Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Pariah CO: Grit

From the TV Trops article "A Commander is You":

The Pariah Faction. This faction relies on some not particularly useful gimmick or combat ability. They tend to be disadvantaged with most everything else. For bored advanced players or Scrubs. Of course, an exception to this rule would be if their gimmick/ability were hard to use and/or apparently useless, but gave a substantial advantage if mastered properly, in which case they would be a Lethal Joke Faction.
Also known as "the opposite of Game Breaker." Grit, for so long considered broken in Advance Wars Dual Strike, was several months ago kicked downstairs. He is currently considered the worst CO in the game. But why?

Grit's ability is that he gives Indirect units extra range and firepower on a daily basis. His weakness is an inversely proportional firepower drop for Direct units. His CO Powers further boost his Indirects with more range and more firepower. The strategy you would naturally want to use is drawing up a wall of units, usually Infantry, to protect the relatively cheap Artillery and advance as a wall. In fact, this is really his most viable strategy.

His unit focus is entirely shifted away from every other CO in the game, in that he benefits neither soldiers nor Directs. Every other CO in the game boosts at least one of these somehow. And that is where the problems begin.

The first and most obvious problem is economics. The cheapest unit Grit powers up is the Artillery, costing 6k. It is feasible to get one of these out by day 3 or 4, where it can then use Infantry to help shield itself. Contrast this with all the COs who do something for, say, Recons, a 4k unit. Recons can be feasibly made on day 2 or 3, and can then  sally forth and disrupt the enemy's capture phase. Grit can offset this advantage by building his own Recon and forgo the early Arty. No big deal, right? He can do what he needs to do. And then day 8 rolls around...

Day 8 is the magic day in AWDS. Some SCOPs are charged by then; others are being planned for. Either way, SCOPs are on one's mind. This is when Grit's "oh shit" moment hits. He doesn't have very many units that his SCOP can affect at this point; Arties are expensive, and at any rate he had to curb the advantage of the early Recon. But now he's lacking in the CO Power department while his opponent is not; his opponent has been playing to their CO Powers the whole time. He could try using his COP; same firepower as his SCOP, merely lacking range. Of course if his opponent knows their Grit theory, it's a good bet they've planned ahead for this. That leaves his SCOP. For most COs this is a no-brainer: if you need to beat your opponent to the SCOP, shred some Infantry and fire it off. Except Grit needs the meat-shields, so that's out.

His opponent fires off. Their units are in close, but Grit has now suffered losses and damage; some of which is undoubtedly his Artillery. In most cases Grit's best bet is to go ahead and light off his own SCOP, but the damage is done and he's not going to get as much juice out of it as his opponent did. If it's Kanbei or Javier, his only option is to wait out the defense boosts; especially Javier's.

This will only get worse if Grit continues trying to fight fire with fire. The more his opponent forces him to change style, the greater the advantage he hands to them. Once Copters enter the game, Grit's pretty much done: his suck, and his AAs suck at shooting them down. In the end he's just pissing away money on units he can't power up, and his opponent reaps the advantage.

So is there any hope for Grit? The honest answer is... not really. Sure, you can bias the terrain in his favor, get rid of the airports, and maybe give him a fighting chance that way. But that's it: beyond stacking the odds, you're really not going to find many uses for Grit outside the War Room. He's that bad.

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