The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars 2

by cosmicPostman

Part 79: Interview 40 - “The Air Descends” (Or, “Cruisers Still Aren’t Good”)

Interview 40 - “The Air Descends” (Or, “Cruisers Still Aren’t Good”)

Holy fuck it do be time for botes tho

My dude. I'm begging you. Stop talking.

I suppose you aren't wrong, though - it's a boat map today. But not a fantastic one from the setup alone.

I think I've said this before, but botes vs planes is an awful matchup.

Yep! I built it to your specs, but…

Lash just spends all her time building shit for Hawke, apparently. Gotta admit, if there’s one thing he’s good at, it’s delegating.

But what?

Are you sure you want a standard airport? Lemme add some options!

Options? What are you talking about?

You know, all kinds of stuff. Like a self-destruct system.

A what now.

I… I don’t know why anybody would need one of those.

Not necessary.

I’m not sure if it’s ever necessary.

Tsk! Boooooring!

She doesn’t even have a justification! She just wanted to add one for, what, shits and giggles?

That is why she does most things, to be fair.

If it’s ready, I’d like to use it now. The enemy is close at hand.

Go ahead, be my guest.

I would like to point out that this is, despite the opening dialogue, a completely normal airport, and has nothing to do with the map aside from the fact that Hawke starts with an airport.

...Of course.

This is our battlefield for today.

OK, Hawke starts with two groups of bro copters, not good... Drake starts off with three cruisers, which, to be fair, he's probably going to need. There's a lot of land and bases, though, which seems useful. Vehicles might fare better against planes.

Apparently they have, yes.

GE Soldier: They’ll finish it shortly, sir.

You didn’t notice this earlier?

Hey, practically everything Black Hole has built went unnoticed, even their world-ending-size cannons and huge fuckoff factories. Cut the guy some slack.

GE Soldier: They must have hidden it somehow.

R: This is, as excuses go, pretty underwhelming.

GE Soldier: Plus, they built it in such a short amount of time. Amazing speed.

I see… Thanks for the intel. Good work.

Aw, he loves his boys really.

GE Soldier: Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.

They must’ve realized I’m the only one who can sail these waters. Planes vs. boats… Air units do have powerful advantages, but…

I mean, it depends. Starting with a couple of cruisers is good, and the only genuinely dangerous plane for a boat is a bomber - though copters are certainly annoying. This map’s gonna come down to money, I can tell.

There’s quite a few airports around that Drake might be able to capture before Hawke, but with his weaker planes, there’s almost no point deploying from them.

A bomber that can’t one-shot things is not a fucking bomber. Drake’s gonna have to rely on botes and vehicles, probably.

I’m not sunk yet! This sea dog’s got a few tricks up his sleeve!

See, he’s totally gonna nail this. Come on, Drake!

Alright then, let’s begin.

Here are the deployments for today.

Mulligan, Infantry
Howard, Infantry
Amarah, Infantry
Finn, APC
Adelaide, Lander
Cassandra, Anti-Air
Abelard, Medium Tank
Matilda, Medium Tank
Conrad, Neotank
Kurtz, Cruiser
Karin, Cruiser
Harlow, Cruiser
Quincy, Battleship
Wallace, Battleship

Many botes, many vehicles. Yeah, this should be a bloodbath unless Hawke gets some bombers out.

We only start with a small crew, however. Drake sends Howard off north to capture a port.

Our other two land units, Mulligan and Cassandra, will be hopping in Adelaide's lander to be carried further into the map. Those copters, like always, will be charging Drake's units from the word go.

Bleh, of course. Still, we've got Kurtz, Karin and Harlow, and they look raring to go. Six copters versus three cruisers isn't a fantastic matchup, though.

They're en route now, too.

Oh, they're gonna be on top of Drake's units in another turn or so. This could get messy depending on how he handles it.

Which "he"? Drake or Hawke?

I meant Drake, but if Hawke wants to stupid himself to death like he did in the last map, then he's welcome to.

In order to help capture the properties around the starting island, Amarah is deployed.

Any minute now, it's gonna be rainy with a chance of bro copters.

Not quite yet, though. Your forecast is off by a day, Mr. Weatherman.

I- I? Wrong? Nonsense! I am Maximilian Delaney Weatherman, weatherman extraordinaire. I said there would be copters, and by gum, there'll be copters! Raining from the skies!

...Uh, role play aside, Howard begins to capture this port.

Good gravy! It appears to have been a light shower of anti-air and infantry!

Yes, sure, whatever. Cassandra and Mulligan have been dropped off.

The cruisers are hanging back, waiting for the copters to come to them.

They're certainly going to... uh... fuck, I ran out of weatherman jokes. I don't watch the weather very much.

I can tell.

Back to you in the studio, Ruin!

Thanks. Hawke's now got two airports, for those keeping count. They'll become more problematic as he gets more.

The next nearest one is quite far away, at least. An infantry will have to spend several turns-

Oh goddammit. At least if Drake's quick, he can stop Hawke amassing the five Infinity Airports.

As per usual, I've absolutely no idea what you're babbling about. Stay focussed.

I'm paying attention! This turn, the cruiser crew are going to down the first set of copters, right?

You're right, but not quite yet. First, Cassandra gets involved with the second set of copters, taking one out. The other two won't attack her - the counterattack would be far too brutal to withstand.

And Howard's captured a port. See, I'm totally paying attention.

Alright, alright. Next up is a rather embarrassing display for Hawke - these copters are lined up as if they're asking to die, so Kurtz decides to grant their wish.

Then Karin...

And then Harlow fucks the last one up! Thank god for that. Now we've just got two left to worry about.

As opening gambits go, it's not been a very effective one.

No, it really hasn't. What are you playing at, Hawke? We're like one mission from clearing Green Earth and you're barely bringing your C-game at best.

Tempting as it would be for Mulligan to start capturing that port, he's got to wait. It's in range of an enemy copter.

Unfortunately Hawke doesn't have any enemy units threatening him, so he can just capture these airports at his fucking leisure. God, I hope his finances aren't doing too great.

He's not got nearly enough for a bomber yet, if that makes you feel better.

A tiny bit.

So, Cassandra can take out the second copter, but that still leaves one around to harass Drake's army. I'm sure you've already spotted the solution, though.

Oh, absolutely...

It doesn't look like it, but botes can use ports, of course. Harlow can easily delete this poor fucker.

And so, the map has begun, with Drake at a relative advantage in terms of troops and progress, but at a disadvantage when it comes to airports and other means of production.

There's only one option, then: he must seize the means of production!

He's going to need more infantry to do that. Adelaide's heading back to pick up Howard.

Amarah is still merrily capturing things around the HQ. It won't be of much use in terms of units, but it's extra money, at least.

And the other two cruisers are advancing. Well, Hawke's got three airports now, so I suppose we're going to see some flying things that need to die pretty soon.

First, however, Hawke decides he's had enough and decides to mildly inconvenience Drake's troops.

Ugh. That's gonna slow down capturing, and it might weaken the cruisers to the point that they can't one-shot Hawke's flying things any more.

It is rather troublesome. At least he doesn't get any healing out of it, what with his scouting force completely totalled.

Oh, true. I suppose it could be worse, and hey, at least Drake can do the same to him at some point.

Fuckin' airports.

I'm convinced that graphical error only occurs after turns where Hawke uses his CO Power, but why..?

Did you say something?

Yes, I said that Mulligan's capturing the port now. It's going to take a day longer thanks to Black Wave, though.

At least the cruisers still perform alright against-


Actually, it only survives thanks to the 10% defence boost from a CO Power. 9HP cruisers can still comfortably take out Hawke's planes.


In this case, though, you are right. It takes two shots, from Karin and Kurtz.

Howard and Adelaide are ready to head to that middlemost island - there's a port, city and airport, so it's a useful thing to go ahead and capture.

Yeah, the airport won't be much use for Drake, but at least Hawke won't have it.

This will be considerably more useful for Drake - our first battleship, Quincy.

The creepy one? Who let her control such a big and important ship?

Meanwhile, Amarah is doing poorl-

She's doing her best, god damn it

Everyone else seems ready to move on, anyhow. Wonder what Hawke's gonna do about this?

Thankfully, not a lot. Hawke's only got a few properties and doesn't have the money for a proper army. The troops you see here are the extent of what he can afford at the moment - though of course, copters are cheap, and he'll want a lot of them.

More annoyingly, though, the cruisers can't fire on these land troops. Drake's gonna need land backup.

Quincy can help with that, once she gets into position. But you're right - that bridge outside of Hawke's HQ is going to be the crux of this battle.



Howard is dropped off on this island, meanwhile. This port will prove to be quite useful, not just as a place to deploy, but also as a refuelling/healing station for the boats.

'Course, he's gotta capture it first, and our infantry are struggling with that at the moment. Come on, Mulligan, get these things captured!

Still, this turn is over. Pay close attention to that transport copter, too - Hawke will be deploying a lot of those, and they're going to cause trouble for our units.

Oh, boy, we're in for a storm of infantry, aren't we?

A hurricane of dudes, Commander.

Shit. Now it's serious.

Thankfully, Cassandra can buy Drake a little time by blocking up this bridge. She needs allies, though - she can't take care of this whole island by herself.

Excuse me, this is Cassandra we're talking about. She damn well could if she wanted to.

Kurtz downs this copter, as well as the unlucky occupant. This will happen quite regularly for the rest of the map.

Sounds fun.

Mulligan captured something! Nice job, dude. Now go capture a building that heals you when you stand on it.

Yes, that would be the quickest way to undo Hawke's Black Wave.

There's properties everywhere, so it shouldn't be too much of a hassle, unless he gets it charged up again any time soon.

Adelaide has placed herself in range of the enemy copter, and successfully baited it. It barely scratches her for 2 damage.

Well, there's the extra defence on Drake's boats coming in useful.

Oh, boy, that's a problem.

What is?

That. Cassandra had best get the hell out of the way; she can't choke a point with an artillery hanging around.

Thankfully, this enemy up here is trying to get a fourth airport, so Cassandra does have something useful she can do instead of blocking the bridge. It's not a kill, but it slows down the capturing by quite a lot.

Mulligan's making a start on the buildings.

God, I hate Black Wave. Annoying-ass chip damage.

It is rather irritating if you're not prepared.

Harlow can take out the copter that Adelaide lured, though they're obviously concerned by Adelaide's behaviour.

"Hey, Adelaide, isn't it? Don't you think you should hang back in case more copters come?"

Adelaide is staring at the deck of her lander. She barely lifts the transceiver to reply.

"I guess."

"You're not OK, huh?"

"I'm fine. Let me just do my job and help you all out." Adelaide replies, glancing up at the sky. If I'm going to fit in here, I need to start pulling my weight.

Anyway, it's Hawke's turn next. The cruisers are on hand in case anything needs to be murdered, though there's no copters in range that could damage them, thankfully.

Cruisers really are an awfully-designed unit. So much missed potential.

At least this map proves that cruisers can be useful.

What? No, this is not “hey, look, cruisers do have a use and we all underrated them”. This is “we had to torturously design the ONE incredibly niche concept for a map that would make cruisers slightly useful, and even then they struggle”. I’m not giving them points for this.

You rank them based on points?

Well, no, but... can you hand me some of those figurines? I'll make a little chart for you.

Well, whilst you're busy with that, I'll carry on. Karin removes another transport copter - I told you this was going to happen a lot. Of course, some of them will slip through the net, but the cruisers are doing a good job for now.

OK, definitely S tier. Or... Am I biased towards submarines because of... her?

This port's also been captured by Howard, finally. Our cruisers will need to make use of that to refuel soon, so it's a good job it's ready.

Mulligan is... certainly trying. He wants that HP back as soon as possible.

And, since Cassandra had to move away from the chokepoint, some infantry have snuck through. She targets the closest one with pinpoint accuracy.

Done! Tier list!

Well, I'm no tactician, but it looks like it checks out. (Medium tank bias aside.) You do know this is going to create a lot of discussion amongst the goons about how wrong you are, though, right?

Naturally, that's what a tier list is for. I'm not afraid of the goons. I'm the world's best tactician!

You've got the world's biggest ego, that's for sure...

Back to the battle at hand. Now that she's in range and ready, Quincy can start helping out the ground troops, so she takes aim at this infantry.

Well, the cruisers are doing fine, but I'm concerned about the land battle. If Hawke gets more turns, those troops are going to add up, even with his low funds.

His troops are constantly trying to increase his amount of money, too. That has to stop as soon as possible.

Well, Addy's doing a good job baiting out those copters, anyway. She can't do it forever, but hey, every little helps.

She'll have to retreat and heal soon, certainly.

Nothing to do but keep up the pressure, though. Playing aggressive is usually the right option.

It's hardly "aggressive" when all Drake's got is an infantry, like, three miles away, and a half-dead anti-air.

Kurtz gets rid of the copter, anyway. As usual, the boat side of things is completely under control.

Howard's finally going to capture something that can heal him. Good man.

Mulligan has succeeded in this endeavour, so he'll be topped off next turn. Thank goodness for that.

You say thank goodness, but it's been so long since the Black Wave that Hawke's probably close to getting another one ready.

At least Cassandra can actually hold her own against a force of infantry. Anti-airs are useful for that.

This one goes down to another shot from Quincy. More infantry are on their way, though... they won't stop. Mostly because they're quite cheap.

Well, yeah, if you've not got the money for anything else, may as well spam infantry and the odd mech.

The odd mech?

You know, for flavour. Variety is the spice of life.

If you say so. Anyhow, Hawke's turn wasn't very interesting so we're back with Drake.

Drake and his increeeeeedibly slooooooow capturiiiiiiiiing

Well, at least Cassandra's mostly cleared out the infantry infestation.

In an unsurprising move, Adelaide has returned to the freshly-captured port to heal for a bit. The cruisers don't need to refuel quite yet.

I do like maps where fuel is an actually important thing and not a minor inconvenience at best. It's more interesting.

Especially considering that Drake's own Super CO Power can cut the fuel of his opponents.

It's not terribly useful here, though, since Hawke's mostly deploying infantry with like 99 fuel.

And, as a new day begins, more of those infantry begin to cross the bridge. There's now a mech, which Cassandra can't handle quite as well - a counterattack may hurt a little.

Mm, that's true. She's being slowly worn down by all these troops, fighting the battle practically single-handedly.

Howard has now captured a base of his own, so that he can heal that annoying bit of damage, too.

Mulligan is also on a capturing adventure.

Don't say it like that. It makes capturing sound exciting.

Oh wow, Cassandra's going for it. Hopefully this doesn't backfire.

Well, it's not backfired much, but she is low on ammo. Thankfully, that new artillery is in range of Quincy, so it won't be bothering us for long.

I see what you mean about those transport copters. They really do just keep on coming, huh?

Karin's on it, though. I wouldn't worry.

And Adelaide is back to being bait.

It's an odd quirk of the battle copters here, but if there's a lander in range, they will always prioritise it; much like the APC-baiting you mentioned in your last campaign.

At least that makes life easier for all the other botes, especially since landers are surprisingly bulky for transport units.

Quite. So, let's see how Hawke responds to this.

My guess is more infantry and transport copters, and a bro copter.

Well, there's your 'bro copter'. As usual, it doesn't come close to killing Adelaide and now it's in range of all the cruisers.

And there are, indeed, a surplus of infantry units. Every time you look away, more come crawling out of the woodwork.

Disgusting. Drake, murder them all.

Drake doesn't really have the firepower to murder them all; at least, not in a single turn. He's gone one battleship and a rapidly weakening anti-air.

Cassandra is working really hard today, I must say. And hey, Howard's making a start on capturing that airport. That's good.

Harlow can sink this copter without trying, meanwhile.

And there's a big, smouldering crater where that artillery used to be. Well done, Quincy.

Some ranged support here definitely helps ease Cassandra's burden, but some reinforcements wouldn't go amiss.

It's a shame there's no ports on this side of the island. That would have been useful. That one bit of shoal could be handy, I guess, but it's not worth the effort when there's bases on the island already. Speaking of, is Mulligan on his way to those?

He's on his way, he's not there yet though. Also, Cassandra bullies this infantry.

As you can see, our cruisers are now running low on fuel, so they'll be making a pit stop at the port up there. First, Kurtz takes his rest.

Drake's got his Super CO Power, too. I know what he's waiting for, though...


CO Power, right on time.

Both CO Powers damage the whole field, but Hawke's also heals his troops. So if Drake had used his Super CO Power just then, Hawke would have mostly reversed the effects with a quick heal. Now that Hawke's expended his CO Power, Drake can get some really good use out of doing 2HP damage to everything.

That makes sense, yes.

There it is again! That glitch! I'm sure of it now!

You OK there, Ruin?


Well, I guess we celebrated too soon about Howard regaining that HP. He's gone right back to taking 3 days to capture something.

To be fair, at this stage, Drake doesn't need the airport or the money.

With Kurtz's fuel restored, Karin's next to have her work-regulated break.

And there you go. Mulligan's capturing the base now.

In three turns goddammit. At least Cassandra can have some backup soon.

Drake decides to spice up his turn with his Super CO Power.

Good for him. It is pretty satisfying to get one of those 'hits everything' powers, even if they are irritating to be on the receiving end of.

Typhoon is a rather good name for it, too. Better than Black Storm or whatever else the Black Hole COs have for Super CO Powers.

"Prime Tactics". That one just... doesn't sound quite right.

SINK INTO THE BRINY DEEP, YE BLACK HOLE TROOPS! Or, you know, take 2HP damage that you'll probably immediately heal back. Either's good.

That artillery might heal back the damage from Typhoon, but this shot from Quincy is going to leave much more of a mark.

And so we end our turn. I rather like the rain. The daytime can be so... bright. But this is more muted and calm.

If it's anything like Olaf's snow, it'll last until the end of the day because weather CO Powers suck.

Well, yes, but I can enjoy it for now. It's always raining where my sister lives...

Oh, and it's finally time for Harlow to have a break. The cruisers are alright.

I assume that was alright as in 'not currently dying', and not alright as in 'good units'.

If I ever compliment a cruiser, kill me. Unless it's Rin, who is a very good girl.

Howard captured the airport, fucking finally. How many Infinity Airports are left? Just one, right?

I don't know what on earth an Infinity Airport is, but yes, there's one unaffiliated airport on the map. Obviously, Drake doesn't want it to fall into Hawke's hands, but defending it will be a full-time job with his limited troops.

God, we're so close to having reinforcements, just need Mulligan to finish capturing this base. Drake's got hella funds now, he could drop a Neotank if we wanted to. And if today's deployments were anything to go by, he does exactly that.

Indeed, and we need reinforcements - Cassandra by herself is no longer able to halt the sheer number of infantry coming through.

Oh no, really? Are they goign to overwhelm her?

Worse - she's out of ammo.

"Cassandra, you're fighting well, but you need to drop back!" Quincy says, observing the battlefield from her battleship.

Cassadra narrows her eyes. "I know, but..."

"Cass!" comes the voice of Mulligan from her transceiver. "I've almost captured a base nearby - you can retreat to there and get more ammo!"

"But... Mull!" Cassandra replies. "I'm also low on fuel... I don't know if I've got enough to get to the base."

The army is suddenly very aware of Cassandra's situation. Surrounded by enemies, and with no ammunition, her chances are not looking good. Howard winces, knowing how much Cassandra means to Mulligan, and how much he'll blame himself if she can't get to the base he's capturing.

"Shit, shit, shit...." he mutters.

"Cass, how about I- damn!" Quincy says, suddenly disturbed by a surprise attack from a battle copter above. "I'm under fire, Cassandra, you're gonna have to work this out on your own! Sorry, gal!"

"Is Cassandra going to be alright?" asks Harlow, and Kurtz shrugs impassively.

"If her situation is as bad as it sounds, probably not. But then again... it's her work that has brought us this far. If she does fall, it's not been for nothing."

"Don't talk like that!" Mulligan says into the transceiver. Nobody's ever heard Mulligan speak so viciously before. "Don't... she can't... not Cassandra..."

He falls silent, and the line goes dead.

Now that she's unable to fire back, the infantry have started plinking away at Cassandra. It's starting to add up - she's not in good shape.

After all the effort she went through... this can't be how it ends. She must've overextended... but if she hadn't, those infantry would've captured the airport, so...

Indeed. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Perhaps some battles cannot be won without sacrifice.

Despite being under fire, Quincy does try to help by taking a pot shot at this infantry. She could do with a cruiser to get that copter off her back though.

No kidding - where the hell was Adelaide?

She's on 6HP, my dude, she's not suicidal.

Karin finishes off the copter, anyway, leaving Quincy relatively safe once again. Thank goodness she was in a reef.

"I've captured the base! Cass, if you can break through the line... oh, but with no ammunition or fuel, you can't..." Mulligan says, sighing. "There has to be a way. There has to!"

As you can see, Cassandra can no longer fire on the transport copter. She's a sitting duck out here.

Fuck fuck fuck... Cassandra was one of the Orange Star crew. We can't just lose her!

"Cassandra, reply to us if you can hear us!" Howard says. For a moment, the line is quiet, but then it crackles to life; the signal isn't good, and the message barely gets through to the army.

"...barely enough fuel to reach ... base, and there's a gap in the en...y lines. I don't ... much time. I'll get in touch if ... and if not... thank you for everything. Green Earth ... a wonderful home, and if ... my time to enter the Forest of Light for eternity, then so be..."

Calm down, my dude. Let's see how this plays out.


Let's go.

Mulligan, freshly healed, vacated the base to start capturing another one, and then he waits anxiously to hear anything, anything at all, from the transceiver.

Oh my god is she OK

It was very, very close.

The transceiver crackles to life, and this time, the signal is much clearer.

"This is Cassandra Morgenstern. I am alive and well, and I intend to return to the battlefield as soon as I am able. My apologies for worrying you all."

"Cass!" Mulligan breathes, wiping his brow. "You did it! You actually took on a whole contingent of Black Hole and won!"

"I don't know if won is the right word, considering she had to retreat, but... you really did hold your own, Cassandra." Quincy says, winking. "Glad you're alright! Now that the foreplay's out of the way, what say we move on to the main event?!"

Mulligan nods. "I think it's about time we have a second crack at this army - this time with some backup!"

And that, I'm afraid, will have to wait until next time.

At least Cassandra's alright. Holy shit, what a start to the map. So, we're only just getting started? I look forward to seweing how Drake handles the next half of the map!

I'll give you a hint - several medium tanks are involved.


Part 40 Additional