Originally posted on steamcommunity.com: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=815626088
Getting information on the enemy team is critical to evaluate alternatives with enough probability to be feasible. Don’t rush to your enemy as if you were looking for good luck or tossing a coin, otherwise you will probably be punished by experienced players that have a defense setup with good visibility.
Prior to the match, you should watch your opponent’s past games on the map to learn information like preferred opening tactics or general gameplay. Try to consider your enemy’s attitude, whether they’re defensive, reasonable, aggressive, and if they like making short or long runs, grouping characters or spreading them over the map. You can also analyse individual character gameplay like if they prefer having a static sniper or a bomber in the front or in the back. After you play several times against the same player you will also start to learn about their gameplay style.
Team composition determination
The core of a team often includes the bomber, Hindenburg, and the sniper, Seraphim. Then you will usually find one or two gunmen like Bodark and Denton, while Zeke is an occasional pick based on your strategy and preferred gameplay. As for the shotgunners, Hoser and Augustus are the better picks according to the map and strategy. On the other hand, having two bombers or two snipers is not ideal for beginners as it reduces your team capabilities, making these kinds of compositions only suitable for very specific purposes.
Note that the enemy characters appear as generic ones when you haven’t seen them for the first time. These generic characters don’t have special skills, so be aware of the difference when you preview your actions, specially for skills like Seraphim’s shorter focus time and Hindenburg’s larger bomb radius. That’s why it is very important to reveal the team’s composition, as it would help to better consider the possibilities of your enemy.
As a tip, when you see a character coming alone by a side, always consider that it might be covered by someone in range to secure their run, even if you don’t see it. This way, what you can observe of the current character deployment can help you guess where the others could be as well.
Determining the team composition as early as possible is a great step to reduce uncertainty since it reveals your enemy’s special skills and moving capabilities. Of course, getting information is a double-edged sword as you expose yourself to your opponent’s line of sight. Also keep in mind the possibility of enemy units crouching behind cover and Hyde’s Vanish skill.
Information is the key for battle
If you need to know if an enemy is waiting for you on a path, use a visibility action at the end of your turn like standing up in front of a window, turning on a corner or simply changing your view angle. This way, if an enemy is in fact waiting for you, they won’t have time to shoot you and you’ll have visibility on them. Having accurate enemy positions at the end of the turn gives better alternatives to study, such as the maximum distance a character could run in the next turn. If an enemy was last seen less than 2 seconds ago, you can re-position them on your planning phase if you are sure about the direction they’re going and if they went into cover. You’ll need to play the preparation game and stop your preview at the character’s last seen time to know what could their current position be.
On the other hand, try to limit the information you give to your opponent. Do not throw a bomb just to see if you can catch someone without knowing their positions. Use the bomb when you have enough information to predict an enemy position or if you want to secure a path. Saving a bomb for a turn will also enable you to launch it at the start of the next round after a good re-positioning. Have in mind that, when a bomber fires, he can’t fire again for 5 seconds. A technical error is not letting a bomb explode in the same turn, as it gives the enemy an opportunity to escape unless you are sure to put it at their feet (like in PvE for spawns) or inside a building with blocked exits.
As a tip, use line of sight to split the map and isolate where the enemies could be. That way you’ll be able to see them when they are crossing, even if you don’t kill them. Positioning is not just a matter of killing, and this is what makes all the map strategy and map awareness for controlling the game. You should take advantage when you get the first kill, as it makes you have more eyes and possibilities than your opponent’s.
Review the last turn
You should review the last turn not just for fun but also to know if your opponent could have seen your moves. Before starting a round, try to know what information your opponent has and where he thinks your mercenaries are. It is like poker: try to know which cards are in play and calculate the chances of beating a hand by studying the alternatives.
The further you move from your own last known positions (from your opponent’s view), the less predictable you will be. This works particularly better for bombers since they show up when throwing bombs. Try to exert pressure with this powerful weapon knowing that he can fire on multiple areas on the map by moving after the launch. At least you should do it once to let your enemy know you can launch from many places and be a danger everywhere. So for bombers, launching a bomb at the start of a round will enable you to re-position quite far for the next one.
Sometimes I have to review more than just last turn to remind me where the opponent has my last seen position, since getting back to that place may not be surprising for the enemy as they would feel like you didn’t actually move.
Think a round ahead
You should think a round ahead to prepare the next round with good starting positions. It is possible to have “blank” rounds where you can just prepare for the next round. Do not always try to catch a kill each round if you are not sure enough and don’t have enough information. In particular for the first 2 rounds, you should think of acting only after you are in a good position.
Here comes the strategic aspect at the start of the match: you should analyze all paths and buildings, whether if some are blocked and if you will have to show up to break through if needed. You should analyze the benefits of positioning yourself in a particular area and if you can be stronger than your enemy there, usually by positioning quicker than them or with a good sniper line of sight.
You should assume that your enemy is thinking the same strategy and consider that some map openings are quite obvious because of the benefits they can give. Try also to finish your turn with possible additional spare actions. Do not just plan actions for the current round’s objectives like getting a kill, but try to finish a sequence with actions that also consider if objectives were not fulfilled. For instance, if an enemy is not present where you predicted it would be for a kill, then you will have extra time to move elsewhere, take cover or do other things like a visibility action. Those end of turn actions will not be effective if the time is spent only for killing, you should be able to go back on these actions if not required anymore in the next round. All actions can be fixed except for special skills, which have a cool-down time before you can use them again. For the spare actions you can use a conditional sequence with a ‘Hold on Sight’ order and another point with a ‘Run’ command. That way, if the enemy is there, you will stop to focus him and not run by him, but if he’s not there you will correctly finish your path to put yourself in a safe place. Even if you can get the kill, you may still have enough time to finish your run.
Play the opponent side
At the beginning of each round, consider placing yourself as the enemy with what he knows about you. This is important in mid-game (round 3 to 7) since, by then, you should have already tried a few things, moved around the map and discovered the opponent team’s composition.
It becomes a real mind-game with bets like the ones in poker because of all the probabilities, including learning your opponent’s personality. The risk grows even higher if it’s not the first time you play against an opponent you already know, forcing you to ask yourself “will he dare to do that?”
You should consider that breakable doors can be destroyed not only for passage, but also for other of possibilities like ranged fire, bombing, or just having a better line of sight. Try to avoid waiting behind doors for close combat since it will probably end, at best, with both you and your enemy dying. This is because your opponent is likely to combine 2 character skills to win a 2 vs. 1. A combo example for this would be using Bodark or Denton to reset the enemy’s aiming progress while your sniper or shotgunner gets the kill.
Breaking doors gives you the capability to bluff thanks to the fact that it always attracts your enemy’s attention. Similar to throwing a bomb, every time you break a door your character’s last seen position is updated, and you can give that information on purpose. For that while you can maneuver in next round where the player is not watching. If you plan to break a door, you should usually do it at the beginning of the round. This way you can take more actions around that event within the same round, and your enemy won’t be able to readjust his strategy for the turn. If your opponent breaks a door at the end of a round, you can question if it’s a bluff since the player is letting you prepare your defense after that.
In addition to that, when you break a door and don’t use it within the round, it remains as an opened path that puts constant pressure on your enemy because you can silently return there in a few rounds. The path is also opened for your enemy of course, but it may not be part of their own strategy.
On the other hand, if we assume that both players know the advantages of these “obvious” tactics, then there is no certain way to know if your opponent is bluffing or not, but knowing the player’s skill level and personality can help. If you think you’re being bluffed, on the next round I advise you to try and find information on where the opponent could be in case it is a bluff, while also preventing any benefit your opponent could get in case it’s not a bluff. This can be done by avoiding exposure and keeping a safe outcome if you don’t find the characters in those places.
When you have determined possible strategic alternatives on each side, you’ll have to take a long time to sequence your actions, like combining and synchronizing your characters using wait timers. As a tip to add more actions within a round, you can remove the ‘Look’ command if you don’t need it while walking (it is automatically removed when you run). But before running anywhere, you also need to check the direction your enemy is watching so that you can crouch where needed and resume your run when you’re out of danger.
Your strategy should be refreshed each round as you learn more information (or even if you don’t have any), possibly re-balancing your forces to another map area. If an enemy is overextended and not well-covered by its teammates, you can try to surround him. Try also to fill the gap for close combat when you see openings for intrusion, when you know enemy positions and where they’re watching, or when you can cover your actions with ranged combat or bombs. It is particularly important to know where an enemy bomber or sniper is to eliminate the possibility of being killed while running to a particular area, and to avoid staying isolated for too long in areas with blocked exits -especially if you fail to secure a kill or to secure your position.
Adjusting the tactical execution can take a long time, checking possible positions and moves from your enemies and running preparations very often. The mind-play while questioning yourself also takes a noticeable time. With this guide in mind, be prepared to spend an hour per round and you will probably keep thinking about it within each round, waiting for your opponent’s turn.