REPLAY: Sepha (Tank Hunters) vs. Telekinez (Airborne) RETAIL 2.301
REMEMBER: Download the replay for this Battle Report. This is a spectacular game on Angoville between the legendary Sepha, inventor of Riflespam, playing here as Panzer Elite, and Sweix, a seasoned veteran in his own right. As of the post date, this particular expert replay had garnered some 52 “wubs” on GR.org. This is one of those games where you just have to watch the replay after reading this Battle Report — it’s that excellent an example of Airborne play.
So let’s get right down to it. There’s a pretty standard Angoville opening for both players, with Sweix in the north going down the left side for resources and Seph hitting the right. Both players are mindful of the danger they face due to their respective cutoff points — the bales of hay by the northern player’s strategic point and the house guarding the southern player’s SP. You see quite a bit of hovering by both players around the central road whose openings provide the easiest access to these points. It’s like watching expert boxers circling each other, each waiting for the other to slip up, ready to pounce given a single opportunity. They move and counter-move; they slip Riflemen and PGs into buildings or into green cover to discourage the other from attacking.
There’s a handful of minor, early skirmishes but the early game is essentially a stalemate. Sweix goes straight for 4 Riflemen, preferring straight rifle fights without any Barracks upgrades, conserving his fuel for Motorpool units. The first earnest battle begins when Seph’s PGs, backed by an Infantry Halftrack and a Light AT Halftrack, move to seriously challenge Sweix’s SP by the hay bales.
Though the sheer firepower of G43s and the Infantry HT gives Seph an edge, Sweix’s men have the hay bales’ green cover. This lets them last long enough for Sweix’s Quad to arrive and change the status quo and offer the Riflemen reinforcement support. But as you often see in high-level play, every unit is swiftly countered as good players are great at anticipating their opponent’s moves and timing. Their intuitive sense of timing guides them to prepare for each stage of the game and the unit mixes that come with them; here Seph’s Light AT HT arrives in time to destroy the Quad’s engine with a Treadbreaker.
Unfortunately, the LAT HT is Seph’s only AT unit, and it just doesn’t do damage fast enough to actually kill the Quad, which is being repaired by two Engineers. That’s a key piece of advice for U.S. players — the moment you see a LAT HT on the field, it’s time to have Engies following your M8 or Quad. A Treadbreaker shot on a perfectly healthy M8 or Quad can be repaired swiftly, and as Sweix demonstrates, the immobilized Quad in this match is kept alive by the repairs and is soon suppressing the PGs, forcing Seph to beat a retreat.
Pressing his advantage, Sweix advances on Seph’s strategic point with his Riflemen, but is forced out of the building overlooking the SP by incendiary grenades.
Meanwhile his Engies finish repairing the Quad and build a Medic Tent defended by an AT gun in an absolutely excellent position. It’s another thing that expert players do well instinctively: unit placing and defensive positions. You’ll definitely want to click to enlarge the image below.
Knowing he must respond to Sweix’s position, which threatens his SP, Seph attacks, backed this time by Tank Buster infantry. A long set-piece battle ensues, with constant bleeding of manpower on both sides; Sweix’s medics are kept busy retrieving the wounded. Click to enlarge.
When Seph moves his men through the right-most opening in the hedgerow, Sweix hits them with a nicely-placed strafing run, damaging the LAT HT and killing six PGs (no squads lost). This feels just about right to me in terms of overall strength for the strafing run. Maybe boost the munition cost by 25 MUN, but the power of the strafe in this match seems about right.
And now the charge: Sweix’s Riflemen and Quad advance through the right-most hedgerow opening, while a brave Flame Engy dashes for the building overlooking the SP. They’re forced to retreat, unfortunately. Still, it works pretty well for Sweix, but Seph has a strong advantage given the proximity to his base.
The Riflemen, now packing BARs, manage to kill Seph’s LAT HT. This entire attack marks a significant turning point in the game, because Seph was fighting a defensive battle and lost it. He has to give up considerable capture time, which allows Sweix to begin building a fuel and munitions advantage. Nevertheless, the overall advantage Seph has from fighting near his base means Sweix can’t keep up his offensive forever. He’s forced to retreat his squads to preserve their veterancy (remember, in the retail game, Rifles don’t receive any veterancy bonuses from Barracks upgrades). Seph rebuilds his LAT HT and reinforces his squads. It’s worth noting how Seph’s doctrine choice, Tank Hunters, hasn’t helped him much so far — he goes down the right side of Tank Hunters, which yields Tank Awareness and AP shells. The Jagdpanther comes late on the right side of the tree. Meanwhile, Sweix has split his ability selection down both trees, which is pretty standard fare for Airborne players. Noting the PG-heavy start, he spends 3 CPs on strafing run first.
The stage is now set for another Sweix attack, pressing again on Seph’s SP position. This time Seph’s LAT HT manages to immobilize Sweix’s Quad just as it runs into two Tank Buster squads.
It dies swiftly to panzershrecks but Seph’s victory is short-lived. An M8 fresh out of Sweix’s Motorpool eliminates the LAT HT. This sort of dynamic, where the game is even for a long time, then one player gains a swift advantage by killing a key unit, only to lose an important unit of his own, is common in high-level play between evenly matched players. The Quad’s overall physical weakness remains a point of contention as far as balance goes, though I feel it’s a pretty fair unit. You just can’t run it around without Engies behind it when you’re fighting a PE player with a penchant for LAT HTs. You don’t really need to charge it around like an M8 for it to be useful, anyway.
Indeed, in this game you see it continue because the M8 doesn’t last long either. Tank Busters in Seph’s Infantry HT manage to kill it minutes later on the left side of the map, by the Victory Point.
Sweix rebuilds his M8, which is easy for him because he’s enjoyed a nice resource advantage over Seph in this game so far. One of the central themes of this match is the early victory by Sweix when his SP is challenged, followed by a relentless series of aggressive attacks on Seph’s SP. The game has gone on long enough for Seph’s mighty Jagdpanther to appear. The Jagd gives chase to Sweix’s second M8.
Sweix only has a single AT gun and a Paratrooper squad packing recoilless rifles, which isn’t enough firepower to really take down a Jagd. But he manages to make some magic happen here — his Rifles and Flame Engy rush Seph’s supporting infantry, leaving the Jagd undefended. Seph also makes an error backing the Jagd into the top right-most corner, where it can’t escape a pursuing Rifle squad’s Sticky Bomb. Alas, this has doomed the Jagdpanther. It’s a situation that reminds me of what happened to the Nazi dreadnought, the Bismarck. If you’re too lazy to click the link, the Bismarck was a bigass battleship that was bigger than anything the Allies had, but lost engine power after a crucial (victorious) fight. It was destroyed because it couldn’t run. Pretty apt, eh?
The Paratroopers race into action, aided by the AT gun. They’re able to inflict grievous damage on the Jagd, which destroys the AT gun (always a better target choice than infantry for the Jagd). But it just takes too long for Seph’s infantry to race back to support the Jagd; they have to contend with veteran BAR Rifles. The Paratroopers stare down the maw of the Jagd’s massive cannon and eliminate it, scoring numerous frontal penetrations with their recoilless rifle rounds.
Sweix pops out a Sherman which arrives too late to join the fight against the Jagd; instead he uses the Sherman to destroy its massive hulk so Seph can’t resurrect it with a Bergetiger. It takes about 10 hits to kill the hulk, but doing so guarantees the Jagd won’t appear again.
Alas, Sweix’s Sherman is immobilized and killed by Tank Busters before it can really get into much actual fighting. This buys Seph the XPs he needs to reach his Hetzers, which are a much-needed unit for him at this point in the game — remember Hetzers have a tendency to snipe infantry squad members despite its role as a tank destroyer.
Hetzers also have strong frontal armor, much like the Wehrmacht Stug, but it’s absolutely amazing how much damage triple-chevron Paratroopers do to the Hetzer with a successful frontal penetration. Just check the screenie on the left — that’s about 60% off the healthbar with two recoilless rifle hits (both rifle-carrying Paras fire once for two hits total). I myself have had tremendous success using two Paratrooper squads to counter heavy Axis armor in team games where massed armor IS the late game; never will I underestimate or speak ill of Paratroopers in an AT role ever again. They’re a perfect example of a beautifully balanced, role-specific unit. Anyway, at this point it’s mostly a done deal for Seph; despite his numerous Hetzers and surviving veteran PGs, he’s forced to fight a holding action yet again over his SP. Meanwhile Sweix is getting Supply Drops and building another Sherman, preparing to unleash his air support powers.
There’s an amusingly inaccurate bombing run that you can’t really fault Sweix for. Check out this madness — look at where the smoke appears, where the bombs actually hit, and the negligible damage actually done.
The next bombing run occurs when Sweix’s second Sherman gets ganked by two Hetzers and two Tank Buster squads; he pushes forward with the Sherman and gets greedy trying to spot for his bombing run.
The Sherman is destroyed and the bombing run is disappointing, though Sweix has munitions to spare by this point.
There’s a final bombing run to close the game, and it FINALLY kills a Hetzer. GGs indeed — watching Seph lose a game is rare.
Seph (aka Sepha)
– Good unit preservation, lost zero PG squads till late in the game
– Speedy and timely counter units built
– Minimized manpower floating
– Good positioning to eliminate Quad and M8
– Poor doctrine choice, given the infantry-heavy matchup
– Having picked Tank Hunters, didn’t go down left side for early Teller Mines and Hetzers, both of which could’ve changed the entire game
– Jagdpanther pushed way too far into enemy territory without good support; died after inflicting minimal enemy casualties
– Lost the initiative early on and fought defensively in return instead of striking at enemy SP
– Needed a more diverse mix of units; a Panzer IV or switch to Panzer Jaeger Kommand would’ve helped a lot with anti-infantry
Telekinez (aka Sweix)
– Good Rifle micro and unit preservation; got lots of veteran Rifles
– Great placement of units
– Constantly aggressive, constantly pushing forward, limiting enemy’s opportunity to counter-attack
– Good overall situational awareness
– Careless with second M8
– Careless with Shermans (though it hardly mattered after the Jagd was dead)