Two years ago, smoke was unseen in competitive play. I guess its most obvious use in blocking enemy firing lines was a bit too niche and micro-intensive. Eventually people found a way to protect their superheavies with it, and mortars became a nearly mandatory unit in every opener.
Using the smoke placed nearby, the moderna can break line of sight at any time.
The technique is simple – you smoke on your heavy tanks, and keep them near the smoke. If you see an AT plane, you hide in the puff. Optionally, you can also play peek-a-boo, hiding while reloading between every shot.
Normally, it is suicide to move your superheavy in the open, as it’s guaranteed to be attacked by an AT plane. Using smoke as cover, heavy tanks are no longer restricted to peeking from deep forests. Even if you are operating from a forest, it still makes sense to use this tactic – the smoke is superior cover because it unconditionally and instantly breaks line of sight, whereas forests have a ~350m perimeter where you’re stealthy, but slower to move and still perfectly spottable.
It takes some practice remembering to refresh the smoke, and keeping your heavy close enough so it can retreat to it. That said, in my experience this is by far the most common and useful application of smoke.
You should already be familiar with the tactic of keeping radar off unless a plane is in range – this protects you from sead planes attacking alone. By also disabling radar within the firing cycle, you can protect your AA even better from SEAD.
A couple months ago I tried using a single veteran Patriot as my anti-plane AA in ranked. One of the issues I faced with that choice was SEAD – I really didn’t want to lose my only anti-plane ground unit. Turning the Patriot on even against apparently unescorted bombers could and often did turn into a mini-crisis if stealthy sead was right behind.
Eventually I figured out a tactic to minimize this issue. Turns out, there’s no reason to keep radar on while the missile is in flight – the hit and reload will occur even with the weapon disabled. With patriots, this works amazingly well: You see a bomber, flick radar on for a brief second, the missile is in the air and radar is off again by the time the SEAD trailing the bomber is in range to shoot. Four – five seconds later the missile will have finished its trip and a new one will be ready for launch, and by that point it’s clear if there is SEAD present or not, so you can flick again without losing any fire rate or wait for a safer moment.
I ditched the solo Patriot deck, but the habit remained with me. Every time I see a plane, I select my aa, enable radar, then disable it immediately after the plane gets in range (input delay and my slowness mean the missiles will be in the air by the time the command gets through). I repeat the process after a couple seconds. Whether you can use this to safely shoot at SEAD-escorted bombers depends on the range of your AA, the range of the SEAD, and how close the SEAD is following the bomber, but generally all it takes is a bit of muscle memory to increase your AA’s survivability.
Keep in mind, you still can’t move the launch platform after disabling radar with an airborne missile – the unit will keep guiding with weapons off, but it has to stay stationary as usual.