There are two main components to having a successful offensive strategy: the deciding of your army composition and order of deployment, and the use of the Gunboat's special abilities.
The Gunboat has special abilities that can aid and support your troops. It should be noted, however, that all damaging abilities (excluding Critters) and the stun ability of the Shock Bomb allow for friendly fire (they can impart their negative effects on your troops). Additionally, improper Smoke Screen placement and Flare usage can keep troops from performing and ruin an attack, so the judgement of when and where to deploy these measures should always be regarded with care.
The most often used are Artillery and Barrage. Both of these deal damage to the opponent's buildings. It is often a good idea to destroy key defenses like Rocket Launchers and Boom Cannons before deploying troops. However, this order may change based on the types of troops you plan to deploy. It should be noted that shells from both of these deal splash damage to enemy buildings; two or more buildings that touch can be damaged by one Artillery shell.
For armies consisting of lower-health units, such as Zookas and Riflemen, defensive buildings should be targeted in this order (with Artillery and/or Barrages), with number one taking the highest precedence:
- Rocket Launchers, due to high range and splash damage. A single salvo may be able to wipe out most of an army that consists of low health units.
- Shock Launchers, due to their long range and wide splash radius. One shot can immobilize and damage or even kill large parts of your army.
- Mortars, due to their splash damage, and capability to one hit Zookas with their long range.
- Flamethrowers, due to their ability to inflict high damage to multiple units as well as their damage over time effect.
- Sniper Towers, due to their ability to one-shot lower-health units (depending on level) and relatively quick shooting speed. Not as dangerous to low-health units as some other defensive buildings, however.
- Cannons are essentially smaller Boom Cannons with a slightly higher rate of fire, and are therefore ignored for the same reasoning. If the Cannon in question can one-shot the troop(s) you plan to deploy, it may be advisable to prioritize the Cannon over a Boom Cannon, as they have similar health and the Cannon shoots faster (and will therefore kill more of your troops over an equal measure of time).
- Machine Guns are able to make short work of low health units, especially at close range, but a few Heavies will easily solve the problem.
- Boom Cannons can easily one-hit kill a low health unit, but swarming this defensive structure with enough units will easily make waste of it.
For armies that rely on high health units, such as Heavies and Tanks, defensive buildings should be targeted in this order (with Artillery and/or Barrages), with number one taking the highest precedence:
- Boom Cannons' long range and high damage allow them to pick off your high health units one by one, severely crippling your army.
- Cannons also deal high damage to high health units and can eat away at them quite well, but their shorter range prevents them from firing off as many shots before being destroyed, so they should be prioritized after Boom Cannons.
- Shock Launchers can stop your army in its tracks which gives other defenses more time to damage it.
- Rocket Launchers have extremely long range and decent DPS splash damage which allows them to pummel all of your Troops for a long time. Also, if your Heavies get in its blind spot, it will begin killing fragile Zookas which have a range longer than the Rocket Launcher's blind spot. However, they are not as threatening to Tanks and Medics, as the Medics will generally be able to out-heal them.
- Sniper Towers deal decent, long range damage to your Troops. Given enough time, they can severely damage your high health Troops, but their higher than normal health makes them less advantageous to take out with Gunboat Weaponry.
- Mortars have shots that fall slowly which may cause them to shoot over your Heavies as they move up which may lead to a chunk of your Zookas dying.
- Flamethrowers can deal high damage to chunks of Troops if they are allowed to, but their short range hinders their ability to shoot at your Troops long enough to make a big difference. Tanks can even destroy it without it hitting any of them because Tanks have a longer attack range than the Flamethrower.
- Machine Guns do such low, inaccurate damage, they are a very low threat to high health units.
Another extremely important ability is the Flare. This ability is used to guide troops towards a designated location or to attack a specific building. The careful utilisation of the Flare is a good way to destroy the opponent's defensive buildings like the Sniper Tower and the Cannon that can only shoot one target at once. It should be noted, however, that the Flare can be used in conjunction with the Shock Bomb and Smoke Screen to facilitate a Warrior rush at the HQ.
Both the Shock Bomb and the Smoke Screen allow troops a chance at not being hit by defenses. The main difference, however, is that the Smoke Screen protects troops from enemy fire within its area of effect (allowing troops to move through it but not shoot), while the Shock Bomb disables defenses within its area of effect. It is recommended to use these to disable and/or avoid the effect of high damage or splash damage units, depending on what army composition is used.
Troops can be healed with use of the Medkit. It should be noted that although it can be used to counteract the damage of splash damage defenses like the Mortar, Machine Gun and Flamethrower, it does not do much to counteract the damage of single-target defenses, especially at higher levels. They are particularly useful when dealing with Flamethrowers, as it deals damage to troops even after it has stopped shooting flames at them.
Critters can do a good job in distracting enemy defenses and thus can be used to divert the attention of key defenses towards themselves (an example would be dropping Critters near a Boom Cannon to make the Boom Cannon attack the Critters and not Heavies or Tanks). In addition, Critters can be used to clear Mines and/or Boom Mines. Since they are fast moving, they can travel pretty far before being killed, activating a lot of Mines in the process. It should be noted that their statistics cannot be changed in any way, even with Statues.
Common Offensive Maneuvers
- A meat shield is when you use high health troops in your front line of attack to defend your back line of high damage troops. The most common type of meatshield army is the Heavy-Zooka or Hooka army.
- Usually used with Riflemen, attackers overwhelm opposing defenses with the sheer number of troops deployed. Single-shot defenses are usually no match for this army, but Mortars, Flamethrowers, Rocket Launchers, and Shock Launchers can damage and take out many troops at once.
- A base that is laid out with the HQ at the very back of the map is vulnerable to being sniped. By sending in Heavy-Zooka or Riflemen around enemy defenses with Flares, an HQ with few defenses behind it is vulnerable to attack from the tree-covered regions behind the base. Use this to your advantage.
- HQ Rushing
- Usually used with Warriors, Flaring the HQ and supporting them with Smoke Screens and Shock Bombs, the Warriors quickly destroy the HQ because of their high damage. AOE (area of effect) and splash damage is usually healed back by the Warriors, but high level Boom Cannons, Cannons and Sniper Towers can 1 shot or 2 shot them so remember to shock these defenses. Also be wary of Shock Launchers which can stun a large portion of your Troops, so shock them too.
- This is the usage of Flares to avoid certain parts of the base due to powerful defenses being in that area. It can be used by all army compositions (except for Smokey Warriors), and sometimes also involves the usage of Smoke Screens to prevent defenses like Sniper Towers from taking out low-health troops like Zookas. Defenses that take a long time to reload such as Boom Cannons and Cannons also take quite some time to lock onto a target, so it is okay to leave gaps in Smoke Screen paths when flanking past solely these types of defenses.
Evaluation: As long as there are a lot of them, they can swarm everything. They are not afraid of single-target defenses like the Cannon, Boom Cannon and even the Sniper Tower. If you use Shock Bombs to shock AOE defenses, then they can quickly destroy most of the enemy buildings, but the Rifleman's primary disadvantage is that victory often comes at a painful price. However, training time is but a shallow issue as compared to replacing most other troops. Still, because they are weak against Mines and AOE defenses, the offensive rhythm must be fast. Using the Medic as a support troop for Riflemen is very effective because they can heal the Riflemen quickly. Medkits are equally beneficial, though their area of effect may not heal everyone.
Summary: If you have good assists for them, Riflemen are a promising troop. From the covering ability point of view, if they can effectively cover other troops without coming under heavy attack themselves, their covering ability is quite good (ranked second to the Heavy among all troops), but be warned, Riflemen do not stand far enough away from Zookas to protect them from Shock Launchers.
Evaluation: They are the meat shield in the game. Heavies have very high health, but watch out for Cannons and Boom Cannons. Their only major disadvantages are their short attack distance and the lowest damage output of any unit, so they must be paired with something that can deal better damage to have the best effect. Overall they are excellent troops, and their casualty rates are typically low when used correctly. Their covering ability is exceptional, and you can quickly push to the Headquarters while covering Zookas; they are also good covering for Tanks because of the Tank's longer range.
Summary: A very good meat shield.
Evaluation: Zookas take up only two spaces each on Landing Craft and they have high damage. The strategy of "Heavies+Zookas" is the one of the most effective strategies for the Zooka, as you can use the Zooka's high damage to destroy the enemy's defenses while the Heavies absorb the damage given by defenses. The Zooka's primary disadvantage is her extremely low health; Zookas stand no chance once their covering troops are dead, so when using Zookas you must destroy the Headquarters before the covering troops die. Zookas have a longer range than the Flamethrower, so they can destroy it without being harmed. Flares do not work well with Zookas because of their slow moving speed.
Summary: High damage, long range and low health. They can overwhelm a base but must be protected from enemy fire.
Evaluation: Warriors are best used in large numbers to rush an HQ; their high movement speed can let them run through defenses quickly, and with the use of Smoke Screens they can get to the HQ essentially unharmed. Once they reach it, the use of Medkits and Shock Bombs can help them destroy the target building quickly. The primary disadvantages of this troop are his very short attack distance and vulnerability when on the move.
Evaluation: Tanks need good support and you must have high energy and advanced Artillery and Barrage in order to be successful. Its primary advantage is its ability to destroy someone's spread-out firepower one by one using its moderate damage and long range. Unfortunately there are many defenses that counter the Tank, and it moves extremely slowly. Overall its performance is fairly good, and with Heavies you can destroy a base with high-level Cannons and Sniper Towers. With the Medic, you can attack bases with high AoE damage, most often without troop loss.
Summary: Although the Tank has very high health, its slow movement speed makes it a sitting duck without cover.
Evaluation: Do not underestimate the Medic. It is a very strong troop; with them you can basically ignore groups of AoE damage. Medics pay no attention to Flares themselves, as they will always follow behind your troops.
Summary: A very effective complement to most armies, but has no offensive capabilities himself.
Evaluation: Grenadiers are great to use both on their own and with Medics or Tanks by their side. Because their grenades are capable of damaging troops, he needs a long-range complement or else they will accidentally initiate friendly fire to your army. The inaccuracy of Grenadiers makes them very unpredictable and decreases their effective damage output which is already rather low against single targets for the amount of space they take up. Their extremely long range allows them to out-range most Defensive Buildings, but they are likely to miss a lot unless they are Flared closer to their target.
Summary: They are unpredictable, but they are one of the only troops that deal area damage and have the longest range of any unit.
Evaluation: Scorchers are decent to use both on their own and great to use with long range troops by their side. However, they take up so much housing space, only those with high-level Landing Craft (at least level 17) can fit them into the army. They require a lot of Gunboat Energy to deploy (12), and as such, Gunboat support will be hindered early on in the battle. They can replace Heavies as a meat-shield, but beware of Mines that can slip past the Scorchers and damage your DPS troops. Buildings attacked by the Scorcher catch fire and take additional damage over time, but they won't be scorched for long - the Scorcher switches targets every once in a while.
Summary: Although it takes a lot of housing space and Energy to use, the expenses to bring Scorchers onto the battlefield are well worth it once leveled.
Evaluation: Cryoneers work best as support troops. Their ability to lower a defense's rate of fire prevents it from damaging troops as it normally would. They can also affect many defenses at once, increasing their effectiveness. With high-damage troops such as Zookas, defenses can be destroyed quickly, often without much opposition. However, their moderate health and movement speed requires cover for them to survive and a low damage output means they are poor when used alone. Heavies do this job nicely, due to the Cryoneer's fair range.
Summary: An excellent support troop for many armies, but needs cover to be effective.