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strand of the ancients strategies

More than any other battleground, SOA depends on communication. The fight is straightforward: the offense fights its way south while the defense impedes progress. However with two gates on opposite sides of each of the first two levels, both teams must be able to switch forces back and forth from east to west and vice versa. A team with an alert leader and players who are willing to follow directions has a significant adavantage.

Basic Defense

The defensive plan seems obvious, and the same pattern is used in most battles. As noted above, the key is not the strategy but the execution.

wsg pug on pug

  1. On the beach the weakest players take the guns and everyone else goes forward to meet the enemy on the docks and hold them there as long as possible. If you destroy the tanks on the docks, and keep the enemy from loading up with bombs, you will be off to a good start.
  2. Note that the enemy will rez at the single gy in the middle of the beach. If you are strong enough to camp that graveyard, you can hold them there indefinitely.
  3. Once the enemy gets off the docks, you want to put two or three CC-capable players in front of the gates (position 1). Their job is to control bomb carriers, defuse any bombs that get laid, and blast any tanks that make it that far. The rest of your team wants to hunt down tanks as they rez and bombers whereever they show up.
  4. When the enemy breaks through either of the blue or green gates, immediately move all forces on the opposite side to the next threatened gate (position 2). For example, if the enemy breaks through green, move your blue-side defenders to purple. Whether or not you lose the other gate, you MUST stop the breakthrough before it gets to the next level.
  5. It is important to monitor the battle closely and move forces east and west as needed.

    Keep the two north grave yards as long as you can. Until they control them, the enemy must rez on the beach. Also, control of a gy opens its associated tank workshop, giving the enemy more vehicles.

  6. As soon as the enemy breaks through on red or purple, move everyone to the yellow gate (position 3). Since you can mass your forces here, enemy tanks will have a harder time reaching the gate ... but bombers become a serious problem. You will need a good CC bomb disposal team in front of the gate. You may also want to defend the south flag ... this will let you rez at the south gy while the enemy rezzes down the hill.
  7. When the yellow gate goes, put a melee phalanyx at the gate ... the gate may be gone, but it is still a choke point. If the guns are still up, they should be used to damage incoming tanks and bombers. Put a strong CC team in front of the main door (position 4) to defuse bombs. Put ranged in the middle of the yellow zone. They should kill players going for bombs on the west side, and they should pick up any incoming tanks that pass the gate defense.

Defense in SOA is about time. Your first priority is tanks and bombers. The losing defense is the one that gets lots of kills on enemy players while the enemy bombs through to the relic. The winning defense fights a battle of deny and delay, protecting gates and falling back in good order to keep the enemy out of the relic room.

 

Offense: PRO on PUG

The goal is to get up the hill as quickly as possible. The more you have to fight, the slower your advance will be. Melee will drive tanks. Ranged and CC will follow tanks and "peel" defenders away. Healers will keep peelers up. Anyone who can dispell will help keeps the tanks moving. Everyone will have a bomb.

The basic attack format is this: tanks hang back and shoot the gate from range ... this pulls the defenders out to the tanks. Bombers run in close to drop and then defend their bombs. The defense cannot both defuse bombs AND kill tanks, and the gate goes down.

pro versus pug

BEACH

While the ships are coming in, the pro leader will choose a beach gate as the main assault point. Either will do. The plan is symmetrical. In this example, the assault gate is "blue".

Forces from the off-gate will move across the beach to the main gate. A small group may attack the off-gate to keep the enemy occupied.

A blitz hits the assault gate. If a tank dies, everyone who was in the tank runs to the gate and delivers their bombs. Anyone who rezzes while the gate is still up goes back to the dock for more tanks and bombs. This repeats until the gate falls. There is no melee ... pros don't stop to fight .... they c.c. and get to the gate.

NORTH

Once through the beach gate, pros use communications to reorganize on the fly. Sometimes the main assault team can break through to the next level before the enemy notices, but even so, there are other tasks that need to be done.

As the tanks and bombers roll on, a small team crosses the map to cap the two north flags. This will bring up the workshops with their bombs and two more tanks. The new tanks will immediately join the assault ... this will put the remaining beach tanks at yellow, with another coming up on either side ... and these will be joined by a cloud of bombers.

From now on as people rez they will get tanks and bombs at the workshops, setting up waves of assaults on the remaining gates.

SOUTH

The enemy will likely mass at the yellow gate, so bombs become a major weapon. Stealth players will be running bombs to the yellow gate. Everyone else will be driving or guarding a tank.

At this point, it is probably best to cap the south graveyard. If the enemy has fallen behind and is still down on the beach, the leave the flag alone. Otherwise, getting the south gy and its bomb pile will put your entire team in front of the yellow gate.

YELLOW

Once the yellow gate is down, the fight has a tendency to fragment. A PUG group will often be spread out by now, but some will get inside and set up a defense. Pros want to avoid melee and stay focused on bringing tanks and bombs to the relic room door. Coordinated attacks "stack" tanks and bring them along with mounted bombers to the gate at the same time. This kind of rush will often get two or three bombs to the door.

After the door breaks, you only need to get inside and click on the relic to end the round.

 

Offense: PRO on PRO

Against good defense, you need a more flexible strategy. As always, communication is the key.

wsg pug on pug

  1. The fight starts as above ... chose a gate and try to rush it.
  2. If the gate is too well defended, switch some forces to the other side and break through the other gate. The north graveyard has priority. Once you control it you will get a rez point and tanks.
  3. Push south towards the next gate. If the enemy adjusts, then again switch some forces to the other side. Cap that gy, break the gate and push south.
  4. Against a good opponent, the yellow gate defense will be fierce. Be sure to cap the south gy ... this will lose you two tanks, but your bombers will rez much closer to the gate. Pro teams kill demos fast, and your best bet is to win by running waves of bombers at the main gate.
  5. There is no special plan for yellow. If you can, try to group your tanks and bomb runners so as to overwhelm the defense. They have the advantage of rezzing in the yellow area ... if you arrive piecemeal, they will likely cut you apart.
With two teams evenly matched in gear and skill, organization and communication should be the determining factors.