Part 6: Come Sail Away with MeCome Sail Away with Me
All right, who's ready for a beach episode! Our opponent is Lash, our CO is
The frontline HQ of the allied forces should be somewhere in this area... Ah! I see tents! We're here, Sister!
Yes, and so it begins.
Note to self: Look ahead at the next level before declaring stuff in the thread, like what CO I'm going to use. Oh well, I can always start using either of the pair later on. Anyways, say hello to our first reinforcements from Blue Moon.
Commander Rachel! Blue Moon COs are here! They're on their way in now.
I'm so glad you're here. Welcome to the allied forces frontline HQ.
Thank you. My name is Sasha. It's an honor for our country to fight alongside yours.
The honor is ours. Let's pool our resources and defeat Black Hole's army.
Colin, introduce yourself.
Oh, I'm Colin of Blue Moon, sir! I'll do my best for the cause!
I heard you were instrumental in winning the last war. It's good to have you aboard.
S-Sir, thank you, sir! Thank you very much!
Damn, Colin, relax! No need to be throwing around Sir's and Ma'am's with this crowd, especially since you're the second most senior CO here in terms of combat experience, only less experienced than Max.
And your famous leader, Commander Olaf? Did he come with you here?
Commander Olaf is still in Macro Land, defending the motherland. His hometown was ravaged... He sends his regrets that he is unable to join us.
Probably for the best, Olaf has always been a tad antagonistic to other nation's COs, especially Orange Star. Guy did his level best to invade Orange Star in the first Advance War game, not realizing Black Hole was just using him as a cat's paw. He still didn't exactly trust Orange star's COs in the second game. Also, he's got a rather legitimate excuse for staying home after what Lash did to his hometown in the last game. So no Blue Communist Santa for us.
I'm torn between whether he sounds like the best or worst character ever. Blue Communist Santa just has such a nice ring to it.
What Alkydere is saying is that Olaf was the perfect one to fall for a Black Hole snow job.
I see... I was looking forward to meeting him, but I understand the situation.
Hey, it's Colin! Long time, no see, little buddy!
Max! So you're here too?
There we go Colin, relax, you're not the most junior kid on the block anymore.
You don't think I'd let those Black Hole losers do whatever they want, do you? Is that your sister, Colin? What a babe!
I'd use the term "Ice Queen" myself Max.
It's nice to meet you. My brother has told me all about you, Commander Max.
"Though he neglected to mention your friends'...crude manners."
Max, you freak! Watch how you speak to our allies!
What's up, Blue Moon crew? We're gonna kick some Black Hole butt, am I right?
Oh, please! Not you, too, Jake!
What, he wasn't even hitting on her!
I think Rachel's just jealous that no one's paying attention to her. I mean, supposedly she's the one in charge, but has anyone aside from Jake in the first mission actually listened to her?
It's OK, Command--er, I mean Rachel. We're going to be fighting side by side so there's no reason for us to be overly formal, is there?
Yeah, she's right. We're in for some rough times together, so let's be friends!
Commander! Enemy forces to the west! Land and sea units, both!
Understood. Looks like we're going to have to end this welcoming party early.
Rachel, please let us handle this. Colin and I need to see the enemy for ourselves.
"There's no factories for either of you to put your powers to good use with..."
C'mon, Rachel! It'll be fine. Let Blue Moon show us what they can do!
Watching them fight would rock! And...er...I'm sure I'd learn a lot, too.
Superb! It's decided then. Let's go servey the battlefield. Come, Colin.
Right behind you!
Hmm, a naval battle. Colin, you haven't seen combat for a while, have you? Take command. I'll back you up. Don't worry, you've got the numbers to pull this off. This is a fight you can win.
Oh, OK. I'll give it a shot.
Make sure you keep track of your air and naval units' fuel supplies. Don't forget that you can supply them with your APC.
OK! The enemy's awfully close, though. This is going to be quite a battle.
It's OK. Don't be nervous. I'm going to walk you through this step by step.
Oh Colin, ye of little backbone. If anything, Colin should be the one advising his sister in this battle as she has her first combat experience. He was one of the COs who fought Black Hole in the last game, meaning he has seen and won battles before. But nope, Colin lost any confidence in himself since the last game and will forever be the little brother, having to be guided by his bookworm older sister who's never seen any combat herself.
...Goddammit, Colin. I hate you already.
Anyways, here's the map, and we're back deep into tutorial land. Anyways, both sides have more or less matching armies, but we've got a slight advantage with positioning, and if we don't throw it away attacking that Cruiser, a B-Copter. Let's take a look at our naval units, shall we?
First we have our Sub. They're one of the two direct-fire naval units you will get. Their job is to run away from Cruisers and smash Landers and Battleships. If you'll notice, they're a bit short on fuel, having only 60 units in their tank. Every unit uses one unit of fuel per movement point used, and one more between turns. Subs burn a whopping 5 units of fuel when out of fuel, and when their tanks run dry they sink like any other naval unit. Of course, they're immune to all indirect fire while submerged, meaning only other Subs and Cruisers can hit them, and they're completely invisible unless there's an enemy unit sitting next to them. Subs are nightmares on Fog of War maps for obvious reasons, and they make damned good scouts too as they have the highest sight radius of all naval units.
For those of you wondering how it burns fuel when out of fuel, what Alkydere means is that it burns five points of fuel while submerged. Submerging or rising takes a sub's action for that turn, meaning it can't do that and attack at the same time. These guys hit hard against any ship that isn't a cruiser, but their fuel problems mean they're somewhat annoying to use.
Next we have the Cruiser. The Cruiser is the other naval direct-fire unit. Their job is to more or less protect your Battleships from subs and enemy air units. Their anti-shipping missiles are beastly against Subs, often taking them out in one shot depending on the CO match up, and their AA gun is basically a stronger version of the ground based AA's gun, only with infinite ammo because it's a secondary weapon. A few changes were made to Cruisers since AW2, mainly they're beefier on the defense and they can use their missiles to attack other non-sub ships, though they're not quite as good against surface ships. Cruisers also have a neat feature in the fact they can carry two Copters at a time on their decks, saving the Copter's fuel and protecting them from nearby fighters, other Copters, or Cruisers.
Cruisers have a valuable role on the sea; your battleships need their protection, and they're not bad anti-air units, either. Of course, they can't hit anything on land, and they're not good anti-battleship units themselves. If subs are your sea offense, these guys are your sea defense.
No one ever remembers the copter landing, though.
And here are the big beasts of the sea: the Battleship. They are the beefiest indirect fire units in the game, able to take and dish out massive amounts of punishment. Even better is the fact that they're the longest ranged indirect fire units in the game, out ranging any Rockets the enemy might leave on the shore to harass your naval units, and they only have a minimum range of 2, meaning that as long as the enemy isn't right next door they can and will be shot.
Rockets and artillery, but MORE so. Battleships are spectacular area-denial weapons, and tough to boot. They laugh off cruiser attacks. Only thing to fear with them is submerged subs. They're kinda expensive, though, so unless it's a water-centric map, I probably wouldn't build many of these.
Finally we have the Lander. The Lander is basically a big boat for ferrying forces across water. It can load up with any two ground units, so two tanks, two AAs, a mixture of either, or two infantry. Of course, then you get the weirdness of an Infantry taking up the same room as a tank, unless of course it's stuffed inside an APC and THEN loaded on a Lander. Landers can only load or unload when sitting on Shoal (beach) tiles or Ports.
These guys, surprisingly, have no surprises at all. They move stuff from point A to point B via the water.
Anyways, now that we've seen the new units, lets see our new CO. Ah, Colin, the CO as the thread has been calling him. Colin knows his way around the bargaining table and can purchase new units at 80% of the prices everyone else can. The catch? All of his units only have 90% attack and defense values. He still comes out ahead, swamping the enemy under a tsunami of cheap tanks. Sadly, I can't bring up the CO select screen at the moment so I can't show off his sister at the moment.
It should be obvious why 90% units at 80% costs is very, very good...
...When you can buy stuff.
This map is all predeployed, so we get Colin's drawbacks without his upsides. It's very weird.
Of course, Colin's COP is what really makes him broken. Oh, sure his SCOP is nice, especially for a money-grubbin' communist like Colin, but no one's ever going to use it. Not when they've got Gold Rush. Colin is the ONLY CO besides Adder to ever have a 2-star COP, meaning every three or four turns he gets his current stash of gold multiplied by 1.5, which he can then use to buy more units at a discount. Even better: he still gets the standard +10% bonus to attack and defense when he uses Gold Rush, so his existing forces are going to hit that much harder. Power of Money is downright broken in it's own way, though it has been nerfed from AW2. In AW2 Colin's forces were bolstered by 15% for every 3K G. he had. In this game it's 10% for every 3K. A big nerf, but then again Colin could get a bit TOO strong in AW2 on a high-money map. Basically, if you really want you can turn Colin's force from disposable chaff to an army of juggernauts. But you'll be too busy saying "fuck it!" and buying more Md. Tanks than the opponent has Tanks.
Really taking advantage of Gold Rush is a weird balancing act, where you want to buy as little as possible for a bit to save, but then you need units to not lose while you're saving, and they're weaker than their counterparts. Once you get the hang of it Colin's just way too good, though.
And here you can see how every one of Colin's combat units is weaker. Look back up at the screenshot of the map I posted, do you see any factories, ports, or airfields? Forcing us to use him on this map is a dick move as we have to use his weaker units without the ability to replace them on the cheap.
Let's not forget that this is Advance Wars now. Making sense is hardly on top of the list of priorities.
Anyways, the enemy Cruiser is in range of both of our Battleship and our Rockets, so smashing it is our first goal. Once it's gone our B-Copter has free reign over the map, and our Sub only has to worry about the other Sub.
Now that that's gone, we move our Cruiser forward and neutralize the enemy sub. Sure, it's not dead but at 2 HP it won't do any major damage to anything. Also, the sub is placed just right that our Cruiser is now within the Rocket's attack shadow.
Yea, Cruisers vs. Subs never ends well for the Subs.
As you can see, Battleships are beefy, our tank-busting B-Copter won't do all that much damage to it. Of course, there's a HUGE difference between "ineffective" and "not very effective", especially when the target can't defend itself, and is as expensive as a Battleship is.
Up until here, Alkydere's strategy is action-for-action identical to what I'd try. Personally, I'd have sent the copter after the land units and kept the sub for anti-shipping. After seeing how this plays out, though, I think his approach is better.
My thinking is that the naval units can do more damage since they're free to move. The Battleship also hits harder than a rocket and has more range, where as I can shoot the rockets from outside their range with my own Battleship. Naval units are also more expensive, and on deployment maps where both sides can make more I love smashing that huge, expensive flagship the enemy just bought.
Anyways, Lash ends the turn down a Cruiser, a Sub that's barely seaworthy and a slightly battered Battleship. The only thing with any firepower left to hit us with is Lash's Battleship. I load my Tank and APC into the Lander and unload the APC on the central island. That way I have a convenient spot for refueling/rearming my boats.
Commander Lash! We don't have enough firepower. We're going to be crushed! Couldn't we...uhhh...rethink this?
No! No! No! We can always build more units! As many as we need! Everything's disposable. Everything! What's the point of having all this stuff if we don't get to break it!?
Quiet, you! I'm the one who designed our power source, the black crystal. So any ordnance we make with it is mine to play with! Tee hee hee! Attack!
Gotta love Lash. Also, there's that "Black Crystal" mentioned again.
I really wonder if Lash was designed to sound like the players.
Uhhh... Can somebody please talk some sense into Commander Lash? Please?
I'm pretty sure that's literally impossible. "Lash" and "Sense" don't mix.
Sense? Who needs sense? Lash clearly understands what's going on here far better than everyone else. Of course, that would be far more useful if there were any way to build units on this map.
Anyways, our Cruiser losing combat effectiveness stings, but it's not that big a deal. After all, the only naval units left are a barely alive Sub, a Lander and a battleship with more than a few dents in it.
The only point of HP that matters for Technique is the last one, and cruisers do fuck-all damage to battleships. This was worth it.
Our Cruiser still does have one last job though: finding the enemy sub after it submerged. Since a Sub can only Submerge (or Rise) at the end of it's turn they're still easy to find the turn after they went under water if you pay attention and remember where they stopped. Of course, finding them after they have another turn can be a nightmare. Anyways, now that the Cruiser has spotted the enemy Sub, our Sub can attack it.
If you feel like abusing the game, you can also 'sweep' for hidden units by moving through an area, canceling the move, trying a different route, etc. If you hit a hidden unit, your unit stops adjacent to it and ends its turn. This little exploit was removed in Days of Ruin.
I move my Battleship up to pressure Lash's Rockets, and my own Rockets move up to pressure her Battleship. While the Battleship CAN attack my rockets, it's only at half-health now and my Rockets have a City to hide in. Of course, the Battleship can also attack my Sub and Cruiser if it so chooses to.
Her Rockets chooses to take out my already nearly dead Cruiser while her damaged Battleship decides to attack my Sub. Bad moves on both parts as that leaves her units within range of my heavy hitters the next turn.
This is a very favorable trade-off for Alkydere. He lost the cruiser, but the aggressive AI felt it was more important to nail it than to save its rockets, and it also clears his tank landing zone; a fully-healed rocket that moved away would have covered the beach.
And here's the map at the end of Day 3. I'd say this was all over, but Lash's SCOP is charged...
*sigh* Dammit Lash.
Her brilliant plan is to...retreat. Honestly, I don't blame her. The most she can do is have her Tank heal on her HQ. Oh well, two can play at this game.
Colin clears his units to use the greatest of all weapons: money.
SCOP vs SCOP, Bullshit money versus Bullshit defenses! Yea, this is how beastly Lash's defenses can be. Even with a 140% B-Copter (90% Colin standard + 10% SCOP + 40% from having 12K) I can only do about 30% damage to her Tank sitting on her HQ.
Look at all those beautiful stars. Do her bonuses last for several turns, or just the turn she used her SCOP on?
All power/superpower bonuses last only until the start of your next turn. Thank god.
Every time we see Lash you fall a little bit more in love with her character, don't you Artix? And to think back in the first update you thought you'd hate every CO.
With nothing left but her damaged Rockets, Lash has lost this one.
Eeeek! We lost!? I mean, I saw it coming, but...it still kinda stings, you know?
That's what you get, Lash! What is it with you and these wasteful, foolish battles?
Shut it! YOU are NOT going to lecture ME! You're not the boss of me! I'm gonna pay you back for the last war! You better get ready!
How utterly childish. Under different circumstances, she could have been a brilliant commander. What a shame.
You spanked 'em, Colin!
No, no... I didn't do anything. I was just following orders, as always!
Oh for crying out loud Colin, grow a spine!
I bet you can rock deployment maps. Every CO has got their own thing, and you know how to work yours!
Yeah, see, the ideal way to show that off would have been having you play with Colin on a deployment map.
Maybe they were trying to emphasize the bad as if to say "look, see, he's no longer a ridiculous monster like last game"?
Jake is right, Colin. Set your shoulders straight and stand with pride.
Sir, yes, sir! But I'd rather get back to the war! This is...embarrassing.
Yes you did Colin. Anyways, next time: We're forced to use Colin's sister where we can't use her powers to our advantage!
It's going to be Jugger again, isn't it? Of course, they just can't let us hang around good characters for too long.
Haha, no, she'd be in a better match-up against Jugger.
No, but Jugger is on mission 8. Alongside Lash. Anyways, voting time again, y'all have up until the next update is posted for who you want me to use on Mission 8, which is where they really start letting us out of the Tutorials. And just so you're informed about all the COs you can pick from: Sasha is also a money-grubbing communist just like her little brother, but only in a different way.