush involves building tanks as soon as your war factory is built. If you need to increase your income then you should build additional ore refineries. Your war factory should be left for building tanks. However, if you are an Allied player executing the rush then you must juggle building additional ore refineries whilst eventually trying to build a battle lab. My basic build order when rushing (as Soviets) is:
Powerplant » Barracks » Refinery » War Factory » Refinery (Sell) » Refinery (Sell) » War Factory
I believe that it is possible to play competently without a radar - as long as you are alert. If you save the money from a radar then you can afford at least another rhino tank - and in a rush every single tank is vital. Rushing is a matter of trying to make do with little luxuries in order to overcome your opponent with sheer power and brute force. It is best to know the state of your opponents situation before deciding on rushing. For example, if you see him building 3 harvesters and no tanks then make sure you rush him quickly. Seeing the state of your enemy's situation is important as it should affect everything you do if you are planning on rushing. Don't attack in little attacks when you have a couple of tanks available. Wait until you have a group which you think capable of destroying your opponent. Deciding when you do have enough tanks is a skill learned only with experience. Knowing when to attack your enemy is indeed vital. Deciding whether to wait for that extra tank to finish building could be the difference in getting to the base of an opponent playing as France before they put up a Grand Cannon.
Ultimately the decision of when to rush is up to you. It is a skill that does take experience to learn. Rushing is a skill that must be practiced and honed if ever to become useful. Don't give up if you are still struggling to execute a good rush after a few games - it takes time (often months) to learn how to execute the rush properly - but when you do learn how to execute it, it is a fantastic skill. There's nothing better than destroying someone within a matter of a few minutes and laughing at their angry messages.
Stopping the rush is a totally different matter. If you manage to build up a good economy and stop the enemies rush at the same time then you will be in the driving seat. If you are playing as Soviets against a tank rusher then the best way to stop them is to build as many terror drones as possible before you are rushed. The only unit that that the Soviets have that is truly effective against the terror drone is the tesla trooper - and it is a fairly safe bet that a rusher will have little time or money to build groups of tesla troopers in order to combat the drones. If you build enough drones and manage to attack the group of tanks with them before they get too near your base then you will have an excellent chance of fending off the rush.
It is no secret that the terror drone was originally intended for the Allied forces, but Westwood gave the units to the Soviets in order to balance the game. Hence I think that the Allied forces lacks a truly useful anti-tank unit early on in the game (obviously the mirage tank is extremely effective but not available until you reach high-tech). Hence the best way, in my opinion, to stop the Soviet tank rush as the Allies is to do the following: build 6 GI's, a radar as quickly as possible, and then a prism tower. If you build all of your structures close to each other then the prism tower will be able to cover the whole of your base. Depending on the amount of tanks your enemy rushes you with you may wish to build another prism tower, yet I think it is better not to as the better player is the offensive player.
If you build units such as rocketeers/harriers/grizzly tanks then these units can be used for attacking the enemy once you have defended him. Remember, it is best to confront the enemy in your base as you will have the advantage of defensive structures to help you plus the ability to build units and use them immediately. To stop the rush you must know how many tanks the opponent will attack with - and adjust your defenses accordingly. Make sure that infantry are spread out (skilled players will attempt to run over infantry). If you are the Soviets then you can build tesla troopers, not only are they highly effective against tanks but they cannot be run over - making them an extremely useful tank deterrent.
Basically, if Soviets build tesla troopers and drones to protect yourself against enemy rushes. If allies build a mixture of GI's, grizzlys and rocketeers as well as a prism tower. A useful tip is also to place a pillbox or sentry gun down just when the enemy's tanks enter your base - this will result in them all auto-firing at it and wasting a lot of shots; whilst your units can do damage.
Summary: Learning to rush skillfully takes time to learn - yet there is nothing more powerful and threatening than a rush by a skilled player. The rush is hated because it is the downfall of the average player; learn it, use it, bask in its success.