Steam guide

Aside from Reddit, this guide blog is also advertised on Steam. Consider giving it an upvote so new players can find it.

I’ve been busy lately, but the blog is not entirely abandoned. Expect the slow trickle of posts to resume starting March.


To resupply a specific unit, right-click it.

Common scenario: you want to rearm your AA piece. However, it is surrounded by transports and tanks with partially depleted ammo that will drain the supply truck in an instant. Turning off ammo resupply won’t help, since it is ammo that you want to give to the AA piece.


Or maybe you want to replenish an infantry squad without wasting supply on its half-dead 5pt transport? Regardless of the situation, the most obvious solution is to rearrange the clump so that the desired unit is in the resupply circle and the rest are not. This is cumbersome and unnecessary. With the supply truck selected, you can right click individual units you want to resupply. Only that particular unit will receive resources, even if others are in range.


All units are shooting but only one is being rearmed.

Keep in mind that this does not increase repair/rearm speed. If a supply unit needs a minute to fix a tank, it can also fix five tanks in a minute – working on multiple units does not slow any individual unit’s service time, and working on a single unit does not speed things up.

Since you will be using this to avoid resupplying useless units, keep in mind that once the right-clicked unit has been fully serviced, the truck will revert to working on everything in range. You can make it automatically leave the area instead by queuing a move order with shift-right click.

Trick: Landing helos in forests

If you place a helo over a forest, the “change altitude” button will be grayed out. Makes sense – if the helo were to fly low, the trees would get in the way.

But you can still do it! The button is not grayed out when flying TO a forest, and you can queue an altitude change order for a helo sent to a forest. The helo will dutifully descend in the middle of the trees. The helo will be able to fight infantry depending on the minimum range of its weapons, and it will also be shielded from AA unless approached from a direction where the forest is thin.


These tanks have a surprise coming – due to the angle of the forest the DAP will only become visible once they’re well within cannon range.

Positioning is key to getting any advantage out of this niche gimmick. A cannon helo surrounded by forests on all sides but one, overlooking a field shorter than 1.5km, can be fairly difficult to destroy as any AA that can target it can also be shot at in return.  Supercobras, back when they had anti-plane missiles, could be “landed” in deep forests so that they are hidden from sight and immune to both AA and tank shots while still capable of shooting at passing planes.

If you order a helo to land from this position, it will “slide” in a direction until it leaves the forest, and land there. This is most useful for exiting deep forest, as a normal move will cause your helo to lift and fly over the forest, potentially exposing it to AA.

As with many tricks here, all credit for this one goes to nande.


Queued evac doesn’t always work?

Most WRD players use automatic plane evac. This means their planes evac after they’ve dropped their bombs or otherwise used up their main armament, without waiting for player orders to that effect. It minimizes mistakes and decreases the micro needed when using bombers.


Perhaps you want to snipe a squad with the rockets and then charge an enemy fighter to wound it for your Mig-25PD following close behind, but automatic evac will make your plane uncontrollable if it uses its rockets.

A flaw of automatic evac is that sometimes you want bombers to stick around after dropping their payload. This is often the case for multiroles – a C-Hornet for example has great ECM and missiles lethal enough to act as a fighter, but you can get silly situations where the hornet charges an enemy superheavy, kills it, and then can’t attack a nearby enemy bomber because it was forced into an evac winchester.


I use a lot of multiroles, so I’ve gotten used to playing with manual evac. If you disable automatic evac, you will at first often forget about your planes and leave them circling over enemy AA, ammo expended and waiting to die. The main trick to avoid this is to get in the habit of queuing evacs – you can reproduce the effect of automatic evac if you press shift+E (evac hotkey) after every attack order you give. Sometimes it helps to queue it after normal move orders too: I usually give a move order with the intent to follow it up with something more specific, and if I end up forgetting to followup, it is safer to retire the plane than to keep it on the map on the off-chance that I notice it before it tips the opponent off.


A failure mode of queued evac is that, for planes with guns, the evac will only happen after the gun run. The Soviet Su-24M for example has 30 bombs and a gun, and you always want to drop the bombs and immediately evac, not drop the bombs and do a pointless risky gun run and then evac. The solution here is to disable the gun so that the plane doesn’t attempt to use it, but rather just drops the bombs and cleanly evacs.

There’s one more pitfall! The gun has to be disabled before the target is chosen and the evac is queued. If you order an attack, queue and evac, and then disable the gun, the plane will not evac. It took me a long time to notice this, and for my first year of using manual evac I kept having inexplicable failures due to it. Presumably when you order an attack, the order gets decomposed in its elements and put on a stack ([drop bombs], [use gun]). Adding the evac order, the stack looks like ([drop bombs], [use gun], [evac]), but a disabled gun makes it impossible to clear the second element and reach the third.

Regardless if my speculation about the cause is correct, the fact of the matter is, you must disable the gun before giving the attack order, not after – otherwise a queued evac will not work.

Manual evac has another drawback, beyond the extra micro. It makes fire position on LGBs (Nighthawk, F-1, GR.7, Kurnass) significantly less reliable. Targeting units normally works, but if you manually target the ground you will find the bombs often massively overshooting the target. So if disabling automatic evac, stick to right-clicking targets with your nighthawk.

Interface settings

This site is meant to be a guide on gameplay mechanics and strategies, but I’ll be frivolous and talk about something else for once. Red Dragon gives you some freedom to customize how the interface looks, especially the unit labels, and in this post I’ll put down my thoughts about each option. When changing these, I strongly recommend starting a skirmish game with no opponent and checking the effect of every change as you make it – a lot of these are about picking an element size that is small but still easy to read for YOU.


The image above is a screenshot of my current settings. These won’t be ideal for everyone, in fact I think they’re bad for the majority of players. But the thing is handy as a list to go through. Starting from the bottom:


The unit view panel is visible on the left, above the airport.

-Display unit view panel by default: The unit view panel is the thing above the plane panel. If you have it open it will display a model of whatever unit your mouse is hovering on. It takes a lot of screen space, but it allows you to parse unidentified enemy units without needing to zoom in (as long as you can recognize units by their silhouette). It doesn’t really matter which option you choose here as you can freely open/close the panel at the start of the game.

-Close production menu: With “always keep open”, you have to manually close the menu after buying units (if you want it out of the way). With the other two options, the menu closes after each purchase, which can be very annoying if you need to buy different units at once. I can only recommend “always keep open” here.


-Minimap size, HUD size: Start a skirmish and change these to see the difference for yourself. In my opinion you don’t gain enough screen space for smaller elements to be worth it, and the text and pictures become too small. The code for scaling to smaller HUDs also seems wonky – note the big distance between unit picture and availability in the image above.

-Labels size/number of lines in multiple selection: This refers to the unit labels shown on the bottom of the screen when you select stuff. I don’t see a benefit to decreasing the number of lines, if you change it and there isn’t enough space you get an ugly and unwieldy scroll bar. As for the sizes, there is a lot of choice and they can be made very big indeed, very small or small seem good to me.

-Units per company: When you group multiple units under a label, the number can be shown as a picture of 1-4 rectangles (“block”), or as a simple number. I used numbers for a long time, but they’re a bit hard to read with the game’s color scheme. The default option of “block” is better.


Merging makes it possible to select any individual unit in the formation without having to select the entire formation first.

Labels merging: When multiple units are in the same place, their labels can merge in a big line. You can make this merging very aggressive, so it happens as soon as the labels overlap at all, or you can make it soft, only when there is lots of overlap, or you can disable it altogether. The big disadvantage of merging is that when a unit is moving past another, sometimes their labels will “shift”, merging or unmerging just as you’re trying to click them. The advantage of merging is that when you unload an infantry squad, its label will merge with its transport’s label and be easy to click, instead of getting perfectly covered. Most good players play with merging disabled, but I like having it on.

Labels size, vertical margin and icons: There are units everywhere during games, and their labels take up a lot of space, so keeping them as small as possible is good. It is doubly important if you allow merging, because bigger labels will cause merges more often. If you’re still learning the game, select a label size above minimal so you can enable unit icons – they do take up space, but they’re invaluable if you can’t instantly tell unit types from name alone.

-Icon type: Most players swear by NATO, but I disagree. Both RTS and NATO have weaknesses. Both sets contain some icons that are similar to each other – think a less extreme case of “l” vs “I” (lowercase “L” vs  uppercase “i”). The similar icons are still very readable, but add to the risk of misreading or missing stuff if you only get a short glance, especially when reading big formations.


Even with 1000 hours using NATO icons, I find that the autocannon IFV stands out in this picture, but blends in when it comes to the NATO screenshot above.

With RTS, the icons for MANPAD and ATGM squads resemble each other. For NATO, IFVs and APCs use the same icon except for a small line on the side, and are also pretty similar to recon vehicles and infantry squads. This latter set of similarities is a bigger flaw – formations of APCs and IFVs are very common and the presence or absence of IFVs makes a significant difference to threat level, and it is useful to have marders use a maximally different icon from browning boxes. There’s still reason to pick NATO if you want authenticity, but gameplay-wise my advice is to use RTS icons.

Armor vs AP

A repost, with some additions:

Tanks of similar price generally have similar ap+av. For mediums, whether AP-weighted or AV-weighted is better is a preference thing. AP keeps the tank useful if more expensive enemy stuff shows up. AV on the other hand makes your light/medium a lot more versatile – it’s easier to provide fire support if you can survive an ATGM shot and you can fight infantry toe-to-toe despite good RPGs.

Wargame vets will remember how cheap high-AV units are capable of steamrolling infantry in their own forests – eugen have slipped up more than once by making and then having to nerf vehicles with a bit too much AV for the price. For the other extreme, Razzmann has demonstrated the ability of cheap high-AP tanks to dominate heavies as long as one can force the fights to happen up close, and prevent the heavy from retreating for repairs after snagging a kill.

For heavies however, AP-weighted tanks have almost no advantages on AV-weighted tanks. AV is useful against all non-tank threats, it lets you fight infantry, push with less risk, rarely even resist an AT plane. AP-weighted tanks on the other hand buck the price hierarchy, but for heavies this is a bad thing. Having AP over AV means your tank can harm more expensive tanks but can also be harmed by cheaper stuff; it’s a good trait for a 60pt medium since you’re usually not worried about 40pt tanks, but a heavy making this tradeoff is just making itself weaker to the cheap tanks you’re usually buying it to counter.

A heavy with an armor emphasis is superior to one with an AP emphasis provided everything else is the same. Having an AP-emphasis around and after the 100pt price mark is a downgrade, not a sidegrade, to being balanced or having an AV-emphasis.

Automatic turning

Tanks will automatically turn to face threats if given no orders. I tested the details of this behaviour with nande. The results:

Tanks only turn toward spotted targets. It doesn’t matter if the tank itself has line of sight, another unit can be doing the spotting, but enemy units have to be spotted to trigger automatic facing behavior.

Only units within a certain range are considered. A hind was ignored by a leclerc if moved beyond 2500m. It could have either been using the range of the weapons of the hind (fleyta, 2450m), or it’s a global ~2500m for all units [nande says it’s the former].

Which threat to turn to is determined by the weapon types of threats. A hind with a fleyta was considered more important than a tank (chonma V) at point blank range and more important than a lie ren squad (20AP). Varying range or introduction order of threats didn’t change anything, and the hind was respected even with weapons disabled and no ammo on the ATGM. So ATGM always trumps infantry RPGs and tank cannons. Rocket pod helos were ignored in the presence of tank threats.

Of course the tank will try to turn halfway and show its front armor to all enemies if possible, but if the threats come from too different directions that can’t be covered simultaneously, it will prioritize protecting itself from ATGM. Didn’t test what happens if there are multiple ATGM threats.

It might be viable on some maps to abuse this behavior by sending 20pt atgm jeeps to the side, so that enemy tanks will expose their sides in an attempt to face them. The challenge is in making sure that the jeep is spotted yet still alive.

EDIT: FLX said that unit facing is decided in code based on DPS. He was speaking off the cuff and from memory and  I’m not 100% convinced, but the mystery deepens. A theory of mine is that the puissance weapon stat (visible with mod tools) could be what decides the threat factor. But I don’t care enough to test.

Heliborne CV infantry

I’ve been using infantry in helo CV for as long as I’ve played this game, and it’s always been a no-brainer. But I’ve noticed lately that I hesitate to deploy the CV like this. In the opener, I really don’t want to lose my CV to a stray ASF or AA helo, so having my infantry in a helo forces me to cap even town sectors with jeep CVs.

Sometimes I need to cap with a helo CV after the opener, to bypass cheeki on a reinforcement route. But the risk of ASF snipes or stray LSTR is again present, and this situation doesn’t arise often either.

I’m still considering whether I should switch to jeep transports. Probably not, the utility of being able to cap an isolated 2pter is too great even if it happens rarely. Maybe in teamgames where the cheeki never quite gets that bad.

Faster ATGM

Someone in Steel Balalaika has discovered a pretty nasty one. Apparently, the missile launched by an infantry ATGM squad will be much faster if the squad moves buildings while the pre-launch aiming process is going on.

If the video disappears, the steps appear to be as follows:

  1. Get an ATGM team in a town to attempt shooting their missile at a target.
  2. Immediately after they start aiming, order them to switch buildings.
  3. If the building hop completes before the aiming is done (and thus before the missile is in the air), the missile will be much faster once launched.