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.

Unloading too early

I’ve cultivated a habit of pressing unload as soon as my transports start getting shot, and sometimes it is doing me a disservice. Rocket pods for example have very little overkill, and they shoot in very fast bursts that end before the infantry from a killed transport has a chance to “appear”. If I unload, the transport gets shot and the AoE rockets kill the unloaded infantry as well. If I do nothing, the vehicle often survives. If the vehicle gets killed, a full or nearly full health panicked squad spawns after the salvo has finished, and it is going to survive unless the rocket helo has time and ammo for a second salvo.

A less practical example is rushing a town and unloading to avoid RPGs. Good players will rarely have more than 1-2 units guarding the perimeter, so it can be better to just rush in, lose a transport but get to unload the rest in the town instead of having to walk. If the opponent is using carl gustavs and other 16-18AP infantry and you have 2FAV transports, the squad that does get hit will unload panicked but nearly undamaged. Most RPGs shoot once every 6 seconds, so you’ll only get shot once.

Finally, getting shot at by tanks or autocannons. Autocannons similarly to rocket pods have nearly no overkill at range. Tanks are all different, but there’s broadly two cases as long as you have 2+ armor – your transports are getting oneshot with little overkill, or the first shot only heavily damages the transport, meaning the second will kill with a lot of overkill. Tanks shoot once every 6-10 seconds, so they have difficulty killing lots of fastmoving transports that refuse to unload.

There’s always the temptation to take action when your guys are getting shot, but sometimes doing nothing is better. This primarily applies to transports with 2 armor or more, but the rocket thing applies to all of them I think.