Now we hop down into the 5th tier to look at an often misunderstood CO, Colin.
Between his day-to-day and COP, Colin's main tactic is going to be achieving a massive tech advantage. On some maps where every CO might not be able to fill their bases after producing a T-Copter, the lower costs also help you do some early back-tracking. The funding snowball of these two factors allows you to produce Md Tanks by day 10, sometimes without even having to fire off COP first. You can fire off COP at any point in the turn, but always make sure to use it before spending any money for maximum effect. SCOP should only be used with at least 15k funds, preferably 18k or more. (SCOP is +1 firepower for every 300 funds. Think of it as +10 for every 3k to more easily keep track of it.) The default boost will bump you up to base firepower, so whatever you get from your money is how far above base you are.
Your strategy should be primarily COP-centered, as the benefits of having lots of Md Tanks to soak up damage tend to out-weigh the benefits of firepower. You should also consider building a Fighter or two to take care of Copters so that you don't need to waste money on AAs. If the choice presents itself, always build a Bomber instead of a Neotank; they do the same amount of damage and are more mobile.
As stated above, use SCOP only when you have in excess of 15k funds. Use it sparingly, as it is less powerful than most other firepower SCOPs. The benefit of Power of Money is combining firepower with high tech - if you haven't spent most of the game teching up then there's no point using it.
This match is pretty easy, if a bit annoying. When teching, focus more on air units than land. This distracts Grit from Artillery production, making his powers less destructive, and making him easier to deal with. As long as you keep up Tank production the AAs won't trouble you much. On the off chance this match doesn't include airports, bank on SCOP and shred his line before you start teching up. Throwing Md Tanks at him is a waste of money before the line is broken since he can burn through them almost as fast as regular Tanks, and you aren't a spam CO.
Javier0T is easier than Grit since there's no firepower involved. SCOP isn't necessary unless you're bored. Just tech up and take him apart.
J1T -which is to say Javier in a two tower match- still requires little effort on your part to beat. Nothing outside of what's stated in the overview is required to beat him, and once you've taken his tower you'll gain a rare firepower advantage for Colin.
J2T -to clarify, a four tower match- is in your tier, so it's possible to lose the match. The nice thing about this match is that it starts you out above base firepower, so anytime you must use SCOP you'll have an extra +20 bonus above what you can normally count on. J2T is similar to Kanbei, but without the price increase; and also without the super counter-attacks on SCOP. As with any game against Javier, your goal is to seize his towers and hold onto your own.
If the last two posts didn't drive the point home, the best defense Lash ever gets (mountains on SCOP) is equivalent to Javier with one tower sitting on that same terrain with SCOP. Nor is the firepower all that worrisome, as that same piece of terrain grants +40 firepower on SCOP. Wee. Anyone remember when she didn't suck?
Approach like a slightly more annoying Javier. Tech up, take her apart.
As usual, Jake powers let him choose between sticking with a conventional build or converting into a Grit build after getting established. Before that establishing point, treat him like Lash without the defense. If you see a Grit build, just chip away at it until he switches back.
Just to clarify, when I say Jake does a Grit build I don't mean he buys Artillery at the expense of Tanks. It's my shorthand for an old argument I once heard that, "Grit can build directs if his wall becomes too threatened." I guess you could say in his dream build, Grit builds whatever is necessary to defend his wall. Jake can wall up like Grit due to his powers and can actually pursue this dream build. I'm not saying it's a great strategy, but if COs at this level had great strategies they wouldn't be at this level.
Colin's sister can actually threaten you a bit with tech. She can even delay your firepower boost once you start banking. That's the extent of what this match means for you, though. Due to the order and magnitude of her powers her focus is fairly divided between tech and power delay, while your focus proceeds in a linear fashion from tech to firepower. (Kind of the reason Colin is broken and Sasha is unerpowered, really.) Things will go a bit slower, but Old Reliable works as well against Sasha as anyone else.
VS Luck COs
I really hate trying to categorize luck since it can either be game breaking or a guarantee of loss. In any case, these COs might give you anything from minor annoyances to Infantry beating down Md Tanks. Either way, tech up and then bank on firepower; and as a reminder, don't let tech cause you to fall behind on unit count.
Javier with movement. He'll bring up reinforcements a little faster, but beyond that he's no threat. Keel heem.
Same as Adder, but with firepower. The firepower isn't much more than you face with Jake, though he does get it on a terrain type just about guaranteed to be on most maps in large quantities. Tech up, bank for SCOP, blast him.
As with anyone else fighting him, don't expect to get anywhere just chipping away at him. Tech up, bank for SCOP, blow him to bits, but ensure kills so his SCOP is less useful. Makes him less annoying.
One of the few matches where you'll actually out-tech and out-gun the opponent. Well, maybe not out-gun exactly, but you will do better than bland damage. Grimm can put a dent in your units, which is more than can be said for most of the previous COs. Beyond that he presents no problems for you. Tech up, bank on SCOP.
I know I'm going to get called out if certain individuals read this so let me clarify: teching up includes the heavy use of COP. If you use SCOP before day 20 you're doing it wrong, and even that's pushing it unless I give a more specific emphasis.
Not as great a weakness to exploit as Grimm, but he has less firepower to throw at you as well. (Recall: Grimm's footsoldiers.) Just stick with Old Reliable.
She's a threat on land since she combines firepower with mobility. Of course, this threat is overshadowed by the inability of both firepower and movement to effectively deal with tech, and she lacks any airborne firepower to speak of. She does have the ability to refuel and re-arm, so if you're playing a map with large barren areas like Nell's Land that's worth keeping in mind. Other than that tech up, bank for SCOP, let loose.
The main threat from Sonja is first strike counter-attacks turning back assaults. What this does is make your Tanks unable to attack hers, and so on and so forth. What it does not do is change match-ups. You have tech. Ta-da!
As usual, Drake can attack your economy and hide while doing it. What he cannot do is hurt your ability to spam COP and tech up, as your powers are so disjointed that unless he decides to gear down to COP himself their effects will probably never interact. Even if your COP ever does interact with mass damage, your units are so cheap that Drake should never put you in a position where you can't even build Infantry. Besides that, mass damage alone isn't quite enough to allow Tanks to threaten Md Tanks. Tech up, bank for SCOP, blast him.
Probably less of a threat than Drake since you can actually see his units post-power. The healing makes him annoying, but he's no Andy in that department and you have tech. You'll have two, possibly three COPs fire off before he ever fires off SCOP, which puts you at a massive advantage in tech that offsets any ill effects of mass damage. Just fire that thing off at every blasted opportunity until you're ready to bank up and, er, blast him.
Of the three wave damage COs, Olaf is probably the most threatening to Colin. The firepower combined with mass damage will allow his Tanks and Copters to put a dent in any teched up units you have. Not enough to defeat you, mind you, but enough that Olaf will slow you down and generally annoy you throughout the match. The sooner you bank and blast his line, the faster this annoyance goes away.
VS Von Bolt
Von Bolt isn't fun to deal with. At all. Annoying as his freezing missile is, however, it's unlikely that he'll break down your tech advantage. Even if he manages to kill whatever units he freezes, your ability to bounce back is sufficient to overcome this. Like with Hawke, you can expect to use COP two or three times before this missile ever hits you, and it's likely you'll be set to SCOP-blast him before the second use.
Even less fun than Von Bolt. Rachel has a random shot at being able to overcome your tech for a turn if she knocks anything down to 4HP. Your ability to bounce back is enough to overcome this, but it's very annoying to deal with. Unlike Señor Bolt, you will not be firing off COP a billion times before this power gets used, so you'll just have to hunker down and deal with it. You probably won't be using SCOP in this match.
Her COP being so close to yours makes Kindle kind of funny to fight. Ideally she wants to hit you after you use COP so she can shut you down for a day with the repair costs; quite enough to defeat you, in fact. However, your day-to-day is more than sufficient to achieve a slight tech advantage, so you can force her to play her hand before you ever light off. If she takes too long, light off SCOP even if it's a bit weak at that point in the game. In fact if the Kindle player really wants to go down that route, Colin is more than capable of slugging it out as a firepower CO with her, because his day-to-day tech ability is just that good even without COP.
The other alternative is that Kindle is actually dumb enough to try using COP before you do. The funding drain will make your COP a little less effective, but still far better than what you usually haul. Depending on how far you charged in the meantime, you might actually be able to do it twice in a row, though you do risk getting hit by Kindle's COP that time. At that point it probably won't matter.
Okay, I lied, there's a third option related to the first. Just never light off. If neither of you light off Colin will win. Kindle will have to light off something eventually, and at that point you could just COP twice if you wanted to. There's no way Kindle can hurt your economy at this point; you're probably winning already anyway.
Back in annoyance territory. Eagle can peck away at your, but can't actually threaten your tech advantage once you get it going. Just go with Old Reliable.
Kind of a threat. She runs a Mech-Copter economy that is very, very hard to break. It's very easy to fall into the AA trap with Sami, trying to chase down her Copters while getting shot up by Mechs. Tech down to an Infantry-Recon build and bank on a Fighter or two to deal with the Copters instead. After that you can return to Old Reliable and break the deadlock.
You're just about an even match with Kanbei. What he lacks in his ability to keep tech parity with you, he makes up for with a match-up altering SCOP. Even day-to-day, your Md Tanks only do 61% damage to his Tanks. Bland Tanks do 55% damage to other Tanks, that's not a small difference. It doesn't quite go two ways, but once SCOP lights off... well, let's do some math:
I won't bore you with the gory details, but a Samurai Spirit Tank attacking one of your Md Tanks ends with 8-8 or 8-7 favoring the Tank. That means a small mob can kill or cripple them without much in the way of consequences. On the other hand, because of how counterattacks work on this power if your Md Tank tries this the other way around, it'll end with 7-7 or 7-6.
The point being, while you achieve offensive and defensive superiority by managing money, Kanbei does the same simply by existing. His SCOP digs him in so much that you pretty much can't attack during it if you want to maintain your advantage. You're only going to beat Kanbei by banking on SCOP until the center breaks, because with the defense disparity you are just not going to win this match with tech. Besides, you have enough of a tech advantage just by the day-to-day alone.
Ah, yes, the vs self match. Beyond map layout, this match comes down to who blinks first. The first person to bank on SCOP is also the one who will probably lose while the other one takes a tech advantage.
Okay, you need force ranks for this one. As a spam CO, the only way to beat Sensei is to become a spammer yourself; ergo, the Soul of Hachi force. You also need the cost-reducers and Gold Rush; the force, not the CO Power. This brings you down to 67% costs with Sasha income. With that, bank on SCOP and only SCOP. Sensei will run for the unit limit, so blast him for all you're worth (literally) and spam on that turn. Focus on tech only on a day-to-day basis. The idea is that hopefully your high-tech units all last long enough to deal more than their share of kills in order to knock down Sensei's unit count.
Use the same force set. You can out-tech Hachi on a day-to-day basis, but Hachi gets SCOP sooner and techs up cheaper that turn. You're probably the superior CO with this set, but you can't swap out to make it more fair because removing even one force rank bumps you back down to having a disadvantage. In any case, tech up daily and spam on SCOP after blasting the shit out of him.
Colin is good due to a combination of tech and firepower. High tech units are harder to kill and do more damage, and his SCOP magnifies that firepower into something truly frightening. You can probably tell from the stats on Kanbei that firepower doesn't do jack to nullify tech. (Defense, on the other hand...) Mass damage can't really hurt the economy of a CO with low costs and free money either. This is pretty much how you tell where to put a break in tier lists: when defeating the COs below a certain point becomes child's play.
Up next is Kanbei. Stay tuned.