A quick review…
War Robots is a control-based mech game that focuses on getting certain strategic points and holding them in order to grab a win.
In other words, positioning, gaining early advantages and taking advantages of enemy mistakes as well as utilizing opportunities are just as important as mechanical skill and strategic acumen.
The team who gets the early advantage is generally more favored to win the entire matchup than a team who has to catch up since the very beginning of the map.
Why is it important?
One of the most important parts of playing War Robots is realizing that you have a limited amount of resources (namely, your robots and their weapons) and that you need to utilize them carefully in order to get the maximum efficiency out of them and hopefully, be able to use it to significantly contribute towards a possible win for a team.
So obviously, with this concept of play in mind, getting with your best foot forward seems to be the key towards winning most games; after all, many of the strategies used by top players and clans in War Robots include one form or another of the “hard push” at the beginning of the match, which requires the use of the best robots and firepower that is already available to the player in question!
This is where “take care of your pick” comes into play, as many of the good players will go for picks that can do multiple tasks: For instance, people will pick robots like the Strider and Pursuer in order to take good positions and possibly capture places on the map while still being a threat by the merit of the weapons that they carry.
The Art of War, as well as other strategic books, put importance on the need for having the initiative in battle.
Getting a good (possibly multi-purpose) robot at the beginning allows the player to have confidence in facing the enemy as well as gain certain concrete advantages, which will allow the player to have an easier time throughout the rest of the game (or if the team’s cognitive abilities allow for it, win the game immediately.)
How does it work in practice?
Generally, players pick one out the following types, depending on the map or situation:
- Their strongest bot (think of a Spectre with Shocktrains, probably Haechi or Bulgasari if the player feels confident to run it)
- Fast beacon capper (Kumiho, Stalker, Gareth, Pursuer, Strider, Hellburner; possibly the Haechi and Galahad if one extends the definition liberally)
- A long-range robot (Butch, Fury, Natasha and their respective loads come to mind – but then the Bulgasari and Spectre can carry Scourges…)
- Anything with Hydras – especially with MK2 – and if you are having a ton of Spectres on the enemy side
If you actually think about it, you’ll be mostly ahead if you pick robots with energy weapons (i.e. Magnum, Taran, Shocktrain, etc.) for the reason that only the Bulgasari, Gareth, Lancelot and Galahad (we definitely don’t count Bulwark and the rest of the house in this category…) have physical shields that can block the damage dished out by plasma or energy weapons.
The rule of thumb is that people will pick mostly any one of the types above unless it’s Team Deathmatch, where they will go out the gates with their best robots possible (which are mostly Spectre/Bulgasari/Pursuers.)
For instance, when faced with Death Button Griffins (back in the days when these setups were still a thing), one can always go to the strengths of the Plasma Griffin or any robot that has a plasma or energy-weapon based variant, for the woefully low engagement range of the setup makes it extremely susceptible to kiting tactics.
As for robots with physical shields, one couldn’t go wrong with the RDB Griffin (or the RDB Spectre). Better yet, having a long-ranged Fury (read: Dragoons, Tridents, Zeus, Tempest, Trebuchet) would be a deadly sight for those robots who hide behind their steel scales or otherwise! Even the Noricums and Zenits are already annoying…especially if you have “soft” robots like the Spectre…
And when facing the ubiquitous Shocktrain on robots such as the Spectre, Haechi and Bulgasari, never forget that there are many choices for destroying the menace of these robots. A Bulgasari is best countered by rockets, while a Haechi would not survive an engagement with energy weapons such as the Scourge, Zeus, and the rest of the energy-firing pack.
What are the effects of this?
Getting a very good first pick that completely counters the enemy would allow players to do one or more of the following:
- Trade efficiently (i.e. take down two to three bots before you are killed)
- Get good positions and force the enemy to play out of their comfort zone
- Spread the momentum through getting multiple early kills (while your friends are busy racking up the damage, snipe those crippled bots out of the game)
- If the robot is fast enough (i.e. Dash family/Pursuer/Strider/Hellburner), then one can end the game right there and then by getting four to five beacons, potentially sealing the deal in 3-4 minutes)
The first-pick principle only works effectively in a battlefield with diverse hangars and weapon styles; this will almost never work in a battlefield that already has 12 maxed-out robots armed with the Shocktrain or the version of the most overpowered weapon that the game can equip for the robot in question.
The exception is that if the clan knows how to counter the Shocktrain carriers effectively, which, in this case, a well-placed Pursuer (or any other fast robot in particular) could tip the balance massively in one’s favour.
In addition, some players may have a capper as their first bot and four powerhouses as their – just as first picking is a strong hand to play, counter-picking is another way to approach War Robots, especially when the enemy (i.e. the first-picker) actually has a one-dimensional hangar (full midrange, full brawler or 4 robots of one setup).
The author is currently a Master 2 player at the time of writing and through the usage of robots such as the Kumiho, the player is able to capture at least two beacons, destroy light robots outright and pressure enemy players to commit resources to kill the “space creator.”
If the team is smart enough, they would usually go push from all other sides, ensuring a quick victory.
Most of the time, proper knowledge of War Robots weaponry has allowed the writer to overcome obstacles that are otherwise unfair on paper.
The obvious exceptions are the times when the author faces clans like KOR (the full stack and one of the game’s superteams, no joking here), which in this case…blame the matchmaker for placing me into a very unfair match.
Choosing a proper first pick in War Robots goes a long way. It allows the player to provide multiple tactical options on the field, as well as create space for the team to have early advantages and create an opening for the team to win outright.