An Analysis of Ragnarok

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Spectre_nz
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An Analysis of Ragnarok

Postby Spectre_nz » Sat 10 Aug 2013 06:28

With a Nod to Caserbob, who did a great analysis of Gol, I thought I'd share my thoughts on Ragnarok.

Aside from the issue that 10v10 sometimes turns into a quit fest, as badly mauled players give up and the ever increasing load the remaining players have to shoulder becomes unmanageable, Ragnarok really requires the whole team to be on the same page.

I've had plenty of occasions where I've been up against a canny opponent, giving me few openings, so I have a low score, but I've given away even fewer kills, so I'm keeping my end up - elsewhere on the map however, one or two players are feeding like it's a game of hungry hungry hippos, and before there's time to break the enemy defenses and claw some points back, the team has lost.

You can, of course, apply these points to any game of destruction, owing to how costly attacking is;
1) Recon
2) RECON
3) Don't waste points garrisoning what isn't under threat, because those units are needed elsewhere
4) Don't waste points attacking where there isn't enough of a pay-off.
5 through 9) All involve recon so you can tell when to pay attention to points 3 and 4.
10) DO spend points garrisoning areas where enemy attacks are likely, imminent, or where an enemy surprize breakthrough would be crippling.
11) DO spend points attacking where the enemy has neglected to garrison, where you can quickly reinforce once you have supremacy and where there are easy points to score
12) But; in the case of 11, if the enemy does counter attack, be prepared to move back to a secondary defensive position to avoid throwing away points needlessly, ie, point 4. You do have a secondary defensive option right?

So; Ragnarok.

Map Overview
Spoiler : :
Image


The map sectors are effectively inverted across the map, so each side sees the same arrangement, from left to right, when they view things from their back line.

Each area offers different offensive and defensive opportunities, and these vary depending on who holds the nearby sectors. Except in fairly exceptional circumstances, no one player has the resource points nor the multi-tasking to be effective across more than two or three zones.

One thing I haven't shown on that map is the back line; Foxtrot, Delta, Bravo, in that image. Unless things are really going badly for the team, there shouldn't be much back there aside from CV's, Supply depots and arty. Please don't be the guy who drives the only CV out of a backline sector at the beginning of the game.

Lets take a closer look at the Hard flank first.

Spoiler : :
Image


Why do I call it the hard flank?
Your opponents have a defensible town (1) over the hill crest immediately out of the city, whereas you only have a two building speed-bump if they seize the flank and break out towards you.

Your opponent has a close cluster of buildings to garrison (2) within the sector; Your opponent can almost always put troops down here before you can, meaning you will face dug in ATGM infantry, or dug in IR MANPADS, or both, as you try and dislodge your opponent. You can get to these buildings first if; the opponent uses slow transports and you use helos (but the short line of travel means any anti-helo assets they bring can be ready to ruin your day) Or, you can bomb the access road and hope to obliterate or stall the garrison force before it can reach the buildings. Pushing tanks straight down the throat of your enemy here is risky, as the ATGM teams can be slow to deal with. You might use Infantry to dig them out, but there will likely be opposing tanks to contend with. Napalm is probably going to be your friend here.

If you do try to edge around the hill side to flank units in the town or attack the gambit sector, your opponent has an open, easily recced field (3) to observe your approach, and they have multiple fire positions to hide in and harass your forces from as you advance.

Your reinforcement corridor (4) is closer to the opponents sector than it is to yours; this gives them the advantage of being able to keep recon on everything as you bring it in, and, with long range arty and ATGM's, hit your forces as they come in. For this reason, it's imperative that you can push recon as far back towards their sector to deny them this opportunity.

The garrison sector you do have (5), is on a dog-leg away from the line between your back sector and the hard flank. While it is excellent for fending off spearheads trying to move around the hillside of the hard flank, if the opponent does take the hard flank off you and can get lines of fire down onto this road, it is much harder to keep any garrison here supplied and reinforced as needed, without them getting hammered from the high-ground. If you are in this position, you need to position your units to hit anything peeking over the hill crest and keep enemy recon in check to prevent them dominating this access line.

Your opponent has buildings to garrison (6) in their back sector. Even once you've got their backs to the wall, you can expect to face dug in ATGM's as you crest the hill if you want to dislodge the enemy totally from this flank. You, on the other hand, only have a forest.

These conditions are greatly lessened if your opponent is not paying attention or making a lot of mistakes, but your strategy shouldn't hinge on facing a weak opponent.

On the hard Flank, you need to win at the clash and then move so fast as to deny your opponent the time to fully garrison their numerous defensive positions, or, bring plenty of smoke, arty, mortars and bombs, pick off your opponents AA and grind your way forward.

Unfortunately, the choice some players seem to make; 'Don't deploy on the hard flank' can cripple your team in the long run. Its an area that needs to be contested.

Next; the Soft Flank.
Spoiler : :
Image


On the Soft flank, there's a lot more in your favour. This does not mean this flank is easy-mode. You have the advantage here, but it is yours to lose and there is plenty an opponent can do to spoil things for you.
But what you have is;

A set of buildings close to your spawn sector (1) which you can quickly garrison, and woods you can advance behind that will block LOS. Placing ATGM's with IR MANPADS here can blunt the initial rush of a Tank spam and helo spam, giving you time to bring up additional forces to counter what your opponent has arrived with. If you can hold the sector and spawn things in directly, this gets even quicker. You don't need more resource points than your opponent, you just need more of your points actively taking part in the fight rather than driving in from the spawn at the back. Use this advantage to win the clash, build unit advantage, and take control of the whole sector.

Also; if you have capped the sector but don't fully control it or the hill side approach; Alert your team mates with a beacon. The air corridor here seems to preferentially send planes in from here for anyone calling air power to nearly everywhere on this fore-quarter of the map. If the opponent has massed AA just behind the crest of the hill and in the woods in the soft flank sector, overflying planes are easy meat. Sometimes the better option is to actually move your CV just outside so allied planes don't spawn here, moving it in only if you urgently need units, or the opponents have moved a CV in. At least until you can clear out the AA and keep that air corridor defended.

You've also got a big town, a forest and a small cluster of buildings off to the side immediately behind the sector (2). Don't make the mistake of preferentially garrisoning the buildings here unless you are already at risk of losing the flank sector itself. Your points may be better spent fighting for control of the soft flank so the enemy can't hold it, build up and overwhelm you, but, if you are losing, Infantry here will cause heavy damage to onrushing Tanks and helos that crest the hill (assuming you are not letting the enemy pick you apart with bombers, arty and smoke/infantry pushes)

Your spawn point (3) is towards the back of the sector, and behind the woods, meaning your newly spawned units are less vulnerable to immediate attack. Make sure your clear the nearby woods to avoid nasty surprises.

A nice open area (4) to watch for the enemy. Exactly what and where you put units depends on who holds the gambit sector beside the flank (more later) but you want recon and possibly AA out here as well.

Your opponents have a garrison (5) area that can be attacked without drawing fire from their back line, or, that can be largely avoided if you just can't be bothered. If it is weak, take it. If it is strong but the approach to the back sector is weak, encircle it, hit the back sector and deal with the units here at your leisure, eg, wipe of near-by AA then bomb the area into the ground. Or if there are only ATGM and MANPAD inf, just walk combat inf up and clean them out.
If both the garrison here and the approach to the back line are strong, Don't just feed units in piecemeal. You'll need combined arms and superior numbers to grind the opponents back.

Once you do have the enemy's back up against the wall, their garrison options are much more limited than yours (6). If things have totally fallen apart for you, your last line of defence looks much better (7)

For both flanks
If you hold the flank sector, part of your task here involves guarding the air corridor against ground based AA threats, or at least, alerting your team mates that the flank air corridor is currently a murder hole through which allied planes will be converted immediately into points for the other team.

Most 10v10 games I've been in lived or died on the flanks. Someone has to deploy there. Someone has to at least contest them, or the other team gets a free run to your doorstep. Frequently, the preference I've often seen in favour of deploying on the soft flank and against deploying on the hard flank means there can be 3 or even 4 players on a soft flank, against 2 or sometimes only 1 opponent, making the soft flank even softer, and for the other side, the hard flank even harder.
If you can only contest the flank, put your units in cover at the back of the zone where you have a shorter trip to the back line so reinforcements move in more quickly.
Also of note: The spawn sectors at the back of each flank do not contain air corridors; while this means your planes will not be spawning in the face of massed AA fire if the enemy is on your doorstep, it also means greater flight times when calling in CAS and that you can be isolated without air support, or having your planes forced to over-fly enemy held sectors if the opposition has broken your team's back line further down the line.

Holding a flank and maintaining a positive kills/death score is often enough to help the team overall: If you, one player, is holding back 2 or even three opponents on the hard flank, even if your score isn't great, a tenacious defence allows two or three of your teammates to focus on a smaller number of players in another zone of the map, and so, your overall victory can hinge on one player digging in and holding the line. If there's nothing to defend against, then those points are better spent further forward, where they can kill things. So, Recon, recon, recon.

Now, the Mid-map sectors
Spoiler : :
Image


There's a lot going on in there are different ways to fight and deploy depending on who holds what.
At the outset, the team as a whole should always be sending a CV to capture the hilltop, the center and the nook. The Near-gambit is a must as well, as both gambit sectors interact strongly with the center, and their adjacent flanks.
It's a risk, but there's also the far gambit sector. It takes longer to get there, meaning more time for the opponents to set up a defence you can't break with your initial force, but if you can get a CV in before the enemy can (say, a helo or 150kph unit) and quickly deploy, the team gains a foothold well into the enemy territory. If an ally holds back most of the points at the start, they can very quickly drop their starting ~1000 points into helping you hold the Far-Gambit sector. However, depending on what the opponents can do on the Hard flank and in the center, you can end up in a very fragile position here.

Important features in the mid-map are:
The town outside of the center sector (1). Guard it with infantry. Enemy troops here will rain on any parade attempting to take place moving out from the center or the Near gambit towards the opposing Center or Nook.
The mid-side access road (2), of which your opponent has their own, mirrored to the other side of Center. Your opponents mid-side road needs recon to watch for them moving into position against the Near Gambit sector. Your Mid-side road needs recon to watch for the enemy moving up to threaten Nook or recon-in-force units, in either case coming from either the center, or the Far Gambit if your team does not hold it.

The mountains around The Nook (3) Great for early helo insertion of recon troops and Spec-ops if no one sees you. Once you get eyes in these woods and can keep them moving, you can hunt all the way into the back of your Soft-Flank (ie, the opposing deployment zone), overlook the Nook and even work your way into the very back line, killing CV's and arty, or else calling in precision strikes to kill the same. You also might want to put MANPADS here, to ward off air assets moving towards both the Soft Flank, the Near Gambit, and the Center.
At the same time, your opponents will be seeking to do these things as well, so your team will want to either deploy infantry to clear their own mountains around their Nook, or else push the main battle line far enough forward that the opponent cannot get infantry and recon into these areas.
However, if you hold the near Gambit sector, you can almost always move infantry into these hills uncontested. If your team also holds the Soft Flank, you can do this all the while without ever being seen, until your infantry pours into the opponents Nook.

A mountain approach to the gambit sectors (4) A double edged sword; great for positioning IR MANPADS to deny everything behind the area to all but the most determined helo and bomber attacks. Also great for early helo insertion of infantry and ATGM teams which can then kill units spawning in the gambit sector as they spawn, keep out the MANPAD screen allowing airstrikes and generally require the full attention of the player there until the mountain is cleared.

For specific zones;
The hilltop doesn't need much more than a CV, unless the enemy holds your Near Gambit. Until the opponents have truly taken the Near Gambit off your team, points are better spent fighting across to the soft flank, or in the near gambit, or both. If you're forced to garrison the hilltop and the area around it, you're basically accepting a static defensive line at that point unless the team can make a break-out from the center, or the soft flank.

The nook is much the same; beyond a handful of units to guard your CV against lone recon probes, points would be better spent establishing a defensive line further forward, if not outright contesting the far gambit.

The center is typically very defensible. Which can mean a player can deploy en mass here and do nothing all game because noone wants to chance an attack on it. Ignored, however, the opponents can push in, seize the deployment zone and then be an immediate threat to the hilltop, the nook, the near gambit and two back line spawn zones. Ignoring the center is obviously a bad idea. Camping it with your entire force when the enemy never shows up is also a waste of offensive power. For the player in the center then, their strategy is typically one of the following;

Hold the town at (1) with ATGM inf and recon to spot and stop advances down the Midside corridor
Recon your own midside corridor (2), if the player at Nook is not doing this, to avoid the enemy massing a force here unseen and taking the Nook
Then; Turtle up, and quickly, if the opposing force really is making a push for the center.
Or, set up a bare bones defence in center itself and supporting Near Gambit; moving units in if Near Gambit is being contested, or, working with the player in the Near Gambit to recon, arty and threaten the opponent's Center and Nook.
Or: if the Near Gambit is totally uncontested, supporting a play for the Far Gambit, and/or, helping to hold on to the Far Gambit and threaten the opponent's hilltop.

Ideally, with two players deploying from center, one can support Near-gambit and work on the opposing nook and center, while the other defends nook, supports towards Far gambit and harasses the opposing center where they can.
If your team is doing well and the battle line has moved forward, then four players; two from center, one from near gambit and the fourth either from the Far Gambit or operating out of center while defending the nook can seize the Far Gambit if it is not already taken, then threaten the opponents nook, center and hilltop simultaneously.

The Gambit sectors are at risk of being isolated if your team is not doing well, and the far Gambit is even trickier; the opponents can more quickly reinforce it if you are unable to capture it without contest. In order to be sure of taking and holding the far gambit, you need to sink a lot of points into your force from the outset, and commit fully to the fight for the far gambit to seize it quickly. If the opponents send a strong force of their own with an initial move on the same sector, you risk giving away a lot of points, with no pay-off. Once secure however, they have a lot going for them; garison structures guarding all the roads in where you can position ATGM's, multiple wood lines where you can hide long ranged AA assets, a mountain that blocks LOS that you can station MANPADS on and of course, a spawn point.

Here's a breakdown of your defensive opportunities in a Gambit sector (they're mirrored on each side)

Spoiler : :
Image


What's great is the number of ways you can get overlapping fields of fire, with ATGM's positioned in rear positions then tanks and autocannons forward that can all fire on all the roads into the area. So long as you or your allies can keep you from getting surrounded and you can keep your mountain clear, you can form a very strong defensive line facing the most probably line of enemy attack with just a small number of ATGM troops, tanks, some MANPADS and plenty of places to put AA behind these. Don't forget the recon so your long range weapons can see the targets at long range.

The Near-Gambit sector should support the center if it is under attack, and vice versa. If the center is clear, the Near gambit should support a contested soft flank, having a road down which they can quickly move units up onto the hill of the soft flank if your opponent has no recon here you can catch them by surprize. But: be wary; if they do have recon, air-strikes can poke holes in your counterforce as you move across open ground. If the enemy already holds the soft flank they'll have an air corridor to bring bombers in right on top of you. once you do crest the hill, there is plenty of wooded cover where units can wait in ambush. This kind of flank support is best done within the first few minutes of the game before your opponent can deploy to the woods, or in concert from a determined assault from the soft flank back line into the sector from the back, while the near gambit hits it from the side.
If the soft flank is under allied control, the next options are to establish recon and AA in the open are between the flank and the gambit sector, then either threaten your opponent's Nook, or help with a push on up the soft flank, or work with the players at center to assault the enemy center. If the Soft Flank is not under allied control, then there should be several recon units scattered out in the field with a back line of MANPADS in buildings, IR AA in wood-lines and Radar AA on the edges of the gambit sector and close to the road between Gambit and the Soft flank. You want to position these so that Armour moving off the flank can't easily hit them, and ideally, keeping them near a road so you can relocate after each enemy air incursion; stationary AA out on a limb invites precision strikes. Also, hunt down enemy recon that may be hiding in hedges and tree lines, as they're what allow your opponent to see and then shell your critical assets like AA and resource trucks behind your main battle line.

If you've taken the Far gambit, then its similar; support the hard flank if it needs it, threaten the opponent's hilltop
if you can, be watchful for a breakout from the opponent's center into your sector.

Endgame

If both sides have managed to avoid feeding the other team to victory, the final stages of a game will come down to how effectively they can break into their opposition's back line. At this stage, you need to shift your focus to the particulars of the rear-most sectors of the map.

The Hard Flank Backstop

Spoiler : :
Image


The Silver lining for the cloud that is the Hard flank; if the entire flank can be broken, the approach into the opponents back line offers the most advantage to an attacker. It features; Two garrison zones [1] too far apart to provide fire support to one another, A wooded choke-point [2] which can be lined front and back to create a killing field or a murder hole (or both).
Forested areas [3] set into the back of the map, without lines of quick access, requiring infantry to have set up ahead of time if an ambush is needed, a choice of roads to fast move down [4] and large open fields [5] offering easy recon, sparse scattered hedgerows and essentially no treelines large enough to hide heavy tanks in.

Attacking the hard flank backstop
When you are making a pressed assault on the hard flank spawn area, it is a good idea to keep a CV and several supply trucks hidden behind the town zone behind the hill crest; once resistance in the spawn sector has been largely crushed, the CV can be moved in to either deny the opponent new units, or to cap it outright. Trucks or low cost IFV's should be sent down the roads towards the next zone to draw any ATGM fire, which can then be targeted with artillery and bombers, or else the forest line pre-emptively napalmed. An attack force of fast vehicles; low cost screening tanks, AA and firepower units (medium tanks or helos) should be grouped and refueled, then quickly fast moved towards the next zone as the forest edge is reliably clear. Heavy tanks and powerful AA should trail an initial vanguard to provide a killing blow if the vanguard force itself cannot dislodge the enemy from the next zone. This zone should then be capped and used to build the force for the attack on the next area.

If the opponent holds your Far Gambit (their Near Gambit) they may launch a counter attack from the hilltop; catch them in crossfire as they try to crest the hill to approach your newly captured zone. The opponent is also likely to fall back on air support coming from the next zone over, so expect to deal with a sudden influx of aircraft.

Moving into the next zone you may have to contend with both a killing field (areas of cover that allow units to produce over-lapping fields of fire in an area easily reconed) and then a Murder-hole (LOS blocking cover shielding ambush locations against recon; as soon as your units enter the murder-hole, they will come under fire from all directions, but units outside the murder hole will not be able to gain a LOS to hit anything; gaining the numeric advantage needed to overcome morale damage and fight out of a murder hole is very costly)

Send a sacrificial unit through this area, and in the event of an ambush, pound the forests with indirect fire weapons and napalm. Once you can move a vanguard force through the murder-hole, the final back line spawn zones are almost completely open to you. Alternately, micro low cost units towards and then reverse from the killing field, to draw out ATGM fire. Use arty to prevent the units you spot from resupplying and move in for the kill with combat infantry from the sides as you advance low cost tanks to stun and kill soft targets.

Defending your soft flank back-stop

Ideally, the best place to defend this region (your soft flank spawn area) is in the spawn sector of the soft flank, where you have well positioned buildings to station ATGM infantry in, not the back-stop zone beside it. However, if you are at risk of being overwhelmed here; Position additional ATGM and MANPADS infantry in the garrison areas at [1], disperse at least 2 units of recon infantry into the open fields. ATGM units can be dispersed into the forest by the road way, but the lack of overlapping fields of fire makes it difficult for these units to support one another, and they are lightly to be picked off one by one. Instead, mobile forces; ATGM helos, heavy tanks that can fire accurately while reversing and CAS are the better choice to pick away at the approaching enemy. Give ground all the way back to the forest choke point (abandon the spawn sector if necessary) where you need to have set up an array of resupply trucks, ATGM forces and armoured units with a high rate of fire that are staggered to all begin firing on an enemy approaching down the road at about the same time. Soon after the enemy contacts your units on the killing fields, reverse them back to avoid massed indirect fire. Rely on the units in the murder hole to kill what remains. (the murder hole should also be reinforced with units from the rear-guard and the killing fields forces)shift the location of units in the murder hole frequently, to avoid being targeted by indirect fire and bombers.

Unfortunately, if the opponent has a large enough points advantage, they may still break through the murder hole; ideally, you will inflict sufficient losses on them to pull ahead on points.

The Soft flank backstop

Spoiler : :
Image


The two sides have slightly different arrangements in their Soft flank backstops, but the details are approximately similar.

While the soft flank itself favours the attacker, at the end of the road, the terrain suddenly favours the defender. To break out of the soft flank backstop, you have to contend with the following; A pair of Mountainous choke points [1], not one but a series of murder holes [2] opening into a killing field [3], flanked by a swamp [4] and wooded zones [5] with clear areas [6] in which AA can be placed out of your direct LOS, but with the LOS to hit approaching aircraft.

Attacking the soft flank backstop
The first stage is to send recon through the woods and a sacrificial unit down the road to assess if the opponent has set up a defensive line. If they have not, quickly advance through the choke-point using attack moves, and send units into the tree-line to scour for enemy recon and units with their weapons toggled off for a later ambush. Bring a lot of AA behind your tanks, as this choke-point is prime territory for a massive air assault. if there is a heavy defence ready, or you are unwilling to chance a trap, the better option is to assault the Nook while setting up your own defensive line at the soft flank back-stop. Infiltrate recon infantry and MANPADS across the mountains and sweep into the rear sectors hunting CV's; if you can take out the CV's here, you deny the enemy quick air support. If you can find a mountain around the Nook free from MANPADS, helos can be brought in en mass to place infantry into the Nook, ATGM teams into the Nook forests to snipe armour waiting on the killing field in ambush positions, and attack helos can range around targeting armoured units waiting for your own break-out from the soft flank. Ideally, an assault on the Nook should take place just as you are gaining control of the whole soft flank, causing the enemy to turn away from their defensive positions and reinforce the Nook shortly before you effect a break-out.
Time is critical after you take the Soft flank back-stop, as the longer you delay, the more units an opponent can push into hidden locations and the more un-viable a breakout becomes. Have supply trucks ready behind your attack force so you can immediately refuel units and if the opportunity is there, press the attack through the choke-point quickly, rather than stalling while you call in supplies to replenish your units.

Defending your hard flank back-stop
If the hard flank is falling, you should begin establishing a defence around the choke-points before the hard flank itself has totally collapsed. Use Arty to hit enemy supply trucks so they cannot immediately push on through the choke point, place ATGM infantry on both sides of the murder-hole positions and use the woods to move supply trucks in behind them as needed. Seed recon and spec ops forces into the mountain to protect against the opponent doing the same. Scatter many AA units in the open areas in the woods to give them better LOS, and place combat infantry around them to screen them against spec-ops and recon infantry. The City in Nook should be garrisoned heavily with combat and MANPADS infantry, to protect against the enemy trying to open up a second front. Use CAS as much as possible to hit units trying to traverse the mountain choke-point, and lay artillery on any AA unit you can see in or behind the choke-point.

A wrap up:
As far as over all team strategy goes; Your team doesn't need to score points everywhere. Even one big successful sector fight might be all you need if the rest of the team plays a very safe game. On the other hand, overall, your team does not have a huge lead, or worse, is trailing, then it can't afford players throwing points down the drain attacking positions that offer no advantage even if taken. Principally, you should be communicating with your team, flagging things with beacons; CV's in particular, and hitting any soft target in the open if you've got the arty to do so; AA, jeep ATGM's and infantry. Where-ever possible, kill enemy forward recon if you can do so without excessive losses. It's often worth downing a 70 point recon helo with a 90 point fighter just so you can get the drop on your opponent in the next 5 minutes with an attack force they didn't see coming.

There needs to be at least one player either holding, contesting or holding back the opponents in each major area; Hard flank, Soft flank, Near Gambit, Far gambit and center. In my mind, players in those areas really need to be able to 'look after their own house' or 'Hold down the fort' as it were, with AA, ATGM and infantry to at the very least, hold back one opponent. Don't count on the rest of the team being able to help you. If they can, great. If it's you versus 5 opponents, things are dire and your team probably should think about helping you if its vital you stick it out where you are, BUT, if 5 players spend 20 minutes battering your forces, even if you get thoroughly beaten, that's 20 minutes in which the 9 players on the rest of your team have a numerical superiority over the 5 remaining opponents.
One player in each of those five sectors then leaves 5 other players who can either help in a zone or two, or provide air power or artillery. A player entirely dedicated to arty means one sector that has to hold with one less player bringing tanks and infantry. Too many exclusive support players and you can't hold the opponents back on the ground. If that happens, then those support assets risk being over-run. For that reason, deploying a massive back line of arty on the hard flank is risky. Of all places, the hard flank is the most likely to fall quickly, and, the nearby mountain and woods provides cover for an opponent to move in recon and spec ops.

If you're done looking after your own house and you have recon out and you can see there are no sneaky opponents massing near you, then its time to move forward.

Each player has a job to do in the area they're primarily focused in; guarding the flanks of the sector beside you. If the guy on your flank falls while you laugh at what a n00b he is... they're probably coming for you next.

Unless the enemy is on your doorstep, massive deployments of units are better off somewhere other than the Nook and the Hilltop. The near Gambit can guard the hilltop, and the Nook should be lightly garrisoned against units coming down from the mountains, but mainly protected by forces deployed further forward, where they can both shield the Nook, and threaten the Far Gambit.

Fast CV's are great for early captures to gain a lot of advantage. I favour sending 150kph jeep CV's at the Near gambit sectors and light armoured CV's at center, the Nook and Hilltop. Both flanks require several considerations; you want to cap it quickly, to bring in units and or prevent your opponent from doing the same, but, getting it quickly often means losing your fast CV to arty or a bomber before your have your lines established. For this reason, the flanks are a good place for two CV's; A helo or 150kph jeep to get the initial cap my moving to the absolute nearest point, then a light armored or tank CV that can move up more slowly or deploy in the sector and then hide in the woods somewhere.
Owing to how many players clusterbomb the roads to oblivion to gain advantage on the flanks, an initial force of helo infantry to camp out the strong points, buying you timewhile you use fighters to fend off bombers along that road, and/or drive more slowly cross country and bypass the road with your main force can work. Again, because no one player can probably bring a Helo CV, an armoured CV, a good Heli-mobile force and a rounded ground force with AA, two or more players really need to work in concert on the flanks.

Each side in 10v10 really lives or dies by how well all the assembled players can pull off those considerations in different areas of the map, and trust that their allies in their own parts of the map are doing their bit so that overall, your team gains the most points while giving away the least. And for that, there are plenty of guides around how to recon, how to use air, what to drop arty on, and so on.
Last edited by Spectre_nz on Wed 14 Aug 2013 11:31, edited 4 times in total.

zaript
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Re: An Analysis of Ragnarok

Postby zaript » Sat 10 Aug 2013 11:53

Bump for a good thread.

My two cents to add:

If you plan to go for Far/Near Gambit it would be a good idea to have Speznaz/Assault Engineers in your deck to contest mountain and forest.

There is also aggressive infantry play possibility based around fast inf sneaking from Near Gambit through mountain near enemy Nook to cut off (leave ambush on choke point and hunt CV) reinforcing sector that opposes your team on Soft Flank.

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Spectre_nz
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Re: An Analysis of Ragnarok

Postby Spectre_nz » Sun 11 Aug 2013 11:29

Yeah, I briefly alluded to the use of infantry in this manner with my comment on The Nook; "The mountains around The Nook (3) Great for early helo insertion of recon troops and Spec-ops if no one sees you. Once you get eyes in these woods and can keep them moving, you can hunt all the way into the back of your Soft-Flank (ie, the opposing deployment zone), overlook the Nook and even work your way into the very back line, killing CV's and arty, or else calling in precision strikes to kill the same."

There are so many options with a 10v10 map it's hard to go into specific detail. Even with tried and true tactics, sometimes an unusual confluence of a player spotting you early, or no one helping with air cover, or the sudden intervention of artillery can toss your best laid plans out the window.

Bombers, attack helicopters and heli-mobile infantry often get spammed in the early game by several players. Where and why comes down to the position of the roads.

The road leading into both flank sectors is often a target of blind cluster bomb drops (particularly Aardvark rushes) Because they can be so effective; the opponent knows there are almost certainly going to be a lot of units fast moving to cap that sector within the first minute, so it's just about getting the right timing. You need to have an answer for this before you even see the Aardvarks, as the window between them coming into sight and dropping their bombs is small, so plan ahead and have units in place to sweep the skies. See Figure 1 and Figure 2.One option is not to use the roads. unless you want to give the other side an easy cap, someone better bring a heli-CV and some heli-borne inf to hold the front until the gropos can arrives.
Otherwise, you're going to need air cover to down those bombers. Pairs High-veterancy, cheap mig 21's are great for this, as are East German Mig-29's. On the other side, Eagles and starfighters do well covering the flank from the air. Stun or kill the first Aardvark, giving you more time to Stop order your AA on the ground to kill the next. If there's a third and a fourth Aardvark, you're facing a Cat-C air deck and you'd better hope it's not just one of those days...

So, Those opening Air rushes follow the roads; the bombers seek them, Helo's avoid them. Basically because that's where the AA goes.

Spoiler : :
Image

An estimate of AA positioning 2 minutes into the game

Ground AA follows a typical pattern within the first two minutes of the game; most of it goes up the flanks. Some of it marches into center. Sometimes you'll see players drive it towards the Gambit flanks, but a lot of the ground based AA doesn't come out until after the Center or a Gambit flank has been captured, and then it comes out straight into that zone. The distance AA can drive in 2 minutes is somewhat limited too, so this isn't such a bad tactic. The bottom line is, for the first two minutes, a lot of the map is wide open to air. In particular, there's a dead zone in AA cover between the Gambit zones and their adjacent flank zone and along each mid-center corridor up into the back of the Far gambit. Also in these areas are great places to move in Infantry, so it's no wonder many players target these areas to put down troops.

Taking these forward towns with a mix of ATGM and IR MANPADS, even if you can't hold on to the sector, buys your team a lot of time if the opponent has to focus on digging them out before they can help an adjacent sector. You can also get lucky and snipe a CV.
Grabbing the town on the opponents edge of Center also allows you to drive reinforcements nearly unopposed up the soft underbelly between Center and Hilltop, at least until they get wise. In this area, the aim of the game is not to send a 1000 points of bad-asses that can kick ass all the way to the back line, rather, its to send maybe 60 to 80 points of fast moving mechanised infantry up where they can hide in woods, spot things, ambush CV's and generally be a pain in the ass for the other team. They'll probably all die, but war is hell.

Knowing about these open targets, a 10v10 team should be doing the following;
1) Getting recon over those 'dead areas' where there's no AA for the first 1-5 minutes to watch for helicopters.
2) Getting fighters in if you see one or two attack helos or a small heli-mobile group
3) holding back interceptors behind the fighters in case the opponents decide they want a piece of your fighters.
4) Be sending your own Heli-mobile units to do exactly the same, because the opponents might not have planned as well as you have.

Attack helos don't tend to go the same places. Frequently they'll head onto the flanks, and can be put to really good use covering the tanks during the initial clash. This is of course, why people bring so much AA to the flank. Its a good way to provide quick support to your team mates, and attack helos can cover a lot of ground, ducking in and out to defend The flanks or the center as needed whenever there's a mass of opponent who didn't bring any AA to shoot at.

Plan to counter to the 1 minute heli-rush while deck-building

Having the opponent take forward positions is not by itself game ending, but it can really slow your team down and result in you losing a sector like the Near Gambit, meaning less support for your Soft Flank, or in the case of the town outside Center, neutering your ability to work Center and Near Gambit together. Fighters don't down the helos fast enough, and SPAAG can't generally get there in time to be any use.

So, it pays to have a rapid counter.

1) Heli-infantry of your own. Get there first.
2) Air to Air Helo's. Bring em if you've got em.
3) Bomb them into the ground about 10 seconds after they touch-down. . I like to build my decks to handle most contingencies, and for this I bring a good area bomber and a good CBU plane, and keep points spare at the start to buy at least one of each. Nothing says STFU to a heli-insertion like a visit from the thousand pound fairy.
There are still likely to be stragglers left around after the first pass, so follow up with ground recon and infantry to make sure the area is thoroughly pacified.

The other thorn in your team's side from Heli-infantry will come from recon and Spec ops squads infiltrating the wooded mountains just beside your hard flank. Soft flank is do-able too, if you're not using enough Recon. If inf do get in there, they'll be able to hunt down Arty, CV's and AA or else call down precision strikes for the rest of the game. If you see helos sniffing around those foot hills, Beckon your team, and send in infantry recon plus combat infantry. Spetsnaz, or combat engineers are a highly effective, if limited, resource to do this. Alternately, a swarm of low cost expendable reservists can get the job done, or at least just camp out the places recon infantry like to be when they're spying on you.
Last edited by Spectre_nz on Mon 12 Aug 2013 08:25, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: An Analysis of Ragnarok

Postby Caserbob » Sun 11 Aug 2013 22:37

Good work Spectre_nz. You did a thorough job of analyzing the terrain for the middle of the map. I like that you added captioned pictures throughout the post, but they'd be 100x better if you used the [ spoiler=][ img] [/img ][/spoiler ] function so the reader doesn't have to flip between webpages.

I don't have anything to add to the substance of the post other than there is more to write about the rear areas. I had planned on doing a terrain analysis Ragnarok, but do to work and life it appears you beat me to it. Once again good work.

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Re: An Analysis of Ragnarok

Postby Spectre_nz » Mon 12 Aug 2013 06:33

I initially tried to use spoiler tags, but the max image size it would allow was 950 pixels wide. Tonight I'll try and shrink my images and see if I lose much detail.

I was also planning on going through the set pieces that very frequently get used on Ragnarok, as well as that choke point with the mountains at the end of the soft flank.
If you've got more to add about the rear sectors, I'd love to hear it. I've seen far less tactical action back there, so, haven't formed as much of an analysis there as for the rest of the map.

Edit: also; Your analysis was the source that prompted me to do this one, so, allow me to tip my hat to the original master.

Post Edit Edit: Images resized and look fine! Spoiler tags work now.
Last edited by Spectre_nz on Mon 12 Aug 2013 08:11, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: An Analysis of Ragnarok

Postby Mako » Mon 12 Aug 2013 06:34

*Is overwhelmed*

But I thought you just bought all the tanks and the HATO bought all the planes and then people clicked attack.
If there's two kinds of players, those that like challenges and those that want a fair game, pubstomps should make everyone happy.

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Re: An Analysis of Ragnarok

Postby Spectre_nz » Mon 12 Aug 2013 10:56

It's probably going to take me a while to get through set pieces, and even then, the ones I'll be doing first are the ones I use or am familiar with. Anyone who knows other good examples should post them up, or provide an outline.

Set Pieces

Set pieces are groups of units, tactics and maneuvers that are carried out in a formulaic way. Different players may utilize different exact unit set ups, or vary their approaches a little, but over all, the generic unit types, the roles they are sent out to fulfill and the overall goal of the action are more or less the same. Also, you see such set pieces being used over and over in many games.

The 45 Second Flank Cap

Spoiler : :
Image


Bring at least: 1 CV, Tanks
Better yet: 1 150kph CV, 6-10 Low cost tanks, 2-3 heavy tanks, 3+ units of Radar and IR AA, Recon
Back up with other players: Bringing the same as above, plus; A CV helo instead of a ground, both a recon helo and a ground recon unit, CV, 2-4 ATGM infantry, 2-3 MANPADS, 1 or two cargo trucks to supply your troops.
Then add: Attack helos, 2 - 3 fighters to provide an initial air screen from bombers. Drop smoke in the middle of the flank sector as you crest of the hill so your units don't get wiped out until you are in position.

Modus Operandi; You want to drop your CV into a piece of cover almost as soon as it hits the sector, particularly in a hedge just off the road way. Fast move your entire mob when the game launches. As they move, Use shift to add additional moves for after the fast move. Give the tanks and attack move to get them rolling forward. Use shift-click move-unload to send the infantry to buildings and garrison them, ATGM's in front, MANPADS behind. AA units stay behind the buildings and forest and roll forward if the coast is clear. Supply trucks get into cover where they can provide for the infantry and the AA. Put smoke in the middle of the sector just before you crest the hill.Helo recon moves over the forest. Attack helos hover near the tanks to stun and kill enemy tanks and enemy ATGM units. Then, Attack-move the tanks, AA and helos forward. Unless your Helo-micro is kung-fu, hang the helos at the back near the map edge, away from the hill crests where AA can be waiting in ambush.

If you have Attack helos with you and/or expect air cover (ie, you're holding the sector); Use your tanks to kill enemy AA if you can quickly get within range, as you'll kill AA a lot faster than you will other tanks. Cheap, numerous tanks can distract the enemy tanks if needed, while your heavies use their range and power to one-shot enemy AA. With the AA dead, you can bring air power down on the opponents tanks and ATGM's with impunity.

In case of your soft, fast CV getting spotted and killed, bring a second, slower, tougher one. For a full 45 second cap deployment, you need at least 2 players working together. A third can bring more tanks, more Art and more helo-micro.

What can squash you:
Cluster bombers hitting you in transit; fighter cover is needed to ward this off.
Opponents who bring a better force to the party than you do.
Losing all your Recon and losing your tanks to ATGMs they can't see
Losing all your AA and losing your tanks to Helos you can't hit.

Flank Recon Look'n'cook

Spoiler : :
Image


Bring at least: Very good helo recon (infantry recon work in a pinch too, they're just slower to get into position) and a low cost cluster bomber or arty.
Better yet: Exceptional helo recon and two low cost cluster bombers. Have one bomber circle over hilltop in case the first fails.

Modus operandi
Right around when the 45 second flank cap is going on (but sometimes later), you'll often find yourself in the situation where both sides have a hidden CV and noone can spawn units in the sector. To break the deadlock in your favour, you need to kill their CV, and quickly. Step one has to be finding it.
This maneuver has an advantage on the soft flank as you can get a little closer in with the helo to where CV's usually hide before you're too close to where the AA often is.
On the hard flank, its more difficult, because for your opponent, the natural lay of the land encourages them to put their CV closer to the map edge, and their AA closer to where you want to bring your recon helo in.

Cautiously edge your recon helo around the edge of the hill side on the sector border. Keep at a distance. If you can see no AA in the open, moving up the map edge also works. Keep curve your helo in, then as you get close enough to see units at the hill crest entering the sector, edge it in. Hopefully you will spot a CV. Becon it as a CV for your team mates, pull the recon back. So your allies will know what weapons to use if you lose sight on the unit itself, use the beacon to give info on what sort of CV it is; Jeep, Light armour or Tank. Hitting a Tank CV with Arty won't dislodge it. If you are using infantry recon instead of a helo, you will be slower, but harder to spot and not vulnerable to AA (tanks will nail you if they see you, however)

Now, you or a teammate needs to kill it. MAssed or Precision arty will be enough for Jeep CV's, but light armour will need cluster bombs or a one-tonner. Air units can swoop in across the open field between the Gambit flanks and the flank itself early in the game, as their is no time to get AA out there.

What can squash you
AA on the edge of the sector you're sneaking down, low cost fighters if the opponents recon see you, sneaky IR MANPADS and just about any Heli-infantry that puts down near you.

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Re: An Analysis of Ragnarok

Postby Spectre_nz » Tue 13 Aug 2013 10:59

Edited the first post, additional section on the Back line spawn areas under 'endgame'.

I'm wondering if things like the 'Set pieces' bits are at all useful to people (I guess I'll slowly be adding more) As I kinda feel like I'm just talking out my ass and saying "Well, these things some times work, but those things sometimes work too" without actually saying much that's educational.

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Re: An Analysis of Ragnarok

Postby stratmania » Tue 13 Aug 2013 11:05

For ragnarok, If I feel ballsy, I will alert my teamates that I am getting the far gambit immediately. Tried it 2-3 times, it only worked once :(

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Re: An Analysis of Ragnarok

Postby hhhmmm » Tue 13 Aug 2013 17:53

Excellent analysis and a refreshing change from the various buff/nerf whine threads.

I think extra discussion on "support" decks is warranted. Sadly, most support decks are really bad to have on your team. With "support decks" i mean decks that primarily deal damage with air and artillery units and need other decks to hold the ground. For some reason these are very popular on 10vs10s.

I'll discuss arty decks. Usually luxury players who inflate their own score at the cost of the team score. And their own score isn't very good either. They depend on the rest of the team doing good recon (at which point my team is winning anyway). Personally I would prefer to play with bad players who attack since it at least forces the other team to react.

Biggest problems with arty decks:
* Doesn't contribute on recon.
* Doesn't fortify their own areas.
* Doesn't contribute in the initial push.
Which gives the other team extra time for micro, extra openings and numerical superiority.

Some suggestions if you absolutely need to play with one
* If you absolutely don't want play on a flank but start there, leave the CV and a radar AA. At least the player you are leaving won't have to spend extra cash (and your CV isn't needed elsewhere anyway).
* Send some infantry to fortify the area you are in. Nobody wants to hunt recon inf because you were to lazy to place 60 points of basic infantry around.
* Send some recon units around. Arty decks are depends even more on good recon than any other deck. A dozen recon inf wandering around is going to do wonder for your target opportunities and also help your team. Whenever you don't see any targets, its the time to send out more recons.
* Don't blind fire arty. Killing trees doesn't help your team.
* Don't use rocket arty unless you really know what you are doing. Rocket arty stuns but doesn't kill. So there are some very small windows where rockey arty is amazing but it's pointless the rest of the time.
* Be smart about moving your artillery. Sometimes it's important sometimes it's not. Shift-move it after firing IF counterbattery is a risk. You don't need to spend time microing your malka's at the start (nobody is going to counterbattery you at that point). You do need to move mortars around if there is enemy artillery around. If you are not moving your artillery, spread it out so that no more than one arty piece gets hit on counterbattery.
* Contribute in the initial push. That means ground units at the line or planes flying somewhere. At least 500 points. If micro is too much, here are some easy helpful suggestions: Send infantry to relevant buildings and forest. Let it chill in buildings, in forest they can also be sent on attack-move somewhere relevant. Send some AA to chill just below a rigde somewhere. Even if it's not the most important tasks, at least if frees up the other players from putting units there.

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