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This page describes how to play effectively, showing some units of notice and some good rules or tactics to know.
Units of Significance
These are units that have a large part in the game such as, battle copters, mechs, and so forth. See also Advance Wars: Dual Strike/Units#Damage Table vs Land Units
Battle Copters are one of the games most well-rounded units. They are cheap at 9,000, only 2,000 more than a tank, packs the same amount of firepower but takes less or no damage from many units. They work extremely well in the beginning of the game to weaken infantry to stunt the enemy's economic growth and to pick off vehicles. However, any anti-air type unit will make mince meat of it so it will become toast once fighters and carriers get out.
Stealth Fighters are a mix between a fighter and a bomber. It can do both of the jobs but doesn't do them as well. However, it gets a very important bonus, the ability to cloak itself. When cloaked, can only be attacked by fighters and stealth fighters. It's most usable at the end of the game because of its price, 24,000. To use it very effectively, build 3-5 of them and cloak them all. Sneak them up to the enemy and strike the indirect units in the back, then use them against the tanks when your army comes through. Remember that APCs can refuel any unit they are adjacent too which can save a couple of turns trip back to the airport when a stealth inevitably runs out fuel.
Neotank are generally the best of the tank series. They have a movement of six, better than the medium tank. The machine gun is powerful enough to kill most infantry in one hit and the cannon is perfectly able to fight against other neotanks, medium tanks, and normal tanks. The only thing that can stand up to it in direct combat is another neotank and a megatank.
The Mech is a version of the infantry with a slightly stronger machine gun and a bazooka. The bazooka is as powerful as the tank cannon. With its bazooka, it's made into a fine choice for capturing bases in a contested area early in the game. It still captures bases and destroys light vehicles.
Anti-air Rips through helicopters and also effective against mech and infantry. Vulnerable to tanks however.
Bomber Can't be touched by most ground units and packs a real punch.
When you repair, you pay one tenth of the unit's price for each hit point. Repairing units is cheaper and more cost effective than purchasing a replacement, and helps maintain combat effectiveness of units that took some damage.
For example, if you have a unit at five hit points and a base, the best general option is to repair. If you spend the money to make another one of that unit at full hitpoints, you will have a good unit for the full price of one, and one unit suitable only as cannon fodder. If you repair, in three days for the price of half of the unit, one good unit. A base can repair about 2 hitpoints per day, with the exception of Rachel who repairs 3 a day.
This section will show how to do common tasks in advance wars such as to take control of an enemy HQ or how to decimate a large battle field. Remember that these parts are general and may not work depending on the conditions.
Control a Battlefield
This advice is generally for smaller maps where there are multiple people wresting for control. It creates the low funds and necessity to control a central area with many bases. If it is like this, there will probably be a few people that have captured a base and are fighting there. Everyone will be churning out weak units as fast as they can in efforts to stop opponents from capturing bases. The big secret is to build a giant powerful tank such as a megatank that can blow away most of the units in one hit. Support it with two or three medium tanks, and capture the bases with mechs. If you have enough bases, build a lot of mechs to fight the light vehicles. This tactic works very well with Jess and Max.
Control a Bridge
Bridges are essential to winning the game. Having control of one will block all of the enemy units from coming through, but you need to know how to control one. The big parts to a bridge block are a fodder such as APCs or heavy tanks to block the enemy from going through, and a few indirects such as rockets and battleships. Place the fodder in the passage, and place the indirects behind it. With this, as long as you can keep a fodder in the way, you should be able to control it. However, it's a different story if you want to take one from your enemy. To do that, you should use air units or indirects to take out the indirects, and destroy the fodder with your tanks and indirects. If you can't destroy the indirect, you should build a few neotanks and maybe a megatank depending on how strong the fodder is. Place them right out of range of the indirect, and when you use a CO power, move them in and try to OHKO each one to make room for the next. After that, defend your bridge!
If you can create more units than your enemy you will clearly have an advantage. Leaving a low value or nearly destroyed unit on any enemy's base stops her from creating new units at little cost to you. This strategy can be very effective if:
- you can occupy all of her bases
- there are no other enemy bases or units nearby
- you want to hold the base until you can bring infantry up to capture it
Even if you can't occupy the base for long, forcing your enemy to miss a couple of rounds of production may give you a game winning numerical advantage.
If the direct blockade is not possible it may be useful to blockade a base or port by trapping an enemy unit on it. Direct combat units can't move after they fire so surrounding a newly created tank with cannon fodder on 4 sides means it can only escape with external help or during a double move dual strike. Of course you have to have a supply of cannon fodder available to replace the one it targets each turn but with a base nearby this may be a cheap method of dealing with a mega tank.
The AI will sometimes use this strategy if you create a battleship. Ports usually have only a single adjacent sea square. A lander or other cheap boat on this square is too close for the battleship to hit leaving you unable to leave port and unable to create any other boats without deleting your expensive battleship. Avoid being trapped by creating a suitable direct combat unit and moving that to the adjacent sea square first.
If you've can't yet destroy attacking units but need to contain them, then deploy some cannon fodder to surround your indirect units, bases or at a choke point. This causes the enemy to spend time to destroy these ineffective units, while you gain additional time for replacing units, reinforcing a choke point, or for some other tactic that requires additional time to perform. Infantry and recon are ideal because of a low cost, but you can also use almost destroyed units or any other unusable unit (e.g. anti-air missiles once all enemy air is destroyed). Don't attack the enemy with cannon fodder, as this gives them chance to retaliate (destroying the units you are trying to use as a buffer). The aim is to hold up the enemy, not damage it. If the enemy is attacking in superior numbers, you may need to supplement with another strategy or otherwise devote a lot of resources to this tactic.