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.

Smoke as a super forest

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.

Disable radar immediately after shooting

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.

The myth of the ATGM reroll

You’ll commonly hear from people that ATGMs have lower than the displayed accuracy due to rerolls. Apparently during ALB ATGM was far stronger, then in some WRD patch they were nerfed, and one of the nerfs was to add these rerolls. I’ve seen different explanations for the specifics of the bug/mechanic, but the most common one by far is this:

The ATGM rolls for accuracy periodically, say every two seconds. If it fails the roll, it hits the ground or flies off. If it passes, it keeps flying until it reaches the target or it has to roll again.

If this explanation were true, this would mean that slow ATGMs are much less accurate than described. For example if a TOW 2 has to roll three times, it would have not 70% accuracy but 70%^3 = 24%. This is huge.


But if you actually go and test the ATGMs, you’ll find that their accuracies are more or less the same as what the game says above the weapon [and the numbers above the weapon are what you’d expect given the unit card and veterancy]. It’s a really easy thing to test – the difference between 70% and 25% accuracy will be clear as day within ten shots. Even if a missile only rerolls once it would be pretty clear if Eugen are trying to scam us.


So if testing shows the accuracies are as described, why does the myth persist?

One reason is that rerolls do exist. There’s a variable in the mod tools for them and it’s been confirmed by Eugen that a reroll mechanic is in the game, albeit one that doesn’t influence accuracy. In fact, the ATGM reroll bug may have existed in exactly the way the myth describes it for some time in the WRD beta, or at least a similar bug was in effect. Regardless, the intended role of rerolls is not as an arcane nerf. They’re meant to allow for missile accuracy to change if the shooter gets shot at and demoralized while the missile is in flight. More on this at the end of the post, from Eugen themselves.

Another reason is that the myth gives us a good “just-so” story for why slow ATGMs suck. If you know from experience that slow ATGMs are pretty bad, hearing a theory whose consequences are that slow ATGMs are really inaccurate would line up perfectly with your experience. But slow ATGMs are bad because it’s much more likely for the launch vehicle to get killed or panicked, or for the target to reach concealment, not because their accuracy is fake.

A third reason is that people don’t test things. Which is fine, nobody has the time for it. People who do find the time once in a while should share their results. But I didn’t have a blog when I first heard about this, more than two years ago.


Finally, here are some quotes from FLX, an Eugen employee:

You don’t have to get series of hit to actually it the target because if you roll a hit after having rolled a series of miss the missile will fly toward its target and hit it.

I change single roll to multiple rolls for different reasons :
– you cannot keep your static accruacy if you fire then move
– you can be stressed during missile flight
– you cannot predict if a missile will hit or miss from the start
– visually it’s rather cool

Compared to WEE, missiles cannot crash into the ground if a dice roll is a miss, only out of control missiles can hit hte ground.
To keep an accurate hit probability with multiple rolls you need as many roll as possible so I changed the check interval from 20 or so seconds ( = longer then the missile flight time) to 0.2 which is the maximum that the game authorize.
It works perfectly but there is a rule I misunderstood which says :
“If a hitroll is a miss in the final approach of the missile (calculated in 3D frames) then the missile is deflected to prevent accidental hit”

[Note from honhonhonhon – the rest of the quote describes a bug that has since been fixed, and may be what spawned the myth. It’s an old quote that I included because it describes the motivations behind the reroll system. Don’t get confused.]

What I didn’t know is that if you have multiple dice rolls in the final approach the missile is deflected anyway even if you have successes after an initial miss.

So with 0.2sec between rolls slow missiles could have 2 or 3 rolls during final approach which means you had to make a series of sucess to avoid being deflected.

Let’s take an exemple :
– Final approach distance is 500m
– Dice roll occurs every 0.2sec
– missile speed is 500m/s

hit hit hit hit miss = your missile miss it’s normal
miss hit hit hit hit = your missile is deflected anyway even if you have had 4 success after a miss.

So the only way to get a hit in my example is to make 5 hit in a row.

The faster the missile the less dice roll in the final approach, the more accurate the missile the more chance to make a series of success.

You don’t have to get series of hit to actually it the target because if you roll a hit after having rolled a series of miss the missile will fly toward its target and hit it.

In WEE the accuracy of ATGM was wrong because when you rolled a miss the missile got deviated in random direction and if it hit the ground it was destroyed.
Since there is 50% chance that the deviation is toward the sky and 50% toward the ground the practical accuracy was lower than expected.
With WALB we brought a new feature that prevents a missile from hitting the ground when the roll is a miss befor it hits or overfly its target which brings back the accuracy to what is displayed.

That’s the theory. In practice some elements can make your accuracy lower than displayed :
1) You get stunned during missile fly = you lose control
2) Target disappear for more than one second during missile fly = you lose control
3) You get stressed during missile fly = your next roll will have lower hit probability
4) Your missile deviate so much from its trajectory after multiple miss that when the last roll is a hit the missile cannot turn enough in the few meters remaining to actually hit its target.

Point 1 2 3 are designed that way and controlled.
The number of time point 4 appear is much harder to calculate. Your missile have to score multiple miss in a row and the random deviation must be several time in the same direction. Then the last roll that is a hit has to occurs close enough to the target and the missile rotation speed has to be low enough to prevent the missile from hitting the target hitbox.

To minimise this case the faster the missile the smaller the maximum deviation angle of the missile is.

[ Source: , pages 2 and 3, ]


Actually, one more thing. FLX’s explanation does leave some room for unexpected misses. As he says, if a missile rolls multiple misses in the same direction, it may stray too far from the target and be unable to turn fast enough to perform a hit rolled at the end. But this is very unlikely. I believe a forum member detected the effect after a lot of testing, and it was as expected within the single digits, but I can’t find the thread [and it is as of yet unreplicated, because nobody has tried it].

Types of CV

For a long time, three types of CV have been favored by players: command jeeps, command infantry and armored commands.


Jeeps are the “standard” CV. They’re very fragile, but cheap, fast, and come with way higher availability than other command units. Most decks bring a card of jeeps because of the high availability, ensuring that you’ll never run out of command units in any sort of team match.

Most nations can choose between two jeep types, both with the same availability but one being 10pt more expensive and slightly faster offroad. At a glance, the offroad speed bonus seems like a token advantage at best. It’s actually very helpful for retreating from enemy units sneaking in your backline, and for moving out of the way of the odd bombing strike. However, the extra 10 points in cost add up, as you’ll be paying them multiple times per match, every match.

Despite the extra cost, I’d advise getting a faster jeep, as a dodged bombing strike can make the difference between a won or lost game. Still, as with many deckbuilding choices you can make a case for either side; keep an eye out for what works for you personally.


Many players bring command infantry as a second command card, supplement to a jeep command. This is because they are far less available, at only 3 per card. Aside from this little drawback, infantry is superior to jeeps in every way and it’s likely the most effective CV type of all. Most players mainly use them in buildings, where they can easily dodge bombers and helicopters while also being maximally concealed, but they’re great in a forest or hedge too.

Compared to a jeep, an infantry CV in a forest is much stealthier and will not instantly die to most weapons. This buys you time to send a plane, move base defenses or buy a replacement CV, if you are attentive enough to spot that your CV is being attacked. I strongly recommend using infantry CVs for all 2pt sectors and all spawn sectors, as they are far harder to snipe than other CV options.

Infantry CVs can come in a variety of transports. The best choice is a transport helo, because the extra mobility and safety are very useful. For nations with good rocket helos you’re not even paying extra, as the transport itself is a potent combat unit you can use after unloading.


Blind HE explosions will land behind or on top of your CV. The tank’s lack in rear armor makes it more fragile than the APC.

The last mainstream CV choice is the armored CV. Infantry is more survivable than any vehicle CV in the general case, capable of resisting SF sneaks or helo attacks for a bit. However, armored CVs are good for a very specific use case – when you’re being hit by artillery or bombing strikes and cannot dodge them. This blind bombardment is most likely to happen in frontline zones that offer very little cover to place a CV in. Another advantage of armored CVs is a good survivability against helo attacks. Despite this, ultimately they are at best a sidegrade to infantry commands when holding zones not under artillery harassment.

It’s important that an armored CV has good armor values on all sides. HE damage is not affected by 1 armor, but decreases significantly with each point of armor above that. Even the 200pt T-80UK can die to the strikes of heavy bombers like Deagle or B-5 if enough bombs land behind it – even three points of top/rear armor don’t suffice sometimes – but these accidents are far more likely if you have two or, even worse, one point armor segments.

Most teams will have a single player bring one card of armored CV, intended to cap a particular zone that is prone to being blindly shelled. In team games you could consider running a card of infantry CV and a card of armored CV – this limits you to only 6 command units, but in most matches it will be more than enough.


Finally lets look at the less common command types. One is the helo CV – while these are just as cheap and high-availability as jeeps, they have the critical flaw of not being able to enter cover, having to land in the open to cap a zone. Their advantages are very good optics and high mobility, but infantry commands make helo CVs pointless by bringing their own flying transports while being overall a far superior choice. At the time of writing, fielding a helo CV is a 100% certain noob marker and a very effective way to demoralize your teammates before deployment is over.

The other bad CV type is the APC/IFV command. They have token weapons, but they’re insufficient to protect from behind the lines infantry or helos. They are also not armored enough to weather blind artillery fire, and have to move away if targeted, meaning they cannot fulfill the job of a real armored CV. In fact, they usually have 1 armor on most or even all sides, meaning they take the same amount of HE damage as an unarmored jeep CV. They don’t have a critical flaw the way helo CVs do, and they’re used more widely than helo CVs, but ultimately most APC and IFV commands are not a real upgrade over a fast jeep, while costing more and coming at less per card.

To summarize: Infantry is easily the best CV type, being stealthy, very survivable and coming in fast helo transports too. Jeeps are not as good as infantry, but they come in numbers good enough to make any deck self-sufficient. Tank CVs with enough armor on all sides can be used as a survivability sidegrade to infantry, but where they really shine is when holding zones under enemy shelling. Stay away from helo CVs and expensive but poorly armored APC commands. In 1v1 you’ll need either two jeep cards or a jeep and an infantry, but in teamgames you may be able to get away with a single jeep, two infantry/armor cards, or even just a single infantry card for large enough games.

Choosing supply cards

Generally, you should aim to have one or two cards of supply units:

  • The first card must be a supply truck – supply helos are nice but they can’t always safely reach the frontline, and FOBs are efficient but will never leave your base.
  • The second card will most commonly be a FOB. In 1v1 and when playing with an organized team, you may want to replace that with either a second card of trucks or a supply helo (but you can also stay with an FOB).
  • If taking an FOB, you may opt to take a third card of supply, giving you truck, FOB, and helo – but this is rare.


Supply trucks are mandatory for any deck. They’re more important than supply helos because they’re reliable – whereas a helo may be prevented from landing in your backline due to enemy AA or mortars, this is never a concern with trucks.

For trucks, I recommend taking the cheapest version possible, unless you play without an FOB and find yourself commonly running out of supply in your deck. This is because of the following reasons:

  1. Small trucks repair faster. Individually, all supply units in the game transfer supply at the same speed, but using multiple units speeds up the process proportionally – so four 10pt trucks will repair four times as fast as a single 40pt HEMMT.
  2. Small trucks ferry supply from the FOB faster. The reason is similar to the previous mechanic. In the time it takes a HEMMT to get 500 supply from an FOB, four 10pt trucks will have taken 500 supply each, draining a total for 2000 supply. Even with their slower offroad speed, this makes for a big advantage when making roundtrips from FOB to the front and back.
  3. Small trucks are more versatile. You might hesitate to send a 40pt monster to rearm a single infantry squad, whereas this is not a concern if you can send a single 10pt truck instead.
  4. Small trucks are more survivable. It takes four shots to kill four small trucks, and one or two shots to kill a single big one. If you group the small trucks up, they’ll often all die to one shot, but at least in that case they’re not harder to micro than a big truck.

To make up for these advantages Eugen have made big trucks provide more supply both per card and per point spent. Another drawback of small trucks is that they’re harder to micro, but using them in stacks is always an option. If you want to get supply for as cheap as possible, go big, but for me small trucks are clearly superior and big ones are only a consideration if playing without an FOB.


Speed isn’t everything; AS.332 lands much faster so it will be just as good or better despite being 20km/h slower on paper.

Supply helos are something of a luxury. When your deck has space for them on top of a card of trucks, they’re pretty useful for rearming extended pushes and for awkward maps like nuclear winter.

Keep in mind that helos are worse than trucks at sustained supply delivery to the middle of the map. They have the same transfer speed drawback that makes big trucks slower than small ones, and their amazing top speeds are partially counteracted by delays when landing and taking off. Additionally,  landing at the front is often risky or impossible due to the inherent fragility of flying units, causing inconvenience as damaged units have to retreat to the backline.

In other words, supply helos are rarely a good idea for long-term resupply. What they excel at, and what you should buy them for, is the fast initial delivery. This also makes the choice between big and small helos easy – small helos are almost always preferrable. Helos are mainly for when we need supplies as fast as possible, so using a big one risks that you won’t have the points to buy it as soon as it is needed. Aside from that consideration, the advantages and disadvantages of size are the same as they were with trucks.

Finally, I’d like to mention supply chaining and why it’s not worth your time. Helos can transfer supply to trucks in the same way that fobs can give to both helos and trucks. Some players advocate a resupply technique using this mechanic, where a helo lands behind the lines, gives supply to trucks, which in turn distribute it to the frontline while the helo goes back for more. While this theoretically sounds smart, in practice very few frontlines require the massive supply amounts that this technique is meant to deliver (notice that the minimum). When you do have such a frontline, using a pure truck fleet to make the rounds is both more efficient and less micro-intensive.

The effects of veterancy

Here’s what the armory tells us about the effects of upvetting a unit:


-19% stun effect duration: An elite unit suffers far shorter stuns than a rookie one, but neither is more resistant to being stunned in the first place.

+5% chances to see and identify enemy units: This does not increase spotting ranges. As far as I know, what the bonus actually does is make it more likely for a spotted but unidentified enemy unit to be identified (changing label from “…” to “M1a2” for example).

+150% faster morale recovery: What it says on the tin, elite units go back to calm state faster than rookies.

-10% dispersion on artillery shots: What it says on the tin.

+8% Accuracy: This is the only important bonus of the lot, and to make up for it it is really important. There’s a couple things to know about the accuracy bonus:

  1. The armory fibs a bit about how big the bonus actually is – armory tells us that elites get 32% accuracy, but testing reveals the boost to be closer to 50%. For example, an elite Kurnass with 50% innate laser bomb accuracy has a 73% chance to hit a machbet (medium-size) from max range. I’m not aware of an exact formula for the actual amount of accuracy each veterancy level provides, but the heuristic I use is that it’s a bit higher for each level than the armory says it is and that there’s an especially big jump between veteran and elite. By the way, this fibbing should also make you suspicious about the other modifiers listed.
  2. The bonus is multiplicative with the base accuracy. A 20% accuracy vehicle with say 10% more accuracy from trained won’t have 20%+10% = 30% effective accuracy, it will have 20% * 110% = 22% effective accuracy.
  3. The bonus is additive, or something close to it, with other bonuses or penalties. This is important because it makes it effective at wiping out ECM or panic penalties. For example, consider shooting at a 50% ECM target with 50% elite accuracy bonus and 100% base accuracy. If the bonuses were multiplicative with each other, we’d get 50%*150%*100% = 75% effective accuracy. If they’re additive, we get (150% – 50%)*100% = 100% effective accuracy. Ingame behavior is closer to the latter case, making veterancy really helpful for AA pieces and ASF.

To finish the post, here’s a graph by nandemonai, on the effects of veterancy and ECM on accuracy. Each color has two lines, the top one represents elite veterancy, the bottom is for rookie:


Forum thread here

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.