This topic contains 3 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Khoo Bo Yan 3 years, 9 months ago.
October 31, 2015 at 09:00 #792
Khoo Bo Yan
PART 1: UNITS
UNIT #1: LAV
1. “Filler” unit
2. Can form part of the initial recon deployment
To be fair, the LAV isn’t a bad unit by any stretch. It’s just that most of its usefulness is limited to the early and middle game, before the enemy builds up his anti-tank defenses. Beyond that it becomes very difficult for this light unit to survive. As part of the initial recon deployment, and as a flank escort, the LAV’s price/capability ratio compares pretty similarly to the Transport infantry, and it can be part of an interesting deception (see part 2 for details).
UNIT #2: ARMOURED SCOUT
1. Scouting-on-demand for Heavy Tanks
2. Initial recon deployment with Transports
3. Eliminating enemy artillery
4. Laying smoke in emergencies
5. Mopping up nearly-dead units
New players are easily impressed by the idea of a scout unit that can do some fighting. The reality is that the Armored Scout has poor combat potential (even weaker than Grunts) against everything except enemy artillery in the open. So as the description suggests, you’ll probably just be using it as a mop-up unit.
As part of the opening recon deployment, the Armored Scout has minimal advantage in mobility (down roads) and sight range compared to Transport infantry, while possessing inferior firepower. This is why I’ve largely replaced them with LAVs or Transports deploying on the first turn, unless one has to cross grassland quickly to reach distant flags. Also, its smoke capability is overshadowed by the Mortar Carrier. Where the Armored Scout still excels is playing second fiddle to Heavy Tanks: dashing forward to spot targets, using its good combat range to mop up artillery or nearly-dead units after the Heavy Tanks have fired, and then retreating to safety behind a smokescreen. Having 700 health is fantastic for surviving artillery fire, but not so hot if taking hits from tanks.
UNIT #3: MORTAR CARRIER
1. Ranged anti-infantry, especially for flank protection and infantry support
2. Laying smoke to protect Heavy Tanks
Included since the v2.0 update, the Mortar Carrier is an absolutely vital component of the Iron Raiders’ strategy. Much like vehicle mortars in real-life armoured brigades, their role is to suppress enemy infantry (especially those concealed/behind smoke!) and lay smokescreens to protect the tanks. With their mobility, they are able to do this pretty well in-game.
UNIT #4: HEAVY TANK
1. Long range anti-armour
2. Juggernaut unit: damage sponge, anti-building etc
The unit upon which all the hopes (and fears) of the Iron Raiders rests. Deadly against enemy armour on an open field but very cost-inefficient against infantry. Also, this baby is designed to take damage- 2500 hit points is most of a base’s hit points, and it’s REPAIRABLE! I really don’t get why some people protect their Heavy Tanks from enemy at all costs, the whole idea is to let them take some of the punishment (which they can easily handle up to a point)…
UNIT #5: SUPPLY TRUCK
1. Repairing (Heavy Tanks especially)
2. Supply chains
The Heavy Tank would be a lot less scary were it not for the Supply Truck; the ability to literally undo a bunch of battle damage for very little points expenditure is devastating to the enemy economy. Any Iron Raiders player MUST use this ability to his advantage or risk losing every single game (and Heavy Tank) to numerically superior opponents.
The supply chain is another extremely lethal tactic because it allows the Iron Raiders to receive reinforcements at the front line almost instantaneously. Just form a long chain of supply trucks from the deployment zone to the front, and any badly-needed units can get to the front in one turn. It takes time and effort to set up, but will pay off handsomely when your opponent struggles to cope with the sheer amount of firepower constantly arriving on his doorstep.
UNIT #6: Transport
1. Initial recon deployment
2. Distracting enemy artillery and anti-tank units
This is another fantastic unit. For 25 more points spent you get a Grunts unit with excellent mobility that can get it to the front lines in one turn, especially if Supply Trucks are involved. The idea of fresh infantry appearing instantly on the front lines is pretty mind-boggling! Transport infantry should be the primary unit used to protect the flanks of Heavy Tanks and occupy flags. They take relatively little damage from the large number of anti-tank units your opponent will undoubtedly field, so your opponent must answer with either tanks or artillery. Tanks will get mowed down by Heavy Tanks if you’re playing correctly, while artillery is also needed to protect his units from Heavy Tank fire. Therefore, deploying Transport infantry increases the chance that your Heavy Tanks will get to shoot something, or forces your opponent to spend disproportionately on artillery to lay smoke, and thus reduces the amount of damage he can do.
On the first turn, Transport infantry are excellent for occupying forward positions, killing enemy recon and also forming part of the early deception with LAVs and Mortar Carriers (see part 2).
November 7, 2015 at 04:18 #819
Khoo Bo Yan
PART 2: GENERAL STRATEGY
Since the Version 2.0 update, the Iron Raiders have gotten a whole lot more interesting; they can play fairly similarly to a real-life armoured regiment/brigade…with some exceptions e.g. how the Heavy Tank behaves.
1. Heavy firepower concentrated into 2-3 key units makes strategy fairly straightforward
2. Very effective against enemy armour, assuming no LOS issues
3. Ability to literally recon in force in the early game
4. Scout unit is well-armed and armoured; above-average unit survivability in general
5. Ability to form supply chains and repair damaged units, potentially making the Heavy Tank almost immortal
6. Can fool opponents by masquerading as the 501st Bulldogs or 17th Guards during the first few turns
7. Ability to present a serious early threat to the enemy base
1. Weak in close combat against armour and anti-tank infantry
2. All units give away their position when they fire
3. Relatively weak indirect firepower (Mortar Carrier only)
4. Slow build-up in the early game making them vulnerable to aggressively-played, numerically superior commanders
5. Heavy Tanks still fall to concentrated fire if left unprotected by smoke
6. Extremely expensive backbone unit
7. Strongest strategies require a lot of income to execute
The Iron Raiders rely on a set of vital strategies to win. I will go through them in detail below, followed by some general comments and the usual summary.
Early game deception
Notice that three of the Iron Raiders’ units overlap with those of the 501st Bulldogs, namely Grunts (Transport infantry), LAVs and Mortar Carriers. Funny considering how the two commanders are so different, but that just tells you what their actual “core” units are! As such, in the early game, it is possible to fool your opponent into thinking that he is up against the 501st Bulldogs or 17th Guards (they have Grunts too). This might completely mess up his deployment order and leave you laughing all the way to his base 🙂 And since there aren’t many compelling arguments to deploy Armoured Scouts over Transports on the first turn, any Iron Raiders player should strongly consider this method of deception, even if it only works once.
Recon in Force!
The Iron Raiders have quite possibly the strongest opening recon deployment in the game. (Of course, this quickly transitions to a relatively slow build-up as Heavy Tanks roll forward and supply trucks are moved into position.) At the point of first contact, they are able to field a combat-capable scout (Armoured Scout), standard line infantry (Transport) and mobile artillery support (Mortar Carrier) simultaneously. To compete, other commanders can only field unarmed scouts or tanks. Unarmed scouts will be unable to control flags since they will get killed pretty quickly, while tanks are slower and more expensive than the Iron Raiders’ opening units. All this means that the Iron Raiders have a pretty good chance of securing an early income advantage, which they will definitely need to survive once the main battle is joined and their light units are no longer able to hold their own without Heavy Tanks around to deal with enemy armour.
Heavy Tanks as the centrepiece of Iron Raiders’ gameplay
Note: Heavy Tanks need not always be the centrepiece of the Iron Raiders’ strategy (see part 3 for more information).
The ideal place for a Heavy Tank is on a fort (that is also a flag) in the centre of the map surrounded by open fields, with 1-2 Supply Trucks hiding behind the fort, with a Mortar Carrier and Armoured Scout nearby, and within firing range and line of sight of the enemy base. In this position, the Heavy Tank achieves the following:
1. It generates income for the player and denies income to the opponent;
2. It denies a large section of the map to enemy armour;
3. It forces the opponent to waste artillery action points laying smoke to protect his units and base;
4. It absorbs large volumes of return fire and protects nearby friendly units.
Therefore, victory with the Iron Raiders is achieved by (as much as possible) placing supported Heavy Tanks in positions where they can dominate the battlefield, either by forcing the enemy to commit heavily to destroying the Heavy Tank and fail to do so while taking heavy losses in return, or by forcing the enemy to surrender the income advantage and eventually fall to an inexorable steamroller.
Special mention must once again be given to the Supply Truck’s ability to keep Heavy Tanks going indefinitely, which is critical because they must inevitably take a lot of damage in the process of occupying strongpoints/flags in force. A lot of the difficulty experienced in fighting the Iron Raiders stems from the Heavy Tank being so difficult to kill even when it is in plain sight— so please, take advantage of this!
On a fort, the Heavy Tank has a whopping 3571 effective hit points. It was even crazier in v1.0 when the Iron Raiders still had the Captain unit (~4642 effective HP), but I’ll take artillery smokescreens any day xD
Already mentioned in Part 1 but worth mentioning again; anyone wishing to master the Iron Raiders must acquaint themselves with this technique (and things like the maximum range of the Supply ability). This is so useful that I normally deploy 2-3 Supply Trucks together with a Heavy Tank on the very first turn**. Once the Heavy Tank has been “boosted” to the front, I leave some Supply Trucks where they are to supply newly deployed units, while others spread out and move closer to the front to elongate the supply chain/repair front-line units.
Since the best defense against Heavy Tank fire is a smokescreen, one important way for the Iron Raiders to win is to set up a crossfire between multiple Heavy Tanks attacking from different directions. This makes effective smoke-laying much more difficult, as if it wasn’t hard enough already on open maps!
The Iron Raiders are the only commander that is capable of presenting a very serious threat to an enemy base very early in the game, owing to the Heavy Tank’s 500-damage building attack and long range. Although it probably isn’t wise to go all-out for the enemy base straightaway (income is more important), having a Heavy Tank within range of the enemy base can make some opponents panic. At the very least, you can just fire one shot to let him know your Heavy Tank is there, to make him waste 1 action point each turn laying smoke 🙂
Choice of Terrain
By now you would have ascertained that the critical components of the Iron Raiders’ strategy all require some open space to manoeuvre. Without it, Heavy Tanks will be unable to eliminate enemy armour quickly enough, Mortar Carriers will require all their action points to eliminate 900-health enemy infantry, and the enemy will be able to hide some forces for a counterattack. Having SOME closed areas of the map isn’t a deal-breaker for the Iron Raiders (otherwise they would be restricted to about 3 maps)- but like any other commander, the map must allow them to exhibit their tactical strengths as described above.
Also, since the Iron Raiders cannot deploy any units at all from a helipad, they will be at a significant disadvantage in the early game on maps which require early deployment from helipads.
The Iron Raiders in close combat
The main problem the Iron Raiders face in close combat is an inability to overcome enemy artillery support, either by numbers or counter-battery fire. They aren’t exactly bad by any means since Grunts, LAVs and Mortar Carriers are quite similar to the units of other commanders. So if the map allows flanking/infiltration manoeuvres where Armoured Scouts can deal with enemy artillery, then the Iron Raiders shouldn’t be too afraid of patches of forest/city— but the main effort will still be on the open fields.
Heavy Tanks getting into prolonged close combat will quickly run into all sorts of problems with AT Teams, Machine Gunners, Javelins etc etc. This is much less of a problem when up against the Mechanized Mongrels, who don’t do too well in close combat either; just make sure you don’t use Heavy Tanks to shoot Robots!
Aggressive play is essential for the Iron Raiders. They must work to secure an advantageous position on the battlefield, and take calculated risks in exposing their Heavy Tanks to enemy fire in order to win. Victory is achieved by combining all of the above strategies to secure the income advantage and, eventually, the game.
**A common opening deployment I use as the Green Player comprises 1 Heavy Tank, 3 Supply Trucks, 2 Transports and 1 LAV/Armoured Scout. Sometimes I trade some units for a Mortar Carrier.
November 21, 2015 at 07:45 #828
Khoo Bo Yan
PART 3: OPPONENT-SPECIFIC STRATEGY
IRON RAIDERS VS 17TH GUARDS
This is probably the most difficult matchup for the Iron Raiders player. The 17th Guards’ frontline units are superior to the light units of the Raiders; they have longer-ranged artillery, and mostly equal scouting. Once again, the sheer impregnability and firepower of the Heavy Tank is the key equaliser. In fact, most of the General Strategy section has been written with this matchup in mind, so I guess there’s not a lot left to say here 🙂
In general, the Iron Raiders must pick (and force) engagements that they will win. These include:
1. Engaging enemy Medium Tanks on open ground
2. The initial Transport infantry + Armoured Scouts + LAVs VS Medium Tanks fight right at the beginning of the game, where the Iron Raiders player quickly captures the flags and forces the Guards to engage with only Medium Tanks while the infantry catch up
3. Engaging infantry coming out of a forest at standoff range (this one can be quite a turkey shoot since AT Teams just don’t have the range to compete)
4. Anything involving a supported Heavy Tank on a fort
If the 17th Guards player tries to avoid a costly tank battle by going with all-infantry and MLRS, the Iron Raiders should respond by deploying Mortar Carriers and Armoured Scouts. Existing Heavy Tanks can be used in combination with Armoured Scouts to efficiently kill infantry on open ground, or they can be used alone against infantry in forests (this often destroys the forest, denying cover to the enemy). Supply Trucks can be used to keep Armoured Scouts alive under artillery fire. Transport infantry is useful to force the Guards to deploy some Grunts amongst their AT Teams, but they are vulnerable to artillery so you may need to deploy a few at once.
IRON RAIDERS VS 501ST BULLDOGS
An almost impossible matchup, so I won’t cover it here.
IRON RAIDERS VS ROYAL BATTERY
Against commanders with low-health units like the Royal Battery, the Iron Raiders can utilise an entirely different set of tactics: deploying only light units in a large rush. Consider the following:
1. AT Guns in the open are killed by two hits from an Armoured Scout or Transport infantry
2. AT Guns on cities/forests are killed in two hits from a combination of fire from the Raiders’ light units (you can do the exact math yourself!)
3. MLRS and Heavy Artillery on open ground are killed in two hits from an Armoured Scout, thanks to its damage bonus
4. MLRS and Heavy Artillery on cities are killed in two hits from an LAV, for the same reason
…so it’s probably not too difficult to see that Heavy Tanks are unnecessary overkill when fighting the Royal Battery. In fact, before the Iron Raiders were given the Mortar Carrier in v2.0, the Royal Battery was their best counter because they could beat the Raiders at their own game of long-range heavy firepower; two AT Guns hidden in ambush would vaporise a Heavy Tank instantly from a range only matched by the Heavy Tank itself! So before you get too excited at how “weak” the Royal Battery’s core units are, remember that they will kill the Iron Raiders’ units even more quickly…
The single biggest advantage the Iron Raiders’ light units have against the Royal Battery is……well you guessed it, MOBILITY. Because they move so quickly, they can rush forward and force the Royal Battery to take casualties. The Armoured Scout in particular can dart from one sector of the battlefield to the next, executing surprise flanking manoeuvres and allowing the Raiders to rapidly concentrate firepower in key locations. The fact that it can lay its own smoke for protection certainly helps. Finally, the Raiders can reinforce much more quickly thanks to their Supply Trucks. If these advantages are fully exploited, the Royal Battery will be struggling to maintain income parity and keep their artillery alive, even if they manage an equal or advantageous unit attrition.
It is worth noting, however, that the Royal Battery’s Machine Gunners are designed to counter exactly this sort of strategy by reducing enemy mobility. The effect is most keenly felt when the Raiders’ units run into ambushes, which can really ruin a plan of attack sometimes! Also bear in mind that a smart Royal Battery player will keep his AT Guns hidden behind cover, only popping out when necessary, to minimize the amount of fire taken from long range once spotted. A major mistake on the part of the Iron Raiders player would be being too focused on attacking and forgetting to lay smoke; this leads to instant death for Mortar Carriers, among other bad things. Patience is a virtue…
January 9, 2016 at 04:11 #861
Khoo Bo Yan
Unfortunately this forum seems to be dead, which is a pity since people are still playing the game. I’ll just do one round of brief updates to my posts and will only continue posting comprehensive content if this revives.
IRON RAIDERS VS MECHANIZED MONGRELS
Same idea as playing against the Royal Battery, except that victory is more difficult. This matchup pits Transport infantry, LAVs, Armoured Scouts and Mortar Carriers against Stealth Tanks, Flame Tanks, Rocket Artillery and Robots. As you can see, the Raiders’ units are someone inferior qualitatively, but are cheaper overall. The Armoured Scout can also quickly punish any Mongrels player that leaves Rocket Artillery and Robots out in the open.
IRON RAIDERS MIRROR MATCH
Just remember that Heavy Tanks cannot kill each other in 1 turn (much like Medium Tanks). The player who best coordinates his forces wins. That’s all.
IRON RAIDERS VS 606 SPECIAL FORCES
See my 606 SF guide.
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