We now look at the last of the COs who could generally be considered overpowered or broken, Kanbei.
Due to higher costs, your expansion may be slower depending on the map layout; 3 property starts are unaffected, but any maps with starting airports have you at a disadvantage. This disadvantage matters less as the game wears on due to your other advantages, though.
On a day-to-day basis your units are generally superior, but your real strength is in Samurai Spirit. Basically, unless you're fighting Hachi no one can overcome your match-up changing stats on that power, and so you gain a free turn to wreak havoc. This is also how you'll make up for slow early expansion, since later on no one can actually stop yours.
For Kanbei this match-up is neither hard nor frustrating. Aside from being generally superior, you have the firepower and defense on SCOP to just bulldoze him with no regard for safety. You can get away with a Recon build if you feel like banking on air units, but it's not necessary.
If it isn't clear by now, J0T is the easiest CO in the game to beat unless you're Grit. As long as you keep a standard Tank-Copter-AA triangle going you can't possibly lose.
J1T isn't a cakewalk but is still far from match-up changing. In a two tower match you still have a huge day-to-day firepower advantage, and there's no way he can possibly overcome your SCOP. Standard build will do.
J2T is is your tier and is a legitimate threat. In a four tower game you still have the firepower advantage, but his defense is higher and he doesn't have the price issue. First person to capture one of the other's towers will probably win, particularly if it's Javier; Kanbei's SCOP may be a match-up changer, but even he can't compete with plain old invincibility. Capturing even one of Javier's towers gives you amazing firepower, and if you're able to capture the second one you basically have your COP turned on permanently. At that point you're dealing with J0T anyway, so bulldoze him.
Lash like to play defense. So do you. And not only are you just plain better at it, but you also have firepower. Standard build will do.
We've already discussed Jake's main strategies. They're no different against you and even less effective. Again, you're basically a one-trick-pony with one hell of a trick. Standard build will do.
Sasha can take a slight tech advantage or slow down your SCOP. You can take her on day-to-day since her "tech advantage" doesn't amount to more than making it easier to maintain a Tank-Copter-AA triangle; plenty to deal with firepower, but useless on defense. She can slow down your SCOP, but she can't prevent it; and at any rate must abandon her "tech advantage"
VS Luck COs
Luck can overcome your defense. It is also very random in how it comes into effect, and you have reliable firepower. Standard build, as usual, is more than sufficient.
I realize I'm starting to sound repetitive, but there is just no variation in strategy to be had with Kanbei. Adder has movement, you have impregnable defense and therefore do not care.
Same as Adder, but with a bit of firepower and thus slightly more annoying. You have defense. You. Do. Not. Care.
He has healing, a bit of firepower, and minor movement. The healing will let him recover if you don't destroy his units. This is all fine and good, but your units are hard to kill to begin with, so there's nothing to worry about. Standard build will do.
I'm going to lay out some math for you. If a Haymaker Tank on roads attacks a Samurai Spirit that is also on roads, it will take it down to 6HP. The counterattack damage will annihilate the attacking Tank. Done the other way around, Grimm's Tank still gets annihilated. This is the power of Samurai Spirit, where you can cripple or kill units of equal tech with the counterattack damage alone, and is what I mean when I say you get a free turn to roam: the opponent can't afford to attack you even on SCOP.
You have a pretty hefty advantage in firepower. Positive defense becomes exponentially more powerful at blocking positive firepower. What I'm saying is that Grimm only does 4% above base damage to Kanbei, as opposed to his usual 30%. Negative defense works the opposite way, and Kanbei does 44% above base damage to Grimm. You could probably take him apart even if you never activated SCOP.
Sadly you don't have the same ability to one-shot Max as you do Grimm. If he tries attacking you on SCOP you'll still cripple his units, so it doesn't really matter. Standard build will pull you through.
We're still at that point in the game where movement does exactly two things, one of them being jack. As such you have very little to worry about from her, so just bull through with the standard build.
Sonja is a poor man's Kanbei, which is to say you're superior in every way that matters. If she SCOPs before you your SCOP is sufficiently powerful to catch her during post-power weakness. Take no pity on her for being family: standard build, business as usual.
With his free damage Drake can defeat your day-to-day defense. However, even a damaged unit on Samurai Spirit is extremely hard to kill, as evidenced earlier. He and the other wave damage COs will hurt your funding base more than normal due to your higher costs, but not enough for him to break through. The rain makes him one of the more difficult enemies to exploit during post-power weakness, so bear that in mind when going on the offensive during that time. It doesn't make a huge difference whether you fire off before or after Drake, but going first is always better. This is because your bar starts building up first once the powers start wearing off, and you're almost guaranteed to be first in all future exchanges. It also means your best vision units will still be alive to help you cut through the fog.
Beyond that little bit of advice, the standard build will do. Have at him.
The same economic damage applies, and the healing makes Hawke a bit more resilient to assaults. He still has nowhere near your defensive capability, though, and his firepower is far from threatening. Standard build will do.
Same economic damage applies. You still don't need to worry about the order of use for SCOP. Olaf can do some damage, but his firepower never gets higher than Grimm's day-to-day firepower, and we already know how effective that is. Standard build will do. Just slog it out until you bust through.
A note on the standard build:
Again, I know I'll get called out on this eventually. A standard build is any map-dependent build that eventually leads to a Tank-Copter-AA triangle. The actual lead-in to this will generally be either a T-Copter rush or a Recon rush depending on the map. Any build that does not lead up to this, such as Sami's Mech rush or Grit's Artillery wall, would be considered non-standard.
VS Von Bolt
He can freeze and damage a clump of units, but it's unlikely that he'll actually cut through it. He has to wait to use this until after Samurai Spirit fires off, so you should have taken a decisive advantage by then anyway. Your units are generally superior and you have better powers, so have at it.
Day-to-day she's no threat. Her SCOP can potentially defeat your defense if any units come down to 1HP, but even 4HP units on Samurai Spirit go down swinging, and she has no firepower to speak of that actually assists in easing the task. When invading Rachel's territory you'll want to be mindful of her properties since any units you damage bounce back astonishingly fast, the only downside for her being the reduced funding for reinforcements. Standard build will carry you through.
Since Kindle hammers your economy like no one else you will suffer a bit in the mid-game until you can break through. Fortunately she can't affect you until the fighting starts, so your build-up before then will be unaffected. You may need to tech down to Recons occasionally to make up the difference, but a bland Tank attacking a Samurai Spirit Recon ends with 9-7 anyway so you'll be fine. Be mindful when driving through property-heavy areas since Kindle has superior firepower there, not to mention she loves playing shenanigans with late-game capturing. I have to stress this because even though the wave damage COs do the same thing, Kindle does it too often to ignore, and capturing and production can get decimated pretty quickly.
COP-reliance makes him annoying for the same reason as Kindle, and always using it at the end of the turn can cause excess build-up that makes it come sooner. The silver lining is that he's so weak on COP that he probably won't dent you. If he gears up to SCOP you take an advantage in the order of use. Your defense let's you ignore most of the threats he normally poses, so standard build will do.
Again, tier gaps make a relatively strong CO fairly useless against you. Recons are sufficient unless Sami techs up from Mechs; and if she does, she's already lost. Spend the rest of the money on Copters; possibly something stronger should the opportunity present itself. Try and pile on enough units to keep Sami from breaking through in time for SCOP, otherwise she'll give you a bad time. If Sami does try teching up, switching to a standard build will be sufficient.
Matches against yourself, as usual, come down to skill and map layout. Neither of you can do serious damage to the other on SCOP, but whoever fires off first will catch the other with their pants down.
The only CO that's equal to you, and thus your only test of skill beyond a vs self match. Colin can tech up more quickly than you, but the defense disparity is great enough that even on a day-to-day basis his Md Tanks only do about as much damage to your Tanks as your own Tanks do to his. From there SCOP can be used to fight him to a standstill and eventually break through. Proper maintenance of a triangle is essential since you won't be competing with him technologically; you can take a pounding from the Md Tanks, but you'll need Copters to actually kill them.
Time to bring in force ranks. Soul of Hachi is a pre-requisite in this tier, but against Sensei this should be sufficient. You'll want to spam Mechs on SCOP to make up the unit count. With that done, you should have the unit count combined with the defense to advance forward and take him apart.
You're going to need the cost reducers and Mistwalker in addition to Soul of Hachi for this one. This will allow you to tech up to a degree so you can resist his assault. Expect Megatanks and Black Bombs to try overcoming your defense, so spam the Tanks and Mechs as much as you can and wear him down. Mistwalker will still use Kanbei's counter-attack firepower, so Megatanks will be less of a game changer than normal.
As you've seen, the math of this game makes high defense exceedingly difficult too overcome, and combined with the massive counter-attack damage lets you scoot by either with a free turn or a heavily damaged opponent.
We will now be in the 3rd tier for awhile, starting with Sami.