ADVANCE WARS 2 CO USAGE GUIDE By FlyingHamsta email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org AIM: FlyingHamsta Version 1.3 LAST UPDATED 12-26-04 TABLE OF CONTENTS Press CTRL and F and type in the code to quickly jump to the CO you want. Orange Star Andy...................(t3t) Sami...................(y56) Max....................(ga7) Nell...................(7tr) Haichi.................(bvq) Blue Moon Olaf...................(rp2) Grit...................(8yi) Colin..................(mu3) Yellow Comet Kanbei.................(e9m) Sonja..................(csh) Sensei.................(4ka) Green Earth Eagle..................(p9k) Drake..................(22w) Jess...................(sjq) Black Hole Flak...................(o3i) Lash...................(1kx) Adder..................coming soon Hawke..................coming soon Sturm..................coming soon VERSION HISTORY 1.3 - Wow, it's been forever since my last update (way back in March.) I made this update mostly to update my contact information, but know that I finished Flak and Lash. Three more CO's before this FAQ is done. Whew! 1.2 - Finished Green Earth. Only one last country to complete! I also fixed a bunch of grammatical errors. Whew, this guide sure is getting hefty. If you want me to keep going, please continue to send me IM's or emails with messages of encouragement (thanks to those who did so last time- all one of you). It helps if I know people are still reading and using this FAQ. 1.1 - I've finished up Yellow Comet and have begun Green Earth. Does anyone still play AW2? This is probably the last update of the walkthrough unless a lot of people show interest. But keep watch for my walkthroughs for other games! 1.0 - First release. I'm done with Orange Star, Blue Moon and most of Yellow Comet. I'm more for quality than quantity. I'm working hard on getting the rest of the walkthrough done. Thanks for being patient! INTRODUCTION I wrote this guide for people hoping to improve their AW2 skills. The guide is NOT designed for use in the campaign (that's what the other guides are for). Instead, it will teach you how to be an effective force against humans and computers alike in the War Room and Vs mode. Feel free to email me with questions, suggestions or comments. You can use this guide on your web site without asking me (but please don't change a single part of it). I hope you enjoy this guide and get a lot out of it! Please note that this guide assumes you are fairly experienced with the game. I don't want to bother with explaining what each unit does and how to use CO Powers. If you're that new to the game this guide was not written for you. CO POWERS There are three descriptions of how quickly a CO's CO Powers are charged: Regressive- The CO Power requires less stars than the SCO Power. An example of this would be Sami. Proportional- The CO Power's star requirement is equal to that of the SCO Power. Examples of this would include Andy, Max and Jess. Progressive- The CO Power requires more stars than the SCO Power. An example of this would be Hawke. These terms will show up in the text so it's a good idea to know them. THE COs Andy (Orange Star) t3t Proportional Andy is completely average. He has no specific strengths or weaknesses in his units. But don't be fooled: Andy is still a strong opponent. His CO and SCO Powers are great whether you're on defense or on the offensive. And because he has no special attributes, he is a solid choice for any map. Because of the nature of his powers, it is better to build his stronger units which sustain less damage than their weaker counterparts. Plus, you'll be getting more value for your powers. Repairing 2 HP of a bomber costs more than 2 HP of three tanks. That doesn't mean to neglect your cheaper units, but don't be afraid to use your more powerful weapons to blunt damage. While capturing cities is still recommended, Andy doesn't have to worry about that as much since he can use his CO Powers (which come fairly quickly) to recover his units, which especially comes in handy when assaulting the enemy stronghold. CO POWER: Hyper Repair Many people wait for Hyper Upgrade rather than using a Hyper Repair. And it does seem like a smart decision: for only twice the amount of stars you gain 2.5 times more HP per unit plus a movement and attack boost (even though Andy's CO Powers are proportional). But there are still some instances where you should use Hyper Repair rather than waiting. In the time it takes for you to charge up your CO Power meter all the way you may lose some units. At that point, using Hyper Upgrade wouldn't help them one bit. Hyper Repair comes much quicker than its more powerful form. It may lack the punch of its older brother, but it's still quite decent, especially when many of your units require repairs. It's really situational: if you have a lot of units that took a graze, then Hyper Repair won't do you wrong. But if your army has sustained heavy damage, sacrifice a few and bring out the big guns. SUPER CO POWER: Hyper Upgrade In the original Advance Wars, Andy was considered to be one of the worst characters due to the lack of a devastating CO Power. AW2 now gives Andy one of the best CO Powers in the game: Hyper Upgrade. Not only does it repair 5 HP to every unit, it gives them one extra movement space and a solid attack bonus. For its power it comes fairly quickly at six stars, which quickly shifts the balance of power in the hands of Andy. It can save your butt from being destroyed and it can also replenish your army on the offensive who are far from allied properties. The added strength it bestows upon your army can assist you in wiping out the enemies that damaged your forces in the first place. One extra movement space is the icing on the cake, giving you an easier time of penetrating the enemys' defenses or retreating units who are still in danger of being destroyed. SPECIAL STRATEGIES: Mecha Storm- This strategy is best used for maps with no naval units. Mass produce tanks and anti-air (yes, even if there are no airports). If there are airports on the map, also build some battle copters to compliment your ground force. Your goal is to overwhelm your opponent with these units. Use anti-air to take care of enemy infantry, air units and weak ground vehicles such as recons or APCs. Use tanks as your bread and butter unit, attacking pretty much any enemy unit that comes across their path. When your units become seriously damaged, first combine them and then use Hyper Repair. When you're on the outskirts of your enemy's home base, a Hyper Upgrade can be the nail on his or her coffin. The monkey wrench in this plan is that your enemy may catch on to your strategy and produce tank-crushing, anti-air-bashing and copter-resistant neotanks and MD tanks. Crawling Zombie- The game plan for this strategy is to move along the map, slowly capturing properties and advancing your army. Because of his CO Powers, Andy makes a great defensive player. Play as you would normally play on the defense: a balanced mix between ranged and direct units. Use his CO Powers to aid you in the capture of properties (the fact that he can heal units' HP without having them sit on cities is very useful on the slow offensive). This strategy is harder to pull off in maps with air or naval units because of bombers and battleships, but it's not impossible. Just move slowly, building up your force and reinforcing your front lines. Titans of War- This is perhaps the riskiest of Andy's strategies. In the beginning you spend the minimum you need on defense: perhaps a couple of tanks and artillery. You spread these units out thin and capture as many properties close to your base as possible. Then you build a force of the most expensive units. Neotanks, MD tanks, bombers, fighters and battleships fall into that category. Your offensive strategy should be similar to that of Mecha Storm. Dish out heavy damage and combine your troops when they are weak. Because the units you will be using are expensive, your CO Powers should come fairly quickly. Join units and use your CO Powers to keep your troops fresh and strong the entire campaign. Watch out for rushes early in the game, and be sure to still build a few cheaper units here and there to cover for your more brutal fighters. Definitely not a strategy to use against more experienced players. Sami (Orange Star) y56 Regressive Many expert players use Sami as their CO of choice for good reason. Her mechs are very effective against many types of enemies and because of her faster capture rate and superior transport movement she can reach far-away properties quicker, allowing her to quite easily dominate the financial aspect of the battle almost as well as a CO like Colin or Haichi. Her Super CO Power can help you pull unlikely victories out of your ass and her normal CO Power isn't half bad. She is not without weakness. Like Grit, all of her direct-attack vehicles have inferior attack power. On island maps or prolonged wars, the usefulness of her strong foot soldiers diminishes quickly. Infantry units themselves have many weaknesses. They are nearly worthless against all air units other than the T copter and nothing more than cannon fodder versus naval units. Not even her stronger mechs can stand up to neotanks or MD tanks, and recons and anti-airs still do an alarmingly high amount of damage to even Sami's soldiers. Losing as Sami will quickly teach you some lessons about how to increase the lifespan of your foot soldiers. It's a smart move to pair your strong infantry with anti-airs, neotanks and/or indirect units. You need these units to help protect and back-up your mechs and infantry. Don't get me wrong. A balanced force is not the way to go with Sami. Her mechs are strong against any land vehicle except for neotanks (even against anti-airs and MD tanks, if her mechs get the first hit they will do very good damage). Her infantry can hold their own against enemy foot soldiers and weaker vehicles such as APCs and artillery. Just remember to build APCs and transport copters to move those troops around faster (also taking advantage of her +1 transport movement range) with some units that can hit enemy air units or to buffer damage dealt by the dreaded neotanks. Remember that her indirect-fire units take no penalty in their attack power. On maps with mountains, you should always keep a squad of mechs on the move. In FOW situations, this improves your sight range and these mountain mechs can help you stay one step ahead of the enemy. Also, having a force of mechs move from the mountains helps you flank your enemy more easily and can allow you to launch surprise attacks. Mountain mechs are also relatively safe from attack, except from air units, in which case you need to use your own air units to cover your endangered mechs. In the game, Sami is a special ops commander. When playing as her, that's how you should think. Sami is meant to be played sneaky and not with brute force. Not that owning a neotank would hurt, but you'll soon find out that Sami has a solid advantage in FOW matches. CO POWER: Double Time Compared to her SCO Power, Sami's Double Time is worthless. But don't be fooled. Victory March takes an extremely long time to fully charge, and Double Time really isn't a bad CO Power. It gives your foot soldiers a solid boost in both offense and defense and an increase in movement range. In the early game, this CO Power won't do you bad, giving you an easier time of reaching vital properties. Early in the battle, Sami's mechs powered by Double Time can destroy or severely injure practically anything your opponent will have built during that time. In prolonged battles this CO Power's usefulness is diminished and you'll want to shelve it in favor of Victory March. Just be careful not to use Double Time too many times in the early and mid game or it will be harder to charge up Victory March in the late game. SUPER CO POWER: Victory March This SCO Power adds numerous strategic possibilities to Sami's tactical arsenal. Not only will it greatly increase your empire's terriority by allowing your troops to capture properties in one turn, but those troops will be given a huge boost in strength. Your mechs and even your infantry will absolutely tear apart anything that comes your way. And with a +2 movement increase, this is a great SCO Power to finish off an enemy. In FOW, try to sneak a mech or infantry into a forest near the enemy HQ early in the game. While that strategy won't work against experienced players, it can be the ace up your sleeve if you manage to pull of a Victory March when the enemy least expects it. If your opponent is very tight around the perimeter of his base, you'll have to plan a bit more carefully and place mechs and infantry inside APCs, and unload those foot soldiers a turn before you know you'll have Victory March ready to score a win. SPECIAL STRATEGIES: Fake Out- While her weaker direct vehicles may turn many players off, she can actually use this rep to her advantage, especially in fog of war games. A clear-thinking opponent realizes that a player being Sami will use a lot of foot soldiers, right? So that player will probably construct many recons and anti-airs. After you've established a steady source of income, build some tanks and MD tanks. Send these to the enemy base to take on the enemy's vehicles head on. You may want to send in a recon early in the game to spy on the enemy or you'll risk a Reverse Fake Out and the enemy will turn the tables on you. Mech Flood- A basic strategy that works pretty well on small maps. The goal is to build nothing but mech units (aside from the infantry you'll train in the beginning of the game, of course). On small maps with no naval or air units, the only unit that can stop a horde of of Sami's mechs are neotanks, which are extremely costly. You may also have trouble dealing with rockets. Just remember to use mountains effectively and to keep a tight lock on the map's money source. Mech Flood 2- The more practical Mech Flood is to alternate between building artillery and mechs. Once again, this should only be used on small maps with no pesky air or naval units to get in the way. Artillery makes for a great companion to the mech; Sami's indirect-fire units have no attack penalties, making them no less tangible than they would be for Andy. This method is less risky, but on the smallest of maps you should stick to the original Mech Flood instead. Island Hop- On sea maps, a popular strategy is to use Sami and build battleships with landers occupied by mechs and infantry. Build cruisers to protect your fleet from air units and subs. Go from island to island, using your mechs and battleships to destroy any defenses on each one, and keep on capturing properties. This is basically a naval version of Crawling Zombie... Crawling Zombie- Because of her 50% faster capture rate and stronger infantry, Crawling Zombie works great with Sami. In the beginning, attack the enemy with two MD tanks, making sure both get destroyed. This should give you a charged Double Time, which will let you reach properties sooner. Sami's Crawling Zombie isn't actually crawling... you should be constantly moving through the map, swiping cities and bases from your helpless enemy. You don't want to rush into things or spread your forces out too thinly- but don't play the defensive game as much as Andy would (whose CO Powers make him great for that kind of work). Instead, you should be a constant threat, attacking on different fronts and seizing as much money as you can. Rockets and tanks should be enough to back up your troops, unless there are airports, in which case some anti-airs wouldn't hurt. An effective though initially tricky strategy to master. Max (Orange Star) ga7 Proportional While not as strong as he was in the original Advance Wars, Max is definitely not a bad CO. Beginners like him because he requires less strategic thinking than other CO's and is easier to use than most other CO's. But Max has many qualities that make him a solid choice for a player of any skill level. His units achieve one hit kills with alarming rhythm. He relies less on his CO Powers than others do, but that's alright. Whether on land, sea or air he's very effective. Max dominates the open battlefield. When it comes to crossing tight areas and choke points, he suffers and becomes cannon fodder to enemy indirect units. If you find yourself in a situation where you must pass through those areas, you must think strategically rather than throw everyone you've got at the site (which is a quick way to lose all your units needlessly). Always keep your strongest units up front. While it may seem wise at first to keep your neotanks and MD tanks in the back to prevent them from getting hurt, that's the wrong kind of thinking. Your goal is to get out of the choke point as soon as possible, and if your weaker tanks and anti-airs are the ones up front, they will take heavy damage before breaking through. With neotanks and MD tanks, your strong units will be harmed or destroyed, but you will have broken through much quicker. At that point, the tanks in the back can now move up and swarm the enemy lying on the opposite side of the choke point. It is smart to move your units through these passes in groups of three, with one space in between each group. That allows your tanks up front to be able to retreat more easily if they are badly damaged and allows you to replace those front line units with fresh tanks. Unlike most characters who have a weak point, Max's disadvantaged units are too nerfed to be of even a tiny bit of use. His artillery can only hit units exactly two spaces away and his rockets and missiles are just not worth their price with Max. With his indirect-fire units suffering from low range and attack power, you're better off just avoiding them altogether, although the battleship may still be useful as a support unit to back up your ground forces. Because of his poor ranged units, Max has a very hard time on defense. He should always be bringing the fight to the enemy, luring them out to open areas where his tanks can cut the foe to shreds. Don't hide your tanks behind mountains. Bring them out and make sure your enemy can't call in rockets and artillery to destroy you out of reach. Early in the game try to give your enemy a hard time of defending his base. Once an enemy base is fortified, Max can have a tough time breaking in. Because of these reasons, Max should also rely heavily on mechs. Not only can they cross mountains, but Max's foot soldiers suffer no penalty, making them just as effective as the average CO. They also make great units to finish off an enemy unit with. Brought an enemy unit down from 10 HP to 1 with a neotank? Don't waste the ammo and turn of another neotank to finish it... use a cheap tank or even cheaper mech! Though obviously they should not comprise his main army, mechs should be employed liberally as a support unit to your tanks. Just play Max aggressively and don't give your enemy a chance to tech up to rockets or neotanks. CO POWER: Max Force This is the more useful of Max's two CO Powers. It comes much more quickly, and gives you a very solid boost in offense and defense, plus an extra space of movement. With Max Force, few things can survive a full strength MD tank or neotank. Your advance will go much quicker and smoother with the extra movement space, which can help you get behind enemy lines and take out those pecky indirect fire units. Max Force is an all-around great tool for dishing out some serious pain. While it won't save your butt on the defensive, it works great with Max's natural ability to punch through enemys' walls. SUPER CO POWER: Max Blast I'm not saying that Max Blast is bad. It's just not worth the stars required, especially when Max Force is already a solid power. But if you manage to build up to Max Blast without finding the need for Max Force the entire time (which is rare), then position your tanks and air units and subs and everything so that they are outside your enemy's base or territory. Then, use Max Blast and annihilate everything. Two extra spaces of movement is a lot, and the damage you dish out reaches incredible amounts. Max Blast is literally twice as good as Max Force, but it takes twice as long to build up. In Advance Wars, time is power (if time is money and money is power, that is :) and trying to save up for Max Blast could cost you the advantage. Still, there are a few situations where you have no choice but to shatter your opponent's soul with Max Blast. SPECIAL STRATEGIES: Tank Flood- Like Sami's mech flood, Max's tank flood is a tough one to beat. Also like's its mech counterpart, Max's Tank Flood works best on small maps. The neotank, bombers and indirect units with cover can put an end to the Tank Flood, so plan accordingly in regards to terrain and properties. It's not a good idea to use Tank Flood on maps with airports or ports. Power Punch- This strategy needs an open field around your base to be effective. Position your tanks so that they can easily defend against invaders. Once you have a perimeter defense of tanks and anti-air, start saving up and building tons of neotanks with a few APCs. OVerwhelm your opponent with your machines of war. You'll lose many neotanks, but in turn you'll build up Max Blast fairly quickly, allowing you to use it in rapid succession. Since your enemy will probably own most of the properties on the map, this may be an uphill battle. Fog of war are the best conditions to use this strategy under. Recon Rush- Max is a good player to use a Recon Rush with because his recons deal a lot of damage. If you're willing to take a risk, instead of building two recons you could just construct one anti-air, which will kill most infantry in one hit. But all it takes to stop either unit is a tank, which is why the cheap, fast recon may suit your tastes better. Eitehr way, Max is great at it. Nell (Orange Star) 7tr Proportional To me, Nell is a decent but limited CO meant for beginners. She doesn't specialize in anything and her CO Powers are simple: they let you do more damage (well, increase the chance of doing extra damage). There are really no special strategies in which to employ Nell. Just build a balanced army and exploit your opponents' weaknesses. She'll do a bit better early in the game, but the match will be more even as weapons become more sohpisticated and expensive, when her extra damage becomes more ineffective. Because the attack boost comes in randomly, Nell is as predictable as Flak. Only she is generally "safer". However, the returns she recieves is generally less. Choose her over Flak if you'd rather not worry about the guessing game (although you'll still have to play it because her damage doesn't always show up). It is suggested that you don't rely on her luck and play assuming she won't deal any extra damage. CO POWER: Lucky Star Generally, it increases the amount of damage you dish out. No special way to use it. I don't play as Nell much but when I do I find that Lucky Star is only useful early in the game. After you've used it once or twice, you should start relying on her SCO Power to pull of some serious pain. SUPER CO POWER: Lady Luck Nell's damage increases greatly, but is still quite unpredictable. You usually expect at least +1 or +2 damage, but it usually runs into the +4 or +5 range. Though not very practical, you can expect some one hit kills from attacks that normally take two units to complete. Best used with tanks, artillery and MD tanks. SPECIAL STRATEGIES: Mecha Storm- Obviously, this works only on ground maps. Like Andy, Nell's tanks work great when built in bulk. If your enemy builds very many neotanks, don't panic. Build up your CO Power and unleash Lady Luck on them. Your opponent will scream when his neotank army is reduced to scrap metal. Another good idea is to mix in some artillery with your force. Haichi (Orange Star) bvq Progressive Haichi is a cheapo, just like Sturm. While he may not have a cost reduction as low as Colin, his units suffer no penalty. Building expensive units saves Haichi the most money, but you definitely don't want to go into that mindset when playing. Even with cheaper units, Haichi still needs a solid money source. Build infantry just like everyone else in the beginning. Mechs aren't too good of an idea unless there's a lot of mountains or hard to reach areas on the map. Instead, make the jump to tanks as soon as possible to escort your infantry to new properties. Haichi's CO Power is good, but his SCO Power is awesome. Because it allows Haichi to significantly increase his numbers quickly, it is great for both defense and offense, even to slow down the capture properties that your enemy has within its grasp. Extremely useful and powerful. Unlike Colin, Haichi doesn't rely on having a lot of money to be effective. With Haichi, just spend your money on troops. In the beginning you'll have to save a bit, but later in the game you'll be able to spend funds more liberally than your opponents, giving you a definite edge. Don't worry too much about saving up like you would if you were playing as Colin. CO POWER: BARTER Don't get me wrong. Haichi's CO Power kicks a ton of butt. But his SCO Power is far better and only two additional stars away, giving little incentive to settle for Barter. Perhaps very early in the game if you manage to build up Barter, you should use it and give yourself an edge over your enemies in the beginning of the game. SUPER CO POWER: MERCHANT UNION Don't waste this power when you use it. Spend as much of your funds as possible on new units when you use your SCO Power. If you won't have enough money, try to reinforce the properties on the perimeter of your empire first since they are more prone to attack. From there work inward until your funds are depleted. Even if all you build is an infantry that costs 500, you don't want to let the chance slip by. The point of Merchant Union is to build up superior numbers and overwhelm your helpless enemy. Be aggressive. This is the best time to swarm your enemy with expensive, powerful units such as battleships, bombers and neotanks. Haichi and Colin are the only CO's who can mass out on these behemoths, and Haichi's units are stronger. Just don't start wasting your mass of units blindly- you don't want to build up your opponent's CO Power if avoidable, especially one like Sturm's, Hawke's or Eagle's. SPECIAL STRATEGIES: War of Symmetry- This is a very interesting but effective strategy. It only works when there is no FOW and on maps that are symmetrical, though you can stretch the strategy a bit. Build exactly like your opponent and move exactly like him. Move where he movess and do what he does. But once your enemy attacks you, in which case you can't pull off the same move anyways, begin spending the extra money that you have and start thinking for your own. You may or may not want to begin this process before your opponent strikes first. Use common sense and decide when the best time to "awaken" is. Doesn't work too well if your opponent is Haichi or Colin. Remember, be player 2! War of Attrition- Unlike War of Symmetry, you'll want FOW for this to work. Hopefully your base will be easy to defend with mountains and choke points. Spend enough money on defense (rockets and neotanks for blocking) to keep you alive but from there on out start hoarding money. Ahead of you is quite a difficult fight, but if you had enough properties before you started the turtle game, you can win this. Build nothing but neotanks, APCs and rockets and begin a massive advance on your foe. Infantry are not needed, but keep one or two alive through the entire defense period so you can capture your opponent's HQ should you be given the chance. The hard part is staying alive. This shouldn't be used if there are airports or ports on the map, as rockets and neotanks have a tough time defending against bombers and battleships. Olaf (Blue Moon) rp2 Regressive I believe Olaf is underrated. If played correctly, Olaf is a solid CO who is backed up by his CO Powers. Olaf should have a few indirect units, but its his direct units that take full advantage of his great CO Powers. Tanks and aircraft, normally hurt greatly by snowy days, can suddenly retreat or attack while your opponent struggles to move about in your winter playground. This is especially great with units that move far, such as planes and tanks and neotanks (MD tanks only move 5 spaces instead of 6). Ownership is Olaf's game, and you must win at it. To do so, you must make full use of your CO Powers. If you need to retreat some units or make sure a weakened expensive unit cannot escape, call in your Blizzard (or Winter Fury if you want to inflict further pain). Sure, it's nothing flashy, but many people underestimate the importance of the role nature plays in AW2. CO POWER: BLIZZARD Olaf's CO Power is an interesting beast. It can either be a complete waste or the turning point in the game. You usually want to have a "reason" for using it, rather than just calling forth a storm and hoping it disrupts your opponent enough to set them back a lot. Instead, pounce when the moment is right. If you two are at a standstill, for example, you can ambush your foe with Blizzard, easily damaging the frontlines. Your enemy, hopefully without many indirect units, will usually not even be close enough to counterattack with healthy fighters. Another tactic with Blizzard is to surround your opponent. For example, some enemy aircraft are stationed in an area. Move in with missiles, then call forth Blizzard to ensure they don't escape. You'll soon learn that being effective with Olaf is to play strategically, calculating your opponent's possible moves. This, of course, requires decent knowledge of how snow affects movement. Your study will pay off with countless victories. A lesser-used strategy is using Blizzard when an enemy Olaf has Winter Fury built up. This delays your opponent's SCO Power a turn as he will not want to waste it when it's already snowing. This may not always work, depending on your enemy's mindset (using a power at any time is good, right? noobs =P) SUPER CO POWER: WINTER FURY I actually don't try to save up for Winter Fury very often. It mostly comes when I just haven't found the right time to use Blizzard. The damage Olaf's SCO Power deals is nice, especially if your opponents have a lot of units, but it won't ensure victory. Once again, you'll have to rely on the right moment to use snow to your advantage. Winter Fury works great with the ambushing tactic described above since it softens up your foes before you strike. Of course, it's also good on defense, whether you need to fall back or weaken your enemy's attack force. It may even save you from losing your HQ or valuable properties. Use it to isolate and strand your opponents. Enemy attack force en route? Wait for them to be somewhat far away from their own properties, then call forth your SCO Power and watch your opponent helplessly waste a turn either trying to return or combining his forces. That's when you should swoop in and deal the deathblow. SPECIAL STRATEGIES: Endless Snowfall- A common strategy in team games is for two Olafs to be paired up. While this means that you can work together to constantly bury your enemies in snow, you must be careful because your opponents will probably play as one or two Drakes, who have a nasty advantage over Olaf. It's best if one player builds up Winter Fury while the other uses Blizzard. The first player uses Blizzard once to slow your enemies. Then player one builds up Blizzard again while the second player reaches Winter Fury. The second player uses Winter Fury, then player one uses Blizzard once the snow has cleared. It takes a LOT of teamwork as you must divide the destruction of enemy troops evenly (as best as you can of course, you can't be perfect) so the CO Powers build evenly. Very difficult to pull off, but very good strategy. Afterwards, the two players switch roles so that player two is the one who gets Blizzard and player one goes for Winter Fury. Bullet Time- One interesting strategy is to build many indirect units and wait for the enemy to come for you. You're hoping your opponent swarms you. In which case he won't care what happens to his units and sends them all at your defense blindly, thinking he'll overrun you. Use Blizzard and waste everything. The survivors will be unable to reach you but they won't be able to escape either. Once again, a difficult tactic to do correctly and very risky one at that but a very effective strategy. Practice, practice, practice! Grit (Blue Moon) 8yi Proportional Many beginners like using Grit because indirect fire units are very appealing to them. But his potential, which is fairly high, is often gone to waste at the hands of inexperienced players. Too often I see Grit players save up early on for a rocket and then set themselves up for an early loss. It's tempting because Grit's rockets are one of the deadliest units on land... if used correctly. Two tanks, which together even cost less than one rocket, can easily work together and get by one rocket. The problem with building one rocket or battleship early in the game is that even though these units have excellent range and attack power, they only attack once anyways. Meaning an overwhelming force of cheap units can easily overtake your base. Grit requires good tactical strategy and smart unit placement to succeed. Maps with nooks and crannies are best for him, but on open field maps he isn't too bad if used right. The first thing to remember is that Grit's artilleries are a blessing. They are nearly as good as any other CO's rockets, for less than half the cost. Most players would get a tank as the starting combat unit, but Grit should go with an artillery. From there on out, a good combination of mechs or tanks and artillery will provide excellent early and mid-game defense. You'll need ample money supply to build rockets and (on maps with ports) the wonderful battleships. This is harder to pull off with Grit because he can't just be aggressive because his best units can't attack first. The best way is to inch your way closer with rockets, with mechs and artillery as backup. Many people think Grit automatically loses on maps with airports. Not so. Missiles, which are cheaper than planes, will go a long way to defending your troops. Sprinkle them about your forces to cover them. It's nice to have two missiles covering each other, but it's more cost-efficient to have one missile and one anti-air instead. If your opponent comes by air in numbers, a solid mixup between missiles and anti-airs will easily save the day. Grit's sky defense game is quite vicious. FOW is ideal for Grit because he can hide rockets and artillery in them. But it's not wise to leave these units alone without further sight. Recons and missiles (which can also help protect against helicopter patrols) go a long way to boosting your forest hide and seek game. Even if you place recons out of the range of your rockets, they can be an early warning system as to when you should transfer or retreat your valuable rockets. While most of Grit's arsenal is weak, you must make the most out of his strength to hope to win against an expert or novice. Mixing in a few direct units (especially anti-air and cruisers on maps with airports) will make your life much easier than going nothing but indirect units. CO POWER: SNIPE ATTACK This is a very solid CO Power that is great for catching your opponent off guard, who is probably very cautious about staying out of range of your indirect units. It also gives those units a fairly large attack boost, which makes one-hit-kills even more common with Grit's powerful rockets. Easily one of the best CO Powers. SUPER CO POWER: SUPER SNIPE Super Snipe is exactly twice as beneficial as Snipe Attack, but for exactly twice the cost. My suggestion is to simply keep saving up unless you need Grit's CO Power to deal some heavy damage (for example, if many enemy units are in range of your units). If you manage to get Super Snipe, your opponents will cower in fear. With it, your range becomes absurdly far, allowing you to hit poor units hiding across the map. Though it can be a pain to build up, Super Snipe is Grit's trump card, placing all the control and power in Grit's hands. Definitely should be feared. SPECIAL STRATEGIES: Death from Above- This only works on maps with lots of money (or if you're playing with settings that yield a ton of money per turn). This is one of the few cases I'd recommend going for early rockets. Do so, and buy a few neotanks. Escort your rockets to the enemy, and use your neotanks to wreck havoc. Don't mind them being destroyed. About three or four neotanks should do. Once you've lost all of your neotanks, your SCO Power should be built up. Use it and your rockets will tear apart everything that has survived. A very deadly tactic that requires a few mistakes on the behalf of your opponent (for example, you want to hope they go after your neotanks rather than your rockets). Crawling Zombie- Here's another CO who's quite good at the Crawling Zombie strategy. A solid mixup of artillery and rockets will provide ample defense, allowing you to slowly inch towards your enemy, engulfing properties as you see fit. Very difficult on maps with airports or ports, but still possible (you'll just have to spend more money on sea and air defense). Otherwise, I believe Grit is one of the best at Crawling Zombie. Fake Out- Another tactic borrowed from Sami, Grit's fakeout doesn't work as well because the units that will normally bash Grit's indirect units will do the same for Grit's weakened direct units. The better choice is to build direct units, but with help from mechs and artillery. Your main force will still be tanks, but with indirect backup and unfiltered mechs you won't succumb very easily. Your opponent will probably change tactics and go indirect units once he has realized your plan. That's when YOU change gears and go indirect. Stay one step ahead of your enemy and you may pull off an unlikely victory. Colin (Blue Moon) mu3 Regressive This little guy is unique both in abilities and weaknesses. He has the ability to overwhelm the enemy with sheer numbers and is backed with very solid CO Powers. He's definitely not a bad choice, especially on maps with few properties. Though some may be turned off by his weak attack power, which is definitely noticeable, if you play your cards right you'll overcome that weakness. Technically, it is in your favor to build more expensive units than cheaper units since you save more money with the stronger units. An infantry will save you 200 funds while a fighter will be reduced by 4000. However, don't let this discourage you from constructing some weaker units anyways. Since Colin's strong units like neotanks aren't as powerful as normal, they require these cheaper units to finish off the ones that they mortally wounded. Many Colin players simply build neotank after neotank, but as a result a valuable neotank attack is wasted on a unit with 1 or 2 HP. Also, even though you save more funds with expensive units, it's those units that tend to suffer more from the damage reduction, despite the fact that all units take an equal hit in power. That's because it simply doesn't matter with cheaper units, who don't achieve one-hit-kills normally. A tank that kills units in two hits will still require two hits to kill when under the control of any other CO. It's when the enemy starts surviving your bombers and neotanks that hurt Colin's war machine. Both of Colin's CO Powers require a lot of funds to be of maximum effectiveness. Gold Rush increases your funds by 50%; the increase will be larger if you already have a lot of funding. Of course, perhaps the reason why you'd activate Gold Rush is because of a serious LACK of money in the first place. Power of Money has no two ways about it. You usually want to plan several days (game days, that is) in advance when you want to begin saving up for Power of Money, in which case you must build up both your money supply and your funds to dish out some serious pain. CO POWER: GOLD RUSH A lot of people seem to like this CO Power a lot. And while Gold Rush certainly has its appeal, it has one major flaw. While most CO Powers give you the upper hand, allowing you to take control of the battlefield in one swoop, Gold Rush simply allows you to build more units. And while some may argue that Gold Rush achieves the same effect as, say, Hyper Repair or Snipe Attack, it doesn't. Gold Rush gives no immediate tangible bonuses; you won't even be able to command the units you just built until the next day. Use Colin's CO Power if you're on the verge of defeat and need a lot of strong units or if you're on the offensive and need more units to reinforce those already on the front lines. Otherwise, I easily recommend Power of Money over Gold Rush anyday. One tip: Always, ALWAYS use this power before you begin spending funds to deploy units. A common mistake is to buy a few units and then realize you want to use Gold Rush. At this point you've already spent some of your funds, reducing the amount of money you get from Gold Rush! SUPER CO POWER: POWER OF MONEY Colin's Power of Money is a unique, devastating CO Power that requires timing and perfect execution to pull off correctly. You usually want your funds to be at LEAST 35,000 or more; it is generally recommended for them to exceed 60,000. Things get really messy when you have over 300,000! While the CO Power still has its limits, for the most part you'll be dealing insane amounts of damage. Your infantry still won't be able to destroy Neotanks or MD Tanks in one hit (though they'll do about 25-30% damage if your funds are high enough), but they should be able to handle light vehicles and other infantry with ease. All of your units suddenly become powerhouses; your most powerful units rain down damage and annihilate everything. Power of Money is just plain scary in the hands of an expert. One tip: Always, ALWAYS use this power before you begin spending funds to deploy units. A common mistake is to buy a few units and then realize you want to use Power of Money. At this point you've already spent some of your funds, reducing the attack bonus you'll recieve with Colin's SCO Power. SPECIAL STRATEGIES: Fury of the Swarm- Colin's power to overwhelm the enemy with superior numbers is great. He can easily mass produce the more expensive units such as bombers, neotanks and battleships. This strategy is simple. Build what your opponent does but more of them. A lot more. Don't let a single base go empty unless you're saving up in the beginning of the game or just need some extra funds for your CO Powers. Way Hazard- This works best with ground or air maps. Build lots of neotanks and tanks (not MD tanks). Save up money this entire time and rush in to attack. Your neotanks will probably fall if your enemy has a balanced defense. But in doing so they will build up your SCO Power (make sure you calculate the number of neotanks you'll need to do so). Use Power of Money and have your cheap tanks swoop in and go for the kill. Infantry, mechs and recons will also do the job efficiently and cheaply. The air version of this involves bombers and helicopters. Kanbei (Yellow Comet) e9m Progressive Many people find Kanbei hard to use. If used incorrectly, it's easy to be overwhelmed. This is usually attributed to one simple mistake: I often see Kanbei users save up for a powerful unit. After all, if Kanbei's units are super strong, wouldn't a unit that's ALREADY super strong be super super strong? And while that may seem logical, think about this: Kanbei's units are super expensive, which in turn makes his already super expensive units super super expensive. The units that truly benefit from Kanbei's strength increase and suffer less from his cost hike are the cheaper, weaker units. His infantry, for example, are pretty much the strongest in the game, often withstanding incredible amounts of pressure. You soon realize that there isn't THAT much of a difference when his most powerful units are involved since a lot of them already do massive amounts of damage anyways. The best way to use Kanbei is to build as many of the weaker units as you can. You'll want to have at least one or two of his stronger units (such as neotanks) to counter those of the enemy, of course, but other than that you must rely on the awesome strength of Kanbei's cheaper units to win the war. Tanks, recons, infantry, copters and artillery are all surprising powerful both in terms of defense and attack (although the increase is more evident in his units' resistance). Treat your units as though each one were your last; avoid meaningless sacrifices that offer no strategic value. Kanbei is one CO who truly relies on strength in numbers since those numbers are relatively low in the first place. A strong unit, no matter how powerful it is, will not last long when outnumbered. CO POWER: MORALE BOOST Because it increases the strength of both, Morale Boost can be used either defensively or offensively, making it a very potent weapon. It is especially useful for cutting through the enemy defenses. Not only will you inflict extra damage on impact, but the counterattacks of your enemies will be reduced as well. Furthermore, when it is your opponent's turn he or she will still have to get by your toughened defense. Watch out for indirect fire units. SUPER CO POWER: SAMURAI SPIRIT This is one of my favorite CO Powers in the game. It renders all of your units virtually invincible. Not only that, but if your opponent is stupid enough to attack one of your direct units with a direct unit of his own, the counterattack will absolutely blow your enemy away. Sadly, most people (and even the AI!) are too smart to attack after Kanbei has used Samurai Spirit (except with indirect units, of course), but that doesn't matter. It more or less gives you a free turn, making it useful in many situations. Trying to get through a narrow and heavily guarded canyon? Activate Samurai Spirit and shrug off the pitiful attacks of your enemies. It is hard to build up to Kanbei's SCO Power, but when you do- your enemies had better watch out. SPECIAL STRATEGIES: Relentless March- Use this strategy on ground maps. Build a stream of mechs and infantry and simply march them along to your enemy's base. You may want to throw in a tank here and there. While it sounds incredibly limited, this strategy works wonders, especially on small maps. Your foot soldiers are strong enough to resist many indirect attacks; anti-air assaults will be devastated by mechs. Its one drawback is that the CO and SCO Powers take a VERY long time to charge up. But if you manage to acquire them (usually from causing so much damage), your victory is further cemented. Ride to Eminence- Build tanks, artillery and MD tanks. Load up some infantry inside APCs. Rush your forces towards the enemy HQ, cutting through his or her defenses. If your enemy has been playing defense, this may be harder than it sounds. Use neotanks or MD tanks to absorb damage and your tanks to get behind enemy lines and destroy everything. Protect your APCs and capture the HQ, ignoring enemy attacks. Your infantry capturing the HQ may take damage, but they are so tough it won't really matter. Be aggressive but remain vigilant. Fly to Eminence- This strategy is the air version of the above. Instead of tanks and APCs, use T copters and B copters, backed up with some fighters here and there. You really won't need bombers, but if you can afford them (and you usually won't be able to) then unleash them on the enemy as well. Sonja (Yellow Comet) csh Regressive To play as Sonja you must think as Sonja. Play smart and strategically. She is one of the hardest COs to use correctly, but if done so she is one of the best. The first attribute you notice about Sonja is her reduced attack power. This occurs randomly and can be quite frustrating, especially when it pops up at critical moments. One way to avoid surprises is to plan your attacks assuming that your attacks WILL be weakened. Cheaper units suffer less than your strong units, strangely enough. Neotanks that usually destroy in one hit may sometimes leave survivors. Powerful units suffer more prominently and noticeably. Sonja's HP-hiding feature is excellent, especially in matches with three or four players. This creates a guessing game in which you can reap the rewards of your enemys' mistakes. It is in Sonja's advantage to build many of the same unit. A group of five tanks will leave your opponent frustrated. Which one did he just bring to one HP? By retreating and rearranging your forces in clever ways, Sonja's ability to conceal her troops' health may be your greatest weapon. Obviously, it is useless against the AI. Sonja's other strengths don't shine as much. Extra vision is useful, allowing you to not rely on recons as much, but it rarely gives you much of a distinct advantage. The increased counterattack force is a joke. Do not be fooled into playing defensive with Sonja (unless you have her SCO Power activated). While you may do some extra damage here and there, it RARELY makes a big splash. The game gives the impression that Sonja's greatest strength lies in her far-sight vision. Because of this, you may be tempted not to use her if FoW is disabled. Remember, though, that extra vision gives her a very, VERY slight advantage; you're not losing much if there is no FoW. Also, her HP concealment ability is somewhat nullified by a lack of FoW, but not by much. In fact, you can use this to your advantage and play mind games with your enemy further. Manipulate your units' positions so that your enemy will THINK he or she knows which units are at what state of health. Remember who you are: Sonja. Think tactically, not brutally. Many players think Sonja weak; use this to your advantage and blow your foes away. CO POWER: ENHANCED VISION Obviously, Sonja's CO Power is more or less completely useless without FoW (though you get the standard VERY small defensive boost). Have recons ready, use the CO Power and scout ahead to spot for indirect units hiding in forests and other nasty surprises. You can also use this ability to spot for your own indirect units, or to help your tanks destroy anything that may lurk in the shadowy depths. It requires very few stars, and if used at the right time, Enhanced Vision allows you to cut through sneaky defenses (which are usually well hidden but lightly defended). Also, it can save your troops from needless death by warning you of an ambush. The extra space of vision range isn't nearly as useful as the ability to peer into forests and reefs (though reefs are no where as dangerous as forests since they are rarely clumped) easily. SUPER CO POWER: COUNTER BREAK Sonja's SCO Power can either be used similarly to Enhanced Vision or in an entirely different way. Units attacking Sonja's troops after Counter Break has been activated will be crushed as Sonja's counterattacks deal damage as if they had attacked first (even if the unit is destroyed!) This incredible destructive force can be used somewhat like Kanbei's Samurai Spirit, though it is no where near as potent. Indirect units can also cause trouble as they attack without fear of retaliation. It is not as good as it could be though. Counter Break adds no direct strength to your troops (aside from vision upgrades) and it definitely does not increase their resistance to attacks. Even so, Counter Break can be very useful, especially on the defensive (not so much when you're attacking). SPECIAL STRATEGIES: Double Headed Dragon- Build many units and clump them when Fog of War is off in multiplayer games. That may, you can switch them around quickly, confusing your opponent and tricking him or her. In FoW the clumping is not required, but it isn't a bad idea. This makes your forces vulnerable to nuclear missiles and Sturm's SCO Power, in which case you should place your units strategically to minimize damage taken. Forest Spirit- On FoW with lots of forests, the logical choice is Grit, right? While certainly not a bad choice, Sonja holds her own in such situations. A few recons scattered about will provide plenty of site for your indirect fire units; Sonja's CO and SCO Powers allow her to peer into forests for enemy traps. With rockets, MD tanks and tanks, move through the forest slowly. Keep your direct units in the back until you decide to move up your operation. They will likely take damage, but that will just tell you that there are ambushers near by and it will also charge up your CO Power. Sensei (Yellow Comet) 4ka Progressive Sensei is perhaps one of the most unique COs in Advance Wars 2. His abilities are very specialized and his tactics are unconventional. If you play as Sensei, your advantage lies in the early game. Into the mid game, your power begins to fade away; in the later game Sensei's infantry and copters will be no match for fighers, bombers and neotanks. Avoid using him in the first place on naval-dominant maps. Because of this, speed is the name of the game with Sensei. You MUST be absolutely ruthless and nip the enemy in the bud. Rush with APCs and mechs early in the game (or T copters and mechs). Move through the map quickly and take as many properties as you can. Sensei's B copters, which are 50% more powerful, are excellent at destroying weaker units. Your enemy might call in the anti-air (which is strong against both of Sensei's strengths) so you may want some artillery backup. Overwhelm your enemy before they can invest in strong units. If your opponent mangages an early fighter or bomber, don't despair. Build your own fighters and counter. Until your new fighters arrive, continue wreaking havoc because your opponent won't be able to fend off all of your attack force with just one or two planes. But that doesn't mean go for planes early in the game. While they are not weakened, they do not serve Sensei as well as copters since they are neither strengthened. Only build some once you're on the offensive, especially fighters. Keep your enemy constantly repelling your attacks and reinforce yourself with Sensei's SCO Power. He works well on FoW if you constantly mobilize your troops. Scout, destroy and repeat. CO POWER: COPTER COMMAND There are very few instances where Copter Command is preferable to Airborne Assault. When you need a tiny, tiny amount of funds to buy that extra fighter or bomber, then you may want to use Copter command and combine those extra infantry. But you'll usually use Sensei's CO Power when you need some extra firepower and you can't wait for his SCO Power. Copter Command gives your B copters even stronger attack power, which is useful against tanks, anti-air and other light vehicles. If neither of these situations arise, I suggest sticking with Airborne Assault since Sensei is progressive anyways. SUPER CO POWER: AIRBORNE ASSAULT This is a very powerful ability at a very low cost. You can easily reinforce undefended properties with strong mechs or combine them to earn you some cash. Remember to take them off properties if you don't want to spend money repairing them the next turn. Of course, like Copter Command, your B copters receive a damage bonus to help you inflict even more pain upon your foes. This ability makes Sensei very hard to beat on defense (as you may have learned on a few missions in campaign mode) and gives him the edge he needs on offense, especially in the early game. SPECIAL STRATEGIES: Copter Crush- Works well on maps with open areas at bases and FoW. Load up T copters with mechs (a few infantry if you need to save money) and have a squad of B copters ready. Now this is the hard part. Move all your copters off to the side and move them in position out of sight from your enemy. Stay far away but not TOO far away. Meanwhile, at your base, build a tight perimeter defense. Try to leave cities open in case you need to reinforce your army with Airborne Assault. Artillery work great. Keep building B copters. The next step is up to you when you want to pull off. If your enemy attacks you, immediately attack with all your copters and drop off your mechs at the enemy. Head straight for the kill at their HQ. However, if your enemy waits a long time before attacking, he or she is obviously getting strong units, in which case you need to use that copter squad and begin capturing bases and cities of your own, giving you the funds to construct an air force of bombers and fighters. Get to those islands and remote properties fast. Confusing strategy? Whatever works. Mech Flood- Like Sami, Sensei can pull off a strategy that works wonders on small maps. His SCO Power is hard to build up, but you usually won't need it if your enemy takes too long to figure out what you're doing. Stick to the mountains, capture as many porperties as possible (especially important for Sensei since his SCO Power needs cities to maximize its effect) and try to strike fast before your enemy builds up an army of neotanks and rockets (which, truthfully, gives you a lot of time). Mech Flood 2- While Sami's Mech Flood 2 calls for alternating the training of artillery and mechs, Sensei should instead turn to mechs and tanks. That's right, tanks. Sensei should go direct and bust up the front lines and secure the properties. Mechs and tanks actually make quite a potent team. Use tanks to absorb damage and mechs to dish it out. Eagle (Green Earth) p9k Regressive Many people love Eagle, and for good reason. His bombers are absolutely incredible and his SCO Power is very powerful. However, many newbies make mistakes with Eagle that lead to defeat. The first thing to remember is not to neglect your ground force. Eagle's ground troops do not suffer from any penalty at all (only his naval units do). So don't try and build up that impossible-to-defeat army of bombers and fighters without building up a solid ground defense. Yes, bombers and fighters can handle anything by themselves whether the threat comes from land, sea or air, but even a few planes costs a ton of funds, which you need to spend on defense in the early game. Eagle has quite an easy time commanding air units since fuel consumption is reduced. B copters will make excellent stationary scouts since they can remain in one spot without having to worry about falling from the sky and crashing. This ability is extremely useful for attacks coming from multiple directions because you can position your air units the way you need them and not have to worry about fuel. But that doesn't mean you can neglect them! You should still keep an eye on fuel and ammo as any CO must do. His air units still consume fuel whenever they move. Eagle has few weaknesses and is very powerful if you use him correctly. The problem is that Eagle's greatest strengths can lead to his defeat if you aren't careful and play arrogantly. His bombers may be his claim to fame, but Eagle is no one-trick pony. Take advantage of his power. CO POWER: LIGHTNING DRIVE A bland but effective CO Power, Lightning Drive is Eagle's "other" power. Most people neglect this and build up to Lightning Strike, but in many cases, Lightning Drive is a better bargain than Eagle's SCO Power thanks to its low cost. It is great for both defense and offense, although you probably won't see much change in his bombers since they already kick so much ass. Use your opponent's thinking against him (or her). Logically Eagle will save up for Lightning Strike, right? Once your opponent has planned accordingly (he'll probably play aggresively to prevent you from building up), strike back with Lightning Drive. It's a smart tactic and gives you the element of surprise. SUPER CO POWER: LIGHTNING STRIKE Eagle was famous for his Lightning Strike ever since he appeared in the first Advance Wars. And it was good then and it's even better now, people are often fooled into thinking it will win the game. I've played many people who will purposely take damage to build up their SCO Power faster, thinking it will give them the edge. But what good is another turn for every unit if they are dead? Smart, tactful use of Lightning Strike can win you the game, but if you play incorrectly your enemies may take advantage of weakness. First off, Lightning Strike should NOT be used in four player free-for-all battles. In 2v2 or 1v1 matches, it is good, but does not help you very much in brawls. Eagle may seem like a carefree, easy-going CO to you since his bombers are so powerful, but an expert Eagle player will begin to pay attention to unit positions and set ups. You always want to plan ahead as Eagle. Know which units you need to sacrifice to build up to Eagle's SCO Power, and have other units be set up accordingly (you'll have an easy time with helicopters since they don't consume fuel when standing still). You want to decide if you want to lure the enemy to you or head over to the enemy base. Luring the enemy will allow you to crush his or her army relatively safely, but you won't be able to touch your opponenet's base. Choose wisely, plan wisely and strike without mercy. It's the Eagle way! SPECIAL STRATEGIES: Control Ward- This is great for maps with many islands. Build plenty of helicopters (doesn't matter which, although the B copter would probably be more versatile, if costly) and station them at strategic points (3-5 spaces away from land) and you will have much of the map visible to you. The only problems are that this makes your main force weaker as it is harder to rally the copters when they're all over the map, and that a squad of fighters will quickly mop up all of your scouts if you aren't watchful. But otherwise, I frequently use this techinique to stay one step of my opponent and using the strategy doesn't hinder you as much as you would think... Bombs Away!- In the beginning of the game, build the bare amount of units you need for proper defense and expansion. Use cheap T copters to get to properties quick and use tanks, anti-air and B copters for defense. You may want to throw in a few missiles for vision and added counterattack against enemy planes. Then begin mass producing bombers. Tons of bombers. Also throw in some fighters for air defense. Take a force of about 6 bombers and 3 fighters (have about the same number of those units hanging back at the base) and strike. You'll deal tons of damage but will lose them all. Then throw the rest of the planes at your opponent. The first group was designed to be blown up to build up your SCO Power. You may want to forgo that part and just strike with all your might if your opponent has a very good SCO Power himself (or herself), like Sturm's or Olaf's or Drake's. Drake (Green Earth) 22w Progressive Playing against Drake is an uphill battle. Your powerful vehicle units (especially sea units) struggle to simply survive against the onslaught of Drake's excellent powers. To offset this advantage, Drake's actual units aren't that great. Sea units, though slightly tougher, won't make too much of a difference. Land units remain unaffected and Drake's air force is pathetic. Because of this, you must rely on your powers to diminish the strength of your enemies and then move in for the kill (if Drake's strength was air units, this second part would be a lot easier). To accomplish your goal of destroying your enemies, you have two options. The constant halving of fuel, along with water damage, will force your opponent to constantly combine his units often. You can either build strong units such as battleships and neotanks to bust up combined units (which cannot perform an action after combining) or construct many medium-strength units which can destroy weakened enemies before they can combine in the first place (or gang up on combined units to tear them apart). The trick is to use your powers at the correct moments. Don't use them whenever in hopes that they will disrupt your enemy. Instead, save them for critical moments, such as before the storming of the enemy base or once you've rallied your troops for a counterattack. You want to catch your opponent off guard to cause maximum pain. Drake should have a lot of troops positioned throughout the map. This strategy makes retreating very difficult for your opponent (does not work against multiple opponents) because your troops will not only inflict damage, but get in the way, making your enemy's units eat up even more fuel. Along with Drake's powers, entire forces can be decimated, creating a unit shortage for your opponent and making it impossible to regroup after an attack on your base. CO POWER: TSUNAMI This is Drake's bread and butter ability. Many of its uses were described above. Tsunami works best on games without FoW because you can determine the enemy's whereabouts easily. If your enemy is massing up units, Drake's CO Power works great because it can delay an attack on your base, as your opponent will have to spend a day replenishing his or her fuel; it will also cost your enemy a bit of pocket change to repair the damage. This is even better on three or four player FFA maps. Tsunami can also make retreating a difficult and painful process for your opponent(s). Take out all the APCs you can get your hands on! SUPER CO POWER: TYPHOON Typhoon deals one additional damage to each enemy unit and also changes the weather to rain, giving your naval units an upper hand. Works great against opponents who build lots of expensive units, because not only will you build up Typhoon faster, the damage dealt will be worth more (and expensive units generally suffer more from the fuel loss). Normally, Tsunami will do the job, but Typhoon can add insult to injury and really change the course of a battle, especially when used at a critical moment during the war. SPECIAL STRATEGIES: Cover of Darkness- Remember that rain will reduce the vision of all units (even Drake's). Use this and the fact that it tends to rain more often when Drake is playing to your advantage. Use submerged subs to provide vision for your naval fleet; when it rains (whether by chance or Typhoon) move your fleet towards the enemy stronghold. You need to be an intel expert and know how many spaces your enemy will be able to see (yes, this takes work but it is worth it). Drake's extra movement for his naval units helps achieve this more easily; it renders his sea craft oblivious to enemy indirect units, especially those without spotters. Obviously, this only works with FoW. Linear Drive- This is a risky and tricky strategy, but it works well. You need to manage your funds early in the game. Buy only what you need, which should mostly consist of APCs, infantry and a few tanks and artillery for defense. Capture as many properties as you can and begin building up your funds. Your enemy will probably attack and take a few of your properties, but so long as you have a solid defense at your home base, you'll be fine. Once you've saved up a considerable amount of money, begin constructing neotank after neotank. If the map you're playing is naval, build battleships instead. Maps with airports should force you to throw in anti-airs or cruisers, depending on the terrain. Send your force straight into the enemy base. Chances are, if you've survived this long, your opponent has most likely built up a considerable defense. This does not matter. Once you're on the offensive, there will be no stopping you. Your SCO Power will build up extremely quickly; as long as you keep sending in troops, you'll eventually overrun your enemy with your force of powerful units backed up by your crippling CO Powers. Works only in one on one matches. Rain of Despair- Use this tactic on maps with no ports or airports. Build only rockets and artillery, with the occasional tank for some more diversity in your defense. You may want to consider an anti-air or two for those pesky infantry, though your indirect units should be able to handle those. Move up in a wave formation, obliterating everything in your path. Your opponent, once he or she realizes what you're up to, will attack your force straight on, but the combination of your CO Power and your swarm of indirect fire units should win out in the end. This strategy is VERY vulnerable to rushes, but if pulled off correctly you can claim a sweet victory. JESS (Green Earth) sjq Proportional Jess is my favorite CO. Yes, you heard me. Tons of people dismiss her as crappy, but they just don't know how to use her. She is a solid War Room CO because she is so balanced. In fact, I almost think she is a bit overpowered. Many people bitch about her lack of air/naval power and that her ground vehicles are barely any stronger than normal and her infantry suck and her CO Powers are bland and useless... but that is a bit unfair. First of all, a CO's entire arsenal of units is almost 50% ground vehicles. Of all the unit groups, ground vehicles are by far the most diverse and most used. Both her direct AND indirect vehicles are boosted, which gives her quite an edge over pretty much any non-cheapo CO. Yes, the boost is only 10%, but the extra damage can mean the difference between an instant kill and a survival with her stronger MD tanks and neotanks. Just think of it as terrain breaker. It nullifies one star of your opponent's defense, which is great for neotanks and rockets. Second, her air and naval units are NOT useless like Drake's and Eagle's (respectively). No, she won't win the war with a straight on air or sea battle, but she can still use those units to compliment her stronger ground force quite nicely. And last, for those wandering why the hell her infantry are weaker: she had to have some weakness on maps with ground bases only, so an infantry nerf was logical. Besides, they don't see much combat anyways, so you have nothing to worry about. You didn't pick Jess to fight a mech fight. Enough ranting. Now for the actual ass-kicking. Jess is very easy to use; there's nothing really special to know about her. Build a balanced ground force of both indirect and direct fire units. Use your tanks to tank (what else?) for your troops so they can capture properties which fund your war machine. Your indirect units should back up your tanks nicely; missiles and anti-airs can handle themselves well against enemy air units. By themselves, however, Jess's ground vehicle units aren't the most powerful, but the extra damage does allow her neotanks and MD tanks to perform more one-hit kills. For example, if a unit would normally survive a neotank blast if it were hiding in a forest with 1 HP, now you can destroy it in one hit, giving you quite an edge against your opponent. But where your tanks really shine is when you break out the CO Powers. Their strength is vastly increased and as an added bonus, their fuel and ammo are replenished. Because of this reason, Jess's air and naval units balance out with that of the enemy. They may not be quite as tough, but they will rarely need to return to airports or ports to restock, allowing them to stay out on the field much longer. Though definitely nothing special, her CO Powers pack a surprising amoung of punch. CO POWER: TURBO CHARGE A solid, straightfoward CO Power much like Max's, though Jess's CO Powers are much more versatile. The damage increase is significant enough to change the tide of any battle, whether defensive or offensive. The extra movement is also useful for both defensive and offensive reasons: you can retreat a unit in trouble or advance your army onto enemy soil. To top it all off, all of your units receive full ammo and fuel. This incredible ability allows your troops to fight nonstop and is great for mechs, bombers and neotanks. And since Turbo Charge costs only three stars, your enemy will be having trouble surviving under your onslaught. SUPER CO POWER: OVERDRIVE There's not much to say here. Overdrive is excellent, but really not worth its cost. You're better off sticking to Turbo Charge, though if you take a whooping then Overdrive could potentially save your butt. Also, keep in mind that its movement increase is double that of Turbo Charge. SPECIAL STRATEGIES: Mecha Storm- Jess is excellent at this strategy. Mass up tanks and anti-air and throw them at your enemy. It works best on small maps. Strike hard and fast; prevent your opponent from expanding and building up to neotanks and MD tanks. Jess is better at this strategy than other CO's because she doesn't need to spend funds on APCs thanks to her CO Powers. Fast Neotank- In the early game, build an APC and a bunch of infantry. Send those infantry out (with an APC hauling a few around) and capture lots of properties, really fast. I mean FAST. Leap frog your infantry for most efficient results. As soon as you save up enough for a neotank, build it and send it to the enemy base. Your opponent will probably be shocked to face a neotank this early in the game, but your neotank will most likely fall. That does not matter. Build tanks and send them to support your neotank. Your enemy may break through your attack force and recapture a lot of your properties, but don't give up! You should have plenty of funds saved up from the early game for you to get back on your feet and knock your opponent flat on his (or her) ass. Only on FoW; watch out for those pesky recons. Volley Fire- Build nothing but artillery in the beginning of the game; then move onto rockets. Do not do this if there are airports, ports or if one of your opponents is Grit. Works great on small maps. Jess and indirect units work great with each other because you don't have to keep them on cities or by APCs to keep them restocked. If your opponent uses tanks to blunt the damage, use your CO Power and lay waste to everything. It will be a slow, long but victorious battle. FLAK (Black Hole) o3i Proportional This is quite possibly one of my favorite CO's to play with. He's a blast to use, especially in four player battles. Granted, he's not the wisest choice if you're in a heated competition, but Flak is not as bad as he's made out to be. Overall, he generally does more damage than normal (otherwise there'd be no point in using him). Of course, every hit is a gamble, but you can usually expect your attacks to break even. Without any powers, just play normally. There's nothing you can do to promote or prevent changes in damage. If you deal less damage, tough luck but it shouldn't make too much of a difference and a few bonkers won't cost you the game. If you deal more damage, then congrats. Where the real fun comes in is when you hit your powers. You should treat your CO Power as a damage increase like Nell's powers, because the payoff is more than likely positive. When you hit your SCO Power, however, watch out! Miracles can happen- for either side. Your MD tank can graze an APC or your infantry can reduce the HP of a neotank by half. Fun stuff. CO POWER: BRUTE FORCE For the most part you receive a modest increase in attack strength. A decrease, while rare, does occur once in a while and isn't that bad. You should more or less play normally, especially with indirect units. You won't be able to pull off crazy 40%-vs-neotank infantry moves, but in general you'll be causing a lot of havoc in one turn. SUPER CO POWER: BARBARIC BLOW Want to try someting fun? Get nothing but weak units, build up Barbaric Blow and attacking strong enemies with your weakest ones. Chances are, you'll die. But once in a while you heavily damage a neotank or MD tank with an infantry or recon. On the flip side, avoid risky moves such as neotank vs neotank, or even neotank vs MD tank. You may end up very pissed off. Indirect units work great, of course, since there is no risk involved with them. In singleplayer, if you want to be cheap then save a lot until you achieve the results you want. SPECIAL STRATEGIES: Mech Flood- That's right! Flak is excellent at the Mech Flood, provided that he is not countered with air or naval units. Your damage should be great enough to bring down even the toughest enemies, and since you have so many mechs, a decrease of damage shouldn't affect you too much. Not a lot of people think of this, but it works surprisingly well. LASH (Black Hole) 1kx Progressive Lash is one of the more popular CO's. Her SCO Power is solid but affordable and her overall strength is good with no weaknesses. Despite being a rather easy to use CO, Lash is still pretty deep and takes a lot of strategy and skill to use. Because of her dependency on terrain and terrain stars, a good Lash player will always be thinking in terms of the position of enemy units in relation to his or hers. Lash is more versatile than people give her credit for. Though strong on defense, especially at the home base, Lash can still dish out some serious pain in the front lines if she plays her cards right. Opponents who know what Lash is capable of will be cautious. The trick is to lure these poor saps out of hiding and in range of your forces. The problem with this is that it's usually a bad idea to confront an enemy when they have the terrain advantage, whether or not that enemy is Lash. Because of this, Lash players are prone to a defensive mindset, constantly waiting for the enemy to approach them, which can be risky if their opponents know how to counter that. Her units are technically balanced, but certain ones take advantage of her powers more than others do. Artillery, rockets and mechs in particular enjoy the benefits of Lash's powers much more than other units. Also, her naval force can be quite dangerous on maps with lots of reefs. Needless to say, her air force enjoys no benefits, but suffers no penalties either. Also recall that her powers give the benefit of Sturm-like movement (all movement costs drop to one for all units,) which is another reason why Lash's rockets and artillery seem to excel. CO POWER: TERRAIN TACTICS Lash is progressive for some reason; I don't really see why. Terrain Tactics drops all movement costs of her units to one. Her CO Power is useful for moving up, but at four stars it seems a bit unreasonable considering how it adds nothing else except for the standard +10% offense boost. It's best to wait a bit longer and save up for... SUPER CO POWER: PRIME TACTICS ...Prime Tactics! In addition to having all movement costs drop to one, Prime Tactics actually doubles the defense stars of all your ground and naval units, meaning an even larger offense boost from terrain stars. Prime Tactics is absolutely killer in the hands of an expert. Most people try to use it offensively to inflict major pain, but don't forget that terrain stars mean defense, not just offense for Lash! Sometimes it's easy to forget that. Because of this reason, sometimes it's better not to use Prime Tactics to strike but to advance your army. With the help of the lowered movement costs, you can effectively move a very large force into the forests, mountains and narrow choke points right by your enemy. Your boosted defense will render your enemy helpless during his or her turn. SPECIAL STRATEGIES: Mech Flood- Yes another good candidate for the dreaded Mech Flood. Sure, Lash lacks cheap, fast powers to back up her mechs, but the terrain boost is absolutely killer on maps with lots of mountains and forests. Your mechs and navigate the map and deal major damage from the safety of the mountains. Obviously this strategy is not any good on open maps, but in small, tight maps with lots of forests and mountains, it's tough to beat. Boom Town- This strategy works best with fog of war on. Build artillery, rockets, mechs and recons. Move through the forests and use your mechs to tank for your indirect units. Recons, of course, are used for spotting targets. Take advantage of Terrain Tactics to move through the map undetected but quickly at the same time. This takes practice and careful planning, but if you've got the skill this is a rather deadly strategy. War of Attrition- Lash is great at the War of Attrition because of her natural defensive abilities. Make sure you use this on a map with choke points to your base and hopefully you're playing on FoW. Use terrain to your advantage, naturally, and outlast your opponent. Slowly build up rockets and, if needed, neotanks. Eventually you'll have a large enough force to overwhelm your opponent. This entire time you may have a rough time dealing with your opponent's constant attempts at breaking in, but you should be able to outlast him or her unless that person is Haichi, Grit or anyone else with a strong pressure game.