The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by cosmicPostman

Part 61: Chapter 61 (Battle) - Putting The “Surprise” Into “Surprise Rockets”

Update 61 (Battle) - Putting The “Surprise” Into “Surprise Rockets”

Oh, shit, it's Advance Wars time again! And this map, well... let's just get started.

Our COs this time are Hawke and Lash for the orange team! Hawke's going to be our main attacker - Lash just has all the synergy skills to buff Hawke up, whilst he has some attack boosts, a skill that gives him a 20% attack boost in the rain, the skill that I don't remember the name of which allows him to ignore forest penalties, and vision +1. They're all going to be pretty handy, since we're facing a forest-full map with upcoming Fog of War.

Sonja and Sami will be our blue team, in the meantime. They don't have skills, but hopefully, they won't need any.

We're all ready. I'm stuck with the blue team up north, whilst Rose and Rachel are with the orange team to come and bail us out.

So, let's get started! Our deployments for today:

Today’s Deployments
Orange Team
Boris, Infantry
Lysander, Infantry
Sofia, Infantry
Ivan, Infantry
Aymil, APC
Darwin, Recon
Dimitri, Tank
Zlata, Medium Tank
Rose, Megatank
Diana, Battle Copter
Fenya, Battle Copter
Lloyd, Battleship
Lena, Cruiser
Selena, Submarine
Adelaide, Lander

Blue Team
Rin, Infantry
Dave, Mech
Alfonse, Mech
Michael, APC
Inessa, Recon
Yakov, Recon
Vanessa, Anti-Air
Von Panzer, Tank
Julian, Tank
Kyril, Medium Tank
Lowell, Medium Tank
Conrad, Neotank
Petra, Artillery
Ingo, Rockets
Lucy, Bomber
Peregrine, Bomber

Lash, if I remember correctly, you specialize in densely forested areas.

Yeah, I'm not too shabby in woods. Any kind of rough terrain, really. Oh, well. I guess it's time to be a good girl and join the battle. Sigh... The ability to invent AND the ability to lead... Being a genius isn't easy.

Perhaps you just aren't cut out for it. I find it quite simple.

Nobody asked you, pipsqueak!

So, orange team's turn, and as per usual with hard maps, time for me to explain the strategy. There's an absolute shitload of things going on in this map, but there's three main goals:

- Rescue the blue team and destroy the rockets threatening them
- Defeat Drake's botes, which will start charging us from the HQ
- Push back against the ground forces until we can capture the HQ

For this, we'll need to divide our forces and make no mistakes; we'll have a Chokepoint Crew, who will be blocking up a chokepoint further north to stop Jugger and Drake's forces from charging into our area, and the Bote Boys, who will be taking on Drake's botes.

First, our ships are bound for the east. Lloyd stops here to threaten these missiles; our copters, Diana and Fenya, have some work to do in that area of the map, and obviously we don't want the missiles to make life difficult for them.

Adelaide waits behind to pick up some foot soldiers, whilst Lena and Selena head off.

"Fighting alongside one another..." Selena says. "That'll be nice."

"Yeah. I just hope we can hold out against Drake. He's said to be unbeatable on the ocean." Lena mutters. "The clone is almost exactly like him... and if the clones are here, then that means..."

"Means what?"

Lena shakes her head. "I don't know much about it, but these CO clones were just one part of Von Bolt's final plan. He also had a secret project, but I never found out what it was. Only Kindle and Koal knew the details. But if the clones are combat-ready now, that suggests the secret project is nearing completion... which can't be good."

"So there were some things that even you weren't trusted with." Selena replies. "Well, let's not worry about that. We have to focus on the here and now, alright?"

"I'm with you, Selena." Lena says. The words feel unfamiliar on her tongue, but she enjoys being able to say them.

The first of our infantry units, Boris, is heading north to nab the base over there. It'll let us deploy things closer to the battlefield. In the meantime, though, we need some units to get into Adelaide's lander, so I deploy Lysander and Sofia.

"You and I in battle together once more, mother. Isn't that nice?" Lysander says, half-sarcastically, half-seriously.

Sofia nods. "Yes, but I'm only here to stop you getting into trouble... we're here to save the blue team from being overrun, not to flirt, alright?"

"Mother, please, what do you take me for? ...I could do both, I can multitask."

Finally, our main forces - the Chokepoint Crew, move out. Rose is leading the way in the goddamn megatank, with Darwin, Aymil and Dimitri following close behind. Our copters, Diana and Fenya, are going to be assisting multiple parts of the battlefield.

"Don't get into too much trouble! You're only in a tank this time, Dimitri; stick behind Rose." Diana says. "I'll come and back you up when I can, but I've got to take care of these orders first."

"Oh, get you gone, Diana." Dimitri replies, sighing with a cheeky grin. "I'll be fine - see you later."

"We have to move quickly - form up." Rose orders. Her eyes seem particularly dark today, and her voice cuts like a knife. "My dude, Sonja and Vanessa - my erstwhile allies - are in danger. We must save them, at all costs."

"Yes, Rose." Aymil says, saluting. "Of course, knowing those guys, they can probably save themselves, don't you think?"

"Not unless we can prevent the enemy from getting reinforcements over there." Rose replies. "I've no doubt that they can take the set of rockets threatening them, but the enemy's forces are great, and we can't let them go around the mountain pass. Now let's move!"

"Rose, yes Rose!" bark the soldiers in unison.

"And Diana, let me know as soon as your orders are done - I need you over here to aid in my plan."

Diana nods, surprised. "Uh, right. I'll be there."

And, with our orange squad beginning to move out, let's check in with the blue team.

Things would be easier if we had more infantry units. I may not be much help...

Don't be so sure, Sami... It should rain in the next three days. We must move our infantry units close to the front lines...

The front lines seem to be "mostly rockets".

After I expand their Fog of War vision, you can overwhelm the enemy! Perfect!

Oh, god, the rain's going to bring Fog of War with it? Fuck me.

Come on, my dude, we've faced Fog of War before. Rose is en route to back us up, so we just need to push forward and meet up with them.

Right, right, let me apply my brilliant tactics to the situation, then. But once the Fog of War starts, I can't promise we'll make it through unscathed.

So... the blue team. They've got a bit of an easier time for the first couple of days.

First thing we do is move our recons, Inessa and Yakov, as far south and east as we can allow - without getting into rocket range, obviously. When the Fog of War hits, I'll need as much vision as possible.

And then we have Ingo, manning the rockets. He's going to be absolutely fucking crucial in the next part of the map, but his movement is either 1 or 2 in these trees, so we need to use every point of movement we can get. See that battleship in the lake over there? Firstly, how the fuck did it get there? This is like that other battleship in the lake that Flak had in AW2. Secondly, it's an absolute bastard, and it needs to die - rockets are the best solution, since direct-combat ground units don't fare well against ships.

And finally, everyone just rearranges themselves to be out of range of the rockets. There's really nothing we can do until the rain - and Fog of War - hits in a few days' time.

One last thing we need to do, though. One of my readers mentioned that Sonja has the power to reduce the enemy's terrain defence stars by 1... but it's a global effect. So long as Sonja is the current CO in control, all COs can reduce the enemy's terrain stars. We need as much damage as we can get, and with the amount of trees and cities and shit on this map, it's going to be a huge help.

Cover me!

And thus, Sonja goes into command. Sami won't be very useful until later in the map anyway, so it's not a problem to swap them now.

Let's see what Black Hole's up to today.

Jugger's not very talkative, for starters.

Awaiting orders.

Initiate battle programming...

By your command.


Jugger didn't even say anything funny! This map is truly cursed. Let's finish it as quickly and violently as possible.

You know how this song and dance goes - Black Hole units try to capture some nearby properties.

The botes in the top right come down to meet my botes. A battleship, a cruiser, and a sub - the same setup as us. The only thing determining the outcome will be our strategy, but I think I have a plan - or rather, Rose has a plan.

What next, then?

Well, the most annoying thing is that the enemy missiles ran away from Lloyd. Unfortunately, all I can really do is put him in range of them again - at least with them moving out of the way, it means my copters can move in closer.

Like so! The botes, in the meantime, prepare to face the enemy around the reefs to the east.

Sofia hops into Adelaide, whilst Lysander watches. Infantry management isn't super important here, since we can't move Adelaide until the rain hits - you'll see where she's bound later.

More infantry! This time it's Ivan, to back up Boris.

Speaking of Boris, he's arrived at the base. We'll have that captured soon, which is nice.

Some of the rockets in the northern area moved around, so I have to be careful of advancing the Chokepoint Crew, or they might get utterly slaughtered.

This setup should work nicely - the only thing in range of the enemy's Neotank and medium tank is Rose, in a megatank. And yeah, trust me, they don't want to try that.

Now for the blue team.

That was the blue team.

No, seriously - the rockets mean that I can't really move anyone forward, so all we can do is wait for the rain to hit, and then begin advancing forwards.

But first, Black Hole probably have annoying shit that they want to do.

Uuuuurgh. Another few buildings captured.

This Dick Captures A Property: 52

The botes start moving in, as does the enemy's megatank, which is almost at the chokepoint - see where the road leading to the enemy HQ begins, at the neutral city? That road tile just above the neutral city is a chokepoint blocking off that entire part of the map. We can't let the enemy forces move past that point, if we can help it.

Oh, and this fucking Neotank decided to try and attack Rose...

"I don't think so." Rose says, a thunderous expression on her face. "Nothing will stop me from eradicating the enemy."

The botes finish heading down, and a few anti-airs decide to back up the megatank on their pilgrimage to the chokepoint. We've got our work cut out for us if we want to stop them moving any further down.


Hee hee. They're so round.

It's a bit annoying that Drake's back in control, since I may end up fighting his botes this turn. Ah well - we'll just have to deal with it.

And then everything fucking disappears, and the map's quality drops off a cliff. Yep, that's right, it's Fog of War time.

It's raining!

This is no mere squall! It is like standing beneath a thundering waterfall!

This is more than a little inconvenient. We can't see a thing.

God damn it. Where's my transceiver...there it is. Hey, Rach, you on track to save our asses?

I'm working on it! Hang in there, blue team!

We're doing nothing BUT hanging!

Looks like the Fog of War is rolling in. But we can turn that to our advantage if we use the woods wisely...

Wait, you want to advance?

It's our best option, Vanessa. We can sneak through the trees and destroy the enemy's defences, and meet up with Rose and the orange team as they attack from behind. The enemy think they're trapping us in a pincer, but actually, we can crush them from both sides.

I don't like it, but you're right. Sonja, you'd BETTER be as good at Fog of War as you say you are.

You know I am, Commander my dude. Let's begin.

Time to move up, then. Thanks to ignoring forest penalties, we can park Rose right here in this set of trees, ready if needed.

The additional vision is a godsend, too - Dimitri spots the enemy further ahead. We'll need a recon to keep a better eye on them, but Darwin is still catching up; you'll need to give him a second.

Boris nabs that base, too.

"Got the base, boss. You'd better not be screwin' anything up over there." he reports to Dimitri, who shakes his head.

"Me? Nah. Me and Rose have this under control, Boris - just tell Zlata to get over here when she's ready to deploy."

"I'm not your go-between..." sighs Boris, but he nods in agreement and prepares to head back to the HQ.

Once I move Darwin further north, I can find the pesky missiles. If they won't sit in range of Lloyd, then they can die to Diana.

Fenya, meanwhile, parks herself on this chokepoint - this blocks off the bottom part of this island, with the comm towers and port, from the enemy. Which is good, because we need those. The fuck is Black Hole gonna do with a port, deploy MORE botes? Nonsense.

Lloyd, Selena and Lena prepare for the oncoming enemy. Selena dives, to ensure she can safely pick off the battleship once it shows up. They're hidden in reefs, so it'll take at least one of the enemy ships' turns to reveal the girls.

Ivan does some capturing with Boris, whilst Lysander joins Sofia in the lander, ready to set sail with Adelaide to the island across the way.

Just like that - they'll be capturing the buildings around here, and it's why we needed Fenya. Our infantry would otherwise be in danger of getting mauled by a rogue medium tank or something.

And that's how we all shape up for the time being.

Now let's see what the blue team can do, under the cover of rainfall.

For this turn, at least, the answer is "walk forwards slowly". God, I hate forests limiting my movement. Ingo can only move one space through forests! But he's getting inevitably closer to that battleship, which is the important thing.

"Is this really gonna work?" Dave says.

"I'm soaked through - I hope it does." Alfonse replies, glancing through the trees. "I can't see the rockets through the rain... if one gets a lucky shot at us..."

"Don't worry about that." Dave replies grimly. "Ain't gonna happen."

Black Hole now have to deal with the rain, too, which is nice.

This medium tank goes speeding into the forest over there. That would be a good hiding spot, but I just saw the tank go in there, so... yeah. Not a great play by old Drakey-boy.

The megatank shows up, but doesn't advance beyond the chokepoint! Woo!

The rockets - or rather, surprise rockets now, since we're in Fog of War - start wandering around, looking for the blue team. Thankfully, they can't get through the forests particularly well, so we remain undiscovered... and the enemy is open to a crushing counterattack next turn.

The enemy sub locates Lena, which I think is fine, up until I realise that the fucking battleship has her in its sights.

"I heard a battleship firing!" Selena says, gasping. "LENA! GET OUT OF THERE!"

"I can't retreat in time - there's a sub on my tail." Lena says, wincing as she realises what a bad position she's in. "But don't worry. Until I repay my debt to you and the Allied Nations..."

"I refuse... to die!"

"Well, well!" roars Lloyd appreciatively. "I like your spirit, lass! You really are Madam Director, aren't ye?"

"Thank goodness, Lena..." Selena sighs. "I was worried for a moment there. Now then, I have something to attend to, if you'll excuse me."

Lena looks at the ocean waves, where her sister's submarine lurks somewhere, and holds the transceiver up to her mouth carefully. "And what's that?"

"Sending these miserable boats, who thought they could hurt you, to the bottom of the ocean!"

All systems, go.

And Jugger's back - that's probably better right now. Drake's botes have superior defences, and that's not ideal when I have several botes I need to murder horribly.

And would you look at that, it's the orange team's turn again. Time to get a-murderin'!

Selena makes a start on this motherfucker, bringing them down to 2 HP, and taking minor damage in return. You might be thinking that this is an inherently risky play - Lena can finish it off from where she is, but one of the black boats will still reveal her location to the battleship.

Thankfully, there's another reef over here that I can hide in, and I'm making a call that the battleship isn't in range of this one. Lena finishes the submarine off!

"One down, two to go." Selena says. "Lloyd, do you have the cruiser under your control?"

"Aye, I've moved into position, and I'll blow it to kingdom come shortly. You two just focus on the battleship!"

"Will do." Lena says. "I'm not gonna let that battleship get away with this..."

The infantry units who landed at the island, Sofia and Lysander, start capturing. Lysander is en route to the port, whilst Sofia goes for the nearby comm tower. That'll help boost our damage, too.

And back home we get a few more properties, too - we don't really need money. After all, we have enough money...

...for a medium tank, my beloved.

It's Zlata! Dimitri's beloved.

"Hey, Dimitri, you said you needed backup?" Zlata asks. Rose's voice comes up on the transceiver.

"Yes, and right away. A little more firepower is needed to hold this chokepoint and eventually push through. Meet us up north as soon as you can."

"Well," Dimitri says, chuckling. "You heard the lady. Hop to it, dearest."

"Alright, alright, I'm on my way!" Zlata replies with a grin as her tank rolls out of the base, ready to move.

Now, with Zlata coming to back up the northern group, I don't really need Dimitri here anymore, so he's going to play hide and seek down here.

Oh my god! A surprise medium tank! How on earth did that get over ther-just shoot it already, Fenya.

Our good pal Darwin is going to install himself in this nice little nook here. Any unit that we put on the city next to him will block the enemy off from attacking him, so he can do his reconaissance in relative peace.

Darwin spots some enemies up ahead, and lifts up his tablet - a gift from the Green Earth COs, allowing him to send messages to his commanding officers through writing rather than forcing him to speak. He writes out everything he sees using a tablet pen: 'Some tanks ahead, megatank at the front. Anti-airs nearby, but don't seem to be moving forward. A copter would be best recommended to block off the chokepoint.'

"I trust you received the same report, Hawke." Rose says, scanning the notes.

"I did. Do we follow the recommendation? It seems sound." Hawke observes.

"I already planned to - Diana, it's time to move in." Rose says over the transceiver. "Move as quickly as you can - we're against the clock!"

"Moving in!" Diana says. "A megatank... now there's an awful sight coming out of the rain."

"I wouldn't worry. That thing will perish in a hail of battleship fire soon enough." Rose says confidently.

Diana takes her position, but doesn't attack. She's just there to prevent anything from getting past, and it's a pretty good way to do it.

So (readers, correct me if I'm wrong) in AW, the AI doesn't get affected by Fog of War, and always knows where your units are. However, they still can only attack hidden units once they find them, by putting something with enough vision to spot them nearby. So, can you see what the cool strategy here is? I'll explain it once it becomes relevant later.

Either way, Rose moves in, alongside Aymil in the APC. He's got a very important role, which is "resupply everyone after Drake's SCOP hits and halves their fuel".

Time for that devastating counterattack I mentioned last time, anyway. We need to get through as many of these rockets as we can.

Kyril and Lowell, our medium tanks, are ready for a fight. Kyril charges forward to take on the rockets here - I mean, if we can attack them from the safety of the forest, why not?

Ingo continues his slow, inevitable movement towards the battleship. Once he moves forward enough, his rocket range will cover that whole pond, so the battleship will have nowhere to run.

Conrad, down south, Neotanks an artillery in the face and deletes it from existence.

I do have to move Lowell out of cover to take this artillery out, but I think it's worth it. You'll see why.

Because these rockets are in Petra range.

"Got 'em!" Petra says.

"Nice one, Petra." Conrad replies, but Petra doesn't respond. She thinks about the kiss, and her cheeks begin burning, and she shuts off communications.

Conrad just sighs. "Damn it..."

Vanessa moves in to finish off the rockets.

And there we go! It looks like we've overextended a little down below, but remember - ranged units don't have very good vision at all, and the enemy has no recons to find my units. As such, the rockets aren't going to be able to fire on anyone this turn, since it has no idea that anyone's nearby.

Look at how close these two were to getting their Tag Power, also - remember how I didn't shoot that megatank with Diana? This is why. We need an extra turn of setup before we're in a good position to deal with their Tag Power.

Now let's get on with the other fun thing I did this turn.

Yes, yes, you as well. Hurry up.

This Dick Captures A Property: 53

The medium tank, helplessly trapped, decides to shoot Dimitri, but it doesn't end very well for it.

The enemies at the chokepoint, meanwhile, get the fuck out of dodge. Why, you ask?

As I said earlier, the enemy needs to "discover" you in Fog of War, and then another unit needs to shoot you. With the chokepoint, Diana could only be attacked from one space - directly above her - and thanks to everything having 1 vision, an enemy unit would need to be adjacent to her to "discover" her, at which point, they're taking up the only space that she can be fired at from. As such, they've just headed off to do other shit.

Also swapping, I guess. That's annoying - they're guaranteed to get their Tag Power this turn, I'm pretty sure, since I have to take out those botes threatening my botes.

Well, if we're dealing with a Tag Power, let's do the usual "kill them so hard that they have nothing left to kill you with" manoeuvre, shall we?

We get a comm tower! This is actually really important, and I will explain why in a moment.

This is not as important, but sure, more money.

Fenya attacks this medium tank. "I'm not going to allow you to hurt Dimitri! Dimitri's Mercenaries... stick together." Fenya announces as she opens fire.

BOOM! This kill is luck-reliant, but very, very welcome. It means the medium tank is no longer a factor in the battle, and can't murder my infantry down south during the Tag Power.

Now, there's a battleship in these reefs somewhere, if my prediction is correct. I can move Lena to this position to uncover 2 of the reefs, which is more than 1, so it seems like the best position.

BOOYAH! Now I don't have to waste Selena's turn looking for the damn thing, and instead...

I can just outright kill it, if I get a little lucky...

"I couldn't protect my sister before... but I can now! My aim is perfect!" Selena cries, opening fire on the battleship, and sinking it with a single salvo of underwater torpedoes.

If I hadn't captured the comm tower at the start of the turn, Selena would only do 88% to the battleship, which is never a kill, so that's why it's important that we did that first. We need this battleship gone, like, yesterday.

Lloyd takes the cruiser without breaking a sweat, meanwhile. That's the naval portion of the battle done!

The only thing we need to do now is have Lysander capture this port - Drake's SCOP, as I said earlier, halves our fuel, which could be ruinous for Selena. The main reason we need this port is simply to refuel her so that she doesn't sink and die before the battle ends. Keeping units alive isn't just about dealing with the enemy - when it comes to subs and planes, fuel is a serious concern on longer maps.

Dimitri moves over here to block off the infantry from approaching Lysander and Sofia. This is why killing the medium tank is great - Dimitri can't block off the medium tank without, you know, "dying", but he can survive against the infantry no problem.

Zlata catches up with the crew up north and prepares for a storm.

Blue team will be doing the same thing - murdering enough dudes that Drake and Jugger basically have nothing to work with. Let's hope it pays off!

First, these remaining ranged units need to go. Von Panzer...

...and Julian team up to destroy the artillery. Next, the rockets.

Dave charges forward and does huge damage to the rockets, but he's just shy of a kill.

Our lovely recon, Inessa, can finish the job. "Alright, Dave, let me take it from here! Heheh, fighting alongside you is a real honour!"

"Pleasure's mine, kid." Dave replies, nodding. "Watch yourself - there might be more things in the fog."

Whew, more rockets down. Fuck surprise rockets--now we're the surprise.

Is that the last of them, my dude?

W-wait, not quite! Hold on!

Oh, there's NEVER an end to surprise rockets, is there?

And indeed, Vanessa remembers the surprise rockets down below, just hiding out in a forest.

Fuck these rockets in particular, Conrad.

Rin's been hanging out inside Michael's APC most of this battle, but I do want to move her vaguely in the direction of the HQ to try and capture it. I drop her off across the mountains, and... discover a mech hiding in the forest. That's not ideal.

Damn, and Kyril can't take them out. Those defence stars sure are annoying...

And then I remembered that Sonja's CO Power makes her -1 defence stars into -2 defence stars - thus negating the effect of the forest for the mech. That might be enough for a kill!

You are a lot stronger than me. But...

You didn't account for medium tanks, son!

Excuse me--this is my CO Power.

Right, sorry, yes. Got caught up in the moment.


To be fair, most things are dead, so this doesn't help much. But that defence star reduction is absolutely huge!

I mean, look at this. Absolutely insane damage! On a forest!

And again, we don't need to worry about the battleship. With the mech gone, the only thing it can "see" is Rin, and it can't fire at 1-range, so it's pretty harmless for the duration of this Tag Power. Let's just hope that everything else is equally as harmless...

Oh boy.


You're certain you can survive THIS, Rose?

Hmph. I have planned for every eventuality. Watch and learn.

Here it comes! Drake first, which is bad.

Drake does 2HP damage to all of our units and halves their fuel. He also summons rain, but that's kind of a moot point on this map.

His units, however, gather up next to Diana and then... don't attack. That's a good start!

This infantry marches south, but can't even fire on Dimitri safely, and so chooses not to. A wise decision, infantry. You will live another day.

All systems, go.

Jugger's turn next. His extra damage could be trouble against my weakened units, which is why Drake going first is bad, but it's fine, we'll deal with it. He also has a chance to do fuckall damage, so he's not that dangerous.

This tank bothers Diana a bit...

...but she shrugs it off.

"Hah! Call that damage?" she asks. "I've felt worse on my most dangerous missions with Wanda! If you really want to break me, you'll have to bring worse than that!"

The infantry, feeling emboldened by Jugger's potential higher damage, goes for Dimitri, but as expected, does-

"Gaah!" Dimitri says, as the infantry lands several lucky shots that burst through crucial segments of his tank. "I'm not giving in just yet... but I swear, you're gonna die! If not by me personally, then by Dimitri's Mercenaries!"

"Dimitri, you OK?!" Zlata gasps.

Dimitri gasps in pain, but nods. "Yeah... yeah. Bastard got a lucky shot, that's all. You focus on your end! I'll be fine."

And thus, we are damaged, and low on fuel, and surrounded by Fog of War...

But we survived the first Tag Power, and rescued our blue team from their precarious position. Next time, we finish off that annoying fucking battleship, push ahead into the enemy's territory, and hopefully nab that HQ without eating a second Tag Power or having anybody die! See you next week, all!


Update 62 (Intermission) - The Biggest Girl’s Night