In-depth: Beating the 4ES Strategy

The 4ES strat is extremely vulnerable before Rangers arrive
After seeing all the hype surrounding the 4ES strategy created by MarinezReborn, I decided to find a good way to beat it and share it with you all. After a few days of watching replays and practicing, I played Marinez three separate times to test my ideas on how to counter it. It is a creative and flexible strategy, however I believe I have a viable counter to it using the Panzer Elite.

The Basic Strategy as PE
– Build 1 Kettenrad and 3 Panzer Grenadiers
– Choose Luftwaffe Doctrine (for cloaked Kettens)
– Send both Kettens to fuel immediately, and link up afterwards.

Send 2 PGs to guard one Ketten and the fuel it captures, 3rd PG builds a KampfGruppe Kompanie and moves wherever needed. 1st PG squad out should buy G43s.

Build a halftrack and send that out to wherever your PGs need support, try to hold onto fuel as much as possible.

Build another halftrack and use that as needed, when you’re guarding fuel make sure you are attacking your opponent and denying him munitions.

From now on you need to use your adaptability and intuition to make decisions. Generally after this point it is a good idea to rush a P4 out to deal with the rangers and WSC units once and for all, however every situation is different. In general remember these tips: (click link to continue!)

#1 Keep the fuel flowing. The faster you can get a Panzer IV infantry support tank after the halftracks, the better.

#2 Kettens can ‘defend’ your territory. If engineers are trying to capture some of your points send a kettenrad to capture the American player’s points. Often the American will send the engineers to get the ketten to stop capturing his territory, which means hes no longer capturing yours. At worst both players traded a relatively equal amount of territory, and at best the American couldn’t capture anything until the ketten was dealt with (and they have camo, so that takes a long time). A good example of this is in my 3rd replay (Langres) against Marinez.

#3 Escort your halftracks with Kettens (preferably stealthed). Kettens detect mines and snipers, but don’t have the ability to take them out. Halftracks excel at taking out both, but can’t reveal either. This makes the Ketten/Halftrack pair a great one in this situation.

#4 Keep the PGs close. Individual PG squads are easily overwhelmed by Flame Engies/groups of regular Engies, however if they stick together they become much harder for the Engy squads to kill.

How 4ES works
I believe explaining why a strategy works is just as important as explaining the details of the strategy itself, so this next section will go over why I build three pgs at the start instead of two, and the reasons behind other details. To start, I decided to do my own brief analysis on the strengths and weaknesses of the 4ES, and then look for a counter from there.

Strengths:
Capping power – the 4ES strategy provides the American player with unparalleled capturing power. Once the strategy gets going, there are something like 4-5 Engies running around doing nothing but taking points.

WSC – The WSC without a barracks works for 4ES because it backs up the strong capturing power of many engineers with the brute power of WSC units. Snipers constantly drain manpower from the opponent, while MGs can hold important points.

Rangers – Rangers are basically super Rifle squads that have bazookas and Fire-up. They can also upgrade to Thompsons, which will give them even better anti-infantry capabilities. However, the bazookas are not effective at countering heavy armor on their own. You will lose way too many expensive Ranger squad-members, while many bazooka rounds will bounce off the P4.

Weaknesses:
Engineers – At the core of the 4ES strategy is one unit, the Engineer. It is up to him to do most of the early fighting, capturing, and defending. The Engineer is cheap but not strong. Placed in a 1v1 situation against almost any infantry unit it will lose. Therefore, the American player must outnumber his opponent’s infantry in almost all situations if he hopes to win a fight. If the PE player groups or ‘blobs’ his PGs, engineers will have difficulty beating them because it is difficult to outnumber them when they are together.

WSC units – Because of the all the engineer units that are involved with this strategy, the WSC units don’t receive good support until rangers. Engineers do not make good guards to watch the flanks of an MG or prevent a Sniper from being overrun. This makes the first few WSC units (before rangers) fairly easy to deal with.

Heavy reliance on munitions – Mines, Flamethrowers, Thompsons and other upgades and abilities all require munitions. This means the American player will need to defend as many of his munitions points as possible. Because the American player needs his munition points so badly, it is easy to draw him into a fight by attacking them. If most of the American player’s units are engineers, he will probably lose this fight, giving the PE player and advantage.

After looking at the advantages/disadvantages, it is clear that there is going to be a lot of capturing going on. Seeing as there will only be a few engineers at the start, a PE player can get away with building 2 kettens to do his capturing, giving him a decent amount of capturing power himself. The 2 kettens make it fairly easy to recapture any territory lost by engineers (once they’ve been scared off of course). Next, I build 2 PGs and sent them out to guard a major fuel point. Both PGs need to go together otherwise they will be overrun by engineers. They will probably be busy out in the field, so a 3rd PG squad is needed to build the Kampfgruppe Kompanie. The 2 halftracks provide a good counter to the engineers and WSC units, especially with kettens by their side. This is because they are fast enough to flank MG units, and are not affected by sniper fire. Engineers can’t hold a candle to them, so wherever they go they are likely to win a fight. They also are great for swatting away engineer units capturing your territory, and then moving to support kettens capturing something.

With the early game under control, the next step is to get a Panzer IV infantry support tank out. This makes a great counter to Rangers (who would otherwise counter your infantry halftracks). The Panzer IV can’t get hurt by any WSC units, making the WSC useless once they are on the field. Finally, the Panzer IV is difficult to counter without a Motor Pool, something the American player won’t get until very late with a 4ES strategy.

Replays
Game 1 vs Marinez (Angoville)
http://www.gamereplays.org/CompanyofHeroes/replays.php?game=25&tab=upcoming&show=details&id=35992

Game 2 vs Marinez (Semois)
http://www.gamereplays.org/CompanyofHeroes/replays.php?game=25&tab=upcoming&show=details&id=35993

Game 3 vs Marinez (Langres)http://www.gamereplays.org/CompanyofHeroes/replays.php?game=25&tab=upcoming&show=details&id=35994

Enjoy!

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4 Responses to In-depth: Beating the 4ES Strategy

  1. GermanSteel says:

    Thanks for the in depth guide. I guess my question is how do you know they are going to do the 4es strat? You will be stuck with 2 kettens if he goes for early riflespam. Guess you just dont pick your doctrine until you are sure he has gone 4es.

  2. I would say you don’t have to build a second Ketten right away. Play as usual (for PE it’s pretty standard, pump out a couple PGs), then when you see he has 3+ Engies or that he OP’d an ammo point, it’s time to build a second Ketten.

    Kettens are so cheap you won’t have to wait long for the manpower (like 140?) to build a second one.

    Same with doctrine choice. Many high-level players routinely avoid picking a doctrine until a decisive moment in the game (could be in the first 5 minutes, could be 10-15 minutes in or even later), when it’s clear what doctrine would best counter the enemy.

  3. surpriseprime says:

    You do need 2 kettens off the start to go for the fuel. I don’t believe its wise to hold off on it until you know for certain its a 4ES strategy that your opponent is using. If you want to know your opponent’s strategy from the start, scroll over to his base. If you hear a barracks going up, obviously its not 4ES.

  4. Excellent way of telling, and pleasant post to get information concerning my presentation subject matter, which i am going
    to convey in college.

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