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Attack Strong vs Delay as Much as Possible: 3/7/2014 11:16:25

Level 55
It has become fashionable for people to (almost always) make as many delays (transfers, 1v2 attacks on neutrals, 1vX attacks vs larger enemy stacks) as possible in order to gain last order attacks. It almost feels as if some players think, "If I delay more every time, my chances of winning most assuredly increase."

This is a strategic dilemma. Do you delay as much as possible (so much so that you even waste armies attacking neutrals or larger enemy armies with 1vX attacks), in order to make a weaker final attack? Or do you attack with as many armies as possible, to increase your chances of taking the enemy's territory?

Delaying has become cool. But that doesn't mean it is the most strategic option every time. Knowing when to delay and when to attack matters more than delaying just because you have your volume turned up and you like the "shwoosh" sound of transfering armies.

In this game, Dark Vengeance delays more than necessary. There are ways to know when to delay and when not to:

(1) Do you sense the enemy is delaying more than you? If so, seeking extra delays could be wise.
(2) Do you think the enemy is the type (or quality) of player that will seek to delay as much as possible? If you make 12 delays while facing an enemy that doesn't make any effort to delay at all, and has a last order of 5, you might not be getting the most efficient use of your armies.
(3) Check the history. Have you not had last order yet? If you go out of your way to make extra delays at the expense of other strategic options (eg, attack stronger, expand more, scout elsewhere), you might be wasting armies.
(4) Is the enemy in a strategic position in which you fully expect him to attack somewhere else and you doubt you can take the enemy with a strong frontal assault? But, if you delay, you could make gains elsewhere? In this case, extra delays could be useful.
(5) Do you believe that this is the most crucial turn/order/move/territory in the game? And delays are the only way to secure it? If so, delaying more could be better than attacking as strong as you can.

But, to delay for the sake of delaying because you watched myhand or Timi or someone else do it, does not make you a better player. Delaying when it calls for a delay and attacking strong when the situation calls for a strong attack makes you a better player. Knowing what to do and when, is more important than simply delaying and hoping (or, inversely, always attacking strong because you aren't used to or good at making delay attacks).

Sunzi's most important words of advice are to preserve your armies as much as possible. When you reach the point that you start sending armies at neutrals or 1 army at large enemy stacks (16% luck) simply to make an extra delay or two, you better damn well know that your predictions are accurate and those extra delays will help you gain last order (and that last order will be a game changer).

If you throw your extras around at neutrals or at larger stacks on Turn X and your strategic logic was incorrect, for the rest of the game you have fewer delays! Is it really worth sacrificing 1-2 delays for 5-10 turns for one extra delay for the current turn? In these situations, if you are not sure and just throwing armies around because it has become fashionable, you are not making the most strategically sound decision.

(The above is a more situation-specific example of a similar argument that has somewhat different strategic implications: Do you attack strong 1st order or delay and attack (equally strong/weaker) last order?)

Edited 3/7/2014 11:42:11
Attack Strong vs Delay as Much as Possible: 3/7/2014 11:20:02

Level 54
Well, I had no idea delaying was a popular thing. Thank you for teaching me something :)
Attack Strong vs Delay as Much as Possible: 3/7/2014 11:25:54

Level 55
Well, above, "delay" means "seek as many delays as possible, in addition to the expected, reasonable delays."

Delaying as much as reasonably possible should be done every turn. I am drawing attention to what is and isn't reasonable delaying, given different strategic, positional, or expected situations.

Edited 3/7/2014 11:43:13
Attack Strong vs Delay as Much as Possible: 3/7/2014 11:45:08

Level 50
great post :)

would like to read your advices on
"attack weak first to stop opponent's unit transfer"
"sneak weak attack at the end to hope enemies move out his units on earlier attacks"

both related to first/delay orders

Edited 3/7/2014 11:47:08
Attack Strong vs Delay as Much as Possible: 3/7/2014 12:17:31

Widzisz • apex 
Level 59
Nice one.
I wish to be smart enough to answer those questions myself during my games :/

Edited 3/7/2014 12:22:44
Attack Strong vs Delay as Much as Possible: 3/7/2014 13:00:26

Level 55
Attack weak first: As far as I know, I was the first person to use a 2v1 attack first order to defeat a 10+ transfer only first order.

I absolutely love this technique. You have a 50-50 chance to succeed. When you do, and see the history show a 30 army transfer only stay put, for example, it is like a small victory. The big army remains one turn away from being more useful, yet you made gains elsewhere that turn. It is a great way to teach people to have more guts when attacking!

Sneak weak attack at the end: This has been commonplace since the battles of HHH vs Impaller on the 1v1 ladder (and is a basic approach to playing 3v3 Europe). Watch those two play to see this done a great deal. You can always not do this for a period and lull the enemy to sleep. That is, if you don't try to take his 1s until you reach a point when you can take them all at once, he might not expect it. But taking or not taking depends on what you can and can't afford. Perhaps your income is limited and you face more dire threats or have more strategic options elsewhere. Sometimes that extra army or two deployed in one location is just enough to keep you from achieving your goals in another.

Risk management, cost-benefit analysis, efficient use of income and armies, and guesswork/predictions/psy-ops based on limited intel are always the factors we have to deal with when deciding on one course of action versus any other.

Edited 3/7/2014 13:04:07
Attack Strong vs Delay as Much as Possible: 3/7/2014 13:39:10

Level 59
...use a 2v1 attack first order to defeat a 10+ transfer only first order.

I always consider this from the defending side and conclude the attacker won't think of it, then they always don't.
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