HEAT damage formula

Examples for HEAT weapons are infantry RPGs, ATGMs, and cluster. Like KE weapons, HEAT can’t fire on helos, planes or infantry; only HE damage is used against these.

The formula for HEAT damage is on the surface similar to the one for KE. We start with 1 damage done, and gain 0.5 damage for every point of AP over the target armor.

The first divergence from the KE formula is that after 10 points of AP-AV difference, HEAT starts adding 1 damage for any further overmatch. That is to say, while a 10AV tank will take 1 damage from 10 HEAT AP, 1.5 damage from 11 HEAT AP, and 6 damage from 6 HEAT AP, against 21 AP it will take 7 damage (while 21 KE AP would only do 6.5).

This leads to HEAT oneshotting at 14 AP-AV difference, as opposed to KE where you need 18. This is why 16AP is an important infantry RPG threshold – squads with 16AP can easily defend themselves from the common 2AV transports.

Another HEAT advantage is that it always does at least 1 damage. Lacking AP, a KE gun will simply not shoot. With HEAT, even a 10pt WW2 gun or RPG can harm a superheavy.

The big drawback of HEAT is that it doesn’t gain AP from range. No matter if we’re shooting from maximum distance or in a forest, a 12 AP HEAT weapon stays 12 AP. Tanks with HEAT cannons can be surprisingly underwhelming because of this.


The anomaly in damage values after 20AV.

Finally, there’s a little exception to the HEAT damage formula when it comes to high armor values. Due to either a data entry error or an intentional balancing decision, 21AV and up take half a point more HEAT damage than expected from high-AP sources (see the table above). This means 23AV, contrary to naive calculation, will not survive two hits from 30AP plane missiles.

To sum up: HEAT is similar to KE, but will oneshot at 14 points of overmatch due to a higher damage bonus after the first 10 points of AP-AV difference. It always does at least one damage regardless of AP, but does not gain AP from range scaling.

Surviving an (unexpected) 1v1 helorush

Helorushes are the only wargame tactic I consider illegitimate. Outside of ranked, the answer is easy – leave the game and find someone who actually wants to play. In ranked however you’ll want to try fighting the helorush if you value your points. Here I’ll explain the tactics involved.

There’s two dimensions to dealing with helorush. The meta level happens outside the match – if you know someone is a helorusher you can open with a massive point reserve and lots of AA on the field. The only trick I know here, courtesy of Dirty-D, is to add helorushers to your mute list. This way, even if they change nickname, you can keep track of them.

If you don’t know someone is a rusher, or if they alternate rushing with playing normally at a level where you can’t win if you open with 400pts in reserve, you’ll be forced to deal with the helo swarm with a normal force. One thing you can do is open with a plane that will be useful throughout the game, like a Puff or an ASF, and use it to get early warning if a rush is coming. The plane can then be used to snipe recon helos or suspected CV transports.

Another thing is to always start with 2 CVs – this is important not only to avoid falling behind in conquest points in case of a normal ground match, but also because if a rush comes, you can hide the second CV to buy yourself more time. You don’t want to spend any time with a single CV even in normal games, because losing your only CV to flanking forces or blind bombing automatically forfeits the match.

So, you’ve spotted a rush, either by plane or by contact with your ground force. One minute of ingame time has already passed, meaning you’ve earned 100 points that you hopefully haven’t spent. By the time the rush hits you, you’ll have another 50-100 points. What do you do?

You have three objectives:

  1. Ensuring your CV survives.
  2. Killing the enemy CV.
  3. Killing the helos.
Mud Fight.jpg

On Mud Fight, I always send my second CV to Alpha. Foxtrot is by far safer in normal games, but you’ll regret it if you get helorushed, and if no rush comes you can redirect the CV to Delta should Alpha get dangerous.

Protecting the CV is where most people fail miserably. It is not possible to stop the helos before they reach your spawn. You must have a command unit hidden somewhere the helos won’t immediately find, to buy you time to counterattack or kill the swarm.

Fighting new opponents, you should send your second CV to cap a zone that is not directly between your spawn and the enemy one. If it turns out a helorush is coming and the swarm finds your extra CV while racing through the middle of the map toward your spawn, you’ve wasted it. In this case you’ll need to buy a third CV, ideally a heliborne infantry squad, and try to hide that in whatever time you have left. Doing this is more important than buying AA – again, even if you buy AA, it will not be possible to save your spawn CV, so you need a second CV hidden somewhere to avoid the automatic forfeit.

Once a helorush is confirmed, it’s wise to send your second CV to a deep forest the enemy is less likely to immediately search, or start inching it closer to the enemy spawn in preparation for a spawn swap. Avoid stopping in sectors – capping anything will tip your opponent off and get the CV killed.

None of this is isn’t particularly complicated, but it is very easy to get in the mindset of fortifying your spawn and holding your ground, and if you do that and forget to hide a CV, you’re dead.

You’ve spotted the rush, and you’ve ordered your second CV to hide, ideally before it has capped any zones to tip the enemy off. The next step is to order your ground army to either fastmove into the enemy spawn or return to yours. This only takes a second, which is why it’s done before you start managing base defenses.

Almost always fastmoving into the enemy spawn is better than returning to your own. Most helorushers are bad and will spend their income on planes to support the rush, making it possible to take their undefended spawn with just an autocannon unit or two. Once you have the spawn you can carefully make your way to it with your hidden CV, resulting in a base trade. Your first purchase from the new base must be..take a second to guess..a second CV. Forgetting this is a very dumb way to lose, because at this point the game is already 90% won.

If you bought any expensive AA units with your army, try to preserve them. Engaging the fresh helorush with an unsupported poorly positioned tunguska will only get it killed, whereas saving it to use once the helorush is depleted by your base defenses will give you more means of protecting your last CV and probably allow it to do a lot more damage as well.

After you’ve hidden your CV and sent the army to secure the enemy spawn, you need to start buying AA to weaken the rush with. Expensive standoff AA is bad here – you want defensive, cheap AA, that will cost-efficiently kill and ideally also meatshield.


From left to right, in ascending performance vs helorush: bad, decent, perfect

Quantity matters far more than quality here. Example good responses are the american m163 CS and the soviet ZPTU-2. MANPADs are great if you can reach a town, but most decks don’t have them. Lacking either of these, your next option are 30-40pt AA pieces like the Wolverine or Rapier, as well as autocannon helos like the lynx/fennec 20mm and autocannon recon units like the lav-25. Antihelo planes, (most) AA helos, and expensive AA pieces are a waste of points. If the enemy will cap your spawn, buying and unloading some AT infantry at the spawn point makes for a nasty trap to any ground buys, but it’s usually a bad buy as it doesn’t contribute to the more immediate goal of thinning the swarm.

If you have the time, you should spread the AA around as much as possible. This makes them harder to panic and ensures the entire helo swarm will bleed equally. It’s also likely to stagger the swarm and make it hard for them to attack your entire AA collection. Even though you are spreading the units around, they should be bought in 4stacks and only split after they arrive, as this is faster than buying 1stacks.

To summarize: Every ranked game should start with at least two CVs. If a helorush is spotted, the second CV must immediately hide. The army should be sent to secure a spawn, friendly or enemy, and very cheap AA should be spammed in your home sector to weaken the rush. The final risk is moving the hidden CV to a secured spawn, at which point you can get one more CV and enough AA to finish off any remaining helos. Finally, add the rusher to your mute list so that you can recognize him in future games even if he changes his name.

Keep in mind that even with these methods, you’ll struggle to consistently deal with helorushes. I’ve been helorushed some 20-30 times in ranked, and if we exclude rushes that I knew were coming, I’ve probably won less than five. Unfortunately, the outcome of a competently executed helorush is set in stone unless you start with ridiculous (300pt+) amounts of AA. Fortunately, most helorushes are not competently executed, so often you have some chance of winning if you know how to respond.

KE damage formula

KE damage, as inflicted by autocannons and most tank cannons, has a simple damage formula. Suppose we’re shooting at a tank with 10 armor – to do any damage we’d need at least 10 AP.

If we have 10 AP, we’ll do 1 damage per shot. If we have less than the target’s armor, our KE gun won’t even fire. If we have more, we do an extra 0.5 damage for each point over. So against the 10 armor tank, 10 AP will do 1 damage, 11 AP will do 1.5 damage, 13 AP will do 2.5, 20AP will do 6, 28 AP will do 10 damage and oneshot the tank. The game does not display fractional health, but it does keep track of it.

The AP of a KE weapon increases by one point for every range increment it gets closer to the target, so a gun with 10AP and 2275m range will have 11AP at 2100m and 21 AP at 350m. The maximum value for KE AP is 30, you cannot go over this even with range scaling. Due to this cap and the fact that you need 18 more AP than the enemy to oneshot them, only tanks with 12 or less armor can be oneshot by KE.

Special cases are 0 and 1 armor. 1 armor takes 1 damage for every point over, aka a 1AP vs 1AV will do 1 dmg, 2AP will do 2dmg, 3AP will do 3dmg and 10AP will be oneshot. 0 armor takes double damage, so 5 KE AP is a oneshot kill.

To summarize, the KE formula is really simple: it starts at 1 damage and does 0.5 more for every AP point above the target armor.

Passenger damage / transport overkill

Codextro explained concisely on the eugen forums how infantry survivors from a destroyed transport are determined, so I’ll just quote him:

Passenger damage is simple, overkill damage from killing the vehicle is applied to the passengers.

0AV takes double damage from AP, so an 8 AP hit (KE or HEAT), does 16 damage to a humvee, killing the 5 HP humvee and everyone inside.

Fuchs takes 1 damage/AP (KE or HEAT), a 20 AP hit does 10 to kill the Fuchs and 10 to kill the passengers

XA-180 takes (x-2)/2+1 damage from KE, and (x-2)/2+1 for the first 10 HEAT AP over AV, and 1 per AP afterwards. To get 20 damage you need 40 KE (not possible with any unit in the game), or 26 HEAT.

My testing shows these numbers are consistent, feel free to verify it.

15 man squads can survive a heli crash because the crash only does 11 damage to passengers.

The helo crash damage could be 12 instead of 11, I’m not sure and it’s too minor to bother testing. Regardless of which is true, codextro’s summary is very good.

Range scaling

I normally don’t post about stuff I’ve covered in the newbie guide, but this is easy to misunderstand so its worth repeating. All weapons become more accurate the closer they are to the target.

There is one exception. When shooting at a plane, accuracy stays constant, we gain no accuracy bonus from range. This is only about the target:

-a plane shooting AGMs at a tank benefits from range scaling
-an AA piece shooting at helos benefits too
-AA shooting at a plane does not benefit
-ASF shooting at other planes does not benefit

Open space spotting addendum (helos)

Spotting intervals are a bit different for helos. Here’s a small addendum illustrating that:

helo good vs poor.jpg

Good helo vs poor ground: ~4200. The FOB is spotted despite being even further back presumably because it has bad stealth.

helo exc vs poor.jpg

Exceptional helo vs poor ground: 5000

helo spottings 2.jpg

vgood ground vs poor helo: ~3400

helo spottings.jpg

no bonus to being AA, vgood mistral spots just as well as paras above

exc helo vs poormedium helo.jpg

exc helo vs poor and medium helo: ~5500 (more than the 5km cap against ground!!), with ~5200 for medium stealth

exc helo vs good helo.jpg

exc helo vs good helo: ~4400

helo good vs poor lowhover.jpg

Helos hovering low have the same spotting cap as ground recon.

As you can see this is very far from a complete list of all helo optics vs all stealth levels, but I don’t think I’ll ever complete it. If I ever do more of these I’ll probably start with spotting against forests or something similarly useful, hard numbers for helos are pretty low priority once we understand the basic mechanism.

Open space spotting pic dump

All screenshots are taken at roughly the maximum distance the red unit can be spotted at.

poor vs poor.jpg

Poor optics vs poor stealth: ~2100

poor vs medium.jpg

Poor optics vs medium stealth: ~1400

poor vs vgood.jpg

Poor vs very good: ~850

medium vs poor.jpg

Medium vs poor: ~2800

medium vs medium.jpg

Medium vs medium: ~1900

medium vs vgood.jpg

Medium vs vgood: ~1100

good vs poor.jpg

Good vs poor: 3500

vgood vs mediumpoor.jpg

vgood vs poor and medium (brdm-3 barely visible behind zhalo): 3500

exceptional vs mediumpoor.jpg

exceptional vs poor and medium: 3500

good vs medium.jpg

good vs medium: ~2800

good vs vgood.jpg

good vs vgood: 1700

vgood vs vgood.jpg

vgood vs vgood: ~2400

exceptional vs vgood.jpg

exc vs vgood: ~3100

Note that since Israel, ground exceptional has had its spotting cap increased from 3.5km to 4.2km.

Do you need a FOB?

A FOB costs 75 points and gives 16k supply. Pretty good deal. Many people seem to take them for granted and mandatory, plopping one down every game. You can even see this behavior at the lower levels of ranked, although higher up bringing a FOB becomes a rare and calculated choice.

FOBs are less efficient than they seem for two reasons. First, depending on your playstyle you likely don’t use that much supply in a game. For the price of a FOB you can buy 5000 supply in trucks; in a game with a FOB you’ll also need some trucks to bring the supply to the frontline, so we’re looking at 7-8k supply usage before we start saving money with the FOB. It costs 50 supply to repair a health point, and if you’re mostly using supply to patch up the superheavy and reload AA you won’t be reaching much less surpassing that 8k supply where the FOB starts saving you money.

Repairing your units only gets costly if you are fighting an infantry meatgrinder and you’re unusually good at preserving your wounded squads. I’ve only seen FOBs predictably drained by unit maintenance in ranked Wonsan games as USSR, where matches are about meticulously preserving your one-two cards of Spetsnaz and fighting off the entire Scandinavian zerg with them.


Here’s a litmus test I perform every other match. When the winner is clear, which can be at the end of the match but may be as early as 2/3rds in, I like to take a glance at our base. If the FOB looks like the picture above, buying it was a bad deal. That’s a FOB from which we’ve drained no more than 6000 supply.  We would’ve been better off having a stronger opener and getting 80pts of trucks later.

The actually realistic way to use that much supply is with ammo reloads, for artillery or helos. Heavy burrito or rocket helo usage are certainly justified in bringing a FOB, as they’re both good tactics that are predictably supply-heavy. Keep in mind that usage needs to actually be heavy – a single Patriot battery doesn’t draw anywhere near enough supply, and even a burrito costs only 2k per full reload, so you’d have to empty it four times or also do a fair amount of infantry repairing.

Heavy AT helo usage I find less justified, as it is unpredictable. You can buy a longbow and get a perfect run, getting massive advantage – in this case resupplying at the FOB you invested in is an extra advantage but you’ll likely win even if you had to bring in trucks separately. Or you can fail the run, falling behind – in this case the useless FOB drags you down even further. So buying a FOB intending to mainly use it for the longbow helps games you’re already winning and hinders games you actually need help in. Bad.

The second reason FOBs are less efficient than they seem is the time value of points. In matches where you do use more than 8k supply, it may still be worth it to solidify your opener and pay a slight penalty for trucks in the midgame. Paying 150 points later when you could be paying 75 points at the start may seem silly, but think of it like this: how many points would you have to be given at the 20-minute mark to agree to start with 900 instead of 1000? The answer will depend on the point-density of your game mode and the importance of the opener, but it will certainly be more than 100. 100 points in the first minute are worth more than 100 points in the middle of the game.


But lets set the time value argument aside. Even without it, players almost always overestimate how much supply they’ll need. Start doing my litmus test yourself – you’ll be surprised at how many games end with untouched FOBs on both sides. The FOB has to look at least like the above picture, otherwise you’d have gotten the same value with midgame trucks.

I’d say that even in a 3v3, a single FOB is plenty even for a team employing burritos. For teams without artillery/burrito usage even a single FOB will be almost full at the game end, more often than not. Yet I commonly see such teams open with two-three FOBs. But my core idea here isn’t to get you to stop using FOBs completely – rather, I hope you’ll start checking your base at the end of games and get a feel for your actual usage. You don’t get a warning sound or point loss when you win a game with a full FOB, so that’s something you have to manually pay attention to if you want to improve it.

Infantry recap

Let’s recap the main points of the infantry section.

In open space pushes, the job of infantry is to lead, forcing enemies to either shoot it and expose themselves or concede the forest/town. The killing is done by fire support in the form of ground transports, tanks, or rocket helos.

In closed spaces, infantry does most of the work. In forests infantry engages first, shortly followed by transports or tanks which aim to inflict maximum damage before being targeted by RPG. As vehicles still participate it is important to use well-rounded infantry in forests. Towns on the other hand are too hard for vehicles to effectively operate in, so just one or two squads with decent AT can cover a large number of killer infantry without any anti-vehicle capability.

When taking a forest, an attacker has to win twice – first by achieving open space dominance and securing entry, then by winning the infantry fight for the deep forest. A defender only needs to prevent one of these from happening, so for example conceding the entry point but stockpiling infantry to make the inner forest impregnable is an option for large enough forests.

Many transports are cheap and just brought as a battle taxi with minor forest support capabilities, but the heavier options shouldn’t be overlooked. An autocannon IFV makes for a very versatile unit when working together with the infantry it carries, while a grenade launcher vehicle can contribute to forest fighting as much as an actual infantry squad.

To the next guide post: Spread your infantry out/On iron bombers