The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by cosmicPostman

Part 77: Chapter 77 (Battle) - Eat A Bag Of Dicks, Auto CO

Update 77 (Battle) - Eat A Bag Of Dicks, Auto CO

Here we go. The final battle begins.

Let's move out! My dude, Rose--prepare for a two-front battle! We're going to crush this guy!

Wait, my dude…are you OK?

Rach, I’m exhausted. That last battle was one of the toughest me and Rose have ever done.

I can’t handle both fronts, and neither can Rose. We’re both needed on the primary front.


Commander my dude! I wish to offer my own services to the second front.


A knight should always come to the aid of a lady, but a true knight comes to the aid of anyone who needs help, no matter the circumstances!

You have proven yourself a steadfast ally of the Allied Nations, but you must recognise your own limits. Exhaustion kills a man swifter than any weapon.

So…you’re gonna handle the second front?

Quite! Allow me to give Kindle the sound thrashing she deserves! …I understand well how much your troops mean to you, so know this--I will do everything in my power to keep them from harm!

Javier…thank you. Godspeed, my knight in shining armour.

...You know, don't you?

Without us, there's no way that they can get through that second front unscathed.

...I know. Let’s turn our attention to the Grand Bolt, my dude.

Right. Hawke, you with us?

I once wished for nothing more than to survive. You two have shown me that I can do that…and so much more. To make an end of Von Bolt’s plans besides the two of you…perhaps that is my ambition. Perhaps that is why I wanted power.

You’ve found your purpose, Hawke--at least for today. Come.

Very well. Let us make an end of this.

So, yes, Hawke and Javier won the votes. Hawke's being run with all the direct damage skills, some direct defense, and the com tower bonus. The 12% defense will be important later.

Javier, meanwhile, is... not rank 8. Readers tell me that if he is, he can run both direct defense skills to slightly increase survival odds, but... I have no such luxury. Instead he's also bringing the com tower bonus, as well as Gold Rush. Javier starts with 24 properties, so Gold Rush provides an extra 2400 per turn. That could be just enough to turn the tide on the secondary front.

Let's get started. Unsurprisingly, this map has a fuckton of units.

Today’s Deployments
First Front
Dave, Infantry
Boris, Infantry
Ivan, Infantry
Peter, Infantry
Alfonse, Infantry
Rin, Infantry
Fliss, Infantry
Fleur, Infantry
Eduard, Infantry
Anton, Infantry
Cassandra, Anti-Air
Petra, Anti-Air
Andromeda, Anti-Air
Gordon, Anti-Air
Diana, Battle Copter
Klara, Battle Copter
Lucy, Bomber
Zlata, Bomber
Peregrine, Bomber

Second Front
Elena, Infantry
Felix, Infantry
Vanessa, Infantry
Lysander, Infantry
Arqa, Infantry
Talora, Infantry
Alina, Mech
Fenya, Mech
Dimitri, Mech
Nika, Mech
Carter, Mech
Braddock, Mech
Lowell, Tank
Jacquelyn, Tank
Valeria, Anti-Air
Inessa, Recon
Ingo, Artillery
Dymek, Rockets
Selena, Submarine
Lena, Cruiser
Kurtz, Cruiser
Karin, Cruiser
Raynald of Châtillon, Cruiser
Eva, Battleship
Von Panzer, Battle Copter
Julian, Battle Copter
Fred, Battle Copter
Howard, Fighter
Mulligan, Fighter
Matilda, Bomber
Black Bomb (Unmanned)
Black Bomb (Unmanned)

It's a vile sight. Let's ensure it doesn't last long.

Feel the chomping bite of my sword, ghoulish archfiend!

Ah, Javier. Truly, you are second only to Jugger when it comes to saying hysterical things.

Here we go. Thankfully, whilst the second front is a nightmare of "the AI controls my units", the first front is pretty easy, so we should be fine here. The first thing I do is switch the Auto CO to Defensive, in order to ensure that Javier doesn't charge his units in and get them all killed on the first turn.

We begin by deploying four infantry - Dave, Boris, Ivan and Peter. Dimitri's Mercenaries are bound for the second front to back up their leader, whilst Dave is sticking around here to start capturing all these tasty properties.

That's all we can do for now, though.

Those crystals generate force fields that guard the Grand Bolt's weak points. Oh, and if those louts approach the weak points...they will be eaten by oozium!

Hm. My dude, we should be cautious when approaching the Grand Bolt.


Little do they know, the substance spews from the Grand Bolt every few days!

I believe that this enormous oozium will regularly produce smaller units of oozium. The weak points are likely also production points.

I can just imagine their panicked faces... Aha ha ha! Aha ha ha ha!

Gotcha. We'll approach with caution...and also a million bombers.

Whaaa haa haa haaa! Excellent! In 24 days, the Grand Bolt will be large enough to consume Omega Land! And when that happens, those miserable insects will be powerless to stop me!

Even the combined might of the Black Hole and the allied forces would be nothing! On the 24th day, I shall become immortal! I will be the most powerful being ever! Whaaa haa haa haa haa haa!

God, writing out evil laughs and counting the number of 'a's in each laugh is annoying.

And I will be the most lovely being in creation... Then again, I already am! Aha ha ha ha!

So here's the deal with Von Bolt - he just doesn't have properties. He starts with two bases and nothing else, so 2000 per turn.

There's a ton of properties, some com towers, and a couple of airports down south - if he gets those, we're in trouble, so one of our first missions on the second front is killing these infantry and then recapturing the properties. Once Von Bolt has, like, no money, he becomes a complete non-issue.

With two bases, all he can afford to deploy is two infantry. And he will keep doing this for a while.

So, the second front. Hoo boy, I wish we had control over this. Kindle's got a fuckload of units, but no means of production - what this means is that usually, it's a slog, but the AI will win out eventually. Unfortunately for us, we don't want a prolonged battle, because that runs the risk of losing units.

Javier's extra money will affect what he can deploy, though. The primary reason I wanted to give him as much money as possible is for that leftmost front - Lena can't win that battle on her own, and the AI refuses to deploy botes because of how expensive they are. With a bit more money, Javier's more likely to deploy some botes to help Lena out.

Alina, Fenya and Dimitri begin capturing their respective com towers, with Dimitri on the far right.

"So, this is the final battle." Dimitri murmurs.

"There's something a bit nerve-wracking about my dude or Rose not being here." Fenya says.

Alina stares out over the ocean, looking down at Lena's cruiser, then back at the horde of boats bearing down on them. "Yeah, I know what you mean... but we've gotta have faith! We've come this far!"

"I'm not going to die here. Not without Selena." growls Lena. "Come, Kindle! I'll crush you!"

Our units move forward, but not into murder range, thankfully. Javier can then deploy some stuff...

He deploys a fighter jet, Howard, and three infantry, Elena, Felix, and...

I hope you two didn't forget about me!


I know you two are our finest strategists, but that doesn't mean the ACOs can't contribute either. Javier alone might not be able to scrape through this battle without any losses... but with me by his side, we have a real chance!

Vanessa, don't feel too bad if there are some losses here and there. It's not going to be an easy fight.

I'd be disappointed if it was easy! Just watch me, you two! For Minerva... nobody else will die today!

Thank you, Vanessa. Do your best out there.

And so Vanessa takes to the field. Let's see how that affects the AI's behaviour.

Kindle's turn. Kindle has no cities, and she can't really get down to ours, so she's not super threatening. I mean, the AI is virtually guaranteed to win this front even if you don't help at all, and Kindle being mostly useless is part of that.

The crystals, of course, do their usual thing of healing units around them. This is going to be annoying throughout the map, but not a huge deal.

The black bomb charges south and explodes on Dimitri, Valeria and Howard.

"J-jeez! They're starting aggressive, aren't they?!" Howard says.

Dimitri nods. "Keep it together. There's an ol' bomber on the way soon, too."

Kindle arranges her units like so. Lena's job on the left is to stay the fuck out of the battleship's range, whilst our units in the middle need to take out those dangerous ranged units at the back. Our rightmost units will be relatively fine - once the bomber's gone, everything else should be alright.

Let's send some reinforcements, then.

Boris, Ivan and Peter head to the second front.

"Dimitri! We're here for backup!" Boris says. "What do we need to do?"

"Ah, more of Dim's Mercenaries. Nice to see you." Vanessa replies. "See those silos nearby? We need to weaken the enemy's air force as quickly as we can!"

"On it, Van." Ivan replies.

"H-hey! Only my friends call me Van!"

Dave starts capturing. Once all these buildings are ours, we'll be getting 15k per turn and hopefully, Von Bolt will be on, like 4k or something, so we can just overwhelm him with our financial advantage.

I deploy a ton more infantry to help Dave out. Up top we have Alfonse and Rin, and down below we have Fliss and Fleur - they'll be heading south to start recapturing those properties Von Bolt is after.

"Dave! How are things?" Rin says anxiously.

"Fine right now. But this is the calm before the storm." Dave replies, narrowing his eyes as he scans the Grand Bolt ahead of them, slowly consuming the land. "We ain't got much time. Our orders are to capture these properties and defend them, no matter what, from the enemy!"

"R-right!" Alfonse says. "I'm not going to let it all be in vain - not here, not now!"

The quickest and easiest way to disrupt the infantry in the south is by sending some bro copters, who can fly over the mountains and take basically no damage from infantry. I deploy the first one of those - Diana.

"I hope Dimitri's alright..." Diana says to herself, before shaking her head and focussing on the battle at hand. "But right now my mission is to keep you two safe. Isn't that right, Fliss, Fleur?"

"I believe so, oui. Many thanks, Diana!" Fleur replies.

"We must complete our m-mission... if we are to win." Fliss says.

Von Bolt's gonna deploy some more infantry. You ready?

Oh, and also capture some stuff.

This Dick Captures A Property: 66

Four in one go, fuck.

And there are the infantry.

Meanwhile, over on the stressful part of the map...

Alina and Fenya complete their com tower captures, taking Javier from "mid" to "a bulky boi". Dimitri's is delayed since he got hit by the black bomb, so Javier's not quite "god incarnate" yet.

Dymek, in the rockets, takes a shot at the enemy infantry and one-shots it. I love com towers.

Elena, Felix and Vanessa begin capturing nearby properties. Javier's already got almost as much money as fucking Sturm did in the Final Battle, but fuck it, more properties for the property god.

This is why we sent the backup - the infantry prioritise capturing properties over silos, but since all the properties nearby are being captured, Boris, Ivan and Peter can go for the silos. Boris launches the first one, aimed squarely at the pile of fuckery in the top right.

This is very useful, because the piperunner and bomber are out of the crystal's healing range, so this damage will stick on them.

Plus, Ivan can do the exact same thing again. BOOM!

With another 3 damage done, Von Panzer in our bro copter is going to swoop in here, safe from the missiles, and take out the piperunner. This is a HUGE relief - piperunners don't just have good range, but they can also fire on any unit type, so they'd cause problems if left alive. I'd like that left piperunner to die soon, too, but we'll see how the AI handles it.

Lena gets out of battleship range, Peter moves up to help the middle crew, and Javier deploys Matilda in a bomber and Nika as a mech.

"Hey, girls!" Nika says. "Alina, Valeria, I'm here now! I'll handle the middle segment with the others!"

"Alright, sounds good - keep yourself safe!" Alina replies. "And where the heck is Eva, anyway?"

"She'll be fine." Valeria says. "I'm sure she's being deployed shortly - for now, focus on the battle at hand. We've a long way to go."

So, the reason Javier needs that rank 8 defence-boosting skill? It's for this turn.

The black crystal heals the bro copter and the fighter, which is annoying.

The piperunner takes a pot shot at Alina, too. It doesn't hit too hard, thankfully, just 2 damage.

Our friend the medium tank can't get close enough to shoot Dymek, but this anti-air can - again, it's only 2 damage. This is why we brought Javier.

There's one unit that isn't so lucky, though - Dimitri. He takes a hit from the copter...

This fighter fucking SCREAMS across the map to shoot Matilda, but it doesn't do much damage, and she's gonna heal 2HP next turn anyway.

The bomber moves in to fire on Dimitri, though, and without that defence boost, he can't handle this much damage. The explosions rock the com tower, and Dimitri is hurled to the ground.

"That's all I can do - I've brought 'em in range, though. Vanessa, you better finish them off!"

"Dimitri, you've done a great service. Get yourself to HQ - we'll take care of this." Vanessa replies, giving a hot-blooded grin. "I'm starting to see how this battle will play out... we've got everything we need to win!"

Dimitri survives, as always. We've no other safety nets now, though. Losing another unit... it's gonna sting. But I've not got much choice but to watch it happen.

The battleship moves forwards to corner Lena, and the APC has dropped a mech right in front of Fenya. How upsetting.

We're still technically deathless so far though, which is better than I expected at this point. I'm sure the slaughter will come soon.

Fliss and Fleur begin making their way down. Fliss hurries to catch up with her sister.

Diana is following right behind, too. She's gonna go on ahead and begin murdering the infantry.

We need two copters, though, so I'm deploying Klara. She should be able to berserk all over those poor infantry.

Dave, Rin and Alfonse are capturing in the meantime. You'll notice I'm not going for the com towers - com towers don't provide funds, if you recall, and we need to prioritise money right now, since we're not going to see much combat in the next few turns. By the time the enemy infantry get here, I'll have anti-airs which can one-shot them without com towers.

Things do start slow, but we'll begin bomberstorming very soon, once we have a decent foothold.

Let's see what Von Bolt's gonna do. He gets a whole 6000 this turn!

Seems like he wants more, though. We'll have to punish these infantry for their greed.

And with his fancy new 6000, he deploys... an infantry and an APC.

This is the final level.

Meanwhile, Javier's got a whole lot of units to keep alive, so let's see how successful he is.

Our units finish some capturing, putting Javier at a tidy 27k per turn - 29700 thanks to Gold Rush.

Rather than retreating, Dymek continues firing, this time hitting the APC.

Lowell, in our tank, meanwhile, lands a hit on the anti-air. "Mm. I do believe this battle would be easier with Rose's help, but I suppose that is not an option."

"Any other helpful things you want to say, Lowell?" Vanessa asks brusquely.

Lowell shakes his head. "Uh, no, ma'am. Best of luck to you."

Valeria destroys the fighter, keeping Matilda safe from being powderised next turn.

Whilst Von Panzer, the absolute unit that he is, moves out of range of the missiles again, and weakens the medium tank in one fell swoop.

Lena moves in to shoot the battleship. This has two benefits: she discovers the submarine, and she can't be fired on by the battleship, so she's safe again. Woo!

...but we seriously need more botes.

Howard, in his weakened fighter, still has enough firepower to take out the bomber. The copter's not really an issue now - we've basically won the rightmost side of this battle. We just need to, uh, actually destroy the crystal.

We don't need to destroy the crystal right now, though, so Matilda decides to help contribute to the middle battlefield. A bomber is a useful ally - provided she stays out of missile and aircraft carrier range.

Fenya lands the first hit on this mech. She's pretty safe from the medium tank thanks to the mountains around, thankfully.

Lo and behold, Javier deploys another bote! Kurtz joins the fight!

Also another mech, Carter. There's going to be a lot of mechs.

Kindle's turn, though, and she's got a horrible surprise.

I am Kindle... Gorgeous AND clever!

It's only her regular CO Power, thankfully, but it's still an annoyance, since we have so many properties with, like, things on them.

They all take 3 damage. Fuck you, Kindle.

Lena is safe from the battleship, but not the piperunner. It lands a hit on her.

"This is insane! We can't win a naval battle with that piperunner messing things up!" Lena cries.

"Backup's coming." Kurtz says. "Just hang on for a bit longer... where the hell are you, Karin..?"

The battleship goes for the newly-built Kurtz, who already took 3 damage from goddamn Urban Blight.

Thank fucking god for Javier's ranged defence, huh?

The anti-air goes for Von Panzer, but it's far too weak to be an actual threat.

Hell, he almost killed it on the counterattack. Meanwhile, the enemy bro copter goes for Boris.

The enemy cruiser lands ANOTHER hit on Lena. Fuck, how does anyone except Javier manage all this bullshit?

The mech decides not to fuck with Fenya, and instead shoots Dymek. He takes it like a champ.

...Yeah, that was a rough turn. Lena's now totally surrounded by enemy ships, and is still in piperunner range. Things are... not ideal.

Like I say, the secondary front is more about minimising deaths than avoiding them - I doubt we'll push through unscathed.

Alfonse and Rin finish up their capturing, whilst Dave goes for the base on the left. More money, more!

The capturing will go faster with even more goddamn infantry, so I deploy Eduard and Anton.

"Right, let's get this over with." Eduard says. "Oy, Dave, are the enemy coming soon?"

"Yeah, this ain't gonna be a picnic." Dave replies.

"We've come this far. Plus, we have Rose and my dude... spare a thought for the poor souls on the second front." Anton says.

Rin's face falls, and she looks around nervously. "Von Panzer... Howard... Ingo... are they going to be OK?"

Dave looks into Rin's eyes. He breathes out slowly. "Of course they are, kid. Don't worry about it, alright?"

Now, it's time to start fighting the enemy infantry, so I deploy the first of many anti-airs - the Morningstar herself, Cassandra Morgenstern.

"Above all, the mission." Cassandra says. "We must hold the line. We must hold the line..."

Klara's coming down to join our stop-von-bolt-from-having-money crew.

They head south - Diana's in range to start murdering infantry next turn, so Von Bolt shouldn't get much more than these 8 properties here, hopefully.

Now, let's play with fire a little bit. Javier's got his Super CO Power charged after everyone got clapped by Kindle last turn, and as we know, his Super CO Power makes him practically fucking invincible. As such, this is a great turn to put everyone up to max aggression and crush Kindle's units whilst they can't do anything to us.

First we get to watch Von Bolt walk some infantry and oozium over to us, as per.

Yeah, fuck you, infantry.

This Dick Captures A Property: 70

The APC is going to carry an infantry towards us - we really need these anti-airs soon, otherwise we're going to be overrun with the little fuckers.

Javier, my man! Give us a banger quote!

Charge into the toothy maw, for now is the time for a glorious hindspanking!

Damn straight! Spank all their hinds!

First Dymek softens up this recon...

..whilst Alina fights this piperunner 1-on-1 and brings it down to 3HP. Nice work!

Fenya finishes off the anti-air, though she does put herself in a dangerous situation.

"Fen, don't overextend!" Vanessa says. "We can take some risks, but..."

"We have to do this. We can't let a single enemy get through our line, Vanessa. You know that well." Fenya replies. "...Felix is behind these lines."

This enemy sub gets fucked up by Kurtz, who moves in to slam it.

Lowell finishes off the recon, holding the line once more. We're doing it!

Valeria can finish off the bro copter, bailing out Boris.

"Hmph. Thanks, Valeria."

"Don't mention it." Valeria says. "Dimitri's Mercenaries and the Snowbound Free Company owe each other a great deal. I am just paying back a little of that."

Von Panzer makes a ballsy decision to finish off this piperunner, parking himself directly in the carrier's range. On the plus side, both piperunners are dead! The MVP does it again!

Lena shoots the battleship - normally this would be a pointless amount of damage, but with Javier's SCOP in effect, it's a couple of points higher. I'd have liked her to finish off the sub, but it's not like a 1HP sub is going to be doing much of anything.

Howard does some chip damage to this transport copter. It's not like there's any other air units for him to fight.

And Matilda blasts this medium tank into next week, though she's in missile range also.

Felix decides to help out his sister by shooting this mech.

And to end his turn, Javier deploys a mech and a fighter Javier I JUST SAID there's no air units to fight why would you-

Braddock is our mech and our fighter is Mulligan.

"Howard!" Mulligan says. "I was worried... is everything alright?"

"Things are under control, Mull, don't worry." Howard replies. "It's... good to have you here."

Now let's see how well our SCOP protects us from Kindle's counterattack.

0 damage to Alina.

0 damage to Matilda.

No damage to Von Panzer, either - every ranged unit fails to do any meaningful damage to my units. I fucking love you, Javier.

Now, one important thing to do...

We absolutely do not want Javier to act as suicidal as that when he doesn't have his SCOP active. Back to defensive plays!

Meanwhile, Cassandra makes a start on the infantry. It's a clean one-shot, thanks to Hawke's stronger firepower and the damage boosts we took.

And seeing as we are going to start seeing combat, Rin begins working on the com tower, whilst the other boys keep capturing money-producing properties.

We're gonna need more anti-airs. Next up, Petra!

"Abelard gave his life so that we could be here now! We're not going to hold anything back, alright?!" Petra cries. "...And Conrad's depending on me to win today."

Diana initiates on the first of the infantry. They'll be cleaned up soon.

But that's all we're deploying for today. If all goes to plan and we cut into Von Bolt's funding, then we don't need anything stronger than anti-airs to deal with his troops.

The only ground units they can't deal with are tanks and the like, but hopefully Von Bolt won't get any of those.

Nope. Just more goddamn capturing.

The enemy infantry are moving in on the right, now. They're not really a threat, but fuck it, it's the final map, we're going to at least make it SOUND dramatic.

This guy just decides he hates life and shoots Klara.


Diana winces. "The Blue Moon Army has... some interesting people in it.

"And I thought Diana was aggressive..." murmurs Fliss. Fleur nods in agreement, watching Klara riddle the enemy infantry with bullets.

An infantry gets dropped off on my nice base. We will have none of that, asshat.

And Von Bolt's now deploying anti-airs. Thankfully, if my anti-airs initiate, they win the mirror match, so we should be alright for the most part.

They could prove troublesome for my bombers if Von Bolt deploys more of them, though. We'll have to keep an eye out.

With this final capture, we are now matching Sturm's 28k per turn - which jumps up to 30800 thanks to Gold Rush. Javier could afford a god damn carrier PER TURN. That's an absurd amount of money.

Annoyingly, because all of his units are on bases and need repairs, he does lose a lot of that money, which is why I wanted Gold Rush in the first place. More money = better units = fewer deaths, hopefully.

Von Panzer goes for the rockets. I did set the AI to Defensive, right? He's in range of the missiles and the carrier!

"Oh, Von Panzer... I'll help you out any way I can." Matilda says. "I've heard a lot about you. It's all been good, don't worry."

"Harrumph! Good to hear." Von Panzer replies with a gruff cough. "I will follow orders as they are given, but I cannot lie... I do not see what Herr Javier and Frau Vanessa have planned for me."

Howard finishes off the transport copter, leaving the rightmost crystal open. Now we just need to get some units up there to actually shoot it. You'll also note that Lena and Kurtz have joined up on the right, to form a single full-HP cruiser.

Matilda solves one of Von Panzer's problems by blowing up the missiles in one shot. Beautiful work.

"Nice shooting!" Von Panzer says.

Matilda blushes deeply. "Oh, well... I had to help. Are you going to be OK?"

"I know not. There's a pipe, but beyond it... I believe an aircraft carrier has me in its sights."

"Vanessa, what on earth is the plan here? Have your aggressive tactics got the best of you?" mutters Fenya, but she doesn't say it into the transceiver.

With his turn done, Javier continues to impress me by deploying an infantry (meh, it's just Arqa) and a battleship (woo!)

Eva takes to the sea, her hair fluttering as she steps out onto the deck, folding her arms. "Man, this is the riskiest battle we've had all campaign, huh? Hang in there, Alina... I'm ready for a showdown!"

"Eva! Honey, you made it!" Alina gasps with delight. "Do your best out there - Lena needs your backup!"

"The Director gal? On it." Eva replies. She grips the coin around her neck, feeling the coldness of the metal seep into her hands. "Let's get this party started."

Kindle's turn. This could be rough.

Even the prettiest rose has thorns.

Kindle you just did that two days ago. God.

So yeah this happens again.

And the battleship goes for Kurtz/Lena, who take more damage than I would like. God, a battleship in such a cramped space is an absolute motherfucker.

The aircraft carrier sets its sights on Von Panzer.

"Von Panzer!" cries Carter as he watches the missiles blast across the sky. "You can't die-"

An almighty blast strikes the poor battle copter, and as the explosion clears...

A voice can be heard. "Hmph! You are right!"

The voice builds up into a roar, as a single, badly-damaged battle copter sits in the air, still flying defiantly in the face of the enemy units surrounding it. "I, Mathis Von Panzer, cannot die! You will not take my life, Black Hole! Whilst there is still breath in this body, I will not give up the fight!"

Vanessa whoops and hits the air. "YES! Rose and my dude were right - you really do survive where other units would die, don't you, Von Panzer?"

"Correct, Mädchen. When I am ordered to hold a point, I hold that point no matter the odds!"

The enemy tank goes for Fenya, who braces herself.

"Fen!" shouts Felix, but he's too late to act.

Fenya coughs as she stands in front of the tank, having taken a near-point-blank shot. She glares hatefully at the vehicle before her. "I... will not let Felix get hurt. I will not let my new friends get hurt. Come... all you like... I will take you on."

"Fenya, you did good - now get back!" Vanessa cries. "Javier, we need to get our damaged units out of there!"

Javier's voice crackles over the transceiver. "Worry not, maiden Vanessa! My soldiers have proven they are cut from the same cloth as I - their steely hide has proven strong enough to protect them! Now we besiege the foe's crystals and claim victory!"

So, yeah. There we fucking go - the chance of both Von Panzer and Fenya surviving that turn is slim, but possible. And where there's a chance, there's hope.

My units continue their capturing, but they're a little distracted. Once Rin captures the com tower, Dave immediately gets in touch with the secondary front.

"Finally in communication!" Dave says. "How's it going down there, boys?"

"Dimitri's down, but not out." reports Lena. Diana breathes a sigh of relief as she hears this. "Nobody else has been downed yet - Von Panzer is, as usual, impossible to kill, and Fenya managed to hold off a tank by herself. We're still not safe, but we're pushing forward."

"Good, good." Alfonse says. "Keep yourself safe, Lena."

"How are things up there?" Vanessa asks. "Are my dude and Rose holding out OK?"

"They're pretty tired, but still giving it their all!" Rin replies. "We're doing fine, just clearing out the foot soldiers right now, and capturing properties!"

"What was that?" Vanessa asks. "You're breaking up, I didn't catch that!"

"Oh!" Rin says. "Man, we need the second com tower. The quality's not great right now."

"They're safe, at least. That's what matters." Dave replies.

And indeed, time to clear out some foot soldiers. Petra eviscerates this one on the right.

Thanks to him being stood on our base, Cassandra can't one-shot this one.

Dave helps, though. We're almost done with the capturing, so we can use our infantry for other things, like ganging up on oozium later.

I can afford two anti-airs this turn, so we can really start the infantry murdering next turn. Here comes Andromeda and Gordon!

"I won't fail, lose! All you fucking soldiers... Rose is needy, wanting, depending on me to succeed. I will defeat you all!"

Our copters continue shooting things. We're prioritising the mid-capture infantry, since we can slow down Von Bolt's money that way.

Klara deals with this guy over here, still raging about blood and murder. I bet she'd get on with Carl, come to think of it.

And our infantry continue to move in. Fliss and Fleur will be able to start their capturing soon.

A transport copter could have got them down south faster, but the enemy infantry would have attacked them and done chip damage, slowing down their capturing, so ultimately, this works out pretty similar in terms of speed, and is far cheaper to boot.

Meanwhile, our units up here are ready for the enemy. We're not letting them get any kind of foothold here.

So, let's see what Von Bolt's gonna do to annoy me. Another nice advantage to him having no expensive units deployed is that he's still ages away from getting his SCOP.

As you can see here, some fresh oozium spawn from the Grand Bolt's weak points. This happens every 6 days, so... it's not going to be much of an issue. We just have to make sure not to leave any units in front of the weak points on days 12, 18 and 24, otherwise they'll get eaten immediately.

And Von Bolt's poor infantry can't capture anything now. That loss of money is super important, since he'd deploy medium tanks and stuff if he had the money.

The infantry move in, but don't dare attack me. That anti-air's a problem, too. There's a few things to be dealing with next turn.

The Bolt Man himself deploys a recon and an artillery. They... will not be problems.

Artilleries can't even fire on bombers.

It is a fantastic advantage that the AI has to spend all its money every turn. If the AI was capable of saving, it'd be much more dangerous.

Anyway, Eva immediately fires on the enemy battleship and leaves it greatly weakened.

And one of our infantry I'll admit I'm losing track, it might be Boris? fires the silo at the remaining botes.

Fenya gets the fuck out of dodge, and Lowell shoots the tank instead, which is a much better matchup.

Lena/Kurtz fire on the battleship for a teensy bit of extra damage. Have I mentioned that I don't like cruisers in this update yet? I'm mentioning it again.

Also, Von Panzer's retreating, as you can see. The tank might look like an issue, but...

Matilda can bombnihhilate him, making the middle area much safer. We just need to watch out for the rockets now.

Meanwhile, Felix fires our next silo at the same set of botes. They're the only threatening things on the map, to be fair, so it makes sense.

We're certainly in a much better position, all of a sudden.

Javier deploys another tank, Jacquelyn, and another bro copter, Fred.

Kindle can't do a whole lot, in the meantime.

She can shoot Alina with a battleship, but Alina shrugs it off like a champ.

The enemy cruiser goes for Eva, but... she's a battleship on a port. The cruiser does no damage.

And that's all, really. Kindle's not got much left to threaten us with, and we haven't actually lost any units. Are you impressed? I sure as fuck am.

So, day 7 begins. We've got to start making plans to approach the weak points, seeing as the secondary front will be finishing up in the next few days.

And that means MONEY for BOMBERS

And also killing all the random incidental shit that keeps getting deployed.

Cassandra and Gordon team up to take out this recon. They're in anti-air range, but they can take a hit without much trouble, and then kill it next turn.

On the right, we continue to murder the infantry before they can reach my properties. Petra finishes one...

Andromeda slaughters the other.

There's two last things to capture, so Dave starts on the com tower, whilst Anton nabs the final base.

Klara completely encopterinates the infantry down here. I had to invent a whole new verb to describe what she just did to him.

Diana clears this one out, too. The final two infantry might get another property, but we can start moving in Fliss and Fleur to, uh...

...redistribute the funds, as it were.

I'm feeling confident about this!

Let's hope Von Bolt doesn't ruin my mood.

This infantry almost manages to be a dick and capture a property, but... not quite.

The anti-air goes for Cassandra, doing some damage, but she's fine.

The rest of Von Bolt's units are just splattered around the battlefield with no rhyme or reason. Why is the final map just one big plain? It's weird.

He deploys another anti-air, too. That's a little annoying.

Anyway, ready for some fun?

So, you might be under the impression that the Auto CO only uses their CO Power when the bar hits max, but that's not quite true. Similarly to the enemy AI, it WILL use its CO Power if the meter is less than half a star past the CO Power limit.

As you can see, Javier is just within that limit. If Von Panzer and Fenya had been killed, we'd have been just over that limit, so that really was a clutch moment.

Away put your weapons! You shall not be needing them where you are going!

So yeah, we get a nice boost to our defences again, just to really rub it in Kindle's face.

Eva makes an end of the enemy battleship.

Lowell can crush the rockets, no problem.

Also Lena/Kurtz have some cruiser-on-cruiser action.

And Matilda flatly refuses to shoot the goddamn crystal. Oh well, the APC's dead.

Javier deploys a black bomb. That, uh, might be useful? I guess? It's not a named unit, at least.

Kindle's in a really bad situation now. She's practically lost on two fronts, and the ocean isn't going to be long.

The carrier goes for Matilda, but doesn't do much damage, only about 4HP.

And the cruiser pokes Eva again. It goes about as well as last time.

Day 8. We'll leave it there for now - this is a long fucking map. But we're almost through the second front without any major issues! I can't fucking believe it. See you next week for the conclusion!

And remember, votes for Their Finest Hour are still open! They'll be closing next Friday, so get your votes in if you haven't yet.


Update 78 (Intermission) - Better Than You Think