Copters (Incomplete)

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Sven

Copters (Incomplete)

Post by Sven » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:02 am

Spent a bit of time thinking about B-Copters on the subway this morning, took some notes, might polish it up later.

In general, I'm pretty divided on how I feel about the B-Copter vs how I actually end up using the copter. There are plenty of posts all over WWN where I say things like the copter is a garbage unplayable unit, or that it's only really a good unit if you're winning. I've come to realize the copter is a lot more versatile than that - I had tons of games where I build copters very early and did well. Some of those games were probably won only because I was willing to build the copter! I decided to go a little deeper.

Image

But first, the basics. Everyone knows the basic unit triangle of tank-AA-copter. 7k-8k-9k in price. Take note of how the copter is the worst in its advantaged matchup when you pull up the unit chart. Keep in mind that this problem is compounded by defense - copter vs city tank is miserable, sometimes a copter + a tank can't actually kill an enemy tank! What the hell? The other thing to note is that the B-Copter has the worst disadvantaged matchup - AA pretty much always OHKO or cripple a copter. There's no defense to save you, you're an air unit. Even a crippled AA deals (basically) 10% per HP. It feels absurd! On paper, there's no reason to build a copter, basically ever - unless you can get some sort of utility out of them.

Another minor detractor of the copter is that we have no utility airports or whatever the fudge they're called from DoR - when you take 1-2 in counter damage from using your copter, you keep that counter damage for basically the rest of the game unless you retreat and heal up.

So let's pause for a moment and make a list of the copter's advantages:

you've got the best movement type in the game, well duh. when you build from a copter, you're building from an airport instead of a base, so you get an extra infantry on the opponent. and finally, airports are located in different squares from bases - you're threatening different squares than a tank from a base is when you build a copter.

my notes get a little sloppy from here - the idea of building a copter is that you're threatening different squares than a tank from your base is. ideally, you're threatening multiple fronts as you build the copter - a single front copter is bad. the first move you make with a battlecopter from an airport should allow the copter to advance to multiple fronts and should keep your opponent guessing and make an AA build actively bad. battles with a diagonal axis are particularly good for allowing maximum copter mobility.

the dream when you build a b-copter is to force the opponent to build multiple AA. you just retreat the copter at this point and only use it during your COP/SCOP. you're a tank up for free, congrats.

the worst feeling in the world when you build a copter is when there's effectively only one front that matters in a game - maybe you have no infantry in the corners to capitalize on the copter you've built, maybe you're falling so far behind on one front your opponent KNOWS where the copter is going. the nightmare is when your opponent's single AA runs all over your infantry as you hold your copter back in some attempt to get 'value' out of it. a copter unable to attack the turn after you've moved off of the airport is a bad copter - it is not a unit that allows you to win longer, even games.

the usual thing that happens the turn after you've properly built a copter is either:

a) opp builds an AA immediately to cover one front. you pick off infantry on the other front. trade off inf aggressively on the front the AA has appeared - you aren't going to be able to keep them for long anyway.
b) opp builds his own copter - it's even.

above all

remember you don't build copters when the only cities that matter can be covered by a single AA. they're piss poor defensive units because they cost a million bucks and don't heal. you need the map to be friendly.

---
other way to use copters is when you're up a vehicle for whatever reason and you just want to end the game - 2 tank + copter vs tank + AA is way better than 3 tank vs 2 tank. pretty much anything works at that point though.

GipFace
Rank: Lord of Children Games

Re: Copters (Incomplete)

Post by GipFace » Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:34 am

I find that the AW3 b-copter is nowhere near as effective as its AW4 counterpart. It's funny because people once thought the AW4 copter was actually nerfed. (see here)

I'll keep the AW4 talk to a minimum because this thread is about AW3. But in AW4, the b-copter has 70bd vs. tank (AW3 = 55bd), the DEF shift weakened terrain defense, and you have air specialist COs (Waylon/Tasha) who boost DEF, meaning their COU b-copters can take a direct antiair hit and live to tell the tale. Eagle 120A b-copter deals 46% to a 10hp tank on city. Waylon COU b-copter (150A) deals 84% to that same 10hp tank on city. QED.

In AW3, I find that I build b-copters mostly for the +1 unit count. I also tend to build more of them in a 2-base game with 15-18 props than a 3-base game. 2 tanks are $14k, so eventually you bank enough money for a b-copter. I will never cut a base build for a b-copter in AW3. All the issues Sven stated are true: b-copters are glass cannons, and the only way to heal is to join. Also, if b-copter vs. tank is 55bd, and tank vs. tank is 55bd, then why not just build a tank in the first place? In a 3-base game, I won't build more than a single b-copter. 3 vehicles or 2 vehicles + inf, then bank for 3 vehicles is the game plan unless I'm using a soldier-boost CO.

You pay a premium for the b-copter for its movement, but also because it's immune to artillery. But it seems artillery is marginalized in AW3 due to the fast power charging. When you SCOP, you want a bunch of units who can take advantage of the boosts your SCOP grants. And with SCOPs going off on days 10-12, you need to focus on direct-fire units as early as possible. Other than Grit, who actually wants to build lots of artillery?

- None of the mass damage COs want to build artillery because you want direct units to clean up the 8hp units before they retreat and heal.
- Jess boosts artillery but would rather have many tanks and antiair to take advantage of +2 MP.
- All the +MP COs would rather use direct-fire units too.
- Luck COs don't benefit too much because enemy units have to already be in range when you use the SCOP.

It's not that artillery is bad, it's just that I won't build more than a handful unless the game is all but decided. Powers don't help out artillery that much, and if you build too many of them, you'll be black bombed. So with less artillery around, the b-copter loses much of its purpose.

I feel that apart from the front switching that Sven described, the best use of a b-copter is to slam it and get ~1.4* for 1 unit: 1.2* for losing your b-copter, and .15-.25* for dealing 4-5hp to an enemy tank, or 6-7hp to an infantry. Note how you get about the same charge despite what you target!

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Sven

Re: Copters (Incomplete)

Post by Sven » Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:04 am

I really think the lack of artillery is just a style and better maps thing. I don't think you've ever really felt how miserable it feels when someone plants an arty on the only city the map allows you to really have a chance of taking. But that's really another topic in itself.

GipFace
Rank: Lord of Children Games

Re: Copters (Incomplete)

Post by GipFace » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:17 am

We should play on

http://awbw.amarriner.com/prevmaps.php?maps_id=58092

Cuz it's S-Rank and it was the map where Ultra Storm built 354895 units

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