Battle Report: Sepha (US) vs. SgtMorelloo (PE)

REPLAY: Sepha (Airborne) vs. SgtMorelloo (Tank Hunters) RETAIL 2.301

If Morelloo sticks a toe out of that door, he is DONE.

If Morelloo sticks a toe out of that door, he is DONE.

I admit it freely: the Airborne Company is my absolute favorite subfaction in COH. They’re cool, they’ve got planes, guns, bombs and bitchin’ recoilless rifles — plus the ability to drop troops and AT anywhere on the map. Right behind Airborne on my list is Luftwaffe, which is pretty much Axis airborne. I mean, how badass are Fallschirmjagers? And who doesn’t love the sight of Butterfly Bombs twirling gracefully to earth like leaves on a gentle autumnal wind? To say nothing of the sight of a Henkel circling the map, relentlessly pounding Allied armor.

Instead, in this week’s expert Battle Report, the bold young SgtMorelloo picks Tank Hunters against the legendary Sepha, which is a pity because Sepha goes ALL infantry. Still, this is an excellent albeit blobby match — and Morelloo gets credit for opening with a mildly effective Scout Car spam tactic.

The game begins with Sepha in the north and he opens with the standard 4 Rifle squads. Notice how he caps the high munitions point by his base — spreading the squad very close to the civilian building so he can claim it first if a G43 Panzer Grenadier should rush his men. I’ll be keeping a close eye on little stuff like this throughout the match; these are things you should try to incorporate into your game as matters of habit.

The small things matter.

The small things matter.

Would you like to know more? Of course you would! Click to read on.

Now the match develops with Morelloo’s PGs and Scout Cars herding Sepha’s Riflemen northward; however Sepha keeps his Rifles grouped closely together and the mass charge is too much for PGs, even in green cover. NOTE: Herein lies the weakness of Scout Car spam — it means less G43 PGs, which in great enough numbers would have severely punished any such mass charge. Not discouraged by this setback, Morelloo attacks again en masse and forces Sepha to retreat. Knowing that the next few minutes of the game will cost him many Rifle casualties, Sepha chooses to build a Medic Tent right by the opening of his base — a classic position on Langres. The hedgerow protects the tent from most enemy fire, while the exposed portion is small enough to be easily defended by any Riflemen at hand.

The key behind effective Medic Tents is <b>placement</b>.

The key behind effective Medic Tents is placement.

There’s a few exchanges between Rifles and PGs/Scout Cars, followed by a massed Rifle charge from Sepha when the Scout Cars are being repaired. These skirmishes really show that Scout Cars simply offer too little firepower against massed Riflemen. The manpower is better spent on tough PGs that can take advantage of cover. I can see a case being made for multiple Scout Cars harrassing lone Rifle squads while they cap, but this never happened in this game. Why? Sepha kept his Riflemen together.

Fix bayonets! Chaaaarrrrrge!

Fix bayonets! Chaaaarrrrrge!

By now it’s a solid 7 minutes into the game and Morelloo’s first Armored Car hits the field. Unfortunately by this point Sepha has the CPs for Paratroopers and is floating more than 200 MUN. Sepha also teched to BARs, an excellent choice with so many Rifles on the field. BARs kill Scout Cars fast and do a number on ACs as well. They also help balance long-range firefights between G43 PGs and Riflemen who both have cover. You see just one such a firefight here, as the first AC moves to flank Sepha’s position. Unfortunately massed BAR fire from units in cover prevent the AC from doing any meaningful damage before taking too many hits itself.

A set-piece battle.

A set-piece battle.

There’s a few more skirmishes but the action continues to shift towards Morello’s half of the map. One thing that caught my eye was a situation where two Rifle squads were garrisoned inside a building that gets rushed by 4 vetted G43/MP44 PG squads. Sepha quickly orders them to exit from the side of the building AWAY from the PG death blob, then retreats them. A more careless player might just order them to pop out and wind up with two Rifle squads in the midst of a buzzsaw of gunfire — this is how easily whole squads die in COH if you’re not concentrating.

The BACK door, men, out the BACK!

The BACK door, men, out the BACK!

Ultimately we know how a game between BAR Rifles/Paratroopers and G43/MP44 PGs will go. As good and versatile as American infantry is, getting hit by G43 Volley Fire and slowed, then surrounded by MP44 troops, is incredibly frustrating. Sepha loses multiple vetted Paratrooper squads this way, and Morello starts a nice recoilless rifle collection out of the remains.

Shooting men in the back while they run...

Shooting men in the back while they run...

Check out this charge by mixed-veterancy MP44 PGs against mixed-veterancy BAR Rifles in yellow cover. Despite the extra rounds the Rifles squeeze off with their longer range, the MP44s are just too lethal up close.

Forward, men, forward!

Forward, men, forward!

They up in here with some AKs and shit!

They up in here with some AKs and shit!

Sepha retreats again, but he maintains a clear upper hand in terms of manpower. The free Rifle squads reformed from the Medic Tent help immensely, and at one point a vetted G43 PG refuses to retreat — very bad luck for Morelloo. Sepha offsets his heavy manpower upkeep with Supply Yard upgrades, which, by the way, make a clear impact in this match. This is how the game is decided; there’s no clear turning point, Morello is just pushed back into his base repeatedly due to waves of Riflemen and several very painful Strafing Runs, which cost 5-7 PGs apiece.

By the time Morelloo’s Jagdpanther comes out, the fighting is literally on his doorstep. Morelloo’s puzzling choice of doctrine is probably what did him in. A Jagdpanther is practically worthless against massed BAR Rifles and can be eliminated in short order by a combination of Sticky Bomb/Paratroopers/57mm AT guns.

A Jagdpanther will not kill as many Rifles as a G43 Panzer Grenadier.

A Jagdpanther will not kill as many Rifles as a G43 Panzer Grenadier.

One point of amusement — about 60% of the way through this match, Sepha’s AT gun crew walks over a Teller mine and is insta-gibbed. Good stuff.

Thoughtful and swift unit placement takes practice.

Thoughtful and swift unit placement takes practice.

(Click screenshot at left to enlarge) One final point I wish to draw your attention to. Sepha, like all good players and all good real-life tactical leaders, can quickly study terrain and place his troops in a way to tackle all comers. Just check out this shot, in which Sepha rapidly fortifies a position to counter infantry and Morelloo’s Jagdpanther. Any vehicle hit by the mine is within the AT gun’s cone of fire. A Rifle squad garrisons a key building to prevent flanking, and can exit the building quickly to support the MG or throw a Sticky Bomb. The AT gun is back far enough to shift firing arcs if needed. Nice.

Seph (aka Sepha)
PROS:
– Good distribution of force in the early game (massing Rifles) saves him from being overrun by PGs and Scout Cars
– Good counter to ACs with BAR Rifles + Paratroopers with Recoilless Rifles
– Good Medic Tent placement yields 3 free Rifle squads
– Two superbly aimed Strafing Runs inflict heavy damage, one even kills a Scout Car
– Good situational awareness throughout the game

CONS:
– Kept retreating Paratroopers too late, resulting in loss of entire vetted squads and their expensive upgraded weapons

SgtMorelloo
PROS:
– Good situational awareness and unit preservation throughout the game
– Good use of focus fire and G43 Volley Fire to eliminate valuable enemy squads
– Good placement of Teller mines, but no M8s ever materialized to make them truly worthwhile

CONS:
– Scout Car spam yields mediocre results; helps keep Sepha on defensive early on, but can’t seal the deal
– Scout Cars were not often used to capture territory or to OP high resource sectors
– Picked totally wrong doctrine given opponent’s unit mix, which became apparent 30% of the way into the match
– Even going down the left side of the tree would’ve yielded Hetzers, which kill infantry far better than a Jagdpanther, and come much earlier

Conclusion:
SgtMorelloo’s baffling doctrine choice was his biggest mistake. Luftwaffe probably would’ve been ideal, with Fallschirmjagers and FG42s and high-damage ambush giving the perfect anti-infantry boost. Butterfly Bombs would’ve restricted enemy movement. Early on, spending the 1st CP in Luftwaffe Ground Forces would’ve kept Scout Cars and ACs fully repaired most of the time, while freeing PGs for offensive action.

Sepha plays a solid infantry-heavy game and makes the unusual choice of dropping many Paratrooper squads, increasing his upkeep. He manages to make it work and takes full advantage of the Supply Yard upgrades. Nothing special here, except his nearly error-free play and the smart, intuitive tactics he employs at every turn. Not especially innovative, but impressive in its consistency.

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4 Responses to Battle Report: Sepha (US) vs. SgtMorelloo (PE)

  1. colonelcommissar says:

    Nice write up.

  2. Rapha says:

    Mhh, how do you choose the door a squad will exit? I never got that, for me there is just one “exit” button, and although the door they exit often seems to be well chosen, sometimes my infantry just runs directly into enemy fire…

  3. To choose a door, press “U” (the hotkey to evacuate), then left-click the ground on the side of the house you want your men to exit out of. It’s important to note that NOT ALL HOUSES HAVE MULTIPLE DOORS. Other houses have doors only on one side, which means it doesn’t really matter which door your guys pop out of.

  4. jodonnell says:

    Fantastic write up as always. It’s always really helpful to see someone’s analysis of a match, seeing what other people draw attention to can be really illuminating.

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