Expert's Guide

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Greetings Commander. Welcome to advanced training.

When you first look over the field of battle, things may seem straightforward or even limited: you can easily tell where the best concentration of cities is and you only have two types of units to think about. Unfortunately for you, the situation in battle is rarely as simple as it appears. There is a lot of information you must be aware of if you hope to reliably prevail against your foes.

Contents

Starting Drops

Your first wave of drop pods begins everything, and if you do it poorly can also be the end of everything. To have the strongest start possible you can't simply drop into the area with the most concentrated cities, you must take into account all the strategies of conquest -- everything that's discussed in this training, in fact. You'll need to quickly and effectively judge ideal cities to set up a base with, where the good paths to expand are, what you can successfully hold and where you should harass, which regions of the map will require the use of operations to fully control, and how to give yourself a good chance for early domination. Learning to see the best drops on every map is the most difficult challenge available, and separates the good commander from the great commander.

Early Expansion

When expanding initially, you may have a strong desire to send units to every city within range as soon as you can. This is often not ideal for you, because cities begin with production on each type of unit halfway completed -- so it only takes half as much production as normal to receive the first trooper from a city. This means that you often save only one turn of movement if you send two troopers along a path to capture cities, instead of only one and waiting for the city to then produce another trooper who you'll send further out. During the start of the game when unit counts are especially important, having all possible units moving up to the front lines and only enough to continue a wave of expansion going to the back can turn the tide of combat in your favor.

Early Combat

Early combat your focus should be on wearing the enemy forces down or driving them out of key regions, particularily by trading your troopers for their tanks so that it becomes much more difficult for the enemy to hold cities against your units. There are some specific squads that are even more important early in your conquest than they are later: Two troopers in mountains against a tank and two troopers and one tank against another tank both result in a loss of two troopers for you and a tank for your enemy. These are powerful because it leaves you with an extra tank to assault their trooper held cities with -- just be careful to not throw that advantage away by falling for the same setup that earned you the extra tank in the first place. One trooper and one tank flanking can destroy even two troopers and one tank, which is especially valuable early game because it's such a large percentage of enemy troops. Finally, two tanks is the most powerful early combo on plains even if not flanking, as it gains power against almost any combination of enemy troops involving troopers and can be strong punishment against the trooper for tank trade attempts.

Holding Cities

When combat occurs in a city all the production it would normally receive from your other cities is still sent to it, but no work can be done so it's all lost. This means that if you have a city you know will receive a tank or bomber soon you can leave a trooper holding it, so that the battle for it will ensure your enemy won't receive the unit you put so much production into. However, if you know the city has recently received its valuable units you can simply abandon it to prevent the unnecessary destruction of your troops, and then take it back soon after. One aspect of this to be especially wary of is when an enemy takes a city near the center of your control -- if you take it back immediately, you'll lose all the production that a central city receives. In that case it can be better to use a missile or neutralize the enemy with equal forces, then on the turn after that move in so that you reclaim it without combat.

Satellites

Many times you may find yourself curious if the enemy is in a specific tile. When this happens, you should ask yourself this question: Does it matter to my strategy? If the target is too far out of the way for any units there to matter, don't waste a satellite on it. Accurate prioritization is especially important for early drops when you need to know where to send out your tanks as you initially deploy, to catch and use a missile on the first bomber your enemy receives in their central city, and for dealing with the drop pods your enemy will receive throughout the game.

Missiles

Sometimes the enemy will receive a big wave of reinforcements at the outer edges of their control, and you'll spot them with a satellite or a scout. You need to decide if those units are actually a threat -- it may be a lot of units, but taking out 6 power across the map is often less useful than blowing up a threatening bomber on your front lines. Also remember that if you blow up the units in an enemy controlled city and no enemy units are moving into it you will only have destroyed those units and removed the total control -- the enemy only loses production to a missile strike if they control the city after the strike occurs. For the same reason, you should be wary when moving in to claim a city that you are clearing with a missile or you may accidentally destroy a large part of your own production.

Drop Pods

When planning a drop, you must balance the risk of the pod being caught with the benefit you can gain from it. There are some ways you can protect your pod. The simplest is to drop somewhere unexpected. This usually means somewhere not quite ideal, and in that case you need to look at the combat distances for your drop. If it's too far out of the way, another option should be utilized instead of wasting your drop pod. To set up a drop pod to be valuable even if it's detected, you can try to make a tempting enemy missile target by stacking your units into a strong counter to the enemy in a high power squad. This will give the enemy two options, and you'll benefit either way: They can blow up the squad you just formed and already won a battle with or they can blow up your pod, and in either case you'll have the strong squad left that they didn't choose. Finally, remember that drops into completely unclaimed territory are often safer in plains or cities rather than mountains, as many times people satellite ideal mountain tiles to catch drops.

Combat Distances

It can be easy to think that a newly arrived unit is immediately useful, but you must remember travel time. If your critical unit is at the opposite edge of your controlled territory from your enemy, it could easily take four turns before that unit can engage. During those turns, the situation is likely to have resolved already -- either for or against you, but that new unit won't have been involved. Don't count units on the edges as available until they actually move into range to be used.

Water

Pay close attention to lakes, because they have a much greater impact than simply being inconvenient to move around. Lakes that block routes can add significant distance that your reinforcements must travel, so when figuring out how effective your units are you must take water into account. Besides travel time, it can also force you to funnel your units through limited paths which makes them much more valuable targets for missiles.

Ideal Cities

Between edges of the map and water blockades even what looks like the ideal region may actually be very poor. If all the units you receive from the cities have long distances to travel to engage in combat, you'll have a lot of trouble pushing your enemy back even if you have superior production capacity. Another often overlooked aspect for desirable cities is how mountainous a region is: It can be worth giving up a couple points of production if you can control an area with very few mountains, rather than one with many in it. It takes far fewer resources to secure an area that's mostly plains against both drops and sneak attacks.

This concludes your advanced training. If you can successfully put all of the principles outlined here into action it will greatly improve your chances of victory. Good luck, Commander.

See Also

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