An unconventional American strategy has been making the rounds on GR.org these last few days, which involves picking Infantry Company, building 4 Engineers and 2 Observation Posts right off the bat, followed by numerous Flamethrower upgrades and the liberal use of Mines.
Noobtastic, right? Not so, my fellow Romans. Marinez, the entrepreneurial individual who posted this strategy on GR.org, backs up this seemingly random unit mix with a slew of replays against top Axis players, Wehrmacht and Panzer Elite. It’s just crazy enough to work. NOTE: Screens from replays by Marinez.
Having attempted this strategy a few times and having watched Marinez’s replays, I will attempt an objective analysis of the strengths and weaknesses, as well as provide a decent guide for anyone wishing to try this strat. NOTE: Vitensby, of former Tales of Heroes fame, quickly tried to stake a claim on this strat, as if he had somehow copyrighted it and should be acknowledged for doing a 4-Engy start way back in the day. His claims may be safely ignored, for the 4ES strategy is both singularly distinctive and was made with considerable foresight.
In my opinion, this is best used as anti-PE strat, but more on that later. This strat relies on six absolutely critical elements. They are these:
1.) Observation Posts or OPs, deployed immediately (literally within the first 60 seconds of the game) on the nearest +10 and +16 munitions points.
The early OPs serve two purposes, one they generate lots of XP, and building two OPs gives you half a CP instantly. Second and most obviously, they boost your munitions income by a lot, from the beginning of the match. This in turn will allow you to spam flamers and mines.
2.) Flamethrowers on multiple Engineers, and quickly.
Multiple Flamers make it impossible for the enemy to focus fire and eliminate the threat of a single charging Flamer squad. Flamers make Engies extremely powerful vs. infantry, obviously, as they scattered squads and do extra damage to units in cover.
3.) The consistent use of well-placed mines throughout the match, with heavy emphasis on using Flamer Engies to lure enemy squads and vehicles into these mines early on.
Again, the purpose is twofold: building a mine gives you +2 XP, moving you closer to Rangers (see #6 below), and of course mines also kill enemy squads and restrict their movement. An enemy squad pursuing your Flame engy runs into a mine, gets suppressed/pinned, loses one or more members, then must immediately face your Flame Engy, which has turned on them after leading them into the mine
4.) An early Triage Center, which can be afforded easily since you will not build a Barracks or Weapon Support Center (WSC) right away.
It is possible for your Flame Engies to have low health, even when fully reinforced. This makes it likely they will die instantly under fire. The Triage Center heals your Engies, so you will never have useless low-health-but-fully-reinforced Flamers. It also provides XP for being built, and will be useful later on when you call in Rangers.
5.) An early Sniper, who will provide you with much of the XP you need for Rangers by sniping high-value Axis infantry squad members such as Panzer Grenadiers.
The Sniper will be a constant thorn in your enemy’s side in this strat, because you will keep your Sniper positioned behind mines, causing pursuing troops to run into mines on the Sniper’s flank and in front of him. Your Flame Engies will also protect your Sniper.
6.) Early Rangers, whose arrival is hastened by the large amounts of XP that are guaranteed by building OPs, mines, Triage Center, WSC, Medic Tent and (possibly) Supply Depot, in this approximate order.
Relatively early Rangers are absolutely essential to this strategy. If you have done everything right, you will get your 3 CPs for Rangers and your first Rangers will arrive around the 8-9 minute mark, hopefully in time to head off lethal anti-infantry vehicles like the PE’s Armored Car or Wehrmacht’s Puma or Flammenwurfer Halftrack.
VIP Unit: Rangers. These “tough sumbitches” (to quote SayNotoStim’s excellent Tier 2 Terror Guide) are the single most important unit in this strategy, as every you do is intended to delay the enemy’s progress and expedite your CP growth so you can get Rangers. I said earlier this strategy was made with some foresight. Each structure helps your Engies last long enough to keep spamming mines and buying time needed for Rangers, the VIP unit.
A total of 180 XP is required to gain 3 CPs, which is the number you need to call in Rangers. Building 2 OPs, 1 WSC and 1 Triage Center will give you about 68 XP. It is entirely reasonable to assume you will also place at least 5 mines, for an additional 10 XP. Building a Medic Tent will net you another 12 XP. And if you get the fuel, building a Supply Depot will give you another 12 XP. You also earn XP for every point you hold. Each point gives you 0.01 XP per second, and VPs do not count. It is no longer possible to be mathematically precise, as we can only guess how much territory you will hold. But we can make a reasonable assumption: If you hold a mere 5 points for one minute, you get 3 XP. It will probably take between 6-8 minutes for the first lethal vehicles (PE’s AC on the low end, Puma/Flammenwurfer on the high end) to appear, so let’s say the average is about 20 XP, to give a figure on the low end. This results in a total of 122 XP, bringing you 2/3 of the way to Rangers, and this math so far assumes you have neither lost a single unit nor killed a single enemy unit, which will of course also give you XPs. So you won’t have to kill very many units at all to get enough CPs for Rangers.*
**NOTE: This thorough if tiresome mathematical analysis would not be possible without Sturmtruppen, the man who also brought you the old Stormtrooper spam + veterancy + Tigers strategy in vCOH. I tip my hat to Sturm, who is truly a bulwark of the COH community, bless his soul. All this data and my calculations are based on information from Sturm’s website, COH-Stats.
***Yojimbo252 from GR.org was good enough to point out that if you put your first CP in Rapid Deployment (the first ability on the left-hand Infantry Company tree), you will reset the CP requirement, meaning you need 180 XP for Rangers, not 200 XP as was previously stated. So REMEMBER TO PUT YOUR FIRST CP INTO RAPID RESPONSE ASAP!
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