HZM stands for Heavy-Zooka-Medic which, in my opinion, is a very strong army composition. Unlike other compositions, it has no major weakness. HZM can be used to take down almost any type of base layout. This guide will teach you all about the HZM army composition as well as lay out the role of each troop, how to deal with each defense, and a general walkthrough of a typical HZM attack.
Please note that this guide is intended for people with HQs that are level 15 and up but not facing bases with high building health and damage bonuses from ice statues. The strategies discussed here may not be the best way to handle a heavily ice boosted base.
The Role of each Troop
Heavies are, of course, the damage soakers of this composition. With such high health but with a relatively small size, Heavies add a lot of health points to your army. Their numbers allow them to spread out and distract more defenses, and their great amount of health per housing space make them great meatshields.
A full army of level 20 Heavies without statues has a staggering 207,168 HP whereas a full army of level 15 Tanks without statues has 137,280 HP. As you can see, Heavies have much more HP than Tanks. However, Heavies have other advantages over Tanks. Heavies take up half the space of a Tank which means defenses such as the Boom Cannon have an even tougher time dealing with Heavies. Not to mention the facts that Heavies stand closer to defenses which allow damage-dealing troops to stay safe, and the DPS of the Heavies is competitive to that of the Tanks.
This all demonstrates why Heavies are the best candidates for the job when it comes to taking the damage. Now that you can stand up to your opponents defenses, you need to dish out damage to destroy them. That is where the Zookas come in.
Zookas are great at dealing tons of damage. A single level 20 Zooka does more damage than a level 18 Warrior or a level 15 Tank, both of which take up more space on a landing craft than Zookas do. Zookas' long range allow them to stand safely behind Heavies while destroying a base. That is the reason Riflemen are not as good with Heavies as Zookas. Riflemen stand amongst the Heavies, so the Heavies are unable to protect the Riflemen from Rockets and Mortar shells that hit them.
Zookas are excellent for dealing damage from behind Heavies. The Heavy's excellent ability to take damage and the Zooka's excellent ability to deal damage make them a deadly combo, but there is one more troop in the HZM team that makes this troop composition even better: the Medic.
Medics support the Heavy-Zooka army by helping them last longer in battle. The Medic's HPS effectively increases the health of all the troops. Due to the number of troops in the HZM composition and the fact that the Medic's healing splashes, the Medic's are very effective alongside this army.
The Medics also solve an important issue. The Heavies do not always protect the Zookas from every splash damage defense. Occasionally, a rocket hits the Zookas or a Mine slips past the Heavies and hits the Zookas. In a normal Heavy-Zooka army, this would be a bigger problem, but as long as your Zookas have enough health to survive the Mine or rockets initially, the Medic can easily recover them in time to take another hit.
In addition, Medics almost never get defeated in battle since they stand behind all the other troops, so they are ready to strengthen your army in the next battle.
You will need a proper proportion of defense and offense in your army. The general rule for composition of the HZM army is half of the Landing Crafts being filled with Heavies, one lander of Medics, and the rest of the landers filled with Zookas. This table below is my recommended composition depending on the number of Landing Craft that you have.
|Number of Landing Craft||Landers of Heavies||Landers of Zookas||Landers of Medics|
How to Handle each Defense (in order of threat level)
Despite the advantages the HZM army has over other compositions when it comes to handling Boom Cannons as mentioned above, the Boom Cannon is still the number one threat to HZM's success. If your Heavies go down, the attack will almost certainly fail. You will want to use Barrages and Artillery to take out as many Boom Cannons as possible before landing your troops. The best approach after that is to shock the remaining Boom Cannons as your Heavies come within range of them. Limit your time in contact with them as much as possible.
HZM is, in my opinion, the strongest composition when it comes to taking fire from Shock Launchers. As the army approaches the Shock Launcher, the shock will hit the Heavies but not the Zookas, so the damage output of your army is hardly hindered. Most other armies would be severely hindered by a shock because the damage-dealing troops would be immobilized.
However, Shock Launchers are still a threat. After the first shock hits the Heavies, the Zookas will typically move up and be hit by the next shock. Despite the Medics' ability to recover the Zookas' health after the hit, the shocks from the Shock Launcher can typically slow down your army's progression enough to allow the other defenses to deal significantly more damage to the army. So, the secondary target for Barrages and Artillery is the Shock Launcher. Once those are spent, it is best to use a Shock Bomb on the Shock Launcher after its first shot. Try to time it so that the Shock Bomb hits the Shock Launcher a few seconds after its first shot, right before the reload delay ends, so that as little as possible of the Shock Bomb's duration is wasted. Once the Launcher is immobilized, the army will be able to approach and destroy it relatively easily.
People tend to over-estimate the Rocket Launcher's threat against a HZM army. Do not waste Barrages and Artillery on them. Rocket Launchers are only a moderate threat when dealt with correctly.
First if all, when a Rocket Launcher, or any splash defense for that matter, is within range of the beach, be sure to deploy your Heavies ahead of the Zookas. If you deploy all of your troops together, the Rockets will hit all the troops and easily defeat the Zookas.
While under fire from Rocket Launchers, limit your use of Flares which cause your troops to group up. This will lead to the splash damage hitting the Heavies to also hit the Zookas. Having all your troops together like this can devastate your Zookas.
After the initial landing, the Rocket Launchers will almost always be firing on your army until they are taken out. Rocket Launchers are a minor threat to Heavies. The real danger arises as your troops approach the Rocket Launcher. When the Heavies enter the Launcher's blind spot, it will be able to fire over the Heavies and hit the Zookas. A Rocket Launcher can easily be countered with a Medkit. When the troops approach the Launcher, simply place the Medkit on the Zookas behind the Heavies that are within the blind spot. The Medkit alongside the Medics will easily prevent the Rocket Launcher from defeating the Zookas during its small window of opportunity. A Shock Bomb works great as well, but it is usually better to reserve the Bombs for disabling Boom Cannons, Shock Launchers, and Prototype Defenses. Sometimes when the timing is right, the army does not even need the Medkit. The Launcher can be caught while reloading and be easily destroyed. Sometimes the Launcher will just fire at other Heavies if your army is spread out enough.
Lazor Beams have the ability to kit your Zookas even when your Heavies are up front. If your Zooka force is significantly whittled down, the entire attack is in big trouble. However, without a sufficient defensive building damage bonus, a Lazor Beam will not be able to kill your Zookas in one sweep. If this is the case, a Lazor Beam is a minor threat since the Medics and Medkits if necessary will be able to save your Zookas easily. If the beam can one-hit your Zookas, however, you will want to keep the Lazor Beam shocked as much as possible while within its range. If the base has a low building health bonus and/or the Lazor Beam is a low mark, it may be worth it to destroy it at the start of the attack with Barrages and Artillery, but a shock will be more energy efficient if the Lazor Beam has lots of health.
A Doom Cannon can also be dangerous. Its long range and high damage per shot allow it to pick off several Heavies before it is reached. Doom Cannons can be effectively handled by keeping it shocked whenever possible. As with the Lazor Beam, if the base has a low building health bonus and/or the Doom Cannon is a low mark, it may be worth it to destroy it at the start of the attack with Barrages and Artillery, but a shock will be more energy efficient if the Doom Cannon has lots of health. If Critters are available to you (HQ level 19 required), it may be best to use them to distract the Doom Cannon. If you can find an area free of splash defenses like Flamethrowers and Mortars but within the Doom Cannon's range, the Critters will be able to last several seconds which is worth it when shocks are needed elsewhere.
Shock Blasters have high damage, high rate of fire, and a long range which makes it effective against virtually every attack strategy. Heavies and Zookas can probably deal with a Shock Blaster best, however, since having a few Heavies shocked will not halt much of the army's damage-dealing, and those Heavies will last a while since the Shock Blaster will be splitting its salvos across several high-health enemies. Because of all this, Shock Blasters can simply shocked when necessary or even largely ignored. Just be careful when flanking past a Shock Blaster; it will easily pick off many Zookas.
Damage Amplifiers are only as dangerous as the defenses near them, but they must be packed pretty close to the amplifier, so Shock Bombs can effectively disable all or most dangerous amplified defenses. Otherwise, use the techniques that you would normally use to deal with the amplified defenses.
Hitting Boom Mines can deal a significant blow to your Heavies. If your Heavies are grouped up, one Boom Mine can hit multiple Heavies. Boom Mines can be disabled while you are taking out the Boom Cannons or Shock Launchers with Barrages and Artillery. Try to take them out this way if possible. Next, simply try to avoid them while moving through the base. If you have to go through the area of a Boom Mine. You can use an Artillery to take it out if you do not need that energy for something else. Otherwise, you can simply ignore it and go straight through the Boom Mine. One Boom Mine hit will not endanger the attack much.
Cannons can whittle down your Heavies pretty well, but due to their shorter range and smaller damage, they are not as big of a threat as Boom Cannons and Doom Cannons. Since they have a shorter range, they will not be firing on you as long. Your troops will normally take Cannons out before they can deal significant damage to your army. It is beneficial to Shock Bomb them as long as you do not need those Shock Bombs for Shock Launchers, Boom Cannons, or Prototype Defenses. Otherwise, the best approach is probably to flare the cannon as your troops get close to hit. This way, they will focus on and destroy the Cannon before it can get more than one or two shots off. Be careful when you flare though. When using HZM, you want to flare as little as possible. A Rocket Launcher or Mortar could take the opportunity to hit your clustered troops and defeat some Zookas. In some cases, it is probably best not to use anything on a Cannon and just lets your troops go through it.
Mortars can be a problem for your Zookas. As your line of troops move toward a Mortar, the troops' movement can cause the shell to miss the Heavies and hit the Zookas, defeating a group of them. Mortars that are too low level to one-hit your Zookas are not a threat; the Medics can recover the Zookas if those hit them, but when dealing with higher level Mortars, the best thing to do is limit your use of Flares. As mentioned in the Rocket Launcher section, flares cause your troops to group up which causes the Zookas to be in danger when the Heavies get hit my the Mortar shell. Flares also make your troops move forward in unison which can lead to the problem with Mortars missing Heavies. As long as you use your flares wisely and only when needed, you should have no problem with Mortars.
Similar to Shock Launchers, Shock Mines are not a big hinderance to Heavy-Zooka armies since they will hit the Heavies and not the Zookas, so not much damage output will be stopped. The only potential issue is if the Heavies get hit by the Shock Mine, the Zookas destroy the buildings in front of them, and then they move forward to where the Heavies are standing which opens them up to being hit by a splash damage defense. This will generally only be a problem when there are few Heavies left, though, since the other (mobile) Heavies will still move up and shield the Zookas.
Mines are only a real problem when they do more damage than your Zookas' health. Sometimes, a Mine will slip past the line and of Heavies and hit the Zookas. One strong enough Mine can defeat several of your Zookas. If your Zookas can withstand a Mine, you are generally fine because the Medics will quickly bring the Zookas back to full health. It is best to avoid large groups of Mines if possible. There is no point on taking damage that you do not have to. One good trick is to use your Barrages on the Boom Cannons that are near more Mines and then use Artillery on the ones that are in areas with no or almost no Mines. Mines are generally not a huge threat, but try to avoid sending your army over them if possible.
Sniper Towers generally do not cause a special problem. All they really do is add more DPS to the base, and slowly whittle down some of your Heavies. Just make sure they are taken out before your Heavies walk past them, or the Sniper will pick off your Zookas.
Shield Generators will be a very minor obstacle when using HZM. In most circumstances, the generator will be destroyed before the Headquarters is even reached. The generator itself does have a decent amount of health which could slow the attack's progress, but it is much better than dealing with one of the other Prototype Defenses since the generator will not shoot at all. If the generator is not destroyed by the time the HQ is reached, however, most relevant defenses will be cleared anyway, so there will be little hurry to take out the HQ quickly. Rarely, the shield may cause you to run out of time if you have few troops left though, but the generator can usually be ignored if it is not easily reachable.
Machine Guns are only a real problem for Warriors usually due to their low damage at range. Even if your Zookas do engage a Machine Gun without Heavies to protect them, the Medics will usually be able to counteract the Machine Gun's damage on the Zookas unless the MG is pretty high level and/or boosted by defensive building damage statues.
Due to their short range, Flamethrowers do not have much of a chance to deal significant damage to your army. The damage that they do deal is nomally not going to break the attack. Flamethrowers are no threat to the Zookas unless you flare them into one's range since the Zookas can shoot farther than the Flamethrower can. If you run out of Heavies close to the HQ, the attack may not be lost. Flamethrowers that are generally found around the HQ are no problem for the surviving Zookas. Just take them out, make sure no other defenses are with range, and finish off the HQ.
At the start of your attack and before deploying your troops, use your Gunboat energy to take out some Boom Cannons with Barrages and Artillery. If you destroy all of the Boom Cannons and still have more energy, proceed to fire upon the Shock Launchers. Remember to use the Barrages on Boom Cannons or Shock Launchers that are near Boom Mines and Mines. Also prioritize destroying targets closer to the back of the base because if left active, those defenses will be firing on your army for longer and would cause much more damage before you could destroy them. If two or more Boom Cannons, Shock Launchers, or Prototype Defenses are close enough together to be hit with one Shock Bomb, do not prioritize them. They can be easily taken out later by the troops with the help of that Shock Bomb.
Next, deploy your troops. Make sure that you deploy your Heavies first and wait a bit before deploying the Zookas and Medics so that defenses near the beach lock onto the Heavies and do not hit the Zookas and Medics. If possible, deploy your troops in a place where one or more Boom Cannon(s) or Shock Launcher(s) can be completely avoided. Also look for places with lots of non-defensive buildings so that you have plenty of energy to work with.
Move through the base making sure to handle each defense as described above. Remember to limit flare use, save Shock Bombs for Boom Cannons, Shock Launchers, and Prototype Defenses, and save Medkits for Rocket Launchers. Your army will tend to spread out and split in two. This can be good when dealing with Rocket Launchers and corner bases in general where flanking is limited, but if your Zookas cannot deal enough damage to take out the defenses that the smaller group encounters before the Heavies are taken out, you may want to use one flare halfway through the attack to unite your troops again, but remember to do this when splash damage defenses are not in range of your army, are distracted by Critters, or immobilized by a Shock Bomb. Smoke Screens can be useful while flaring away from defenses to avoid unnessesary damage.
Once the Headquarters has nothing left in front of it or off to the sides and it is safe to use a flare, direct your troops to the area in front of the HQ, and finish it off.
I hope you found this article informative. If you have any questions or feedback, leave a comment below. I will be happy to reply.