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Table of differences between the Light Tank and Anti-Air Tank

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Table of differences between the Light Tank and Anti-Air Tank

Post  Master Knight DH on Mon May 09, 2016 12:51 pm

I'm thinking a good map design goal would be to encourage Anti-Air Tanks, because those guys are technical, thus every CO who uses them, including the likes of Max, would actually require thought when using them. The issue is getting there to begin with, and a key problem to overcome is that Anti-Air Tanks and Light Tanks are both direct-fire vehicles with the same movement capabilities and similar costs, except Light Tanks also inconveniently counter Anti-Air Tanks.

Thus I am providing a table so that people can figure out what can be done about that. I expect map design would definitely help, but creative stuff would have to be done.

Anti-Air TankLight Tank
VS Infantry105:5(35)/75:5
VS Mech105:65/6(30)/70:55/6
VS Recon60:485/40:6
VS Light Tank25:65/555/6:55/6
VS MD Tank10:105/715/1:85/8
VS Anti-Air Tank45:4565/5:25
VS Artillery50:7570/45:70
VS Rocket Launcher55:8585/55:80
VS Anti-Air Missile Launcher55:-85/30:-
VS APC50:-75/45:-
VS Fighter65:--:-
VS Bomber75:95-:105
VS Battle Helicopter120:25/6-/10:55/6
VS Transport Helicopter120:--/40:-
VS Battleship-:851/-:80
VS Cruiser-:-5/-:-
VS Submarine-:-1/-:-
VS Lander-:-10/-:-
VS Aircraft Carrier-:-10/-:-
VS Neotank5:115/1715/1:105/10
VS Megatank1:195/1710/1:180/10
VS Piperunner25:8555/6:80
VS Stealth75:50-:75
VS Black Bomb120:--:-
VS Black Boat-:-10/-:-
Master Knight DH
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Re: Table of differences between the Light Tank and Anti-Air Tank

Post  Xmo5 on Thu May 12, 2016 4:10 pm

I'm going to include another quote of yours from the other thread since I'll be responding to that as well:

Master Knight DH wrote:I'm wanting to provide my own suggestion to encourage Anti-Air Tanks in map design. This can, of course, be a hotspot because it's objectively worse in every single non-infantry/air matchup than Light Tanks are, but Advance Wars being a strategy game, some solutions would surely come up sooner or later. I find it'd ultimately be worth the trouble because it would encourage about any CO, up to and including Max, to be technical. If indirects are still viable as reward units without pushing into beeswax, all the better.

I think it's first important to talk about the tank > AA > copter triangle because the key to this issue lies in the imbalance. Here's my summary below; strengths are from the standpoint of attacking first, draw means it depends who strikes first (they're both weak to the other's first strike), and weakness is "you don't want to attack or get attacked by this unit". I only included the main units used in normal gameplay.

Tanks- 7k
6 MP, hindered by forests, blocked by water/mountains/pipe
Strengths- Infantry, Recon, AA
Draw- Mech, Artillery, Tank
Weaknesses- Copters, Md. Tanks

AA- 8k
6 MP, hindered by forests, blocked by water/mountains/pipe
Strengths- Infantry, Recon*, Copter
Draw- Mech, Artillery*
Weaknesses- Tanks, Md. Tanks

*deals minimal damage to this unit

Copters- 9k
6 MP, hindered by nothing, blocked by pipe
Strengths- Infantry, Mech, Recon, Artillery, Tank, Md. Tank
Draw- Copter
Weaknesses- AA

The fact of the matter is that copters are the strongest corner of that triangle and their counter unit, the AA, is the weakest link. Tanks are average, and evenly balanced. They win about as much as they lose based on unit types with their main weaknesses being copters and the higher tech, less common Md Tank. Copters are slightly more expensive, but have better mobility and are strong against everything but themselves and AA. With first strike, they even counter themselves well, especially combined with a couple infantry to fully cripple the enemy copter. AA are their only weakness, which should make AA useful units, but it doesn't!

AA are more expensive than tanks but have equivalent weaknesses and fewer strengths. Sure, they can hurt an artillery, but they don't do more than a recon could for half the cost. They make great counters to mechs, but you might as well use two recons for that as well, or even a few infantry which is the most cost-effective solution from all angles. Everything it does, something else does better either at a lower cost or with more added benefits and versatility with only two exceptions: OHKO infantry/mechs to break through walls and take out copters. At the end of the day, it comes down to those two things. Considering the fact that copters counter themselves already, why would you overuse AA unless your copters couldn't get there in time? 1 AA mixed in with your copters is really all you need as a deterrent in most cases. Maybe 2 AA if there are quite a few copters or you need to cover a lot of ground, but for the most part copters can do the job just fine themselves.

Another important factor to consider is unit count. By building a copter to counter an enemy copter (instead of an AA), you free up another base. Sure, there are times when that 1k makes a difference and prevents you from buying a tank etc., but more often than not, you can crank out an extra unit that turn since you built a copter. I'd argue that copter+arty+2inf is a usually stronger choice than AA+tank+inf because the copter wraps up the functionality of the AA and tank in one and lets you pump out one more infantry in exchange for demoting your tank to an arty. Obviously fronts, terrain, and location all play a factor, but you get what I'm saying.

This is why I think that encouraging AA would have to take some specialized feat, not just increased funding. Increased funding will favor md. tanks to counter tanks and copters to counter md.tanks. Why build an AA in that situation either? All you did was supplement one of the AAs weaknesses with a bigger weakness and increase the number of targets, which was never an issue to begin with. I mean sure, with the right copter spam, you could get a lot of AAs, but usually that means something else is lacking in gameplay (the tank side of the triangle). You can't really change terrain to make it work because tanks and AA use the same terrain, but perhaps base/airport/city locations might make certain fronts more AA heavy.

Finally, one other thing I'd like to add is that AA have even one more weakness that isn't mentioned here: They don't benefit nearly as much from attack boosts, be it from towers or (S)COPs, nor do they benefit greatly from defense boosts. The only noteworthy change is that they gain a guaranteed OHKO against inf/mechs on forests with a tower. Copters don't benefit from defense boosts much since terrain defense means nothing to them, but attack boosts can be huge for them for 2HKOs. 1 tower gives them guaranteed 2HKOs on forests (48% + 53%) for tanks and 2HKO with an infantry vs infantry on a city (57% + 51%). Similar for tanks, but they also gain from defense when paired with terrain; +10% saves them from the guaranteed 2HKO on plains by copters/tanks. In short- the things that AA does well, it already does so well, it can't improve much on. Tanks and Copters, in contrast, have a lot of room for improvement and specialization, such as your use of them with Max with 1 tower to get some nice d2d and COP OHKO opportunities.

Edit: I just want to be clear that AA absolutely do have a use and are used regularly to great effect. My point here is more to draw attention to how hard it is to make them attractive compared to the other two parts of the triangle who objectively have a lot of advantages.

To the optimist, the glass is half full.
To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.
To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
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