Ok, the basic forest technique is clear. But what infantry to use?
Recommending particular units is a waste of time – balance changes are bound to mess that up, and I want to teach about general ideas and tactics, not a particular meta. If you need help in that respect, I suggest watching what other players use and copying them, especially copying the ones that win.
Instead, this post will explain what a unit of fighting infantry is made of and what tradeoffs you’ll be looking at in the armory tab. Most examples will be from the soviet tab, as it is the most well-rounded one. Let’s get right to it:
The first thing infantry differ in is training. Training is linked to rifle performance and movement speed. Note how both squads carry the same rifle, but one has 50% more accuracy and fire rate, and slightly higher movement speed?
There are four training levels, militia<regular<shock<elite, each coming with higher price and an upgrade in movement speed and main weapon performance. Here’s the important part: training is just a shorthand stat. Common sense would dictate that special forces squads would be resistant to stuns or have more total morale – training level is unrelated to these things as of the time of writing. The “shock” moniker is just a shorthand so that you don’t have to remember how 45% accuracy on the main weapon compares to alternatives. It doesn’t actually do anything that isn’t accounted in some other visible stat already.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way of knowing if you should use shock or regular or elite. Some decks rely on elites; others on regulars. Generally, you could default to regulars with good RPGs, but some nations have particularly bad MGs on their regulars that force them use elites or shock instead. For all I know in one year it will all be rebalanced, so to know what the best all-around fighting infantry for a particular deck is, ask around, imitate others, or look for deckbuilding advise.
The only advantage I can guarantee regulars always have is that they’re better for pushing open ground or perimeter defense – when a tank gun kills 4 men regardless of infantry type, you’re better off sending 15pt riflemen and not 35pt navy seals. By a similar token regulars tend to be the hardest counter to vehicles; the only thing scarier than 25pt shock infantry with a 24AP RPG is two squads of 15pt line infantry with 24AP RPGs.
Another common tradeoff is modern infantry versus infantry from the eighties or seventies. Modern infantry gets great AT weapons; 80s infantry gets bad AT, but is a touch cheaper. Modern infantry is the baseline – when I say that infantry is overpowered, those are the guys I’m thinking of, units that kick the ass of everything that’s not infantry.
Old infantry trades on the fundamental reason you want infantry at all, dumping their ability to defend themselves from tanks and usually even transports. In return you get higher cost-efficiency against infantry, as they cost less for the same performance.
Going further with that tradeoff we have what I call killer infantry. I’ve also seen them called infantry specialists. These don’t have RPGs at all, not even bad ones, sacrificing them for dedicated anti-infantry weapons like napalm launchers, flamethrowers or grenade launchers. Sometimes some of them get nerfed to the point of losing to RPG squads, but only temporarily – the point is, these units are meant to be very dangerous to infantry and very vulnerable to vehicles, and most of them are exactly that.
When is old and killer infantry justified? Generally, forests are too dangerous for both. Seasoned players will always support their infantry with transports, which mean instant loss for your killer infantry. Decks whose modern infantry is too ineffective will sometimes resort to killer infantry in forests, currently this is the case for USSR; if you find yourself doing so, never deploy them without a support squad with a good RPG to ward off transports.
Where low-AT infantry truly shines is towns. Fire support in deep town is next to impossible, and even WW2 RPGs are dangerous due to how easy it is to score rear and side shots. Great numbers of killer infantry can be fully covered with just one or two squads of modern RPG.
Many nations have 15-man squads. I call these marines, because most of them are exactly that, but exceptions exist. Similarly to an RPG upgrade, this too usually costs 5 points. Naively one would expect that 50% more men means 50% more damage, but this is not true. Infantry squad size only determines health, it has no influence on damage output (it’s actually a small boost to the main weapon, but not worth accounting for). The extra health has the neat effect of making them consistently survive helo crashes with three men left. The marine upgrade also provides 50% more RPG ammo.
Marines are not worth it if comparable shock is available. As most infantry squads are as good as dead when they panic, the extra 5 health is too frequently a waste. When marines are taken it is usually because they have access to special transports.
Finally we have FIST squads. In the previous killer vs modern infantry tradeoff, FIST squads are the opposite of killer infantry. They’re generally the cheapest way to get a high-end AT weapon, cheaper than modern infantry. They usually have unusually high fire rates for those AT weapons too. In exchange they have no MG and only 5 health, theoretically making them worse at anti-infantry than the well-rounded modern infantry. At the time of writing this they have the unique ability to shoot their AT weapon at infantry, and with a lot of micro this can be used to make them surprisingly good infantry killers, but I hope you understand the tradeoff they represent despite that.
To sum it up: Modern infantry is well-rounded and the backbone of your infantry force. Killers and old infantry trade anti-vehicle capability for anti-infantry and are best deployed in cities; they’re very vulnerable in forests and must have AT support. FIST squads are the polar opposite, giving you great anti-vehicle for bargain prices. Training level doesn’t have any secret effects. Knowing which of [regular; shock; elite] is the most cost-effective in general usage for a particular deck is pretty arbitrary and best learned by imitating what good players of that deck use.