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How to not suck at Company of heroes 2 (From Someone Who Used to Suck): Now With Turtles!
By Paladin GreenJay
Not too long ago I found out a few key points that helped turn me from playing terribly at the game to being a pretty decent player, and in this guide I am going to share those things with you. Update (but not really) 9/26/2016: It has been a logn time since i edited this at all and i have improved some since then, so I plan to clean up the guide some and add some new information soon. Now includes some changes and a turtle update.
(N.B. In case you don't want to read the whole guide and only want the basic idea of what I'm getting at skip to the section titled 'The answer'. Also, this guide is a work in progress, meaning that as i find out new tactics and other things that are helpful to me i will add them)In this guide I am going to share with you my experience with and what i have learned while playing multiplayer matches. Everything here is not neccisarily fact, and please correct me if I am wrong, but I am just trying to help share my dillema since I figure that I couldn't be the only one. Now on with the guide...
(Note: I usually play the allies, both Soviets and U.S. Forces, but play the Germans as well) For the longest time, I just kept playing multiplayer matches and kept getting shutdown and defeated quite decisively and could not figure out why. It did not help that no one I was ever matched with pointed out that I was doing something wrong (and it wasn't uncommon for them to get angry at me without providing advice) , so I assumed the other players were doing something cheap or were simply better players. I then moved on to the next match expecting different results, yet they never came. I even checked the endgame stat screens and everything seemed to be fine. Because of this I only recently got back into the multiplayer/competative scene, as I just kept comp stomping on automatch vs AI. After coming back to competative play I decided to try any and all possible ideas that came to mind (since my old stratagy obviously wasn't working!). I noticed a few key tricks and also why I was failing before.
Many of the issues i noticed in my self were:
As far as capturing territories went, I claimed what was on my teams half and the control points, and let the enemies have their territory (which is bad as i now know!).
I took overly extreme risks. (For Example: These riflemen are almost dead, pinned down by a german Mg, and being shot out by another squad, so i would try to get them to move up and throw a frag at the Mg and call a retreat right before them being killed.) 9 times out of 10 it did not work and I lost a squad, but when it did work it was awesome!.)
Using history (or how the campaign wants you to think) as too much of a reference. Playing soviets for exaple, I would think of and use my conscripts as a meatshield without ANY amount of unit preservation in mind. (A veteran conscript squad is by far worth the work of keeping them alive)
Over relating the game to other games and/or realism. Let's take World of Tanks for example. This one is kind of personal, but I am sure at least some of you who play this also play WoT. I do play both games , and have thought many a time during a tank battle on COH2 things "I know (insert tank here) could have penatrated (other tank)'s armor from that angle!" Perhaps those things are/were true, but COH2 is a GAME, and within this game not everything will be dead on to history/other games and it would be worthwhile to try and remember that while playing.
Lack of communication. Pretty clear in meaning, but even an occasional typed message can make a difference. Even if the amount of screen used for type chat is not nearly enough and can be easily missed, it is at least worth watching for it and using it if you don't have voice comms.
On the note of the last point: Not actually paying attention to what your teammates are saying, their plans, advice, etc.
Viewing tanks as what the gaming world calls a 'tank'. Basically just because it is called a tank, that does not make it an effective tool to draw all of your enemies fire. (well it might be, but not for long!)
To help explain the main situation i will dissect a screenshot of an old match overview :
(Just in case I change my name after releasing this, at the time my steam name was Black-Iron Tarkus)
Note that it says I have the highest damage not just out of the team, but if i recall it was the entire game. I also have many more deaths than kills because killing one tiger is alot harder than losing one rifleman squad. Clearly I could handle my units at least decently with that damage output, right? ( I did manage to kill a tiger with just two riflemen squads that match after all) So what could be the problem? The last part of the screenshot is from what i can tell by far the most important. I only had TWO captures that game!
Here is a list of tips/tricks you should follow, especialy if any of your problems were similar to mine:
Be aggressive early, make the enemies fight for their home territory to keep them out of yours from the start.
You don't have to claim all the points on your half first, get some of your early units on enemy points to keep them from getting too organized and keep them out of your land
Calling retreat is not a sign of weakness, keeping a squad alive is better than them dying in next to any situation.
An Allied forces medium tank can almost never beat its German equivilant in one on one combat. Exceptions known to me are that if you micro a more mobile tank well enough for flank hits and such (A well micro'd Sherman Easy 8 could beat even a badly micro'd Panzer VI TIger)
The british forces tend to be an exception to this last rule in general, until reaching heavy tanks, i havent tested, but jusging by the churchill's smaller cannon, I wouldn't expect it to beat a tiger.
An IS2 can beat a tiger if you have it shoot, back off until reloaded, rinse and repeat.
I cannot emphasize this enough, pressure the enemy from the beginning, keep their forces strained and be aggressive, but not so much as to lose many of your own troops.
Don't stop capturing after taking the control points and just set up defenses there, while it is good to defend those points, keep taking hostile territory
I can't say i have ever seen a teammate set up mines, nor can i say any of my troops have been hit or kiled by enemy mines. Put them in hight traffic areas, or in capture zones to leave a nasty suprise for any invadiing forces. Or, if youre feeling really risky set them up behind enemy lines to really get under your opponents skin.
Smoke grenades, (smoke) mortars, etc. : See that Mg suppressing some troops? Add some smoke and rush the Mg with some grenades or molotovs.
A battle is almost never hopeless. I played a game where my team got the oppenents down to 47 points while we still had 500, but they managed to make a a comeback with a well organized tank push, and after a pretty long struggle they beat us.
"Don't fight a battle if you have nothing to gain by winning". ~ Attributed to about a bajillon people, including Sun Tzu and Erwin Rommel, and is of my favorite quotes in regards to war and this game. Removing a high value target counts as a gain, but trading infantry squads likely wouldn't, its mostly up to you to decide what counts as a gain.
Put units in cover. The only reason not to have a unit in cover is if you are moving them, a unit standing in the open, especially on a road or other negative cover, is basically asking to get killed.
Try to remember a general idea of unit costs, and when given the choice destroy your opponents most valuable units, while making sure to protect your own.
Don't waste your Tiger tanks. Having learned that they have great mobility and potential to circle around enemy tanks, and are more than hefty bullet sponges.
If well Micro'd and you play it to its strengths an IS-2 can beat a Tiger, but i don't think it could beat an OKW Kingtiger. (Of course there are always exceptions and RNGesus to take into account)
Each squad/unit/vehicle has different effective ranges to fire from. Shock Troops for example are beasts when moved right into an enemy squad, but are not going to hit much of anything at range. Also, AT guns usually outrange the tanks they will be shooting at, and this should be considered when utilizing and positioning them. It also comes in handy that most squads and weapon upgrades will tell a general range to be used from, either being for long, medium, or short distance firefights.
Communicate with teammates. Don't ignore troops to type a message or set a beacon, but if there is an open chance to do so and you think it might be helpful, just do it. You might help your team in the long-run.
Make plans with your teammates, if you are playing a team game, then work with your team, a coordinated attack is a very dangerous one.
Being a Turtle and You: How not to Get Stuck on Your Back
I said earlier that just sitting on your own territory isn't great, but that isn't the whole story. While it is true that against any smart opponent a pure turtle will end up like this: However, there is still hope if you wan to channel your inner turtle without flipping over. After playing the Brits a number of times I was able to pick up a handful of tips.
Build any emplacements or defenses as far away as possible while keeping them in range of at least the points you need to defend, likely victory points and/or fuel.
The same can be said of positioning static defense troops like MG teams, mortars and AT guns, with the caveat that you should do your best to keep them in building or good cover, and more bonus points if there is a safe enough escape route.
Keep at least a team of squads which should include armor if possible to keep the aggression on.
I believe priority of defenses should be as follows: The vanguard who captured the point -> Light anti infantry defenses such as a garrisoned machine gun or effective anti infantry squad -> Depending on if you expect medium tanks or not yet in the game Either light anti vehicle or mid tier anti tank. (preferable all of these should be in place quickly after claiming the ground as the units are already likely trained and somwhere on the battlefield) -> Mortars and infantry lockdown (MGs, snipers, anything to make sure a blob wont make in in) potentially emplacements/landmines at this point if that's how you roll -> Finally heavy emplacements and the best AT that isn't going to die in an instant.
Bonus points if you use landmines in this process at all, a lot of people won't see it coming
No turtle has an unbreakable shell. The best ways to destroy your buildings would be explosions or fire. It isn't likely that a flamethrower will get close enough to a turtled front, so that leaves long range explosive ordinance. Mortars, rockets and artillery. The worst case scenerio for a dug in turtle will sound something like this: Rocket artillery wipes out your mortar defenses or teams (and keeps firing when possible this whole time) -> Enemy mortars move in and start bombarding your structures, likely picking off any anti-infantry setups first -> Flamethrowers move in to destroy add to the punishment -> Tanks or other heavy hitters move in and claim the point -> You lost most of your population and you just dropped the basket with all of your eggs in it.
A fix to that solution would be something like this: Rocket artillery hits you -> Being the smart turtle you are, you have a mobile team ready to move as needed -> They go and hit their rocket vehicle putting them in a tough spot -> They either re-route their attack to defend their resources in the form of a rocket truck OR continue attacking while sacrificing a lot of resources -> You kill their rocket truck OR bought enough time to work on re-setting up -> bonus points if you kill their mortars on the way back to your defenses -> The turtle shell might have cracked, but not broken in this version of the scenerio. (Note due to limited mortar bombardment, the flamethrowers never moved in on you)
You shouldn't expect a battle to ever go quite that smoothly for anyone, you or the attacker. The assumption was that they already knew your unit positions and you didn't move, as well as had time to plan and build what was needed. So, it was more of a fantasy example, but the idea is sound.
Now you should have a general plan of how to turtle and keep your shell intact, HURRAH!
Thanks for reading!
This is my first guide, so thanks for reading, and please feel free to give me corrections, ideas, or critisizms. I hope I helped, and if not, my bad i suppose.