Each faction has infantry abilities that overcome the debilitating effect of suppression — Fire Up! and Charge! being the two most notorious ones mentioned on GR.org, usually in a negative context.
But what exactly is the difference between Fire Up, Heroic Charge, Sprint and Assault Grenades? They all result in your mans running around really fast, totally ignoring the massive storm of bullets being hurled in their direction.
Let’s take a detailed look at what each ability does, with a little help from that treasure trove of COH data, COH-Stats.com.
This Panzer Elite ability comes at the very end of the PE tech tree, requiring every single infantry upgrade the PE have, across all three of their major base structures. The full list of prerequisites, just for the sake of listing it, is as follows: Advanced Repair, AT Grenades, Increased Capture Rate, Group Zeal, Increased Squad Sizes and Veteran Sergeants.
Sprint reduces received suppression by 50% and increases a squad’s movement speed from 3 to 4. Simultaneously it reduces the squad’s sight range by 10, and lasts 15 seconds with a 60-second cooldown.
Sprint does not break suppression or pin, meaning pinned PE squads can activate Sprint but it won’t allow them to jump up and start moving.
The advantage of Sprint is that you can still dash through heavy MG fire, so long as you activate it before your men are suppressed or pinned. Plus, ALL PE infantry receive this ability, making their uber infantry nigh-unstoppable in the late game. This is typically not a problem in a 1v1, because of the ridiculous list of prerequisites. But in a lengthy 2v2 game, it can get really annoying fight squads of sprinting PE troops who just laugh at your MGs. Great reason to use tanks and anti-blob abilities like artillery.
For whatever reason, this ability is highly controversial although it’s doctrine-specific and unit-specific. Only Paratroopers and Rangers can Fire Up. Relic has clearly heard the complaints loud and clear, trying everything from adding a minor munition cost (5 MUN), to increasing the cooldown slightly, to massively increasing the cooldown with veterancy reducing cooldown to normal levels.
Fire Up! reduces received suppression by 70% and increases a squad’s movement speed from 3 to 4. Simultaneously it reduces the squad’s sight range by 10, and lasts 15 seconds with a 60-second cooldown.
Fire Up! BREAKS suppression and pin states, meaning suppressed or pinned Paratroopers/Rangers will jump up under heavy MG fire and are free to move around. This makes them take normal damage (remember suppressed and pinned squads take much less damage than normal from most weapons, especially MGs), so you’ll often lose men if you hit Fire Up! and dash straight into the maw of MG fire.
Fire Up! should be used to quickly get your men out of an MG’s firing arc so you can flank and kill it. You can also use it to escape from lethal situations without having to retreat your men all the way back to base.
I don’t think Fire Up! is overpowered at all, and I generally approve of Relic increasing the cooldown and making it improve with veterancy. This forces more strategic use of the ability and rewards unit preservation, which is a core element of COH gameplay.
There’s not much doubt that Heroic Charge was a rather ill-conceived idea. It’s creative, just like the whole British officer system is creative, but it definitely doesn’t mesh too well with the tactical COH gameplay system. British blobs, massive blobs, suddenly overwhelm all infantry opposition with the click of a button, and do quite a number against vehicles as well, if they have AT weapons.
Heroic Charge affects all squads within a medium-sized radius around the Lieutenant activating it. The ability reduces received suppression by 80% and increases a squad’s movement speed from 3 to 4. Simultaneously it reduces the amount of damage affected squads receive by 25% and the cooldown of all squad members’ weapons by 50%. It lasts 15 seconds with a 90-second cooldown. Charge also has a “penalty” period of 15 seconds that occurs immediately after the effect wears off. During this period, all affected squads suffer a -1 movement penalty and 100% increases in weapon reload and cooldown times.
Heroic Charge BREAKS suppression and pin, meaning pinned squads can have their Lieutenant activate it and will be free to jump up and kick ass.
This ability is largely made stupid by the concept of multiple LTs. Two Lieutenants can stagger their Heroic Charges, in fact multiple LTs on British blobs is what makes them absurdly powerful. The only thing making Heroic Charge close to balanced is that LTs must have level 1 veterancy to use it. I move that level 2 veterancy is required.
Assault Grenades (aka Assault!)
Wehrmacht infantry gets the short end of the stick, with only Knights Cross Holders receiving this ability unless the Blitzkrieg doctrine was chosen. Assault Grenades also cost 50 MUN to use, which makes sense but also makes it the only resource-driven anti-suppression ability of all the factions.
Assault Grenades reduces received suppression by 100%, meaning assaulting squads cannot be suppressed by anything, period. It has no other effects, aside from the assaulting squad tossing grenades aimed automatically at whatever target you selected. It lasts 10 seconds with a 20-second cooldown.
Assault Grenades BREAK suppression or pin, meaning pinned Wehrmacht squads will leap up out of whatever situation they’re in and start chucking stick grenades with aplomb. This is a perfect counter to BAR suppressing fire, or being hit by MG fire. You counter the suppressing effects and essentially force the enemy squad to retreat or dance around the grenades. It’s suprising how effective the tossed grenades are, they’re far more accurate than trying to toss a single stick grenade with a Grenadier squad.
Assault Grenades are perfectly balanced in my opinion, and fit with my overall philosophy of minimizing the amount of abilities that totally alter fundamental gameplay dynamics like suppression/pinning.