Clan Wars, otherwise known as Ultimate Conquest, can be a daunting task to undertake for many players. Often times, the first, second and even third clans a player joins can experience ups and downs due to the level of competition in Clan Wars. Below, we will review several preparatory tips for entering, fighting and succeeding in these types of battles for both the individual player and the clan as a group.
Clan Wars Preparation – The Individual Player
Success is not solely based on personal statistics and a particular clan’s strict requirements. To have great success in Clan Wars, it takes the proper tanks, crews and equipment, knowledge of the game, mechanics, the ability to listen and learn, and most of all: patience. A player should not expect immediate success upon entering a clan. Similarly, he/she should not expect to be chosen each time he wishes to play. Such expectations will only lead to frustration; it takes time to adjust to this new atmosphere. It is important to note that many clans are made up of several teams (about 15-17 players each) who have played over hundreds of battles together. This experience playing together gives them an edge in communication and knowing one another’s strengths and weaknesses. Other clans, however, include several “regulars” who are most often used in the more important battles in order to increase the chance of winning.
Patience and the ability to learn play a very important role in a players acceptance into any clan. Any clan serious about this aspect of game play will subject each potential member to a series of requirements. These requirements include learning new tactics, routes, movements, formations, and much more. Learning this new information takes time, but will pay off in the long run for serious players. It is easy to be told where to go and what to do, however, it is not easy to anticipate and understand how the field commander wants you to respond in unexpected situations. This kind of understanding only comes with experience and time. Be online early for clan wars and scheduled practices. Your diligence will be noticed.
Choosing which end-tier tanks and artillery to work toward for competitive play is a difficult task. Each map, opponent and field commander prefer and require unique team set-ups and tactics to function adequately. A good clan will, in theory, have a use for all end-tier tanks, but in many cases, only a select group of tanks will be used. Most clan war teams choose to operate this way because those tanks which they have chosen to use outperform other tanks by a hair. While it is important to work toward the tanks you enjoy playing, having tanks that are desirable to the clan leader will earn you more play time. A majority of teams will use heavy tanks as their backbone, with mediums, tank destroyers and SPGs to supplement the heavy tanks. Keep in mind, however, that some maps call for more medium tanks than heavy and others no mediums at all, supplementing with more destroyers. Overall, heavy tanks are the most commonly used type of tank in these battles, followed by medium tanks, tank destroyers and SPGs, respectively.
While some tanks above are listed under least desired/used they are still used in clan wars. Generally those tanks who are used more sparingly, require specific roles to be favored over the most desired/used tanks. Some tanks are not flexible enough to be used as often or do not work well in large numbers to be the backbone of a team.
Choosing appropriate tanks is one thing, but being able to use it properly and in any situation is another challenge entirely. In order to be prepared, a player will want to put in at least 100-200+ battles in a tank which he/she wishes to play in Clan Wars. Without this experience, one cannot expect to perform well regardless of overall skill level. A player’s crew skills are also a great asset to take into consideration. Having a crew with at least two skills allows the player to have the Brothers in Arms skill, which gives a small performance bonus as well as various other skills. Equipment is another requirement to consider. Many overlook equipment requirements after purchasing their new tank. At the endgame level, the lack of a rammer, vents, stabilizer and other parts will prove a greater disadvantage than in public matches. Finally, knowing the game mechanics inside and out will not only increase a player’s ability to learn, but also make the field commander’s job easier. It is easier for a commander to explain tactics, movements and positioning on the battlefield when each player has this knowledge.
As a player you should take the time to ask for help if you are new to competitive play. It is not the same as public matches where you can go solo most times and still influence the battle greatly. In clan wars/tournaments you are a part of a team and going solo can land you in serious trouble. You may find yourself rounding a corner, only to get blasted by 8+ enemy tanks waiting for you, the sitting duck. Taking the time to learn how to drive properly in a group, position your tank to feed off of your teammate’s armor in front of you and take shots for others. These skills are crucial in team-based game play.
Moving as a group is of utmost importance in Clan Wars. Organized clans will have squads, or groups, assigned to specific positions or routes during any particular match. When field commander orders one squad to move from point A to B, it is important that the entire group move as one, no matter what obstacles present themselves. If half of the group follows orders while the other half stops when an enemy is spotted, both groups are at a disadvantage because they are lesser in number. Most engagements end up two sides colliding and the squad that is moving and working together can pick off the enemy faster and likely win. While sticking with the group being attacked opposes all individual human logic, let the field commander tell you where to go, follow directions with your squad and reap the rewards.
Positioning your tank and taking shots for your teammates will only increase your desirability as a player. Many players fail to master these two tasks, making them less likely to be chosen in battle. If your squad is in a defensive position, using the “Echelon” formation will allow multiple tanks to get a shot onto a choke point without over-exposing themselves. As an enemy approaches and moves through the choke point, each tank takes its shot in succession and backs up to safety. If the enemy continues to push, more tanks will be able to take shots and hit them. If they retreat, the squad can remain in formation. Keep in mind, however, that building height needs to be accounted for, as does the range of an enemy SPG’s hits. Those tanks who are farther from the wall are more at risk of being targeted and destroyed than those close to the wall.
Even driving as a squad takes some level of coordination. Driving too close together can spell doom with SPG splash, causing tanks to be tracked, other tanks to crash and others still just roadblocked. Learning to drive together, but staggered can curb many issues new clans face. If the lead tank is hit, those following can alter their course without ramming into it. This formation increases the width of the squad slightly, but this increase in width outweighs the problems associated with driving closer together.
Playing selfishly is one way to ensure your clan does not welcome you back. If a teammate near you is low on HP and taking fire, it is more important to assist them to keep that tank alive than take cover yourself. The more guns left in the game, the higher your chances of defeating the enemy. The tank under fire should be seeking cover behind friendly tanks while those with higher HP should move to cover them while they back out of harm’s way. If there is hard cover, such as buildings or rocks, the group can back up after covering the low HP tank. If no hard cover exists, the low HP tank should reverse to the point where only the turret is sticking out above friendly tanks.
Practicing these skills and team-based exercises can help prepare a player for Clan Wars, but no one is ever fully prepared until they are put into battle against a well prepared opponent. Choosing the right clan for your experience level is crucial. Discovering what type of Clan Wars experience you enjoy will come over time. Some players are happy participating on a more casual level while others crave clans who are extremely serious about Clan Wars. It is important to remember, though, that starting at the bottom and working your way up the Clan Wars “food chain” will prevent a multitude of frustration.
Clan Wars Preparation – The Clan
To get on the map as a clan you will need to land at one of the many landing zones. These might seem “easy” since they consist of other clans not currently holding territory on the map but think again. These landing tournaments can range from 4 clans up to 20+ clans all wanting to take the landing zone that night. This creates a difficult obstacle even for well established clans since if your clan ends up losing one battle or drawing then it is lights out. There are a few ways to increase your chance of getting through these landing tournaments as a clan.
Company battles(tank companies) are the closest thing to actual clan war battles that are easy to set up and help not only regular members but also the field commanders. Forming tank companies on a nightly basis and getting everyone used to working as groups and executing what a field commander barks out is invaluable before entering clan wars. Win or lose your clan will be able to see what works and what does not work on specific maps while also seeing what other organized clans use tactics wise. The main downside of tank companies is that usually you do not field complete 15 player teams due to the point limits and also finding absolute(tier 10) companies can be impossible at times.
Training rooms can be a positive or negative tool for preparing your clan for clan wars. On the plus side organizing specific scenarios/drills are easy along with being able to skirmish against fellow clan mates if the clan has enough online. However, the negative side is that training rooms do not always sit well with some members and especially for new clans looking to make that next step. They take long to set up and can be a drain on credits if tier 8+ tanks are used in firing drills and no experience/credits are earned. Motivating members to participate can be difficult but it is useful to show those interested specific movements for tactics that will be expected from members in clan wars.
Overall mixing in some training rooms with tank companies prior to attempting to take part in a landing zone tournament will help ease your clan into the chaos. If you simply jump into a landing zone with an unorganized team and play it “just for fun” it will only be a waste of time as you are dismantled in the first few minutes of the match.
Gearing Up for Landing Zones
The time has come to enter landing tournaments and attempt to grab land on the map. Before placing any chips you will want to take a head count on participating members, the times they can play, and what tanks they own. This is one of the most important aspects of clan wars since without enough people online at the time of the battle you will be shorthanded and lose easily. Make sure the clan is capable of having 15-20 people online during the time you choose for the landing zone that own tier 10 tanks and tier 8 SPGs.
You now have the timezone you want to aim for and now comes choosing a map and strategies. I recommend entering 2 landing zones since you might be able to have two battles that start at different times(or you lose one and continue on in the other landing zone) to keep the flow going. Landing tournaments are very brutal as far as time commitment as the battles are spaced out and tournaments take a long time to work through with very little overall battles. Pick a map and learn the map that is assigned to that territory. Then draw up strategies and refine them over time using the free to use in-browser MapTactic which is simple to use but incredible effective. At first most strategies will fail but adapting using MapTactic is very easy and allows changes instantly.
Figuring out the best time for your clan members and also planning ahead strategy wise for the maps you plan on landing on will save a lot of stress and increase your clan’s chances of succeeding.
Time to Land!
It’s time now to land on the map and enter clan wars. Set up a meeting time at least 30 minutes before the first battle(45m+ is best) to go over who will be bringing what and how the strategy will unfold. Having the team chosen and each player assigned their roles before the room pops for the match saves the field commander a lot of last second stress and allows everyone to ask any questions they have. Keep in mind that it might take several tries to progress far in these landing tournaments since they are no walk in the park. Keeping a positive attitude and reflecting on what went right and what went wrong is the key to figuring out what to change to increase your chances of winning. From here on you will want to refine strategies and become experts on 2-3 maps at first and then expand to other maps as time progresses.
When the day comes and your clan takes a landing zone all this work will have been worth it. If you are confident you can defend the landing zone then plop your headquarters down to allow you to attack surrounding territories. You will want to attack off of the landing zone the next night to grab one territory to be a fail-safe incase you loose the defense on your landing zone. Keep the HQ on the landing zone as long as possible and only move it(before the turn ends after defense) if you lose the landing zone.
Field Commanding 101
Many try field commanding but only few actually do an adequate job of leading a team. It might seem like a daunting task to come up with strategies, organize a team, and to adjust mid game but if you plan ahead it can be much less hassle than it is at first. Field Commanding is mainly comprised of having good situation awareness along with a knack of coming up with strategies for specific maps. Being a good player helps but at the same time player A who might not be a “great” player but has a good tactical sense is better than player B who is an awesome player but lacks the ability to field command.
Preparing is half of the battle with being a field commander. You need to know more than just the basic layouts of a map before your clan needs to fight on them since while in battle you need to have a 3d layout of the map(including terrain differences) in the back of your head. Hopping in a training room with 1-2 others and doing a dry run through will help out immensely and also give you feedback from a few others as to what to do. Next up is drawing up strategies to try, refine, and tinker with. As mentioned earlier Map Tactic is a great tool to use for this since it allows you to create many different scenarios in under a minute and store for use later.
Coming up with strategies is difficult at first unless you have prior experience on a specific map. You should come up with at least 5 strategies for each side that are unique to each other and do not have your main forces do the same thing each time. Pick your favorite, run with it, and see how well it does. If it works then tweak it a little bit and fix some of the small details you may have overlooked and if it failed then alter it more to fix the major mistakes that happened. You should also see what the enemy did right/wrong and use that help your strategies for the opposite side as well as learn the counters for the side you were just on.
The key is build upon your strategies for each map and slowly mold them to where you have multiple successful strategies to pull from. You may have a favorite that works well for you but if you beat it to death against the same clans it will be countered and you will lose. All strategies have counters to them which is why building a good selection to chose from helps for prolonged wars with the same clans.
Coming up with a clan war strategy does require a knowledge of how to effectively use your tanks wisely. Spread them to thin without them being able to cover each other will see your team be picked apart one group at a time. However, grouping your tanks up to much on one flank may spell failure for your weak flank if you do not have a plan in place to stop an enemy push on it. Clan war matches generally follow a few basic outcomes for defeat. Granted there are more ways to lose but these are the outcomes from my personal experience.
1) One team aggressively attacks a specific area and takes a portion of the enemy team very quickly turning the match in their favor.
2) One team pushes their force down one flank but leaves their base opens while the enemy simply stalls them from reaching the enemy base while capping them out.
3) Both teams attack the same flank but one team makes the mistake of allowing the enemy team to output more damage first, thus tipping the numbers in their favor.
4) The match is played less aggressively(turtle-ing) and the team that gets surprise flanked is caught with their pants down.
Adapting your strategies to prevent these types of loses will improve your chance of winning greatly. Most matches lost by newer less experienced clans are stupid mistakes that could be easily prevented by both the FC and players having a general sense of what the enemy is doing. Strategies that leave a flank lightly guarded only spell doom if the field commander doesn’t put in a plan to shift forces to cover it if need be. At the same time your “strong” flank will gain additional tanks to help out number the enemy which later on can be shifted back to the weak flank.
Knowing where the enemy is sending their main force before their attack can be key information since most teams do not feint and pull tanks back to attack a difficult flank after being spotted. Planning routes for your scouting force to zip out, light the enemy up, and then come back to cover/hold a key spot can ruin any strategy your enemy plays. It allows you as the field commander to access the enemy movements and also allow your SPGs to get a few cheap shots in at the beginning of the match. As you learn where most scouts go on each map you can plan “traps” to spot them quickly and have your SPGs/non-scouts to take them out of the match to leave the enemy team blind.
Micromanaging your normal tanks is ok. But at the same time it is very difficult to micromanage artillery when you actually are not playing it. Generally you want to give SPG players a bit of a leash as to where to set up and what to shoot. Giving them a general idea of what you want them to do before the match and where to pre-aim is sufficient. Barking out for them to aim here, there, everywhere, oh no not there….does not work and only hurts your team. Leave it to telling your arty to shift over behind you main force, away from enemy attackers, focus in this general area where our attack will be, etc. is much more beneficial to the team.
If you plan on doing a quick strong attack plan it well. Make sure you send enough tanks to outnumber the possible enemy tanks as well as having cover for them to end up in. Sending a ton of tanks down a flank only to be left out in the open will only spell doom as they are chewed apart by enemy SPGs and other tanks in the distance. Make sure to have your main force attack as a group from 1-3 directions but ultimately converge in the same general area to be able to cover each other. Setting up your own SPGs to pre-aim at likely locations or possible reinforcement locations will only add to the effectiveness of the attack. Keep in mind that tanks with low damage per shot but high DPM actually suffer in quick engagements described here and you will want a force with burst or high alpha damage. If you bring a lot of high DPM tanks you will need to make sure you greatly outnumber your enemy or else you will end up losing.
Most importantly is to have a plan set in place for X amount of tanks of this attacking force to pullback when called to the base/weak flank if the enemy starts to push. Typically you will want your attack to be quick and catch the enemy by surprise at the start of the match. By the time you kill their tanks in that area you can pull your entire force back to your base to kill that attack as well to combine your entire team to easily destroy the enemy.
Defensive strategies do work when done well but have a fatal flaw. When you set up defensively you won’t be able to cover each flank/route with enough tanks to stop a massive coordinated attack by the enemy. This leads to you losing map control and being picked off slowly by SPGs and small attacks. If you plan to run a defensive strategy then setting up your squads so that they can cover one another as well as having SPG support is crucial. Throwing in 1-2 advanced scouts for warning will also allow you to shift forces to squash enemy attacks.
Push and Pull
This type of strategy does not work on all maps but when you can use it can be very effective. Essentially you have a “forward” group of tanks that are capable of dealing with any scouts, small groups of enemies, etc. that are thrown at them. However if the enemy pushes a large force at them your group of tanks will retreat to safety. Most enemy teams will chase thinking you have no back up and that they will simply steam roll the flank. However, you have separate groups set up to cover the retreat of your tanks and will hit the enemies from multiple sides. You then collapse all of your separate groups into the enemy once you weaken them and finish them off.
This strategy is a bit more complex than others but does provide a great deal of flexibility. No matter where the enemy tanks you can shift your forces down different flanks and position them to negate any enemy attacks. Pulling off a strategy like this falls mainly on the field commander to react quickly and also for the players to follow orders very well.
How to Direct a Battle
You’ve done the prep for the battle…but how do you actually FC it? Before the match even begins every player should be assigned a squad/task to execute at the start of the battle. After you spot the initial enemies you will need to then take control of the battle. Simply sitting silent will only allow the opposing FC to outsmart you and also have your less experience players fall out of line. Keep in constant contact with your team and direct them to attack here, defend, spot, etc. etc. You do not want to micromanage and start belittling your players but rather give clear, short, and useful direction as to what you need them to do. If you see someone breaking off or doing something wrong simply say a quick “Guy in A6 you need to be with the A5 group” or “XXX player join up with the A5 group”. Yelling won’t solve anything and telling them how to play their tanks won’t either.
Overall in the battle as a FC you need to be informative and always in control of your team. There becomes a point where to much control is a bad thing so finding that right amount of giving orders will keep everyone happy while giving you the best chance of victory.
After the battle having everyone who was in or listened to the battle around will allow you to do a quick recap. Go over what you saw worked, did not work, and ask if there is any ideas on how to improve the strategy. Dealing with specific problems of what a player might have done wrong is also important. No need to point any anyone by name, but simply saying how you would want a tank in that situation act will help out not only that player but others int he future.