Sturm

        I’m sorry I’ve been gone for so long, everyone. There was some family issues that had to be worked out. But I’m back! I’m not in charge of this article though- Today I will be passing on the keyboard to my wife Wynn, since Advance Wars is her area of expertise. Hope you enjoy, everyone!
        Hello, all. As my dear Annie said, today I will be talking about Advance Wars, particularly the final boss, Sturm. But first, I suppose I should tell you a little about the game itself. Advance Wars is a turn-based strategy game where you play as the CO, or Commanding Officer, of an army. The game was made by the same developers as Fire Emblem, but the two series, while in the same genre, have entirely opposite takes on it.
        In Fire Emblem, all of your forces are unique and irreplaceable, with characterization and defined reasons for joining your group. If they die, they remain so and you either have to try again or go on without them. In Advance Wars however, your units are generic and nameless. In fact, in battle it’s obvious that this is because they are large groups- that Infantry Unit is in fact a group of five men marching into battle, for example. Further, said battles will result in damage to both your unit and theirs, though the attacker takes less generally, barring certain matchups.
        If a unit is destroyed, you can simply produce more at the Base and send them out to keep the battle going. I believe this is because Advance Wars is based on more modern warfare, where there are so many troops that an individual one would simply fade into the crowd, unless they do something especially significant.
        Different units of course have different uses, but they are primarily used to defeat each other, with the exception of transport vehicles and Infantry. Transport of course are used to move your units to where they are needed, and Infantry are used for, aside from fighting, capturing neutral and enemy buildings. These buildings give you funds to make more units with, and if they capture Bases(land units), Docks,(sea units) and Airports,(air units) you can make more units at them.
        More notable than these faceless units are the COs in this game, who command the armies you send out, and as the battle rages show strange and impressive abilities that can turn the tide of the entire engagement, called CO Powers. I’ll get on those later.
        In any case, I’ve tarried enough. Let’s move on to the main event. Sturm in the final boss of the game, a sinister and mysterious figure who seeks to conquer the world by turning all of those who would oppose him against each other through methods I will not spoil. By the time of the final fight, his existence has been revealed, he has captured Sonja, the young girl who saw through his machinations, and Andy, the main character, has rushed in to save her.
        While in previous missions you had a choice as to which of three COs you could use, Andy Max and Sammy, here you must use Andy. Andy himself is well-rounded, having no strengths or weaknesses, and his CO Power, Hyper Repair, lets all of his units regain two health, as well as granting them a small offensive bonus.
        As for the battle itself, it is quite a unique one. While there are a couple of previous cases where you have an ally, they were always controlled by the game. Here, you have two allies, and you control all three forces. You will certainly need all of them to pull off a victory here. Yes, it is three armies against one, but Sturm’s forces are far larger than the others put together, giving him a massive advantage from the start. This includes Mid Tanks, the most powerful land unit, Bombers, air units that wipe out land units easily, and Fighters, which tear other air units apart, but they and the Bombers can be countered with the Anti-Air units or Missiles.
        Worse, Sturm starts out with no less than four Bases and two Airports, as well as enough buildings to compromise a city, giving him plenty of funds to use all of them.
        In short, he starts with a large army, and has the resources to keep it large for a very long time. But that’s not all. No, numerical superiority isn’t enough. Naturally all of his forces have to be stronger than usual as well, making standing up to them that much harder, and take no movement penalties.
        However, don’t let this worry you. If you utilize your armies properly, you can still win, and once you get on the offensive yourself you will be faring much better, as his defense is much lower than his offense. Firstly, note that Sturm only moves after all three of your armies, giving you three chances to move against him.
        Second, Andy’s forces are right next to a Airport and Base, which you should take immediately. There are also three buildings behind his HQ that are neutral, which should also be taken as soon as possible to help build up your forces and counter any possible building losses. There are three buildings in front of you, past the Base and Airport, but they will be harder to capture since Sturm’s forces will be able to attack any Infantry you send there by the second or third day.
        As for your other two armies, I cannot say who the COs will be. It depend on which battles you completed throughout the campaign. However, I can tell you who the possible allies are. Firstly, there is Olaf. He is the first enemy you face in the game, and like Andy, he has no strength or weaknesses troop-wise.
        However, his army is less effective in the rain than others, but can move normally in snow, and his CO Power, Blizzard, does exactly that, summoning snow to hinder his foes while helping his own forces. He is not a good ally here, however, since his CO Power will hurt your other two armies as well as Sturm’s.
        Grit is one I did get for this battle, and he is a specialist in long-range engagements. His direct units like tanks are weaker than usual, but the long-range units do more damage and can strike from further. His Power, Sniper Attack, increases the attributes even further. This will be useful, since he can whittle down Sturm’s troops without fear of immediate retaliation.
        Kanbei is another possibility. His forces are all stronger than usual, and he has no weaknesses, meaning he can effectively battle with Sturm. His Power, Morale Boost, makes them stronger still. The drawback however is that they are more expensive than usual, which could make things more difficult.
        Next is Drake, who I also had myself. He somewhat of a liability here, but I won regardless, so do not assume your case is hopeless if you get him. His naval units are stronger than usual, but his air units are weaker. Since all sides will have Airports and there are no naval units whatsoever, you can see the issue. However, his CO Power can be useful. Tsunami does one damage to all enemy forces, though it cannot kill them. It’s not a huge difference, but I found it quite helpful.
        Last but certainly not least is Eagle. His naval forces are poor, but his air units are the best in the game. This alone makes him an excellent ally- he has no weaknesses here. His CO Power only makes it better- Lightning Strike lets his forces move once again, albeit with reduced power.
        With all the COs covered, lets move on to the actual battle. I won’t give you a turn by turn strategy, just an overall plan to victory. As I said before, the first thing Andy should do is capture the Base and Airport in plain sight, as well as send an Infantry unit down to capture those three buildings.
        As for your other two COs, they will not have any neutral buildings behind them, and start with more buildings than Andy, as well as a Base. All they need do at this point is move up and take the neutral buildings ahead, eventually taking another Base and Airport.
        For Sturm’s part, he will start steadily advancing in Andy’s direction, and his air units will almost be able to reach him on day 1. Accordingly, you should have a Missile unit ready to shoot his Bomber when it gets close already, and have your Anti-Air units ready to shoot them down. There are Mid Tanks coming as well, but they will take at least another day, and I advise you to make some of your own before they arrive or you will likely be overrun.
        In addition, your right side army will likely have more funds than Andy, so it may be a good idea to send in units from that side to help Andy’s. The left side cannot do the same as easily, as there is a mountain range in the way, though they can do as much once they capture their Airport. Going by land for them would be driving down a road straight into Sturm’s forces. That itself may be a good idea once you’ve captured everything, and could use the Base to keep up a steady supply of units. This would divide Sturm’s attention and force him to focus less on Andy.
        Once everything is captured for your respective areas, you need to start destroying Sturm’s units in earnest if you haven’t already, pushing him out of your territory. He will be fighting a battle on three fronts, which will make this significantly easier than it could be. Just make sure you keep up a steady supply of troops.
        Of course, pushing him back won’t be easy, especially due to his CO Power, which will assuredly be cropping up very frequently when the tide starts to turn against him. His Power is Meteor Strike, which does exactly that; dropping a large meteorite on your troops in a 3×3 area. It’s not a very large range, but given you’ll be pushing him back, your units will likely be confined together as they press onward, making them easy targets.
        It will not kill them, but the Power will inflict 8 damage, effectively making them useless. Worse still, Sturm’s units get much stronger during the turn this Power is used, meaning you should expect heavy losses and will certainly have to start rebuilding your army to some degree.
        However, the units struck by the meteor aren’t entirely worthless. They will certainly strike less effectively, but they can still be used to help wipe out weaker enemies, can join with other units to heal them, and can be used as shields potentially, stopping Sturm from reaching important units or blocking off pathways. This forces him to waste attacks and turns to remove them while you press on and rebuild. Having some indirect units to take advantage of this would be wise.
        Unless they are significantly weakened, or your unit outclasses Sturm’s, I suggest you not directly battle his forces after Meteor Strike, as they will still be powered up until his next turn. Focus that day, if possible, on making new units and moving your existing ones into better positions.
        If you keep making new units, particularly Bombers, Fighters, and Mid Tanks, you should be steadily pushing him back. As for actually defeating him, there are two ways of course- either you can capture his HQ, or you can destroy all of his units. I prefer the latter.
Partially it is because by the time you likely can get a Infantry unit up to his HQ, you pretty much have already won. His HQ is surrounded by his Bases and Airports, so anything you drop on his HQ is likely to be crushed.
        One of my preferred strategies is to move my Mid Tanks onto his Bases and the like. This stops him from making new units on it, and if he wants the base back, he will have to contend with the tank. This could act as a placeholder for you moving your Infantry onto the Base if you wish, but I did not bother myself.
        By the time I literally have his bases covered, there isn’t much point in making them mine because he was on his last legs, and would not be able to replenish his dwindling forces.
        Of course, perhaps you have a strategy of your own that seems better, but I am just telling mine. I hope you enjoyed the article, that it will help you on your own game, and I wish you all good luck. Dismissed!

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