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Bring a strategic dimension to your game
By reading this guide you will improve your chance of win and bring an entertaining strategic dimension to your games (async). You have to master the basics and also advanced tactics to serve execution of your mind game.
The strategy is the vision to define the game conditions (scenario) providing an expected benefit to the player to reach a final goal (victory or achieving intermediate goals). The strategic plan is the elaboration of a feasible consistent set of tactics in order to comply to the strategic vision, for which the foreseen result from the execution of the planned tactics is providing the expected defined strategic benefits and contributes to reach the goals. To be simple :
Strategy is your path to victory.
So what's the plan?
Because the game is quite complex in the possibilities, it's useless to build a detailed plan based on inacurate information and uncertainty is growing over the rounds. So you will usually have a "master plan" for your strategic orientation, defining your team composition and what will be the purpose of picking those mercs. Then you will have an "initial plan" quite detailed for the early game (round 1-3), including your openning tactics and possible plan B (alternative) or follow-up. But the strategic plan will have to be updated with key events during the match. At any round, the strategic plan should tell you what to do for the current, next and possibly next+1 round, keeping the master plan in mind to make your mercs used the most efficient way on the map.
Strategy is the game when you master the tactical aspects.
For better understanding and illustration of my guide (even going further) you can watch my videos from my tourney against several level of players. Rogdhor channel
Profiling your opponent's gameplay
Getting information is more than just knowing the enemy positions during the match. At early game stage, you have to guess what can be the enemy team composition based on what you currently know of the team, a little consideration of the map (effective ranged or closed combat, wide fields opened or corridors) and your enemy preferred team (and meta) for this map. Also prior to the match, you should watch your opponent’s past games on this map to learn lessons as preferred opening tactics or general gameplay. Try to consider your enemy attitude if defensive, reasonable, aggressive, making short or long runs, grouping characters or spreading over the map and per character gameplay (static sniper, front or back bomber). If you play several times the same player you will start to learn about his personality. Having in mind an accurate gameplay profile of your ennemy will ease your prediction during the match. Of course, simple and constant gameplays are easy to predict but at high level the gameplay is more complex and doesn't follow stereotypes. Good players can adapt their gameplay considering their opponent's level or by adopting different strategies.
Team composition determination
The core of a team is often composed of Hindenburg, Seraphim, then you will usually find one or two gunmen (rather Bodark and Denton, occasionally Zeke according to your strategy and preferred gameplay) and one or two shotgunners (rather Hoser and Augustus according to the map and strategy, less Linus). Having two bombers or two snipers (or different than Hindenburg or Seraphim) is not well balanced and not ideal for beginners as it reduces your team capabilities: this composition should be reserved for well-known purpose. Your team composition should be a fine balance between mercs with good killing power and others with good intel or support capabilities. At the start of the match, with a general strategy in mind, you should know why you have picked a merc rather than another one by determining what is his role in the global plan and how he is contributing to the strategy, when he can be the most effective during the match.
Note that, when not known in a match, the characters appear as generic ones without the special skills so be aware of the difference when you prepare your actions. In particular the focus of Seraphim is shorter; Hindenburg bomb radius is larger (until he reveals himself) etc. That’s why it is important also to reveal the team composition as it would help to better study the possibilities of your enemy.
In game, as a tip, where you see a character coming alone by a side you may consider that it is covered by someone in range to secure his run, even if you don’t see him. So what you can see of the current characters deployment can help you to guess where should be the others as well. Determining the team composition as early as possible is a great step to reduce the uncertainty, to know your enemies’ special skills and moving capabilities.
Information is the key for battle
First of all, and the basis for good prediction and reliable tactics, getting information on the enemy team is critical to evaluate alternatives with enough good probability to be feasible. Don’t rush to your enemy as if you were blind looking for good luck, tossing the coin or you will be probably punished by experienced players having good visibility and defense setup.
If you need to know if a guy is waiting for you on a path, use a “visibility” action at the end of your turn, when there is not enough time to be shot anyway, like standing up at window or turning in a corner or simply changing your view angle (on the side or back). Having accurate fresh positions at the end of turn gives you the maximum distance of run for the next round and accurate alternatives to study. In case of just a passing character, if you see a position showing less than 2s (not too big), you can “reposition” the enemy character at the start of the round if you are quite sure about the direction or guessing he is reaching a cover in that time: you need to play the preparation and stop at the character’s displayed time (end of last round) to know what could be the real position. Getting information, of course, is like a double-edged sword as you expose also yourself to show up to monitor line of sight. Be aware of crouching possibilities and the “hiding” special skill from Hyde.
On the contrary, try to limit the information you can give to your opponent. Do not through bomb just in case to catch someone passing, but you don’t really know about your enemy’s movements. Use a bomb when you consider an enemy movement with enough probability, or to secure your own move by eliminating positions in the area. Sparing a bomb for a turn will also enable you to launch it at the start of the round after a good repositioning. When a bomb is launched, the bomber is armless for 5s. A technical error is not to explode the bomb within the round, as it gives an opportunity to escape, unless you are sure to put it at his feet (like in PvE for spawns) or inside a building with blocked exits.
As a tip, use line of sight to “split” the map to isolate where the enemies can be and be sure to see them when they are crossing, even if you don’t kill them. Positioning is not just a matter of killing possibilities and this is what makes all the map strategy and map awareness for controlling the game. You should take advantage of a first kill, as it gives you more eyes and possibilities than your opponent.
Review the last turn
You should review the last turn not just for the fun but notably to know if your opponent could have seen your moves. In general before starting a round, try to know what information has your opponent and where he thinks your mercenaries are. It is like Poker; try to know what cards are in hands (and probability to beat it by studying the alternatives).
Actually the more you move from the last known positions (from your opponent’s view), the less predictable you will be. In particular for bombers, as they show up when throwing bombs, try to keep the pressure from this powerful weapon with possibilities that he can fire on multiple areas on the map by moving after the launch. At least you should do it once to let your enemy know you can launch from many places and be a danger everywhere. So for bombers, launching a bomb at the start of a round, will enable you to reposition quite far if needed elsewhere for the next round.
Sometimes I have to review more than just last turn to remind me where your opponent had your last position. Making go and back at same place may not be surprising for your enemy as if you did not move actually.
Think a round ahead
You should think a round ahead to prepare the next round with good starting positions. It is possible to have “blank” rounds which are just here to prepare the next round. Do not always try to catch a kill at each round if you are not enough sure and don’t have enough good information. In particular, for the first 2 rounds (or more), you should think of really acting only after you are well placed. And here comes the strategic aspect at the start of the match. You should analyze all paths facilities, whether some are blocked and you will have to show up if you need to break through. You should analyze what benefits you can have by positioning in that particular area and if you can be stronger than your enemy here, usually by positioning quicker than him, or if just because of a good sniper sight. You should be aware that your enemy is thinking the same and you should consider that some map openings are quite obvious because precisely of the benefit it can give.
You should also finish your turn with possible additional spare actions. Do not just sequence actions for the current round’s objectives (e.g. make a kill) but you should finish the sequence even with actions considering the objectives are not fulfilled. For instance, if a character is not present when you predicted it would be for a kill, then you will have an extra time to move elsewhere, cover or do other things like a visibility action. Those final turn actions will not be effective if the time is spent for killing but you should be able to cancel them if not required anymore at the next round. All actions can be cancelled except special throwing skills. For the spare actions you can use a conditional sequence with a “stop on sight” and another point with a “run” so that actually if the enemy is here you will stop to focus him and not run, but if he is not here you will correctly finish your move to put yourself in safe place. Actually you may still execute a bit of the run after a kill if you still have time.
Play the opponent side
At the beginning of each round, consider placing yourself as the enemy with what he knows about you. This is important in the middle game (round 4 to 7), when you have already tried a few things, moved on and now you should know the team composition. WIth a good gameplay profile of your opponent, you can make better prediction. As for you team, check possible enemy tactics with ghosts (and probable positions) to establish valuable and probable hypothesis to challenge your own tactics execution and improve their efficiency. It becomes a real mind game with bets like in Poker, with more or less probability, also learning your opponent personality a bit, all the more if it is not the first time you play against him. Will he dare to do that?
You should consider that breakable doors are not closed but can be opened (destroyed) for entering but also for a ranged character fire (or bombing inside). It can be only for gaining a longer or wider sight, splitting the map to have crossings visibility. Anyway, avoid waiting behind doors for close combat. Even with a sniper in ambush, usually it will end by both kills at the best for you, because your opponent would have probably combine 2 characters skills to win a 2v1 (like 2 gunmen or Bodark + sniper/shotgunner to reset a shot and let the other make the kill, or with Denton flash).
Breaking doors actually provide fake capability in so far as it attracts your opponent's attention. It is the most common element to give information to your opponent to fake some move but you actually give your positions at any bomb launch or free fire. When you break a door you become visible but you may give this information voluntary for that, while you can maneuver in next round where the player is not watching. Usually, you will take benefit of a broken door in the same round and wish to open the door at the beginning of the round to let you make actions following. So if a door is broken at end of a round you can question if it is not a fake, as the player is letting you prepare your defense. But knowing what can be considered as obvious tactics and the bluffing capabilities, then you cannot be so sure if it is a fake or not. Knowing the player real level and determining his personality can help. In case of a possible fake, on the next round, I advise you try to find information on where the characters could be in case of fake and prevent any benefit from your opponent in case it is not a fake, by avoiding exposures and keeping a safe outcome if you don’t find the characters at the other places. On the other hand, when you break a door and don't use it in the round, it remains an opened path putting constant pressure on your ennemy as you can return there in a few rounds more silently. The path is also opened for your ennemy of course, but it may not be part of its own strategy.
So TASTEE really becomes a mind game when you master the technical aspects and advanced tactics.
When you have determined possible strategic alternatives on each side you have to take a long time to sequence the actions, combine and synchronize your characters using wait timers. As a tip to add extra action time, you may remove the surveillance angle if you don’t need it while walking (it is removed when you run). You need to check your enemy visibility angle to perform crouching while crossing their sight and recover your run after.
The strategy should be refreshed at each round with the additional information you have (or the lack of it), possibly rebalancing your forces to another map area. If an enemy is overextended and not well covered by teammates, it can be a target to surround him. Try to fill the gap for close combat when you see openings for intrusion, when you know the enemies are elsewhere or watching in a different direction or you can cover it well (with ranged or bombing). It is particularly important to know where is the ennemy bomber or the sniper to eliminate this possibility for running in a particular area. And avoid staying too long isolated with blocked escapes if you fail to make a kill or to secure your position.
The tactical scenario execution itself can take a long time for adjusting, checking possible positions and moves from your enemies and running the preparations very often. The mind play while questioning yourself takes also a noticeable time. So with this guide in mind, be ready to spend an hour per round and you will probably keep thinking about it while waiting for your opponent’s turn.
Master tactician or real strategist?
Here is a description of typical player levels considering the game skills from this guide. A player level requires the skills from the precedent. You can figure out where you are in the TASTEE learning curve to be a champion.
1. Gunfighter (beginners)
The player knows each merc and their respective special skill. He knows to play with each of them and be effective with their skill. He knows the difference of characteristics from each class (fire weapon): range, mobility, arm focus and quickness. He can estimate what could be the outcome of 1v1 confrontation taking into account the firing factors (cover, movement, distance, rotation). In particular he knows the sniper is penalized at closed range and cover is the most important factor. You play with mercs.
2. Commander (average players)
The player knows the maps with their general design (doors, barrels, walls, windows, opened fields, bunkers, corridors, central areas). He can establish an appropriate team composition at a match start, according to the map and its deployment (and other personal strategy or preferred gameplay style). He knows how to balance the required skills, to have complementary skills using a mix of short and long range, killing power and intelligence abilities. The player knows how to combine two or more mercs with complementary skills and prepare the respective jobs for a kill (quite simply by using the special skills e.g. flashbang, sonar). You play with a team.
3. Tactician (good players)
The player masters the intelligence gameplay, besides provided by skills, by crouching, playing with range, angles. He masters the risks of run movements using map elements and coverage from team mates. He can play with ghosts, similar as his own mercs, move them and sequence actions on them to tests several tactics. You play with the map.
4. Master tactician (top players)
The player knows well to build complex sequence of actions and synchronize them with wait timers. He knows the most advanced tactics, exploiting the 5s of a round. He masters all timing elements such as focus time and reset (especially for snipers). You play with time.
5. Strategist (best players)
The player can build a strategy over several rounds, preparing the next round and more. He has an initial strategy in mind, for every map deployments and can adapt it along the match or according to randomness (items, spawn). He can read the map quite well for strong positioning (from your opponent), having the capability to disrupt good players tactics. The tactics are executed having a strategic orientation in mind. He can evaluate and anticipate the strength/weakness of each side, what the enemy knows about him. He has good prediction of the enemy movements and control of the map to his advantage. You play against a human player.
Your chance of win will increase with the difference of levels as illustrated in the following table (values in % and diagonal symetric cells). It is not based on statistics but only my personnal feeling and experience.
Simply consider interesting matchup between players with maximum two levels of difference. And because the game can be considered mastered at level 3 (Tactician), there is a higher gameplay performance gap between players above level 3 and those who still haven't confirmed their tactician skills. The tactical dimension (i.e. the standard gameplay) can make a player progress till level 4 (as master tactician) and the strategic dimension itself can start from level 3 to reach level 5. Actually, the intel battle (getting information, hiding yours) is the main factor of success and what is making the difference between good players of similar levels during a match. It is the main enabler to develop your tactics, adapt your strategy in match and improve your general gameplay.