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Player Analysis: Sepha

By Glingo - 21st May 2007 - 16:17 PM

I am happy to publish a first in many series where I explore the various British Strategies being used by top players in the game. Basically, I download replays from the top players and use COHRA to document the build orders, doctrine selections, unit upgrades, etc to spot trends and patterns of play by the top players.

I then put together an analysis sheet and summarize my findings (see .pdf document below). Then I get an interview with that top player to ask specific questions about their strategy. So, without further ado, here is my first installment, I hope you enjoy it and learn a thing or two.

Sepha Replay Pack

Full Analysis

General Notes:

13/20 games versus Wehrmacht, 7/20 games versus PE, Lost 4/20 games (2 vs PE, 2 vs Wehr)

Doctrine Selection:
  • 4/20 no selection
  • 7/20 commandos (in 7/7 Sepha chose Commandos at 3CP first)
  • 6/20 artillery
  • 3/20 engineers (all in losses)
Build Order:
  • In 20/20 (all) games, Sepha issued become mobile for HQ after LT (second unit)
  • In 16/20 games Sepha’s build order was: LT, Tommy, Tommy, Field Support Truck (FST)
  • In 20/20 (all) games Sepha built a LT first followed by a Tommy squad
  • In 18/20 games Sepha always produced 3 units out of the HQ before producing FST
  • In 17/20 games, first unit out of FST was the Captain
  • In 14/20 games Sepha built a Stuart
  • In 14/20 games Causality Clearing Station (CCS) was built
Unit Upgrades:
  • 1st Tommy Upgrade:
    [-]11/20 Bren Machine Gun (5 vs. Wehr, 5 vs. PE)
    [-]9/20 Rifle Nades (8 vs. Wehr, 1 vs. PE)
  • 1st Sapper Upgrade:
    [-]Expert Engineers:7/20
    [-]Piats: 10/20
    [-]N/A: 3/20
Use of Emplacements:
  • In 8/20 game a Bofors was built
  • In 5/20 games a Mortar Emplacement was built
  • In 11/20 games a 17 Pounder was built
  • In 2/20 games a Vickers Machine Gun Emplacement was built (Angoville and Wrecked Train)
  • In 6/20 games a 25 Pounder Gun was built and in 5 out of 6 of those games Royal Artillery was chosen – other game n/a was chosen
  • In 10/20 games NO mines/demos where placed

Q&A with Sepha


warhawks:

Hey Sepha,

Congratulations on reaching level 15 as British and earning a top spot in the leaderboard. I recently analyzed your replay pack as well as some other replays posted on GR to see how you are playing the Brits. Given this analysis, here on some questions regarding your British play style and strategies:


1) What maps (if any) do you deselect when you play Brits? What is the best to least (1v1) map ranking for Brits?

Sepha: When Verrieres is not in the line up, Sturzdorf and St.Mere. When it is, Sturz and Verrieres. I find it easier to play on Beaux Lowlands and St.Mere than Sturz and Verrieres, those maps are just horrid for British.

Best to least: Langres, Angoville, Semois, Wrecked Train, Beaux Lowlands, St.Mere, Sturzdorf, Verrieres.

2) I noticed that you mostly choose between Commandos and Royal Artillery as your doctrine, what in-game signs lead you to choosing one over the other?

Sepha: I choose artillery mainly when I have the chance to make the bofors/17p/25p combo and usually an early mortar emplacement for the extra range. That way you can have a defensive strong base that can't easily be attacked while you're on the offence and at the same time, have a long range howitzer to help you when you're launching an attack. If the game isn't aggressive, you'll be able to get all the emplacements up and still only have like 2 CP's.

On the other hand if the game has gone aggressively up to that point with lots of fighting I’ll usually call in commandos and sometimes make an extra squad. Lay down demolition charges at points since the combat will be all over the place, and generally wreck everything with them.

3) Do you tend to choose Royal Engineers because you may feel forced to do so, that is, you don’t have enough map control (fuel) to get Cromwell’s, etc, and you need tanks ASAP, so getting Churchill’s for MP is the fastest way? Or other reason for choosing Engineers?

Sepha: Games I choose RE are where the other player has usually almost beaten me and I call in a Churchill as a last ditch effort to repel an attack, usually they have vehicles or a Hetzer, so Commandos won't help. If you want to repel an infantry/ht assault then call in commandos instead.

This is also why you shouldn't choose your doctrine at the very start of a game as Brits. In regular games I rarely use RE as Commandos/25pounder can do much better job than the Churchill line.

4) I noticed that in all replay from top Brit players, the “rule of thumb” is usually get out 3 units (not including original Tommy squad) before producing the Field Support Truck (FST). In this case, your typical build order (before FST) is LT, Tommy, Tommy. What is the reasoning for build the LT second? And why a third Tommy squad versus a Bren Carrier (I usually see Brens as the third unit produced)?

Sepha: A 3rd Tommy build is better because the Bren becomes a pretty useless unit after the 7-8th minute of the game when axis get shreks, pumas or some other kind of AT, the Tommies are useful for the entire game. That said, I've been making a Bren recently purely so I can combat puma rushing and the early pg ht rush better.

LT is built first because he can walk faster than Tommies, who are built after the hq moves because the earlier you get on resources the better and if you were to build Tommies before moving the hq then they would walk to strat points at a snails pace.

5) In 17/20 games, your first unit out of FST was the Captain. Why the Captain over Sappers?

Sepha: Similar to the quad rush, the earlier the Stuart arrives to the battlefield, the more shock effect it will have on the game. Stuarts are very powerful the first time they arrive on the battlefield and get gradually weaker as your opponent gets more AT, they become almost useless late game.

Make Sappers if you want early Piats or to make a Bofors/17p to protect from a Marder or Puma rush. Make a Stuart if you want to be offensive while Sappers reinforce your base with emplacements and mines.

6) A Causality Clearing Station (CCS) always seems like a must for the Brits (you built it (14/20 games), however, in all of my analysis, the timing to get one seems like “a feel” type of situation. That is, depending on how the game is going. Can you elaborate on when you decide to build a CSS?

Sepha: When I have the spare manpower and some of my units are low on health, it's most important for the healing ability. If you make one too early then you could have problems in combat as you've spent mp on an early economical building rather than units, so make it mid-game sometime.

7) In 14/20 games you built a Stuart. Talk to me about the impact of this unit and why so many Brits make sure to get a Stuart out fast?

Sepha: Same answer as 5, it has much more of an impact the earlier it comes out.

8) I look at your choice of upgrades for you Tommy’s (pretty even split), but on paper it’s hard to understand how you deciding on upgrades, that is, Rifle Grenades versus Bren versus Recon. Can you elaborate on how you decide which upgrade to get first?

Sepha: Yea get a Bren first vs PE and get Rifle Grenades first vs Wehrmacht, that is if you're making 2 tommy squads. If you only make one then always get a Bren as you will most likely need to button a vehicle sometime in the game.

9) Emplacements: In my analysis, top Brit players stay away from a “Sim City” approach and you are no different. You seem to like a well placed Bofor’s every so often (8/20 games) and I noticed you only build a 25 Pounder when you go Royal Artillery.

However, regarding a 17 pounder, explain your approach to deciding when to build one. Do you what to see what the opponent’s doctrine choice is? Or do you wait until you see a unit that requires a 17 pounder? Or do you build one in anticipation of something?

What about the mortar pit? You only built 5 of them in 20 games? Your thoughts on the mortar?


Sepha: Alongside howitzers I build them to protect the bofors/25p from tanks/marders rushing in. That's usually with royal arty. With commandos I usually tech to cromwells early and make a 17p if I need it, then fireflies to support as well. You can also use the radio decryption to find out if you'll need one quickly.

Mortar pits I make to get mg42's out of buildings mainly or make them when the game is going pretty slowly. Indirect firing units, snipers and at guns are great in slow games. It's also when I usually choose the arty doc which compliments the mortar emplacement well.

10) You suffered two losses to Vacuum on Angoville. He essentially used the same build order in both games. Any thoughts on counters to this strat/build order?

Sepha: Yea I played well vs it recently, simply used a bren, commandos and a lot of demolition charges to protect my base along with radio triangulation. Rush a bofors and plant it near your base to protect yourself. Use a cromwell, 25p or firefly to go nebel/stug hunting.

11) Finally, any closing thoughts on the British 1v1 gameplay, or tips that you would like to pass on?

Sepha: Yea I would say the thing that makes the British tick is the ability to defend extremely well and launch attacks with only a few powerful units, units such as the avre churchill, commandos, fireflies, 25 pounder artillery. They generally have less but powerful units and at the same time this is a bad thing as the less units you depend on, when they get destroyed it hurts them harder.

Also I notice a lot of people complaining about the british being too good, if you were to give the brits a try and find out what works great against them such as snipers, storms, t3 rushing, ht rushes or flanking and shreking howitzers rather than massing grens behind a medic bunker, then they don't seem as strong as you might think they are.


warhawks: Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions Sepha! I am sure everyone appreciates it and values your advice.