Monday, August 27, 2012

AWDS Match-Ups Part 7: Kindle

We now delve into the master of economic deconstruction, Kindle.

Typical for this tier, Kindle has a somewhat unusual strategy. With yet another COP-centered strategy, you will target the enemy's economy directly by hindering captures and forcing repairs. The enemy then expands slower and either has to tech down or build fewer units. When reinforcements do arrive they are stuck at 9HP unless the enemy wastes even more money on repairs. Either way their forces will be weaker, making your assaults more successful.

You'll also be using Urban Blight for a 3-part assault on property centers. First part is using the damage it causes to knock enemies off of their properties. Second part is parking on those properties, preferably in the same move, and using the firepower you gain to start beating back the enemy line. After that, park an Infantry on it and start capturing. This is most useful for capturing production facilities, but can also be used on maps like Hourglass Isle (or in a similar vain) to annihilate property choke-points and punch through.

VS Grit
As usual, an easy match-up. You don't have a good way of blasting through Grit's line immediately, but you can nip at it and build up star power to fiddle with his production. Sooner or later he'll either have a hilariously low unit count or a front line thinner than the paper you may or may not be printing these guides on. You'll take heavy losses in the meantime, but he won't gain any ground either.

VS Javier
Without towers Javier is... why am I repeating myself? He's a null CO, you're not: go kill him.

In a two tower match you still outclass him. He has a bit of defense, you have a bit of economic devastation. Just whittle down his force while whittling down his funds and sooner or later you'll be doing better than "whittling."

A four tower match is tricky as usual. If there are six tiers with 1 being the worst and 6 being the best, J2T is tier four and a half. Technically he's as strong as 5th tier Colin and Kanbei, but the 4th tier has the potential to snag a tower from him and knock him back down to tier 3. This is also what you'll be focusing on. Ideally you'd want to keep him from snagging the second tower in the first place, but the map would have to permit that. In fact beating him in the first place requires that each player's second tower be accessible to the other at all. You're already at a disadvantage, and if he gets one of your towers... well, J3T is so powerful the concept of tiers pretty much doesn't apply.

VS Lash
Lash has no appreciable firepower to threaten you with; pretty much the story of her life. Same goes for SCOP defense which, if you recall, amounts to less than what J1T would get. As such there are exactly two things she can do to counter your main tactic, one of them being jack. Fire off COP until her front line stops getting reinforced.

VS Jake
With his plains boost he's basically a more offense-geared Lash. He also has the same issue with his firepower not being that impressive. Fire off COP, strangle him until he's no longer a threat.

VS Sasha
Sasha has an easier time maintaining a triangle and doing some mid-game tech. This is made easier by delaying powers. Your strategy is the polar opposite of Sasha's, but she's just fast enough to COP before you do. Fortunately Sasha has a hard time delaying COPs more than a single day, and yours is easily powerful enough to be a SCOP instead. After the first few uses of Market Crash the power cost will have increased enough that Sasha won't be able to slow down Urban Blight too much. Sasha doesn't make quit enough money to fully offset the repair costs, and of course has no answer to free damage. Sasha doesn't take any longer to beat than other COs in this tier; she just trades power boosts for power nullification, which has about an equivalent effect.

VS Luck COs
With no meaningful difference between them and nothing at all reliable about them, you can safely approach all three of these COs much like Jake and Lash. Just strangle them until they can't keep up their unit count properly.

VS Adder and Koal
No point separating them when they're basically the same CO. Anyway, both of them will try to bum rush you with their extra movement. Unlike their more successful counterpart from the last article, these guys can't really move stuff up if you hurt their ability to buy said stuff. Nothing that isn't covered in the overview.

VS Andy
Andy has a bit of movement, a bit of firepower, and free healing. Movement we've already dealt with: he can't move it if he can't build it. For firepower, even your day-to-day property firepower is higher, and it will always be there when you get to tough center zones you need to crack. As for healing: it's a problem for weakening his line, but the funding drain combined with the firepower disparity makes it a non-issue.

VS Grimm
Man oh man have I been looking forward to this one, mainly because of this debate. Instead of my usual guide I'm going to build off of the overview and show why Bronze's argument managed to get so off course.

It's simple to see where Bronze's argument goes wrong: even though he manages to name all of Kindle's main strengths, his argument is based on Kindle's firepower and, by extension, her SCOP. I didn't bother mentioning her SCOP before because it's next to useless compared to her COP. At +3 points of firepower per property you need at least 17 properties to even equal Grimm's COP firepower (after the default boost). Sure, you gain a shit-ton of firepower on properties, but you already get that on COP. By the time this would even be useful, which is towards the end of the game, COP would still be more useful still as a means of beating Grimm's tech base down to soldier level and knocking units off of his last bases for capturing, assuming your opponent doesn't say "good game" long before that.

Biggabertha recognized the flaw in this logic and pounced on it, making the point that if Kindle is played for firepower, Grimm totally out-classes her. (Incidentally demonstrating the whole point of these articles, which is to help you avoid these pitfalls.) Played for firepower Kindle has the same problems as Jake and Lash: her bonus is too situational. This is why Urban Blight, not High Society, is what you must use to beat Grimm: you can't use properties for firepower if you can't knock enemies off in the first place.

By beating down his tech base and ravaging him from his own properties rather than trying to beat him at his own game, Grimm is easy enough to defeat. He'll put the hurt on you toward the beginning, but the funding drain means that Grimm won't have the late-game staying power to compete.

VS Max
Many of the points about Grimm also apply to Max. While there's no weakness to capitalize on, Max won't put on the hurt to quite the same degree as Grimm on a day-to-day basis The strategy is the same: drain his economy until his front line starts to crumble, then pounce.

VS Jess
She's a combination of movement and firepower, and has the same problems as both CO types against Kindle. There's no point to movement or firepower if you don't have the economy to sustain an equal tech level. Jess will be dangerous in the early game, but as more power exchanges are made you'll weaken her economy enough to just out-tech her.

Maybe I should elaborate. In an even property match-up you're not exactly going to beat someone down a whole tech level below you. What you're mostly ruining at first is their ability to maintain a triangle. By ruining their triangle you can go in and snag a property, and that's when the tech and unit count advantages really start to peek through.

VS Sonja
Sonja relies on your unwillingness to attack her during SCOP. As long as you don't do any same-unit or worse attacks you'll mostly be fine. Meanwhile, wear down her fund base like you do with any other CO.

VS Drake
We're in your tier finally. Drake does the same financial damage you do, hurts your front line, and hides his guys. You inflict your damage about twice as fast, though. Ultimately this will come down to you collapsing Drake's economy before he can wear down the overall health and unit count of your front line. When there are no more neutrals and you take a property lead, it's fairly downhill from there.

VS Hawke
Similar to Drake, but the secondary threat is repairs. Since Hawke repairs units for free he won't have to combine damaged units for health and funds in response to the 3HP damage you deal, and of course it makes his front line self-sustaining to a degree. However, you are nearly guaranteed to get a 2-to-1 ratio on power usages for the first two or three rounds of power exchange, so he'll only nullify every second COP. Cost increase will slow you down, but if the match actually lasts long enough for you to pass ten uses then this is only a temporary problem.

Oh, and of course you need to be careful of his firepower. It's no much on paper, but combined with mass damage and healing it's a real pain in the ass to deal with. You're pitting your passive attrition against his aggressive attrition, and while evenly matched it is not fun.

VS Olaf
While Olaf may be a tad more powerful than Hawke, he is at least less aggravating to fight. It's firepower and mass damage. Nothing you don't already know how to handle. Olaf doesn't do attrition at all, and is a pure aggression CO. The entire point of your strategy is countering aggression. Just destroy his economy before Winter Fury destroys yours.

VS Von Bolt
I'm going to say this right now, Von Bolt is not fun to fight no matter who you play as. It's amazing how much   110/110 stats screws around with match-ups when your own CO is mostly bland. Your biggest difficulty with fighting Von Bolt will be gaining ground. Von Bolt resists your attacks, hurts you as much as Hawke does, and when he hits SCOP he hits hard. It's imperative that you not clump your units when Ex Machina is about to hit or else you're giving Von Bolt two free moves to just bull through your force. If he does that, you're done.

As long as you can dodge the blast, your only real challenge is punching through his defense. There are two ways to reduce a triangle: not needing AAs, and being forced to build many AAs. A Tank/AA build is weaker since those units take up the same production slot. Force Von Bolt into a Tank/AA build by attacking with a Tank/Copter build. Do not build AAs yourself, just wreck his economy until he must gear down. Once he does that, punish him.

VS Rachel
On paper she should be similar to Von Bolt, but Rachel goes much more for offense than that CO. She's about as bland as you are day-to-day, but her SCOP is cheaper than Vonny's and she gets three missiles from it. You won't get paralyzed by this, but at least one front will get reduced to 4HP, and some units may get down to 1. Since it happens so often, you can't really spread out every single time this power hits since all you'd be doing is trading a damaged front line for a non-existent one. Another thing in her favor is that your COP really only fires off 1.5x more often than hers. The good news is that Rachel fully heals from your COP. That may sound bad for you, but it really means that her funding base gets hit harder than normal. As such, unit counts will be just about even, and you'll generally have an easier time maintaining a triangle. Force her into a Tank/AA build and punish her.

VS Kindle
As with any versus match, you must follow the philosophy of "do unto others first." If your opponent is dumb enough to play Kindle for firepower rather than economy damage, educate him.

VS Eagle
We sort of covered this last post. Eagle has a COP-centered tactic similar to yourself. This entire match is going to be defined by who gets COP first. If you get it first, the order of use will always favor you. You will be able to wreck Eagle's economy before he can empty his bases. This robs Eagle of the necessary funds to do his usual build, so he must sacrifice what is easily his greatest strength. If he does it first, your greatest strength is basically useless except to slow down captures. So you can see it's important that you get the first use.

VS Sami
This is an extremely tough match. Your COP won't do much to slow down captures on its own, since even at 7HP Sami's soldiers can continue moving from city to city capturing in two turns. The biggest godsend you can give yourself is hurting her Copter production: the way they complement her Mechs is easily Sami's biggest strength on the offensive. If Sami must choose between Mechs and Copters, she has to go with Mechs for her SCOP to do anything. When your own Copter assault begins, Sami has to tech up, and in doing so nullify her SCOP anyway. This is the strategy you must pursue in order to defeat her. While it may sound easier by my description, Sami's build is very formidable and you can easily start losing properties if you're not careful.

VS Kanbei
As usual, force ranks are necessary. You know the set: Gold Rush, Sale Price, Fire Sale, Combat Pay. You'll play as somewhat of a hybrid of your own strategy and that of Colin. Since Kanbei's expansion is slower and yours is marginally faster, particularly on a T-Copter map, it's entirely possible that you'll take all the center bases before Kanbei even finishes his natural expansions. Unfortunately, if numbers were all it took to take Kanbei down this would be an easy match. Even from a bad position, Kanbei's near-invulnerability on SCOP gives him a free move to not lose any units, capture whatever he wants, and generally block you off from making any progress yourself. You probably think dealing and compounding damage with Urban Blight would help, but even at 4HP Kanbei's SCOP counterattacks can lay on the pain while maybe taking 1HP of damage himself in a same-unit fight. You can also forget about slowing down any captures, since the defense from properties combined with Samurai Spirit brings those units to just a hair under being invincible.

Tech up, out-produce him, bring the hammer down with COP, and pray to God you beat him down before he gets to the center.

VS Colin
This is as difficult as Kanbei for different reasons; use the same skill set, by the way. Colin expands as fast as you do and techs up a whole heck of a lot faster. You can even the odds a bit with Urban Blight, but if Colin gets comfortable enough to start using Power of Money you're basically done. Follow the old saying: do unto others first.

VS Hachi and Sensei
No point separating them, as you can't beat either one even with force ranks. You can't get the tech to compete with Sensei's numbers even if you use Soul of Hachi, nor can you get the tech to compete with Hachi's, er, tech. This is actually true for all of the 4th tier: for whatever reason capturing, double moves, and mass damage are just really shitty at complementing the force ranks needed for this tier.

Final Notes
Kindle demonstrates the need for maintaining a strong economy in this game. If you have trouble building units, or need to choose between using many damaged reinforcements and a few joined ones, your opponent can just walk all over you with a normal build even if it's relatively bland. The only COs who counter this are the ones who have better economies to begin with.

Next up is Rachel, where we'll be examining the effects of missile damage in depth.

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